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Comment OR- 100% vote by mail (Score 1) 821

Me too. Had my ballot at my desk at home with my voter booklet will all candidates, measures, statements of support and rejection by both sides and took an hour (while drinking a beer) to read and understand each measure and then vote my desired outcome. Did not blindly vote for a given party, gender, or last name type. Tried to remove incumbents who have been in too long, but kept people who were trying to make a difference but hadn't had time yet ;)

Comment Re:NEWS: Higher pay no longer important. (Score 1) 761

I agree. Doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants have professional cabals, such as the American Medical Association or the American Bar Association, which allow the members to collectively set up price floors and limit entry into the field (and demand standardization of some practices). Members of the AMA, for instance, are by far more loyal to the AMA than to a given hospital they might work for. Any person on the street can't just start practicing medicine or the AMA will have them shut down. The AMA is responsible for all the laws preventing this from happening.

Likewise with lawyers and accountants. You don't want someone doing non-standard accounting and if you're a public company, you are required to have a certified accountant. Is this because it's hard? Not really. It's because the AICPA has lobbied to make that a law. Certainly there are good reasons, but the main reason it's a law is that they lobbied and made it a law.

So what does this mean? It means there's no "free market" for CPAs, Lawyers or Doctors. It's highly regulated by THEMSELVES to prevent a downward spiral of costs and quality, so they essentially run themselves out of business. It's also good for society in general, because of the benefits of standardization and higher quality in these areas. There are not enough doctors right now, and part of it is the AMA, but it will fix itself as they adjust to changing demographics.

IT needs a similar program so we can prevent kids, community college folks, vendor cert people and foreign-outsourced staff from artificially dropping prices, doing non-standard shoddy work, putting security at risk and allowing vendors to participate in their own lock in. The issue right now is that the big vendors are driving the system right now and not the actual professionals doing the work. There's no reason it has to continue to be like this, except that right now it's a growth business so most people in IT are happy with their wages. But sooner or later, supply of work will outstrip demand and the great drop will happen. We need to take steps NOW to get ourselves into a position where we can best serve society and that means making sure we are guaranteed to be the professionals we are, and to make sure anyone claiming to be a professional IT person passes the test of education and experience.

Comment Re:Apparent to who?? (Score 1) 761

Yeah, unions aren't really what's needed. Instead, what is needed is a professional cabal which can set things like educational standards, procedures, etc. that are generally practiced by the members. With the membership, you get to participate in price floors set up but the other members, and you know you can wheel into another member's workspace and know they followed the same general procedures you did. This is similar to the AMA and ABA (doctors and lawyers) as well as accounting practices like CPAs have. You would need to get a public license and pass a test to do certain jobs in IT. Other types of engineers have some professional orgs which are similar but not as powerful. We need to keep low-priced, underskilled people out of the business because they cause more problems than they solve. Have a good hierarchy of education, internship and big firms that run things will really help in the long run. IT is really showing signs of maturity now and trust me, we don't want the business to be relegated to plumber or factory worker by getting a worker's union. Even though young kids might feel taken advantage of, wage and hours-wise (and thus suggest unionization), it's really a professional service that requires years of experience to do well and when you make it, you make it big. Why aren't we lobbying to make sure people get the required experience before they handle important IT problems (like other engineers)? Why aren't there standard certs for obvious best practices that are cross-vendor and cross platform? Seems like a union would standardize things, but it would standardize the work rather that the procedures. I could see that for lower end stuff like wiring and system installation, but even helpdesk is a creative job and programmers are frequently making business decisions for businesses who don't even understand what's being done. If you couple that with the way it is now, lack of experience, you have a massive time-bomb. But only we can fix it ourselves, and that's by, as senior IT people, lobbying for standardized licensing and exams for upper level IT jobs so our replacements will continue to carry the torch of good practices and resist the influx of vendor operated cloud services that just exist to promote lock-in and revenue extraction.

Comment Re:Public vs private (Score 4, Interesting) 387

Right, it's classic cognitive dissonance due to imperfect information. You can't see the security guard watching the surveillance camera video, so you assume it's fine. Whereas on the street, you are afforded more of a choice and so you take it. Unfortunately this, from an economic prospective, puts security guards with access to surveillance footage at a relative advantage to everyone else as far as having access to video. But what people don't take into account is that the kind of people who are attracted to the job are also the people who enjoy having that relative advantage. Thus, over time, it's likely the worst people you'd want to have access to video footage of you will have it and the people you'd most want to have it won't. Video is video, and that's the point this guy is trying to make. Just because you can face your accuser in this case doesn't make what he's doing any WORSE than other surveilance. But people feel it is because they associate it with a person. Any strong power that can make use of this advantage will have a very strong position of power due to the information imbalance.

Comment Re:Code versioning and deployment? (Score 2) 151

Here's what I did, pre-git:

Create svn repo, e.g.
Create structure ./trunk, ./branches, ./tags
Create a directory for each hostname e.g. ./trunk/sql1, ./trunk/web1, ./trunk/web2, etc.
Then you can svn import configuration directories on the host into the repo, e.g. svn import /etc
Then check out svn co /etc
From that point forward if you make changes locally you can svn ci OR you can make them externally (i.e. in a test environment) then svn up to update your local conf
I keep the same directory structure, so if I have some tomcat conf like /opt/jira/tomcat/conf it will be in svn as

With some scripts, I automated the process and since then it's been really easy to maintain. I understand that cfengine is quite a bit more complex and can do a lot more, like verifying your configuration and that sort of thing, but for a small shop this is good enough to prevent Oh Shit moments with minimal extra work and almost no maintenance.

Need to make a change? First, check in to make sure repo has latest version. Make your changes, restart your daemons..if it works, check in. If it doesn't work you can keep working or svn revert back to the previous version.

With git, you'd have a similar thing but the repo would be local and you'd have to find a way to back it up, or you could have something like stash running to be a central hub. DO NOT use github to store configs out of habit, because sometimes conf files have private keys and stuff and it is extremely likely that github will be targeted by crackers at some point. Svn is real easy to set up on a random utility server or even a workstation...

Comment Re:Your first server, in 2012 (Score 1) 152

Well, assuming you're just doing file stuff, one of the commonly available NAS solutions with a box full of disks and multiple file protocols would work great. If you're tiny, your external webserver will be at dreamhost or something (I might have said GoDaddy here in 2008), because you're not going to have a real network connection. More likely your network will be on par with your server equipment and it'll be a cable modem or DSL. Personally, and this has been my business niche a LONG time, so I hate to say this, but if you're under 25 employees, you can get by with just a great internet connection and Google or Windows Live or one of the other cloud apps services. If, and this is a big if, you don't need the data to do your work. For instance, if you're a plumbing company, and you can just do the work and then account for it later with paper slips or something, cloud apps are probably reliable enough.

The thing is, Dell and HP were never in this niche in a big way anyway. I mean, Windows SBS (Small Business Server) never sold many units, and it was designed to be a single server OS in a small office. I think what's really going on is that we've been in a recession, and so big companies have been buying fewer servers. Secondly, computers have gotten too powerful for the standard business workloads and if you combine this with the tendency over the past few years to do horizontal scaling in the CPU (i.e. more cores, not faster clock speeds), you have a lot of unused capacity if you stick with the old "one server per service" mantras. So, people have been virtualizing, building the "private clouds" where you have fewer more powerful hardware units and you split them up in software.

What's crazy is that this has been IBM's like bread and butter since the late 80's when AS 400 and then later zOS came out. For them it's always been about one big hardware unit and cutting it up. Hell, you can go back to the 60's timesharing computers and see "cloud" computing.

So, there you have it. Dell, HPaq have probably been selling fewer servers, and IBM is probably selling fewer due to the recession. On the consumer side, there's obviously Apple to blame for a lot of the desktop erosion, but again, we've been in a recession, everyone who wants a computer probably has one, and there hasn't been a compelling reason or need for new faster hardware.

Comment Re:If Google sold servers... (Score 1) 152

Cloud computing is a fad. The reason why is BGP. BGP means that there's nothing but statistical luck that your connection to your data will go through. The biggest companies in the world (and the largest purchasers of IT equipment) will not ever use it. It will always be relegated to the consumer and the small business, who don't have much to lose if they can't access the data.

At some point, some genius will invent a new internet protocol that will enable the data to be stored local to the owner but can also be securely and easily shared with everyone. And it won't depend on border routing arrangements but instead will be a true autonomous mesh. At that point, the 2010-2012 "cloud" (e.g. outsourced managed software/storage/hardware? as a service) will become the 2016 "cloud" of distributed services and storage. It's just right now there's a flood of computer illiterate who "grew up" on Facebook and the web and don't know any other way. The idea of having to deal with files and names and stuff is just too hard. And god forbid having to teach your devices to talk to each other rather than one parent in the sky. Pft. Get off my lawn.

Comment Re:CRC (Score 3, Informative) 440

For the lazy, here are 3 more tools:
fdupes, duff, and rdfind.

Duff claims it's O(n log n), because they:

Only compare files if they're of equal size.
Compare the beginning of files before calculating digests.
Only calculate digests if the beginning matches.
Compare digests instead of file contents.
Only compare contents if explicitly asked.

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