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Submission + - RIP Leonard Nimoy

Esther Schindler writes: According to the NY Times, Leonard Nimoy died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

He was, and always shall be, our friend.

Submission + - How Google avoids downtime

Brandon Butler writes: Google has an innovative way of attempting to keep its services — like its cloud platform and apps — up and running as much as possible. The man in charge of it is Ben Trenyor, who runs Google's Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) team.

Each Google product has a service level agreement (SLA) that dictates how much downtime the product can have in a given month or year. Take 99.9% uptime, for example: That allows for 43 minutes of downtime per month, or about 8 hours and 40 minutes per year. That 8 hours and 40 minutes is what is referred to at Google as an “error budget.”

Google product managers don’t have to be perfect — they just have to be better than their SLA guarantee. So each product team at Google has a “budget” of errors it can make.
If the product adheres to the SLA’s uptime promise, then the product team is allowed to launch new features. If the product is outside of its SLA, then no new features are allowed to be rolled out until the reliability improves.

In a traditional site reliability model there is a fundamental disconnect between site reliability engineers (SREs) and the product managers. Product managers want to keep adding services to their offerings, but the SREs don’t like changes because that opens the door to more potential problems.

This “error budget” model addresses that issue by uniting the priorities of the SREs and product teams. The product developers want to add more features, so they architect reliable systems. It seems to work; according to tracking company CloudHamrony, Google had one of the most reliable IaaS clouds among the major vendors in 2014.

Submission + - Canadian ISP Calls on Govt To Shut Down VPN Use (

An anonymous reader writes: A senior executive from one of Canada's largest ISPs has called on the government to block VPN use by consumers. Expressing frustration over Canadians accessing Netflix from the U.S. and noting that online video services can't be blocked, David Purdy said the government needs to block VPN use to assist the development of the Canadian broadcast market.

Comment Re:Hrm. The latest theme in the religious PSYOPS (Score 3, Insightful) 717

What you’re describing is belief that human reasoning is correct. But that’s not “belief” in the religious/spiritual sense. Not to me. Religious belief is faith that something that can't be proven is true. Science is a method of showing how something can be proven to be true. Just because you “believe” what someone else has proven, doesn’t make science belief-based—it makes you lazy at worst, or reliant on your fellow humans to do the hard work at best. You take Science’s word that evolution happens because you can't be bothered to test it out yourself. That doesn't mean you couldn't if you wanted to. That doesn't mean every person in the world couldn't do it if they wanted to. Religion is a belief because *no human* can prove that any tenet is true. *Everyone* has to take it on faith. There is not one human who has ever lived who could prove that God/gods exist, nor show how any other human could verify that existence for himself. That's what faith means. The only thing you have to “believe” is that your experience of life follows predictable patterns of cause & effect. If you “believe” in that, then Science is just an elaborate extension (and rigorous testing) of that.

Submission + - New York City Selects Electronic Voting Machine

An anonymous reader writes: From the NYTimes: "Levers in the voting booth are history. An Omaha company will provide electronic machines in time for the September 2010 [New York City] primary. election commissioners chose Election Systems by 6-to-1 over Dominion Voting, a Toronto company that has supplied several New York municipalities with machines. Election Systems won because its machines were easier to read and to use, especially for immigrants and the disabled. Two commissioners abstained — with one complaining that neither system was adequate — and one commissioner was absent."

Submission + - How is the Office Work Ethic in the IT Industry? 1

An anonymous reader writes: As a recent graduate entering industry for the first time at a large software and hardware company, I have been shocked at what seems to be a low standard of work ethic and professionalism at my place of employment, especially in this poor economy. I'm curious to ask Slashdot how my experience compares to the rest of the industry, and what methods others have used to deal with it. For example, at my company, the large majority of developers seem to each individually waste--no exaggeration--hours of time on the clock every day talking about football, making personal phone calls, gossiping, taking long lunches, or browsing the Internet (including, yes, Slashdot!). Even some of our subcontractors waste time in this manner. Being the "new guy", I end up being stuck with much of the weekend and after hours grunt work when we inevitably miss deadlines or produce poor code. Management seems to tolerate it, and being a fresh college graduate I'm not in any position to go around telling others to use their time more efficiently. How have other on Slashdot dealt with office environments such as this? Is my situation unique or is it common across the industry?

Comment Earthsea Series + The Chronicles of Prydain (Score 1) 1419

For younger readers, the Lloyd Alexander series, The Chronicles of Prydain are fantastic. I didn't read them until I was much older, and I regretted it. It definitely got me hooked on fantasy (even more than Tolkein). In order, these are:
  • The Book of Three
  • The Black Cauldron (Winner of the 1966 Newbery Honor)
  • The Castle of Llyr
  • Taran Wanderer
  • The High King (Winner of the 1969 Newbery Medal)
  • The Foundling and Other Tales from Prydain
Wireless Networking

Submission + - What to do with a dozen AirPort Extremes?

msardinas writes: I recently started working at a small private high school in Southern Vermont. We have over a dozen AirPort Extremes that are no longer being used and are sitting in closets around campus. I could sell them on eBay, or donate them, but I would love to involve the students in doing some sort of fun and educational project with all of these unused AirPorts. What would the /. community do with a dozen AirPorts?

Submission + - Satellite images used to monitor Burmese junta

BurmesePython writes: Human rights groups are using high-resolution satellites images to reveal the activities of Burma's junta as it gets tough with pro-democracy protesters. Apparently "it should be easy to spot groups of monks because of their distinctive maroon robes". Like previous efforts to use satellites to monitor the humanitarian crisis in Darfur [], the hope is it will prod the UN and other international actors into putting pressure on the Burmese rulers.

Submission + - Movie Industry Censoring Itself by Mistake?

Dak RIT writes: It seems that in its zeal to stop the distribution of copyrighted materials on YouTube, the movie industry has just inadvertently censored itself. Alliance Atlantis has apparently sent a takedown notice to YouTube for a video clip from the movie Rush Hour 3 that was uploaded to YouTube by New Line Cinema, and linked to from the Rush Hour 3 home page (at the bottom of the page, click on the Special Sneak Peek — The Nun Clip). Rush Hour 3 is distributed by New Line Cinema in the US, although it appears that Alliance Atlantis may be responsible for distribution in Canada and the UK.
The Internet

Submission + - Out With E-Voting, In With M-Voting (

InternetVoting writes: "The ever technology forward nation sometimes known as "E-stonia" after recently performing the world's first national Internet election are already leaving e-voting behind. Estonia is now considering voting from mobile phones using SIM cards as identification, dubbed "m-voting." From the article: "Mobile ID is more convenient in that one does not have to attach a special ID card reader to one's computer. A cell phone performs the functions of an ID card and card reader at one and the same time.""

Submission + - EFF vs. Telecoms has lobbyists working overtime (

An anonymous reader writes: The best lobbyists in Washington are working overtime to churn legislation through that would grant full retroactive and future immunity to prosecution for the telecoms against lawsuits for information sharing with the intelligence community. Newsweek reports that the EFF lawsuit's recent successes have the entire intelligence community in a near-panic state. Wait... the EFF is being useful for a change?

Submission + - The First Thing IT Managers Do in the Morning?

An anonymous reader writes: When I was a wee-little IT Manager, I interviewed for a IT management position at an online CRM provider in San Francisco, a job I certainly was qualified for, at least on paper. One of the interviewer's questions was "What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning." I thought saying "Read Slashdot" wouldn't be what he was looking for — so I made up something, I'm sure, equally lame. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. But the question has stuck with me over the years. What do real IT and MIS managers do when they walk in to the office in the morning? What web sites or tools do they look at or use the first thing? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

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