* Posts by Wayne Sheddan

4 posts • joined 10 Jun 2008

UK needs comp sci grads, so why isn't it hiring them?

Wayne Sheddan

I glimmer of hope...

Me: MSc Physics, Grad Dip Theology. IT infrastructure for 28 years.

I was wandering through a University bookstore recently and saw something that gave me hope that at least one course was doing the basics. There, stacked neatly about 20 high was Silbershatz's et al "Operating System Concepts", or as I like to state more prosaically "How Computers Work - Real Programming Revealed" :-)

Sadly, the small size of the pile showed that it was not part of the reading for CS 101.

I do find myself wondering how many CS grads know about data structures, mutexes, semaphores, queues, interrupts, priorities etc. Most would seem be a driver of the car that doesn't care how the car works. Little wonder they complain when the Mini cant haul that 40 tonne log. They haven't learnt the best way to get the log to the mill is to tell the mill where the log is - for example.

Teach the fundamentals and any implementation is obvious. Does modern teaching start building from the roof (Excel, Java etc) and you only look at the foundations at graduate level?

I have to remind myself that I grew up in an age when you went to university to learn - not to get a meal ticket. When employers want Java then meal ticket seeking folk are in the market to buy Java - and are not real interested in how the shizzzle shizzes.


Hold on a sec. When did HDDs get SSD-style workload rate limits?

Wayne Sheddan

Device reliability - overemphasized anyway?

Storage - fast, cheap, reliable, size: choose any 3.

At FAST '16 Eric Brewer (VP Infrastructure, Google) indirectly and correctly reiterated that reliability is a SYSTEM level capability - NOT a DEVICE level capability. As such, since most bulk storage is now using distributed replicas or erasure coding. Hence Eric opined that the go-forward requirement of an HDD device is for fast and cheap capacity and let the system deal with reliability.

Most things like filers or object stores border on being WORM anyway.... the working set is perpetually small and constantly shrinking as a portion of the total size. HDD is becoming largely for these vast swathes of stagnant nearline data that people should nstead be consigning to /dev/null but cant bring themselves to do so. Worrying about DWPD makes no sense in this space.

And lets face it - if HDD cant outstrip solid state in terms of capacity its just a matter of time. Dropping device reliability will be an issue of survival.


Steve Fossett may be alive, investigator claims

Wayne Sheddan

Air & Space's take....

From one of the best magazines on the planet:



NZ hydropower drought could see leccy rationing

Wayne Sheddan

But what we really want to know is...

How will this affect the BOFH?

I am not sure where everyone gets the idea that alternate renewables (wind, solar, wave) are able to be bought online overnight?

Its only in the last coupla years that wind has been anywhere near cost effective enough to even consider - and then the infrastructure to transport GWs of wind generated electricity hundreds of km through mountainous, fault riddled terrain (which is zealously protected by a beligerant and militant green lobby) doesnt just 'pop-up'.

As for wave, solar,... - these are realistically still only at the production prototype stages. Hardly ready for pinning the energy demands of a country on.

Also, the impression I have is that NZ - like many developed countries, has a power grid that is starting to creak under the load. Generation is one thing - delivering it is quite another.