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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

4768 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Readers' choice: What every small-business sysadmin needs

Trevor_Pott
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Re: A magnet on a stick ?

Sarcastic? Hell no. Magnet on a stick + light to see WTF you're doing? I'm sold!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: A magnet on a stick ?

That's amazing.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Trevor_Pott
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Things I wish I had

1) Healthy fast food. That doesn't taste like shit. How about a drive through that serves Shiratake noodles in a low-cal tomato+veggie+lean meat sauce. Maybe with a side fruit and spinach chaser. You can get a truly stomach-filling meal out of that for like 200 calories. Enough to leave you feeling full for 6-8 hours.

2) A button/pill/hypnotic MP3 file/etc that I could purchase over-the-counter that would put me to sleep like flipping a switch. No more lying awake at night with a racing mind.

3) An actual properly working monitoring system for all IT needs. Something that integrated with every piece of hardware and software, provided sane defaults for alerts and came with it's own 3G connection to alert you of problems (as well as possible causes and probably solutions). Near zero or zero setup of the system, and it should be adaptive so that every new bit of software/hardware installed is detected automatically and added to the alerts pool.

The reporting system should be able to produce a nice report to send to the boss that says "these things are failing on a regular basis, replace them; these things are at end of life, replace them," etc. I also want it to not cost a substantial fraction of the hardware it is supposed to monitor!

4) Windows with programmable tinting. Preferably a film I could apply to my existing ones. Screw blinds and shades, why can I just put an LCD film on my windows and tell it "be black" or "be transparent?"

5) A big button that you press whenever the phone call for you is a scam/telemarketer/intrusive "survey"/political party begging for donations/newspaper begging for subscribers/etc that automatically logs that call as a scam and send the info to an orbiting satellite. If enough people press the button that identifies the blackguard as the kind of twat that likes to ruin evenings then an ion cannon blast will erase them from existence.

6) Roadside .50cal automated sniper rifles that immediately and violently murder any asshole with an audiobomb car. No exceptions. No mercy.

7) Backup LTE data plans that are charged at a reasonable per use rate /GB ($0.5/GB absolute fucking TOPS). These would not be used as primary connections; they would be emergency backup connections for those "idiot with a backhoe" movements and/or for getting into server room after some putz pushed reset on the edge router.

8) A Lenovo X230 made out of aluminium. The Lenovo X230 is pretty much my ideal netbook, but the cheap plastic construction lets me down.

9) An autoloader for my dishwasher. (Put dishes into the sink, let the robot arms load the dishwasher, then when things are done, pile them up nicely on the counter.) Mostly because by the time we remember that dishes are a thing to do it's stupid o'clock at night and all we want to do is sleep.

10) A self-cleaning cat litter box that is actually of a decent (read: 2' x 3') size. My cats want a litter box bigger than they are, or they won't use it.

11) A storage robot. You have an iPad app with everything in your house inventory. You select the item, and the robot fetches it from storage. When you are done with an item, the robot places the item back in storage. The robot knows exactly what bin the item was placed in and logs it with the system. The robot ideally would be able to climb and descend stairs, but I'm willing to wait for version 5 or 6 to get there, so long as I can tromp down the stairs and have the robot hand the appropriate item to me, or I can give it something to put away. Bounce points if I can hand it a box of things and it will identify them, and put away everything in the box. Yes, I'm willing to tag everything.

12) A device that makes the people manning US customers and border protection less douchey.

13) A telepresence device certified for use with government institutions. Need to get something from the DMV but don't want to wait in lines? Send the robot. It will go through all the motions, then beep at you when it's your turn to interface with an actual human. It should be able to display all relevant documents for the people in question, switch to your live face for comparison, and allow you to sign documents via a pair of arms. Too many hours of our lives are spent in government lines for something or other. A crime, given that it's the future.

14) Every piece of content every created available a-la-carte for a reasonable price when I want, how I want, on any device I want and I only pay for the content once, no matter how many times I personally choose to view/listen/read it. (If I really like it, I should be able to keep a copy on my own file storage, maybe for a modest additional fee over streaming.)

15) Going to have to also go "self driving car." I have too many things to do to enjoy driving around. Time spend driving is time I could be doing something useful, preferably something profitable. Why the hell are we still driving ourselves around in this day and age?

16) "No frills" bulk naval transport for those who don't like to fly. I hate flying. Loathe it so much I cannot describe. I just want to be able to take a boat from Vancouver to San Francisco that has a 100x100 space for my part and our junk, hallways that are twice as wide as those on trains and with better toilets than found on passenger trains (my biggest complaint.)

I would alternately settle for revamped passenger trains or the option of "luxury" bus travel that costs about the same as a plane ticket, but has seats that are fat people friendly. (For inter-city travel here in Alberta we have "luxury" motorcoaches by a company called Red Arrow. Greyhound, by contrast, is absolutely not an option for me.)

The ideal would be a self-driving car that could take me all the way to SF and back. My own little personal bubble. No people. No driving. I could just sit and work, preferably at an upright table and not curled into a ball like a savage.

17) Something that kills mosquitoes. Preferably without a great deal of noise. A vicious hunter-killer drone, or a roost of daylight-friendly potty-trained bats are just fine.

18) Upstream bandwidth that is higher than 5Mbit that costs less than $100/month

19) Proper, working, appetite suppression pills. For the love of $deity, why do these not exist?

20) And finally, a device that creates a bubble of time that occurs only for you. This would allow you to get way more done in a day, by fitting weeks of work (and sleep!) into a single day, allowing you to actually meet the level of expectation of present-day employers and be competitive with those annoying cheerful people who seem able to work 26 hours a day without ever sleeping.

Mostly, really, I just want the ability to earn a comfortable living by only working 8 hours a day and know that my friends and family have the same ability. I want us all to be able to sleep, not have to worry about jobs, or food, housing and clothing. I want us all to be able to do what we love for a living, to enjoy time to ourselves and to get a healthy 8 hours of sleep every day.

I don't care what changes need to occur to society, or what devices need to be invented, but at the end of the day, the goal is a sense of personal and financial security combined with a desire to not be anxious about things ever again.

The rest is just entertainment…and I can entertain myself making paper airplanes, if need be.

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Google: 'EVERYTHING at Google runs in a container'

Trevor_Pott
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Re: More details

Oddly enough, for once the core of my issues with Microsoft isn't with licensing. It's usually cheaper than VMware to deploy SCVMM, the licensing is straightforward by Microsoft standards, (which means you still want to kill yourself, but less with fire and more with poison.)

No, my issues with SCVMM are around "usage of the software in a fully heterogenous environment." I.E. an environment wherein some or all of the systems (including the ISO library!!!!!!) are stored on systems that are not part of Active Directory. It's usage items like "there is no button to simply mount an ISO stored on your local computer in the VM console you have open so that you can just install a goddamned operating system without adding things to the bloody library."

SCVMM is administrator hostile. If your goal is to "just get it done" then you'll end up very frustrated. SCVMM is designed solely for heavily change-managed environments. Situations where no VM is created, patched, migrated, etc without someone filling out forms in triplicate and planning the entire thing out ahead of time.

With VMware you need two things to make all the critical stuff go: one or more hosts, and a vSphere server. That's it. And the vSphere server comes as a bloody virtual appliance! (VUM is going away in vSphere 6, so the bit where you need to install the update manager on a Windows VM is about to be gone.)

SCVMM requires one or more hosts, an AD cluster (because a single AD server is asking for trouble at the worst possible time,) an SCVMM server, a Library server, a separate server to run your autodeployment software, and a client station. SCVMM is heavily reliant on DNS working properly (VMware can live and breathe nothing but IP addresses and be perfectly happy), and a full SCVMM setup (including directory and all the associated bits) takes hours to set up properly (VMware + vSphere + VUM takes less than 30 mins.)

With VMware, I can go from "nothing at all" to "fully managed cluster with everything needed for a five nines private cloud setup" in well under an hour. With SCVMM it will take me over a week to get all the bugs knocked out, because even after you get the basics set up, there are an infinite number of stupid little nerd knobs and settings that need to be twiddled to make the goddamned thing actually usable.

With VMware, as long as the system/user context I am using to access the client software can get access to an ISO/OVF/OVA/what-have-you then I can use that to spin up VMs. With Microsoft, templates/ISOs/etc have to be part of the "managed infrastructure" under control of the servers.

With VMware, I can add monitoring but simply deploying a vCOps virtual appliance, logging into the vCOps appliances' admin website and telling it where the vSphere server it. With System Center, setting up monitoring is a laborious process that takes days.

With VMware, the VMs come with their own mail servers so that if I don't happen to have a mail server on site - or don't want to rely on the on-site server - the things can still send me mail. With System Center, it's all designed for integration into Exchange.

Microsoft is all about Microsoft. It's all about having the full Microsoft stack. Everything controlled, managed, integrated with and joined up to more and more and more Microsoft. You don't just "stand up a small cluster" and get the kind of easy-to-use, full capacity experience that you get with VMware. With Microsoft you need to keep buying more and more Microsoft software to accomplish the simplest goals and then tying it all back together with the other Microsoft software. One big inter-related, interdependent mess that if you breathe on it hard (or, heaven forbid, DNS goes down,) you're fucked.

VMware doesn't really care what the rest of your network is. Is your file storage an isolated NetApp filer or Synology NAS that isn't joined to any domain? Okey dokey. That's groovy. Is your block storage Bob's Rink Shack Super Special iSCSI Target? Cheers! We'll work with that just fine! NFS isn't integrated into an NIS or AD environment? That's cool too, we'll work with it out of the box.

VMware allows for total isolation of the hypervisor infrastructure from the rest of your infrastructure. If everything else breaks, your hypervisor and it's management tools don't. Which is important, because all the rest of that crap is running on top of the hypervisor!!!!!

VMware also allows for deploying into environments that have no intention of buying the other eleventy billion Microsoft servers to run everything. If you just need to stand up VMs, and you don't want those VMs to be integrated into the same command and control infrastructure as the hypervisor control plane (like say, every cloud deployment, ever,) then you don't need to fight the design.

If you are building an enterprise private cloud in which every last thing is part of the same managed infrastructure, all under corporate control, all change-managed and so forth, then Hyper-V is the best private cloud you could possibly run. Until you undergo a merger with another company...

If you are building a virtualisation setup where you want the infrastructure to be run by different people than the VMs that run on that infrastructure, or you want an infrastructure that can take care of itself even if the rest of the network's management systems have failed (for whatever reason) then stay the hell away from Microsoft.

SCVMM can be amazing, but only within the narrow range of circumstances it was designed for. VMware is amazing all the time. And that's why Microsoft makes me salty. I cut my teeth on the better product, so every time that I try to make SCVMM do something and it refuses, I get very, very salty.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: about to deploy a few containers

"You don't *have* to use SCVMM to manage Hyper-V"

Yes, you do, if you're running more than a handful of hosts in a testlab of an SMB so poor they count the fucking pencils to make you don't steal one.

"y guess about your SCVMM obsession is that you haven't bothered or for some reason is incapable of upgrading to SCVMM2012R2"

I've spent the past three weeks of my life fighting with it as part of a very in depth review of the offeri as part of a POC regarding the management of a 15,000 node datacenter's infrastructure. Additionally, I've been fighting the damned thing on 5 SMB sites and my own testlab trying to get stuff done for commercial content clients.

I've had to use every version since Server 2008 R2 and, oh ye, even the "marvelous" PowerShell, in all it's glorious I-hope-you-have-a-truly-amazing-memory shining fail.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Anonymously because i do work for Oracle."

...I'm...I'm so sorry...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: about to deploy a few containers

"Hyper-V Server is completely free for the fully featured version."

But the management tools are not.

"Hyper-V Server simplifies things over VMWare in my experience."

Bullshit, bullshit and thrice bullshit. SCVMM us a horrific monster sent from hell to make Sysadmins miserable. vSphere is a comparative delight to use. It's the little things, you see. Like the ability to use ISOs that aren't in a library that is on a file server that is part of the active directory and "controlled" by SCVMM. Or hey, the ability to mount an ISO through the fucking console so I can install a template image in SCVMM Might be a breakthrough that would catch it up to VMware from the before time when we vMotioned shit be scratching the RAM changes onto stone tablets and passed them around using token ring!

SCVMM is ass. It's an ass' dirty ass hair's ass. It's a shitpocalpyse of awfulness when compared to vSphere and when you start trying to get to cloudy scale and orchestrate things System Centers agglomeration of soul-destroying mind-snuf porn acutally manages to get worse!

"KVM does make things more complex though - and doesn't scale as well as VMWare or Hyper-V."

You just won the bullshit award. Ding ding ding! Openstack works like a hot damn at scale, and today is about as complex as trying to do anything with Hyper-V/SCVMM at scale. That is to say both are complete ass, covered in more asses and strewn with the dessicated souls of murdered children...but KVM/Openstack at least is actually free.

Both platforms basically require PhDs to run at scale, but with KVM/Openstack you only need your cloud of PhDs. You don't also need a legal team with a population larger than Monaco and a SWAT team of kick-ass licensing specialists combined with the GDP of Brunei to stand up a single datacenter.

VMware requires the GDP of Germany to get to a decent-sized datacenter, but at least you don't need all the wetware to understand how to license it or how to make the thing run.

Horses for courses, but I question strongly any horse that chooses to endorse the use of force used by Microsoft in setting it's course.

Also: fuck SCVMM extra hard. Because goddamn it is pissing me off today.

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HP: You know what's hot right now? Cloud* storage

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Well, I for one believe HP completely.

You owe me a new sarcasm meter.

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Trevor_Pott
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Still a far cry from Facebook's desire for ultra-cheap WORM flash. Gotta say, the idea of WORM flash cold storage isn't awful...

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European Grid Infrastructure project condenses shared cloud

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Say OpenStack

OpenStack. :)

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Microsoft: Pssst, small resellers, want to sling our cloud?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: It's what you might call a limited offer....

I've read the MS definition, but I think it's far to 2006. This is the era of the internet of things. I have 100,000 pipeline sensors all with local cache that core dump their readings whenever they can get a clear signal. As I read it, they wouldn't be a "server" by the MS standards, yet from a practical standpoint I have to treat (and defend) them as such.

For that matter, I have dozens of client OS instances serving as "servers" because there's nothing in the license that says I need CALs to use Windows 7 as a "server" if the server software in question is third party. (Filezilla, etc.) These would be considered "servers" by Microsoft, though they aren't licensed as such.

There are no good industry definitions that match the reality of IT today. Maybe there can never be, given how fast IT evolves. Maybe that's even a good thing, as it prevents us from engaging in the irrelevant penis-comparison with any seriousness unless we're actually outright mad.

Worse, global statistics are functionally impossible to find that could be anywhere close to valid. The netcraft statistics are known to be bullshit. I suspect all the others are too. Stepping away from "what is a server" let's just ask the question "how do you track deployments and installs?" Let me expand that by asking "how do you track deployment and installs in a world where not only are an exploding number of IoT sensors "servers" but many/most servers are ephemeral, spun up and down on a whim according to the dictates of a monitoring app or sensor somewhere?"

Hence my rubbishing and hatred of any attempt to talk about "most servers" or other global deployment generalizations. It's like trying to say "most grains of sand in the world are composed of X". Sand is bloody diverse, with deposits near oceans having far more calcium carbonate, deposits inland frequently being silicon dioxide rich and deposits all over the place containing various bits of ground of lava. (My fish really like the ground lava sand.)

Also, for the record, you do very much come across as a huge redmondian fanboy. I'm down with that - Microsoft is still a huge part of my income - but I get quite a bit testy when I see Yet Another Tired Thread where a staunch defender of the Empire trots out the tired netcraft fallacy and waves it around like it means something.

Personally, I don't care who wins. With the sole exception of Ninite (may a thousand excellent vaginas find their way to the developers' groins) I hate and distrust everyone pretty much equally. I have some personal preferences regarding the systems I personally administer, but "fitness for purpose" and "affordable" trump "curses per timeframe" unless the costs and fitness are very, very close.

It does however bear some thought that you have embedded yourself in my memory as the Microsoft equivalent of "that guy who always says you should just try Linux." You're nowhere near Vogon-the-Anonymous-Coward" levels of "I want to stab them in the face with a rotting penguin", but enough that over time you've moved quite far out of the range of "impartial nerds" on my list of Reg commenttards.

Anyways, I'm grumpy and have a conference call. Webex hold music the ENTER YOUR MEETING ID AND PRESS POUND ::madness::

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: It's what you might call a limited offer....

Actually, I deal with "the mainstream market", being "the 80% of businesses" represented by SMB and SME. That, however, is neither here nor there. I made no claims in this thread whatsoever as to who has the most servers.

What I do notice, however, is that a historically rabidly pro-Microsoft commenter has cherry picked one set of statistics to claim dominance of Microsoft across "servers", then backs it up by saying "even if the stats aren't right, my personal experience verifies them."

What that tells me is that you are allowing your personal experience and personal preference to prejudice you. To the extent that you will cherry pick for stats you like and then hold them up as gospel. That makes absolutely anything you say unreliable, whether it coincides with my personal experience or not.

Personally, I have no idea what the ratio of Linux to Windows is, unless I have an exact definition for server. And you can change the definition of "server" in a lot of ways to get a lot of different results. I notice that you picked one that favoured your personal preference that Microsoft be viewed as dominant.

Me, I'd look at embedded devices serving a "server" function as well. Each node in a storage cluster would be counted. I'd count hypervisor hosts as well as guests. I'd even count routers. Anything that is a computing device but isn't actively used by an end user for input and response.

In my personal experience, that would put Linux/Unix/BSD as the foundation for around 120x as many systems as Windows. That drops significantly to about 35x if you count client OS VDI instances as "servers" (and frankly, I do.)

Now, how does my "personal experience" rank against the world population of servers by my definition? I am as yet unsure, in large part because a lot of embedded stuff simply isn't listed. Another part being that a lot of embedded stuff is VXWorks or QNX, which I wouldn't count as Linux/Unix/BSD, but make up a huge percentage of deployed systems.

Moreover, I come from an Oil and Gas province with a startling number of high-end post-secondary institutions and which is a leader in nanotech; there are lots of reasons why Linux/Unix/BSD is more popular here than it might be elsewhere.

So I simply don't have enough info to make grandiose claims about how many "servers" are Windows and how many are Linux, ever if we could ever agree on a definition. The stats I have seen, however - and I mean both locally and globally - do seem to indicate to me that by my definition there is a fuck of a lot more Linux/Unix/BSD out there than there is Windows.

As a general rule, my experience says "systems where humans have to interact with the thing on a regular basis" are Windows and "systems that need to run for years at a time without intervention" are Linux. Windows is easier, thus it gets used for line-of-business servers that see frequent upgrades, changes, etc. Linux is harder (but way less fragile) thus gets used for things that absolutely need to work, or where the cost of rolling someone out to fix it/replace it is far higher than just doing it right in the first place.

But again, that's my experience. And the experience of the overwhelming majority of systems administrators, CIOs and developers I've talked to. I don't believe that is the final word because, to my knowledge, nobody is actually counting every system deployed. How could they?

What I do know is this: people I deeply respects choose both Windows and Linux/Unix/BSD for different use cases and they deploy both of these OSes where they feel the OS is best suited. In most places, my assessment of the when/when/how/why aligns with theirs.

"Total server deployment" statistics can tell me a lot about where global money is going, but they don't tell me which OS is "better" or inform me that I should use a given OS for a given use case. In fact, "total server deployment" statistics are really only useful for penis comparison and validation of one's own preconceptions.

What does matter to me are statistics regarding specific use cases. Here I fully expect that my local experiences will vary from the rest of the world: Alberta is not a province of inventors and innovators. We're a province that applies the knowledge and ideas of others to hauling minerals out of the ground or growing cows. We extend the work of others; we very rarely do anything radical.

Thus if there is a big misalignment of personal experience with statistics it could indicate that others have found a good reason to change which OS they use for a given use case, and it behooves me to check it out. To be ahead of the curve locally, not behind it.

So I return to the beginning of this post and say:

What I do notice, however, is that a historically rabidly pro-Microsoft commenter has cherry picked one set of statistics to claim dominance of Microsoft across "servers", then backs it up by saying "even if the stats aren't right, my personal experience verifies them."

You completed my commenttard Bingo for the day. I dobbed all the tropes on my card. More importantly, you have confirmed an opinion I've had for some time, which is that your personal prejudice is something you gleefully allow to influence your decisions, even when it comes to something as simple as selection of relevant and useful data sources upon which to base decisions!

My primary experience is certainly niche - though that is growing in diversity rather rapidly - but I don't generally say "my experience should be the basis of all decision making for all use cases." If I have a grouse with a company then I state what the grouse is and why I have it; if the grouse is "just my experience" I usually say "run your own tests to make sure."

If the grouse is something more endemic, like "how a company treats is customers/partners/etc" then I will give direct examples of what I believe bad behavior to be. Some times I'll relate an experience; this is usually followed by an invitation for others to share like experiences, that we me broaden and deepen the data available beyond just my own woes.

With the exception of an expectation that companies treat customers fairly and as reasonably, it has been a heck of a long time since I've said "one X to rule them all." IT is huge. It's bigger than the number of people on this planet! IT has become so diverse that it represents not only every facet of how every person and company chooses to do something, it now adapts to the needs of machine learning and evolution!

Anyone, anywhere who thinks that a statistics like "OS deployed on the majority of servers" means a goddamend thing is a fucking idiot. Anyone who claims they even have a means of tracking that today is a close second. You cannot even say "this is the best OS for storage/networking/cloud/virtualization/embedded/etc" because the major categories are so breathtakingly huge that diversity of requirements and use cases renders any attempts at broad generalization moot.

Your experience means fuck all, and so to you. My experience means fuck all, and so do I. The universe is so vast, and we are so small. The best we can do is deal with the individual use cases in front of us one at a time, and make the best decisions possible with the data we have to hand.

...and to guard against our own prejudices and preconceptions, lest they blind us to better options when attempting to navigate the most rapidly changing field of human endeavor ever undertaken.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: It's what you might call a limited offer....

"Even ignoring the stats, my own experience"

Bingo.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: It's what you might call a limited offer....

Also: what's a "server"? Do virtual hosts count? Do you count a VMware host as a Server, or it's VMs, or both? If it's Microsoft, are you counting the host instance as a "server" when you're not counting an instance of ESXi?

What about storage? Do you count an EMC array or a Netapp filer as a "server"? What about a Windows-based filer? What about each node in a Hadoop cluster? Or do you try to count the the whole cluster as a single "server" while counting each Windows filer as a "server"? (Windows filers can't scale anywhere near as large.)

Before you go spouting off who has more "servers", I'd really like us to get a good definition of what "server" is these days.

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Trevor_Pott
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Being a Microsoft Partner.

As a Microsoft Partner who has seen diminishing returns of late, I would normally write an enormous rant here about this. Instead, I will link you to http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/240165273/microsoft-partners-in-uproar-over-cloud-sales-commission-cuts.htm. This sums up the situation quite nicely for partners; the good, the bad and the margins.

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PC makers! You, between Microsoft and the tablet market! Get DOWN!

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Not so fast

Why don't you stop and read for a moment? If the fellow - like most people - doesn't give any fucks about the stylus then it simply won't factor into his decision-making one way or another. All things being equal, a stylus-equipped unit would be more expensive, but you'd have to be a deficient to believe that this actually held true in the real world for all cases.

The fellow was talking quite explicitly about getting a previous generation device at a substantial discount. Generally getting a device a discount requires that devices be made available at discount pricing, not be sold out, and other such things. Thus the requirement here is "cheap" and "available." It has fuck all to do with the stylus, or the theoretical relative pricing of stylus versus non-stylus.

I do, however, not that you seem to bring up the stylus in every single bloody thread where a Surface is mentioned. This leads me to believe that you're the one with the stylus fetish (I suspect viewing your browser history would elicit a mind-bleach requirement) and the rest of the world will just go with "cheap" and "available", eschewing any considerations whatsoever about the enstylused nature of their fondlefappery.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Not so fast

Stop and think for one moment: maybe other people don't give a flying donkey fuck about the stylus.

In fact, given the fact that the first tablets to really take off (iPad) weren't the stylus type, and a decade of Microsoft Stylus tablets failed to make a splash before that, I'm going to with "most people don't give a flying donkey fuck about the stylus".

--Handwritten on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, using my stylus.

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Cloudy plague will KILL storage vendors, say Gartner mages

Trevor_Pott
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Re: The solid core of the big storage business

"When considering technology, the determination of fitness will be partly based on information like "how many install-years does this platform have"."

Yes and no. "How many install years does this platform have while serving use cases like or almost like mine" might be more accurate. 10,000 install-years serving bulk block storage for virutalisation means nothing if I am going to use the same device to store 100M small jpegs! (As one example I run across all the time...)

"Quantification and empirical testing are absolutely the tools used to determine which platform wins the RFP, but not inviting unproven platforms to participate doesn't count as prejudice, in my book. "

Your book is wrong. Establishing a policy regarding "how many install-years a given vendor/product needs before we consider it" should never be up to one individual. It should be based on a statistical analysis of empirical data. There's also no reason whatsoever to believe that new products from an established vendor will do any better than products from a startup, so they should not get a pass, but be subject to the same constraints as any other vendor.

I entirely understand the mentality "let someone else walk through the minefield," but I am also entirely aware that if everyone does this, then technology never advances. If you start adding exceptions such as "well, new products are okay as long as they're from an established vendor" you're only getting right back to gut feelings and comfort zones and kyboshing the entire idea of empirical study.

The pedigree of the startup matters. Who is making the tech? Do they have a history of knowing what they are talking about? Do they have any reference customers that have similar implementations to yours? Have they run it in enough places to know what the limitations are, and are they willing to be honest about those limitations?

My list of questions and qualifications is longer than my arm...but I will apply that as much to a Microsoft or a Cisco as I will to any startup. The age of the company doesn't matter; the people running it do. I'm just as likely to get screwed by a behemoth of an IT vendor as I am by some young pup; the difference is that the young pup needs me to survive, the behemoth doesn't.

So hey, if you can dig up enough empirical evidence to do a proper statistical analysis and say "storage vendors serving this market tend to have higher failure rates in their products until they have this many install-hours" then that is a great basis for a rational decision regarding whom to include and whom to exclude. Not only have numbers to back your cutoffs, but tracable logic as to why you chose that cutoff and not some other.

"My feels say they should have been around for this long before I care" is not rational, no matter how you dress it up. It's gut feeling masquerading as reasoning. It's also very human, and very common.

It also means that when you try to shift tech you cannot assume rational actors. IT nerds love to believe they're rational; a large part of their self image is wrapped up in this concept of mental superiority over the hoi polloi...but ultimately, their decisions are emotionally based...just like those of other people.

Reference customers are important, but once past the point where enough folks have banged on your use case to beat the bugs out, you're just as likely to have the big boys' toys blow up as the small 'uns. Finding the stats on exactly where, that depends on your individual use case.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: The solid core of the big storage business

Additionally, the fact that you would say "Just don't try to do it at the precise same time as calling them members of a "panicky herd" and chiding them for "covering their butt"" indicates that you are on some level perfectly aware that most people are not rational actors. Their emotions play a role, from feelings of being talked down to right through to prejudices.

It is by recognizing the reality of this - in ourselves and in others - that we can best ensure our desires are met. Even that pinnacle of rationality, the enterprise storage admin must have their irrational and emotive self addressed equally if not more critically than their rational self.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: The solid core of the big storage business

And I'm telling you what I've seen working alongside enterprise storage admins, listening to them talk about their jobs, especially working with and talking to virtualisation admins in large enterprises and extensive discussions with a number of large enterprise CIOs.

Maybe you, personally make rational decisions. Maybe you are even lucky enough to work in a group where other storage admins make rational decisions. It isn't the norm.

Rational choice theory has been largely disproven. Bounded rationality is a better model, but still incomplete. The actions of individuals in a large corporate or government environment are no more rational than an electorate, or any other element of largeish social dynamics.

Additionally, I'm not "chiding" anyone for "covering their butt." I'm observing. I don't actually care who buys what...only why they do. It is the why that captures my interest.

I do, however, flatly disagree with your statement "the rational decision for whale shops is not a startup or the cloud, and if you disagree, you're welcome to try to convince someone to hire you to make decisions for them." That's a sweeping judgment and as such is patently idiotic.

It is rational for large enterprises - or anyone else - to consider all technologies and technology providers on a case-by-case basis to determine fitness for purpose and value for dollar. What "category" they happen to fit in is utterly irrelevant. Some cloud services and startups (I personally argue most) cloud services are utterly worthless. Many are not. The rational choice is take the time to figure out which is which and see who/what can provide you an advantage.

And with that you prove my point: prejudice and gut reaction ruling responses over quantification and empirical testing. Bounded rationality in play, and the rational actor theory lies dead.

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Re: The solid core of the big storage business

"Enterprise customers don't go with the start-ups mainly because they don't know if and for how long that start-up will be around."

That depends on the startup. The Tintris and Nutanixes of this world aren't going anywhere, but they still struggle mightily. They will either IPO or be acquired, but they're here to stay.

"SMBs will take the same attitude more often than not. Unless the start-up can seriously undercut the big boys on price, performance or features, they will go with the big guy with the guaranteed support."

Wrong. They'll generally pick a relatively established mid-tier player that can undercut the giants on price, aren't likely to turn into a pumpkin and provide "good enough" to "outright excellent" support.

"Being on-line and keeping the business running is the value per dollar. Everything else is insignificant in comparison."

Wrong again; if the cost to be "online and business running" is several times your gross annual revenue then you're pretty much fucked, unless you're willing to consider vendors other than the established top-end large enterprise happy fun club. Shockingly, for every Cisco, there's an Arista. For every EMC, a Tintri, for every HP tape backup division, an Exablox.

Being online and running also means nothing if you don't have enough profit to grow and adapt. In the SMB/SME space, your competitors will be doing it constantly; you need to be able to cut costs enough to have the money for those endeavors without compromising viability. Enterprises have a heck of a lot more leeway here.

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Re: The solid core of the big storage business

"Enterprise IT cares deeply about value per dollar, but have a very different cost for downtime and data loss than SMBs".

Bullshit. Nobody can afford data loss these days. This isn't the 90s. As for downtime; Enterprises can afford to Adobe the world for a day and they're fine. It's a little embarrassing, but banks to don't under because the debit machines stopped working again for the umpteenth time due to bank IT screwup. Target still sells shit, even after screwing up and selling you. Enterprises can afford downtime, data loss and screwups because they are too big for the consequences to truly affect them.

If SMBs or SMEs have downtime they are done. They'll lose clients instantly because the world they live is is ultracompetitive and their customers are fickle. Perhaps more to the point, the large enterprises they compete against will instantly jump all over any outage or data loss and turn a marketing machine worth more than the gross annual revenue of the little guy towards smearing their name and driving them out of business.

Large enterprises can survive government interventions that border on inquisitions. SMBs can be murdered by nothing more than FUD.

"I am subjecting myself to a risk"

And there is my point crystallized: cover-your-ass-a-service. It's what really matters to the large enterprise (and large enterprise admins), not value for dollar.

"They just don't like it when people consider personnel turnover, serviceability, and risk as part of that cost of ownership."

What are smoking, and can you please share? This is exactly what (good, successful) startups want you to consider. The (good, successful) startup scene is about making products that are easy to use and reliable.

They aren't always (I would argue rarely are) cheap...but they generally do quite directly address things like "what happens if people get hit by a bus". Not by making a certification program to ensure that you have a $20k certification path to know how to properly swap a hard drive when RAID fails, but by making sure that you don't need that level of training to make the damned thing go in the first place.

There are plenty of bad startups out there that are little more than con jobs. I have a list as long as my arm...but there are plenty of startups that are capitalizing on the fact that some aspect of IT has become so viciously overcomplicated that it needs a good pruning. That small sector has developed into a "specialization" which now exists only to perpetuate the need for that particular specialization to continue to exist. They then set about automating/software-defining/completely-reinventing-the-basics away the need for that level of complexity in the first place.

Perhaps one of the better examples of this is Tintri. Tintri "just goes fast", and for cheap. There are zero nerd knobs to tweak. There is no "optimizing" to be done. It is faster and cheaper than the alternatives, period.

When and where Tintri gets a win and convinces a customer to buy a box, the second, third and so forth follow in short order. They are doing quite well - and even slowly eeking into the large enterprise - because they made a product that is just flat out better than big-brand arrays it is competing against. And it's better because there are no nerd-knobs to tweak, not in spite of it.

Despite this, Tintri earns hyperbolic vitriol from a great many enterprise admins who've never touched it. It's new and "untested" (bullshit!) they say. They can't get into the guts and tweak it (that's the fucking point!). FUD, FUD, FUD. Cut through it - usually 10 beers later - and they just don't want it around because they either A) haven't used it before so they don't understand it or B) their job wouldn't need to exist if they bought it.

"If any large enterprise could become more competitive and reduce costs by going with storage startups or the cloud, they would have done it and reaped any benefits, which would prompt their competition to do the same or be left holding a higher operating cost ratio."

Bullshit, bullshit, and double bullshit. That's the same sort of "people are rational actors" tripe as American conservatives spew. People aren't rational actors, and corporations/governments sure as hell aren't.

Corporations and governments are made up of individuals. Those individuals - by and large - have little-to-no loyalty to the company or government they serve. Individually and collectively they care about one thing: preserving the money that is their salary.

You don't get a bonus for picking the most efficient product that can do the job within the safety margins. You get a bonus for picking the "known good choice" and never taking any risk, no matter how small. As stated above: companies at the size of a large enterprise are big enough to cope with being massively inefficient, even to the point of experiencing huge outages, data loss and so forth.

Large enterprises don't need to be as efficient as the next guy. They just need to be able to scapegoat someone if something goes wrong. That means that the sole focus of people that work there is never being ion a position to be scapegoated, even if that means it costs the business more. It isn't their money, they just don't care.

"The reality is that we all have little projects we use to test out new stuff,"

Completely untrue. First off, a huge chunk of large enterprises absolutely do not have internal skunkworks for IT. They let their competition do that and they then follow the herd by adhering to "best practices" and the whitepaper farm. Nobody at that level is going to be out of business because their IT plant is a little less efficient than the next guy, and they can skimp on the R&D that way.

"and if anything were so significantly better than the established low-risk vendors we tend to use, they would quickly become "enterprise vendors"."

Nope, sorry. I've seen lots of situations in which the startups pass muster on the technical side, meet all the business requirements and otherwise are well suited to operating in a large enterprise (indeed, already are in some other large enterprises), but are shot down as a vendor for purely political reasons. Massive FUD from an admin or team worried about their own relevance is one frequent item, but by far and away the most common is some pointy-haired boss who just doesn't want to lose junkets or clout with his existing junket provider.

Besides, you act as though SMBs and SMEs just roll up to a startup, swallow whatever tripe they spew and toss complete unknowns into production. That's bullshit of the nth order. 80% of the companies I work devote around 1/3rd of their IT budget to R&D and PoCs. Dev and Test are frequently a substantial size of production, right down to companies with as little as $3M in gross annual revenue.

Now, I'll admit, when you get below $1M GAR, everything changes and IT starts to become largely disharmonious consumer-based pap, but - quite frankly - so is everything at that level. There's a reason a huge % of companies never make it to $1M.

Above that, however, and right up to the point where politics dominates over sheer corporate survival, R&D/prototyping/PoCs are absolutely critical. IN the SMB/SME space you only get one chance, and you're usually toast if you botch it.

Remember also that in the SMB/SME space, IT isn't an empire. We don't get to dictate terms to the business. The business demands we provide a given service - and level of service - and you get what you get for budget; there isn't any more to be had.

In the SMB/SME space, we only keep our jobs if we're more efficient than the next guy, without incurring any additional risk.

In the large enterprise space you only keep your jobs if, when something goes wrong, you can both point to a "best practices" document and claim "everyone, everywhere does it this way" and you can redirect the blame cannon onto another scapegoat.

More than anything, this is what holds back the evolution of enterprise vendors. The "new guy" company is the easy target when something goes wrong, even if it isn't actually responsible. Noone wants to be the one responsible for introducing new technology or vendors to the mix because they don't want to be the scapegoat.

There's nothing there about "fitness for purpose" or "value for dollar". It's just fear and politics. Even if the thing is entirely fit for purpose and provides superior value for dollar uptake will be painfully slow in large enterprise.

There are always exceptions to everything above, but even those - such as Netapp - are very slow growing. Even when offering better for value for dollar and when equally fit for purpose, Netapp will still struggle inside a large enterprise for specific deployments due to individual ass covering and fear...and here's a company that has "made it" and has a "presence"!

People are not rational actors, and collections of people are even less so. Large collections of people are panicky herds, and I find your belief that individuals within the belly of a "whale" will do what's best for the whale (instead of for themselves) quaint and alarming at the same time.

It certainly doesn't align with any of my experience, or my research. Maybe you, personally, are a good admin; loyal and true and working for the good of your employer. If so, that makes you rare...and I hope they buy you a bloody island, because if that's the kind of admin you are, they'd better not lose you.

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Re: The solid core of the big storage business

"Enterprise IT" giants make the bulk of their money from...enterprises. Shocker. You're absolutely correct that a large enterprise brings in more revenue per client than an SMB or SME...but there are a sweet holy hooligan more SMBs and SMEs than large enterprises.

Why isn't EMC making their living off of SMB and SME clients? Because there's better value for dollar with the startups, or even with Dell, HP and so forth.

Enterprises don't give a rat's ass about value for dollar. Enterprises are all about massively conservative approaches to everything. Resistance to change borders on an elemental force. Everything at every level with every single person has absolutely nothing to do with advancing the interests of the company itself and everything to do with "covering one's own ass."

Enterprise administrators are the epitome of fear. If they don't know it inside out and backwards then it is evil. No ifs ands or buts. If there isn't training, a certification and so forth then there's no way to ensure that asses are covered. Manuals must exist that qualify as tomes. Certifications must exist so you can say "if I get hit by a bus, you don't have to actually exert brainpower thinking about who to hire, you just hire this shiny certificate." Everything is codified, procedure and the buck stops nowhere because nobody can ever possibly be to blame for anything.

SMBs and SMEs just don't live in that world. They need to be faster and more nimble than large enterprises if they want to survive. They need to be able to do as good (or better) a job while charging less, and that means that "value for dollar" is the driving force behind IT.

Enterprises will uptake technologies that are today considered "startup" territory, but only once 5-10 years have passed since initial introduction. The startups have to either be eaten by an existing enterprise IT vendor, or they have to have ballooned out to some huge size where the majority of the company is no longer engineers, they're content creators and sales people. Documenting every possible configuration and inviting CIOs out to lunch to convince them to spend 100x the money on their solution as they would on a similar solution by a rival startup.

Obviously, large enterprises are doing something right, or they wouldn't be so large. By the same token, it increasingly seems like large enterprises exist to serve the needs of other large enterprises, with large quantities of money flowing 'round in circles at the top and ultimately never really leaving that world.

Large enterprise in increasingly incestuous and simply choosing not to cater to the other 80% of humanity. The top 20% caters to the top 20%...but is also populated by execs and shareholders intent on pulling as much money out of hte system as humanly possible. How long that is sustainable is an open question.

In the meantime and betweentime, all those more agile SMB and SMEs are getting more and more comfortable living in a world where they don't really need to interface with large enterprises at all. They're moving too fast, they're changing too fast, and they don't really want to wait for suppliers or customers to catch up.

The next few years will be interesting. Which will win out? The breakneck pace towards efficiency, automation and innovation seen at the bottom, or the overwhelming inertia of the top?

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Vendors

Into object storage on commodity hardware. See: Caringo.

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Net neutrality foes outspent backers by over three to one – and that's just so far

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Lobbying by commercial entities should be made illegal considered treason.

T,FTFY.

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Uncivil engineering: US society skewers self-published science

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Re: ASCE's journals

Funny, ARXIV hasn't destroyed the discipline of Physics yet...

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Venus Express to get final acid bath before crashing to surface

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Great terminology!

Uh, "lithobraking" has been around since the earliest Soyuz landings. At least. That's a fairly old term.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: The nutcase brigade would never allow a NASA mission to Venus

If we aren't causing the rise in Earth's CO2 levels, what is? Also, where does all the CO2 from our combusted fossil fuels go? Faerie farts? The extant biosphere cannot absorb anything close to what we're pumping out. There are no plants that can grow fast enough to use up that CO2.

Worse; plants have this nasty habit of being on the surface. They don't tend to "sequester" the CO2 again, with the exception of some of the CO2 leaving the system via oceanic sequestration (algea and higher life forms dying, falling to the bottom of the ocean and being buried/subducted.)

So there are some problems with the hypothesis "humans are so insignificant as to not be able to affect the global climate."

1) We are releasing several hundred million years' worth of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere.

2) The extant plants can't absorb it at anything like the rate we emit it.

3) We keep doing this "deforestation" thing on massive enough levels to make me very sad when I look at Google Earth images of British Columbia or Brazil.

4) The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more the heat gets trapped here.

5) The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more acidic the oceans become.

6) The more acidic the oceans become, the less CO2 gets sequestered via ocean organisms doing their growth/consumption/burial thing.

7) Humans like to breathe air that isn't filled with particulates, so (most) of our societies have been moving towards pollution controls which reduce the amount of particulates we crank up into the atmosphere, thus reducing the amount of radiation reflecting material in the atmosphere, giving us all the climatic CO2 effect of a lovely series of volcanic eruptions with an ever decreasing amount of soot to block out the sun.

Anyone who does the sums and thinks we aren't affecting the climate is a goddamned idiot. We are; and fairly rapidly (on geologic timescales) at that. The flip side of this is that if we hadn't gone and done this, we'd be facing the start of another ice age in about, oh, 6000 years or so. So we've unintentionally geoengineered our planet to be more suitable for us than it was heading towards...but we may well have gone too far in the other direction on this.

So there are questions that we need to get answers to:

1) Is there a "new balance" oceanic ecosystem that can cope with the increased acidification on a short enough timescale to cope with the mass extinction we've initiated?

2) Will this "new balance" ecosystem be able to ramp up it's CO2 sequestration enough to start reversing the CO2 levels? By how much, on what timescale and will we be right back to facing the Ice Age problem again if it adapts quickly?

3) How much of the commercially important biodiversity are we going to lose when the extant oceanic ecosystem is no longer sustainable? How will we adapt to this?

4) Tundra/Taiga thawing is releasing massive amounts of Methane, accelerating climate change and in turn accelerating thawing. Should we/can we ignite the Methane in order to turn this very powerful greenhouse gas into less potent CO2?

5) What kind of technology needs be invented to convert Tundra/Taiga into farmland? (Muskeg is impassable to our current technology.) How much do we need to convert to meet the requirements of our species in light of the changing climate?

6) How will rainfall patterns change, and how will these changes affect our ability to grow necessary crops?

7) Can we alter the rainfall patterns we expect to be seeing through forestation/reforestation (forests alter rainfall patterns by altering both local albedo and the local hydrological cycle.) Should we? And Where?

8) Can we green the desert/prevent the expansion of deserts due to change in rainfall patterns via fission-backed desalination and irrigation? Should we? And where?

9) What areas are at risk from flooding due to sea rise or increased storm activity? What should we abandon, what should we reinforce?

10) Much of our current agricultural technology relies on petroleum-based fertilizers. As the climate changes our energy demands will increase while at the same time we are reaching the limit (if we haven't already) of BBL/day relevant hydrocarbon extraction. (You can't make fertilizer from natural gas.) What technologies need to be invented or adapted to cope with a future in which these fertilizers are less plentiful? Can we green the desert/farm the tundra without them? Should we be caching reserves of these critical substances in order to deal with the upcoming "fringe farming" requirements while transitioning our more easily arable land towards farming techniques that don't require petroleum-based fertilizer?

11) We are already using water from our aquifers far faster than the aquifer recharge rate. How will changing rainfall patterns affect aquifer recharge? How will we have to adjust our water usage and agricultural practices? Can we use fission-backed desalination to refill the aquifers faster than nature itself would allow, and should we?

12) If we do change any of our current practices (for example, our very water-intensive farming techniques) how will that alter the climate? Will local variances in water evaporation or albedo (due to forestation/reforestation/greening of the desert/farming the tundra) have larger effects that we should consider? What effects are those, and how do get all the relevant political bodies together to make plans that deal with the "ripple effect" of large-scale changes undertaken by one organization?

We aren't going to stop climate change. We aren't ever going to get people use less power or otherwise sacrifice for a "greater good" that is generations in the realization. We need to accept that, and start looking at technologies and techniques that will enable adaptation to the changing world.

We live in a world where one man can choose to cut down an entire forest, altering the weather across the entire region and ultimately subtly changing the global climate. One person's signature can set into motion a chain of events large enough that we really should be figuring out what the repercussions are, and how best to adapt to those repercussions.

We still have a group of people so obsessed with their own false sense of insignificance that they actually prevent us from moving beyond "can we affect the planet on a global scale". We can, and we do. What we need to be doing is qualifying how so that we can quantify the externalities current business, governance and commercial practices are not paying for and ensure those costs are properly costed as part of the cost of goods and services. We then can ensure that mitigation and adaptation efforts are funded and properly coordinated.

That isn't religion, or radical belief, or hocus pocus. It's pragmatism. Life is change; those who adapt, survive.

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Who's going to look after the computers that look after our parents?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Why not work?

"The thing about having local employment is that it pushes up property prices. If there are jobs, people will move to the area to take them. If there are no jobs, house prices drop - or become affordable, if you prefer that description."

I have an ADSL connection and can reroute through the LTE in my phone whenever I want. Hence there are innumerable "jobs" available from wherever I choose to be. Telecommuting, it's a thing. And unless there are 8 figures involved, I'm never working an office job again.

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Re: Social, not technical changes

"Herding the elderly or the disabled or families or singles into ghettoes in order to provide some ideal environment for their needs would be counter-productive, wasteful and ignore the great diversity across all ages."

I think you've got it backwards. If we just isolated "families with children" into their own communities and left the rest of us the hell alone, life would be grand. How much infrastructure is just there to support screeching sprog?

I'd pay good money to live in an adult-only and adult-oriented community. Sprog are expensive, noisy, require massive upkeep and maintenance and all manner of unholy rights-limitation occurs in the name of protecting them.

Give me a community where "think of the children" is met with a blank stare and "why?" I don't want to think of the children. I care nothing for sprog and have no intention of having any. Sprog should be raised in their little sprogified bubble cities until such a time as the NIMBYs decide they are old enough to take care of themselves. Then they can spend a few years in a halfway home known as "post-secondary" before being released into the real world of cities designed exclusively for adults. If they choose to return to hell (I.E. Sprogtown) in order to crank out a wailing fleshbag of their very own, that's their choice. The rest of us can live in peace and never, ever, "think of the children" again.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Social, not technical changes

"So what do the elderly need? Yup! their own cities. But cities, or more likely communities of a few hundred or thousand homes, that are designed just for them. Ones that don't have cracked and uneven paving slabs. Ones that don't need the infrastructure of jobs and schools to be built as well. Ones where the supermarkets don't have aisles and aisles full of babies' nappies and cosmetics - but instead have products and layouts tailored to the wants and needs of the over-70's. And of a scale where it won't take all day to get from one end to the other. And cities that don't have steps, stairs, slopes or a maze of twisty little passages, all the same. Possibly even having the streets colour-coded and homes and shops with entrance doors that don't need Harlequins' scrum to push open, oversized signage and house numbers and are visible from the road for those with less than 20-20 vision (or even proximity detectors that announce the address as you approach."

I'm 31, and I'd pay really good money to live in such a city. Especially if it came with a "no children because our infrastructure doesn't support them" rule. Add some mountains in the background and a bunch of trees/forest for visual happy and dear me, you've described my personal idea of a Utopia*.

*Yes, for me, San Francisco actually is hell.

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Curiosity GOUGES AND SCORCHES Mars with drill and laser

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Re: Sceptics and/or Cynics United and Unlimited, this way please ------->>>>>

"supposedly on Mars"

Drive 'round and check, you oik!

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Boffins suggest storage be baked into mobile base stations

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Re: Does their caching work for secure connections?

Just MITM the SSL certs. Surely the NSA will loan them the appropriate tech...

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Game of Thrones written on brutal medieval word processor and OS

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Re: WYSIWYG is the problem

"I wonder what El Reg writers use."

Can't speak for anyone else, but I can tell you what I use. 50% of my writing is done using my personal Server 2008 R2 VM with a heavily customised version of Word 2010*.

The ribbon bar was completed excised from the application. I have disabled most "features" and "formatting" bits. For all intents and purposes it is an instance of Notepad with spell check, a decade's worth of custom dictionary, word count (very important!), version control and the ability to pass the document back and forth to my colleagues and get feedback via comments, change tracking etc.

About 30% of my writing is done in LibreOffice writer 4.2, which is what I run on my netbook. In every way that matters to me it is identical to Office 2010, and superior in a few ways. The only reason I haven't switched away from Office entirely is apathy. Office 2010, modified to meet my needs, works and works well. A properly set up LibreOffice would work well too, but that would require reconfiguring what I have, so I'll probably just run both on different machines until end-of-support for Office 2010 makes me switch.

The other 20% of my work occurs in Google Docs, though this is increasing. To put it bluntly, if there is going to be collaboration outside of my company, it's almost always going to be Google Docs. It seems to be what my clients use.

I should probably point out that the peculiarities of The Register's CMS mean that it is simply cheaper (time-wise) and easier to write everything in HTML. I don't use features like "bold" or "italics". I write my formatting in raw HTML for every single article, whitepaper and so forth.

Maybe these newfangled productivity suites with their newfangled interfaces and auto-helping default settings have a purpose for some/most/everyone-who-is-not-me. Can't speak to that. What I can say is that I've been using productivity suites since I was three years old. I cut my teeth on things like Wordperfect 5.1. When I write, I want to write. I don't want to think about "where is command X?" or "why is it doing that now?".

I want to know where my controls and commands are. I don't want it to auto-format or reconfigure a single thing. If I want formatting, I'll code it. If I want a command, I'll go where I have gone for the past 30 years of my life.

The future and all it's touch-enabled, auto-assisting, Clippy-friendly 0.8px-after-your-paragraph interfaces belongs to a newer generation. It is for people who are not me; those who grew up mashing txt msgs into their keypads and relying on T9 predictive text. Those who instinctively trust the computer to "get things right".

I don't. I can't. It's not in me. So what do I write on? That which feels familiar, comfortable and safe**. The future and all it's children can have the rest.

*I upgraded from Windows XP and Office 2003 only about three months ago.

**The religious wars are for those who don't make a living off of their writing.

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Battered Cisco weathers another stormy quarter

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"What is going to cause people to suddenly start buying a lot more Cisco?"

Legislation that makes other "value for dollar"++ competitors illegal. That, and Cisco will soon be able to deliver a complete Cisco-branded stack covering everything you need in the modern datacenter. So they'll get the service revenue once they move on to the C) Extinguish: phase of the standards game.

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Anonymous: Why we're PICKETING Glenn Greenwald's book tour

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Re: How anonymous will they be able to remain...

Not very, as in most major NA cities you need to get a permit to protest. (Or at the very least, keep the cops informed of time/date, leave a contact person with them who can help the cops round up anyone who breaks the law, etc.) More to the point, the majority of Anonymous isn't behind this in any way, so there isn't going to be a huge turnout.

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Trevor_Pott
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This isn't 4Chan. Try some of the more outlying colonies. The bulk of the hivemind does not support these ridiculous actions.

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Video review: Our sysadmins drink in the latest SIP phones

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Re: [offtopic] kudos for the windows taskbar config

That's how everyone here sets up their task bars. Have since forever. The part where this arrangement is pretty crap in Win 8 is one of the reasons I'm less than keen on it.

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IETF plans to NSA-proof all future internet protocols

Trevor_Pott
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*Looks at conference attendee sheet*

Oh look, a new no-fly list.

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Russia to suspend US GPS stations in tit-for-tat spat

Trevor_Pott
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@Anonymous Coward

I suspect that you may be an idiot. One person "cutting ties" with China or the USA doesn't affect a goddamned thing. All it does is serve to put that person at a disadvantage. The same is true of one entire nation. For such a thing to have an effect it must be done as a power bloc.

The reasons are many. The first and most obvious is that economies the size of China or the USA won't notice the lack of contribution of a single individual and will barely notice the lack of contribution of an entire nation. Secondly, so long as other nations respond to political and economic pressure from these "superpower" nations, then any nation which tries to take an ethical stand can (and will) find themselves on the wrong end of an economic blockade from the current western power bloc.

If the majority of western nations were to band together and sever ties with the US, China and Russia they would survive the attempt, economically, at least. I would per perfectly willing to participate in such an event, cutting all my personal economic ties with those nations, no matter how hard that would be, or how much sacrifice it would entail.

But what purpose does it serve to do so unilaterally? I will accomplish nothing by doing so and I will also remove any chance I have of obtaining the financial or political capital required to see my ideals considered, let alone made manifest.

What I preach is a federated economic union of civilized powers that embed ethics and international cooperation as a foundational principle in what would ultimately be a new form of government. The USA, China and Russia would never be a part of such an entity because they cannot unilaterally exert power over it. Thus I would say "leave them behind and move humanity forward."

That isn't related in any way to one individual's purchase choices. They are so completely and utterly disconnected in scope and scale that to call the lack of one hypocrisy in relation to the other demonstrates nothing more spite on behalf of the accuser.

For the record, I do choose products from civilized nations wherever possible. I'm entirely willing to pay more in order to support the economies of nations whose politics I agree with. My segregation isn't absolute, however, I am in fact working towards such a goal.

Said personal economic choice has nothing to do with my belief in how nations should act at scale. They are different beasts entirely. When I choose who I buy from I am choosing based on my personal ethics. It imposes nothing on anyone else. It is my choice, and I alone bear the consequences of that choice.

Acting at a national level, everything is different. The ethics of the individual are completely fucking irrelevant at that scale. What matters is security and stability. Security of resources, stability of economy, stability of relations and security of your people.

This is best achieved by having strong relationships with rationally-run countries that behave in a predictable and honourable manner, presuming, of course, that your nation is also a rationally-run nation that behaves in a predictable and honourable manner. "Surprises" don't go down well on the international scene. Change needs to be slow, multilateral and controlled. There is no room for cowboys.

A strong international federation of nations that has a codified foreign policy, trans-national law and courts, codified admittance and ejection policies, harmonized economic policy and so on and so forth...this is where strength comes from. With the possible exception of Russia, no nation - not even Canada - has all the resources required to survive in the modern world. No nation - not even the almighty US of A - has a military capable of defending against all foes.

Most importantly, no human being - not a single fucking one of us - has the knowledge to predict the results of interfering in the natural development of other nations. Far too much (if not most) of the tragedy in human history has stemmed from the inability of our many and varied leaders to resist the urge to meddle.

The ethics of international cooperation and foreign policy have fuck all to do with personal likes or dislikes. They have everything to do with learning from our fucking mistakes and applying that knowledge to better governing our nations. The ethics of nations is about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, not the desires of the one influencing only that one.

I preach and advocate evidence-based legislation and a union of nations who can and will adhere to that concept. I believe that we need to be cautious and cooperative in our international endeavors. I believe also that we cannot let other nations push us around to suit their agenda; we need to have strong enough ties within our power bloc to say "no" to nations like the USA who refuse to play nicely with others.

Playing nicely involves things like recognizing, and ratifying participation in international courts. It involves adhering to terms of treaties, even when they don't suit your current political goals. (E.G. the terms of the NAFTA treaty are not merely a means to economically cripple Canada and Mexico, they also impose restrictions on the US that is must adhere to.)

I don't preach anti-Americanism, no matter how hard that may be for you to comprehend. Nor do I preach anti-Russianism or anti-Chinaism. I preach global legal harmonization, recognition and enforcement of human rights and a strict limit to the power of corporations and politicians.

When the US is ready to ratify international courts, abide by it's treaties, address it's wealth gap, and start addressing the power imbalance of it's society (starting with Citizens United) then I think it would make a wonderful addition to any international community. The USA is filled with amazingly good people who try to do great things. It just isn't mature enough as a nation to play with others internationally in a rational, predictable and globally advantageous manner.

If you cannot see the difference between personal choice in sourcing products and a desire to build a better a more stable world at the scale of international interactions then I must return to my original statement: you're an idiot.

Edit: as a side note, I loathe traveling into the US. With very few exceptions, I don't do it simply "for business" and I would never do it "for shopping." (Seriously?) When I go into the US it is because people I like and/or care about have asked me to do so. I don't go to VMworld or Spiceworld "because of business." I go to meet human beings that I believe are good people. I would love it if they all came here to hang out, but it is those events that they choose to attend, and it makes sense for me to go so I can meet up with as many of them as possible all in one go.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Where have you been Murphy?!

"and you'll be better off if we're on your side rather than being "neutral""

No, we won't. The USA does far more harm than good. It is a destabilizing and deleterious presence. Western nations would be far stronger if the USA simply wasn't there.

I would far prefer that civilized nations simply cut off all ties with the USA, Russia and China. The rest of the developed world could federate and work together towards common cause; there's nothing any of those nations has that we explicitly need. Let the poxy whoresons annihilate eachother, or sink eachother into some godawful economic depression. I don't care.

Until a nation is ready to play with others as equals then the rest of the world simply shouldn't interface with them. None of us have the knowledge and experience to play god; we shouldn't go interfering in their culture, or attempting to "advance" them (technologically or culturally) artificially. Each nation needs to find the patch towards international cooperation and peace on their own.

The rest of the developed (and developing) world combined has more than enough resources to build a strong defense force and a self-sufficient economy. We just don't need barbarians.

So to hell with the WTO. To hell with globalization and the infrastructure of American economic imperialism. It's time to form a true international federation for mutual economic and defensive benefit, where rules regarding interference in other nations and acceptance of other nations into the bloc are codified at the outset.

P.S. don't you dare trot out "our boys died to save your asses" yankee patriot bullshit. My ancestors bled and died same as yours. The threat was global; all nations were at risk. If I recall correctly your nation not only was late to the party, they seriously considered joining up with the bad guys for both world wars.

Besides, however brave your antecedents may heave been, the USA today is an emphatically shitty copy of that proud nation that existed then. If your ancestors were alive, they'd kick you in the crotch and leave you in agony on the floor for the sheer hubris of thinking that the corrupt oligachy of today's America is even a pale shadow of the nation that created a generation of men who understood the concept "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".

Lest we forget. There is a reason this saying is tied to an international holiday. Your nation has forgotten the very important lessons that are tied to those three words. And for that reason I am not "thankful" for the US of A. I'm fucking terrified of you bastards; far more so than Putin's KGB Mafiosos or China's rush towards a stable middle class.

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NO, Microsoft hasn't given up on .Net, and YES it's all about cloud

Trevor_Pott
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Re: MS SOP, Stage 2

I thought stage 2 was "extend"? (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.)

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Trevor_Pott
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This almost seems like a sane, helpful, developer-friendly move by Microsoft.

...what's the catch?

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Silicon Valley bod in no-hire pact lawsuit urges court to REJECT his OWN lawyers' settlement

Trevor_Pott
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Re: About time some plaintiff's actually realize their lawyers are screwing them

I do entirely take issue with your asinine assertion that "the Democrat Party is the Trial Lawyer Party" is a " factual statement". This is false. Both of the American political parties are equally in bed with trial lawyers and equally infested by them at all levels.

This is not a "slight political statement" by you at all. It is indicative of significant bias. Your followup post merely confirms it. You are not an objective observer of USian politics and thus aren't going to be able to suggest workable solutions that solve systemic issues because your view of the world is blinkered by partisan politics.

Also, for the record, "you've managed to elect a totally incompetent narcissist to the Presidency not just once but twice" is utterly false. My country doesn't have a President. Though I note that the US's past two presidents would be easily described by your chattering inanity.

Perhaps you need a lie down.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: About time some plaintiff's actually realize their lawyers are screwing them

"But since the Trial Lawyers' Party controls the White House and the Senate"

Oh get over yourself. The Republicans are just as made up of MBAs and lawyers as the Democrats. And they are all as guilty of compromising their ethics over government pork and campaign donations as the next guy.

The differences between the parties boil down to this:

Extremist Republicans would have the US enslaving non-whites, evicting foreigners, women barefoot and pregnant, sex education was taboo, science was banned, homosexuals were murdered and contraception equated with witchcraft. English would be the official language and some flavor of protestantism the official religion.

Extremist Democrats would have the US living as an agrarian society where births were highly regulated (to control population), science banned (it's not "natural" or "organic"), wealth redistribution would be dialed up to 11 and men would be "paying" for the sins of other people's grandfathers for generations to come.

Both are batshit fucking crazy, and both groups of extremists would spend themselves into a debt hole that would make the extant problems the US faces look quaint.

In the middle, however, you find the majority of Americans. These are people that, on average, are socially progressive and fiscally conservative. They want to see the wealth gap narrow, but not to the point of guaranteeing equality of outcome at the point of a gun. They want to see the government debt dealt with, but not with such drastic action that it results in a reset of quality of life for the average American back to the 1930s.

Average Americans just don't give a flying fuck about sexuality, religious choice, country of origin or so on and so forth. Other people can be who they want to be; what matters to the average American is that they have a good job, a reasonable expectation of financial stability in the future and that they leave a better world to their children than the one they themselves were born into.

Both parties are corrupted by the extremists. The extremists are - by their very nature - willing to put a lot more time and money into convincing everyone of their cause. That means placating the extremists heads off a great many problems early on and it ultimately becomes the focus of every party and every individual campaign.

The problem is that extremists are allowed a disproportionate voice. This gets to party financing, political advertisements and more. Regular people - who are by default fairly apathetic - can't have their voices heard amongst the din.

They also - at least in the USA - don't have a choice. Both parties are completely batshit crazy. There is no "Sanity party of America" that provides a centrist view. There is no party to go to in the USA for people who are socially progressive and fiscally conservative. Hell, that's rare in almost any western nation.

People corrupt. That means special interests worm their way into the heart of all political parties, especially when the money is allowed to flow completely freely. A newly emerged party would be no different from the established parties, because the fundamental mechanisms that cause the imbalance of voices is never being addressed.

Thus your lawyers - and hollywood, oil and gas, argibusiness, big pharma, etc - are all over both parties like a bad stain on the back of one's undies. Lawyers don't court "just the Democrats", because that would be idiotic, and lawyers are anything but. You go after both parties so that regardless of which one wins, you win. That is how every single lobbyist on earth plays it.

Additionally, those professions which attract the power-hungry to begin with (such as lawyers) will ultimately vomit forth political candidates at all levels of government and for all parties at roughly the same rate. This is because most political candidates don't stand for anything. They merely crave power. Thus they will work with any party that will have get them elected and push any agenda or platform they feel will get them elected.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats are (on the whole) heroes or idealogues. Some are, but damned few on either side.

What should stand out is that this isn't the case everywhere. There are a hell of a lot more idealogues in Canadian politics (as one example) as well as Nordic politics and even German politics than there are in the US or the UK. (Though Canada's new election laws are having a dramatic effect on the reduction of ideologues at all levels.)

So, blame not a given party, or even a given pressure group. The system in that nation is irrevocably fucked. Only some very dramatic overhauls can set things right...but the power climate is such that it make take a revolution for that to happen.

The day Citizens United is thrown out is the day the wheels start turning back towards the people. I fear that will not come within my lifetime.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Illegal cartel behaviour

"Is that a good outcome, if two companies conspiring to avoid poaching were both driven into bankruptcy, so that all the workers who had their salaries pushed down now become jobless and probably can't recover the bulk of the fine due to that bankruptcy?"

Yes. It's called "setting an example." They do it with proles often enough, and they set laws for individuals such that they are punitive to the point of ruinous all the time. (See: $100k+ for torrenting a single MP3.)

The idea here is deterrence. Corporations do not have morality. They can only be dissuaded from behaviors through deterrence. A slap on the wrist is not deterrence. It isn't enough to cause a shareholder revolt, executive firings and other dramatic and drastic repercussions that will ultimately make those who run companies think twice before breaking the law.

Personally, I'd put a contingency in the law to attempt to mitigate bankruptcy problems, but I think it is perfectly acceptable to drive a company out of business if it breaks the law, especially when the law they are breaking affects many individuals. Examples would be cartel behavior, abuse of monopoly position, conspiracy to depress wages or externalizing costs of manufacture by destroying the environment.

A) Ensure that when a company is driven out of business due to deterrence-class lawsuits the administrator for the company's bankruptcy procedures can go after the executives and board members. Make piercing the corporate veil a hell of a lot easier when the decisions taken (and the laws broken) are more than just incidental infractions of procedure and bureaucracy.

My standard for such a judgement would be this: if a regular citizen would go to jail for the act(such as murder, environmental destruction, etc) - or for defrauding an equivalent number of people out of an equivalent amount of money (cartel behavior, wage depressing, etc) - that the corporate veil can be pierced.

B) Stipulate in damages calculations that any damages calculation that has a reasonable chance of driving the company to bankruptcy be put before court appointed experts such that they can determine a reasoned balance between the maximum % of the penalty originally awarded and keeping the company from bankruptcy.

If the damages assessed are such that only a minute fraction of the damages would be paid out in order to stave off bankruptcy then the company should be placed into administration and as much of the company sold off as possible to both meet it's extant debt obligations and the settlement obligations, even if that means wrapping up the endeavor altogether.

C) In the event that a company will be driven to bankruptcy or wrapped up completely as the result of such actions there should be a pre-designed social safety net to help employees transition. I'm not talking welfare here - which is mostly aimed at helping people through longer term economic downturns - but a form of employment insurance that is more short term and tactical and aimed squarely at helping the people who lost their job in the bankrupting company get a job at the company that will be filling the void.

The above isn't perfect. There's gaps that people smarter than me need to think on, correct and expand on...but the needs of the people outweigh the needs of the executives...or the shareholders. Corporations are given too much leniency, especially when it comes to actions that affect thousands or even millions of people. The status quo does society a disservice. It needs to be altered. I believe that alteration needs to be rather dramatic.

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Licensing changes mean Redmond's IoT plan brings cheap VDI

Trevor_Pott
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When I demanded Microsoft unfuck it's VDI licensing, this is emphatically not what I had in mind.

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Architect of Apple's total-silence public relations policy leaves

Trevor_Pott
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@Regtard

I care what J.H. thinks. Thus your statement is incorrect. In fact, I can name at least 250 (probably more, if I think about it) members of the VMware community alone that would consider themselves "fans" of J.H., including at least a dozen CEOs. I have been asked to arrange introductions come VMworld between J.H. and some of these folks, so I'm pretty sure that the apathy (or in your case outright hostility) is limited to a fairly narrow(minded) subset of the readership.

Edit: and just to make sure I get a nice Ad Hom in here to keep the average low...while J.H. may make the odd very human error in his writing, your ceaseless bellyaching has left me with only one inescapable conclusion regarding this whole issue: you, sir, are uncompromisingly inferior.

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Acer fairly sure it made a profit in Q1. Assuming it got the office tea-bag account right

Trevor_Pott
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Re: hmm

That's because Lenovo sells things people actually want to buy. With OSes people actually want to use. Thinkpad Uber Alles.

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Slow IPv6 adoption is a GOOD THING as IETF plans privacy boost

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Getting more peopel to adopt IPv6

"Sorry, Trevor, but I'm really struggling to see how anyone can design a protocol that is resistant against people just ignoring the protocol and doing something else."

It's very simple. You accept the proposals that were repeatedly submitted for incorporating NAT officially into the spec. At the very least Prefix translation NAT, but NAPT66 as required for various emergencies. You put aside the end-to-end religion and you focus on reality.

The issue here is that actual solutions to the problems encountered were proposed. They were rejected because they broke end-to-end. End-to-end has become a religion. It is in the way of solving real problems. Smart people with credentials are proposing solutions. The hivemind says no.

"Actually I'd hold your judgement on that. We (as in end-users) haven't really tried that yet. As IPv4-fixated ISPs try increasingly unfriendly options (like CGN) to postpone that job they don't want to do, customers (largely isolated from the problem until very recently) may start to take an interest and, then, letting the market sort itself out may prove to be a perfectly reasonable way forward. We're told that the backbone is already IPv6-friendly, and modern OSes are certainly happy to use it. ISPs and their bundled routers are really the only sticking point and in many parts of the world there is competition in that market."

That is exactly the sort of airy-fairy "hope"-based thinking that has driven the IPv6 theologists from day one. It hasn't happened yet. It is extremely unlikely to happen in the future. The belief that people will pressure their ISPs and device vendors into behaving is based on the idea that humans are rational actors. People are not rational actors. Every single piece of economic theory based around that ridiculous idea is false and doomed to failure.

What people will start doing is paying money for IPv4 addresses. They will also start using NAT with IPv6 and damned be the nerds that cry "no!". It is happening today. It will continue to happen in the future.

The idea that end customers give a rat's ass about the end-to-end model was patently ridiculous from the start adn that hasn't changed one whit. In fact, in a post-Snowden world, there are a lot of people who are nearly violently opposed to the end-to-end model for any number of reasons. There will be no grassroots revolution demanding ISPs and device vendors get their shit together and properly support IPv6 protocol spec in order to make the end-to-end-model possible.. Nobody except the religious ivory tower elite and lazy developers who loathe having to actually engage brain and think about NAT when designing applications cares.

Market pressures will not force ISPs and device vendors to conform on IPv6, they'll force developers to design applications that work with IPv6 NAT. ISPs and device vendors are so powerful they dictate terms to end customers, not vice versa. That dynamic will not change within my lifetime.

Developers, on the other hand, are cheap and disposable. For every recalcitrant douche who refuses to write their IPv6 application to cope with NAT there are 10,000 more willing to write a similar app that will. End customers do dictate to developers. That's where the fold will occur.

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