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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

3636 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Microsoft haters: You gotta lop off a lot of legs to slay Ballmer's monster

Trevor_Pott
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Re: The next 24 months is Microsoft's true window of vulnerability.

Interesting, most of my customers use Android, Mint or Apple with LibreOffice and have seen a massive increase in free time thanks to the move. Less updates requiring reboots. Less logging on. Less fighting with things. It Just Works.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: The next 24 months is Microsoft's true window of vulnerability.

It's the best solution on the market only if all you care about is the technology. The instant that other things - trustworthiness of the vendor, the government the vendor must submit to, complying with your own laws, TCO, lock-in, business continuity and so forth - matter to you then Microsoft becomes a terrible plan.

Microsoft may well have the best technology on the market. What Microsoft and the Redmondian buttsnorkle brigade simple cannot grok is that "the best technology on the market" simply isn't good enough. There are larger concerns and the competition is "good enough."

Which was rather the point of the article.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: The next 24 months is Microsoft's true window of vulnerability.

Funny, I've been doing "real work" on LibreOffice for about 2 years now, as have my clients. No problem. I guess your giant brush of generalizations doesn't apply to all cases. Maybe it even only applies to those who were stupid enough to use VB macros.

And they deserve what they get.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Some peoples heads are so far up their A.......ndroids!

Who prints things? Between Docusign and eFax I haven't killed a tree in 8 months.

Maybe next time you're shambling down the aisle at the grocer's in your walker you can think really hard about how some day we might be able to send pictures down those crazy newfangled telegraph lines. What a rush!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Some people in the forums are biased?

Dear gods, yes. How DARE Microsoft call *anything* OCS/LCS does "SIP"? It's cross-compatible with zip!

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Sorry folks but we *have* been here before. Repeatedly.

And? Novell is still technically a going concern. For that matter Sco is still filing lawsuits.

Microsoft being "alive" and Microsoft being an unchangeable technology superpower are two totally different things. Microsoft has the option right now, today, to choose between the two paths.

On the one hand, they onboard someone at an executive level with real authority to make changes and they start down the long road to redemption and customer engagement. It will be bitter, hard and filled with a lot of bile internally...but it would ultimately lead to a massive and incredibly loyal fanbase in all the different communities that are relevant to ongoing operations. In this scenario Microsoft evolves into an unchangeable superpower and retains the status for decades.

On the other hand they can continue to believe that they can simply dictate how we will use technology, when, where and why. They will alienate quite literally everyone at some point using this strategy and will do nothing to redeem themselves to those they've alienated. This will lead to mass customer exodus as "best of breed technology" is simple "not enough" for more and more people. The empire will slowly crumble into obscurity, though it takes decades to do so.

Were Microsoft existing in a vacuum then they could cling to their userbase simply out of inertia for another 10 years all the while abusing them rapidly. They wouldn't have to worry about reputation, enmity or the magnification effects of social media because their users simply would have no alternative except to go build their own software.

Of course, Microsoft doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's competitors are aware of this and they will put significant resources into accelerating the latter scenario. I can think of about a dozen fairly cheap ways to really stick it to Microsoft and do disproportionate amounts of damage. If I can, others can as well.

Credible alternatives to most Microsoft products exist with more being created each year. The competition doesn't need to become a monopoly and block replace Microsoft to win; they simply need to whittle away market share to the point that Microsoft is no longer dominant. At that point, Microsoft has to compete...

...and competing against companies with rapid, loyal communities built around them is really hard when your customers hat the ever-loving shit out of you.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: The "John Doe" vote.

You still have to sign in to vote, so the system knows who you are and what you voted.

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Trevor_Pott
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@NielB

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. Based on the volume of posts I would say that the majority of El Reg's forums are neither pro nor anti-MS and are, in point of fact, quite agnostic to the whole debate. Most forum posters - and voters - seem to be entirely willing to acknowledge the good and condem the bad of Microsoft AND open source. This is The Register; cynicism is the name of the game, and that means equal opportunity piss-taking.

The issue is that you conflate those in the middle with being "against Microsoft" simply because they'll upvote a good rant that aligns with their experience. You miss entirely the part where they will downvote an anti-MS rant that doesn't match their experience. The handful of true anti-MS zealots here is roughly the same as the handful of true butt-snorkling Redmond-flag-waving types. They more or less cancel eachother out.

Maybe what you're missing is the fact that general attitudes amongst people have shifted against Microsoft. It has nothing to do with The Register specifically, but is an overall attitude amongst all the various customer bases. That happens when you spend years pissing in the entire planet's cheerios.

Again, however, I find El Reg to be more restrained than most; they'll still upvote a good technological discussion even when they'll also upvote a good moralistic "fuck the man" rant. Maybe that should tell the Redmondian types something. Perhaps it should even tell them the sort of thing I wrote about in my article: that you can have the best technology int eh world...but it doesn't mean a damned thing if your execution is so poor that you destroy community engagement.

But who am I kidding; the type of people who are actually capable of seeing Microsoft as the poor beleaguered victim of the tech world are not the kind of people who will ever be psychologically capable of understanding concepts like "community engagement" or "listening to customers." It's antithetical to the mindset.

Oh, and before you set about accusing me of being "anti-Microsoft", you should stop and think for a bit. I'm rather demonstrably not. I am anti-how-Microsoft-treats-it's-user-communities-and-customers, but I am rather a fan of their tech and many of the people who work there.

Looks like people - just as with companies and most other things in life - just ain't so black and white as we'd like 'em to be, eh?

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Trevor_Pott
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There certainly are a handful of hardcore anti-MS types out there, but there are just as many hardcore anti-FOSS types in these forums. I'd say that one balances the other. You get downvotes for anything that even seems pro-Microsoft, but you also get upvotes. Choosing to focus on a handful of downvotes and wave that around as "proof" that the forums are "biased" is crap.

Some people in the forums are biased. No question. But I simply do not believe that the overall posture of the forums is anti-Microsoft. If anything I think there are more pro-Microsoft commenters that come out with every article to defend his majesty's Redmonian honour than there are those who seek to tear MS down simply out of spite.

Where each party to the debate gets all muddled is that they have a deep seeded psychological need to claim that moderates, cynics and agnostics are part of "the enemy" and thus anti-whatever-it-is-they-are-pro and vice the versa. It's perception, not reality.

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Trevor_Pott
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I think you're full of crap. There are plenty of people who talk up Microsoft's legitimate achievements and get upvoted. Plenty more who bring up legitimate issues with Linux or open source and get upvoted. The issue here is "legitimate."

Microsoft make good tech. They also suck out loud at basically everything else about bringing that tech to the masses. They exist today only because of their ability to milk the monopolies of yore; they have a built in customer base that they can keep failing to execute properly on for some time yet.

Contrast this with Linux. Open source developers - mostly - highly responsive to community demands. So much so that nothing ever seems to actually move forwards some times. In the instances where some major open source project stops listening to people the entire community loses its shit and a dumps that project nearly instantaneously.

The tepid reception to Ubuntu's Unity gave rise to massive community backing for Mint virtually overnight. The Gnome team's awful handling of Gnome 3 lead to at least 3 major forks and unprecedented hostility. KDE 4 still has a bad reputation, in no small part because of the "up yours" attitude of the devs towards the community.

I completely disagree with your thesis that there is an anti-Microsoft bias here on The Register....at least insomuch as it is stronger here than it is amongst the general population. I think The Register is representative of "people in general" in that there is a "don't treat us like shit; actually listen to what we have to say and factor it into your development plans" bias at work.

Most commenters on The Register will cheerfully upvote an insightful comment discussing the technical merits of something Microsoft built. Those same people will get all uppity if you try to praise Microsoft as a whole because - shock and surprise - people tend to give fucks about more than bits and bytes. We care about how you treat us...and Microsoft treats us all like shit.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Game Over.

The traditional PC (defined by a keyboard and mouse, be it a fixed workstation or a notebook) is no more going away than mainframes did. That said, what was once "virtually every endpoint that users used to interact with data" is now less than 35% of the market. Bear in mind that "the endpoint market" is also far bigger now than back when PCs ruled.

Millions upon millions of PCs will continue to be shipped for at least the next decade. Probably longer. That said, they will become ever more niche as "workstation"-class tasks become the minority of human interfaces with data. (The majority being the consumption of data by humans for various reasons rather than the creation or curation of said data.)

Another way of looking at it would be that tablets and mobiles are not displacing the traditional PC so much as replacing the "dumb" televisions, radios and newspapers that were the traditional data consumption methods used during and prior to the PC-dominant era. The difference today is that instead of using PCs to create and curate content for this "old media," we're doing so for "smart" devices that are proper computers in their own right.

The line between content creation, content curation and content consumption devices has blurred almost into insignificance and will continue to do so. The problem for Microsoft is that it only "owns" the traditional PC market; a shrinking piece of the pie as these new "smart" consumption devices gain creation and curation capabilities in their own right.

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Trevor_Pott
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@ShelLuser

Agree entirely. Did you miss the end of the article where I talked about how in order to survive MS have to figure out how to engage with the community? I maintain that they can't keep us all happy, but they are doing such a terrible job keeping any of us happy that I believe this is their moment of vulnerability. There are ways that Microsoft could address the issues, changes in products, licensing and culture that could ensure a stable, strong Microsoft for decades. Similarly, if you're an MS competitor there are ways to capitalize on all of this to steal some very serious market share from MS.

Damned if I'll tell what they are without a fat cheque though. :)

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First burger made of TEST-TUBE MEAT to be eaten on August 5

Trevor_Pott
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@skelband you are wrong. Eating meat is not "what is driving people to eat less vegetables." THey are simply choosing not to eat proportionately. You could just as easily say "eating cereals is causing people not to eat vegetables," yet you focus in on meat with no credible evidence whatsoever beyond bald assertion.

We can get all the carbs and fibre we need from vegetables. There is no rational requirement for cereals in our diet at all. There are, however, all sorts of rational reasons why we should eat meat; our entire digestive system is designed for it, as a start. (Whereas we haven't evolved around cereals consumption quite yet.)

Humans would be far - far - better off to simply stick to meat, fruit and vegetables and forgo the cereals altogether. We should be getting the bulk of our energy from protein and rounding things out with fruits and vegetables for additional required nutrients. So long as our total caloric intake is in line with our expenditure, we're good.

For you to convince me that meat somehow leads to people not eating vegetables - or that it is somehow "bad" for you as a source of primary nutrition - you are going to have to supply hard evidence. You offer nothing but assertions that "we eat too much meat, therefore we eat to little vegetables." "Moderation" doesn't enter in to your dialogue, nor to you even begin to discuss the issues of overconsumption of fruits and vegetables (which contain little protein and lots of carbs.)

Christ man, you can kill yourself by drinking too much water. The issue is moderation. Not what people are eating. You personal anti-meat crusade is backed by nothing.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a very lean, very delicious bison steak waiting for me. Grilled to perfection on the BBQ. Yum.

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Trevor_Pott
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Actually, meat is pretty much the best thing you can eat, so long as you strip the fat our. Pure protein is what we're build to consume, not carbohydrates. "Eating too much meat" isn't an ill. It is "eating too much of anything." That includes fruits and vegetables.

Meat is quite good for humans; we should be eating significantly more of it as a regular part of our diet and way less cereals/grains. But we would need quality meat for that, and we would still need to exercise portion control. Your personal objection to meat is lacking in essential science.

The issue isn't the food consumed but the quantity. Vatmeat looks to be a top quality source of protien. I welcome it.

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Trevor_Pott
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I disagree. The better solution would be to stop growing such shitty fruits and vegetables and get back to growing things with diversity and flavour. Then people might want to eat fruits and vegetables again.

Until then, vatmeat sounds like an excellent way to get almost pure protein with zero fat content. Humans are omnivorous with a strong predilection towards carnivorous. No amount of personal ideology will change that. I am a homo spaien. I crave the flesh of my prey.

That we can now produce this flesh using science just means I get better quality flesh that is far more of a "known quantity" than stripping it from the animal. "Processed food" isn't inherently bad. The question is "how is it processed" and "what is the nutritional balance it provides?"

In the end, you are just shoving complex chemicals into your system. The source of those chemicals means nothing. There is nothing "better" about an organically grown whoswhatsit over a vat-grown thingamabob. Does it provide the chemicals required and does it taste good?

A great example of "not tasting good" but "organically grown" are many of the cultivars of fruits and vegetables grown on today's farms..even organic ones. The cultivars we choose are chosen for hardiness, rapid maturity and other characteristics that make them economically viable. They are not chosen for flavour, chemical content and so forth.

So we end up with stuff that's easy to grow and hard to kill but tastes like cardboard and is about as nutritious. Had a sprig of broccoli lately? Some farmers grow non-mainstream cultivars and the difference between these is night and day.

What's under discussion here for meat is completely different. You take a cow - bred largely to be rapidly maturing with lots and lots of protein as well as tasty - kill it, take all it's stem cells and make...lots and lots of tasty protein. You are not genetically modifying it. You aren't changing the selection process we've been using for thousands of years. You're just getting way more meat from that one cow than you would otherwise.

Eventually the stem cells hit the hayflick limit - yes, even in stem cells this is a thing - and you won't get any more meat from that cow. You then go get another cow - with different DNA, but largely the same cow thanks to thousands of years of selection - and repeat the process. This is exactly what we do with our cows today, except that it produces more meat per cow.

The real advantage to vatmeat is that it gives you far better control over the amount of fat content - and extraneous additional content, like connective tissue, vascular tissue, etc - that enters the shipping products. In essence, you can use science to control the chemical content of your food far better than if you killed a cow and ate it.

In theory this could allow for better food that was less bad for us but met our very homo sapien craving for the flesh of our prey.

Now, if only they'd start producing different cultivars of common fruits and vegetables at mass scale so the stuff we can pick up at the market doesn't taste like cardboard, we'd be on the road towards a molecular gartronomist's nirvana.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Totally disgusting

Um...it is meat. "Meat" as you buy it from your butcher is the muscle tissue of an animal. This is the muscle tissue of an animal. The only real difference is the fat content and some of the associated supportive cellular structures (cardiovascular, nervous, etc) that IMHO aren't all that relevant anyways.

Are you terrified of genetically altered corn too? OMG THE GMO BOOGYMANS!

Look, you put it in your gullet, you chew a few times then it goes into a mucous-lined sack of muscle and connective tissue containing a PH 1 vat of hydrochloric acid and various enzymes. The bolus of food you chewed up is dissolved (well, mostly) until what's left is a slurry of proteins, amino acids, starches and variations on the glucose theme.

The slurry is then passed into the intestines which suck as much moisture out of it as they are directed to and along the way they capture a lot of nutrients, proteins, glucose, etc. A lot of what they absorb as nutrients and "other" is actually "bacteria poo." See, you can't digest most of what you eat, but the vast amount of bacteria in your body can. So it does.

The water and bacteria poo then enter your blood stream and are processed by the rest of your body. A body, by the way, that is also teeming with bacteria - mostly beneficial and symbiotic - that you nourish along with your own cells. Nowhere in here is your body able to tell whether or not the meat came from a cow or a vat, or whether or not the corn had a few genes changed in it's DNA.

Hydrochloric acid really doesn't care.

But you do. That's all in your head. Pure psychology. The hangups the stem not from nature, but from nurture. Which means, really, that liking it or not is totally up to you...but "disgusting" remains entirely in the eye of the beholder.

Personally, I look forward to some vatmeat salami and hamburgers. I will probably be able to order it up with virtually zero fat content. Just a great big blob of cow protein and spices. Yum.

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Trevor_Pott
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Good on them. Frankly, I can't see why this is a bad thing. After some requisite testing and paperwork we could really be on to some decent mass-market stuff here. The market for "real" meat wouldn't evaporate, but I suspect that the vatmeat would be significantly lower cost.

This would move "real" meat into a luxury good position, probably not costing much more than it does today. (It will just seem "luxury" when compared to cheap and nearly-as-good vatmeat.) Seems like a win all-round.

I suspect the first commercial application will see it's use in high quality pet food, and why not? Beats what's in there today. Or what's in a hot dog, for that matter...

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Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

Trevor_Pott
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@Sestun

Bullshit. Your generation hasn't paid for our generation at all. It is our taxes that are subsidizing you. It is your obsession with living beyond your means that is robbing from generations as yet unborn to finance your way of life.

I'm perfectly okay with throwing the lot of you away. We'll find our own way through the maze, and frankly, we'll do a damned sight better than you. At least my generation accepts how utterly screwed we are. If we want to do better by our descendants than you did by us we are going to have to make some very large sacrifices; paying through the nose for you greedy geezer fucks on the one hand and working our asses off not to steal from the future on the other.

You can cry me a river about how terrible it is in the miserable home we lock your asses up in, I won't care. Mine is the generation that has to pay for the sins of the past; but we'll do it honourably. A concept "me, me, me" boomers know nothing about.

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Trevor_Pott
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"How ready are you to give up cheap books and cloud"

Very. There won't be pension funds by the time I retire. That tax money funds my health care system directly. It does not get given to the same spendfree baby boomers that got our entire planet into this mess in the first place. As far as I am concerned the entire baby boomer generation should have their financial management licences revoked en masse.

There are double the number of these retiring "want-it-all"s than there are members of my generation. They honestly and earnestly believe that they are somehow entitled the fruits of other people's labour after having spent the past two decades raping my generation's future and trying to reduce the "entitlements" of their parents.

Now that this pack of self-centered "me, me, me" geezers is finally retiring they are facing the prospect of actually having to live with the consequences of their own asshattery. Too bad. I'll weep not a single salty tear for them and they can have not a bent penny more than would be gleaned by playing within the rules.

And oh yes...I'm entirely in favour of changing the rules to close loopholes. The boomers spend two decades fucking our entire planet sideways, in the face with an angry gorilla. Now that Gen X is coming to power - and Gen Y hot on our heels - we're going to start to put things to rights.

So just don't you fret about climate change, racism, homosexuals, women in the workplace, entitlements or any of that other stuff that kept you up at night. Just breathe deeply; Gen X is now going to start down the long road to redemption (though the burden for fixing ecological damage will sadly fall mostly on Gen Y) and as for you boomer fucks?

We're putting your asses in a home. The ones you see on your precious Fox News.

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British boffin muzzled after cracking car codes

Trevor_Pott
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You're all going to jail for discussing the Emperor's wardrobe choices.

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FSF passes collection plate for free Android clone Replicant

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Radio stack?

Further complications arise from hardware that has contractual obligations not to ship with open source drivers. nVidia is an example of this; they use the same GPUs for the general public as are provided to the military and thus are not allowed by contract to supply an open source driver for those models.

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Back up all you like - but can you resuscitate your data after a flood?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

I consider it a matter of statistics. Talking about how things "should be" in IT is like physicists talking about a spherical cow. Everyone talks about the whitepapered version of reality in which everything has infinite budgets, change controls and completely pliant users that do whatever IT says.

Why would anyone read about that? Why should they? Such imagined fantasies have less to do with the real world than the spherical cow. In my view it's far better to begin discussions by asking "what are the constraints of operation and budget?" Skip 14 layers of dancing around the problem and argument and get right down to "where are the walls and what can do within them?"

I also think it's interesting to discuss real world implementations - both successful and failed - because they have to work inside these walls. The reason we get paid isn't to implement spherical cows but to make judgments about where compromises could or should be made.

Discussions that revolve around "no compromise" scenarios help noone; the discussions that need to be happening are "what are the constraints in existence, what compromises were made and were those rational compromises given the circumstances?" If the compromises aren't rational, then where should the compromises have been made? It is in discussing the making of the sausage of IT - when and where we can and should be making compromises to turn our spherical cow into a real one - that we evolve the discussion of our craft.

I posit that there is far more to be learned from failure - and from successful compromise - than there ever will be from "by the book."

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

@Ammaross Danan: you seem to believe that everyone will listen to their sysadmins and/or be swayed by logic. Even if you pull out bullshit ideas like "it is the network admin's job to teach that" you are still simply wrong. Computers are easy, politics are hard...and you cannot simply reprogram people until they obey you.

Armchair quarterbacking on the internet is so much easier when you can simply demand that other people change the rules around them though, isn't it? Makes me ask all sorts of questions about how well you manage to interact with human beings in the real world. Or if you do much of that at all. Compromises suck, but they are the way of the world.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Tiger Team

Agree entirely. And it's a fantastic argument for external audits, too. :)

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: DR plans

You are absolutely correct. In fact, I think I've written the exact same thing in about a dozen different ways on this very site. Unfortunately, nerds don't control the business.

Or fortunately? It depends on your outlook. Nerds would spend a virtually unlimited amount of money on things, restrict changes to rigid procedures that had long time horizons and generally play things incredibly paranoid and "safe." This would result in an unbeatable network, but a massive money sink and virtually zero agility. At large enough scale you could provide agility - sort of - but certainly not in the SME space. So the owners of the business make choices and they take risks. "Continue operating today" versus "prevent a risk that may not happen." There isn't always money for both.

What really gets me is the armchair quarterbacks that seem to think that any systems administrator or contractor on the planet has the ability to force their clients/employers/etc to spend money and make the choices that the armchair quaterback would make.

Of course, when the Anonymous Coward knows only 10% of the story, that isn't a problem, because it's obvious that everyone should do everything according to the most paranoid possible design costing the maximum amount of money using the best possible equipment and all of the relevant whitepapers. The part where doing that would bankrupt most SMEs is irrelevant. Nerds believe in IT over all things.

Forget the people, forget cashflow; the money is always (magically) there, it is just that business owners are withholding it to fund their massage chair. Salaries of staff don't need to be paid; you need to hire more IT guys. The ability of sales, marketing etc to generate revenue is irrelevant, all that matters is that they cannot possibly affect the system stability and that the data (generated by what? Why?) is secure.

So yeah; shit happens, and in a perfect world you'd get an up front investment from them to prevent issues and solve potential issues. In the real world, however, things get messy. Oftentimes they simply don't have the money, can't obtain it and/or aren't willing to do things like mortgage their own house to cover a remote possibility event.

Other times, they are unwilling to make the investment and there's nothing you can do. It's your job as a sysadmin to do the best you can with what you have. You make your recommendations, you accept the choices the client makes and you help them as best you can.

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Re: So, you didn't test your DR plan...

You're funny. That would only occur in a world where the people in question have the kind of money to throw away whole servers because they act up. Try fighting like a caged rat for two years to get a storage replacement for 6 year old drives and then having to spend the better part of two months grinding every vendor on earth against eachother to slide in at budget.

Different worlds.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Relying on capped data links

If wishes were horses we'd all ride.

What I would like from an ISP arrangement, or amounts of available bandwidth, or budget, time, storage, development cycles, applications, operating systems, coffee vendors, dispensaries of bagels and whatever else it is that runs my life has very little to do with what I get. You get what's available. Your job is to make things work as well as possible within those boundaries.

As it is, the cost of bandwidth is mind-numbingly prohibitive. Canada: lots of cheap, shitty quality downstream bandwidth, but you'll have to toss virgins into a very rare Ebrus-class stratovolcano to get upstream that isn't utter pants.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

That's where the political issues come in. If a "live synced" copy existed then the powers that be would take a matter of days before they demanded that production workloads started operating off of it.

TPTB would also demand that switchover be automated. That would mean that any minor outage in the primary site (say because the ISP is having problems with the fibre card in their routers again) immediately trigger a switch to the copy stored on the DR site. They would not be capable of viewing the synched copy as "for emergency, disaster-only use".

This would result in either things going horribly wrong as databases diverged or massive amounts of resources needing to be invested in retooling the application in question (and a large chunk of the rest of the infrastructure) to go from "DR" to "multi-site HA."

Solutions that are "technically possible, if you can control for various factors" don't work when politics do not let you control the requisite factors.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: So, you didn't test your DR plan...

The bitch of it is the corrupt VM ended up being caused by a flaky RAID SAS cable combined with some flaky disks on the backup server. Not outright dead, but dead *enough* that things acted wonky. It has since been replaced.

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Trevor_Pott
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DR plans

Seriously, it isn't just testing the DR plans...it's testing them with some regularity. One bloke up thataway made mention that even a minor change can invalidate a DR plan.

Like "yum update", perhaps?

Security says update every month, at a minimum. Do you have time/money/etc to test your DR plans for every single change every month? If so...I want to work where you work.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: DR

A local backup regime? Sure. To deal with equipment failure. A disaster recovery scheme? Rarely, if ever. The cost of bandwidth is prohibitive and there isn't always access to offsite vaulting companies willing to work for the prices you can afford.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

I'm sorry, David Harper 1, it looks like you're either a troll or you don't actually read other people's comments, interjecting instead your personal experiences as though they were valid for all circumstances. I could cheerfully write an application such that it would work just fine with MySQL replication. I could also write one such that it didn't.

MySQL Master-Master replication would work for the application at hand, but it would also be a monumental bitch to set up and maintain. Master-Slave doesn't work and causes muchos big time problems in failover.

I can believe that your personal coding practices - and those of developers you work with - are subconsciously such that they "just work" with master-slave replication. Bully for you. That said, your experiences, tics, mannerisms, and stylistic choices are not present in all members of our species. Different people do different things. This results in configurations that even you, with your vast and phallus-enhancing experience haven't worked with. The job of the sysadmin is to beat the infrastructure into shapes that cope with such things. We don't always get to have things recoded to meet our desires.

Applications need to be aware of replication insomuch as the developers of those applications need avoid doing things that break replication. (Which I call a replication-aware application. It is designed with the idea that you need to do things "properly" from the beginning.)

One scenario in which things go sideways is when your production facing servers can't see the "master" DB at all. They can only see their local copy. (The DBs can talk to one another.) In the failover scenario where the DR site is now the "active" one then the DR site's system will start writing to the slave. Bringing up the primary site won't cause the slave to replicate back it's new data, but the automatics would switch the front-facing servers back. (Politics dictate that if real-time replication were occurring then automated failover and re-transfer would be gun-to-the-head forced.)

The application simply blows up if it cannot write to the DB (every single script writes something, even if it's only tracking data) and thus can't work with a read-only database copy. Worse, if I had a fully active setup on the DR site linked to a slave system I could measure the time before a pointy-haired-boss demanded that we switch our setup to pulling reports off the DR site's copy in minutes. As I said, every page performs writes and your databases suddenly start diverging.

For added fun and games, the web servers running the PHP on the DR site will never be allowed to "see" the master DB. (Routing rules.) The database servers could be set up to tunnel to one another for replication, but items in one site's DMZ would not be allowed to talk to backend systems in another site's DMZ.

These are scenarios that break replication. They are dealing with "real world stuff" that includes politics, bad design choices by developers and more. MySQL master-slave replication does not solve all ills.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: DR - never important until you need it

We worked from the bandwidth on up. We have a fixed amount of bandwidth every night that we can use for backups. X number of bits can be transferred every night. Backups is all about fitting everything inside that window.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

If you're running apps that either aren't master-slave aware and require write capability to do even basic things then you usually end up in a multi-master scenario. MySQL built-in replication just doesn't work unless you have a properly designed application. By "properly designed" I mean something that's aware of DB replication scenarios and which uses the database architecture for relational key tracking.

As soon as any part of your app is manually creating or updating indexes, or is storing data in a table somewhere along with an index reference but isn't using that index reference in a relational manner (common when the application is designed by a developer and not a DBA) then you're deep into a world where replication cause all sorts of horrible, horrible things.

How many times in our industry has some horrible kludge designed to solve a temporary problem been pressed into mainline production, build upon dozens of times over the years and ended up as some patchwork bandaid application that is layers of plaster over the same kludgy, unscalable core? How many applications both in house and off the shelf suffer this? Too many, in my experience.

MySQL replication assumes a spherical cow. That's great if you're designing from scratch, but not so helpful if your cow is in fact a 12th dimensional meatcube extruded through a hole in space-time.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: DR

It isn't the "right operating system version." It's about the config file version. The version of the OS on the production system is up to date (binary-wise,) however, the originally installed version was older than than the newest installed version. This means that a brand new install to the same version as is currently running in production will install different default config files.

The real lesson here is "add the php config files to the nightly backup set." It obviously isn't enough to rely on operating system version to keep those straight.

I would have thought that for someone who read the article that lesson was a no brainer.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Not too shabby

It isn't enough to just test the DR plans; frequency of tests is an issue. A copy of the VM existed on the target site...but that copy was corrupted. Couldn't get it to boot. (Most likely an incomplete backup run at some point.)

So the DR plans were good, they were tested to inject new information and files into a known-good VM...but the known good VM turned out to be not so good. At that point, down the rabbit whole you go...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Out-of-date OS?

The live version is fully up-to-date (at least as far as Yum is concerned, and both the 5 and 6 series are under active support) but the original image was an older version. That means that the php config file was from the past - and allowed the short tags - but the binaries got updated over time.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Ouch...

The theory behind the stuff that isn't replicated off-site is that it is relevant only to that site. That means that if it all goes splork and we can't recover it something horrible has happened to that site and we're in to "contacting the insurance company to replace a site" anyways. By the time the site is back online the data in question will no longer be relevant.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: DR - never important until you need it

We had tested the DR plan by restoring to a copy of the VM. We thought we had a copy of the VM when we didn't. (The copy on the backup server was corrupt.) Our records indicated the VMs in use were the latest version - and they are - but they had gotten there by upgrading from previous versions; meaning the php configuration file was from an older version despite the binaries being up-to-date.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???

Certainly does if you are doing multi-point writes! Your app needs to not blow up horribly on read-only DB instances and/or be somewhat aware of the underlying architecture to ensure write coherence. The built in replication doesn't work for all situations, sadly...

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Rejoice! Sysadmin day is... TODAY. Now get in here and win free stuff

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Carefull though..

From the first article about the webinar:

"None of the personal details used during registration will be retained after we've managed to get the swag out to the winners. I won't be providing the list of information to the vendors in the panel nor will I spam with you annoying marketing spam."

Rules are here.

Marketing? Not part of the plan. Not by half. This is about getting vendors to give you things, not about giving your info to vendors.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Cookies!

That's fantastic! Happy sysadmin day to you and to all sysadmins everywhere. Even Australia. /cc Adam Fowler && Aaron Milne.

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Sysadmins: Keep YOUR data away from NSA spooks

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Before PRISM

Amazon operating a cloud in DC does not solve the problem. An Australian's data in a Sydney datacenter is still going to be open to inspection by American authorities because Amazon is an American company. They can be - and have been - compelled to transfer copies of private data belonging to foreign nationals back to America to be inspected by American officials.

To be perfectly clear: Australian data entrusted to an Australian company running on servers in Australia would be vulnerable to intercept by the American government because Amazon is American.

To be 100% crystal clear and sure that even a damage control expert such as yourself can be made to understand: American cloud providers cannot be trusted with your data full stop. Anyone who uses an American cloud provider and isn't an American company with a 100% American client base is a complete fucking idiot.

In civilized countries privacy is recognized as a human right. Which means that the fact that some yanks have an economic interest in standing up public clouds does not remove your legal responsibility as a "data controller" to prevent private data - anything personally identifiable, corporately sensitive and so forth - from falling into the hands of anyone other than yourself (as the data controller), the individual (to whom the data belongs) and if absolutely nessecary the lawful intercept of a nation whose privacy laws meet or exceed those of both your self (as a data controller) and that of the data owner.

It has been established in a court of law in Canada, the EU and Switzerland that the United States' privacy laws are inadequate by the standards of these countries and it is not to be considered a country where the storage of personally identifiable information is to be allowed.

The hurdles to cloud adoption are emphatically not technical. They are legal and an American provider cannot be made to be trustworthy through any application of technology. No matter how many times you use the word "encryption" this does not guarantee that the American government is unable to intercept foreign data under the care of a foreign controller. Because this can not be guaranteed, they should never be used.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Don't forget your data centers

Your cavalier attitude only works if you are a company that can survive a privacy lawsuit or six. If you're an SME then one lawsuit can screw you. Indeed; in many nations that lawsuit can pierce the corporate veil and go after the major shareholders as well. A little bit of paperwork just won't cut it when it is your personal ass on the line.

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Cloud backups: Where's my get out of jail card?

Trevor_Pott
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Re: We're currently rolling out a new DR / Backup system

Unitrends is good. You just either need to use their sync-to-cloud for offsite storage or you need to own two units. (One onsite one off.)

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Microsoft's earnings down on slow Windows sales, Surface RT bust

Trevor_Pott
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"Has redmond lost touch wIth consumers?"

I had a momentary urge to type out the full solution set to the issues at hand but thankfully, I overcame it. I charge for that now; a reasonable amount, in fact. That, and Microsoft isn't going to read the comments to anything on El Reg so why bother wasting the time? Instead, I believe a song is far more appropriate:

The roof the roof the roof is on fire/The roof the roof the roof is on fire/We don't need no water let the motherfucker burn/ Burn motherfucker burn.

If Microsoft's relevance within my sphere of practice is going to come to a miserable grinding end that seems likely to do a fair amount of economic harm to me and mine...then I might as well take whatever minor, petty pleasures I can from watching it all go down. After all, I'll see no tangible benefits except the pleasure I get from roasting marshmallows on their mouldering corpse.

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US propels global technology market to $2 TREEELION in 2013

Trevor_Pott
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"We and other economists had expected that China’s new political leadership would take decisive steps to re-ignite growth after its sub-par growth of 7.8 per cent in 2012."

The US, EU et al economies grew by how much during 2012?

"Let's devalue this stock/entire nation because it didn't grow fast enough according to our completely arbitrary bullshit that we crapped out in the hopes of convincing others to give us all their money." What an easy job: pull some number out of the air and demand a company/nation/etc grow revenues/gdp/spending/what-have-you to meet it. If they don't meet your wild bullshit, throw an international hissy fit and see if you can get others to join in on your tantrum and punish the malefactor with the bad growth by reducing investment.

Guys, I'm really pissed at Western Digital and Seagate because drive prices didn't come down fast enough after the Taiwan floods. I also am upset that areal density hasn't increased fast enough. Let's all invest our money in beef futures instead of buying hard drives for our data centers so that they know they have to meet our demands or experience doom.

:flailing:

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Paypal makes man 1000x as rich as the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE

Trevor_Pott
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Trap

This is one of them.

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Admen's suggested tweaks to Do Not Track filed straight into the bin

Trevor_Pott
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Mushroom

the Reg aren't completely evil

Some of us are. >_>

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Microsoft DENIES it gives backdoor access to Outlook encryption

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Ahem.

I am replying to Microsoft.

Generally when you start a new post (instead of replying to a specific one) then you are replying to the article proper. Thus:

To: Microsoft

Re: Everything you just said, and pretty much everything you will say, ever, regarding trustworthiness

Body: Bullshit.

Clearer?

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