3023 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
@Fibbles some communities use a ratio system. Most don't use anything, really. The upvotes/downvotes and badge systems being entirely for the ego of the reader as opposed to a method of controlling the message.
The Register made a decision about they'd like it to go and you haven't even let them give it a try before you are in here dooming about how it won't work. You don't have direct evidence about why it will or won't work, you're just appealing to your own authority as the rationale for why it must be done your way. Otherwise doom.
As to your dismissing my research practices regarding online communities...*shrug*. You can believe or disbelieve whatever you wish. I disagree with your take on human nature, so I am - quite obviously - wrong, lacking appropriate information and possibly insane. It is clear that if I had the information available to you and the social context that you possess to filter it I would reach the exact same conclusions as you because you are simply correct. I bow before you in humble awe.
Regarding your "request" to be nice to your precious feelers: I so no margin in honouring it. I am who I am, I don't pull punches. I "calls it like I sees it;" part of that is a deliberate choice in word usage. The words, tone and even expletives chosen are chosen very specifically to convey what I want to convey. My arguments, my ideas and – in this case – my contempt.
The Register isn't a torrent site, and sure as shit isn't ebay. The whole concept of a ranking system in the first place – badges, titles, what-have-you – is of dubious relevance to begin with. The badges system however does provide a neat way of rolling out new forum features to commenters one "layer" at a time. A great way to ensure that The Register can continue to evolve how it allows it's forums to evolve without simply throwing the doors open to everyone.
My contempt for your ideas and rules stems from the competitive nature of your approach. "Use a ratio," "game the system" and so forth. You would appear to quite blatantly view the badges as a rank. As though they indicate some level of importance.
Quite frankly, I think that's bullshit and not remotely reflective of the kind of community that The Register has tried to build. The badges are emphatically not ranks. They are instead a measure of "this person has been a part of the community long enough to understand how it works and has become 'plugged in' enough that we can trust them not to abuse things like HTML posting, editing and so forth."
The badges are an extension of an already extant internal system by which people were granted forum privileges in the first place. They are not an epenis.
Let's examine this a little more closely:
Let's say that I have 2000 upvotes and 50,000 downvotes. Looking at how downvotes work here on The Register, people downvote people into the ground because they disagree with what that individual says. The community is starkly different from Ars Technica or Reddit, and different again from Spiceworks, Puppet, Zenoss or so forth.
That individual with 50,000 downvotes could be a troll. They could also be the guy who believes something ardently. The Apple lover circa 2002 who isn't trolling, he just happens to be a believer.
The number of downvotes accumulated really isn't relevant. To punish people for getting downvotes in The Register's community – and I am very specifically talking about The Register's community here – is bad form. It would have a direct impact of punishing people for saying things that others disagree with, even if they aren't trolling in an obvious sense.
The Register isn't Reddit, and it isn't Ars. The community hasn't evolved to use the upvote/downvote system as a means of judging whether or not the comment was topical and non-redundant. If you go back, it was originally hoped that this is how it would be used, but this is not how it ended up being used here in practice.
That said, 2000 upvotes is an indication that you have been around here for a while. You could theoretically farm 2000 upvotes in a short period of time if you put your mind to it, but there has been zero evidence that anyone has tried this. More to the point, if you did farm 2000 upvotes in record time, then you probably understand The Register's community quite well. So I don't see the problem in giving that individual a Silver badge and letting them run around with HTML and whatever other advanced forum privileges will eventually come with that badge.
Again: the badges are not a damn ranking system. They are a screening system to help The Register find out which readers can be trusted with some more advanced features. Nothing more, nothing less.
You pass an arbitrary point – 2000 upvotes – and you are considered to know enough about the community to interact with it in a meaningful way. Ratios and so forth would help you create a nice echo chamber in which everyone agrees with one another, but they don't help you create an open, free discussion system where your only real interest in community moderation is keeping the advanced tools out of the hands of newbies, astroturfers and marketing types.
Re: Come on, lets get this into prospective.....
@AC: who in this thread is holding up the lady in question as a beacon of humanity? She sounds like a right Bad Person for keeping that bottled up for 19 years, coupled with infidelity and gods only know what else.
I can imagine that most people would be pretty upset. I think it's small minded to be upset about the fact that the lady is transgendered, but it is perfectly reasonable to be upset about infidelity, not coming clean about your past, etc.
For "perspective;" if you had done a dime for murder and not told the person you married for 19 years about it, that's probably in the same category of "things you should probably disclose when a relationship starts getting serious." I think "I'm adopted," or "I have cancer" probably fall into that category as well. Not because I am judging someone's past, but because the fact of marriage means both parties are now subject to the emotional, social, familial and economic burdens that the other bears.
If I am adopted, this could cause awkwardness at the next family gathering if my mate happens to say something unknowingly. If I did a stint in jail, it could affect my ability to travel, obtain employment, and more. If I have cancer – or had cancer – this could indicate a higher likelihood of dying in the near-to-medium term.
Trans, not trans…that bit isn't the important part. Not disclosing something that potentially affects both of them is huge. Despite what some might say, "I was born a man" affects both people. There is a massive social stigma – especially in some countries – associated with transgendered individuals. Dealing with the reality of this is something that will affect both parties.
If the fact that your partner is trans magically affects how you feel about them, that says some pretty shitty things about you. Similarly, if you feel that you need to hide your past from someone, despite the fact that if/when it catches up with you, you are both going to have to deal with the fallout, you're probably a Bad Person too.
As I've said in other posts; the whole situation is just sad. Lots of sad things from a couple of people who – at least from the limited information available – don't come across as very Nice People at all.
Re: Why we're uppity.
"What the hell have we become?"
We were never any more civilised than we are today. We have become better as a culture than at any time previously. We've just always been pretty crap to each other; ask Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis about our tolerance for others some time...
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
@Fibbles a 'massive subset' means I read comments and articles across a wide array of sites. I do avoid certain ones as a daily habit. That said, I also make a point of randomly selecting articles (and non-article comment sections) on the various websites I frequent for in depth analysis, even - I would go so far as to say especially - if they are the types of articles where I would not normally spend my off hours.
In those cases, I am not spending my personal leisure time to trawl the comments and participate as a commenter. I am reviewing the comments with an eye to understanding the community, the various factions within. It helps with understanding my readership and helps with understanding the evolving nature of the IT community; things that help my clients.
Building in ratios and such to the posting system might not seem complicated from a design standpoint. Certainly, when you are approaching it from an engineering standpoint, trying to anticipate every problem and create a rule or bit of code to cope with it seems like the way to go.
The problem is that people aren't machines. You don't engineer communities; people have a natural aversion to rules. I argue that – not only philosophically – but from a pragmatic "if you don't want to have to keep butting heads with your own readership" standpoint, you only enact the absolute minimum necessary rules.
Your suggestion would require adding a layer of regulation for a hypothetical problem that not only does not exist today on The Register's forums, there is little evidence that it exists on the forums of similar communities. It may be relatively simple from a code point of view, but it is "one more thing" to bear in mind as a comment; one more rule on the list.
So my argument is simple: until such time as there is a demonstrable need to address this hypothetical problem, it should remain unaddressed.
As to not swearing, hell no, I won't go. I have no reason to adjust myself to meet your expectations, demands or desires. Ain't the internet great?
Maybe you should regulate it until until it works exactly like you want. It's just a little bit of code…
Re: Why we're uppity.
@MIchelle Knight that's because it is "Throwaway." I don't find violence against trans people - or any identifiable group - to be particularly surprising. Sad, yes. Something that needs to be fought, yes.
Re: Why we're uppity.
Where did I say it was "lawful" to kill transsexual people? I said "people are generally shit." People are killed for being black, white, trans, gay, fat, pretty, stealing a boyfriend, embarrassing someone, you name it. Killing someone for being trans is no different than killing them for being black or for being fat. It's a hate crime directed at an identifiable group. Humans have been doing that shit since time immemorial.
It's not okay, but it is fairly common. That's why we can't allow shit like this to occur; if we are ever allowed to point to a single group and say "violence against them is acceptable," then the violence against them will be unimaginable. They will become the locus of all the pent up rage and desire to exclude of society's twatdangles.
Black, white, trans, straight, fat, pretty…it doesn't matter. We either make "being a bigot" the problem that needs punishing, or we splinter off into our little tribal groups and howl at intruders.
Bigotry isn't to be tolerated, regardless of the target.
Re: Why we're uppity.
@MIchelle Knight it's not a contest. I don't have any articles to hand on the topic because I purposefully put them out of my mind. (Though I can think of at least three incidents in the past few years; the worst of them being in – I think – Florida, where a group of hooligans bad a kid to death "because he was a stupid fattie.")
I can personally recount for you tales of domestic violence situations – two in total – here in my home town in which a man murdered his wife "because she just sits around the house getting fat." "No fat chicks" is a popular t-shirt around here, to say nothing of the discrimination we receive looking for jobs, etc.
Do trans people have it worse? Possibly. Quite probably, even. The social acceptability of "being fat" seems to vary from place to place, but being trans seems to get folks in Deep Shit just about everywhere.
My point was not to compare one type of bigotry to the other, or to render the hate directed against trans people somehow more "common" or acceptable. My point was to reinforce that some people are just – to use my new insult du jour - fucking cuntweasels. They will find a reason to hate and then find people who fit that category.
Hatred and exclusion are an important part of their psyche. We've seen it in everything from racism to misogyny, persecution of fat to the shit that poor gingers have to put up with. Different is bad to some people and the only thing that determines how violent or abusive they become about the topic is how socially acceptable it is to act out their violent, exclusionary tendencies.
That said, if you really feel the need to make it into a competition, I am sure Google can provide you information on people murdered for being fat. I know of several incidents first hand. I won't, however, go looking them up. Because it's depressing. Because I have a conference call in 5 minutes. Because those people don't deserver another 15 seconds of fame.
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
@Fibbles my argument is that I don't see manipulation across a massive subset of articles across a wide array of websites, so we don't need to design a system resistant to manipulation.
Design takes time and effort. The more you design something to be resistant to manipulation, the more onerous it becomes to use it. The more complicated the rules are, the fewer people will play.
So no, I don't believe there is a requirement to design the system with the resiliency you describe. If – and only if – we see it emerge as a problem should we then sit down and decide to make the system more complex. Keep it simple. It's a fucking internet forum; not a bridge across a river.
Re: Why we're uppity.
Can't say I disagree, but then I've had people tell me to my face that if the law allowed it they would murder me because I was fat. Bigotry knows few bounds.
Why we're uppity.
I've given a lot of thought to "just why exactly are all us commenttards flinging our shit out of the pram about this, when we will gladly accept seemingly misogynistic stories about ladies trying to smother their husbands with their boobs." What makes exploding breast implants more acceptable than this?
So I am going to take a moment to try to put my feelings to a little bit more of a considered comment format.
ITEM 1) A couple of unfortunate word choices in the article. Consider the following:
For almost two decades Monica was a "big sister" to Jan's two kids from his previous marriage.
There is no logical reason to put "big sister" in quotes here, excepting to accentuated Monica's transgendered nature. This gives me a sad.
There is also this:
Monica's cover was finally blown
Again, this wording gives me a sad. It once more emphasises Monica's transgendered nature as though it is something that would/should obviously be hidden.
Now, I am entirely willing to chalk this first bit – the tone of the article – up to some sort of "super-sensitivity" on my part. Maybe I'm just a bleeding heart ultra-left-wing liberal. I don't know. I don't want to burn anyone at the stake over tone choice here, but I do have a couple of sads.
ITEM 2) Bootnotes has traditionally been – at least in my personal perception – the repository of "things which are funny or completely bizarre." I don't find anything about this sad story funny or bizarre.
The only thing about this situation that makes it any different from any other "domestic violence leading to divorce" situation is that the lady in question is transgender. Keeping a secret from your partner for 19 years is not that fucking uncommon. How is it any different than "that son of yours…not your son"? How is it different than "I spent our kids' education fun on hookers and blow, but didn't tell you all these years?"
It isn't bizarre. It sure as all get-out isn't funny. Given the prevalence of similar domestic disturbances, this isn't even news, except that there remains a certain category of individuals who still cling to social prejudices that – quite frankly – I find abhorrent.
The lady smothering her husband with her breasts is just weird. Truly bizarre. Not because she tried to use her breasts as the murder weapon, but because her rationale was so off-kilter. The inclusion of massive breasts to an all-male audience will drive clicks – no question – but the story itself is still just odd enough to be "news of the weird."
The same (mostly) could used to apply to the whole "exploding breast implant" thing. (Though that is admittedly becoming a bit tired.) The first time I read it, I didn't even know that was possible. I think it is still news if/when this happens in some novel way – this is a technology and science website, after all…some of us are actually interested in the science behind breast implant design – but I'm pretty sure that unless the headline convinced me this was something other than "some lady's new jumblies burst on an airplane again," I wouldn't click.
This is why.
So that's the thing, I think. That's where the pushback comes from. It isn't because you have a bunch of people trying very hard to prove they are politically correct, or whatever other bullshit I'd hear from the clowns at the local Tory pub. It's because – if this thread is to be a barometer of commenttards – there a significant chunk of The Register's audience are actually empathetic enough that we don't believe in discrimination any more. Not out of political correctness, but because inclusion is a truly core part of our philosophy.
So if the only thing shocking about a story is something that requires bigotry to appreciate, I think this exact response will recur.
I'm going to take a bit of a risk here and say that I'm glad this is the case. For years now, I had thought I was one of the only Register readers who believed in these sorts of principles, lived my life in this manner. It is the number one reason I spend time in the comments section of Ars Technica: because I have found in those commenters individuals with a shared reverence of science and a shared empathy for our common man.
I am humbled and awed to see that my fellow Register readers are in fact the wonderful people that they are. I am proud of you all. Proud to be a member of this community.
So to The Register's fine commenters: thanks guys. You've restored a little bit of my faith in humanity today.
"The children, who for years have lived with her, are devastated."
They are probably devastated because their mother and father came to blows and are now getting a divorce. Do remember that the lawyer in question is paid to represents the interest of the husband in this case and thus his representation cannot be taken to be impartial.
I don't doubt that the children are devastated. I sincerely hope it isn't because they suddenly believe their mother is somehow a monster.
My family history is pretty non-standard myself - though admittedly there are no transgendered individuals that I am aware of - should I hate members of my family because I learned a dark secret about their past that ate at them for decades? Should I launch lawsuits and demand remuneration from someone I hardly know even though I theoretically could under the law? To what end? What would that make me?
Both parents seem to be right jerks, but I'll bet their kids still love them. The poor kids.
Re: Weird story, weirder comments
@James Hughes 1: I happen to agree. "Lied to me for X years" is pretty goddamend shitty. The infidelity thing is also not cool. At no point does physical violence become acceptable however, nor the dude's reaction to the whole transgender bit.
There is clearly no excusing the wife's actions here; both parties would appear to be - quite frankly - pretty shitty people. That said, how exactly this constitutes something to show up on El Reg - even in bootnotes - is absolutely beyond me.
Sad all around. For the man, his wife but most importantly for their children. Having your parents divorce is never fun. It wasn't for me. Given the extended circumstances involved here, I suspect it will be even less so for those unfortunate souls.
The kids are the ones who are going to be made to pay for he sins of their parents.
Re: Who's pushing this exactly?
@Bernd Felsche and yet, I have encountered literally dozens of WiFi access point manufacturers who provide exactly what you are describing: the ability to assign individual WPA2 keys to each device, silo them off from one another and from the rest of the network. The entry level stuff is generally about USD $250.
There's all sorts of ways to secure data on devices, even outside your firewall. I know, because I do it. There's nothing special about BYOD except that if you do actually embrace it, you need to start working with a few new tools.
You can rage against the concept of BYOD if you like. I'm not going to tell you it is philosophically "Good" or "Bad." That's up to you, your beliefs and your workplace culture. But I will tell you that handling BYOD in a secure fashion isn't the terrifying multi-headed hydra of ultimate systems administration doom that some would like to make it out to be.
It's just one more problem. A problem with known good solutions. It's not the end of the world.
Re: In Lester's defence
@Thomas 4, I don't think anyone is calling for Lester's head. I haven't read a single comment here demanding the immediate sacking for the writer and so forth yadda yadda.
But you know what this is? This is The Register's readership telling Lester, The Register writers at large, and every other person who happens to read the comments section of this article that we are not okay with these sorts of articles. I've never met Lester. I know absolutely nothing about him. Maybe he's a great guy, maybe he's not. Maybe he's 25, maybe he's 105. Maybe he's raised in an ultra-conservative culture where social conservatism isn't questioned and there wouldn't have been a moment's thought that others would view this in a different light. I don't know, so I won't pretend to judge him.
What I will say is this: as a reader of The Register, I hope the reactions in this comment thread send a message loud and fucking clear that The Register's readership is emphatically not cognate with the Fox News-class social conservative demographic. I hope that the message gets across that we find this degrading and bigoted, not humorous.
Lester gets off free here, I think. There was a point not so long ago that The Register's readership would have laughed uproariously and slapped a knee. Thankfully, mercifully, that is no longer the case.
So no, let's not vilify the writer: I'm with you there. That said, let's make sure the message gets across crystal clear:
This is something up with which we will not put.
I suspect the message has been delivered for deliberation by the brass hats. I hope so, anyways...
Re: "Not cool, El Reg. Not cool."
I agree. This isn't something to be laughed at, regardless of the angle. It is a sad tale of a complete fucking bellend who beat his wife.
I'm perfectly aware that this shit happen in the world, but I go do generally try to avoid facing the reality that assholes like this still exist in the world. Maybe it's raw cowardice on my part, but I find that if I encounter too much depressing shit about the wastes of carbon that are out there, ruining the lives of others, I get pretty down.
That's why I read about computers. Computers aren't bigoted shitheads.
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
To each their own, Fibbles. Personally, I find that Ars Technica consistently attracts the best commenters on the internet. Their community is second to none and the recent enhancements to their commenting system have only increased the signal to noise ratio.
That said, it depends entirely on which articles you read there. I tend to stay away from Ars' technology articles - especially anything to do with Microsoft - or their video gaming ones. "Cyclone of shrieking trolls" about covers all you'll find in the comments section there...and frankly, the majority of Arsians which IQs larger than their shoe size have taken to avoiding those sections as well.
I do however feel that the community that has grown around the intellectual property, internet legality and most especially the science articles is amazing. An example for the rest of the internet. Even the trolls in those sections deserve medals; the quality of their trollish little arguments are that good.
There are – rarely – people who will try to post lots of meaningless drivel in order to drive up post counts. These will get flagged in any forum by the regulars. Those folks are usually astroturfers trying to build a credible-looking account, or just people who want to feel important out of the gate. In either case, they rarely morph into useful contributors to the overall conversation and end up representing such a small fraction of any given online community that policing and enforcement by the de facto mods (at El Reg, those with silver badges) will keep these sorts in check.
One of the things to learn from Ars Technica specifically is the rich discussion they've have recently about the quality of discussion itself. The site and it's community have engaged in very open and honest dialogue concerning the use of upvotes. The idea being to upvote those who truly are adding to the conversation, no – as is all to often the case here – those who we agree with.
Shockingly, it works. Ars has managed to create a community where people aren't downvoted en masse simply because they are disagreed with by the majority. Quite the opposite; if they present an unpopular argument well and support it with evidence, they will get upvoted by that community. Robust debate is generally encouraged, so long as you can back up your claims.
If, however, you are the kind of person who gets their panties in a bunch because you get downvoted when you say "climate change isn't real and I have a link from Watt's Up to prove it" then too bad, so sad. Twats that repeatedly come along and post crap so thoroughly debunked as "anything on Watt's Up, ever" to websites like Ars where evidence is respected above all else are going to get rightly downvoted into the ground.
Not for disagreeing with the hivemind, mind you. They get voted into oblivion for trolling in a tired, predictable fashion using bullshit that's been debunked as "evidence" about eleventy squillion times in every other article on that topic before it. Rightly so.
Conversely, I've seen robust debate where people have poked legitimate holes in individual studies get massively upvoted. Because they presented peer reviewed evidence and/or things like math that can be checked.
Really though, it's all about the quality of the community you want to build. If you are working to build a community of something other than a cyclone of shrieking trolls emoting their gut feelings and prejudices all over the internet like so much pestilence, then I seriously doubt you're going to end up with a problem where people are posting mass quantities of comments to "make it into bronze."
If, however, you are obsessed with providing a forum for the intellectually stunted to wave around their cerebral dirty underwear, you are certainly going to get an increased volume of posts. This will be tightly coupled to a decrease in quality as anyone with a sense of self respect abandons your forums as they degrade into Youtube's comments section.
I prefer to believe that The Register is filled with intelligent, capable individuals who are perfectly willing to help prevent the forums from entering a terminal Youtube degeneracy. I sincerely hope that faith is not misplaced.
Re: Screw the badges.
Mr Gale, I would kindly ask that you read this comic by The Oatmeal. I recognise that Senor Oats is not to everyone's taste, but I believe that he has summed up my feelings on the matter in a manner more succinct that I am capable of expressing.
TL;DR...some people are just toxic shitheads. Putting your fingers in your ear and saying "la la la I can't hear you" is just good for your sanity. There is a difference between ignoring dissent and cutting out the truly toxic individuals who will have a demonstrably negative effect on your mental well being.
There honestly and truly are some individuals in this world who have fucking nothing worthwhile to contribute. I can say with 100% confidence that my quality of life will improve by simply never having to deal with those twatdangles ever again. I have no interest in counteracting thier arguments; there's no margin in that for me.
Re: Jumpers for Goalposts
I think the "rewarding volume" argument is bollocks. Spiceworks, Puppet, Zenoss, Petri, Ars Technica...none of these communities (all of which have substantial numbers of contributors that are IT nerds) do not have this issue. It is a non-problem.
You want the truth?
Downvote away! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Re: Who's pushing this exactly?
@Sirius Lee proof or GTFO. I've spent the past year talking to people about this. I have customers where BYOD is a thing, not because it was pushed on them by manufacturers, CxOs or sysadmins, but where it has come from users. I have has long conversations with people on planes using their iPads etc for business purposes. In short, I've done my homework.
BYOD is coming from users. It is a demand seen by (typically) 2% of users, sometimes up to 5%. It is most often from the most mobile knowledge workers. Alternately, there is a push - usually for Apple in the enterprise – from creatives.
Joe the delivery truck guy doesn't want to bring his own truck because he's a delivery guy. However, if you asked him to deliver pallets in a Pinto he'd start considering it.
Handing 6-year-old Acer Specials off to Sales/Marketing/IT/Photoshop Nerds/etc has the same effect. They start wanting to bring their own equipment. They have jobs that pay them enough money that they are entirely willing to pay $1500 to avoid frustration for 8-12 hours per day. The same goes from ramming Blackberries down their throats.
There's also a BYOD push from people who want to use software that isn't supported in the enterprise. Dragon naturally speaking, for example; or Final Cut Pro by video nerds.
So, unless you have proof that BYOD is a proactive item "pushed" on organisations by whichever boogyman you are afraid of, learn to accept when your prejudices are wrong, sir.
For that matter, you fail to explain how your pet boogyman is supposed to make money from BYOD. BYOD generally extends the consumerisation of IT; placing lower margin devices in the hands of workers instead of the nice, high-margin lineups that enterprises typically buy. Where is the logic behind that?
Why would Apple want to sell an iPad to a working when they could be selling a Macbook pro? Why would Asus want to sell a Transformer when they could be selling an Ultrabook? Where is the business case for your claims? You dispute every scrape of evidence that I have obtained over the past year – admittedly through a concerted effort of talking to sysadmins, executives and BYOD-wielding end users one at a bloody time – with no logical business case.
What possible reason could any of these OEM boogymen have for pushing BYOD on the world? How does it make sense for anyone except the end user, who gets the widget they want? Please, do explain.
Your delusions are rank madness. Nobody tells me what to write about. I do not recieve instructions from the BYOD hivemind through the implant in my teeth telling me to push the message to the rubes. There is no coordinated effort to convince people that BYOD is a thing.
Reporters report on what we see. Fucking shocking, I know. What next? Americans really did land on the moon?
Re: Who's pushing this exactly?
Have to say "not the PC manufacturers." The consumerisation of IT has driven their margins into the floor. Network vendors? How? BYOD is almost all WiFi; that means less sexy switches and routers with expensive ports, not more. (WiFi is cheap compared to wired!) Management tool vendors? They have been reactive in this game, not proactive.
As much as I am usually the first to cry "follow the money," I honestly don't believe the BYOD movement has anything at all to do with money. It is about the feeling of control that a certain segment of users desire of their computing experience. Money is just not the driving factor here.
BYOD isn't a manufactured thing, pulled from nowhere in order to shift kit. BYOD is something that has always been lurking in the background, but started to get noticed when smartphones and netbooks became light enough and powerful enough to smuggle into the workplace and be used to get real work done. BYOD is a way to bypass what end users view as "restrictive" IT, to get the cool device they want or just to use the widget/software they feel makes them more productive.
It is blown out of proportion – no question there – because the people who make a big deal out of it tend to be really damned noisy until they get their way. Maybe - maybe - 5% of staff at a given company give any fucks about BYOD. Maybe. But those 5% of people are squeaky wheels that can cause all sorts of hell. They also have this nasty tendency to be high-value knowledge workers, not Joe Schmoe in shipping and receiving.
In my experience, BYOD is a thing. It's driven by end users, not widget makers. It is driven specifically by picky elitists; IT are big time culprits here, but oddly enough so are sales and marketing. It can almost always be solved by just shovelling them a corporate-owned system that isn't made of slow and fail.
Oh, and by getting rid of Blackberries. That's another story entirely, however…
Re: @Trevor Pott "Learn to live with it, or leave." Is that kind of posting the way you normally..
@Arctic Fox: That wasn't a hostile post telling you off, sirrah. Explanation of the policy itself was not intended as an attack; I apologise if it was interpreted as such. It was merely a blunt explanation of Microsoft's policy.
"Learn to live with it, or leave." I chose "leave." Others are choosing "live with it."
I personally do believe you are being naive if you think for a second that "customer reaction" is going to mean a bent damn to Microsoft, but I'm not really going to hold that against you.
Some IT departments might deploy things like classic shell. Most won't, for the reasons I listed. The larger the org, the greater the likelihood they won't deploy it. Some will sit on Windows 7. The smaller the org, the more likely this is…up to a given point. There's a weird inflection point below which companies don't have IT guys. At this point, they will eat whatever is put in front of them; they have no choice, Windows 8 is what Best Buy sells.
Some of us are giving up on the MS ecosystem altogether. Joining the neckbeards on Linux, or the hipsters on Apple. For the overwhelming majority of end users, IT departments and so forth, however, Microsoft is all that exists, all that will exist and you will eat what is put in front of you and like it.
You have the same two choices I do, or anyone else does: "learn to live with it, or leave." I gather you don't like the binary option as presented. Gods know I don't, either. That said, in the real world, I do not honestly believe there is another alternative. Nothing you or I or even every single reader of The Register combined could do would make a big enough impact to even cause a Redmondian product developer to yawn.
They can lose every single one of us – and the companies we support – and not care. The only thing that matters to Redmont are CxOs. People who make the purchasing descisions for companies with thousands of seats and/or governments. They don't want to be supplying you Windows for your desktop, or your crappy little SME. You are a net drain on their bottom line, not a profit center.
The only people that matter at all to Redmond are the folks willing to stump up subscriptions – SA, preferably, but O365 and InTune will do – in huge volume. This is what Microsoft has bet the farm on, and it is the driving force of every single decision they have made for years.
That's why we're expendable. The kind of consumers who like Metrololo are the kinds of people who will buy Windows Xbox Live Gold Edition Subscriptions if Microsoft tosses a few episodes of The Guild in each month and allows them to stream the latest Halo over the interbutts.
Businesses with more money than sense will sign SA agreements because they are so deeply embedded in the Microsoft ecosystem that – like user of IBM mainframes – they aren't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
So…the rest of us? Enthusiasts and power users and SMEs with capable techies and the ability to be discerning? We're the 80% of customers that bring in 20% of Microsoft's revenue. We're the long tail that Microsoft will gladly cut off if it can only increase the revenue from the other 20% by a few points. The costs of supporting us are astronomical, and we are never happy.
So Microsoft have stopped giving fucks. There are simply no fucks given whatsoever. Not by them, not by Apple, not by Canonical, nobody. Nobody gives any fucks about us at all. We have the technical competence to do use any vendor to accomplish our aims, and are just fickle enough to keep trying to play the various vendors against eachother. One by one they have all said the exact same thing:
Learn to live with it, or leave.
I can't – and won't – give you advice about which to choose. I will, however, tell you straight up that there are no other choices on the table. That you, or I, or any of the rest of us have a forum to have our voices heard is a fallacy. One that – quite frankly – most vendors don't even give lip service to any more.
It sucks, but what are you going to do about it? I know what I am going to do: I am going to ruthlessly abuse the contacts I've made as a writer for The Register to introduce the CEOs of various startups to one another. I am going to try to organise a conference of startup CEOs and build a fifth column within the tech industry. Instead of a handful of behemoths surrounded by a collection of intercompeting (and thus irrelevant) ankle biters, I am going to try my damnedest to organise the ankle biters into a serious threat.
I am going to expend every single iota of political capital I have ever obtained to get a few dozen startup CEOs in the same room and see if they can't hammer out the framework for something larger. I will most likely fail. Probably spectacularly and in a fashion that ensures I will never work in this industry again.
But I'm still going to try, because I can't learn to live with Microsoft's vision of the future, and Apple abandoned folk like me long ago. Google hasn't gotten its shit together and the open source world is a mess. I have no choice but to choose "leave," but in order to leave I first have to make a place to go.
If you've a better idea than that – or some concrete rationale you can use to demonstrate why you think regular joes have a snowball's chance in a neutron star of having our collective voices heard by the Microsofts or Apples of this world – I am all ears.
Because choosing "leave" is a truly exhausting amount of work.
Re: BYoD inheritence
Can I offer a couple of suggestions? Don't try to "reverse the policy." That's foolish. Try instead to "mitigate the risks." Get approval for corporate policy that requires endpoint management software. (I'd recommend Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1, if possible.) PUsh through another corporate policy: that devices used by staff *must* be wiped by IT before they leave. Let them know you'll work with them to back up their data, but that you will only reinstall applications for which they have licences.
This can be presented with explanations that cover security, data loss, legal liability, etc. Don't sell it as an effort to exert IT control over your users...sell it as an "insurance policy" against some pretty massive legal costs should the worst occur. Ultimately, the cost of implementing endpoint management and wiping systems for exiting staff isn't much, financially, or politically. You aren't taking away toys, just ensuring they are used properly.
Frame your arguments right and there is a good chance you'll be able to gain some measure of security.
Re: It's all about the cost
What's changed? We've had a few decades to work out the delivery technologies. We can essentially "stream" applications to an endpoint. App-V, ThinApp, RDP, you name it. We can containerise web applications with Browsium or even deliver them as executables. (The webapp wrapped in it's exactly versioned browser.)
We have SaaS delivery using actual standards now, and automated testing tools that simply didn't exist 20 years ago. In short, the struggle between BYOD and Fortress IT never stopped. Fortress IT was the dominant solution largely because it was the only rational solution for a long time. Today, however, we have the technology to accommodate BYOD should organisations choose. We simply didn't have that before.
It may still not make sense for a lot of organisations to engage in BYOD…but it is possible to do it today, and do it in a secure fashion. That's the difference.
So, are you going to tell your managers and so forth they can't BYOD? That's up to you. But you can't use the support costs or technological difficulty as excuses any more. The only barrier to proper BYOD is stumping up the licences for the commercially available, off-the-shelf technologies required to make the problem manageable.
That's a hell of a lot different than Windows 3.11.
This is how you will interact with Metro on large screens.
Re: @Trevor Pott
You mean things like "where Trevor writes How Tos about such problems?" Like here: http://www.petri.co.il/add-a-windows-8-start-menu.htm
Of course I know how to defeat the goddamned thing. I'm a sysadmin. I've known how to beat Windows 8 into submission for bloody ages. That doesn't mean a future patch/service pack won't break it, or that the ability to do this sort of stuff will even be in Windows 9. Unless the solution comes directly from Microsoft, then betting the farm on it is terrible strategy.
These are stop-gap measures at best to help you decide what to do. Shit or get off the pot; embrace Metro - and Microsoft's vision of the future - or exit the ecosystem. Eventually, Microsoft will leave you no choice. Classic Desktop Mode is a transition mechanism. It is not something any of us should be betting the future of our companies on. We should not be investing millions in new Classic Desktop applications. We should not be coding applications for the Classic Desktop. It is dead. Legacy. Already deprecated and will be removed.
Learn to live with it, or leave.
Re: You fail to show the ADVERTISEMENTS!
You are 100% correct. You cannot recover the screen real estate because the dimensions of the viewable area are fixed. It is a pain in the ass. Paying for a sponsored version sans-advertisements doesn't solve the issue, nor does [deleted] which gets rid of the adverts.
The lack of ability to customise the interface to make optimal use of browser space – especially on cramped screens – is a problem. I promise you that it is on my list to enquire about. It's one of those "minor niggle" problems that absolutely needs to get fixed.
I have heard VMware, Microsoft, and about 30 startups use "single pane of glass" to describe "bringing all the tools required to manage your network into a single application."
An absolutely vital consideration, given our collective lack of choice regarding the inevitable future. Single pane of glass, yes please! I don't want to be "swiping in" various management apps on my 47" LCD. I'd rather that my management application present for me a way to manage all my network devices, software, applications, cloud services, etc in a single interface. Preferably one with the ability to switch between the devices I am managing. Maybe even the ability to see the monitors/statistics for multiple devices side-by-side with another device I am managing. Something like that excellent interface used on by Synology on their NAS boxes.
Oh, but these are silly dreams; mere flights of fancy! Back to the coal mines of Metrololo…
These stnadards already exist - more or less - in the form of things like Openflow and 802.1Qbg. Important to note that the extand SDN standards are IEEE, of course, not ITU. Strikes me as sour grapes from those whose patents didn't make it into the "standards" for SDN.
ROTM icon because I feel it is underused, and we don't have a whaaaaambulance.
religion irrational extremists who use gut instinct and "what they know" rather than hard numbers and verifiable science to make decisions which they then force upon others. (Regardless of if those extremists be religious, political, economic or so forth.) Up the arse. With a slowly rotating pineapple.
Evidence-based legislation of GTFO.
Re: Only one vendor mentioned - makes me suspicious...
While I respect cynicism, in this case I sincerely hope that your cynicism is unfounded. A few things should probably be addressed and I'm happy to do so.
First: yes, I am a part owner of eGeek Consulting Ltd. Yes, it does have a marketing arm, something I openly discuss here on The Register. For the record, Zenoss is not one of eGeek's clients, though it would be awesome if they were. I happen to like the folks I've interacted with at Zenoss so far; I think they would make for excellent clients. More to the point, I think the marketing geeks would happy to represent a client with a good product that they can get excited about.
The second item concerns the idea of bias and this is a far more murky topic. Again, it is also something I have discussed here on The Register. It's an important topic, and one I feel very strongly about. Given that I feel so strongly about this, I think it's not unreasonable at all to discuss my current approaches to recognising any possible biases on my part and coping with them.
So how do I try to eliminate (or at least minimise) bias in my writing?
First up: I don't do marketing on behalf of clients for eGeek consulting. eGeek's marketing director is Josh Folland. While I am willing to work collaboratively with Josh on projects pertaining to marketing clients, I provide support for his endeavours that is fundamentally no different than the support I provide any vendor (or user!) seeking my advice as a sysadmin or tech blogger.
Yes, some vendors come to eGeek for digital marketing, but the overwhelming majority of what we do is actually "market research." Vendors send us things; we test them, write up whitepapers or reviews and send them off to the vendor for them to do whatever it is they do with them. In some cases we are hired on to serve as a part of a "focus group;" providing some aspect of quality assurance but mostly saying things like "this will probably catch on well with your target market, but if you do A, B, or C the internet piranhas are going to eat your family."
That leads to the second potential bias in my life: completely outside of any involvement with eGeek and its clients, a technology journalist has relationships with vendors. Some vendors are great. Some vendors are assholes. I talk freely about my opinions with friends, colleagues, analysts, other tech journalists on twitter and forum denizens from The Register, Spiceworks, Ars Technica's Openforums and so forth in a constant attempt to keep my personal biases in this regard in check.
The last potential source of bias is that I get stuff for review from vendors. Sometimes it is even stuff I get to keep. I try very hard – again, by asking for advice from others, getting others to test the hardware/software in my lab and by working to continually refine my review methodology – to maintain as objective a stance as possible here.
As a freelance writer – I am not a Reg staffer – my test lab is entirely self-funded. In some cases I can afford to buy something off the shelf, in many cases I cannot. So I am faced with a particularly common dilemma in the tech blogging world: do I stick to reporting on the smart phone I just got and the free trials or open source software I can download, or do I work to establish relationships with vendors that let me test really cool shit and tell readers how this stuff works in the real world?
I chose the latter. Whether this makes me compromised is an exercise for the reader. It is however leading to a series of reviews that should be hitting The Register in the next few months that will be reviewing Serious Hardware and Serious Software that I think the readers will care about.
What price, objectivity?
So the question becomes how objective am I? How do you measure objectivity objectively? If you have a means, I'd surely love to know it. I have invested a huge percentage of my personal self worth in cultivating and maintaining objectivity. I feel that it is important to who I am.
I am very, very clear with potential clients: engaging eGeek will not in any way increase your chances of this occurring; I make decisions about what gets written about entirely independently of our client base. If you want marketing service, e-mail Josh.F [at] eGeek [dot] ca. He'll be glad to discuss your needs.
If you want me to review something send me a demo. If I find your product interesting, there is a good chance a reasonable percentage of my readers will as well. All you have to do is click the "email the author" link on any of my articles, and I will be happy to talk to you about the product you make, why it matter to systems administrators and see if it is worth my time or the time of my readers.
So why did you talk about Zenoss for this article?
Why I talked about Zenoss is simple: their PR people e-mailed me. They made a convincing pitch that intrigued the systems administrator in me and I agreed to do some interviews with some of the bossbots that run the joint.
The Zenoss folks convinced me that their product was worth the time and effort to install on my test lab and give a go. I rather liked it. I then installed it on some production networks and it has saved quite a bit of time. As it turns out, I had all sorts of questions, so I ruthlessly abused his PR nature to ask all sorts of not-very-PR-friendly questions of the folks who run Zenoss.
Those questions led to this article. It is the evolution, really, of discussions I have been having with the folks in charge of Puppet, Spiceworks and a half dozen others. Zenoss stands out for me as a "Difficult Challenge" for a startup specifically because monitoring software is Hard and breaking into the datacenter as a monitoring startup is harder still.
You talk to PR people! Blasphemy!
Yes. I talk to PR people. I've been writing for The Register for about two years now. I'm still a great big nobody in the tech journalism world. I am not Mary Jo Foley with deep-rooted contacts inside Microsoft, nor am I Jon Broadkin with a network of contacts spanning the globe. I'm not Chris Mellor with a decade some-odd's truly laser-focused experience in storage – and the contacts that brings – nor am I Matt Assay with real world experience as an executive in a truly industry-changing company.
I am a systems administrator that specialises in SMB and SME companies. I am a technology writer that writes mostly for systems administrators of SMB and SME companies. I have a deep, practical knowledge of the craft of systems administration that is rare amongst technology journalists, but am still at the point in my career where I am "building contacts."
As a systems administrator I run a test lab and turn the knobs to 11 before I write about something. I refuse to reprint a press release or say nice things because you sent me a demo…but I'll at least take your call which is more than most will do. The result of this is that I get to play with toys sometimes. I am building a reputation amongst vendors as someone who - while not pliable and "on message" – will work with the vendors and be fair about the items I review.
Some vendors won't talk to me because of this attitude and approach. Others are so confident in their offerings that they gleefully take advantage of it. It is the niche I have built for myself. It is niche I am proud I'm able to work on. It is work I enjoy.
It also means that I will write nice things about companies when I think they make nice stuff. I might even write nice things about companies that compete with eachother because they both make nice stuff.
I may also publicly eviscerate you, so maybe not being corporate dicks to your customers is a good plan.
You make the call.
So…am I corrupt? Should I only ever write negative things? Or should I only write positive things about companies that commenters like? Which commenters?
Each person must decide for themselves. No matter what I write or about whom, someone is going to be mad. If I write a nice thing about Zenoss, its competitors – and disgruntled former users – will be mad. If I trash Zenoss, its community will be mad. If I write something reasonably objective, both sides will be pissed because I didn't say what they wanted me to say. So I choose not to worry about that. I write about what I see when I use the thing. I try for that "objectivity" stuff.
I emphatically reject the idea that a vendor being an eGeek customer – or not – would have an effect on my willingness to write about their product. I have spent too long building up barriers to exactly that. Being a client of eGeek gives you a direct pipeline to Josh Folland; he works with me, and that could theoretically mean that you get my attention.
That seems a hell of a lot of effort to go to when my phone number is available on http://www.egeek.ca, and my email is available by clicking "email the author."
Cynicism is good; I have a lot of it myself. I do, however, like to think that the difference between myself and a truly bought-and-paid-for shill is transparency. That and, you know, actually retaining some shred of objectivity. I discuss these issues openly. I mention clearly in my articles when I have been sent on a junket or given a demo unit.
I hope that clears things up.
Qnap I can see; but Synology make some bretty damned bitchin' SME stuff that goes quite a ways past "SMB." I'd say they are firmly into the SME market with their higher end gear. Buffalo and Iomega don't come close.
So that's why I find the positioning interesting...if they compete with Netapp in the SME space, how are they losing?. If they were competing with Synology, well...
"Deserves to be a full article in itself as a proper follow-up."
I've written several. Nobody cares. (Isn't that the point?) I'll probably report it on http://www.trevorpott.com after I'm done writing this Server 2012 thingy....
Re: Damned Good Stuff, Trevor.
And then I typoed the typo comment. SONOFA...
Re: Damned Good Stuff, Trevor.
All I can see is a fist full of typos resulting from rolling my face around on the keybaord in rage at stupid o'clock in the morning. Proof reading. I should do it some time...
I had absolutely no idea Overland made SME filers. Do they compete with NetApp or Synology? SME is a big spectrum...
"Do you honestly think I come to work and say to myself “how can I kill [D] and offer him a death by a thousand cuts”?"
No, Steven, I think that you designed an operating system with nobody but the consumer in mind. Professionals of various stripes were seen as "the edges of the bell curve." By not being "the majority," providing the tools they need to do work efficiently and without impediment is not a priority: building an operating system geared towards easy consumption of content is.
There is validity to the argument that "you can buy third-party tools to modify Windows." XYPlorer for explorer, Classic Shell for the Start Menu, Firefox or Chrome to get a real browser. I think, however, that this misses the point. By not having proper tools - which you used to have, just by the by - embedded into the base operating system, professionals are denied the ability to use workstations belonging to others.
In a sane and rational world, given the technology available to us here in 2012, this wouldn't be a problem. We would use solutions similar to VDI to solve this issue; we could have a cloud-based user experience migration tool, or even full blown-drag-the-screen-across-RDP VDI. Unfortunately, Microsoft's glorious please-kill-them-with-fire licensing department demands a difficult-to-find number of virgins to be sacrificed at equinoxes into even more rare volcanoes before you are allowed to do anything.
Any you'll pay a yearly subscription with a 6-year TCO nearly five times the buy-to-own fee to do it.
Microsoft wants to be on every machine, and take a significant rake from that presence. They want a fee if you use their stuff remotely, and a different one if you use it under different circumstances. They want a fee if you don't use their stuff and a different fee if there is a combination of stuff in play. They really – really – don't want you under any circumstances to use VDI. Have you tried touch? There's this nice Surface…
The issue with this, of course, is that your now fondle-friendly consumptive* operating system if absolute fucking pants at anything approaching user experience migration excepting under some very specific and carefully massaged circumstances. If you're part of a domain, there's a good pipe, storage with adequate IOPS, all your apps are certified (and even then, chicken entrails are required,) you have your GPOs, third-party wrappers and so forth set up…you might be able to take your desktop, apps, configuration, look-and-feel, third-party explorer apps, Classic Shell and so forth with you from physical endpoint to physical endpoint.
Congratulations, Microsoft, you have successfully failed to live up to the standards of mounting /home/%username% on a remote system, or using bloody rsync properly.
15 years after you started trying.
But lo! You are the monopoly, you don't have to worry about these bell curve edges. They are but rounding errors, grouchy internet commenters and so forth, no? Analysts will flock to your cause and cheer you on because you have targeted "the majority" with an operating system that removes the barriers of "thinking" and replaces them with an excellent tool to consume both of the pieces of content you have managed to secure for distribution on Xbox live. Hookers and blow for everyone!
Well that's great, Steve. I know you didn't walk into work every day trying to ruin D – or my, or anyone else's – day. We just didn't matter to you. We don't matter to your replacement, your former boss or the overwhelming majority of people who work there.
We're nerds. Professionals. We have these weird needs and angsty desires to get shit done. It's amazing how much of a pain in the ass that is, because when someone doesn't provide us the tools to do something, we build the fucking things ourselves.**
We don't matter on the balance sheet. Yet.
Very soon here, however, you're going to be reminded of what happens when you let engineers design a tool to increase productivity and save end users money. Once the world is reminded why it was we made these damned computers in the first place, the Microsoft, Apple and the rest of you geniuses that let "user interface experts" take control…you folks are fucked.*
* Consume what, exactly? You can't get licences for the digital enjoyment of fucking anything. Especially if you live in Canada, where the few pitiful things that are on offer to Americans – streaming only at some ungodly price, natch – "aren't available in your region."
** When a vendor gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make the vendor take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give a sysadmin lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna burn your business model down! With the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a product that does what yours does in a third the time with a tenth the effort for half the price.
***Lots of people are going to moan "it's impossible to challenge Microsoft" or some other such tosh. Bull. If enough of the right people are irritate enough, you'd be surprised exactly how fast a decent competitor can spring up. Even for an operating system. Ask Research In Motion, Novell or Yahoo about the permanence of market dominance and the lack of incentive for innovation some day, hmmm?
Matt, buddy, I have nothing but piles of respect for you...but there is something about your statements I feel I must question.
Put simply: if I can do it on my notebook, it bloody merry hell isn't Big Data. I'd go so far as to say that if I can do it on my corporate budget then it isn't Big Data.
Big Data != Analytics. Big Data = "massively complex analytics done against enormous datasets beyond the range of traditional tools such as Excel and SQL." This makes "what constitutes Big Data" a moving target as technology evolves, but puts it firmly into the realm of "shit Office will never do without offloading 99.9999999999999% of the work to Azure/Amazon."
If I can crunch the numbers on a single machine, this isn't Big Data. It is – at best – analytics. At worst, it's indexing. Please, please don't champion the descent into utter irrelevance of the term "Big Data."
We saw it with cloud computing already; "a cloud" was originally synonymous with "self-healing architecture that had massive redundancies, the ability to spin up systems on demand, user portals for doing so" and more besides. In the past two years it has devolved to be completely synonymous with "virtualisation that isn't ESXi Free."
If we degrade the term "Big Data" as in "solving Big problems that are massively compute intensive against enormous data sets" to be cognate with either "analytics," "indexing," or "automated semantic tagging" then we deprive ourselves of a term to describe the actual Big Data problems that real organisations are increasingly facing.
Can I instead offer a solution that meets halfway? How about "Baby Data?" This term could be wielded to mean "applying COTS Big Data techniques to miniscule data sets." It maintains what I believe to be an important distinction between "things requiring a hadoop cluster and a minimum of $500,000 worth of gear" and "shit you can do on an Intel Atom." It also provides a distinction between the more traditional analytics, indexing and semantic tagging that don't quite cover the techniques used in Big Data.
So…Baby Data? Can we live with this?
Thanks much for your time, sir,
Re: Whoa, "2.5Mb/s upstream"???
Technically it's VDSL 2. *shrug* It is marketed as ADSL, as were all the iterations before it. ADSL or Cable. These are your choices.
Re: On 1 TB/month...
@beachrider any decent "cloud backup" solution backups from your local stuff to a "buffer" appliance, dedupes the ever-living-crap out of it, then fires the blocks up to the cloud. S3-aware setups can just keep spinning up new instances of storage in 500GB increments and filling them with blocks as needed. Amazon's "backup" offering is called Glacier, and is offline tape managed by their robot.
The extant one doesn't have the same cultural "baggage" as the Picard facepalm. "Facepalms" on the net have become a stratified thing. There are :layers: to their use. Which one gets used depends on the level of fail involved. We already have a "fail" icon. I posit that this is roughly the same "rank" as our extant facepalm icon. Thus they are completely redundant. "Fail" + Picard facepalm is two different layers of fail. The Picard facepalm has traditionally been used in between "regular facepalm" and the "Picard + Riker double facepalm" which is itself one layer lower than the "meta-Picard facepalm" made up of hundreds of smaller facepalms.
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