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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

3636 posts • joined 31 May 2010

Drobo B1200i: The heavy-duty array even your mum could use

Trevor_Pott
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The FUD you are spreading is related to making assumptions that what you see is all that is tested, or that your assumptions about a vendor/solution are truth.

A great example is the BYOTL feature where you started in on how I wasn't going to feed 10GbE off of the spinning disks discussed in the article, etc. The article didn't talk about feeding 10GbE. I discussed it in the comments section as it was going to related to a future article and you immediate set in with "the storage you discussed in the article won't do that." Of course it won't. The storage in that article was designed to meet the needs of that article.

I can't process the nightly input of the Square Kilometre Array with the MicroSD card in my cellphone either, but that doesn't make the shiny new Class 10 I tossed in there any less fit for purpose.

In the case of this Drobo you are prancing about discussing bottlenecks, access patterns and tests as though you know from firsthand lab experience that it will have issues in various places. If you have results that say so, put then here for all to see. I will test them before I put it back in the box and/or gladly point the Drobo guys at your results and see if they can verify. I promise you they are entirely interested in characterising their hardware for all use cases, knowing where it is inappropriate to use and sharing that information freely with customers. They are one of the few storage vendors I know who don't try to fleece you.

No storage solution is perfect for all use cases, and I never claimed the Drobo was, nor does Drobo make such claims.The performance and reliability characteristics are such that the unit itself strikes me as "entry enterprise class." It is beefier than all but the more niche SMB offerings, and really does compete against some of the lower-end Netapp stuff on offer.

I could see the Drobo being used at a branch office to back-end local systems there, or for video editing, etc. Anything where the loss of the information on the unit isn't critical because relevant backups exist elsewhere and a time delay of a few hours between the last backup and what was on the storage unit isn't the end of the world. That actually covers a lot of scenarios; even in modern enterprises. (Domain controllers are a good example of this. They typically exist in pairs, and Server 2012 actually can tell if it is a VM that has been rolled back or spawned from a template.)

Synchronous high availability isn't a requirement for absolutely everything; must as systems administrators want it to be. It is, however, increasingly considered a baseline requirement and the ability of one of these B1200i units to keep itself in block-by-block lock-step with another one will be "required functionality" 3 years from now. IF Drobo isn't working on it for inclusion in the next generation of these devices, then the B1200i will have been an expensive experiment for them.

Does the Drobo B1200i have the raw IOPS required to compete against a Tintri or Violin solution? No. Could it reasonably see use in the enterprise in place of lower-end enterprise Netapp, Dell or HP offerings? Yes.

Now, if you want to have a little semantic quibble about where you define the cutoff between SMB storage and Enterprise storage, that's fine. State your precise requirements to be considered Enterprise instead of SMB and I'll tell you if it meets those. Lots of people have different definitions of the spaces involved – though of course, everyone thinks their definition is correct, and some spend a great deal of time and effort trying to convince others of that – but the lines are still pretty damned arbitrary.

I have worked with SMBs for most of my life. The Drobo B1200i would be complete overkill for 75% of them. It would fit comfortably in most of the rest of them and I can envision several scenarios in which if could serve my enterprise clients quite ably.

To me, that makes it entry-level enterprise gear. I'd like to see certain functionality added – block level synchronous N-to-1 replication for one example – added before I would put it up as "critical systems" gear, but it provides enough oomph to run many workloads in a modern enterprise.

So yes, I do call FUD, sir. At first blush, I read your statements across multiple comment threads as indicative of someone who believes in IOPS Uber Alles and specifies nuclear aircraft carriers in order to go round the block and pick up groceries, rather than tailoring solutions.

Of course, for me to level that as an accusation – rather than say "this is what it seems like, please confirm/deny – would indicate that I took a small amount of information provided then added an assload of assumptions in order to create a perception that matched my prejudices and desired spin on the situation. Right now, I don't know quite enough about you, but you really do strike me as someone who falls broadly in to one of two categories.

The first: a fanboy with an axe to grind: enter the conversation with a particular set of solutions in mind that you feel are "better than all others" and will slowly poke context-inappropriate holes in competing (or even not really competing in the same area) products until their solution is revealed to be "the best." Bonus points if you manage to take one set of requirements then completely ignore them by imposing your own requirements in their place, setting straw men to demolish in proving that the discussed solutions are irrelevant because they don't meet your requirements, which have nothing at all to do with the original requirements under discussion.

The second: a vendor. I've seen a disturbing uptick of late in astroturfing, and it has made me paranoid about vendors who spend way too much time and effort tearing on the competition in tech sites.

Let me be clear; sharing information is good. I like the sharing of information. But it is stupid comments like "as it happens I do have a deep understanding of storage technology which is why I'm talking about latency and IO size rather than posting screenshots of file copy operations" that make me thing you are either full of shit, or a just a douchy dong. That statement of itself is laced with a whole fuckload of completely inaccurate assumptions which you basically take as gospel and run with. That's FUD.

In the context of this particular comment, it I didn't post any screenshots. Oh, I took some screenshots. I took several of various things and put them all into a Dropbox folder and shared it with my subeditor. He then chose which to add to the article. I haven't had access to the CMS to do things like "add my own screenshots" until well after this article was handed in.

Secondly, your derision indicates that you find testing things using Windows file copy as a tool to be inappropriate. While I agree that it would be were it the only tool employed, I call several layers of bullshit on any so-called "storage expert" who doesn't bust out real-world use cases like windows file copy as part of their larger testing suite.

Synthetics are good for some things, but real world testing is critical too. IT is all about workloads, and sweet holy fuck, some people use storage to do things like copy files. In fact, it is one of the most likely use cases this Drobo model will see.

Making such basic mistakes as assuming things like "all tests performed are discussed in the article" or even "all screenshots taken are posted" makes me feel that the rest of your arguments regarding the technical aspects of storage are questionable. "Writers are subject to the whims and mercies of the editors and their restrictions" is a pretty basic, fundamental bit of knowledge to have about tech magazines, newspapers or the conveyance of information in the writer form in general. You either lack that knowledge, or you choose to ignore it in order to impose your views and prejudices.

You continue forward as though omission of information - or chosing to include some things instead of others - is concrete evidence that no other tests or assesments were performed. "What you see if what you get" taken to an extreme, despite the information being presented in tone and in legnth as a summary. What's more, the snarky comebacks - though oh, so witty to you I am sure - border on (but don't quite spill over to) ad hom attacks which rather undermine the highly technical nature of your attempted information dissemination.

What does that say about your approach to storage testing? Or whether or not I should trust your assessment of the utility or positioning of a product you haven't handled?

FUD, sir. This is how I interpret your comments. If you intended them any other way, please, do enlighten me. I am not seeking to be hostile or mean with my words here – I'm trying new things in 2013 – but I do feel that your approach and your words are lacking in both context and candor.

Unless of course, you are simply trolling. In which case, please do e-mail me. I have a few "how to troll people even more effectively" tips I love to share with greenhorns.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: 10GbE below $300/port

I'd love to know which vendors you are referencing! Links? Contact info? Are we talking about the cost of a single unit, or are you disucssing volume pricing here? Please share with the class...

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Trevor_Pott
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I wish I had an answer to this, honestly. I've wondered the same thing. I was initially quite worried about exactly this issue; triple mirroring on 3x SSDs doesn't make give me any warm fuzzies if those three SSDs are OCZ. IF any company's SSDs are going to drop 3x SSDs at the exact same time, my personal experience says "it will be OCZ." So I installed several layers of backups on all production VMs that ended up living on this array – I am Le Paranoid, but don't quite (yet) have the hardware to achieve it – and soldiered on.

I suspect that a lot of it has to do with their thought process on the tiering. They refer to it as "transactional tiering" or "the transactional layer." They want really heavily hit stuff to live there – heavy access database blocks, basically – and that would be as much for write speeds as read. That makes the "move rather than copy" element of their tiering (sort of?) make sense; writing in a read-promotion-only scenario would leave your writes bounded by the cache. (Anything after cache fill would but straight-to-spinning rust and thus dead slow.)

I am not sure I agree with the decision, but I am not sure I disagree either. IT is a technology. It works in this fashion. I would find it adequate – even quite good – for several types of workloads, but not for others.

As with anything really, you have too look at your workloads and see if they fit. It most certainly isn't a good fit for everything, but I can think of several places where it is just fine. Ultimately, I'd like the ability to toggle between the "promote-read-only" behaviour pattern and the current "promote-read-write".

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Do your customers mind?....

Not really; the customer in question has zero money. They don't have highly available, totally redundant infrastructure. They live off of periodic backups, templates and things like DFSR and rsync.

If their primary goes down and they are too poor/cheap to have an HA config or a working cold spare, what's the alternative? Wait a week for the local ultra-low-cost vendor to get a replacement part? The Drobo at least had drives that wrren't 6 years old. Plus I was test-driving a Unitrends backup appliance at the same time; way - way outside my customer's price range - which between the two setups - and when combined with VMWare DRS - gave them a more reliable and protected IT infrastructure than they were able to manage off the archaic crap they are consistently unwilling to upgrade.

I will trust a completely unknown Drobo NAS with some known-good backup solutions running on my brand new Ivy Brdige compute node a hell of a lot more than I trust their ancient Santa Rosa compute nodes with RAID 1 WD Raptor 300s that constantly fail. (For that mattrr, the Santa Rosa systems are detriorating as well...)

So no. The customer doesn't mind. They might not have made it through the season otherwise, and are too cheap to buy new gear.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Testing HDD?

No. I wish. I purposefully keep around "dodgy" hardware to test those scenarios, myself. The Drobo did about as well as an LSI 1078-based card at handling them; properly detected them in most ciecumstances, went pear-shaped on a rebuild - dropping the bad disk - when it hit a non-recoverable read error, etc.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: How good is the protection?

Yep. I don't trust black boxes at all. I don't understand BeyondRAID because I don't know the algorithms used to move blocks around. Makes me very nervous. So I did what you suggested: pulled drives iut during a rebuild. Pulled drivers out in the middle of high I/O, etc.

Long story short: it offers RAID-6 class protection. It survives a disk pull during peak I/O. It survives a disk pull during rebuild. It survives instantainious 2-disk failures. It DOES NOTA like 2 disk faillures during RAID dxpansion (after adding a new disk). RAID expansion being different from rebuild.

Which puts it in line with my LSI or Adaptec hardware RAID cards.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: I've seen...

It's actually not as heavy as it would seem at first glance. I don't have the shipping weight on hand - that's at the office - but it is far lighter than a fully loaded Chenbro SR-107, that's for sure. Drobo have put rather a lot of effort into designing the thing; it would probably hold up. I just...couldn't make myself do it. IT was just heavy enough that one bit of metal fatigue in one ear...

...well, onto the bottom of the rack it went. If I remember - I'll try, honest! - then when I get to the office on Wed and we have to pack this thing up, I'll see if I can find the packing wieght for you.

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Actually, I used over a dozen tools from iometer to yes, windows file copy. You can turn off the caching, but thanks for playing, chap.

Re: feeding it adequate amounts of data, I did. Some huge transfers, some small, some mixed, some random, some sequential. I ran 50 VMs off the thing then did OS image level backus on half while defragging the other half and storage vmotioning things around.

It may even shock you to know that I was more interested in real world performance than synthetics. Amazingly, that's the bit that matters to me. More critically, it is what matters to most readers, I would think. How does the widget perform for its intended purpose?

You have been quite interested in poking your nose in to storage comment threads, spreading FUD based on assumptions and claiming Deep Knowledge instead of asking questions.

Of course, it would be so much easier to put your mind at ease with a totally detailed breakdown of every test I've run and what configs they used, but the truth of the matter is that they don't give me that kind of space. (I already caught hell for the legnth of this review, and there is more to discuss than raw performance.) I honestly wish I had the chance to put more in. Especially with regards to performance with the different tools under various load conditions and testing various aspects of the storage system. Unfortunately, I don't get a choice except to present it essentially as a summary.

So in the future, ask questions. I'll answer. Or, more interestingly, answer the more interesting question: just what is it you are selling? You seem to have an angle, why not just put it on the table and we can all judge? Surely it's good, you seem knowledgable enough.

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Build a BONKERS test lab: Everything you need before you deploy

Trevor_Pott
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Big difference seems to be the ability to go to 32GB per node using my Eris class systems versus only 16GB per node with the microservers. Will be an issue for some, not for others! Certainly the microservers are appealing from a cost perspective...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Asus mainboards?

Reiterating: there is a part 2 to this. That part talks about enterprise things. Like 10GbE and the disks to drive it.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Asus mainboards?

@Lusty I have other disks. And other arrays. See here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/24/hyperx_3k_240g_review/

As has been said before; there is a part 2 to this. And oh, yes...you can saturate 10GbE with iSCSI. Oh, yes you can. *muahahahahaha*

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: You may be doing things a bit too much on the cheap

@BlueGreen

As mentioned in the article, part 2 will be more enterprise focused. That, and yes, it is testbed, not production. Completely different worlds, sir.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: NAS

10-20 webservers would run fine...even off my crappy old Synology. I could probably run 2 mayyyyyybe 4 VDI instances without users screaming too hard. But I can't imagine running a financials DB off of that, or doing windows updates on 10-20 servers simultainiously.

ReadyNASes - in my experience so far - don't provide more than 40-50MB/sec in RAID 5. I guess most of my "small business testlab" needs really do generally require a fully saturated gig-E connection's worth of storage.

That said, they are good NASes, and reasonably cheap. If you don't need 100MB/sec, they are grand. :)

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: No love for AMD?

@P.Lee I haven't run across an AMD chip that can "take" any modern Intel in the same price bracket since the Shanghai Opterons. (Note: I still have rather a lot of Shanghai Opterons!)

I would be happy to be wrong here - I was quite an AMD fan back in the day - but AMD seem to be underperforming, overpriced and with power/thermal requirements that are absolutely embarrassing. Not something I want in my lab; especially if I pay for 'leccy.

That said, I'll test anything that crosses my lab. I just haven't seen a good AMD widget cross it in a good long while. :(

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: NAS

@msage ReadyNAS are SLOW. $ for $, theya re among the slowest and lowest IOPS NASes I have ever worked with. They are rock solid and reliable - I have several, and trust them implicitly - but they are dead, dirt slow.

Great for hosting ISOs. Worthless for hosting VMs proper on.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Asus mainboards?

As stated in the article, I prefer Supermicro motherboards, but have used ASUS extensively over the years. I can't stand Intel-branded motherboards, but have had few issues with Gigabyte.

I have seen no issues (so far) with these Asus boards...at least not at the levels of usage detailed in this article. I have not been able to push the things far enough to get a full 10Gbit symmetrical (using iSCSI) out of them, and am as yet unsure if this is a limitation of the hardware, or a weird limitation of VMWare's ESXi. (I can saturate 2 10Gbit links using SMB 3.0 just fine.)

I have a lot more research to do into that particular issue, but so far I am leaning towards "these motherboards can do anything it says on the tin with no issues whatsoever." I think we're actually so far along in the component design that you have to get up into extended ATX territory - and trying to max out 4+ PCI-E slots - before board manufacturer actually matters anymore.

TL;DR: these boards rock, and I haven't been able to break them, despite trying really, really hard.

I storage vMotioned 50 running VMs from one unit to the other while running in-OS backups on half of them and defrags on the other half, where all the storage was iSCSI.

I think they're good.

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The year GNOMES, Ubuntu sufferers forked off to Mint Linux

Trevor_Pott
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+1

for Fedora + Cinnamon

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Apple supremo Tim Cook's pay packet SLASHED 99% in 2012

Trevor_Pott
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Pint

@Anonymous Bosch

People skills are malleable thing. I can be a perfectly wonderful human being, if I've a reason to be so. I can be a horrible troll. When and if I am in a position where kid gloves and delicate diplomacy are called for, I can - and do - play the game.

The Register's comment threads are not such a place. Quite the opposite; show any sign of weakness and the vicious pack of internet piranha hereabouts will tear you to pieces. Never mistake the persona that an individual chooses to portray in one forum on the internet – in this case quite deliberately - for the native and "natural" approach that individual takes.

What should give you pause is that while I may play the part of the ornery internet troll here on The Register's forums, even that affected persona is far – far – more agreeable than the demonstrated personalities of many top CEOs.

If you knew me personally – if you've interviewed with me, spent time with me at a junket or lived and worked with me in my native frozen habitat – I think you'd find that I am somewhat unlike the persona I portray for the hoi polloi text blocks here in the forums. Oh, I retain the "brutal honesty" trait – that's endemic to my personality and thus something I have trouble weeding out of any "character" I build – and along with that my true nature reflects my online one in that I don't like to mince words.

In reality, however, I'm far more like to listen to opinions and complaints. If for no other reason than that when dealing with an individual who is aught but a random block of text you are able to read more about that individual than their words alone can provide. Body language and voice patterns provide clues by which to judge many things about an individual. You can far more rapidly assess whether that individual is likely to be competent, have opinions/complaints/concerns that are valid or whether they are simply "hysterical individuals."

What I find interesting about this entire thread is the certainty of some individuals that they can pin you down based on what you type in forums like these. We're readers of The Register for $deity's sake! We are supposed to be technologically adept internet sophisticates! We are supposed to understand the complexities not only of the machinery we tinker with but also of the online communities that we frequent!

How many articles have you read that discuss the science of alternate behaviour patterns in online fora? Or group dynamics as it applies to either online or offline scenarios? If you are older than 12 and on this site, you should have encountered dozens – maybe even hundreds – by now.

Forums on websites like The Register aren't carefully constructed, rigidly moderated bastions of academic thought, inclusive cooperation and mutual respect. Far from it! They are cesspools of the worst kinds of egotistical self promotion and partisan vitriol. Anonymity removes people's social inhibitions and you don't tend to get civil discourse.

Unlike some, I accept this as the natural order of things. I may not personally like it – and I have lengthy proposals for changes that could be made to eventually curb this – but I do play the game.

In this case, the game is being a mirror to The Register's community. The Register's commenters have become a community of "me, me, me;" inwardly focused on their own opinions and demanding that all and sundry believe exactly as they do. The past few years have seen this get worse, not better. Everyone enjoys tearing everyone else down whilst maintaining a pretence of individual unassailability, doubly so when individual opinion rather than rationally deconstructable criticism is the topic of discussion.

I find the entire exercise childish and demeaning, doubly so to the writers whom many of The Register's commenttard community seem to feel entitled to mock, berate and belittle.

So I gave up any attempts to be civil or lead by example; and yes I did have a period of trying that. I even had a nice period of simply "walking away" and washing my hands of the for a entirely. That lasted the better part of a year. Ultimately, I decided against both approaches deliberately and with very careful consideration.

If The Register's commenttards choose to act like vacuous children, then I will hold the mirror up to their faces. I will treat them with the same lack of respect they demonstrate for the writers and for their fellow commenttards. I will engage with them – at random, if I can – and argue them down to little trolled-out nubs. Since it is generally the same offenders over and over one of two things will happen, both of which are completely acceptable to me:

1) I will drive off the worst of the piranhas (unlikely).

2) I will vent my personal frustrations in a safe and largely consequence free environment whilst creating a "personality" that commenters on The Register can become polarised towards: love or hate, they can't stop reading, commenting and engaging with (seems to have worked.)

Yes, it's cynical. Yes, it is cold and calculated. What else would you expect? Every single thing I do is calculated and has a purpose. It always has.

If you want to get to know me, and not the character I choose to play you need to step away from The Register a little. A great start would be some of the Q&A interviews that folks have done with me. The first part of the Spiceworks Q&A is out. It should provide a much more realistic view of me, the individual.

The fact that you – or anyone – buys the persona portrayed in these forums as "me" without questioning the lunacy of that should tell you a lot. Of itself, it should start you thinking about human dynamics in online for a…and I use my real name here. Imagine how those dynamics change for those using pseudonyms!

The people that don't think about such things – that simply accept the world at face value – they are the ones that shouldn't be running companies. They are incapable of seeing the wheels within the wheels that are part and parcel of human interaction. Everything from fora persona to business interactions and reading your opponent across a negotiating table.

Cheers, mate.

Have a pint on me.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: @snarf

"you taken a poll as to how many people think you have a good attitude toward others' opinions?"

Several over the years. It is part of how the folks who run the place know they are on track with using snark as part of the schtick that defines the site.

"Or show a measured response to criticism?"

You aren't offering critisism. Only opinion. As to "measured response," you are talking about the website that posts "flame of the week" articles. I think you have mistaken The Register for some other website that tries really hard to make each and every reader feel like a love-wrapped unique snowflake. Maybe you missed all those years of the moderatrix or, well...everything about this site for the past decade or so.

"you are consistently rude and react badly to criticism"

Yes, I am consistently rude. And? Regarding criticism: nah, I handle that appropriately. I do not, however, give any fucks whatsoever about opinions beyond the obvious "this looks like an opening for a good troll" entry. Opinions are irrelevant to me as the individual that has them. If you want me to care about your opinion you must first convince me why I should care about you.

That's the thing about this here internet; it's the great leveller. Who are you? Why should I care? You could be a millionaire or a pauper. You could be a schizophrenic killer or even my wife, trolling me from a smurf account. You could be anyone or noone and that makes the value of the individual opinion impossible to gauge.

People who like to feel as though they somehow matter will argue that we should treat everyone's opinions as though they matter. Those people are consistently unable to explain exactly how one goes about doing so in the face of the reality in which every single topic on earth will produce individuals with divergent opinions.

Go with the majority, they will say; secure that their opinion must. be held by the majority. Individual ego means that the person holding the opinion believes that only those lacking any form of rational thought processes could disagree with them, so the majority must surely be on their side. Unless, of course, they know they hold a minority opinion. Then the argument is about tyranny of the majority and underrepresentation. "Balance" gets hauled out a lot, as does "bias."

Ultimately, what it boils down to is that the "opinion" of an anonymous block of text has no value. Certainly no more value than the opinion of a different, anonymous block of text. It is why I make a clear distinction between criticism and opinion. Criticism can be analysed on merit; the arguments and evidence weighed objectively.

Proponents of the value of opinion have yet to explain to me precisely how one bows to the personal opinion of anonymous blocks of text without alienating the other anonymous blocks of text that disagree. Until such a time as this is explained, I'll stick to careful consideration of criticism and due trolling of opinion.

" Zero fucks given. Moving on."

Well look at that! Several comments in, the lad gets it! This is exactly the appropriate response to encountering an opinion you don't like. Guess what, lads? I managed to achieve some amusement via trolling and taught some random text block on the internet a valuable life lesson about not investing one's sense of self worth in irrelevant blocks of text found on the internet.

Will wonders never cease.

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@snarf

No, I am working under the assumption that the fact that you have a need for self aggrandisement and some pitiful need to feel important doesn't make your personal opinion have more value than mine own. I too am a reader of The Register. I have a different view than you do. Some people agree with you, but the majority of the (growing) readership doesn't.

So to put this more bluntly: opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink. Your opinion is one amongst many; as valid – or invalid – as my own. To attempt to cater to the opinions of the few-but-noisy is – as previously stated – madness.

So yes, criticism can only be taken to be objective analysis backed by evidence here. Subjective anything is nothing more than personal opinion and completely irrelevant.

You aren't a special snowflake. Deal with it.

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@snarf

No, that's how I respond to opinions that are worth less than the paper they aren't printed on. I am quite happy to have productive discussions regarding criticism.

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@law

The very few "gold" posters have an "ignore" option. It seems to work okay; maybe the request to make is "roll that out to everyone?" There has been a lot of debate about it in the non-article forums.

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@snarf

Did I say "any criticism is irrelevant?" No, I said "you can't please everyone, so don't even try." If you try to please everyone you will go mad. There is no one tone, no one attitude no one anything that will please everyone. Make a concession over here to this one very loud – but ultimately very small – group of people and you end up irritating this other group over there.

Believe it or not, people come to The Register for the snark. They come to it for the trolly headlines, the satire and the pisstaking. It's The Register's schtick. There are other websites out there that try for a very neutral, never inflammatory, try oh-so-desperately to make everyone happy tone. There are pro-Apple, and pro-Microsoft; pro-Google and even pro-Oracle blogs. There are sites that treat science reporting properly and those that don't. There are sites that publish opinion columns and those that refuse to.

In short; there is no shortage of diversity in the tech reporting world. This means that the people who read The Register do so because they want to read The Register. We aren't talking about an organisation abusing a monopoly on information distribution to push an agenda here. We are talking about people demanding that MSNBC tech the controversy because they like the tone and word choice Fox News uses to discuss climate change better instead of just changing the fucking channel.

Do I think The Register is perfect? No. I think that the science reporting in particular has some truly appalling representation here and I make a deliberate choice to read Ars Technica to cover those topics instead. By the same token, I read The Register for tech news instead of Ars because I like the snark and the pisstaking that El Reg throws on things.

I prefer the cynical, jaded and even trolly take that the writers and subs alike at El Reg have. I don't like the careful avoidance of controversy that permeates Ars Technica's technical writing, nor the vacuous ass-kissing that magically appears right before a major product launch.

More to the point, if and when I feel that I have an opinion to express regarding the quality, style or tone of the content on The Register I take the time to write a reasonably polite explanation of my views, provide examples and rationale. I send it in and hope that the brass take it into consideration. Most of the time, my comments are ignored – after all, my beliefs regarding things like science reporting obviously aren't doing The Register much harm – and so I do what I always have done: break up where I source my information.

The opinions of readers matter…but the opinions of readers only really matter in aggregate. You aren't important. Get over it. Shockingly, neither am I, nor is any one individual or group of readers. Fucking astonishing, eh?

Criticism – objective analysis of something with evidence to back it up – is always good.

Complaining – subjective whinging about how the information is presented in a manner that offends the sensibilities of a small group of individuals – is worthless.

"You don't share my personal biases" is all we ever hear from commenters. Linux fanboys decry what they see as pro-Microsoft/pro-opensource bias. Microsoft lovers decry what they see as a pro-opensource bias. Apple fanboys decry everything and everyone as against them.

Denliaists whine and complain whenever an article with actual science content emerges, and I complain whenever I see an article written by some twungle ending above the brainstem that either links to wattsup.com or uses 1998 as the start of a graph in a desperate attempt to cherry pick data.

Oh well.

I have written articles tearing Windows 8 a new one and gotten comments/emails from people angry about my pro-Microsoft bias. Figure that one out. I wrote an article about Apple in the Enterprise and had to put up with page after page of e-mails complaining that I was anti-Apple because I didn't praise Apple's native management tools as the be-all and end-all of the universe. So fuck those people with a lacquered bus. It's not like I threw a lab up and spent four months testing that shit or anything. Twunts.

So…your personal feelings? Your sad little prejudices and preconceptions? Zero fucks given. If someone has a valid criticism - that is a factual error or something that they can objectively prove with evidence - I think you'll find people more than willing to listen. (Well, in most cases.)

If, however, all you have is a bunch of bitching about style and tone and how other people who think more or less "just like you" prefer some other website's style/tone…I think you'll get a middle finger and some rolled eyes.

If you want your opinion heard, present it in a manner that will make a writer or editor give some fucks. Otherwise you aren't signal, you're noise.

Happy New Year,

--Some asshole writer on the interbutts.

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@Steve Davies 3

1) You don't need to be a millionaire for your own island. Money determines size and location, but I know several folks with middle class incomes here in Canada who own entire islands. Some of them on nice, freshwater lakes.

2) Buy an Aircraft Carrier? They are smelly. And old. They are miserable to maintain and hard to get into port. Why not buy a decommissioned cruise liner instead? For that matter, why do you need such a large boat? Large boats are harder to defend, and you are anywhere in international waters and have that kind of wonga you are a target. Give me something small and bristling with defences – like a small destroyer – or better yet convert a sub.

3) Solve the national debt of a third world country gives you god status for about 3 seconds. Then they get right back into debt again. Unless you can solve the underlying issues that caused the debt in the first place – I.E. massive economic manipulation by first world nations, lack of natural resources, constant internecine struggles – you are doing nothing except ensuring that some first-world banker somewhere gets a much higher-than-average quarterly bonus.

4) No need to be rich for that; just takes some planning. If you're even in Edmonton, drinks are on me!

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Re: @Sean Timarco Baggaley

"When people hold sites like kotaku in higher regard then you're doing something wrong."

Disagree entirely. If 500 people hold kotaku in higher regard, but 7 million hold The Register in higher regard, then those 500 people aren't relevant. The issue isn't that people are pissy and want things their way, but which people, how many, how relevant are those people and - most critically - how relevant are those people to advertisers.

You can't please everyone all the time. So carve out a niche and try to make a profit from those you can please. You're doing it right if you can make money in your niche and show growth.

Well guess what...

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@SuccessCase

Actually, I trained at The Register school of irreverent humour. Having been - like STB - a reader since 2000. Satire is something else altogether. 7+ million readers and for every single article some number of them are disgruntled?

Colour me shocked.

But it was 6.6M last year, so I'll keep hanging out under my bridge and demanding a tithe for my personal satisfaction of those who pass.

Weeping, wot?

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@sirdigalot

Humans are good at making things warm. If you are cold, you can always put more on. If you are warm, you can only legally take so much off. That, and humans are bad at removing heat from an area.

I'll takethe cold.

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What on earth can anyone actually do with that amount of money?

3 things to mind: ensure personal financial security and retirement. That takes maybe $1M...tops.

You could leverage the money as an investment which could produce more money. At those amounts, that's easy.

You could give it all away.

I could only really see myself engaging in the first option followed by the last. I don't want mansions or yachts. I don't aant limos or planes. I want only to have enough money that I have the financial security and time to write my sci-fi triolgy before I die. I don't need the kind of money Tim Cook makes to do that, though I admit, I'd love to do his job for a decade or so. Not for the money...for the challenge.

:) Cheers!

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Re: @Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Succcesscase The Register has over 7 million readers. there are a few hundred commenters who comment enough to even make bronze.

No, I don't - and won't - take the disvruntled voice of some text to tell me how to do my job. I'll take the aggregate of those voices; are they overall positive about the site are not? And not just comments. Emails to tbe author, survey statistics, and most impotantly of all...do the readershil numbers keep growing?

Guess how representative one - or even a hundred - whingy commenttards are.

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"Lots say they would be willing to sacrifice evenings and weekends for the money but you also have to 'walk the talk'; could you run a division of say 50,000 people such that it makes the amount of money demanded by your CEO?"

Yes.

Oh, and I already put the hours in as a sysadmin, so the idea of being a CEO - and the demands required - are not exactly frightening. Give me enough startup capital and I will turn my company of 3 people into one of 50,000 people with a market cap in the billions in under a decade.

I have the product ideas to get started and I have the schmoozing skills. I have the ability to delegate and the ability to kick ass when needed to make sure that promises are delivered. I can work suppliers and clients, do the negotiations that need be done, be mindful of the details and keep the big picture in mind the whole time. I know when to stick to my guns – and my own vision – and when to accept criticism and outside ideas. I know to surround myself with capable, competent people…all the better if they don't always agree with me.

I've taken the time to learn from others who have gone before and understand that as much as I think I know there is always far – far – more left to learn. I can state with absolute confidence that I believe I could do the job of a Tim Cook or a Steve Ballmer and after having spent years talking to (and researching) CEOs and suits from companies at all stages of the IT game I believe that I have a far better understanding of the demands and stresses placed upon them than most would suspect.

This is what the internet makes possible. This is what unfettered access to information can provide those so interested. I do not have an MBA – I will likely never have one – nor do I live in the correct culture for the knowledge I have obtained to allow me to initiate a startup using venture capital and make a real go of it.

Despite my belief that I do have the skills to bear the burden, reality would like to have a final say in the matter. With my (lack of) relevant educational credentials I would never be considered for a high-ranking position at any established company. Not without a whole lot of "working my way up from the bottom" first; even then, it's a long shot.

With the lack of VC funding availability for tech startups in my region, my own company – and any fancy multi-squillion-dollar ideas I have – will have to be bootstrapped by whatever money I can make writing for outfits like El Reg. (As a supplement to my sysadmin income.) Even if I wanted to try the "start at the bottom of a multinational megacorp" route, there aren't any in my region, and few want to hire teleworking types for anything other than sales engineers.

I could move. If I moved to Silicon Valley – we'll bypass discussions about the infeasibility of this given the American immigration system – I could walk into any number of companies and make 3x what I do now. The real question is: is it worth it do so?

Today, I live in the third best city in the world. Behind only Berlin and Zurich. Indeed, there are 3 Canadian cities in the top 10 – no American – and 4 Canadian cities sit above 14th place San Francisco. I have friends and family here; my wife's roots are tied up in this city as well. Making the case to leave here for there is hard.

3x the income to start would – just – offset the increased cost of living. American health care is barbaric and the culture toxic. I could probably climb the greasy pole and make my millions…but what does that get me, really? A life of guaranteed perpetual stress? If not from running some company then from continually trying to figure out how to optimally manage my cash; cash which everyone will want a piece of. I wouldn't have the crippling personal debt I have now, true…but it seems to me my financial worries would be far from over.

Would I get out to the gym more, do you think? Would there be time? Would I have more time for my friends? My family? Would I be able to have a more positive impact on the world in some way? Maybe to all of the above…then again, maybe not.

I would run a company if someone asked. I would ask for $200,000 a year in salary and no stock options. I would insist that I be allowed to live here, in my home. I'd fly/drive down for relevant meetings/negotiations that cannot be done by telepresence. I'd do a job, get paid enough to pay my debts off and focus less on personal glorification and more on doing the job I'm tasked with well.

Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a place for that. More's the pity. Instead, I'll put my time and effort into growing my own small company into something that can indeed pay me $200,000 a year. It's really all I need or want. It would make my financial worries go away and I can live where I am happy.

So I'm me. I'm not special, but I honestly believe I am up to the job in question. I'm one guy amongst over 7 million readers of this fine magazine…what do you suppose the chances a few others are equally – if not more so – capable of rising to the occasion?

Modern CEOs are overpaid for the jobs they do. This overpayment doesn't earn you the best for the job, merely the most sociopathic. If you want to find someone who will be a good CEO for your company, don't look for the man craving power, attention and money. Find the ones who understand the language of business, the details of the industry you are in – in this case tech – and weigh the various options in front of them seeking balance.

They will be the ones who plan for rainy days, have contingency plans, don't overextend and actually retain some semblance of pride in their work. I daresay I'd be more comfortable with some of the more pragmatic commenttards on El Reg running the show than the folks who actually do at most of these joints.

Cheers.

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Re: @Sean Timarco Baggaley

STB has been around long enough to know better. I am going to chalk this up to "Other things in his life making him more irritable than normal." When that happens - to you, to me, to him - it comes out in the comments. His comments were unnecessary and way over the top, but they clearly represent something that bugs him.

Fair enough.

The Register walks a fine line between "irreverent humour" which is what defines it and maintaining some semblance of professionalism. In this particular instance, Chris was not over the top. He coloured in within the lines and didn't deserve to be pooped on.

By the same token, there's no need for any of us to pile on STB and make whatever bee is in his diapers even more angry. Instead, how about we try this:

STB; your comments were over the top and out of character for you. It seems something might be bugging you that has nothing at all to do with this article. How can your fellow commenttards help?

If nothing else, here's another beer icon for STB: I hope he takes the time to have one or two IRL.

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@Sean Timarco Baggaley

You know what man? The article was fine. The tone was fine. It was sarcastic and trolly and excellent. Apple folks get trolled on this one, Linux folks somewhere else...I think I've trolled the Microsoft dudes more than a few times myself.

But you know what, the guy you are pissing on is a kernel programmer who uses Macs, Linux and so forth. He's a good guy personally, and a fantastic writer. More to the point, he knows his readership quite well and his successful troll was successful.

This is The Register. We take the piss out of everything. You got hurt feelers? Zero fucks given. It's not that any of us particularly hate Apple/Microsoft/Linux/Google/Whatever, but that we are pragmatic jaded types that distrust everyone equally and enjoy watching commenters squirm.

The article got the information across and it made you blow up in the comments. I'd say that's mission accomplished.

Have a beer and chill out.

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Chill out, biz barons... your new IT system might not look like the old one

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Trevor Pott is a Bad Person and should be eaten by vendors -- @jake:

@bluegreen, oh, I was having a poke at more than just Windows 8...

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Trevor Pott is a Bad Person and should be eaten by vendors - expert

I demand an operating system with the ability so easily see and navigate between applications that are open. Like multiple overlapping windows and some sort of like a taskbar? Maybe with some sort of hierarchical application discovery system. A menu? Also a way to promote frequently used applications to an easier-to-launch state. A quick launch of some variety?

Seems to be damned near impossible for modern operating system providers to deliver. Oh well, I'll keep on being "overly prescriptive" with my IT suppliers in an attempt to maintain a workflow that works for me, even if that means changing the suppliers in question.

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Review: Kingston Hyper-X 3K 240GB SSD

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Re: RAID and TRIM?

If you use Windows RAID you get RAID and TRIM. Modern RAID cards will either do TRIM, or they will handle the data internally in a manner such that the TRIM command is actually not required - it's all about how big the data blobs are that get send to each drive and so forth.

The new LSI controllers are SSD-aware and deal with thigns in an appropriate manner. I think (?) the new Adaptecs do so as well...

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Re: @ Trevor

Windows RAID 5. Yes, yes, I know, Windows RAID - esp RAID 5 - is poo. I just don't have the money for a hardware RAID card right now. If I did, it would be an LSI MegaRAID SAS9280-16i4e no questions asked. Best damned RAID card I've ever touched, does RAID "bloody everything" and could use the 8x Hyper-X drives as a block-level cache array to front end a whole lot of spinning rust.

When I get more money...

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XD Egg --> Face.

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Re: Great Screwdriver!

I will buy one and see if they are the same. If so, that's awesome. Also raises questions about where they are getting the cheap 'leccy....

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Re: Run out of RAM?

I don't even think I own a system without 8GB of RAM in mainstream use. Besides which, even BF3 lives comfortably inside 3GB. Most modern games don't (can't?) breach the 32-bit barrier. So no...my system basically doesn't swap.

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Re: Great Screwdriver!

@sandtitz

We'll we're a month into abusing 8 of the beasties, and no failures yet. Here's hoping!

I doubt they cost as little as $5. The refined aluminium that makes up the screwdriver would have cost more in electricity to deoxidise than $5. They are bloody bullets. That said, I could see $10 or $15 at a unit; solid little widgets. I will investigate similar devices with more heads.

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Re: It's the quick and rather silly way to build it, really...

Your solution requires that I spend money out of my own pocket that I worked hard for on something made by OCZ.

No fucking way..

Beyond that, the PCIe Flash solutions offer limited amounts of storage for the money; when I look at the truly negiligable IOPS gains verus my Hyper-X solution and it's far larger capacity, I think I made the right call.

Plus, I'm not counting on OCZ. *spit*

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Re: Fast Drives?

You can get 500MB/sec under very specific circumstances. I was purposefully testing the drives under far less than optimal conditions. I don't care about perfectly formatted access patterns. I care about real world use patterns.

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Re: Never again

@13:07 I have to wonder if that was sue to some of the more infamous southbridge bugs and BIOS-level incompatibilities with SSDs that were common back in the day. I could read you textbooks worth of complaints against OCZ's consumer SSDs, but I've yet to encounter an error with Intel or Kingston.

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Re: Great Screwdriver!

Seriously, the screwdriver is awesome. It's hard to explain unless you've tinkered with it, but in terms of "portable screwdrivers that clip into your pocket" I've not encountered better. I think more thought went into that damned screwdriver than OCZ put into their entire line of consumer SSDs. I have no idea where Kingston sourced that screwdriver, but I want to find out so I can buy many.

Good bit of marketing/end-user satisfaction. Whomever thought that up deserves a raise.

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Re: Never again

@Nate Amsden

A month is really too early to tell on the reliability front, but I've been beating these things like a rented mule for the duration of that month and they've help up well.

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Re: Pictures

I put the vulture logo in because I had some fun burning things with frikkin laser beams and thought it might be fun to toss in. The camera used was that of a Samsung Galaxy S II. Someone nicked the Canon 5D I normally keep around.

Apologies for hurting your feelers by adding things involving frikking laser beams; I don't care who copies the images, and have several more crappy camera shots if you want.

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Red-faced, sweating and still in your chair: Welcome to eSports

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Re: IRC?

You are correct; but we were already 1500 words over budget. Many things got left out, sadly. :(

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Re: "They must invest heavily in their equipment"

Josh can demolish me at Quake with a shitty 1Ghz single-core notebook and a touchpad. That doesn't mean he'd survive using that rig against similarly competent players. When you are playing against people of roughly equal skill, the quality of your equipment can and does make the difference.

So yeah, you'll get walked on by a pro using shitty equipment…but you obviously aren't good enough to kick ass and take names at Dreamhack. The kind of people that are? Milliseconds matter. Go talk to John Carmack about it. He has a lot to say on the subject; a lot of it's on Youtube. His biggest quest right now is to reduce display latency, as input latency issues have mostly been solved.

"Monster NICs" were a fallacy…but input and display latency are real issues for high-end twitch gamers.

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It MUST be the END of the WORLD... El Reg man thanks commentards

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Re: Heat? Bah!

I was in Phoenix a couple of months ago. The tarmac melted to my shoes. I was deeply unimpressed. I'll take snow any day.

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Re: Cold

A few more months, and we'll be melting in 35c here too. Summer sucks. :(

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