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* Posts by Trevor_Pott

3627 posts • joined 31 May 2010

NASA to programmers: Save the Earth and fatten your wallet

Trevor_Pott
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Dinosaurs didn't have a space program and look what happened to them.

They're still around. There's bloody billions of the things. Some of them - such as the family Corvidae - are damned near as smart as we are.

It isn't asteroids we should be worried about, it's the slow death of the Sun. It might sound stupid - the Sun is supposed to have a few billion years left - but it's not. There are maybe a billion years of habitability left on Earth. Long before the Sun expands into a red giant and blasts the atmosphere off this rock it will have been completely sterilized. Several estimates have the planet able to sustain truly complex, intelligent life for 300-400 million years at best.

In geological context, that isn't all that long. That's one more mass extinction cycle. Or one more "largeish quantities of Algea into fossil fuels" cycle, to be more precise. It's this latter that matters.

You see, the biggest issue is that fossil fuels are of finite supply. They represent the densest chemical energy source we know of and they are an absolute bitch to manufacture synthetically. Simply put: if you want to put a rocket into space fossil fuels represent the most efficient method we know of.

Once fossil fuels are gone humanity will be facing a pretty big energy crisis. How will we generate the kind of power necessary to run our ever-increasingly-power-consuming society, let alone blast payloads into orbit?

Going out into space with enough people and equipment to begin a space-faring civilization is going to take sending up a lot of material. The geopolitical realities of our species make a continent-long rail gun highly unlikely, we're hundreds (if not thousands) of years away from orbital tether technology and an energy-starved future humanity isn't going to be all that inclined to spare the power necessary for the electrolysis of $stupid quantities of hydrogen or the purification of $stupid quantities of aluminum.

(Don't say "nuclear will save us" because A) people are dumb, stupid, panicky animals and I doubt they'll ever be able to overcome the conditioning of "OMG RADIATION" so they'll cut off their nose to spite their face on that regard. B) Even if we did suddenly start to grasp basic science and accept that fission is a safe form of energy there simply isn't enough fuel to sustain our society at present technology levels matching projected demands for all that long.)

If we are ever going to get out into space with enough people and enough equipment to master the stars the time is now. Now while energy is cheap. When it can be pulled out of the ground in ready-to-use form, densely packed and easy to implement. This time will not come again for our species.

By the time there is enough fossil fuel recreated by natural processes on Earth humanity will be dead and gone and buried. Dusts of the ages and extinct a long, long time ago. Will earth birth another space-capable race in time to use that fuel? The chances aren't good...and there's really only the one more chance after us.

It is comforting to think that the Universe is teeming with life; that even our own small galaxy abounds with multiple life-bearing planets. It is comforting to believe in this because it removes from us the burden of seeding the Universe with the only known life to exist: Earth's.

Humanity will die. Earth will die. Eventually, even our Sun will die...and none of that is all that far away. Personally, I think it would be a cosmically reprehensible shame if life itself died with our planet. It would be an unimaginable tragedy if it was our own shortsightedness that meant that the only species known to have ever existed to be capable of spreading this fluke of chemistry to the stars failed to do so.

I believe that the only purpose of life is the continuation of life itself. It isn't about the continuation of our lineage, or even our species. The stakes are bigger than that. It is about ensuring that life manages to outlast the stars themselves; that the Universe is given purpose beyond mere existence by the fact that life still exists to experience it's wonders.

Our time is now. It may never come again. If Earth is, in truth, the only place in the universe where life arose - and until we have solid confirmation it exists elsewhere we must assume this to be true - then we must take advantage of what we have and act. Hie thee to the stars, earthkin; we have a duty to the universe itself to spread the seeds of experience before the brief candle of our existence is blown out.

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Will the blighters pay this time? Betting big on developers

Trevor_Pott
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Re: The oldest swinger in town

"Value for money" is a dirty phrase in the IT industry today.

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Trevor_Pott
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Well, Americans probably don't have to worry about economic espionage by the NSA. Anyone else, however, is probably better off not putting their crown jewels in the hands of the yanks.

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Hubble 'scope snaps 200,000-ton chunky crumble conundrum

Trevor_Pott
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Dude...are you smoking timecubes?

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Wanted: Virtual Steve Jobs to tell us one more thing about VSAN

Trevor_Pott
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Hat's off

Ammaross, hat's off to you and your folks. You guys have put in truly stupendous amounts of time responding to the VSAN thing. Twitter has been absolutely full of DataCore folks since before the launch. I still think SimpliVity's response was the smoothest, but you guys sure showed the flag.

Good effort, and good luck!

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German freemail firms defend AdBlock-nobbling campaign

Trevor_Pott
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Re: /sigh

Go read the comments section of that article on Ars and you'll see my response. I was absolutely not fond of the fact that it came without warning, but I bought an Ars subscription and held it for quite some time. Their science reporting was the best on earth, and well worth the money.

When I eventually swore off Ars forever the reason was that I had - and have - some significant moral objections to how they handled the discovery that Snowden was one of their commenters. Their actions were not remotely "okay", a far greater moral issue for me than the concept that they want to be paid for their work.

To save you the trouble of hunting down my responses, my view on the issue is this:

Ars has a history of doing things that could under most circumstances be if not "cool", then at least justifiable...but executing them in such a godawful way as to alienate their own core readership.

How they handled subscriptions was a fantastic example. The rationale "we want to be paid for our work" was entirely understandable. The out of nowhere blocking with inclusion of nasty message was not. They could have engaged their readers over the period of a few weeks. Let us know what was coming down the pipe, eased us into the idea then initiated the block. That would have caused less of an explosive reaction.

It's like they get all the hard things right (science reporting) and screw up all the easy bits (applying the bast 150 years of science in group dynamics to manage a readership.) How you handle people matters. While I agree with Ars' reasoning, their approach in that instance was uncool.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: "Merely...make money"

"If you don't want adverts on your web pages, start *PAYING* for the services you use."

To start: fuck you. With a bronzed goat. Sideways. Covered in a lovely capsaicin and piperine salve. Just so that I can set the tone of my complete and utter contempt for your position.

When and where the opportunity to pay for a service is offered, I'll gladly do so. I will not allow advertisements through. If a website has a problem with that they can offer me the option of paying a subscription or of simply denying service altogether to those who use privacy and anti-malware defenses such as adblock, noscript and so forth.

The information has been published. I am within my right to make a derivative work. Just like I'm within my right to cut up TIME magazine, apply some glue and glitter and make art. The difference is merely one of result: Instead of arts and crafts I am protecting my privacy and preventing my system from getting pwned by malware. It has the added benefit of protecting myself from the increasingly sophisticated psyops that is modern marketing.

My rights to privacy, security and independence of thought come before the highly dubious and outright outrageous "rights" of commercial entities to claim copyright on the rendered output of a webpage.

If you want me to stop you are going to have to kill me, because that is the only way I will cease and desist using privacy and security protections on the internet. You can send men with guns to my house to attempt to drag me away on trumped up charges. I will not comply.

I do not recognize the authority of any entity - neither person nor government - to tell me that I must suborn my privacy, security and independence of thought to the "right" of a corporation to make money. It is so completely unethical that standing up against that concept is something I consider worth dying for.

A world where law can dictate what people must see? A world where the individual is tracked by government and corporation through every interaction of their life? A world where it is legal for corporations and governments to spend billions on researching and developing the most complex models and techniques for individual and group manipulation that has ever been developed and where it is illegal for an individual to defend themselves against this manipulation?

That's a fucking dystopia. One I refuse to help build. It is a world I absolutely do not countenance and one I will fight against with every tool at my disposal.

Fortunately, the best way to fight against this particular psypocalype is to spread knowledge. The free flow of information, tools, techniques and technologies are the greatest threat to the clowns who believe they have the right to tell the rest of the world what to think, what to say, what to do and what to believe.

If you want to get paid, put a script on the site that detects adblock and throws up a paywall to those users. You offer a good or service and you receive money in return. That's fair and just. Demanding our privacy, security and independence of thought as payment for anything is neither.

So with that, I return to my original statement: fuck you. With a bronzed goat. Sideways. Covered in a lovely capsaicin and piperine salve. And that goes douuble for the rest of the entitled fucks who believe the same as you. Our privacy, security and minds are not your playthings...and you've no right to ask for them in payment for anything.

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Hey doc, what's the PC's prognosis? A. Long-term growth below zero

Trevor_Pott
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Re: PCs are now workstations?

Bingo. And people aren't refreshing their professional workstations for several reasons.

1) What they have is good enough.

2) Nothing is really compelling enough to trigger an upgrade asynchronously of system death.

3) Professionals don't want Fisher Price toy operating systems

4) The transition to the far more expensive "cloud" versions of software is not enticing. doubly so because this is just paying more money so that DRM can be added, without providing anything of value to the customer.

5) Once burned, twice shy: what value is there to the customer in buying into the new "perpetual upgrade" your-wallet-as-a-service PC ecosystem when new software versions regularly ship with undesired and undesirable changes?

While this doesn't cover everyone, of course, I think by now it's pretty safe to say that the majority of PC users are quite happy with what we've got for PCs and simply aren't enticed by the new stuff on offer.

At some point, you need to admit that you've reached Peak Hammer. Trying to reinvent the hammer isn't going to shift more hammers. You'll still sell hammers, but the design isn't going to evolve much. Hammers will be chosen based on quality and price and that's it.

You can go forth an invent the jackhammer, but that's a fundamentally different device. You can invent the screw and screw driver, but again, it's a fundamentally different device with a different purpose.

There's also the point where we need to accept that the screw driver and hammer are destined to be two different devices. You don't build a house with a leatherman. Markets evolve. You can't slap multiple tools together and hope you can keep your margins high. When you've reached peak hammer then it's time to accept margins on that tool will evaporate. You need to diversify: make a diversity of tools and make up the margin loss in volume.

Or, get the hell out of tool manufacturing all together and move on to something else. Either way, the halcyon days of short refresh cycles, mass shipments and high margins are behind hte PC industry. They won't be coming back.

Like the hammer, if you want to sell this common professional tool you are now going to have to compete on quality and price. Which, to put it bluntly, means Microsoft's PC division is pretty much fucked.

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Confirmed: New Microsoft strategy boss advised President Clinton, ex-UK PM Blair

Trevor_Pott
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Statistics-driven design is what gave us Metro. How's that working out so far?

Microsoft needs to do one thing if they want to win hearts and minds: obey Wheaton's Law. Statistics won't tell you this because statistics can only give you information on things you've actually tried. Worse, statistics can be bent and twisted to support any agenda.

Microsoft is fucked. Statistics-based strategy is what got them into this mess int he first place. What they need to do is sit down with their critics and engage with them on a real, human level. Understand their grievances and instead of trying to explain to them why they are somehow wrong and they need to change their thinking to meet Microsoft's strategy...change Microsoft's strategy to be more compatible with the evolving needs of real people.

I had high hopes for Nadella. He was one of the few Microsoft folks who truly seemed to grok the concept that people were not just numbers on a ledger. I am distraught to be proven so wrong.

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Microsoft to get in XP users' faces with one last warning

Trevor_Pott
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Re: When you threaten Meetup, it's blackmail...

1) Windows 3.1 "multitasking" was Metro-class garbage. "Most people" need multitasking. Windows 95, OTOH, is just fine. (Well, OS2 is just fine. It didn't crash all the damned time.) People also need APP SUPPORT. That means Windows XP at a minimum today. Decent browser, VLC, a few other things. That said, if you could load all that up on Windows 95, hey, it'd be more than good enough.

2) You aren't allowed to make mistakes, peon. There are an unlimited number of people waiting to take your job. Get back to work, work doubly hard and I'll fire your ass at will anyways.

3) No, I can't get support by giving MS money. They have minimum numbers of systems and the floor price is extortionate. I'd gladly pay MS the cost of the OS all over again to get another 3 years. Hell, if MS want me to pay them $150/seat every three years to keep XP going forever, I'd gladly do it.

I don't think anyone has an objection in the slightest to paying MS a fair price for ongoing maintenance. MS doesn't offer maintenance to everyone and what they do offer is not remotely "fair".

I don't care how much Microsoft desperately want me to buy Windows 8.1 and use Azure for all things. It isn't going to fucking happen.

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Jobless mum claims Spanish councillor told her to 'go on the game'

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Rob Ford

I think it says something about the quality of Canada's "political class" that even our most coked out joke of a politician can balance a budget. The US deficit is what again? For all his antics and addiction, I'd take Ford over 95% of the other politicians I've ever read about in other nations any day.

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In spinning rust we TRUST: HGST slips out screamingly fast ... HDD

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Price?

First off, I said it was anecdotal. Secondly, I listed specific manufacturers which had done me well. others - such as OCZ - have not. In fact, I have now a 240% failure rate with OCZ. (Of a few hundred units in the field.) That's right, I have had so many OCZ drives fail that the RMA replacements in some cases unto the fourth replacement have failed.

I am also using the SSDs I quoted in situations far more punishing than any desktop. I am using them in server workloads - including supporting multiple production databases - in RAID arrays. If you know a bent damn about disks you know that using them in RAID brings layers of additional complication (such as array rejection, timeouts, rebuild, etc) that go beyond the lifespan of an individual disk.

So yes, my evidence is entirely anecdotal, but it provides you specific models from specific manufacturers as well as an idea of workload and provisioning arrangement. That should be enough to start looking for corroborating evidence from others to determine if the models and manufacturers in question are trustworthy. (Hint: Micron and Intel absolutely are. They share a joint fab and make the best flash in the industry.)

You are basically writing off an entire technology because of some bad desktop trials of what I am assuming are consumer drives. From the sounds of it, no very good ones at that.

There is a world of difference between consumer SSDs and enterprise drives. eMLC is a hell of a lot more resilient than standard MLC and SLC is even better still. If you - or your DBA - are so prejudiced against a technology that you will grasp at any negatives possible for an excuse not to use it, then go hard and have fun.

To be blunt about it: your irrational prejudice means that there is more of a precious resource available for the rest of us. You go, fret about your inability to keep SSDs working in workstations. I'll run them in my servers and I'm never looking back.

It does, however, strike me that not all anecdotal evidence is equal. Nor are all trials or tests. Bear one thing in mind about all of this: my personal economic incentive is to find a problem with products.

If I could prove that even one model from one manufacturer was conclusive shit - let's put OCZ to one side because everyone knows the vertexes are complete shit - then I get to write an exclusive expose and put a nice fine feather in my cap. Writing articles that say "it does what it says on the tin" aren't exactly exciting, nor prestigious. So I go out of my way to find problems; I look for corner cases and I test things beyond the redline wherever possible. Hell, IOsafe wanted me to test one of their NASes so I lit it on fire.

This is what I do for a living. So it could be that maybe - just maybe - if I can't break the damned things, then not all of them out there are shit. It's all anecdotal, of course. It's not like there are entire multi-billion dollar industries pretty much running on flash (all flash, tiered or hybrid) which could serve as additional case studies to back up my lab results.

Oh wait...

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Price?

How about this for anecdotal evidence?

1) I've brutally punished my Intel 520 480GB SSDs for over a year without a hitch. By brutally punished I mean "ran IOmeter and SQL bench on the things in every configuration imaginable." Because it's my job to do so.

2) I've been testing-to-destruct with a Micron P420m PCI-E SSD for about 6 months now and the thing isn't even past 1% write lifetime used. As near as I can tell it's actually made out of indestructible.

3) I've run my Kingston Hyper-X 3K 240GB SSDs (8 disks in RAID 5) in production (they support about 50 VMs ranging from SQL servers to VDI) for over a year now and they have proven themselves to be entirely reliable. They are at approximately 10% of write life used.

I've had consumer SSDs in production for about three years, no real grief. Some dead disks, but no more than mechanical drives. Enterprise SSDs do a thing consumer ones don't: when the enterprise SSD turns into a pumpkin it goes into read-only mode, which lets you get your data off. Consumer ones just die.

As you say, hyper-conservative types will need more time in the field before they trust the technology, as they don't trust anything until after the entire rest of the industry has moved on to something else entirely. But to say that the only evidence for trusting SSDs at this point is "it runs good on my home system" is bunkum.

These things are in real servers, in production...and not giving any more crap than mechanical drives.

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Satya Nadella shakes up Microsoft, appoints 'Scroogled' man Mark Penn as strategy chief

Trevor_Pott
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Re: About as popular as ...

:( I like turtles. If I found a turtle in my bathtub I'd be quite happy, and go pull one of the spare enclosures off the shelf and set him/her up an environment. I wonder if he/she'd get along with the bearded dragon...

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Trevor_Pott
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"Based on state-of-the-art research and data tools, the campaigns aim to inspire our customers, incite our fans and turn around doubters."

I don't suppose they've considered "not being dicks" as a strategy?

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Microsoft dangles carrot at SMEs, eases Windows 8 Enterprise licensing

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Rearranging chairs

So Windows 8 has almost reached the same % of the population as prefer to be the "submissive" in BDSM bedroom play. You'll pardon me if I think it won't be making big gains past that number.

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Trevor_Pott
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and then what will people use when 7 is end of life?

Win 7 EOL is 2020. Looking at the economy, my guess is "slaves." Manpower will be cheap enough - and Microsoft licensing so expensive and convoluted - by 2020 that it will actually be cheaper to just pick up a bunch of wetware and whip them repeatedly. Maybe they're more error prone than using a PC and some software to write your TPS reports, but the labour/licensing delta will mean you can just throw several hundred slaves at every TPS report and one of 'em will inevitably get it right.

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Software needs meaty cores, not thin, stringy ARMs, says Intel

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Trevor Pott

" if you've attempted parallel processing on any larger scale, you would notice that getting the system to run efficiently, given a limited memory bandwidth, is a major task and often crucial for deployment on any cloudy distributed platform."

Absolutely true, which is exactly why I don't think "fat cores" is the answer. On my HPC-like applications I run into real issues with memory bandwidth on the local node, let alone bandwidth for message-passing between nodes. Now, the new A3Cube PCI-E fabric might help a little on the inter-node stuff, but local to the host? We still need a hell of a lot more memory bandwidth per core.

Even in "standard" virtualisation loads I hit the wall on memory bandwidth. Things like Atlantis ILIO using RAM as a cache for VDI will wreck the memory bandwidth available, leaving those big, meaty cores gasping.

Give me stringy cores with fat RAM pipes any day. All the CPU muscle in the world is worth exactly nothing if I can't feed the damned things. That means RAM, it means storage IOPS and it means network fabric. CPU oomph just doesn't appear on my radar, excepting for the most carefully-tuned (and hence exceptionally rare) applications. There are just too many other bottlenecks that need addressing first.

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Trevor_Pott
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Actually, I do have the maximum memory installed for the motherboards in question. Nor am I saying that everyone is the same OMFGWTFBBQ!!!111!!11oneoneone.

I do, however, have this tenancy to pay attention to the world around me, and I have noticed that people who fund the CPU a bottleneck are the exception, not the rule. What's more, of those who do find the CPU the bottleneck, the overwhelming majority of them rewrite their code for a GPU, custom ASIC or otherwise move to non-CPU silicon.

This is the era of custom chip, bub. Big, fat, meaty CPUs are just not needed by the majority...and for the kinds of reasons I stated above.

But hey, get your panties in a bunch because you are incapable of parsing things excepting as absolutes and extremes. You must be a blast at parties.

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Trevor_Pott
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Okay. I also have nodes with 2x Intel Xeon 8 Core E5-2680 CPUs, 128GB RAM/host, 2x Intel 520 480GB SSDs and 2x 10GbE Links. Across the average day the cumulative CPU usage is less than 10%. In fact, it only ever hits 80% for about 30 minutes a day.

Methinks the bottleneck be not the CPU. Not for me, and - quite frankly - not for most folks.

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Trevor_Pott
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The world needs Xeons, eh?

Then why do my 6-year-old AMD Shanghai servers sit below 50% CPU utilization even when their VM capacity is completely maxed out? CPU isn't the bottleneck, Intel. RAM, and IOPS are.

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IM demo for TOR coming soon

Trevor_Pott
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And that, sir, is the question. Which is exactly why all nations - including our own - are very big on making people feel like encryption will get them in shit. I start by installing hte HTTPS everywhere Firefox plugin everywhere I can. When I have the opportunity, I do more. It's all I know to do. What ideas do you have?

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Trevor_Pott
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By encrypting everything. In this day and age no traffic should be unencrypted as no government can be trusted. The more traffic is encrypted the less encrypted traffic stands out. The less encrypted traffic stands out the more secure are our right to free speech, affiliation and assembly.

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Fed chairwoman casts doubt on Bitcoin regulation in the US

Trevor_Pott
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Re: wait...

The people are now the enemy of the government, (as opposed to the government working on behalf of and at the sole discretion of the people). Where have you been the last 30 years?

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Evil or benign? 'Trusted proxy' draft debate rages on

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I need to ask the obvious question

I don't care about edge caching. I pay the ISPs money so that they continually and constantly upgrade their network. Not so that they pocket every dollar they can and provide the minimum possible service.

If you want to create a protocol that enables edge caching you create a protocol where content requested from a central source is redirected to an edge cached source and the stream encrypted from there. It should be one in which the request, the data and the transport are all encrypted.

This requires the active participation of all three parties: data provider, cache provider, and requester. The requester sends an encrypted request for data from the data provider. The data provider receives the request and informs the cache provider that it has received a request with the following hash. The cache provider then determines if it A) has that data in it's cache, B) wants that data to cache or C) if the data provider should provide the data directly.

If A) then the encrypted data is serves to the requester from the cache provider. If B) the data is sent to the cache provider from the data provider who then sends that data to the requester. If C), the data provider sends the data to the requester directly.

In this manner "what data is requested" as well as the content are never made visible to the data cache provider, nor to the spooks. Everything in encrypted end to end and only the data provider and the requester know what information is being exchanged.

If this is to technically or politically difficult to implement then we simply should not be using caching, full stop.

The security and privacy of citizens is of far greater importance than the profits of the ISP. Nothing on the internet should be unencrypted. Ever.

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Trevor_Pott
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I need to ask the obvious question

Why is there any aspect of the HTTP2 specification that is unencrypted? Why are we even creating protocols that use anything other than strong encryption for any traffic whatsoever?

Encryption in flight, encryption at rest and disaggregated, decentralized key exchange or just go the fuck home. It's 2014. The time for unencrypted data transmission is long past.

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Apple to maintain phone profit lead through years of 'enormous transition' – report

Trevor_Pott
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Re: History says otherwise

If you think for a second that Apple are betting the future of their company on mobiles you're a [puppies] [rainbows].

Apple's next jaunt will be into home robotics, mark my words. Mobile devices will be around for some time - you can still buy an iPod, eh? - but Apple are at work on the next high-margin thing. That means "lifestyle devices" (read: portable medical units and "the quantified self" widgets) as well as home robotics.

Similarly, Google has invested $stupid into robotics recently, and the old rivalry will continue.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is poised to become a third-rate power in a market that peaked 12 months ago. Rock on!

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Tesla wants $1.6bn to help fund $5bn TOP SECRET Gigafactory

Trevor_Pott
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Re: New large mfg factory in US

Yeah, it seems globalization has managed to what it was intended to do: drive the cost of Western labour down to Chinese prices (in part by raising the cost of Chinese labour) while dramatically increasing the volume and relative % of money flowing to the top 1% of individuals. All it took to make America competitive on the international labour market again was massive nation-wide unemployment and doubling the wealth gap.

This is a clear victory for the free market and tea party voters everywhere.

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NASA could have averted near DROWNING TERROR in SPACE

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Read the damn report before blowing off

"i sincerely hope that they checked everything that could have caused the problem with the suit but can't believe that they got all of them."

They got all of the things the very best minds on our planet could think of...which is all that anyone rational can ask.

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Q&A: Schneier on trust, NSA spying and the end of US internet hegemony

Trevor_Pott
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"I estimate that I am at somewhat more risk should that information fall into the hands of unscrupulous private parties...under that rubric, I trust the US a bit more than Russia."

Wow, in no way do we think alike here. While I agree there is a very critical threat model of personal information getting into the private sector (where it will be abused), I view the USA as far more likely to loose this info than Russia. Russia might sell some info to the mob, but the USA will make selling it legal.

If the mob gets your credit card, you are inconvenienced and you get a new card. The bank reimburses you because their security was breached.

If the USA sells all your info to insurance companies, suddenly you find you can't be covered for anything, ever, without forking over $_virgins. Meanwhile every advertising company on the planet has your full psychological profile and are able to coerce you into buying things you don't need using methodologies custom-tailored so that you cannot resist.

The USA is a far bigger threat with mass data than Russia. Hoodlums - organized or not - can be dealt with. Banks, insurance companies, and advertisers powerful enough to buy up the world's supply of group psychology PhDs cannot.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Why all the fear?

I have been interrogated in the room with the overly bright lights every single time I've crossed the US border in the past few years. And I'm a nobody.

There's a reason people are afraid of giving unlimited power to those who have no need for it.

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Trevor_Pott
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I have to agree. I go into the US for conferences. I go into the UK for same. I live here at home. I have nothing to do with China or Russia nor do I ever expect to. If China and Russia want to spy on me, I'm perfectly okay with that.

The US, however, I'm not okay with. I have to go through their border patrol. Those guys are the bottom of the barrel to begin with, but they have absolute power. They decide based on their gut instinct and fuck all else the course of the rest of your life. I'm not okay with the USA spying on everything I do just so they can present some information to their overworked, underpaid and undereducated border guards to take completely out of context.

China spying on me doesn't impact my life at all. The USA spying on me can ruin it.

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50,000 women knocked up by big data, wearable tech, crowds and cloud

Trevor_Pott
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Re: That's a laugh,

"You won't laugh when the British are extinct, and they declare Sharia law in the UK."

Why do "the British" need to survive? What about their genetics is (more) worth of propagation than that of another group?

As for culture, no empire lasts forever. Even were the whole world to be united under Sharia law some day, eventually that too would pass and humanity would evolve, adapt and move on. Your xenophobia is so small, so petty...it's nonsensical when viewed from a time horizon of centuries, let alone millenia.

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Your CIO is now a venture capitalist and you work at their startup

Trevor_Pott
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Re: "legacy systems effectively impose a debt on an organisation"

You think financial systems. I think industrial control systems. When your industrial hardware is 35 years old then a 35 year old piece of software is still entirely fit for purpose.

Comparing the Allan key to the socket wrench doesn't help much in the real world. IT is huge. So many tools exist, each for their own purposes and each with their own lifespans. I need to replace drill bits on a regular basis; some times several times a year. But that old clawhammer that my dad bought when he was a teenager still works exactly as intended.

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UK citizens to Microsoft: Oi. We WANT ODF as our doc standard

Trevor_Pott
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Re: @Mark65

"but if every other bastard is using Office and I need my documents to come out formatted exactly as intended (some formatting I've seen is just ridiculous)"

Then you have a defined business requirement. One that - quite frankly - will never be met. I have cranked stuff out of Office 2013 that isn't properly read by Office 2013 on the computer sitting right beside the originator. Office and Libreoffice do indeed have rendering errors between them...but so do Office and Office as well as Libreoffice and Libreoffice.

Quite frankly, I think you are using a completely impossible requirement to justify purchasing software. If formatting matters use HTML. That's what it's there for. Your content is independent of your styles and it's easier to beat into shape when a render engine does something stupid.

Or just output to PDF. Really, bitmapping your output is the only way to be sure.

But, that aside, assuming that the planets align and for your specific use cases Office will render Office-created files accurate enough, but for some reason won't render Libreoffice-created files, then you have identified a requirement for you. I acknowledge that this may well be the case and I sincerely hope that you can resolve this business case with the purchase of Office 2013.

This is not, however, a requirement of mine, nor of my clients. Thus this is not a requirement that addresses the question "why should I hand over money for Office 2013?"

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Trevor_Pott
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@Sean Timarco Baggaly

"Whatever you may think about Microsoft, I don't consider them any more "evil" than Samsung"

They're not.

"and they're a bloody sight less "evil" than Google."

Bullshit.

"But I also have no time for the constant bickering and squabbling of GNU radicals and extremist FOSS nutters either."

Okay.

Look: you make your decisions about what's best for you, and so do I. In my experience this Dilbert is an entirely accurate representation of IT product design. Based on this, I don't trust any of these companies more than the other. That means the following decisions making process is optimal for me:

1) Determine a list of products which will do what I need them to do.

2) Select the product which offers the best value for dollar amongst that list.

In some cases you need to make a choice whether or not to support entire ecosystems. Here it becomes about the company as a whole. There are very few companies I avoid on general principle. Making these kinds of decisions becomes a game of cutting through FUD. Microsoft versus Google is a fantastic example.

Microsoft has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in trashing Google's name. To obvious effect. Despite this, nobody has been able to prove to me Microsoft aren't guilty of the very same things they accuse Google of doing. Instead, they simply sidestep the issues by talking about how you have the choice not to use their products if you don't want to, or to use their on-premise solutions.

So Microsoft have waged an effective campaign of disinformation against Google, but not actually set themselves apart in any meaningful fashion. As far as I can tell both are entirely too cavalier with my personal information and I trust neither particularly far.

So what then is to be the measure of my selection? Well, Microsoft has proven to give zero bent fucks about it's own partners, mainly by cutting our margins, raising SPLA pricing and refusing to make the clusterfuck that is VDI and multitennancy licensing into something sane. That's a whole bunch of me disliking Microsoft right there.

As a customer, Microsoft has told me to go fuck myself with the Ribbon bar, then again with Windows 8, then doubled down on it with Windows 8.1. They have told me that they view my 6-to-10-year refresh cycles as taking the crusts of bread from the mouths of their starving children and are putting every resource available into getting me to pay a subscription fee that isn't cost effective unless you are on 2 or 3 year refresh cycles for software with interfaces I abhor. That's the other part of me disliking Microsoft.

Microsoft also have put literally billions of dollars into making the punishment for copyright infringement as harsh as possible whilst simultaneously making their licensing so convoluted and open to interpretation that it is almost impossible not to be in violation of some aspect of it. They have put a great deal of time and effort into making sure that only can you not pirate their software, but any systems administrator, hobbyist, student or tech journalist trying to teach themselves Microsoft's suite of products cannot afford to do so. (AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN, MICROSOFT. AND THE HORSE YOU FUCKING RODE IN ON, YOU TECHNET MURDERING BASTARDS!)

Google make products I actually want to buy. Google invest massive amounts of money into lobbying for internet regulation that - for the most part - would seem to benefit me as an individual as well as a small business owner. Google make sure that individuals, developers, systems administrators, hobbyests and small businesses can get access to the full suite of Google offerings for free. Google's pricing is simple, sensible and cheap.

Google spies on everything I do in a horrifically creepy fashion in order to advertise at me. I have zero believable evidence that Microsoft does not do the same. Google offers a difficult to use opt-out mechanism that doesn't quite cover everything. Microsoft does the same. Google's spying can be blocked with the most basic use of browser sheilding. So can Microsoft.

Google build out city-wide WiFi and 10-gigabit fibre projects. Microsoft give free software to schools so long as those schools agree not to buy/install competing products. Google are building a robotic car and a robot butler. Microsoft makes a video games console.

No matter which of these companies I pick, I will get screwed in one way or another. The difference is that I feel I get a lot less screwed with Google than Microsoft. Same with choosing RedHat over Microsoft, or Open Document Foundation over Microsoft.

I was once one of Microsoft's greatest champions. Today I am one of their most bitter detractors. I championed Microsoft because Microsoft had - and still have - some of the most amazing technologies on the market. I became a bitter detractor because of the barriers Microsoft erects to any attempt I have to make use of those technologies.

I believe wholeheartedly that Microsoft has some of the best technology on the planet. They have many of the smartest minds mankind has ever birthed. Microsoft is a company of influence and power that will be around for a long time and is a very safe bet if you are a well capitalized large enterprise of government wanting to make conservative decisions about what to do with your IT.

But to me, as an individual, as a small business owner, as an managed service provider, as a small cloud service provider, as a systems administrator, a developer and as a journalist Microsoft has been for the past five years - and remains today - far more of an impediment to getting what I want to do done than it is an enabler.

When what I can do technically with the products on offer from a vendor are not allowed legally or financially then they are of no use to me. They are the disease, not the cure.

TL;DR: I'm not on Microsoft's side because they aren't on my side. Changing that dynamic is entirely up to Microsoft.

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Trevor_Pott
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@Mark65

I'm a writer by trade. I own a business that provides content for money. I rely on my office package for my livelihood. I rely on interoperability with what others are providing.

I fail to understand how the fact that corporate inertia exists in other corporations should affect my decision making process. If you have a business need for Office 2013 because you are imbedded in a bunch of VBscript macros, then you that is a definable business need and off you go.

What I am asking - and nobody is able to answer - is why I, Trevor Pott, a writer by trade who also does a reasonable amount of Excel mathhackery and Powerpoint work should buy Microsoft Office 2013. What are the killer features that make it worth the money and time to migrate my Office 2003 and Libreoffice systems to this software?

This is a very simple question with a defined set of parameters. It isn't a broad question about the entire industry. It isn't a question about other companies or other people. It is a question about me, my circumstances and the advantages - or not - to me and my company.

At the end of the day, that's what this always comes down to. Person by person, company by company. Individual needs analysis.

I don't know how you buy your stuff, but I don't buy based on popularity. I create a list of products that meet the needs posted (i.e. they are fit for purpose) and then I select the one that gives me the biggest bang for my buck. This is frequently the cheapest, but not always. If there is a strong argument to be made for convenience, scalability concerns or future upgradability.compatibility I am willing to pay more for a product on the fit for purpose list than simply choosing the cheapest option.

If, however, all products on the fit for purpose list do what is required of them and there are no compelling strategic concerns regarding the product why would I choose any product excepting the cheapest?

I am asking for the logic and rationale behind purchasing Office 2013 for my circumstances. I am entirely open to being convinced, if the argument can be made. I'm waiting patiently for rationale.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Thanks

"If a company provided no benefit to anyone, it would go out of business rapidly."

This is nothing more than an assertion based on philosophy proven false decades ago.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Thanks

"blah blah Microsoft is evil blah"

All big corporations - and most small ones - are evil. The question is "does their evil benefit me?" The answer to that became "no" about 5 years and change ago.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Open Source Means Choice

"I'd rather have a format that works because there's a financial reason for it to succeed, than one that was being pulled from all directions from the "include my feature too!" crowd."

What value does your proprietary format have if I can't afford your proprietary software in the first place? Also: name the features that I actually care about that your proprietary software has which the open source stuff doesn't. Actual features. "Must have" stuff that will pull me away from LibreOffice.

...if Office 2013 is so amazing then tell me right here and right now exactly why it's worth my money. No vague fluffyness. No studies. Detailed specifics that will make it worth the pence paid for me.

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Tab for Xmas, Mr Consumer? Yes please. And Mr Busin... NOPE

Trevor_Pott
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"This equates to a little over 4,900 Windows 8 tabs being sold via distribution."

Actually...I wonder if that number is all that bad. Before you all explode, hear me out: Windows 8.1 didn't land until August 27, 2013. Most corporates wouldn't dream of touching a Windows OS until it had hit service pack 1. So it isn't unreasonable to assume that the majority of those units were snapped up not to fit a given "now" need, but instead were bought for "proof of concept" work eyeing future deployments.

How many businesses are there in the UK that really, honestly, need tablets for their work and aren't already deeply embedded into the Apple ecosystem? I'd guess that 4,900 tablets probably represents around a thousand companies at least putting in the effort to seriously consider Windows as a tablet platform for their needs in 2014.

Maybe those aren't stellar numbers...but corporate compatible Windows 8 (i.e. service pack 1) has only been out for about 4 months, compared to a Apple ecosystem that's 3.5 years old. It's the next 8 months that will tell the tale. If we start to see big corporate wins in the UK in the first half of 2014 we'll know that some of these were POCs that proved out.

If not, I'm thinking we can safely assume that Apple won this battle and Microsoft haven't a snowball's chance in a neutron star of clawing their way back.

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Q: Just why are AT&T, banks snubbing kit from Cisco & co? A: Control

Trevor_Pott
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Cannibalize your own products and services before someone else does it for you.

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Google picks five teams to share $6 MEEELLION funding in Lunar X Prize

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Love them or hate them...

Amen. I don't see Microsoft or Apple out there funding 10GbE fibre to the home, space races or so forth. Maybe it's just Google "buying" goodwill. If so, good on 'em.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Team El Reg?

That'd be a hell of a kickstarter.

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Red Hat kicks Piston out of Red Hat Summit, then performs $13,000 U-turn

Trevor_Pott
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Re: I'm suprised

"A friend of mine that follows openstack very closely for a big company says"

As for $_vendor, who cares? They are irrelevant and don't matter. Too small with not enough customers. The real battle is $_established_vendor_upon_whom_I've_trained_my_whole_career_array[1], $_established_vendor_upon_whom_I've_trained_my_whole_career_array[2], and $_established_vendor_upon_whom_I've_trained_my_whole_career_array[3]

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As for Google, who cares? They are irrelevant and don't matter. Too small with not enough customers. The real battle is Lycos, Dogpile, and Yahoo

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As for Lenovo, who cares? They are irrelevant and don't matter. Too small with not enough customers. The real battle is HP, Dell, and IBM

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As for Tintri, who cares? They are irrelevant and don't matter. Too small with not enough customers. The real battle is EMC, Netapp, and HP

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As for Piston, who cares. They are irrelevant and don't matter. Too small with not enough customers. The real battle is HP, IBM, and Red Hat

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In my view PistonCloud have the greatest understanding of Openstack of all companies currently playing the game. As a consequence of such, they make the best Openstack implementation. They contribute an incredible amount of code. As a consequence of such they have a lot of say in the direction of Openstack.

Metacloud is another one to watch. Their implementation may not be the greatest, but their model is to deploy it for you and manage it for you. Openstack On Your Premises as a Service. Once they've won an account they don't lose it. They have gained an absolutely cult following.

RedHat is taking a very JBoss approach to Openstack, just like HP, IBM and everyone else dipping their toes in. To wit; they are focused on packaging up other people's work in an enterprise friendly fashion in the hopes of leveraging their existing sales channels to drive new revenues using a new product with the minimum amount of effort.

PistonCloud, by contrast, are focused on building the best damned product they can with the belief that if they are the best they will win. This is arrogance on their part and it shows immediately if you actually spend any time with PistonCloud employees. They honestly believe they are the best.

They're probably right.

Our industry is littered with examples of products that were mediocre at best winning out because of who backed them. Our industry is also chalk full of examples of companies that rose to unrivaled dominance because they were categorically better than anyone else.

When I analyze the former situation I see that mediocre products win out over better ones in situations where the companies in question can use market dominance in one area to create market dominance in another area.

When I look at Openstack I see a brand new market. One where open technologies are the driver because the new world of "cloud" means a race to the bottom on margins. Here is where the best technology with the easiest implementation wins.

That means that PistonCloud, despite their size, is a real, viable, honest to $deity threat...and I don't think we'll have to wait long to see that drama play out. What matters is the next 18 months. That is how long the major players have to buy or kill PistonCloud. I am curious as to what will happen.

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Yes! New company smartphones! ... But I don't WANT one

Trevor_Pott
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Re: Nexus 5

Nice to hear Rogers have been upgrading! :)

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Nexus 5

Fido is the rogers rebrand, innit? I thought they were horrifically oversubscribed on the lower mainland. Are you in the Cariboo or Kootanees? I'd heard that's where Rogers does best in BC.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: faulty premise no.1

You can get a cost savings by going SIM only, in most cases. However, my provider has a thing where they do try very hard to keep you in their orbit, and they are willing to write off the entire cost of the devices for us, letting us keep the SIM-free price. (They like corporate mobile contracts.)

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: WP8

"I understand Trevor's position, but I would like to know what he recommends to his customers. From my POV, WP8 is the cheap and supportable one to beat."

iPhone, if they're part of the Apple ecosystem already. Nexus, if they're part of Android ecosystem already. Blackberry if they are not part of any ecosystem yet.

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Trevor_Pott
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Re: Smart, but useless

"> from the standpoint of a business owner and end-user ... use for hours every day.

How is that possible?"

It's easier when you're nearsighted.

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