2966 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
That is a very rational way to run a shop. In all honesty, we don't run that tight...but I do try to adhere to the principals you espouse as much as is possible. The reality of that situation is that some hardware issues I am unqualified to troubleshoot. (I am not an electrical engineer.) Others...well we sometimes take the easy route out. ("We only have five of these in the field, they are 2/3 of the way through their life and we've RMAed three. Pull the whole line and we'll replace them.")
I do take the time to throw things on the bench and test the dickens out of them whenever I can. It's the reason I have spare parts for everything; more often than not, if I can get the originals back in hand I can find out how they died and often repair them.
Overall, I think taking the time to properly investigate failures is important; sometimes failures are preventable simply by making small changes to the operating environment. (Reducing vibration, temperature deltas, etc.) It’s an important practice.
From El Reg's kind and generous Interblag Guru:
> Being (un)able vote on your own posts should now be fixed.
> The multitude of other, more important things ... I'm still working on ;)
Hope that keeps folk happy and merry Christmas to all!
The issue here..
...is perceptions like "your boss driving a new Mercedes, etc." My Boss drives a 2003 GMC Jimmy. I drive a 2005 Scion XB. He lives in a nicer house, but he bought during a housing bust - I bought during a boom. You are - wrongly - transposing your views/experiences to others. Sure, my boss makes more than I do; but not a heck of a lot more and he earns every penny through additional responsibility and a great deal of hard work.
For every complaint I could lodge against the place I work – and the folk who run it – I cannot say that they eat cake whilst the proles beg for crusts of bread. My boss makes mistakes – we all do including myself – but I will unreservedly say he’s a good person.
Regarding the angst bit…you are wrong. There is no angst over any of this, merely frustration. Regardless of the number of words – 150, 1200 or otherwise – I don’t seem capable of providing adequate context. This is doubly frustrating for me; as a sysadmin it means having someone analyse and comment on my professional capability whilst starting from incorrect assumptions.
As a writer, I seem to lack the ability to convey information in such a manner as to be capable of correcting those false assumptions. This generates no more angst than a website install requiring a mod_security alteration that I don’t know off the top of my head. It generates more frustration however, because I can Google the mod_security alteration. I am as yet inexperienced enough to know which syntax to enter into which search engine to alter misperceptions.
As to “commenting too much on my own articles,” you’re probably right. I made the mistake of assuming that certain commenters – yourself among them – were willing and capable to of absorbing additional facts that might then alter extant misperceptions. Unlike the many of the other authors here on El Reg I started as a commenter first. Long debates moderated by her excellence Madam Bee are not foreign to me.
Make no mistake, I welcome criticism and suggestions. I have a deep respect for the staff and commenters on El Reg. In many of my articles there have been excellent suggestions…several of which I have tested and which have made their way into my production environment. I wrote an article here about how I got lucky and recovered a RAID 5. A half dozen people came out of the woodwork and proclaimed “RAIDX is dead! Long live ZFS!” I haven’t had much opportunity to work with ZFS in the past 18 months or so, but these comments have inspired me to go forth and set up a test lab to see exactly what it is I am missing.
Where it all falls down for me – personally and professionally – are the circular arguments. I have absolutely no idea how to deal with them. The religious argument is a great example:
10 The bible is infallible.
20 How do you know it’s infallible?
30 Because the Bible is the word of God.
40 How can you be sure it’s the word of God?
50 Because the Bible tells us so.
60 Why believe the Bible?
70 GOTO 10
I am unable to deal with those arguments. I do not know how to “win” them. When trapped in them, I know of no graceful way out of them. Whilst I can deal with technical, political or religious arguments about many topics, I have this personal failing when it comes to circular reasoning. When you and I have an argument along the lines of:
10 X is terrible, you should Y.
20 I had no funds for Y, I had no choice but to X.
30 There is always money available!
40 I promise you there is no way there was funding to Y, I had to X.
50 GOTO 10
I expect experience will give me a greater chance of seeing these sorts of logic loops and avoiding them. I hope experience grants me the ability to at some point learn how to gracefully exit these sorts of pointless conversations. Until that point in my individual development however, I fear circular reasoning loops will continue to be my personal kryptonite.
@Peter Mc Aulay
It's a relief to know that there are some folks on these boards that do indeed understand. Yes - the approaches between running an SME shop with two tin cans (one of which is on loan) and a string is exceptionally different from running a shop where you can do magical things like source all your gear from a Tier 1. The interesting part is that I am held to a 99.99999 SLA by one of the two primary shareholders. Concepts like “well, just cluster everything and then get four-hour service plans from Tier 1s!” display a shocking ignorance of what my world actually looks like.
I’m lucky though…it all ends in mid 2012. For the very first time we get to refresh our servers all at once, and do it properly. This year I got to do the desktops: Out with the 11-year-old systems that were falling apart to a brand new deployment of Wyse clients. (Hurray!) 2012 brings the server refresh…and a move from my world where whitepapers might actually apply! Its things like “the money exists, trust me” that absolutely floor me. No degree – MBA or not – makes that assertion true.
Still, the commenter’s disease of most commenters thrown aside…I don’t write my articles for the folks with MBAs or working in places where buying “new gear for a specific job” is ever an option. El Reg has plenty of readers who don’t fall into that category. In my city alone El Reg is the wild favourite of all the sysadmins working for the various charities. Several low-IT-budget SME admins are also part of the local gang. Not to sya the folks running the University departments aren’t also regulars…but they simply play in a different world than I do.
There are lots of articles on El Reg that talk about “EMC storage arrays” and “VMWare’s latest super-deluxe ultra-edition management software that requires you to pay in the form of pureed virgin soul.” There aren’t so many aimed at the guy working for the local charity who is putting together donations from a dozen different businesses, most of which don’t match, barely work and for which he doesn’t have spare parts.
I’ll see if I can get the brass to rename my blog. “Sysadmin blog” is obviously going to cause nothing but continual commenter’s disease issues with the types of folk who think that all sysadmins face the exact same challenges. Maybe I can get them to rename it “Two cans and some borrowed string Blog.” Has a ring to it, I think!
In any case, it should pointed out that despite my frustrations as regards rampant commenter’s disease, there is a lot of gold in this thread if you aren’t a “two cans and some borrowed string” kind of sysadmin. Most of the commenters here are – as usual – dead bang on rights. El Reg really does have a bright crowd answering the call of the comments section.
Wow. I cannot believe I was so very deeply wrong about you. You truly do have the very worst form of Commenter’s Disease there is. This statement: “iii - The funding exists. Trust me. But it'll go to managerial bonuses, unless you can figure out a way to redirect it.” Quite simply means you have no effing clue, and aren’t interested in even trying to extract said clue from what someone else writes. You actually are incapable of comprehending that the world does periodically function in a manner that is non-cognate with your personal beliefs and experiences. I will note this and move one. I am deeply disappointed that I was this wrong about you.
As to angst, well…I know the internet is terrible for conveying subtlety. You are mistaking angst for frustration. They are very different concepts that I at least deal with differently Given the commenter’s disease present here however I won’t bother trying to explain.
If at some point in the future I ever find myself in a situation remotely like yours, I will look you up. You are an intelligent individual with a great deal of experience to share. Unfortunately, the disparities between our professional and personal lives is so great that we are unable to communicate remotely effectively. I lack the skill to convey my situation in a manner capable of overcoming your commenter’s disease; a sad failing I freely admit.
For now, I will simply wish you a good day, sir. Good luck in your future endeavours.
"Why RAID 5"
That has a very long story. Thanks for asking rather than assuming, though! The real answer was that we didn't specify "RAID 5" when building these servers. Originally, the servers had 8 drive bays: 2x 250GB Seagate ES.2s for the OS and 2x Velociraptors for the VMs. Both were RAID 1.
We left the rest of the bays open so that we could expand capacity later…when we got more money to do so. (You really have to understand that money does not flow here like it does for many of the other commenters. People cavalierly toss about sugesstions of putting 15K SAS drives in my servers…but I had to scrimp and sacrifice to put my data on separate disks from my OS in the first pair of this model VM server.)
When we bought our third server (and along with it FINALLY a physical backup unit in case the motherboard went on any of our now three production copies of this model of VM server) we were in a position of doing rather well, cash-wise. I was able to purchase enough disks to fill all the slots in all three servers. It would be enough to get us the VM capacity we so very desperately needed. With the following caveats:
1) I only had enough money if I didn’t toss the existing 4 Velociraptors. That meant all my new drives either had to be the same or I had to start divvying up the arrays.
2) The only way I would get enough space out of the existing drives whilst still having redundancy of any variety was RAID 5.
This meant extending our extant two Velociraptor RAID 1s into RAID 5s, and putting a RAID 5 in third server. That was about 8 months ago. We now have 6 of these systems in service with two physical spares. We have 20% surplus capacity across this model of VM server…so I will be able to take the hit to reduce to RAID 6. (We do that this coming Tuesday, as a matter of fact.)
They aren’t our only VM servers…I have a fleet of 12 others in the field (two active, one physical spare per city for four cities.) They have half the cores, half the RAM and run only a RAID 1 of Velociraptors each. There are a smattering of other VM servers too…but they are all test bench stuff as they are one offs that I don’t have replacement parts for.
So the “why RAID 5” is a legacy item: it’s from days not too long ago when we absolutely needed those very last gigabytes and had no more dollars to spend. Not that we have many dollars now…but I have been making very careful purchases with every dollar I can get my hands on.
I am very eagerly awaiting the First True Server Refresh in 2012 (we finally have this budgeted as a company-wide Major Project!) This refresh will see SANs in each city. If I have my way, SANs running SAS drives in RAID 10. It might be sad, but when I dream the dreams that I dream, I dream dreams of SANs…
Well, our servers are specced by us...but built by the local distie. (Supercom.) The servers are actually usually quite good kit and Supercom are fantastic to work with. I do indeed get to specify "please make sure they aren't all the same batch." They will even go out of their way to dig up slightly older or fresh-off-the-boat-new disks to mix-and-match what goes into an array for me. Maybe all server makers won’t…but mine does. I love them for it.
Still, there is only so much variability you can get doing that. When you want 6 drives of the same model for your array…they are going to be relatively close together. No perfect happy solution, I’m afraid…
I had trouble installing ESXi on the system with the Intel RAID card simply because it was never designed to be an ESXi server! It was a prototype Windows file server...in all honesty it was a Big Collection Of Storage Space that served as a "focal point" for backups across the company. All the backups were collected onto this system, then written to removable media. I was testing a new chassis (24x SAS hotswap darling,) a new Motherboard, new RAID card and a new SAS expander. It was literally in early prototype state.
Remember that the RAID 5 didn't actually have any disk failures! The drives merely dropped out of the array due to that wretched TLER bug. (For the record: I loathe Velociraptors. I wish I had the cash for proper SAS drives, but at the time it was "use the Velociraptors, or we make you use 7200rpm Seagate ES drives." I had zero choice in the matter.) That means the drives were actually fine…but after 49 days and change they simply stop responding to commands. The RAID card can’t see them any more and so thinks that they have dropped from the array. Power the server physically off and then power them on…*poof!* drives are back up and doing fine.
So in this case, when the came up the LSI controller read the metadata on these two drives and saw that they should be part of a 6-disk RAID 5. When it looked for other members of that array it found four other disks…all who believed they were members of an array which had dropped two disks! By sheer fluke the Intel controller was able to pick up all six disks as a single array…apparently ignoring the metadata mismatch that the TLER error caused.
As to not choosing SAS drives…it simply wasn’t an option. Most commenters in this thread behave as though I could have simply had a tantrum and money would have appeared…but that quite honestly wasn’t the case. I was lucky (HAH!) to not be stuck with 7200rpm Seagate ESes. Things will be different in 2012. Then I finally get to something like a “bulk replace” of my entire server fleet. For the first time I can do it properly: a SAN with some front end VM servers, some physical servers for critical tasks and proper identical parts (with spares) from a single vendor giving us a sexy warrantee. The company I work for has never been in the position before to do so. Seven years ago they had four computers and one server. The growth has been in fits and starts and quite literally at the very limit of the budget each time.
The transfer time issue is this: Only that bloody Intel controller would talk to those six disks as an array. If I shoved the disks back into the LSI 1078 (any of the many 1078s I have) it would see them as two arrays. If I wanted to get the VMs off (which I did, because restoring from backups is a pain in the ass,) then I had to shove the Intel controller into a system which could boot ESXi (not the Windows prototype it was originally located in) and then pull the VMs off. Understand that nothing about the array was suspect! The drives were not DEAD. They had dropped out of the array due to the TLER error and nothing more. The data was 100% intact, the only question was; how to get at it?
Once I had put one of the spare ESXi computers back together (I had it apart for a testbed project) I was able to toss the Intel card into it and it saw the array just fine. I shoved a new set of disks into the original ESXi box with the 1078 in RAID 6. Copy the VMs from the spare ESXi box with the Intel controller in it to a file server and then from there back up to the original ESXi box with its new array.
This is why the transfer time is important: getting the array back up and shoved in a box that would read it doesn’t take long. Pulling the VMs off and then uploading them again does. Fortunately, I don’t have to do anything but periodically poke the computer to make sure the transfer hasn’t failed. That’s a hell of a lot less work than restoring everything from backups would have been.
@All the "raid != backup comments."
For the record...I do have perfectly valid backups. Recovering the array in question was not a matter of "oh crap...if I lose that data I am dead!" Recovering from backups is a fairly long and tedious process that I was not particularly amused by.
Recovering the array on the other hand was
a) far more intellectually interesting
b) potentially much faster.
If it makes anyone feel any better, one of the elements left out of this particular article was that in the background, whilst I fiddled with the array, backups were unpacking to a secondary server just in case I needed to make use of them. In my case, recovering the array was faster than recovering from backups, which would have involved transfering and differentiating template VMs followed by reloading the latest backups to them.
That all said, I would like to reinforce that RAID != Backup!!! Raid is a convenience, nothing more. It is a method of helping to provide uptime or raw speed. I should also add that Replication != Backup!!! Replication is again nothing more than a convenience. It is an uptime tool. (If it is offsite replication it can be a disaster recovery tool.)\
Backups provide more than simply the ability to recover from a disaster such as failed RAID. Properly done, they provide the ability to recover from human error: “oops I deleted this file!” Replication in many cases will simply replicate the deletion. RAID won’t help you out of that pickle at all.
Recovering an array as described in this article should never, EVER be your only option! Please view such measures as convieniences only!
I don’t think you’re antagonistic, jake. I think you’re arrogant in your assumptions. I can forgive a lot of the commenters on El Reg for having Commenter Disease, but not you. For someone with your years of experience, you should be perfectly capable of understanding that the world as it applies to you does not apply to everyone else.
I read your comment as saying that a “proper” sysadmin who is in my situation would either sweet-talk my bosses into providing me more funding, or get a different job because the one I am in isn’t good enough. There are two problems with this comment. The first is that there quite literally is no more funding to be had. No matter how many degrees you have, how good a con artist, salesman, businessman or smooth talker you are…you quite simply cannot get access to what isn’t available. I certainly will not be going in depth into my Company’s finances in full view of the internet…but I am one of the few in this company who knows where all the dollars end up. Suffice it to say that they are being spent where they need to be spent and there really isn’t anything more to be had for IT.
The second assumption, that I should get an MBA and be essentially “just like you” is rubbish. I’d rather be boiled. I got into IT because I like FIXING things. I don’t like project management. I don’t really like management – though I’ll do either if called required. Thanks to having shrinks for parents I am fairly good at manipulating, coercing, cajoling and coddling people…I simply choose not to. I prefer machines. I don’t want your career. In fact, as time has progressed and I have lived my life…I have discovered I want less and less to do with IT in general. I prefer writing. I compose music. Oddly enough, I get a thrill out of taking hardware and software of various types and pushing them to their absolute limits. In the 80s and early 90s I would have been called a “hacker.” Not because I spend my time penetrating other people’s computer systems, but because I like to tinker with things and figure out how they work.
The key here is that (shock and horror,) I have no real ambition “to be rich.” I am (most of the time) content with being a middle-class largely blue-collar schmoe. I make enough to keep me happy right now. 5-10% more than I make would provide enough to save luxuriously for retirement. You and I simply have different values, jake. I want nothing more than to largely be left alone to tinker. Periodically, I like to share my thoughts and experiences before returning to my man-cave. I want a different job, it’s true. I just don’t want /your/ job.
The job I really want is pretty rare. I want a job in what amounts to “practical application research and development of IT systems.” I want a job wherein I get to take off-the-shelf components and do something with them that hasn’t been quite done before. “I wonder if this can do X.” That guy – whomever he is – that decided that cookie-tray servers were a good idea? Dreamt them up, built a prototype, tested them and refined the process? That’s the job I want. Figure out how to bodge 48 disks reliably into a case meant for 8? Hey, that sounds like an absolute BLAST! Working where I am is never going to make me rich. It’s frustrating and it’s constraining and I get laughed at by people on the internet for not being an MBA working for a fortune 500. Its still the closest thing I’ve ever found to being the guy I described above.
How does this reflect in my writing, my articles and threads like this? It means I direct myself not at the guy who is gunning for the job at the fortune 500 and running a fantastic network with all the right parts in all the right slots with the right budget. I write what I know: trying to do the nearly impossible with a virtually non-existent budget and usually a whole bunch of mismatched equipment that was purchased slowly, a piece at a time over the course of years.
Look at some of these comments in this thread. There’s a guy somewhere here who makes some radical assumptions like “you’re lucky ESXi installed on that third computer.” Talk about Commenter Disease! That “third computer” was a diskless spare box designed to be swapped in place of a failed ESXi box. He takes the fact that ESXi didn’t install on my PROTOTYPE WINDOWS FILESERVER and extends this logic to assume that I simply didn’t have known adaptable spares. This is a shining example of where you and I butt heads. When I am writing an article such as the one I just wrote, I am trying to convey a narrow slice of an infinitely complex puzzle and bodge the whole thing into 500 words. This comment alone is longer than I would be allowed to write my articles! You extrapolate an awful lot from what is available and make some very big (and largely incorrect) assumptions in doing so.
It would take me days to properly explain my environment to you. We quite simply don’t have the money to do things “by the book,” but that doesn’t mean we don’t have backups upon backups and dozens of layers of redundancy. Everything on this network is designed in such a way that it can pull double or triple duty if necessary. There are spares for all critical components and I even go so far as to ensure that my personal computers (and personal computers sold to family members/etc.) use standard-model parts. If the day ever comes that I have burned through all of my spares and absolutely need a replacement bit of kit on an emergency basis, I’ll know where to go to find it.
I am not saying I do everything perfectly, even taking my limited resources into account. Far from it! I have much yet to learn. I this exact case, I did something neat: I saved a failed RAID 5 by using a different-but-related RAID controller. I futzed with the servers for a few frustrating (but ultimately very fun) hours, and then I poked a transfer window two or three times over the course of a weekend. I didn’t have to go through the hassle of restoring anything from backups. Restoring from backups would have taken about the same amount of time but been far more work.
I learned something new and figured I would pass it along to whomever my musings might help. I did so knowing full well that the comments thread would be nothing but eleventeen squillion commenters with “let’s make a bunch of completely invalid assumptions and then lay into an author/commenter/random individual for making the mistakes we only assume they made” Commenter Disease. I can even forgive them that.
You though? A worldly management type with decades of technical experience should be beyond that by now; you should know the world is rarely as simple as it is presented in a 500 word bit of text.
RAID 1 for small stuff. Disk capacities are enormous now, and RAID 1 is the quickest rebuild.
RAID 6 for anything you might have previously used RAID 5 for: it's the new "best compromise."
RAID 0+1 for Speed.
That would be my take for RAIDing on a budget…
All of a sudden...
...ChromeOS became exceptionally useful. I had applied for a ChromeOS netbook, but was really kind of 'meh' on getting one. All of a sudden, I am quite a bit more eager.
Come on, Google! Pick my name out of the hat!
I have applied.
Well I have applied. I am leery of the idea…but I am leery of all things new. As a sysadmin, I find the idea of drinking the internet through a browser straw interesting; can I provision all of my company’s services to my users as SAAS? Interesting exercise. What about my personal usage? I already do nearly everything from my Desire…but a lot of that is using the Wyse PocketCloud app to RDP into things. Can I use a browser-only device that can’t do RDP without going mad?
I don’t know. I’d love the chance to find out though! I imagine there aren’t exactly many of these to go around, espessially as I am Canadian rather than American. Still, it was only a few minutes of my time to apply...why not, eh? Either way, I hope that someone from either El Reg or Ars Technica (or both) manage to get their paws on one. I’d love to see some in depth reviews from folk I trust to write about them who’ve actually put the things through their paces.
As negative as I generally am…this could be a game changer, or a flop…it’s still too early to tell how it will shake out. I guess it depends on how sexy all those NaCl add-ons to the Chrome browser really are…
Have you taken a chance to look at the documentation for Microsoft's formats? I have. I have even tried to write things that can parse them. As have people far smarter than I. The documentation is a mess. An ABSOLUTE MESS. Worse yet, it's incomplete!
The only thing that can properly talk to Microsoft Office file formats is Microsoft Office. This is true quite simply because nobody has enough documentation from Microsoft (bullsh** ISO standard or no) to actually reproduce the bloody things.
The “time saving business features” are needed by a very small fraction of its user base. Representatively, of the 1500 people in various organisations that I am responsible for, only three actually require Microsoft Office to get their jobs done versus the competition. (All three of them do things in Excel that competitors can’t do.) Everyone else is perfectly fine with Libre Office (formerly OOo) or even Google Apps!
That isn’t to promote those products; of the 1500 individuals there are only about 50 who have converted away from Office. The reason? FILE FORMATS. Whilst they are perfectly willing to use alternate programs, their customers aren’t willing to move towards an open standard such as ODF. This means having to stick with Microsoft Office “because that’s what everyone else uses.” Microsoft’s extant largesse ensures Microsoft’s continued largesse!
If you truly have bought into the steaming turd that is Microsoft’s “open standard office format,” and honestly believe that the documentation provided the ISO was complete enough to create competing implementations then we have absolutely nothing more to talk about.
You and I can continue this conversation at that distant, rainbow-filled future time when Microsoft sits down at the table with the Open Source community, Google, IBM and all other competitors and champions a truly open format that encompasses all features from all parties at the table. It must have no licensing, no patent encumbrances and be documented so thoroughly that all parties at the table can read and write to this file format seamlessly. At the moment, the /ONLY/ contender is ODF…and ODF doesn’t quite cover all of the functions that the various platforms are capable of.
Until that shining day upon whence Microsoft agrees to compete with people in the Office Productivity arena based upon features, experience, integration and Overall Better Designed Application, we simply will never be capable of agreeing on this topic.
That isn’t to say Microsoft Office isn’t a good product. It is a GREAT product. There are however many other adequate-to-very-good products out there. More importantly they don’t cost nearly as much. These products sadly cannot compete in the same arena not because of quality, but because Microsoft doesn’t pay in the open file format playground.
...Office file-format lock-in is the lynchpin of the entire Microsoft Empire. If that were to fail, then people would not need Office. If they didn't need Office, where's the advantage in Sharepoint, Live communications Server, Exchange or the rest of it? If they don't need any of that stuff...why does Windows need to be in play as anything other than the odd lone virtual machine supporting legacy applications?
Microsoft is perfectly aware that they absolutely cannot under any circumstances afford to lose market share in the Office productivity applications market. Far more importantly, they cannot afford to let an alternate file format become dominant...or their own stagnant for long enough that other applications become as good at writing to them as Microsoft's own.
The vitriol in that circumstance then is not amazing at all. It's perfectly expected.
As soon as Facebook started becoming a threat (I.E. relevant to internet advertising) you started to see the same thing from Google.
Fewer and fewer of us left though.
Every year there are fewer and fewer of us. Large corporations won't (generally) touch us with a twelve foot pole. The smaller end of the SMEs are jumping ship to cloud services. The mid-range companies are using consulting services with increasing frequency; consulting services largely comprised of groups of specialists.
That said however, those SMEs that outsource their services (cloud or otherwise) generally need a body or two to sort it all out. Organise the IT part of it while dealing with the sharp business end to make sure that the company isn’t being taken for a ride.
I think that as services like cloud computing catch on in larger enterprises, this trend will start to move up the chain. Interesting times…
Yep. That is something glossed over by folks cheering the rah-rah-Apple, however. Good move for Apple (helps lock devs and users in by reducing cross platform compatibility.) Bad move for users (makes getting cross-platform apps via the App Store just that little bit harder and thusly reducing choice.)
Just because Apple realized that its customer base actually desired and required Java and (eventually) worked out something with Oracle to provide it does not in any way mean that they had originally planned to do anything other than screw their customers from the start.
As to Oracle providing Mac support either out of the generosity of their cold black heart or even because they think there is much money to be made there; I remain unconvinced. Whilst I have no need or desire to enter into yet another tedious debate when you and i obviously have very different philosophical beliefs, I still maintain that Apple handled this entire incident exceedingly poorly.
According to my belief system the proper way to deal with these issues would have been for apple to make a formal announcement at time of deprecation. This announcement should have included why they deprecated the technology and how they plan to ensure their extant customer base is looked after. If Apple didn’t have the Oracle deal in their pocket at the time, they should not have been ditching Java. If they did, it should have been formally announced at that time. No amount of argument, name calling or what-have-you will change my mind on that.
@ThomH: I think you are correct. Many people on the internet (including myself) have made up our minds about “companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft long ago.” Let me be absolutely, perfectly, crystal clear about how my mind is made about these (and any other) company: they exist to make money. They do not give a left-footed damn about their customers or userbase beyond what is necessary to keep them happy enough to continue buying product.
I am willing to give individual human beings the benefit of the doubt and believe that they are decent, compassionate and capable of both sympathy and empathy. I do not remotely believe the same thing of corporations. If a corporation (for whatever reason) wishes to come across as anything other than greedy, grasping and completely untrustworthy they have to prove it.
Unlike people, corporations do not get any benefit of the doubt from me. If that makes me a bad person in your eyes, I am sorry. I can and do trust individuals. Yet in my experience thus far with life “it’s not personal, it’s business” changes how individuals treat one another.
@edev: Apple was never banning Java from OSX. Apple was however ceasing to supply it. Apple also had not announced (until just now) any plans to ensure that it would be made available. Apple did not announce any plans to work with any other organization (be that Oracle or the open source community) to make their extant code available in order to ensure continuity.
To simply assume that “an official JVM would be forthcoming” in that environment is “stupid.” While it might be possible that it proved advantageous to Oracle to provide a JVM, until it was formally committed to assuming it would arrive as a matter of course is daft. It is not obviously to Oracle’s advantage to do so – most especially if they didn’t have Apple’s co-operation in the matter. It is far safer to assume that you will never receive support or assistance of any kind for a corporation – it is only rarely that you are otherwise surprised.
It did not necessarily make business sense for Oracle to waste the resources on providing a JVM to Apple if they were forced to work on the project in a vacuum. While it certainly made business sense for Apple to work with Oracle on the matter…”making business sense” isn’t always a guaranteed driver for Apple.
That is not, just by the by, a slam. What might seem like “making obvious business sense to us might still be far too short term thinking compared to Steve Jobs’s exceptionally good long term thinking. Finding a way to get Java off of Macs altogether holds at least as much promise in the long term as supporting it; it could be equally to Apple’s preference to work with Oracle to keep Java on the Macs or to murder it in the face.
Overall I am quite pleased that Oracle has made the decision to support Macs, but I remain firm in my beliefs that it was not a forgone conclusion. Despite the happy ending, I reiterate my belief that the entire incident was exceptionally poorly handled by Apple. Because of this, I will continue to recommend and work towards their replacement amongst my customer base. No matter what sort of name calling is employed by random posters on the Internet.
Project management is important.
I would also like it if someone applied some project management to getting the RDPCLIP bug in Windows actually fixed. Copying and pasting various things from point A to point B...I almost posted a very early article draft/idea scratchpad as a comment!
Joking aside; good article. I wish my bosses understood the importance of project management plays in the real world. More to the point; why it’s a bad idea to have your project manager and your technical lead be the same person. Both individuals are usually hugely under pressure to put out fires. Combing the jobs just gives you a very burnt out individual who will never have the time to put out both the technical and political fires that are all in the processes of burning holes in their desk.
I can't speak for anyone else...
...but the thing that jumps out for me are the space pics. The individuals involved - and Lester perhaps more than anyone - will have a merry /hell/ of a thing to tell their grandchildren. "Kids, I once built a paper airplane that flew high enough to /prove the curvature of the earth./"
Think about this. A few hundred years ago, we would have either had use complex mathematics or actually physically sailed around the world to prove it was round. Now a couple of journalists with the dedication to see a hobby through can build a device capable of proving it with pictures from 17 miles up. I think it's awesome. It’s a beautiful reminder that most of the crap we worry ourselves about every day really isn’t as insurmountable as it appears.
“Here is what people can do – for real and with few resources – if they put their mind to it. Here is what a few months of a hobby can accomplish!” It is a reminder of what human beings are capable of. As per the title, I can’t speak for anyone else…
…but it has been an honest inspiration to me.
If you spend enough time on the internet you are often surrounded by people who seem to believe that computers and related technologies are the only things in the world that matter. It’s easy to believe that being a tinkerer and putterer of all things – computers and otherwise – will never amount to anything. Way to prove that concept very wrong!
Thanks for the excellent journey, PARIS team. Looking forward to LOHAN with much anticipation!
A census is an example of intrusive government? Really? A data collection mechanism designed to enable the folks in charge to make better, more informed decisions. Something that allows the people who live in a country know a little bit more about said country.
No offence is intended here...but I have to view that kind of statement as either "you are victim of some pretty blatant Tea Party propaganda" or "you are off your meds." Together, those two would probably have a synergistic effect.
Forget the aussies. El Reg has wetware on both sides of the pond. North America versus Europe! LOHAN vs PARIS II. Let's get competing teams going: first team to 80,000 ft buys the other team's drinks.
The fun that could be had! Most importantly; no end to the PARIS articles!
Ooooh, I’ve known about this one for a while. This is supposedly a "great big thing" in the mineral world. My fiancée’s father happens to be the lead geologist in charge of a mining project here in Canada. He works for a company that is contracted out by the actual owners of the property. Unlike a lot of startup mining companies, it isn't some borderline stock scam...the companies involved are really truly trying to make a go of getting a functional mine operational here.
The reason? The mining company that bought up this particular chunk of land just happened to buy one sitting on top of an absolutely stupendous deposit of niobium and tantalum. They are just getting round (finally!) to the feasibility study required for the stock exchange…but from everything I am able to ascertain it is a commercially viable property.
Taken in context; soon there will be a bleeping enormous niobium/tantalum mine in Canada that gets to not only sell it’s minerals at the current rates but it gets to play up the “fair trade” bit as well. If that feasibility study comes back positive, I am going to invest quite a bit into the company that owns this mine for exactly that reason.
It’s not that there is exactly a flood of these minerals on the market. As Tim said; the cost of processing is the big hit. The advantage this particular group is hoping they have is that the economy of British Columbia is in a shambles. Huge swathes of the population were heavily dependant on a now virtually-defunct forestry industry.* It gives them a province desperate to get some mining action going with a captive labour force desperate for work. The processing facility can then be located in a some random nearby tiny town that used to process lumber.
Interesting to see the issue pop up on El Reg.
*(Thank you America for disregarding NAFTA whenever you please such that you can screw the softwood lumber market enough to ruin an entire province. “Free Trade” indeed – only so long as it benefits the US, apparently.)
Count me in.
$50 a month - per shuttle - to keep 'em going. Gods help me, if a privately funded space program is the only way, I'd do my part. I don't want to see our future slip away. Nor do I believe these beautiful ladies deserve such an ignoble fate as to be retired without replacement.
Fair winds, Discovery. May your final journey see you safely home to rest. I'll drink a pint in your honour tonight.
To hell with the naysayers. This was bloody excellent. I enjoyed every one of the articles, and I think it's a spectacular achievement. You and your entire team should be proud: it's a hell of a thing you folk have done here.
Thank you all for the entertainment and I hope you all take away a justly deserved sense of acomplishment.
Traditionally, Laptops weight a lot. They also tend to be terribly to use while standing or in any way not being in front of a desk. On a bus for example. Or sitting in a doctor's office. Or pulling out to show a bunch of friends a funny YouTube by the water cooler. The closest hybrid devices so far are the Fijitsu P1510d/P1610d and the OQO. Their screens are too small however and the battery life too poor.
The iPad lasts for bloody ages, has a decent screen and is really only held back by the fact that Apple’s OCD means your device can’t actually /do/ all that much. Now, try to use a laptop in all of these circumstances, and the only pace where it proves superior is the “sitting at a desk.” Everywhere else, I’d be wanting a not-fail iPad.
No. I mean spectrum.
3G's speed will vary with time and loading on the Cell. That isn't the problem. You'd be surprised how LITTLE bandwidth you need. The issue is people here with 2.4Ghz portable phones (as in plug-the-base-into-your-landline) that don't play well with anything in the 2.4ghz spectrum. Someone turns one of these phones on and Wifi for over a km is ruined. Bluetooth devices simply stop working.
And they're EVEYRWHERE. The 2.4Ghz spectrum in my city is so hit-or-miss it's pointless to use. 3G on the other hand…that chunk of spectrum belongs to the telco. You might have to fight for contention…but all devices using that frequency are other phones/masts! For all intents and purposes they are devices designed to play nice and not act like a radio-frequency nuclear bomb.
So when using 3G…I /always/ have a 3g connection if I am within range of the mast. When using Wifi, I could be standing right next to the access point, but if some dick three blocks down picks up his phone…nothing can talk to that AP.
Frustrating doesn't begin to describe it.
...got one to spare?
Seriously though, I've heard so much rabid <3 for that device that I am exceptionally curious to give it a spin. Can't find one locally for love nor money, but $deity there seems to be a base of absolutely rabid fans here on El Reg for that device. Makes me curious…
My ideal (and non-existent) device? The one I've been waiting for largely my entire life? Interestingly I can describe that to you.
It would be an 8.5x11 tablet (sheet of standard paper here in Canada.) It would fit inside a standard foleo and be a touch-based input device not dissimilar from an iPad. It would have at least 1366x768 resolution, though I would far prefer 1440x900. It would have reasonable internal storage: flash somewhere north of 8GB for applications with 1GB of RAM. It would have a Wacom digitizer in addition to the touch interface and an operating system that didn’t suck horribly at touch input. (In other words not Windows.)
It would run at least a dual core CPU and come with all the standard phone options. Data from cellular and wifi, GPS, and a plethora of sensors from accelerometers and magnetics to luminance and acoustics. It would allow removable storage via SD card and come with two USB ports. It would be open, allowing me to install whatever applications I wanted and direct access to the file system. There would be an app store for ease of purchasing new applications as well as access to a cloud-storage/synchronisation system that automatically backed up my system to a server of /my choice/ without my having to bother with it.
A lot of thought would go into the design of the case it was in. I want that thing to be able to support this foleo-pad in a number of different configurations at many angles whilst still carrying in the other flap a pad of real, regular paper. When set up at an angle, I want a laser-painted keyboard to be available to me*. I want to be able to use a Bluetooth headset in combination with it and have it serve as my phone. (One less device to carry that way.)
In essence; I want a totally open smartphone/ipad that fits into my briefcase, weighs as little as is humanly possible but has none of the restrictions of the existing gear. It is /my/ device, allows me to add peripherals if I choose, remove media, control my own files and generally bridged the gap between “locked down smartphone” and “full blown laptop.”
I don’t need to replace a full-on computer with it. I don’t even want to. I just want it to be the device to serve as my access to a) a browser b) an RDP window c) all of my cloud-synchronised data. It’s job would be to fill the gaps between when I have a real computer available, not to completely replace a real computer with a real keyboard.
But with USB ports…why couldn’t it have a docking station at home such that I could just hook up a real keyboard? With a fully open device, there would be so many possibilities.
Either way, as far as I am concerned, the era of requiring Windows on the physical device is over. It’s into the VM with that thing and all it’s attendant applications as well. With it goes the need for a lot of the “beef” I used to need on my endpoints. They can really now just be thin clients of various shapes and sizes from any vendor. I know VDI isn’t exactly “cloud computing.” (Or is it? Someone give me a definition, please!) Still, more and more I am designing my digital life around the concept of “my information is available to me anywhere from any device.” This takes “who makes the device” or even “what form factor the device is” completely out of the equation.
If the device comes with a standards compliant browser and the ability to RDP then what makes me choose a device no longer has anything to do with the OS or vendor. Capability/speed, power consumption/battery life, ease of use, connectivity, openness/freedom of me to control my own device, price/rate plan and design/form factor matter.
I have a quad core PC at home with a stupidly powerful graphics card. Velociraptors and Windows 7. Shiny shiny in all colours of the rainbow…and I haven’t turned it on in three months. I have two laptops and a netbook. I use one laptop – very occasionally - because it got migrated to the living room table and sort of never left. The netbook is somewhere in my car. Gods only know what happened to the other laptop.
My Desire has become my primary personal computing device – a remarkable statement for a sysadmin. At work, I use a puny C90LEW Wyse thin client.
Give me an iPad or a decent Android pad and I can pretty much be guaranteed that my laptop at home goes unused as well. Heck, as I type this, it is into an OOo Writer application inside my personal VM located on my home server. I am RDPed into that personal VM from within my work VM. I am RDPed into my work VM from my Desire.
So…ideal device? Apart from the specs I mentioned above it really boils down to one question:
What’s the most convenient device? Because that’s really the bit that matters.
*(http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/keyboards-mice/8193/ for a primitive example.)
@The Original Steve
I made the very same comments to the Wyse folks during a teleconference with them. (This was whilst wearing the hat of "sysadmin for my employer" rather than "dude who writes for El Reg." I never really did get the chance to do any sort of interview with them for El Reg.)
They were really open to my comments! They put me on with some bigwig in charge of the WDM software and he took notes furiously. Apparently, they have not traditionally had many SMEs as customers…but are seeing this as a growing source of new clients. As such, they promised that they would start incorporating things into the WDM that addressed all of these concerns. Kind of cool for a guy sysadmining a shop that bought a piddly 45 units.
I promise you, I had quite a list. Not the least of which was “there’s nothing in this software that helps me diagnose why the PXE stuff works some of the time, but not others. I only have one DHCP server…what’s up?!?” I also wanted a simple way to do things like “put a *.RDP shortcut on someone’s desktop to talk to their specific VM.” Why do we have to build these absurd packages to deploy things…why can I not simply feed it an MSI? Why aren’t there some GPO like abilities to do thigns like “copy this file to the C:\ drive, into a folder called “Data Store” and set it as the background.” There were others, but those are the highlights. The Wyse guys seemed quite keen on all of this.
Long and the short is…at some random point in the future, we should be able to expect a bigish revanmp of the WDM software with all sorts of things to let SMEs manage these devices better. When, how much of what I talked about will actually make it in…this I don’t know. Here’s hoping it’s soon!
@The Unexpected Bill
Well, my first exposure to a Trash-80 was when I was...4? I don't actually remember my first forrays into computing...but I do remember vividly being confused by the introduction of the mouse into my computing environment.
My earliest experiences were generally as simple as using someone else’s pre-configured text menus and playing games. Type 1 and hit return to get into the spelling game or Type 2 and hit enter to get into a text-based adventure game.
It was the text adventure games that did it for me: having to learn exactly how to type in “pick up candle” or some such really made future use of computers easier. From a fairly young age I was conditioned to learn how the computer worked as opposed to trying expecting the computer to know how I worked. This makes me a terrible programmer (I am not used to bending the system to my will) but a good sysadmin. (As a sysadmin I learn what the system can do and thus how to make it behave in unexpected ways.)
It wasn’t until the 80286 that I really got some legs under me and started working on my own. Navigating the command line, writing batch files, coding in QBasic and generally fully exploring what DOS could do. I remember being so proud of myself when I got my first 386 laptop (1MB RAM, 100MB HDD.) I had figured out how to load almost everything into extended memory and was sitting pretty on 631K conventional post-boot with all my drivers and compression software loaded!
It was an attempt to be really clever in early grade school that sent me down the road towards systems administration. I was trying to get a document I had written in Word Perfect over to a floppy so that I could bring it to school to work on it over lunch. The disk I took out of the box was unformatted and my father (with his magic book of commands) was not around. I hit “Format, return, Y, return.” Wiped out the C:\ drive. Oops. Fortunately my uncle was able to unformat the drive – but it was that incident that made me decide it was time to stop farting around with these smeggling things for games and documents and actually learn how to use them.
As you can probably take from the context then, the original “smart terminals” really were before my time. I certainly had procomm plus and a modem on my 80286. BBSes and fun! But it honestly was the closest I ever got to “terminals” until I was in junior high (early 90s) and started spending time at Libraries.
Odd though…the more this technology progresses headlong into the future…the more I miss the simple days of my 80286 and the sacred sheet of local BBSes. Photocopied and re-photocopied and distributed with great ceremony to young nerds like me. Oaths of secrecy were sworn and much ado was made about the importance of the information on that sheet. Computers were a super-secret private club back then. They were kludgy and wonky, awkward…and really cool.
I miss that. This instant interconnectivity, disposability and interdependency is a whole other world. It’s lost it’s shine somehow. The /mystery/ is gone. There is too much information available at your fingertips, and not enough requirement to spend nights hunting through piles of old books and documentation. Oh, but that’s another rant altogether…
It's all bout ROI though, isn't it? Ballmer hasn't maximised the potential ROI over the past five years. Worse, he does look set to continue not maximising the ROI for as long as he's in power. There was a perfectly suitable candidate allready with the company that was far more likely to enhance shareholder value by increasing the ROI.
Making X% when you could have been making YX% (where both X and Y are positive values) is dumb. No matter how large X is. You may be content with X, but the ability to have obtained YX for the minimal additional work of replacing the chieftain just makes no sense at all.
Microsoft are worth a pile of money, and make a chunk every year. They are also totally stagnant. Google and Apple came screaming out of nothing and in ten years have provided growth beyond Microsoft’s wildest dreams. From an investor’s standpoint, that is what it’s all about: having the value of the shares increase. IF your shares are going to remain relatively flat, you’d have been better off investing that in bonds.
Constantly Increase ROI or die!
Oh, I'm no crafty as all that. I simply always figured that by showing up at protests and helping co-ordinate things with the cops etc. that I would be on such a list to begin with. Step one is to never actually do anything illegal. Step two is that if what you are doing is perfect legal, but may potentially annoy someone in power…cover your tracks. If there is a magical list of people to go shake down for such things then I was probably on it a decade ago after my really intense spate of late-teens protesting.
Dear Microsoft shareholders,
You are all – every last one of you – complete idiots. Ozzie should be running that company, and Ballmer should have been fired five years ago. He has just proved it, damning you all in one move.
It is far past time for a vote of no confidence.
BALLMER. MUST. GO.
I make less than forty kilopounds. :( I like to think that I am marginally more evolved than a monkey! Now my feelers are hurt. I am going to screech loudly at the people on the other side of the invisible barrier and fling various things around (the server) for a while...
Where do I sign up?
I'll take the job! I know a reasonable amount about this here IT stuff...and I have a captive audience of cynics to bounce concepts off of.
Alas, I'm Canadian. I doubt they'll let me work from home, not to mention the bit where they'd get poo flung at them for hiring a "dang furriner"...
I have a dumb question:
If you are putting a roving mobile base station into the field, presumably with WAN and SAT links, what is the point of the infantry? Could you not simply create robot walkers with guns that are remotely operated? I mean, if they need juice, they just trundle on over to the roving base station. If energy requirements become higher than it's battery load can handle, nothing prevents anyone for tearing all the batteries out an replacing it with a genny and a shitload of fuel.
Why are we bothering with trying to “equip” meatware anyways? It absolutely can not be that hard to create a death mech. Hell, take it a step farther. Why bother with the roving base station at all? Just make the Mech 15 feet tall and two lanes wide. (65 tons of American pride!) At that size, it ought to be able to house it’s own fuel, genny, mobile comns etc. Put a reasonable weapons load out on it and ensure it’s ROV-capable.
But wait! Then it’s a gigantic target! Well the way to solve that is obviously to make it fly. So we need some sort of FLYING DEATH ROBOT. Oh wait…we have those. SO what do we need dudes on the ground for?
Oh yeah. Stealth, silence, recon and dealing with other human beings affected by the FLYING DEATH ROBOTS. I don’t see how a gigantic battery on wheels remotely helps accomplish any of those. It seems to me that for every one of these things in the field, the grunts around going to be wishing they had another UAV.
They were indeed real terminals...
...but they could also emulate a variety of others beyond their "native" type. Does that make them hybrids? Real terminals? Emulators? It's a bit before my time, in truth. I started off with a trash-80 and c64 and went straight to an 80286. By the time I got around to dealing with anything more client/server or mainframe-like than a BBS, Novell was the 800lb gorilla.
I apologise then if the terminology is slightly off. Everything I can find from those days talks much about their capabilities to emulate various kinds of terminal…so I classified them as terminal emulators.
As to "thin clients," well...they wouldn't have called a bombe a "computer" in WWII, but I would still classify it as "an analogue computer" based on today's terminology...
I keep saying El Reg needs a subscription option that allows us see the site ad-free. (Similar to how Ars does it.) It would be equally cool if it included some sort of "voluntairily pay more money towards a 'convince Simon to write more BOFH articles' option."
Or pretty much anything that encourages the production of more BOFH articles. To we need some old VAXen, skulls, entrails and the sacrifice of a sacred IBM Model M? Whatever it takes...just moar BOFH!
It is become increasingly difficult to "just not use" Google. I contend you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about in that regard. As to what is terrifying or not...that's in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I am a very avid student of history. Google is rising to a level of global information dominance that is starting to challenge that held by theocracies.
The ins and outs of that are not something I’ll debate online, (Sarah deserves a break,) but suffice it to say that I don’t hold Google in any esteem, I don’t trust Google, I don’t trust governments and I know that Google is legally required to work with governments to give up our data. (Not that Google fight that requirement very hard…)
The long and short of it is that every single time in human history that any one group or individual has obtained the power to control the flow of information as thoroughly as Google is coming to be able to, very bad things have happened. What is worse is that Google shows absolutely no tendencies towards “not being evil” and thus being even remotely trustworthy with the power they are accumulating. They simply aren’t ready to handle the “great responsibility.”
Combine this with the fact that the world’s various governments appear to have (some time ago) gone insane and I do not get the warm fuzzies. I do participate in political processes, work with dissidents and generally try to keep active making the world a better place. The more you get a global perspective on these matters, the more you realise how harsh total information control can be.
People in western countries simply cannot possibly comprehend it. They think that people in less fortunate countries are “just like them.” That these people believe the same things, desire the same things and are simply repressed by “the bad guys.” The reality is much different; in these countries, the general populace actually /support/ “the bad guys.” They believe the propaganda, heart and soul. They have simply never known anything else. They have been exposed to a certain set of information their entire lives – filled with it so thoroughly that to make an opposite claim seems to them to be ludicrous. Concepts we take for granted – like largish chunks of the UN declaration of Human Rights – are so foreign to them as to be absurd. IN their mind only the insane would believe such things.
In the western world we have fought many wars over the centuries in many different countries to lift ourselves out of that muck. Though the shadows are little longer today than twenty years ago, still…no one person or group can control the public consciousness to that extent.
Google is getting damned close. I would rather they quite simply never get any closer than they are now. I don’t ever want any one person/group/organisation/government capable of controlling the public consciousness or opinion as thoroughly as a theocracy can. I do not want Google to remotest inkling of the tiniest sliver of possibility of ever becoming to the western world what the Catholic Church of the dark ages was to us.
So I am sorry, but to me Google’s growing control of information is terrifying.
I am talking about my activities in generalities. I may be afraid to let the governments and political organisations involved in on the detailed specifics, but I do believe that I live in a country where talking in general terms about what I do will not get me in the shit. I am absolutely certain that my time spent protesting, talking at rallies, etc. is enough to have me on a list of “minorly annoying people” somewhere. I do tend to work within the system wherever possible.
Protest coming up? I am almost always the person to organise it with the Police. Indeed, the local Police seem to be far less tense about protests when I am directly involved – they are familiar with me and know that I would never let such things get out of hand. (I would call them if the attendees at a protest I was helping to organise got too rowdy.)
By the same token, the specifics of what I do could get me in trouble. The biggest issue is the research. I dig up primary sources for a lot of very embarrassing stuff – the kind of thing that I am certain some rather powerful people would prefer had never come to light. At the moment I am safe in that regard because no one can really pin any specific item to me.
The majority of politicians, officials and whatnot are not so far gone as to try to disappear someone simply because they might have been one of potentially thousands of such people that leaked an embarrassing whatnot that got them fired. That is even assuming I have ever gotten even close to digging up information that embarrassed someone in a position to have people disappeared!
If someone could pin my /specific/ activities on my however – that’s another story. Who’s to say that someone down the chain isn’t so far gone as to try something stupid? Or that someone currently under pressure to shape up thanks to recently revealed information isn’t willing to take a step like blackmail? I realise that even conceiving of that is cloak and dagger stuff – which in real life is fairly “out there” – but why take the chance?
I am not so crazy as to thing “the boogymen are after me.” In all likelihood, I could freely talk at length about the specifics of what I do and no harm would ever come to me. Canada is a fairly safe country in that regard. Instead, consider Google thwarting like buckling up your seat belt just to drive to car to a different stall in the same parking lot. It is in all likelihood unnecessary, but just as some car could come tear-assing through the parking lot at just the wrong moment, Google thwarting is a measure I put firmly in the “better safe than sorry” category.
In all honesty, I am mostly worried about folks in other countries. I work very closely with some of them…and I am heartbreakingly aware of what happens when someone drops the ball. As such, beyond “better safe than sorry,” learning to thwart Google is hugely important if for no other reason than to be able to teach those skills to others. While Googlethwarting is likely not truly necessary in my case…it absolutely is for others.
I don't think you have to have much of an ego to write for El Reg; quite the opposite in fact. El Reg commenters are /not/ friendly people. I write for El Reg really for two reasons. First, I was hugely flattered when they offered me the chance. Secondly...I have always wanted to write. It seemed like a great chance to learn how.
From the standpoint of “being an ego boost” however, it’s the digital equivalent of going on a polar bear jump and then climbing out of the water to have a thousand tittering teenage girls point and laugh at your junk. I would not ascribe “ego boost” to it; “soul destroying” is perhaps a better term.
It’s not all bad. There are unexpected moments of awesome. The people I have had the opportunity to work with here at El Reg are absolutely fantastic. My editor – Tim Phillips – is a great human being. Among others who have helped me, he has been an excellent resource and taught me a lot. I even seem to have a couple of fans, something I still find eternally bizarre given that I am a complete greenhorn at this writing thing.
If I have an active ego then I think it is most actively evidenced not through my writing but rather through my work. I specialise in MacGyvering computers into doing things they really were never designed to do. There’s pride in that. Even if it’s not the “by the book” way to do things.
Beyond that…I don’t think I’m any more prideful or egotistical than your average human male. I probably have the same number of insecurities and hang ups and the next guy. I just like ranting is all. Writing for El Reg – and more appropriately the comments section – gives me the opportunity to do so.
And hurray for that!
I wonder if it can serve as precedent to prevent Google turning our searches over?
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