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* Posts by pPPPP

217 posts • joined 3 Feb 2011

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IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels

pPPPP

Re: IBM's skeletons in the basement

@harmjschoonhoven, presumably you come from a nation which has never waged war or repression on another. I know mine has. I can't say I was personally involved, however.

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Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage

pPPPP

Over the last few years I've replaced all of the copper piping in my house with plastic and I've sold the old stuff for scrap. I was last there a few weeks ago. The scrappie now takes ID and will only pay out via a bank transfer. He said that that aspect's not too difficult for him, but he's lost a lot of trade as a lot of people who don't want a paper trail, including tradesmen who have "legitimately" thieved it from the jobs they're working on who don't want the tax man tracing their income. Because there are still plenty of scrappies who will still pay cash, no questions asked, those people just go there.

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For Windows guest - KVM or XEN and which distro for host?

pPPPP

Re: Dual Booting Same Instance of Windows native and Virtualized

Actually, it's pretty easy if you know what you're doing. If you change from an AMD to Intel CPU you'll get a stop 7E usually and the workaround is pretty simple: install CPU drivers for both.

The other BSOD you'll likely get is a stop 7B for the disk controller. Again you need to install the right driver. You can often do this beforehand, but if you use KVM it will use a standard IDE driver by default. If you want to change to the virtio driver, which you should, start the guest with the option -drive file=/path/to/any/old/file,if=virtio and put the virtio ISO in the guests virtual cd drive. Windows will find a new drive and install the driver and you will now be able to boot the OS disk using virtio.

Sometimes Windows is pretty straightforward. Granted, my grandmother probably couldn't do this, but this should make sense to the average techie. It would be nice if Windows let you install drivers from CD or USB during boot by pressing F8, but that would be way too sensible.

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pPPPP

Re: Games

Along with others, I agree with this. I've got a games PC running Windows 7 because the majority of games I have run on Windows only and you can't virtualise for gaming as you need direct access to graphics hardware.

You might be interested in the set-up I have on my laptop. I installed Windows 7 first and encrypted using Truecrypt. Booted off a Linux installation CD and took a copy of the boot loader using dd into a file. Installed Linux (I use Slackware but any flavour would do) and created a dual-boot set-up using lilo (yes, I still use lilo) to boot from the truecrypt bootloader, allowing me to boot into Windows where needed.

I can also boot the Windows partition from within Linux using KVM, by pointing to /dev/sda for the HDD. This might sound frightening to many, but Windows cannot read the Linux partitions and Linux cannot read the Windows partitions. They don't touch each other. It works.

Then again, if you're not interested in a Linux GUI you may be better of with Cygwin and sshd.

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Just as we said it would: HP clamps down on server fixers

pPPPP

Re: Typical greedy monopoly justification.

The problem is, when you get a component replaced by a third-party alternative, and that component subsequently fails spectacularly, or causes other things to fail, who do you turn to? If it's the vendor who supplied you that component, then fine. If you go back to HP then they probably have a right to tell you where to go. The problem for them is they probably spend a lot of time and money before they realise what you've done, and they're not going to be able to charge you for that time and money that they've spent.

Using your analogy, it's like engine remaps in cars. I waited until the warranty ran out before doing mine, but plenty don't, and then moan at the manufacturer if there's a failure of any sort.

Of course, they shouldn't be able to force you to go to them for support, but equally there's no reason I can see for them refusing to support you if you're paying someone else for support. Generic servers aren't that difficult to build and many of the big players do exactly that. The reason people buy from the likes of HP is for the support.

Of course, withholding firmware updates is another thing. It's just something to factor in when you're choosing which vendor to buy your kit from.

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Sony denies Vaio-to-Lenovo rumour

pPPPP

Re: How about this?

My current Thinkpad (an X220) is dropping to bits. There's a chunk missing from the corner because I sometimes carry it without closing it and the plastic is so thin. The top of the screen is likewise not quite all there any more.

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Windows 8.1 becomes world's fourth-most-popular desktop OS

pPPPP

Re: Is 'popular' the correct word?

I was going to say the same thing. This isn't the first article to say this. Windows 8 is not popular. It really isn't. It's increasing its market share because people are still buying laptops (even though they keep telling us nobody's buying anything but tablets any more) and Windows 8 comes pre-installed. The majority of people use whatever comes pre-installed on their laptop because they don't know how to do anything else.

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Sinclair's ZX Spectrum to LIVE AGAIN!

pPPPP

Re: Awful to type on

The steering wheel was Formula One Simulator from the early 80s' favourite purveyor or shite games, Mastertronic.

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0001844

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IBM's bailed out of the server market - will they dump Storwize next?

pPPPP

Re: IBM's storage "strategy" was to turn SW products into HW

That custom-made hardware has firmware running on it to provide the actual functionality. It can fail just like any other software. Nobody actually does hard-coded hardware as you wouldn't be able to patch or upgrade.

The software running on black-box hardware products isn't a single process you know. Yes, there is usually a Linux or BSD kernel under there and these aren't entirely bulletproof as has been demonstrated a number of times. But the code itself is a number or separate pieces of code which are designed to interact with one another.

Any product designer knows, like any architect, that both software and hardware will fail. With hardware the only real way to deal with this is to provide redundancy. In software, you can do this too, but the code itself can provide routines to deal with exceptions. Some are sophisticated, others simply turn it off and on again.

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Gift-giving gotchas: How to avoid Xmas morning EMBARRASSMENT

pPPPP

Re: Good Advice

>Last year my nephew got a VITA with FIFA13.......

You're fooling no-one. You just wanted to play with your nephew's Christmas presents, didn't you?

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'Disruptive, irritating' in-flight cellphone call ban mulled by US Senate

pPPPP

Re: Oh bullshit.

Which airlines' safety videos are laced with ads? None that I use are.

And how do these ads manifest themselves? Do they sponsor the oxygen masks?

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Consumer disks trump enterprise platters in cloudy reliability study

pPPPP

These guys have obviously never heard of a bathtub curve. Utterly pointless study.

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PlayStation 4 a doddle to fix: Handy if it OVERHEATS, for instance

pPPPP

Two years isn't that long. How many PS3 users have had their consoles over 2 years?

Even if the fan doesn't need to be replaced, it may get clogged up with dust. Being able to easily get into there with a vacuum is a massive benefit and could be the difference between fixing an overheating machine or leaving it to fail.

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Eat our dust, spinning rust: In 5 years, it'll be all flash all the time

pPPPP

Re: Doubt it

>HDDs, I have to move a head assembly to the right position, skipping many "cylinders" of blocks.

You've just contradicted yourself there. Having to move the heads around makes them sequential. Yes, so it's not as slow as tapes, but it's still not completely random access.

If you want random access you need to be able to randomly access any data on the device in the same time, regardless of physical location.

HDDs aren't going to die. They have reached one limitation: rotational speed. However, as long as they continue to increase in capacity, and continue to fall in price, they will always be there.

CFOs don't choose the best technology. They choose the most cost-effective.

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Personal web and mail server for Raspberry Pi seeks cash

pPPPP

Re: Been there, done that

I've done this on my Raspberry Pi, using Slackware, and the problem isn't the technical part of setting it up. The problem is the fact that you're just some guy on the internet with an IP address. When you try to send mail anywhere it gets returned to you because they think you're a spambot.

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Blighty's telcos set to CHOKE off another fistful of piracy gateways

pPPPP

>Virgin media spokesman: "Like the spineless morons we are, we refuse to fight this, we just want your cash"

You mean "We couldn't give a fuck because we have a monopoly over the UK's cable infrastructure and we will continue to make money regardless".

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pPPPP

And how many lawyers care about that? They'll get paid for all the hard work they've put in fighting the war against online piracy. New house, new sports car, big holiday.

12 months down the line, a bunch of new popular download sites will be compiled. Back to court then. They'll get paid for all the hard work they've put in fighting the war against online piracy. New house, new sports car, big holiday.

12 months down the line........

It's got nothing to do with protecting music/films etc. It's about making money for lawyers. Same as the constant patent battles in the mobile phone industry.

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Play Elite, Pitfall right now: Web TIME PORTAL opens to vintage games, apps

pPPPP

Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

>or even an SLR camera icon

What's legacy about that? SLR's are more popular now than ever. Walk along South Bank in London on any afternoon and you'll find that most tourists have one. They're not difficult to use like they used to be. In fact they're easier than phone cameras. And despite the bollocks you get from Nokia et al about megapixels, SLRs have what matters: a decent size lump of glass at the front to let the light in.

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Fast is the new Black: WD gives laptops' spinning rust a new whirl

pPPPP

Re: Humgh

>SSD are for performance, and are so far ahead HDDs will never catch up.

Yes, the article talks about I/O, yet the numbers and the graphs talk about throughput. There's no mention of block sizes or randomness so my guess this is large block, sequential I/O. And if you purchase SSDs for that sort of I/O then you either have money to burn or you're ignorant.

Flash is great at random I/O. When it costs a similar price per GB to spinning disk then it will be great at sequential I/O. Until then both flash and disk drives are "for performance".

By the way, SSDs are just flash devices pretending to be disk drives. The only reason they exist is so they can be used in the same physical slots as hard drives, and connect to the same interfaces. There's absolutely no reason for them to emulate cylinders, heads and tracks. Dedicated PCI adapters already exist, as do dedicated SAN-attached devices. Both of them respond to I/O significantly faster than SSDs (microseconds as opposed to milliseconds).

SSDs in their current form will most likely become obsolete before hard drives do.

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Netflix original TV shows gamble pays off... to the tune of 10m new viewers

pPPPP

Re: What an original idea

It was Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't it?

I took a Netflix subscription to get the last Arrested Development season, and I kept it running. It's the overpriced Virgin subscription that's probably going to go. Really can't work out why I'm paying for countless crappy channels I never watch, just to get the few I do.

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BBC announces plans to spend your cash on digital goodies

pPPPP

Re: @AC - Well said!

>The WIre, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos - all funded by subscription. Amazing TV.

Spot on. America produces some fantastic TV, and the subscription model makes a lot of difference. Advertisers want lowest common denominator drivel because the people who like TV they don't have to think about are the same people who buy what they are told to by advertisers.

I'd be happy to scrap the licence fee and pay for the stuff I want. I'd get BBC1, 2 & 4 and Radios 4 & 6. I already own a Family Guy box set so I'd skip BBC3.

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pPPPP

Re: The BBC?

They are. And they're still the only people in the UK producing TV that's worth watching and radio that's worth listening to. With a few exceptions.

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Brit inventor Dyson challenges EU ruling on his hoover's energy efficiency ratings

pPPPP

Re: Am I the only one...

That's not as bad as those bloody hand dryers that blow cold air but don't actually dry your hands.

They consume power without actually achieving anything so they are infinitely less efficient than the old sort.

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The life of Pi: Intel to give away Arduino-friendly 'Galileo' tiny-puter

pPPPP

Re: No monitor or sound output!

>Whenever I see a R-Pi, I have to resist tearing out the composite video connector.

Why? How else are you going to connect it to your VCR?

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Microsoft delivers baker's dozen of patches on Tuesday

pPPPP

Re: Installation nonsense

Some of the patches only replace one file though, and it will force a reboot if that file's in use. The only way of finding out which file it's talking about it to dig through the KB article.

It would be a lot nicer for the patch to say "I want to replace this file, which is in use by this application/service. Why not close this application/service for me and I'll try again, without having to reboot?" Of course, for desktop roll-outs it's probably simpler just to reboot, but for servers, forcing a reboot to patch a non-essential service, or bloody Internet Explorer is just a pain.

What would be better still is for MS to actually allow you to install just the applications you need, rather than forcing you to install GB worth of shite you never use.

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Dyson takes Samsung to court in UK over vacuum cleaner

pPPPP

Re: I really dislike dyson @skelband

Well, I've never owned one myself, but my mother has one and so does a friend who I lived with for a few months while my house was being renovated. I guess the overall feel is sturdy. But when you want to use the hose attachment (this was an upright) which you invariably have to, not only do you have to take the hose out, but also a large unnecessary chunk of plastic it's attached to. Then the hose itself will come out the end without you wanting to, forcing you to turn the damn thing off to put it back together. The button you press to angle the upright part (in order to push it) sticks too. And trying to clean staircases is nigh on impossible because the bloody thing won't stay upright. Maybe the non-upright model is more useful.

It's a hell of a lot better than the run-of-the-mill competition, but compared to something in the same league it's not. I've got a Miele one which I was sceptical about forking out for at first but it's built well, quiet, powerful and easy to use. It's over a decade old now though and runs like it did when I bought it. I've treated it like crap too, using it for building work.

I think the biggest problem is he had such a simple, good idea, and put it into an unnecessarily over-complicated, over-sized, impractical package. The washing machine he did was even worse. Big and stupid. The rotor-less fan, however, is a fantastic piece of kit.

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pPPPP

Re: I really dislike dyson

His hoovers (yes I know they're supposed to be called vacuum cleaners) are crap too. They weigh three times as much as others, take up three times as much space, look stupid, fall apart and are clumsy to use. The only thing going for them is the lack of a bag, which isn't really a big deal as they're no better at cleaning and changing a bag's hardly a big deal.

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Bin half-baked Raspberry Pi hubs, says Pimoroni: Try our upper-crust kit

pPPPP

Re: You can get the AC adaptor with either UK or European power pins

>But standing on a UK plug won't break it. You have to drop them quite a long way onto a hard surface to damage them.

I wasn't talking about breaking the plug. In the battle of foot vs plug, foot is going to lose, and it's going to f*****g hurt too.

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pPPPP

Re: You can get the AC adaptor with either UK or European power pins

>The ingenious self sealing UK design is by far the best in the world.

Apart from when you stand on an upturned one. Not so great then.

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pPPPP

Re: The least of its problems

You could be right. Overall though, it does the job for me as it is. It would be nice for some backups to complete more quickly, but it's not that important. My laptop connects in via VPN so it's often doing it over 3G anyway.

New revisions of the Pi are likely to cover more connectivity options, higher power etc. but only if doing so doesn't affect the price too much. It is what it is.

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pPPPP

Re: The least of its problems

Gigabit Ethernet would be more useful. I use my Pis to backup all my kit, including each other, and the lack of bandwidth is more of an issue for me.

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Ministry of Sound sues Spotify over user playlists

pPPPP

Re: Whats with the MOS bashing?

Nope. MOS produce and promote their own acts. Understandable really, considering they're a business who are in it to make money, like all labels. However, when they constantly churn out "classics" albums, all full of their own monotonous produce, ignoring most of the actual classics of the genres, then they lose their credibility. They even produced something for channel 4 a while back, again promoting themselves and their acts, claiming to have invented everything there is to do with house music.

It would be OK if the stuff they produced was actually any good, but with a few exceptions it's mostly formulaic crap.

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pPPPP

Ministry of Shite are the Simon Cowell of house music. They've done their level best to destroy the genre with crude commercialisation, selling countless mixes of the same tired tracks to morons who'll buy them because there's a pretty girl on the advert and they want to be "cool".

In a just world, the perpetrators of this bile would have a 1210 dropped onto them from a great height.

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TDK calls it quits on tape media thanks to 'difficult environment'

pPPPP

Re: Backup

Yep, tape's still the best bet for archives. Having stale data spinning round just makes no sense. Even less so with flash.

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Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

pPPPP

Re: TDK SA90...

>Sadly, having listened to Radio 1 recently I actually do believe that home taping did kill music.

I think Cowell, Walsh et al did that.

I used to like the That's tapes, with the triangular window. Something different about them. The metal ones were expensive though.

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pPPPP

Re: The tape is dead,

> IIRC, it was that minidisks were expensive compared to CDs, it ran on the "yesterday's news" of magnetic storage, but it did come with bonus DRM

That, and computer CD Writers becoming increasingly affordable. Why buy a minidisc player, when you can burn CDs and play them on any of your CD players? It wasn't long after that that the MP3 revolution happened.

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pPPPP

Re: Horrible, horrible, horrible!

Maybe you should have spent a bit more on something that worked. I had plenty of shitty tape recorders when I was a kid so I know what you're talking about. In my teens I eventually forked out on a decent tape deck and it was worth every penny. Dolby S and everything. I even bought type 4 cassettes sometimes.

It now takes pride of place in my attic.

It was a great solution in its day, and its popularity backed that up.

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Why all the fuss about flash? Pin your ears back and find out

pPPPP

And will their flash be somehow better than everyone else's?

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Don't let the SAN go down on me: Is the storage array on its way OUT?

pPPPP

That's not true. There are many applications which continuously operate on the same data again and again. While writes will be periodically destaged, reads are served repeatedly from cache. Where these reads are small-block random I/Os that results in significantly fewer reads from the backend disks.

It all depends on how much cache you actually have. More cache, with an intelligently chosen block size, will significantly reduce the dependency on the backend. This is the main reason why those big enterprise systems outperform the midrange systems. They still have the same disk drives and have to adhere to the same rules. Serving I/O from cache improves performance.

RAID write penalties are barely significant in enterprise arrays nowadays, with the obvious exception of rebuild times, hence the increasing prevalence of distributed RAID.

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pPPPP

Re: DIY SAN

Hadoop is fine for big data but it's not appropriate everywhere.

If you have a critical business application which requires sub millisecond response time, plus synchronous replicas of all data in several physical locations, with the ability to recover from site failure in seconds/minutes, would you really consider putting it on an Amazon cloud? Oh yes, did I mention that said application has sensitive government data which must be protected from prying eyes at all times? You'd put that on the cloud???

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pPPPP

The first question I would ask is how many drives are in the array and how many databases are trying to use those drives simultaneously? Storage arrays have cache which reduces the amount of I/O to the backend disks, but you're still going to get contention. Two disks shared between two servers/applications will not run faster than putting a disk into each server. Quite the opposite.

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pPPPP

>You don't see a SAN in the cloud thankfully, just commodity kit and DAS - at last!

Are you sure? You don't think that underneath that cloud there may possibly be storage arrays protecting your data?

Putting SSDs (or more likely flash memory - why would you want solid-state disks?) into a server is all well and good, but what happens if the server fails? Well, you could introduce clustering, but that means your storage will have to go outside the server, otherwise it will fail when the server fails. I know, why not have a shared storage appliance that all of the servers in the cluster can access?

Shared storage still has its place, and data protection and disaster recovery dictate that it's not going to go away. How you share the storage is another matter. Dedicated arrays of disks may have a limited life, but they're still going to be around for a while in one way or another. It's not just going to suddenly disappear, just like the so-called "cloud" doesn't mean that physical hardware ceases to exist.

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Chrome, Firefox blab your passwords in a just few clicks: Shrug, wary or kill?

pPPPP

Re: That's not the issue.

It's actually the browser that does that. Banks use https and browsers tend to not allow you to save passwords for those sites.

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pPPPP

Re: That's not the issue.

The problem is when you have logon credentials for various forums, like this one. You can either re-use the same password across them all and remember it or store it in the browser (hopefully encrypted). You're not likely to be able to remember separate credentials for each and every site.

This doesn't mean that you need to save your bank details in the browser. I don't save anything financial, but I do save web site logins.

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You're 30 years old and your PIN is '1983'. DAMMIT, biz mobe user

pPPPP

Re: Oh for goodness sake

What annoys me is the 8-digit voice mail password they insist that you change every couple of months. And you find out about this usually when walking down the street/standing in a station/etc. when you're picking up that important VM before that meeting you're rushing to and are already late for.

It won't let you pick up the VM because the password's expired and you must change it there and then. So you're forced to pick 12345678 or 96321478 or something daft because you've nothing to write it down on, are never ever going to use it yourself as you don't need it when picking up your VM from your phone and you have to enter the damn thing twice.

Then there's the work email password, which won't let you do <password>1, <password>2 etc. but you can get away fine with 1<password>, 2<password> etc. And it will force you to change it even if nobody's tried to guess it. Why?

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PEAK APPLE: iPad market share hits the skids

pPPPP

Something must have killed the tablet, just like the tablet apparently killed the PC.

Or just perhaps, those people that wanted to buy one have now done so.

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Fed up with poor Brit telly and radio output? Ofcom wants a word with YOU

pPPPP

"This means that I (as a resident of the Isle of Man) am subsidising UK viewers/listeners TV and radio"

Nope. I, as a London resident, am subsidising you. We have a transmitter in Crystal Palace which serves tens of millions of us. Yet we're forced to subsidise a transmitter in Douglas for you and your 80,000 chums. If everyone's licence fee was spent on paying only for their local transmission network, then yours would go up quite considerably, I'm afraid. It's the same argument for standard mail charges across the country. Why should we, having to pay through our noses to live in London, subsidise your lavish, tax-free lifestyle?

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Mozilla ponders blinkers for your browser

pPPPP

Re: Unless it is OFF by default

"(If I could only get Virgin Media to stop sending stuff addressed to 'The Householder', I'd be very happy)"

It's worse than that if you're a subscriber. They increases everyone's charges last year, so they could fund a campaign to repeatedly send you junk mail trying to get you to buy a mobile from them.

And their on-demand TV service only works about 60% of the time. And the majority of channels you pay through the nose for are full of adverts and you don't want them anyway.

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China prepares to lift 13-year game console ban – report

pPPPP

Re: Why not protect their jobs?

We protect our jobs too. As long as those jobs are for CEOs/Directors/Conservative party donators/Bullingdon club etc. etc.

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Red Hat: We do clouds at one third the cost of VMware

pPPPP

VMWare has a huge footprint in this area, some very mature code and some nice features. Redhat can compete on price, as KVM is free, but the enterprise features are going to make a huge difference. Looks like they're going in the right direction.

I've had a dabble with KVM and QEmu and so far I've been very impressed.

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