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* Posts by Alain

94 posts • joined 5 Sep 2007

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Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts

Alain

Thailand

With the amount of internet censorship currently being put in place in Thailand by the military junta, I don't expect that this cable will provide a much improved internet experience to people there. Traffic has has started slowing down dramatically since the Great Leader has announced that no effort will be spared to stamp out "inadequate" network activity. Can't help but thinking this is due to filtering equipment being put online (by incompetent and lazy people as usual in government agencies there).

And in the foreseeable future I would definitely count Thailand among the potentially explosive countries that might cause trouble to this shiny new data pipe. Especially since according to the cable map found online, it lands in the unrest-ridden south.

Fortunately, it seems to be an end point.

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Register journo battles Sydney iPHONE queue, FONDLES BIG 'UN

Alain

Speakers

It's my understanding that he was speaking of the speakers, not the earpiece.

How much of your phone conversations take place in speaker mode?

Anyway, such not-so-good rendering at both extremes of the audio spectrum is irrelevant to human voice.

I'm not saying that this couldn't be regarded as a serious flaw for other uses, though.

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Microsoft's axeman Nadella fills baskets with 2,100 fresh heads

Alain

One good, one bad

Based on recent history, I'd say that ``Windows 9 will convince Win 7 and Win 8 people to upgrade, XP will finally die and then'' ... Windows 10 will be another massive failure :)

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Claimed Home Depot credit card hack could be biggest retail breach yet

Alain

Re: The U.S. should move to chip-and-PIN anyway...

Yes, chip-and-PIN cards can cause a lot of confusion, even in unexpected places.

I had to teach Budget staff at Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok, Thailand a couple of months ago how the thing worked. They were extremely confused and about to tell me "sorry sir, transaction rejected" when their machine asked for a PIN code. Fortunately, Thai people usually are friendly and open, so they happily accepted my telling how european cards work :-)

And yes, that was unexpected at the counter of a multinational car rental company in a major S-E Asia airport! But hey, this is Thailand :-)

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Japan makes Prius palatable with road map to hydrogen cars

Alain

Re: Prius attracts ridicule?

Priuses sell quite well here in France as well. I guess that government incentives for electric and hybrid cars help. They now amount to a sizeable share of the taxis in Paris.

No ridicule in this, really.

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Apple RESURRECTS the iPhone 4: report

Alain

Re: No way

@AC: ``What do you call decent apps?''

Nothing fancy really, and at 50+ I'm beyond fiddling with the latest gadget apps, believe me. I just want something that does the job.

Just an example: I've spent half a day trying to find a free battery app that gives a working battery gauge tile updated in real time. Couldn't find any. None would refresh unless I explicitly open the app.

It's been like this for just every basic app for which dozens of perfectly working free variants can be found on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

@AC#2 (so many ACs here...): sorry, my wording was ambiguous (English not my native language). The keyword was cheap, not plastic. I don't expect a titanium casing in this price range, but the back cover of my 100EUR no-name Chinese Android clone looks so much more resistant to shocks and scratches than this thing... And the 520's button buttons are terrible, really.

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Alain

No way

``Nokia's cheapo Lumia 520 Windows 8 phone will be better for most people than an iphone 4''

Let me tell you my first-hand experience: not, it won't.

My employer has inflicted 520s upon us as our new business phones. I was curious at first. I mean it, I really wanted to like it. Now I hate it from the deepest of my soul. These things are anything but usable: cheap plastic casing that makes any basement bargain Android phone look like a well-built object, buttons which look like they won't last a year, imprecise touchscreen, abysmal battery lifetime... and I won't even mention how much the O/S sucks, how much you can't find decent apps.

I'm kind of a Android fanboy, I admit it. Therefore I naturally tend to despise iPhones.

However I would trade this ugly Nokia 520 thing for an iPhone 4 *anytime* with much, much joy.

At least an iPhone 4 is usable.

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Sony's new PlayStation 4 and open source FreeBSD: The TRUTH

Alain

Re: And this is news? @Kebabbert

``HP (OSF/1, later rebranded as HP/UX)''

Huh? HP-UX existed even before OSF/1 was born.

OSF/1, from DEC, bought by Compaq which was then bought by HP, has its roots in Ultrix, DEC's port of BSD 4 which ran on VAXen and DEC MIPS workstations.

One should not mix BSD and FreeBSD/OpenBSD. Sun never had any interest the latter ones. Their own SunOS was a port of BSD 4 too until it became Solaris, which is much more SysV than BSD.

Their x86 port of Solaris doesn't share any code with OpenBSD/FreeBSD AFAIK, apart from what comes from their comon BSD 4 roots.

As for the conspirationist theories... please, spare us from these. It won't take long until someone links this to 9/11 too.

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Acer suffers terrible let-down after unexpected withdrawal of Wang

Alain

Re: They should cut the bad quality and/or unsupported lines

They're not doing that bad in the smartphone/tablet market IMHO.

Their Liquid E2/Z3 smartphones have a pretty impressive features/price ratio, and their build quality is way superior to the chinese rebrands.

The latest incarnation of their entry-level Iconia B1-710 tablet seems to be selling quite well too.

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RIP Bill Lowe: Father of the IBM PC no longer reading drive C

Alain

Re: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?

Funny that I had already made the same comment before, but my post was deleted by a moderator.

Variable standards?

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HP StoreOnce has undocumented backdoor

Alain

So what?

So many people don't change the default passwords anyway, by fear of losing it. Ask any EMC engineer how many Clariions on customer sites still have the default admin password...

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Review: Disgo 8400G 7.9in Android tablet

Alain

Correction: Ultimate Rotation Control isn't a free app

It's an excellent little app that does the job nicely and I have bought it. It's cheap, but it isn't free

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Oracle's hardware wing keeps on bleeding

Alain
Thumb Down

Yes, and their DB customers as well

We have a bunch of Oracle DB-based apps whose cost to migrate them to another DB would make my head spin (provided it's even technically feasible) so we're stuck with them.

Despite paying ridiculous amounts of money for this service, their support is slowly approaching the point of being unusable. Unless your DB has crashed and burned, chances to get a reply from requests made on their dreaded Metalink (the slowest thing on Earth) within a week are close to nil nowadays.

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Meet the stealthiest UK startup's app Swiftkey - and its psychic* keyboard

Alain

Re: Love Swiftkey

So do I. With proper training, it feels like the bloody program reads in your mind. Almost scary.

My only gripe is about the two separate versions: phone and tablet. I'm sure there's no good technical reason for this. The same program could certainly handle both. It's more like a marketing trick to force people who have both a phone and a tablet to buy two licences.

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The Register: Our all-new app now available for Android

Alain
Thumb Down

Re: An application restart is required

Indeed, I get "an application restart is required" every bloody time I go back to the welcome screen from the app using the home key and want to enter it again. Then, 3 times out of 4, I'm greeted by an "Unfortunately, The Register has stopped"... and back to the welcome screen where I have to start the app once again. Won't stand this for long, the app is likely to be heading towards the recycle bin soon and me back to the mobile site, I guess.

Ployer Momo9C tablet, Android 4.0.3 stock.

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Traffic app Waze 'turned down Apple's $400m, wants $750m' - report

Alain

Waze ? for what ?

This information, if true, puzzles me. What Apple really needs at this point is good quality maps. This definitely isn't Waze's strongest point. Its maps are only barely usable in areas of high user density. No satellite views or reconstructed 3-D views either (well in the version I use at least). Just flat road maps.

Also there's a long way to go for Waze to match Apple's "it just works" religion. It's still kind of buggy.

Don't misconstrue me. I am a Waze user and and find this little app extremely useful and fun to use. I'm just wondering what Apple would find in this product they can't do in-house.

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PCs punch HP in the gut, servers knee it in the jewels

Alain

No innovation anymore in the server business

HP... they used to have unique, innovatively designed server blades. Although the P-series (BL20p/BL30p...) and such had some design flaws (especially the BL35p was quite unreliable), they were a dream to manage compared to whatever existed at that time.

Then came the C-Series. The BL460c especially had a mature, clean hardware design, excellent reliability and much improved and more integrated ILO (hardware management and remote console).

Then... nothing. The newest models have inferior hardware design IMO and nothing significant has happened in terms of integrated, centralised administration.

In the meantime others have come up with much more advanced concepts like virtualised WWN/MAC addresses (eg. Cisco).

HP are lagging behind now.

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The Sinofsky Letters: Defenestrated Windows overlord corresponds

Alain
Thumb Up

Trevor, this has to be the best comment I've read on El Reg for quite a while. Thanks for the reading.

I could I written every word of it, except I couldn't (English isn't my native language).

You've perfectly summarised the amount of frustration we've reached, us IT professionals, seeing our everyday work tool becoming less and less usable. We are sacrificed by MS because we are considered as not significant compared to the consumer masses. Someday this timebomb will explode in their faces, or so I hope.

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Asus offers compensation to pre-price drop Nexus 7 buyers

Alain

A bit more generous here in France ?

30 € voucher, eligible to all buyers from the major distribution chains (Darty, Auchan, Boulanger etc.) as well.

However shipping charges are not covered.

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HP warns consumers: Don't downgrade Win8 PCs to Win7

Alain

Lenovo just gained a bunch of new customers...

Me included... and I was a long-time HP buyer, both as an individual and in my business.

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Google's Android celebrates fourth birthday

Alain

Re: It's impressive

XNU itself is based on Carnegie Mellon's Mach, another open-source project.

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All you need to know about nano SIMs - before they are EXTERMINATED

Alain

Dual-SIM phones are very common in Asia. Cheap no-name chinese (not too)smartphones such as iPhone look-alikes are almost all dual-SIM. Even real brand phones (I've seen several Samsung Android dual-SIM models sold).

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Google's Nexus 7 tabs 'can't perform' if flash RAM crammed

Alain

Re: You get what you pay for

Care to give us the company name and model name anyway?

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Airline leaves customer on hold for 15 hours

Alain

Re: On the plus side..

Some companies use online chats. I like this. Here in France Sosh (the low-cost mobile phone subsidiary of Orange) do almost all their customer support on forums and online chats. I've never waited more than a couple of minutes before having someone online, and the wait is free. Having written interaction also helps a lot having clear information passed back and forth and allows one to keep a record too (I certainly wish I'd recorded some phone conversations I've had with various customer support lines).

Of course there are situations where you can't use Internet, so they still have a regular customer service phone number, the same as Orange's so it sucks. I suspect Sosh's customers get a lower priority too. But they strongly push their customers to use their company-sponsored forums and live chats. That's part of the deal for having bargain prices on their monthly plans.

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Alain

Re: KLM much worse since Air France tie-in, I wonder why?

Although I would tend to agree that the AF-KLM merger has taken the worst of both sides, this exact same story happened to me when calling Etihad's Guest (frequent flyer) phone number. They kept me on hold for about 5 minutes before telling me to try again later and they hung up.

You know, these middle-east airlines so much praised for offering much better service than our european legacy companies...

And when I eventually make it through, the person picking up is in the Emirates, so nothing to do with a French call centre.

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O2 outage outrage blamed on new Ericsson database

Alain
WTF?

Same DB as Orange's?

This outage coming just a few days after the 10 hours almost complete black-out of Orange in France looked a bit suspicious already. But now they provide the same explanation: customer DB failure with no apparent usable online backup of the DB. Weird, really.

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HP asks court to force Oracle to obey Itanium contract

Alain

Re: OS?

Don't blame HP for killing the Alpha. Blame DEC themselves. The have completely failed to promote and sell it and Alpha was very, very sick already even before Compaq bought DEC. Yes Alpha was great and insanely ahead of its time, but DEC has failed everything but its design.

I've been in a 100% DEC shop (mostly VMS, some Ultrix) for many years and they still are the best years of my (long now) career. VMS' tightly integrated clustering is unmatched by any *nix until nowadays as far as I know. Ultrix was OK, a true-blue BSD I liked. Spent several years in the board of our local DECUS chapter. Nostalgy, nostalgy...

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Alain

Re: OS?

Do you actually work on HP-UX or are you basing your judgment on its state in the days of Tru64?

HP-UX 11iv3 actually is a very decent production-level Unix. I have worked on Solaris (a lot), AiX (quite some time), Tru64 (a little bit) as well as many variants of Linux and *BSD and why there are bits of HP-UX I strongly dislike such as the reboots still needed for way too many product updates, I have to say that it has generally become a mature and extremely stable O/S with everything I need: LVM/VxFS, ServiceGuard for clustering etc. On Itanium, its level of support for HP-PA legacy apps is awesome, with excellent perfs and the ability to import whole HP-PA systems as simili-VMs running at close to native speeds.

I do a lot of HP-bashing here so no fanboism.

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Volkswagen Up!

Alain

Re: 52MPG ?!?!

Come on pals, this is a PETROL engine. My own 2011 Polo that likely sports a close cousin of this engine (3 cylinders, 1200CC) eats between 5.2L/100km and 6.0L/100. This converts to 54-47 mpg in your strange units if I'm not misled (most online converters seem to be for US gallons). I think it's pretty decent for a petrol engine, so at 50 mpg the Up is in the same ballpark.

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Android activations near a million a day

Alain

Re: Do they know what they are doing?

Look at the /system/build.prop file on your tablet. Chances are that the chinese manufacturer has faked the device ID there in an attempt to make it able to download more apps from the Google Play Store.

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Alain
Pirate

My cheap chinese GB tablet must count for nearly a dozen activations ...

...because I've spent hours hacking into build.props, faking other device IDs to make it seen as compatible with more apps in the Play Store. At least Play Store certainly sees it as multiple different activated devices devices now :-)

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Microsoft forbids class actions in new Windows licence

Alain

No class action in France

...as far as I know. People keep calling for it.

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Review: Raspberry Pi

Alain

Re: Linux computer? (AC@07:27)

`` practically all Android slates that sell for < ~£120 use ARMv5 processors''

Quite wrong. Most of the recent low-cost chinese Android tablets use the Allwinner A10 SOC, which has a Cortex A8 inside hence ARMv7.

ARMv5 ? haven't seen any in ages.

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Alain

Re: Linux computer?

Android (up to Gingerbread) runs on ARMv6 CPUs too (e.g. the Telechips TCC8902). It's kind of slow, though, especially with only 256M RAM.

I expect to see a port of the CyanogenMod fork of Android ported to it someday.

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VIA outs $49 Raspberry Pi-alike

Alain

Re: Compared to Raspberry Pi

Hmmm... I have an ARMv6-based tablet clocked at 800 Mhz running Gingerbread and it's a real dog.

It can't run a significant amount of software for Android too (e.g. Skype video) because of the CPU's generation. I don't know how better than the Telechips TCC8902 in my tablet this VIA CPU could be, but I wouldn't expect it to be a performer compared to more recent (and very cheap too) SOCs like e.g. the Allwinner A10.

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Chrome spends a week at the top of the browser charts

Alain
Pint

Re: Chrome or Chromium?

I use Iron too, been using it since the very first versions and I love it. It seems to leak memory significantly less than both Firefox and Seamonkey when I leave it open for days with a handful or windows each having 10+ tabs.

It feels so good to have all the niceties of Chrome without Google spying on me (well, spying a bit less since I use Gmail and I have an Android phone and tablet).

Long life Iron, keep up the good work our German friends at SRware. I hope they will continue maintaining it.

Beer, because Iron is German-built.

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Huawei banned from Australia’s NBN: reports

Alain
Unhappy

Re: Personal Experience (Nortel can die as far as I'm concerned!)

``Their kit can't be crap, because even cheap stuff which breaks all the time is more expensive to operate than expensive but proper technology.''

Well, this statement is only true if you take the beancounters out of the overall picture. Unfortunately they tend to go for the cheapest offer disregarding the cost of our time.

That's the precise reason why I'm stuck with Nortel (now Avaya) crap where I work. They were the cheapest tender and now we have to bear with their brain-damaged L2/L3 switches for the next future due to corporate-level contracts.

I've had the "opportunity" to witness things happening on these boxes that I'd never seen in my 25+ years as an engineer, such as MAC address jumping from one VLAN to another in bridging or ARP tables for no good reason, loop detection kicking in and taking down links when there's no loop in sight and much weirder and equally harmful nonsense. Despite the incessant firmware updates, of course.

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Alain

How good is their gear nowadays really?

I really wonder. Back in 2000 or so I was working for an ISP in a S-E Asian country and Huawei was trying hard to sell us dial-up access routers (ADSL was unknown there at that time).

We were using very expensive Cisco gear that wasn't flawless either, but the evaluation boxes brought by a handful of "engineers" they had sent to us were really pathetic wannabe copies. They looked like hand-made prototypes and the software had a very incomplete but servile imitation of IOS' command-line interface.

Their boxes were crashing like hell, needing constant power cycles. I don't think any has never been put in production, despite their being less than 1/4 of the price of the Cisco routers.

And the "engineers" :-) ... they really looked like they were coming right from some remote rural area in China. Not speaking a single word of English of course (many people speak Chinese in this country I was living in, so that wasn't so big a problem). Didn't have a clue, really.

I see Huawei gaining big markets nowadays, so I presume they've gone a long way since then.

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BOFH: Dawn raid on Fort BOFH

Alain

Ah... old OSes on big floppies :-)

A breathe of nostalgia... the last OSes I've booted from these things were:

- UniFLEX 6809: such a good tiny Unix on a 8-bit processor, don't know if anyone here knows it, it was serving half a dozen ASCII terminals in 512K of memory (OK, when running on faster storage than floppies I have to say)

- C-CP/M 86 (Concurrent CP/M): the first non-Unix really multitasking O/S I've seen on x86, long before M$ had anything to offer. It had the same kind of virtual consoles Linux has.

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Alain

Re: Cynical; moi?

8 1/2-inch floppy disk? dont' think they ever existed. That's 8-inch in my memory.

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Oracle revs home-tweaked Linux kernel to 2.0

Alain
Happy

"...can still be thought of as RHEL-ish" (R-hellish ?)

Good one.

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Microsoft warns of RDP attack within next 30 days

Alain
Unhappy

Re: Lets be a little realistic here...

Ouch. Not end users maybe, but for the rest of us dealing with thousands of desktops and a whole bunch of terminal servers in our businesses, that's bad news. Or any kind of server for that matter. Which 2003/2008 server doesn't have RDP turned on nowadays? we don't manage these from the console anymore. Of course many desktops have RDP turned on too, because "you know, when I'm away but on the company's intranet, I *do* need to access my computer to work". This vulnerability does seem to have all the ingredients for the popo to hit the fan.

Busy approving the updates on our WSUS and planning reboots of the server farms now... because the darn thing *does* require a reboot, of course.

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Facebook blamed for getting Thai teens up the duff

Alain

Re: Irony?

Believe it or not Thailand *is* a prudish society. I know this sounds weird for a country known to be the favourite destination of sex tourists of all kinds, but this is the truth.

Precisely because the youth are kept in a state of ignorance of sex things and are incredibly sexually frustrated, prostitution flourishes and youngsters tend to do all lot of silly things like unprotected sex. Don't mix the prostitution for foreigners and the one for locals, though. They're two completely different businesses with the latter going on much more underground.

And yes, I've lived there for many years far, far away from the foreigners' ghettos so I kind of know what I'm talking about.

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Archos touts Android tablets for toddlers

Alain

Re: In my limited experience*,

This and having a shock-proof screen.

Capacitive? hence glass? First time drop or walk-over will be fatal.

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Weeing Frenchman sues Google over Street View photo

Alain

Re: Bigot

Surnom = nickname

Nom de famille = surname

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Death to Office or to Windows - choose wisely, Microsoft

Alain

Re: Re: Office in the cloud

Does Wine run the latest incarnation of Office flawlessly nowadays? Last time I've checked there still were serious glitches

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Alain

Re: Windows is NOT dying.

Agree with the main point of the post i.e. Windows not dying, but OTOH I think that the desktop *is* dying. Look in IT stores around you, how many of them still have towers on display? apart from hardcore gamers, no home user seems to buy desktops anymore nowadays. As for the business world, I know IT buyers who seriously consider phasing out the desktop. Notebooks/netbooks/tablets fit the "mobile office" and "shared cubicle pool" schemes better, they save office space. Yes, they still cost more money for the same specs, but the gap is narrowing.

My crystal ball tells me that Windows will outlive the desktop computer.

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HP earnings fall 44% on Whitman's debut quarter

Alain

@Wundebar1

I made it clear that what I wrote about IBM x86 blades was based on second-hand experience. Your mileage obviously varies. People I trust a lot told me that they had sour experience with large farms of IBM blades in 24x7 production, and that their KVMs were much less advanced than HP's ILO, making administration kind of a pain.

Whatever. HP's C-class were/still are good stuff. They probably were bleeding edge when released but they haven't evolved much and they're being seriously challenged nowadays. Maybe this has do to with HP's R&D in a sorry state as mentioned by another poster.

I saw presentations on Cisco blades that were really convincing. They've gone further especially in the virtualization of LAN MAC addresses and SAN WWN's, making the replacement of a failed blade a zero-configuration work business. Furthermore, regarding the "Cisco premium": as someone who's locked into using really poor and not so cheap Nortel network gear by silly corporate-level contracts, I wonder if the time we waste working around the huge deficiencies of their stuff wouldn't pay for the extra margings made by Cisco.

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Alain
Unhappy

Cisco eating up their blade business, Itanic might become the fatal blow

As a large HP customer, we've had less trouble having the right hardware delivered on time to us than some people here, but OTOH we mostly order very mainstream blade servers. What really makes me hate HP these days is their customer support whose quality is a shame for a so-called top-notch vendor for big corporate customers. It would hardly be appropriate for the average home user. The experience certainly is very similar whether you call them as Joe Inkjet Buyer or someone running a 24x7 data center with 100's of blade servers and several clusters of HP-UX boxes.

Anyway, I think the future of their server business at least looks very grim: their line of blade servers that had matured to a good product with the C-class is now being seriously challenged by Cisco. IBM wasn't such a serious competitor based on 2nd hand experience I've had, but they certainly have to worry a lot about Cisco. They have pushed the integration much further than HP in terms of administration, monitoring, LAN and SAN connectivity. HP hasn't made much progress in this since the C-class were released.

And then comes the Integrity... the IA64 blades really have a lot to offer for a cost-effective migration path from clusters of Superdomes, but they're clearly doomed, Intel made it clear that the days of the Itanic are counted. Even if HP provide a convincing port of ServiceGuard to Linux on x86, the migration of existing application will be such a pain that there will be few reasons left to stick to HP anyway.

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What's in the box, Windows sysadmin?

Alain

@Tom about Hiren's

Sorry for the plug but ... use UBCD4Win instead. You can rebuild an ISO with updated software on it (and extra too) whever you please.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against Hiren. I've used it for many years since version 6 I think. It still use it from time to time to run DOS-based programs like Seatools.

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