* Posts by Tim Hogard

33 posts • joined 13 Sep 2007

Google cloud told to encrypt itself

Tim Hogard
Flame

How about the environment?

Won't someone think of the extra CO2 because of this extra security?

And @David... a T1 will be slower than an X2100 by the time about 3 to 4K of data goes by thanks to its very slow block cypher.

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Super Micro rack-mounts micro Atom server

Tim Hogard

PCI/DSS?

Any one who has to deal with the PCI/DSS rules of "one server per function" would love these things. Sun used to make these (aka x1 a decade ago) but decided to abandon the market. There is a major market for "appliance" based servers that are low powered.

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Top British boffin: Time to ditch the climate consensus

Tim Hogard

Green is always good right?

A few years ago I stuck a good power meter on a CFL light bulb. It told me a much different story than the one printed on the shiny box that the CFL came in. I've since stuck more than 100 CFLs into the little test lab that has been augmented with with a light meter. So far this magic 80% efficiency I see printed on the boxes isn't even close. The best I've seen is about 46% and that is only for the 1st 10 hours of the CFLs life. LEDs and Halogens both do better on average that the CFLs I have in my lab yet they are considered more "green". The only green they are involved with is money green.

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Sun silent on sorry server sales

Tim Hogard

No product=no sales

@Kleyken and @AC have it right.

There isn't any thing left in the SPARC line to replace the loads of old $1000 and $2000 servers that are reaching the end of their life. We have been using the telco grade Netra 210 since we can slap Sol 9 on then and just move everything over but those machines aren't cheap and are over powered for most appliance like applications. Maybe someone who used to work at Sun could refab the IIIi at 45 and end up with a sweet low power chip for the internet appliance market.

We have been told last order date for the N210 is in about a month and they don't have anything to replace it so we have to come up with a 5 year plan based on rumors. That or we dump Sun which is starting to look like the best option.

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AMD pulls forward six-shooter Opteron cannon

Tim Hogard

n=6?

Amdahl's law has been telling us for over 4 decades that throwing more cores at a problem quickly reaches the point of diminishing returns. For the last decade or so the workloads and CPUs dictate that more than about 6 cores doesn't buy much if anything in extra performance. For the average PC, most users won't ever see any improvement with more than 6 cores so I expect that to remain the high performance sweet spot for years to come.

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Oracle reels in Sun Microsystems with $7.4bn buy

Tim Hogard

Sometimes you just gots to ho

When you have a major stock holder that wants to bail, your going to get sold when your pimp says so and you can't argue that with out a slap-down. Sun has only one machine in their lineup this month I would buy which is the lowest server count since I started using their hardware in 1987. Its been a nice ride but it looks like we both need to move on. It hasn't been a good sign for the last few years when the grey-beard types are using BSD on sun kit since the new OS is bloat rich and stability free worse that the stuff from Redmond.

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Ready or not, IPv6 is coming

Tim Hogard
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Artificial shortage

For over a decade I've been saying that we are not running out of IP addresses but we are running out of routes and history keeps driving that point home as the routers between major networks keep getting overloaded. My idea from the lear 90s was to assign only /24 blocks and tell the ISPs and the router manufactures they they are just going to have to cope with 16 million routes in their routers and get over it. AT&T built a router to do just this sometime in 1995 so its not that hard.

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Apple shares MacBook break-in tips

Tim Hogard
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Turn off for Corporate buyers?

We have long had a policy that hard drives don't go back to the vendor. We take them out before we take it in for any other service. I don't think I've seen an elegant inside of a modern Apple product.

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Sun will Rock in 2009

Tim Hogard
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Don't bet on the 3 legged horse

After over a year of screaming at sun about a dodgy T1000, we get a brand new shinny replacement. While it was much faster than the lemon they 1st sent, its a dog running anything but the most contrived code. Compared to a Netra 210 which costs the same and uses a old SPARC IIIi, the T1000 is about 1/2 the speed at best if given a highly parallel task that was poorly written. Give it optimized code and it the T1 cpu just chokes. It is only good at moving lots of memory around or endless chasing of pointers, both which are signs that the programmer should have been sacked. I now have less than 6 months to order the last of the small 1RU servers that still run Solaris 9 which is a shame since they are Rock Solid unlike anything I've seen out of Sun lately. I've been told Sol 10 will solve all my problems but I don't see needing reboots after monthly patches to fix security bugs as a feature. I sort of like to have machines with about 4 to 12 packages installed and not needing any reboots for years as good thing but apparently that isn't progress and I need to step up to the Microsoft way and embrace the new features of Solaris 10 with its requirements of heaps of packages including the kitchen sink packages.

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Europe-wide emergency number is go

Tim Hogard
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Pick a number... any number?

I like how kiddy TV shows in Australia cover how to dial 911 when the correct number is 000. The mock police cars often shown at events are used for US movies and also show the 911 number. I think the 911 chosen by Bell was the best choice since it can be dialled by people who recently became vision impaired, its not likely to be dialled by accident and wasn't much of an integration problem with too many phone systems. The Aussies picked the worst option since work phones often need a 0 to dial out and international is all 00 so people get used to dialling 00011 from work and get the emergency operator at home. There have also been reports that up to 30% of the calls to 000 are wrong numbers.

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So what will happen to Sun?

Tim Hogard
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What do their customers want?

I've been buying and recommending sun kit for two decades but Sun simply refuses to sell us what we want to buy. I watch the required patches to Solaris 10 and I don't see a production product yet. I have solaris 9 machines with years of up time that have all the needed patches. While dtrace, zones and zfs seem nice, we don't need them but we need stability and we just don't see that when we have to reboot for patches every few weeks. Our preferred platform is currently the netra 210 because they will run solaris 9 and they fit in our old racks but its last order date is approaching. Once we can no longer buy them, we will be switching to bsd on some other platform.

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Follow the Somali pirate scourge via Google mashup

Tim Hogard
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It could be stopped

The trick is to sink the motherships and any captured speed boats insight of land in the areas where the pirates recruit their members.

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Sun faces up to the 64 thread question with T2+

Tim Hogard
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Flat sales?

Maybe Sun needs to stop annoying its older customers. I'm not running a beta operating system (even if its a few years old). If you can't build a core OS that doesn't need essential updates every few weeks, then let me use the older one on your new hardware. Someone at Sun might want to look at the low end of their sparc line and figure out they don't have one anymore. They also ask themselves how people are supposed to put the new bits of gear where the older bits of gear used to be. We bought racks when the x1/v100 was the hot new thing and now their seem to be two models (t1000 and soon to be pulled netra 210) that fit in the same space as a v100 and nothing as lean as a x1. Right now Sun has exactly one machine that meets my requirements and thats the netra 210 and its scheduled to be pulled from the line up.

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OMFG, what have you done?

Tim Hogard
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Fixed width

What were you thinking about the fixed width?

The new icons need lots of help since they are way too light and have no character.

The font seems harder to read or my eyes went bad in the last 24 hours.

The gray side bars have to go.

Other than that, welcome to the 1999 school of web design.

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Sun spreads more VirtualBox love

Tim Hogard
Stop

It won't be my OS of choice

I want to run Solaris 9 on my hardware. Not Solaris 10 and not 11 either. I like 9. I can't exploit it and I can fully audit it unlike newer versions. Its sysadmin's can trace all its functionality. It doesn't use some non Unix "new way" to maintain it. I'll keep buying your kit as long as I can buy servers that run Solaris 9 and are no deeper than 21 inches to fit half decade old racks. Its easy to keep my business if you want it.

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Date bug kills VMware systems

Tim Hogard
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Testing? What testing?

In these days with NTP and GPS clocks, who is running a test system that thinks its next week? That is an easy way to find out about these sorts of problems before they show up.

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UK gov announces Road Pricing 2.0 - Managed Motorway

Tim Hogard

Is the problem due to excessive management already?

Is traffic in the UK following the pattern in Melbourne where there congestion is getting worse and worse yet there has been a decrease in total miles driven every year for the last four?

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Seagate first with 1.5TB hard drives

Tim Hogard
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What is the quality?

We are seeing a large number of failures on the one year old Seagate drives which corresponded to a change in location of where they were made. What is the real life span of new drives?

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Available to buy: your own frakkin' 7ft Cylon

Tim Hogard

All this newfangled spelling

I love how the British misspell words. It so cute pretending to spell like the French. I have one of the 1st best selling books published in London in 1686 and there isn't a RE ending or an unneeded U anywhere in it. As far as the silent L in solder, its been there along with the silent L in Salmon and other Latin words for over 2000 years.

Do these Cylons come with paperwork with all the corners cut off?

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Dissolving the plastic bag problem

Tim Hogard

Aren't knee jerk bans great?

The green canvas bags are starting to show up in large numbers in Aussie waterways and beaches. So we have replaced one type of bag for a "green" option that I expect will be worse in the long run. In my house the "canvas" bags last about 100 uses yet they have more than 100 times the plastic as the old type bags and take far more energy and effort to manufacture. Some of them contain 6 types of plastic including nylon that may never break down.

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Fraudsters pool data to beat plastic fraud checks

Tim Hogard

System designed for different addresses

AVS was designed to take advantage of the 9 digit zip codes used in the US which pinpoint down to about a block in most cases combined with the larger 5 digit house numbers that are also often used. That would have meant that a typical house will only share its AVS code with 1 or 2 others in most cases. The problem is people don't seem to remember their 9 digit zip code and tend to remember just the 1st 5 so the zip+4 was dropped. Aussie banks (except Citibank) are going with the excuse that AVS violates privacy so they refused to even do these trivial checks.

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BBC should not pay for fibre, Ofcom tells MPs

Tim Hogard

Where is the old tech?

The problem is getting bandwidth the DSLAMs in the local exchanges. Maybe Ofcom should reintroduce the concept of party line concept for fibre optics. Most ISP could drastically increase their capacity and decrease their costs with links that only get them to nearby exchanges and they can share a fibre with others thanks to the magic of fibre wavelength division.

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Aussie laser-pointer dazzle attacks on airliners: Bad

Tim Hogard

I've seen green laser from a plane

On approach to Melbourne I noticed a green laser and it did cause the scratches in the window to light up. It was also very easy to tell where the beam was coming from. If they ban pointing lasers at airplanes, will they also ban pointing lasers at cars or are the revenues too high from the IR lasers the police like to use?

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Solaris SPARC to x86 software highway opens

Tim Hogard

100% uptime?

How you can have 100% uptime when you have to reboot the thing to apply critical patches every few weeks? One of our Solaris 9 boxes went 3 years without needing any patches that required a reboot due to its lean install of less than 10 packages. Our T1000 needs patches every few weeks for lots of really broken things so how can joe's be secure with no real problems if we are both running the same OS and same hardware?

Back to the topic, How will Transitive emulate the sparc security issues on a CPU that has problems? The openbsd guys have found a large list of access control problems on the latest x86 processors where things like page write protect may not work on some cores of a multi-core cpu sometimes.

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Tim Hogard

Too many customers off the road map?

It sounds like someone at Sun needs to ask some hard questions about its older customers and find out why they are doing things the way they do and why they are refusing to do things the Sun way. We use sparc hardware because its hardware stack makes stack bashing buffer overflow hacking much more difficult. We will not put Solaris 10 into production because its more of a hack job than engineered as well as being full of bloat that can not be removed. Its patch list reads like pre Beta software with all the recent essential security and stability patches. We buy Netra 210 because they are the only 1RU server they sell that will fit in our racks and still run a stable operating system.

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Boffin: Coconut jumbo is millstone in disguise

Tim Hogard
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Won't someone please think of the coconuts?

The problem with coconut based fuel for the jumbo jet is that by the time I get to one of the nice tropical islands, there will be no coconuts left for the drinks.

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Sun's UltraSPARC T2 goes flame-retardant

Tim Hogard
Alert

The good, bad and the ugly

The 20 inch depth is great for those of us that bought our racks more than a half decade ago and the build quality from sun's NEBS machines is what those of us who have been using their hardware for decades expect.

The T1 and T2 are great processors for running poorly optimised code that spends all its time chasing pointers which is typical in modern practice outsourced OOD. The T1 is not really good for much of anything else and the T2 is an ok solution for a larger solution set than the T1 and required for applications that use floating point or SSL crypto.

The real problem with the new beasts is they only runs toy operating systems such as Solaris 10 which seems to be still in beta based on what gets fixed with each patch set. The new system is excessively complex and its code looks like they let open source amateurs rummage through it which has resulted in such wonderful features as the remote telnetd exploit and having init(1M) linked to all sorts of libraries that are not needed but are locally exploitable. Add in their new way of doing things with smf and you end up with a machine that keeps updating critical binary files that you can't checkpoint or audit.

If you're looking at buying one of these beasts, take it for a test drive. You can do that by just looking at http://www.sun.com which was rumoured to be a pair of these. Do you want your corporate web site to be that slow?

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US switches off the incandescent lightbulb

Tim Hogard

Follow the money

If we follow the money we find that the plants where these get made pay somewhere about $.004 a kWh if they pay for electricity at all. These plants are subsidised by the Chinese government to grab the long term market share.

What is the power company going to do to homes with bad power factors? Small businesses get hit with more expensive electricity so its just a matter of time before we all do.

Do you have any yellowed CFL? If so they are producing ozone which is far worse as a green house gas than CO2.

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Dinosaurs derail desalination drive Down under

Tim Hogard

So much wrong

There is plenty wrong with the proposed plant location like its too far from where the water needs to go, the currents near the beach aren't very good for this project and the land around the area is not great for large industrial works since its full of holes left from prior mining operations.

The big problem is they are building a plant 4 times the size of the Tampa plant for 24 times the money. The proposed plant's energy consumption is about double what modern plants use. The real question is what will happen early in 2009 when the dams will all run out of water since two years is a long time to go with no water.

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El Reg fires up online standards converter

Tim Hogard

Where are the rest of the standard units?

You seemed to have forgotten the standard bribery unit which of course is the Pint of beer.

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Mac OS X Leopard - Time Machine

Tim Hogard

Backup on the same with bootcamp's help

I used boot-camp to create a partition which I then reformatted and set up as a time machine partition. It won't protect me against hard drive failure but it does protect against accidental file deletions and application bugs. You need about 110% of the size of the data you expect to backup.

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California teen offers GPS challenge to speeding rap

Tim Hogard

More misinformation?

The GPS system works by finding out how long it is between the sats and the receiver. It starts by syncing its time to as many sats as it can see and then figures out the speed of light delay and Doppler shift for the signal from each satellite. It then uses that info to readjust its internal clock and then readjusts all the other timing calculations. Once it has a good fix then it starts feeding in the receivers velocity and temperature change back into the calculations of the Kalman Filter. Deep inside the GPS chips is a time base that will be in sync with the sats to about 90 billions of a second or it won't get a fix. The result is that if it has a good lock on several satellites and has had time to stabilise the oscillations of position, time and speed then its position will be far better than any radar device that simply displays the highest Doppler shift it sees being reflected to it. Radar guns don't measure speed, they only measure the Doppler offset and show what the speed might be if there is no vibration involved. After all the tuning forks they use to calibrate them aren't moving at 100km/hr are they?

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Sun Solaris upgrade snuggles with Linux

Tim Hogard

Virtual kitchen sink too?

Early versions of containers resulted in a very heavy containers and the root zone still included everything a hacker could dream of. Maybe they should take a lesson from IBM's real big iron from decades ago and create a very light top zone that uses security through simplicity and then let us put what we want in the zones. It would make far more sense from a security perspective especially for those of us paranoid to only want the bare essentials on our servers.

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