I worked for a large investment bank in the late 2000's with multiple trading desks and about 2000 employees, plus two huge server farms spread across two datacentres for DR purposes. The whole trading infrastructure was an absolute rat's nest of duplicated systems and people's vanity projects which all had to be kept in sync with a sprawl of horrible middleware and half-arsed trade feeds, all built completely differently and inconsistently. One day one of the tech team managed to issue a remote shutdown with some kind of crazy wildcard that rebooted every Windows desktop and server across the whole organisation. The time it takes the machines to come back up is trivial, but in a normal (for example post patching) environment the machines would normally all be brought up in tiers in a particular order - domain controllers first, then things like email servers, then servers housing SQL Server databases, then servers housing application engines, then finally things like desktops. This was important as a lot of the services were set to auto-start and they'd get confused if things they depended on weren't already up. Once all these machines had been brought up the application teams would start bringing up remaining services, synchronising FIX sequence numbers for trade feeds, resolving issues with things that are partially processed or transactions rolled back as part of the shut down etc etc. So resumption of trading varied desk by desk depending on their systems, but in many cases they weren't able to trade for several hours and ironing out every single issue and making sure all trade and pricing data across all systems was correct and synched up took days. On the desk I worked for, what was the impact of not being able to trade? Well - after hours of the traders screaming at us that they had positions to close out, markets had moved unexpectedly and the P+L on the positions they'd been unable to close out was actually substantially up. That one IT guy literally made millions for the bank - he still works there now in fact.
266 posts • joined 15 May 2007
You say that – but remember, large companies with deliberately obstructive change management processes may still insist on their own full set of regression tests to be run and signed off before it gets anywhere close to approval for release, then they add arbitrary periods of time on top of that – so the simplest of patches can take weeks to turn around. Also patching tends to require downtime of production systems, which isn’t always feasible.
My school had a dedicated computer room with about 12 of these, and we’d have lessons where we worked on them in pairs. The teacher would line everyone up outside with no shoes on and then get each pair of kids to creep in and sit down as slowly as possible – any more people moving at a time and there was a good chance the expansion packs would move in several of them and they’d re-set, causing whatever program we were looking at to need to be reloaded from tape.
A lot of their income must come from legacy applications. I can’t imagine anyone working in procurement for a local council now would have much luck pushing a new application that required an oracle back end once the licensing fees became apparent, particularly when multithreaded across many cores. The problem is people who’ve been using apps with lineage back the late 90’s and early 2000’s when there wasn’t really anything to touch it. Legacy apps built on that platform are generally stuck with Oracle’s non-ANSI compliant SQL and often pushed into using Oracle specific features like materialised views, Once you’re in that ecosystem it’s a fundamental re-write off your app to make it portable again, and that’s if the vendor even still exists and is still developing the product rather than just maintaining basic support for it.
1) Did anyone seriously expect Microsoft to produce a fully native re-write of SQL Server? That's a huge undertaking. Also it would be kinda embarrassing for them if they did that and it ran better on the LINUX version.
2) I wouldn't say Wine was strictly speaking a good example of "virtualisation" - it's a set of libraries intended to simulate the MS ones, not a full hosted OS!
"I find it telling that the foundation of my career is based upon an investment made by my parents for our home"
My parents used to give me their cast off IBM PC's - I never had anything else, or a console. So in 1990-ish I had an Amstrad PC1512 with a 20 meg hard disk, MSDOS3, and GEM. I formatted the whole thing, got it running DOS-5, installed Windows 1 (or 2)
By 1995-ish I'd reached the dizzy heights of a Tandon 286 with an EGA screen. And just as I went to uni in 1997 they gave me a 386-DX. So all of these machines were a good 8-10 years behind the curve, which meant I could never play the latest games. Which was great, because instead I learned about hardware, installing/tweaking OS'es to run in limited resources and also a bit of coding in MS QBasic of all things. To this day I still know DOS scripting backwards (in fact that knowledge got me my first IT job) and I'm still using it regularly for work thanks to some legacy products I have to deal with.
So like yourself I now have a career as a developer IN SPITE of a state schooling system that basically just wanted to teach me how to do mail merge in MS Office. The thing I owe my career and interest in computing to is my parents being too tight to buy me a new computer, and giving me their knackered old ones instead.
Re: This is gold
"How frequently do you boot (or change the config) of production Linux servers?"
Fair point, but the assumption here of course IS that you're running it on a server. What about people like me who run linux on home desktops and netbooks which are started and stopped all of the time? Suspend support in LINUX can still be a bit flaky depending on your hardware configuration so many prefer to shut down and restart entirely.
So improved boot speed into your window manager of choice is a feature that would be very much appreciated by people like me.
The way this is all being handled sounds pretty churlish though - no wonder so many people have the impression that the open source community is one big "Judean People's front / People's front of Judea" pointless infighting fest.
Not a huge issue
Sounds like all payments will be made today and they're extending the late clearing cutoff for delayed payments
Just means that estate agents and conveyancers might have to work a bit later so those house keys can still get handed over!
Re: Like.. but....
It's just a real challenge to deliver a mobile data connection to a train. You're inside a big metal box thing, running directly over or under high voltage wires which cause interference, and you're often down in dug out railway cuttings or other lower bits of land. Patchy coverage is IMHO probably reasonable under those circumstances.
I find this result very, very surprising
Your test methodology looks very comprehensive, my experience is obviously completely anecdotal and unscientific. I live in outer SE London, work in the city and generally "get around a bit" and unless Vodafone have significantly upped their game in the six months or so since I ditched them for 3 those results are the exact opposite of what I found with Voda - I found their 3G data and voice coverage to be truly AWFUL, on a variety of different handsets.
Not all IT people are graduates. Particularly the old school ones.
Or there are lots of other people who have migrated over from other things when they realised that their degrees were useless. I'm a dev, but my actual degree was philosophy which vocationally speaking is about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.
Re: Which system will Barclays run this on?
It's true, Barclays are well known in the financial IT sector for being about the worst, even in a very conservative "if it works don't fix it" area of the industry. They have many legacy systems based around 1970's mainframe technologies, and their project failure rate is very high when it comes to upgrading them. I know many people on their contractor gravy train there who haven't got anything worthwhile achieved for years. So hopefully they've outsourced this particular implementation to somebody with any clue what they're doing as internally they're pretty third rate....
Re: @Phil.T.Tipp Marvin would love this news
That's a fair point a/c and you make it well. Nobody is talking about litigation though, however perhaps there is increasingly a place for more voluntarily responsible behaviour (in first OR third world economies) amongst couples who want large families. People have a right to produce children and the idea of capping it is always an emotive subject, however most scientists and sociologists agree that significant population increase at this point is unlikely to benefit anyone unless we very quickly find ways to consume much less.
@Phil.T.Tipp Re: Marvin would love this news
"Oh really? I think you'll find it's Third World, not Global Population which is on the increase."
This is obviously true in terms of numbers, one thing to remember though is that a first world child consumes many times more energy/resources than a third world child in their lifetime - so there's a strong argument that we in first world countries are equally obligated to reduce the number of children we are having as one less person here has a far greater impact.
While a lot of this sounds bad from a competition perspective.....
...manufacturers and operators have only themselves to blame. Vanilla android works very nicely, most of the "customisations" and UI tweaks that people like HTC and Samsung (and also, don't forget, individual network operators) are adding are implemented badly - annoying and gimmicky at best, battery/storage sapping at worst. Additionally, as mentioned in the article, the customisations need to be tweaked and tested with every new release which slows getting them out of the door. Google will try to sell this as an attempt to make android "cleaner" and a lot of people will swallow this viewpoint - even though (this being Google) it's blatantly a piece of dick swinging aimed at getting control of the platform and the harvested user data back.
Re: Not actually a new idea
Agree completely. I've had one for years for my Go-Pro, and I've used it for kite surfing, snorkelling and snowboarding. Like you say it's good for directing your camera into nooks and crannies, and if I've been guilty of snapping the odd pic/video of myself (which I've been doing since long before it was called a "selfie" therefore I refuse to call it one) when I'm in a happy place with a big smile on my face then so bloody what - it cheers me up to look at those pictures during the many times when I'm in a less happy place. Miserable sods, now I can never use my camera on a stick again as people like you lot will judge me "self obsessed" or something!
Re: Whilst I want Bletchley to keep going
Couldn't agree more - have you been to the Science museum in London recently? It's all "interactive exhibits" and touch screens now and it seems they want to take Bletchley Park down that same path. I've been twice, and the first time I was fortunate enough to spend a good ten minutes chatting with Tony Sale which was just an amazing experience. He told me all about how when he was building the colossus replica he would get tipped off about old analogue telephone exchanges being decommissioned, and he and his mates would turn up there and climb into the skips out the back to scavenge rare GPO parts. Speaking to people like Tony was the whole appeal of the place to me, and there were plenty like me who visited the place from far and wide exactly because they'd heard it was the opposite of most museums - I initially found out about it from a great book called "Bollocks to Alton Towers" which is all about the theme of finding quirky British attractions. If it becomes sanitised, it just becomes another crappy modern museum, albeit one in the middle of bloody nowhere well off the tourist trail with a very limited audience. Welcome though the lottery funding is for much needed restoration of buildings, bringing in this consulti-twunt to make these changes sounds like a recipe for disaster and something really should be done before it's too late and he's alienated the very small pool of knowledgeable people who bring the place to life.
Re: more lessons
The bloke said:
“The fee itself was a comparatively minor annoyance, but irritating nonetheless as I normally pay off my credit card shortly after receiving the reminder from the online banking system. The real annoyance was NatWest's refusal to deal with the problem.”
So how exactly is he failing to take responsibility? He's holding his hand up to having cocked up by not paying the bill on time, he simply flagged up the problem and used his personal expertise to suggest a resolution for the benefit of similarly scatterbrained other customers. This is commonly known as "being helpful"
If I was this bloke however one thing I would check would be that they'd not flagged it as a late payment on my credit history - this sort of blemish can look bad on mortgage applications, and he'd have a reasonable justification on this occasion for asking them to remove it.
Re: I'm not some kind of hippy or anything, and it's an interesting experiment....
I see your point - but I'd be hugely delighted not to work if society made that feasible, so the argument is flawed.
All I'm saying is that it seems rather unnecessary to design the infrastructure behind a currency to be so intrinsically labour intensive that all of this number crunching is required just to help set it's value, the quantity in circulation and to manage simple transactions. Yes of course I'm aware that any currency has all kinds of overheads around it's creation, maintenance and things like FX rate discovery, that's what traditional markets do - as it happens I work in finance myself writing systems that do EXACTLY that so you'd think I'd welcome it!
The whole thing seems rather over-engineered.
Re: How about on UK train lines?!
"Still much of the UK's mainline train routes lack proper coverage, even a consistent ability to make calls along their length."
Yep - and many of us like it that way, no noisy people bellowing into their phones when I'm trying to have a snooze on my way into work :-)
Re: Linux mint xfce with Mate 32 bit
"As for being cool, i would have thought that being the only penguin in the class with a machine that can do everything the others can do would be too cool to touch ......"
You have to be joking, right? Most kids are idiots, the only cool thing to have will be an iPad, or at worst an android tablet. The rest of the class will all be downloading the latest flavour of the month game off the app store, and the kid with the LINUX netbook will be the one that can't participate. Pariah status will follow. When I was a kid I was the only one in class with an IBM PC at home, everyone else had consoles. Now while I owe my working life to what I learned from that ancient XT clone (rather than spending my time playing starwing and streetfighter 2) and long term it worked out well for me, I can assure you that at the time it was in no way "cool" to have something different to what everyone else had. Kids are very much of the pack mentality, and at that age "different" is bad - not having an iPad screams "poor kid".
I'm not saying any of this is right, it's just how kids operate. Well that's how I remember it all anyway :-)
Re: A fine line between Vision and Arrogance
"How the fuck am I supposed to know that?"
I have RSI so I use keyboard shortcuts a lot, but I thought a lot of them were pretty common knowledge. Alt-F4 is one of the basics I thought, it's up there with alt-space or alt-tab. Everyone knows that closes a window, consistently, on most window managers - don't they?!
Let's have a poll - upvote = "I knew alt-f4 did that", downvote = "I didn't know"
Why would you have to leave your shopping?
This is online servicing only, right? Or is it some kind of funky NFC payment app on a phone? In which case you'd have thought they'd still be carrying a debit card?
I love the way that it's inconcievable now to be disconnected from this stuff. Not all that long ago, before ATMs, you had to plan ahead and visit a bank on Friday to get enough cash out to see you through the weekend! Technology is great but some people don't have any kind of backup plan when it goes wrong.