* Posts by pPPPP

253 posts • joined 3 Feb 2011


At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd


Re: Abandoned my home directory years ago

It's .cache that's the scary one. Full of crap. My directory is ~/Documents. Yes, it's a default directory but only my stuff goes in there. I have a .bashrc and a couple of others in there which get softlinked to the correct places.

Large Redmond Collider: CERN reveals plan to shift from Microsoft to open-source code after tenfold license fee hike


>Would you think I could say the Xbox One is borked and not usable because I cant play mario kart or Zelda on it?

Retroarch for the Xbox One: https://buildbot.libretro.com/stable/1.7.7/windows-msvc2017-uwp/x64/RetroArch-msvc2017-UWP_1.7.7_alpha_x64.appx

But then again, https://www.winehq.org/

God DRAM, that's a big price drop: Memory down 30 per cent, claim industry watchers


Re: So...

I was in the same place recently. I wanted more than the 16gb of ddr3 in my pc and the same dimms were twice the price.

eBay did the job but they still cost more than I paid for the first pair.

Amazon warns you have 30 days before Music Storage files bloodbath


Re: DIY Cloud

Where did I say I hate Amazon? The only thing I really don't like about it is the fact that my wife keeps buying stuff and I have to go downstairs to answer the door when things arrive (unlike her I work from home). But hey, I use her prime account too. Oh yeah, I'm not keen on their tax dodging but they're hardly alone in that respect.

As for Joe stupid, they can do what they want. If they want to throw their money at shiny stuff and pretend they're computer literate then I'm not going to stop them. My post was aimed at the average user of this web site, who generally understand computers. I think I made that quite clear. If it's beyond your abilities them don't do it.


DIY Cloud

I know it's not for everyone but this is a techie website so here goes.

If you want your music available from anywhere, get a small server (a Rapberry Pi 1 is sufficient for this and uses very little power). Put a minimal Linux distro on it (I recommend Arch). Install MiniDNLA (a.k.a. ReadyMedia) and OpenVPN. Plug in an external drive with all of your media (unless it all fits on the internal SD Card) and point MiniDLNA to the right place. Now install the OpenVPN client on your phone (having opened up the relevant port on your firewall) and you will be able to see your MP3s on many MP3 player apps, wherever you are in the world (you probably want to use a fixed DNS service). You can give OpenVPN keys to your friends and family if you want so they can share your music. Nobody else can get to it; certainly not large corporations.

Anyone with reasonable Linux skills can set this up. It won't take more than a couple of hours of your time. I use my set-up for a lot of other things too (like backup) but the point is there is no need to give your data to someone else, especially if you have the competence.

Should SANs be patched to fix the Spectre and Meltdown bugs? Er ... yes and no


Re: Safe enough - IF no third party code

There is no secret engineering backdoor to any storage product I know and I have worked on a few. There are ways to get in, the most obvious being the root password, which will be known to the vendor. However, this will give you root access and having root access renders the threats under discussion moot, as the whole point of them is that they allow malicious code to gain access to areas of memory normally accessible to root alone.


Re: Of course they're not patching

None of these systems run a proprietary OS. Storage systems run standard operating systems, albeit cut down to what is needed to keep the hardware going and little more. Most run Linux, NetApp chose BSD and Datacore does run on Windows. IBM use AIX with DS8000, etc.

The storage code tends to either run in user space or as a kernel module being controlled by user space applications.

The point mentioned by the various spokesmen in the article is that you need to be able to execute code within the OS. The only difference between this and a "normal" exploit is you can do this as a normal user, as opposed to requiring root access. If you can't run code as a normal user then you can't exploit the bug, and on most of these systems, you can't run code as a normal user.

The only systems that are potentially exposed are those true software-defined systems. And by true software defined I mean where you get to choose the hardware as opposed to you can choose any hardware as long as it's this hardware, which while little more than marketing bullshit, ironically means that you're protected against this exploit.

Black-box does make a lot of sense.

Infinidat adds sync, async replication and bans noisy neighbours


It's not a good image. Yes, it's a screenshot of InfiniMetrics, and if I'm not mistaken it's showing the effect of implementing QoS on a test workload - the write latency goes up artificially with a resulting fall in IOPs and throughput.

The GUI hasn't significantly changed across releases. It's a doddle to use.


>Synchronous replication with claimed industry-leading sub 400μs latency and 4-second RPO

You've got this wrong, Chris. 400μs latency is for sync. The 4-second RPO is for async. Sync replication has a zero RPO, of course.

Raspberry Pi burning up? Microsoft's recipe can save it and AI


Re: No sandwich

I have a few RPI 1s. The only one currently in use runs a slimmed down Slackware install with Pulseaudio, a bluetooth sink and not much else. It's connected to the stereo in the kitchen. I've got an RPI3 with OSMC connected to the TV and it does a great job; it hits 85 degrees on occasion but the effect isn't noticeable.

I used to have an RPI 1 running as my main server although I've replaced it with an Odroid XU4. The Odroid is brilliant. The RPIs are crippled with their shared USB2 bus and could only managed a few MB/sec throughput from the connected external USB3 drive via the integrated Ethernet port.

The Odroid on the other hand is constrained only by the limits of the ports. 70 MB/sec is about normal; more than I need.

It has plenty of CPU too. I run DNSmasq (DHCP, DNS (with adblocking), TFTP and PXE), OpenVPN, NFS, CIFS and NextCloud. And it handles it all with ease. The attached fan rarely comes on.

I was surprised how easy it was to get the 32-bit Raspberry Pi Slackware build working on it, although the 32-bitness started giving me trouble once I had the need to compile some software. As there's no 64-bit Slackware ARM I ditched it and went with Arch. A doddle to set up and within a few hours I'd migrated.

The XU4 is expensive compared with the Raspberry Pi but performance is in another league.

Why Uber isn't the poster child for capitalism you wanted


I read that article last night, and honestly I don't think I have anything to add. It explains the situation very well and does a good job of highlighting how utterly abhorrent many tech firms are, and how their response is typically to shout "Luddite" when anyone criticises their malpractice.

The biggest problem is the millions of drones who don't seem to mind.

Quebec takes mature approach to 'grilled cheese' ban


I went to Quebec for the first time last year. The thing that amused me was on their stop signs they have "ARRÊT" written across them. Here's an example: https://goo.gl/maps/31ZkfpDJvPL2

The French? They use "STOP", comme ça: https://goo.gl/maps/4PvBPqyxtH22

British Airways slaps 'at risk' sticker on nearly half its app delivery dept


Re: I've used the BA boarding pass app

If your battery runs out at the airport they can always print you a boarding pass at the check-in desks. If it fails as you get to the gate they'll print you a pass there. It's no big deal.

Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380


Re: The A380 isn't ugly

Agree they are pleasant places to be inside. They're a lot quieter than older aircraft, at least when you're inside one, especially upstairs. Not so sure about outside: I'm a few miles from Heathrow and they're still quite loud.

At last: Ordnance Survey's map wizardry goes live


Re: Finally, a map that distinguishes A roads from Motorways

Just taken a look at the smartphone app and it's pretty good - usual OS quality and I like the way it depicts individual buildings.

As for motorways, I prefer the Michelin maps. OK the motorways are in the wrong colour, but they separate motorways from good dual carriageways from crappy dual carriageways. It's a shame that a lot of those dual carriageways are riddled with unnecessarily low speed limits and other measures to frustrate the driver and cause dangerous overtaking, but that's another story.

High performance object storage: Not just about reskinning Amazon's S3


Re: Nothing new

You're right: all storage is object storage. Even raw block storage is object storage: the only metadata is its address. Files within file systems have more metadata: directory trees, file names, ACLs, as well as inodes where appropriate.

Object storage is just an abstraction of that, but you access it directly using the metadata and you don't need to use find / to look for what you're after.

MP3 players are well-known object storage. Underneath the interface there'll be a file system though, and under that, block storage. And accessing by metadata isn't always the best; if you sort by artist you end up splitting up those Various Artists albums.

Quick as a flash: A quick look at IBM FlashSystem


Re: Hmmm... But why?

I agree with you that servers should have internal storage, particularly for temp areas which do not need to be on shared storage.

If you think that fibre-channel is slow, then I'm afraid you're just wrong. Simple as that. Fibre-channel may be slower than attaching a flash device directly to a system, but there are reasons for shared storage, and those reasons are still as valid now as they were when we all started using shared storage. Ethernet is a crap conduit for storage, which is why it's still a drop in the ocean compared with FC.

You mention million+ IOs. Of course, anyone who knows anything about storage will know that IOPs is a valueless metric: it's a big number to shout about and is only used for marketing reasons as it's a crude way of comparing one thing with another.

What's actually important is latency, which is what this article is about.

I'm a big proponent of DIY storage such as Ceph. It has its place and can provide a relatively cost-effective way of getting a half decent storage system. It has its drawbacks though:

- You have to build it yourself. This takes time.

- You have to maintain it yourself. So if the guy who set it up leaves the company, or is on holiday or ill, and you have an outage that you can't fix, then you lose your business and you're all out of jobs. That's the main reason people are willing to spend money on enterprise storage.

- While you might be using off-the-shelf hardware, this is typically servers with some disks shoved in the front. The storage vendors also use off-the-shelf nowadays, but they use dedicated disk enclosures and fewer servers, which means far less power consumption and far higher capacity density. Data centres cost money.

I'm not sure why you single out Veeam, but I do know the product and I do know that they're a business and like all businesses they care about their customers. If getting it to work smoothly with IBM is something their customers need, then that's what they'll do.

As for your last paragraph, this sums up your lack of understanding entirely. The infrastructure on which a business runs its IT is entirely valueless. The continued functioning of the business is the only thing which ultimately has any value. If it were able to function more efficiently in today's world with something other than computing then it would. Businesses don't set out to buy servers, networks or storage systems: they want something which allows their business to reliably function.

People pay a lot of money to the likes of IBM (I don't work for them by the way) because they trust them to provide the means to allow their business to run. This will naturally include software, hardware and the networking to connect it all together but those are low down on the list.

So yes, a couple of techies could quite easily screw together a system with decent performance and basic functionality for a fraction of the price, but if they leave the company, go sick or just realise they don't know what to do when it all goes tits up, then the cheap price you paid goes down the pan with the rest of your business. That is why people pay millions of dollars. They're not the stupid ones.

Vendor: Do we need Quality of Service with shared storage arrays?


Indeed. If you've bought something that will always over-perform, then you've spent too much money.

Storage admins.... they'll take your jobs


You're right, to an extent. There have always been organisations, normally smaller businesses and public sector entities who have done without dedicated storage admins. With the simpler products that you get nowadays more and more organisations fall into that category.


Many of the vendors are still churning out the same technology they were ten or even twenty years ago. Yes, they have flash in there now, automated tiering etc. which make things easier but they're not admin-free. And you have to think about what happens when something goes wrong. For a dual- controller system, when a controller fails, performance generally goes down the pan. Yes, so the vendor will help out but they don't know how your business works. They don't know how to deal with the guy who's shouting that his application keeps failing because latency has gone through the roof.

Being a good storage admin isn't about being able to create a spreadsheet with some commands to cut and paste into a CLI (yes there are those who still do that). It's about understanding your systems, knowing how they operate and how they relate to the business and the end users, which ultimately is what IT is there for. It's about being able to identify risks, develop strategies to mitigate against those risks and have the ability to implement those strategies.

So yes, the traditional role of the storage admin is long gone, but storage is where your entire business resides. Shouldn't you have someone looking after it?

Your money or your life! Another hospital goes down to ransomware


Re: And the moral is.......?

I'm not a Windows fan, far from it in fact, but what's your source for pinning the blame on Windows?

Building a fanless PC is now realistic. But it still ain't cheap


Re: How about

>How about a really noisy computer in another room, and a decent HDMI & USB KVM Extender...

That's how a lot of music studios do it. You can make the computer as quiet as you want but unless it's completely silent it's no use. Of course, the age of the SSD has made this less vital as often it was the HDD that was making the noise.

I built a PC recently, in a media centre case. Space is limited so I had to stick with fans and the largest CPU cooler I could get in. It's silent for most things, and I set it to spin the fans up when it gets too hot, usually when I'm playing games and have the headphones on anyway. One SSD and 3 HDDs which store infrequently accessed data and spin down when not in use.

I've got a few Raspberry Pis, one of which stays on all the time. It's in the loft though so it doesn't matter. I might see if I can get steam on it, with streaming from the Windows PC (with the games). Steam works fine streaming to my laptop's crappy display.

Does it even run on Arm?

Asus ZenBook UX305: With Windows 10, it suddenly makes perfect sense


Re: I do not think that means what you think it means

I don't know what the moaning's about. I can open mine fine with just my thumb if I want to. I just tried it. I don't understand why this is an issue though.


Re: Grrrrrrr....

Other models have backlit keyboards. The UX305 doesn't have one anywhere.


Re: touchpad

The trackpad's pretty good. Using Linux I've got two finger and three finger clicks set up for right and middle mouse. Two-finger scrolling works fine, and you can use edge scolling if you prefer. I remember there being gestures, pinching and all that crap when I booted it into Windows but I'm not interested. Hardware's capable though.


Re: RAM?

UK version is 8 GiB, with part of that shared as video RAM. You can change the amount reserved in the BIOS. UK version also has a 128 GB SanDisk SD7SN3Q1 SSD, which come preformatted with a 100MB EFI partition at the start, 15GB Windows recovery at the end, and the rest with Windows 8.1.


Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

Here's some first-hand experience with Mint, Ubuntu and Slackware.

I bought one of these laptops (using it right now) a month or so back - John Lewis - £600. Overall, it's a great laptop. Coming from Thinkpads I'm still used to the function key being where it is on Thinkpads but I'll get used to it. Having home, end and page-up/down mapped to function keys is annoying and I'm still struggling to understand why these essential keys are done away with on so many laptops.

Anyway, to the point - the issue with Linux distributions and these laptops is the display. Yes, the display works fine, but once you switch resolutions it starts flickering, and/or the screen corrupts, at which point the only fix is to reboot. This includes if you log out/switch user. Even restarting X doesn't solve this. I tried this on Slackware (my preferred distro) and then the latest XFCE version of Mint. Both had this issue. Tried various kernels, including 4.x on Slackware, but to no avail. Also tried various kernel parameters, some of which fixed things like the brightness buttons, but none would fix the display issues.

So I gave Ubuntu 15.04 a shot. And it worked perfectly. I've had my reservations about Ubuntu in the past, and the lack of configurability of Unity does annoy me. There are some things about it I really like though. Not convinced about the package manager. I still prefer slackbuilds :-).

I could probably debug and get round the issues, but to be honest, I don't have the time. But for those downvoting the guy who said Mint doesn't work, I'm afraid he's right. At least for now.

Met Office: 2014 was fifteenth warmest on record


Re: Opening windows when hot?

Agree completely. I live in an Edwardian terrace, and it amazes me that so many people in the street open all of their windows and doors when there's a warm sunny Summer morning. Apart from getting a house full of insects, they get a house full of heat all day.

Most of the time all you need to do is open some downstairs windows and some at the top of the house, for half an hour or so after the sun goes down.

Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows


Re: me too!

Not an MS fan, but the only use I can think of is to build a small media player with Netflix. There's no binary for Linux.

More generically to run applications which will only run on Windows.

I'll stick with my RPis though.


Re: Its no Rasberry Pi

> A full-blooded desktop PC slows down enough after a year's usage.

How? I've got a Windows 7 PC which runs as well as when I installed it a few years back. As do all of the rest of my boxes (all Linux).

Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE DNS outage


Re: The Hub's not so "Super"

All you can do is reserve IP addresses for MAC addresses. That's it.


Re: Heh...

It does vary from distro to distro. You need to set up dhcpd and bind. I use slackware and that basically means installing dhcpd and bind packages, changing /etc/rc.d/rc.dhcpd and /etc/rc.d/rc.bind to be executable, editing the config files, and starting them.

There's probably a bit too much to post here, but this post: http://topchan.info/your-own-adblocking-dns will give you some pointers.


Re: Heh...

Here's how I didn't notice the outage, in case anyone's interested.

I run a small Linux server in my loft (I use a Raspberry Pi for its low power consumption, but anything will do).

It runs a DHCP server and a DNS server. Neither is difficult to configure. Superhub is in normal mode, with DHCP switched off.

In the DNS server, I have a config file which redirects all spam, ads or anything else I don't like, such as social media bollocks. My LG TV no longer tries to advertise things to me (still annoyed about that - never buy LG) and nor does my phone, at least when I'm in the house.

Anything in the house has a DNS entry. Anything else gets forwarded to opendns.

Still have to use UKbay to get round the pathetic attempt at blocking piratebay though.

YouTube in shock indie music nuke: We all feel a little less worthy today


Re: Indie Site?

Problem is, Google probably own a bunch of patents on it and will stop any competition, free, indie or otherwise.

Youtube's bollocks now anyway. Most of the idiotic comments, which were the best bit, have now been replaced by pointless descriptions of the content from the few hundred drones on their crappy social network.

What data recovery software would you suggest?


Re: Data recovery? Testdisk

Yep, Testdisk is great. As is Photorec. A friend of mine's wife managed to format their camera's SD card while they were on holiday. Photorec recovered the lot.

Dell charges £5 to switch on power-saving for new PCs (it takes 5 clicks)


Re: Install Linux and get those power saving options for free.

>And bleed random 64k chunks of memory to anyone who can see your ip address. Some people need their pcs to be slightly more secure than that....

I had an affected version of OpenSSL running on my Windows PC upstairs until I patched it the other day. Are you trying to tell me it was actually safe all along?

Granted, the other guy held out the bait, but you did bite.

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


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.

Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage


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.

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


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.


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.

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


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.

Sony denies Vaio-to-Lenovo rumour


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.

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


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.

Sinclair's ZX Spectrum to LIVE AGAIN!


Re: Awful to type on

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


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


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.

Gift-giving gotchas: How to avoid Xmas morning EMBARRASSMENT


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?

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


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?

Consumer disks trump enterprise platters in cloudy reliability study


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

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


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.

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


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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