* Posts by lightknight

58 posts • joined 1 Nov 2012


'It's a joke!' ... Bill Gates slams Mark Zuckerberg's web-for-the-poor dream


Re: I'm Bill Gates...

I think he is. He does spend a week or so a year, at a lodge on his property, reviewing ideas.


Re: He's Right

Bob, computers do a lot of heavy lifting. The Internet, in all of its glory, is a resource that, when not poisoned by get rich quick scam artists, provides a wealth of information.

IQ test: 'Artificial intelligence system as smart as a four year-old'



Time to overhaul the laws, in anticipation for sentient AIs. Might as well prepare for the possibility of them becoming full citizens at some point in the future, and have the reasonings worked out in advance of how we are going to do this, then have to deal with it when our attention might be diverted elsewhere.

Acer silences Thunderbolt


Re: Mature market.

Yes, the PC market matured, in much the same way as the Video Game market matured during the '80s. Everyone can remember that bloodbath that video game manufacturers took then...only to find themselves sitting pretty in the '90s / '00s.

Let's do a little analysis of the PC market before we declare it dead, shall we? The PC, in all of its form factors, is used for Accounting, Engineering, Graphic Art, Word Processing, Databases, Computer Aided Design, Video Game Design, Programming, Math, Entertainment, and so on. No other device on the market is as versatile as the PC...it can do everything, and it can do it well, provided you do not cheap out on the hardware or software. In essence, it's highly adaptable, perhaps a magnitude or so away from human beings themselves in terms of adaptability (for now)...and that tells us one thing -> before the PC is going to 'die,' all of its less capable, stripped down variants will go first. It's not the omnivores that go first, it's the species that have stringent needs / demands that can only be met under certain conditions. As such....I do not see Smart TVs dying out, nor do I see the web-enabled consoles found in cars these days near extinction either, nor do I see smart phones suddenly being replaced with a pair of tin cans and some string. Verdict? The PC is versatile, adaptable, and unlikely to die any time soon.

So what's really driving all these proclamations of death of the PC? An excellent question, and I do not have the answer. Why are PC sales down? Does everyone who needs one have one? Impossible, most of the undeveloped world has yet to be fully tapped. As for the developed world, the upgrade cycles as well as new people being born ensures that new PCs will be continuously acquired, provided we do not suddenly revert to an agrarian society. What are the likely suspects? Well, let's see here...Windows 8, which manufacturers were banking on, has not exactly wow'ed people into buying new hardware; additionally, the global malaise of a malfunctioning economy is making people focus more and more on cutting costs / corners...as such, the upgrade cycle may be lengthening.

The IT crowd: Fiercely loyal geeks or 'inflexible, budget-padding' creeps?


Re: No, No,Thrice No

Exactly. The gripes people are having are with IT policy which, with the exception of what kind of encryption to use and the length / complexity of your password, kind of isn't set inside the IT department. You can whine and complain all you like that IT is responsible for Security lockdowns and what devices are and are not supported, but the reality is, that's set by both the budget and higher departments. In other words, go yell at the CEO or the Accounting department if you want some change -> larger budgets so IT departments can afford to have one extra person on staff just to deal with Apple equipment, or what have you; or policy changes so that most of the websites / services aren't blocked, because you're supposed to be working at work, instead of surfing the web.

Your boss doesn't want you to work from home? Guess what, you're not getting the permissions to VPN in to do that. Does IT care, at all, whether you VPN in? Fuck no. The entire company could VPN in, from the beach, somewhere nice, and provided they weren't leaking any sensitive data or introducing any viruses to the network, what does IT care?

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


I think I understand now

I think I understand now. Much of humanity is a colony organism: it appears to be made up of individuals, but in reality, it's a single mind that governs much of those bodies.

Chin up, Intel heads - you can still lop legs off ARM's data-centre dash


Re: @mark 12

Yes, and no. Remember, when it comes to programming, there are always people trying to speed things up with a few architecture dependent tricks. Because that's what people want...and businesses want....right up until they need to port the code to a new architecture....at which point they prize that.

US Navy coughs $34.5m for hyper-kill railgun that DOESN'T self-destruct


Re: Revolutionise what?

Lol, pity it hasn't thought of the submersible carrier yet. Now there's a project that could keep the military fed for decades, even without fighting. Well, supposing we ever fix the economy (about that...).

Patriot hacker 'The Jester' attacks nations offering Snowden help


Re: This guy has done loads of stuff.

Hmmm. Well, he may not exist...could easily be just an operation / composite individual. But allowing for that, you're right; perhaps he believes that because he's a patriot, the men in black will look the other way?

For that matter, is there any proof he has actually taken down a website, save his own proclamation? Has anyone seen a webpage of one of his mentioned sites replaced with something tasteful of his own design, with a little jester logo to let the world know he did it?

Paris Hilton

Re: That guy

And it wouldn't be worth it. He has a website devoted to his own cult of the personality....no one is going to go after him, just because it's like taking out the neighborhood spastic; I mean, the neighbors might thank you for quieting things down, but then you'd feel bad about what you had just done because he doesn't know any better.

I mean, come on...he uses PHP for crying out loud as part of his arsenal of 'Freedom.' Mind you, no one working the security or cracker route is going to openly mention that they're using PHP because they don't like being laughed at...and they want to still have a job in the morning.

So...yeah, I don't really know what he is attempting to achieve, except a few moments of limelight. Perhaps he's bait for something? Of course, this does kind of follow the belief that anyone who wishes to silence him will try cracking his machine, or I don't know, naming him publicly. Which would be a pity, as sooner or later someone will choose an unconventional response, like dropping a satellite on him, that will highlight, in a permanent fashion, the errors of his actions. But it would still be like drowning a puppy.

PC decline whacks 2013 IT spending projections


Re: Haswell the ghost

Lol, needs will swell to fit wants. Do I NEED a computer with a SSD for a main drive? Well, having used a computer with one for a while, I'd say yes. And I want one as well.

PC makers got their teeth kicked in because they FAILED to design compelling new products -> they choose to believe marketing, like MS did, and got nailed for it. Look at Windows 8...people don't like it, but that didn't stop MS from declaring it the new messiah of the PC world; same with many of these laptops / desktops -> their configurations are terrible (low amounts of RAM, integrated GPUs, mechanical HDs or tiny SSDs (on some models), etc.

PC makers want to know what people want? http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey. There you go. That's from Steam, popular gaming service, which tells you what people are running (software / hardware wise), as well as trends in the industry. Take a look at System RAM, for instance: 8 GB = 24.49%, 12 GB or higher = 10.08%. What does that tell you? Over a third of the PCs out there, who run Steam, are using 8GB or more of RAM. Does your starting lineup on your frontpage spec in a minimum of 8 GB of RAM? No? Well, obviously you aren't targeting these folks. Primary screen resolution? 1080P appears to be the popular choice. Most popular hard drive space? 250 GB to 499 GB = 33.60%, which, if you are tech savy, tells you something: they aren't using 500 GB HDs (in all probability), but possibly 256GB SSDs. Video cards? Nvidia is leading the pack, followed by AMD, with Intel in a distant third. Most popular OS? Windows 7, 64-bit edition. Interpret the rest yourselves.

So yes, PC / OEM manufacturers are getting nailed for hideous price costs for machines like the above (probably closer to $4K for a machine configured with top of the line kit), when their size should give them leverage to work the prices down so the bulk costs work out for both them and the consumer.

Microsoft: Someone gave us shot in the ARM by swallowing Surface tabs


Re: The Great Unified System - not

- They realized that simple, cheap devices will outnumber general purpose computers in the future, and they designed a simple device that is twice as expensive as compared to cheap computers / notebooks.

Indeed, but the fun part is: those cheap devices augment people's computer inventory, they don't replace it! Marketing, as usual, got it wrong. They thought, for obvious reasons, that everyone would throw away desktops / laptops, and embrace tablets; I say obviously, because Marketing must never have done any actual content creation (I mean serious content creation) on a tablet, or they'd know that it simply wasn't going to fly.

Yes, people like tablets...for games, browsing, and reading books. Trying to use Visual Studio or Adobe PhotoShop or a CAD program on it would be death; trying to write a term paper on it would probably make your finger tips hurt.

As for Windows 8...well, the Surface probably saved 8 from being a complete train wreck, but 8.1 still has some work to do.

Windows 8.1 start button appears as Microsoft's Blue wave breaks


Re: Windows 8.1

Lol...I thought it was just me. Yes, it's sitting in a VirtualBox, waiting for the day MS fixes that Start Menu permanently, or I break down and decide that StarDock will remain a a must-have feature of Windows 8. I get my Start Menu (and Program Groups, etc.)...Windows 8 gets a chance at running on bare metal, provided there are no other nasty surprises waiting for me.

NSA whistleblower to tech firms, Obama: 'Grow a pair!'


Re: I feel sorry for Snowdon

Well, duh, obviously, that's how things roll. You go public, you make your case, the opposition examines your entire life from the moment you were conceived, finds something that will be blasted into a larger story than the original (pick anything out of the ordinary, it can be phrased to sound wrong..."He ate a hamburger...a piece of cow's flesh, on a bun made from wheat that was once harvested by slaves in a third world country...he ate a hamburger, and enjoyed it!"), people become fixated on the bun ("Did he know that slaves were responsible for his white privileged food? How could he not?"), every time someone brings up the first piece ("Controversial NSA program"), they will, of course, feel the urge to discuss the second piece ("Isn't it dumb how they tried to link him to bun-gate?"), which will eventually sidetrack or arrest the whole conversation, ensuring that nothing is resolved. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Microsoft to open Windows Stores inside 600 Best Buy locations



I seem to remember that it used to be someone's job to ensure MS products were recommended (when they fit) and properly overseen so that the 'experience' was a good one...could it have been IT during the late '90s/ early '00s? Oh, but IT took a bath with repeated outsourcings and so on...and despite all this, still had enough strength left to tell MS that Windows 8 was not going to fly.

See, it doesn't matter how awesome your sales guy is -> Sharepoint won't administrate itself. Which means you're either going to have one (or several guys) who know nothing, giving the company a bad image, or they do know something....at which point, "free tech support."

Still, putting people inside Best Buy....wow. Or rather, ouch.

NSA PRISM deepthroat VANISHES as pole-dance lover cries into keyboard


Re: malware

So...no actual evidence of any malware...not that anyone in IT would need it since IT usually has remote access to everything. It's like breaking into your own house...you don't need to, you already have access. Just chaff thrown in the air, to draw attention away from whatever the real problem probably is.

AMD announces 'world's first commercially available 5GHz CPU'


Re: AMD's plan to beat Intel.

Hmm. Browsing NewEgg, I can roll with AMD's top of the line FX-8350 with 8-cores for $200...or Intel's "Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Sandy Bridge-E 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor" for only $1096, which has 6-cores. The AMD is clocked a little higher, but its thermal envelope is also slightly smaller. I wonder which I would choose....the one with slightly worse single-threaded performance, which, in a world that is pretty far into the multi-threaded stuff is almost a non-sequitur unless running an extremely poorly written application...pay out the ass for slightly better performance under certain circumstances where not having an extra two cores would be useful, or not pay out the pass, and never win the 3DMark benchmark for single-threaded performance...what to do...$896 dollars...that would be 572.89 pounds at the moment...hmm.

Is it true that putting the little blue sticker on your PC case makes it a whole 100Mhz faster? ;-)

Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything


Re: I Am Sad

Fair enough. Now, what are we going to do about it? There's inertia behind it, and many of the elected ones have come out condoning the operation. Almost leads me to think that the NSA has some high-quality blackmail on all of the politicians, and told them, "Defend our little program, or the skeletons in your closet see daylight." This is obviously a problem, and a sacrifice may need to be made to take a stand against this evil (one of the politicians will have to take a stand, despite whatever disgrace it will result in, if only to put up the seed of some resistance against this monstrosity). An annoyance, since even I despise the concept of sacrifices...mainly because they have yet to show that they were worth it.

The Intelligence industry is meant to be the eyes and ears of a country. When it turns inwards, and begins acting like the enemy, then it must be treated like the enemy. Cut it off, burnt it down, and build something clean when we can; some would argue that this will leave us vulnerable, for a time; well, we're already vulnerable, and the people attacking us are not so kind as to be speaking with a foreign accent. A gentle reminder will not work here -> they've already gone over the deep-end, and will not stop until some horrific travesty claims them (and too many innocents in the process).

Most importantly, the cost, both economically and civilly, of these operations is outstanding. We are a nation filled with people who, let's be honest, wish to be wealthier, in all aspects (fiscally, technologically, culturally, spiritually) than they already are; having the spooks running vague intercepts across the entire country, carte blanche, is not the way to promote that end.

We have all of these data centers, "clouds," being the operative term, that companies and government (I imagine) have spent a bundle on to build, with the goal of getting a decent return on their investment; we can't realize that return because foreign governments / companies do not trust that we won't go rifling their stuff for shits and giggles, ergo, they do not use these services. The US used to bank on the idea that it was the one country that really cared about those silly freedoms like free speech, and in return, even though its track record was not perfect, it received a lot of business. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way, and business is failing en mass.

The US can have Soviet-style control of the interior...or it can be wealthy. Not both.

Who is the mystery sixth member of LulzSec?


Re: Just goes to show

Nonsense. The best crackers are not necessarily the ones with the best coding skills, but the ones who understand how to use every resource available to them, even to the point of getting those resources to act in concert.

How many times has a cracker with excellent coding skills been defeated by something as simple as a hardware keylogger? How many times has a half-baked, couldn't write C-code if it would stay an execution cracker managed to finangle his or her way into some high-level systems simply by offering to play tech support to a company for a day, walking around installing trojans using admin rights on company machines?

And the best crackers, of course, are the ones who've managed to convince the state / security forces that they are working for them, all for the low salary of a few tens of thousands a year, or maybe to get some time off a prison sentence.

I've openly wondered where all the great crackers of yesteryear went...those who were masters of their art in the '90s, and by now, would possibly be gods among men. They all just....disappeared. Now I wonder if, with the sudden rise of these cyberarmies and the firms which offer said services, if they didn't simply change their colors. Still, I am not sure...the problem I have is that if these firms hosted these people, I'd imagine they'd be a lot more effective than they have been. It's odd.

Murdoch Facebook gloat: You're like my $580m, 'CRAPPY' MySpace


Re: How to generate revenue from social media?

Indeed. That's one of the things that seems so hard for companies to grasp these days: how to 'make money' without destroying their 'eyeball' base. And part of the reason I refuse to take part in (i.e. program, build websites) along the Web 2.0 social paradigm: I think it's just a scam, I think they have no idea how to really make any revenue without destroying themselves, and it just feels unclean.

Let's take a look at Facebook, one of the more successful Web 2.0 companies. How are they acquiring revenue? Advertisements? Freemium Games? Selling profile data crunched from the accounts of millions?

And how have their eyeballs reacted? People are sick of it. They hate being flooded with erroneous advertisements, pay to play games, and having their private details sold on the open market. It's the snake eating its own tail here...the more Facebook attempts to extract revenue with these methods, the more its destroys its base, the sooner Facebook passes into obsolescence.

Let's face it. These people really don't have a sustainable design for providing a service that people see in a positive light that can also produce a positive revenue source. The fallback for every website seems to be advertising which usually, over time, grows to the point where useful content is displaced with banner and flashing items. They need to innovate / invent a new design if they wish to collect revenue, but have yet to come up with one.

Windows 8 'sales' barely half as good as Microsoft claims


Re: I agree...

I think they were rolling with the 'fake it until you make it' style of thinking. If they just put out enough good chatter about Windows 8, and maintained it long enough, it would, in time, demolish the 'hump' of old biases, and everyone would embrace the new interface, praising it as the new way of doing things. Very marketing, very psychological, very wrong. They made the same mistake that venture capitalists complain about when interviewing potential candidates -> you need to be profitable from day one, or, in this case, the interface needs to sell itself from the get go. Techs need to pickup a copy of the new Windows 8 interface, and find that it scratches an itch they didn't even knew they had....something like buying a new car, pressing a button, and finding a drinks dispenser / ice chest.

And the techs have been telling MS, since day one, that Windows 8 not only did not do that for them, but that it went in the other direction. The computer industry would have been happy with Windows 8 being Windows 7 SP3, and paid for the privilege of running it. See, this is how bad MS messed this up...they took something that worked, made it worse, then publicly denounced everyone that said so, right up until the larger players started weighing in, then MS started backing off....long after antagonizing everyone in the industry.

Microsoft honcho pleads with media: 'Stop picking on us!'


Re: How about you listen to feedback _before_ you RTM next time?

Indeed. When IT was telling MS that Windows 8 was going to sink, MS Marketing came out and gave IT the third degree. I would speak to people about Windows 8, and ask their opinions of it, and they would say that they loved it or hated it, but in either case, 'there is a minority of old techs who refuse to get with the times and get on board.' MS launched a scorched earth attack on its own people for giving it honest feedback, for the simple reason that they would not tout the corporate line, but told them to fix Windows 8.

Now MS Marketing is experiencing the shoe on the other foot, and suddenly they don't want any of it. Too bad. You guys banjaxxed the OS, you falsified the product feedback, you fought IT tooth and nail when they told you it was a kludge and would cost MS billions, time to take some of your own bitter medicine. The point behind a blood interface is to make things more efficient, faster, better, etc. than a previous one; Windows 8, excluding the StarDock add-ons (which I fancy), appears to fail in this realm. What more, your attempts to unify the desktop / tablet space would be, I don't know, better, if the tablet interface for Windows 8 did not seem to have so many problems (this is hearsay, I grant you, but I have heard that people are complaining that the typing interface / on-screen keyboard needs some polish).

At the end of the day, people run Windows, in businesses, because it allows them to generate more revenue / profits / be more efficient / whatever than simply using a pen and a piece of paper. As such, the interface should be quick and easy to use...require a minimum of retraining between versions, and run on older hardware. Windows 8 does one of those...and it is built around the idea that everyone would run out and splurge on new touchscreen interfaces, as opposed to the reality that everyone would upgrade hardware over a 3-year cycle. A killer app might have launched earlier upgrades, but there isn't one, that I am aware of, for Windows 8. Office 2013 uses the Cloud...not sure of any features which make use of touch there or a stylus which are a 'must have.' Visual Studio....again, not sure of any touch features there. So...no killer app? Just a new interface built around hardware that only 10% of the customers have, and is useless for giant monitors / projectors / etc. without some special hardware?

Nvidia sales and profits rise despite PC slump


Re: How is this possible?

*shrugs* They are probably considering their audience's technical capability, wallet capacity, and attention span, then recommending accordingly. Typically if someone is coming to ask you which video card to put in their machine, it means they 1.) have a budget in mind, and 2.) probably already have a card picked out, and just want you to tell them it is a good buy. Since no amount of persuasion will sway them into buying a better card (they really are only going to spend $70 on it), and your time is your time, well, telling them that a Intel or AMD integrated video chipset is all they need saves you a lot of hassle; and if they care, they'll research it on their own. Gone are the days when people would show up with large budgets and say "I want the best machine you can build me for $4K."

I mean, even talking to fellow techs these days is painful. "Dude, all you need is a dual core machine, with a 128MB video card, and a 80 GB HD." -> there are people out there like this, and they are multiplying. There are even people who do not understand why 64-bit x86 is more awesome than 32-bit x86...and would prefer than all apps continue to build 32-bit versions well into the future. I feel like I've lost a loved one when I have to explain something so basic to these types.

Microsoft: All RIGHT, you can have your Start button back


Re: Once again...

Indeed. MS appears to be having a midlife crisis -> no longer considered the darling of the Tech Sector or Wall St., MS is trying to 'reinvent' itself or 'innovate' to capture some of the attention it craves. It's like a teenage girl that is now 28, has fewer suitors, and is falling apart because she defines herself by how many men are waiting upon her. Hence the urge to do something new for the sake of doing something; MS feels an urge to change, but is unrealistic as to what needs to change, if anything. Who does MS listen to? Why, it's the same group of people ("the beautiful people") who would have been popular in high school; all looks, no substance, and of course the Tech Sector, aka the people who need to accomplish something for a living, would have such a vocal reaction.

Speaking in Tech: Forget BYOD, now there's Bring Your Own CODE


Re: Indeed!

In last week's episode, we showed you why storing billions of Euros in Cyprus banks is probably not a wise investment decision, completely contrary to what your banker friends may have been telling you for the last several months. In this week's episode, we will touch on why moving the the crown jewels from the Tower of London to Smuggler's Den in the company of Black Beard, the trusty Pirate, may not be a good idea.

And I think you've hit the nail on the head here. Their jobs, at the end of the day, just aren't that important.

Here me out. There's an old saying: If you want something done right, you do it yourself. If you can't do it yourself, or you don't care as much about the results, you get someone else to do it. If they are abstracting away IT, then they are sending a clear message -> we are not reliant on IT. Our servers, workstations, telephones, copiers, lights, and so on could turn off, and we'd still be able to conduct business. We're a 'people' company...our most prized asset is the people we employ, and the relationships we develop when giving you the personalized service that only our company knows how to deliver. And we accomplished this by getting rid of this New Age technological rubbish...it's all too digital, too insensitive; we're trying to get back to analog, to vinyl, to the '70s when it was about the music, about the people, man. We've abstracted our IT operations, so all we have to do is pay a monthly bill, and not listen to some insane twaddle from some poorly dressed dweeb about his need for more bud spray products (dude, I can get cans of Raid for like $10 from the store down the street...why are we paying $700 to some place in Japan?), and whenever I have a problem, I can call their 1-800 number, and they always immediately pickup, day or night, unlike the previous guys, who got really angry if I bothered them on weekends about problems with my kid's iPad. Ok, sure, it might cost a little bit more...and there is a little lag...and it does seem that the cloud does go down from time to time...but they're giving us a discount whenever it goes down! That's money in our pocket!

Hell, we liked the idea so much, we abstracted our programming division, and our legal division. Then we abstracted the accounting division. It's all abstract! We have contracts...rights...and stuff. Money is just pouring in. And....hold on...phone's ringing. Huh. Amazon, the people whom we abstracted our server services to, has suddenly come out with a web service that completely replicates all of the functionality of our code base that we hosted with them...I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Well, on the off chance that it isn't, I'll just call down to legal and...right, we abstracted that department.....well, maybe we can call the programmers, and have them do some snooping and...right, we abstracted them as well...well, certainly IT can compare the code and....right abstracted again....ok., well, let's call accounting and see how long we have until we're bankrupt....damn it, abstracted again.

Corporate IT bod? Show 'em what it costs and management WILL pay


Re: An external provider's job is to milk you, IT's job is to make things work

*shrugs* IT is playing the scapegoat, apparently, for a number of popular sins at companies these days. I believe it may be due, in part, to the paranoia brought on by the fear that computers / technology represent to the masses (IT might be spying on you!), as well as the massive inferiority complexes exposed by interacting with the machines on a daily basis (30+ years on, machines are still magic to some people; and they are hell bent against taking a course to reveal the wonders behind them / get comfortable with them).

But the fact is, IT really is such an easy victim. There isn't enough data, yet, being pounded into business school graduates about the effects of a long-term slash and burn on a company's IT department. Hell, what they're doing now is part of the learning process, albeit on a global scale -> many businesses out there are stuck between various versions of Windows, let alone Linux, Unix, or Mac OS X, with varying degrees of IT support (or no support), with some businesses paying to be on the bleeding edge of technology, while others are trying to 'suck it and see it approach'; the latter continue to use Windows XP machines, for example, until they are run into the ground. This strategy, of not paying for upgrades / keeping up with capital investments, appears to pay off handsomely at first; the skills for operating the machinery are well-known, support is common, replacement parts are rapidly depreciating in cost. This works for 5-10 years. However, at some point, a critical part breaks, or a pressing need to upgrade becomes apparent. The critical part probably costs a little too much, or can't easily be replaced...or so on. An upgrade is needed. However, since the machine is so dated, it can't be upgraded. It has to be replaced. And not just a little bit. The entire thing, as well as all of its attachments. Nothing can be salvaged. The business owner will probably try to find a way to keep it going a little longer, but it quickly becomes apparent that this golden goose is dying, if not dead. And now, shock of shocks, he has to pay a whopper of a price for a new machine, with totally new software (possibly from a new developer), wait for someone to learn how to use this software (several months of training), and that's assuming that it fits all the business's needs...ouch. And that's assuming a single machine...if it's multiple machines, with some proprietary manufacturing interfaces hooked up to them....could be rough. You're looking at serious down time.


Re: Relevance/cost

So...you got anyone else working there in IT, or just the BOFH? No mention of a PFY?

And while we all love Google this week...well, smarter IT directors have contingency plans built around Gmail & friends not being there tomorrow. You certainly don't want to be like one of those companies who built their livelihood around some of Google's free services, who then faced a collapse when Google turned off said services.

Finally, what exactly are you doing that requires you to talk to your BOFH so often? Are you a developer? I am trying to wrap my mind around the reason that you'd need to speak to the network admin about an issue that no other tech of a lower rank could not solve that this would be an issue. What more, why you would wait days / weeks, which I assume is via a ticketing system, as opposed to seeing him / her in person, if the problem is of any urgency.



I suspect that there is a sinister motive behind that style of thinking: the baton of responsibility. If you experiment in house, screw up the implementation, waste a few million, then you're the one left the proverbial bag; if you pay someone else to handle it, even if their business proposal is printed on construction paper with crayon, it's not your problem if everything goes south. IT is used to be yelling at, and being responsible for everything under the sun; I imagine people come to IT if the 3rd floor bathroom runs out of toilet paper some days...even though it's not in their kingdom, so to speak, purely because IT is stacked with problem solvers / people who will fix your problem if bugged enough. Other departments, who have been around longer, have learned...they don't like responsibility, and outsourcing things is the easiest way to prevent your department from having to take on any additional responsibility.

How the iPad ruined the lives of IT architects


Re: 100% availability?

*shrugs* The mystical cloud is the current in-thing among the masses. Got some sort of IT problem? Doesn't matter what it is, it can probably be made better by invoking the cloud. See attached image: http://img3.etsystatic.com/000/0/5740779/il_fullxfull.110833487.jpg . And attached YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApLLTV04Gbc .

Dell directors foresee unremitting brutality in PC market


Re: The Tree is Dead

Yes, but that's the true idiocy of this design. RAM is so inexpensive at the moment, that only the most naive of your first-time customers, who incidentally has spent the last two decades under a rock, would go for these 'upgrades.' I mean, if you're a large OEM, you're supposed to negotiate a lower price (at a higher volume) for things like memory, then pass some of those savings along to your customer, while keeping some of the savings for yourself; your customer gets a better machine than they can by buying the memory retail, and you and the memory guys make more money at the end of the day.

And do not get me started on the $1K 512GB SSDs that a lot of these places want to sell you. Since the cost of the SSD is usually less than $500, that's easily a 200+% markup. Wait, I take that back. If you go with OCZ, and / or get the PCIe variant of these SSDs, then that could easily be over $500. Point being, people are getting robbed.


Re: The Tree is Dead

Yeah, I thought that too; however, considering both the price ($1459 stateside for an i5 is a bit...steep; for reference, my HP Envy 17, which came with an i7 and 8 GB of RAM was around, I believe, $1300, and that's without me listing the other major differences; maybe Dell sent me catalog for Australians by accident?). And more importantly, if you look at the resolution on this screen, it's touted as HD (your mind instantly thinks 1080P; http://cdn.instanttrap.com/trap.jpg ), but the actual pixel resolution is only 1600 x 900.

It seriously does look like Dell put together whatever components they had an overstock on, slapped a 'premium' label on it, and are now trying to hock it for the price of a Rolls-Royce. Half these components don't even make sense, even as entry level....and the other half you wouldn't spec into a premium laptop because it completely nullifies the premium label. Like buying a Porsche with a Lego steering wheel, Bose sound system, and cardboard seats. I don't even.


Re: The Tree is Dead

Indeed. I've taken the liberty of scanning in some pages from the latest Dell catalog that I think many of you will find amusing: http://imgur.com/a/taplN . The first page is to show you that it is indeed from a recent catalog (no joke / photoshopping) for 2013; the second page is to show you what Dell (the company itself) says about its own machines, and what each particular sub-brand "means"; the third page, in particular the Dell Precision M6700, complete with baseline specs and price, is to show you what is terribly wrong with this company, and possibly with many of the larger OEMs in general.

For those who cannot be troubled for a laugh on par with some of the BOFH's older material, the price / specs are so terrible, that given the choice between buying a half dozen tablets and wiring them up with some esoteric version of linux, or buying this laptop, I might prefer the former. Since I am past the age where spending my weekends recompiling the kernel to get sound working, that should tell you something. The PC industry isn't being tanked because PCs themselves are obsolete; it's because the people who have been running the industry for the past 5 years have done such an outlandishly terrible job that competitors with completely different form factors are actually getting a leg up on them. They've become like GM, Ford, and Chrysler of old, refusing to innovate, letting Apple do all the work, and failing to improve on their products; now they run around wondering why their secure monopoly, like when the Japanese busted open the American market, is disappearing.

Seriously, Dell, 2 GB of RAM, for a top of the line laptop, running Windows 7? What did you do, fire everyone with any tech experience? Did you run a market analysis that said 'people like machines with 2GB of RAM, like their Windows XP machines?' I can see why Michael wants his company back; it has his name on it, and the people running are destroying it.

I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

IT Angle

Re: Systems architect here

Hmm. It's insanity. I started off in IT, then wandered off into programming...the entire field is messed up. I mean, just hands down, screwed up. I do not know about the rest of you, but when I was growing up, 'understanding computers' meant having all the knowledge which appears to fill the fields of EE, CE, CS, SE, IT, possibly Physics and Math, and some Business thrown in for good measure. Quite a surprise, by the end of my CS degree, that despite my Computer Vision / Graphics track, we never quite got around to doing OpenGl...(something I experimented with my Sophomore year). Their response was "well, you can just extrapolate from the theories you learned in class, and OpenGl should be easy" -> that's immaterial; OpenGl is something both interesting, standard, important, and should be mandatory; why am I paying for a piece of paper which guarantees I did not study this? Just pure madness.And this is how you end up with people who graduate with CS / SE degrees, but can't build HelloWorld. PhDs who do not know how to build a server from individual components...pure waste of grant money.

But continuing with your point, it's the abuse of the good Samaritan principle here that is driving the techs bonkers. One person, every once in a while, asking for help (for free) with a computer problem? Not an issue, any more than a doctor / lawyer / priest / engineer / whatever donating their free time. Nine out of every ten people asking for help, demanding it be for free, demanding it be done immediately, on your free time, when you can't even get a job, and the jobs being offered pay nothing? Not many people can survive like that for long. You either need to be rich, or completely comped in life. But this is only part of the equation: the other half is that these tech skills are, like driving a car, something you are supposed to learn, not continuously put off learning. If I, like others, spend all of my time doing basic tech support because other people can't be bothered to read the manual, then I never get around to fulfilling the larger, and arguably more profitable / more powerful / more rewarding things that are on my plate. Basic tech literacy is really, what, a 6 month course in school, with occasional updates? Not difficult. And yet they're fighting it...and it's kind of like...well, I'm kind of past the age where I'm going to try and teach you the basics...that was a decade ago when you were too busy with 'more important stuff'...so I guess you can learn it the hard way now...because I have had a multiple decade plan in action for quite some time, and I really can't delay any longer because you decided to be lazy. I kind of have to go live my life now, as I'm probably not going to be given much in the way of any more time on this earth, and even less likely to get any more youth...and I am already terribly late.

Google Glass to carry 'Made in USA' label



Odd, isn't it? Makes you wonder if the USA was ever competitive with the rest of the world, technologically speaking. I ask you, why does the USA seem to suffer from the inability to compete, globally, on equal footing, with other countries? Why can't we seem to completely manufacture a product, in house, that people actually want to buy, without a discount or bribe?

Are the PCs all getting a bit old at your office? You're not alone


Re: Congratulations PC makers!

Heh. Well, it's what they wanted...be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

Consider Dell, for the moment. This is good, hold on. Got one of these postcards in the mail from them (I used to recommend them, long time ago); for $299.99, I can get an Inspiron 15.6" laptop with an Intel Celeron processor, Windows 8, 4 GB of RAM, and a 320 GB HD. Now, after you've stopped laughing at those specs, let's talk about what's wrong with this offer: Everything!

Let's see here. Windows 8, highly controversial, yet strangely the least unpalatable part of that offer. Intel Celeron processor...something of a mystery, with no model mentioned...and it's a Celeron...kind of chasing the bottom of the market there. 4 GBs of RAM...on a Windows 8 machine....I don't know if that's sad or funny...especially considering the laughable price of RAM these days. A 320 GB HD...might even be 7200 RPMs...which is really not useful for anything more than bottom of the barrel storage / performance (well, assuming it's 7200 RPMs, that would be about middling performance) these days. It's basically the cheapest machine they can produce, can barely run Windows...and will probably crash / fall apart under any kind of load. Probably not very upgradeable either.

Now, compare this to the laptop that is actually sitting on my desk. An HP Envy 17...complete with a real video card, 2 drive bays plus some room for a mSATA device...optical drive....i7....16 GBs of RAM....Windows 7....and it cost me probably less than $2K. Oh, a 240 GB SSD, and a 1 TB 7200 RPM HD. And so on.

Dell's entire flier here is built around cheapness. They can never upsell their customers (who buy Apple, I guess, when they want something nicer) because their product line is crap. I looked at their desktop line yesterday, the Inspirons, and the higher-end model seemed to max out at 12 GBs of RAM. This is a desktop, mind you. My desktop is maxed out at 32 GB of RAM. What more, every minor upgrade on Dell's website is a money soak. Want a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate instead of Windows 7 Home Premium? That'll be $180...the exact cost of an OEM copy of Windows 7 Ultimate from Amazon / Newegg. Want a printer? It will have last decade's features, and bleed ink. It's all crap. Purely the razor blade model to doing things.

And after a while of using low-end crap, where every minor performance upgrade costs a ton and delivers little, of course the customer is going to rebel, and only buy the bottom of the barrel crap! They've never driven a Porsche, do how the f*ck are they going to know it's better than the Lada they're currently driving?

The reason tablets are competitive with laptops / desktops, or so the marketing types think, is because the laptops / desktops that people have been buying / have been allowed to buy / are forced to buy are such crap, they are actually competitive in terms of performance! Drop the bottom of the barrel PC lines, mandate use of SSDs, and shoot anyone who thinks that continuously dropping features is the way of the future.


Re: Fallacy

Who is going to write a ground-breaking application for a business machine, when the target market is still using Windows XP, IE 6, and single-core processors?

Dongle smut Twitstorm claims second scalp



The problem here is that they're at a tech conference, which, despite its name, is a chance for people to socialize, tell stories, and learn. She found herself eavesdropping on someone else's conversation, which given the venue, is likely to be somewhat casual, then proceeds to take the nuclear approach. "You're telling off-color jokes? Be gone with your kind!" -> complete with posting a candid image of them to a Twitter feed? God forbid you should be able to joke with your friends, and not be hanged for it.

It's like going to a Power Metal concert, and complaining that the music is too loud. She totally misrepresents the culture, which seems to mean she never understood it to begin with. It's not that the tech sector is a bastion of male domination, it's that it's a more open and tolerant culture than other sectors, and so does not need to go full DEFCON every time someone says or acts slightly out of the perceived cultural ideal. She preached intolerance, went out on a limb to use public opinion to shame them into the mold she believed they should fit, and in doing so proved that she lacks the qualifications to unite anyone in this sector; and that, along with the horrible PR, is why her employer had to fire her ("These are the kinds of people you employ? What if we hire your firm for something, and one of your employees doesn't like a remark the CEO makes to someone...are we going to hear about it on the Press?").

Reliant on Dell for PCs? Start looking around, says Gartner ball-gazer


Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb...

The hell are they trying to accomplish lately? Microsoft loses its mind over Windows 8, will not back off from Metro like they have a death pact with the designer ("It's Metro or bust!"), while the marketing 'analysts' are calling for the death of the laptop / desktop with no viable replacements...unless you are purely a consumer of content. Who in their right mind would jettison a core part of their business, with no replacement for it? It's like they are purposefully trying to damage their companies...which sadly may be the truth here.

Meanwhile, businesses are screaming that they can't find enough STEM people on both sides of the pond, yet are incapable of paying a wage that would not be considered an insult (to your dead relatives). Or they can pay a decent wage, but need 5+ years experience for an entry level / junior position....which is insane (certifiable).

And then there's Cyprus...wow. I mean, just wow. That entire situation is a pig's breakfast.

I can't tell, has someone been putting something in our 'leaders' coffees / teas lately? Because it's either some of the best stuff money can buy, or something you shouldn't feed to animals.

Twitter patents sending messages, promises not to sue everyone



So, I think we need to do the unthinkable. We need to dig up Albert Einstein, clone him a few dozen times, and ask his clones to fix our patent system.

He did work, for a time, as a patent examiner, right?

Report: AWS gets $600m contract to build CIA spook cloud


Re: "...helps the agency keep up with emerging technologies like big data "

Nonsense. There will be plenty of data to crawl, right next door...

Pretty convenient having all those businesses move their core processes & IP to Amazon's servers...and now a government agency known for playing outside the rules is setting up shop nearby. Coincidence? I think not.

Of course, it will not be the leaked information from Lockheed's latest R&D, graciously given to the Chinese by a Senator's aide for a fair price, that creates the untameable scandal. No, it will be when some major merger falls through because everyone and their dog knows about certain insider information that just refused to remain in the hands of the high-level financial types it was originally released to in the interests of 'national security' that brings forth the calls for reforms...but not to reform too completely, or too quickly.

Intel and pals shrink their semis by $600m as demand droops


Re: Avoid embarassment? Or avoid wasting money making stuff that never sells?

But that's exactly the point! Developers are finally getting around to polishing concurrency / parallelism on non-supercomputers, and it's taking a few years to hit the important qualifications, which are: 1.) Is the hardware there? (Who wants to put major effort into these designs if only 1% of your customers have multiple cores?), 2.) Is the software there? (Hyperthreading, whatever the hell is AMD's variant, etc. all profile slightly differently...when you throw in multiple real cores with half-cores, you really need a mature set of development tools).

Dell finally takes Dell private - with $24bn and help from Microsoft


Re: Microsoft?

Hmm. Let's see if Dell still has the technological know-how to put together a decent PC, like he used to. It has been many years since he was putting machines together in his dorm room...has he kept up on the latest technology, despite his immense fortune?

Western Digital leaps out of a plane, forgets to pull the 'chute


Hybrid drives * facepalm*

Frankly, I do not understand the allure of hybrid drives. They are kind of the worst of both worlds.

If I had an enemy, I'd probably ensure their new systems ran on them, with some firmware tweaks to put the most unused files on the flash part, and the OS on the disk itself. Oh wait, many of these drives appear not to need this tweak.

Long term, it's more intelligent to just put two drives into a laptop. One flash, one HD. They can be upgraded separately, and are potentially more stable than the kludge that is a hybrid drive.

AMD to get dense about servers – but in a good way



And now that Intel has decided to stop building its own motherboards (3 year phase out), I imagine AMD is wondering what to do. If x86 isn't 'dead' as marketing has proclaimed, then AMD could have the entire x86 market for itself; that's a pretty sweet peach, assuming it could handle the volume.

On the other hand, if x86 is dead (news to the tech community at large), hanging around (as opposed to, what, ARM?) is the better option.

And with Intel largely out of the market, the margins / profits on x86 processors would be pretty sweet. More than enough to continue fueling x86 development until we have an optical chip breakthrough (and even then, x86 is just the instruction set...so it could even transfer, much to the chagrin to many x86 Assembly coders).

Global mercury ban to hit electronics, plastics, power prices


It's the black helicopters one

It's the black helicopters one.

Engineers are cold and dead inside, research shows




There are so many things wrong here, I don't even

Viruses infect vital control systems at TWO US power stations



I guess I take back my earlier comment that we do not need specific technology security people to deal with scenarios like these. Apparently, if someone doesn't club them over the head repeatedly, the masses are unwilling to perform even basic security checks for their computers.

Security audit finds dev outsourced his job to China to goof off at work



On one hand, he's living the dream of the BOFH. Many wouldn't think twice about doing the same.

On the other hand, he's committing fraud, and opening up his company / the US to potential security issues. Verizon is, in theory, a regional Tier 1 provider, and as such, functions as a backbone for a large section of the internet. Now, I do not think, contrary to current paranoia, that anything harmful has been placed into this code, nor do I think the people on the other end would act in such a fashion. However, the various parties in a contract do have the right to know who they are working with, and this is a violation of that principle. What more, the implications of an entire company, in a foreign nation, having direct access to such confidential information at such a high level at such a large company is mind-boggling.

On a secondary note, the problem with this fraud is that is has the unintentional side effect of possibly deprecating his fellow programmer's wages. By misrepresenting himself, he gave management at Verizon reason to believe that his fellow programmers were slacking, or somehow not worth their pay; this may have negatively affected their promotions and / or their salary / wage increases / bonuses. By using fraudulent means, he gave the appearance of doing the work of twenty or possibly hundreds of programmers, all by a single man; in all likelihood, excellent programmers were made to be in competition against that, potentially destroying themselves in an effort to compete; what more, good programmers were, no doubt, turned away, or unjustly downgraded / viewed as poor programmers for their inability to perform. The ramifications for this are huge.

The question now being pondered is thus: how many others are doing this? An isolated incident, or merely the first to get caught? Were the industry to find out that even a few star programmers were actually pulling the same trick, there'd be bloodshed.

Stroppy investor to Xyratex: Pah... research! Who spends money on THAT?



On one hand, they are doing R&D in what I consider to be a 'flash in the pan' area...on the other hand, they are doing R&D during a recession, which, if done right, can put the company miles ahead of others when the recession ends. Now, the raider types want to just cut the company up, and auction off the components...this typically generates some great short term returns, but will destroy the company in the process.

So, the question is, will this company give better long term returns than short term returns? "Xyratex makes disk drive drawers for OEMs, a business that's shrinking, and test equipment for disk drive manufacturers, a business that's unprofitable. Its strategy to get out of these holes is to build ClusterStor storage arrays for the high-performance computing (HPC), Big Data and public cloud markets." -> despite the profitability of current operations, they are very much in demand. Disk drive drawers are kind of the nails and screws of the computing industry -> they're used everywhere in the server and even consumer market places. As for the ClusterStor stuff, I have not reviewed it, but the metric is the same: is it reliable (99.999999% up time), is it easy to apply hotfixes and upgrades, can it be expanded easily, does it play well with other vendors, that sort of thing; if they can come in for a nice price with the pre-reqs, they're relatively secure for the future. If they are having trouble with the design, or have made some awful trade offs...not so much.

CIOs: Don't listen to tech vendors on ICT skills, listen to US



Hilarious. They're starting to realize that the support structure for IT / CS has gone away, and that the costs to train someone up in these disciplines is skyrocketing. When I say support structure, I don't mean university, I mean the elementary school / middle school / high or secondary school programs and extra training that typically vets people long before they get to university. That's years of typing, IT, CS, and even EE pre-reqs that have been disbanded. The cost to train a SE / CS person with comparable knowledge to today's types will eventually become a very costly affair.

As for the wages, yeah, they've been hurting on both sides of the pond for quite some time. They haven't risen, they've continuously shrunk, which makes little sense for something that is in such high demand (small supply, increasing demand...wages typically rise...if they don't, something abnormal is going on). Combined with the high-stress of said jobs, it's no surprise people are turning away for easier majors which pay just as well, if not better. You're not attracting top talent, as top talent can go wherever the money is.



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