* Posts by J. Cook

416 posts • joined 16 Jul 2007

Page:

WannaCrypt: Roots, reasons and why scramble patching won't save you now

J. Cook

Re: Back ups - still underrated

Part of it that no one wants to spend on on backup hardware, the media that said hardware uses, the software that the backups require, and the administrative overhead that managing backups entails.

A number of years ago, I was doing some work for a company and they balked at paying ~$700 USD for a re-built DLT drive to replace the one that had packed it in. It was on their only server, and it was their only backup method. I asked them point blank, how much their business was worth, because if they didn't have good backups, they were a server failure away from losing it all.

They paid for the tape drive.

4
1

IBM wheels out bleedin' big 15TB tape drive

J. Cook
Boffin

Re: Why does nobody build disk libraries?

They do make them; are your referring to something like this?

https://kintronics.com/solutions/optical-jukeboxes-and-libraries/

(first hit from google "optical jukebox" that wasn't a wikipedia link)

TL;DR - Yes, but they have the same problems. They are a bit faster for access times.

Optical jukeboxes tend to have two problems:

1) Relatively low data density compared to tape. (a BD-RW gets you what? 50 GB tops per disc?) While the discs can be crammed into a smaller volume, You need more of them to equal tape. One unit is 5 feet by 15 inched by 28 inches and only manages ~70 TB max capacity. An equally sized tape library will beat that without breathing hard. (oddly enough, they cost the same...)

2) They suffer the same problems as tape changers. In the ~8 years that I've been overseeing backups at my current employer, we've gone through four tape libraries; the first one was died from old age and 'we don't support that model anymore'-itis, second had the robotics die on it requiring a chassis replacement with unit #3, which was superseded by the fourth, which has had the controller and most of the drives on it replaced in it's 5 years of operating life. They both have a good deal of high precision moving parts which are fiddly, finicky, and sometimes downright cranky.

They do have some pluses, though: faster access time than tape, and depending on the media fed into them, better archival longevity. They also have random access capability as well, so you don't have to de-spool 3/4 of the tape to get the single 100 MB file you are after near the end of the media.

My first corporate job was with a credit union that had two optical libraries: a moderate sized one for mortgage records (about the size of a half-cabinet), and the second was this giant beast of a unit for check image storage. (it was larger than a double wardrobe) and that was in the late 90's, so that was CD-R or M-O media.

7
0

Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?

J. Cook
Coat

Internet connected toilets- that would really by the Internet of S#&t, then.

I'll show myself out...

3
0
J. Cook

Re: Backstory????

The company might be using a greywater reuse system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greywater) for the toilets, and some H&S numpty probably insisted on the stickers.

2
1
J. Cook

Re: STERCULIUS

... I need signs made up with this on it.

1
0

Oh lordy, WD just SCHOOLED Seagate in running a disk drive biz

J. Cook
Pint

All storage devices suck.

Best bet is multiple copies of data on multiple devices and media. (i.e., mirror the primary/active data set on two similar drives from different brands or different lots at least, backup copy to a third different brand)

One is none, two is one.

Is it beer o clock yet?

1
0
J. Cook
Boffin

Re: I'll never buy Seagate again

"dozens of IBM-supplied (HGST really?) drives for the "serious kit" "

Hitachi fabbed drives for IBM back in the "deskstar/travelstar/deathstar" days, when the drives were IBM branded as well. (similar to Lenovo fabbing the Thinkpads and other x86 hardware before they got spun off or split out)

1
0

Peace in our time! Symantec says it can end Google cert spat

J. Cook
Go

The last time one of our vendors tried pitching anything made by symantec to us I laughed hard enough to trigger a coughing fit.

There was also the time where one of the other IT managers was trying to give Comodo a foot in the door. After I stopped laughing, I sent him a nice, long reply that explained why I said 'hell no'.

1
0

Drunk user blow-dried laptop after dog lifted its leg over the keyboard

J. Cook

Re: Rubber Gloves...

When I was still a field tech, I kept a box of the things in my 'PM' kit* for cleaning up printers and computers alike. Certain parts of laser printers are sensitive to the greases and oils in skin, toner's just a pain in the butt to deal with, and the computers... ugh. Especially the ones that sat on the floor under a desk. Or worse, under a sorting table on the inbound 'dirty' line of a uniform company's laundry room. (those machines were perched on wood blocks about 18 inches off the floor, because they hosed the floor down to clean it and the cases tended to rust-weld themselves to the floor)

About the worst I'd dealt with was the full-tower server that lived in a portal office trailer (such as the type used at construction sites) that was a home to a bunch of rats, until one of them shorted themselves out on the server's power brick. The inside of it was covered in rat poop, and the server sat on a cardboard liner in the back of my truck for the ride to the shop. (I was just the pickup person for it, the shop tech had the horror of dealing with that one...)

* which also had isopropyl, Q-tips, a roll of shop towels, and a toner-safe canister vacuum in it. It was a BIG kit.

1
0
J. Cook

Re: Good on Jim Re dog

Cat are just as bad; I like describing them as four legged two year olds with no concept of memory at times.

(seriously. one of the cats in my house is elderly, and when he gets offended by pretty much anything, he poops on the floor instead of the litter box. He at least pees in the box, which I'm thankful for.)

1
0

Script kiddies pwn 1000s of Windows boxes using leaked NSA hack tools

J. Cook
Boffin

... and that is when you air-gap the machine, or put something between it and the rest of the world, like a _decent_ firewall running in whitelisting mode (block all except what I explicitly want through)

Kinda of like you should do for SCADA or other industrial control systems where application security is shite.

7
0

Can nothing stop the Veeam tank? We hate to save you a click but: No

J. Cook
Boffin

Not surprised here...

We've been a commvault shop for... a while (Since simpana 7 or 8, IIRC).

Veeam has been eating part of commvault's lunch for several reasons:

1) It does not require professional services or a huge amount of hand holding to install and configure. (Commvault is an extraordinarily complex 'do everything' product that works for a bunch of enterprises because they want a single system for holding backup data in a consistent manner; this comes at the expense of being ridiculously complex to setup and configure.)

2) It's straight-forward to understand how the data retention mechanism it uses operates. Commvault.... well, it's complicated, and commvault very much errs on the side of 'we are not sure, so we'll hang onto this backup called 'test' that you ran only once, regardless that you told me hold onto it for 1 week and that was 2 years ago and you never ran the job ever again and in fact the device that the job ran against is long gone.' (and then it complains about it if you manually delete the job or clear the media the job is stored on)

3) Veeam does not need a three or five day training session in order to use- you can be up and running quite fast with it. Plus, if your shop has high turnover for some reason, you won't be suffering from institutional loss of memory and have to pay for the same training over and over again as people cycle through ownership of the Backup Admin hat.

We came *very* close to jumping ship to Veeam this last year, due to a handful of communication snafus and mis-steps from the VAR that did our upgrade to v11. (and what should have been a 2 month start to finish project ended up taking the better part of 6 months...)

Just my $0.02 USD as a corporate end user.

3
0

Apple nabs permit to experiment with self-driving iCars in Cali

J. Cook
Joke

Re: California and Cali

Well, some of us like to refer to it as 'Commiefornia', but for a multitude of reasons unrelated to this article. :)

0
0

Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

J. Cook
Mushroom

UAC...

UAC on windows 7 I can live with; even on 8.1 it's at a decent balance between a sanity check and annoyance. Vista was a 'meh' start out of the gate. (which is why most enterprises stayed the hell away from it and implemented windows 7.)

Server 2012 R2 (especially one configured as a file server): Worst. Idea. EVER.

In order to manage file permissions on a server 2012 R2 file server, I have to either go through the share interface on a client machine, OR run powershell on the console as an Administrator and try to remember the (obtuse and obscure) syntax to change the ACLs via command-line, OR I have to crank up task manager and launch an instance of File Manager As Administrator.

ON. THE. CONSOLE. OF. THE. MACHINE.

This gets absolutely stupid when you are dealing with several million files occupying 5+ TB of space, because the business users are packrats.

And don't get me started on managing permissions on the root of the drive- that way lies madness and excessive foaming around the mouth.

0
0
J. Cook

XP's interface (with all the eye candy turned on) did bring some machines that could run win2K acceptably to their knees.

These were ancient P3-based machines that just barely met the minimum processor and memory spec for XP, so that was not surprising.

0
0

Schneider Electric still shipping passwords in firmware

J. Cook
Boffin

... and that is why SCADA systems should be air gapped, or on an isolated network, with remote access via a locked down, heavily monitored terminal server with a leg on each side. (or possibly using an IP KVM for console access to the management box, which has *zero* access to the internet or the rest of the network)

1
0

Scottrade admits server snafu blabbed 20,000 customer files to world

J. Cook
Pint

I start a four day weekend in two hours.

Mmm.... Eggs and baccy. *drools*

Yeah, that was definately a RGE* or a CLM**.

* Resume Generating Event

** Career Limiting Move

0
1

Mac Pro update: Apple promises another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year

J. Cook

Having had a chance to put my grimy, blood-stained claws on a trash can mac, the best thing I can say about them is that a) they are surprisingly heavy, thought with that thermal mass it's understandable; and b) the shiniest part of them was the monitor that connected to it.

Oh wait, the monitors are gone now, too. I'd like to see a return of a nicely sized, modular mac, especially if it's price competitive* with the wintel equivalents.

*I'll give 10-20% on the pricing, seeing as case design is surprisingly hard to do in such a way to make things easy to access and nice looking in the process.

5
0
J. Cook

Not lost...

Try 'never sent'- El Reg has been persona non grata for apple events for years and years.

3
0

Indian Business Machines? One-third of Big Blue staff based there and Bangladesh

J. Cook
Joke

Someone beat you to one of those jokes...

"IBM = Immense Bowel Movement."

Or possibly "Intragalactic Bowel Movements", perhaps? (see https://www.schlockmercenary.com/2000-10-02 for an explaination*)

*Danger, deep archive, productivity loss possible.

5
0

Stop us if you've heard this one before: IBM sheds more workers – this time, tech sales

J. Cook
Pint

Re: Incredible Boneheaded Move

I wouldn't touch lotus notes with someone else's 10 meter pole*. And the less said about Websphere, the better.

*FNARR

0
0

PC survived lightning strike thanks to a good kicking

J. Cook

Same here:

I had* a Vaio FXA that would occasionally BSOD. It was running XP, at least.

I traced the problem down to a fault with the video driver, which was a ATI Mobile Radeon or some such that had custom bios and firmware on it that sony wrote and then abandoned a year and a half later with exactly *one* driver update to it.

* Still have, actually- the batteries are trashed, but it'll still spool up and boot, albeit into a freeBSD image that I no longer remember the root password for. For a 'daily driver' of a laptop, it did what I wanted to pretty decently.

2
0

US ATM fraud surges despite EMV

J. Cook
Facepalm

It also doesn't help that a *large* portion of Americans are either too ignorant (willfully or otherwise), or have a serious cranial-rectal inversion to follow what is a stupidly simple process:

1. insert chip card into reader

2. wait for prompt to enter pin or sign (this is largely up to the merchant, and whoever configured their point of sale system) and enter pin/sign then press the enter button

3. remove card when prompted

4. PROFIT!

But then, these are the same people who, when using the magstripe, will either crawl the card through the reader too slow, or whip the thing through at Warp factor 8 which then produces a card read error.

And invariably, I get stuck behind them in line.

6
2

Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts

J. Cook

Re: Best traps

@abelsoul: There have been some studies done that suggest that cats do this in order to teach us Terrible Big Things how to Cat properly and how to hunt. :)

8
0

User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

J. Cook

Re: I bet you try this

There was also the time that I was stuck repairing an eMachine (A terrible, low end, cheap machine that (barely) ran windows 98se, let alone XP which some ignoramus slapped on it) which had a _destroyed_ USB port.

Apparently, someone tried plugging in a USB device on the back port, and it wouldn't fit. Not content with turning the USB cable over, they just rammed the thing in, breaking the connector in such a way that it shorted the portion of the chip the circuit traces ran to.

There was exactly *two* usb ports on the entire machine to begin with- one in front, one in the back. (the one in the back was the trashed one).

Ironicly enough, the thing still had the display sticker plastered on the front of the case proudly proclaiming that would "never need to be upgraded!". (Primarily because you _couldn't_ upgrade it, and they were cheap enough that you tossed it and bought a Real Computer afterwards.)

2
0

BOFH: Don't back up in anger

J. Cook

Re: What goes around...

The BOFH (and the PFY) have actually changed companies at least once since then.

But it's a possibility.

1
0
J. Cook
Go

Re: We only backup the shared drives

... I have your backup here on my desk, actually.

(One of our less clueful tape monkeys actually did put an LTO1 barcode on a cleaning tape. Not surprisingly, it never worked, and it confused the hell out of the backup software.)

3
0

Oxford Uni boffins say internet filters probably won't protect teens

J. Cook

Agreement with filters being mostly useless...

... unless you have an IT staff that constantly monitors it and keeps on top of the filtering configuration.

Granted, the one I'm in charge of is at $work; it's partly to keep the amount of pink off the monitors, but also to block failbook and other social media sites from the masses to keep productivity at acceptable rates. Finally, it also acts as a reasonable malware blocker.

Ironicly, the one they put in charge of the nanny filter is the one who is opposed to censorship on almost a religious level; but I understand and accept the business's reasons for it.

2
0
J. Cook
Boffin

Re: Alternative facts

IIRC, one of the porn sites is _actually doing this._ Can't remember which one, and can't access it because I'm at work (which frowns upon that sort of thing)

1
0

What a Flake: Congress mulls trashing privacy rules, letting ISPs go to town on your data

J. Cook
Big Brother

Re: #Confused

I can say that he's not, but he's popular enough with the small group of voters who come out en masse to re-elect him every time, if only because no one else will take the time to actually vote.

(that, and there's been a good amount of 'legal but not ethical' election tampering here too by mucking around with the polling places and other shenanigans.)

1
0

HPE gobbles Nimble Storage for $1.2bn

J. Cook

Re: InfoSight

Same here; The hardware is actually pretty decent as well and is pretty robust for the price.

I'm also hoping that HPE doesn't crank up the support pricing and reduce the level of said support; Nimble's support has been extremely good for the times we've needed it outside of replacement part swaps.

1
0

HPE buying Nimble Storage...

J. Cook
Alert

HPE buying Nimble Storage...

Nimble's official press release:

https://www.nimblestorage.com/blog/nimble-storage-signs-agreement-to-be-acquired-by-hpe/

and a blurb by Rueters:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nimble-storage-m-a-hewlett-packard-idUSKBN16E1JM

Price is 1 Billion USD. (That's $1,000,000,000 USD for the nitpickers in the crowd)

That was... unexpected. I just hope that the service and support doesn't change; They've been extremely good about getting replacement parts to us when stuff breaks, and their analytics are very useful as well- we've used their data to prove to one of our vendors a couple times now that the problems with their application are not storage or IO related, at least not at the appliance or hypervisor level.

1
0

Li-ion king Goodenough creates battery he says really is... good enough

J. Cook
Go

Better batteries...

Sitting on my desk right now is a 'cheap' (~$80 USD) car jump battery pack sold by an import tool company infamous in the US for 'cheap' tools that are good in a pinch, but have widely variable quality control standards.

It's using a Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack, and I just jump-started a 4 cylinder ford ranger truck with it. It's not much larger than a hardcover novel in it's travel case, and it works quite nicely. It's also much lighter then the older style portable jump kits that use a lead-acid battery.

Even five years ago, something like this either didn't exist, or was four or five times the cost. I love living in the future.

3
0

Dell kills off standalone DSSD D5, scatters remains into other gear

J. Cook
Joke

Re: Doublespeak and Euphemisms in Business English?

Well, there was no mention of feeding them into a tree chipper or some other permanent life process termination device? :)

(Yes, poor taste. I know, I'll show myself out.)

0
0

SHA-1 crack just got real: System Center uses it to talk to Linux

J. Cook

One phrase: 'single pane of glass'

for managing the various systems in the environment, and especially if the company's already blown the wad for System center as opposed to something like Solarwinds Orion or any other number of server management application suites.

SCOM is obviously not perfect- it's a pain in the butt to install, configure, and operate if you've never used it or had good training on it, there's a snootload of 'legacy code' in it from the old SMS and MOM days, and overall it's a shambling, baroque monstrosity.

2
0

User rats out IT team for playing games at work, gets them all fired

J. Cook

I've had a few supervisors at the current place I work at who are pretty lax about slacking off- as long as:

a) the work gets done

b) it's not *too* invasive

for example, on super slow days (holidays, primarily, where I was required to be there for break/fix, but since things were running well I ended up having very little to actually *do*) I'd have my personal laptop in and was playing movies, offline games, or using the company's guest wireless to play minecraft or some such.

And yeah, I could *probably* write off El Reg as "technical research", but meh. (as I type, I'm waiting for an content index rebuild on a pair of DAG nodes, and keeping a weather eye on the backup job that's running, and waiting for a vendor to ping me.

2
0

Nimble gets, well, nimble about hyperconverged infrastructure

J. Cook
Boffin

Re: HCI is CNA - ethernet

The CS300 and earlier models in that class, it's iSCSI over 10Gb Ethernet. the CS500 has FC as an option, and beyond that I can't answer to, not having one sitting in my data center. :)

Beyond that, I have no idea how FC works on the nimble platform, as we have been using it as iSCSI only. Our CS500s don't have the FC option on them.

Things it can't do (and probably never will):

CIFS/SMB, aka windows file sharing. You can stand up a machine running your favorite OS with an SMB server, and back-end the storage off a nimble, but you can't run it directly from the appliance.

NFS: Essentially the same thing; Nimble has a whitepaper on how to set up a pair of linux based machines to create an NFS gateway with the array ac ting as the backend storage.

HTH!

0
0

Australian Tax Office's HPE SAN failed twice in slightly different ways

J. Cook
Boffin

I could potentially understand if an a disk shelf's IO controller went out and failed in a way that corrupted the data being written to the disks. The likelihood of that happening is.... Well, it's a large-ish number to one against. I can dig the IO controller rolling over, I've seen that a few times; the backup took over straight away, and the machine had an alarm light on it until the blown controller was swapped for a good one.

(In the ~20 years I've been in the industry, I've seen two raid controllers blow themselves up; one did in fact take the array with it, the other failed in a manner that rendered the battery backed cache non-usable, which only crippled system performance.)

3
0

Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users

J. Cook

At one point, I had a rubber chicken in my tool kit, just in case I needed to tap some of the deep magic for fixing the various and sundry issues I've run across. (this was back when you could reliably recover from a machine getting a virus by removing the damaged files and putting known good copies back in; no such luck now.)

There was also the 'incident' with me performing a data recovery off a failing drive by wrapping it up in a towel and ice pack to keep the controller cool enough to perform an emergency disk clone to a known good drive- I managed that neat trick exactly twice.

3
0

Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

J. Cook
Pint

As long as we are griping...

Bring back the Hot dog theme.

Or at least give us a way to re-color the various elements.

It's friday, I need one.

2
0

Are you listening, Mr Trump? World's largest tech distie is now owned by the Chinese

J. Cook
FAIL

Re: There's more....

"Just wait until the Chines buy big in Vendor/manufacturing land......"

Lenovo.

(aka all of IBM's x86 products: laptops, desktops, and servers)

Apple and others (via Foxconn)

Unless you are trolling?

8
0

I was a robot and this is what I learned

J. Cook

Re: Fascinating read.

Possibly make the body of the telepresence unit slightly more customizable? (i.e., the ability to change the color of the unit via LEDs, etc.) possibly the ability to swap the outer shell might be cool; (i.e., for a sci-fi themed convention, put dalek shells on them, or some such.)

2
0

Printer security is so bad HP Inc will sell you services to fix it

J. Cook
FAIL

Bloody hell yes. requiring me to have a (very specific) java RE in order to configure the damn Jetdirect, and then on top of it the applet fails better than 2/3rds of the time? Absolute FAIL.

That's partly why most of the older ones were configured via Telnet- loads faster, especially if you knew the (not-so) secret method for getting it to pick up an IP address of your choosing. (i.e., connect the jet direct to the same subnet as your workstation, manually add the MAC address to your ARP table with the address, and then ping said address.)

Those were also mostly external Jetdirects, I should mention. Internal ones (generally) were slightly easier to use in that regard.

0
0

Hell Desk's 800 number was perfect for horrible heavy-breathing harassment calls

J. Cook
Go

Re: From the Archives...

(Re: the "Code in..." stunt)

I see what you did there.

I used to get random calls on my cellphone from such amusing places as south africa and surrounding countries. I pulled that stunt a few times after the 3rd or 4th caller to do that.

Sadly, I tired even of that and changed my number a month or two later.

0
0

'Hacker' accused of idiotic plan to defraud bank out of $1.5 million

J. Cook

Well, no one ever said crooks had to be smart...

... But this one might earn a 'dumbest hacker EVER' award.

18
0

Hell desk thought PC fire report was a first-day-on-the-job prank

J. Cook
Pint

Re: Can I turn it on? It's under 6 inches of water.... @ DropBear

Amusingly enough, one of the places I used to do service for was a commercial laundry. The computers on the inbound processing line where the cheapest machines we could get, and they were mounted on a 18 inch high stand, because they would have rusted to the floor otherwise when it was power-washed every night. (The machines still were nasty gross things that the techs hated to PM because odds were you'd need to change clothes afterwards. Ugh!)

3
0

Let's praise Surface, not bury it

J. Cook
Coat

Re: Words of Power.

I tend to *invent* new Words of Power when I'm trying to resurrect failed equipment, usually because the CIO (or worse, the entire company) is beating down my door wondering why their email isn't going through... :)

Mine's the one with the journal with black covers titled 'An Incomplete Dictionary of the Obscene and Profane' in the front pocket

3
0

AMD is a rounding error on Intel's spreadsheet and that sucks for us all

J. Cook

For a while, our VMware stacks at $work were all Opteron 6xxx series- VMware charges by the socket for the hypervisor, and cramming 48 cores worth of CPU on a 4 socket box was very attactive for us. the standalone machines (very few and far between) were intel based, though.

at this point though, we are moving to intel for it's replacement (E5-26xx v3), because when I looked last year there were exactly *two* companies selling AMD boxes, and they were all 2 processor generations old. We have a BI application that that used to take 40 minutes to process on the AMD hardware; once we migrated it to the new stuff the processing time dropped by 60% easily.

If AMD can crank out server chips again and get vendors to actually make boxes, I'll cheerfully recommend them- they were certainly cheaper then the intel equivalent at the time.

0
0

Sysadmin flees asbestos scare with disk drive, blank pay cheques, angry builders in pursuit

J. Cook

Re: Management

Hell, it's the first thing they (used) to teach new hires here:

Job one is 'get paid'.

a couple years ago we changed the system we used for tip reporting. the masses almost set the system analyst on fire due to the fact that the changes to how tips were cashed out were not communicated adequately. Fun times.

2
0

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

J. Cook

Re: Redesigns always seem to miss the mark...

the PT was more of a microvan than a minivan; You could put quite a bit into the thing if you folded up the rear seats (or removed them entirely, which was easily done via a couple latches), and it did have a unique styling all it's own. (It took the styling cues from the Prowler, which took it's styling cues from the hot rods of the 30's)

the PT was not without it's faults- it had the same powertrain as the Neon platform (with all the quirks and problems), the turning radius sucked, and the gas mileage was nothing to write home about. It also had (at least out here in the desert) of chewing through it's battery almost every year.

2
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017