* Posts by HPCJohn

86 posts • joined 18 Sep 2014

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Samsung’s DeX dock clicks the second time around

HPCJohn

I am a big fan of USB-C My laptop uses this, and as John Robson says you should be able to use one cable to deliver video, keyboard/mpuse and power.

Asus have a portable monitor with USB-C and its own onboard battey. google Ass Zenscreen Go.

This would be an awesome combination with the Samsung phone.

Me, I would still carry my laptop though as I like it!

Anyone know when the Asus MB16AP, the model with the built in battrry,

will be available for sale? No, I am not a shill for Asus. I just want one of the monitors!

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Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage

HPCJohn

Re: Label your servers!

I totally agree.

Just flagging up - Dymo lables from office type label guns are useless and will dry up and flake off

You need proper labels on cables and servers.

Server manufacturers - listen up. Put a transparent plastic fixture on the front. 1cm x 5cm

The user can slip a printed label behind this.

The original sun designed pizza boxes had lights out controllers which had a dot matrix display.

Designed so you could display the server name on them.

I installed racks of them at Nottingham Uni. I never did have the guts to print out rude words on the displays.

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HPCJohn

Re: The hardware version...

Do you work at ASML?

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HPCJohn

Re: Probably my fault for being unclear

Talking about Beowulf clusters.... A several of years ago I was at a customer site in a big UK company which may or may not build jet engines.

Stood at the console of said machine, I wanted to reboot one of the servers in the cluster. I was telnetted into one of the servers in the cluster and wanted to reboot it. I go ahead and press the Vulcan Death Grip - ctrl-alt-del. Only the whole shooting match went down, not the server I was logged into. Cue red face from me. But they were very good about it.

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Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

HPCJohn

Re: agreed...

DadD sorry - but you can power through a USB-C dock which has power passthrough.

I have a lovely HP Sprctre laptop. One connector to a dinky sized shiny metal Hyperdrive hub, and the laptop gets power, an external HDMI monitor connection, and ordinary USB slots.

https://www.hypershop.com/collections/usb-type-c/products/hyperdrive-usb-type-c-hub-with-4k-hdmi-support

Your point about long term viability of the USB-C connector may be valid. However a quick Google reveals they are rated to 10 000 connect/disconnect cycles.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/8377/usb-typec-connector-specifications-finalized

USB-C is NOT cheaply engineered - you need a positive 'click' to seat it home.

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Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

HPCJohn

ps. Regarding clip-on ties, I am a physicist and was trained in the one-hand rule a long time ago.

Yep, people think you are playing pocket billiards - but if you are working with high voltage equipment - keep one hand in your pocket!

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HPCJohn

Re: @Wolfclaw

Indeed! My (recently deceased) father was a lab manager in Glasgow. He managed an PDP 11-45 which did pioneering work in what we now call expert systems in medical diagnosis. IT had removeable disk packs I digress though.

Other parts of his job were preparing the new fangled endoscopes for diagnosis of GI problems. And the other end (he said the Japanese manufacturers included a bite guard with a colonoscope...)

He always wore a clip-on tie - he said that when patients came round from the sedative they could be unpredictabl and try to throttle you with your tie.

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Official Secrets Act alert went off after embassy hired local tech support

HPCJohn

Re: Many Years Ago

Alan, I learned to program on a PDP 11-75 runnign RSX 11M which my Dad managed.

Did they reallyl have ferrite core stores?

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You may not know it, but you've already arrived at DevOps Land

HPCJohn

Black- out Surrey?

"Well Hello Dolly! Hello Dolly!" "Mammy- how I love you! How I love you! Mammy"

Oh - not that sort of black-out. Ahem. As you were....

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Boss visited the night shift and found a car in the data centre

HPCJohn

Re: Bit risky...

I haven't seen a collapsed floor... however. the story can now be told.

I came close to seeing a collapsed floor from below...

A cerrtain young engineer (might have been yours truly) was installing a new supercomputer at Nottingham University. Twelve racks full of Sun Opteron 1U servers.

Said engineer (OK it was me) was in the machine room to run cables between the switches at the base of each rack. So I took up the floor tiles behind the row of racks. The entire row.

The machien room manager (hi Chris) ran into the room, saw what I was doign and hauled be out by my ear. Thanks Chris. You stopped me from becoming a rather squished eingineer. Ever since I have had a healthy respect for tons of equipment balanced on machine room floors.

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Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user

HPCJohn

Now it can be told...

I once left my laptop unlocked.... To teach me a lesson a colleague flipped the screen on my external monitor.

It took me weeks to find the keypress which rotated it back (yes, Ctrl Alt arrow keys)

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New coding language Fetlang's syntax designed to read like 'poorly written erotica'

HPCJohn

Playing Dcotors and Nurses

Fetlang is not recommended .... especially in medical or military applications

Shame. I am sure there are plenty of application swhen playing doctors and nurses.

take pain(away)

but

leave (swelling)

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HPCJohn

Re: Coding examples...

Simon.

debugger: The person who sold you the system

(From the Devils Data Processing Dictionary)

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HPCJohn

Re: Idiots in the IT field.. too many in the last few years...

Snoopy printouts... still around in the 1980s on all right thinking mainframe ops rooms.

There was also a line printer image with a lady in a bikini if I am not imagining it..

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Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham

HPCJohn

Muon catalysed fusion

I guess I could Google...

Does anyone know if there is significant effort going into muon catalysed fusion these days?

ps. Wildly off-topic, I was at CERN int he auditorium which Fleischmann gave the presentation on cold fusion. He wasnt rended limb from limb. However they did depend on measurements from very iffy (tosay the least) neutron detectors. There were experts in the room on neutron detection, who asked some very pointed questions.

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HPCJohn

Re: Snake Oil

Ahem. Superconducting magnets.

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HP users moaning over 10-minute login lag during 'Win 10 update'

HPCJohn

I got it

Andrew, thanks for this article. I have an HP SPectre x360, which is a lovely laptop.

Following the update to version 1703 I got this issue. I had not idea it was a common issue till I read the article. I also had no idea that a ten minute wait was the answer - I tried various thing like trying to start MSCONFIG etc. and it was only by trial and error that I left the laptop idle and foudn that it started working after a period of time.

So come on HP and Microsoft - get this sorted out.

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RIP wireless laptop docks as Intel bins WiGig parts

HPCJohn

Re: "VR and AR kit is destined for the enterprise"

Nick, are you so sure about that? Augmented Reality is certainly used in the medical field, to overlay the results of scans when a patient is being operated on.

With VR I imagine there will be lots of applicaitons in military weapons training - much less expensive to fire off a pretend rocket/missile/anti-tank gun.

I say 'will be' as I am not familiar with this field.

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HPCJohn

Re: "VR and AR kit is destined for the enterprise"

Good point. I have an HP Spectre x360. this has a single USB-A port - which can charge other devices when the laptop is off. Two USB-C ports with Thundeprbolt, both useable for charging the laptop. No other method for charging. Not meaning to be sarrcy, but if this laptop won't power from USB-C then ...errr.. I'm a bit fubared!

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HPCJohn

Re: "VR and AR kit is destined for the enterprise"

USB-C makes a great dock. You can get power, ethernet and 4K video signals ina single small reversible connector. I have a USB-C equipped laptop and itis the dogs dangly bits.

If you want to reduce desktop clutter all you need is a monitr with USB-C and the power profile. Once cable and you're sorted.

I don;t have a USB-C monitor, but a small slimine hub gives me USB-C power in, USB 3.0 and HDMI.

So all I need to do is leave this hub which is about the size of a cigarette lighter on my desk and hook up. one cable.

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Huawei's storage hardware future: Fancy some cosy NVMe over Fabrics this winter?

HPCJohn

That form facotr looks a lot like Panasas, with their storage blades.

However Panasas strength is a marvellous installation, monitoring and management framework.

I wonder what Huawei are offering here, or are they jus providing the hardware?

And as an aside Huawie - please provide Infiniband as an option. HPC types rather like it.

Again Panasa provided IB to Ethernet gateway servers. But please - native IB would be preferable.

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Huawei developing NMVe over IP SSD

HPCJohn

https://www.openfabrics.org/images/eventpresos/2017presentations/407_ExperiencesNVMeoF_PPandit.pdf

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HPCJohn

Re: NVMe over IP, facepalm

Weeeellll..... how about NVMe over RDMA?

If the network controllers on these things did proper RDMA this might be very interesting.

http://searchsolidstatestorage.techtarget.com/definition/NVMe-over-Fabrics-Nonvolatile-Memory-Express-over-Fabrics

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UK.gov unveils six areas to pilot full-fat fibre, and London ain't on the list

HPCJohn

Re: London not on the list

Nit related to fibre optic lines, but the electrification of Queen Street station in Glasgow involved lowering the FLOOR of the tunnels by a few inches.

Please will a rail enthusiast explain further?

Regarding fibre cable routing, in the early days fibres were run between Glasgow and Edinburgh using the wayleave of the Forth and Clyde canal. Which is strangely appropriate as John Scott Russell discovered soliton waves on the same canal.

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Who wants multiple virtual workstations on a GPU in a blade server?

HPCJohn

FIA I have implemented Teradici thin clients for engineers doing real work. They were very happy with them.

Teradici can be used with a physical host card which gives you a one to one connection with a high performance workstation. Not a shared virtual desktop.

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HPCJohn

Korev, what do you mean by a 'lot'?

They are perfectly usable in normal office networks and don;t consume a huge bandwith

On a WAN link you can easily set up limits on the bandwidth they will use.

https://communities.teradici.com/questions/5370/pcoip-bandwidth-maximums-for-software-clients.html

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HPCJohn

Well worth a plug for an excellent British company which manufactures thin clients.

https://www.amulethotkey.com/

Good bunch of keys, and great products.

FIA, go to the Amulet offices and get a demo of their gaming rig with dual high def monitors, playing a game of your choice via a thin client and tell me that they are rubbish.

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HPCJohn

FIA, I can say that Teradici PCOIP thin clients (zero clients in their parlance) are pretty damn good.

They are used by automotive engineers.

Also sold to the military, but I've never been able to find out exactly what they are used for!

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Four techies flummoxed for hours by flickering 'E' on monitor

HPCJohn

Re: Laboratory waterbath

Talkin about big magnets, in my younger days I was on a CERN experiment. Underground in the experiment counting rooms there was a 2T detector magnet next door the size of a house.

When running all of our lovely VT100 terminals slanted to the side. I remember getting a definite stoop to one side when working on them!

Talking about VT100s I was the very proud owner of a Falco terminal. Vt220 compatible AND switchable to a Tektronix colour compatible mode. SO you could write code, then see the results of your graphics program ON THE SAME TERMINAL No having to go to a special room with huge Tektronix CRTs, or print your histograms out on the central line printers. Happy days.

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Particle boffins show off 'cheap', cute little CosI, world's smallest neutrino detector

HPCJohn

IF anyone from a school or a college is reading this, and is interested in setting up a detector as a project, and also joining a very interesting worrldwide project, check out Cosmic Pi

http://cosmicpi.org/

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Windows Subsystem for Linux to debut in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

HPCJohn

Re: Reminds me of

Dan 55, plus one for MobaXterm. It is awesome.

I bought a paid-for copy out of my own pocket to support them.

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Confessions of an ebook eater

HPCJohn

Well thumbed Oreilly books - and memories of Foyles

Miss Verity, what a superb article. I remember expeditions to Foyles also, to obtain many Oreilly books, and more obscure books too.

I completely agree with your point on having well thunbed Oreilly books on display. It is the system admin or developers equivalent to mating plumage - it says "Oi! I can prgram in XYZ and don;t you doubt it - I've read this book here".

I admit to arriving at each new job with a box of Oreilly books which I carefully line up on my desk.

In the absence of military style badges of rank or epaullettes on our polo shirts, or medals for bravery under helldesk fire, that's probably the only way we can signal to others in our profession what we (at least claim) our proficiency levels are.

But say... a rather smart military style uniform with engineering medals and rank badges would be a good idea... I'm sure cheif Engineer Scott got his fair share on the Enterprise...

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US vending machine firm plans employee chip implant scheme

HPCJohn

Re: Vending machines?

Automats are still very popular in the Netherlands. My favourite is the 'bami' - a block of Indonesian noodles, wrapped in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Delicious and costs about 1 euro

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamischijf

Sadly no poodle-skirted girls in most automats though!

Not really for hot food, but in Switzerland if you are stuck on a Sunday with no open shops there are huge robitoc vending machines at stations in big towns.

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Dell and Intel see off IBM and POWER to win new Australian super

HPCJohn

Re: A dual boot Supe!

Well, on a large cluster you would have provisioning servers for every N racks.

The images from the cluster head nodes are pushed out to the provisioning nodes, which should be well able to handle the load of rebooting and imaging the number of systems which they are responsible for.

You also stagger any power sequencing, both to stop surge loads and to smooth the load on the provisioning servers.

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Tape lives! The tape archive bit bucket is becoming bottomless

HPCJohn

Re: Interesting how it has evolved...

Herby - I still have some tape rings.

Mount ring out or ring in.

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Ubuntu 'weaponised' to cure NHS of its addiction to Microsoft Windows

HPCJohn

Gerryb, this is entirely possible, and using smartcards too.

It makes me weep that the NHS doesnt use thin clients and Virtual Desktops.

Putting the windows vs Ubuntu bunfight aside for a minute,

imagine that there are small devices, abotu the size of a paperback book or a pack of cards. These devices are secure, and are certified by the military. They are used by the thousands by trading desks in the City. If the MoD and the banks trust them... why not he NHS?

The devices consume about as much power as a lightbulb, and can be obrained with fanless operation so they are safe in anaesthetic gas environments.

The central IT departmen tof course has to maintain servers running virtual desktops, but this is a mature technology. the data never leaves the data centre. Patches can be applied centrally to the VDI images.

Also USB ports on these devives ar elocked down - you cna only plug in recognised keyboards and mice. A USB stick carrying a virus or used to downloa dpatient data? Pffft. Does not work.

These divices support smartcards and desktop roaming. So all you need to is put your smartcard in the slot. When you move aroudn the department you take the card to the next station and the desktop follows you.

I knwo all this is possible with PCOIP zero clients, and I am sure Citrix also.

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Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

HPCJohn

It seems obvious, but I read somewhere, probably on an El Reg comment, that the carriers in the Falklands battle group were nuclear armed. They has WXX (what number os XX?) depth charges on board as part of their normal armaments. It does bring into focus why there was an emphasis on making sure they were not sunk and kept back out of air range of the Argentine mainland.

The main reason being of course that the expedition would fail if they were sunk and the poor matelots would have to paddle home. But I imagine a secondary reason of not wanting to dredge nuclear depth charges from the depths of the Atlantic.

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HPE teases HPC punters with scalable gear

HPCJohn

Re: 10k nodes and no extra switches

Nate,

the ICE Infiniband network architecture is that there are blade enclosures per rack.

I thought there were 8 in an ICEX (there are four in an ICE).

the blade enclosures have two or four (for dual rail) dumb Mellanox sswitch blades, as you say.

The switch blades are connected in a hyperbube topology.

there are no big aggregator switches.

Seriously though - when you expand an SGI system like that, someone at the factory runs a program, and the installation engineers come along with extra cables and a plug list of how to hook them up.

On the cluster intself there is a nifty utility to check the topology of the connections.

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Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist

HPCJohn

Regarding Martin Baker, I had occasion to visit their site to install an HPC cluster many years ago, which they were using for simulaitons of the seats. Super guys, and it is a real credit to the UK that a factory like that is in a leafy suburb at the end of the Metropolitan line!

Sittin gin reception, you see a wall covered in framed letters, from individuals like Lt. Bubba T Gump of the US Marine Corps saysing a heartfelt thankyou to the company for the successful operation of their product!

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US spook-sat buzzed the International Space Station

HPCJohn

Re: Space shuttle was photographed by Keyhole spy satellite

Into The Black indeed. Thanks Gryff

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25814175-into-the-black

(Damn dodgy search term when at work though...)

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HPCJohn

Space shuttle was photographed by Keyhole spy satellite

I recently read a fantastic history of the Space Shuttle.

Arrggh - can't remember the title.

The book shows how a KH 11 Kennen satellite was manouvered (sp?) to take images of the first Shuttle flight to check for damage before it re-entered. NASA was concerned about tile damage even then.

Sadly there was no such surveillance of the final flight of Columbia.

Perhaps this is a similar exercise? Then agian one would imagine if regular resupply missions are taking place then the astronaults will have a good gander attheir new home and check for damage.

One might imagine the ISS could be used for calibration of the spy sat cameras.

But again this can be done with a target on the ground - the Tate Modern has an artwork which shows just such a calibration target painted out on the New Mexico desert.

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

HPCJohn

Remember the Millenium Bug?

Remember the Y2K bug? Remember that it DID NOT bring down all the systems int he world and send us back to the Dark Ages?

Seriously - this is because a lot of people put alot of effort into analysing and dealing with the risk, just as you day in this article.

I worked in the NHS just prior to Y2K, and we had a very diligent person in our Department who went around collecting information on every system, including the HPUX workstations and networkign switches I was responsible for. That person collected manufacturer statements on Y2K compatibility for all thes e systems, and returned the information to the Trust. This was mirrored in all Departments as far as I saw.

The upshot - things were ready for Y2K and the world did not come down round our ears, starting in Sydney.

I moved to the Post-Production world in Soho abotu that time, and again we had someone who was employed to go round collecting the Y2K information and manufacturers statements from all our kit.

We were asked to go in on 1 Jan, and had a happy day and a bit of overtime for doing nothig much - as we were prepared.

I guess a lot of shops used Y2K as an excuse to junk obsolescent equipment.

I guess also its easy to say "Well they should have set a hard end date on Windows XP kit" -I know its not as easy as that in real life.

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HPE Labs manufactures monster memory Machine system

HPCJohn

Errr.. remember that HPE recently merged with SGI. So have access to the SGU Numalink interconnect, which is used to construct really, really large proper NUMA systems.

It would look to me like HPE have used the Numalink chips on ARM boards.

I'm speaking as someone who has managed Origin 200, Origin 2000, Altix 4000 and Ultraviolet systems over the years, so I might just have a clue here.

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'Trash-80' escapes the dustbin of history with new TRS-80 emulator

HPCJohn

Re: Vintage

Indeed. I still have a Model 1.

Expanded with one chip on the character encoder which gives LOWER CASE text. Ooooh!

Stupidly I threw away the cassettes with software years ago. Regret that.

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60 slow-mo A-bomb test videos explode onto YouTube

HPCJohn

Re: Mesmerising

For the German project, Google for 'Haigerloch'

This is the place where the Allies found a prototype reactor, formed from cubes of uraniuam dangled on chains in a tank of heavy water. If I am not wrong the Allied side had gone far beyonf this, and it was already well outdated when found.

My knowledge of the Japanese effort is more hazy. Tokyo University had a cyclotron and this was being used to do research into fission. I dont think they got much further than that.

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HPCJohn

Re: Mesmerising

Martin I heartily back up your recommendation of the Rhodes books.

I am a high energy pysicist, and have taken an interest in the history of the Manhattan project and the life of Oppenheimer.

And sorry - thats Dark Sun. Dark Star was the John Carpenter film with the sentient talking Bomb and the beach ball alien!

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Installing disks is basically LEGO, right? This admin failed LEGO

HPCJohn
FAIL

Talking about connectors...

I have been building networks for many years, starting with thin wire ethernet and 50 Ohm baluns,

through Cat5, ATM networks with fibre optic cables, through to Infiniband networks with big CX4 connectors, and now high bandwidth Infiniband and Omnipath with SFP+ connectors.

Oh the shame of it... One day I was asked to do a favour in return for beer...

Move a small setup with one Infiniband switch to another room. So we set to, and $NETWORKING_GENIUS (ie me) put everything back together. Switched it on. No blinkenlights.

I ran every diagnostic program I could remember. I rebooted. I power cycled the switch.

Finally $NETWORKING_GENIUS was reduced to calling the supplier of the system.

"Oh" they says "Try putting the connectors in the other way up. they might work that way (you fool)"

Cue much red facedness.

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Next Superdome CPU chips amble into HPE

HPCJohn

Alan, you have it.

We should not forget that AMD came out with the amd64 architecture first - the hint is in the name!

I remember Linux talks by the developer for amd64 architecture Linux in the UK (arggh! Can't remember his name).

I put in the first Opteron 64 bit HPC cluster in the UK at Manchester Uni (at least I think it was).

But also don't forget that Itanium was a very good processor for scientific applications.

And indeed SGI is mentioned - their Altix shared memory machines of course used Itanium, and I managed several terabyte sized Altixen later on.

I remember if a blade failed the SGI Field Engineer (hello Andy !) had to phone the USA to get a security code to join up a new blade. Can't have them damn communists buying blades on EBay and building their own gosh dammit supercomputer. No Siree.

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HPCJohn

Re: Opteron killed Itanium

Alan, you have it.

We should not forget that AMD came out with the amd64 architecture first - the hint is in the name!

I remember Linux talks by the developer for amd64 architecture Linux in the UK (arggh! Can't remember his name).

I put in the first Opteron 64 bit HPC cluster in the UK at Manchester Uni (at least I think it was).

But also don't forget that Itanium was a very good processor for scientific applications.

And indeed SGI is mentioned - their Altix shared memory machines of course used Itanium, and I managed several terabyte sized Altixen later on.

I remember if a blade failed the SGI Field Engineer (hello Andy !) had to phone the USA to get a security code to join up a new blade. Can't have them damn communists buying blades on EBay and building their own gosh dammit supercomputer. No Siree.

5
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An anniversary to remember: The world's only air-to-air nuke was fired on 19 July, 1957

HPCJohn

Regarding arming the atomic weapons on board the Enola Gay - yes.

Captain Deke Parsons had to crawl into the bomb bay, and insert the arming plugs into the tail of the bomb whilst it was in flight.

I believe the fear with the Little boy gun-based bomb was fear of what would happen if the B29 failed to take off, and crashed on the runway.

I might have this wrong - I don't have the books to hand to check.

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