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Comments

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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

roc97007 Re:Change management fail (110 comments)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I've heard that sales pitch before. I agree, HP has some truly brilliant admins, as evidenced by the "demo". The day to day reality is very much different.

4 hours ago
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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

roc97007 Re:Change management fail (110 comments)

Sorry, I guess I deserved that. I meant, of course, that the plan would burst into flames.

4 hours ago
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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

roc97007 Re:Change management fail (110 comments)

I sometimes think that if I accidentally entered a church with an IT management plan in a back pocket, my pants would burst into flames.

6 hours ago
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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

roc97007 Re:Change management fail (110 comments)

Exactly. Consider the business model -- A company tells you that you can outsource your IT department, buy it as a service, and pay the outsourcing company's overhead and significant profit margin, *and* save money. And the only way this could possibly work is if the outsourcing company goes to the LCC (least cost country) and hires the cheapest labor possible. This is justified in that all that IT stuff, it's all just following procedures, and anyone can do that.

And of course, this is a blatant falsehood, but executives of the victim company either (a) don't know that, (b) *want* to believe the scam, (like any good scam) or (c) don't care, because they intend to take their bonus and get the hell out of dodge.

So, outsourcing companies go into contracts *knowing* that cutover is going to be a Big Fail, and they have excuses prepared for when it happens. And a strategy (a brilliant strategy, really, executed by brilliant if unethical people) to string the con along as long as possible.

And just incidentally, the victim's attempts to train the workers that they are stuck with also fails in the long run, due to the nature of the business model. The business model breaks down if the workers are paid more than starvation wages, and workers with a bit of experience can easily get a higher paid job elsewhere (perhaps as a second or third level admin for a different outsourcing company) and they quit. And then you have a new person who doesn't know what a kernel is, and you have to train them up. And all you're doing is giving out free training. How noble of you.

...so not only is the system *designed* to fail, the system is very specifically designed to fail continuously.

But at least it's cheap. Oh, wait...

7 hours ago
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French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile

roc97007 As a T-mobile subscriber... (50 comments)

The sooner the better. It couldn't possibly get worse.

...unless I go back to AT&T, I guess...

8 hours ago
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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

roc97007 Re:Change management fail (110 comments)

Oh man, don't get me started. It's not even clear that one would need to pay more -- we have not saved money so far by outsourcing, although the outsource company keeps telling us that savings are just around the corner. The first year, the excuse was that there is always startup issues, the second year, the excuse was that the outgoing employees did not document their jobs well enough, (probably true -- who would?) the third year the excuse was that the scope was bigger than we said it was. And so forth. Each year a new excuse and each year the total cost is more than what we were paying when we had our own IT department.

So yeah, insourcing, or at least selective insourcing, (let them keep doing what they do well, if anything) makes tremendous sense to me.

But I don't make the decisions.

And even where upper management has considered terminating our outsourcing contracts, it's only to give the contract to a different outsourcing company, which only means we're now calling a building across the street from the original building in Hyderabad. Who knows, we might even be dealing with some of the same people.

8 hours ago
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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

roc97007 Re:Change management fail (110 comments)

...in case my other article did not make it clear, we always ask if they have a backout plan, and they always say they do.

...and then, when the system does not reboot after an update, we find out that the backout plan is to call Dell and say "the system, it is not being working. What are we to be doing?"

...and we pay money for this.

9 hours ago
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Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

roc97007 Re:Change management fail (110 comments)

It's the wave of the future. A typical contract with offshore IT is for "current minus one", which means that each new firmware, OS or driver release causes a flurry of "maintenance" by remote "admins" who follow written procedures to update the systems with no real understanding of what they're doing, in what order they should do it, or what to do if something goes wrong. A typical list of systems to update may randomly contain a haphazard collection of prod and development machines, and may include some but not all members of a cluster. Systems are patched in Asset Management order, with no thought to rolling through dev and QA first before doing prod.

The backout plan is to engage the vendor.

Our outsourced IT bricks a few servers a year. We try to take it in stride. We've argued hysterically that if they really have to do firmware updates, to at least do dev servers first for God's Sake. They seem to not understand this.

So yeah, I could definitely see this happening. We will be seeing more of same. You get what you pay for.

9 hours ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

roc97007 Re:RACIST! (491 comments)

> Development is a global market, and the work can be done anywhere. Best get used to that fact, as it won't change.

I understand that, and I have no problems competing on merit. But I'm still here (at this time) seeing the quality of the people we are hiring, and there is a definite trend to go on price rather than capabilities. We are hiring programmers that have zero experience with the tools they have been hired to use. I'm having to baby them, not through our work environment, methods and procedures, but basic things like how to log into the tool and how to open a project.

There seems to be a school of thought that ten offshore programmers at $5/hour are better than one local programmer at $50/hour. There are rare cases where this is true, but it generally isn't for long -- true expertise will move on as soon as a better offer becomes available. What often happens (what's happening right now) is that the $5/hour programmers not only aren't productive, they drag down the productivity of the remaining personnel who actually know what they're doing.

But managers can show that development costs are down, so the trend continues.

12 hours ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

roc97007 Re:RACIST! (491 comments)

So, wait, the problem is that the wrong minorities are doing the jobs? This is complicated.

There are plenty of open developer jobs in the US. Heck, we have several on my team we can't fill. I strongly suspect people complaining about this either just don't make the cut, or don't want to move to where the jobs are.

It might depend on where you work. My manager stated publicly a couple years ago that he'll be concentrating on offshore contractors and H-1B applicants for all future hires for budgetary reasons. In those two years, partly do to regular churn, and partly due to people getting fed up and leaving, the racial characteristic of the department changed dramatically. So much so that the locals who are left are becoming concerned about their own future. Currently, people with visas and people remoting out of little towns east of Mumbai outnumber US citizens (of any race).

yesterday
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

roc97007 Re:RACIST! (491 comments)

There is a legitimate problem, though, that a disproportionate number of degree holding blacks aren't working in their field. The CEO of McDonald's is an EE. He's not doing bad for himself these days but you have to wonder why he couldn't establish a career as an engineer.

Maybe he didn't want to?

I started out as a microwave engineer in military electronics. After several years I couldn't stand it anymore, learned me that there programming stuff and changed careers to IT. The engineer working next to me quit a year or so before I did. I hear he's fixing CB radios somewhere away from the madding crowd. It does happen, and by choice.

yesterday
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

roc97007 lack of diversity? (491 comments)

Does the article really mean to say "lack of diversity"? My company's IT department is a little over 80% east Indian, which although technically (probably) meets the definition of "lack of diversity", misses the usual colloquial definition of "too many white guys".

yesterday
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

roc97007 Good for him (491 comments)

> Jackson spoke to press after meeting with Labor Secretary Tom Perez for a review of H-1B visas, arguing that data show Americans have the skills and should have first access to high-paying tech work.

I usually find myself disagreeing with Jackson, but he seems to be on the right track here. I'm really hoping his involvement doesn't muddy the issue.

yesterday
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

roc97007 What, seriously? (305 comments)

And this is different from itunes in what way? I have an ipod wired into my truck's sound system. (It's a feature of the stereo.) The (older style) ipod has an internal hard drive that contains music ripped from three crates of CDs via itunes. How is this different?

And how is this not fair use? The user is presumably the same person who bought the cd. Does the AARC expect me to buy it twice? (I know, stupid question.)

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

roc97007 local firewalls (338 comments)

My current company has a firewall for the incoming internet connection. (What sane company doesn't?) We also have individual firewalls on each PC but no individual firewall on any server. I'm not a network administrator -- it's a black box from my viewpoint, but I can rattle it and guess what's inside. The servers, I believe, are protected in two ways -- (1) to get out on the internet, you must go through a proxy, and the servers do not know how to do that. (2) traffic on the server subnets are blocked by the internet firewall, except for a few in a designated DMZ. We run into this all the time when applications have features that report back to vendor tech support, but are always blocked by the firewall. (In one case we had an application that would hang when it couldn't make an ftps connection with the vendor's tech support site -- who the heck uses ftps anymore? We stopped using that app.)

So to answer your question, a well designed network will have clients that can get to the outside through a proxy server, and servers that can't get to the outside at all, and servers that can cautiously get to the outside from the DMZ. The servers that are blocked from getting to the outside by the network don't necessarily have to have individual firewalls, and in fact, local firewalls can cause problems with some applications.

Now, if you're running the back end part of the system on a local PC that can also get out on the internet... whoo boy... that sounds dangerous.

2 days ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

roc97007 Re:Considering his history... (141 comments)

> Yet to see Much Ado About Nothing, though.

It's definitely worth seeing. The dialog is pretty much word-for-word, and we all know the story. It's the performances and directing that really make the film.

It's like... all your favorite people in the world getting together at a garden house to do Shakespeare. Cozy and fun.

2 days ago
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The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

roc97007 because it's not... (250 comments)

> ...when "internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?"

Because it's not. Respectable, that is. And I could make arguments against "private", as they're a government enforced duopoly.

3 days ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

roc97007 Re:But what IS the point they're making? (333 comments)

Right. The EPA laws are, after all, the golf course members telling the lower classes that they will need to lower their expectations again.

about a week ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

roc97007 Re:But what IS the point they're making? (333 comments)

Reminds me of a reporter having a conversation with a 99%er at Occupy Wall Street. She was pushing for everyone to abandon technology (apparently this didn't include ipods) and go back to a strictly agrarian society. The reporter commented something to the effect that this would probably lead to mass urban starvation. Her retort was "well, people die".

I guess that's true. Personally I wondered whether she and her friends even knew anything about proper crop rotation, but then I realized that it really wouldn't matter, because someone better armed would come along and take everything from her little commune anyway. Well, you know, people die.

about a week ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

roc97007 Re:If it is paywalled... (333 comments)

> "Give me your money or spend all eternity suffering in a (literal!) lake of fire."

But... isn't that also what the climate doomsayers are saying?

about a week ago

Submissions

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Google Latitude leaves Google Maps, will be turned off August 9

roc97007 roc97007 writes  |  1 year,12 days

roc97007 (608802) writes "According to Cnet (and notifications to google users) Google Latitude is no longer part of Maps and will be turned off August 9. The functionality will be incorporated into Google+. Is this a natural progression or an effort to increase participation in Plus? Will users migrate to Plus, or switch to competing platforms like Life 360?

I used to use Latitude to track my daughter's whereabouts, first as a child while on vacations, and again when she first started driving solo, and having it directly incorporated into Maps was a plus. But now that she's on her own my use case has gone away, so I'm ambivalent about this. Others might feel differently."
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Malware causes fatal plane crash

roc97007 roc97007 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

roc97007 (608802) writes "As if you needed another reason not to get on the plane: Malware, possibly from an infected USB stick, caused a fatal crash of Spanair flight 5022. From the article:

  Authorities investigating the 2008 crash of Spanair flight 5022 have discovered a central computer system used to monitor technical problems in the aircraft was infected with malware.

An internal report issued by the airline revealed the infected computer failed to detect three technical problems with the aircraft, which if detected, may have prevented the plane from taking off, according to reports in the Spanish newspaper, El Pais."

Link to Original Source
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Yorke says music industry on verge of collapse

roc97007 roc97007 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

roc97007 (608802) writes "Thom Yorke cautions up and coming musicians not to sign traditional record deals because the industry could collapse within months.

From the article: "It will be only a matter of time — months rather than years — before the music business establishment completely folds. (It will be) no great loss to the world.""

Link to Original Source

Journals

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First week on company iPhone

roc97007 roc97007 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

A week ago, my team received their new company iPhones. For the first few days, lots of playing, exploring, downloading of apps, taking pictures, putting funny faces on them, showing off various discoveries.

Today was the first team meeting since the iPhones were delivered. It wasn't pretty.

One team member has already traded in his for a Motorola Razr because "it will receive calls". Another says she keeps hers in Edge mode normally, so the phone will work, switching to G3 only when she needs to be on the internet. Another guy forwarded his iPhone to his private cell and uses the iPhone as a rather expensive iPod. The recently released firmware update made no noticeably difference to the reception issues. Our program manager described trying to make a call as "hello? I'd like to... damn" (redial) "Hello? I'd like... damn" (redial) "Hello? damn" (redial).

Other gripes -- Rapid battery death in GPS mode. The camera isn't as good as the one in the company-issued Blackberry. (2.0 Mp vs 3.0 Mp). No flash. No video capabilities. No MMS. Awkward file management. One person said "Once you get past the flashy interface, you realize the guts are five or six years old".

Early adopters. Don't you love 'em.

But seriously, I'm glad there are people out there who will put up with teething issues as the necessary price of being the first to have something shiny and new. I think the concept has merit, and will be glad to "drink the Kool-Aid" as the detractors put it, when the time is right. Which isn't now. My phone, is, like, my phone. First and foremost, it has to work as a phone. The rest is cake.

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Are the number of MS licenses significantly overreported?

roc97007 roc97007 writes  |  about 6 years ago

Yesterday I was helping move around some desktop and laptop machines at work, and noticed for the first time that every one of these units had an official Microsoft sticker with a Windows license key, the great majority of which were for Windows Home Edition, which we do not use at work. (We only use XP Professional or Windows Server.)

I asked around, and apparently all those Home Edition licenses are legitimate; they are part of the cost of the unit. The company then stages the disk with the copy of windows for which we have a corporate license.

I haven't checked yet, but I suspect the latest hardware come with a Vista Home Basic license, which is then re-imaged with corporate XP Pro. (I will check this and update as necessary.)

I'm wondering -- doesn't this effectively double the number of licenses that Microsoft can claim to have sold, at least for corporate customers?

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