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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

sirwired Meh... the more things change... (238 comments)

The More Things Change, the More They Stay The Same.

It's my general impression that the cost of any given IT resource has gone down at roughly the same rate the consumption of said resource has risen. This means that IT capabilities rise at the same rate as advances in storage/programming/processing power/etc., but the total complexity (and amount of IT resource to manage that complexity) has stayed roughly level.

I remember fifteen years ago, the "rule of thumb" for managing Enterprise Storage was approx. two administrators per Terabyte. (This was when a terabyte storage array was about the size of a pair of commercial refrigerators and took 4 3-phase power feeds.) Nowadays, the company still has two administrators, but they now have a Petabyte to manage, and their company makes productive use of every last scrap of that Petabyte.

5 days ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

sirwired Re: These cases are a waste of time (341 comments)

Very true, and that didn't change as a result of judicial action, it took legislative action to fix that.

about two weeks ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

sirwired "Corps as people" try to have it both ways (341 comments)

The major legal concept that makes a corporation different from a jointly-owned partnership is the idea that the corporation exists as a separate entity from the shareholders. This confers benefits, such as insulating shareholders from liability for things an "arms-length" corporation they happen to own shares of might do. But if corps want to retain that benefit, they should not expect to be treated as having the same rights as their shareholders. If they are truly "arms length" then the rights their shareholders do or don't have should be irrelevant when determining the rights of the corporation itself. Certainly the constitution has nothing to do with it, as corporations are not citizens (nor residents) and therefore cannot have constitutional rights in and of themselves. They have only the rights we choose to grant them.

about two weeks ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

sirwired These cases are a waste of time (341 comments)

How much rights animals should have is certainly a worthy discussion to have. Do some animals deserve more rights than others? Which ones? How many rights? What makes one animal more "worthy" than another? All interesting questions.

But the law is pretty clear: Animals are property, not people. Under the law, they have no rights. We already grant them the special privilege (vs. say, a car) in that they cannot be treated with gratuitous cruelty (and that's highly flexible... I can do a lot of things to, say, rats, that would get me arrested if I did them to a dog.) But those protections are explicit in the law. If you want to grant animals further rights, the courts are not going to be able to do it, it's going to have to be done through the legislative process.

about two weeks ago
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Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

sirwired This is quite different from existing systems. (110 comments)

Simple X-Y robots (that have been around for years) that pick regularly-shaped items off of shelves (usually decent-sized boxes) and drop them onto conveyors are pretty standard, and not that difficult. Picking up objects of an infinite variety of shapes and sizes, many of which are quite small, is something it's not possible for robots (at least not reasonably priced ones) to reliably do at this time.

This system (which brings the shelves to the workers, as workers are MUCH better at plucking small, irregularly-shaped items out of boxes) has fascinating challenges all of it's own, mainly related to traffic control, safety, and where to put the shelves after you are done. (A fixed location is very inefficient, but neither do you want to stick the shelf in the first available space.)

about two weeks ago
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Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

sirwired Why couldn't it be MSI directly? (110 comments)

Plenty of companies (including manufacturers) have Amazon storefronts. Some of them use Amazon for fulfillment, some just use Amazon as a storefront. I don't see why MSI can't.

While Amazon's site for computer parts isn't nearly as good as NewEgg's (Amazon's spec search capability is pitiful), I've never had any difficulty telling who the seller for a particular product is. In your case, if it said "Sold By: MSI", you can be pretty sure that's who it was.

As far as not getting a shipping quote until checkout? That's pretty normal for lots of web stores. If you are going to charge for shipping at all, per-item shipping is certainly a choice, but plenty of web retailers do it differently. They can go by actual shipping cost, a rate based on total order size, etc. In Amazon's case, if the item is fulfilled by Amazon, you either go with the free shipping (or prime), or you pay according to their published shipping rate tables. If it's not fulfilled by Amazon, they just do whatever the retailer tells them to.

Personally, I find NewEgg's shipping to be the most confusing: depending on the individual item, shipping is either free (and slow), free (and less slow), per-item, or total-weight. And it's never clear which shipping rates are going to apply if your order contains items in multiple shipping categories.

about two weeks ago
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Armies of Helper Robots Keep Amazon's Warehouses Running Smoothly

sirwired This doesn't even vaguely resemble a tape library (110 comments)

A tape library arranged in a straight line with one or two picker robots does not, in any way, even resemble the issues involved with an army of independent transport robots picking things from an entire warehouse. Other than the word "robot", the two really don't have anything to do with each other.

A tape library requires lighting speed, and a very high degree of precision. The issues with this system revolve around route planning, collision avoidance, queuing speed, and battery longevity.

But while you are talking about tape libraries: The IBM 3495 library was a conventional tape library for cartridges. However, development problems with the new robotics assembly led to IBM using a general-purpose welding robot, of the sort you'd see on an automobile assembly line. This was, needless to say, an utterly absurd application of such a robot; using a robot with about 8 degrees of motion in a task requiring only 3.

Hilarious true story. During product test, a bug in the x-axis software led to one of the robots driving right through the end of the frame at top speed, falling over, and crashing through the raised tile. This led to a requirement for a dedicated cabinet on each end of the chain having nothing but large hydraulic/spring bumpers of the sort you might see at the bottom of an elevator shaft to keep mutinous robots from trying to crush their human masters.

about two weeks ago
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Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

sirwired The French can be just as silly... (376 comments)

The French also obsess about silly and ridiculous stuff, they just do it in a different way. It's not all politics and news, that just happens to be what gets shared on social networks.

about three weeks ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

sirwired And this is where editors might be nice... (204 comments)

Look at the following phrase at the end of TFS: "...it does make you wonder how long organizations can afford to continue promoting incompetent bosses in today's very dynamic and competitive business world."

Any editor with a nicely-sharpened red pencil would cross that right out. The first thing that pops into my head was "As opposed to some world in the past that was neither competitive nor dynamic?" When exactly was this, 'cause I don't know when it was. Being hide-bound and slow has never exactly been a recipe for business success, even if other factors meant you didn't go bankrupt right away.

about a month ago
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First Victims of the Stuxnet Worm Revealed

sirwired A well-done hack (39 comments)

No matter which "side" you are on, you have to admire how well it worked; doing exactly what it was designed to for quite a while before being discovered. I'd put it on a level with the legendary DirectTV "Black Sunday" program.

about a month ago
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Tor Project Mulls How Feds Took Down Hidden Websites

sirwired In other news, the feds aren't morons (135 comments)

It's a common fallacy to assume that you, on the side of Right and Truth, are clever and intelligent while The Other Guys (standing for all that is Wrong and False) are a bunch of bumbling idiots.

That's a really easy way to get surprised and metaphorically spanked, in any context.

Of COURSE the feds have been working on ways to de-anonymize Tor! What did you expect them to do? Go "Oh Golly-Gosh-Darn! A bunch of people have figured out a way to do things we don't like in a way that's difficult to track. I guess I'll simply sit around and eat donuts all day and wait for my dept. to get cut when it's noticed at the next budget hearing that my electronic surveillance dept. isn't actually surveilling anything!"

Just like people within Tor do work to plug de-anonymizing holes, people that would like to de-anonymize Tor do work to find the loopholes first. Shocker.

about a month ago
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After Silk Road 2.0 Bust, Eyes Turn To 'Untouchable' Decentralized Market

sirwired This is missing one of Silk Road's major features (108 comments)

This is missing one of Silk Road's major features of "washing" your BitCoins through a central pool. Without the laundering facilities available, it becomes a lot easier to track sellers down.

I suppose a decentralized eBay-ish thing could be handy, but without the money laundering, it's a lot less useful.

about a month ago
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The Man With the Golden Blood

sirwired Cool photos; my local blood bank is very different (75 comments)

I thought the photos (I'm assuming from a large blood center's processing facility) were pretty neat. My local blood bank doesn't have anything nearly so cool. (I donate platelets about 20 times a year, so I got one of the tech's I'm friendly with to give me a tour of the back room.)

about 1 month ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

sirwired I don't think that was his problem (422 comments)

Somehow, I don't think somebody drinking an entire gallon of sweetened MD every day was suffering from an excess of fruit and vegetable consumption.

And assuming you have normal kidney function, you shouldn't have any difficult disposing of any excess dietary potassium obtained from fruits and veggies. About the only way to develop hyperkalemia via oral intake is WAAAYYY overdoing it with salt substitute (which is potassium chloride.)

about 2 months ago
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Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies

sirwired Marvel used back-catalog heroes too... (187 comments)

You have to remember, if you don't read comic books, nearly EVERY hero is from the "back-catalog." Beyond the Hulk (who was in a TV series and a couple of movies), and a passing familiarity that Captain America existed at one time, the remaining characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are virtually complete unknowns to the general public. Did a bunch of the other ones have active comic books going on when the movies were planned and were huge "hits" in every comic book store in the land? Maybe; I have no idea, and neither does most of the movie-going public. (It's telling that comic books aren't sold at general-interest stores anymore; the only place to buy them is specialty comic and hobby shops.)

And if Marvel can make Captain America, an obvious bit of cheesy WWII gung-ho patriotism, work for a modern audience, I don't see how you can say that Wonder Womam, Flash, and The Green Lantern "haven't aged well." They don't NEED a current "following" to be successful in a movie... the number of people that are the audience for comic-book movies is SO large compared to the number of comic book buyers, that it doesn't really matter how popular the hero is in current comic books; the people that buy comic books are only a tiny portion of the target audience.

The one any ONLY reason that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has worked out so well (without using the most recognizable properties in the stable) is due to Kevin Feige's unifying long-term vision. At the time Ironman rolled out the door, he had at least a hint of a plan ready to go, and quickly pulled it into a quality long-term plan tying everything together. But if every movie is planned out by a different producer, then it becomes Just A Bunch of Comic Book Movies. Would The Avengers have been nearly as successful if it merely happened to contain heroes from previous movie franchises? Heck no.

But DC clearly doesn't understand this, as the movie they are counting on to revive their fortunes, "Batman vs. Superman", contains two heroes who have never met or discussed each other, at all, in their respective movie franchises. Mashing them together is going to look like just that, a mash-up. When Avengers rolled out the door, the ONLY new characters were Hawkeye (yes, I know he had a cameo in Thor), and Smulders. The rest had been introduced quite clearly in previous movies, and were also clearly part of an over-arching theme. (Introduced first in the little credit snippets, and then rolling out to larger roles in the movies.)

about 2 months ago
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Oracle Database Certifications Are No Longer Permanent

sirwired Compared with the software costs... (108 comments)

Compared with the licensing costs for Oracle DB software, $245 (which quite a lot of people never pay) is a freakin' rounding error.

I don't see any problem at all here... it's perfectly normal for certifications to expire with any number of vendors or industry-wide certs.

about 2 months ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

sirwired What's wrong with Lockheed? (571 comments)

What's wrong with Lockheed developing it? I suppose it'd be nice if it was a govt. physics lab, but speaking for myself, I'll take anybody developing it for starters. Any patent WOULD eventually run out... and at this pace, it'll be nearly run out by the time it ships.

about 2 months ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

sirwired I'm not holding my breath (571 comments)

If an operational prototype is still a decade away, I'm not holding my breath. I'm a little fuzzy how something can be "built and tested" within a year, but require a decade to produce an "operational reactor". How do you test something that doesn't work?

That said, 100Mw in 70 sq. ft. would indeed be a world-saving device. One of the larger problems to solve with cheap/renewable energy production is getting the juice from the generating plant to the end-user; scaling up distribution grids is not a trivial problem. If every neighborhood substation could have their own reactor, that solves a LOT of issues. For instance, it makes high-powered electric vehicle charging stations viable on a mass scale. It could power desalination plants in remote areas cheaply. Additional power could be quickly brought online upon, say, building a power-hungry factory.

A utility exec quoted in an article I read a while back said that even with "free" energy (meaning energy with zero fuel cost), that would only enable him to cut prices by about 40% due to capital costs for both generation and distribution. If you can lop much of the "distribution" off, that's a significant cost savings.

about 2 months ago
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Oracle Database Certifications Are No Longer Permanent

sirwired I doubt it's for the money (108 comments)

Yes, certifications are not free, but compared to Oracle's total revenues, they are a drop in the proverbial bucket. It would not surprise me if they did anything better than break-even on the program... I just checked, and an Oracle exam voucher is all of $245, even for a proctored exam, and business partners get discounts. And a bunch of that money goes to Pearson to run the tests. On top of that, while I'm not an Oracle guy, other vendors I work with hands out free vouchers like Halloween candy if you do a decent amount of business.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

sirwired Kind of defeats the purpose of a spam folder (265 comments)

Rejecting spam outright kind of defeats the purpose of having a spam folder. I don't see them implementing something like a variable-strictness 2nd level of filtering for the vanishingly-few people for which this is a problem.

about 2 months ago

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