Helpful Technical Support
"Have you installed the latest patches?"
40 posts • joined 25 Nov 2010
Ahhhh.... brings back memories on my time in a large IT company (name not mentioned to avoid lawsuits etc). We were facing a number of mysterious crashes in a cluster of hospitals around the Midlands. Patient systems running on top of Oracle 7 (remember that anyone?) were crashing and forcing DB admins to go into horrible recovery mode. Turns out an HW engineer who had not been properly trained would turn up to apply some minor fix to a running server, and simply press the big yellow button to switch it off, apply the fix, press the big yellow button to switch it back on, and leave before the howls of anguish reached his ears.
IT datacentre design is NOT rocket science, but it has to be approached holistically - any major datacentre worth its name will have at least dual feeds to the grid plus generators on standby. But if nobody really understands the importance of the applications running (and why would remote staff in India have a clue) then you end up with non-overlapping up-time requirements. The datacentre (probably) had their power back up within their agreed contractual requirements, but nobody seems to to have considered the implications of countless and linked database servers crashing mid-transaction. If the load sheets for each aircraft relied on comms links back to the UK didn't anyone consider the possibility of a comms breakdown? Why not a local backup in (say) excel? It is probably a cheap and fair jibe to attack the Indian outsourcers, but all these things should have been considered years ago.
I don't think they can be long for this world; the status pages of all their subsidiaries still say only Broadband is suffering a major outage, but if they can't pay a major supplier like BT then the reality is their business model is badly broken. I don't have any clients on their servers, but if I did I'd be seeking to move them with alacrity.
You're preaching to the converted - I happen to think the Cloud is a stupid IT professional's idea of a clever thing to rely on. That is why we are not based on the Cloud, but as a DR option it's not bad (being able to spin up multiple cores in seconds works for me).
Actually, my biggest worry about The Cloud (other suppliers of rain are available) is that they are a hackers Holy Grail. Why attack hundreds of separate enterprises, when you can hack into Amazon? I'm sure they have great security experts, but they have to be lucky all the time whereas the hackers have to be lucky only once.
We do have a DR plan (based on Amazon WS, other cloud suppliers are available) but like all businesses we face a go/no-go period - the effort of invoking DR procedures might not be worth it for a 10 minute outage. My gripe is that we had no information from Heart on which to act. ETAs for recovery were, as it turns out, as accurate as Chinese GDP figures.
''no more dealing with customer complaints about HP service ("What the fcuk is going on at HP...")'
HP UK service used be be the envy of the industry - call the support line and knowledgeable individuals would handle your call and if necessary pass it on to second line support (who sat a few desks away) and if that failed you would be handed on the the "guru" (who sat only another few desks away). There were very few occasions when a problem was so intricate that it had to be passed to a "follow-the-sun" system. Then the bean-counters moved in; even internal calls were passed to India.
YES YOU BASTARDS I HAVE APPLIED THE LATEST PATCHES AND REBOOTED 16 TIMES
1) Unfortunately, monopolies of any type are Bad Things - Adobe (regardless of their incompetence) got away with it simply because in the media industries they are almost impossible to replace. Hobbyists can use cheaper or free alternatives, but pros are stuck.
2) I have always thought that "Cloud" was a stupid person's idea of an intelligent thing to do (The term cloud should be only loosely associated with the Adobe offering, as all the processing takes place on the user's PC, and only the licensing method relies on the cloud). Instead of wasting time attacking millions of low-value targets one at a time, hackers just have to go for the one single honey-pot. And they do. And Adobe will not be the last big name to wake up with a gigantic omelette on its corporate face.
I agree with most of what you say (especially the "you aren't important enough" bit) but the comparison between Apple/Microsoft/etc and state organisations is a little facile. The former are only interested in making money out of people who think a free service is the same thing as a free lunch. The latter can ruin your life.
My personal gripe is that this extra monitoring is very likely worthless. See how long Osama Bin Laden (damn, there goes my rating with the NSA and GCHQ) survived undetected in plain view.
No security professional ever made a good living by suggesting we need less security.
The sad thing is that all this snooping is only really going to catch the idiot low-life who feel a need to be strident in their extremist views. The Woolwich killing was used by (ignorant or duplicitous) politicians as an excuse for more surveillance, but in reality the perpetrators would not have caught by any new powers. The same applies to every terrorist outrage - we are always told after the event "it proves we need to introduce measure X Y or Z" without ever being offered a logically coherent argument as to how such measures, had they been in place, would have helped.
Meanwhile, in the Real World. the seriously Bad Guys will revert to operating off-grid (what, you think there was no terrorism before the advent of the Internet and mobile phones?????) and our glorious State will expend ever greater amounts of treasure and effort making sure it can keep tabs on the rest of us. I have nothing to fear, except the misuse of my taxes and the insult to my intelligence.
PS and what about the amusing posturing about the security risk (allegedly) posed by Huawei? Intrusive monitoring of network traffic by a foreign power??? Outrageous! How dare they - that's our prerogative
A few months ago I visited a website - perfectly innocuous and SFW - that required a login. Because it was a trivial site, I happily allowed Google to remember the ID and password. I missed the distinction - I was not giving Chrome the local browser, but Google the "cloud", the right to keep my data. This only became apparent a few months later when on a clean Linux install I visited the same site, and to my horror discovered the ID and password fields correctly populated. Google may have brainy engineers and security people, but would I trust them to protect sensitive data against all possible attacks? No.
"Eliza, hunt the wumpus, adventure, good times..."
Aahh... the wumpus... and Colossal Cavern... maze of little twisty passages... good times indeed (and a glorious waste of my EE department's VAX 11/780)
Skyrim on a high-spec Xeon workstation has nothing on that, except that the workstation cost a minute fraction of the VAX 11/780.
" the racetrack memory's read head detects the edges of the magnetic stripes rather than their polarity" - that may be factual but is also exactly the way ordinary disk drives work: magnetic disk heads have always read the transitions between polarity regions. Without transitions, no signal. No signal, no data. So there is nothing new about detecting "the edge of stripes".
Objects in a (stable) orbit have no apparent weight but still have mass and therefore manoeuvring a big container still requires care - once moving it will try to continue moving. Could make for an interesting insurance claim: "There I was, just minding my Canadarm, when this ruddy big Rafaello wiped out my solar panels!"
Paris, because you don't many of those to the Rafaello
For years Unix vendors made a very good living out of claiming that their systems had higher throughput, reliability and stability than the alternatives. Unfortunately, Moore's Law has caught up with them: if the systems are designed properly, a white-box X86 solution is more than likely to be reliable ENOUGH, have throughput ENOUGH and (except if running Windows), stability ENOUGH that a 3-to-1 price disadvantage just can't cover. Brandishing selective stellar benchmark figures for a particular processor is almost irrelevant - there are very few organisations that can make use of the full unbridled power of a single-image fully-loaded Power 7 or Integrity server.
Let's skip over the religious wars about which processor is better. It should be clear to any CTO and CIO that Itanium servers are now effectively single-source (I know, Oracle is also single-source, but give me the power to change the things I can) and it is a bad move for any customer to commit itself to only one hardware vendor.
...when your client asks you to re-style a perfectly classy Wordpress site to use Comic Sans "because all his documentation is produced in that font". This happened to me this morning, honest. Made me wonder if I really wanted to have clients like him.
Fie and fail on me for deliberately not mentioning cufon and other techniques, but I just fell back on the excuse that, like Steve The Cynic, some folk don't have Comic Sans installed.
A little part of me dies every single time I see that stupid "HP invent" logo. It is a long time since HP has invented anything of any consequence. They should rebrand themselves as "HP Acquires". This is just another of the consequences of a completely disjointed approach to the marketplace, with product lines that torpedo each other with alacrity, and a lack of direction from the top managers who since Fiorina have been padding results by squeezing the supply chain and little else. As for Itanium... just port HP-UX to X64 and move on. I am reminded of IBM hanging on to OS/2 when everyone knew it was dead.
This will be the second time that HP has ditched Oracle. The first time when it moved to Siebel from Oracle CRM (also known internally as "The Data Entry System" because you could never get any useful data out of it) and then Oracle went and bought Siebel. Now if HP jumps ship to Salesforce.com I think Oracle should take the hint and go make a pass at Dell or some other maker of cheap consumer goods.
Paris, because she is only a "New Generation" fan who likes data entry.
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