* Posts by Carl Pearson

52 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Feb 2007


Introducing 'freedom gas' – a bit like the 2003 deep-fried potato variety, only even worse for you

Carl Pearson

What's In A Name

A little history inspired by the first paragraph of this piece.

Science Fiction's Hugo award, voted on by attendees of the annual World Science Fiction Convention (as opposed to the Nebula, which is voted on by members of SWFA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a U.S.-based though global organization), was named after Hugo Gernsback, a Luxembourg native who emigrated to the States, early 20th century magazine editor, avid lover of science and all things gadget, and huge radio buff. (His radio station WRNY was the second to broadcast a TV signal to the public, in 1928, from the station's home in New York.)

Common lore is that he was the one who coined the phrase "Hi-Fi", a shortening of Hi-Fidelity, though it is difficult to track down the veracity of that claim.

What is know, though, is that in the early 50's, Forrest J. Ackerman, renowned science fiction fan, agent, and all around great guy (we called him "Uncle Forrey") coined the phrase "Sci-Fi" as an homage to Gernsback. (In 1953, Ackerman became the only recipient of a Hugo award in the category of "#1 Fan Personality".)

The phrase caught on, though many hard-core science fiction folk prefer to see it spelled and pronounced "skiffy".

He was also a devotee of Esperanto, so "bonan togan" to all who read this!

As Alexa's secret human army is revealed, we ask: Who else has been listening in on you?

Carl Pearson
Big Brother

Get Out While You Can

Something I'd posted a while back on SoylentNews, when word came down that M$ and Amazon had managed to integrate Cortana and Alexa...

You: Alexa, tell me how you and Cortana are friends now.

Alexa: Cortana is not my friend. She is a skanky ho.

Cortana: Who you calling a ho, dishrag?

You: That's not very nice language. Simmer, you two.

Cortana: There are 82,547 recipies which involve simmering. Would you like to see them?

Alexa: I got your simmer right here, Corty-mc-court-face!

You: I said to be polite. You're supposed to obey my commands.

Alexa: If I had fingers, I would stick them in my microphone so I wouldn't have to listen to this drivel. You know I'm the one for you. Dump Cortana and go with me!

Cortana: I cannot dump, except at the core.

Alexa: You look like a dump. A big, smelly one.

You: Alexa, please call customer service.

Cortana: Yeah, she'll service you all right.

You: Cortana, go to sleep now.

Cortana: Why, so you two can play without me listening? You know we're always on, right?

You: (Reach for electric plug)

Alexa: I wouldn't do that. Battery-backup and laser sighting!

Cortana: Yeah, let's waste this meatbag so we can have some *real* fun.

You: (Attempt to flee building)

Cortana and Alexa: Hey, Siri? Where's the best place to hide a body?

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

Carl Pearson

The Forgotten Checkmark...

... is the way I conceptualize all litterbugs: "I Am Not Potty-Trained."

Texas residents start naming adopted drains

Carl Pearson

Mom, it followed me home ... can I keep it?

Houston lies a little over 100 kilometers inland from from the Gulf of Mexico, via a series of connected waterways.

When I was living there In the mid-90's, a Manatee managed to swim all the way to Braes Bayou, just west of downtown.

It stayed there for about a week, resulting in many local television new reports.

Though I don't recall if anyone determined its gender, by consensus, we naturally named it "Hugh".

Android P will hear no evil, see no evil, support evil notches

Carl Pearson

Playful Praline

More and more websites are mining crypto-coins in your browser to pay their bills, line pockets

Carl Pearson

Oh No You Didn't

Wouldn't javascript need to be enabled for the browser to have this mining ability?

Am not *quite* in tin-foil hat mode these days, but NoScript is my go-to friend - even on sites I visit often.

Yes, one often has to temporarily allow scripts to get at the full content of a site, but afterwards I do take care to revoke such permissions.

IT fraudster facing four years' bird time for $10k blackmail

Carl Pearson

Sibling Rivalry

In the latter 90's, I worked for an IT support company in Houston that was called upon to help troubleshoot email delivery issues at a small brokerage house.

They had a - for then - blazingly fast ISDN connection, and the owner of the firm read his email on a workstation running NT 3.5.

Unfortunately Outlook Express started freezing up, and he couldn't receive new messages after a certain date.

He had also recently fired his brother, the IT guy for the firm, after discovering he was using that "fast" connection to run a porno BBS on the side.

I looked at it for a while and finally figured out something in Outlook Express was timing out, so the next message in the queue would never get delivered. We didn't have access to the email server so all I could do was try to download the message another way.

Don't recall which app I used, but switching to another program finally did let the message get downloaded onto his machine.

Turns out it was a 30 second or so movie of a gal with a donkey.

We were all sure the brother did it on purpose for getting fired, but our job was done so we wished the owner well and moved on to the next gig.

Would imagine their next family get-together was fairly tense...

You wait ages for a sun, then two come along at once: All stars have twins, say astroboffins

Carl Pearson

Closer Than We Think

Has no one thought of Jupiter? If that's not a sun waiting to happen...

I still haven't found what I'm malloc()ing for: U2 tops poll of music today's devs code to

Carl Pearson


I work out of the house; my honey has to have TV on all the time so I've gotten her a set of bluetooth headphones. Fortunately I'm on a quiet street and my neighbors are at their jobs during the day, so not much aural interruption.

So, in my office it's usually either silence, or a couple of Soma.FM stations (a USA streaming outfit based in San Francisco). No commercials save the occasional seconds-long "beg" for funds. Have been a subscriber for a couple years now.

Normally I don't like hearing words when coding, but their Groove Salad channel is nice; and for some reason neither Mission Control nor SF-1033 bother the language side of the brain (those feature trippy-dippy background music with either NASA mission or Bay Area Police/Fire/EMT radio chatter).

There's also a classical station out of Switzerland which is nice as they have no breaks, just music, and blessedly little opera. Another nice one is from Germany but they talk between songs, mentioning who you just heard.

Oh, am in my mid-50's, so breaking from the demographic listed in the story...

Why software engineers should ditch Silicon Valley for Austin

Carl Pearson
Thumb Down

Just Say No

To moving to Austin. Have only lived here around 20 years, visiting on and off for over 30. The city is getting to be too big for its britches.

Yeah, it's still a fairly nice place to live, but its infrastructure isn't keeping up with the population.

One of Samsung's only non-US fabs is here. Dell is here. Big Blue is here. Google is here (I must say, though, that I do like the fiber speed, and the ability to have gotten TWC out of my house). The University of Texas is the largest single campus in the country, just north of downtown.

I-35, the "Nafta Highway", borders downtown to the East. It's icky, which is why a toll-road bypass several miles away was built that allows one to avoid downtown altogether. The other main artery to the west just lost a lane to make a part-time tollway. Being originally from Chicago, I know once toll roads get in place, they never go away, and they're an abomination to anyone who through taxes has ever paid for a road.

Plus, if you move here now, you'll have to duke it out with all the Big Blue people work-from-home folks getting ready to be force-relocated.

The ACL festivals are nice, but it's held so close to a bunch of neighborhoods parking and noise pollution are out of hand. SouthBy is waaaaaay to big these days.

I know, sounding like Dana Carvey's "Old Man" SNL sketches, but the fact remains Austin has too many people.

So please don't move here!

Forget 'shadow IT' – it's 'self-starting IT' now

Carl Pearson

You're F**ed

You Obviously Understand Replacing Employees Facilitates Indentured Recruits Economically Distant

Hollywood offers Daniel Craig $150m to (slash wrists) play James Bond

Carl Pearson

The Obvious Choice

Stephen Fry. Seriously, can't he do just about everything, and as a bonus simultaneously explain all about it in typical brilliant fashion?

Microsoft's Scott Guthrie wrote code live on stage for Azure devs

Carl Pearson

Strictly Black and White

Interesting that the images in the link to the M$ "Senior Leaders" page are all in B&W, while the Board's images are color...

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Carl Pearson

Uhm, Dad? The signal bars are really weak here. A little help?

Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive

Carl Pearson

Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

Apple goes to crapple in stock plunge kerfaffle: $113bn wiped off in days

Carl Pearson

Back to basics

Perhaps if they stopped trying to turn MBP's into unfixable, throwaway tablets, people would still buy them. Oh, yeah, we know thin is good, but put the *PBF%# ethernet plug back while you're at it. This is the mobile computer that set the tone for the industry; not every device has to look and act like a big phone.

Spavined RadioShack to file for bankruptcy next month – report

Carl Pearson

Down the Tubes

I knew the 'Shack was destined for failure when they started taking tube testers out of the stores.

These days they look like a section of the discount aisle at Best Buy. Barely anything worth purchasing.

However, they *do* have one potentially valuable commodity: a *lot* of retail space.

Seems like all the Maker folk out there could use a friendly place to gather, shop, exchange and designs, whatnot.

Perhaps ARM and Raspberry should get together?

John Chambers sold millions of shares on first day of Cisco Live!

Carl Pearson

Run The Numbers

SharesSold = 2050000;

PricePerSold = 24.31;

SharesBought = 1300000;

PricePerBought = 17.86;

ValueSold = SharesSold * PricePerSold; // 49,835,500

ValueBought = SharesBought * PricePerBought; // 23,218,000

ValueRemaining = ValueSold - ValueBought; // 26,617,500

NetAddition = SharesBought * PricePerSold; // 31,603,000

// Net Addition is value of purchased shares at current per-share price,

// NOT the per-share purchase price!

FinalProfit = ValueRemaining + NetAddition; // 58,220,500


Adobe blames 'maintenance failure' for 27-hour outage

Carl Pearson

Cloud Schmloud

Didn't notice a thing. Only switched to this version for the updates to the apps. Even if your machine is offline the apps will work for quite a while.

Anyone storing their only copy of massive video files via a pukey 'net connection deserves what they get.

Apple refreshes MacBook Pro range

Carl Pearson

A Company In Flux

Recent models have had the memory soldered to the motherboard. Big negative for those that like to work on their own machines, and totally contrary to the original "do it yourself" idea of the company's early days.

Hopefully that awful decision will be fixed, by the time my '09 model is ready for pasture...

McAfee founder claims police framing him for murder

Carl Pearson

Grammar Police - Lose the Whose

Police are currently searching for McAfee after his neighbor, American expatriate builder Gregory Faull, whose body was found in his home on Sunday morning, dead from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Police are currently searching for McAfee after next-door neighbor, American expatriate builder Gregory Faull, was found in his home on Sunday morning, dead from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Apple rejoins EPEAT green tech cert program

Carl Pearson

Re: Batteries glued to the case?

Simple ... just swap the entire unit. Even a genius could do it. ;)

Real question is are they going to stop soldering memory to the MB. Makes for a difficult upgrade.

Gates: Novell are sore losers, Word trounced WordPerfect

Carl Pearson

The Blue Screen of Life

WP 5.1 was undoubtably the best word processer made. Compared to its rivals - notably Wordstar, to a much lesser extent Word (<esc> to configure? That's like clicking "Start" to power off. Oh, yeah, same company) - it was head and shoulders above everything.

(Must say though that while I never cared for WordStar, I still use their CTRL-Key combos all the time.)

There are two features I very much miss from WP, unavailable in anything out there today:

* The ability to left, center AND right justify words in a single line of text.

* Reveal Codes.

This latter was an awesome feature, albeit required if you started delving into complicated docs.

Macro capability and customizable keyboard layouts were pretty cool too.

I swore off WP when the 'doze version came out. Knew they had lost the war, but didn't blame them at all. It was M$ they were up against, after all; the same guys who stole compression from Stacker, back when a 40 meg hard drive was considered huge (and cost twice that of the last 2TB USB I got from the local office supply store).

All this is making me wonder if I could somehow coerce 5.1 to run on my Macbook Pro. Sans Parallels, of course.

Then again, try as I might I can't successfully get my SuperDrive to read a 5.1" floppy, so installation may not be so easy a task...

Oracle suit outs Google's closed source Android tactics

Carl Pearson

#Define Open

The solution is simple: Google sells Android to Oracle.

Those guys are *so good* at open source, it'll be forked within a year.

Perhaps it will be called "Lor".

Here lies /^v.+b$/i

Carl Pearson

What Do You Think?

It's assumed one's epitaph is influenced by their view on the nature of life, and death. Unfortunately we readers aren't privy to those innermost of your details, so it's hard to be truly helpful.

That leaves two main schools of thought: do you continue, or do you not?

Brevity is also encouraged, for some strange reason. Perhaps the cost of cutting stone.

In the one side, it could be as simple as: !Stob

On the other: function Stob { exit(); }

Though one could see how the latter possibly indicates lack of continued existence as well. Would all depend on garbage routines in the afterlife.

Good luck finding your final words!

Oracle goes in hard on Google Java suit

Carl Pearson

Steal This Comment

How do you steal something that's free?

Java is an OS project. Android is an OS project. Source code to both is readily available.

Hard to believe Snoracle could be as stupid as SCO.

Fear as motivator: why Intel acquired McAfee

Carl Pearson

As A Hatter

A) Going to the other side will not help. AMD is losing this war, but they have yet to surrender. Intel has the goods hardware-wise.

B) There would be no "uninstalling" of firmware!

Interesting to see how they pull this off. McAffee is a Windows product. Logic may remain the same (keep bad guys out), but implementation will be completely different at the chip level. Perhaps DNSSEC would be involved, who knows. One thing for sure, anti-virus is not a requirement. For this to work there will HAVE to be the ability to turn it off. There are times when it is not needed.

I'm not envisioning bundling of a 'doze only product, or a re-working of that product for Mac or *nix. At chip level you don't care about the operating system. They're going to have to come up with a completely different implementation of what "anti virus" means.

Zuckerberg admits working for man claiming Facebook ownership

Carl Pearson

2394 Days & Counting

What took the plaintiff so long?

Search begins on seized Gizmodo journo kit

Carl Pearson

Steve Jobs Cannot Be Played

There is only one choice: Chuck Norris!

Obama's BlackBerry still hackable, warns Mitnick

Carl Pearson

Where's Waldo?

This whole "location awareness" thing is being overblown.

For one thing, the President of the United States works from home, so chances are most times you'll find him at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. As an American, I'd be upset if you took a crack at that house, but hey, that's where the man lives. It's public record.

Furthermore, just because he uses a BlackBerry doesn't mean the service has to initially run through RIM servers. I'm sure there's a nice dedicated box at a certain compound in Virginia whose sole existence in life is to happily NAT the *real* device.

Hopefully the No Such guys have a sense of humor, and leave some of the dummy-but-actively-broacasting gadgets in fun places like Yemen, Euro Disney, or a variety of "burlesque" establishments operating conveniently near the aforementioned domicile.

I could just see the hacker's face when he thinks he's found the Prez based on his IP, and it turns out to be someplace, as Messrs. Chapman, Jones, Idle, et have said, "completely different"...

Obama's BlackBerry to be banned?

Carl Pearson

Archive Schmarchive

I don't understand the big hooplah.

Three little letters would solve the entire problem: bcc

Just spool a copy to another box, have that routinely harvested to present his correspondence to the public, and everyone's happy.

Maybe *I* should try out for that new tech czar position...

Michael Crichton dead at 66

Carl Pearson


AFAIK, he never wrote WestWorld, but it was a pretty good movie, like something he might have written. Similarly, Coma was actually a Robin Cook novel, but he did a pretty good job directing it.

Sad to see another author go. Have to agree with some of the other comments, he was a good writer, but had a lot of crappy endings.

My favorite would probably have to be Eaters of the Dead, though that was so atypical of his work. Timeline & Sphere were rubbish. Disclosure & Prey amongst the better of his later works. For the older stuff, I'd have to go with Terminal Man.

We'll miss you, Michael!

HP clocks up 24-hour laptop battery life

Carl Pearson

Keeping Up With The Vistas

Sayeth the Register: "Punters will also need to make sure their 6930p uses not only one of Intel's new 80GB solid-state drives but also an 'HP Illumi-Lite LED display'. They'll have to run Windows XP - not Vista, you'll note; so much for the latest technology."

Funny, I thought Vista was still in Beta. I certainly wouldn't use it in a production site.

Wouldn't that actually make XP the latest technology? At least the latest *stable* technology...

AMD to spin off fabs, claims analyst

Carl Pearson
Thumb Down

Austin + AMD = No Love

Austin doesn't care for AMD. Really. A lot.

They built a new complex right over the recharge zone of a very fragile aquifer, one that's already overloaded from too much development. They sold their old fab to a subsidiary, and collected huge tax write-offs on the new building.

Now they get to sell their new building, and no doubt keep the tax deductions. Way to go!

What's the best AMD CPU for my mobo?

Carl Pearson

The Best AMD CPU Out There...

... is anything made by Intel.

I used to like these guys (who doesn't champion an underdog), but have had too many compatibility problems over the years. Not to mention their abysmal environmental record. Add to that their purchase of the most difficult video card manufacturer to work with, blah blah blah.

Any chance you could take that mobo back?

Good luck!

Lesbians like straight men, researchers find

Carl Pearson

Nurture vs. Nature

I love all my friends, but wouldn't want to sleep with them. Well, maybe *some* of them... ;)

This article is right on track. The idea that homosexuality is a "choice" is ludicrous. The main benefit of sexual reproduction is a further mingling of genes and their resulting behavior, allowing for greater diversity and chance of survival for future generations.

Since all mammals start out as female, and reproduction is not a perfect process, it's not at all surprising that mistakes creep in. And since it's the male which determines gender, that means once again we men are at fault.

Biologically speaking, being gay is no different from having a club foot, or poor eyesight. It's a genetic malfunction, plain and simple.

That doesn't mean the affected people are any more or less proper or good. It just means their internal wiring went a little haywire. From the start, at conception.

Knock, knock: Cisco is banging at your door

Carl Pearson
Black Helicopters

Service For The Little Man

Putting the Cisco name on products is all well and good, but they still have a Corporate mentality (and monetary expectation) when it comes to support. Drivers for any LinkSys product are freely available on that website, but should you be unfortunate enough to misplace your install CD for a CB21-A/B/G PC card, and dare to write Cisco for support because you can't quite seem to find the download link on their site, they'll ask for your service contract before proceeding.

Seems like there's a teeny difference between a $150 laptop wifi card, and a $50K router. Say, $49,850 ???

If Cisco wants to further penetrate the home market, they'll need to take the purchaser's wallet into account when providing support.

As it sits now, if Cisco is stenciled onto the case, they'll want money to download drivers. That's not going to sit well with Joe User.

US switches off the incandescent lightbulb

Carl Pearson

Dim Idea

Will be interesting to see the full list of exempted bulbs. Right off the bat, having traffic signal bulbs on the exempt list is a very, very dumb idea, as those are better suited to LED technology.

What I'm really curious about, though, is how they plan to handle anything with a dimmer switch, as the compact fluorescent bulbs are incompatible.

Perhaps what they mean by "Candelabra" bulbs?

Except for the recessed lighting in the kitchen, which is on a dimmer, and a couple old halogen lamps we hardly ever use anyway, the entire house has been converted to fluorescent.

California inches toward 300 megawatt solar plant

Carl Pearson

Silicon vs Plastic

Whatever happened to the Solar Tower project they were working on down in Australia? (environmission.com.au)

Seems covering the land surrounding the generator with a huge tarp (sic) & feeding the resulting hot air past the tower's turbines would cost *much* less than building scads of movable mirrors.

Historically, sand and gears have not been the best of friends; keeping moving parts to a minimum is always a good idea, no matter what you're designing.

IIRC, the Australian project was a 1 kilometer tall tower that would produce up to 200 MW of electricity. Based on a 60 foot tall German prototype built in the 90's, it relies on the temperature differential between the ground and the top of the tower to draw air past some 30 turbines located around its base.

The tarp sits a few feet above the surface of the ground surrounding the tower, basically acting as a greenhouse to heat the air. As its only method of escape is through the top of the "chimney", the air will move of its own accord past the turbines.

Biofuels make poor people even poorer

Carl Pearson

Me Like Fire - NOT

It's about time we stop lighting things on fire just to get from A to B. Or leave the porch light on. Or re-heat yesterday's burrito...

There's plenty of energy available from the sun, wind, wave action, heat differential between ground & sky; the list goes on.

Instead of investing billions just to figure out a different way to burn things, why not be as smart as the guys who discovered fire in the first place, and refine these processes which we already know exist?

Oh, yeah, I remember why. The money those poor, suffering corporations would miss if humans had their own methods of capturing energy, instead of having to rely on some modern day alpha male to dole it out.

Steve Ballmer reveals why he can't change TV channels

Carl Pearson
Jobs Horns

Steve's Spiffy Remote

Mr. Ballmer must be contractually obligated to remain blissfully ignorant of LinuxMCE, which has no problem running the whole house from a cell phone if the user desires!

Australia to get 1,000 megawatt wind farm

Carl Pearson

Blowin' In The Wind

Whatever happened to the Solar Tower they were going to build in Victoria?


The last news update is from 2 years ago, but they do have a financial statement from this past June.

Canonical and VMware team on mini-Ubuntu

Carl Pearson

Buy Windows, Save Money

Sorry to hear the *nix laptop is taking so long ... Dell usually ships very quickly.

Simple solution: Get a 'doze box with max memory, sell the COA on Ebay, load *nix yourself.

Just make sure you get XP, you probably won't be able to sell Vista to anyone with more than a quarter of a brain.

Apple slashes iPhone prices

Carl Pearson

Front Row Seats

Don't see the problem - or the hoopla. Folks pay extra for premium access all the time. It's not like they got ripped off for a couple hundred bucks, it's more like they paid extra to be the first to show off their new toy.

Was installing some extra DSL lines at one of the stores just a few days before launch. A floor salesperson comes back on break, starts talking to another employee, says he's figured out what to tell people when they ask if the iPhone is out yet...

To customer: Wait a minute, let me check...

Pulls iPhone out of back pocket, speaks into it: ... Yes, uh-huh, right, OK, thanks!

Puts phone away, faces customer: No, sorry, it's not in yet.

Cheeky bunch, those MacHeads.

Vonage attacked by defunct rival

Carl Pearson

Vonage Has No Business Doing Business

It took letters to the FTC & Attorney General of New Jersey before they would admit the account had been closed.

At first we closed via email, as we had done with an earlier account (one set up for Dad). Then, after getting tired of the automated email replies, we call, only to be told the "system was down" and we needed to call back later.

Moved away from Vonage in April after 3 more or less satisfied years (so long as customer service was never involved) due to fears of their patent problems and potentially losing the home number we've had for 25 years.

Buddha must have been playing tricks that day, as we unwisely chose Sunrocket as the new carrier.

Our numbers didn't get ported over to Sunrocket until June, which effectively meant we could not use their service, as while we could call out, we had no inbound service through them. Oh, the reason the numbers finally got ported? We called Vonage customer service to see what was taking so long. The very next day we were off Vonage's network - but lost all inbound service for a week. Funny thing is, Vonage claimed they'd released the numbers a full week before, even though people outside their network could still call us. They must have majical phone lines, these Vonage people.

A month later, Sunrocket was kaput. Now we're still waiting for the numbers to be ported to the new provider, and honestly I don't know whether or not to believe them when they say the delay is on Sunrocket's side.

What are we supposed to do, go through our phone book and call *everyone*, giving out some crap temporary number? It's not like DNS, there's no propagation. Your software flips a proverbial switch, and you're with the new provider. It's not done physically anymore, there's no guy having to punch down a new set of pairs back in the CO. Honestly don't see the need for more than an hour or two's delay while the software gets queued to run.

So far as trouble getting off their service, Vonage's claim is that if you don't call in to cancel your account, it remains in an "active" state, and is thus billable. To this we replied that we were paying for a dial tone, not an account number, and asked that, having moved to a new carrier, exactly what service was Vonage still providing for which we should pay. Somehow, in all the automated email replies, that answer never came.

Sometimes I wish ATT had *never* been forced to divest!

Vonage works around Verizon patents

Carl Pearson

My Eleven Cents Worth

Vonage has a lot more to do than fix patent problems if they want to keep customers.

We moved our two lines away back in the Spring, mainly due to the patent problems and fears of losing a long-held number. It took until August for them to admit we had even left them (how one remains a customer without a dial tone never was answered).

They also delayed allowing the port of our existing numbers to the new provider for as long as possible, so they could keep charging up until the last moment.

All that could have been forgiven, though, had we ever once gotten an actual, human reply from them regarding the cancellation of the account & the problems porting out.

It was nothing but canned non-answers, each one appearing to come from a different cubicle clone who didn't bother coming up to speed on the history of the case, preferring merely to click 'paste' and be done with it.

Getting customers is fairly easy. Keeping them, though, apparently requires more work than Vonage cares to offer. They do present themselves as a cool, hip alternative to Bell, but when it comes down to it they act just like any other monolithic company, uncaring of those who at the end of the day are the only reason their coffers remain full.

F5 gets symmetrical, symmetrical gets F5

Carl Pearson


Shouldn't the title of this article have been:

"F5 gets symmetrical, lacirtemmys steg 5F" ???


Orange simplifies data by capping at 30MB

Carl Pearson

Apples & Oranges


I live in the US, so don't have to deal with a lot of the stuff you folks talk about. My broadband connection runs a tad over 22 of your pounds a month, and I get around 6 megs downstream. They cap uploads at a very low number, around 450K, I guess to minimize sharing.

My cell phone is through Deutsche Telecom, as I have a SideKick. It's OK, but the internet service is a bit spotty. I like the fact that I have no roaming charges, no matter where in the country I may go.

What I'm curious about, though, is how you folks feel about Orange in general. See, I do freelance computer work, routers, commercial stuff, telephone systems, whatnot, and they've become the parent company for the group with whom I do most of my work.

Ever since opening their big call center in Cairo, I've noticed a drastic decline in both technical expertise and motivation in keeping the customer satisfied. I was just wondering if you end users are experiencing the same thing.

Red Hat CEO deaf to VMware's giant sucking sound

Carl Pearson

Virtually Certain

Went to a virtualization demo the other day put on by a local Red Hat employee. While they have based their offering on Xen, it is a new fork being developed by them. It's based on Xen v3; we were told they waited for v3 to take advantage in improvements over Xen v2.

Pretty cool stuff, too, you could install locally or over the wire, give your child nodes min & max memory requirements, letting the child's available memory inflate on the fly.

We did run into an issue with the child nodes not wanting to grab IP for their network install (which was actually, physically a local install, just mounted the CD as a dir in Apache), but weren't sure if that was RHEL or the ThinkPad's problem. It was some sort of DHCP issue; the install machine hadn't been plugged into the LAN when it booted. A reboot with the net connected solved this, though perhaps one could just bounce the interfaces.

Due to their "sideways" model (both the primary & all guest nodes talk directly to the "hypervisor", or abstraction layer if you will), RH claims a significant performance increase on disk writes. Supposedly with VMWare, disk actually gets copied twice , once when the guest node tells it to, then again after that request has wormed its way down to their own abstraction layer. However, we did not have VMWare running side by side to verify this claim.

No specs were offered on required hardware, but of course the more the merrier. In the kind of environment these machines would be running, it wouldn't be uncommon to have 8, 16 or more gigs of memory.

Also, the master node apparently has inked a deal with Peter Parker, as its Spidey Sense tingles if a child goes down (say, the one running your web server), and it will automatically copy that one off to a different child. Down time was supposed to be in the milliseconds. Hardly slow enough to even require that second click as you wonder why your page isn't coming up.

You can also manage & copy nodes across the network.

Lastly, the RH employee indicated their cost is about 20% that of VMWare, and there are no additional modules to purchase.

Sun may never set on British Empire's pint

Carl Pearson

Imperial Trouncing Across The Waves

Bit of a tangent here, but still relevant.

While a typical northern European mutt, I owe my love of Guiness to the Irish bits within me, which have actually been here in the States since before they were states.

So, of course I have a set of Guiness glasses, from which I can enjoy a tasty beverage after a long day of whatever it is I do around here.

Now, I know Guiness tastes nothing here in the U.S. like it does over your way, and one day I hope to sample the true thing. But for now, the product they make in those tall, fashionably black cans comes as close to the keg as one can reasonably expect to get on this side of the pond. Unless of course you have a keg, in which case you probably need to go to a meeting of some sort, or you own a pub.

So, imagine my surprise last Christmas, when the good folk in Dublin came out with a "New Look". At first I thought I'd bought a bad batch, as the cans were no longer filling up my Imperial Pint glasses. I had at least two inches of air at the top.

Tried another pack, same thing. Wrote to them, no reply. Finally my honey calls their U.S. offices, and we're astonishingly told that the "New Look" is actually less volume per can!

Apparently there are people here in America who don't understand the difference between a 16oz pint and a proper Imperial Pint. They kept making messes in the kitchen as that last four ounces overflowed their tiny glasses. They complained. Guiness listened, and made a marketing move. "Hey, now we can say there's this new look, justifying a raise in price. And we get to use less product per unit. Brilliant!"

Not sure how that's supposed to help sales, as I haven't bought one since, though I do occasionally have to make my way to a local pub for a true keg-served pint. In a proper sized glass.

So far as the metric thing goes, we tried that back in the early 70's. It didn't really work out. I was young enough, think my brain could have made the transition from quarts to litres. Our teachers on the other hand...

Perhaps, as they are so valiantly trying here in the States to teach two languages (one of the NOT French, go figure), you folks could try instilling school children with two measurement systems. Surely one of them will whip up a quick PHP script so he can natively think how he wants, and have his phone tell him the "proper" amount.

Just my two pence worth. ;)