Where is everyone?

Filed in Uncategorized

I’ve always hated those “where have I been?” posts bloggers make when they don’t update for a while.  It is a new year, however,  and I have yet to inflict sufficient pain on all of your to get your brains moving. So, without further ado, here’s where I’ve been!

Since my last post in August, I’ve been laid off (something about not needing *two* linux/unix experts in a department almost entirely focused on Windows / HyperV virtualization) and had a 2 month vacation.

I’m still working in the VOIP world, but for a smaller, more agile company that doesn’t have a lot of legacy analog telco baggage in the way it does things.  It feels a lot like working for $weatherandclimatereportingwebsiteandtvnetwork.com again.

I’ll have a lost more to post as I dive deeper and deeper into the wonders that are Amazon private clusters, distributed storage, cloud front caching, and (joy of joys) wordpress (don’t ask).

So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.  Or I’ll strap you to the fender and play bumper cars.

On shopping online and the shortsightedness of giants.

Filed in retailTags: , , , ,

Where’re JC Pennys and Sears when I need them? I have, for the first time in my 41+ years of life, ordered clothes from Amazon. I’ve bought dozens of geek-t-shirts and “specialty” adornments from online retails for years. But never have I bought something as plebeian and normal as blue-jeans online.

Back in the nascent days of the internet, both JCP and Sears were the gods of mail order retail. They had the store fronts, return depots, logistics, IT infrastructure, everything in place. All they needed was a way to efficiently put their catalogs online. A digital storefront.

They both had the trust of over 100 years of catalog sales. Sears would sell you a fraking HOUSE through their catalog at one point. Everything Amazon and other retailers had to struggle for years to do JPC and Sears already had in place.

What was their response to this new fad, the internet? They saw, for the first time, legitimate competition and market loss so they packed up their toys and went home. They gave up instead of competing. And now they’re both marginalized, inconsequential retailers struggling to stay open.

How different would the landscape online be if either or both of those retail giants had done something as simple as put their catalogs online?

A bit of fiction: “Wizards”

Filed in FictionTags: ,

This is rough, off the top of my head, stream of consciousness and unfinished. Will finish it later. But thought I’d share:

The long bearded, corpulent man grunted and hummed as he removed the chain from around his kneck. Hanging from that chain was a small amulet, shiny with the sigils of it’s maker upon it in indeilible ink. He moved the puck around the surface of the table, occasionally stopping to point at a particular image or sigil on the screen. Satisfied with the configuration of symbols before him, he inserted the amulet, or “key” as he called it, into the receptical on the front of the steel case next to the table.

Almost as if by magic, additional symbols appeared before him. With the sure confidence of a grand master of his trade, his hands few across the keys, typing incantations in a language that appeared almost, but not quite, english.

With a flourish and a firm snap, he hits the “enter” key and submits his request, nay, his demands, to the powers that inhabit the spaces in between. A cybernetic space of electron clouds and magnetic particles where the knowledge of the human race floats, ready to be “wikied” and “googled”.

(to be continued)

How not to respond to garden variety malware.

Filed in GovernmentTags: , , , ,

destory_all_the_thingsAn article over at Ars Technica tells of the Economic Development Administration (a branch of the Department of Commerce) and what is so far the worst response to a possible mal-ware infestation I’ve heard this year; destroying $170,000+ in equipment.  They didn’t destroy the rest (an additional $3m) because they ran out of money to destroy it.  Go read the article, it’s a fascinating view into the mind of a very strange CIO.  I’ll wait.



It’s really kind of disturbing that a division of the Dept of Commerce devoted to promoting “economic development in regions of the US suffering low growth, low employment, and other economic problems” has so much technological incompetence that they’d destroy hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment, including mice, keyboards, monitors, printers to clean up.. get this.. SIX computers infected with garden variety mal-ware.

Details at the link, but this paragraph pretty much says it all:

“EDA’s CIO, fearing that the agency was under attack from a nation-state, insisted instead on a policy of physical destruction. The EDA destroyed not only (uninfected) desktop computers but also printers, cameras, keyboards, and even mice. The destruction only stopped—sparing $3 million of equipment—because the agency had run out of money to pay for destroying the hardware.”

That’s right. They destroyed ONLY $170,000 in equipment because they ran out of money to destroy all of it.  Spending another $1m to rent replacement equipment only makes matters worse.

These are the people who’s job is economic development.  If they’re this inept at something as trivial as managing their IT infrastructure, how the hell can we have any faith in their ability to handle something as complex as economic development in depressed areas?

On the cost of Windows vs. Linux

Filed in LinuxTags: , , ,

Just posted this to slashdot and thought I’d share it somewhere it’ll actually get read:

in re: Windows vs. Linux costs to implement and why Linux will never be “free”.

The ‘free / not free’ argument is meaningless. You will pay for licenses and support from Microsoft plus the cost of IT support staff and engineers. You will also pay either support contracts from Redhat, etc… plus IT support staff and engineers or pay more for better IT support staff and engineers and use community supported Linux.

When all the bills come due, you’re going to pay about the same for the same functions and scale regardless of the OS. The curve for the cost of Linux flattens out earlier as you move into the hundreds of servers or very large or widely dispersed infrastructure, but the cost of a competent staff to support Linux is higher.

It is easier to support Windows with less knowledge and experience, therefore making Windows staff less expensive. In truth, there are probably 10 middling competent Windows engineers for every solidly competent Linux engineer in the marketplace. The Linux engineers tend to stay employed longer as well.

When all you’re looking at is the base cost of a software license, or piece of hardware, then you’re not looking at the most important, vital and expensive part of the bill; the people.

Linux admins and engineers I’ve worked with and around have tended to be problem solvers by nature. Windows admins and engineers I’ve worked with and around have tended to be implementers by nature. They each have their strengths and weaknesses and you have to pick based on a strong understanding of your company’s needs, not just on the flashy marketing tripe from Microsoft or the FOSS communities.

TL;DR: In the end, Windows and Linux will cost you the same. Which one is best for your company depends entirely on your company.

New phone, same as the old phone.

Filed in Android, ReviewTags: , , ,

Got my new phone. My old Samsung Galaxy S 4g (yeah, it’s *that* old, only 512mb of on board storage, maxed at Android 2.3) finally pissed me off enough to replace it. 2-3 reboots / day and locks up randomly. Missed a couple of very important calls yesterday because of it.

New HTC One (yeah, tethered myself to t-mobile another 2 years.. shrug) feels GREAT in the hand, the HTC sync software that does a wifi migration from old phone to new worked wonderfully. That was a very good thing since the 16GB sd-card in the old phone doesn’t have a slot to live in on the new phone.  The transfers took about an hour in all, but went off without a single hitch.  Well, one hitch, but that’s not the software’s fault.

Everything else is awesome except one.. tiny.. infuriating… thing.

The SIM card. The SIM card on the galaxy is a full sized card. The HTC One uses the new micro-sim card. That means I have to take time tomorrow and go into the t-mobile store to have them activate the new sim on my current account and number. Hopefully they won’t screw up my account this time.

(update) Called T-Mobile to get the new sim card activated and my account configured on it.  Took about 30 minutes in all, but most that was waiting for the callback.  I left the sim in the box, in my van, in the parking lot.  After retrieving it, and getting the callback (on time, yea t-mobile!), everything went smoothly.

So far, I really like the HTC.  First comment from a couple of people I called once it was live, was “did you get a new phone?  I can understand you, even with that pipe clenched in your teeth.”

Overall, with the 2 and a half days I’ve used it so far, I’m extremely pleased.  I’ll be diving deeper into the wonders of the new Android version and having enough room on the phone to, you know, install stuff.



Oh, no! Another tech blog!

Filed in AdministriviaTags: ,

I’ve been posting random tech screeds on facebook, livejournal, google+ and, yes, in the day, even tribe, for years.  Whereas those sites are good for short term discussion or even some intense debates, they are, by definition, ephemeral.   The noise is too high, and traffic too voluminous to really do any deep topic justice.

So what’s an overactive, overachieving tech geek to do?  Why start a blog, that’s what!    I intend this space to be one for discussion, debate, geek-measuring, showing off and just about any random tech related thing that passes through what some neurologists insist is merely a brain.

So, without further ado, here.   Remember, the flogging will continue until intelligence improves.

Enjoy.  No, really, I insist.  ENJOY THIS, DAMNIT!

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May 2024