November 2009


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Archive for November, 2009

Comcast sucks.

Posted in Life on November 21st, 2009

So Tolerant and I have been enjoying having her digital TV plugged directly into the cable feed, and thus getting the strangely-numbered channels and “point” channels coming over the wire. It’s been kinda cool – PBS, for one, has several point feeds and there’s been some good stuff on.

Well, we get to enjoy that no more. Comcast recently re-enabled their encryption system, which disables all of this extra functionality. They claim that their contracts with their providers require the encryption to prevent “unauthorized viewing”.

From what I can see, it means that Comcast has a perfect excuse for making you rent an HD converter box to get the HD they broadcast.


Justifiable shooting?

Posted in Life on November 19th, 2009

So, big news in the Rose City tonight on KPTV12 is about a cop that shot a girl with a non-lethal beanbag round while she was resisting arrest.  The MAX station security video shows a pair of cops trying to arrest the girl, when she hauls off and punches one of the cops. The punched cop gets in close and tries to bring her down, while his partner swings his launcher off his shoulder and very deliberately shoots her in the thigh with the beanbag. Shortly after, the punched cop is successful in subduing the girl.

The girl in question is 12 years old.

This is the part where most people stop listening, but there’s one more piece of information that is very pertinent: the girl also happens to be 5’7″ tall and weighs in at 150#. At this size, she is easily as big as many adult women I know. Heck, my ex wife isn’t quite that big and I know how hard she punches – it hurts.

So from where I’m standing, the cop was perfectly justified in popping her with a beanbag. He used a non-lethal round and carefully shot her in the leg – making sure there would be no chance of a major injury. Sure, he could have used his baton to deliver that little wake-up call – and in so doing, he could have broken her leg, where as the beanbag just hurts like a bitch. The kind of hurt that snaps your attention away from everything else you’re doing so the shooter’s partner can get some cuffs on you.

I can’t help you if you don’t listen

Posted in Life on November 10th, 2009

We took on a new client recently, and it seems there is going to be more work than I initially counted on: I’m going to have to break some seriously bad habits.

Their former IT Admin was one of those guys that has a stupidly superior-to-thou attitude, and this went a long way towards getting him axed.The other thing that lead to this was his inability to use a simple answer to anything – everything in their system has been over-engineered, but with substandard parts. The workstations? All Vista 64-bit, but he home-built the boxen instead of buying something with a full warranty from HP or that other place. Bleah.

Since it is a large company, the Chairman has asked the husband of one of the office gals (who heads IT for some other company) to lend a hand until they’re positive things are running smoothly. This is cool by us, because he will be handling one side of the business that we didn’t really want, so all is supposedly well.

Until I look into the backup procedure.

They guy that got the axe is using a batch file to run an NTBackup routine to an external hard drive. This is for an organization that has nearly filled 3TB of data, and has some 180GB (!) of email data. And of course, the email isn’t being backed up.

So I put together a proposal, comes out to about $3k or so – a DroboPro with a pair of 2TB drives and BEX. Helper-Guy comes back and says how he has been talking with the Director, and they want to get a solution from ‘Rhymes-with-Hell’ that has BEX built-in. I do some research, and while there is no price listed for the whole solution, the individual parts list out for about $6k. I explain that this solution will also take up 5U of rackspace and is serious overkill when we have processor time lying around unused in the 7 existing servers.

He thinks about this for a couple hours, then comes back with how he doesn’t like the DroboPro, he wants to go with a NAS device R-W-H has on offer. This of course forces me to regale him with tales of how crappy that kinda hardware is, and how I will Never (that’s “Never” with a Capital-N) recommend anything that company sells. Never.

Honestly. You’re paying my company $6k a month to manage 40-some-odd users and the attendant hardware – for fuck’s sake, listen to my advice!