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William

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QOTD [Feb. 5th, 2007|04:52 pm]
William
Over a year ago, I gave four of your cow-orkers a two-day class during
which I taught them the barest introduction to $topic.

You declined to attend, opining that it would be a waste of your time.
I do not know and do not care if this was because of your contempt for
$topic, your lack of confidence in my abilities as an instructor, a
belief that you would have no use for this information, or some linear
combination of the above.

Fast-forward to now. You have apparently just discovered (or been told
from On High) that you will be dealing extensively with the subject in
question.

There are a number of possible appropriate reactions to this
epiphany. Among these is *not* sending me an email saying "Tell me
everything you know about $topic."

You win a shiny new pointer to the (incomprehensible and misleading)
online docs foisted on an unsuspecting public^H^H provided by the
vendor. Were I capable of pity, your plight would inspire it.

-- Brian in the Monastery
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+10 Mace of Divine Smiting. [Jan. 30th, 2007|10:51 am]
William
Work related conversations:

-ONE-

Me: "So, you last saw it about two years ago in a folder called c:\stuff?"
Them: "uh huh."
*MUTE ON*
Me: "Bwhahahahaha!"
*MUTE OFF*
Me: "Uh, let me transfer you to desktop support; they handle files on the C:\ drive..."

-TWO-

Me: "Anyway, if we actually use T-SQL as intended, we can catch any errors and email them to the relevant DBA..."
Them: "Don't change anything!"
Me: "Umm, do you want to know why the jobs are failing?"
Them: "Yes!"
Me: "Nothing is easy for the unwilling."
Them: "What?"
Me: "Nevermind... let me show you an example of what I mean..."

-THREE-

*ring ring*
Them: "It doesn't work."
Me: "I know. Software Development is working on it. Talk to X if you need an update."
Them: "Oh, OK."
*two hours later*
*ring ring*
Them: "It still doesn't work."
Me: "Yes, but it is out of my hands. I have passed it on to others who can fix it."
Them: "Maybe if I reboot ... "
*five minutes later*
*ring ring*
*ring ring*
*ring ring*
*ring ring*

-FOUR-

*ring ring*
Me: "Networks."
Boss: "Please suspend access to [useless waste of air] effective now."
Me: "No problem."
*SMITE*

*updated*
-FIVE-

*reviews network design with consultant engineer*
Me: "Umm, you really can't engineer it like that. RSTP is intended for extended star topologies, not rings, especially not rings with 20 or more nodes. The BPDUs will expire before reaching the other interface, resulting in two or more roots, resulting in loops, resulting in broadcast storms."
Engineer: "..."
Me: "The IEEE 802.1Q and 802.1W standards dictate a maximum network diameter of 7."
Engineer: "..."
Boss: "Is there any way you can make it work?"
Engineer: "..."
Me: "If you increase the max_age timer it's possible the BPDUs won't expire in transit. But that would need to be tested, and it's likely you'll still have exponential convergence times, depending on how many nodes in excess of 7 the converged ring is.
Engineer: "..."
Boss: "Great. We'll do that then."

sigh
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Xmas list '06 [Dec. 3rd, 2006|10:04 pm]
William
I really don't know why I make these every year, except as a scorecard to see how many of them I get each year.

1) A coat. Something on the warmer end of the spectrum. I have a great black nylon heavy raincoat, but I'm looking for something more insulating. Wool would me nice; some crazy gore-tex super down insulator 5000 would be even better.

2) Cotton long sleeve shirts. Really, winter clothes in general. There's not a lot to choose from in the wardrobe currently, 'cept for hoodies. Like this beaut from arstechnica. The geekier the better :)

3) Something geeky
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For J.D. [Nov. 27th, 2006|10:07 pm]
William
Last Wednesday, my dog J.D. was struck and killed by a car during a thunderstorm. No one was home at the time as we were all celebrating thanksgiving in Sacramento, and didn't find out until Friday morning, when a neighbor discovered him. J.D. always was terrified of thunder; one time he ran away for a week after lightning struck a tree on the property. I went up to Redding with my brother and his family, and laid J.D. to rest next to the stumpy remains of that tree. Hopefully lightning won't strike twice there.

He lived a long full life, his later years shared with two other mischievous dogs. I'm sure he's ineptly chasing squirrels somewhere.


J.D.

The bestest dog evar




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PSA - Train wreck in progress [Nov. 1st, 2006|10:31 pm]
William
I don't really think of myself as a political person. Sure, I have my beliefs, but I'm not about to go out try to convince others that mine are right and you should totally vote the way I tell you, and boy, by the way, have this tasty lollipop with it's green Franklin wrapper.

But sometimes, you just need to make people aware, and let them come to their own decisions.

This past week, it seems I've been bombarded, much like mallet strikes to an unprotected head, by various people saying that electronic voting machines are going to be the death of democracy.

For example, Jon "Hannibal" Strokes, writer for arstechnica since the beginning of time, has an extraordinarily long newspost about the "gathering storm" of e-voting problems. Likewise, Bruce Schneier blogs repeatedly about flaws in voting software.

So, go vote something wonky this November so you can claim you were disenfranchised. I could be a lot more crazy sounding, but I'll just say this computer science student rejects utterly the concept of computer aided voting being better than what we had in the 50's.
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Why computers are "A Bad Thing" [Oct. 19th, 2006|03:57 pm]
William
Another winner from comp.risks:
Airplanes under instrument flight rules fly from one navigation beacon to another along published standard routes. In the old days, with radio navigation receivers and pilots flying by hand, a plane wouldn't fly its clearance exactly. The airways include a tolerance for error of +/- 4 miles. If you're 4 miles to the right of course, in other words, you're still legal and safe from hitting mountains or other obstacles. Altitude was similarly sloppy. If you reached for a drink of coffee or to look at a chart, you might drift up or down 200 feet. Air traffic control wouldn't get upset.

How does it work now that the computer age has finally reached aviation? The GPS computes an exact great circle route from navaid to navaid. All GPS receivers run from the same database of latitude/longitude coordinates, so they all have the same idea of where the Manchester, New Hampshire VOR is, for example. The autopilot in the plane will hold the airplane to within about 30 feet of the centerline of the airway and to perhaps 20 feet in altitude. If two planes in opposite directions are cleared to fly on the same airway at the same altitude, a collision now becomes inevitable.

Almost any other system would be safer.

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2006/10/06/mid-air-collision-in-brazil-when-precision-kills/
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Another reason for asr to be in your rss [Oct. 16th, 2006|01:02 pm]
William
A person posts a thread stating that they had a great vacation, culminating in the purchase of 35 bottles of single malt scotch whisky of varying types. The response:

35 bottles * 0.750 L/bottle * 40% abv = 10.5 L of alcohol

10.5 L * (1000 cm^3)/1 L * 0.789 g/cm^3 = 8280 g of alcohol

Average adult blood volume is 5 L and density is 1.06 g/cm^3
(Wackypedia)

5 L * (1000 cm^3)/1 L * 1.06 g/cm^3 = 5300 g of blood

5300 g * 0.08% BAC = 4.24 g of alcohol needed to get drunk

8280 g / 4.24 g = 1950 drunks in those 35 bottles

Alternatively, a typical metabolism rate for alcohol is 10 g/hr
(wackypedia again)

8280 g * 1 hr/10 g = 828 hours

828 hours * 1 day/24 hrs = 34.5 days of continuous drunkenness 

In other words, a typical bottle of scotch is a man-day of drunkenness.

That's why I love reading this group. I learn something new every 750ml. 
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Do what you can - What you want - What you must [Oct. 10th, 2006|10:41 pm]
William
So, I almost bought tickets for KMFDM at The Mezzanine, but I decided I didn't want to get robbed, shot at, or raped at 2am. Besides, I am poor. Oh so poor at the moment.

If you'll excuse me, I must go siphon the 91 octane from the yuppies next door.

--
feel the hunger inside, hold on to your trust
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heh heh heh [Sep. 13th, 2006|02:58 pm]
William
"The most exhaustively-tested program that I know of still had a serious
bug when it was released... If you have ten million test cases, you
probably missed one."

http://horningtales.blogspot.com/2006/09/exhaustive-testing.html

This guy has never heard of "corner" test cases. Of course, it was like 1964 at the time.
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RIP IRIX, MIPS [Sep. 6th, 2006|05:30 pm]
William
                  _ (/)
                 Eo3/ )
                 |/)\)
                  /\_
                  \__|=
                 (    )
                 __)(__
           _____/      \\_____
          |  _     ___   _   ||
          | | \     |   | \  ||
          | |  |    |   |  | ||
          | |_/     |   |_/  ||
          | | \     |   |    ||
          | |  \    |   |    ||
          | |   \. _|_. | .  ||
          |                  ||
          |    MIPS IRIX     ||
          |    1988-2006     ||
  *       | *   **    * **   |**      **
   \)),,.,./.,(//,,..,,\||(,,.,\\,.((//

And so another classic hardware manufacturer bites the dust. SGI's headstone is carved, with just the final date needing to be filled in.

And now, I'm saddled with hardware that needs to be hooked to a taser and a timing device, so as to migrate the data to applications made in this decade.
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