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Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Isilon Installation Tip

In Technology, Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I was recently given the opportunity to install an Isilon NL-series solution for a customer.  Overall, the installation went great, but, having never installed one, I ran across some small hiccups that could easily be avoided in the future.

Despite what the installation documentation conveniently leaves out, be sure to install the rack rails 1U above the bottom of the unit.  I made the typical assumption that the rails would mount flush with the bottom of the unit but quickly discovered this was not the case.  Beyond that, it’s pretty self explanatory.

She’s quite beautiful, if I do say so myself!  😀


Mount hardware in racks? Hello, Mr. Cage Nut Tool

In Technology on June 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm

A coworker of mine recently introduced me to one of the most awesome tools ever invented by man – the cage nut tool.

This tool will save you countless hours normally spent slaving away with a flat-head screwdriver AND will save your knuckles from the relentless beatings they’d otherwise suffer at the hands of a cage nut.  I found one in the bag of accessories that comes with an APC four post rack.  Do yourself a favor and get your hands on one.

In fact, I’ll go ahead and provide you a link to an even more refined version, if you can get past the fact that it looks like a giant pair of fingernail clippers.

Image taken from Google Image Search


Communication Breakdown

In Technology on June 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Having recently jumped on the smartphone train, I have become increasingly aware of a few glaring problems they are creating, specifically in regards to email.

Formal Email Communication is Disappearing

While I was still riding the dumbphone train, I was quick to make fun of emails I would get from people with smartphones.  You can always tell when an email comes from a smartphone because it will include very limited punctuation and no line breaks.  Now that I have joined the dark side I still find the total abuse of written English disturbing, though I more thoroughly understand why it’s happening.

Smartphones are difficult, at best, to type on.  Therefore, we use as few words (and, in many cases, as few letters) as possible to convey the message at hand.  Hey – I’m all about some efficient communication, but there is a point at which communication becomes confusion.

The Inability to Comprehend and Respond

We’ve all experienced it – there is just about nothing worse than sending someone a well thought out, long email containing multiple thoughts or questions and receiving a short, mindless response to only ONE of those thoughts or questions.  This phenomenon became one of my pet peeves long before smartphones hit the market, but I believe smartphones have done nothing but worsen the climate for this type of behavior.

Smartphones are more difficult to read emails on than a full-sized PC, so, when we receive lengthy emails, we skim through them in frustration and instantly reply to the first (or sometimes the last) piece of information in the email.  This, in turn, results in one of two problematic results.  Either an increase in email traffic results (caused by subsequent emails to iron out the details that should have been addressed in the first reply), or the questions/thoughts are left to die, resulting in a communication breakdown.

Nemine Respondente

Possibly the worst problem I’ve noticed is the one I’m the most guilty of – that of receiving emails and being flat-out too lazy to respond to them at the moment.  More often than not, these forgotten emails end up never receiving a second thought, let alone an actual response.

I don’t really believe any of these problems are new, but they are becoming worse with the proliferation of smartphones.  Going forward, we must consciously fight against these problems or risk falling further into a degraded state of human communication.

Also, it’s about time for some Led Zeppelin action.

“Communication Breakdown, It’s always the same, 
I’m having a nervous breakdown, Drive me insane!”

Photos taken from Google Image Search.

CPU Manufacturing Competition is Good

In Technology on June 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm

In my last post, I spoke about Intel’s new 22nm 3d transistor technology.  While I’m fairly excited to see what Intel is bringing to the table, I am concerned about what it may mean for the industry.  The CPU manufacturing industry (like all other industries) has relied on market competition to keep forward motion a priority.  If what Intel has been brewing is really all it’s cracked up to be, AMD (Intel’s largest desktop/server CPU competitor) has reason to be shaking in their boots.

For years, I have shared a slight hatred for all things Intel with many, many other true nerds out there in computerdom.  This is not necessarily because of Intel’s products (some of them have been alright), rather, because of the way Intel has (particularly in the past) perpetuated its market leadership position by covering up poorly engineered CPUs in marketing hype and a massive advertising budget.  In essence, Intel is the perfect example of the rich kid down the street who continues to succeed simply because he’s rich.

Specifically, Intel has used its riches in two ways.  Primarily, Intel has relied on its deep pockets to fund a marketing beast that has positioned Intel as the market leader.  Much of the consumer world has grabbed onto this notion hook, line, and sinker.  Since Intel’s name is more visible, they must make the best chips, right?

In addition, Intel’s riches have allowed them to construct the best chip CPU manufacturing facilities in the world, leaving AMD with the second best.  As I briefly pointed out in my last post, any time a die shrink (essentially, new machinery is installed that allows more transistors to fit in a smaller space) occurs, CPUs automatically gain a performance boost and a power consumption drop.  Because of its better manufacturing facilities, Intel is always able to die shrink earlier than AMD.  Basically, this allows Intel to squeeze extra life out of mediocre CPU architectures designs.

My proposed solution?

IBM needs to buy out AMD.  AMD needs some serious cash to stay competitive.  IBM has it.