Thought for the day: Laptop Keyboards

I replaced my old Toshiba with an HP when the Toshiba broke, and it was only after a couple of days that I realized how much I relied on the Toshiba’s illuminated keyboard to see the keys in the rather dim lighting of our living room (I’ve no idea what idiot decided to not put any lights on the ceiling there when they built the house).

Other than that, the laptop is fine, but being unable to see the keys properly has noticeably reduced my productivity. And I wouldn’t need to see them that much, except the keyboard is positioned differently on the laptop, so my fingers automatically go to the wrong place.

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Thought for the day: Legalized Spyware

Most people have no idea how much spying is going on, and are absolutely shocked when they find out how much information about them is available, not just to companies they gave it to, but to organizations they may actively dislike.

They haven’t even realized yet that, when they talk to that handy little Alex or Siri device, everything they say is sent over the Internet. Or that, when they use an app to control their stove or door locks, that app and those devices are talking to an Amazon server.

Most people do not like being spied on. Especially when you point them to a page which shows them exactly how much information the spies have collected.

Frankly, I’m quite shocked that any company lets employees carry around cellphones with apps that are constantly listening to the microphone. Just think of what those phones could be collecting and sending to competitors.

Thought for the day: The Cloud

IT companies are building an ever-more-complex web of systems that have absolutely no redundancy and all fail at the same time.. Just so managers can get a bonus for reducing short-term costs.

If there ever is a war with Russia or China, they’ll just have to bomb Amazon,and the Western economies will grind to a halt.

I mean, seriously, who in the world ever imagined that Amazon having IT problems would stop their ‘smart’ oven turning off?

On other forums, people were complaining about not being able to accept credit cards in stores, and that their ‘Internet of Things’ devices were no longer working.

This whole thing is insane. One day, ‘The Cloud’ is going to go down for a week, and people will die as a result.

Bye-Bye Windows RAID

My Windows PC locked up again at the weekend. Followed by another 12+ hour RAID rebuild. So I’m done with it.

I waited for the rebuild, split the mirror, then installed SyncToy, some little Microsoft program that will automatically sync directories, like rsync on Linux, but with a GUI. It has to be run manually (or scheduled to run periodically in the background), but it seems far more robust than Windows RAID. And, even if one disk dies, at least I have a recent backup on the second, rather than an unreadable broken RAID.

I’m just appalled to see that a bloated multi-billion-dollar corporation can’t even get something as simple as RAID mirroring to work competently.

Windows software RAID is a worthless piece of crap

When I ran out of space on the main drive of my Windows video editing machine, I thought it was probably time I should install a RAID to put the video files on, so I wouldn’t lose them if the disk failed. I bought two 4TB drives, set them up as software RAID, and off it went.

Problem is, Windows software RAID is absolutely worthless.

In Linux, if there’s a power failure, or the machine locks up, or something that requires the machine to shut down unexpectedly, the RAID is usually OK. If the OS was actively writing to the disk, it will probably have to resync, but otherwise it’s already synced and continues as normal.

But not in Windows.

Microsoft decided that any kind of unexpected shutdown would make the RAID resync. Doesn’t matter that nothing has written to it for six hours, if it wasn’t cleanly shut down, you’re SOL.

And, no, when it starts resyncing, it won’t remember where it got to last time and continue after you reboot. Every single time you boot with an unsynced RAID, it starts over from scratch, even though it can’t possibly complete unless you’re going to leave the machine on all day.

So, any kind of power outage… and it’s nine hours waiting for the RAID to resync. Any kind of OS lockup… and it’s nine hours waiting for the RAID to resync. Given we don’t have the best power here, and Windows locks up now and again, the RAID in my machine has been unsynced far more often than it’s been synced. I get a power outage on Wednesday, and I have to leave it to the weekend

So that’s it for RAID on Windows. I’m scrapping the whole idea and buying a NAS running a real OS that I can just back everything up to manually.

WTF were Microsoft thinking when they designed this piece of crap?

Android 6.0 part 2

So, rumour has it that anyone who installed the 5.1.1 update on their Nexus 7 is now unable to install Android 6.0, because Google pushed it without considering that they hadn’t pushed a version of Android 6.0 that was compatible with the updated 5.1.1. Now we have to wait for one that is.

If true… good one, guys. Very smart.