This journal has become the Survival of New Orleans blog. In less perilous times it was simply a blog for me to talk smack and chat with friends. Now this journal exists to share firsthand experience of the disaster and its aftermath with anyone interested.
It's much more than that. While much of it is about getting technology up and running (e.g. "If anyone who works for or has connections with Bell South or Telcove is reading this, tell us what it's going to take to get those OC3s back up and running. We will try to coordinate and make it happen."), much is also about keeping civilization going in the midst of bungled politics. Such as with this open letter to Jesse Jackson:
Media reports have suggested both sites were unavailable for extended periods. Netcraft's seven monitoring stations found that while response time was slower from some locations (especially for the NHC), there were no outages for either site. The National Hurricane Center said its site received 22 million page views Sunday, with traffic on all NOAA sites approaching 5,200 hits per second at peak demand.
Perception matters, however. I hardly bothered with Weather.com in the last week (or the last six months, frankly), because in my experience its pages take forever to load, or hang when the browser says "Loading 79 of 80 items" or whatever in the status bar. Yet I just checked there, and it loads almost instantly.
What's more, I discovered that Weather.com's Top Stories page has links that point outward to other sites. Bravo.
So I find myself guilty of having done with Weather.com what I saw
Restoring computing and commmunications function after a massive hurricane isn't just a job for big vendors and utilities (even though they'll be doing a bunch of PR on the subject). Nor is using IT to help with recovery in general.
Since most IT folks don't blog, but many will have post-Katrina stories to tell, I'm volunteering IT Garage as a place where anybody with a story can tell it. If you don't have an account, create one, and post away.
You know what would be really cool. An office in Silicon Valley that was open 24 by 7, with pizza and coffee, for open source projects. A patent-free zone. A place to work on open formats and protocols. The missing social pulse of the tech industry. I wonder if it would work, or if it would just attract homeless people. Thinking out loud.
Well, we could
I figure this is one that IT folks should be able to help me out with.
For some reason, for hours or days at at a roll, it takes a long time, often up to 10 or 15 seconds or more, for pages to come up in a browser. This isn't a platform issue: the same thing happens on Linux, Mac and Windows machines, and on a variety of browsers, and a variety of sites.
It isn't a cable connect issue: our Cox Business cable service tests out at 1.6Mb down and 400Kb up.
Parenthetical note... I hate asymmetrical business service, but that's what they provide for $100/month. Home service, which we also have, tests at 3.2Mb down and 350Kb up, for a third of the business price, but they also block ports 80 and 25 and provide no IP addresses, which we do get with the business service. That's also way down from the 7Mb down and 3Mb up that we got originally with Cox, before they slowed down the service, reportedly to make room for more digital TV signals. The same problem happens on both services.
I thought it might be a Wi-Fi issue, but when I hooked one of my laptops directly to the cable modem yesterday, it was no faster.
A friend of mine who watches these things tells me that Microsoft in the past would have shut down sales of pirated Windows copies on eBay but isn't any more, essentially allowing the eBay marketplace to discover the "true" value of the OS.
I don't know if MS Microsoft Win Windows 2000 Pro New Full Retail Media is pirated or not (I'll assume not); but that's beside the pricing point, which is its buy-it-now price of $52.49.
Here's an OEM Full Version for $108.95.
So, three somewhat overlapping questions...
I'm not one for Microsoft bashing. In fact, the current cover story in Linux Journal (the one that features my very face) is focused on the remarkable leadership of Kim Cameron and Microsoft in next-generation identity services.
But sooner or later conversation comes around to viruses and other ills that are visited almost exclusively on the operating systems that are run almost exclusively on corporate desktops. Namely, Microsoft's.
I don't think he is. Not if what he worries about is a possible victory of evil over good. Evil being the bad guys who seem determined to destroy personal computing (or to make it annoying beyond human endurance), and good being the IT professionals who labor constantly to protect users and their employers from what the bad guys are doing.
Here's how Mike puts it:
There is a problem here, widely known as the day zero problem. For practical purposes, there are an essentially infinite number of vulnerabilities in the computer systems we use. A growing number of tools are availble to automate the process of mining for a new flaw to exploit.
Steve Ross, a director at Deloitte & Touche LLP in New York and a past president of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, said he knows of two Deloitte clients that have disabled their IM systems because of Sarbanes-Oxley concerns. Ross declined to identify the companies, saying only that one is a services company in the southern U.S. and the other is a large New York-based insurer.