Musings on IT, data management, whitewater rafting, and backpacking

Monday, August 20, 2012

Latest backpacking tweaks

I enjoy fiddling with my backpacking equipment and food, but I'm not really a gearhead or gram weenie. I'm trying to solve a problem, usually trying to reduce base weight.

This year's tweaks include ...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Goodbye Google Shopping


I've used Google Shopping since it was a beta service called Froogle, to research and source millions of dollars of purchases over the years. I used Froogle because I trusted the results to be neutral.

Google Shopping is just another advertising channel now.

Google is making more money, and retailers with deep pockets are happy to drive more traffic.

But this move is a serious dis-service to the eyeballs (consumers) being sold by Google.

So this set of eyeballs won't use Google Shopping any more.

Reinforces the old saying:

If you aren't paying for something, you aren't the customer, you are the product.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tape in the Cloud?

Why don't we have access to tape storage in “the cloud”?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Some useful data center design formulas


Ever tried to translate between IT-speak, electrician-speak, and heating-ventilation-air-conditioning-speak?  Adding to the confusion, HVAC is known as “mechanical” in the building trades.

Here are a few useful formulas and rules-of-thumb for translating units between different disciplines, along with related data center design tips.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When triple redundancy isn't enough


Last year we implemented a data archiving system, where Availability and Survivability were important design parameters. We had one primary server in California, with mirrors in Florida and Massachusetts – triple redundancy. Life was good for many months.

Right now, all three systems have been down for over 24 hours. 

Here's the story.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

EPO buttons not intuitive

October 17, 1989, 5:04 pm. The Loma Prieta earthquake severely shakes our buildings in the Palo Alto foothills, and cuts off electric power in the area.

Soon after the shaking stops, I go to the pitch-black, silent server room with a flashlight, and push the Big Red Button, expecting to cut off power and clean up the mess when we return to work.

A few days later I return to a big surprise ...

Monday, March 5, 2012

You don't save money buying computers

In the New York Times today "Digital Records May Not Cut Health Costs".

I've watched or run many projects that were justified with: "If we computerize this process, we'll save lots of money".

Never worked. Ever. In 40 years.

If you are lucky, you might do things faster, or better, but you won't save money. Usually, the project fails to do anything faster or better, and it costs a lot more than the old way.

Ironic that the rest of the world keeps re-learning this lesson.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Problems with aging Esbit tablets

Esbit tablets are popular with lightweight backpackers for cooking. Some people keep them in survival kits. Esbit claims:
When properly stored, Esbit solid fuel maintains its full functionality for many years.
I'm not sure what Esbit means by "properly stored", but I had trouble with 5 year old Esbit tablets.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stupid Hiking Story #2

Mid-1970s, winter in Southern California, dry, warm weather in the forecast, so I decide to spend a weekend backpacking alone in Mt San Jacinto State Park, without a tent. I take the Tram to the top, and chat with the ranger while picking up my permit. He sees my giant down sleeping bag, mentions the weather forecast, and says I'll probably be sweating tonight.

Oops.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Stupid Hiking Story #1

After two hours wandering the hills trying to find a dirt road clearly marked on the map, I stumble upon it. Too late to turn around for Plan B, I forge ahead on the overgrown track, thrashing through deeper and deeper green stuff that I don't recognize.

Cue ominous music.

Friday, January 27, 2012

500 Miles on the PCT – Lightening Up

In August 2003, I tried to hike 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail through the High Sierra in California – in 30 days.

Here's how I reduced my pack weight ...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

500 miles on the PCT – Training Trips

In August 2003, I tried to hike 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail through the High Sierra in California – in 30 days.

The best way to get into shape for backpacking is ... to go backpacking. I wanted to backpack 500 miles in several shorter training trips before the big trip.

Here's what I did ...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

500 miles on the PCT – Getting Into Shape


In August 2003, I tried to hike 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail through the High Sierra in California – in 30 days.

Here's how I got into shape for the hike.

500 miles on the PCT – A Crazy Idea

In August 2003, I tried to hike 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail through the High Sierra in California – in 30 days.

Why?