Encryption Rights

Law enforcement officials usually play on our fears whenever their powers are limited, but those limitations are what keep our society from being a police state. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966 led to catastrophic predictions that many criminals would go free and society would be harmed if all arrested people were informed of their rights. Didn’t happen.
That’s what’s happening here. Law enforcement types are suggesting that Apple and Google are making their products safe for child molesters. It’s the same old tired “good people have nothing to hide” argument against privacy rights that’s been carted out for years.

You have the right to remain encrypted.

Facebooked Out

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote:

I’m taking a Facebook Vacation.
I’ve logged out from every device, removed the apps, the bookmarks, integration to operating systems.
The duration will be as long as I can swing it. There may be a point at which I can’t take it and come crawling back. I wouldn’t say I’m having withdrawal, but when I woke up this morning and got on my phone, the first thing I would normally do would be to open the app.
It wasn’t there.

It lasted about two or three weeks. I came back. We all come back.

I just spent the last 24 hours going without, and let me tell you… it’s hard.

When you’re 30, you’re basically right smack in the middle of the original Facebook demographic. I’m the same age as Mark Zuckerberg. Making it worse is having kids.

Everyone is on Facebook, especially family. They get quite irritated when I don’t keep them fed with pictures of 2.0 or news on developments of 2.1.

But now we have Facebook though their own admission, that they’ve been doing psychological testing on user emotional status without our knowledge or concent.

In a report published at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Facebook data scientists conducted an experiment to manipulate the emotions of nearly 700,000 users to see if positive or negative emotions are as contagious on social networks as they are in the real world. By tweaking Facebook’s powerful News Feed algorithm, some users (we should probably just call them “lab rats” at this point) were shown fewer posts with positive words. Others saw fewer posts with negative words. “When positive expressions were reduced,” the paper states, “people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”

My initial reaction was that I’m out, cold. That’s what I did last night. I even hovered over the button on the account deactivation page. But the pictures they throw up of my friends and family, wife included, who will miss me when I’m gone is almost another bit of emotional manupation.

After thinking about it today, I’m just going to be curtailing my browsing to a minimum. No more mobile. Just checking the main site a few times a day. Beyond the manipulation Facebook has been caught doing, Facebook really isn’t all that healthy to begin with.

At some point I’ll cut things off, but not cold turkey.

For now I’ll leave you with a bit of topical humor on the subject.

VNXe Thoughts

I had some thoughts after reading Chad Sakac’s blog entry about the new VNXe 3200.

  • The original VNXe (3100/3150/3300) was not my favorite product. It was fine as far as entry-level storage goes, but there were a good chunk of restrictions on the product, both technical and artificial, compared to it’s “big brother” VNX.
  • I’m conversely more excited about getting into deployments of the VNXe 3200. I’ll let you read Chad’s blog to get a more complete list of features but being able to do FAST Cache and FAST VP makes it a lot more of a compelling product.
  • I get the impression from reading Chad’s post that VNXe is reaching the point where the platform will eventually gain the ability to be as feature complete as the VNX and being built on the same hardware platform eventually perform as well as the VNX.
  • At some point, I would expect the “next-next-Generation VNX” to look more like a VNXe then the CLARiiON/Celerra mashup that exists today. No Windows code anywhere to be found, truely unified block and file setup.
  • If all they did was get rid of Java in the full VNX Unisphere mangement interface, I’d be so happy.
  • I suspect a lot of customers where a block-only VNX 5200/5300 made sense are going to be “moving down” to the VNXe.

Looking forward to getting my hands on one.

Upgrade Lottery

Over the weekend I facilitated a customer upgrade that involved:

  • In place upgrade of Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2 on a vCenter Server.
  • Direct upgrade from View Composer 2.6 to View Composer 5.3.
  • Direct upgrade from VMware View 4.6 to Horizon View 5.3 on two connection brokers.
  • Direct upgrade from vCenter 4.1 to vCenter 5.5.
  • Direct upgrade from ESXi 4.1 to ESXi 5.5 on multiple systems.

All of these, on a Saturday, with no issues. No calls to VMware support. No reviewing error logs. Very little hand wringing. For the most part everything went according to plan.

I feel like I should buy a Powerball ticket this week, or maybe make a trip to the casino.

New recruit(er)

Historically, finding employment has not really been particularly difficult for me. When I’ve decided it was time to make a change, I’ve been able to do so pretty quickly. A well assembled resume, solid technical chops, practiced interviewing skills, and making connections with people seems to have served me pretty well thus far. I don’t say that to brag, just as a statement of fact.

As such, I’ve never utilized the “services” of a technical recruiter during my job searches. I’ve watched friends and coworkers use them, with pretty mixed results.

Now, when I’m talking about a recruiter, I’m not referring to the internal HR professional who works for a company you’re trying to get a job with. I’m talking about the headhunters who make their living by finding people and placing them in jobs, and then their skin in the game is to get you hired and get a cut of it for them in a finders fee.

(If this process is actually financially beneficial to the person being recruited is probably up for debate. The Freakonomics study on real estate agents is probably something to think about in this regard.)

I’m also not here to argue that this type of recruiter has no place in the process. Organizations frequently are in need of new talent, and sometimes that talent is hard to find, especially when trying to recruit people from a new region or in a skill set outside the companies normal area. I know my company makes use of them at times.

I should also make a point, just to cover my own ass, that I’m happy where I’m at in my current employment. My dealings with headhunters recently are purely unsolicited. (Part of my frustration, see below.)

That said, I always keep an open mind.

However, what I’m not really open to are the amateurs who hound me on an almost weekly basis, sometimes via phone or email, but especially on LinkedIn. I spend a lot of time cultivating a serious and professional profile there, because I use it for maintaining relationships with current/former coworkers and clients. Doing so makes me somewhat of an easy target for these headhunters.

I’m usually polite, often times more than I should be. I will typically acknowledge their message and let them know I’m not interested in whatever they’re trying to get me to bite on. Many times simply notifying them of my minimum salary requirements is enough for them to realize they’re going down the wrong path.

However, the advantage of something like LinkedIn is (assuming the recruiter is being honest) that I get as much insight into them as they do about me.

Right away, I’m turned off if they’ve not been in their profession for at least 3 years, especially if their previous job was anything along the lines of being a professional cheerleader or hair stylist. If the only thing they know about servers is that three months ago they were one at the local mexican restaurant, it’s time to move on.

Really, what this tells me is they don’t (yet) have the skills to help me. They don’t understand what it is I do and they probably don’t have the connections to show me anything that a search on DICE wouldn’t turn up. Honestly, it’s not worth my time to engage with them.

I get it. We all have to start somewhere. There was a time when I didn’t know the difference between spanning tree and an oak tree. Time and experience, training, makes us all better. Most of us started in help desk, or desktop support. We’re not usually born as systems administrators or consultants.

The problems comes when these recruiters lack experience, they look at someone with years of experience implementing award winning virtualization solutions, holding multiple and VCP certifications… and then suggest a position managing Windows updates processes.

Just like any other job, they need to do research and know the market they’re in, and the positions they’re recruiting for. In the end all it does is make them look foolish.

I can tell you all right now, if I decided to quit my job and become something outside of my experience, like say as an investment advisor, I’d probably be pretty horrible at it for a while. The thinking that somehow because I bought my first stock (outside of my retirement accounts) in $TWTR last month, suddenly I’m equipped to handle the life savings of others because it’s up $15 since I bought in? Doubtful.

I’m sure someone, somewhere, probably told them that being a headhunter was really lucrative. Otherwise why do it? I guess you can probably work from home on your own schedule, or something like that. Make some phone calls and watch the money roll in on the backs of people with actual skills and talent who do the real work.

Honestly it’s something I’m surprised some of my Get Rich Quick Scheme relatives haven’t taken up yet.

Side thought: If this was really the case, if recruiting was really a good way to make money, why don’t senior technical people (system administrators, infrastructure designers, implementation engineers) quit their jobs en masse to become recruiters? If the money was there, it seems like someone from the industry would be better equipped to find good people and point them in the direction of good jobs?

And while I’ve said that headhunters do have a place, it’s a narrow one. Again, it’s different when they work for the company doing the recruiting. It’s different if they know the person is looking for work. It’s different when I ask a friend or former coworker if they’re interested in coming to work with or for me. There is a mutual interest at stake.

But if my job consisted of sitting around cold calling people with the prospects of changing jobs, just for the sake of making a buck, I’d quickly be looking for a new job. You rarely see this type of process with other life changing things. It’s like car salesmen who flags you down while you’re driving to ask if you’d like to come by the lot and test drive a new Audi… or a realtor who knocks on your front door and asks if you’d like to buy the house down the street.

Why not let the customer come to you?

One final thought, today received a LinkedIn message from a recruiter working for what is essentially a competitor to my current employer, asking me if I could refer anyone to work for them!

Facebook Vacation

I’ve logged out from every device, removed the apps, the bookmarks, integration to operating systems. I’m taking a Facebook Vacation.

The duration will be as long as I can swing it. There may be a point at which I can’t take it and come crawling back. I wouldn’t say I’m having withdrawal, but when I woke up this morning and got on my phone, the first thing I would normally do would be to open the app.

It wasn’t there.

Lately I’ve just felt overwhelmed by the noise. I feel like at times I just contribute to it, and need to find a way to make it better for myself. I can still keep up with sharing photos with friends on Instagram. My wife is addicted, so she can be my source for actual news of importance about friends and family who don’t share it with me directly. I want to see what it’s like for a while without the need to know, without the sometimes the overwhelming chatter.

And of course I still have Twitter. Which strangely enough, I don’t consider that noisy even though I follow 1500 people. Twitter is like a stream full of conversation, compared to Facebook which is individuals yelling as loudly as they can at me.

I’m tired of the yelling.

Big Data

The civil libertarian in me is appalled at the NSA phone records from Verizon (and likely others) and backdoor access to the data from Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, etc.

The engineer in me is fascinated at how import all that data, what they’d store it on (EMC Isilon) and how they would process it and retrive it. It’s a perfect example of the need for people who understand “big data.”

I’m so conflicted.

Qualified Quantity

It is important to create work you are proud of and if you are consistent and you keep working hard at it, you’ll get the outcome it deserves … an engaged and targeted audience is much more effective than a large one.

I love this.

Changing Things

VMware has updated its certification names logos and logos, again. I guess nothing lives forever, nothing stays the same.

What was the VCP until September of last year was originally going to be the VCP-DV, is now the VCP-DCV. The VCP-DT is still the VCP-DT, but the master level certification, the VCDX, has become the VCDX-DCV. Logos have also been updated. “Data Center” is now two words instead of “Datacenter” because apparently that considered industry standard (I didn’t realize there was such a thing.)

Good thing I was waiting to order new business cards until after I could add a VCAP certification.

Little Megabits

  1. You really should never use 100mb networking with VMware for much of anything. I’m not even sure 100mb networking has any place in a modern datacenter, except maybe cheap connectivity to something like an iLO/DRAC.
  2. You should avoid using a single vNIC for any vSwitch, unless you just don’t care about things like load balancing or network redundancy.
  3. Not seen in the image, but Service Console/Management Network should not be on the same vSwitch as your VM Network port group. Good luck accessing your ESX host when all the bandwidth on your 100mb connection is used up by virtual machine traffic.
  4. The particular host in question did not have any vMotion setup, and/because there was no shared storage for the hosts in the “cluster” — term used loosely.
  5. Any combination of the above is grounds for removal of virtualization privileges.