Big Storage Fun

So, a while ago I had some problems with my RAID stack that turned out to be a power supply issue. I went and got a new power supply, which fixed the RAID. The whole incident got me thinking about storage. In an attempt to not freak out when my RAID blows up again, I got two Samsung 1.5TB hard drives to stick in two machines. I mean, hell, adding a hard drive is simple, right?

Well, not so much. Turns out there's a bit of a odd wrinkle when your drives get big. In my attempt to be of use and service to the community, I am passing along this bit of wisdom. Some Nvidia SATA drivers have a problem recognizing more than 1.1 TB of a drive. The symptom manifests during format. You tell the drive to format, and it hangs around the 1.1 TB mark. The solution is to force update your SATA drivers. The problem manifests under Vista 64-bit. So if by some odd chance, your hard drive format hangs, it's something you might consider doing.



Veterans Day

I must admit, I'm mildly confused about the name of this particular holiday. I would swear there should be an apostrophe in there, but these guys disagree.

In any event, be kind to a veteran today. I offer my usual suggestion to buy one a drink, but you'll have to disinclude me this year. I'm sitting around at home whacked out on Vicodin after surgery, so I don't think drinking is indicated.

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Once again, the voters of Texas are being asked to poke around in the dog's breakfast that is the state constitution and fix some of the screw-ups from days gone by. As a handy service, I have compiled a list of how you should vote if you are crazy enough to take my advice on politics. My list only covers the Amendments on the ballot because out in the sticks where I live, that's all that's on the ballot.

1 - Against. I was unaware cities and counties possessed military bases. If buffer areas are needed, the entity responsible for the base needs to handle the problem, not the surrounding jurisdiction.
2 - For. If I'm living in my house, it should be taxed as my house, not taxed on the theoretical value if my house was an office building.
3 - Against. I fail to see why things being done differently in Harris County vs. Blanco County is something the state needs to worry about.
4 - For. I'm just slightly for this. I could be convinced otherwise by a strong argument.
5 - For. It's an adjustment to the reality on the ground. If you need more people than you can get, what are you supposed to do?
6 - Against. You want more bonds, come back and ask for them again.
7 - For. If there's no conflict between National Guard service, why would there be for the State Guard?
8 - Undecided. While in theory, I am fine with what the state is doing, I am uneasy at the state providing resources to handle what should be a purely federal function. Once the state starts down the path, the fed may expect it.
9 - Against. Beaches are so goddamned important we should strip property rights away from people based on the whims of the weather? You're either for private property or you're not. If the state wants public beaches, the Lege needs to pony up some cash and buy the land.
10 - For. Two year terms essentially become endless campaigns.
11 - For. Given my views on eminent domain, I'll take whatever limits I can get.

Further analysis can be found here and here.

If you have candidates, I certainly hope you've done some research on them before today. If not, stay home. We have enough ignuts making policy without the rest of the ignuts encouraging them.

And as always, be nice to your election workers.

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Hardware, Software, and Safety

So Tam had a post up last week musing on the various and sundry mechanisms firearms designers and manufacturers have employed over the years to make their devices less susceptible to idiocy. She notes, quite rightly, that the only way to reduce accidental discharges is training, training, and more training. She closes on the fervent hope the someday we won’t try to mandate hardware fixes to software problems.

Nice pipe dream, Tam, but it ain’t ever gonna happen.

Here’s the problem. Hardware is cheap and easy. Software is tedious, time-consuming and expensive. In my day job, I am a project engineer in a manufacturing facility. I get to design and modify complicated equipment. I am at the front lines of dealing with the modern industrial safety culture in which nothing bad is ever permitted to happen to anyone, no matter how much they may deserve it. Before you think of me as even more of a heartless bastard, let explain what I mean by “deserve it”.

Large pieces of machinery are not very forgiving. Steel is, in all cases, harder than flesh and bone. If you stick your appendages into moving machinery, you will lose. Once you are of an age to have a full-time job, this should be immediately obvious. You deserve to lose if you don’t have a healthy respect for the machinery. At some level, the machinery has to function and sometimes that means bad things can happen if you insert yourself in the process. There’s just no getting around that if you want to get things done.

This doesn’t stop my corporate overlords from insisting on making every process safer. I have sat in meetings where people have tried to tell me we needed to redesign a process so the use of a dead blow hammer was no longer required. Why? One of our employees hit himself in the mouth with a hammer.

Think about that for a minute. A hammer is, quite literally, about the simplest iteration of hand tool imaginable. You can make one with a rock and a stick. If it gets any more basic, you’re using rocks to bang on things. There are people, and I work with them, who cannot be trusted with hammers because they hurt themselves.

So, if hammers are too fucking complicated, is there any hope for a really complicated device like a firearm?