What happened to the Conservative idea of smaller government?

Armored personnel carrier puts Germantown in state of readiness – Autoblog

Please tell me again how this represents smaller government? What a complete waste of taxpayer dollars! It seems to me like some boys wanted somebody else to pay for their toys. Unfortunately that somebody else is you and me. The Department of Homeland Security is the biggest waste of federal money ever created. This is bureaucracy that FDR, or even the Soviets, could only dream of!

This on top of “spend and spend” makes me wonder how conservative the current administration really is. They seem to be pretty damn liberal when it comes to spending money of goofy stuff like this.

Apple Announces Intel Xserve

MacSlash | Apple Announces Intel Xserve

OK, so I’ve never really developed this site into a “technology pundit’s page” like so many of my friends have (see blogroll), so I’ll point you to some comments I made about the new Xserves from Apple on MacSlash.

I REALLY wish that server makers would get out of this “must be ONE RACK UNIT” rut they are in. To achieve this supposed holy grail of server size they are getting completely absurd in the one dimension nobody talks about… namely depth. To Apple’s credit, they’ve given a center-mount option to the Xserve since day-one, but it still is way too long. The original is 28″ long and this new Intel-CPU’ed Xserve iteration adds another 2″ to that, to now be 30″ long.

I’m sorry folks, that’s beyond absurd. It is ludicrous.

I’ve always maintained that Dell does it to sell their own proprietary cabinets. Apple has no such excuse. I wonder where they’ve added the depth in relation to the center mount area? At the back? In the front? 1″ in both directions? It should make adding a Xeon Xserve a challenge to an already populated rack or cabinet of Xserves!

We use awesome Seismic Zone Four rated cabinets from B-Line, which are adjustable with regards to the mounting rails, but once set, you really don’t want to move them. If you put a server that is 28″ or longer into them the cable management starts getting tough and ends up presenting a real impediment to air flow. With the Dell gear we have to just remove the doors to make it work, which when you think about it, pretty much negates the whole reason for putting a server in a cabinet! The majority of our Xserves are mounted in “open” Chatsworth racks. Those excellent and bullet-proof workhorses on the high-tech world. This removes all the airflow issues, but row density suffers because you have to accommodate the Xserve, the cables, the people space front and back, PLUS the space to fully slide the Xserve chassis open and not interfere with the row of servers in front of it. I realize what I’m about to say is counter-intuitive, but here is some reality for you:

1U servers such as the Apple Xserve actually lower your possible density of installation.

I’ll repeat…

1U servers such as the Apple Xserve actually lower your possible density of installation.

I could have a far more efficient datacenter layout with 2U servers if their form factor was 2U x 18″ x 18″. This would allow me to space my ROWS of racks closer together, and more importantly maximize my electrical power per square foot far more efficiently than with 1U boxes. If you do the math on Apple’s new Xeon Xserve the theoretical maximum electrical draw of a rack full of them is 336 Amps @ 120 Volts. Of course servers rarely run at their maximums, but that is a terrifying number. The “standard” amount of power per-rack in the business these days is 20-60 Amps. Given that it is in reality IMPOSSIBLE to have a rack fully populated with 1U/2PSU boxes due to the cable management nightmare of power cords, and the heat load of putting so much power in so small a space, why bother building 1U boxes? Why add insult to injury by making them as long as an aircraft carrier deck too?

THIS is the ideal size for a server. 2U in height, and rougly 18″ square in the other 2 dimensions. It makes for perfect rack density, row density, and the most efficient use of power (and of course cooling) per square foot of datacenter space. Airflow becomes manageable. Cable management much easier. Storage options more flexible. Heat issues minimized. etc. Do any of the server makers ever visit datacenters? Or do they just assume that 1U is what people want? Do they just listen to trade rags (written by people who sell advertising, not run datacenters!) or do they actually get out in the field and talk to facility operators?

I wonder.

My other beef with the Xserve has been Apple’s complete “slave to fashion” reluctance to put USEFUL ports on the FRONT of the unit. They REALLY need to put the USB and video ports on the front of the Xserve, NOT the back. Why force somebody who has to work at the console (and trust me OS X Server isn’t mature and stable enough to run headless forever… ) to work in the HOT AISLE? The backside of a stack of servers is HOT, and a very uncomfortable place to work. If you put the ports on the front, where the power button and optical drive are located already, there will never be a need to walk all the way around the row of racks and try to remember which server was the one you were working on. Apple actually did a hardware hack (with buttons on one side flashing lights on the other, to fix this design flaw. In reality the only time you really SHOULD be looking at the back of one of these servers is when you are installing it. After that, all admin functions should be performed from the front side of the server.

Again, makes you wonder if Apple actually spent any time in a datacenter or considered any functionality in their design, or was it just meant to look good in a glossy brochure or on a trade show floor?

Playing catch-up

To summarize last week, for the terminally curious:

Saturday, the wandering Jaguar E-type driver Larry Wade arrived at my house with his daughter. Partially inspired by my summer roadtrip with Nicholas a few years ago, he was out on a tour of the West with his kids. I gladly extended an invite to stay here at Chez Goolsbee, and helped him arrange an automotive checkup with Geoff Pickard to have a look at his E-type after a few thousand miles of road tripping. He planned on sending his daughter back to LA and pick up his son, but the fine efforts of United Airlines completely destroyed his planned smooth kid-exchange schedule. Sue entertained his daughter with a trip to see horses, while Larry picked up his Nicholas-age son. The two boys hit it off well and we had a huge dinner Sunday night at our house.
On Monday, Sue & I has a busy day in Seattle, dealing with a legal issue that my company hired her to perform… As in all legal proceedings it was a royal pain in the posterior, and nobody came away happy, but it was all done, so we were satisfied to be finished with it. We dropped off Larry’s daughter to get her flight home as well. My father was in Seattle and came home with us, so we had a full house!
Tuesday I took the day off and went for a drive with Larry & son, bringing Nicholas along too. We went to Fidalgo & Whidbey Islands, with a nice stop at Deception Pass. You can see the photos here. In the evening we all went out for Mexican food here in Arlington as Larry’s treat.
Wednesday I took my dad back to Seattle for his flight home, and worked. The Navy’s Blue Angels arrived and we watched them land at Boeing Field from the building’s roof.
Thursday I was invited to a CTO/CIO/Geek-thing by a bandwidth broker here in Seattle, where we were shuttled out to a houseboat moored on the log boom in Lake Washington. We had a front row seat for the Blue Angel’s two practice flights that day. I was surrounded by high-level geeks who had just experienced an outage at a competitor’s facility earlier in the week. The second or third outage for some of them. The timing could not have been better as we are just completing a major build-out of our facility, and unlike other datacenter’s in Seattle we have power and cooling to spare (we are running at ~10% of our capacity right now!) Needless to say, it was a fruitful day. The ironic cherry atop the sundae was there were also two people from a huge company that we had lost the deal on for colocation earlier in the year, who picked this competitor over us. They were still not “live” at the new place, but it was interesting to see their faces as the other customers of that facility complained about their problems.
Friday my family came by the office mid-day and picked me up for a weekend trip down to Oregon to visit relatives. We drove Sue’s new Jeep Liberty CRD down and back to central Oregon’s high desert. We ran on roughly 25% home brew fuel, and turned a respectable 27 MPG. While laying in a hammock and watching the stars Friday night I witnessed two satellites orbiting in near-identical paths… one following the other very closely. Almost as if they were just about to, or had just completed a docking maneuver. Fascinating to see.
We spent some time Saturday being separated from our money at the Deschutes County Fair… a very expensive day indeed (I haven’t been ripped off that bad since Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, UK). If they could have dinged us a dollar a breath they would have. Sigh.
Sunday we returned with my Mother-in-law in the Jeep, Christopher & I sharing the driving duties. I spotted an E-type in Biggs Junction, Oregon… a series 1 2+2.

So that’s what has been keeping me away from blogging of late.

Insanely busy, mind the gap.

The past week has been VERY busy for me, leaving no time for blogging. In fact I’m in a motel in Madras, Oregon at the moment and this is the first time I’ve looked at my website in a week!

So here’s a pic to tide you over the weekend:

Any guesses?

Kevin got it: An Auburn.

Here are some more pictures of the same car (from the 2005 Colorado Grand.)