Pet Peeves System Administration

The razor business model within IT

The razor business is said to have premiered the following business model: Sell the razor really cheap, but charge a lot for the blades.

Seeing the same in IT isn’t unusual, the prime examples are Inkjet printers where the printer is ridiculously cheap, but a new ink cartridge costs almost the same as the printer.

Cisco memory is another example.

I just noticed the same with HP’s new entry-level 1U server, the HP 120G5. We bought one for evaluation purposes for slightly above 500 €. Seems like a decent hardware: 1GB RAM, a Xeon processor and a single SATA harddisk. No frills, no chrome spoilers, just a straight forward server.

But: no on-board remote management. That would be extra. You need to buy the HP DL120 G5 Lights-Out 100c kit. We just plugged one of these into a DL 180, where we really need it. It’s a very tiny card. Just a PCI-E slot, a RJ45 jack and a single chip:

LO 100c

The price: ~ 200 €.


Pet Peeves

Buying shoes for kids

The feet of kids are delicate things and as a caring parent you’re supposed to make sure that the spawn’s footwear fits his ever-growing feet. Ok, spring is coming and thus the time is near where we can stop using his #24 winter boots and give him “normal” shoes again. So off to the store we are and what do we find?

At the end of February, the shop is already geared towards summer shoes. i.e.: open shoes and sandals. Great. That’s about 2 to 3 months in the future.

That stocking policy might make sense for shoes for adults, but for kids? The size of their feet is highly variable. You buy when you need the shoes as you want to size them correctly.

So dear shoe industry: what’s fine in the woman’s section of the store does not make sense in the kids section. There, “just in time” shopping is much more appropriate. Please stock accordingly.


IETF drinks: Regarding domains in usecases-02

I’ve written about this already a few times in various IETF / RIPE lists, but it seems to be relevant to the current draft as well, so here is a repeat:

According to the usecases draft, SSPs report the public identities of their customers to the registry so that the registry can store the mapping to destination groups. All fine and dandy for TN based public identities, but what about sip:user@domain?

These URIs come in (at least) two flavors:

a) the domain is the provider’s domain (e.g. “”)
b) the domain is owned by the customer (e.g. “”)

The first one makes it easy for the SSP to authoritatively tell the registry that it provides service for whatever URI it is going to provision. So from the point of drinks, this is easy.

[I still very much doubt that solely offering such PIs to customer is dangerous to the SSPs as they might be forced to offer PI portability, which would really mess up a lot of assumptions.]

So what about b)? Portability is a given, and ISPs are used to deal with customer-owned domains for email and web. Good. So what’s the authorization mechanism? For email and the web it’s simple: the entity which controls the domain must set the respective MX and CNAME/A records so that the rest of the world know who provides email/web services for this domain. If the control over the domain changes, so does instantly change the control over email and the website.

Now, if a SSP can provision any URI regardless of the domain ownership status / domain content, this opens up a pandora’s box of interesting errors. We now duplicate who operates SIP service for a domain in two databases which can and will run out of sync with each other.

I consider it thus a lot more in line with the rest of the Internet protocols to store the mapping domain -> destination group in the DNS and not some other registry.


Some comments on draft-channabasappa-drinks-usecases-requirements-02

Richard wants feedback, so here it comes.

This document is a _lot_ better than -01. Much more consistent.

Overall impressions:

  • This is a telco design. Basic bell-head thinking with only some marginal sprinkling of Internet ideas. This is a document which describes how one might carry over the telco provisioning, interconnection and call routing approaches to the VoIP world.

    All fine and good, but to be provocative: why is this an IETF WG document and not an ITU-T, OASIS or 3GPP paper? The role model, the actors and a most use-cases are almost straight from the PSTN playbook.

  • This is way too ambitious on one hand. Defining all this in a single protocol and implementing the registry which actually does all these things is a herculean task.

    Layering, folks. Layering.

    Divide the problem into discrete, clearly separated sub-problems (see the speermint LUF/LRF split for a good one) and the complexity can be brought under control.

  • This is way too conservative on the other hand. There is little dynamic routing. There is no integration of enterprise VoIP routing with carrier routing. There no possibility of ad-hoc peering.

Okay, some specifics:

System Administration

Windows XP: Doh.

Letzte Woche:

Windows: Starten Sie neu

Verarschen kann ich mich selber.

Pet Peeves

Kafka would be proud

I used to work for KPNQwest, which was a pan-European company. They tried to offer seamless service across Europe (which failed miserably) and tried things like regional service centers.

Dealing with Interxion gives me Deja-Vues. They, too, try to offer the same service in all of their Datacenters across Europe. And they, too, have their centralized customer care. Here the fun starts:


Train Tracks

track 2009-02-08

This one started with a plain rounded square and then started to branch out.

Life Pet Peeves

Buying a new TV set

I had hoped to replace my old CRT in a few years when the pace of innovation on the LCD side had settled down, the standards have really established themselves, more HD content feeds are available, and the prices are lower than now. But no, the CRT called it quits a few weeks ago (no more vertical beam deflection) and we are forced to buy now.

Well, shucks.

I won’t repeat what’s been discussed to death in the various videophile sites and price-comparison fora. Just one simple question:

Why don’t hand the shops out simple 1:1 scale paper pictures of the various TV sizes? It is really hard to picture how the set you see in the showroom will look like in your living room and thus decide which size you want to buy.

Thus I spent yesterday evening getting the measurements of 32, 37 and 42 inch TVs and cutting cardboard as mockups. Holding these against the wall almost instantly told us what size we really need/want.

So dear Philips, Sony, Toshiba & co: what about it?


Some thoughts on .tel

Last week Carsten Schiefner talked about .tel at the Registrartag in Vienna. Now that .tel has finally launched, here are my thoughts on this new TLD:

Austria Life

East / West and counter-intuitive train stations

I was booking train tickets from Vienna to Budapest this week and noticed the following absurdity:

My train from Vienna to Budapest leaves at Wien Westbahnhof and arrives at Budapest Keleti pályaudvar. In other words, I’m leaving from the western train terminal in Vienna and will arrive at the eastern train station in Budapest.

So far, so good.

It’s just that Budapest is straight to the east of Vienna.

(Yes, there are good reasons for that, for the Vienna side it’s that the train is coming from Zurich. In Budapest Keleti seems to be the default station for international trains.)