25 February 2007

Is Your Drive Hard Enough..?

Apparently, Google says 'Yes!'
I imagine that if anyone could slaughter a hard-drive, it would be Google...


Hard Disk Test 'Surprises' Google
The impact of heavy use and high temperatures on hard disk drive failure may be overstated, says a report by three Google engineers.

The report examined 100,000 commercial hard drives, ranging from 80GB to 400GB in capacity, used at Google since 2001.

The firm uses "off-the-shelf" drives to store cached web pages and services.

"Our data indicate a much weaker correlation between utilisation levels and failures than previous work has suggested," the authors noted.

A wide variety of manufacturers and models were included in the report, but a breakdown was not provided.

Widely-held belief

There is a widely held belief that hard disks which are subject to heavy use are more likely to fail than those used intermittently. It was also thought that hard drives preferred cool temperatures to hotter environments.

The authors wrote: "We expected to notice a very strong and consistent correlation between high utilisation and higher failure rates.

"However our results appear to paint a more complex picture. First, only very young and very old age groups appear to show the expected behaviour."

A hard disk was described as having "failed" if it needed to be replaced.

The report was compiled by Eduardo Pinheiro, Wolf-Dietrich Weber and Luiz Andre Barroso, and was presented to a storage conference in California last week.

In the report the authors said Google had developed an infrastructure which collected "vital information" about all of the firm's systems every few minutes.

'Essentially forever'

The firm then stores that information "essentially forever".

Google employs its own file system to organise the storage of data, using inexpensive commercially available hard drives rather than bespoke systems.

Hard drives less than three years old and used a lot are less likely to fail than similarly aged hard drives that are used infrequently, according to the report.

"One possible explanation for this behaviour is the survival of the fittest theory," said the authors, speculating that drives which failed early on in their lifetime had been removed from the overall sample leaving only the older, more robust units.

The report said that there was a clear trend showing "that lower temperatures are associated with higher failure rates".

"Only at very high temperatures is there a slight reversal of this trend."

But hard drives which are three years old and older were more likely to suffer a failure when used in warmer environments.

"This is a surprising result, which could indicate that data centre or server designers have more freedom than previously thought when setting operating temperatures for equipment containing disk drives," said the authors.

The report also looked at the impact of scan errors - problems found on the surface of a disc - on hard drive failure.

"We find that the group of drives with scan errors are 10 times more likely to fail than the group with no errors," said the authors.

They added: "After the first scan error, drives are 39 times more likely to fail within 60 days than drives without scan errors."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/19 15:28:02 GMT


And the Winner Is: Basic Instinct 2!(?)

Isn't it about time for those golden trophies to be handed out..?


Basic Instinct 2 is 'Worst Film'
Basic Instinct 2 has swept the Golden Raspberry Awards - the annual ceremony which mocks the worst of Hollywood ahead of the Oscars presentation.

The film picked up four awards - or Razzies - for worst movie, worst actress for Sharon Stone, worst screenplay and also worst sequel.

Little Man
, a comedy by the Wayans brothers, collected three Razzies, including the worst remake or rip-off.

M. Night Shyamalan was named worst director and worst supporting actor.

'No reason to exist'

Basic Instinct 2 is the sequel to the sex-thriller that made Sharon Stone a star in 1992.

Razzies founder John Wilson said that although the actress still looked good in her late 40s, the film "had no reason to exist".

"I mean, 14 years later - you haven't got Michael Douglas - why are you making this?" Mr Wilson told the BBC's Five Live Breakfast.

"And the box office proves there was no interest in it... When a $70m picture can't make $6m, that's pretty lame," he said.

The Wayans brothers - Shawn and Marlon - were named worst screen couple and also shared the prize for worst actor.

Their Little Man film - a comedy about a tiny thief who disguises himself as a baby - was also awarded the Razzie for worst remake or rip-off.

Film-maker Shyamalan was named worst director and worst supporting actor for his film Lady in the Water.

The Razzie for worst supporting actress went to Carmen Electra for Date Movie and Scary Movie 4.

RV - a comedy starring Robin Williams - was chosen as worst excuse for family entertainment, in what was the newest Razzie category this year.

Mr Wilson created the Razzies in 1980. The dubious-distinction honours are decided in a vote by members of the Golden Raspberry Foundation.

Winners receive gold spray-painted trophies in the shape of a raspberry, which organisers say are worth less than $5.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/25 09:25:18 GMT


12 February 2007

Putin Flames b US h...

Funny how this story seemed to slip through the cracks of the American media, enit?

Remember all those folks who climbed the bully-pulpit, wanting a piece of Hugo Chavez because he dared to speak the critical truth about their precious prez? Where are they now, eh?

Every time ol' Vlad said 'U.S.' or 'America', insert 'Bush'...


Putin Attacks 'Very Dangerous' US
Putin attacks 'very dangerous' US
Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the United States for what he said was its "almost uncontained" use of force around the world.

Washington's "very dangerous" approach to global relations was fuelling a nuclear arms race, he told a security summit in Munich.

Correspondents say the strident speech may signal a more assertive Russia.

The White House said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Russian president's comments.

"We expect to continue co-operation with Russia in areas important to the international community such as counter-terrorism and reducing the spread and threat of weapons of mass destruction," said Gordon Johndroe, press secretary for the White House National Security Council.

Mr Putin told senior security officials from around the world that nations were "witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations".

"One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way," he said, speaking through a translator.

"This is very dangerous. Nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law.

"This is nourishing an arms race with the desire of countries to get nuclear weapons."

BBC defence and security correspondent Rob Watson, in Munich, said Mr Putin's speech was a strident performance which may well be remembered as a turning point in international relations.

US defence secretary Robert Gates, also attending the summit in Munich, said only that the Russian leader had been "very candid".

Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman said Mr Putin's speech was "provocative", adding that its rhetoric "sounded more like the Cold War".

And Republican Senator John McCain added: "Moscow must understand that it cannot enjoy a genuine partnership with the West so long as its actions at home and abroad conflict fundamentally with the core values of the Euro-Atlantic democracies. In today's multi-polar world there is no place for needless confrontation."

Mr Putin's spokesman Dimitry Peskov said the speech was "not about confrontation, it's an invitation to think".

"Until we get rid of unilateralism in international affairs, until we exclude the possibility of imposing one country's views on others, we will not have stability," he said.

'Power not weapons'

The conference, founded in 1962, has become an annual opportunity for world leaders to discuss the most pressing issues of the day.

Earlier, German chancellor Angela Merkel told delegates the international community was determined to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons.

There was "no way around" the need for Tehran to accept demands from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), she said.

"What we are talking about here is a very, very sensitive technology, and for that reason we need a high degree of transparency, which Iran has failed to provide, and if Iran does not do so then the alternative for Iran is to slip further into isolation," she said.

Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, also at the conference, has been repeating Iran's position that it wants nuclear power, not nuclear weapons.

"We believe the Iranian nuclear dossier is resolvable by negotiation," Mr Larijani was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying on the sidelines of the conference.

European diplomats are hoping to hold informal talks with Mr Larijani at the two-day summit.

It would be their first meeting since the collapse of talks last year and the imposition of limited UN sanctions on Tehran for its failure to stop the enrichment of uranium.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/10 19:36:17 GMT


Quote of the Day...

"...one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."

--Natalie Maines (b. 1974), singer, songwriter, patriot

Long Live the Chicks!!!

Congratulations to the Dixie Chicks on their five (5!) Grammy Awards. Well done! (& f*ck you Toby Keith!)


Dixie Chicks Earn Grammys Triumph

Watch Grammys highlights

Country trio The Dixie Chicks have made a triumphant comeback by dominating the major honours at the Grammy Awards.

The group's five prizes come four years after they caused uproar among many US country music fans for saying they were "ashamed" of President George Bush.

Their awards included best song, record and album. The Red Hot Chili Peppers won four, while Mary J Blige won three.

The ceremony was opened by reformed pop group The Police - but it was a bad night for other Brits like James Blunt.

The UK singer was up for five awards but went home empty-handed. Other British nominees like Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall and the Arctic Moneys also lost out.

The Dixie Chicks' victory in the top three categories represents vindication for a group who were banned from many US radio stations and received death threats after making their controversial comments.

At a concert in London on the eve of the Iraq war in 2003, singer Natalie Maines told the crowd she was "ashamed" that Mr Bush came from her home state, Texas.

At the Grammy ceremony on Sunday, their single Not Ready to Make Nice - including lyrics like "I'm not ready to back down, I'm still mad as hell" - was named song of the year and record of the year.

It also picked up best country performance by a duo or group.

Their haul was completed by best album as well as best country album for Taking The Long Way.

"That's interesting," Maines said on accepting one award. "Well, to quote the great Simpsons: 'Heh-heh.'"

Bandmate Emily Robison added: "We wouldn't have done this album without everything we went through, so we have no regrets."

The Grammy Awards are the most prestigious honours in the global music calendar, with 108 categories ranging from pop to jazz to gospel to polka.

The Police opened the show, playing their 1979 hit Roxanne to a standing ovation from 12,000 fans. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are The Police and we are back," Sting said.

The band are expected to confirm a reunion world tour at a press conference on Monday.

R&B star Mary J Blige went into the show leading the field with eight nominations, followed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with six.

Blige ended up winning three - best R&B song and best female R&B vocal performance for Be Without You and best R&B album for The Breakthrough.

"I thank you so much," she said. "For so many years I have been talked about negatively but this time I'm being talked about positively by so many people. This is a great night for me."

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' single Dani California scooped best rock song and best rock performance by a duo or group, while Stadium Arcadium was named best rock album.

American Idol star Carrie Underwood also took home three awards.

Underwood, who won the TV talent show in 2005, was named best new artist - beating R&B prodigy Chris Brown and British singers Blunt, Bailey Rae and Imogen Heap.

Underwood also took best country song and best female country vocal performance for her song Jesus, Take the Wheel.

Justin Timberlake picked up best dance recording for Sexy Back and best rap/sung collaboration for My Love, featuring TI.

TI also won best solo rap performance for What You Know, while best rap song went to Ludacris featuring Pharrell for Money Maker.

Gnarls Barkley's smash hit Crazy was named best urban/alternative performance, while their album St Elsewhere was judged best alternative album.

Bruce Springsteen also won two awards, scooping best traditional folk album for We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Sessions and best long form video for Wings For Wheels: The Making of Born To Run.

Madonna picked up best dance/electronic album for Confessions On A Dance Floor, while Christina Aguilera, John Mayer and The Black Eyed Peas took home pop prizes.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/12 05:13:01 GMT


11 February 2007

Quote of the Day...

"The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the dust and blood of our Ancestors..."

--Plenty Coups (1848 - 1932), Crow Nation

09 February 2007

Anna Nicole Smith (1967 - 2007)

Obituary: Anna Nicole Smith
The life of Anna Nicole Smith was marked both by extraordinary celebrity and frequent controversy.

A one-time Playmate of the Year, Smith was a successful model, occasional actress and star of her own reality TV show.

But it was her personal life that brought her attention - her marriage at 26 to octogenarian millionaire J Howard Marshall, the subsequent battle for his fortune and her later struggles with weight and tragedy.

Born Vicki Lynn Hogan in Texas, Smith dropped out of school early and at 17 married her first husband, Billy Wayne Smith.

The couple had a son but divorced after two years, at which point Smith moved to Houston to work in a topless bar.

There her career as a glamour model began to take off, with an appearance on the cover of Playboy in 1992.

In 1993 she became the magazine's Playmate of the Year and fronted a jeans advertising campaign, later breaking into movies with a role in the spoof Naked Gun 33 1/3.

Financial battle

It was around that time that she met Marshall, the 89-year-old oil tycoon who in 1994 became her second husband.

Their marriage generated enormous media interest, with Smith cast both as cynical gold-digger and ditzy blonde.

Marshall died 14 months after they married and Smith spent several years battling his family over her late husband's fortune, a battle unresolved at the time of her death.

In 2002 she appeared in her own reality TV show and later went on to become the spokeswoman for diet supplement TrimSpa, after a well-charted struggle with her weight.

But she was hit by tragedy in September 2006 when her 20-year-old son Daniel died just a few days after she gave birth to her infant daughter.

Smith then became embroiled in a legal dispute over the paternity of her baby daughter.

Her death in a Florida hotel at the age of 39 comes as the final twist in a colourful life played out in the tabloid media.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/09 04:22:42 GMT


08 February 2007

Landis: "No Tour in 2007"

OMG! What a huge surprise! Smells a bit like some kind of a plea-bargain to me...


Landis could be stripped of his Tour de France title
Last year's Tour de France winner Floyd Landis will not defend his title in July, the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) has confirmed.

The AFLD on Thursday postponed a decision on whether the American will be allowed to compete again in France.

Landis had reportedly appealed to the AFLD to delay their decision until after a US anti-doping agency ruling is made on 14 May.

In return, Landis agreed not to race in France in 2007.

"Mr Landis requested that the AFLD allow him to first defend himself in front of the American agency," said an AFLD statement.

"He has agreed not to take part in any cycling competition in France before the end of 2007 and that includes this year's Tour de France.

"On the basis of that commitment, the agency has decided to adjourn the hearing to a later date that will be decided on how the American procedure proceeds but no later than the end of June."

The AFLD could ban the American for two years after his positive test for testosterone in the 2006 Tour.

If the US process confirms his positive test, Landis could then appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which could delay the verdict for up to six months.

Landis, who is currently recovering from a hip operation, has denied any wrongdoing, claiming the test analysis was flawed.

If found guilty, the 31-year-old faces becoming the first Tour de France to be stripped of his title for drug offences.

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Shitbags of the Week: Westboro Baptist Church

I believe there is a special corner of White Man's Hell for degenerated weasels like the so-called Rev. Fred Phelps. I do hope that this self-righteous shit, and all the turds in the toilet of his congregation end up meeting the person who will flush them into oblivion.

To do something so despicable to a Family in their moment of grief and need takes a real sociopath. I really hope that Fred and his minions get theirs; I know they will, I have faith in that...


By Jessie Halladay
The Courier-Journal

A church group from Kansas that has protested at soldiers' funerals around the country plans to go to Bardstown to picket before the funeral for the 10 people killed in a house fire Tuesday.

The group from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka plans to demonstrate 45 minutes prior to the funeral in order to show that their deaths are God's punishment for a "filthy" nation that has disobeyed "His will," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of the church.

A date for the funeral had not been set by the family of the fire victims as of yesterday.

The Rev. Louis Coleman, who spent part of yesterday with the Maddox and Litsey families as they grieved, said it is ridiculous for this group to protest in Bardstown.

"That's terribly disrespectful to this family and to the community at large," said Coleman, a Louisville activist.

Westboro members have traveled the country staging the pickets -- holding signs that include such messages as "America is doomed" and "Thank God for 9/11."

"Our job is to cause America to know its abominations," Phelps-Roper said, adding that deaths such as those in Bardstown are punishment for a country that tolerates homosexuality.

Last year, Kentucky's legislature passed a law that banned protests at military and other funerals. But a federal judge has barred the law from being enforced, saying that it appears to go too far in limiting free speech.

The Rev. Michael Smith, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Bardstown, said he was sure the family would not appreciate the protest during their time of grief.

"Everybody needs that time and should have the time for grieving," Smith said. "It's really going to be difficult."

Reporter Jessie Halladay can be reached at (502) 582-4081.

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