Friday, April 03, 2009

Work. Work. Work. One Tired Guy I Am.

I've got a lot of work to do which is good, but it's taking a lot of hours. The absence of a good work partner is the problem. Really, I need someone who will write proposals and blog for a small compensation but a percentage of revenue of work secured. That person also needs to be someone I can count on and is credible -- I can truat their word.

Sources: Google In Talks To Acquire Twitter (Updated)

More at TechCrunch: “Here’s a heck of a rumor that we’ve sourced from two separate people close to the negotiations: Google is in late stage negotiations to acquire Twitter. We don’t know the price but can assume its well, well north of the $250 million valuation that they saw in their recent funding.”

Promise Tech Sued By Carbonite : A Lesson In Data and Responsibility

Three days ago I decided to write a blog post that focused on an issue which at first glance would seem to have all the stuff of sleep-producing content.  It's a tech matter involving a company known as Carbonite , who's corporate mission is to provide "Unlimited online backup for one flat fee" according to its website, versus another firm Promise Technology.  The same website reads "How will you survive a computer disaster" and with a photo of a man that could very well be me, head bowed in his hand. 

Video version:

YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe,, Crackle and Sclipo

In fact, a couple of months ago that was me.  My MacBook's hard drive crashed big time, and while I was away from my home and office.  Even though I was visiting my mother in suburban Atlanta, I was still without my second computer and even worse, I had to catch a flight in just five hours.  So, I found a place nearby that works with Apple products and the tech warned me to have my "stuff" backed up.   All of the "stuff" I needed was online in various places, so I was ok.  

But it never entered my mind to me to sue Apple Computer.   

Thus my interest in this lawsuit over a matter that happened over a year ago but with a lawsuit filed almost two weeks ago.  Here's what happened:  

According to The Boston Globe , Carbonite is suing Promise Technology and another company Interactive Digital Systems for allegedly faulty equipment and breach of warranty, respectively.  Carbonite was responsible for over 7,500 backups which it lost in 2007.   Promise Technology hardware was supposed to monitor customer data and preserve the information  Carbonite claims the products by Promise were "defective".

Promise stands by its hardware devices and says they're reliable.  

This story has hit the tech blogsphere like wildfire.  It was picked up by TechCrunch first, and that story became linkbait for a number of blog posts rendering fact and opinion, including mine, because I was interested in what the comment writers had to say, most of which was critical against Carbonite.  

See, what's hard for many to wrap their mind around is why Carbonite itself lacked a backup system, especially considering the number of customers they had?  Every time I've had a hard drive problem over the years, people have asked, "Did you backup your data?"  That's asked all the time; I can hear someone asking it now.  So, the story spread and so did the comments.  Eventually, even our San Francisco Focus Blog entry on this had comments.  But one of them really caught my attention.  

This one:

Hi Zennie, 
I would like to make sure that your readers understand two points with regard to Carbonite’s lawsuit against Promise Technologies as your headline is misleading to the facts of the case:
1) This event happened over a year ago. We do not say this to minimize the matter. But we do want to point out that this has not happened in a long time and is not an ongoing problem. 
2) The total number of Carbonite customers who were unable to retrieve their data was 54, not 7,500. We did take responsibility for the loss of data, which impacted the 54 customers. 
Here is what happened: The Promise servers that we were purchasing in 2006 and 2007 use RAID technology to spread data redundantly across 15 disk drives so that if any one disk drive fails, you don't lose any data. The RAID software that makes all this work is embedded as "firmware" in the storage servers. In this case, we believe that the firmware on the servers had bugs that caused the servers to crash. Carbonite automatically restarted all 7,500 backups and more than 99% of these were completely restored without incident. Statistically, about 2 out of every 1,000 consumer hard drives will crash every week, so 54 of these customers had their PCs crash before their re-started backups were complete. Since they weren’t completely backed up when their PCs crashed, these customers were unable to restore all of their files from Carbonite. Most of the 54 got some or most of their data back. We took full responsibility for what happened and I did my best to call each of these customers personally to apologize. 
As a result of our problems with the Promise servers, we switched to a popular Dell server that uses RAID6 – an improved RAID that allows for the loss of 3 of the 15 drives simultaneously before you lose any data. This configuration is in theory 36 million times more reliable than a single disk drive — the chances of 3 out of 15 drives failing at the same time are almost nil. 
So far, Promise has refused to accept responsibility for their equipment’s failures, so now we are suing them to get our money back. The Dell RAID servers have been flawless and we're extremely happy with them. 
Dave Friend, CEO
Carbonite, Inc.

Dave's friendly comment certainly gave this blog entry new weight, but something Mr. Friend wrote concerned me:

 The RAID software that makes all this work is embedded as "firmware" in the storage servers. In this case, we believe that the firmware on the servers had bugs that caused the servers to crash. Carbonite automatically restarted all 7,500 backups and more than 99% of these were completely restored without incident. 

"We believe that the firmware on the servers had bugs" is another way of claiming there's no real evidence to back that claim.  That's a real problem and I'm surprised Dave Friend just hauled off and wrote that.  In other words, there's no way Carbonite can actually prove Promise Technology's hardware was at fault.  They have their belief, but that's it.  That means there could have been a lot of actions that led to the loss of customer data, and even Carbonite's Friend admits that only 54 of 7,500 customers were adversely impacted by this data loss.

Let's go back to my Apple example.  If my Apple MacBook crashes, techs ask me if I use disk utility tools to properly maintain the hard drive.  They instruct me to use those tools both in the care and recovery of data and the hard drive. Thus the care of the hard drive is ultimately my responsibility.

This is also at

Welcome for Obama in France on 3 April 2009

Video: Barack Obama in France, Europe on 3 April 2009.

American School of Paris Students Shake Hands with President Barack Obama

From dlynn78 on YouTube: On Friday, April 3rd, 47 American School of Paris students traveled to Strasbourg, France to witness the first public address delivered internationally by President Barack Obama. The address was followed by a "town hall" question/answer format. Afterwards, President Obama shook hands with our students. This starts about 40 seconds into the video.

Health insurance industry red tape hurts - it adds no value

It's time to put doctors and nurses back in charge of medical decisions. If you think government can't get anything right, ask yourself: has big insurance been getting health care right? No way.The insurance industry profits by taking roughly 1/3 of the money going to health care to pay for overhead while they overturn the decisions of doctors to pay executive bonuses.

Big insurance companies make so much money that they spend millions of dollars on lobbyists every year in DC, yet costs are outrageous and a disgraceful number of people don't even have coverage. Obviously there's big money working to keep the status quo or this would have been fixed decades ago. Instead of reform, instead of the kind of continuous quality improvement they apply to their internal functions, we get red tape - we get misinformation trying to label any reforms as "socialized medicine" while medical decisions are made by bureaucrats.

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CIA: Torture Gave No Leads, Foils No Plots, Led Goose Chases

The Feds are finally releasing more & more information that was hidden under the Republican administration that reveals that torture was not just totally unreliable, but is a waste of valuable resources, sending the CIA on global wild goose chases over & over with little to zero results. In fact other techniques have proven much more reliable.

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