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publié le 14 novembre 2017 Beauté › Ongles et mains

I imagine that anyone would react the same way as HLW upon encountering bacon-scented underwear: to express their distaste using the classic Gonnabee-Hugh method.Those of you who have a fetish for this kind of thing might wish to avail themselves of such porcine-perfumed pleasures by picking up their own stinky grundies for just $19.99 a pair.However, I should warn the less foresighted, not to mention olfactory challenged, among you that there might be a teensy design fault in the concept: once you pop the skid-catchers in the wash, the piggy pong will be dramatically reduced, if not blessedly removed altogether. Removing the smell from one’s smugglers is, after all, one of the principal project outcomes you come to expect from putting them in a warm cycle with a scoop of Daz.This is frustrating. Surely the manufacturers must know that even those of us in the IT trade put their clothes in a washing machine from time to time. It's as if they knew the product was destined for imminent ruination and yet it was all part of their evil plan. In order to maintain the consumerist cycle, they want you to break stuff.

Once the initial humorous "Wake up and smell the bacon" gag – and I emphasise “gag” – has worn off, your twenty-dollar chundies will end up the same as all the cheapo manties you bought from the supermarket, except with a large picture of a strip of bacon incongruously printed on the front. And with crushing inevitability, you will be forced to store them away in the bottom drawer along with other embarrassing undergarments you have acquired over the years, such as that basque you bought for the wife but never had the courage to show her and the novelty Y-fronts you ended up with after last year’s office Secret Santa – the one featuring a cartoon of a worm sitting on an angler’s hook alongside the motto “Girl Bait”.Is it really a design flaw, though, or just an acknowledgement that certain products are developed with the expectation that they won’t be used more than once?I only ask because it might help clear up an argument I’ve been having regarding Microsoft’s Surface Pro computers. Apparently, sales are doing extremely well. There is even talk that it is catching up with the Apple iPads in terms of market penetration and that Microsoft will be the fastest-growing tablet maker by 2019.Now, I happen to think they’re the best pro-class tablet you can buy while simultaneously being the worst. The problem is the usual one with all PC kit: I suspect it might not be built to last.

Over the last 20 years or so, I have bashed my way through one desktop or laptop computer after another, hanging on to them right up to the point at which they explode or spontaneously collapse into a heap of loose components. And at the risk of upsetting the sensibility of many readers, I acknowledge that all the Apple Macs I ever owned have lasted at least three times longer than their equivalent Windows PCs.With the exception of the ghastly Computer Warehouse Mac-clone crap I bought out of curiosity in the 1990s, all the Macs that passed through Dabbs ownership are still working, many having since been donated and put to good use somewhere else. All my PCs, on the other hand, broke down at some point and ended up as landfill – except for their hard disk platters, which I use as coffee mug coasters at home.

Two of those PCs I bought were dead on arrival, so strictly speaking they didn’t break down: they never even worked in the first place. One was so badly assembled that its heat sink had fallen off the processor, and during its journey by van to my office, it had swung wildly around inside the case, smashing the motherboard and PCI cards into multiple segments of razor-sharp green plastic.When the delivery man plonked the box on the floor, you could hear all the pieces jangling about like a bag of spanners. He was most miffed when I refused to sign. As he heaved the melodious box back on the van, he had to content himself with the thought that, one day in the future, he’d have the opportunity to purchase his own bacon-scented banana hammock.So while I have been sorely tempted to buy a Microsoft Surface Pro rather than, say, an Apple iPad Pro, experience has warned me that the former could be a short-term investment. One of my colleagues bought one and, although he thinks it’s brilliant, the bloody thing seems to spend more time in a workshop being fixed under warranty than it does in his own possession.

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I want to be fair to Microsoft, so in the interests of balance let me say just this: either the Surface Pro or my colleague has not been assembled correctly.Building obsolescence into products is the bane of the modern age, but sometimes this has inadvertent benefits for the user. One example I noted last week was Belkin’s N150 router, whose built-in web server was said to suffer from a Telnet backdoor. Why worry, I thought, when you know that the router will stop working of its own accord after six months?No offence to Belkin but heck, what can I say? They might be lovely people but plasticky home network products sold at attractively low prices simply don’t last long. I'm embarrassed to say that I have bought my fair share of Belkin in the past and every single one ended up broken in under a year.As with my incorrectly assembled colleague, perhaps I am at fault. Perhaps I have just been unlucky, no doubt caused by not purchasing a twig of heather off that crone in Blackpool back in 1974. I had my chance and blew it.

In my less enlightened days, I even owned a cheap pocket modem that used to drive me mad with connection problems right up to the day when it simply fell to pieces of its own accord as I plugged in a phone cable. It was if it had finally given up on existence altogether and decided to spontaneously decompose in my hands as a parting gesture of defiance.These days, I refuse to buy any network box of any type, even for home use, unless it comes in a metal case held together with screws.Besides, that 2019 date for Microsoft units to overtake those of iOS and Android tablets is suspiciously familiar. Isn’t that when Bladerunner is set? You know, the film about dangerous products that had a built-in four-year lifespan before self-destructing?Windows 10 is not proving as popular as Microsoft’s earlier clients – even the hated ones – among the channel.The number of PCs pre-installed with Windows 10 moving through western Europe’s distribution channel in the four months since launch is lower than for Windows 7, and the hated Windows Vista and Windows 8 over the same post-launch period, according to market research firm Context.

On the plus side, Context noted a “considerable” increase between October and November.Windows 10 was pre-installed on 67 per cent of home, and 25 per cent of business machines, in the first-two weeks of November. That compares with 43 per cent of home, and 17 per cent of business, for the month before.PC makers driving growth were Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer, with most of the machines sold being notebooks, some 93 per cent.Of these notebooks, 14 per cent employed detachable or convertible screens.But while Windows 10 is growing, its uptake among PC makers is behind the curve, historically speaking.Windows 7 was resident on 86 per cent of machines during the same four-month period after its 2009 release with Windows Vista and Windows 8 on 88 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively.Context doesn’t explain the differences, but reasons might include the fact PC makers and channel partners were heavily bought into earlier clients.Experience, underwhelming demand for machines, and politics with Redmond as the firm has introduced its own Surface laptop, will have dampened enthusiasm.

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Comment There was a refresh release of Spectrum Scale earlier in November, and the ability of IBM to keep on pushing improvements into the scalable enterprise storage solution is impressive and underlines the task facing startups such as Rozo in building new scale-out file systems.It also underlines how Spectrum Scale will not simply fall over and die because Softlayer has bought Cleversafe.Spectrum Scale as a completely functional virtual machine in a complementary download for installation on a laptop, desktop or server. Testers can see the latest UI, try out unified file and object storage, and test HDFS transparency. However, there are limitations: 
GUI has extensions so that common administrative tasks, including policy setting, can be all run without needing a single instance of the command line.
The GUI has a dashboard showing what is happening in the cluster, the connections to the clients and the trends. If you have two clusters, some IBM storage then Spectrum Control will provide end-to-end visibility and trending.
Drop-in use cases for proof-of-concept testing of HBase, Hadoop or Big Insights. Spectrum Scale's HDFS (Hadoop File System) transparency means you can just point the application at it and it runs, with no lock-in since no app modification is necessary.
Spectrum Scale has natively supported Swift and Amazon S3 protocols, not gateways, so you can combine object and file storage, for leading performance and true file interoperability.
Faster data access using local disk or flash for write caching to complement the existing read caching.
There is also policy-driven compression, which could result in savings on cache space, meaning more data can effectively sit in cache and speed things up.
Spectrum_scale_history
Spectrum Scale history chart. Click chart for larger version.
Our understanding is that IBM paid up to half a billion dollars for Cleversafe, with extra payments if performance targets are met over the next few months.

IBM, meaning Softlayer, originally wanted to buy Amplidata but a $130m bid was exceeded, with HGST paying up to $300m for the object storage startup.Clearly, Softlayer believes object storage has a role that parallel file systems, for all Spectrum Scale's maturity, can't match. One Education, the Australian offshoot of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, has hit the crowdfunding trail to find the resources needed to build its heir to the project's XO computer.As we've previously reported, One Education's new “Infinity” is a modular computer that allows users to swap out the device's battery, camera, screen and radio. The idea is that as kids grow, they need different hardware, but that it is expensive wasteful to buy complete new computers every time a child outgrows or wears out a component.One Education has also made Android its OS of choice, offering a rather richer ecoystem than the original XO.Last August, the organisation offered pre-sales for its first 1,000 devices. Now the outfit has taken to crowdfunding to get the next batch out the door. The campaign is an unusual one as it seeks cash from the public and from schools who pledge to buy a fleet of Infinity machines.

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