Saturday, March 31, 2012

Normalisation of Deviance

A little I.T. digression from the normal History stuff. I came across the term "normalisation of deviance" recently in an article about the Hubble Telescope mirror fiasco. It's a term that has application in the I.T. world, and one that any good support person or company should strive to notice and avoid.

We run into it a lot when there's a rush to complete a project, or when there's a great number of tasks firing at the same time. The trick is to keep track of all the open items and not let them fester. Not only can they lead to loss of data and heartache for a client, but as an outsourced IT consultant, it can lead to loss of a client even if nothing "bad" happens and the aberration is discovered in advance of a catastrophe.

I always tell our new consultants, "backups are your most important insurance policy." Yet since they are pretty boring they're one of the most overlooked. It's the first thing I look at when taking over a new client from another company, and I'd say about a third have some sort of issue, from a particular server that doesn't back up successfully, to in one case, an entire very expensive infrastructure that had no backups even after 18 months of implementation!

They are a regular "target" of normalisation of deviance; but often we see things like patching and anti-virus that doesn't update properly in a state of deviance. Like a space disaster, things go fine until all of a sudden the IT support group gets into a cascade of failures, where one small failure begets a larger group that winds up unhappily for everyone involved.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

An early 2012 look at visitors

Hadn't been planning on doing this, but since I had to try and figure out how many of my readers are still using dial-up internet, it was a good time.

As of March 25th, 72% of all visitors are new, and 27% of you are returning visitors.

* 45% of the site visitors are using Internet Explorer (46% IE8, 40% IE9, 11% IE7, Thankfully just under 2% on IE6, and two visits on IE10, of which one was me testing)
* 25% are using Firefox (57% on version 10, 11% on version 11, 7% on version 9, 3% on version 8, and just under 9% on versions 4 and earlier.)
* 15% are using Chrome (.6% on version 18, 91% on version 17, .6% each on versions 16 and 15, and .42% on version 12)
* 9% are using Safari (Build numbers are a bit weird - 25% on 7534.48.3, 8% on 6533.20.27, and ~55% on 533/534.X.X)
* 1.75% are using Opera (3.5% using version 12, 85.5% using version 11, with 8-10 at about 1.75% each)
* 1.6% are using an Android browser (Tablet or Smart phone)

* 85% are using Windows (46% Win7, 39% WinXP, 14% Vista, less than 1% total "everything else")
* 7% are using Macintosh (27% 10.7 "Lion," 46% 10.6 "Snow Leopard," 18% 10.5 "Leopard," 8.5% 10.4 "Tiger")
* 2% are using iPad (no version info)
* 1.6% are using Android (13.5% version 3 variants, everything else some version of version 2.3 or 2.2)
* 1.2% are using iPhone/iPod (no version info)
* .75% are using Linux (no version info)
* .09% are using Blackberry (no version info)
* .03% are using Chrome OS (netbooks)

5% of the visitors were from mobile devices and 95% were from more traditional laptops or workstation/home systems

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Royal Navy Requests

This is something I run into every once and a while and try to move things forward, or at least re-learn what I knew. Rather than continue to have to re-learn every time, I figured I'd post what I knew here so I or others can reference it in the future.

In the year before the official US entry into WWII, there were several Royal Navy ships that came to American ports for repairs following war damage. Needless to say, helping a country during war when we were professing to be neutral was highly "questionable," to say the least. The US Navy needed to track costs, but in a way that was more secure.

Thus became the "Work Request," where repairs to foreign ships were classified in a system that did not mention name or nationality, stripping all but a numeric identity from all correspondence. I first came across this with Work Request 126, for HMS Warspite, which was repaired at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. I've seen them much higher, so it appears that the Navy kept the system in place throughout the war, likely as a convenient system to continue to track work on foreign ships.

Jerry Leslie mentioned that there are different terms the US Navy used over time and we know that the Royal Navy had their own nomenclature. A memo Jerry referenced, dated September 3, 1941, uses the term "British Advisory Repair Mission," or "BARM" for short. In July of 1942 this is changed to British Admiralty Maintenance Representative, or BAMR. The Royal Navy, for their part, organized their forces working with North American under groups referred to as the "British Admiralty Delegation" with a special group focused on repair (BADR).

The ones I know for sure:
Work Request 104 - HMS Liverpool - Mare Island Naval Shipyard 1941
Work Request 126 - HMS Warspite - Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 1941

These additional listings come via Sean Hert, Roger Torgeson, and Rick Davis:
WR101 HMS Delhi (1941 - Brooklyn Navy Yard)
WR103 HMS Illustrious (12-41 - Norfolk Navy Yard)
WR109 70FT MBT XPT 10-19
WR128 HMS Dido
WR129 HMS Formidable
WR137 HMS Furious
WR149 HMS Cathay
WR151 MS Alcatara
WR164 HMS Firedrake
WR170 HMS Caradoc New York NY October 1941
WR171 HMS Queen Elizabeth, Norfolk NY, June/43
WR173 HMS Royal Sovereign, Philadelphia NY, Sept 1943
WR176 HMS Indomitable (1944- Norfolk NY)
WR177 HMS Glasgow (1/8/42 - New York NY)
WR178 HMS Durban
WR179 HMS Penelope (10/5/42 - New York NY)
WR181 HMS Newcastle (21/11/42 - New York NY)
WR182 HMS Nigeria
WR186 HMS Phoebe New York NY - 15 June 1943 WR187 HMS Argonaut, Philadelphia NY November/43
WR188 HMS Ajax, New York NY 5 March 1943 WR191 HMS Celandine (K 75)
WR196 HMS Burnham
WR196 HMS Burnham
WR212 HMS Avenger
WR216 HMS Biter
WR219 HMS Dasher
WR224 HMCS Eyebright (K 150) (ex. HMS Eyebright)
WR227 HMCS Arrowhead (K 145) (ex. HMS Arrowhead)
WR230 HMS Burwell
WR231 MS Carnavan Castle
WR242 HMS Devonshire
WR257 CAP des PALMES (June 1944 Mare Island Navy Yard)
WR258 HMS Churchill (I 45) -ex USS Herndon (DD 198)
WR280 HMS Arethusa (11/12/43 - Charleston Navy Yard)
WR283 ?? - March 1943 Mare Island/Hunters Point & Bethlehem Steel Oakland CA
WR289 HMCS Fennel (K 194) (ex. HMS Fennel)
WR290 HMCS Bittersweet (K 182) (ex. HMS Bittersweet)
WR292 HMS BAZELY (BDE-2), Boston Navy Yard May 1943
WR298 HMCS Caraquet (J 38)
WR299 HMS Guysborough
WR314 HMS Dido (6/11/44 - Philadelphia Navy Yard)
WR329 HMCS Collingwood (K 180) 11.15.43
WR341 HMCS Dunvegan (K 177)
WR343 HMS Uganda Charleston Navy Yard, October 1944
WR344 ??? early 1944 Mare Island Navy Yard or Terminal Island US Naval Drydock
WR358 HMCS Arrowhead (K 145)
WR359 HMCS Snowberry (K 166)

Below is a list of known numbers that we don't know the ship of, submitted by Rick Davis. Note that the numbers aren't sequential by date of work start:

Request 186, arrived 16 January 1943 - (probably a cruiser) New York Navy Yard
Request 262, arrived 11 January 1943 - New York Navy Yard
Request 269, arrived 13 February 1943 - Boston Navy Yard
Request 272, arrived 29 December 1942 - Boston Navy Yard
Request 305, arrived 3 July 1943 (main engine repairs) - Boston Navy Yard
Request 326, arrived 20 September 1943 - Boston Navy Yard
Request 342, arrived 28 October 1943 - Boston Navy Yard

Still Unknown:
HMS Manchester (Philadelphia Navy Yard)
HMS Orion (1941 Mare Island Navy Yard) HMS Argonaut (1943) HMS Birmingham (Norfolk Navy Yard, July-November 1944)