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Make Your Own DHS Threat Level Display At Home

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  • by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Sunday December 19, 2010 @06:20AM (#34606094)

    The "low" (green) and "guarded" (blue) levels have never actually been used, and probably won't ever be, so they're only really there in theory.

    Perhaps a more realistic version would've had the cutout for those two levels, but not bothered to install the color backing, because the switch would be rigged so selecting them is impossible.

  • by h00manist (800926) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @08:53AM (#34606534) Journal
    The modern-fad "doomsday clock" would perhaps be inspired after the nuclear-war doomday clock, counting how close to implosion Wall St gets. In any case, it's neared midnight a number of times now. People like apocalypse clocks. doomsday clock [wikipedia.org], US Debt clock [usdebtclock.org], ipv6 countdown clock. [twitter.com] Impossible to tell how many fear and how many hope for a "Wall St Doomsday" -- but a clock just counts time.
  • not so fast, cowboy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pohl (872) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @11:10AM (#34607146) Homepage

    That would be true if we were to use this display for the uncreative purpose of displaying whatever threat-level the DHS is currently at.

    I would pay for a display like this. Back in 2004 I had to resort to using the various colors of the dry-erase-marker rainbow to create a threat-level display on the whiteboard in my office. Back then my team's product had a memory leak somewhere in it, and nobody believed me. The servers would be up for a handful of days, and then just when everybody was lulled into a false sense of security we would get a flurry of random OutOfMemoryExceptions as the whole thing would sieze up and become unresponsive - pulling system administrators out of their scheduled meetings to conduct emergency rolls in a panic. And then, back to business as usual.

    At first I was alone in suspecting a leak. Back then we didn't have any memory monitoring in place so it was all thruthiness from my gut. But worse than being alone in my suspicions was the sinking feeling that the leak was proportional to user load, which was on a steady incline with no sine of abating. So over the course of a few months - while everybody went about their business of making sure to only work on things that could be billed to client project numbers - the frequency of emergency rolls steadily increased, and I kept elevating my threat level in response.

    "What's that on your whiteboard," some would ask. I would explain that a shitstorm was on the horizon and that we had better take some time to find and fix the memory leak even if it meant taking a hit to billable hours. "Leak? What leak?"

    By doing this I got a partner onboard who put some hand-rolled memory monitoring in place using JFreeChart to plot the decline. "See...a memory leak!," we would insist. "No, no," said the best and brightest of our software engineers. "It'll pick up," he continued, suggesting that maybe I didn't really understand how the garbage collector worked and that maybe it merely needed to fall below some threshold before it kicked in.

    And with that, I once again elevated the threat level, and kept elevating it until it hit the top. Eventually we got to the point where one out of four nodes in our cluster was always in the process of being rolled, with users spilling over to the remaining 3, and one of them would crumble just as the 4th node was coming back up.

    We eventually discovered a dubious use of ThreadLocal in the old version of Xalan (the pre-xsltc version), and fixed the problem by upgrading the library. But without the threat-level indicator in my office, I might never have gotten attention to the problem before it was too late.

    I'll pay $200 for one of these boards. And I want all of the colors, damn it.

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