NEZ - The truth behind the credits... finally revealed.

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Profile Gary Charpentier Crowdfunding Project Donor*Special Project $75 donorSpecial Project $250 donor
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Message 951498 - Posted: 1 Dec 2009, 23:09:59 UTC

http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/2009/11/30/20091130searchforaliens1202.html
During a warranted search of his home earlier this fall, Gilbert police found 18 computers and other equipment stolen from the district.

Me thinks theft of equipment, a felony, might be Nez's biggest problem. Likely also what brought Seti to someone's full attention. The old, pile on everything we can think of and see if it sticks.

Sad story. But I think BOINC also ought to revise the statement about "free" computer cycles to remind people it does cost them $ for extra electricity and wear and tear on the equipment. With the downturn in the economy those pennies can add up. A boss who said sure in 2002 might say hell no today.

Looking at our top 20 participants list by total credits, I see another account that looks suspicious. Really high total credits, but a tiny RAC now. Something tells me Nez's story isn't so unique.

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Message 951499 - Posted: 1 Dec 2009, 23:10:30 UTC

Seems several people here are ready to hang Nez on the nearest tree. Remember we do not have the complete story. We have only heard from the current district administration and district attorney’s office. The only thing I have read that is incriminating is the fact that some of the school district’s hard ware was found at his home. And even that is not damming. He could have taken old stuff home to repair or it might have been surplus that he had purchased legitimately. I have a local school district computer on my desk right now. I bought it from the school district for $10. It’s an old iMac.

As far as running S@H and Boinc on school district computers, there are no facts as to what his actual authority was. Was he the person who made the call? Did he ask years ago and get a yes from a prior administration or prior boss? No facts. I totally agree with the rule that you don’t install software on other’s computers without permission. But things change. I was president of my company for over 10 years. I ran S@H and Boinc on all company computers. It was my call. Last year I was demoted when the founder’s son took over control. He has taken Boinc off of most computers in the company, leaving it up to individual users.

As for damages? I really don’t buy the argument that computers wear out because of running S@H or Boinc. In fact, I built 5 identical computers 3 years ago. Two of them are turned on and off during office hours. Three of them were on 24/7. The ones that have run 24/7 are still going strong. The two that were turned on and off have lost 4 of the 8 hard drives that had been installed. The turning on and off is harder on the computers than 24/7 operation.

The only real “loss” that the district has suffered is the electrical cost. But as already stated, the increased cost of electricity must be off set by the saving on hardware repairs and replacement.

I like everyone here am sad to hear about Nez. But is he really a bad guy, or just a convenient scapegoat that the district is using to lessen the impact of a shrinking budget? We don’t know.

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Message 951507 - Posted: 1 Dec 2009, 23:35:04 UTC - in response to Message 951499.  
Last modified: 1 Dec 2009, 23:35:37 UTC

Well, 10,000,000+ Classic CPU hours must have cost plenty. And I thought I was bad with my measly 390,000+ ;) Impressive though...
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Message 951513 - Posted: 1 Dec 2009, 23:50:45 UTC

If I have this right, these comments are from the original story that ran in an Arizona paper- http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/11/30/20091130searchforaliens1202.html#comments.

I see some comments on that article that seems to be from people who worked with Nez, notably this comment-

He was the director of Internet Technology until Dr. Birdwell promoted a family member of hers into that position. What I love most about this is that they neglected to mention that the previous superintendent KNEW and APPROVED him utilizing district computers in his home since he worked from home. In addition, they not only removed the districts computers from his home, but his families personal ones as well. Let's not forget that the district FORCED him to take a 3 week vacation this summer when he was in the middle of a huge project of getting the new school into our district ready for opening. Then they toook that project from him and gave it to another who FAILED to do it and blamed him.

As far as the outrageous claim about the smart boards, they were new to the district last year and a select few classrooms at each school actually had them. I doubt that this so called alien tracker had anything to do with them crashing. The computers at the district are always dealing with one thing or another.

As an employee of the district, I feel this is nothing more than slandering of Brads name. A good majority of his team walked out after he did, only to become bullied or slandered as well. How does that make you feel Dr. Birdwell? How do YOU sleep at night with all the bullying you do?

Although everyone has an opinion, I really find this article one sided. Unfortunately, I don't feel there will be another side that is equally published in the paper.

This ship is sinking and I only hope there are survivors when it does.


In a nutshell, it may be that the new school super trumped up charges against Nez to bring in a family member to take over the school districts IT dept.

And I suspect that you won't hear anything from Nez because of pending lawsuits..[/url]
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Message 951517 - Posted: 1 Dec 2009, 23:57:23 UTC - in response to Message 951513.  

More comments from that newspaper story- http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/11/30/20091130searchforaliens1202.html#comments

It is true that Brad was replaced by one of Birdwell's "family members". After nine years working for the district, his salary and title were cut, so that Birdwell could put into place her loyalists.
This article is extremely one sided and the reporter should be ashamed for not publishing all the facts.
In the nine years that Brad worked for the district, the student population more than quadrupled, thus half a dozen new schools opened, and Brad and his understaffed team set all the technology up for each one.
Now, that Birdwell is in charge, she used money that should have gone to the classrooms to pay for outside consulants to dig into all employees in order to find dirt on them and force them to resign. Since she had tech consultants who had access to everyones' acounts, who is to say that the consultants did not do some of these alleged installs and such, and set Brad up? Brad was obviously on Birdwell's hit list- thus to pay cut and title demotion. And if there is any question as to whether or not Birdwell has a hit list- take a look at the number of employees forced to resign/ terminated during her 18 months in charge.


and this one-

Mr. Niesluchowski had permission from previous Superintendents to have the equipment at his home. It was there so he could work from home since HUSD was understaffed and he needed to put in very long hours. The police found NO EVIDENCE of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Niesluchowski. Somehow the reporter failed to mention that in the article and painted him as a thief.

Dr. Birdwell and Sara Bresnahan should be ashamed of themselves for getting this article published. There are so many lies being told it is astounding. The reporter obviously did NO fact checking at all. She simply got the story from Sara Bresnahan and ran it. I hope Mr. Niesluchowski takes action against the school district and AZCentral.com.


and yet another comment-

This newspaper is reporting LIES. Do they even do any fact checking? I will point out the lies as a former Higley IT Staff member that left right before Brad.

1) Brad was the IT Director, not a Network Systems Administrator.
2) BOINC is SETI. Not another program. BOINC is the controller program for SETI.
3) SETI was never installed on every computer in the district. Only at 4 schools due to it accidentally making into our master image.
4) When that error was discovered we immediately implemented a group policy to turn the service off.
5) During our next re-image cycle SETI had been removed from district computer systems anyway.
6) 1.2 – 1.6 million dollars? Get real. Maybe for all the money they are paying for these hack consultants.
7) There IS multiple layers of firewall security in place at Higley. Without exposing the inner workings of my former employers network setup the allegation that there is no network security is blatantly false.
8) 18 computers at his home of which only 5 were district computers and he had approval from the former superintendent to have them at his home.
9) Failed to train his staff? Come on, I worked there for a few years and learned more from Brad then I have from any other person in my life.
10) SETI requires no significant power to run because it only uses spare CPU cycles. It does not “wear out cpu’s sooner” Idiots.
11) The SMART boards don’t work because SMART boards suck. They should have bought Prometheans. We tried to tell them that for 9 months.

As for his performance review back in 2006 I cannot speak to that since it was SUPPOSED to be confidential. I will say that most of those claims are bogus considering the purchasing department never gave IT a finite budget to begin with so how are we supposed to budget things without any guidance?


Now believe what you will, but there is the other side of the published story.
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Message 951522 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 0:03:11 UTC

Sounds like he could be getting rich...if this is all true.
Official Abuser of Boinc Buttons...
And no good credit hound!
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Message 951534 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 1:23:00 UTC - in response to Message 951499.  

The only real “loss” that the district has suffered is the electrical cost. But as already stated, the increased cost of electricity must be off set by the saving on hardware repairs and replacement.

I'm not convinced that computers last longer if they're left on.

As an ISP, I've got a huge stack of computers that are on every day, all day.

... and as many of my machines as possible are turned off nightly.

One of those is a seven year old Athlon XP -- my "daily driver" -- which has been power-cycled at least 2500 times.

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Message 951535 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 1:35:24 UTC - in response to Message 951499.  

I still wonder why everyone still forgets to notice that with the HUGE amount of WUs this guy was crunching, the bandwidth used to move that data back and forth between AZ and Cal Berkeley had to be incredibly high over the period of time he was doing this. Bandwidth is NOT cheap and could have easily passed up the electrical costs depending on how the district is funded and who is providing said bandwidth.

In any case, from an information security standpoint, what he did was wrong. Without board approval (which I doubt he had), this should have never happened, especially at the district level.
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Message 951544 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 1:57:55 UTC

The Thread is incorrectly Titled

NEZ - The Man behind the Mask... Truth or Fiction

I suspect we will never know the Full Truth. One of the key events as stated was on the advice of his lawyer he resigned. It implies that not the whole story is not yet told. It implies that there are other things that are afoot.

I do know of School Districts that put Seti Classic in place for Children to learn a bit about Science (much to the distaste of IT Staff). He could have been "required" to start installing on the school district machines. There is so much Untold.

I do know that some "managers" setup people to purposely fail, I have personally experienced that. I was told that on my first day of work "when you become more popular than the rest of my staff that is your last day." The really sad part was how much I taught his staff (The Peter Principle). Many of his Staff are still Friends today (that was Windows 3.11 over Novell).
There is a large amount of politics in the IT field, it always gets in the way of keeping networks working, Seti aside.

A large portion of this goes to if You have Permission Now to Use computers that you Do Not Own, You might want to check again.

Regards


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Message 951546 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 1:59:40 UTC - in response to Message 951378.  


Wow, so a school helped another school. He probably saved them money...the main problems I ever have with computers usually happens when they are restarting after being shutdown. He probably saved them tons of $200 an hour so called computer experts. I never turn off my machines.


It happens on my 10 years old K6-2+ / 524 MHz computer -
it runs unstable after 1 day off - I think electrolytic capacitors are old and lose capacity if they are not charged.

Also the 40 GB Maxtor HDD sometimes have difficulty starting.
(S.M.A.R.T. info is reasonably OK - only 1 relocated sector - happened 2 years ago)

If the computer runs all the time it is OK.

And of course CPU don't "wear out" if run at 100% if you don't let it overheat.


 


- ALF - "Find out what you don't do well ..... then don't do it!" :)
 
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Message 951553 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 2:31:55 UTC - in response to Message 951535.  


I still wonder why everyone still forgets to notice that with the HUGE amount of WUs this guy was crunching, the bandwidth used to move that data back and forth between AZ and Cal Berkeley had to be incredibly high over the period of time he was doing this. Bandwidth is NOT cheap and could have easily passed up the electrical costs depending on how the district is funded and who is providing said bandwidth.


I pay only constant $15/month for unlimited 10 Mbit/s DSL at home
- I do not pay more even if I download/upload 2000 GB / month.

So why do you think schools can't make contract with ISP for constant $$$ paid for unlimited GB download/upload?


 


- ALF - "Find out what you don't do well ..... then don't do it!" :)
 
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Message 951556 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 2:39:42 UTC - in response to Message 951553.  

I pay only constant $15/month for unlimited 10 Mbit/s DSL at home
- I do not pay more even if I download/upload 2000 GB / month.

Because, as a home user, your ISP assumes that you're going to sleep sometimes.

They assume that during business hours (when their capacity goes to business customers) you're at work.

... and you likely agreed not to run servers (per their Terms of Service).

Schools get very good pricing on bandwidth, but it's not $15 month (but probably less than $15/month/classroom).

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Message 951561 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 3:09:40 UTC

A large portion of this goes too if You have Permission Now to Use computers that you Do Not Own, You might want to check again.

Always get this kind of stuff in writing, and be in the habit of reviewing it once a year as things change.
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Message 951562 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 3:09:46 UTC - in response to Message 951535.  

In any case, from an information security standpoint, what he did was wrong. Without board approval (which I doubt he had), this should have never happened, especially at the district level.

The best book I've ever read on the lowest levels of the internet and how it works is "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Cliff Stoll.

A lot of the details have changed, but a lot of things still work the same way.

The hackers he helped catch were ultimately convicted of "stealing electricity" (the power to run the phones, IIRC).
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Message 951563 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 3:12:36 UTC - in response to Message 951556.  


I pay only constant $15/month for unlimited 10 Mbit/s DSL at home
- I do not pay more even if I download/upload 2000 GB / month.

Because, as a home user, your ISP assumes that you're going to sleep sometimes.

They assume that during business hours (when their capacity goes to business customers) you're at work.

... and you likely agreed not to run servers (per their Terms of Service).

Schools get very good pricing on bandwidth, but it's not $15 month (but probably less than $15/month/classroom).



I sleep sometimes ;) but my computers run all the time -
if I have HDD space I can download torrents non-stop (I really upload non-stop more than 100 torrents now).


If "Schools pay less than $15/month/classroom" and it is regardless of how much GB they download/upload
then NEZ did NOT increase the bill they pay for internet!


 


- ALF - "Find out what you don't do well ..... then don't do it!" :)
 
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Message 951568 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 4:05:48 UTC

The reason his lawyer would have told him to resign - guilty or not is not important - resigning is better when moving on for other jobs. If you are fired - which they were going to do anyways it's way worse for you. If an employer / employee relationship deteriorates so badly it can't be fixed that is just cause for an employer to fire a person. Now if you can prove it wasn't you but them you can sue and if not you both go on your way

Resigning looks better as well it court - it gives you the moral high ground - I couldn't take it anymore so I resigned vs he was a terrible employee who stole and lied so we fired him.
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Message 951570 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 4:17:12 UTC - in response to Message 951553.  

This is so clearly a case of "If someone wants to get you, they can alwasys find something to nail you."

At work we have been told to use not less, but MORE, MUCH MORE bandwidth !!
We are not fully utilizing our bandwidth pipe. The fuller the pipe, the more it is justified.

IF the bandwidth BOINC used even impacted the distric's network, then the network was already over-congested. Unless someone can show a graph of bandwidth usage along with a log showing the BOINC usage prevented other traffic, then the bandwith issue is just smoke&mirrors to confuse the issue.

In all my professional years (29), I have NEVER EVER seen a computer that could pass 100% of all the security, configuration, authorized, legal, properly configured, justified usage, no unauthorized information/files, all accounts properly documented and justified and configured, all audits properly checked, etc. This includes Government secret and top secret computers. There is always always at least one flaw, one missing authorization, one newer file, etc.

Had the district's lawyers provided written authorization to accept all the "User Agreements", licenses, update licenses, etc? I have never been able to get written authorization from legal for every piece of software, file, application, OS, and UPDATES on even ONE machine.

Like most news stories, this is a lot of misinformation, incomplete information, and ignorant analysis.




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Message 951571 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 4:22:09 UTC

The local news is saying that it cost the school district on the order of a million dollars, with increased electricity costs, etc. I saw one teacher that said while she normally turned her PC off at night, she got an email saying it should be left on, etc. They also said he'd been running seti for 9 years on these machines, so this started in the pre-boinc days.

The schools in AZ have had their budgets slashed this year, so all school districts are really hurting right now, and the one involved here is a small district.
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Message 951577 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 4:52:51 UTC - in response to Message 951556.  

I pay only constant $15/month for unlimited 10 Mbit/s DSL at home
- I do not pay more even if I download/upload 2000 GB / month.

Because, as a home user, your ISP assumes that you're going to sleep sometimes.

They assume that during business hours (when their capacity goes to business customers) you're at work.

... and you likely agreed not to run servers (per their Terms of Service).

Schools get very good pricing on bandwidth, but it's not $15 month (but probably less than $15/month/classroom).


Ned

I Love You like a Brother. I truly know what you are saying. It would be nice to drag out the 1993 and 1994 copies of Boardwatch Magazine and sit over a Cup of Tea, or a Beer (then I could brag). Where we both have been and where we are now. The only thing would be to Toast one of my Partners, when we opened the internet there was a security problem (shadow passwords) that he fixed it. His work before he passed away (as the maintainer) which makes Linux more secure today. But then slackware fit on 19 - 1.44 floppies. Coherent fit on 2 HD Floppies

It burned his butt that I could install OS2 and he could not. All I have to say about that each person has their own strengths and weaknesses. What we do with them is what makes us a Person. We move Ahead.

Some might ask, what does this have to do with Nez. At the point in time that I metioned earlier I gave brief to the local school district about Seti@home and the securiy risks. I also talked with the IT Adminstrators. They did not like it "because" it caused more work. Tools of Yester Year are not as they are Now.

So as we all have to take any Risk into account. We have to decide is it Good or Evil.

Regards


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Message 951579 - Posted: 2 Dec 2009, 5:04:53 UTC

I was sad to read this.

I see political backbiting in action. btdt! It really sucks bad...

Some of you should realize school boards are elected and what was okay a few years ago, suddenly isn't today. New leadership runs on a whim, no questions asked and no institutional memories to bother with. The more noise they make, even if about nothing, the better they think they make themselves look.


That said, it is nice to see some of you live in a vacuum and were never in a position to experience a rapid political about-face. Can't expect you to understand how stuff like this works..outside that vacuum.

Better yet, the media reporting on this appears to lend well to prevalent tabloid sensationalism. Honest and fair journalism with proper fact checking is much much too difficult. Plus, it doesn't keep Jon & Jane Q's attention long enough anyway.


As I said, the whole thing is sad!


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