Saturday, September 02, 2006

Please let me be...

...a New Barbarian!

"We're about to see a huge tectonic shift, more dramatic than anything in the past. This is the next boom, the next big storm. Things are going to get really wild."

They already are. Coleman is one of dozens of new barbarians plotting the Cheap Revolution, the wholesale shift by corporate customers and techmakers to cheap chips and open-source (often free) software such as Linux. They are embracing simplicity, unlocking prodigious new power and cutting tech costs by up to 90%, threatening the Silicon Valley plutocracy: the proprietary gear, "closed" software, redundant backup systems and fat profit margins of incumbents like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Cisco, EMC and other blue-chip nameplates.

The Cheap Revolution will not be televised!!! The Cheap Revolution will be LIVE!!!

Be prepared, this is a turning point of huge import. This is the formalization of what many of us have been engaged in quietly, in back-office spaces, server rooms across this great internet-work land of ours. Now we get to take it to the digital super-highways.

People get ready! The Barbarians are coming!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006


This is a long post but it tells a very real story about Linux.

Seems the major stumbling block to the adoption of Linux is that it is not as predictable as its major competitors. (Reads: Uninitiated users cannot find what they are looking for in the places they expect to find them.)

Now this is a given…most people will forgive one small inconsistancy in an operating system, in fact, they will forgive quite a few. BUT…if you have a new user who approaches the change-over to Linux with any measure of trepidation or a pre-existing bias, “little” things soon accumulate into an intangable jumble of negatives. Maybe the user cannot immediately tell you the number of specific negatives it took to back her away from Linux. That does not make her decision any less valid, not in her mind. All she knows is that with some measure of regularity and expectation, these little things piled up until her perception tilted permanently into the negative column. And once is all it takes.
Many of us know the person next door who had a bad experience with DOS and has maintained the Luddite view ever since. This is a computing thing not just a Linux thing. But it affects the way the next user might see Linux.

Scoble on Google

Robert Scoble has gone to the mountain and he has looked into the face of Google. In addition to acknowledging those things that G is already famous for 'the Scoblizer' touched on something that is at the heart of the matter.

One other small thing I noticed? A lot more blog listening behavior. Carl Sjogreen, who runs the Google Calendar team, told me that the first thing he does every morning is do this search on Google’s Blogsearch service: “Google Calendar.” He says he answers everyone’s questions, even if you’re a kid in another country with only four readers.

This is an example of the discipline that Google brings to the fray. Paying attention to the smallest parts of an extremely large picture. Expensive but worth every user who feels that they are being served, personally.

Bing. Small things. They are gonna prove to be dramatically important over time.
Thanks Robert

The Great Seal... great fun!

A List

In light of Hugh's revelations I can only say that being a member of the "Z" list makes life very e-Z. I am not burdened with the responsibility of determining anything within the blogosphere social structure. Ahhhhh...

Thursday, August 31, 2006


This will be the most viewed YouTube video in just a matter of minutes...

Googling Re-Redux!!!

With a sense of trepidation I clicked the "Ok, upgrade my Blogger accounts to the new beta version..." And then I saw the fleeting remains of the "One Way" sign that says once you upgrade you cannot go back. So, what have I done? Stepped off the Blogspot cliff and begun my rapid descent into... beta-blogging (sounds vaguely like a cardiac med, a drifting memory from my EMT days).

WOO HOO!!! Hot stuff! Google has really stepped up to the plate and hit the HOME RUN with this one!!! My compliments to the chef. Outstanding. Excellent.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I am not scared of.... Hugh :)

But I do have a new found respect for HUGH! I got to spend some more time with Sigurd Rinde and all I can say is WOW! Thingamy is HUGH - No, not macleod I mean BIG! No, I don't mean massively volumetrically large, I mean Thingamy has incredible potential.

There I said it.

After Sigurd walked me through a demonstration I was just blown away. And to borrow a telling line from Firesign Theatre, "Yes, kinda like having bees in your head, but there they are..."

Which in turn reminded me of this visual Commitment explanation offered by the real Hugh.

Ok, enough linguistic gymnastics. Let me cite the attribute of Thingamy that tells me so clearly that it has so much potential - Simplicity. Blown away, with bees in your head over simplicity? Yes, emphatically! (I am sure that both Sigurd and Hugh are now laughing and wondering just kind of groat clusters I have been smoking.) Yes, simplicity.

Joe Average will open his shrink-wrapped copy of Thingamy and pours it out on the table and find very few moving parts. There won't be bright shiney baubles, there won't be an excess of progromatic chrome. There will only be a Thingamy.

How then will Joe be satisfied and fulfilled by his new Thingamy? Joe will quickly realize that Thingamy doesn't impose itself on Joe's business process. It doesn't make Joe pound square pegs into round holes. Thingamy doesn't make Joe do things differently. In fact it will help Joe do the things he has always done better. It will help Joe see his business in a clear and focused light.

Business is not a game but it should be. We should all be able to play at our work as we did games when we were young. Thingamy has a characteristic that is shared with the greatest of the games we humans play. I am not sure to whom it should be attibuted but it is said that the best games have the fewest rules. Thingamy has some structure to be sure but it has only a few "rules" - making it one of the best systems for giving you the edge in the "playing" of your business.

Tomorrow I have the great honor to be able to open my "shrink-wrapped" copy of Thingamy and begin to "play"... (Oh to be young again.)

10 Lessons

This is the list I wish some one had sat me down with...and then used a 2x4 to get my attention...

1. How to talk to your boss.
2. How to survive a meeting that’s poorly run.
3. How to run a meeting.
4. How to figure out anything on your own.
5. How to negotiate.
6. How to have a conversation.
7. How to explain something in thirty seconds.
8. How to write a one-page report.
9. How to write a five-sentence email.
10. How to get along with co-workers.
11. How to use PowerPoint.
12. How to leave a voicemail.

Thanks Guy!

At the time...

At the time the tone will be exactly 261.625565 Hz.  I really have no idea what the tone really is.  I do know what time it is.  Now the question arises, which time?

I finally broke down and bought clocks.  Oh I know the old saw about a man with two clocks doesn't know what time it is... true enough.  I bought three clocks.  Like the command center I have the clocks lined up across one wall.

All of this so I can begin to answer for myself "Which time is it?"   Here in the Central Timezone (USA) during the month of August we enjoy Daylight Savings Time (CDT = GMT -5).  During the winter months we revert back to CST = GMT -6.  This is only moderately confusing if you focus only on one timezone.  But our corporate headquarters is in EDT now (EST during the winter).  Because we have settled on coordinated standard time changes ( April and October ) we are always 1 hour different from the HQ.

This may be all well and good for systems that programmatically understand the vagaries of Daylight Savings Time (Kudos to Microsoft on that) but what of systems that do not or don't care to?  In a manufacturing environment the trending for our process, graphs of data over time, don't fare will when DST kicks in.  Either data points cover each other for 1 hour (fall back) or there is a blank spot in the graph when time is advanced 1 hour (spring forward).

And then there is the matter of trying to coordinate meetings with individuals that are half (or more?) the world away.  Not only is there the difficulty of dealing with the hours common decency but there is the confusion of "what time is displayed on the clock where you are?"

So in an attempt to resolve this matter for myself I now have three clocks.  One set to local time, Central Dalight Time.  One set to HQ time; Eastern Daylight Time.  The last is the most important.  It is set to the Universal Time Coordinate.

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I just got paged by one of my computers

05:00 CDT - Pager went off

Under any other circumstances my pager going off is not a good thing. Either someone at work is paging because they are having a problem or the NMS system is paging to indicate there is a computer problem. Or both.

But in this case I just cron-ed a job to page me at 05:00 Monday thru Friday - so I don't have to set my alarm clock any more. This has a number of advantages. First on Saturday and Sunday my "alarm" doesn't go off. On the days when I need is there right on schedule, not susceptable to power outages. How many times have you awoken to an alarm clock blinking 12:00 AND you are late for work.

The other advantage is that I have affirmation on a work-daily basis that both my paging system and my primary NMS system are on-line.

Good morning... and I can smell fresh coffee brewing. Ahhhh

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Salmon Day from the Cardboard Spaceship

Go here and read... and when you get to Salmon Day take a moment to laugh and cry... truer words were ne'r spoken, "A Salmon Day is when you swim upstream all day..."

RestauRANT: Ban The Brat!

I found my way to Charlotte's Web-log and was just cruising along until I stumbled over her entry, "Little Devils, Little Darling and their Somewhat Silly Parents" At first I was afraid this would be another of those cloying How-can-you-be-so-cruel? tirades...and then I got to the line that read, "... if they cry at the restaurant, comfort them, feed them or better still, take them outside." Better still, take them outside. Yes! Accept and assume responsibility. Yes!

I would like to respond briefly to the concept that is put forth earlier in the article, "I would rather my kids were true to themselves than “good”, which means that they sometimes fall apart." I have great difficulty with this. Children should be allowed to "fall apart" to be sure. I am not sure that I have to pay restaurant prices for an interrupted meal because little Johnny or Janey needs to 'fall apart'. Appropriate restaurant behavior is part of the overall experience. If your children are not prepared to act accordingly then they should not be allowed in - this is a decision of the parents, proactively. I know because from the earliest ages this was the arrangement that I put before my children. And they knew full well that they would be escorted out promptly at the first sign of crumbling.

I am particularly fortunate that my children were always able to maintain. I don't believe they were or are any the worse for ware enduring such rigors.

Keep a secret, be held hostage by it.

Tell a secret and be free... try it and see!

This bears repeating... until we get it right!

Author : Richard M. Stallman

Free as in Freedom
The term “free software” is sometimes misunderstood—it has nothing to do with
price. It is about freedom. Here, therefore, is the definition of free software: a
program is free software, for you, a particular user, if:
• You have the freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
• You have the freedom to modify the program to suit your needs. (To make this
freedom effective in practice, you must have access to the source code, since
making changes in a program without having the source code is exceedingly
• You have the freedom to redistribute copies, either gratis or for a fee.
• You have the freedom to distribute modified versions of the program, so that
the community can benefit from your improvements.

Googling Redux

Just wrote about my Googling yesterday... and look what they are doing for me today. :)

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Google is changing the way I compute. This is no great earth shattering story. People much smarter than me identified Google as a driving force long ago. So why is this of any import what so ever?

I am for the most part a regular guy. My only real claim to fame, such as it is, was writing a 500+ card Tic-Tac-Toe Fortran 4 program in 1970. Oh yeah, we were hot then. Three hours of system time on Friday night to make the Lansing School System IBM System/360 get up and dance. The rest of the week we poured over greenbar print outs of cryptic code. Making corrections using a hand-me-down keypunch machine in the back room of the Eastern High School Physics lab. Oh yeah, we were hot. Took a COBOL sub-routine to access the IBM Selectric keyboard mounted in the washing machine sized module for you to enter your "X" or "O". Smokin'! Worst thing was the program would never ever lose. At the very best you could force it into a draw but it would never ever lose. Not very sophisticated as a game went. But then again, losing was not in the mind of a then 17 year old programmer.

But I digress... Google is becoming my computing platform. This is important how? Well for an average, regular guy like me to begin to have his paradigm shifted is very significant. It means that net-centric computing is coming of age. It means that I am no longer tied to any given PC. It means that I am now willing to commit to the net. And you know how difficult it is for us old guys to make commitments.

So far I have chosen a home page. My Google personalized home page which contains my Gmail, my calendar, weather for favorite locations, and the Google Notebook icon down in my status bar. When I open my Gmail I have access to my Spreadsheets as well. While not directly linked from my home page or Gmail I have taken to doing word processing in Writely.

What is most significant in all this is the absence of the Redmond Software Giant. We are (I am) finally breaking the bonds of PC centric computing (AKA Microsofting).

Oh, one last note before closing... As a die hard Linux fan Googling means that I can have the same great functionality and work in a great OS as well.

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