Saturday, October 06, 2007

Don't buy the iPhone!!!

Henry Ford is said to have uttered the most famous advertising line in automotive history, "You can have any color you want as long as it is black." People of his day understood implicitly his position. Steve Jobs, today, says, "You can have an iPhone." And people seem confused. They seem to think that because they want it to be TheirPhone that Jobs is at fault for merchandizing the iPhone.


People this is really really simple. If you don't want the iPhone that Jobs is selling do not buy the iPhone that Jobs is selling. Apply the 'laws' of market influences. Don't buy crap and then complain that it is not the crap you wanted to buy. Send the proper signal to Jobs. Do not buy his product unless or until he/they make it the way you really want it. Sheeeeesh, rocket science here.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

I am impressed...and sooooo busted.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Just so happens I am a transplanted Yankee from.... wait for it.... Michigan, home of the Inland Lakes...Sheeeeeesh!

Kernel dreams and compilation nightmares

Being fearless and being stupid ... two sides of the same coin?

Long ago I attempted to recompile my Linux kernel - seems that the original did not support some sort of feature that I was after at the time. I saved out my original running kernel (a provision which has saved me repeatedly over the years) and issued the immortal make menuconfig command. I rummaged around until I found the possible "fix" and enabled it. I saved my new .config and then held my breath and uttered the then cryptic command incantation make - and off it went on its merry way. I copied the new kernel to /boot, reconfigured lilo to access it and held my breath. When my PC rebooted and ran the new kernel AND worked correctly I let out a huge sigh of relief and thanked the programmers each and every one. They had done it, I was just the messenger.

That was then... now I am wiser and more knowledgeable and in many cases just as ignorant as I was the very first time. So I went in search of clear and concise documentation for the mysterious .config file that is the foundation of recompiling the Linux kernel. Then I made the greatest discovery of my Linux career - and the most disheartening. I found out that I am not a geek, not by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, I can successfully recompile a kernel but truly knowing what I am doing is not the case.

So, my question and my quest is to find a good set of documents that offer real insight into the .config file contents. I have an underlying fear this is somewhat akin to asking, "What does the face of God look like?"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Just another FaceBook in the crowd.

Cyber communities are walking dead.

Oh, sure there will always be a few die-hards that don't know when to give it up and go home. For the most part every internet community that I have seriously been associated with has lost its luster and polish after about two short years. I am not talking just about FaceBook and MySpace. They are the Johnny-come-latelys. What did happen to Orkut?

I am talking about Internet Relay Chat communities that began in the late 80's. Real IRC channels with Ops and members and real rules and everything. CompuServe forums that thrived and then withered. CompuServe may be long gone (or reincarnated) but forums still exist only the people have changed repeatedly. Two, maybe three years tops and then the steam just runs out. Some times new folks show up...sometimes the old-timer just sit around and say the same things over and over again.

So my point is that it is just plain silly for pundits to claim that Twitter is the new and improved Blog. Hawg wash! Twitter is just the latest fad that has the spynsters running around in circles frothing over their keyboards. Microsoft's Ballmer, for all his foibles, has hit the FaceBook fad right on the nose. In another two years you will all have to use the "Recover Password" function to get back into your FaceBook accounts because 'time, tide and fickle consumers wait for no person'.

Oh look, a shiny new bauble. Want one?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

self correcting society

UMBRAGE ALERT! This will certainly cause grumbling and mumbling in the B'sphere

Jeneane Sessum titled one of her most recent posts...

Raising a Manufacturing Class in a Knowledge Worker World

Having heard a prospective college student deride the value of a Liberal Arts education I must assume that society is correcting itself. The complaint, "Why should I learn stuff that I will never use?" suggests to me that the correction is one of reducing the supply of Thinkers and Artists. Evidently there are too many for the current market to bear.

If the law of Supply and Demand holds in this instance then it is about time we reduce the over abundance of frivolous Thinkers and Artists. Simply by reducing their bloated numbers we as a society can raise their respective social worth. And I say it is about time. What this country really needs are more Good-ol-boys and Home-girls. Lets put an end to this extravagance of Knowledge Workers. Lets return to a simpler time of punch-the-clock work-the-line and then go home to the suburban family.

[ End of tongue-in-cheek rant ]

I grew up continuously criticized by my peers, "Why you all the time usin' them big words?" Coming from a literate family I had an inherent sense of the meaning of words. I unconsciously used the words that expressed the width and breadth of my intended message. Later, w
hile receiving an excellent Liberal Arts education, I came to understand that language is the living history of our society and culture. When I used 'them big words' I was then and am now rebelling against the cheapening and debasing of our real heritage: a civilized society.

The inside and the outside

I recently inherited a website and a large legacy application. Both are in-house initiatives. Custom built solely for the purposes of our manufacturing process. Previously, in my role as Manager of Information Systems, I recognized the merit and value of these entities. Their essential merit being the recording and archiving of business information. Ease of entry and subsequent reporting being paramount in their daily use. As Information Management systems they fit the hand.

When a tool fits the hand pick it up.
This has been a long standing mantra of mine when counseling customers/users regarding their computer needs and requirements. There certainly is little sense in trying to use an uncomfortable or ill-suited tool to do a job. To extend the metaphor, this a simple retelling of the old saw, 'trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.'

So all of that is the outside - I inherited the inside.

"Ease of entry and subsequent reporting..." are the result of great planning, deliberation and of course elegant execution. My predecessor did an admirable job at every turn. Alas, my predecessor embodied the living knowledge of both of these initiatives. What then falls to me is the labor of learning the insides.

Where my predecessor enjoyed the luxury of an intimate growing and evolving relationship with each project I receive each as a stone cold tool. The website and the application were crafted to fit the hand of the customer/user. The inside of each, however, as a tool fit his hand. So I now find myself having to pick up a tool that feels very foreign to my hand. A feeling that is diametrically opposed to my mantra.

The hummers are gone...

...long live the sparrows.

I dismissed my wife's observation that this was the week that the hummingbirds would leave us. I scoffed. Just last Sunday, sitting at this very kitchen table, I watched half a dozen dance and parry for airborne superiority and territoriality. The days still feel long and hot. There are full beckoning feeders. Summer is still upon us in Kentucky. What earthly reason would prompt the hummers to forsake such bounty in favor of some other locale?

The seed feeders were empty. I could understand why the sparrows were staying away. My lack of attention to their feeding stations was unwelcoming. They had good reason to not grace us with their presence.

So I took a minute out of my busy Sunday morning ritual time and filled the seed feeders. In less than two minutes the perches were again graced by the anxious group flight behaviors of sparrow families. So simple are the joys.

Most likely we will not see the hummers again until next spring... long live the sparrows.

. . .