Blogs

In 2001, as the new IT Manager in an environment totally dependent on their CRM data, I met with the VP and data owner.  Her first words to me were “you do anything to hurt my RE (CRM) and I will have you fired immediately”.  Hardly comforting words! However, that one sentence identified the organization’s corporate culture, and the criteria for my success or failure. 

That day my priorities changed, from technological to cultural, and I learned that an IT Manager needed more in their toolkit than technical know-how.  I needed to establish a culture of trust in my capabilities, and those of my team.  I did successfully gain the trust of the business.  It was slow and very incremental, and took over two years.  More importantly, for the entire six years of my tenure, every time IT introduced technological change, my trust quotient was on the line.  Every change introduced by IT was directly related to my continuing credibility as a leader.

Your Users' Expectations of Your Architecture, by Year

Last time we took a look at where Computing might go in the future. Why? Because we would all like to know when we might expect to stabilize our environments, when Computing might begin to resemble more traditional industries like Construction or Manufacturing. The quick answer is Not in our lifetime.

Some of my colleagues occasionally tell me that such-and-such solution is sufficient. That their new tablet meets all their needs. That no-one will ever require more than 640k of RAM or similar foolishness. The Curmudgeon laughs, ruefully.

Growth in Processor Capability - Intel Xeon vs SPARC

I think Audio is finished. Finished? Well, that any further development is accepted to be 'Gilding the Lily' and most of us have moved on with our lives.

Let me get a little more specific, for a moment. Most humans have two ears. For humans in prime condition, those ears can hear 20Hz to 20 000Hz sounds. Through the wonders of digitization and audio CDs, that translates to a total bit rate of 1.4Mbps. Most humans' hearing is not in prime condition, and 1.4Mbps of digital bandwidth is overkill. Almost all of us know that CD quality audio is overkill and we've not paid much attention to attempts to \u201cimprove\u201d it (e.g. SACD, DVD-Audio).

Worker Using Actual Productivity-Enhancing Tool <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:African_American_worker_Richmond_Shipyards.jpg">Image Source</a>

As another generation of operating system and Office Productivity tools emerges from the global leader, The Curmudgeon asks himself - "How much of an improvement will it be?"

Tricky question. This harks back a little to "Why SMART Objectives Could Just Be Called Metrics." since we need some kind of measure in order to answer the question.

When this was built, was a target MTTR designed? <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deepwater_Horizon_offshore_drilling_unit_on_fire_2010.jpg" target="_blank">Image Source</a>

Mean Time to Repair (or MTTR henceforth) frequently plays second fiddle to Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) in the thoughts of infrastructure designers. However, when it comes time for calculating your Availability [which I'll write as MTBF/(MTBF+MTTR)], or in the thoughts of your affected users, it's at least as important.

And, perhaps more interestingly, you've got much more control over it than the MTBF which is baked in at design time. Let's take a look how it plays out.

The Liberator can help you get here. <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bully_Free_Zone.jpg" target="_blank">Image source</a>

In the 1999 Wachowski Brothers film "The Matrix", the character "Agent Smith" - the personification of mechanized evil - holds the character "Neo" - an emergent human messiah - in a headlock over a subway line in the path of an oncoming train, the hellish clatter of steel-on-steel rushing towards them.

"You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability."

A LOT of fish.

Fly fishing is an arcane art. There's fish biology, river ecosystems, flies and fly tying, rods, reels, etiquette, technique, terminology and more. It's incredibly deep, and pretty unassailable, even (or perhaps especially) to other fishers.

Amongst the tomes of flyfishing lore, you will find discussion of the merits of the bamboo rod.

Does this smell past its sell-by date to you?

It feels like it's been a bad year for forced upgrades. Situations where one of our customers has initiated a software upgrade to escape a negative consequence rather than to pursue a positive business benefit. How on Earth could this occur?

In the IT industry, we frequently use the term "Intellectual Property," but we generally mean copyright. The other forms of Intellectual Property are trademarks and patents, and those don't usually have much effect on our work. But copyright gives scope for licensing, and licensing can lead to all kinds of nonsensical behaviour.

This morning, The Liberator (having been horrified at the price tag for installing MS Project) decided to give an Open Source alternative * ProjectLibre - a try. The Good Basic layout very similar to MS Project, for users already familiar with that software Critical path calculated and displayed by default Nice, simple, clear context-sensitive right-click menus PDF export and Print look good, with easier options than MS Project Rollup tasks, work-driven durations, task dependencies, constraint types all work properly Huge selection of Task information and columns Plenty of detail in the Resource Sheet for adjusting allocations Only Resources in the Resource Sheet may be entered as Task Resources (avoids typos and duplication!) Project completion chart as a pane below the Gantt chart is a good presentation tool No messing about with Fonts, Colours or Formatting The Excellent Resource Usage histogram as a pane below the Gantt chart is a fabulous management tool Free Software, and Java cross-platform ability Purportedly imports all MS Project files, and saves as Project 2003 if desired Various Gantt flavours built-in: EVR, Tracking, Work, Cost, etc Project Report and Resource Breakdown Structure give great overviews The Bad

The Liberator hears rumours (and even sees NOIs) indicating an outbreak of vendor-lock spreading in his Province. This time, embodied in the top-to-bottom-locked Oracle Database Appliance. Recognizing that some consumers might see value in 'being looked after' or having 'one throat to choke', let's look at this offering.

Overview