AltaVista

In this new age where Google is the new Microsoft, I decided to throw some business to one of the pioneers of the internet search, AltaVista. You can now use the translation facility BabelFish to translate this page.

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Slashdot Com

I have been a long time reader of slashdot.com as a source of geek information. I was a reader a long time before I even became an official registered member. And I often read it still, but the disscussions always degenerate, and even when I think I have something to contribute, I don’t bother, as I don’t think anyone would read it. Or it would get ‘mod’ed down some how.

Too bad, in the age where blogging has taken hold slashdot is fading. Is this happening to other types of ‘forums’ as well?

ID and Science, Religion and politics

In Ireland, as much as I can see, the Irish are viewing the ID (Intelligent design) arguments with aghast. And I personally am ashamed to have been born and raised in Kansas. Here the question isn’t that God exists, ask any Catholic here, it’s not even a question. Watch a funeral procession, everyone crosses themselves. Their devotion is not subject to questioning.

However, from their perspective, and mine, any argument about ID is not that there was one, but that what science reveals is how complex and how truly Omniscient and omnipresent God is. If someone pointed to a piece of the puzzle and said, I see God putting these two things together, and see, a mousetrap. Their response would be, why have you made God so small, and weak. Or better yet, why do you make yourself as great as God as to assume you can detect his/her/it’s hand.

All these so called christian ID folk are the hight of arrogance as to assume they know all the ways of God, and in the same breath, diminish him at the same time. They make God, human, and therefor subject to their own designs.

As an IT person, more or less a Computer scientist, I can appreciate complexity, but I don’t have to invoke Deus Ex Machina to explain the universe around me. I marvel at it, and I seek to understand it in all of it’s complexity.

This scares me that the President of the United States is of this ID belief. If he thinks that Deus Ex Machina will get him out of the mess in Iraq, he has another thing coming.

Mactel and the new Intel cash cow Processor

Ok lets get this clear for the Computer World crowd. The current crop of Intel Pentiums have evolved like a milking barn on a diary farm. Imagine that when you started out you had cows living on 8 acres of land, now you can only graze so many cows on 8 acres.

When you milk them, you send them through the barn one cow at a time. And they get milked. Later you acquire 16 acres, and then 32 acres and just recently you managed to get 64 acres, and the necessary cows to fully utilize the land to it’s full grazing potent.

Now during this time, you have made some extensions to the barn, you could only milk one cow at a time (8 bit cow), now you you can milk them 8 at a time (8 x 8 bit cows) however you can only put the milking machine on the cows, one cow at a time. You are working alone, after all, you are the core of the farm.

Now you can speed up this processing somewhat by taking on a coworker, another core milker if you will, and you can get the work done more quickly. You could get more acreage, like 128 acres, and maybe increase the number of cows being milked to 16 (8 x 16 bit cows) but then you might need another core or coworker to help out.

Now mind you, we are getting a lot of help with the milking, but what do we do with the milk. We are spending all the time milking and we either need to drive the milk into town, or process the milk and bottle it, make butter, and cheese. What ever, so we need another building to process, except that it cuts into the acreage we need to graze the cows, we need to build up. instead of a two dimensional barn, where the cows are walking in and getting milked, we need to build another floor above the milking floor to process the milk, and another floor to do butter, another to do cheese. We need to expand in three dimensional space. We need to move from milking, or not milking the cows to doing other things, all at the same time.

Not just one thing or nothing (milking or not milking), but maybe doing all the things in between them. And all at the same time. Instead of having the milking crew stop milking, and drive trucks, make butter and cheese. We have more core workers doing other tasks than milking.

The current Pentiums are at that place, needing to have the floors added to milking barn. And guess what, you have to build a better foundation, and ARCHITECTURE to accommodate the new floors to the milking… err Intel processor.

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Hero’s and Patriotism

I was watching the movie ‘A Clear and Present Danger’ and it came to me. We have no hero’s. Wouldn’t it be great if someone in the U.S. government stood up, and gave us an honest, truthful perspective on things, while standing on a morally grounded position. Someone who you would know, in your heart, was telling the truth. Not from some paid for perspective, not from some religiously biased, self-rightistness. No Spin doctoring, but from truth, simple truth.

Watching movies makes me fantasize about a better world, movies like ‘An American President’ or ‘Dave’ or maybe even like the ‘West Wing’

Someday the truth will be a wonderful thing to behold.

Mactel Vindication

Vindication of a sort. I have been saying all along that the current crop of Intel CPU’s would not be the Pentium’s currently in production. They might use the same instruction set, but the architecture would be different. And now someone who writes better than I, is saying it also. At the Inquirer.

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Windows replacement

My wife’s school has just been donated with 5 used PC’s. Not great ones, but much better than many of the existing ones in the school. Most are around 600 Mhz, 128MB and 15GB systems with monitors.

The rub is that they have no Operating systems. The company has suggested that she contact Microsoft for a deal on an OS. But between my wife the Principal of the school and her husband, Linux will be what we try. The problem is choosing which distribution to use.

I just tried installing Debian (Sarge) 3.1 on my Virtual-PC version 5 on my Mac to see how it works, it looks nice, but it took hours to install. I’ve been looking for a free Lycoris, Xandros even Linspire as they would be easier on the teachers if it looks like windows and is easy to install.

The installations for most of the other distro’s have been the breaking of them. When is someone going to make a simple installation for Ma and Paw, and Mabel the teacher.

I know, this is a hot topic in the Linux world, I hope for a fast solution.

Globalization and Irish Culture

My last rant spoke of the tourist trade in Ireland and the rip off label that Ireland has acquired. And it really speaks a great deal more about why tourism happens in Ireland. I always though of Ireland as a ‘quaint’ rural culture. Small villages, friendly local pubs laid back friendly people. And that’s what draws in the tourist. They are reminded of simpler times, less hectic, and frankly less Mad.

And now here is the rub, the Irish government long ago established laws to help prevent the local shops and farmers from being put out of business by large food chains, fast food shops and multi-national corporations. But the outcome of this, is that while some of the small shop owners are protected the large chains are using the protection to increase profits generated by their bulk purchase power to expand into every little town. There was even a law to prevent large furniture stores like Ikea by preventing the construction of the giant buildings Ikea is so fond of.

This all gets back to the globalization issue, the Irish public want cheaper prices, it needs tourist, wants the vast choices that the Multi’s offer. But are also interested in preserving the Irish way of life, the one the tourist want to remember.

Thus hangs the dilemma. To get a less ‘rip off’ Ireland, Ireland will have to give up Irish culture, and the Tourist trade.

Frankly when I came here more than three years ago, I missed the American choices and prices, and I wasn’t an anti-globalization person. But I am now, why travel to other countries, and see new places if they all look alike? None! Where’s the Crack in that? I’d rather live in the Old Ireland, the one shown in ‘The Quiet Man’, ‘Waking Ned Devine’ and the ‘Matchmaker’

Did I mention, I’m an Irish citizen now? And more proud of that, than I can say.

Tourism and Rip Off Ireland

I’m watching a Sky News program about the lack of tourist in Ireland this year. And I’m amazed, during tourist season, all hotels and B&B in the country raise their prices. And then they look in wonder why no-one is showing up. Mind you some business depend on the tourist arriving every year. But Ireland has a well established reputation for being the most expensive place in Europe to visit. Even the Irish go else where during the holidays.

When Ireland clears it’s name of being a Rip-off, it will cure the tourist problem as well

CRM, BS and real Customer Relations Management.

A new article on CRM Forrester: CRM Market Rife with Dissatisfied Customers Does not surprise me in the least. An particularly as Seibel is mentioned The article states

Overall, Forrester found that Siebel continues to lead the pack by offering the most comprehensive software for enterprise-class organizations and the largest array of front-office technologies tailored to specific industry challenges and opportunities.

Having witnessed Seibel in action, I can state without a doubt this is BS, as in BULLSHIT!!!

When Seibel arranged to be used as a CRM replacement at AT&T Wireless a few years ago. The arrangement was through the CFO not the CTO, a deal that could only happen when palms are properly greased. The ‘Goal’ of the CFO pushed on the CTO was replacing the ‘Cadilac’ in-house CRM (thing) with a ‘Volkswagen’ simpler, cheaper and easier to maintain.

From the outset there was trouble. As I was working for the Infrastructure Architecture group at the time, we were brought in early to assist in the prototype environment. And in the first meeting the Seibel Tech team, and Anderson consulting it was apparent that the System the Consultants had configured, a Sun server, had never been used by Seibel, and over the next three YEARS the Seibel team ported a PC-NT application to Solaris. An operating system they had never used. The Other shoe in this story is the BS I mentioned earlier. They had Absolutely no knowledge, or understanding of the Wireless business, or any other telecommunications business model. So between the hundreds of junior programmers, and roach like consultants querying the AT&T staff about what the existing systems did, or were supposed to do the system grew and grew.

Now to make matters worse the CTO saw the writing on the wall and quit, and was replaced with an ‘Outsourcing Genius” who thought that he could outsource the entire ID department. So he brought in foreign staff to shadow the already harassed staff. This so called Chief Technical Officer was also the genius who declared that “Any computer with more than 4 CPU’s was a waste of electricity” and refused to purchase any of the Sun E10K systems that were required and order only 4 processor Sun systems to fill the place of the 8 (then 12 and then 32) E10K’s that were originally required. Yes you read that correctly 32 E10K’s!

So the original in-house CRM system that only need 8 (with 8 hot backups) HP-K Class systems was replaced with, in the end, more than 32 E10K’s (and no hot backups) bringing the total cost to about 15X (times) more expensive than the previous system. And to put the topping on the cake. After three years, when it deployed, it didn’t work. At least not as expected. It took 6 months of hourly hand feeding data in small batches to keep the thing running.

So NO don’t believe Siebel or any other BS that is being pushed about the virtues of the current crop of CRM systems.

The real business of dealing with Customer Relations are simple, know your business, know what you can and can’t do FOR your customer treat your customer in an ethical way. As noted also in blog space here A Networked World