It was October 20, 1999 that this blog/journal began its
life. I had been using the Internet (and bulletin boards
before that) for several years and had come upon Dr. Jerry
Pournelle’s site through my readings of the former dead tree
periodical Byte. Once I found his site, it wasn’t
long before I found the Daynotes Gang. I started conversing
with a couple of them and appreciated their openness and
willingness to help its members.
I soon began my own journal and was gratified to hear from
Tom Syroid that I had been inducted into their august group!
It is a bit ironic that Tom has since taken a sabbatical
(along with several other members, of various lengths of
time: Shawn Wallbridge, Chris Ward-Johnson, Matt Beland, Jim
Crider, Steve Tucker, Greg Lincoln, Mat Lemings, JHR, and Jon
Hassell. It’s nice to see Al Hedstrom back on the run, as it
were, with at least weekly postings (or is it weakly? [G] -
As I’ve gotten to know them, through their journals and
e-mails, I realized they are a group of terrific individuals.
Yes, there have been spats that have caused long-term rifts,
but the group continues on (even if I don’t seem to get any
of the Back Channel e-mails anymore).
As I trod into my fifth year of doing this, I wonder where
I’ll be in five years? Will I still be typing in this journal
or will I have lost interest and regained the time it takes
to write these things? I honestly don’t know. What I do know
it has been an honor to be associated with these gents and I
would like to thank each and every one of them. I have
learned much and hope, in my own small way, to have given
back in at least equal measure.
But for now, it is into the breach once more…
InfoWorld’s Bob Lewis has an insightful
post (see it
here) on one person’s run-in with office politics. The
specific situation is one in which an employee is layed off,
but then magically returns when a “special” position is
created for the person. This situation is fraught with all
kinds of traps that can lead to your own ouster.
Lewis has some good advice – be professional and look past
the obvious to the underlying motivations. Of course, this is
easier said then done but the successful employee must be
able to do this.
PBS columnist Robert X. Cringely talks
about the differences between Microsoft and Open Source and
why MS doesn’t seem to understand what the strengths and
weaknesses of each are:
At the core of Ballmer’s remarks is a fundamental
misunderstanding not only of Open Source, but of software
development as an art rather than as a business. Cutting to
the bone of his remarks, he is saying that Microsoft
developers, since they are employees, are more skilled and
dedicated than Open Source developers. They are better,
Ballmer suggests, because Microsoft developers have their
rears (presumably their jobs) on the line. All those lines
and all those rears are part of a road map, he says, and
because of that road map the $30 billion plus Microsoft
gets each year isn’t too much for us to pay, so the model
works pretty well.
This is nonsense. It is nonsense because Steve Ballmer,
like Bill Gates before him, confuses market success with
technical merit. Microsoft’s product roadmap is a
manifestation of a business plan, and what matters in
Redmond is the plan, not the map, which is in constant
flux. How many technical initiatives has Microsoft
announced with fanfare and industry partners, yet never
delivered? Dozens. That is no roadmap.
See the full column here.
There be a Red Storm coming. Cray Inc.
announced they will be sell a commercial version of their Red
Storm supercomputer that it is building for Sandia National
Labs (see the story
here). As is the case with more and more supercomputers,
this one will use massively parallel clusters of AMD’s 64-bit
Last Thursday and Friday I was indeed
layed flat on my back. Just getting out of bed was an
adventure in pain. But things got better by Saturday. Sunday
found me doing work around the house. I am back at work today
and hope my back holds up.