* Posts by phat shantz

62 posts • joined 1 Oct 2007


I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault

phat shantz

Re: Rudest, Dumbest - same thing no?

Dontcha love it when the next-higher stupid person reflexively takes the side of the next-lower stupid person when handling technology-related complaints?

Dean, you stick to things you know (like long words that don't have any meaning) and I'll stick to what I know. Deal?

Cheshire Police celebrates three-year migration to Oracle Fusion by lobbing out tender for system to replace it... one year later

phat shantz

This is my shocked face

Yet another large-scale ERP implementation disaster barely creates a ripple in the "uh-huh" crowd in the industry. Oracle implementation is very expensive because most necessary functionality must be customized. Even setting up accounts, vendors, customers, and HR rarely survives without some custom code. It's just the way it's built

Because it's built, like most other ERP systems, as a full-employment act for ERP support companies.

Imagine buying a Morris Minor and having to hire consultants to custom fit seats, tires, steering wheel, gearshift knob, windows, and even the pedals that must be custom-built just for you. It would make every Morris Minor ten times the cost. At least.

The next ERP implementation will go the same way unless the Cheshire Police lay down the law before they start.

Astronaut Tim Peake reminds everyone about the time Excel mangled his contact list on stage at Microsoft AI event

phat shantz

When MS Was Good

Before I trust that MicroSquish has any grasp of artificial intelligence, I need proof that they have some grasp of natural intelligence. That their business applications, product, and marketing groups could be replaced -- to universal benefit -- with a detached switch in the off position demonstrates all the proof I need.

Speaking of which, I think I have something here with about 94 proof that will suffice as defense against all the torture MS can render on this fine day. Tomorrow will have it's own MS terrors. Cheers.

BOFH: On a sunny day like this one, the concrete dries so much more quickly

phat shantz

Early Lessons

Always distribute your "office supplies" over several, if not all general ledger accounts.

Microsoft debuts Bosque – a new programming language with no loops, inspired by TypeScript

phat shantz
Big Brother

Re: Why the urge to dumb everything down?

We dumb everything down so the dumb can use everything. The dumb include programmers. Of course, the dumbest are the machines. And now that we want machines to check our work, a dumbest machine can only check the work of the dumbest programmer.




Before dipping a toe in the new ThinkPad high-end, make sure your desk is compatible

phat shantz

I enjoy computing again

I own the current version of one of these jewels: a 64GB Thinkpad X1 Extreme. It is heavier than the specs for the Carbon or the Yoga, and possibly a bit thicker. It packs two 1TB SSDs so I keep everything local now where before I had to rely on external USBs. I used to lug a 7.5 pound beast around with less than half its capabilities (and about half its cost).

I'm still on the cutting edge, until June, I guess. But I can't be happier. I have NOTHING bad to say.

I think only those who cannot afford this gem are the ones who will find fault with it. I find none. Is the screen resolution too high for old eyes? Reduce the resolution. Is the back-lit keyboard annoying? Turn off the back-light. Is the weight too light? Carry a gallon of milk with you. Are there insufficient pointing options -- given touch-screen, Lenovo button in the middle of the keyboard, and a marvelously-capable touch-pad? Then add an external wireless mouse.

Even the power brick, reduced to little more than a power "deck of cards," makes mobility a pleasure again. I got the docking station and now move between home office and the field with one connection.

Admittedly, a user needs serious capabilities to justify this level of hardware and if you don't need it, don't spend the money. You'll waste your money under-utilize a wonderful machine.

But don't let envy insult an otherwise amazing invention. And to those who compare it to a Macbook Air, Apple only wishes it had built this computer.

Microsoft Edge bug odyssey shows why we can't have nice things

phat shantz

From Hell's Heart I Code At Thee

Four years ago I would have written this off to Microsquish's abysmal decline into the Eighth Circle of Hell, Ballmer/Sinofsky. Since Nadella took over in 2014, Microsquish has slowly climbed from the depths of technical hell and they are a long way up from the bottom they once plumbed. But they are not out. Not by a long shot, apparently.

Satya has much to do. I see him doing most of it in his cloud services. However he is one man and I, frankly, don't see a lot of support from amongst his senior executives. Any organization as entrenched as Microsquish will have inertia for the status quo, and any changes (which are necessary for their very survival) will be opposed.

I fear we are seeing the same behavior that nearly destroyed the MS product still evident in its responses to criticism (which is the way MS perceives bug revelations).

I, for one, would welcome a "giant flushing sound" from Redmond. Something still rots in the bowels of Microsquish.

You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

phat shantz

You gotta know the territory

As the intro line to the "Music Man" went, "but ya gotta know the territory!" But Professor Harold Hill didn't know the territory. His was a huge scam.

Hiring in technology is like the salesmen on the railroad car in "Music Man." If you are successful, "you gotta know the territory." But nobody in HR knows the technical territory that will guide them in finding the right person for the technical job.

Nobody in management seems to know. And most of the time, nobody in charge of IT knows, either. They're all selling the "Think Method," Professor Harold Hill's technique whereby boys learned to play their musical instruments by "thinking about the Minuet in G."

These folks are scamming everybody around them. They don't know the territory. They don't know the people, the problems, the products, or the markets. No wonder they fail.

It would scare the knickers off of the C-level if they knew just exactly how complex technology has become. That makes finding the right technical hire very difficult because YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU NEED BEFORE YOU CAN START LOOKING FOR IT.

There. You made me yell.

The solution to this is to find the one-in-a-thousand who can do networks and systems and security and cryptography and back-end in .NET and Java and Node.js and who can do front-end in .NET and Bootstrap and PHP and Angular and MVC and MVVM and jQuery and Knockout and can do the data store in SQL and Sybase and Hadoop and who can do data warehousing and analysis in R and who knows UI and UX and Agile and Scrum and CI and CD and can manage the junior developers and directly interface with the department heads.

And that doesn't even address the truth in all work that about four percent of the programmers are exceptional, about ten percent are really good, and everybody else is okay to horrid. So if you plan on developing a product that demands that all workers are exceptional, then you can find one-in-twenty five; if they even apply. (Most of the four percent are comfortable already or are independent and work their hours, their locations, and their interests.)

The only way to change that (for a time) is to bribe them with so much money they can't resist.

The real way to handle this is to a) realize management and HR and company "leaders" don't know anything about technology, b) they can't define what they need so c) they can't describe the jobs, and d) they don't know how to design a project plan so that there are a couple of exceptional leaders, a few really good drivers, and a whole lot of learners, average producers, and growing/learning apprentices.

No, no! On the contrary, by the time a department gets the budget and the approval for a technical project, the need is so desperate and the demand for results is so outlandish that there is no time to think -- only time to deliver; and deliver an exceptional product. The only way to do that is to find a number of those folks in the Upper Three Sigma range of the curve and hope they can work together long enough to go over budget, beyond deadline, and deliver a nearly-usable product.

Does anyone really wonder why failure is the only option?

BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

phat shantz

Wonderful career advancement opportunities

Participating in these committees, I discovered that the following techniques nearly always assure professional advancement.

1. Falling asleep during the Sr. VP's presentation.

2. Arriving late.

3. Missing the meetings altogether.

4. Restating the questions while never offering conclusions or recommendations in your submitted reports.

5. Intentionally arguing against others' suggestions while suggesting exactly the same solution they suggested.

These will result in one of two outcomes.

You will either #1 get fired or #2 be promoted to Senior VP.

Getting fired is preferable because you can immediately go on unemployment while you hire a shyster to sue the company for improper termination. This can be a tremendous windfall, even after the shyster takes his thirty percent.

Becoming the Senior VP just means you must work extra hard at getting fired, allowing you to pursue outcome #1 above. Being Sr. VP carries with it so few real expectations besides those of being incompetent and sycophantic. Surpassing the mark already established by the previous Sr. VP will be difficult, but if you've been watching carefully, I'm sure you can do it.

However, you will be setting the bar ever so much higher for the next Sr. VP. And it takes longer. The settlement for improper termination of a Sr. VP will be ever so much greater, though. As you know, you get out of life what you can plunder while everyone else is watching porn on their office computers.

Why Agile is like flossing and regular sex

phat shantz

If you can't define it, it doesn't exist

Agile. DevOps. Whatever. If I ask two people to define these terms I get three answers. If you can't define it, it doesn't exist. And if it doesn't exist, it can be sold to the CxO at a premium and when it fails, the guy in the fancy suit disappears leaving a wrecked crew, a broken project, a bankrupt department, and a lot of people angry at the word that was used to describe it.

We know what waterfall is because even the Department of Defense put out eleven three-ring-binders full of specifications and rules for how to work a project using waterfall. Let's not venture too far into the weeds about how Winston Royce (the fellow who called it "waterfall") said it would never work on large projects, okay? So, back to the topic.

Some "versions" of agile might actually work. We'll never know because they call the ones that work "agile" and they call the ones that fail "agile" and there's no way to tell them apart.

What's worse, though, is that what will succeed with one group won't succeed with another. If the real meaning of "agile" were followed, we'd take the person into account; not just the project.

'I urge everyone to fight back' – woman wins $10k from Microsoft over Windows 10 misery

phat shantz

There is no "Lawyer" in "Justice"

Way to go! Cut out the lawyers and take away the nastiest, slimiest weapons that any company has -- especially Redmond -- and let the small-claims courts choke on the line of disgruntled litigants coiling around the block.

I wonder how many it will take before Satya starts listening: 100? 1,000? 10,000?

But wait! There's more!

Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing

phat shantz

Bit-wise math

He did "SHL, BK, 2" and carried them back in two boxes.

Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

phat shantz

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

Please, if you are a member of the Army Special Forces Green Beret, do not hate me nor my comment. I am not usurping your honor nor your motto. But my experience is truly embarrassing and failingly instructive.

About ten years ago I worked (as a consultant) at an online service corporation that suffered from a myriad of problems -- all of them streaming down (like the plumbers' bane) from above. After executive councils had deemed that neither bad product quality, nor failures in market research, nor lackluster sales campaigns, nor the decision to send technical support offshore, nor inattention to the customer could explain the current business environment nearly as well as a lack of motivation, the C-level announced a new internal motto.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

They actually thought that using a motto on folks otherwise unfit for duty would magically transform them into a fighting unit.

In the same way, they introduced agile (through an expensive consultant) to the development teams. It failed for exactly the same reasons. Bringing an "adaptive" practice to undisciplined, unfit, and untrained programmers is the recipe for chaos, not victory.

When serendipity hands you superb coders and designers, it doesn't matter what "methodology" they are told to follow. They change the rules (at least internally) and figure out how to succeed. Agile is the shiny toy in the new box (or was ten years ago) and is still climbing the precipice from which it will eventually fall, but for now it is lofty. But the truth of battle and the truth of coding remain: warriors will win in battle, no matter what the motto; good coders will succeed in their development, no matter what the methodology.

Bad coders? Well, they fail no matter the best tools, best language (another argument), best practice, and best leadership.

Building software is the most egalitarian pursuit in the universe. The quality of the whole is never any better than the lowest capability of the worst developer on the team.

Methodology be damned.

phat shantz

Bill Shakespeare as template

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers..."

This was first spoken on stage in 1623 by an actor in one of Bill's plays. I think the only reason lawyers drew such scorn was because middle managers hadn't risen to such surplus population by that time.

In this time, I think it would read much more favorably toward lawyers and other vermin, and much less favorably toward middle managers and like diseases. Such is the necessity for temporal interpretation.

The enthusiastic embrace of Agile by coders was, I think, in greater part of its inference that we might, one day, live and work absent the middle manager. Indeed, if Agile says anything, it says to eschew anyone in the team who is either not writing code or not going to use it. This is the very soul of reason.

But, given the virulent nature of management, as soon as the threat was identified, the virus changed both itself and the host and became the destructive member of the symbiosis -- what biologists might call a parasite; which is really no morphological change at all, when you consider the species.

Agile in its current form should surely die. If we can kill it, we should. But the practices of the agile developer should be taught, mostly in the trenches, mostly by the experienced, and always while producing working code.

The most certain indicator that agile is _not_ being used in a team is the presence of anyone whose job it is to oversee or manage (e.g., a scrum lord or other non-developer/non-user posing as participant). The two questions to ask are 1) are you writing code? and 2) will you be using the code? (or 2a) are you paying for the code?) and if neither are answered in the affirmative, a large trap-door should open beneath the plaintiff and s/he should disappear with a whoosh!

[In defense of test driven development, I have found the personal value for me is in its ability to keep me from over-engineering. This is a practice of an agile developer and if it takes a trivial and simple process to enforce the stricture on myself, then I accept the shackle.]

Mono delivers Foundation-free open .NET alternative

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

@AC Avast Ye

Alas, AC, me and Paris just aren't that smart. If we lived in an ideal world, we'd all be using Macs. The Orgasmatron in "Sleeper" would be the computer interface for programming, and "services" would imply relaxing massages and sushi to order.

As it is, we pick our poison and deeply wish our choices were the right ones; when all the time we remember how our mothers encouraged us to become plumbers or long-haul truckers. We didn't listen then. We're not listening now.

The only good choice in our industry is becoming an interchangeable, replaceable middle manager whose failure will not be viewed as anything abnormal.

In this context, I cannot bring myself to make good choices.

So I make my declarations based on what I know, and put the proper spin on my opinions to assure myself that I could have done worse.

And I bounce between JVM and .NET and wish I had the best of both and could shed the worst of either. It ain't art, but it ain't wrong. Yet, I still don't like the mixed metaphor.

And Paris, 'cause she'd make a good second choice for programming interface, so long as they removed the speech module.

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

@AC re:rant

How long did it take?

About six days to get it through copyrighting. Three months at the lawyers. It's really a generic rant cobbled together with buzzwords and keywords. If it doesn't seem on-topic, it's because we use Microsoft Live Search internally to find the most appropriate responses.

We discarded the first seven returned documents that were more closely related to turnip farming, colonoscopies, the search for intra-terrestrial life, and cheese-making. We're just pleased LS returned anything we could use. We were entered for a raffle prize for using it, though.

In truth, I think .NET in a non-Windows world is just silly. I bought into the philosophy that the Java JVM and .NET are two similar frameworks on different platforms. Rather than expend effort to play catch-up with .NET, why not enhance and extend the JVM?

And did you know how many ways Paris can make a turnip blush?

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

@AC Joke Alert

Thanks, AC.

It was a toss up.

Paris, because ... well, because the punch-line keeps on giving.

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

Let .NET be .NET

There exist not one, but myriad developer communities in the world. Scores exist in academia. Scores more can be found in business. Literally thousands are found in the private and individual worlds. To the uninitiated, these communities may look alike, but they are not.

Even down to the hive from which the codebase originates, these communities are grossly different. By the time we are initiated into a community, we know the difference (or do we) between assembly and C and C++ and C#. We are reminded (incessantly) of the superiority of our own platform and the inferiority of the competing equivalent.

Political and religious factions arise from our community passions: the Big-Endians are superior for this reason; the Little-Endians are superior for that. I am constantly entertained by each side -- but never so much as I am by the constant attempts by one or two of the non-Microsoft religions who attempt to both become and overcome Microsoft.

Mono appears to me to be one such siege for the throne. Other than an assault on the primacy of the platform, for what reason does it exist?

Those behind the Mono project seem to have blurred the difference between these divergent communities. If they achieve acclaim in one development community for appearing to duplicate the .NET framework, they should not expect to find the same acclaim in the most critical and fiercest developer communities: business automation development.

Microsoft's .NET platform is highly successful. Whether or not anyone in the non-Microsoft religions will admit it, it has a deep and wide following and fuels an astonishingly vibrant number of business and personal development communities. It is mature, complete, and thousands of small to large third-party tools are available for it.

It was built by Microsoft to work in the Microsoft operating systems. In its native environment, there exists no possible reason to mimic the .NET platform -- except to knock-off the intellectual property of an industry giant.

Microsoft's .NET platform was not built to work in other environments. This, apparently, is the open-source-community's invitation to copy the product (in whatever form and quality) for use on platforms for which it was not originally made. While an incompetent analogy, this is akin to copying the Chevy 442 engine block such that it could be dropped into a Ford. Chevy never intended for that to happen. If a driver wanted the Chevy 442 engine, they should buy Chevy. And, among the countless other reasons this is a bad idea, the company who built the hybrid cannot be expected to be there next week or next year for maintenance or support.

This point completes the logical circle. Considering the full-spectrum of developers, there must exist some community of rogues who neither care that their tools and platforms are supported, nor work in projects for which such risks are relevant. There must be very few of those communities in business.

JBoss is a haven of support and maintenance for the risk-averse in businesses running on the Linux and Java platforms. But it is not limited to the mere presence of the product that JBoss is a God-send to business. While Marc Fleury must be complimented for his vision, it was not until a full-bodied company, Red Hat, took JBoss under its corporate umbrella that such a product could be trusted by the business community.

Before that, those using JBoss had to be content with the anticipation that JBoss would be there tomorrow, or that it would be maintainable. Businesses who used JBoss before Red Hat's acquisition must have slept uneasily, wondering what additional programmer costs would occur should they lose the JBoss company while having its source embedded so deeply in the corporate automation.

And what, exactly, does Red Hat add to the JBoss code? Nothing. But it adds everything to its business stability. And does Red Hat give away its product? Yes. And No. At the business level, risk-averse businesses are more than willing to "buy" annual support contracts wherein Red Hat promises to support the implementations in which its products reside by promising to support and maintain its products.

In exactly the same way, unless and until a "Red Hat" comes along and renders Mono a marketplace product, Mono will remain on the cusp of respectability. Even so, considering that the ideas and structure of Mono is a direct copycat of products by one of the world's largest and most aggressively-protective companies, it would have to be a blatant, arrogant, and wealthy company who would bring such a product to direct competition in the marketplace.

While rendering an unsupported and divergent platform on which students, the technically curious, and the religiously competitive may experiment, Mono seems, in the short run at least, to be a mirage for businesses. Business, lest anyone forget, is the fortress in which most programmers earn their livings. Programmers, therefore, should see very little Mono at work. Unless it is the virus. Especially so, let us hope then that it is quite rare.

Nonetheless, the allure of the .NET framework is strong. But wait! Do not despair! There already exists a platform on which .NET exists, is supported, is backed by a multi-billion-dollar company, and can be expected to exist in this or larger form for decades. That platform is the Microsoft Operating System platform. That platform is Windows.

For the price of an affordable server, affordable workstations, licensed, maintained, and supported operating systems, licensed, maintained, and supported office productivity tools, licensed, maintained, and supported business ERP products, and the acquisition of reasonably-priced development resources, any business can install, extend, and maintain a custom implementation of their business automation using the Microsoft operating systems platforms and their tools (which nicely integrate and work with each other without so much as a small sacrifice to the gods of interoperability). Business can use .NET!

And if the business has not chosen the Microsoft pathway, for what possible business-friendly reason should the executives insert such a risky unknown in their architecture? And who among the programming communities would advise any business to engage in such risky decisions?

Let .NET be .NET.

Paris, because nobody else could be Paris; or want to be.

Microsoft taints open source CodePlex well

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

@Edward Rose

I'm confused, it's true.

There are two conflicting statements in your post that I'm trying to reconcile:

1) O-S doesn't mean you must give your labour or ideas away for free. Not even vaguely.

2) So, free of charge I try to make them happy.

These two statements seem to be contradictory. Free-of-charge and give-away seem to be the same to me.

There exists a value to your labor. You control the marketplace for your labor, so you may do with it what you want.

I still have a family, a mortgage, and obligations that demand I pay others what I owe. You may give your labor away, if that is what you desire. I do not. I cannot.

Open Source IS about working for free -- especially with the idea that your labor is not worthless. Charity would mean nothing if you offered worthless handouts or worthless code.

Read again, I stated clearly and up-front that open source is quite valuable in small-group settings or club-like atmospheres, but that it can only inhibit the marketplace at a certain level.

I do get it. Surprisingly enough, I work in many environments and some of them actually use code from Open Source contributors. Bless 'em, Open Source folks are mostly pretty good at what they do.

But where a business must rely on its own proprietary business rules and keep it's code close to the chest -- especially when the code is the business -- Open Source advocacy is equivalent to asking the business to commit businesscide.

Please continue to give away your code. I'm sure there's a place in heaven where the open source geeks will get special distros and RCs that the rest of us don't get. But don't devalue my work because you give yours away.

Paris, because she's given it away so much, she's going to need charity soon.

phat shantz

Imagine all the codebase/Seize it if you can...

In a club, open source is a keen idea. Helping one another with pet projects can only help the developer and the project.

In the marketplace, open source is socialism. As we celebrate the US Fed "buying" into $700,000,000 worth of socialism, let us remember the utopias socialism has given history: the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, and possibly Chicago.

Open source violates the ageless and fundamental principle that my labor is worth something. In my line of work, my ideas are my harvest. Demanding that I open my storehouse of ideas to marauders, dressed as the Angel of Open Source, is nothing more than theft by intimidation.

Microsoft seems to give Open Source fanbois the answer to "if you're so smart, why ain't you rich?" You can point to Microsoft and cry "Foul!" or claim anti-competitive practices or even infer that crimes have been committed. If they have, then bring charges. (And remember there is a vast difference between contract dispute and criminal behavior. Also remember how easy it is to run afoul of government regulations, which are ceaselessly found by district courts to contradict even themselves.)

Otherwise, learn to play by competitive rules. Get out there and copyright and patent your own ideas (should you stumble across one), and find out that there is a vast and wonderful world where ideas buy houses and cars and vacations in the mountains and a fine education for your children.

One day, you could actually prevail in a tort against Microsoft and gain a court-ordered windfall of millions, posing that age-old question, "if you're so rich, why ain't you smart?"

Microsoft gives users six months longer to flee from Vista

phat shantz
Paris Hilton


Indeed, both the Vistaster and Server 2008 are built on the NT6.0 kernel. They diverge from there. Some independent researchers have shown Server 2008 in its desktop configuration runs 20 percent faster than Vista. Many have documented improvements between 11 and 17 percent. Given the user's ability to install only what's needed in Server 2008, the improvement can be higher, if tuned for the task.

Clearly, there must be something fundamentally different about Server 2008 that makes it less offensive to users than the Vistaster. (The experts agree, DRM seems to be notably absent from Server 2008, and, while they cannot point a definitive finger to that one aspect, almost all agree that Server 2008 runs better, faster, and with fewer obstacles than its cousin, Vistaster.)

Granted, they are different implementations of the same kernel and performance is a key in server software. At the same time, since the kernels are the same, where a driver is absent from Vistaster, it is absent from Server 2008. This is another good reason that XP workstations cannot be replaced by server software masquerading as a workstation. Not in theory. Not in practice.

As an aside, that you would even consider installing Server 2008 -- knowing its checkered pedigree -- without investigating whether it would cause the same kinds of heartaches as those bemoaned by such a large community of users, was courting disaster. You may have dodged an O/S bullet by sheer luck. Where Microsoft is involved, pray don't take such chances again.

Given our history with Microsoft, I don't think any reasonable user or consultant, working at the server level, is about to wholeheartedly and enthusiastically advocate using Server 2008, even yet, unless it is in a role that is not mission critical or in a case where the client is fully prepared to immediately regress to Server 2003. We just aren't that risk inclined. There were only marginally encouraging things said about Server 2008 in these comments. Don't misinterpret those marginally-positive statements as advocacy. You'll get yourself in trouble.

All in all, by deconstructing your superficial comments, the careful analyist will only find further support for the case that Microsoft has made a terrible tactical blunder in their migration philosophy. Perhaps the early release of Vistaster was a warning shot across the Server 2008 development team's bow.

Lastly, given that the researchers can all demonstrate a noticeable improvement in performance between Server 2008 and Vistaster and your findings are anecdotal, I'll lean toward the demonstrable, documented and metered examination and declarations.

Thanks for your input, though. They have been a marvelous springboard for more detailed explanations and evaluations of Vistaster.

Paris, because she is demonstrably slower, uses more resources, works poorly, if at all, on most platforms, and is adored by the Sigma -1, just like Vista.

phat shantz
Gates Horns


I am selfish. I try not to be. Selfish Phat wants Windows to work.

In that part of my life where I pay the mortgage (yes, I still can), I do the thinking for the enterprises that cannot. I'm a "special needs" consultant.

The majority of my clients bring a Windows Server legacy with them. Regardless of what anyone says, most are either incapable or unwilling to mix platforms between their servers and their workstations. And no, Linux cheerleaders, they won't abandon their Windows server installations just because you think Linux is cool. Remember, the CEOs get together and play golf. They talk about work. Linux has not made many CEO friends in mid-to-small-business. Sorry.

The desktop legacy also follows Windows. The custom interfaces, server tools, enterprise applications, and enterprise software I build and support is in a Windows environment -- from server to data store to desktop to whatever.

The challenge in supporting or migrating operating systems in small to medium sized businesses is not limited to the operating systems. It extends to the enterprise-level software, both vendor-supported and customized, that runs each business. Even the small(ish) company with fewer than 50 employees has, over the course of ten years, invested millions in the purchase, customization, integration, maintenance and modification of that enterprise software.

A migration from one "brand" to another would be prohibitively expensive.

As a reminder, the behemoths are still chained, unwillingly so, to millions and millions of lines of COBOL code. They cannot move for the very same reason the small and medium sized guys cannot move from Windows Server and workstation software -- the very core of the business exists in an uneasy, dependent, symbiotic relationship with legacy code that is usually more than seven or more years old.

These companies, the backbone on which the economy moves, must be stable. They must move slowly. They must invest wisely and incrementally. "Free" operating systems would demand a re-investment in millions for a single small corporation to re-implement their ERP, integration, communications, and all the other forgotten automation that just runs.

This is why a 40-employee company cannot slap-dash drop Windows Servers and Desktops in favor of your particular flavor of open source something. The business does not run on Linux or Ubuntu or Red Hat or even Open Office. It runs on the core business enterprise applications that have been bought and built and customized and modified over years of trial and error (and more programmers and IT geeks than anyone can remember). And nobody kept good notes.

I would argue (in court if necessary) that Microsoft, then, has a fiduciary obligation to provide these companies, and all companies, with competent, usable, stable, efficient platforms on which these companies can run their business/enterprise applications.

Vista does not, and cannot fulfill that obligation.

I'm not banking on WineDOS 7, either. If history is any school, Microsoft has already screwed the pooch on that one. In similar fashion, every Microsoft release of applications or operating systems since 2003, save one, has been a bloated, resource-crushing disaster. (The jury's still out on SQL Server 2008, but I'm wondering why I need it when SQL 2005 is still on the shelf?)

Regarding the servers, Server 2008 is decent. It made some progress over Server 2003. I have installed Sever 2008 on some new servers, but I haven't replaced any Server 2003 implementations with it.

And the workstations, which is the point of this monologue, are all still XP Pro. Why? It works. Vista doesn't. And even that mythical under-fifty-employee company I reference would have to spend tens of thousands to install (notice I could not bring myself to write "upgrade?") Vista even on the 40 or 50 machines they use. (They would probably be required to buy 40 or 50 new machines just to do it.)

It is all mathematical. Microsoft ***MUST*** produce and deliver a workstation operating system that is affordable, usable, dependable, and works with their current business/enterprise applications.

Whoops! They already have. XP.

Companies must have clear, convincing, low-risk, low-cost, usable, workable, easily-integrable options in everything. This is especially true of infrastructure. There will be no mass-migrations from Microsoft at any company. Any new machine or operating system or desktop applications must be inserted into the business management process like it was tooled and oiled and installed by a master. Otherwise it will be disruptive, expensive, risky, and bad for business.

This is why Vista will not succeed. This is, too, why anything besides a Windows solution at a Windows-based company will not succeed.

If Microsoft fails to deliver a success with Windows 7, there will be more businesses in distress than some little high-risk mortgage crisis can cause. If Microsoft fails to deliver a success with Windows 7, tens of thousands of companies will be forced to start all over -- and many of them don't have the margins.

You and I, geeks and experts, can install Linux or What-U-Too on our desktops. Some can afford to upgrade to Macs and OSX. I have started installing Server 2008 on my own desktops to use as my workstation operating system.

Businesses are not so flexible. They do not have the overall depth of expertise that you and I retain. They are at the shallow end of the technical pool, and that is how it will always be. (It will get even more and more shallow, relatively speaking, as technology progresses, too.)

Extending the support lifeline of XP is the best news for business I've seen in a month. But I think Microsoft is not doing it for altruistic reasons.

I don't think they're ready to fend off the mobs should XP die and all Microsoft can offer is a Vista monster, or its Windows 7 offspring.

I think Microsoft is buying time.

Microsoft sneaks out Silverlight 2

phat shantz
Paris Hilton


<<SSRS aint no dream but Crystal Reports lowers the bar to a such a back breaking low limbo height, it doesn't take much to create a more comfortable experience.>>

And yet, Microsoft still seems willing to hit bottom and dig, if necessary, to underachieve.

I didn't mean to ignore your pet product, either. I was just referencing products that others would recognize without having to google the name.

Paris, because she knows how to hit bottom to underachieve.

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

The Sixty Percent Solution

Microsoft rolls out another "tool" or "product" (however you classify it) that is 1) Already delivered by others, and 2) Done better by others. And they want us to be impressed.

Should any developer descend into the depths of evil that is Flash/Silverlight, those with any shred of self-respect (undeserved, admittedly) would be advised to stick to Adobe.

But this is like all the other "innovations" from Microsoft.

Silverlight is done better by Adobe.

SSRS is done better by Crystal Reports.

LINQ is done better by just about everybody.

And if any enterprise web developer using ASP.NET uses any of the Microsoft web form components, they should be summarily tossed from the "best practices" club. Enterprise development deserves two-day's worth of developer's pay for some world-class web components from Infragistics or DevExpress.

I could go on.

The list is just too long to recount here, but suffice to say that everything Microsoft releases in these areas are nothing more than beans so the Microsoft marketing bean-counters can loudly proclaim, "We have that."

And I'm a WineDOS fanboi. Really. I just don't like to see incompetent middle managers and novice programmers hurting themselves while trying to buy into Microsoft's tools. These tools are what I call the "60 percenters."

Microsoft tools like Silverlight and LINQ and their web or form components are competent for 60 percent of the tasks an enterprise will need. The other 40 percent is not there. The base on which the product is delivered may have a promise of those extra capabilities, but the capabilities are just not there. Developers will spend weeks trying to re-invent the wheel that could have been purchased from third party vendors at a fraction of the price -- and in a maintained and supported form, too!

Regardless, Flash and Silverlight are the big vendor's big joke on the web, in my opinion. If they weren't pretty, we'd consider them a virus. They bloat web pages, they annoy users, they add nothing, and the "developers" are not usually developers; they are art-school bum-outs who turned to the web to make their living. But that's just my opinion. (How many users have web browsers or tools that allow them to turn Flash off unless absolutely necessary? I rest my case.)

The world would be better off without either Flash or Silverlight. The world, if it wants one, should choose the better product. One virus is annoying. Two viruses are an epidemic.

Paris, because she probably knows a thing or two about Flash.

Stob latest: It was a cunning trick, says Open University

phat shantz

Submitted for your approval


8) No one in the real world cares about your grade. The guy who graduated dead last in medical school is still called "Doctor."

This may be a corollary of #1, though.

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

Fortune 500 University

We don't want an education. We just want the paper. And Wassamatta U. is happy to oblige. No one cares except the huge multi-national corporations. And the medium-sized regional companies. And the small businesses. And Ma and Pop stores. They are all victims of academic fraud. The credential says the candidate can do the work. But they can't.

Not now, but soon there will be a demand to improve education. But don't ask the drunkard for the solution to alcoholism. Don't ask the college presidents for the solution to academic fraud.

The solution to academic fraud must come from those who stand to gain the most from better education -- those who need the educated employees.

Boeing needs engineers. They should teach them internally, to standards that exceed their requirements.

Dow needs chemists. They should teach them internally, to standards that exceed their requirements.

Wal-Mart needs cashiers. They, too, should train them in simple arithmetic and personal skills.

None of these companies can find employment candidates of sufficient skills or experience, regardless of academic background. Many years ago I learned of a major American employer who had started basic literacy classes because their line workers could not read. (Anyone wonder why we've replaced low-skilled labor with robots?) I know of a major American retailer who teaches arithmetic and change-counting to their trainees. And they hire mainly high-school graduates.

The trend for college graduates is not much more encouraging. A group of Ph.D. biochemists worked for seven months at an R&D facility before an outsider introduced basic standardization techniques that chemists should learn in 101. They were in utter failure before that. The academic system had failed a whole department of Ph.D.s, and consequently a large biochemical company. Businesses will soon begin to protect themselves by teaching their own.

Before long, business will realize the benefits of taking capable candidates and educating and training them to the specifics of the industry: aeronautics, mechanics, chemistry, physics, mathematics, management, systems architecture, programming, warehouse management, distribution, international commerce, and the host of unique roles that make each business different.

In previous decades, airlines found enormous benefits in ab-initio (from the start) training of pilots. Taking candidates who didn't even have a single-engine land certificate, airlines like Lufthansa and American Airlines would train pilots all the way to Air Transport Pilot in less than two years. And it would be done "their way." Any pilot working for the company would respond exactly the same way, with exactly the same words, to any situation. The cockpit management and emergency procedures of these commonly-trained teams was a phenomenon.

Once trained, industry graduates could be granted an industry-specific certification, very much like the ones we wave about during interviews. (They mean nothing, either, but we still brandish them like blessings from heaven.) Would Exxon hire a Dow chemist? I think so. Would General Dynamics hire a Boeing engineer? I'd think they would.

Nobody would have to worry about grade inflation. The best and brightest would not apply to Cal Tech or Florida State. They would apply to 3M or General Electric. And they would be rewarded with the kind of education that companies will need in the coming decades.

Were this to happen, and I an optimist, I would think the exodus of superior freshman candidates from engineering and science programs would be a warning sign and encourage failing universities to pursue greater academic rigor. But I'm a pessimist. It will only accelerate the academic trend of attracting the greater and greater numbers of elementary education, home economics, and journalism majors.

After all, for every hard-to-find physics major candidate, there are 1,000 easy-to-find education major candidates. And they both spend equal amounts of money at the registrar's office.

I fear classical education has died. No one wants the one thing the classical education guaranteed, anyway: a common cultural, scientific, and philosophic foundation on which to build the remaining life and career.

Nobody wants to earn an education, either. Everybody wants the job that George Jettson had, pushing a button all day. Can't we train rats to do that?

Paris. 'Cause she pushes everybody's buttons.

phat shantz

How to Attract the Igrnorant

Q: How can one attract the ignorant?

A: Open a university.

In a classic "marriage made in heaven," online universities attract a market no one else has served. This market includes those who 1) need the advanced degree, and 2) cannot afford the time, disruption, or cost of returning to those Ivy-covered halls.

Since more and more ignorant employers (e.g. government) set academic certification as their first screening hurdle, it is less important that the credential holder know the material than that s/he possess the credential. S/he must only produce the precious paper. (There exists no one in personnel nor anyone in the hiring department who can ask the appropriate questions that would reveal an academic fraud.)

This academic requirement was far easier to fulfill 20 years ago when the diploma-mill ran at break-neck speeds. (I confess, I truly wanted a Ph.D. in Samoan Art History from Pacific Western University. But alas, they were prosecuted before I could find the time to send the fee.)

The attraction remains; one side needs meaningless credentials, another side strongly desires to confer them. Some busy-body has decided, though, that these diploma mills needed oversight. (It was probably the same government agency who lit the fire under the industry by demanding meaningless credentials as a prerequisite to working for the government. The irony is delicious.)

The result is a tight-wire of conformance vs. expedience. So long as enough coursework appears legitimate, some coursework can remain worthless. Balance is met: the veneer of legitimacy covers the wormwood.

And don't for a moment think this indictment rests solely on the online educators. Brick-and-mortar -- formerly venerable and respected -- universities face the same challenges that pit fiscal and academic forces against each other. I estimate that the level of tripe in traditional universities is lower, but the tripe exists, and for the same reasons. Costs.

Those seeking nothing more than the credential will do what they must do and celebrate the end of the road when the credential is conferred. Those seeking real enlightenment will have a much smaller celebration at the receipt of credentials, but then begin the lifelong climb to the higher ground.

As always, the burden for betterment rests on the students's shoulders, not on the professor. It is this way and always has been. Those who attended the ivy-covered halls of traditional university and those who miss every aspect of that experience, save for the poor instruction, are identical in two important aspects.

Firstly, they will both have a certification that means absolutely nothing beyond clicking past that decision gate in HR.

Secondly, they will never be educated unless they personally and eternally dedicate themselves to their own merciless, ceaseless pursuit of knowledge.

My alma mater?

Wassamatta U.

Emails show journalist rigged Wikipedia's naked shorts

phat shantz

A trillion here, a trillion there....

1. Do not bail out intentional failure.

2. Find the bastards.

3. Fry 'em.

4. Have a great weekend.

Developers to get Windows 7 pre beta next month

phat shantz
Black Helicopters


You have a real future.

I once got "removed" from a government contract for unmasking another contractor who charged the client 1600 hours for a Draft Preliminary Report Outline.

Never steal the emperor's new clothes.

phat shantz

Peel back the cover

And it looks like another Vistaster to me.

It smells like a Vistaster.

And what's with that tin of Vaseline that comes with every license?

If it's Whinedos, it's XP: Until they pry it from my cold, dead fingers...

(Has anyone wondered which O/S they've been using over at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?)

RIAA filesharing target Jammie Thomas wins retrial

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

Bloodsucking Parasites

A study I read (years before Al Gore invented the Internet) revealed that the greater the number of lawyahs in an industrialized society, the faster the productivity decline.

It was explained that lawyahs do not "produce" anything and only suck the profit and life-blood from any market pipeline.

To (t)wit: the RIAA.

The RIAA are nothing but lazy ambulance-chasers who don't want to go to the exertion of "actually" chasing ambulances. They have lobbied and seen to it that the legal code was modified such that they would not actually have to prove their case in a court -- but demand that the plaintiff prove them wrong!

Vladimir Lenin would have been proud.

That the Minnesota Federal District Court might may have lodged the proverbial bullet in the proverbial brain of the RIAA is more astonishing than all the RIAA laziness, tyranny, brutality, and bloodsucking combined.

That the criminally-minded RIAA would suffer a mortal injury from this ruling might well be even more astonishing.

If so, I'd be ready for the Large Hadron Collider to produce its much-feared Black Hole and swallow us up -- in our best and brightest moment! Go out on top!

Paris: On Top. My, what a thought.

Secret Windows 7 screens leaked?

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

@andrew checkley (Screenshots)

Sure. Kinda what I expected.

But the real question is whether it crashed faster than Vista, or just as slowly.

Paris, because she's not bad looking, is a resource hog, has succeeded solely on marketing, and goes down a lot, too. Dump Jerry, Paris is VistaME/Windows 7's ideal spokesperson!

phat shantz
Gates Horns

Microsoft Bailout

One more Vistaster from MS and Treasury will be bailing out Ballmer.

Are today's developers more creative?

phat shantz


The tools of the developer start with some standard knowledge. If I see any of these on a co-worker's bookshelf, I know I am working with a professional. Language, platform, problem domain, and business environments change. Fundamentals do not. And some of these fountains of knowledge have nothing (and everything) to do with applications, development, or computers. They have to do with life, the universe, and everything.

- The Art of Computer Programming, Donald Knuth, Vols I, II, and III, Addison-Wesley Professional

- Numerical Recipes (In C, or 3rd Edition, or whatever) The Art of Scientific Computing, Press, Flannery, Teukolski, Vetterling, Cambridge University Press

- Managerial Accounting, Garrison, Noreen, Brewer, McGraw-Hill

- Statistical Process Control: The Deming Paradigm and Beyond, Second Edition (Kindle Edition), Thompson, Koronacki, Chapman & Hall/CRC

- Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson, Dover Publications

- Walt Disney The American Dreamer, Tumbusch, Tomart Publications

- Elements of Style, Strunk & White, Allyn and Bacon

- Metamagical Themas: Questing For The Essence Of Mind And Pattern, Hofstadter, Basic Books

- Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, Patterson, Hennessy, Morgan Kaufmann

- The Feynman Lectures on Physics including Feynman's Tips on Physics: The Definitive and Extended Edition, Feynman, Leighton, Addison-Wesley

- The Fuzzy Systems Handbook, Cox, AP Professional

phat shantz

50 Pounds of Ashtrays


There's an old art-school joke.

Q: What do you get with an art class and 50 pounds of clay?

A: 50 pounds of ashtrays.

(This was funnier when folks knew what an ashtray was.)

Creativity is only important if the creator has something to express. Most automation processes are not expressions, they are solutions. Occasionally, a solution will occur that is brilliant, exciting, novel -- in short, creative.

Is it creative to put a new look on a component? Or is a creative to make a brand new presentation foundation? I would suggest the latter is creative. The former is merely exploitive.

Given the hundreds of APIs and productivity tools (Eclipse, VS, Hibernate, Infragistics, Ideablade, Googasms, and the like), I think most of the self-congratulatory programmer's hype comes from that exploitation of a tool that already had a capacity for the property. (You mean this can be ANY color?)

The work I see coming from the ANSI committees can verge on creativity (if it doesn't devolve into politics). IEEE can be the source of so much creativity, you can almost forget they have pocket protectors and still know how to find the log on a slide rule.

The other area of creativity I've witnessed is in interfaces. Those hidden bits of arranged marriage between one system and another, one data source and another, throughout an enterprise can sometimes look like genius. These are data creations -- translations that never occurred before. I'm not sure they are creative in the way this article poses.

There is a huge impediment to creativity in the industry. Francis Fish (above) implied the roots of much of the industry's failure. The whippersnappers don't learn the history of their art, nor the current state of it before they start slamming bits and blocks together to solve their first problems. Anything creative, then, usually happens by accident (which has its place, but is better if you are prepared for it).

It is most likely, then, that the creators in our industry are the writers of compilers, designers of protocols, O/S developers, and especially the hardware designers.

You want to find a real creative genius? Look for a Ph.D EE working in hardware-based encryption.

You want to find a pretender who gets to look good based on the long hours the Ph.D EE put in behind new chip capability specifications? Just look at the programmer next to you.

What is Oracle's 'major database innovation'?

phat shantz

Best Guess

1) A device that transforms all your enterprise data into M&Ms.

2) Unlimited Write-Only data storage.

Microsoft dumps hilarious comedy duo

phat shantz

When you have nothing to say, say it

Microsoft's "When you have nothing to say, say it" ad campaign was very "Vista" like. It wasted money, was confusing, showcased Microsoft's incompetence, had no content, fell flat, and was removed from criticism at the first opportunity.

The earlier ad campaign could be summarized this way:

"When you have ugly children, don't take pictures." (Show your O/S to strangers and non-professionals to garner praise.)

The up-coming ad campaign -- following Microsoft's corporate response to industry criticism of Vista -- should attack Apple. The tag-line for the next ad campaign should be:

"When you fail, blame the winners."

If Microsoft paid 10,000 highly-creative people to come up with a way to sell their desktop operating system, at least one of them should have suggested...

"Stop selling crap and start selling something that works."

XP Pro comes immediately to mind.

Federation borgs asset org

phat shantz
Black Helicopters

They gave it away

I have an honest-to-Bill licensed copy of Office 2003 that Bill's minions gave me after suffering through an intolerably inane roll-out of some hype in Visual Studio. They didn't give me a receipt and the Kool-Aid drinkers were all there for free.

Does this mean the Gestapo will beat down my door and take me to the Gulag if I run my Office 2003?

('Scuze me... That would be Bill's copy of Office 2003 that he only grants me temporary use until he comes out with the equivalent of Vista for Office -- which he has, called Office 2007 -- and decides that Office 2003 licenses are no longer valid...)

I have to go. The Black Helicopters are here. Not to worry, though. They run Open Source so they shouldn't be in any danger... Or are they? Can you prove that you haven't violated the terms of that agreement? Oh, you can't.

Come with us. We're the Blacker Helicopter people. We are above the law. We are beyond the law. We are the Men In Blacker.

Western Digital's 2.5-inch to hit 1TB by early 2010

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

It's not important

We treat a byte on a laptop like a byte on a secure server in the enterprise. Maybe, to some, it is. But it should not be.

Data on a laptop are irrelevant, prone to loss (and not just the failure kind), risks to security (if they approach real data of any kind), and are as transitory as your shareholder's confidence during an economic downturn.

One TeraByte drive on a laptop? The only use I can see for it is thousands and thousands and thousands of vacation pics. Those should be sent to grandma, anyway.

If your data are worth saving, they are worth saving twice. When the drive array on your Dell laptop approaches 10 TB with RAID 47 (or whatever they're up to by then) and the satellite uplink constantly transmits the deltas to your secure underground bunker, the laptop will still get stolen. Or lost. Or left behind in the head of the AirBus 930 MaxiCruiser and mistaken for a terrorist attack and hit with a water canon and smashed to smithereens just before they find your identification tag and send you the bill for the emergency response.

Laptop data are transitory. And insecure. Get over it.

And don't depend on anyone to care when you lose your data. I won't. The 280TB drive manufacturers won't, either. Your former boss will.

I think Paris lost her secure data when she was 14. She didn't need a backup.

World goes mad as Bill and Jerry eat churros

phat shantz

The Spinner and the Programmer

The BSOD was showing on the screen,

Showing with all his might:

He did his very best to make

The Core Dump less a fright --

And this was odd, because it was

The O/S who took to flight.

"If seven spinners with seven meg$

Spun us for half a year.

Do you suppose," the spinner said,

"They could transform Vista dear?"

"I doubt it," said the programmer,

And shed a bitter tear.

"The time has come," the spinner said,

"To spin on many things:

Of speed -- and glut -- and resource hogs --

Of Tuesday Patchy Things --

And why the O/S stinks so bad --

And whether IP Pings.

"I weep for you," the Spinner said:

"I deeply sympathize."

With blogs and spots designed to keep

Customers of largest size.

Offering schtick on nothingness

Before their bleary eyes.

"O users," said the spinner,

"You've had a pleasant run!

Shall we upgrade you one more time?"

But answers came there none --

And this was scarcely odd, because

The O/S wouldn't run.

[with apologies to Lewis Carroll]

Jeery Jerry loves Vista, y'know

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

For whom the ad runs

Thirty years ago it was common knowledge that automobile advertisers directed their campaigns at Recent Purchasers of their brands.

These recent buyers, after an agonizing decision-process and the outlay of significant sums of money, needed reassurance. The automobile manufacturers understood that recent purchasers would be doubting the correctness of their choices. In order to dispel the doubt and prohibit regret, they launched massive campaigns designed to assure the recent purchasers that they made good choices. (These campaigns had the added utility of making their automobiles appealing to prospects, so they got good billing on both sides.)

Looking at the ads Microsoft is creating and running, the comparisons are obvious. These ads are purely reassurance.

These are not the first such ads. As reported in ElReg, MS must blame the message -- not the product.


I dubbed the first roll-out the "when you have an ugly child, don't take photos" campaign. In other words, since everyone knows how bad Vista is, just don't talk about the bad parts.

If it is true that a second campaign strategy will feature a comedian who had a long-running TV show about nothing, then it is a match made in heaven. Vista is an operating system about nothing (that you can talk about in polite company). The tag-line for the second campaign then, is, "When you don't have anything to say, talk more."

I am eager to see Microsoft Advertising Wonks roll out the campaign that will actually admit how terrible Vista is but convince the American public that it is precisely because it is terrible that everyone should want it.

"It's so baaaad, it's gotta be goooooood."

(I'm afraid the colonists are the most gullible -- all others have cried, 'The overly-bloated resource hog has no kernel!' I'm afraid they don't have very good memories, either.)

And quietly, behind the scenes, the enterprises and developers condemned to this MS madness are all using XP and Server 2003 and Office 2003 and SQL Server 2005 and VS 2005 because we cannot use Vista (it breaks everything) and because we do not trust anything from MS any more -- at least not as the eager lab rats we once were. There is nothing that Redmond can do, short of delivering a good O/S and good products that run on it, to win back the confidence of the professional. The best they can do, then, is to trap the repeatedly-ignorant.

P.T. Barnum was wrong. He said, "There's a sucker born every minute." Microsoft needs more suckers than that. They rely on the fact that the same ones keep coming back again and again.

And even if Vista were pure gold and we Cretans just can't see it, I'm still the buyer and they're still the vendor. They work for me. (...said the puny ant as the giant boot came down from heaven...)

I'm starting to look at that Linux stack of disks I have over there on the table....

Where's the Paris O/S? It mounts on anything, runs hot, IS a firewall, won't stop, and has no problems with limited memory.

JavaScript standards wrangle swings Microsoft's way

phat shantz


I've seen standards committees work from the inside. I am not impressed with "standards."

Developers -- be it the individual or the corporation -- take what they want and "extend" what they need. If a product is good, it catches on, regardless of whether it is fully "compliant." (Has anyone ever seen a C compiler fully compliant with the standard? I haven't.)

Standards committees are a lot like the folks who brought us "New Coke." They don't know what the consumer wants, don't care what the consumer thinks, and are more concerned about the "legacy" they leave behind than the harm their myopia and ham-handed authoritarian actions cause.

I cannot speak of the spat between Adobe and Microsoft. Two schoolyard bullies in a fight should not be big news. If a group of people think they are incapable of working toward an "ambitious new standard," then they should step away from the keyboard, concentrate on ossification, and let more "ambitious" caretakers take the reins of the new protocols.

The folks who like ES 4 should continue to develop in it. The folks who like it should form their own group. (Not like that hasn't happened before...) Let the market decide.

Even if the market makes a bad decision, it's technology. It won't last long. (Honey, can you get the door? I think I hear 180 Billion Lines of COBOL waiting to be replaced...)

SQL Server 2008 moves on, wants to stay friends

phat shantz

You've convinced me

The Nulls Have It.

I'm going back to Paradox.

I think they defined "NULL" as

"The space between a DBA's ears where easily-avoidable pitfalls overwhelm the ability to function rationally."

Or was the answer, "42?"

phat shantz



XP is the upgrade to Vista.

Office 2003 is the upgrade to Office 2007.

The verdict is still out on VS2008, but I'm having trouble figuring if it's really an upgrade.

I'll be suspicious. I'm thinking SQL 2005 is the upgrade to SQL 2008.

And what is the acronym for Windoz, IIS, SQL Server and ASP .Net?





(Business Intelligence: That's an oxymoron, right?)

Maybe the Phoenix lander can ask the Martians what DB and O/S they use.

Unencrypted traveler data laptop disappears then reappears

phat shantz
Black Helicopters

In a post-911 world

We're from the government and we're here to help you.

We'll take from you your most sensitive information. We will make it available to criminals. We will charge you $100/annum for this service.

You cannot touch us. We are the government and you are our servants. Complaints are handled in room 101 of the Ministry of Love.

The terrorists have won.

Nut launches death threats at Debian women

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

The death threats divert you from the death knell

There are plenty of nuts for every forest. Open source has its share. The line between multi-billion-dollar mogul and madness is a fine one, I'm told.

So the sensationalism of death threats obscures the real news. There aren't enough workers when there is no pay. My Econ 101 professor told me the same thing 35 years ago. (Who's surprised?)

The marxism of open source has so many flaws that I cannot list them all, but I'll list two.

1) Hobbyists never produce the best products.

2) Experts command both respect and high pay.

Violate either of these two economic principles and the business (if it's isolated) or the marketplace (if its endemic) collapses.

Imagine if you contracted the world's worst curable disease. To which doctor would you go, provided you could afford it? The free clinic down the street, or Mayo Clinic where the specialists practice?

Open source and software are like this. When you are broke or too embarrassed to admit that you got that e-rash during a fortnight of online revelry, you go to the free clinic -- but not because it's the best you can find.

When you can afford it, you spend the money and buy the best the market can provide (or sufficient talent to the value you deem necessary).

Is this a guarantee of always finding the best? No. Is it a near certainty that it will be better than the free stuff? Absolutely.

When I looked around for a market to provide the greatest reward for my labor, I chose software and business consulting. I don't do it for free. (I don't think I couldn't even get work if I did.)

Open Source pays nuthin' for their labor. They get what they pay for.

Hey! Paris doesn't need the money. She can help y'all with the Open Source stuff. Good hire, McIntyre.

Intel says 'no' to Windows Vista

phat shantz
Gates Horns

@ Chris Matchett

I was recently required to use a client's system with Fista on it. It was a beefy machine with 4GB and no slacker. But Fista made it a slug.

I installed VMWare and used an XP Pro VM instance within it. My development environment and database worked fine. My network and FTP performance was superior inside the VMWare XP instance, compared to the same data transfer within Fista (on which the VM was running ... odd...).

In some cases, the Remote Desktop connections that were unstable and unworkable within Fista were rock-solid and highly responsive within the XP instance inside the VM running on Fista. Everything worked fine in my VMWare instances. I actually had more than one VM running at any given time and was fine.

Try that. I have also used VPC (Microsoft's free virtual platform) doing the same thing and the XP VPCs worked better than the native Fista. This is even more unusual since those XP virtual machines would most certainly be using far less memory and only indirect access to devices. Yet, even in this context, XP runs faster (perceptually, of course, I have no metrics) than running the same applications an utilities inside Fista.

Then again, if you are looking for simplicity, buy the XP (you'll need it for the VMWare anyway) and upgrade from Fista to XP Pro.

Somebody ask Bill why folks who want to work inside his O/S's have to resort to contortions and machinations just to do so.

phat shantz

And the systems they are a-changin'

The enterprise is a-changin'.

Vista may be the planning and architectural tipping-point that forced each business to stop and reassess its long-term needs. The reassessment has repeatedly shown no demonstrable motivation in Vista's favor.

Businesses with a few thousand desktops and a few hundred servers must find a strongly-compelling business (read: cost/benefit) reason to make a wholesale O/S migration. Vista actually tipped the see-saw toward its predecessor; it made XP look a whole lot better. If XP goes away and Vista isn't a good alternative, larger enterprise IT managers are thrashing for options. They are, by all accounts, considering a return to the past.

In slow motion, architects and IT managers within the thousand-desktop enterprise are migrating back to mainframes (in the form of terminal and web applications). Vista is not necessary for thin clients running Citrix or browser-based software. (Imagine. The industry discovered another use for which Vista is not well-suited.)

The question is not whether business should ever migrate to Vista. The question is whether the night manager at BooBoo Burger should hire anyone who ever worked for Microsoft on the Vista project. I don't think I would. I don't have an important job like night manager at BooBoo Burger, though.

Multi-threaded development joins Gates as yesterday's man

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

We need to build the better programmer

Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for the industry, there exists no ogre at the gate leading to the programming kingdom. The guard post is empty and they let anyone in, hoping that some of them are actually programmers and can do what they say.

Multi-core, parallelism, multi-threading, and the whole battalion of integrating hardware with software (or is that integrating software with hardware) may very well be that gatekeeper. Those who can learn this complex and inter-related algorithmic ballet will be knighted as Programmers of the Multi-Thread. Those who cannot will be relegated to other kingdoms or as serfs who toady to the heroes of the kingdom.

Realizing that there exists only a certain percentage of the population who can comprehend the complexities of these issues, the two camps are revealed as nothing more than self-aggrandizing or self-protection groups.

The group who thinks they understand the complexity of multi-threading, parallel processing, non-serial architecture, and all future issues of these trivialities bloviate about the underlying simplicity of such obvious matters. This is hardly the truth as these are very complex engineering, mathematical, philosophical, physical, artistic, and architectural challenges. Even the folks who think they understand these questions do not; otherwise there would already be a solution to the mis-matches in concepts.

Those who demand that the software tend to the complexities and let programmers "do something useful," are demanding that the software itself do the useful part. If I have a machine that can do your job, why do I need you?

And the cheerleaders and sycophants who declare their idol as the "one and true language," are nothing more than one more group to vilify in the future. Everyone's language fails at doing what it was never designed to do. There are still instruments running on 25-year-old chips that many condescend to say are irrelevant to us. Yet, these chips and their ancient languages are running environmental systems, watering lawns, and monitoring the engines in motorcars. One plucky fellow actually got a Babbage engine to work. Who figured?

The truth is that a very small group of people will be able to understand the problem. A much smaller group (perhaps as few as two or three) will be able to construct a workable solution. This is the nature of invention.

Once the solution is known, there will be a very small community who know, teach, and use these very complex solutions. The solution to this problem, too, is not "THE" solution to every "Problem Universal." It will solve a small set of problems from within a very large queue.

A workable solution will lead to other questions and the presentation of a workable solution will not automatically guarantee a universal translation to everyone's platform or task. Not everything needs multi-threaded or multi-core solutions. Some things are just simple.

Some things won't even have an answer in multi-threading, parallelism, or multi-core hardware. Some algorithmic questions are even more difficult, misunderstood to this day, or just don't lend themselves to our physics.

Paris is one such problem. I do not propose to solve that with computers, but by turning off the TV. (I believe some hard problems have easy answers.)

For many, this may be another solution without a real problem. Some things take time. Growing a tomato takes time. No parallel multi-core algorithm will hasten that. (Has anyone here actually read the Mythical Man Month?) Some problems are only those created by folks who want to host a money-making enterprise by re-creating the glass-room mainframe theology -- with high-speed.

As soon as someone comes up with a solution, all sorts of real problems that don't yet have answers will be found. (The laser was invented in the '50s but was not very impressive because no one knew what problems it might solve. Foresight is not a natural trait of the inventor.) Until that happens, the current solutions will be used for our current set of problems and the captains of industry will just have to be content that we don't still have rooms with 300 data entry clerks and typists, sitting at Orwelianly-similar desks, banging out the work that can be done in the same amount of time on an Osborne.

The real limit on our industry is the bell-curve. Some programmers are just naturally smarter than others. Yet, the industry needs programmers who are smarter than the general population. So does every industry. Doctors and lawyers and engineers and physicists and plumbers and auto-mechanics and green-grocers and almost everyone except Paris needs to be smarter than the general population in order for our society to advance. Paris proves that there can be the occasional outlier, but we won't be treated kindly by history if our contribution to society and culture is buying shoes.

The smarter programmers (those who are smarter than he smart ones who are already smarter than the general population) will migrate to the problems of multi-processor, parallel processing, multi-threading, multi-core, multi-multi-multi that is expected to solve the problems of bad management, poor planning bad architecture, flagging business models, antiquated products, constricting global markets, and the eventual super-nova of Sol.

The regular programmers (who are smarter than the general population but are not smarter than the average of the programming population) will continue to plug away as "developers" and "producers" and "do something useful," as they call it -- in order to justify the fact that they aren't any smarter than the programming population, although they are smarter than the general population.)

These programmers will bemoan the fact that there may actually be an ogre at the gate of some computing kingdoms. These programmers wil have to make do with their own kingdom, of their own making. We'll call it the "Useful Kingdom."

These programmers will have to wait until someone solves the problem and then someone else packages it so they can use it in a way that separates them from trying to figure out when and where they should use the solution for their "useful" products.

Until then, these articles and the ensuing dust-clouds they create are my form of entertainment; having eschewed the likes of Paris.

Here's to you kid. We'll always have Paris.

Reg readers split on Vista readiness

phat shantz
Paris Hilton

I responded and apparently wasn't representative of the Vista Lovers

I responded. I guess I wasn't the fanboy ElReg was looking for. Vista stinks. And it's stink is durable and extensible enough for the enterprise.

I've been involved in a major effort (or two) to roll-out Vista. One failed. The other is a partial success because we dropped another $1,000 per machine, added memory, and incorporated VMWare so we can run XP on the same machines. XP saves the day. It runs faster inside Vista than Vista runs by itself. 'Splain that, Paris.

What does this tell me? It tells me that we spent extra money, extra time, added complexity, and had to buy enterprise licenses of VMWare so we could stay where we were with our XP installations.

And this is progress?

Paris is to Katherine Hepburn what Vista is to XP.



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