More from the Offshoring Desk:

“One fact that’s being overlooked here is that there are losers in this equation. There’s no free lunch in free trade. You can be principled about free trade, but if you don’t say how do we compensate and retool the losers you miss part of the equation,” says Hira.

. . .

“I hear a lot of people say ‘look at healthcare; there’s a shortage of nurses,'” says Hira. “So you’re saying to someone, you have your four-year electrical engineering degree, you’ve worked in the industry for 15 years and you’re in your late 30s with kids and you now have to go back and study nursing. Is that the answer?”

. . .

“The core technology development and strategy best resides where it is today,” says Bingham. “The reason is that this is the right place to be for the things that have to come together. The U.S. has unmatched infrastructure. The U.S. has a robust leading education system, venture capital, capital markets and an open, free legal system. It’s also a safe place to live. Most countries simply can’t replicate that.”

Vote for the Unqualified, Crush Your Enemies:

“As Cruz is beginning to look like Gray Davis-lite, voters are looking around saying that they really don’t like politicians,” said Englander. “And the only non-politician with a chance of winning is Arnold.”

Increasingly, people want the un-political person in office. Politics — and, perhaps, Business — is one of the only jobs in which being completely unqualified can actually help you. If I applied for a programming job with the platform “I’ve used lots of software, but I’ve never done programming work,” I’d get laughed out of the interview. But, if Conan, The Gipper before him, The “Thief-in-Cheif,” or Jesse says, “I’ve been a citizen but I’ve never done political work,” suddenly, being under-qualified for the job makes them The People’s #1. It’s enough to turn an otherwise happy-go-lucky man into a Mencken.

As one famous debate with a (albeit, fictional) unqualified politician goes,

-What is best in life?
– The open steppe, fleet horse, falcon on your wrist, wind in your hair!
– WRONG! Conan, what is best in life?
– To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.


Rereading some discussion on our development wiki, I noticed I used the term “bad-ass” to describe an option, e.g., “That feature would be bad-ass.”

That display of my finely tuned professional diction deserves nothing short of a “Yuh!”

DVD Everywhere!

Strangers With Candy

I’m truly amazed at how many obscure shows get released on DVD. It must be so cheap to make DVDs that, no matter how small the market of buyers for them, it’s worth it to release ’em. (There are, however, 64 Amazon reviews for it, suggesting quite a fan-base I’d guess; in comparison, The Simpson’s first season has 488 reviews, but that’s a mega-hit.) Don’t get me wrong — I think Strangers with Candy is a funny show — but in the pre-DVD world, it’d have been long buried.

Web Colors from Nature:

The strongest visual elements are the most useful ones: navigation menus and featured content, not background colors. Perhaps this occurs because of our familiarity with nature’s color combinations. We are used to backdrops composed of blues, yellows, and grays because we see them every day.

This phenomenon becomes especially important in web-based applications where users can interact with an online service for hours or days at a time. Having a palette that does not fight for a user’s attention allows them to focus on their work and on important information.


bushwald: I’ve spent most of today trying to figure out how some XML would get corrupted during an upgrade.
bushwald: It’s like being an archeologist, trying to reconstruct cities from outhouse remains.
kinman: Did you blame grexmlins?
kinman: Ha!
bushwald: “Grexmlins”…very nice.
kinman: That’s SO worthy of drunkandretired.
kinman: I was inspired.

Some one else's management success story:

BMC's BSM Burger

Matthiesen said the primary benefit of using the ProactiveNet tool is its ability to determine root-cause analysis. In the past, if there were a high-severity outage and Supply Management Online went down, McKesson’s operations team would determine which application was down and initiate a conference call including every division that played a part in maintaining that application. Using ProactiveNet, Pearson can isolate the problem to one or two groups.

From the "Enterprise Application" Desk:

[Customers] want enterprise applications that are extremely easy to implement and maintain. They want technology companies to do most of the heavy lifting. One of the implications may be that less professional services will be required, and I think that’s a good thing.

. . .

I don’t know why people assumed, when we have separate product lines tuned and optimized for certain markets and both companies on their own were profitable, that we would merge our code bases. I don’t understand that at all. When Ford bought Jaguar, they didn’t merge their product lines into a single car. They still build and sell Jaguars. They just add Ford technology that can make them better. I don’t know why people are saying that it’s a foregone conclusion that we’re going to merge our code bases. It’s ridiculous.

Microsoft has two operating systems, NT and Windows. They serve different markets. One’s on the server, one’s on the client. There’s no reason for them to merge the code bases into one. Toyota has a car division and a truck division. It’s the same difference.

It’s rare to read comments from a CEO that are insightful and concrete enough to help form an executable technical vision for a company or product. I suspect part of Conway’s ability to do this is that PeopleSoft has a very limited set of products: it’s always easier to direct the work and direction for 10’s of products, or less, rather than 100’s. Nonetheless, the above are good comments for any “enterprise application” makin’ coder.

Crude Econobonics

Pants First: to be very excited about something, esp. overly excited. E.g., “I showed Morelle the weekly close-out reports and he was pants first about ’em because we’d gained 0.7% market share.”

Etymology: “He’s got a hard-on for McCormack: every time I see him walk by, I see his pants first.”

More from The American Dream Desk:

Kozlowski threw the party for his wife at the Hotel Cala di Volpe in Sardinia that featured an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David with vodka streaming from his penis into crystal glasses, according to a 2002 Tyco report.

Some of the footage shows an exploding birthday cake with a replica of a woman’s breasts on top, according to people who have seen videotape footage.

Tyco paid for most of the $2.1 million party that Kozlowski is accused of booking as a business expense, according to court records.


For Sale

While looking at Roombas, I decided to sell some old stuff on Amazon. You should buy ’em:

  • Audio Master of the Senate – 6 hours of LBJ’s assention to ruling the Senate. My favortie line, of course, is, “well…we’re down to the nut-cuttin’…”
  • Audio Truman – while not as good as LBJ’s story, nor as long, it ain’t nothin’ to shake a stick at.

Encoding Spec Madness

Check this out:

The following ASN.1 definitions specify the conformant subset of FIPS 196. For simplicity, no optional fields or subfields are included. The ASN.1 definition for CertificationPath is imported from CCITT Recommendation X.509 [X.509], and The ASN.1 definition for Name is imported from CCITT Recommendation X.501 [X.501]. These ASN.1 definitions are not repeated here. All DSA signature values are encoded as a sequence of two integers, employing the same conventions specified in RFC 2459(-> 3280prop), section 7.2.2.

I need a stiff drink after reading that…

Questions, Questions

People ask me, “how was the trip? Relaxing? Ready to get back to work?”

Everytime I go on a trip, I come back thinking pretty much the same thing, best summed up in that movie sometime ago as,

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

Morning Meeting Jp:

Mr. Alex Pinkin took another fote (above) this morning, this time of JP. If you look closely, you can also see part of me: note the new “summer colors” shirt. Also, note that I didn’t put all those black marks on the wall: the ping-pong crazies did it!

Update: Kim’s comments: before viewing, “just tell me…is he wearing gold chains?”, and, after viewing “what is that? are you guys listening to Morrissey or something?”

ScottD! says: “Shouldn’t you stand during “Stand Up” meetings?”

Agile vs. Plan-driven Culture

In an agile culture, the people feel comfortable and empowered when there are many degrees of freedom available for them to define and work problems. This is the classic craftsman environment, where each person is expected and trusted to do whatever work is necessary to the success of the project. This includes looking for common or unnoticed tasks and completing them

In a plan-driven culture, the people feel comfortable and empowered when there are clear policies and procedures that define their role in the enterprise. This is more of a production-line environment where each person’s tasks are well-defined. The expectation is that they will accomplish the tasks to the specification so that their work products will easily integrate into others’ work products with limited knowledge of what others are actually doing.

Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed