Friday, October 31, 2008

20081031.1051 Iterative Project Planning

The Collective Business Genius at Harvard is busy patting themselves on the back for inventing what we in IT Software Development have been trying to sell to them for ten years now: Iterative Software Development.

Rather than one Big project, do a series of little projects. You learn along the way and are free to change your priorities as you go. Simple. Thanks for paying attention guys.

This is a lesson to IT people - when dealing with "the business" it is always most effective to make them think that they thought of your idea. That way they will buy into it faster.

What kills me is that the 'money people' still think that they have a lock on deductive reasoning and logistical wisdom and that the 'computer people' are the clueless eggheads they see on Eureka. Quick call the dumbass sherrif - we have a quantum singularity on our hands again!

20081031.0926 AT&T Doublespeak

I mentioned recently in the past that AT&T recently complained that the iPhone is costing them money.

Then I received a troubling text message on my iPhone that read:
"AT&T Free Msg: Unlimited MEdiaNet packages will no longer be available as of 11/12/2008. 1, 5 and 10MB MEdiaNet packages still available. Call 611 for details."

Mind you I did call 611 within minutes.
  1. They make you say your phone number, name and PIN number out loud in order to do business with you. Do NOT try this on a train or in a bus station for example.
  2. The Operator had no idea what I was talking about
  3. They basically informed me that yes I was currently listed on the plan that was being discontinued
  4. I would have to pick another data plan
  5. My "2 year contract" only applies to my end of the contract and they are free to change their mind about what they want to charge me at their whim and if I don't like it I can pay the early termination fee, dry up & blow away.
And then, of course I get this in my email today telling me to go to Starbucks if I want to continue to use the data plan on my iPhone for free. And they include a chapter of the user manual for a 2 minute procedure to follow every time you want to log in to that lovely free service, for your ..ahem.. convenience:

Accessing AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots is easy
Activate Wi-Fi from the settings icon on your iPhone.
Select “attwifi” from the list of available networks.
Enter your 10-digit mobile number and check the box to agree to the Acceptable Use Policy.
Tap “continue.”
You will receive a text message from AT&T with a secure link to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot.
You will not be charged for the text message.
Open the text message and tap on the link for 24-hour access to the AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

20081030.1529 What I Want for Christmas

I don't even celebrate Christmas. Frankly I can't stand it.

But if I was to indulge in the Santa fantasy - I would want this most sexy computer accessory to find it's way to me this Yule.

20081030.1523 Smoke If You Got Em

It seems that the Big Anti-Smoking Surge is ebbing and now we're seeing just what we accomplished:

US nicotine addiction reaches 15-year high from

Nicotine dependence has reached a 15-year high, with nearly 75 percent of people currently seeking tobacco-dependence treatment categorized as highly nicotine dependent. New research, presented at CHEST 2008, the 74th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), reports that nicotine dependence severity has increased 12 percent between 1989 and 2006, while the proportion of people classified as highly nicotine dependent has increased 32 percent.


So now that we know it's not working - are we going to continue to keep all of our friends from joining us in the bar?

20081030.1519 Points Finger at Oracle ERP

It would seem that implementing Oracle's ERP system is not all that it was cracked up to be for They restated their earnings for a 5 1/2 year period and are now showing a US$12+M revenue loss...

Oooopsy! I guess you have to have something to blame that lost money on.

20081030.1441 Office in Your Browser

I think I have seen this movie before...

Google introduces the functionality of Microsoft Office in a set of web-based applications that you can use for free.

Then Microsoft comes along and pretends to invent what already exists in an effort to fight off a business rival by shunning them & playing "I can't see you, I can't hear you, na na na."

And we, the stupid public who somehow by now are supposed to have never heard of Google are supposed to just lap this up like starving dumpster kittens?

20081030.1433 Microsoft's Newest Content Filter

Coming to an X-Box Live chat session near you soon - filtering free speech on the fly!

Microsoft Gets Patent for Patently Offensive Audio Content from

( -- Microsoft recently obtained a patent designed to create an Automatic Censorship of Audio Data For Broadcast . The invention is intended to act as a filter for live broadcasts where it is impracticable to delete or make inaudible certain undesired words or phrases. Additionally, other audio streams like music or games can utilize the automatic censor.


I bet you just can't wait to hear all of the creative new terms that are going to be invented by 15 year olds with sailor-like vocabulary to get around this.

20081030.1414 Microsoft's Chinese Black Screen of Shame

If anyone thinks that the Chinese government has any real respect for Intellectual Property law - then I think that this story might take a crowbar to your faith in communist lip-service:
China tells Microsoft to rethink 'black-out' anti-piracy tactics: report from

China has told US software giant Microsoft to reconsider controversial new anti-piracy tools that cause computer screens to turn black if a pirated program is identified, state media reported.


Notice if you will - Big M is not making the stolen software stop functioning per se, nor having it phone home for help, nor in any other way reporting the theft other than turning the screen black. That would be just fine for most servers for example. What with the prolific release of 0 day hacks it is probable that this measure will also be hacked into mere nuisance status within 24 hours of it's release - making the argument largely symbolic - and therefore all the more damning for the Chinese government that is now protesting.

Where is it written that anyone is entitled to free upgrades? If they don't like the new version of Windows, then they do not have to buy it. The same goes for everyone else - oh & look - Vista is practically a spontaneous consumer boycott action - see how that works?

But from that we have the beginning of the long trail of political rhetoric that will now begin to ensue listing for the next decade all of the reasons why Copyright law and the enforcement of software licensing contracts should not be applied equally to China. So far we have the disparity of income in the developed and developing worlds, the 'realistic situation' in China today (i.e. no one ever buys any software), and so on.

So much for no Nationalism in the Globalized Economy. Why is it OK for India and China but not for the USA?

20081030 What's All the Whining About?

Two years ago I decided to start experimenting with blogging.

Experience has given me the opinion that your own opinion is not worth much if you are considering something that you do not have any experience with.

Another way of putting that might be "Don't talk the talk unless you can walk the walk."

There are many variations but the sentiment is the same.

That being said - I think that I now have the basis from which to form a meaningful opinion:

Blogs Suck

This one is no exception and of course anyone who hears me mention it in person first acts amazed and then surprised surprised that it even exists - even if it's the tenth time we had the same conversation.

And it has occurred to me that reading a friend's blog is like a social obligation - once you start doing it - it is expected that you continue. How stupid is that? But the truth is that I have very likely gone in person to see my friends perform on stages in high-school auditoriums and seedy bars more often then those same people bothered to surf to a web site I wrote.

And that's fine. Because most of what I write about - they wouldn't be interested in.

And that is the real problem with blogs - they let everyone feel important because everyone can have a press-kit on-line and feel like a celebrity - but when it comes down to substance - there is very little in the way of Truly Interesting Things To Say out there at all.

I also inherently rebel against the constraints that blogs put you under. I know how to author web-pages from scratch and I am still of the mistaken opinion that I will do a better job than the templates that make my pages look like everyone elses.

But as I said this is a mistake. Just because I can make one, it does not immediately follow that I will make it so. Usually in fact, I do not. Rather I put in some really awful skeleton pages in place and never get around to making them look the way I actually intended.

Which is where the idea of the WYSIWYG editor embedded in a web page starts to actually make sense. The downside is that I have to force all of my entries into the pre-established format and flow them into the pre-established page layout. This is probably OK for >80% of the cases, but the perceived loss of control more than anything is what bothers me.

For people who can not do it to begin with - this is probably enabling...

20081030 What a Mess

Well now it looks like I have a blog made by a 6th grader.

Lots of broken image tags and stupid widgets in the column..

So if I'm going to be all Web 2.0ish and try for one posting to fit in with the younger crowd - I need to stop writing. No one reads anymore. If there's no video on your site - no one cares. Sad but true. Thank you YouTube.

Video killed the Anything Star...

Oh ok... I can upload video directly, but not embed YouTube clips? What is the point of that?

I like this service less and less...

So here's the link to some amazing music. Whee...

I'll keep trying to get the hang of this crud.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

20081029.0932 Messing with TwitPics

Well this decidedly is not a good idea.

This is a link to the picture in question - if you care. Trying to directly inline the image has been problematic to say the least. But that's OK - I was mostly just messing around, looking for a quick workaround for the lack of the Mobile Blogging photo upload feature...

20081029.0917 Access Denied

Well it would look as though someone along the way caught my not-so-clever inlining and broke the link to that photo.

Ah! I see that TwitPics expired it on me... Coincidence? We shall see..
I sent it again:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

20081028.1703 Testing...

Let's see if I can successfully embed an image that I took on my iPhone and uploaded to TwitPics as a simple embedded image in this blog:

OK it is doable - but I needed to monkey with the HTML directly... Well it's something anyway...

20081028.1650 Still Trying

iPhones are not a supported device for mobile blogging on this service. That figures - I just got it working on the Googlepages site. Wonderful.

What bothers me about this is that I am just sending an email with an attachment. Wouldn't it behoove them to make a service where you could just do that anyway? Or would that make them susceptible to bot attacks & such automated mayhem?

I tried their little Gadgets thing. It is too permanent. I can't just stick PacMan in-between postings for the heck of it. Once it is there - it is always there.

I tried this out by adding the New Scientist update Gadget at the bottom of the page. I tried to add several much cooler Gadgets there but none of them worked.

Also there are lots of opportunities to forego my Right to Privacy. But I'm still too much the IT professional to not require someone to work at least a little hard to connect the dots on my on-line identity.

OK so that is a lot of complaining... Let us now review what I have gained:
  • The ability for YOU the public, to reply to my posts, add to the conversation and generally insult me. Cool.
  • A proper RSS feed - this was always a gripe about GooglePages, since they stored all of my text as XML, it was a simple XSLT call to produce the RSS feed - but they never got around to it for some reason...

OK so it's not all bad.

20081028.1518 So Far So Crap

I am only trying to use this service because I am being threatened that Googlepages is going away. They claim that they will convert me over from one to the other...

I currently am at:

I find this a dubious claim at best.

Widgets? How are they planning on dealing with those?

I have a sinking feeling that I'm about to lose my content - or at least the ability to edit/update/add to it.

Also I'm about to have a dispute with this sucker over use of the name "gregor42". Until that is resolved I need to use the additional "Y" character - and that is confusing to others and infuriating to me...

20081028.1503 Testing One, Two, Three

This is a test - this is only a test.

This is a test of the new blog site I set up with this stupid name because of that German dude who usurped my web-identity. (see

I've only been using it what? 15 years (!) already? Ever hear of Google? They run the site you're on... helllooo? Try searching first you jerk!

Had this been an actual blog posting I would have said something of substance. This is only a test.