Saturday, August 06, 2005

The New Republic

Hacker Heaven, A beautiful story of the underdog. A revelation of the little man. Here, IMHO, is a perfect example of a situation every man woman and child hopes for throughout life.

Then there's reality. The beauty of working on the same things day in and day out. I once heard this statement, which I believe summarizes everyone's job today in the tech industry.

"Insanity: doing the same thing day in and day out, yet expecting the results to differ."

Now I've been at the same job for a little over a year and the "Business drivers.." (the ones that are driving the, driving the businesses money) have asked the same question at the same times of the year. Now these questions happen to coincide with the spring and fall time changes. Now, the answer has been the same for more than a year, yet it seems to be a problem getting it through to the business drivers. You see, technically, it's quite simple. The issue they're seeing is with something that is dependent on the time setting of each clients computer. Something no system, that I'm aware of (even NTP) can make perfect. The thing is, each client (user) can set the time zone to where ever they like, NTP only keeps the time accurate, nothing makes it true to which time zone a user is actually connecting. Centralized system time can't always accurately indicate the time zone which the user is actually in because it is accurate but there is really nothing that confirms the user is still where they told the system they are or where they set it to when asked.
So..What to do, what to do...

Well, first don't base anything you do off of time you can't keep. Don't expect that any of that time is actually an indication of where people are physically.

Not too tuff to figure out, yet each daylight savings time the "business drivers" continue to escalate this issue, and when I say escalate I mean all the way up the cooperate food chain. There I am....low man on the totem pole, trying to explain to a VP (I would assume a very intelligent and educated person) what time zones are and how a computer system allows users to set their own time zones that aren't always accurate. i.e. I have my time zone set to GMT - 4, but I can set my time to what ever time I would how can anyone check the right time? You can't. I've explained this, others have explained this and even an email from a year ago explains this to the same VP who was asking the same question, a year ago. So all the "business drivers" have done is show how ignorant they, and everyone they represent, really are.

Now I know this sounds a little harsh, but it is an example and I wouldn't say what I've said if it weren't for the fact it's happened 3 times so far.

Moving on, the Hacker Heaven story, doesn't it sound appealing considering the above described situation? Doesn't it sound good, the one who knows what's happening getting one over on those that think they know, but are in control? If you think about it, the digital divide is nothing more than those that know and those that don't know. Although, IMHO, it's that those that do know understand and those that don't know need those that do to survive.
Nothing is hidden, nothing is kept away, nothing is "behind the curtain". You can google anything. Props to the person who said, from his fathers office in 1988; "How smart would someone be if they had all the knowledge of all the libraries at their finger tips?". His fathers office was laced with maps of the globe and on the desk, he pointed to a computer.

So I say, what is the digital divide? That is the the digital divide. A person that never knew google, the person that never touch a "browser" understood the power of the internet.

Yet today, 17 years later, people running business are still having a hard time understanding computer settings????

So, I feel, the new republic will be the civilization of business. No longer will the taller prevail from hight intimidation, no longer will the egotistical reside high above the people which place them there. Soon will be the tools to help everyone communicate across any company, quickly and efficiently without the need for management. The beauty of the digitization of business is the fact that what used to take entire staffs to perform are now simply services on the web. Something that used to be handled by many, can be performed by one with the right program.

So the thought of the little guy hacking into to a company and displaying every persons salary and nudie pictures sounds funny. Or maybe it's just something that has molded the way we look at the internet, computers and those that understand them. They are, after all, the new priesthood.

Outsource everything. ;)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Where are we going?

Extensions, in the Firefox application, are adding web enabled applications, or functions. Adding weather to your browser, etc. This is an excellent application, but this only works with FireFox, the browser. Each application has it's own function the fact that it's attached to Firefox is irrelevant. Firefox, or mozilla, are merely the means by which weather is delivered. Another example, in my opinion is the AOL application which contains very helpful applications within it, but are only attached to the client. I believe they termed it “sticky” applications. Now from a marketing standpoint, sticky applications are beneficial for bolstering an application. Remember those great little sticky creatures which came in cereal boxes? Usually an octopus, the ones that would stick to the walls. Shamefully enough, this is what comes to mind when I think of sticky, but it bolstered Capt'n Crunks sales in my house. Or did it? I don't believe this thought of “sticky” is what the manufacturers of applications would like you to think. The applications, IMHO (Thanks AOL for IM), are only a means to deliver a good, if that good is no good, doesn't matter if you hand deliver the goods.

Let's look at these systems once more. The AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM, gives me a tool to communicate with others very efficiently while signed on, on my cell phone or just all around in general, jacked-in. I don't personally use this tool and I'm not sure why I stopped using AIM. Perhaps I stopped because I get ads. I know it's free, but I don't really like the idea of giving up everything I use it for to get it free. When AIM starts, I get a “Welcome Screen”, after this has loaded all it's ads, I get stuck on tools. These tools, I don't think I'd use even if it “added” functionality to AIM. Now, AIM
is making a come back. These tools seem to add some function. but the buddy list is encumbered with sticky things!? Next, we have MSN Messenger, I don't use it either. I have here and there, but I don't like anything that is “required” as part of an O/S install. The next is gAIM, the one I use. I'm not sure why I started using gAIM. This application is true to what it delivers, Instant messaging, not only that but I can add plug-ins which add functionality. I can do everything I can do with AIM, but without Ads and it is more focused on the “Buddy List and IM's” in general. It's not an email cleint, it's not a multi-functioning application portal, it's an Instant Messaging client.

I would be willing to pay a subscription to services like email, IM, quality streaming music, keywords and movies on demand. These are the proverbial “goods”, this gets us somewhat back to the “Giveaways” blarticle. A program, which I've stumbled upon, is Konfabulator. This is a kick-ass tool. This gives me, widget bliss. The widgets give me the web enabled applications I want, without the combersome clients. I can pick and choose which I want and which I don't. These are very easily written applications which, quite nicely, display information I want. I'd pay for that. Easy, cheap, modifiable widgets that give me information I want. If AOL only split out their services with widget interfaces, I'd pay 'em a subscription. I could get the security of their systems, the functionality of the fastest, most secure network in the world, yeah...I'd pay for that. When did the model (business, that is) lay out that customers should get what they want? oh, and they have pay for it! oh, and we can advertise to them as an alternate revenue stream! Oh, that I guess,
was cable television.