February 16, 2007

Dominica sent me this awesome link to a medieval helpdesk video on YouTube called “Introducing the Book”. This video is awesome because this is really how helpdesk professionals actually feel about the type of support that they actually have to provide. Honestly, with the number of people who don’t realize that the computer uses electric or that the electric comes from the wall outlet or that there is a power button or that the monitor and the computer are different things or that the computer doesn’t communicate with other computer telepathically then it really isn’t hard at all to think that a large number of people were completely unable to grasp the concept of books and turning pages and losing data, etc. back when books were still new. When the printing press first arrived and books were displacing scrolls and the printing was done by machine instead of hand or by hand-cut printing style people were probably concerned about data not replicating as people didn’t visually inspect each and every letter and other such nonsense. The printing press would have been seen as being very little different than computers are today and in five hundred years people will scarcely be able to tell the two apart and will wonder why we found one to be so much more amazing than the other.

Wil Wheaton linked to the Whatever blog and the article on the Existential Plight of Chester Chipmate. Good reading for a Friday morning.

Also today: Microsoft’s Raymond Chen has a quick article on basketball that really sums up a lot of why I find the whole thing so disinteresting. Basketball Player in it for the money? Apparently the NBA is incensed that some of their employees work for a paycheck rather than for the warm feeling it gives them making money for the NBA’s investors. Imagine how pissed the janitor’s union would be if a janitor was forced to issue a statement saying that he wasn’t cleaning the halls for the money but that he did it because we wants to clean up the city of Chicago and to make the city proud. If that is ridiculous enough – now imagine that he was a janitor that could be randomly “traded” from city to city at any moment so that he has absolutely no connection to the city that he happens to be working in at the moment! The NBA, and most other professional sports teams, are designed to be exactly the opposite of a “local” team. The players aren’t local. Once they play for a city’s team they are never permanent so they can’t put down roots and become real members of the community. Even when they are there they travel a lot. And, because it isn’t really a city team but actually just a franchise of a company, the teams themselves can move cities. If the Chicago Bulls were to relocate to Minnetonka would the team owner go on record saying “I did it because it lowered cost and makes more money.” or would he say “I moved this team to Minnetonka to maximize the players’ abilities to honour the city of Chicago.” It is moments like this that I can’t believe that anyone actually thinks of these teams as representing their local cities or regions. It is totally a farce. The facade of locale within a national entertainment conglomerate just to get people to give money to a company that they have no association with whatsoever. The sport is a mirage. It is just people going into the office doing physical labour and getting paid for it. They are employees. They have employers. They have investors. It is just a company doing its job with a lot of marketing. No one asks Ford to stop reporting its earnings to the SEC and to instead say: “We make cars that will best honour the city of Detroit.”

The evil Hitler-era US Department of Homeland Security violates trust with Americans today as they admit to having divulged private and volatile personal information about US travelers to the TSA after having explicitly stating this this set of information would not be given to the TSA. The DHL continues to act in exactly the most reckless and dangerous way possible and represents one of the clearest threats to Americans today and is exactly the type of damage Osama Bin-Laden wishes he could have directly infected the United States with instead of having it only have been an indirect result of the fascist Bush regime (unless, of course, Bush works for the Taliban which is exactly how he behaves.)

Did you know that you can build a computer out of water? This isn’t a water cooled computer – I am talking about using water instead of electric. Not very useful? Well, you are correct. But neat, nonetheless. The Water Logic Gate Machine.

I saw an Apple Ad running on a newspaper site today. I couldn’t hear the sound as I don’t keep the sound on in the office but the look of the ad was that Apple’s rep had been arrested by the FBI for drug possession and that the PC guy was his lawyer but was explaining that even the PC lawyer couldn’t save him on this one. I am not sure that that is what Apple intended but it sure got it across. There has been a lot of speculation recently about the intent of Apple’s ads and everyone is confused why Apple is running ads to make people hate Apple.

Apple’s ads are, of course, nothing compared to IBM’s horrific advertising campaign targeted at making itself look like a giant company collapsing under its own stupidity. Don’t get me wrong – IBM isn’t a bad company and they make some really good products (I mean seriously, who makes a better mainframe?) But their latest ad campaign is truly pathetic. How anyone at IBM could have let this slip through I will never know. They picked two really loser looking guys to represent them in their ads and every ad talks about how IBM uses crystal balls and has to turn up the air conditioning until the whole building freezes and sometime they fall through cracks in the floor. I can’t figure out what the ads are about but they make IBM users look like real idiots working for ancient, inefficient business that don’t have a clue. IBM has made the ads so uninteresting that no one squints to read the tiny, meaningless text that they associate with these images so if there is an explanation (like these AREN’T suppose to be IBM employees or customers then they should let us know) no one ever notices. All IBM has done is stamp their logo onto countless images of corporate disaster and mismanagement. Apparently no one at IBM has ever studied the concept of visual association. And to escalate the issue IBM put the ads into every single industry publication in existence. No one working in IT or anywhere near it can escape these ads no matter how hard they try. And you can’t argue that IBM isn’t the ones placing the ads because if you go to IBM’s site and search around you will find images of the “disaster” guys, as I call them, from the ads standing in front of the IBM equipment that, apparently, caused their companies to collapse. Who would have guessed that just buying an IBM server could do so much damage? If any ad has ever driven the subconscious mind to buy SUN and HP products it is this one. Jonathan Schwartz’s marketing team – who produced the brilliant Dell Rhymes with Hell campaign – couldn’t even think of an ad campaign that would be as effective as this one in promoting SUN servers. I couldn’t find much of the campaign online but I found one pic that will eventually disappear I imagine:

IBM i-Series Coffee Ad

One of the funniest things about this picture is that it shows IBMs people using white box desktop class junk as servers (those are Antec cases painted white for those who can’t tell from looking at them – you can pick one up at CompUSA paint not included.) They painted them white to mentally establish the “white box” connection. But the really funny part is that when I worked for IBM they actually used cheap (much cheaper than the ones that they are showing) white box junk that they slapped together and just left sitting on desktops and stuff as servers instead of IBM built products! It wasn’t until I was studying this particular picture that I realized that this has so much of a mental connection for me to IBM because this is actually what IBM was like! Cheap, white box parts without any structure or management just sitting in back rooms and people pouring coffee almost onto them. I don’t remember anyone sleeping on them though.

Okay, on to other ridiculous topics. (By the way, none of this suggests that I don’t want to own an IBM iSeries machine of my own. Oh way, I do! Ha ha.)

Scott Adams has a great article today of the Funniest Regime and the incredible use of economics in North Korea. If sardonicism could be lethal then Scott Adams could be considered a WMD. I also learned today that the default Firefox dictionary does not include sardonicism. How did they miss that one?

A friend from work sent me a link to a good ZDNet blog post from almost a year ago discussing why it is more difficult to Windows to be secure than for Linux. Technically it is why IIS is harder to secure than Apache but it all boils down to basically the same thing. Either way, it is a good point and a really good visualization of one of the problems that Microsoft has inherited from its own backwards compatibility infrastructure.

We ordered the Domain name for Union Presbyterian Church in Leicester today. No site has been made yet so I will working to get something slapped together quickly over the weekend so that there is something there once the DNS resolution starts working.

Today was kind of busy.  Nothing extraordinary.  Really a pretty average day.  No emergencies.  Nothing pressing.  It was nice.  Enough work to keep me busy but not so much to be a hassle.  A nice Friday before a three day weekend.

My Friday evening work wrapped up at a decent time tonight.  Often Friday nights go pretty late but tonight I was done at six right on the nose.

Italy today is seeking extradition of several CIA torturers from the United States accused of being involved, in Italy, with illegal kidnapping and torturing of terror “suspects” – obviously not actually terrorist or they wouldn’t need to secretly torture them.  The US will, of course, attempt to protect them even though they are, by definition, terrorists.  My question is, when will other countries get the courage to officially list the United States as a terrorist protecting state?  Maybe action of this level will get some peoples’ attentions.  Of course much of the Middle East lists the US as a terrorist nation but since we list them as terrorist nations it is a “I know you are but what am I?” situation.  What we need is respected world powers like China, Japan, India, European Union, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, etc. to take a stand and refuse to do business with the United States until we become a responsible global partner again.  But, unfortunately, right now the US wields too much financial strength to make the actions of any smaller economy as effective against us as it would be to the nation that took the stand.  Really China, India, Japan and the EU together need to act as one as stop US trade in their respective spheres of influence.  As an American I can only hope that other countries will force us to do what we are apparently unwilling to do ourselves.

I thought that I was going to make it out of the office in really good time tonight but that turned on me and I had to join a late conference call near to seven.  Suddenly my early night became late.  Dominica, Oreo and I are planning on driving to Frankfort in the morning and staying there until Monday morning when we will drive back down to Newark.  Oreo and Dexter will have fun hanging out this weekend.

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