Friday, April 29, 2005

Google vs Yahoo: Google has long since become my favorite for web searches, and with Yahoo's change in it's news page, I now greatly prefer to Yahoo's new news page. Google's news page has no ads, and links you to the web source rather than a Yahoo page that will expire in 30 days, and so is not suitable as a link in a blog.

Even worse is Yahoo's new "My Yahoo" promotion for browsers. It's an abomination, with it's large ugly animated ads at the top of the page. Then Yahoo hides the uninstaller. Took me all of 5 minutes to decide I didnt need animated ads giving me headaches.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

New Coke : Today is the 20th Anniversary of New Coke. Doesn't everyone remember where they were on April 23, 1985?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

2005 Version of "Let them (not) eat cake": So the Government (Dept of Agriculture) has a new food pyramid. Too bad nearly no one can see it today (April 19,2005), the web site is overloaded, and no one can get on. Our Government can secretly give commentators $200,000 but they can'y pay Akamai to give them enough bandwidth. The Agriculture Department's regular website has multimegabytes of PDFs separately available for download. Hours of downloads if you have dialup. Let them use Broadband.

FOLLOWUP: At 4 PM I can get to the new web page, but if I try to enter my data to see which of the 12 new pyramids it pulls up as appropriate for me, it pulls up a page with only a header; regardless which of 4 browsers I use. Seems like PPP to me.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Firefox is great, but: Firefox is a great Browser, that I recommend to everyone. Due to getting the bugs out, and removing security holes, they're already at their fourth version, 1.03 (as of April 18, 2005), and there is no inline updating procedure. One needs to find out there's been a new version released, go to their website, download the new version, quit Firefox, and install (same for all platforms). Luckily the Install cleanly installs version over version, leaving shortcuts and bookmarks in place.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

AOL is not safe for your child: News this weekend of an AOL monitor person being caught trying to lure a 15 year old girl for sex. Guaranteed something like that is not an isolated occurance. No more than a problem priest pedophile is an isolated occurance.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Service Level Agreements - Cheating is common: Read this and this. Why put the fox in charge of the henhouse?

Followup April 15: Suppose you've got an SLA to fix the water treatment facilities in an office park within 5 hours of any breakdown 90% of the time. How do you game your system for tracking that, while cutting corners with parts on hand and techs available, so you can underbid competition and still be profittable? Many easy ways. We won't even discuss claiming to use only certified technicians, when maybe only one of four is. Just keep shuffling technician assignments so you can fudge the paperwork. Tricks used to keep solution time within specs include:

1. Train clients to call technician rather than Help Desk, so trouble tickets don't get entered and the clock doesn't start until after problem is solved, even if it's 2 days later. System shows problem solved in 1 hour, rather than actual 2 days. This is done by dumbing down Help Desk, and providing cell numbers of technicians, so clients think they are being smart to call techs directly.

2. Technicians call clients at 12:20 or 4:30 PM, ensuring they'll be out to lunch or gone already, so "clock can be stopped, as "client not reachable" meanwhile tech orders parts for next day delivery. System shows problem solved in 3 hours, rather than the actual 26 hours.

3. If a problem is solved, can it be made into more than 1 ticket, so the duplicate tickets are all solved "in one hour"?

4. The technician creates tickets for trivial matters (that no one called in) that also get solved "in one hour": Preventive Maintainence, Firmware upgrades, etc; further skewing statistics.

Of course these methods are easily transferable to any area of endeavor that may have an SLA for service. This could be NASA or a Refinery or your Plumbing or Internet Connection. In the 21st century American Corporations mistakenly think they are saving by outsourcing such work, not knowing how they are being used, and how the contractors have zero loyalty to them. And then we have shuttle disasters, refinery explosions, network outages, email gone astray or other grief.

Did I mention the contractor saving by providing two technicians/engineers for installing new filtration system, when manufacturer specifies system is so heavy and bulky that four are needed for safe installation? Then there's the old standard of repairing things with refurbished parts or third party parts rather than the new OEM parts the SLA may specify. Or better yet, just dusting things off and charging (T&M) for a out of spec nonwarranty repair when none was made. Any good auto mechanic can charge for at least 10 hours of work in an 8 hour day.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

TIGER ! - AKA OS X 10.4 is officially released by Apple on April 29 at 6 PM. My son ordered me a copy as a birthday present. Thank you ! Will report back after install.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Hurray for Philadelphia: Philadelphia is establishing free wireless internet connectivity (wifi) Citywide. If you live elsewhere, check here!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Whither SONY : Sony has not been doing as well as it should the last few years. About to lose its Playstation lead to Xbox, never sold PCs or laptops in numbers it would like to, and totally lost out to Apple's iPod.

I thought I had a good deal with a (relatively) low priced Sony 19" LCD monitor, the SDM-S94, but inside of a month it wierded out, and the dealer offered a full refund, and return shipping at the dealer's expense. They agreed so quickly that I concluded it must be a common problem, under a secret recall. Sony tech support was even quicker agreeing to providing an advance replacement, but said it would take 10 days, and didn't/wouldn't specify if the replacement was new or refurbished. So back for a refund the SDM-S94 goes.

Followup 4/9: A 100% credit was quickly issued by ClubMac.