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Category Archives: I/T and Me

“It’s new and it’s shiny! I want some! The cool kids all have it!” Unless you’re not yet quite six, hearing this kind of thing sets off all sorts of alarm bells. For me… well, it’s just another thing that makes me Always Grumpy.

Over the past week or so it’s occurred to me that some of our corporate decision-makers might have become infected with the Agile bug. It’s a horrible thing! Like some plants (or people) it’s exactly what you want in one small part of your metaphorical garden, and a noxious weed everywhere else. Read on, there’s a song coming up!

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Back in April I wrote a post about What Googorola Needs. At the time, I suggested they needed an Android Accelerator, which a colleague of mine and I designed and photographed. They never took us up on our offer to sell our device, and by June it had become obvious that they needed more. Commentators were observing some of the reasons that development of apps for iOS had continued to outpace that for Android: see this article in IT World Canada, for example. In a fit of premonition between bouts of throwing small objects at one another, my colleague Simon and I repurposed the parts of the Android Accelerator. Since then, the events of the Patent Wars have made it obvious that Googorola’s little man is locked in an Android Prison, pictured here:

Poor little green man!

The Patent Wars. Ah, now that makes me Always Grumpy! Read More »

If you’re chanting along with that, the volume and pitch should rise to a demented and enraged scream towards the end, accompanied by the sound of machine-gun clatter and mortar fire / shattering glass as some device flies through a window  / a rude thump as I pound on my desk and shatter the calm of my fellow cube-farm inhabitants. Read More »

Every now and then I run out of things to say. (Really, I do!) But when I want to keep up with the news or I need inspiration or sometimes just a break, I usually go to the interwebs. I’ve gotten pickier over the years, and the interwebs have changed. At many sites, the articles you see are barely even teasers. At those sites you don’t get any real content unless you pay for it either by sending dollars or by receiving ads. Those sites make me Always Grumpy, so I won’t tell you about them. But these sites on the interwebs make me Frequently Happy instead: I can usually go to them and learn something or crack a smile or both :-). I’ll start with I/T sites and move on to other stuff:   Read More »

Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with the world of IT. The constantly changing technology makes me Frequently Happy, Very Surprised and Always Grumpy… sometimes all at once, which is more than a little confusing!

Take this article from ZDNet UK, which is one of my favourite sources for fairly straight-up news and reasonably unbiased analysis of all things IT. Deprinting? What on earth is that? And why?

It turns out that deprinting is laser-based technology by means of which one can remove baked-on laser toner from printed pages. And it’s being touted as “environmental” or “green” technology because it could allow people to re-use sheets of paper up to two or three times. Really?!? Come on now.
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In spite of being Always Grumpy, I’m sometimes very lucky. In the cube farm where I work, I have the great good fortune to have wonderful neighbours, and it makes me Frequently Happy. My aisle-mates and I share humour both dark and light, swap happy stories about our family lives or commiserate as needed. And sometimes we just throw things at one another. Right in front of me sits another person who’s just about as geeky as me, poor thing. I’ll call my neighbour Simon, though that might be a fake name and even sex.

On the four-foot fabric panel wall that separates Simon’s back from my throwing arm rests a variety of toys. These are the kinds of things that accumulate in techie cube farms: stress balls, small wind-up toys, stuffed vendor mascots with screen-wipe behinds and so on. As Simon and I discuss the events of the day and week, we often play with these toys. Today we came up with a solution for Google’s inability to catch Apple in the race for mind- and market-share in the consumer electronics ecosystem market, especially when it comes to tablets and even now that it’s swallowed Motorola’s mobile devices unit. Happenstance, rather than necessity, was the mother of this invention.

So here it is! Read More »

Oh my goodness, if there’s anything that makes me Always Grumpy, it’s kludgey technology. I get that even the most sophisticated machines have limits, and I know they only do what they’re told. But honestly, sometimes I just can’t stand my own electronics! The love/hate relationship reminds me of a poem I used to write on the board of a terminal room I staffed back in the dark ages before PCs: “I really hate this dumb machine; I really want to sell it. It doesn’t do what I want it to, but only what I tell it.” I put that up to remind people that computer problems are most often between the chair and the keyboard… but not always!

I’ve been trying to use Bluetooth headset technology for years, and it’s making me nuts. Read More »

When you get someone else to do something for you, that doesn’t mean it’s not being done, or that getting it done is not important, or even that you don’t have to worry about it any more. And when you get someone else to do something for you that’s critical to your business, you’re going to want to manage it carefully! Read More »

I don’t understand why people and organizations sometimes stop thinking halfway through a problem. We see something that costs money and we avoid it even though we know it’s needed. Or we get rid of it without wondering why it was implemented in the first place, then have to replace it with other, less effective tools and processes that cost more. I’ve done it myself – remember, I’m Often Dopey!

But it’s one thing to make a mistake and another to wilfully look the other way when we know that a decision that’s good in the short term or narrow view is bad in the longer term or broader scheme of things. We should all expect ourselves to place the long-term good of society above that of the enterprise, and of the enterprise above the division or department and so on down the line. Whatever level we work at, we should expect our managers and leaders to do this even more as they rise in responsibility and seniority. The more we move up the organizational ladder, the more we should be expected to demonstrate breadth of vision in both time and space. So it upsets me when I see any organization make a decision that is good for one area or the short term, but bad for the larger enterprise or the longer term. Sadly, it happens all the time in governments and corporations and even homes. And people wonder why I’m Always Grumpy.

Chargeback, or cross-charging, or internal billing if you prefer, is one of those things. Read More »

Oh, this is going to be a good one. I’m going to let loose one of the biggest, meanest bees in my very full bonnet. This is one of the things that makes me Always Grumpy, but you know the old saying: the bigger they are, the harder they fall! This won’t take long to describe so it will be a shortish post.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I work in I/T. I work in an “enterprise shop”, which is some people’s way of saying that the corporation I work for has a large I/T footprint. It’s true! And like most large I/T shops we have many kinds of CPU, from big, blue mainframes down to servers under desks. We also have many kinds of network switch and router, but we won’t get into that here.

Servers are often categorised into three groups: Read More »

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