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Category Archives: Very Surprised

I heard a story the other day, about a guy I know. He and I have crossed paths several times through the years, over golf and business and car shows and more business – you know the way it goes. This guy had been at IBM Canada for a long time – more than a couple of decades. He served loyally, and now, not too far from retirement, he’s been offered a package to leave. So far so good! I’ve seen lots of people very happy to be in this position. A decent severance package can be something you were hoping for, or jostle you out of your rut. It can make a nice bridge to retirement or to a mid-life career shift. So what’s making me Always Grumpy? The package they offered my friend sucks! Read More »

[With apologies to Supertramp.]

Every now and then (read, once or twice a week) I’ll see an article or mention of the “crisis” in mainframe skills. “The workers are getting older and retiring!”, shout all the Chickens Little. “How will we ever replace them?!?” This is crazy talk. As though all those recalcitrant mainframers had a choice, and could simply remain young and vibrant until their employers lay them off, at which time they should simply disappear. It makes me, well, Always Grumpy… and also Very Surprised at the short-sightedness of the chickens. Silly me.

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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 »

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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At least once every few weeks or so someone trots out a certain old saw that helps keep me Always Grumpy. “You can’t measure what you can’t manage,” they’ll say. I ran into it most recently just this past week, in a presentation on computer systems measurement. To be fair to the presenter, in that context it was exactly appropriate: he was talking about computer systems management, for which the measure of success depends largely on computer performance measurement.

But I hate this adage with all my heart! Many bosses and bureaucrats in all walks of government, industry and academia use it in all sorts of inappropriate ways. They use it to proliferate processes and drive busywork to collect useless numbers; they hide wrong-headed and often preconceived decisions behind statistics that are often only tangentially relevant at best; and worst, they sacrifice good management practices on the altars of mediocrity and/or self-interest.

Up until a few months ago, I used to curse W. Edwards Deming whenever I heard this phrase misused Read More »

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