Hardware Recommendation Requested

December 9, 2005 at 2:08 am | Posted in rant | 24 Comments

I find that, once again, I’m unhappy with my cable modem / wifi gateway.  Ideally I’d like:

  • Something with at least 4 ports since I have 3 desktops in active use and I prefer cables on my laptops honestly (i’m so damn sick of ssh windows dying when connectivity goes south; and don’t vent to me about Screen – it doesn’t work with VI well so that’s a non starter for me)
  • Ability to branch it into a switch since I need more ports (3 desktops + 3 laptops).
  • Something with a USB 2.0 port which isn’t Netgear.  I have a brand new netgear wifi gateway w/ usb hub and its as useless as tits on a bull due to firmware bugs and Netgear’s firmware fixes just plain don’t work.
  • Something with actual *gasp* working security.  I don’t care if its wep, wpa or what — I just don’t want to have my neighbors leeching my bandwidth and whatever security model it is I need it to work on both Windows and Mac.
  • Web UI w/ port forwarding.  Given that I’m working on a local dev server on my new (old) Ubuntu box the ability to forward ports to my local server is highly useful.
  • Bittorrent compatible.  I mean come on.  Like I’m not going to open 6881 ?

Any thoughts?  I’ve had mixed success with LinkSys in the past.  I actually have a perfectly good LinkSys but I can’t find the power brick so its effectively a paperweight.

Thanks in advance.

How Microsoft Can Compete Against Open Source

November 12, 2005 at 10:16 am | Posted in rant | 108 Comments

Dear Robert,

I thought heavily about calling you on the phone and having this as voice conversation because I didn’t want to go on the record publicly about it (most of my real friends are in Open Source) and I don’t really need the flames that will, inevitably, be directed at me regarding this but … oh well. And that felt cowardly. I’d send it to Bill or Steve but, honestly, to me you are Microsoft. So here goes.

1. Fork the Issues On Competition Between Client Side Software versus Server Side Software

Open Source software is, honestly, wildly different between client side software and server side software. I bloody well love server side open source software. I built my company on it and I rely on it *by the minute*. But — and this is what’s going to get me flamed to a toasty crisp — when it comes to open source GUI software, the Emperor’s clothes are, sadly, missing. We all boldly claim that Open Source is better engineered, runs faster, etc. And, in the area of the desktop, I’m just finding that not to be true. My experience using Open Source software on the client side i.e. GUI apps basically, well, sucks camel balls (not all of the time but a large part of it). By and large my open source GUI apps:

  • Crash; Example: Gaim. If I leave Gaim on “Automatically Reconnect” then if it encounters and problems, well, it tends to just plain die.
  • Use way too much memory: FireFox. Yes I’m a tabaholic. I’ve admitted that and I’m in a 12 step program for it. Right now I’ve got maybe 20 tabs open spread across 8 browser windows and FireFox is using 125,104K of RAM. I have a hard time understanding why 20 tabs opening relatively small web pages uses 125 megs of RAM.  And it doesn’t reclaim the memory when you close a tab (this is a long standing bug). I’ve seen similar memory characteristics in other Mozilla apps (and other Open Source apps).
  • Fail oddly. Thunderbird is an interesting mail client. For me it consistently refuses to send messages if its been running too long so I constantly have to exit mail just to send a message. This happens regardless of whether or not I’m using my Feedster mail server or my (cursedly required) Yahoo DSL mail server.  Yes I have a large mailstore but I find it hard to believe that the size of my mailbox affects whether or not I can connect to a mail server.  I do believe that the regular problems that Thunderbird has saving drafts is related to that and I’ll take the heat for it (or at least not blame them; it could be the OS responding too slowly as it seeks for the right spot to write the mail).

So if I was Microsoft I’d promote the client side of the business with a FACT (not FUD) based compaign around something like this:

Microsoft Desktop: It Just Works Better 

And do the classical studies on how the stuff actually does work better. 

2.  Attack Open Source Server Software By Hiring Away the Developers

Given that Microsoft is one of the leading employers of software engineers world wide, and is a company with $$$ that always needs engineers, if I worked for Microsoft, I’d say this:

  • Let’s analyze the leading open source server tools that take $$$ away from us (heck our commit logs are public; its easy to figure out who’s actually making a difference)
  • Task our recruiters to locate, romance and recruit them

Open source developers are, generally, poor as church mice.  Yes there’s someone like Greg Stein from the Apache project (also ex-Microsoft) who’s done quite well for himself and is now at Google but then you have someone like John Coggeshall, a buddy and really good member of the PHP community.  I’d describe John as a “soldier” in the Open Source wars.  He’s not Rasmus; He’s not Linus but he’s still important.  If you hire John (and John is now a real adult with real cash needs) then you just (minorly) attacked the PHP project at its core.  Now someone else will rise up and not everyone will join but, when you come right down to it, car payments are car payments, people get married, have kids, etc.  And you’re hiring good software engineers anyway — why not hire the people who would otherwise compete with you?

All my best.

Scott 

 

A Steaming Pile of Camel Dung

October 30, 2005 at 1:22 am | Posted in rant | Leave a comment

http://www.laridian.com/ That’s right. Let me say it again — http://www.laridian.com/ Now when the title of the post is “A Steaming Pile of Camel Dung” and the 1st thing is a url, what do you think I think (got that?) of that url ? That’s right — I’m trying to make you realize that the products from Laridian are, imho, a steaming pile of camel dung. Well I should clarify — I don’t really know that much about the products — what I know about is the installation process. And that, dear reader, is a steaming pile of camel dung.

My wife is, of recent, an avid Palm user and with the Tungsten T5 I got her for her recent birthday, she also wanted a bible for her palm. Well we started with the Zonderman NIV Study Bible and that was, not the installation process, but the product itself, well beyond camel dung. It was actually, again imho, a giant mountain of dragon feces. This was a product so bad that it repeatedly crashed her entire Palm and required a hard reset. You know the one I mean — where you have to unscrew your Palm stencil, get the little end and push the hole for the hard reset. She then did online research, sadly not using Feedster (alas), and picked Laridian. Given our previous experience I had her try and install the test version. And she really liked it. It didn’t have her perferred bible version but she used it enough to know it installed and didn’t crash her Palm. Awesome so, today, on a day with not a lot of time and too much to do, she asks me to install the full version. “Sure Babe; whatever you need”. Famous last words…

Well this required, not 1, not 2, but the download and installation of over 15 different .SIT compressed files. So everything had to be downloaded, decompressed and then dragged into the Palm installer. That then led to a massive orgy of synching, checking to see if its there, realizing it isn’t, silently cursing*, trying again and so on. After literally over 2 hours, I managed to get the online bible application installed but still didn’t have all of it installed — parts of it seem to simply not install. So in closing, I give you this:

Laridian Installation Process = A Steaming Pile of Camel Dung

Note to software product marketers: Its supposed to be a better user experience when people give you money than when they don’t. That’s how the game is played. You know…

*My little boy was in the room.

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