Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Technology, schmeknology

There was a ZDNet article the other week by Peter Galli about IBM's announcement of Sametime 7.5 on Linux (http://linux.webbuyersguide.com/news/4282-wbglinux_news.html). My favorite quote (by Scott Handy, IBM VP of WW Linux Strategy):

"We have now proven to ourselves that this single programming model that spans Windows, Linux and the Mac is now ready. This follows our single programming model for the server, where we standardized on Java," he said.

Some observations from a customer who has been testing Sametime 7.5, based on "gold" code released by IBM earlier this month:

  • Sametime 7.5 client takes 30 to 60 seconds to launch depending upon workstation
  • Sametime 7.5 client takes 30 to 60 seconds to authenticate depending upon workstation
  • Sametime 7.5 client reported as extremely unstable on Citrix 32-bit and 64-bit test servers
  • Sametime 7.5 requires desktop to be rebooted almost daily, or memory leak will consume all resources
  • The dependency on the Java Virtual Machine has proven problematic with multiple COE images containing different JVMs
  • Issues utilizing AWM web-based tool have been experienced after installing Sametime 7.5. Resolution uninstall Sametime and JVM and reinstall JVM.
  • Privacy Settings (allow to see me online/offline) are not saved and must be reset after restart
  • Users with a Sametime 6.5 server are unable to save changes to their buddylist
  • Intermittent Client Crashes when saving Preferences
  • User interface is cluttered and difficult to navigate. Multiple levels of options are difficult to locate. Out of the box settings are not standard/best practice settings.
  • Intermittent issues with HTML being transmitted to non 7.5 users during a conversation instead of plain text
  • Video Codes have not been updated since 1999 and are not part of IBM's strategic direction for the product, must use third party vendor
  • Install file is not SMS compatible and requires the user to have administrative rights to the desktop
  • Install file has grown from 10MB to 48MB which impacts the ability to distribute the client
  • Intermittent issues with thee Screen capture functionality will not work for 7.5 to 7.5 conversations
  • Business Card and Image functionality not supported using Domino authentication (Requires LDAP, which is not possible due to the size of our directory)
  • No integration with TeamSites, Outlook or Office Applications - planned for 2H 07
  • No integration with desktop authentication/active directory - planned for 2H 07
  • No stress tool available to validate capacity information - planned for 1H 07
  • User who is removed from Sametime Directory and denied accecss can continue to use Sametime until they logout - planned for 2H 07
  • Client is based upon Ecliple platform, however, the implementation has been customized and is no longer a standard Eclipse implementation, therefore standard Eclipse applications do not function as expected with Sametime 7.5 This was done to improve performance, but now limits the integration capabilities

Yep, sounds proven and ready to me...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Touring southern Italy...

I spent two glorious weeks with my wife (no kids!!) wandering through parts of the Amalfi coast. We flew into Naples, and took a bus from there to Sorrento, where we stayed in a small, charming hotel (called Del Mare), just a stone's throw from the bay. Sorrento has two marinas, Marina Piccola (which is actually the larger, commercial marina, where the various boats and ferries which shuttle along the Amalfi coast come into Sorrento) and Marina Grande (the smaller one!) which functions as a small fishing village. Our hotel was at Marina Grande, out of the main tourist crush, among the locals.

From Sorrento, we took day trips. Danielle and I both like ancient ruins, so we visited Herculaneum and Pompeii, both of which were buried (Herculaneum by mud, Pompeii, ash) when Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. The two present some interesting contrasts. Pompeii was a thriving Roman (earlier, it was Greek) city, a center of trade in the Roman empire, which attracted merchants, craftsmen, freed slaves, and all of the requisite "industries" one would expect in any large city. Herculaneum was a seaside resort for wealthy Roman citizens (including many from Pompeii). The modern city of Ercolano sits above the ruins, only 30% of which have been excavated, because of the city sitting over it. What was, prior to the eruption, the beach, is now the base of a 60+ foot wall of dirt, deposited there during the eruption. Because Herculaneum was covered in mud (whereas ash rained down on Pompei), Herculaneum, overall, is in a better state of preservation, with much of the structural wood in the homes, and even some random artifacts like a length of rope, and a wooden clothes press surviving nearly 2000 years.

More in my next post...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rumsfeld, Pace, Abizaid and the US Senate Armed Services Committee

I've been listening to the three of them testifying for the last couple of hours on C-SPAN. What's interesting to me is the near total absence of the usual partisanship that characterizes these things. There is, at best, very tepid Republican "sunshine pumping" of the witnesses as so often happens. If you've ever watched these things, you've seen it. Folks like Orrin Hatch asking questions that are not so much questions as thinly veiled proselytizing..."Isn't it true, general, that you were doing an admirable job of trying to prosecute this war as best as you could, given this Congress's unwillingness to support the requests of the president and his administration blah blah blah...."

Perhaps the toughest questioning of the day (at least so far) came from John McCain, who characterized our movements of troops from one unstable location to another, more unstable location within Iraq as "whack-a-mole," and, expectedly, from Hilary Clinton, who excoriated Rumsfeld (brilliantly, in my opinion), and appropriately referred to our policy in Iraq and Afghanistan as a "fiasco". God, I love this stuff!

Interesting statistic came up in Ted Kennedy's questioning. He pointed out that we've now been in Iraq 40 months and 13 days, over 2,500 US soldiers and marines dead, thousands more wounded. He went on to recap the length of the Korean War, WWI, WWII, Persian Gulf I, and I don't recall now which others. ALL were over in barely more than the time we've spent so far in Iraq, and both Abizaid and Pace indicated that the current situation could easily devolve into civil war. It boggles the mind that with the most sophisticated, powerful military the world has seen, ever, we've managed to screw this up so badly. But, I guess it's symptomatic of this administration. Remember, this is the president who gloated in his commencement address at his alma mater about having been a C student ("Most important, congratulations to the class of 2001. To those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions, I say, well done. And to the C students–I say, you, too, can be President of the United States. A Yale degree is worth a lot, as I often remind Dick Cheney–who studied here, but left a little early. So now we know–if you graduate from Yale, you become President. If you drop out, you get to be Vice President"...what a fucking moron...).

I've lived now through nine presidents in my lifetime, so far. I was a child when Kennedy managed the Cuban missile crisis, and when he was assasinated, grew up during VietNam and the civil rights movement. I came of age, politically, during Watergate. I lived through Ronald Reagan's 8-year acting job (a shining city on a hill, with record unemployment, the largest budget deficits in history -- until this moron -- and a general sell-job of morning in America, when America had never been worse in my lifetime), Bush 41's pathetic stewardship...

Many people have nothing charitable to say about Bill Clinton. No, he was no paragon of moral virtue, but two things are true about that:
  • Firstly, we don't live in a theocracy, and I, for one, do not seek moral leadership from my political leaders. I expect them to fight dirty, if need be, lie cheat and steal if necessary, and do everything possible to improve our civic lot. A blowjob in the oval office may be cause for a rebuke, may be cause for a divorce (though that is COMPLETELY a personal matter between husband and wife, and nobody else's business), may be cause to turn him out of office, but it is NOT reason for impeachment.
  • Secondly, it was positively Shakespearean watching the most egregious group of philanderers and adulterers in memory trying to prosecute him for far, far less than what they, apparently, were guilty of themselves. It was beautiful seeing Gingrich, Livingston, Hyde, and others all wither away and fade from view, and it was poetic justice that Larry Flynt was the one to bring them down, revealing their own infidelities and hypocrisy. Rehnquist looked like a punch drunk football coach, rather than a wise and impartial dispenser of justice, the highest legal authority in the land. What an embarassment!

This much is absolutely true of Bill Clinton. Never, in my 46 years, has this country been in better shape, better respected around the world (and of this, I know a little, as I travel extensively for work, and I actually meet and talk to people in other countries, so I'm not simply blowing hot air here). At the end of Clinton I and II, years of record deficits had been transformed into the first budget surplus in my lifetime. As an American, I traveled the world with my head held high and proud. Today, when I travel, the dollar is weaker than it's ever been. In most countries, merchants who five or six years ago would not only accept American dollars, but preferred them to their own local currency now categorically refuse to accept dollars. Cab drivers, hotel staff, colleagues from my own company, customers, people you meet on the street, in restaurants, in bars, pubs, wherever you meet them, all have something to say about the US, and mostly it is not charitable. Not only can you not travel with impugnity as an American anymore, you have to constantly be alert and watch your back. What a difference a few years of gross imcompetence can make...

It is simply amazing to me how quickly one moron and his minions of morons could dismantle all of the great work done by the previous administration, and, frankly, by 70+ years worth of inspired leadership from both parties. Bush II is an unmitigated disaster, and it is an injustice of mythic proportion that one can only hope that history will judge him, as we seem incapable of judging him ourselves. His tenure in office will be seen, I believe, as an 8-year joke, the nadir of American political history. Hard to imagine that someone could make Herbert Hoover look like an inspired leader...

But I rant...and it's just my opinion...I could be wrong!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Starting a new blog...

I've just returned from about a week and a half in Sorrento with my wife...the experience inspired the title of this blog. The Italians have a phrase, "Il dolce far niente", literally, "the sweetness of doing nothing". Mind you, the people who live where we were are among the hardest working folks I think I've ever seen, but they have an orientation to life which has become lost to us here in the US, I think. When they work, they work harder than anyone I've seen, but when they're not working, they know how to relax better than anyone I've seen...more about this later, but for now, let's get started!

I'm not really sure what this blog is going to be about. A little about life, a little about politics (one of my abiding passions), maybe some about hi tech (another of my passions, and how I earn my living), and who knows what else! Maybe it'll be fun, maybe provocative, maybe a little boring from time to time, but hey, so am I!

Hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I know I'll enjoy writing.