Geeky The road to DevOps.

31Jan/060

Efficiency in bureaucracy

In order to file my 2005 US federal tax return electronically, I needed my Adujsted Gross Income from 2004. "Hmm, I don't have that," I think to myself.

Not a problem! Call the IRS at 1-800-826-1040, access your personal tax account, enter your social security number, press 1, press 0, and the nice lady on the other side will give you the number you need.

She will, of course, ask you about 10 questions to confirm you are who you say you are, and this is a Good Thing(tm). After waiting on hold for about 3 minutes, she'll return with your information. I wonder if she had to run down to the filling room to get my records..

That notwithstanding,  I've only once before seen a government agency offer such efficiency. It was quite pleasant all in all.

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27Jan/060

Paperwork for the unborn

I'm stepping away from Google for a couple of months of paternity leave. Today was my last day at work until the end of March.

It's interesting how much bureaucracy such a simple action puts into motion!

Forms to be filled for HR, signed by 3 people. The state and the medical benefits companies must both be called for workers comp (this step took TWO trips to HR and FOUR phone calls to complete). No more! make it stop!

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24Jan/060

Yahoo admins conceed that Google is the better search engine

In a surprising statement, two Yahoo! executives admitted that they have lost the search battle to Google.

There are a number of rumours as to why Yahoo! might announce something like this.
Their earnings statement released last week fell far short of analysts' hopes, that their stop dropped 12%. It still has not recovered.
Maybe they're going for the sympathy vote, or perhaps they're hoping that honesty will win them favour with their stockholders.
Personally, I think they've given up on being the best search engine, in order to focus their efforts on other markets. Their recent purchases of Flickr, and del.icio.us might be an indication of that. If so, this setback may only be designed to give Yahoo! time to regroup.

Filed under: Tech, Work No Comments
22Jan/061

Cry babies

I released today, that there are some really whiny bastards out there. You know the kind I'm talking about, the kind that complain for the sake of complaining.

Take for example, this page at digg.com.
In 2005, Linksys modified the hardware of their popular WRT54G line of broadband routers. The new hardware was cheaper, and faster, but had one flaw: The old hardware could be flashed with third party linux firmware, the new hardware could not.
This caused somewhat of an uproar in many communities. People LIKED the old WRT54G's. They didn't care that they were invalidating their warranties, they just wanted awesome routers that cost $70 not $700. And so sales dropped. And dropped. And dropped. Linksys saw this, and quickly re-released the previous generation router as a new WRT54GL. The L we assume, is for Linux. So far so good.

Enter the whiny bastards. "The WRT54GL is a rip off!" "It's just the old router repackaged and costs more!" "Boycott Linksys!".

Yeah. Whatever. People, grow the fuck up. Linksys is doing you a HUGE favour. They don't hav to sell the WRT54GL at all. So they marked the price up $10. OH NO! TEN WHOLE DOLLARS! What's your problem? Are you going to miss out on your sucky sucky for this week?

If the WRT54GL's price went up to $100, I would still buy it. Why? Because it is STILL the best linux router on the market. Sure, CPU and space is limited, but it works so well, and it's packaged up in a nice, pretty case. Frankly, you just can't beat it.
$150? I might still consider it. Just so that I can hack it to do whatever I feel like. But that's just cool.

Linksys: Thank you.

Filed under: Tech 1 Comment
21Jan/060

Overbearing governments

As many people are aware, Google was sent a subpeona
by the US Department of Justice last week.
The details of this subpeona are quite public and there are many discussions on the matter already.

I'd like to instead, bring forward the issue of overbearing governments. It is accepted truth that since the start of time, those with power want more power over those with less power. While I don't think this a very nice thing to do,
it has worked for many thousands of year. It has worked only because the people were willing to keep their elected officials in check. Occassionally this resulted in uprisings, civil wars, revolutions, or good old fashioned declerations of independence.

The problem we face today however, is more serious. Too many people have become complacent. In any western population, the people will agree that politicians are corrupt, but also feel that this is not a big deal.

For shame, people 🙁 I thought we were better than that.

Filed under: Politics No Comments
14Jan/060

Powerbooks, and what happens when they stop working

It sucks, that's what happens. It really bloody well sucks.

So here I am, 3am, reading an advisory to upgrade iTunes and Quicktime due to known vulnerabilities. I start the software update... it runs, and runs, and runs. Eventually it asks if I'd like to reboot.

I say yes, it says "Nu uh".

Anyone want to buy a rather expensive titanium brick?

Filed under: Life sux, Tech No Comments
13Jan/060

Are you looking for a job?

Google's hiring.

We need people who are willing to relocate to Oregon for systems admin / data center engineer positions.
There's a lot of growth inside the company, lots of room to learn and earn more.

A lot of people ask me what it's liek to work at Google. I'm hard pressed to find anything bad to say. The people are amazing, and the company clearly cares a lot about the employees.
Being at the forefront of even a small part of the technology industry is an amazing experience and I encourge others to apply.

You can send your resumes/CVs over to me (web-blog@silverwraith.com) and someone will call you back pretty fast.

Filed under: Work No Comments
13Jan/060

A hunting a will go…

There have been many reports over the last few months on Google's search for a new executive chef. Our previous chef, Charlie Ayers (former chef to The Greatful Dead), left last year.

The San Jose Mercury News published an article by one of the remaining contenders,
Steve Petusevsky. It's a good read, and goes into a little details about how much the food teams here care about the quality of their product. All fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices are fresh, as are all of the various meats and seafoods cooked daily.

Tikka Masala for lunch today I think.

Filed under: Tech, Work No Comments
12Jan/060

New friends from old places

It seems I'm finding more people at companies I used to work for now, than before I left.

Just last night I stumbled upon the blog of icmp, who works at EarthLink. I wish I'd known her back then, she seems like quite a nice person from her blog.

Groups of people at Google who have worked at the same companies prior often huddle together to discuss stories from days gone by.

I think it is high time I started my own band of EarthLink refugees at Google. The number is growing!

Filed under: Tech No Comments
10Jan/060

Bundles of joy

There's been a lot of discussion over the last few days, focused of course on last Friday's CES announcements.

My personal take on the matter is that the Google Pack will be quite useful to a great many people. The ability to have the computer keep itself up-to-date is long overdue. Microsoft's Automatic Updates for Windows take a good stab at this, as does Apple's Software Update for OS X. Now is the time for the same procedures to be available to applications. This requires tools:

  • Either one tool per software developer
  • Or one tool from the OS developer for applications on their platform
  • Or one third party tool which could be cross platform[1], and integrate with cross platform applications to keep them updated

I prefer the last option and it grants more power to the end user. They can switch operating systems and still have familiar applications and methods of keeping them updated.

[1] I don't know if Google is planning anything like this, so please don't read anything in to it 🙂

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