Mar 19, 2014

Seven years gone by; a new start before me

So it took quite a bit of consternation on my part in the end, but it has happened.  Not for despising of the soulless, lumbering bureaucracy, but instead for pettiness in small degrees, accumulated.  I once read that you are not loyal to your job; you are loyal to people.  And this truism is definitely valid in this case.

I've got a question (or is it a riddle??) for you:

Q: What would someone be if they:
  • blocked local movement repeatedly 
  • padded internal performance reviews to fabricate narratives of disloyal, unproductive, or incompetent employees as their reports

A: An experienced manager.

Or more completely, a manager experienced in showing people the door.

And that is what has occurred in the last year and a half: seven co-workers plus me. Dan, Amit, Justin, Joel, Rob, Bruce, Tony, and Yours Truly.  Our names don’t take up a lot of space on this page and in the final equation might be just numbers in spreadsheet somewhere.  Collectively, however, the time window in which we have chosen to leave and our years of experience and expertise might serve to illuminate a serious organizational problem.

Why would someone behave this way, seemingly in order to prevent internal transfers while absconding responsibility?  I don't have the answer, nor must I concern myself with it much longer. However, greatness in leadership can only be achieved if dreadful problems such as I've outlined are addressed (i.e. managed)...

I've heard a lot people saying "Good Luck" to me lately.  Sometimes I feel unlucky to have been in the situation I've found myself in the last couple of years.  But for what I've left behind, the crux of improving it has nothing to do with luck, but rather responsibility and courage.  Hopefully some of that type of elixir is found back there so that others in the future don't end up sharing the same "lucky" fate.

As for me, I am going to take some time off to figure out what it is I'll be achieving next.

Nov 20, 2007

time to move on?

I have given multiple chances to my work environment -- have been more than fair in my opinion -- yet I am in general in disgust with the job I "get paid for". I love software and the power it provides. That "good" software or its value is not really understood at my employer shows up in evidence all over the place in internal projects. And I can only really derive any satisfaction nowadays from supporting users and providing great tools for them to get their jobs done. Hiring in software-related jobs (that I have personally observed) can be viewed to a large degree as cronyism or nepotism. This is disgusting, and while 60% margins may support this, it is not what I am looking for any more. THIS COMPANY IS TOO "OLD".

Google and web services are changing the world, and the corporate PR at my current employer pays it plenty of lip-service, but internally the _fighting_ to just to try to use some of the innovative technologies within makes you take a step back and wonder. THIS COMPANY IS TOO "OLD".

I think I really do contribute to making a group of fellow employees as a whole perform better. However, the reward system my employer uses does not really take that into account. It never has. It is all about getting your name associated with "something important" and having those important items being by-and-large successful. The company culture evolved much before there was a network culture and the territorial aspects of non-networked domains and making the network link bottlenecks valuable persists. There is little embracing at the upper levels of new networked mediums and the internal small employee groups who do endeavor to try to proliferate the new approaches like wikis or blogging or webservices are branded as mavericks. I understand the response. Flattened organizations can be threatening to some not ready for it. I just am not sure whether I want to spend any more time to change it or whether I can. THIS COMPANY IS TOO OLD.

I think the yearly review system if horribly broken from my job satisfaction viewpoint and I do not think I can change it. The so-called leaders (this term is largely referring to their position) in the institution are much too attached to it and the status quo to evolve. Half-truths that are sold well can get someone ahead and it is really hard to compete with that when you have integrity and base personal assessments on honesty rather than telling a large collection of small lies in order to sell yourself. Trampling down your colleagues actually can get rewarded. You do not have to have been at all responsible for any or most of the work in your line items. The important thing is to have a number of "important things" attributed to you in line items in the yearly review. It does not really matter much (unless you have an enlightened manager) whether you actually did those things or whether the tasks were necessary to do. THIS COMPANY IS TOO OLD.

I have not received any long-term Retention Seeking Units (RSUs) lately so I think
that is a hint that it is time for me to head somewhere else and try out a new culture. The previous work culture I enjoyed when I moved into the area of an empowering and enabling environment does not exist. Small pockets may still be found, but I think most of us that find ourselves in these small pockets are slowly running out of air. I think most of the satisfaction for me at work comes from being able to work with a group of smart, unselfish, helpful co-workers who in the end really care about project success, not about how to leech off the system and their employer. THIS COMPANY's PRACTICES ARE TOO OLD-FASHIONED. Should i try something else?

Nov 17, 2007

Play 'all' video formats in FrontRow on Macs

The Perian component collection is the best codec installer I've ever had the pleasure of using for my trustworthy Mac mini.

Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats. No more FrontRow crashes and files that won't play unless you have the right codecs installed for VLC. My Mac seems to play formats more reliably than my Windows Vista and xbox360 config.

Next stop: Mac OS X Leopard!

Nov 14, 2007

MakeiPhoneRingtone - self-created iPhone ringtones back in 1.1.2 - yah!

On a Mac, you can use the wonderful "freebie" app from Rogue Amoeba:

If you need to edit audio files, you can try the open-source Audacity, while Rogue Amoeba offers their own highly-praised app: Fission.

Nov 12, 2007

Installing Android SDK on Ubuntu Gutsy with Eclipse3.2

Download the Android Platform SDK. Of course your want the linux version, v being the version at this writing.

Fire up the Synaptic package manger
  1. Install eclipse

    Version 3.2 is the default version available in gutsy). I did a search for eclipse, but since I already had it installed, there was nothing else for me to install.
    However, due to warnings about it not being compatible on the google install page, I removed the eclipse packages related to gcj, the GNU native java compiler. I also completed removed the gcj environment, planning to use instead Sun's JDK 5

    I also needed to do something for eclipse in order for it to behave appropriately:

    sudo touch /usr/local/lib/eclipse/.eclipseextension
    sudo chmod 2775 /usr/local/lib/eclipse/.eclipseextension
    sudo chown root:admin /usr/local/lib/eclipse/.eclipseextension

  2. Install sun-java5-jdk
    1.5.0-13 was the current available version in gutsy

  3. Install ant (1.7 is available in gutsy)

Install JDK as the java version for everything.
$ sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-1.5.0-sun

Unzip and "install" the Android SDK package:

mkdir -p Projects/Android
cd Projects/Android
unzip ~/Desktop/ # this was where I downloaded the zipfile to
emacs -nw .bashrc

I then added the following to my .bashrc, starting a new terminal afterwards:

# set PATH so it includes Android tools path
export ANDROID_SDK_ROOT="$HOME/Projects/Android/android_sdk_linux_m3-rc20a"
if [ -d $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools ] ; then

Start eclipse and using these instructions, install the eclipse Android plugin from'll want to update the path in Preferences for the Android plugin so it can find your tools.

Your first project

The final stop is to create a new Android project. The easiest way to do this is to pick one from the samples directory like LunarLander, found in our example at ~/Projects/Android/android_sdk_linux_m3-rc20a/samples/LunarLander.
Again, there are instructions here. Don't forget to launch your project workspace, using the far right icon.

The eclipse plugin kit comes with an integrated device emulator that lets you try out directly on your workstation.

Have FUN!

Java Nirvana with Android

Android of course is Google's acquired software stack for mobile devices including cell phones.
It is based on Linux for the operating system and the application layer is C libraries underneath with Java for application development.

THE SDK is available for downloads, released today...

Main developer page

Android Platform

Videos page for getting started with development

NY Times Coverage: Seeding the Google Phone With Apps

Oct 31, 2007

Next series of Itanium® processors - launch press release

Intel Unveils Seven New Intel® Itanium® Processors

This Itanium product line is very real, in case anyone was wondering.

Excerpts from the press release:

All server-maker members of the Itanium Solutions Alliance (ISA) will launch new Dual-Core Intel Itanium Processor 9100 series-based products, including Bull, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, Hitachi, Intel, NEC, SGI and Unisys.

and another (emphasis added is mine):

"Transitive is releasing its QuickTransit for Solaris/Sparc-to-Linux/Itanium solution today." said Transitive President and CEO Bob Wiederhold. "The combination of QuickTransit with servers equipped with Itanium processors provides datacenter operators with the ability to run legacy Solaris/SPARC applications on standards-based platforms without porting or recompilation, thereby allowing them greater efficiency, flexibility and return on investment."

Hopefully the next series of announcements for the next product in the line will come like clockwork. :)

Oct 28, 2007

Google Gears and Gutsy

I had some issues with getting Google Gears for Firefox (aka Iceweasel) to work on a fresh Ubuntu gutsy 7.10 install (running under vmware server). The problem was staring right at me from the (details) page for Linux. I needed libstdc++5, but gutsy seems to come with libstdc++6.
$ apt-cache search 'libstdc\++5'
libstdc++5 - The GNU Standard C++ Library v3
libstdc++5-3.3-dev - The GNU Standard C++ Library v3 (development files)
libstdc++5-3.3-dbg - The GNU Standard C++ Library v3 (debugging files)
libstdc++5-3.3-doc - The GNU Standard C++ Library v3 (documentation files)
libstdc++5-3.3-pic - The GNU Standard C++ Library v3 (shared library subset kit)

I had to

  • sudo apt-get install libstdc++5

  • blow away un-installed the 'Add-on' for Gears in Firefox and re-start Firefox

I was able to re-install the Google Gears .xpi (the current version of the Add-on: (another firefox re-start required) and now, things are working swimmingly with this plug in.