Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cold Calls

I receive about 3-4 cold calls a day from various IT Service firms trying to sell me everything from hardware and software to ways to make my testing more efficient.

Thanks but no thanks.  You may have the best product in the world but if you need to resort to cold calling in this day and age then you have no clue how to sell into IT and likely don't have the right product in the first place.

Please read up on this new thing they call social media.  Its a great way to get introduced to someone you think might be a sale someday.

Cold calling is for dinosaurs and we all know they aren't around anymore.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Revenues from Litigation

I understand litigation is necessary for some things when the normal course of business can't get you where you need to be.  The graphic below though is just ridiculous.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Off Topic: XP vs. Windows 7

Thanks to my soon to be eleven year old daughter's ultimate curiosity for all things downloadable I recently had to reload my XP machine at home.  I couldn't find my XP disc and I had a copy of Vista and Windows 7 available.  I started with Vista as I was worried that the 6+ year old machine with its Pentium 4 3.0Ghz processor and 2 GBs of RAM would perform sub optimally on Windows 7.

I loaded vista and first thing out of the shoot I had driver problems.  Thank god for extra machines because the driver in question was the network card (for non-techies this is bad if you like internet things).  I found the appropriate drivers and uploaded them.  Presto I was running Vista.  On a promo version time-bombed for 30 days from install.  Oops.  No problem, I just go to or some such nonsense.  Oops again, website doesn't exist.  Quick Google search shows that it has been inactive for 2 years.  Oops.

I had a valid copy of Windows 7 so I decided what the heck - time to upgrade.  Again.  Thankfully the vista drivers flowed through and all my custom hardware (I build the PC from scratch over 6 years ago) all worked like a charm.

A week later and I have to admit - it actually works better than XP.  Small victory for a lost Saturday.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Microsoft continues to struggle in mobile - needs to listen to Apple

If you missed the WSJ alert or article, Microsoft announced that their big bet on the teen market, the Kin devices were being killed after just two months on the market.

How does an organization launch something and then two months later kill it?  There is always the chance that all the research was right, the product was awesome and consumers just hated it.  It begs the question how Microsoft can't seem to translate their success in the software market to mobile phones.

My personal opinion is that Microsoft is spending way too much time chasing the market.  Trying to catch up to Apple and Google rather than trying to innovate on something they have that already works.

Ask any serious video gamer what the two top console platforms are and they will tell you Nintendo's WII and Microsoft's Xbox.  Ask them what the top multi-player platform is and there is no second best.  Microsoft owns the multi-player market from consumer experience to market share and monetization.  Why not try to capitalize on that success.  Rather than chasing Apple and Google, why not build a mobile platform that syncs with Xbox live and drives a really cool experience for people who use and love that platform.  You can control innovation because you already own the services side of it and you can make your fans even bigger fans by expanding the offering.

I'm sure some Marketing guy at MSFT has a dozen reasons why they looked at it and passed but Apple's success didn't come from them chasing anyone.  They listened to their users and created what they wanted in the iPhone.  They leveraged an already huge base of iPod users and took it to the next level.  Its worked really well for them, might be time for Microsoft to borrow a trick from Apple for a change.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Apple worth more than Microsoft

It was bound to happen.  Microsoft's products are great but they continue to lose ground in key markets like the mobile and entertainment base.

On a side note I am liking the new Office 2010 but interesting enough I could probably live without it.  More on that later.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

IT in the Cloud

The more I investigate Cloud infrastructure the more I'm convinced that anyone with annual revenues of less than $1 billion should be using it.  Usage rates will vary but one thing is certain even with VM technology you will never utlilize 100% of your capacity.  You will have RAM bottlenecks or CPU bottlenecks or Disk Bottlenecks.

Most Cloud infrastructure vendors including Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) offering are charging based on actual usage.    Need an application for one week out of the month?  Turn it off until you need it and then turn it on.  Only pay for what you need.

But aren't virtual servers a good thing you ask?  Yes they are the middle man for savings based on shared environments.  In fact Virtual Machines (VMs) are what Microsoft, Amazon and a host of other companies use to make their cloud offerings.  VMs only get you so far though.

I put together a graph of the cost to a business running a physical server, a VM and the cloud.  Basic Assumptions:

1) An organization replaces its physical servers every 4 years (this may be too aggressive for your organization) due to end of life/warranty, etc.
2) Average CPU utilization is 20% (I find on average that avg. CPU usage is usally a lot less than this on a dedicated box (its not uncommon to see avg CPU at 1% with spikes at certain times).
3) The VM is 1/5th capacity and cost of the physical.  You can load up more VMs on a physical server but you start to have RAM or CPU bottlenecks if you carve it up into too many chunks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

File this under "It was bound to happen"

A friend shared a link today to an Engadget article that shows how a hacker can take advantage of the massive amount of computer controlled components in your automobile.

This just underscores a broader issue around system security that automobile manufacturers have decided to ignore.  Security, even physical security, needs to be planned into a system not as an afterthought but as a part of system design in the beginning.

I'm sure some sitcom or movie in the near future will have a good scare scene related to this news.