Sold!

For the first time in over 7 years, I find myself working for a privare company. No more quarterly reporting…no more stock options! I’m in these circumstances not exactly by choice, but it’s still fairly agreeable, especially considering the state of my former employer (although I wish you luck, all that are left behind).

I hope our new private owners don’t screw with us too much, but at the same time I hope they don’t stay too hands off. If they can find the right balance, we’ll be set.

On easier news, my kids had their 3rd and 5th birthdays today (yes, I planned things that well ;-). I think they had a good time, but I’m amazed how quickly the time has gone. I guess that’s one reason I’ve started blogging. As long as my computer doesn’t crash, I’ve got at least some record of the comings and goings of every day life…maybe one day it will slow down.

Stuff

There’s alot of things I “need”:

  • GPS: I had one these a while ago, but Ebayed it because it didn’t work the way I thought it should. I think some of the new ones they have now, with the integrated maps, would come closer to what I need.
  • Telescope: and not one of those cheap department store models either. I’ve been into Home Theater and Automation for a while, and I think this would be another “math-based” hobby that I could really get in to. I’d really like a nice >100mm Cas-Mak compact scope that I could lug with me on vacation. That would be sweet.
  • iPod: I know I must be the only geek on the planet without one of these, and Apple just made it harder on me with the introduction of the mini. Do you think they ever considered what the new one would do to people that can’t make up their minds?
  • AMD64 machine: this kills my friends at Intel, but I’m really itching to build one of those new Athlon64 machines. I’m not sure what I’d do with it, but it would be nice to have something killer fast.

That’s all I can think of for now, but I’m sure there’s more where that came from.

Going, going, gone…

I work for a fairly large IT firm that hasn’t been doing so well lately. We’re doing a little better now than we were about a year ago, when our board decided to replace most of the upper management. Old tune was diversify, new guys tune is focus. And thus, the division I work in is not “core” and has been for sale for the past few months.

It’s tough working in a company who’s future is uncertain. But at the same time, it’s seems to me that it’s a lot like working for yourself in the so called “free agent nation” that has gained so much fame since the concept appeared in a Fast Company article a few years ago.

The most difficult thing is trying to think long term. How can we make long term commitments to do anything, when our whole world can change tomorrow? This kind of thinking causes all sorts of problems. We try to delay decisions until the last possible minute, and then miss the opportunity to really take advantage of thi things we do decide to do. We try not to look out into the market too far and so we’re always caught reacting to our competitors.

What’s the answer? Not really sure, but I think it’s somewhere in the quote from James Dean that appeared at the end of Tom Peter’s book Reimagine:

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”

Howard Stern

I don’t get into to politics too much (there seems to be enough blogs about that), but this one really irks me. As many of you probably have heard, Howard Stern is under fire again, and I must admit it’s mostly deserved and probably not completely unwanted by Howard himself (no such thing as bad press).

However, the fact that the government can decide for me what’s decent and what’s not, seems like a trivialization of my freedom to choose. Freedom has to work both ways for it to work at all. Just as I have to have the freedom to listen to, watch, and buy what I want, everyone else has to have the freedom to not do those same things. This is the thing that strikes me as odd: for an administration that seems 100% committed to free trade, they won’t let the market decide if Howard should stay on the air. If they truly beleived in free market policies, they would let him stay as long as it was commercially viable…not until they got the 1 millionth complaint from some little old lady in Omaha (or the 1 millionth copy of the same complaint!)

CATS! Cats! Cats!

For newfriends of mine that get to experience my behavior in the month of March, it can be quite upsetting. A pretty normal guy who works alot and doesn’t sit in front of the tube too much, suddenly becomes a work skipping, couchpotato.

It’s all about the basketball. I can’t explain quite why I love it, but I find no other sporting event quite so compelling as the NCAA College basketball tournament, aka “March Madness”. It doesn’t hurt that my favorite team, the Kentucky Wildcats, are on a run into tournment time and look to be getting ready to seed well. Hopefully they can repeat the run they had in ’98 which gave coach Smith his first NCAA title.

Computing costs dropping through the floor

As I am the only member of my family with a blog, I also happen to be the only member of my family that is called by every other member of my family to fix anything remotely resembling a computer. So it was that I found myself trying to install a brand new epson printer/scanner/fax/copier/card reader/coffee maker on my uncle’s 8 year old windows 98, 400 MHz PC. It seems that hardware manufacturers don’t spend too much time testing their windows 98 drivers these days, because after 2 hours I could get this thing to do everything EXCEPT print.

So I threw in the towel. I told my uncle I would build him a new system and set about spec’ing one out there on the spot. I won’t bore you with all the details, but for about $350 I was able to build a extremely useful home office machine. Despite the fact that I’ve been doing this for a while, that’s amazing to me. That same $350 could buy a top of the line iPod, or a nice iPaq. But instead it bought a 2GHz dekstop with more storage than my uncle will ever use. And it will save me from having to wrestle with windows 98, because I’m going to use this as my excuse to get him moved the linux.

Wine Festival

Went to the local wine festival this evening. Was a pretty good time. Had some good new wines, but really had a hard time obeying the rule about avoiding the wines you already know you like.

What impressed me the most this time (having been once before) is the vatiety of people that really seem to be into wine. There were those there dressed to the nines that could obviously afford any wine they chose and those in t-shirts and jeans, who if not for the setting, would definately be picked out as beer drinkers (not that there’s anything wrong with that ;-).

It’s good to see that such a wide variety of people can all be interested in the same thing. Makes you appreciate the similarities in the different.

What car to buy?

I hate buying new cars, but I LOVE new car shopping! Its been a couple years since I was last in the market for a new car, but my wife’s car of the last 5 years is starting to give out. Not to the point that I need to buy something right away, but it’s still got me looking. The question is what to buy?

With the increased competition in the car market, all of the car makers seem to have taken on this idea of segmentation seriously. There seems to be cars designed specifically for 40-42 year old single moms who date regularly, 18-21 year old males with vision problems and 26-31 year old families with 6 kids and 2 pets.

This is great, until you try to figure out what category you’re in. If you pick the wrong car, someone might think you’re in a catefory you’re not (like that dating single mom category that I don’t want anyone thinking my wife is in!). This diversity of choice, while mostly a good thing, causes me (just a little bit) to wish for the days when you could have it in any color you wanted as long as it was black. At least then, there wasn’t so much worl to do to buy a new car.

Thanks to tomster.org (and google)

Thanks to tomster.org and google I was able to add the blogroll you now see on the right hand side of my site. Tomster wrote the original hack, but then his site went down, so I had to google it to find a cached version.

Moral of the story: nothing goes away out there.

Will there be any room left for software vendors if MSFT has its way?

Sitting around at work today trying to figure out how to work better with Microsoft. A long time ago I said that it’s the aspiration of every software company to either become the next Microsoft or to be acquired by Microsoft. While we’re not exactly in that state, we are trying to figure out how to dance with the elephant. The classic question we’re facing is how to do it without being crushed.

Don’t get me wrong, there are tremendous opportunities to work with Microsoft and do great things. >$6B in R&D is a good thing for software vendors. The trick is to figure out how to keep ahead of that investment and find something that you can make money at that they aren’t going to include in the OS or apps in their next release.

Will we do it? Probably…but if not, expect the resume section of my website to get alot more attention!