Tick of death


It’s times like this that I don’t mind that people make fun of me for using RAID 1+0 on my home server. One of my Seagate 400gb PATA drivers emits a ticking noise and is no longer detected by any of my Linux boxes. I don’t think that’s a good sign for the data on that machine. Luckily, the RAID array can run in degraded mode for a bit until a new disk arrives.

Now to find out how much Seagate warranty support sucks.


Microsoft taints bloggers with free laptops… or, whiney bitches win again!


A guy I know from Canberra (he was a consultant and we were a consultee last time we met, please note that the consultation was at a Microsoft centric ISV, and paid for by Microsoft. Then again, we never took any of the advice because our management at the time still feel that the Internet is a passing fad and wouldn’t know a current trend if it jumped out and bit them) scored a free laptop from Microsoft.

The premise is that it’s a 64 bit laptop running Vista, and he’s meant to be so astounded by it’s coolness that he blogs all about it. There no risk of that occurring, he’s pretty much in Microsoft’s pocket anyways.

Then again, he’s so much in Microsoft’s pocket that he’s a MVP. There is no perception of bias there — everyone knows he works for a Microsoft backed consultancy, is an MVP, and gets back rubs from Frank Arrigo, Microsoft Australia’s head developer back rubber (full disclosure again, Frank used to be my assigned Microsoft ISV buddy — apparently that meant that we both took it in turns to ignore email from each other).

Back to the story. So, some other bloggers noticed that they hadn’t got laptops for free, perhaps because they are whiney bitches, and raised a stink. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t have the courage of their convictions, and have now asked those bloggers to get rid of the machines after writing some reviews.

Get a grip people. Microsoft, you should be ashamed of backing down. Blogosphere, you should investigate the perception of bias a bit more before making random accusations. Frank, where’s my back rub?!?

Anyways, here’s what I said in a comment on Mitch’s blog:

(long time no see).
I’d kinda assumed that the machine was a standard “kick back” to Microsoft MVPs — you are still one, right?
While I wont say I’m a big Microsoft supporter (I work for a competitor, have been using Linux for the last 10 years, and am finally Windows free), it seems to me that it’s fair enough for Microsoft to provide training resources to MVPs. Don’t you also get flights to Redmond, copies of MSDN, a back rub from Frank?

It seems to me that most of the complaining comes down to jealousy. Especially if you disclosed the machine as a gift.
Oh, and Microsoft taking it back again (or dictating how to dispose of the machine) just leaves me with the impression that Microsoft lacks the courage of their convictions. Surely if individual bloggers thought there was a tainting issue they are big enough to resolve that for themselves without a mandate from above?

And unlike Microsoft, I stand by my opinion.


Reactive economies?


The other day while in Costco (for the foreigners, think Bunnings or some other hardware warehouse, but for food), I was graced with this conversation at the checkout, between two Costco employees:

e1: Where the hell is e3?
e2: Oh, we didn’t meet our sales target yesterday, so they cut hours today.
e1: So he’s not coming in at all?
e2: Nup

Apparently Costco works out their staffing based on a “budget for the day” which takes into account todays sales target, expected customer load, and whatever they have to “make up” from previous missed targets.

While there is nothing wrong with that, it must suck to be an employee in that environment. I can’t imagine not knowing how much work I would have day to day. I used to be a casual, but our rosters were fairly static and worked out weeks in advance. I guess that Australia is headed down this path with the new industrial relations laws as well.

That’s not why I finally got around to writing this though. It occurred to me this morning that being able to lay off people instantly based on a micro assessment of the economy must also lead to very reactive economies, which are more vulnerable to downturn. If Costco couldn’t lay people off instantly, then the billion dollar company would act as a cushion between small variations in economic state and the rest of the economy. Without that cushion, the laid off employee goes home and spends less (being unemployed for a day and all), which has a big knock on effect for the rest of the economy.

I wonder if there are any studies on the probability of this being a problem compared with countries with more employee protection like Ireland? France probably goes too far for such a study, because the barrier to firing there is so high that it acts as a barrier to hiring as well.


Bloomberg: How to handle those annoyingly poor relatives at Christmas


Resist the urge to impress family members with your purchasing power and instead give them only what they can afford to give you. Avoid luxury goods, for example, or other items redolent of leisure. Choose, instead, gifts that encourage productive labour. Hand tools, say, or cookbooks. Obviously your gift needs to say, “I love you,” but it also needs to say, “The income gap within the family isn’t going to be shrinking from my end.”

A funny look at how to handle poor relatives at Christmas. Or at least I hope it’s meant as humour.


Christmas morning


Our kids seem to have the Christmas thing under control — I remember waking my folks up at 5am to open presents, but our kids let us sleep in today until nearly 8:30am. They liked their presents heaps, so if you got something for them, well done. I’ll put some pictures online later when I get a chance.



Fedex sucks


It turns out that seemingly no one in my apartment complex has got a delivery from Fedex in the last week or so… It would seem the local driver is simply too lazy to actually deliver packages. I guess that makes it a little hard for people who are waiting for those last few Christmas presents to arrive. In our case it was something medical, which makes it worse in my mind.

Oh, and guess what? There’s no refund process from Fedex, even though they have failed to deliver on their product (three day shipping, we’ve waited six so far). So, no more Fedex for me.