Posted in Personal

The Internet of Things (Dialog)

 

Honey! Can you debug the garbage disposer, I think it has a virus, could you update it and reboot it? 
 
And, Oh! By the way …
 
I believe the light bulbs in the garage are trying to escape again, they are sending an SOS or something, and they are scaring the Car!
Posted in Education, Forecasting, Gender, IT Issues, Personal, Startups, Women

IT, is not always a boy’s game, by choice.

I’ve been having a few twitter conversations about Internet startups, IT development and the ‘Boys Club’ it always appears to be. I’ve been working at a Internet Company, more than a startup, less than a powerhouse. And what was once called TeamworkPM.net is now called Teamwork.COM with the recent purchase of that very domain name.

Several Ladies have commented, one in Australia and another in California, particularly on the photos we had up for the ‘re-branding’ event.

However this is NOT the whole story, we have tried to hire NON-WHITE-NON-MALE personnel, We have held ‘Open Houses’, posted all over Cork (Home base) out of 10 (very disappointing) no persons of color, and only one woman. No one really qualified, as even the universities aren’t teaching what students need to get into the computing environment. We weren’t even trying just for ‘programmers’ none of the people bothered to even find out what we did on the Internet.

We have had interns (1 Male 1 female) in, and while useful, they were more interested in finishing school than working for us. Last year Teamwork.com set out to hire 10 people, more than doubling the staff, and we managed only 4, not all developers, from Lithuania, the Netherlands, Australia and Bulgaria. All male, all white. And it’s not our choice, it’s all that we are presented with that are educated and/or interested in working with us.

In Catholic Ireland, the Nuns still teach that Math and Science (and technology) are for the ‘boys’ and tell the girls to choose something else. Only since things like Coder Dojo’s have girls been learning coding and web development. And even there, the female component constitutes only a minority.

Until such time as females are educated, and qualified to develop code, or web working. The all-white-all-male club will be more the norm than than in the general populations. And you can’t enforce a gender balance on startups and lean companies, it would crush them. Only educations will change this imbalance. So please stop complaining about us, and others, and start sending your daughters, wives and girlfriends to school.

So if you are qualified and motivated send a CV or drop an email at Teamwork.COM

Update: see here

And we have Improved… an grown 🙂

March 2015. Team Teamwork at the official opening of the new teamwork.com offices at North Point business park, and launch of their new product: Teamwork Desk. Image credit: Neil Danton. Copyright © Neil Danton 2015. Press Release image - no reproduction fee. Editorial use only. For use only in relation to caption and/or Client Press Release. No archive, No library, No distribution, No syndication.
March 2015.
Team Teamwork at the official opening of the new teamwork.com offices at North Point business park, and launch of their new product: Teamwork Desk.
Image credit: Neil Danton.
Copyright © Neil Danton 2015.
Press Release image – no reproduction fee. Editorial use only. For use only in relation to caption and/or Client Press Release. No archive, No library, No distribution, No syndication.
Posted in Personal

Hiding in plain sight

In this age of ‘Big Data‘ the masters are the ones who hide in plain sight. If you generate billions of media bits that must be parsed by the powers that be, the devil really is in the details.

During a stint in a fraud unit I learned that the trick wasn’t to read all the monitored data, but to build patterns of ‘normal’ for everyone monitored. If the patterned changed then something had changed, and an investigator was assigned.

Another article I keep remembering is an interview with a ‘Ninja Assissan’ who was quoted as;

” I never sleep in the same bed two nights in a row (he had 5 bedrooms), and he never ate the same thing for breakfast (though he always ate what he wanted)

Hence the pattern he would generate would always be random, and therefore a consistent repeated event would be considered abnormal and a ‘red flag’ that something wasn’t normal.

So to hide, and maintain privacy would be to either overwhelm the bit watchers, or develop such a random lifestyle as to make normal pattern matching methods useless.

anyone want to be a Ninja Assissan? 

Posted in Personal

I must work for Amazon

Well, I’ve worked myself out of another job, mostly, as I assisted the current company into the Amazon cloud. They were operating their system from a hosting environment, so they were mostly in the ‘Cloud’ anyway. And as you might guess I dislike the whole ‘Cloud’ hype as it’s mostly a marketing term. So what I convinced them to do, is improve their scalability by moving the server into the equivalent systems in the Amazon ‘hosting’ environment.

As part of the exercise the database from move from a MySQL database on Windows server, to the Amazon RDS the the webserver/application servers (windows) to EC2 instances, with additional storage in the Amazon S3 facility.

The process was, as usual, a learning experience, and Amazon still has issues with their interfaces to their corner of the Cloud. But it all works, I managed to defrag the database, and apply more indexing and SQL revisions to the point that it runs so smoothly, they don’t need me anymore. Hence the working myself out of a job. Amazon should hire me to sell their services.

 

Posted in Personal, RDBMS

Apache Web Projects

Having just escaped/exited from a brief encounter with a company utilizing some of Apache’s Web Projects. I keep being struck by the feeling that I’ve seen the issues before. Over a fairly long run in the IT industry I have the feeling that Apache and it’s contributors have been busy re-inventing the wheel. The Apache Hadoop as a distributed file system designed for large data sets. Apache Solr a full text search server and indexer combined with Apache Lucene supplying the search libraries. Coordinated by Apache ZooKeeper all begins to sound like a description of your average Relational Database System (RDBMS) 

All these elements being created by the Apache Foundation  have been, sometime in the past, been solved by most of the Relational (Big) database vendors. All the bugs and missed steps have all been made by previous developments which only reminds me of the old saw

“Those who do not learn from the past, are destined to relive them (ie repeat the same mistakes)”

 

Posted in IT Issues, Linux, OpenBSD, Personal, Solaris, SUN

Streching the EOL on old hardware.

A couple of weeks ago a friends from work was clearing out their place, I assume she had something to do with it, but in any case my collection of computers grew a bit when he offered to gift them to me. So now I own a Sun SPARCstation 5 and a Sun SparcStation IPX along with other bits and bobs. Now as a rule I only take systems that work, and they do, however the passwords have been lost in the annals of time.

So I was left with a marginal SparcStation 5 with a missing CD drive, which booted to Solaris 2.7, but no further. But I’m a geek, and undaunted by this minor setback, I set out looking for a workaround. The googling net is full of solutions for password recovery … if you have a bootable cd (yes CD not DVD), Ok, next does eBay still have Solaris stuff that old … not cheaply, so what next.

While googling, OpenBSD presented itself, and I downloaded and burned some generic ISO’s of version 4.8. and then to solve the other hardware issue, the Sun IPX was delivered with a cartridge loading CD, but the IPX drive was housed in an external SCSI 1 case, and the SS5 was wired with a SCSI II system externally. so I dismantled the CD drive and searched for a CD cartridge carrier which as any self-respecting Geek, I had stashed away for a rainy day. Then armed with the hardware I jumpered the SCSI CD drive into the SS5 chassis, and bingo a complete and bootable SS5.

Now attempting to boot the OpenBSD was no problem, which surprised me to no end. But then I attempted a password recovery on the Solaris disk and no joy. but I did manage to mount it, and more or less destroy it (latter I found a way to fix it) and determined to go ahead and install the full OpenBSD system. Which more or less worked, there were issues with the X-Fonts archive but I found the tarball contained another version, which worked. It now booted on the internal disk, but I had to add and modify the XF86Config file to find the display, mouse and keyboard. My result does not match the examples of this file you might find on the net. So if you are interested, contact me, the Sun GB keyboard was hell to make work. but TADA:


And I even now have a browser in the form of Links

However, while it can compile most anything, there isn’t much left on the 1GB disk to compile TO. So unless I find some pre-compiled SMALL binaries, or a very cheap internal SCSI Disk to upgrade with, I’m stuck.

There may be more coming for this system, but just to make a comparison with modern hardware;

SparcStation 5 Nokia N900 smartphone
Screen 1024 x 768 (9 screens) 800 x 480 (4 screens)
Memory 64 MBytes 256 MBytes
CPU Freq 110 Mhz 600 Mhz
Storage 1 GByte 32 Gbyte
Price (new) 8,000.00$ to 10,000.00$ ~500.00$

UPDATE: I found amongst the archives another external 1.2GB SCSI disk, which fits nicely in the same connector that the CD-Drive was in, so now the SS5 is without the CD-Drive but has a massive 2.2GB of disks, Impressive 🙂

Posted in Economy & Business, IT Issues, Personal

The Tao of IT problem solving

At the Cork Open Coffee today there was discussion about how the University of Cork could be utilized to solve real world business problems, with a counterpoint that the University also was a resource for IP that was underutilized or not exploited at all. Answers without questions that had been explored and solved, but not yet marketed and deployed. And I thought of how that could happen.

I have always been boring, in most conversations I almost never initiate a subject, but I can always contribute (read; shoot my mouth off). This is true in my IT skills. I know many things, but I don’t create many new things, but I can solve most puzzles and resolve problems. And in reviewing them, I find it’s more to do with not having an agenda, or operating under a set of predefined solutions. I examine the issue, then produce an alternative resolution. I become creative in my solutions, I invent extraordinary resolutions. I remain empty, of any preconceived notion of a solution (not empty of ego mind you) but I exploit the Tao of the problem. Hence I don’t project a topic of conversation, or add a new project, or imagine anything extraordinary until I have a problem to solve.

This was my dilemma about the university folks, creating answers, where there were no questions (yet?). Applications, without anywhere to apply them. For me, IT problems ARE the mother of invention.

The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities.