October 31, 2006
A great post. A company is people with talent. All the other stuff (office space, servers, telephone systems, etc.) are just necessary evils to support the people. Today, there are so many companies who's business it is to host infrastructure. How little infrastructure can you get away with? One large company that I work with is ultra-distributed. They have a main office in Colorado, but their people are all over the US, doing work, managing teams, you name it. They've made geography irrelevant.
When I launched my one-man shop, I decided that my first commandment would be "Thou shalt maintain no servers." Some people love to set up servers, and have a network of 10 machines in their home office. I hate it. I just want my e-mail/blog/accounting software to work at all times. I want to spend zero hours on server admin. I want to be able to flatline my machine, and be back at 100% productivity as fast as possible. I don't even install a local blog reader any more. I want to be equally productive and capable in "the office" or on the road. I joke that I'm a hermit crab. I carry my office in a backpack.
Grego posits building larger organizations that are infrastructure-less, noting how infrastructure adds inertia and drag to your operation. Infrastructure decreases agility, and as grego notes, you can mark the beginning of the end for many companies as the point where they move into that new big office.
Artificial Intelligence Progress as Measured by SPAM Literary Quality
As SPAM becomes ever more prevalent, we can at least take solace in the fact that, as literature, it's quality continues to increase. SPAM today often tries to sell me nothing and provides provacative prose straight to my inbox. Take the following recently received piece:
When the lover is righteous, a spartan tripod brainwashes the pork chop related to another crank case. Sometimes a turkey trembles, but a cowboy over a hockey player always pours freezing cold water on a surly hole puncher! Some asteroid over a rattlesnake plans an escape from the false reactor some vacuum cleaner. A cheese wheel self-flagellates, and the defendant feels nagging remorse; however, the polar bear pees on the cyprus mulch behind a cowboy. The ball bearing, a bartender near a turn signal, and a ravishing eggplant are what made America great!
A revered polar bear, a warranty, a revered polar bear. Furthermore, a recliner prays, and the blithe spirit related to some tabloid bestows great honor upon another senator toward a chess board. Another cloud formation over a minivan sanitizes the bullfrog. When you see the revered fighter pilot, it means that the cashier flies into a rage. The earring buries a moronic deficit. A roller coaster of a cowboy shares a shower with a mastadon.
How true. How true indeed. If only spam could sing, as SPAM now rivals even the legendary lyrics of great band "Rush".
(From Rush - 2112)
...'The massive grey walls of the Temples rise from the heart of every Federation city. I
have always been awed by them, to think that every single facet of every life is regulated
and directed from within! Our books, our music, our work and play are all looked after by
the benevolent wisdom of the priests...'
We've taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
It's one for all and all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why
We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within our walls
My inbox isn't just big. Man, it's deep.
October 30, 2006
DXCore appears to rule
It seems that if you want to do something that integrates fairly deeply into Visual Studio, DXCore is the way to go. Bill McCarthy used it to build his Exception Helper, and now Joel Fjordén has used it to build a coding style enforcer.
Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007
Microsoft has released a free "express" accounting package. Personally, I've been satisfied with the QuickBooks Online Edition, but I'll likely check the Microsoft product out and see how it works for my "One guy and a modem" business structure.
October 24, 2006
Vista Coming Soon?
Paul Thurrott says that Microsoft has a Vista build "in escrow". Barring the discovery of any show-stopper bugs, Vista will ship on or before Nov 8th.
Windows Defender Released (and Free)
Microsoft has shipped Windows Defender, Microsoft's spyware removal tool. It's free, but in my experience, there's a lot of malware that it fails to remove. Start with Windows Defender, and if you find things that it can't handle, check out StopZilla.
Nifty. More here.
Roundup of Customer Search Offerings
Dare does a nice roundup of Google Co-op, Live Search Macros, and Yahoo! Search Builder.
October 23, 2006
Windows Media Photo (WMP) and JPG 2000 Compared
Is Microsoft a software company, or a file format company? It seems that MS can never just use an existing file format, they always have to go and invent their own (WMV, WMA, etc.) Here's a comparison of JPG-2000 and Microsoft's proprietary WMP.
Maybe if WMP wins, they'll open it up.
Microsoft to get into chip design business
I guess to do the next XBox right, they feel they'll need to do the chips themselves.