Saturday, September 30, 2006

South to North

Drove from LA to San Francisco last night. I have a free day in my favorite city, but where am I? The Apple store waiting for a genius to check out the trackpad on my new MacBook Pro. The trackpad is working terribly. Sigh

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Technology Traning

I just attended a special training class, on Java CAPS, set up by Sun which actually collapsed 15 days of training into about 6 days. This special "bootcamp" was meant to get attendees up to speed on the Java CAPS product and involved a fair number of hands on labs. We had so much material to cover that we actually spent most of the time working with the product. While it wasn't perfect, it was a much better learning experience. We skipped the inevitable boring Powerpoint decks and dove right into the technical details and working with the product. I think everyone in the class learned a lot. I guess people have different learning styles but I can't imagine that the typical corporate training modality is better than actual hands on work. It's like learning a foreign language. Is the best way to watch someone stand up in front of a class room and watch them speak the language and show writing examples on a slide projector, or is it better to jump in and try to have a conversation with the class. The former is a one-way information flow and not much signal gets picked up by the receiver. The latter is two-way experience probably fraught with mistakes, mispronunciations but I'll bet that at the end of the day you can say, "Bon giorno!" So what I'm wondering is since most corporate IT training is not like my recent experience, how much time are US IT staff wasting in slow paced, mind numbing, powerpoint-fests? I would say quite a bit. Take this class for example. If I were to take all three classes that would be 15 days of time (not including travel) that I would be out of the field. There is the cost of the plane fare and hotel but that is a drop in the bucket compared to the loss of revenue my company gets from me being out those days. Multiply that by all the companies and training programs out there and pretty soon you're probably talking about a good chunk of domestic GDP. My suggestion to Sun on this training is to keep it compressed. Keep the information flow two-way and alter the basic material in the following manner. Instead of having disjointed labs that expose each feature have a self-contained project that the students can build upon every day and make them actually complete the project, or at least each phase, every day. I think students, and their management, would be getting their money's worth in that type of class setting.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fall Backpack Cleanup

Since I'm about to embark on a bit of traveling for the next few weeks I decided to go through my backpack and review each item to see what I could toss. I have a Brenthaven backpack which I've described before as the Tardis of laptop bags. That roominess is a definite advantage but often leads to excessive pack-rat syndrome and thus the backpack starts to bulge and weigh as much as a small hippo. The first to go was all the excess audio cables, earbuds, and iSight camera. Next to go was a vinyl 3 pocket folder I was carrying to collect papers, notes, and paper diagrams. Then I tossed a 2 inch stack of papers that never made it into the vinyl folder. Finally, in one of the zippered back pockets I found a hardback book which I tucked in there about 4 months ago, which I didn't read. Anyway, all told, I think I shaved a little more than 10 lbs off my back. That should feel much better.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9-11

That horrible day's memory fades every year. I don't think I will ever forget it but the images are not as crisp as they were on past anniversaries. I've avoided the films, documentaries, and TV dramas. None can do justice to that day. Most of the horror has faded into a dull ache of what was squandered by the Bush administration on on 9-12. I won't forget that loss as long as I live because it seemed we were at a moment in history where things could have changed for the better. Instead we live in dark times, possibly a new age where prejudice, ignorance, and religious violence is at an all time high. One thing I've learned from 9-11 is that things can change fast.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

All a Twitter....

I've added this to my blog home page:
follow Steve Giovannetti at http://twitter.com Should be fun.

Could Sun go the Way of Netscape?

I've been hearing a lot of rumors lately about Sun being the target of a takeover/sale/merger. The "Snapple" rumor (Sun merging with Apple) is back, partially rekindled by Eric Schmidt joining Apple's board. The latest wild one that I've heard for at least the second time is that Sun may be broken up and sold in parts a la Netscape. To summarize the Netscape deal, AOL got the Netscape web properties and Sun took the Netscape software portfolio. That didn't work out too bad for Sun. (How AOL faired is another matter.) I could imagine how Sun might be split up and sold to various competitors, but I really have to scratch my head and wonder why Sun's management and board would consider such an option. Things are looking up for Sun. I can't remember a more optimistic time at the company in recent memory. The offering portfolio in both hardware and software look great and I think Sun is doing well to keep their collective fingers on the pulse of the migration of key enterprise services to the cloud. They've been positioning themselves as arms dealers in the war to build out the infrastructure companies need that will offer services on the network. I think Sun has managed to make itself relevant again in the marketplace. Granted profitability is still lacking. Sun probably needs to cut some head count deep and fast instead of slowly like they have been recently. They've made some purchases but have been slow to win efficiencies by cutting redundant functions. So this is still a concern. I guess we'll have to see what next quarter brings. So what gives? Why break up now? My guess is this break up rumor probably doesn't have much of a basis in reality. However to quote a wise man, "That's just my opinion, and I could be wrong....".

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