This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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July 2003
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Almost Forgot!

I almost forgot to submit anything today. It has been very busy. Some work stuff, but mostly getting ready for closing on the new house and related things. About 24 hours ago I got the call from Brandy that the final Mortgage Commitment (no longer contingent on anything) had come through. That was the last real obsticle. Absent something completely and totally unexpected, I should be closing on the new place a week from Monday.

Today I finished paying off my current bills so I would know exactly how much I had left and would know how much more of my savings I would have to liquidate for closing. I finished all that over lunch. I determined what I needed to sell. I sold almost all the rest of one mutual fund I had been putting $100 a month into for the last several years, just leaving a little bit there. And I went ahead and did a “cashless sale” on 338 of 438 stock options in my company, leaving 100 for some other day. All these transactions should clear by next Wednesday, after which I need to transfer all the cash to my checking account for Thursday, and get myself a nice fat cashier’s check for Friday to be ready for closing.

I’ll have the check and amount in my checking for a decent bit more than what I expect to actually need at closing. First as a “just in case” something unexpected comes up at closing, the rest for things I know I will need to buy for the house right after I move. Closing on the 11th. Moving furniture on the 12th. Moving most of the rest of my stuff slowy over the next week (maybe two) after that. Out of my apartment by the 30th when I leave for the Idaho vacation.

Wow! It is coming up fast!

In the mean time though, I am in a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike as I type. I am heading down to DC to install the second DirecTV receiver for my dad and get that all set up, and grab the new dish to take home and set up. I’ve been without new TV for over four days! (Although this has allowed me to catch up somewhat on things the Tivo already had.)

Anyway, I think I’m going to run in and get a softdrink, then get back on the road. I need to get to DC before my dad goes to bed, and then finish up what I need to do and head back in time to still get an hour or two of sleep before my morning meetings back in New Jersey for work.

So that’s it for now…

Osama Update and History

This is a nice recap of the search for Bin Laden over the last few years (going back to the Clinton years). A reminder that despite the recent obsession over Iraq, this is still around.

The Search for Osama by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker

“He’s sending tapes and messages to his followers all the time, with instructions that could not have come from anyone else,” Yossef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, told me recently. “They’re things like condolences to families of Islamic luminaries who have died,” he said. “People from the Philippines to Indonesia to South America ask bin Laden questions, and they get answers from him.” Bodansky was struck by the meditative tone of the letters. “They are written with a tremendous amount of peace of mind. There are no mistakes. He is not a guy on the run.”

(found via CounterSpin)

There isn’t too much brand new here that we have not heard before, but it is a good compilation. Sooner or later, our distraction with Iraq is going to cause us more problems.

Giving Up on Enterprise-Wide Integration? Good!!

Giving Up on Enterprise-Wide Integration by Erika Morphy of newsfactor.com via Yahoo News

“Point-to-point integration is an excuse many companies use for their broader IT strategies,” he added. “Companies need to wake up and smell the EAI coffee; all those hand-built connectors cannot ever scale, over time, the way an application layer can.”

That from Lois Columbus at AMR research.

I used to be a big fan of fully thought out integrated solutions. They make “more sense” from a logical point of view, they are more scalable. They are more flexible. All those sorts of wonderful things. But after spending seven years at a company in the top 50 largest in the contry, more than ever I am convinced this is a counterproductive approach except in unusual situations.

The thing about integrated approaches is that to pay off you need time and money to do them right, and then they need time to grow and take root and start to bear fruit. This almost never happens.

By the time an integrated approach can be planned and implemented, the needs and priorities of the organization often have morphed unrecognizably. In the process of being built the integrated solution will have been compromized in order to meet time and budget goals. It will not be flexible enough to change to the new environment. Not to mention the fact that technology will have moved forward, already making the solution obsolete.

Now, perhaps some of this perception is specific to where I work and to my specific experiences over the past few years. Probably. Many people would probably tell me I am dead wrong and their experiences are completely opposite. OK. But I suspect that many of the underlying factors are widespread. There are certainly cases where large scale enterprise wide technical solutions are needed, and there is no other choice. In many more cases I’m convinced that need is just a phantom need. It sells software for the big vendors of integrated systems. Nothing more.

Yes, the spaghetti-like nature of just patching together systems as needed and making short term tactical projects to meet the immediate need done does not usually scale well, or provide a long lasting foundation that you can build on for decades.

But guess what? In most cases, it DOES NOT NEED TO. You solve the specific problem at hand, and move on. Yes, some of these “temporary” solutions end up living forever, but if they work, who cares? In most cases, the whole system will end up being revamped in favor of new technologies within a few years anyway, and/or the business needs for even the existance of the project at all will evaoporate.

So while the “Enterprise” quality solution would still be poking along trying to be planned and built, with ruggedness to survive for longer than it will ever be useful, the “quick and dirty” solution could already be operational and providing results now.

So yes… if you have a very stable organization, working on very stable systems and processes, and have a very long time horizon, and expect what is being built to last a very long time, and won’t mind operating on obsolete technology five years on, and have lots of time and money to burn… go ahead with the big fully integrated solutions.

But if, like most of us, you need to get results quickly, and live in a world where business needs and priorities change at least once a year, if not more frequently, then beware of the big solutions. They will suck time and money and effort and most likely result in less than what you wanted. If you can get a quick and dirty that isn’t TOO dirty, then go for it. You’ll get the results you need faster.

And yes, EXPECT to replace it every couple of years with something new and EXPECT to spend some time troubleshooting and figuring out the spaghetti later. But guess what, you’ll probably still end up spending less than the fully integrated mega-solutions.

The area where I’ve seen this the most is in content management, which has been my area for the last seven years or so. Perhaps I’ll have some thoughts specific to that area later.

Cat

My Tivo caught a bunch of episodes last month of the TechTV show “Call for Help” because they were having a series on Photoshop Tricks which was caught by my “Photo*” season pass. Anyway, the cohost is Cat Schwartz who is lots of fun. The show is good, and Leo gives good information, but Cat is who makes the show interesting. I tried to bring up her blog at the time, but it was down and I forgot about it.

But yesterday on Fark they linked to one of those voting contests with her and some other woman, and that link (forget where it was now) mentioned that she had accidentally posted topless pics of herself to her blog. Woops. They are gone now (although they can be found googling elsewhere), but her reactions to it are funny and well tempered. So here is a link to her blog. Cat is cool. :-)

Cat Schwartz’s Blog

I’ll write more later and give ya another pic. One with my shirt on.

Sounds good. I’ll have to check in more often. And perhaps add a wishlist for the show itself, so I get it times when they aren’t doing something on Photos as well.

Now, if only Stephanie Birkitt, one of Dave Letterman’s assistants on the Late Show would get her own blog too. That would be cool. Both of these women deserve their own shows. :-)

And I will try to avoid accidentally post revealing pictures of myself here as well. Not that anybody would want to see that. :-)

Rip…

So I’m sitting here at work reading a 50 page document I was emailed to review. Making good progress. Then my sleeve gets caught on my chair… Riiiiipppppp…. The whole right sleeve gets ripped in half Incredible Hulk style. Except I am not suddenly turning green and muscular. This really won’t do. I’ll have to run home real quick for another shirt I think.

Only two weeks left of being only 5 minutes from home and able to make quick runs back to my place like this. Probably the only negative about the move. OK, Gotta run there and back before my next meeting. Finishing this document will have to wait slightly.

The F Word

Found this several different places today, ignored it the first few times, then finally read it through. The Public Defender was clearly having a lot of fun with this.

F Word Motion (The Smoking Gun)

The District Court document is an amusing and profane look at the world’s favorite four-letter word, from its origins in 1500 to today’s frequent use of the term by Eminem, Chris Rock, and Lenny Kravitz.

Doh!

Left my lights on when I came into work this morning. Yup. Battery is dead now as of around noon. I’ll have to get someone to jump me. I suck! The worst thing is the little key fob things will need to be reset probably. Grrrrr!

On the bright side though, just arranged and paid for my condo insurance. One thing less left to worry about befor closing…

Dinner in DC

I don’t want to have a day with no entries yet, although I will eventually. So after having dinner with Rebecca and Chris when I got back to my car, instead of just leaving right away, I broke out the laptop and the cellphone and connected at the really slow speed that allows, and am making a quick entry. :-)

Dinner was good. It is always good to see Rebecca and Chris. :-)

Now it is time for me to head home. Want to get home before it is too late so I can call Marilyn and we can buy our tickets for Idaho at the same time to be sure we get adjacent seats on the Minneapolis to Boise leg of the trip.

OK. Time to get underway before someone calls the cops on some suspicious guy in a Saturn with a bunch of electronics sitting outside their house. :-)

DirecTV for Dad (Sorta)

Well, finally have DirecTV (with Tivo!) installed for my dad. On the roof. It went really well. Except for two things.

One, the dish did not arrive in time. So I brought my dish from New Jersey. My dish is now on my dad’s roof. Which means I have no dish for myself. Now, as soon as my dad’s dish arrives, I will take it back to MY place, but it probably won’t arrive before I leave here Sunday. Which means I have to make a trip back just to get it, not to mention I’ll have to assemble it.

Two, one of the two DirecTivo recievers arrived non-functional. You can hear the drive try to spin up when you plug it in, but it never actually starts up. So we’ll have to return it and get them to send another. :-( Again, another trip down.

So, a partial success. The TV on the first floor is now completely satellite tivo enabled. The second floor is still a no go though, and that is the one my dad and step-mom will use most. :-( So I have to get that up and running soon. Hopefully before this coming weekend. I think I’ll probably make a special up and down in the same night trip to get the dish and set up the replacement reciever.

But in the meantime, I’ll be without television at home! Woe is me!!

I forgot my Stripes

Three hours from now I am supposed to be the Ref in a game of volleyball. I have not played or paid any attention to volleyball since I was in middle school and they made us play in gym. I did not understand then, I do not understand now. I have three hours to read the rulebook below and try not to make too much of a fool of myself. I’m sure I will though. I just don’t understand these sorts of things. Oh well, I shall try!

Rules of the Game of Volleyball (Outdoor, Sand or Grass) (PDF)

Official United States Beach Volleyball Rules USAV Rulebook covers both Indoor and Outdoor Rules “2001 USA Volleyball Rulebook” is now available…