This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



July 2003

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 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.


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. :-)