antipaucity

fighting the lack of good ideas

pose as a friend, work as a spy – law 14 – #48laws by robert greene

Law 14

Knowing about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead. Better still: Play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

an rts or tbs game like aoe or civ, but where the player only influences via stealth and espionage

That may be the longest blog title I’ve ever had.

I know I will never be a game developer. I thought several years ago it would be something I’d like to get into, but it’s just not me.

However, I do enjoy playing certain kinds of games – especially the strategy and puzzle varieties.

I would love to see a real-time (like Age of Empires) or turn-based (like Sid Meyer’s Civilization) strategy game where the player affects his nation’s status, power, influence, and vitality via special operations, espionage, and other “non-traditional” game elements.

For example, how fun could it be to play the Barbarians in Civilization? Be the ancient equivalent to modern terror or guerrilla groups. Wouldn’t it be a blast to play the what-ifs of a successful CIA operation at the Bay of Pigs? Or how about being the controller in charge of spies like Mata Hari?

I’d play that. I’d even consult on what I think would make good game play actions and objectives.

Most of all, I’d buy that game.

civchoice.com

I found out about a super cool company a few days ago – CivChoice.

The basic gist is that you create an account with CivChoice, put money into it (which is a one-way street: it’s a “donation” to CivChoice), and from there you divvy it out to the charities of your choice.

You get a single receipt for tax purposes, rather than a dozen small ones from around the country.

And you can use it to quasi-anonymize donations in a workplace donation program – instead of Personnel or Accounting knowing (or choosing) where you donate via paycheck deductions, it all goes to CivChoice, and then you direct it from there.

p2p cloud storage

I have yet to find a peer-to-peer file storage system.

You’d think that with all the p2p and cloud services out there, there’d be a way of dropping files into a virtual folder and having them show up around the network (encrypted, of course) – replicated on some kinda of RAID-over-WAN methodology.

I’m thinking Cryptonomicon’s data haven, but done on the cheap (and not in a dedicated place like the Sultanate of Kinakuta).

I’d use it if it were built.

when asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude – law 13 – #48laws by robert greene

Law 13

If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and empathize it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself. –Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power (review)

avnet buying seamless technologies

Avnet (AVT) is acquiring Seamless Technologies (my employer).

Full Press Release (well, the important part): (and WSJ reprint)

Avnet, Inc. Announces Agreement to Acquire Assets of Seamless Technologies, Inc.

Significantly Expands Cloud and Automation Solutions

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Avnet, Inc. (NYSE:AVT) announced today that it has agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets of Seamless Technologies, an IT private cloud and data center automation service provider. Seamless Technologies provides expertise and services in IT infrastructure software technologies, automation, cloud, virtualization, integration, and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices. Seamless Technologies has developed a robust cloud practice, working with customers of all sizes on their transition to private, public and hybrid cloud environments. The company generated revenue of approximately US$14 million in the 2012 calendar year.

“Recent services acquisitions have been well-received by our partners. This latest acquisition adds a critical component to our expanding services portfolio, with private cloud, virtualization and data center automation services that broaden and deepen our suite of solutions for our customers,” said Tony Vottima, senior vice president and general manager, Avnet Services, Americas. “Our capabilities span presales through implementation, training and managed services, which create new opportunities for our suppliers and reseller partners.”

Founded in 1992, Seamless Technologies has created a unique set of intellectual property and software that enables faster integration and deployment of large-scale private cloud and IT infrastructure environments. This acquisition will be integrated into the operations of Avnet Services.

“The addition of these new service offerings supports our long-range vision of solutions distribution, delivering technologies, services and solutions that provide high business value and accelerate hardware, software and services sales. Seamless Technologies’ domain expertise in financial services, healthcare, and insurance will complement our SolutionsPath® strategy and enable our partners and customers to achieve their business goals,” Vottima added.

This transaction, which is expected to close in approximately 30 days, is immediately accretive to earnings and supports Avnet’s long-term return on capital goal of 12.5 percent.

automation {gp}

The way people moved up the ladder in IT during my early days (starting in 1975) was to take on new projects that allowed them time to master the new software and become the local expert. As you became the local expert on many new software products, management became very comfortable giving you more and more of these new software projects. Now, at this critical time you needed to train your replacement for some of the software that you had become the local expert because you could not maintain forward momentum with the tremendous drag caused by being the local expert for so many software offerings. Of course, you would get management to agree to lighten your workload because your current workload didn’t allow you to work on their next “Pet” project (after all you are now their go to guy). Also, you would push to give up the software that was either too time consuming and/or not part of your future automation plans. If you didn’t give up something (holding onto knowledge is your power trip), you would fail to meet management’s expectations and someone else would get the new projects and your plans would stall (cut off from new software knowledge and isolated).

When you start to automate, you automate your existing manual processes usually by using a wrapper because it is the fastest way of showing progress. However, after demonstrating that you can automate longstanding processes, you now have the evidence to convince management to allow you to automate your next project (beginning to end) because you will become the local expert not only on the new software but also on the automation software. After successfully completing the automation beginning to end, you are in a position to push for the policy that states that all new software/applications will be automated as part of its installation/configuration steps. Now, you push for automation friendly software/applications because wrappers will no longer be acceptable automation options.

The philosophy of automation document was compiled during IBM user group meetings from around 1987 through 1989 when automation was a very hot topic.

The Philosophy of Automation

Automation is not a technical problem it is a people problem.

When you initially automate, you convert your process flow documents into executable code that consistently runs on a prearranged schedule, or through a monitor, or an error message. These executable processes enforce your process rules every time.

You cannot automate processes that are all over the place.

When you automate your processes they will be transformed.

Because you automate your processes automation never ends

Automate as close to the source as possible.

Problems with automated processes occur infrequently but are more difficult to solve than manual processes.

The combining of problem, change, and asset management with automated process management and root cause analysis, improves quality and allows you to consistently meet your service levels.

All automation code is throwaway code.

Automation is very exciting

Automation is very rewarding.

Everyone is on the automation team


Guest Post from one of my colleagues, Dave B