fighting the lack of good ideas


There need to be coed and/or men-only adoption conferences.

All the ones I know of are for women only.

For example, my wife went to Created for Care this weekend – a ladies-only event. Maybe I should take her advice and start my own 🙂

pxe works differently in hpsa 10.x

2 years ago I wrote-up how you can change the default choice for the PXE menu in HP Server Automation. Found out this week that those instructions are not valid if you are running 10.0 (release this past summer).

HP changed how they present their PXE menu with 10.x, and I have filed an RFE (on 18 Dec 2013) with them to get this fixed back to how it was (or provide a solid alternative).

This is one of the times when I’ve ever seen a vendor remove functionality in a product (at least, removed without providing an alternative).

Thanks, HP 😐

alphabet soup

Don’t ever work with the government – they change the names of agencies every few days.

It’s kinda like African countries changing names: have all the letterhead printed and business cards issued? Change the name!

there’s never enough documentation | there’s too much documentation

Documentation is vital. There’s never enough. And there’s always too much. In general, these are the areas I find documentation to fail:

Not Enough Too Much/Many
why-tos (instead of how-tos)

tutorials on things you need

architecture explanation

design philosophy “how we got here”

“why we are here”

future plans / roadmaps

deltas from standards recording

back-/cross-references to extant (even from other vendors / sources) documentation

extraneous verbiage – use terse verbosity

tutorials on things you don’t need / care about

discussion of non-core aspects of the product

how we used to do things

assumption of comprehension

plagiarism – ie, non-attribution of sources

braggadocio (not just excited) tone

different “voices” or styles

I have no quick-fixes. But I hope the above can help to address problems and help those responsible for documenting what they do to make it better. In the tech world, MSDN and developerWorks are the golden standards by which all other documentation should be compared … and to which [almost] all other documentation fails to aspire to.

datacenter bandwidth charges can be crazy

Why are colocation bandwidth rates so crazy expensive? In an era of ubiquitous broadband to the home, why are connections in datacenters still so expensive?

I see charges on the per-GB-transferred scale, or flat-rate charges per MB of bandwidth. I have yet to figure out why these rates can vary so wildly even in datacenters in the same geographical region. It’s not like it costs Sprint or Level3 [noticeably] any more to use the fiber they’ve already laid to have more systems utilizing it. Yet costs go up every year, even though available speeds haven’t shown major improvements in the last few years.

So I ask, what causes these charges?

the 7 habits of highly effective people by stephen r covey

This should have been titled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective – but incredibly rigid and hard to to please – People” by Stephen Needs Coffee.

But it’s not. Stephen R Covey’s work is extremely well-known, and millions have purchased The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People since it was released.

I’m sure I have read more boring texts … but I cannot recall – maybe in my philosophy of ethics class?

There may be some nuggets in Covey’s writing, but other than to-do lists (which everyone recommends), I can’t find them.

Definitely happy I didn’t waste $12 on this book.

don’t implement your scheduler in a pure queue design

Recently came across a seriously funky issue with one of HP’s products (don’t laugh – I know there’s loads of funkiness in HP tools).

HP Cloud Service Automation (3.1) allows you to schedule requests in the future. It also allows you schedule end dates for subscriptions.

That’s neat.

Here’s the problem: if you delete a Service Offering (which allows something to be requested in the CSA catalog) while an active subscription is using it – any active subscriptions get delinked, and become unmanageable with the tool.

Now the dopey scheduler comes into play.

CSA’s scheduler works by putting all future items into a FIFO queue. What this ends up meaning is that if you have an item that fails (because, for example, you’re now past a scheduled end date, but the subscription is unlinked from an offering, so it can’t unprovision it), all other pending items fail, too. Even ones that should happen “immediately” – because “immediately” is still added to the scheduling queue… behind the erroring item(s). And since those items have errored, nothing can move forward.

This is stupid. (And yes – RFEs have already been filed over these problems in the product.)

Instead, have the scheduler put all items into a table – at the appointed time, iterate through the table and run everything you can – if it won’t run, flag it as an error, and move on.

This is how cron works. Why would you not use a commonly-accepted, reliable way of doing things? Oh yeah – you’re HP.

If you’re planning to write something for your product/software/tool – see if anyone else has done it before, and then try to mimic methods that work… please!