I have finally joined the Mac user community. For Fathers day I received, from my wonderful girls, a 15″ MacBook Pro. My first impression is WOW what a wonderful piece of hardware. The key board is excellent with key breaks similar to my favorite Thinkpad. The finish is awesome in many ways this laptop is a work of art. I will have to get used to different commands but that is a small price to pay. I first started programming on a TRS-80 when I was 11 years old. I moved to an Apple II when I was 13. At that time I thought the Apple II was incredible, sadly I only had access to the Apple II when I was in computer lab in school. I would spend the next 22 years working on PCs, Oh what have missed.
I had recently had Charter Cable and internet installed. At the time I didn’t have a television to check the install, but the internet worked just fine. This past week I finally got a Television and hooked it all up. At to my surprise the cable did not work. So I called the customer service number. (Oh and buy the way the documentation the installer left with me didn’t have the customer service number. I assume that in the land of Charter the everything goes right the first time and who would think the customer might need support.)
So I select cable support on the IVR.
Then I get the mother of all IVR’s. It proceeds to take me through an automated diagnostics and trouble shooting process. The problem was that some of the steps were wrong. At one point the IVR states that I will know the cable box has resynchronized when the box displays the time or channel number. Well lets see My cable box doesn’t have a display other than a yellow and red light. Hmmm! If I was an average user I might have waited for a long time for that re-sync to complete.
So after saying CONTINUE about 1000 times the IVR runs our of stupid things for me to do and finally directs me to an agent. So after going through an identification process just short of submitting DNA (didn’t know cable was such a high security service) I explain my problem. All my channels except infomercials and CSPAN are disabled. The agent then asks me if I have tried to resolve the problem previously, Yeah about 40 minutes with the IVR, which transfered me to you. So the agent determines that I need a technician. The agent informs me that I would have to be home between 8 and 12. Yeah But I work sorry not possible, so the agent says the technician will check the connection from the outside. The agent seems to think that the installer failed to properly set up the connection at the outside box.
So I figure we are done, but no there is one more stupid question. “Would you like to upgrade to Digital cable?”
A bad script gone wrong, or really dumb agent. My extended basic cable doesn’t even work, why would I want to add on to something that doesn’t work.
Please just make work what I originally paid for and forget the up sell until you do something right.
I have been trying to listen to my back log of podcasts over the past few weeks. I just got up to date on the Gillmor Gang. I have to say the last two Gillmor Gangs have been great listening. I really enjoy when Jason Calacanis is on the show. His direct and unbridled participation in the show is refreshing. The Midtail and Backwards Gangs could almost be called the Calacanis Therapy Gangs. He talks about being a golden collar at AOL, describing the challenges that come with his role, and the conflicts for him as an entrepreneur.
In the the backwards Gang he talks about doing some good for some kids in Brooklyn. The sad thing was the position that Dana Gardener took on Jason’s idea to help some Brooklyn students. Dana think that Jason is selfish for helping the kids outside of the system. I guess Dana needs to read a bit more about effecting change. I’m with Jason help whomever you can when ever you can and I hope his idea is a giant success.
I have in the past written about Google Reader. It has received a needed update that has taken it to a whole new level. I have been of late getting tired of the river of news format, and have secretly hoped Google would do something about it. I tried tags and reading a feed at a time, but Reader was just to cumbersome. Now post redesign all I can say is Nice, and I won’t be going anywhere else to read my feeds anytime soon.
Well done Google.
Six Apart has a great interview with Paul Lindner one of the creators of Gopher. It is an interesting exploration into Internet history. I also like the “we’re Hiring” plug at the end. Working with interesting and talented people is always a plus. It you are into software development check out the “worse is better” link, it’s an article by Richard Gabriel titled The Rise of “Worse is Better”.
So check it out it’s all worth reading.
Six Apart interview with Paul Lindner
The Rise of “Worse is Better” by Richard Gabriel
Verna Allee gave a presentation at MeshForum 2006 on Value Networks. I think this is a great presentation. She describes:
“A value network is a way at looking at any purposeful organization, company, or network. It is any web of relationships that creates value through complex, dynamic exchanges of tangible and intangible value.”
She makes the case that the economic theory for the new economy is still undefined. She also details how companies have no good way to measure the value of intangible assets. She says the traditional measures are tied to the the creation of tangible assets, which is then reinforced by current economic theory and practice. My favorite part comes at 36:07 minutes into the podcast, she makes a case for using Living systems as a way to think about the new economy (built on intangible assets like Information, talent, capability). At this point she describes why living systems are so great, because the are capable of renewal and are intelligent (an Autopoietic system). Living system’s are Autopoietic because of two types of exchanges; the first type is an exchange of matter and energy, the second type is an exchange of Intelligence (a.k.a. cognitive exchanges). I think she is on to something.
The cognitive economy is really about exchanges of intelligence. If you have not really followed my posts on the Cognitive economy listen to this presentation.
Steve Gillmor if you haven’t heard this presentation yet, you should listen to it. Ed Batista you will also find this presentation interesting. I will have to listen to this one again, I know I’m not doing the presentation justice.
Check it out.
So what did I think of BarCamp Chicago? First, I want to thank the organizers (I think Jason Rexilius was one) for putting the event together. I really enjoyed the cleversafe presentation. Cleversafe is a distributed storage company and uses Information distribution algorithms (Commonly used to secure private keys) to create a highly available secure storage grid. Very cool. The presentation by Sean Johnson titled “How not to Burn Your Business to the Ground” was interesting and insightful. There was definitely an interesting mix of people and points of view. So I enjoyed it. All conferences have issues and Bar Camp was no different but for the price I’m not going to complain.