Skunk Works


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

New Blog

I'm moving my current blog over to bloglines. It has a simpler interface and integrates with my other RSS feeds. After some time this site will be deactivated, so please re-link to my new bloglines blog at:

http://www.bloglines.com/blog/johnarleyburns.



Friday, September 03, 2004

Cutting to the Bone

How to destroy your IT department while still remaining in business. India not required.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Genesis of a DBA Universe

anonymous

In the beginning was the disk array, and all was empty and raw, and UNIX moved over the face of the platters. And the DBA said: Let there be Oracle. And there was Oracle. And the environmental variables were set and the disks were striped and mirrored and the OFA was established, and behold spindle was rent asunder from spindle. And the DBA saw that all was in spec.

And it was day and it was evening of the first day.

And the DBA said: Let there be scripts. And sql.bsq brought forth myriad crawling things upon the face of the array. And catalog.sql brought forth all manner of tables and views that swim unseen beneath the waters. And catproc.sql brought forth all the built-in programs and all the hosts of the air, that the users might be given wings and take fight over the data.

And it was day and it was evening of the second day.

And the DBA said: Let there be tablepaces. And there were tablespaces. And the network administrator looked upon the disk array and did see what the tablespaces had wrought upon the disk arrays, and he did gnash his teeth and seek a new work upon the Internet with an engine of search.

And it was day and it was evening of the third day.

And the DBA created users. Male and female he created them. And he said unto the users: Thou mayest create tables and views as thou wilt. Yea, though mayest create even indexes upon the data. Only meddle not with the system tablespace, for it is a holy place, and on the day wherein thou treadest upon it, on that day thy create session shall surely be revoked. And the serpent crept among the users and whispered to them, saying: Thine roles shall not be revoked. Taste ye all of the system tablespace, for ye shall know of b-trees and hints and ye shall be as DBAs. And the users heeded the serpent and filled the system tablespace with crap. And the instance did crash and the client did wax wroth at the DBA. And the DBA did gnash his teeth and partake of the fruit of the vine, for behold the users were permanent employees and the DBA was but a contractor and could not revoke their create session.

And it was day and it was evening of the fourth day.

And the DBA did set default tablespaces and temporary tablespaces and did lock down all that was upon the face of the array with roles and profiles and all manner of quotas, yea even from the rollback segments even unto the archived redo logs.

And it was day and it was evening of the fifth day.

And the DBA created synonyms and links and did tune the server and apply patches upon the face of the database.

And it was day and it was evening of the sixth day.

And on the seventh day the DBA did rest from all the labors of the creation. And his pager did ring and he ceased from resting and did spend his sabbath on the telephone with Oracle support. And by the time the DBA got through to someone who knew wherof they spake behold it was day and it was evening of the eighth day.

And the DBA waxed wroth.



Wednesday, July 14, 2004
For all you trekkies out there:

http://www.5yearmission.com/



Monday, June 07, 2004
Business idea: create a home-sized version of a laundry folding machine and sell it to millions. Integrate it with a clothes washer and dryer. Put dirty laundry in one side and get clean, folded laundry on the other.

Having 2 kids I would greatly appreciate the utility of such a device. It shall be Netzah's best selling product.

Any takers?



Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Seven points to consider before quitting your job and going full-time with your own software start-up:

  • 1 - Bring on all the core people you need in the beginning. Maybe a friend/collegue like Charles, maybe someone else. Someone high-intensity you know you can work with. Consider merging with Zane's Liquid Labs if he can work with you in a consensus environment (I have some doubt that he would be willing to do this). Make sure you have enough people; four person teams are better than three person teams.

  • 2 - Minimize debt. Keep debt/equity at a max of 1. That means if you take on debt funding you'll also need to put in your own cash to purchase stock. Use advance funding (have customer pay an advance before starting the project), royalty payments (pay the customer a royalty in exchange for getting up-front money) , and profit sharing (get your customer to invest in your stock) to minimize required startup capital.

  • 3 - Have at least two products. You shouldn't be a one-product company. It may be a spin-off product, it may be something built on a common framework with the original product, it may be a substantial consulting arm, it may be something else entirely, but you need to have at least two products.

  • 4 - Have at least two customers. The customers may not be equal in size. They may be (preferably be) in different industries. Maybe one customer buys your product and another buys your consulting services, but have at least two major customers.

  • 5 - Be location-independent. You may have a physical office where many are located, but all should not be forced to live in the same place. Use zephyr/instant-message/email to be a distributed company. Weekly or monthly in-person meetings should be budgeted including travel expense. If someone wants to work from Boston, Houston, or Santiago this should be acceptable.

  • 6 - Go global. You should hookup with a Canadian, English, Austrailian, etc. marketing group or customer early on in the game. You should be global from the beginning. Consider using offshore talent where appropriate, if it is ever appropriate.

  • 7 - Have evidence you will succeed. Not a guarantee, but evidence. If we are basing the decision on your first product, you need to look at past sales trends and future opportunities and base your decision on reasonable numbers. You should not commit to rosy projections and waste everyone's money. You should basing your future on more than just vaporware.



Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Be Careful What You Ask For

We're doing a bowling event at work and we were asked to come up with team names. We're the only IT team from the pipeline going bowling. Anybody who knows me knows that this isn't the kind of question you ask me without invoking the law of unintended consequences. Here's the list I sent my team capatain:
Possible Team Names:


"Nerd Revenge"
"Kings of IT"
"Coders of Doom"
"PC Bandits"
"Ghosts of Gateway" (Gateway Project, i.e. Exchange, the system I support that's being replaced by outsourcing...)
"Mice and Men"
"Outsourcers of Victory"
"Keyboard Strikers"
"Perfect 3.00E+2"
"Indoctrination Technology"
"Raiders of the Lost Awk"
"XP-Men"
"Windows 300"
"Palace Unix" (think eunuchs...)
"Chips 4 Crips" (think gangs and circuts...)
"Bytes of Blood" (gang theme again...)
"IT's Just a Game"
"Code Chargers"
"SLA Dodgers"
"Billable Horrors" (spellcheck doesn't always save the day)
"Controllers of Time" (or is that time control, our hour-entry system?)
"MicroMagic"
".BOWL" (there's a dot in front of it)
"Connecting Pins" (for those of you who used to solder)
"Thugs of Initech" (ever see "Office Space"?)
"Bad Mondays" (Office Space again)
"One Microsoft Lane" (it's "Way", but not when we're bowling)
"Data Basemen" (baseball theme for the DBAs on our team)
"Nevershorts" (we can't wear shorts here, not ever)
"Friday Genies" (pun on Jeans day)
"What the FERC?" (we're regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
"Gas Passers" (we're a gas pipeline)



No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Check out the wakeup song for Spirit Sol 84.