January 31, 2004

Town Hall Meeting

Okay, this time I'll post the summary of the Town Hall Meeting, which I've promised. I've talked with my co-workers and the staff association also sent out a summary with some comments.
In general I asked questions about the current and future situation of our product, how product-development will be handled and what developers can expect.

Well, I can't really complain much about the situation of our team in the last weeks, our department leader did his best to protect us from the almost-random and changing moods of our company leaders which always wanted to pull out the best people from existing teams and stuff them into new projects. Everyone can guess, that such a behaviour does no good to existing teams and projects and the chances that these will fail, not finish within timeline or become unprofitable are rising with every removed developer.

It seems, that all such stuff comes to a stop now and we'll focus again on existing and or proved products and knowledge and we won't accept every (really every!) project, which crosses our path, even if we don't have any experience in that areas (what aparently has been done in the past).

At the Town Hall Meeting there was a clear committment towards our product development, which will be enforced in the future. We'll get (a bit) more marketing and sales, our target market is enlarged from the top-only to the whole enterprise-market and we have a bit more freedom in development, so that we can implement features which (we hope) will be asked for in the future.

Of course there were other questions at the meeting and most of them have been answered in a way, so that I can look very optimistic into our future, but I want to concentrate on those, which more or less affect me, our team or product.
Some questions were also answered in a "business"-manner, so that you wouldn't have less information if there wouldn't have been an answer at all, but on nearly all questions it was said that more talks and discussions will happen to improve the situation.

If you would ask me now to tell you my motivation on a scale of 10, I'd give it an 8-9. Quite high :)
Somewhere in the (past) bad day's I think I were down somewhere to 3-4, I'm now happy that I kept hopefull.

January 29, 2004

BBC tells us that there is a Save The Hubble campaign running on the web. It's a small website and you can (currently) only sign it from inside the U.S., but perhaps this will change.

Today also a summary of the Town Hall Meeting flew into my Inbox, further info on this later.

Today's "Hit the Bush"
The new Human Rights Watch World Report 2004 has arrived and it leaves the american intervention in the Iraq back in no good shape.
In fact, many parts of it touch the way, the US administration acts nowadays in other regions of the world.
But also other regions don't stay unharmed, eg. Russia and Chechnya.

January 28, 2004

Hm, seems the XML-feed doesn't work. Must be a blogger.com-specific problem, I tried around several things with no success. I'll just let the link there and hope, that it works sometime...

January 27, 2004

Last 24 hours were like a rollercoaster-ride...

Still sick, but girlfriend is back and everything seems to have settled down a bit. She even made it through some difficult tests today, despite of the personal stuff in her mind.
And I seem to have raised a bit of dust at work, even though I haven't been there today.
Today a so called "Town Hall Meeting" was organized from our company heads. Everyone had to attempt if he/she had no serious excuse.
Topic of it was (again) current status, future plans and a question&answer-discussion. I had a few questions, but since I couldn't attend today, I asked them by e-mail this forenoon.

To sum it up, I described that I think our product is ahead most competitors, and that I don't understand, why it has almost no public presence at all. I also asked, in what direction product development will go in the future and which importance it'll have in our company.

It seems, that our leader(s) picked up my questions to start the discussion. I have received no direct response until now, but only some reports from co-workers of me:
Company leaders told, they are completely commiting to our product and product development, and my questions have ruled large parts of this discussion.
I think I've asked some questions which are spooking around in many heads here, but I didn't expect that it'll have SUCH a response if I ask them directly.

Well, this is everything I know until now, I'll post more info if I'm back at work again.

Other news:
I've enabled the new XML/RSS-feed-feature of Blogger.com, just look at the bottom of the page.

Today's "Hit the Bush"
Well, I'm too sick to search for more links, but it seems, that Bush is loosing voters acceptance in the U.S.
Other canditates are gaining ground and people don't want to see W. longer in it's current position.

January 26, 2004

I feel like a complete loser. I'm ill and can't take care of my girlfriend who had a difference of opinion with my mum. Now I can't reach her anymore whether by phone nor elsehow.
Life has no sense anymore.

January 25, 2004

Recently I discovered the Uniform Server.
This is a package of

  • Apache2

  • PHP 4

  • MySQL 4

  • Perl 5
trimmed down to the smallest functional size. Everything thrown together into less than 10MB for Windowns. It also has two easy scripts, "start" and "stop", for easy startup and shutdown of the whole stuff.

An idea struck me!
I inserted my memory-stick into my computer, installed the Uniform Server, added MoreGroupware and what I have now is a full-featured, web-based calendar, contact list, note holder, etc.

Well, whats special with that, you can have all of that with a simple filofax, you may ask, but for me this is a great leap forward in managing my schedules.

I tried it several times with such an organizer, but every attempt failed because I'm just too lazy, to always think of taking it with me. And if I take it, I'll surely forget to look into it. This is doubly sad because my girlfriend gave me one as a present recently. I tried again with it, but guess what... Yeah, I always forget looking into it altough I often think of it when it isn't near me. Damn me.

But with this organizer-on-a-stick it is totally different. I almost always carry the memstick with me in my pocket and stick it on at work and at home. And I almost never forget that piece of technology. I don't know why it is THAT different with it or why I don't forget to stick it onto the computer (as I would with the organizer), but thats the way it is...
Even better would be such stuff like a PDA or Pocket Computer, perhaps even with some flavour of Linux on it. But they are so damn expensive, I can't afford one.

But perhaps it's just another hype of me, and soon I'll begin to not look into my new 'toy' anymore...

January 23, 2004

Trouble in space. Not only Beagle2 has given no sign of life but now NASA's Spirit is silent too.

Here at work I'm currently busy with trying to install Oracle Database on Knoppix. I want to create a demo-CD of our solutions which you can put into a CD-ROM drive, boot up and use it.
Oracle has such a weird installation process, its just crazy. It re-links itself on install with the systems libraries and needs a heck of specific tools, mostly development stuff, but these have nothing to do on a demo-CD. Well, for Oracles sake, I'll put them on it for the installation.
And then it tries to link libraries which aren't copied into the installation folder for some reason... Damn.


Next Tuesday our company organizes a so called "Town Hall Meeting", fancy description for Q&A-session with company-leaders.
I'm curious, which questions will be asked and how our heads will answer them without revealing their real plans to us...

January 18, 2004

Apparently, the Bush administration requires another causality. According to CNN, the Hubble telescope will go down in a few years, just because there is not enough time left in the lifetime of the space shuttles to send up another maintenance mission. Bush wants them to be retired by 2010 and the ISS has to be completed until then otherwise its completion could not be guaranteed anymore.

Just not enough space shuttle time, thats all!

One may state that there is a replacement planned by 2011, the James Webb Space Telescope, but can it be brought into place without space-shuttles then?

Thank you George, I think the Hubble has done more for science and space research than any other off-earth mission including the manned missions to moon. And now it has to be cut just to keep other missions on schedule.
(from heise.de)

January 15, 2004

Ha! Today the admins found the cause of my always dropping network connection recently:
It seems that the network-cable, which is from my computer to the network socket. Replaced cable, network fine! Finally.

Sad reason why I'm working a bit longer today, a co-worker is leaving company soon because (I think) there is no chance for him to climb ub the career ladder any further without kicking out someone.
This can become a more challenging future for us, because with him leaves very much knowledge and experience, but there are also opportunities for other people. His work has to be done by someone.

Nevertheless, I wish him only the best for his future. Good Luck, W.

January 14, 2004

Well, my development machine is almost ready for action again, only our custom built-environment has to be installed and I guess, our projects are compilable again.

Today's "Hit the Bush"
The winners of the Bush in 30 seconds contest have been announced.
The overall winner is "Childs Pay", which expresses that our children have to work to finance the budget deficit Bush has generated.

January 10, 2004

On Thursday I finally decided to start slowly moving my main development computer operating system from Suse Linux 8.0 to Debian Linux.

I did this because of several reasons:

  • I somehow messed up with the Suse online update system. It seems, that every Suse-package somehow relies on older identifiers of itself being in the RPM-database. If ONLY the most recent version of a package is registered in the package database, it is not updateable anymore. And is the case with most of my Suse-packages.

  • Debian has a very advanced package-system, APT, which makes it possible to up- and downgrade nearly every installed component without much efford. I've heard, that Debian is the only Linux-flavour, which can be upgraded from the earliest version of Debian to the most recent one without problems. With every other Linux-edition you somewhere have to do a complete re-install somewhere between different versions. Not so with Debian.

So I had to shrink my current Linux to make some room for the new OS. If anything would go wrong, I'd still be there with a running development machine.

At least I thought so...

To make it short: I totally messed up the prior installation. Suse is not usable anymore, it is impossible to log in, error here, error there, blah blah blah. I think I somewhere missed a re-check of the filesystem after resizing the partitions, and after running successfully Suse again for about 10 minutes, everything blew up. "Bye, bye, and don't mind, you can't login anymore ;)"

After having run this installation without (major) problems since I'm employed, not some strange error but nobody other than myself killed it. This had been the FIRST (and hopefully last) time, that something bad happened to existing data while I were installing a new OS.
Well, it is not all that bad. Debian is up and running without glitches and I still can access all my user-data from the Suse-partition. Strangely only system-files are affected by errors.

Ok, everything ok I thought, you lost your old system but the new system is running flawlessly. Just have to add more of our development-stuff and mount some of our common network-storages and I could be working again friday afternoon.

Once again I just thought so...

Then they turned my network down friday morning. And because I install/update all packages over network, you can guess how I continued with the recreation of my working machine. They did that because some other people messed with IP-addresses. Now every single IP in my subnet has to be registered and checked seperately by our admins. And this seems to take some time.
Time, in which I'm without network and almost inoperable at all. Damit. Time to surf around, read news and blog nonsense.

Oh, I almost forgot:
My favourite news-reader, FeedDemon, seems to have turned commercial. And the beta-versions are only functionally until a specific date. Damit again.

Today's "Hit the Bush"
You surely heard of Bush's thoughts of supporting missions to Moon and Mars. This is one of the very few things of Bush, I'm supporting too.
BUT, don't you think that he just took the chance of recent mars missions to turn the public interest away from:

And: Take a look at Bush in 30 seconds.

January 7, 2004

Mars Express's baby still doesn't cry... :(

Today Mars Express is in the position to try to communicate with Beagle 2 the first time directly.
I'm tuning in into the live media briefing here.

Gosh, back at work and what do I have to read in the news?

Bush invokes Patriot Act 2.0(from wired.com)

Seems he took the chance of the media being focussed on Saddam and Britney and signed a bill before the weekend (where media are not that active) to give the FBI even more rights. It can now scan nearly every institution, which deals with not-minor amounts of money, without any reason or juristical statement.

One more step backwards for mankind...

And meanwhile other Investigations are also going on: CAPPS-II is being tested with EU Air Passenger Data. This means that it could be possible, that all personal flight data from the EU into the US are transfered to the Department of Homeland Security.

Big Bush is watching us...

January 3, 2004

Still no signal from Beagle 2. And the american probes are on their way too. Go, Beagle, Go!