Archive for January, 2007

Googlers: it’s only a matter of time before your workers’ paradise goes the way of Dilbert.

January 13, 2007

My dear Googlers, I hate to break it to you, but when it comes to salary and benefits, you’re probably overpaid. Enjoy your gourmet meals, your on site fitness centers and your flexible schedules while you can. This extravagance will soon be crushed by your shareholders. Every penny that’s spent on free lattes is a penny out of shareholders’ pockets. Soon it will be time to create more shareholder value.

There’s a reason that all offices have cubes. It’s an efficient way to store workers. Companies need workers but they need to do the absolute minimum necessary to retain those workers by way of compensation (sometimes this can be a lot). This is determined by what the market will bear.

It won’t happen overnight, but cubiclization is inevitable. First, they’ll go from gourmet food to lunch-lady-land style cafeteria food that no one wants. Then, after people stop using it, they’ll close it all together and put in cubicles. The same will happen to the workout areas. Google will outgrow the building necessitating the removal of the treadmills. Instead you will, once again, get more cubicles.

In one interview I saw, a Generation Y slacker said: “I come into work at 11 because I like to sleep in.” Frankly, most managers view this behavior as indicative of mental illness. That policy is doomed to go out the door as well. It will probably be replaced by 8:00 to 5:00 (with a half hour for lunch) for hourly employees and 7:30 to 9 for the salaried. You people will have to learn to work, not slack. Just because you may not have much stomach for personal inconvenience for the sake of work, doesn’t mean five people somewhere else in the world won’t do what you do for a tenth of your salary and with a lot more engagement. Economics hasn’t changed.

So will go your “twenty percent” time. It will be engulfed by the demands of the projects you’re working that actually have economic value. You know, working on something that makes money?

I’m not the only one who foresees this, Wired Magazine did a piece on this concept when Google did it’s IPO.

So enjoy your ping pong and pool tables. Enjoy your X-boxes and pets at work. Enjoy your free M&Ms. They are going to go the way of all things. Also, look on the bright side, when you lose the gourmet meals, you’ll lose all the weight you’ve gained. You’ll probably be able to keep your lava lamps. They don’t cost much. New ones will probably have to be bought refurbished however.

The Dell 3007WFP 30” LCD Monitor.

January 9, 2007

New rig

Originally uploaded by Thaed 3.

Sometimes you buy a new gadget that changes the way you do things. A monitor could do that? Yes, a monitor could do that. I feel like this monitor can do anything. I’ve been involved with computers since their origins and getting this monitor is one of the most significant events in my computer experience.

It is beautiful. With it’s 2560 by 1600 resolution, it is the most amazing monitor I’ve ever used. Yes, this is going to be a gush fest folks. To think, I debated long and hard before I actually pulled the trigger. I even had to buy it refurbished because, well, it’s not cheap. But, oh, the awesomeness of it all. I wondered if it was going to be too big. But no. No, my friends, it’s porridge that’s just right.

I like to work with multiple computers at the same time. Now I can run my 4 computer KVM on the 19” and use my fastest computer on the Dell monitor. Having so much screen space almost gives me the same utility as the KVM.

I played a round of Age of Empires III at 2560 by 1600. Incredible. For gaming this monitor has no equal. It practically fills my entire field of vision. It adds new meaning to the term immersive. As if I don’t spend enough time with my computers. Now I can entirely lose myself forever within their grasp.

I watched the Spider-man 3 trailer on it in HD and it looked terrific. Some reviewers have complained about flicker with DVDs. I ran a DVD off a hard drive and I didn’t have a problem. I wonder if the problems the reviewer was having stemmed from the optical drive being slower. I don’t know. There’s no question this monitor requires a lot of computing and graphics card horsepower. I will probably get the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive for it so I can watch HD movies on it.

To sum up, I am the happy owner of the best damn computer monitor money can buy and I’m very happy for it.

Gadget Anticipation.

January 7, 2007

I’m getting a new toy this week.  I’m not going to talk about it yet because you get better Google juice on a gadget review when you just focus on it on one page.  It shouldn’t be hard, though to do a review, given the nature of the product.  It’s not a cheapy, in fact, I bought it refurbished to save several hundred dollars.

When I move it into its place, it’s going to mean that I’m going to split out my most powerful computer from my KVM and swap in the Linux box.  The Linux box got an upgrade today and it’s ready to go.

The killer thing is that I’m going to be going to a friend’s house to watch the OSU game tomorrow night, so if it comes tomorrow, I won’t get to play with it.  I’ve got a speaking gig on Tuesday, so I probably won’t even get to play with it until Wednesday.  I know, poor me.

Kudos to anyone who can guess what it is…

Gadgets and Super Powers.

January 1, 2007

It occurred to me the other day that my adolescent desire to be greater than my fellow men is why I like gadgets.  Call it a Batman complex.  Batman has no super powers.  He does have a utility belt and a whole lot of other stuff.  He is the consummate gadget guy.

Admittedly, no cell phone is going to make you a superman.  An iPod is not going to help you leap tall buildings anytime soon.  Having a really fast laptop is not going to make you invulnerable, even to viruses.

Yet the coolness persists.  Given my sedentary proclivities and the fact that I generally abhor the outdoors, life saving gadgets aren’t even really likely to help me much.  For example, I could take to wearing a Kevlar vest every day, but all that would accomplish is making me buy new clothes and probably making me sweat more.  I’m not Batman, after all.

I think GPS units are really cool, but if I have to drive anywhere further than 4 hours, I fly.  If I’m going somewhere I’ve never been, I take maps and I never veer off main highways.  Since 99% of the time I’m going to and from work or perhaps to a store, my need for a GPS is slight.

My Blackberry does give me the power to be away from my office and answer email and that’s important.  My iPod lets me listen to informative podcasts while I’m driving so that’s a plus in the advantage column.  My Nintendo DS lets me waste time while I’m not near a computer.  It’s certainly not an advantage, but it can be entertaining.

Someday, a gadget is going to come along that really does give a person an advantage in modern life.  I’ll be first in line for that one.  Of course after everyone gets one, it won’t be an advantage anymore, it will be a requirement.  Until then, there’s always something new to play with.