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Ask Slashdot: When Is It Better To Modify the ERP vs. Interfacing It?

kanwisch Not a technical problem (209 comments)

The problem isn't: ERP customization or bolt-ons. The problem is that your organization has failed to understand how an ERP is implemented. It is NOT a IT project, it is a business project that should have the expectation that in nearly every case your organization will align its business practices to what the ERP offers. The ONLY exceptions are those where your company has a genuine competitive edge and they should be few and far apart.

I have been a part of both SAP and Oracle ERP deployments as an insider (never a consultant). Companies fail at these when they are not actually willing to change how they do things. That change must be driven by the CEO/President him/herself.

about a month ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

kanwisch Terrorist plot (380 comments)

who led the STFC research team at the ISIS

Clearly this information wasn't intended to be exported from Iraq and fall into Imperialist hands. Someone's going to lose their head over this one.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

kanwisch Forum admin disput (310 comments)

I wrote an application once to constantly update my Supermoderator forum signature with the Internet Safety Foundation's definition of theft. It did this every 3 seconds.

The reason? I discovered the Admin was mining passwords of users and taking over their accounts on other sites because the logins/passwords were the same. This was more than 10 years ago, when common logins/passwords were less taboo than today, for you young'uns.

Ultimately he was forced to ban me and others he perceived to have morals and who knew what was going on. However he had, in the past, sent the forum membership email with all the addresses in To: so I simply advised the entire community directly about what was going on. Within a month everyone had left.

about 3 months ago
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Could IBM's Watson Put Google In Jeopardy?

kanwisch Re:You don't understand Google (274 comments)

This betrays a very basic misunderstaning about how Google got where it is, and how it stays there.

Yes, pagerank is a great idea, and it was perhaps an improvement over what was being done before. But that wasn't why people abandoned the likes of Lycos and Yahoo(!) for Google back in the late 90's. Back then all the other search engines had gone to practices that were quite frankly user-abusive. Adds were placed all over the place, including an indeterminate amount of the top hits on your search. The search screens themselves also existed mostly to pump ads at you, and were really clunky, with a large amount of confusing options right there on the main search page.

Google, by contrast, had a main search page with no options whatsoever. Just a text box and a couple of buttons. "Breath of fresh air" doesn't even begin to describe how wonderful to use this was compared to what we were used to. On top of that, the search results were clearly delineated from the ads, so you could trust the results. The "don't be evil" motto was obviously infused into the whole effort. Every competitor was just a giagantic pain to use by comparison. "Page rank" or whatever wifty algorithim used for all this was something that nobody but extreme techies (and marketers) really ever gave a crap about.

So if you've got something that you think competes with Google, you'd better be talking about how nice and clean the interface is by comparison, how much easier it is to find real results without having to wade around ads, and how trustworthy the provider is wrt not allowing marketing weasels to buy their way into my search results. If you aren't talking about any of that, frankly nobody gives a crap.

I don't think "the next BIG search thing" needs to do better at interface design and marketing control. Instead, they need to match Google there and provide something novel of which we not thought.

about a year ago
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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

kanwisch For my media server (627 comments)

I wanted Plex and needed dead simple. Ubuntu was the only linked one.

1 year,24 days
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Do Developers Need Free Perks To Thrive?

kanwisch Had that several times (524 comments)

At one shop, when it was taken away, it was done as the company transitioned from being a private, all-engineers company to a corporate entity run by bean counters. Short-sighted as there were quite a few leaving as a result in the slash-and-burn of culture from trust to thumbscrews.

Last place I was at had pop, mostly for customers. I always found it directly at odds with the regular drum beat of people losing weight and staying in shape to keep health costs under control.

about a year ago
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How To Talk Like a CIO

kanwisch Re:Not always (161 comments)

but more often it means trying to steer management towards implementable solutions and being able to suggest things that give the other CXO types options they didn't know existed.

This. I have dealt with enough of c-suite to know they can't focus on details, and they can't be told "no" except in very sparing circumstances. What they want is options. They have told you, directly or indirectly, what the business wants to do and you and your team need to figure out how to do this.

The CIO does this at the pinnacle of strategic levels. Directors do this with a touch of execution mixed in. Project managers/managers do a heavy dose of translation from strategy to execution, and business analysts/programmer analysts finish the job of translating into details. Its a continuum.

To me, the worst leaders are those who do exactly opposite of what many of you pine for: Stick their noses in details well beneath their level, resulting in micro-management. That is a reflection of distrust and "mightier than thou" which does nothing but piss people off and murder morale.

I'd wager heavily that a desire for CIOs who know the finer details and talk through them often haven't worked for one. I have and it was THE single worst working experience I've had.

about a year ago
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Browser tabs I have open right now ...

kanwisch Re:Not answering. (300 comments)

CowboyNeal is dead.

Erwin:CowboyNeal is not dead.

about a year ago
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The public sector in direst need of reform is ...

kanwisch Re:Legislative, Executive and Legal (405 comments)

If the government fixed itself, the other things that the government is in charge of would get fixed. Problem is, too many people "believe" in the political "process", when it clearly hasn't worked.

Moving the power from Federal, to local would help, rather than the current trend of the other way around.

Yes, legislative elections and process at least. The basics of gov't are messed up. The rest are ancilliary, driven by the basic legislative process.

about a year ago
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Why Working Remotely Needs To Make a Comeback

kanwisch From a project viewpoint (455 comments)

I've been doing enterprise software project management for 10 years. Here are my experiences with 2 ERPs and numerous other large-ish projects.

The open concept works for the very early period when you're collaborating with your business folks, figuring out the roles and responsibilities, the design, and the team. The more closed-in (and remote work) approach works much better in the build phase, when the contributors are most effective uninterrupted. This latter point is one reason, often, that ERP deployment teams are sequestored to a separate facility and not allowed to continue legacy support. Execs/management recognize that as a success factor. So, yeah, both sides are right. You need each environment for a different purpose.

I've been running worldwide projects for a bit as well, which is almost a perfect picture of work-at-home effectiveness because the foreign teams NEVER are in the office. Frankly, communications are extremely strained (misinterpretations from lack of body language and emphasis), balls get dropped often, and there is very little in terms of team culture. That latter point is huge to PMs who know what it takes to deliver stellar project products: a cohesive, fun-loving team.

Even celebrations, which I feel are crucial to keeping you star tech folks, are difficult if not impossible. Again, you're missing the team opportunity.

There was a concept I got the joy to work in at Purdue University (as an employee) where individual office cubes (no doors) were set in a star pattern around a common area with table. The common area was the visioning, planning, and design point. The offices were the concentrated, individual work centers. It really was a great environment. But they ran out of space and so the "pod" environment disappeared.

Lastly, managers have offices with doors for lots of reasons. Promotions, raises, disciplinary action, confidential executive discussions, constant phone calls and meetings (which many of you likely hate). All those, done in a public environment, are disruptive at best and acidic at worst. I never had one of those offices, so its not like I've got some vested interest, either.

about a year and a half ago
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Security Firm Mandiant Says China's Army Runs Hacking Group APT1

kanwisch Re:So what else is new? (137 comments)

A lot of people forget that the population of China is what, 1/5th the world's population?

As such it would make statistical sense that around 1/5th of attacks they see are from China.

This is a figure that tallies roughly pretty well with attacks I've seen on every net facing system I've bothered to monitor. I wouldn't say there are proportionally more attacks from China relative to their share of the world's population than anywhere else. Given the US' population, Russia's population, or a number of South American and Eastern European states whose names I've seen popup a fair bit it's actually the case that I see disproportionally more attacks from these states relative to their population.

That correlation doesn't hold, I think. A more appropriate one would be to compare learned users of each country's population that can access the Internet. My understanding is that the majority of China is poverty-stricken and not using the Internet. And by this same position, I would expect the cracking attempts from US-based locations to vastly outnumber all other states in sheer number, but I don't believe that's the case either.

Another poster had the right angle, I think. The number is greatly influenced by state-sponsorship or lack of law enforcement.

about a year and a half ago
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Motorcycle App Helps You Ride Faster, Turn Sharper, Brake Harder

kanwisch Re:This will probably kill people. (148 comments)

This is how I would use it, as well. For instance, maybe it gets sophisticated enough for me to use measurements from laps and events such that I can identify problematic corners or compare in context of suspension changes.

The issue of an increase of squids dying using this device will be meaningless in the aggregate. There are already lots of those. New lawsuits? Maybe, but isn't that what ToS are for?

about 2 years ago
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Age Bias In IT: the Reality Behind the Rumors

kanwisch The bottom line (582 comments)

Business is driven almost entirely by profit. If you're a highly paid person who has skills that aren't in the critical areas I'm at a loss for why any company should feel compelled to keep you on, regardless of your age. Knowing one or two languages, IMHO, is a suicide move. Besides, as one who helps technical and business folks achieve their goals, I don't want single-skilled people like programmers. Like it or not, I can get those a dime a dozen overseas. The needs for the organizations I've been with have been a mix of business process, design, and technical knowledge. Evolve or be unemployed. Or relocate. People bitching about there being no jobs often haven't explored relocation and there are jobs, just not in your locale perhaps.

about 3 years ago
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Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...

kanwisch Taxes are lacking (788 comments)

I'm severely disappointed that they gave in to Tea Partiers again. They should have let the super-conservatives/religious right drive the country into the ditch. Giving into the side that refuses to compromise is like buying your 5-yo candy every time he throws a tantrum at the checkout. You will never be able to avoid doing it once you've started.

At least defense will get decimated, I hope. As an independent, I want 50% to come from tax increases and 50% to come from cuts, the latter proportionally hitting defense and entitlements relative to their funding.

Over time I've found myself being shoved politically "left" as the substantial movement of the country continues right. I hate it. Its been nearly impossible to find a Republican to vote for in the past 8+ years.

more than 3 years ago
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New Technology Turns Windows Into Solar Panels

kanwisch Guardian Industries also working on this (86 comments)

A relative is an employee and showed me an article from an internal newzine talking about this kind of development too. They have deeper pockets, I bet, too. Anyway, I recall it showing an auto moonroof application that I presume is oriented at electric/hybrid vehicles. But the company has many large building contracts so that would be a presumed application as well. As has already been noted, the question is value.

more than 3 years ago
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Studying For Certification Exams On Company Time?

kanwisch Re:Oh dear (281 comments)

Pressing for certification is double-edged, as many have presented here. I am astounded at the frequent lack of response here which misses the ideal way to keep such candidates, though. Simple, quality leadership is what keeps most in their duties (aside from love of the work). Its not usually about money, its about who you work for and with. If certs are suddenly compulsory and management isn't paying then its my view that they're probably not quality management to start with. That's what causes the high turnover, not necessarily the credential itself. Contracts are a complex, poor way of substituting for providing a quality work environment.

Yes, I've seen people leave once they got some cert or some specialized experience that is in high market demand. Guess what? They often tried to return and depending on how badly they burned their bridge on the way out, they might or might not have a shot at getting back in.

Incidentally, as has been covered here at length, management who thinks certs create wonderful workers are delusional. A cert is usually just a recognition the person understands the best practice being pushed by vendor X. Actual practice is proven in the proverbial pudding and the onus is on management to set expectations those best practices are followed.

more than 4 years ago
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Rupert Murdoch Hates Google, Loves the iPad

kanwisch Re:Go ahead, Rupert, make our day (412 comments)

I don't agree. The change in music being driven by the Internet suggests performances is how artists will survive. Journalists can't do that. So once they have sold their article once, it will be replicated without control and the journalist will have made, what, $2? As with the Parent to your response, I too fear the repercussions of the impending failure of traditional news outlets. My take isn't that the sky is falling, but the trend in ideologically-driven US politics will only be driven further and faster with fewer real investigative journalists doing work. Its unclear what new model might come about, or when. What happens until then?

One interesting new direction is Dan Rather's change from traditional evening news at CBS to HDNet and investigative journalism interesting to him. This is what I'd like to see more of.

more than 4 years ago
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If Everyone Had To Pass A Particular 101 Course, It Should Be About...

kanwisch Re:Other: programming (1142 comments)

This is unrealistic. When you get onto an airplane to cross the country or an ocean, do you know how to change the airplane's oil? Or rotate its tires? Computers are only a tool for all but those specialized to deal with them. If the computer doesn't work, the masses take it to a specialist to get it back into working order.

more than 4 years ago
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Getting Company Owners To Follow Their Own Rules?

kanwisch Its about Leadership (387 comments)

Probably a dirty word in these technical bits, but I'll say it anyway. Owners should be leading their business and the decisions they make. What they publicly do do impacts the morale and actions of all employees. I would probably suggest to each of them individually that a public demonstration of them following a new IT policy is a good way to cement its importance company-wide. This achieves two ends for you: getting the C's to follow-through on their original approvals and level-setting for everyone else.

more than 4 years ago
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The Largest File On My Personal Computer Is:

kanwisch Pagefile (362 comments)

My pagefile.sys is >2 GB and I suspect anyone using Windows has a similarly sized file.

more than 4 years ago

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