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IT Architect Posting

Since the link to the job posting was removed today, I linked to an archived version. Enjoy Merritt's desperate search in its full glory.

Company Seeks IT Architect Who Knows Everything

This [formerly on Dice] job posting is a perfect example of using keywords to find unqualified applicants, taken to absurdist extremes. Here's a nice excerpt:

Technical Development Language Experience:
The optimum candidate would have recent (within the last 6 months) work experience at a developer level, and long-term history (15+ years or more) working with the following list of languages.
Java (JAVA (JDK, J2SE, J2EE, Swing/AWT, RMI, JDBC,
Applets, JSP/Servlets, JavaBeans, EJB, SSL, Threads,
Sockets, i18n, JAXP, JAXM, JAXB, JAXR, J2ME)
Microsoft Visual C# .NET
Microsoft Visual C++ .NET
Microsoft Visual J# .NET
Oracle 9i (PLSQL)
Shell Scripting
ASP (Com, Dcom)
Visual Basic

So they expect someone to have experience with all of these things within the past 6 months? If you read the rest of the posting you'll think it's as funny as I do. I'm sure they'll have no trouble whatsoever finding someone Real Soon Now. Particularly when the applicant discovers that the rate is...$42 per hour.

This is a perfect example of poor hiring practices in action. Instead of thinking about what a candidate needs to succeed in the position, someone threw together a list of every buzzword they ever heard. All they need to do is run a buzzword filter on resumes and the most matches is obviously the best candidate. HR departments should be ashamed of work like this. Hiring managers should be organizing a revolt. Except that half the time they're responsible as well.

If you get this job I want a referral fee.
Sorry, they removed the posting. Too much traffic I guess. I'll fetch it out of my browser cache later.

Microsoft on DB2

Microsoft has put up videos of a competitive comparison of SQLServer and DB2. Some of the information is kind of sketchy, or does not fully disclose aspects of SQLserver or DB2, but most of their criticisms and explanations of DB2 are accurate. You may be surprised to hear me say the words "Microsoft" and "accurate" in the same sentence given my experiences with Microsoft's dissembling marketing.

Al Hilwa's commentary is interesting in light of his one-time Gartner background. Gartner loves DB2, very likely for reasons I don't want to write about now - IT analyst services require a long article of their own.

I like the way one of the segments reveals a big element of IBM's DB2 marketing strategy: DB2 is really 3 different products depending on which platform you are running on. Each major platform (mainframe, unix, as400/I-series) has a separate code base. IBM uses the DB2 moniker to tout the long history of DB2 and its stability, when in fact that may apply only one of the three versions of the product. It gives them the ability to market DB2 without revealing that specific features or performance do not apply to the version you are looking at.

On Microsoft's front, they raise the specter of Total Cost of Ownership. Microsoft should be slammed for this, given the fuzziness with which they produce TCO for SQLServer and TCO for DB2. Using their approach the TCO for a Palm Pilot would likely run to five figures. One aspect of their TCO argument is valid though: just because you have mainframe DB2 DBAs does not mean the skills are any more transferable to Unix-DB2 than they are to running Oracle-Unix or to SQLServer. IBM sales will often tout the fact that you can leverage your DBAs across platforms.

These videos give you a good perspective on how Microsoft views SQLServer positioning against DB2, and what they say to sell against DB2. The criticisms of DB2 and IBM are mostly valid, but the touting of SQLServer should be viewed skeptically. Not a technically heavy presentation, but a good overview.

Whitehouse Animation Presents: Kunstbar

Kunstbar is a wonderful cartoon involving a visit to a strange bar that serves beverages with interesting side effects. For you non-Germanic speakers "Kunst" = "Art" and "bar" = "bar". Share and enjoy.

Geourl Added

I decided to try out adding a geo-URL to play around with the concepts and code. My ICBM is 42.47, -123.14. Now I can be easily targeted by Ashcroft's space-based 10 megawatt anti-terrorist you-must-be-against-us lasers, or one of the nukes Cheney helped North Korea get materials for.

Emerging Tech Keynote Videos Are Online

Lisa Rein posted videos of the keynotes Howard Rheingold and Alan Kay gave at this year's O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference. I should have posted a link to Lisa's site last week, but I'm slow.

Howard Rheingold's talk centered on whether we will be users or consumers - active participants or passive recipients - of the latest wave of technologies and media. He urged us to build software and act in ways that further the open standards and connectivity that have gotten us to where we are. Good talk, and some good questions at the end. I would post the irc commentary that was going on during the session, but I haven't got the time-matched irc and presentation pages done yet.

Alan Kaye's session, titled "Daddy, Are We There Yet?" The Computer Revolution Hasn't Happened Yet" was a review of copmputing history that many of us have forgotten. We had "modern" software (graphic interfaces, mice, functional videoconferencing, OOP, handwriting recognition) in the mid 1960's. We just forgot about it.

Kay's salient points are that the last 20 years personal computing have been boring. PC and software vendors target development toward businesses, who aren't creative in their use of technology. As technology seeps into the consumer space we should look to a vastly different future. He asserts that the printing revolution didn't happen in
Gutenberg's lifetime; it happened a hundred years later when nobody remembered a time before the printing press. The session included video of those 1960's demos and had a terrific Squeak (smalltalk) demo of a 3-D collaborative space demonstrating some great software concepts. Worth watching.

US Admits it Lied About Reasons for Iraq Invasion

In this Sunday Herald article, an interesting report surfaces that the US knew there were no WMDs but really really wanted to invade and decided lying would be best.

US: 'Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction'

The Bush administration has admitted that Saddam Hussein probably had no weapons of mass destruction.

Senior officials in the Bush administration have admitted that they would be 'amazed' if weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were found in Iraq.

According to administration sources, Saddam shut down and destroyed large parts of his WMD programmes before the invasion of Iraq. Ironically, the claims came as US President George Bush yesterday repeatedly justified the war as necessary to remove Iraq's chemical and biological arms which posed a direct threat to America.

To make matters worse, members of Blair's party admit that they went along for the oil. Sir Jonathan Porritt said in a Sky News interview "I don't think the war would have happened if Iraq didn't have the second-largest oil reserves in the world." [source]

Will the Astroturf Never Cease?

The following letter, apparently written by a PR hack for the GOP, is appearing in newspapers around the country. This has happened a number of times in the past year, with the party telling people to send specific letters to their newspapers under their own names as if they had written the text themselves.

This fake grassroots letter writing (hence "astroturf") is in clear violation of the editorial policy of almost every newspaper in the country. There is nothing wrong with urging people to write, but to do obviously dishonest things in support of a political position is disgustingly wrong.

Look for the following text in your newspaper:

Creating jobs and fostering economic growth needs to be our number one national priority. President Bush recognizes this and has delivered a jobs and growth plan that will create 1.4 million new jobs in the next two years. Some in Congress want to reduce or cut President Bush's plan and in so doing, reduce the number of jobs created. That's hundreds of thousands of jobs fewer than the 1 million jobs the stimulus package passed by the House of Representatives would create.

12 Senate Democrats understood the important impact tax relief has on growing our economy when President Bush's tax relief was passed into law. Why are Senate Democrats ignoring their previous support for tax relief and its economic impact? They should vote with President Bush and give the economy the boost it needs. It's the right thing to do to grow the economy.

If you see this, send an email to the paper telling them they've been tricked into publishing political propaganda under the guise of one of their readers.

Master of the Flying Guillotine

Master of the FGThe highly-touted 70's kung-fu movie "Master of the Flying Guillotine", which we discussed during one of the Etcon breaks, is airing on Showtime Extreme tonight. Recut, restored and re-released, this film features so many of the things that made 70's kung-fu movies great:

inflatable monks
blind monks
one-armed boxers
extensible arms (no, really),
fried feet,
hand grenades (in medieval China? why not!)
and of course, a flying guillotine

Short on dialogue and long on fu - a good thing considering the dialogue. The whole may not equal the sum of its parts, but the parts are enjoyable if you like these films or early electronica background music. And you thought Etcon was all high tech.


Joe ChemoCreate written / drawn / photoshopped anti-ad art for Memefest 2003. As they say:

Hungover from radical doses of branding and commercial information lately, we, the organizers of Memefest, have decided to help Slovenian and global youth fight the power while celebrating their strengths and talents.

As a "festival of radical communication", Memefest sets out to explore the power that our disseminated ideas (memes) have to spin the social fabric. By encouraging the creation and dispersion of beneficial memes, we hope that we may bring some balance back into a brand-crazy world.

The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2003. Get your entries to Memefest while you can.

CDW Book Gets Translated

Clickstream Data Warehousing has been translated into Chinese, so if you were really dying to pick up a copy but waiting for this release, now is your chance! The book is also available online if you use the books24x7 online bookshelf service. If I could get it under a Creative Commons license and make it available here for download I'd be even happier.

Notes From the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference

Almost every attendee brought a laptop, and thanks to the ubiquitous wifi access everyone carried their computers with them to all the sessions. Every talk had an undercurrent of quiet rustling as people typed reports, collaborated on notes using Hydra (a collaborative editing tool), or communicated via the conference irc channel.

There was one odd effect on the Q&A during sessions: it was oddly non-critical or challenging to the speakers. Part of this can attributed to so many people coming from the same communities and sharing similar attitudes, but much of the critical content seemed to go over irc instead. It's interesting that the ubiquitous online communications changed behavior at the conference. I'll put up a schedule cross-linked with an irc transcription later so it's possible to see what sessions generated the most in-room buzz..

Presentation materials for many sessions are available at the O'Reilly website. This collection of links and notes is here for convenient reference.

Tutorials (only went to AWS):

Sessions I attended:

Links: ETCon Wiki   ETCon trackbacks   blogging from ETCon   Coverage of ETCon


Data warehousing, business intelligence, IT strategy and architecture, and occasional interesting bits.

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