Mike Fields of Kana

04/19/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet, Business

Mike Fields, CEO & Chairman of the Board at Kana spoke at the OracAlum event last night and gave one of the best speaker's forums I've been too. Mike has a long history in the software industry, and has some great perspecitves.

He left Oracle in '92 to start OpenVision, where they had engineers in San Diego & Minnesota; the best engineers were in Minnesota. They did 14 acquisitions in 18 months

He lives in the US Virgin Islands

  • tax advantages
  • 8 x broadband of US
  • timezone advantages

John Thompson asked him to join Kana Board of Directors at Kana, which develops software [knowledge base, search & call center] & services in the customer support arena; after being on the board for 2 weeks, he was asked to run the company [that was only 7 mos ago]

One very interesting decision that he's made at Kana is to "backshore" development from India to Menlo Park; Kana had given up the intellectual knowledge of their Intellectual Property, and that couldn't be tolerated. After he had done that, they discovered that Kana had not been saving any money; looking at costs such as equipment in India, telecommunications, 1 Product Manager in US for every 5-10 engineers in India, and greatly increased QA & documentation costs. In addition, they had lost time to market due to the loss of collaboration between architect and programmer - they now have twice the speed to market with one-third the developers.

Mike also gave a very interesting answer to my question about the growth of Enterprise Open Source Software recently. He reiterated something that I've said before, there has been freely available and sharing of source code since the beginning of computing. But his perspective on the commoditization issue was very different. Mike feels that the commodization of all other products is driving the software industry. Software and IT will help companies in a commoditzed world - helping companiess help their customers.

Mike gave a refreshing and enjoyable talk. I was very glad that Clarise and I went.

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Easter 2006

04/16/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

As I've written previously, Easter is my favorite food holiday. This year was no exception. We started with a brunch of

The brunch was great. Dad's mazzarelles and pastiere were really great this year.

Easter Brunch Table
Click to view original size

Mom really enjoyed it.

Mom Digging into Brunch
Click to view original size

Even though we couldn't get the ham to Bunkey, we did get one for ourselves, which I cooked in a traditional southern cola glaze. It went from package

Burger Brown Sugar Cured Ham in Package
Click to view original size

... to the cutting board with a soak overnight, and four hours of cooking

Ham in Cola Glaze Cooked
Click to view original size

So, supper was also great.

Easter Supper Table
Click to view original size


Flaky Electricity

04/12/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

Sparks, snaps and pops, oh my...

  1. The new APC that I bought won't stop beeping every four seconds or so. Very quietly. Not a full fledged tone, and the on-battery light never comes on, and the software never admits to there being a problem.
  2. Almost every one of the overhead lights in my house have fried half of their sockets.
  3. I'm losing a spotlight every other week in my kitchen.
  4. One of the lights outside has failed completely.
  5. The fancy low-voltage lighting system we had custom made for the stairwell won't come on.

The electricity in the house has definitely gone flaky. Not the nice, delicate flaky of a fine pie crust. No, no, no. This is the full-tilt bonzo crazy FLAKY of unexplained weirdness. :crazy:

To the rescue is Tim Swillinger, providing residential electrical work and solar energy systems to the Coastside. He took pages and pages of notes today, and he'll be back on Monday to do begin the real investigation as to WHY. A report will follow. He's afraid that he may have to rip out walls.

He doesn't have a web site, so I can't link to him. I enjoyed working with him today. Maybe some blog hosting and consulting could be traded for some repair work. &#59;) Maybe not.

I think cake is in order. :lalala:


Ham to Iraq

04/04/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

An old college chum of mine is about to celebrate both his birthday and the end of his second year in Iraq, as a project manager. While we don't share polictical views, nor much ideology, we have shared a lot of history over the 34 years since we first met.

For Christmas, he sent me a plaque.

To celebrate his birthday, Easter, and two years of living in a man-made hell, I'm sending him a Burger Smokehouse aged-one-year, Ozark country ham. It's one of their products that can be sent to an APO address. I hope it makes it there without rotting.

Ozark Country Ham Aged One Year

Happy Birthday, Bunkey :))

Update: Well, a government attorney friend of mine, ex-JAG, tells me that it might be illegal to send pork or pork-products to Iraq. While we were having an email exchange about this, Burger's Smokehouse phoned and said that they were out-of-stock on the ham I selected, anyway. They didn't have any lamb products that they could send. Ah well, no ham for Bunkey. :( Sorry.


More on Extinct Software Engineers

03/31/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet

To continue with the idea that software engineers will become extinct, as I discussed earlier, and as is being discussed on FlatWorldSoftwareDevelopment, I would like to extend the thread beyond the idea that "high tech" jobs will disappear from the USA by 2016 into an old idea. The focus of software engineering will become almost exclusively on tools for software development, with the focus of software development being tools for end-users to create their own software.

This isn't a new idea, but has been around for awhile. It's never come to fruition because the technology [or maybe the technologists] weren't up to the task.

Most software, if not all software, is very frustrating for non-technologists to use. Much software is even frustrating for the technologists. When I watch my parents [both in their late 70's] trying to use a computer, even the "easy" UI of the MacOSX, I realize what should be obvious to the most casual observer. The current UI paradigm is anything but intuitive. Pushing a mouse or tracing your finger on a touch pad or point in an horizontal plane and relating it to selections on a separate vertical plane is confusing as hell until you've done it for a few years. It is counterintuitive. Hiding functions behind multiple and cascading menu options is counterintuitive. Making software that satisfies technologists' training but not end-users' needs, processes and ways of working is not just counterintuitive. 'Tis idiotic.

The real power of software, computing and digital communications will come from embedding and hiding the software functions of today in tools that allow end-users to create their own applications to automate their daily personal and business tasks; from UI's that follow the way the user prefers to operate and interact, to software that implements their algorithms, paradigms and processes. And, folk will be able to do this repetively, on-the-fly, as needed or wanted.

There are examples already being implemented in the Web2.0 world, using AJAX and Flash, such as Dabble DB.

So, will software engineering become extinct, in the USA or elsewhere. No, but it will change dramaticaly, and become a much more focused field of study.


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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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