Better Customer Support

02/11/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement, Supporting IT

I've made other posts about the downward spiral in Customer Support, whether through outsourcing, downsizing or other cost cutting measures.

Here, I would like to talk about responsive Customer Support. We use ServerBeach to host our machines. They are an "unmanaged" hosting facility. That is, they take care of the network and hardware, we take care of the software, system administration and database administration tasks. Much as in any IT shop, separating data center operations from SA, DBA, Application Engineering & SME work. There is a grey area though, with the OS. We subscribe to RedHat Linux ES3 through ServerBeach. Some things they handle, some things we handle, and it often isn't clear which is which.

We recently needed another module added to the kernel. Through some miscommunication, it wasn't apparent if this module was simply an update (SB would do) or required a custom kernel build (SB would do for cash or we could do it). This wasn't an emergency nor did it bring down the server. It will allow us to add services to our planned TeleInterActive Networks service.

The back and forth trough the ticketing system got to Chris. Chris has handled our tickets in the past as well. Whenever the ticket gets to Chris, he sticks with it, and the issue gets resolved to our satisfaction.

We want to publicly thank Chris for his good work on our behalf.

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Weakening Economy

02/10/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Business Life

I keep seeing signs that the economy is getting worse.

  1. Acquaintances and friends who were caught up in a RIF, or in a series of RIFs from one company after another, starting in 2001, are either still out of work or in a much lower paying job - often outside their chosen career path.
  2. Construction workers can't find jobs as their current projects finish; projects that were started in 2001 through 2004 based upon a permit process that started in 1998 or so.
  3. Restaurants and retail shops are closing, often after more than a decade of being in business.
  4. Businesses are cutting back in services or quality, whether making a joke of customer service, or restaurants using lower cost ingredients [e.g. salads that used to be all yuppie greens - baby frisee, oak leaf lettuce, arugula, etc are now iceberg lettuce with a scattering of the more expensive stuff on top].
  5. Salaries offered to those lucky enough to get a new job in their field are more suited to someone with 5 years of experience, not the 15 or more years garnered by the person being hired.

What started out as a burst bubble in the high tech industry [mainly IT or telecoms related] quickly spread to other high tech areas from physics research to pharmaceuticals and many things in between, and is now affecting all areas of the economy, in the USA and spreading to other areas of the world. This isn't just in the silicon valley, as I hear similar stories from folk in the midwest and the east coast, as well as Australia, ASEAN & EU countries.

Innovation, multiple revenue streams or product lines, and partnerships are the key to survival in such an economy, for individuals, businesses of all sizes, and even government services.

 

Server Woes

02/09/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement

We encountered some server problems this week, one at a customer, and one of our own.

Our partner couldn't get Oracle to install on the customer's brand new, big honking Windows 2003 server. It turned out that the server had both of its NICs turned on, when the specs for it only had one called out. Oracle couldn't find itself. Our partner figured it out, shut down the NIC that wasn't needed, and all proceeded well, before our scheduled "support call" with him. Good job.

One of our Red Hat Linux ES3 servers failed during an update. My partner tracked it down to the RPM database being corrupted. This happens when an update or install takes "too long" - whatever that means in computer time. XX( Removing the database files and rebuilding them saved the day. Thanks to Google and various open source support forums for leading us to this successful conclusion.

Let's hope the rest of the week goes as well as today went, and better than Monday was.

 

HTACCESS

02/05/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement

A file that has been floating around since the dawn of the world wide web is .htaccess. Many folk, especially in the early days, considered this file to be about WHO could access a given web page. And while that type of access can certainly be managed through this file, it masks the true importance of .htaccess. This is about HOW the web site is accessed.

One example is this blog. Without .htaccess, you would need to access this blog through some horrendously long URL that gave you no clue as to what this post was about, and expose some of the underlying technologies used to dynamically create this page. And that's the key. As more web content is dynamically generated, as opposed to being static HTML files, through Wikis, Content Management Systems and the like, .htaccess has become much more important than in the early days.

.htacess keeps accessing your web content simple.

 

Newsgator Headlines

02/02/05 | by JAdP | Categories: General Thoughts

I want to thank Gordon Weakliem of Newsgator. We were having trouble integrating Newsgator Headlines [feeds from a particular grouping of feeds in a Newsgator account] into a new site we are developing for our Professional Services group.

Gordon has been very responsive in the Newsgator Forums in resolving this issue.

We should be going live with our new site in the next few days. We'll announce it then. :D

 

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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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