Friday, May 27, 2005

Short update

Just before the holidays (which means I do have now a valid excuse not to write anything here for a few days).

- Amazing football match last wednesday. Congratulations to Liverpool, coming back from 3-0 against Milan is not for any team.
- Today's the second day of Tridion's Knowledge Sharing days, and there's been a lot of new stuff (to me anyway) particularly on the Solutions Framework which will eventually become Tridion's foundation services. Very cool indeed, I hope I can put some of the stuff in here after I come back from holidays.
- Had a great night out in Amsterdam yesterday, but can't really say much as details are still fuzzy...

See you in 10 days.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

We are the champions...

Benfica wins the championship
Benfica won the portuguese football championship for the first time in 11 years. The "dormant" Benfica fans have finally been able to express their joys all over the world, blocking roads a bit all over from Luxembourg to Caracas. Last time they had won it I was still living in Lisbon...

The cup final is still theirs for the taking, so this might be a memorable year indeed.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

This is worth a laugh or two

Sometimes you really don't know if you should laugh or cry (both simultaneously might be the most appropriate for this case). This "incredible visionnaire" that goes by the name of Steve Ballmer, CEO of this amazingly creative company (Microsoft I believe is its name) must have been having wet dreams about MSN.

I mean, nothing else can explain his "clairvoyant" claims that Google "may just be a one-hit wonder" and might actually disappear within 5 years.

Yeah right. Just before the Longhorn launch, I guess.

If I worked at Google I'd be hosting a drink tonight to celebrate the demise of the company. If someone as credible as the man behind the Tablet PC says Google will die, then he must certainly be right.

Seriously now: would you work for this guy? (for any other reason than the money).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Go Sporting!

Make us proud (for the 3rd year in a row)...

For those that live under a rock: read this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Não há cu que aguente...

Há vezes em que se perde a cabeça facilmente. E há alturas em que é ainda mais fácil.

A conversa hoje foi assim:
Ele: A partir de amanhã temos reunião diária às 9:00, é uma chatice (como ele trabalha a 70 km de casa, isto significa sair de casa antes das 7:30)
Ela: Realmente, e eu precisava tanto que fosses tu a levar a miúda à escola amanhã.
Ele: Não me dá jeito nenhum, mas tudo bem não há de ser nada.
Ela: Pois, nunca dá jeito, nunca dá jeito. Sempre os outros primeiro e eu que me lixe. É demais isto, não há ninguém capaz de fazer nada por mim, etc, etc (e várias frases/palavras que nem sequer devem ser escritas aqui).
O famoso "chorrilho de tretas".
Ele: Mas eu só disse que não dava jeito, não disse que não podia.
Ela: (Mais do mesmo)
Ele: (Lembrando-se que anda a ler o "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", procura a tradução para marciano que diz algo do género: "abraça-me, dá-me mimo, diz-me que me amas e que vai tudo correr bem") Anda cá querida, desculpa se eu não te dei atenção, é claro que não é problema ...
Ela: Vai-te #$£*% seu @#&$% duma grande |\{}¤¤µ
Ele desiste, vai para a sala onde o portátil ainda está ligado e volta ao seu documento. Acende mais um cigarro e serve um generoso whisky.

Há dias em que não há cu que aguente...

Funny how things go...

To think that today, about 8 years from my first attempt at this, I am still working on creating a Knowledge-based structure, grouping people according to skills and ambition, defining best practices for knowledge sharing, etc, etc, etc...

Things do go round and round...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Short update

Busy closing down a project and starting another, so not much time to think about what to post.

Short update:
  • Loads of drinking and food abuse these past few days. Gotta go back on diet if I want to properly enjoy the short stay in Portugal at the end of may...
  • Knowledge Sharing "promoted" to top priority within Professional Services. Nuno to take the lead on this ;-)
  • XSLT is easy... (sometimes)
  • Started finally working (seriously) on a book. News to come on this. Global theme is how to "upgrade Professional Services into Elite Services"
  • People come, people go. 5 new employees since I started (2 months ago). 4 have left meanwhile...
  • Remember the bank people that will get outsourced? Well, apparently, not all of them will be hired by the future company, so nerves are finally starting to surface. Decision about who stays and who goes is taken in early June...

That's it for now. I'll try to get some time to do a real post before the end of the week.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

SOAP makes me sleep...

I'm sure it's nothing to do with having slept about 3 hours today.
I'm sure it's nothing to do with my DEV server running so slow I can smoke a cigarette between queries.
I'm sure it's nothing to do with going through someone else's VB (AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH the horror!) code searching for a bug.

No, SOAP messages definitely make me sleep.


It's a done deal:

Book Plane: Check
Book Rental car: Check

22 days to go and I'll be here! (just ignore the text and scroll down for the photos)

Chiça, até que enfim ;-)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Isn't it funny?

Liverpool reaches a major European football final for the first time in 20 years (the last time was the ill-fated Liverpool x Juventus at the Heysel Stadium) and all every sports commentator mentions is that Mourinho's team didn't go through?

Shouldn't journalists be spending time contratulating Rafa Benitez's men rather than claiming Mourinho is not unbeatable (something Benfica knew already from last year's Portuguese Cup final)?

As a curiosity, Rafa - as Mourinho - reaches his second European Final in two years, and "risks" winning both as well, though with different teams.

Even more amazing to me is that Liverpool can play as they did against Chelsea and can't defend against Middlesbrough...


Working with e-mail for the best part of my 10-year career (my first "real" IT work was linked to e-mail and "groupware" implementations), and particularly working with a system with a fast and reliable index system (Lotus Notes) taught me to:

1. Never delete an e-mail (except jokes)
2. Never create folders and "waste" time organising e-mails

Number 1 is for obvious reasons. Nobody can claim to have or have not said something by e-mail. You KNOW what's been said.
Number 2 might be less obvious, but it resulted from experience: I used to organise my e-mails, and dedicate a good part of the day/week into keeping my inbox clean. And then, when weeks later I would need a specific e-mail, I would go to the "All Documents" view and search the whole mailbox, which "kind of" defeats the purpose of organising e-mails in the first place.

So I gave up organising my mailbox, and adopted a "search when you need it" approach.

A few years forward and here I am. No Lotus Notes on my machine - MS Outlook only. It looks WAY better than Notes. But it SUCKS big time. Search is absolutely crap and slow. Try searching for an e-mail for which you only know the sender's mail domain. Or better, search in all folders at the same time. Or (I love this one) try searching on moderately-sized (50MB) Local folders...

Sure, it can be done. But it's not easy. And slow. And not comparable to a Notes full-text search on a 500MB mailbox. And you have to know where the string you're searching for is located: Body or Subject or From or Send To, etc. What if you don't know? Chances are that if you knew all that about the message you're searching for you would probably know as well on which folder it was stored, right?

Consequently, it was quite funny to find out that Gmail's "revolutionary" way of working with e-mail is exactly the same way we - old Lotus Notes users - have always used our mail. Don't organise, search for it ;-)

Lotus (the company, not the software) may be dead, but it sure had guys with vision.

How to motivate your employees...

Had a good demonstration today of how (not) to keep your employees motivated:

1. Tell them outsourcing is inevitable in a timeframe between 6 & 18 months
2. Assure them they will be hired by the company they will be outsourced to, in exchange for a 15% pay cut
3. Make sure they know their current benefits (mostly bank-related) will NOT continue

In compensation, they get 3 months' pay in a lump sum (conveniently, just before the summer holiday period) and a guarantee of a job for 5 years. Or in other words: within 4 years, start looking for a job elsewhere.

Now, that's good motivation skills, right?

Amazingly enough, everyone seems to be happy about the 3 months' package and not paying much attention to the rest, as if it were "minor details".

If you look at it from an outsider's point of view though, you can see a lot of problems coming on their way:
- Average workforce age is around 30 to 35
- They're all IT employees, but very few are really "IT-minded" or specialised in any domain (except banking)
- They've been working on highly customized (if not custom-built) systems that apply to the banking world and nothing else

The company that will hire them will most likely be one of the "experts" on this domain: LogicaCMG, IBM, EDS, etc. They might look into keeping some of the key people, those that know how to run the day-to-day business, and some might be offered a different job within their organisation: there is, after all, a lot of WebSphere knowledge around here though this will be limited to 2 - 3% of the workforce.

Others might get lucky and get some sort of "behind-the-desk" job, but risk being outsourced again in the long run.

So, you'll end up with 70% (being optimistic here) of under-qualified IT people, with about 40 years of age, being "dumped" on the marketplace and looking for a nice, well-paid, not very stressing IT job. Maybe even as managers.

I don't know, I really don't understand why they're not worried. Maybe they know something I don't?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The "special one" did it again...

It was about 10 months ago I first called him "Football's Michael Schumacher". Well, English football fans around the world, start preparing yourselves for a hell of a ride...

Congratulations Mr. Mourinho on your first of many.

And knowing him - as any Portuguese person now dares to say he does - I wouldn't be surprised his players would go and grab the Champions League, just to make sure they don't miss much of this year's titles...