The New Disruption in Computing

Since 2000, we've been progressively bumping into limits, or end-points, in all areas of silicon technologies. Some I've mentioned previously.

The thesis of this piece is the Next Technology Disruption is No Disruption, No Revolution:
instead of exponential growth of technologies, decreasing unit prices and increasing volume sales, we're now seeing zero or slow growth, steady or increased unit prices (especially if supply-chain is disrupted), and in all but a few market segments, sales are in decline and profits are stressed in many vendors. I believe these are linked.


Microsoft, IBM and the Price of Success

Microsoft's business is now clearly "under performing" with even the Board admitting it. Steve Ballmer has finally been pushed out. The MSFT Board could've followed IBM in 1993 and appointed an outsider, but they chose an long-term insider.

The imminent "death" of Windows-XP (8-Apr-2014, free security updates end) shows, in my mind, a clear misattribution effect by Microsoft: they've confused cause and effect, that people bought their brand, not just a "standard" commodity product.


Security: Healthcare, Computers and Ignorance/Inaction.

A year ago I wrote that with the then epidemic of "ransomware" attacks the Hackers had learned how to monetise remote attacks on Healthcare practices. That piece included detailed suggestions on minimum necessary practices and questions for suppliers and vendors.


Now Read This: Why the Munich Open Source Conversion won't be replicated in Australia.

Whichever side of the Open Source vs Proprietary Software debate you lie on, this article is a "must read". The headline take-away is: "Our goal was 'Freedom', to become independent."
How Munich rejected Steve Ballmer and kicked Microsoft out of the city, Steve Heath, 18th Nov, 2013.


I.T. is NOT a Profession. There are NO consequences for Failure, It's Unprofessional to not Learn.

A response to a piece on Delimiter reporting QLD and VIC government project failures.

Compare the local IT failures with these comments from Infoq. Author site.
This is best illustrated by the findings from the US Department of Defense (the DoD).[10]
The DoD analysed the results of its software spending, totalling an eye-watering $35.7 billion, during 1995.
They found that only 2 per cent (2%) of the software was able to be used as delivered.
The vast majority, 75 per cent, of the software was either never used or was cancelled prior to delivery.
The remaining 23 per cent of the software was only used following modification.
That would suggest that the DoD actually only received business value from $0.75 billion of its expenditure – nearly $35 billion of its expenditure did not result in software that delivered any immediate business value.
[10] The results of the study were presented at the 5th Annual Joint Aerospace Weapons Systems Support, Sensors, and Simulation Symposium (JAWS S3) in 1999.


Microsoft: Have missed the boat on catching up to Apple & Google.

In early 2007 I started opining that Microsoft would "hit a financial pothole" around 2010. Thirty posts followed before I gave it up: the mainstream & financial press were looking seriously at the topic. [A Forbes columnist "called the game" in January.]

What prompted my view in late 2006, pre-iPhone, I'd noticed that Microsoft hadn't been able to maintain it's growth above 10%. They (legally) manipulated their figures to remove extreme volatility. Since the early 1970's, I've seen a bunch of Tech companies falter, stumble and fail. Always starting with one "off" result. When the iPhone appeared, I knew the mechanism of their "pothole".

I missed the GFC in 2008 and its effect (revenue down) and in 2012 went on record saying "I missed the date". I'm a technical person, not a financial analyst.


NBN: Posts moved to a new blog. No more on this blog.

This Blog was intended to be about "I.T." issues in general, but has become overtaken by the NBN.
Posts and Comments have been moved to a dedicated Blog...
Please update any feeds you might have, assuming you want.

I'll be removing the NBN posts from this Blog down the line.


NBN: Coalition Fibre to the Node isn't pure-digital broadband, isn't secure, isn't meant to last

Not only is the Coalition's Fibre to the Node (FTTN) plan to share two mutually-interfering networks, over existing copper, more complex and expensive that it need be, it also flags they aren't designing it for longevity. Implicit in this design choice is "we're building it to throw away, soon." i.e. with a 10-15 year, or less, economic life.

The network design can never be optimum for either phone or digital/broadband, the combination is more complex, expensive and lower reliability than pure-digital and is missing two critical network design element: it doesn't follow the existing NBN design (standard device interfaces, end-end control & L2 Bitstreams) but ignores that engineering designs can only be optimised to for one thing.


NBN: Coalition Fine Print - 1.1M houses WONT get 25Mbps.

When is a guarantee not a guarantee? When it's a Political statement.

The "minimum" guaranteed speed excludes one in seven (13%) premises covered by the Coalition's DSL-FTTN: or 1.1M premises will be "NOT happy, Mal!"

While the "target" is 10%, that's across all 11.3M fixed-lines, including the 24% premises served by Fibre. The 1.1M excepted premises will all come from the 8.968M premises covered by FTTN.


NBN: The real tragedy of the non-debate - Politicisation.

This tweet highlights the public cost of the Opposition's relentless negativity:
the NBN is an expensive waste with a low take up rate in its current form, paid for with borrowed money.
Both Conservatives and Left-wing now agree that Universal broadband access is a worthy public good and necessary national infrastructure. Nobody disagrees that Fibre is the superior technology for fixed-line data and through the normal operation of technology and economics will some day replace copper for this purpose. The two sides now only differ in when and how we get there.


NBN: Correcting the Record on the Coalition NBN Plan

This is a collection of Omissions, inaccuracies or misleading statement in the Coalition's NBN Policy documents.

Please Note:

  • The comments here are concise and assume a more technical knowledge than "an ordinary reader".
  • I'm NOT supporting either Political Party or their Policy.
    • Both Plans have deep, concerning issues.
    • Both side of Politics are making unfounded statements and questionable promises.
  • This piece is NOT analysis or recommendation for or against the Coalition Plan. It only seeks to layout facts that can be checked and confirmed on the public record.

MSFT: A Big Day - stock downgraded on back of PC sales 'turmoil' (15% down) and mobile offerings 'underwhelm'

This is a big day for Microsoft: it's stock has been downgraded to 'hold' from 'buy' on back of PC sales 'turmoil' (15% down) and they're criticised for "underwhelming" performance in new mobile markets.


MSFT: The Application that dare not Speak Its Name

There have been recent reports about the decline in global PC sales. Laptops replaced Desktops are the most common "PC" platform 5 or more years ago. What impact on the market will this have?


NBN: Turnbull pre-releases Policy to News Ltd, engages Full-FUD drive.

News Ltd is spruiking for the Coalition again, spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt far and wide.

It's complete B/S for anyone, including NBN Co and Conroy, to say they know the exact project cost or completion schedule, either "on-time, on-budget" or a gross exaggeration of 2-3 times over budget, or even as Turnbull has been claiming, "it is a failing project".

I'm sorry, but "Failing projects" don't deliver anything, the NBN Co work is progressing and progressing well. The ALP and NBN Co are doing a lousy job of selling their performance and informing the public of their progress. MT would be right to criticise there.


NBN: The Coalition has it backwards - it should be pro-Fibre.

In 2001, Prime Minister, Howard was seen by his own party, as "mean and tricky". Not only that, but they had things backwardssummarised on "7:30" as:
The Government was "mean and tricky, out of touch and not listening" and it had deserted its own voter base, especially small business and self-funded retirees. 
If Fibre-to-Business was not a good idea, then why did the Coalition not block a $23 million project to upgrade 252 electoral offices to "Ultra-fast Internet Cables"? This is the very worst hypocrisy by a cynical cohort of politicians living high on the publicly funded hog: "I'm alright, Jack, blow you!".

Messers Abbot, Turnbull, Fletcher and Joyce are repeating this same wrong-headed blindness and being allowed to get away with it, unchallenged, by their own constituency and the Labor Party.

If you ask THE question about the NBN, "Who Benefits, Right Now?", then the answer is plain and unequivocal. it is NOT the urban dwelling middle-class who benefit. It's the Coalition's heartland:


NBN: CommsDay vs ABC.

Media Watch pointed to the CommsDay "riposte" to the ABC's definitive article listing the issues around NBN. [Part 2 of article]. Written 14-march-2013.

Here's my analysis of Grahame Lynch's "50 problems". Commsday comments in this colour.
[18-Mar: Apologies to Grahame for misspelling his name]

For completeness, some disclosure: I don't work for, or hold shares in, a Telco, NBN Co or one of their suppliers or contractors, nor am I a member or supporter of any Political Party. Neither do I support the Labor NBN plan over the Coalition's unannounced NBN. I hold the position that either Policy with deliver better broadband access. My interest is for a clear and informed debate on what I consider the defining Technology of the 21st Century for national Business Productivity and Competitiveness.


Unsolicited Advise to a classmate

I've never been a politician, managed a large budget or run even a moderate sized project, so why do I have the hubris to offer some unsolicited advice to a newly minted I.T. Minister, to whom by accident, I was once briefly a classmate?

Rejecting these thoughts "because nobody else is doing them" is an option, though not a great reason.

Rejecting them "because they're too expensive" is a judgement call, but has to be measured against "Compared to What?".
Doing nothing will cost you a whole bunch, you've already have the report on that.

The core arguments in support of my observations are:
  • How important to the current and future BackOffice and FrontOffice operations of your Government is I.T.? I suggest that the machinery of Government cannot operate without it I.T. systems, not simply ineffectively, but like airlines, not at all.
  • There is an internal consistency in what I propose, derived from one of the toughest businesses around. The challenge is not "will this work", but "how can it be made to work for us".


National Security: Prevention and Strengthening Defences missing from Gillard Strategy

The Gillard government has released a new National Security strategy specifically including Cyber-Security. It updates a 2009 strategy released by the Rudd government:
Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia's National Security
The strategy is strong, competent and wrong...
Because what is outlined is incomplete:
They have failed to address the root cause of cyber-attacks: vulnerable and error-filled Operating Systems and poor Application Software. Fix the weakness, stop the compromises before they happen, spend the money on where it can do good, not support "Business As Usual".
Cleaning up the mess and containing damage after the fact is exactly wrong: it's attempting to catch the horse after its has bolted.