SAPhic Centre ?
16 posts • joined 15 Aug 2009
Monsters from the Id
Some interesting points, though the personal prejudices as to what are good and proper views to hold don't do the article any favours.
The analogy I like to give to people when discussing online behaviour is based on Forbidden Planet and the demise of the enlightened Krell. A civilisation of a million years destroyed overnight by the creation of a mind linking device. The primitive part of the brain suddenly let uncontrollably loose to destroy in madness.
It seems a fair analogy for the Internet. Human personal interaction had just about developed to be civil - after all, a punch in the nose for being obnoxious is a great teacher of manners. Humans had more or less learned to control the urges and impulsed from the more primitive parts of the brain. The Internet has let all that loose, there is no punch in the nose for being a cretin behind a keyboard. Instead, all the monsters from the Id can be released in to cyberspace. Humans are just not evolved enough to cope with the Internet.
There's one side of the campaign that you don't really touch on, the revenge of the politicians.
Whilst Hacked Off with their Common Purpose background have used the Dowler and McCann cases to whip up, in their own lexicon, the useful idiots as a front for their own aims, the politicians have done exactly the same with Hacked Off as part of their own agenda.
Politicians and bureaucracy have always wanted to exercise power without the awkwardness of being held to account. The expenses scandal was on scrutiny too far for most of them as it exposed them as the venal weasels we know they are. Ultimately, any regulation in this climate is definitely not for the benefit of the public or the ordinary 'victims', it is entirely for the benefit of a few rich celebs and the political control of information.
As a side note, the bureaucrats have been trying to do this since the ending of emergency war time measures. They hated relinquishing the wartime control. Rationing, ID cards, conscription and press control have all had attempts to re-introduce them over the last 60 years using whatever causus belli that could be twisted for that aim.
It may have been released, but it's still a bit flakey.
So far I've only tested using VMware but some time during the beta phase something went seriously wrong with GNOME in that it fails to boot in to the logon session. Even now, using the official Live CD or the full ISO in a fresh install in a VM it won't complete the boot if GNOME is the chosen desktop - which is awkward since it's the default desktop. KDE or xfce install fine.
One other nit I came across. The official install uses kernel 3.6.10 but the already available patches will upgrade to 3.7.2. The kernel headers installed for 3.7.2 are missing some header files. For a VMware installation where you want to add the VMware tools, the lack of a version.h will stop VMware tools being installed.
To my mind they've got fixated on the fact that they were 3 months late according to their initial release date and pushed it out to just get it out there. It's still a work in progress.
Reminds me of my first computing job in the mid 80's.
We had an old 'British Micro' running CP/M with an orange monochrome display. If you placed the display on top of the case of the main unit, then the display would distort as the electro-magnetic fluctuations from the unit would effect the cathode tube.
Add some floppy access to it and the screen would become unreadable.
To solve, we had to use a 1/8" steel sheet between the box and the display.
Re: Server team should do the desktop OS too.
I and others have been making that argument for years.
What few people realise is that the kernel core is identical between server and workstation and has been for many years. Whilst Vista got hammered, Server 2008 with the same kernel ran appreciably faster and was far more stable. Indeed, I ran Server 2008 with the desktop add-on instead of vista and was quite happy.
There are only two differences that happen when the kernel core is delivered to the two teams. A series of registry tweaks to optimise the performance profile for either sever or workstation. The second thing that happens is each team puts its "apps" on top of the kernel. The apps in the server are typically services that require strict standards compatibility and are only allowed in the build if they have passed rigorous testing.
On the other hand it seems that the workstation team can chuck in any bloated, crap app that is the current "cool" flavour of the month. The result is that the workstation runs slow and crashes. You really wouldn't believe that it's the same kernel.
There is another factor, though. When people install a server they usually do so on better quality hardware. Expecting a workstation build to run as well on a $500 PC compared to a $10000 server machine is not realistic, but people do blame the o/s rather than their pockets.
But why the Metro interface
As good as the server is, or may be, I'm still aghast at the way Microsoft have forced the use of Metro on the server. Why ?
How many servers are going to be run on a touchpad ? Server management is typically done by power users who use rapid keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks. They also tend to have multiple apps open side by side to compare and swap information. Metro makes this virtually impossible.
Yes, PowerShell has been around for a long time now and can be very useful and powerful. But when it comes to administering servers I still need my multiple management apps open.
Metro on the server is a big big fail as far as I'm concerned.
Have a look at the server
Yes, Metro is also forced on to the Windows 8 Server. Now there's a real WTF !!!!
Who is going to be running Server on a touch screen tablet ? On normal PC hardware it's incredibly difficult to find out where all the server management tools are.
Apparently, this is part of a push by Microsoft to deprecate the use of the desktop on the server altogether and force everyone to use PowerShell.
Sounds similar to when the Yanks went crazy about "Sudden Acceleration Events". All the research pointed to big fat dumb people who couldn't tell their left foot from their right. Yet, the research conclusion wasn't allowed to say that.
Here we've got the same thing, dumb people who get offended when told they're dumb.
Since you are being pedantic about Columbus Day, can I be pedantic about your usage of the word decimated ?
Decimated has a very precise meaning. It means the culling or loss of 1 in 10. Deriving from a Roman punishment for a legion deemed to have acted in a cowardly manner. The punishment was the execution of every 10th man in the legion.
If the indigenous peoples of America, north and south, had only been decimated, then I think they would have been comparatively overjoyed and would today probably still be the dominant races on those continents. They were not decimated, they were exterminated in vast numbers. Some to extinction.
What is this guy on ?
This product sounds exactly like Adaptec's EtherScsi product developed in the late 1990's which was one of the things Adaptec brought to the effort to create iSCSI.
OK, so this product shifts T.13 ATA commands over Ethernet as opposed to T.10 SCSI commands but otherwise sounds identical - and hence, with identical issues.
Both systems work point to point based on MAC address, for a start this means that in general terms the traffic is non-routable i.e. it has to be on the same Ethernet segment. Yes, you can get a MAC level bridge, but what's the point ? Another thing not generally realised about this type of solution is that going direct over Ethernet means you're being very network unfriendly. Raw Ethernet frames will selfishly flood the network to the exclusion of all other traffic. You may achieve a decent transfer rate to the remote device, but if you're sharing the network segment with any other traffic such as SMB network shares, you're going to find the network shares dropping out at frequent intervals.
More than 10 years ago Adaptec concluded that this was an evolutionary dead-end with limited applicability. The guys who designed it have spread across senior roles in many more adventurous storage companies, funny they never proposed resurrecting the concept.
The fractional performance gain by eliminating a network friendly protocol is really not worth it and I bet the remote disks get saturated long before that even becomes a vague consideration.
USB 3.0 will kill this.
Chris, not a bad article, at least you describe the massive management failures of Adaptec as a prelude to investors lead by Steel trying to get some of their money back after years of seeing it p*****d against the wall by bad management of which Sundi is merely the worst in a long line.
What I would dispute is the the purchase of Snap was the most costly mistake. The really big one that you miss was the purchase of Platys for $150M by Bob Stephens. This was an iSCSI offload technology that when bought from Platys was nothing but a few wires attached to smoke and mirrors.
At a conservative estimate Adaptec spent $300M on trying to develop that product. They did produce a basic iSCSI HBA but the 2nd generation for generic protocol offload never worked. One of Sundi's first acts was to give it away to ServerEngines for almost nothing, certainly the IP and the R&D team was sold for less than $1M.
Now that dwarves the fiasco with Snap.
Where Snap is significant is that it was the straw that broke the camel's back. When Snap were bought they refused to integrate with the rest of Adaptec. They continued to operate as if they were still an autonomous company and stiffled all attempts at creating synergies. By that time Adaptec could barely afford to properly fund one organisation let alone two warring ones. The failure to initially sell Snap and then Sundi's decision to put most of Adaptec's R&D in to a new generation of Snap servers effectively killed the rest of the company.
I know many people look at Adaptec now and curse the "greedy bankers/hedge funds". But as you've highlighted the problem was really greedy mismanagement that stretches over decades.
Steel Partners - A Correction
Why did you have to write the last paragraph to describe Steel Partners as the swooping vultures coming in from the kill ? You've written the proper facts before, why put the wrong ones up now ?
Steel Partners have been major investors in Adaptec for nearly FIVE years. When they first invested many saw their focused strategy to realise value out of R&D and a proper sales model as the one way of saving and reviving a former giant of the business.
Sundi and his cronies not only fought them all the way, they spent a lot of time inventing creative ways to make it too expensive for themselves to be fired whilst continuing to rape the company in salary and expenses. During the last 5 years Sundi's strategy of doing whatever was diametrically opposite to what Steel was recommending has seen Adaptec's quarterly revenue drop by over 80% and a conservative estimate is that he's burned through $500M in one failed initiative after another.
A lot of people thought that Sundi's predecessor, Bob Stephens, was a disaster. Sundi has outdone Bob magnificently, or tragically depending on how one looks at it.
The ousting of Sundi by Steel is not something to be lamenting. If the company was to have been saved it should have been done at least 4 years ago. No one who has been involved with Adaptec will be sad to see Sundi go, in fact a lot of ex-employees are celebrating and if a big hole opened up and Sundi fell in they would celebrate harder.
The demise of a once great company like Adaptec is not down to some "money grabbing hedge fund", it's down to nest feathering bad management going back more than a decade. The current actions are merely due to Steel trying to recoup the millions they invested in Adaptec during the years they were denied any say in how the company was run.
The raiding investor ????
To the AC who complains about raiding investors - normally I'd agree with you but Steel Partners can hardly be called raiders in this case. Steel first invested in Adaptec in around the time Sundi became CEO, several years ago.
At that time, Adaptec might have been a basket case but it was posting revenues in the region of $120M per quarter.
When Steel invested in Adaptec many insiders hoped that it was the start of a turn around. Instead, Steel had an extended fight to get representation on the Adaptec board and Adaptec senior management has always done the opposite of what Steel wanted. This has continued right up to the current crisis as evidenced by the Adaptec proposals to effectively remove the board positions occupied by Steel.
During the time that Steel have been major investors in Adaptec they have watched Sundi take the quarterly revenue from that $120M (which was considered disappointing at the time) all the way down to $18M. The head count has gone from about 2000 to 350. It doesn't take much knowledge of downsizing to know that the senior management and bean counters are safe and that the axe falls on those who actually do and produce things. I.e. Adaptec don't have any major R&D capabilities any more.
I don't know anyone who has come across Sundi who doesn't think at best that he's out of his depth. Most just consider him to be an expensive idiot. It does take a special genius to under perform the sector by 100%.
When the news came out that Steel had the requisite proxy votes the news was greeted with cheers by the vast majority of former Adaptec insiders.
Over several years Steel have invested a considerable amount of money and seen the value of the inevestment p****d against the wall by Sundi, Mark Lowe et al. If my pension included shares locked in such a poor performing company I'd become an activist investor, too.
Sadly, the time to realise value from Adaptec was some 5 years ago. What might be realised now may be enough for the likes of Steel to break even, but I'd doubt it. Sundi's reign at Adaptec has been like Gordon Brown's reign here - an incompetent disaster.
A failed company
Considering that Sundi has now been in charge for 4 years and during that time Adaptec has seen revenue decline every quarter, about the only value left in the company is the real estate and the cash in the bank. Even the IP is dimishing in value as time passes.
During Sundi's reign Adaptec has lost all OEM RAID business to LSI and others and at the same time lost 90% of its R&D. The closure of R&D around the world with work moved to India was catastrophically mismanaged.
It's a long slow death from which most shareholders just want to realise some value before there's nothing left. When Steel first came in there was some hope that value would be realised but the infighting has resulted in the once all conquering market leader reduced to little more than a niche player.
Actually, this is nothing new for Adaptec. Look at all the major storage infrastructure companies which are successful and were founded by refugees from Adaptec where their ideas for innovation had been ignored.
The sad thing is that if Steel do wind down Adaptec to realise value from it and Adaptec disappears in its current form - no one will notice or care.
A true performer and gent
Strange that of all the comments, there's nothing from anyone saying they saw him perform. Back in Jan 1990 I saw Les Paul in the Irridium Jazz Club in New York. A wonderful setting, a narrow room that saw our table barely 10 feet from the stage. It's an evening I never forgot largely because he was a man relaxed with himself and his surroundings, he was in his element.
I can’t help smiling as I think of Les jamming tonight with Jimi Hendrix with John Bonham and Keith Moon battling on drums. Oh, and watching on in awe and screaming with joy at the top of his voice would be one Bill Hicks. So long guys and thanks for passing by this way – you made a difference.