18F and Federal Beaurocracy

Whatever your opinion is of the current administration, the current Congress, or the current state of the federal government, I don’t think it’s even debatable that the tech changes happening at the federal level of government in recent years are heading in the right direction and absolutely necessary. Having a group in there that’s helping to modernize technology and websites that are total cluster&^%$s with strong guidance, modern standards, and energetic people who want to help is a good thing. A very good thing.

Unless, of course, you’re a federal contractor who relies on the horrible old way to handle business for fat profits while getting nothing done. Then you make claims about opaqueness, which is hilarious.

This story sums up neatly why this protest is laughable:

A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that in 2015, U.S. agencies spent more than $80 billion on IT expenditures. Out of this sum, about $60 billion — or 75 percent — went to maintain outdated IT systems. Since many of these are supported by established vendors, logic seems to dictate that if modernization continues and groups like 18F increase accessibility to federal contracts, agencies may opt for different vendors. Federal tech procurement processes could see bids from new entrants that not only improve the quantity and diversity of offerings, but also come at lower price points.

Emphasis mine.

Let’s hope these protests are just the gasps of a dying beast that’s been put on its back.

One last non-surprise: One of the corporate members of the group that’s protesting is Microsoft.

Inevitable, But That Doesn’t Mean I Have to Like It

I was right — Adobe has doomed us all.

Now the Apple App Stores are going subscription model.

It’s over. It was fun while it lasted, though.

If nothing else, this will dramatically cut down on the number of apps I use from month to month, just to avoid that nickel and diming.

I hope that the developers choose six month or annual subscription plans. That’s about the only way I’ll feel OK with this. It’ll feel like natural upgrade pricing that way. Monthly just feels desperate.

Rooting for Google

My first job out of college was as an Oracle database programmer. I love me a good multidimensional database design, where you can slice values off the cube to get what you want.

That has nothing to do with the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit, but I felt like mentioning it.

Larry Page testified yesterday. I loved this back-and-forth:

[Oracle’s lawyer] Bicks asked Page if Google paid Oracle for the use of Java, which was developed by Sun Micro systems in the early 1990s and acquired by Oracle in 2010.

“I think when Sun established Java it was established as an open source thing,” Page said.

Bicks repeated the question.

“No we didn’t pay for the free and open things,” Page said.

Adobe Destroys Software Industry

Adobe logo

Adobe is proving out the monthly payment business model for high end computer software. I hate it.

For many people, it’s probably not a bad deal. The monthly fee for Photoshop seems a pittance compared to the much larger price the behemoth once charged for the software. It’s particularly powerful for those who might not need to use PS every month.

But I hate paying monthly for software. I understand why companies love the recurring revenue. It’s smart business for them. But I do everything I can to not pay monthly for software. I prefer to pay once and then for major upgrades. Sometimes, I skip a version, which makes the initial investment in the software pay off even better. With monthly pay
Adobe changed that, and it’s working for them, and we’re all screwed.

Today Adobe reported its first quarter earnings for 2016, yet again revealing “record” quarterly revenue. This time the company raked in revenues of $1.38 billion and $0.66 earnings per share (non-GAAP). Adobe has set a revenue record for the past three quarters.

Even with all the internet gnashing of teeth over it, everyone still ponies up who needs the software. It’s industry standard in so many places. You can’t avoid it.

With a huge company like Adobe proving the concept out, others will follow suit. The business model works. Why wouldn’t others do the same?

I can only hope they don’t move to this monthly standard for Lightroom next. It’s the last hold-out of the one-time-only pay model. Yes, you can pay for it monthly in a package deal with Photoshop, as I recall, but the standalone model is still an option.

You can use alternatives like Acorn (for the Mac) or GIMP (if you’re REALLY not into spending money, or just adore Linux), but the world has standardized on too many Adobe products. There’s no going away from them, and now their monthly pay model is going to be normalized and standardized.

We’re screwed.

For the record, I’m using Acorn, Clip Studio Paint, and Lightroom for most all of my photographic and graphic needs. They’re all paid for.


TIL: List Directories

Unix 101: To make a list of just the subdirectories inside the current directory:

$ ls -ld */

Or, to include “hidden” directories and ALL subdirectories recursively:

$ find . -maxdepth 1 -type d

Of course, you can change the maxdepth depending on how far you want to go into the inner recesses of your file system.

There’s so much cool stuff you can do with the ls command that it’s worth looking up its man page every few months as a reminder…

Just Begging For a Lawsuit

It seems to me that a job listing with this as its opening paragraph is begging for an age discrimination lawsuit, don’tcha think?

One of the top investment banks in the NY area is looking for a smart young DB Developer (1-4 years of experience) to work closely with the Global Equities business on various reporting systems. Great opportunity for a very bright Junior DB Developer out of a good school to learn the financial industry.

I mean, what if an experienced ETL developer was trying to change their career to something more DB-centric? This job would be good for that person, too.

Of course, the second sentence where they basically say they’re looking for someone with a fancy university degree is your first major tip-off that their priorities are all out of whack and the job should be avoided at all costs, anyway…

The Silence of the West Coast

It came to be that the west coast’s largest state fell eerily silent.

The cause was unknown for a long time. Nobody talked about it, obviously.

It took volumes of writing on the internet, filled with hashtags and emoji, to sort the issue out.

Legislators met in Sacramento to discuss the problem, quietly at first. As their resolve grew, so did the volume of their collected voice. Their numbers increased.

They could not be shut up!

This powerful wave of discussion rolled south, down the Pacific Coast Highway, finally reaching into Los Angeles and Hollywood.

People who once made a living there speaking or posing in front of cameras once more found their voice. It made their day jobs as bartenders, waiters, and waitresses much easier.

Legislation was no longer necessary. The problem solved itself through the sheer willpower and force of those once affected.

In a town filled with actors and models and their agents, Hollywood could not be held muteable.