Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

the fall of enron

A Washington Post series on one of the greatest business falls in history.


Part 1: Coming Storms


Part 2: Warnings


Part 3: Cutting Losses


Part 4: Crisis


Part 5: Catastrophe


About the Post Series

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 6:51 PM

the earth summit

The Earth Summit gets under way on Monday, August 26th in Johannesburg. This article from The Economist has some interesting comments on it, for example:

"Environmental groups have already been heavily critical of the summitís size, noting that the numbers going to Johannesburg will ensure it has a damaging impact on a region already facing huge environmental problems."

or
"[...] even with caviar and champagne off the menu, the contrast between the well-fed delegates and the millions of people in southern Africa now starving, as their region is caught once more in the grip of a famine, will be striking."

I don't doubt that the people behind the Summit have good intentions at heart, but Maybe it's time to rethink how we achieve consensus on things like the environment, where local policies alone aren't enough. Not that I have good answers... but at least we should be asking these kinds of questions more often.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 6:12 PM

guidelines for blogging at Groove

Ozzie on his blog: guidelines for public blogging at Groove. Very much on topic with my previous posting.

In general it seems to be ok, it simply says that you have to be respectful of other people, make sure that people understand you're not a spokesperson for the company, and that you're not revealing trade secrets, etc. The only problem is this paragraph:

Finally, please be aware that the company may request that you temporarily confine your website or weblog commentary to topics unrelated to the company (or, in rare cases, that you temporarily suspend your website or weblog activity altogether) if it believes this is necessary or advisable to ensure compliance with securities regulations or other laws.

Now, as far as I can see, it says that the company can shut you down whenever they please. I mean "securities regulations or other laws"... that covers everything, doesn't it?

Not too good then. On the bright side, they have a policy, and their employees know which rules they must follow, like them or not. That's a step in the right direction, because whatever is on paper can be discussed without fear of misunderstandings.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 5:15 PM

blogging, writing and its consequences

Once more, I've been thinking about what it means to blog, to write, and why it is so hard in our oh-so-advanced western society to simply tell the truth and deal with it. Political correctness, they call it. I call it hypocrisy.

I went down this road once more after reading Bryce's entry on the social issues in blogging. There I found a link to an old Salon article on how people get fired for expressing themselves, and, more importantly, a link to Mark's account of how he was fired for his weblog, not just for writing a personal and excellent description of what addiction is, but for "rebelling" in an amazing response against the stupidity of his boss to try to stop him from writing.

It's a common tale: management somehow assumes people don't have a life, don't talk to each other, don't have an interest in friendship, or expression, or don't want anything out of life except sit in an office for 8-10 hours a day and type and do what they are told. They might say they do. But they don't. The fact that companies commonly ask people to work more (even when they are already working more than their share) proves it. The fundamental flaw in the worldview of these people comes down, I think, to a combination of two things: a misplaced sense of what "profesionalism" is, and the belief that people are "assets" like a chair or a keyboard. The second one is I think quite widespread and it doesn't need much of an explanation. The first one implies that when you're at work you should behave "profesionally," that is, never express fear, or exhaustion, or confusion, in short, emotions. You should always be in charge, in control, and doing what's good for the company. Screw the person, it's all about our collective future, and if you happen to shoot yourself in the process, well, too bad. We'll be sure to send stock options to your family.

We need to create a new "social contract" between organizations (corporations, governments, etc) and individuals. The individual matters. We are better than in the middle ages, but right now we are not much better than at the beginning of the industrial age. The point of a company, for example, should not be an end in itself, it should exist to provide work for its employees. Not to generate money in abstracto.

Change.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 3:41 PM

adventures in css

Interesting CSS/Mozilla related section of a blog: Adventures in CSS, a part of Bryce's Radio Experiments.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 2:36 PM

mozilla imports outlook

A while ago Jon Udell mentioned how he'd used Mozilla 1.0 to get his data out of a PST. Actually, reading a PST is not a big problem if you're on a Windows machine, since you can use MAPI to create a (relatively) simple program to read the data and dump it in any format you want. Mozilla is convenient though.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 2:27 PM

no more Microsoft software

Is it possible to live without IE, Office, etc? Of course it is. But is it possible for me?

It seemed not. When I installed Mozilla (pre 1.0) I kept clicking on the button for IE and never gave Mozilla much of a second look.

But why? I knew it was just inertia. Well, screw it. Now I have installed Mozilla 1.0 and I'm determined to try to switch. I have just switched the default browser for the OS. I will soon get an alternative Office (e.g., OpenOffice) and replace the rest of the tools. Eventually, the OS should go too right? Well, maybe not. Some for my research requires Win32 development, and so far the best solution for that is Visual Studio.

Let's see if I can live with a monopoly-free machine.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 2:14 PM

borland back in the fray

Borland has announced a new suite of development tools that will compete directly with Visual Studio .Net. My first programming environment was Turbo Pascal in DOS and it was a long time until I found an environment that was as easy to use and as versatile as that for C/C++ and then Java. In the case of Java in particular the original Visual Cafe came close, but the best one for me until recently was JBuilder.

Right now my favorite (by far) is IDEA from IntelliJ. Once you've used the refactoring features, you never look back, particularly if you use part or all of the development guidelines of Extreme Programming.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 24, 2002 at 9:41 AM

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