Pet peeve: Industry award surveys

If you are going to give an award, put together a group of real people, make up a criteria you can openly share with everyone, select the winners and announce the awards. Don’t just put up a silly survey with hundreds of possible categories and self-nominated awardee choices. Most people who go there will not know why and what they are voting for, with the exception of, my friend or boss or colleague asked me to do this. This is flawed.

I saw this tweet from Pivotal asking us to vote for them for the “Technology Innovator of the Year”.

surveytweet

First of all, I don’t know who is running this awards survey. It just said “V3 Awards Survey”. A bit of googling and I find this.

V3 launched its fourth annual Technology Awards on Thursday evening with an event in Mayfair for winners from previous years, and 2013 contenders. The night saw the unveiling of this year’s categories, and attendees were able to nominate themselves or others during the evening. But don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it along, as there is still plenty of time to get your firm’s entries in.

So anyone can nominate themselves in any category they want? This explains why the entries made no sense to me.

Now voting for Pivotal, I don’t even know what they innovated frankly. I am not saying that they haven’t, I just don’t know how to vote for them versus the other shortlisted options in that category like Nokia for Lumia 1020, Samsung for Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, etc. This list just doesn’t make sense.

surveychoices

Coming to Pivotal again, I really don’t know what they have innovated so far. Cobbling together a bunch of assets that existed previously into a new company is hardly innovation. Pretty much everything listed in the products page on Pivotal are pre-existing products under VMWare/EMC: Spring, RabbitMQ, vFabric, tc Server, Pivotal Analytics (was Cetas, acquired by VMWare), Cloud Foundry, Greenplum, GemFire, the list goes on. I do see one small piece of potential innovation that is new in this mix, HAWQ, as part of Pivotal HD, the Hadoop distribution offered by Pivotal.

Is that why I should nominate Pivotal for the technology innovator of the year and not Kaspersky Lab GrEat team for work on Flame and MiniFlame? Now, don’t get me stated on that, I have no idea what Flame and MiniFlame are, and I am not going to google them now.  And no, I am not going to propagate this by publishing the survey link. There now, I got things off my chest. Feels better.  I just need my 5 minutes back.

Advertisements

Where have I been?

Sorry, I haven’t blogged in a while.
I have been upto a lot of things at work and hence haven’t been able to carve out any time to blog on my personal site.

By the way, I have been working with a lot of talented engineers here at JackBe. The team is bursting with energy, enthusiasm and ideas and all ready to kick ass with our technology and product leadership.

Next week, I will be a JavaOne in San Francisco. Drop a line if you want to meet…

Hey, What about AJAX?

I just read this and IMO the following statement is somewhat off / biased and the rest of the writeup is has a slant towards Adobe’s Flex:

There are three technologies on the horizon that will change the way people use the web: LaszloSystems’ OpenLaszlo, Microsoft’s WinFX (codename Avalon) and Adobe’s Flex 2.

Without specifically using any of the technologies mentioned above, there is a pure standard technology that is already changing the way people use the web. It is called AJAX!

Ajax or AJAX?

Just a simple question. I have seen people use both ways, some use Ajax and others use AJAX (all upper case). Michael Mahemoff writes why he chooses to use the former. What do you use and why ? Let me know.

Who needs these Ajax applications

OK. I might be the only one but I think people need to think beyond what is cool in Ajax. Take ajaxWrite for example. (BTW, it is worth reading Alex Russell‘s take on ajaxWrite from a pure Ajax perspective in his post titled ajaxWrong).

Here is the basic premise of ajaxWrite quoted below from their website (or other such applications sprouting on the web every hour):

  1. Global access, all you need is an internet connection
  2. Platform independent, you can use it with any operating system
  3. Automatic updates and upgrades, no more computer restarts or missed patches/updates
  4. Server side management — all the busywork is done for you

In many cases where we use a word processing application, we are operating from places where we don’t have an internet connection. Regarding platform independent, i couldn’t care less about it for a word processing application because most users have already chosen a platform (Windows or Mac or Linux or …) and aren’t likely to have multiple platforms floating around them at home or at work. While I can see the benefit of automatic updates and upgrades, it is not enough to convince me to abandon my favorite word processor. And as a user, who cares about server side management? I don’t have to worry about the server side management with my word processor because there is no friggin server! If I want free word processor, I would go for open source favorite Open Office which continues to improve with every release.

And now I see there is an ajaxSketch by the same developers. Same idea, different application, I can use it to generate an SVG diagram. Big deal. I like Gimp and Inkscape, and both are free and have a lot more features than ajaxSketch can ever incorporate.

Besides the obvious cool factor of rich applications on the browser, I need to know what is the business value of any such new applications. Can someone convince me that these applications have any value besides being toys to showcase what Ajax can do?

Thank You for Calling Microsoft. We can’t Help You.

I just bought this new HP laptop and am having problems with sleep/hibernate modes. It friggin wakes up automatically and loses all battery power. The devil inside. Anyway, I found this article on their website that says they have a hotfix that they won’t let me download, but want me to call their support team. So I did call them and got connected to an obviously outsourced call center rep who listened to my problem for 30 seconds and said:
“I am sorry to interrupt you Deepak, but I will be unable to help you because my system tools are upgrading right now. Can you call back in exactly 10 minutes?”. What??!
I said, “Can you just email me the friggin hotfix after your system comes back up?”
He said, “Sorry I am not a technical guy, I am just a customer service rep. If you really want to talk to the technical expert, please call back in 10 minutes. Can I help you with anything else today?”
I said, “You can’t really, can you? Your system is upgrading.”
He goes, “Oh, Yes. Thank you for calling Microsoft.”
Sigh!

Bye Bye Love! See You Around…

If not for Sun and Unix, I wouldn’t be here, not in this country. Let me explain a bit. My first OS was a Unix System V while I was a student. Then, after graduating from my engineering school, I worked for a cool company in India (CMC Limited) for 6 years. During the early 90s, I saw a lot of my friends and colleagues move to the US. I was somewhat reluctant because I loved my job and did not want to move away from friends and family. Or maybe I was just picky. In those days, one of my passions was Unix internals. So after unsuccessfully trying to ship me off abroad, my managers realized there was one thing I wouldn’t be able to resist a gig which would have me working on some Solaris stuff. So one day they called me and said, “Hey Deepak, there is an opening for a gig at Sun that might let you work on Solaris related stuff, do you want to go?” I was like, “Did you say Sun & Solaris? Heck! Yeah! “. Within a month I was in California with 200 borrowed dollars in my pocket.

When I reported to work i found out it all wasn’t true. Yes, the gig was at Sun, but never mind that it was nowhere near anything Solaris. Fast forward 18 months and I transitioned to become a full-time Sun employee and had a fun 10 years of working in different roles and projects.

I still remember, back then, one of the huge reason and attraction to join Sun for me was being able to work with the smartest, intelligent and highly talented folks at Sun. That still holds today for anyone who is thinking of working at Sun. Sun has to simply be one of the best (if not the best) technology company to work for, and it is not an easy company to leave. But, I must say that now my first act at Sun is completed. As you know, I just completed 10 years of working at Sun in October 2005. I am very proud of reaching this milestone in my career . So, after a somewhat difficult process, I have decided to leave Sun and pursue other opportunities. I resigned from Sun on February 6th and tomorrow is my last day at Sun as an employee.

Over these years, I have met and worked with so many amazing folks at Sun that it is impossible to list the impact that each one of them have had on me. So I thank them all, where ever they are now.

My personal website will still be at www.deepakalur.com on which you will find my background and contact information. My new personal blog is at www.deepakalur.com/blog. This blog at Sun will be available as always but all my future postings will appear on my personal blog.