The other shoe drops and customers say no

October 12th, 2002

Looks like Microsoft’s subscription pricing strategy isn’t gonna fly. I saw the holes in their plan way back in May 2001 and made my own plans to get off the merry-go-round a year ago.

Funny how they spin it that we’re the idiots for not understanding it. I understand it well enough, of that you can be certain.


Another acronym explained

October 11th, 2002

I’ve always said it stood for International Bowel Movement. Seems I was right.


Testing Marks’s new “further reading” reference injector

October 11th, 2002

Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving! Dramatically expand the size of your
Pilgrim in just a few links! Guaranteed increase in girth!


And here’s the map.

October 9th, 2002

I just discovered David Skyrme via Phil Wolff. In this article he presents some solid planning for moving an organization towards effective knowledge sharing.



October 7th, 2002

Jessyca Wallace is really very thoughtful. That’s all you gotta know.


When you can’t access get to the PC, have it come find you

October 7th, 2002

One of the many many things I really like about VNC is that you can start up a listener and then have someone throw a remote control session to your address. This came in handy for me at a client last year.

The client’s VPN software wouldn’t work through my home cable router at that time (since fixed with a flash ROM upgrade). I couldn’t use PC Anywhere or VNC in their usual ways because the machine was various levels deep into the network and it would be impossible to expose its ports to the Internet at large.

What I ended up doing was writing a Perl program to run on the PC in question that would once a minute check a file on my webserver called vnclisten.on. If that file exists, it reads from it one text line containing the IP address I want it to throw a connection to, and tells VNC to connect there.

Once that’s running, to control that machine, I make sure my port 5500 is exposed on the internet wherever I am, and then I drop a file called vnclisten.on onto my webserver in the right spot, containing my current IP address. Within a minute, I have a remote control session pop up! At that point, I have one minute to go kill or rename the vnclisten.on file so I don’t get multiple sessions popping up.

It doesn’t matter how deep into the network the serving machine is, as long as it has net access and your listening machine can expose its port 5500 on an external address either directly or via port forwarding.

Here is the Perl program:

# listencheck.pl
# checks url every minute to find address of
# listening vnc client and throws a vnc session
# to that address if so

# syntax: listencheck url interval

my $url = shift || 'http://www.myserver.xxx/vnclisten.on';
my $interval = shift || 60;
my $logfile = "listencheck.log";
my $vnc = ""c:\program files\orl\vnc\winvnc"";

use LWP::UserAgent;
$ua = new LWP::UserAgent;

while (1) {
 my $req = HTTP::Request->new(GET => $url);
  my $res = $ua->request($req);
  if ($res->is_success) {
  my ($addr) = $res->content =~ /\s*(.*)\s*/;
  system("$vnc -connect $addr");
  open LOG, ">>$logfile";
  print LOG localtime(time) . " connect to $addr \n";
  close LOG;
 sleep $interval;

Set your screensaver to "blank screen", set a short delay, and make it ask for a password!


All googley-eyed over nothing

October 5th, 2002

Well, not over nothing, I guess, but over the wrong thing. Seems there’s a lot of people peeved that Google changed its PageRank formula. They no longer fall as close to the top as they once did.

Trouble is, they’re all using examples that their rank as the definitive Bill or Ted or Bob or Dave or Mark or whatever is out of whack, like as if anyone goes searching for them on the net purely because of their Daveness or Billness.

Have any of these people thought to look at their rank based on their content?
I don’t know where I stand in the Brent list on Google, and I don’t care. I’m still the top if you look for “remote scripting” or “blog chat”, and that’s as it should be.

I can’t imagine my Brentness interests anyone.


Before you get in the car, you need a driver and a map.

October 5th, 2002

Matt Mower comments on my altruism as a cultivated resource comments:

I listened to a Geoffrey Moore webcast recently titled “Provocation Selling: Making quota in a downmarket” (via Rick Klau’s site) and it was very interesting. Basically he says the only way to sell software to large corps today is to fix “leaky pipes.” So knowledge logging must become a wrench.

My current angle is that internal communications and awareness is the “leaky pipe.”

I am trying to develop a line that sells business weblogging as a way to make corporations more responsive to internal changes and data “at the edge.”

The difficuly with providing technology solutions to this particular leaky pipe is that it’s not a technical problem. It’s a problem of an entrenched culture of insecurity that results in hoarding of knowledge and attempts to steer personal and corporate destinies by controlling knowledge flow.

Everyone’s standing around knee-deep in water, leaky pipes all around, but either unwilling to recognize that the excess moisture is what’s bogging their company down, or unwilling to act and possibly become a casualty to the process.

The only lasting solution is to promote a culture of openness and sharing, as Phil Windley is doing, and through hard work and small wins, build a grassroots awakening to the power of altruism. The technology is just the wheels to transport us there – the entire trip has to be mapped out and deftly navigated by enlightened management.

Our problem is that we’re trying to sell sets of fancy wheels to people who don’t know how or why to drive, let alone have a map of where they’re going. They get in, crash into the first obstacle they find, get out and slam the door, muttering about how this damn car can’t drive straight.

We as wheels providers will have to team up with business analysts who have the ear of the executive layer and can teach them how to drive and map a path towards enlightenment. They will have to, like Windley, lead by example, at which point we can ride in their wake and spread knowledge tools and concepts.

I firmly believe that the way out of the mess of corporate untrustworthiness that’s miring this dark economy is for organizations to become visibly approachable and believable in the best Cluetrain fashion.