2007 — 9 May: Time to get my NAS act together

In between trivial matters like a visit to see Christa's surgeon at lunchtime, it's time to put Junior's unused network cable in his room to better use by hooking up the "Slug" and attaching the two Western Digital "My Book" 320 GB external hard drives. They should just need formatting and away I go with one place to keep all the photos, files and MP3s that should then be available to all four PCs. This should be fun. Of course, there is the little matter of Junior no longer having his network cable free in his room but, if his employer has bought him that MacBook Pro "he'll have wireless wherever he goes," won't he?1

White horse

In other news, the iMac now lives at the other end of the study, under the skylight. This gives me more room to breathe, as it were, at both ends, and also a fighting chance to sort out the nest of hifi cabling. Oddly, the iMac's "Airport" wireless reception is pitiful in its new home — while I knew books do furnish a room, I never suspected they absorbed wireless signals to such an extent! So that's another tripwire draped over the floor. What a tangled web I weave...

T'ain't fair... department

I note I estimated (here) the ratio in the US between boss salaries and worker wages at about 380:1. Can you believe I underestimated this ghastly ratio?

Today's Guardian piece by Jonathan Freedland puts me straighter. By 2004, the ratio between average chief executive (Lord Black, perhaps?) and average worker had leapt to 431 to one, and the gap has got wider. Helpfully, (given the well-known innumeracy among Guardian readers, whose lips are often seen to move, by the way) he explains: "It means that average worker takes more than a year to earn what his boss brings home in less than a day." What, you may well ask, do these people find to do with all this money? Well, it seems grand houses on New York's swankiest avenues that were, until recently, multiple apartments but which are now restored to the private homes2 they were a century ago may account for some of the surplus funds.

"those with money, those with influence, those with control over how resources are allocated in our society, are very protective of their interests, and they can rationalise infinitely the reasons why they should have more money and power than anyone else."

Barack Obama

You surprise me! (Not.) Meanwhile, that Robert Cringely chap (the one who wrote about Silicon Valley movers and shakers who still couldn't get dates) is suggesting (here) that IBM Global Services and its "LEAN" initiative, ([which] is about offshoring and outsourcing at a rate never seen before at IBM) may mark the parting of the ways for thousands, or even tens of thousands of my (more-distant) ex-colleagues. As Mr Cringely says: "The point of this has nothing to do with the work itself and everything to do with the price of IBM shares. [my emphasis] Remove at least 100,000 heads, eliminate the long-term drag of a defined-benefit pension plan, and the price of IBM shares will soar. This is exactly the kind of story Wall Street loves to hear. Palmisano3 and his lieutenants will retire rich. And not long after that IBM's business will crash..."

Secrets of the Universe... department

Perhaps it's all those about-to-be-ex-IBMers-with-ruined-pensions who are buying up Rhonda Byrne's current best-selling book The Secret at 150,000 copies per week? There's an amusing piece about this "book" in Slate magazine. Author Emily Yoffe4 is (correctly in my opinion) rightly sceptical about this clap-trap5 and ends her piece with a fine quote from Einstein:

Or perhaps the problem is that millions of people are now putting in their orders and the universe's servers have crashed. Or maybe it's something else. As one of Byrne's favorites, Albert Einstein, said (in a quote that doesn't make it into The Secret): "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Emily Yoffe

I think I'm tempted to add "and greed" and make it three things that are infinite.

Day 187  


1  Recall that nursery rhyme: "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross, To see a fine lady upon a white horse, With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes".
2  But think of all those maids, butlers, and footmen now employed!
3  Mr Palmisano is already looking forward to some $11,000 per day to ease his non-working time of life, not counting the lolly from the IBM insider and restricted shareholder trading he's been doing with his (some might say over-generous) options. Nice work if you can get it?
4  She endeared herself to me by her semi-confession "When I bought it, I quickly stuffed it into a plastic bag, glancing around Barnes & Noble to make sure I saw no one I knew. The last time I was this embarrassed at a bookstore was when I bought The G Spot, another best seller that provided instructions for achieving bliss."
5  Whether I'm talking here about the G-spot or The Secret, the one is a lot more fun than the other!