Friday, July 27, 2007

My Broadband Speed

Thought I would test my home broadband connection at DSL Reports (

I have Comcast and I have to say since they increased the upload speed (from 200Kbps), the internet is much snappier..better dns resolution speed, server queries, etc.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

SaaS Customer “Bill of Rights”

I know a lot of people are talking about SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings like and Google Apps. Have the hundreds of thousands (dare I say millions) of people jumping onto these platforms ever stop and think of the big picture? Have they forgotten of the data they are entrusting these service providers?

I noticed R "Ray" Wang did a paper at Forester research on LBoR (Licensee Bill of Rights) for people using SaaS at the enterprise level. I’ve been thinking about these issues for the last year or so and have finally had the time to document my top ten thoughts:

1. Open Data. The provider will guarantee access to the customer data. Customer owns the data and can extract the data in a standard format (XML, CSV, etc.) when necessary.

2. Controlled Upgrades. The provider will announce upgrades ahead of time and thought should be made to minimize the impact to various customizations that may have been implemented by the customer.

3. Guaranteed uptime. Customers should expect five nines (or better) reliability of any SaaS product.

4. 24/7 support staff. Phone / email available with 1 hour or less response time.

5. Import export Features. Ability to import and export specific data sets easily.

6. Guaranteed backup. Extra bonus for the additional ability to backup directly to the customer backup system.

7. Exit strategy? Guaranteed availability of product if the SaaS provider is bought or goes out of business. OK, if the provider is going out of business, at least offer a backup of data and some warning or offer one of the servers for a reasonable price. I’m not sure how to handle that part of the equation, any ideas?

8. Data rights. All data entered by the customer is exclusively owned by the customer and no third parties shall have access to ANY of this data.

9. Security. System should be secure.

10. Ads. Specify to the customer if there are ads. Also specify if these ads will be linked to the customer data. (Google Ad Sense?) Security Issues?

I geared this list to enterprise level customers who usually pay big monthly dues for software...some of them still apply to small companies and individuals. My thought, if there are no guarantees for even a few of these ten items then maybe the benefit of using SaaS is not a big as it seems. Remember that in most cases the data is worth more than the application!

Does anyone have other ideas?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Jamesburg Earth Station

I've been involved with a project the last few months and have not posted anything. This project is really cool. I'm helping to restore an old earth station that was owned by AT&T between 1967 and ~2003. This facility (see Jamesburg Dish ) was the primary phone and video link to Asia during the 1960's-1980's.

It received via satellite the first moon landing video from Australia, Nixon's trip to china and the video most americans saw of the Tienaman square uprising. The dish is over 95' in diameter and is located a few miles south of Carmel Valley.

I've posted some interesting videos here: Jamesburg videos for more info...

I've been working on the computer real time tracking systems which have had some issues after being mothballed for several years. In any case, really fun working on such a large machine...check back for future posts.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Samsung Rebate - Is it a Scam?

Several Months ago I purchased a Samsung 20" SyncMaster 204B monitor for one of my workstations. I looked at several monitors with roughly the same specifications so the final decision was based mainly on price – including rebate. OK, I know $50 is not a ton of money but it was roughly 20-30% of the monitor cost. So I went with the rebate option. I followed the instructions perfectly and sent everything in as requested but as of yet, no check. Calling the rebate "support" center netted the response of "you did not include the UPC code" yet I know for a fact that I did. Hmm, I wonder how many of those UPC Codes are "lost" each year. Sounds like a total scam to me. I’ve sent another copy of the “required information” so we will see where this leads.

I understand the mentality of the rebate for retailers / product companies - Most people won't spend the time to send in the information or bother with instructions so it's a larger net for the company. Of course these companies make you jump through hoops to send in a rebate but outright fraud is a bit ridiculous. How many billions of rebates are refused? Anyone know? Why can't this be done honestly?

The next time I see a Samsung product, I'll make sure to evaluate another product instead, if the Samsung product is better, I may purchase it but will disregard the rebate.