Saturday, June 5

f u cn rd ths, u cn bcm a SE

Ever try to read something that's 90% correct (such as a bad OCR scan)? You'd quickly become disgusted, and toss it. When I entered this business in 1978, (Intel 8088, pre bloatware, when you couldn't count on a 50 GB disc, a 2 GHz processor and 16 petaquads of RAM) programmers "cheated" to make their product operate as fast as possible.

I worked for Texas Instruments (in California) then, and my job was to convince retailers that our product (the TI Professional) was better, and that software and hardware incompatibilities were unimportant. You needed to buy a TI-specific version of most everything: TI had 768KB of addressable memory, versus the IBM's 640KB limit. The problem was that IBM mapped video memory starting at 640KB, and everyone wrote directly to video memory (for speed). Oops. And then there was the IBM's 4.77 MHz bus (TI ran @ 5 MHz .. rendering almost all expansion cards incompatible). TI's "3-plane graphics" card was far superior to the IBM, but .. a better mousetrap doesn't win over customers, who want compatibility first, enhancements second.

Years ago, I read Marsha Sinetar's Do what you love, the money will follow which may be why I got into the computer business. Now, I'm mulling whether I want to keep doing high-tech, or change directions. Yes, I'm very good with computers, but their use has become ubiquitous. There's still a need for pre-sales technical types who can architect a proper solution, but few hiring managers seem to appreciate those skills.

I've heard stories about managers chiding employees for not being visible enough (meaning: in the office, versus at a customer site). It's like a Dilbert comic strip: "your absence hasn't gone unnoticed, you know". {sigh}, Lesson learned: spend your time in the office, practicing your putting, playing Fantasy Baseball, tracking your investments, or scheduling your soccer mom's minivan convoy. Being at the customer site makes you invisible, and that's bad.

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