Daily Archive: June 29, 2005

Auto updating software

ClickOnce_thumbThere is a recent trend for software to auto-update, and if you are logged in as administrator then it works pretty well, and hopefully with Longhorn and ClickOnce the experience will be good for non-administrators as well.  What’s surprising is that its taken so long for the auto-update model to become popular.

About 13 years ago I developed my first distributed system on PC’s that was going to be widely deployed within an enterprise.  The first thing I did (initialy just to make testing easier) was to write a stub that checked the currently installed version of the program, against the manifest file version on the server defined in the last version of the manifest.  If the version was different, the stub downloaded the installer programme defined in the updated manifest and ran it, otherwise it started the application.  The stub was so simple that we hoped it could cope with any update scenario and of course the stub could be updated anyway.  Using this system we were able to keep thousands of PC’s up-to date without any manual intervention, other than publishing a new manifest and associated updates to the distribution points.  Of course there is nothing clever in …

Find what you love

Stawberries2I am still on a journey of discovery to try and “find what I love doing”,  I am fairly content in my work, find it interesting and challenging, but I don’t feel I make a difference, at home I spend most of the time with my family – which is great – but very internal focused.  I would like both work and home life to change over time to be more community centred and to feel that I am giving something back to the world and that I live in a more natural and sustainable way.  My relatively poor health is currently the excuse I hide behind that stops me taking the risk associated with change.

I do however continue to be on the lookout for advise in this area and I recently cam across these two articles, one by Steve Jobs – You’ve got to find what you love and the other my Dave Pollard ‘Business’ Advice for Young Adults (and Their Parents & Teachers).  Check them out if you ever think about your work or worry about how you are preparing your kids to help them make good choices about their future work choices.

The new world of work

WORKI recently listened to a lecture by Thomas Malone on the “New world of work”, I enjoyed the lecture although the material in it was not too surprising.  That said the implications on IT are considerable as the old concept of a single infrastructure for all of an enterprises employees starts to collapse as those employees become a fragmented mix of oursourced, contractors, suppliers, small isolated teams in internal markets etc.  Tom describes 4 models for the future of the distributed workplace:

  1. Loose Hierarchies — with flat organisation structure and substantial autonomy granted to individual business units, subject to overarching principles, review and budget control (e.g. consultancies, universities, technology developers)
  2. Democracies — where all employees, or all managers, get an equal vote on some or all key corporate decisions
  3. External Markets — where most of the non-executive jobs are outsourced to independent businesses and contractors, so all ’employees’ essentially become ‘suppliers’, with the commensurate rights and autonomy
  4. Internal Markets — where each business unit, and even individuals within business units, contract with each other as if they were dealing at arms’ length, so, every business unit and every employee acts much like an autonomous business

To get a good overview …