September 23rd, 2003


Cellphone Number Portability

Do you have a US cellphone? Please hit this link.

From Boing Boing

We're fast closing in on the late November deadline for cellular companies and other telcos to offer number portability to their customers. The telcos have been dragging their heels on this for years, knowing that their businesses -- which have legnedarily poor customer satisfaction -- will be challenged to behave like real companies if their customers can switch and keep their phone numbers with them.

Now Congress is starting to waffle on the idea of number-portability -- big-money lobbyists have done their work and turned our elected representatives against us. Escape Cell Hell is the action-center fielded by Consumers Union (publishers of Consumer Reports) where you can write in and tell your Congresscritter not to sell out your interests to the twisted progeny of Ma Bell.


A Meeting with Microsoft

So my boss came to my cube today (Tuesday), and asked me if I was free for lunch. Something about dealing with some dotNET evangelists. I figured it was a sales pitch thing, and I was being sent to be "official sceptic", as I am well known to be a Linux bigot. I certainly wasn't going to turn down a lunch at Daniel's Broiler (on the 22nd floor of the Bellevue Center tower).

Turns out it wasn't what I had thought at all. A local tech executive, now working for Microsoft as part of the dotNET group, had been noticing that their "message" when evangulizing to ISVs was, at best, falling flat. So he called up a dozen of his tech exec friends, and had them each loan him a Linux Geek for a few hours. So there we were, a dozen Open Source bigots, and handful Microsoft marketing suits, having lunch, and just talking back and forth about how Open Source works, how can people make money at it (or not), the advantages (and disadvantages, if any) that it has over the "Microsoft Way".

I was just a little bit late getting there, which meant that I got installed at the head of the table. And I'm afraid that I talked about as much as the other geeks put together. The MS people were intellegent and engaged, and asked insightful questions.

It was really kind of freaky tho, to see the things that got carefully noted down. My explanation of the "ascending cycle of developer tool power causing larger expectations of software complexity", which is seems so basic to me, was amazing to them. I figure it's going to be showing up in PowerPoint slides all over the Campus soon.

I wish I had a recording or transcript.

A Room Full of Geeks

After rendezvousing with elfs at the UW Bookstore, we made our way to Kane Hall on the UW Seattle Campus, for the Neil Stephenson appearance for his new book Quicksilver: Volume One of the Baroque Cycle.

The crowd impressively large, and was full of the best kind of people. Geeks! Geeks of every shape and age, dressed in the standard uniform of jeans and tshirts emblazoned with computer, science, sf, & anime references, the air filled with conversations about computers, physics, telecomms, and history of the same.

Mr Stephenson wasn't the best reader of his own work, but that's too be expected, especially since apparently this was the very first time he's read AND non-trival length of Quicksilver in public. But we the crowd loved him, the Q&A session went well, and while the signing line was huge, the time passed well.

Afterward, I took Elf home, then took myself home. The neighbor's cat affectionately met me in the parking lot, much to the jealous annoyance of my own guys. Ran thru some piano exercizes, watched the latest epsode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and have now retired to bed, with my laptop on me knees, and a sleeping cat on my lap.