Monday, June 13, 2005

What would I do without Cygwin...

I have recently moved from a linux desktop onto a windows desktop. When I first started on the linux desktop I missed the familiar functionality in the "dir /s" command. There was no direct equivalent in linux.

I subsequently overcame this so called difficiency by utilising "find . | grep xxx". I also got used to using tail and less as well as vi.

Now that I am on the windows desktop a minor adjustment was required. Fortunately, and this is a big one, cygwin came to my rescue and provided me with all those familiar commands available in my now beloved bash.

It boggles my mind to think how any self respecting software developer committed to excellence can suffer a desktop without something as simple as tail. What is your windows alternative? Notepad! Heaven forbid. There is no out of the box viewer on a windows platform which can monitor a file for changes and render those changes when they happen. Do the microsoft developers deem the facility useful enough? In linux (and cygwin) you have two options; 'tail' for monitoring a file and 'less' for doing both viewing and monitoring (the best of both worlds).

Those guys at Cygwin make my life on a windows platform bearable.

I salute them.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


The other day I went to the bank in order to have my garage card linked to my debit card instead of to my credit card. Considering I have had a credit card and a garage card for more then 3 years, to any plain man you would think it would simply be the case of, unlink from credit card, link with debit card.

In other words, they would simple cancel the garage card linked with the credit card and issue me with a garage card linked with the debit card...

Why then is it, that in order to acquire a garage card linked to my debit card I did in fact have to apply for a new garage card from scratch! Go figure...

Friends of mine had a similiar issue. They wanted to apply for something at the bank, I can't remember what, and the bank requested that they supply them with bank statements from the last year. To which the obvious reply is, you've got all the records, look it up and approve the application.

No, this is not the manner in which it would be done. Eventually they had to march home, get all the paper work in order and take it down to the bank.

Why is it that when you go to the bank it always seems as if you have to start from the beginning with everything.

The answer lies in usability. Take an average bank employee, the kind who deals with the public. Both the tellers and consultants. They are the "infantry" of the bank. They're the worker bees of the bank, and, just like the rest of the population, they can't even program a VCR. How could you then expect them to understand all the conditions and different ways of applying for a garage card. If the client has an account already then do this... For the sake of the "worker bees", everything is kept simple. If things were more complex, then the average bank employee would be swamped with paper work and would not understand any of the processes. Remember, most of the people in the world do not understand what they're doing, or critical evaluate _why_ they're doing it. They do it because they're told to do it. You average bank consultant is no different.

So the next time you get irritated with bureaucracy, spare a thought for the workers implementing the processes. They have to be simple enough for them to operate.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

intro to the fork...

well, as I mentioned on my other blog (thoughts for life), quite a few weeks ago, that I was going to "fork" the blog. That day has finally arrived, thus we have analysis 102. Okay, okay, cool name you might say, well, obviously, because someone has already acquired the analysis 101 name. Hopefully, being a more advanced subject (102), the analysis may be more advanced.

This blog will be for well, thoughts on practical issues, business, computing etc. Hopefully the content will be interesting for anyone who thinks about the way things are and the way to make things better.