Friday, September 23, 2011

A Friday Mini Braindump

This is a bit rambling, but hopefully worth your while...

I've been in training all week learning AdminStudio and InstallShield.  During that same time, work has not stopped or hibernated, and house chores haven't let up (my wife is hundreds of miles away visiting family right now), so my brain is a bit frazzled and woozy.

DirectX + AutoCAD 2012 + Configuration Manager = who cares?

During this same week I received several emails relating to my blog posts regarding the repackaging of DirectX for deploying AutoCAD 2012 via Configuration Manager.  That sentence is a ****ing mouthful.

I have already posted several articles dealing with this subject, and even included it in my book.  The recent inquiries have been about how to repackage the components for silent installation using something other than Wise Package Studio.  I ran through a few tests using InstallShield 2011 and it works as well (albeit using a somewhat more verbose process), and even toyed with merging the results back into the AutoCAD 2012 network deployment by way of editing the .INI file to point the [DIRECTX] sequence to use the new .MSI. (WARNING: this practice is completely unsupported by Autodesk, so if you pursue that, you're on your own.  Don't call me).

Then it dawned on me: I just don't give a shit about this topic anymore.  Maybe I'm getting older?  I'm just tired of making the same Band-Aid for the same mess; a mess I didn't create.

Wise Package Studio vs. InstallShield / AdminStudio

On a side note: I received some rather interesting responses about my comments regarding Wise being dumped by Symantec and why I feel InstallShield is a "better way to go".

Here's why:

  1. Upgrades to Wise Package Studio, since 6.x, have been minimal.  It's hard for even (former Wise/Altiris/Symantec) engineers to argue that 8.0 is nothing more than 7.0 SP4.  Even the community forums are rife with comments that indicate the future is gloomy for that product line.
  3. My discussions with several Symantec employees at TechEd 2011 made it clear to me that even they do not know whether WPS has any future.
  4. Compare this with navigating the Symantec web site and trying to find a CLEAR link to WPS anymore.  They have been steadily burying it as time passes.  Don't believe me?  Check this out:  (press CTRL+F and enter "wise" and see how many matches it finds)

Wise is dead.  It just doesn't know it yet.  What a shame too.  It was once such a cool product.

Sometimes Reality Hurts

The painful reality of working in the IT field is this:

Everything you accomplish in the line of your IT work, and I mean EVERYTHING, will be gone and forgotten in ten to twenty years.

Your ancestors made furniture, built houses, roads and bridges, constructed buildings, and railroads.  We move bits around.  We can still find their furniture, their houses, drive on their roads and bridges, visit their buildings and ride their railroads.  You don't think your network, servers and software will vanish?  Ask the folks who built Windows 3.1 and the folks who worked at Sun Microsystems in the 1990's.

The reality is that no matter how important we think we are, none of our accomplishments will last as long as that hand-carved wooden rocking chair.  Those stone-laid Roman highways are a bitch, aren't they?

Feeling happier now?  :)

Sometimes Reality Feels Good

My son is 12.  He's been playing guitar for several years, only one of which did he take lessons.  The rest of his learning has been self-driven and via Google and various tab sites.  He averages roughly one new song per week.  He just picks something that catches his ear and he dives into learning how to play it.  It's amazing.  I can listen to him play for hours.

When I was 12 I had a bicycle and a TV with 3 local channels of 1960's re-runs and news.  Compared to today, that was like living in the Australian outback, but that was in Virginia in the 1970's.  For all the new inventions and distractions and the loss of naiveté of our modern world, seeing kids push themselves to do cool things gives me a good feeling that there's still hope.

Battery Life

During the power outage after Hurricane Irene last month, I started thinking about how long my various gadgets last when they're just sitting idle and not being used.  I decided to do my own experiment:

Google Chromebook CR-48 = 1.5 days

iPod Touch v1 = 2 days

Blackberry Tour 9630 = 2.5 days

Kindle Wi-Fi 3.0 = 7.5 days

The main difference, besides the construction and capacity of each battery, is really in how the firmware and software are devised to maximize (or not) the battery life.  Clearly we have not progressed very far with commercial battery technology in a long, long time.  We're just getting better at optimizing utilization of the technology we've had for so long.

I'm fried - enjoy your Friday (and your weekend!) - Dave

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