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The Post 9/11 Tech Boom 423

Posted by JonKatz
from the the-battlefield-goes-digital dept.
Day by day, it's becoming clear that one region's tragedy -- the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- is another region's opportunity. Despite much hype to the contrary, Silicon Valley is quite alive and well, as is our increasingy data-driven, tech-based economy. As Newsweek and other publications have recently pointed out, the tech crash weeded out a lot of junk and spawned some real innovation. Keep those resumes up to date. Wall Street analysts have been buzzing for months now about the new spending about to be unleashed as government, business and private citizens turn to technology to fight terrorism, improve security, shore up our business and communications infrastructure, and protect the country from a wide-ranging series of horrors from "dirty bombs" to bio-terrorism. The battlezone is going digital.

"The battlefield will not be physical so much as it will be digital," Rob Owens, a tech industry analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore., told the San Francisco Chronicle recently. "There will definitely be people who prosper in this new environment."

Owens and other analysts point to these factors:

  • A need for more secure technologies for Net traffic, business communications, computer networks, travel and building architecture, along with the predictably more sophisticated components for new weaponry.

  • A huge increase in "homeland security" spending not only by governments, but among biotech firms as the country expects and prepares for attacks potentially more lethal than those on New York and Washington.

  • A boon for telecom and video conferencing companies and systems. Not only will many corporations choose to do business without sending executives on the road, but such systems are seen as increasingly vital communications backups in the event of widespread attacks on an existing communications infrastructure. By the same token, it would make sense that in stressful times people will spend more time shopping, talking, amusing themselves and doing business on the Net, as they did in the days after 9/11.

  • Continuing increases in sales across the tech spectrum as individuals, businesses and governments make sure their hardware and software systems can deal with the challenges and problems of a post 9/11 world.

The media are feeding these trends. Not only are the images of 9/11 horrific and continual, but the war in Afghanistan has -- correctly or not -- enhanced the idea that technologies are our only feasible response to the profoundly changed geopolitical reality that Osama Bin-Laden created last fall. The fact that we have undermined a terrorist network and overturned a repressive government in weeks, with only a handful of American casualties, has transformed the way even Americans think of technology. This isn't a time for a tech slump, but another boom, perhaps of even greater proportions than the last one.

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The Post 9/11 Tech Boom

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  • Well Duh (Score:3, Troll)

    by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:19PM (#3228611)
    Yes its pretty obvious that security is booming in software right now, but its about the only place that there is any demand on innovation. Web services are stuck in the white paper phase, games are in the incremental phase, and enterprise software is more or less a done deal as far as the market is concerned.

    All a programmer needs to know these days to polish his resume is to continue to name the correct protocols and standards to get their resume through the HR text filter, and keep boning up on idiot languages like VB and Java.

  • by andy@petdance.com (114827) <andy@petdance.com> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:20PM (#3228614) Homepage
    Post-Columbine, now Post-9/11. What other horrors can turn into tech articles?
    • by FallLine (12211) <(moc.liamarepo) (ta) (enilllaf)> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @01:13PM (#3228996)
      Upon realizing the Jon Katz drivel is almost deterministic and could be pieced together with the most simplistic of algorithms, scientists devised a way to code Katz's job out with a 50 line perl script.
    • From the people who brought you 'post modernism'... post-columbine, post 9/11
      post breakfast cereal...

      It used to be, people just chose one date in their past and stuck with it, be it the believed birth of a savior or the believed creation of the world. Now we dig up our axis mundi ever three or four years or so, and have the 'trial of the century' ever decade. I just love media generated sensationalism.
  • tech boom ahead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seany-Heady (151106) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:21PM (#3228618) Homepage
    The fact that there is a tech boom ahead is perfectly logical if you look back at history.

    turning any time of threat to the country much money has been invested into tech advance... look at the computer during WWII and it's aftermath. or firearms during the civil war.

    Seany
    • As pointed out, advancements in weaponary are commonplace during times of human conflict. Aviation and nuclear technology also advanced greatly during the Second World War, as did seige weaponary during European conflicts during the middle ages.

      Thankfully, it's not only advancements in deadly weaponary that are made - medicinal advancements are also made in the times of epidemics, such as the Cholera epidemic that gripped Europe.

      Unfortunately, the Western world doesn't seem to notice the AIDS epidemic ravaging parts of Africa at the moment. If AIDS was to get to the same levels in Europe or North America, you can bet a little more money would be spent...

      • Uh, YEAH! (Score:2, Troll)

        by gvonk (107719)
        If AIDS was to get to the same levels in Europe or North America, you can bet a little more money would be spent...

        Um... of course!

        It's our own fucking people! You take care of your own first! I will be happy to help my fellow Americans get out of an AIDS epidemic but as far as people that far away, too frickin bad... We gotta worry about ourselves.

        So here we go, flame on... That's just how I feel.
  • undermined? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Requiem (12551) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:21PM (#3228621) Journal
    The fact that we have undermined a terrorist network and overturned a repressive government in weeks...

    Have we really? Last time I checked neither bin Laden nor Mohommad Omar had been captured, nor seen, and few if any high-ranking officials in Al-Qaeda had been captured.

    I think the US was very efficient in how they handled the situation, but let's be serious: it's not even close to resolved.
    • Re:undermined? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Afrosheen (42464) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:29PM (#3228686)
      Well, when the people you're searching for are Ex-CIA operatives (yes bin Laden and crew had CIA backing to fight Russia for a decade and received training), they already know most of your tricks and some new ones of their own. Makes it alot harder especially when it's not your home turf. Russia tried to invade Afghanistan for 10 freakin' years to no avail. Do you think the US can fly over there, bomb the hell out of the rubble, drop some ground troops and mission accomplished? Nope.
      • Hate to break it to ya, but we already did.

        With the Taliban gone, this opens up free world trade to Afghanastan, which is sure to benifit economically all of the warlords. When peace and stability is in their best interest, you can bet it is going to happen.
        • With the Taliban gone, this opens up free world trade to Afghanastan, which is sure to benifit economically all of the warlords. When peace and stability is in their best interest, you can bet it is going to happen.

          Jeeze. Some of you Americans need to get out more.

          How to combat terrorism. The American way!

          1) Remove baddies!
          2) Free trade!
          3) Peace and stability!
          4) No more terrorism!!!

          And to think those stupid Brits and Irish had so many years of problems when they could have done it the American way and, problem solved!
      • Obviously, you haven't seen Rambo III. How could the russians compete with Rambo? He was totally kicking their asses even when that Hind helicopter came out and was blowing shit away, Rambo was just like, "Suck on this you Commie-Pinkos!", and then BOOM!
        Also, how do you expect a country that can't even feed and clothe it's own people to take over another country? Yeah, that's right, the country plain fell apart remember? I run into John Rambo at the coffee shop every now and then and he told me that he hasn't received one "Thank You" card for all that work. Ingrates!
    • Have we really? Last time I checked neither bin Laden nor Mohommad Omar had been captured, nor seen, and few if any high-ranking officials in Al-Qaeda had been captured.

      Your quote of the article was accurate. We *have* undermined the network and overturned the government of Afghanistan. Are we done? You said it yourself, "it's not even close to resolved." So what's your point? Katz didn't say "we're done". But we are making and have made progress towards our stated goals. Futhermore, we have been told from the beginning that it would be a long hard war. Too bad we don't know who we are really fighting and it seems that the battleground is more on US soil digitally than anywhere else. I think that is what he was trying to say.
    • It's OK. The Royal Marines are there now, and they'll sort it out. Americans are fine for lobbing missiles at people from as far away as possible, or bombing people with no air defences, but when it comes to the real work, American forces aren't up to the job...
  • Backups (Score:2, Informative)

    A boon for telecom and video conferencing companies and systems. Not only will many corporations choose to do business without sending executives on the road, but such systems are seen as increasingly vital communications backups in the event of widespread attacks on an existing communications infrastructure.

    Hopefully, this will also lead to the decentralization of business. There's a danger of increased "sprawl", but the dispersal of urban centers means less large critical targets, a good thing in my view.

  • by typical geek (261980) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:22PM (#3228629) Homepage
    For despite all our high-tech echelon internet sniffers and high-res Keyhole satellites, we were blindsided by the low-tech Kamikaze attacks of Al Qaeda. A few people in the bazaars and suques of Afghanistan and Arabia would have been worth more than a fleet of recon satellites.

    But, geeks can still prosper in this age. the CIA has a huge problem finding people willing to infiltrate Islamic terrorist organizations, what Ivy League Foggy bottomer wants to leave his blonde sorority girl wife for years of living in a dirty, cold cave, eating putrid lamb, wiping his ass his with right hand and forgoing sex, I know I wouldn't.

    Fortunately, this website has a huge amount of geeky sorts who eat poorly, live in a dank, computer infested hovels and haven't gotten near pussy since they were expelled from one 20 years ago. Coupled with a decent facility for languages (just substitute Parsi or Arabic of PERL) and you can too can help the world's best country by being an incountry spy in a third world country like Pakistan, Egypt or France, please contact your local CIA recruiter.

    • Fortunately, this website has a huge amount of geeky sorts who eat poorly, live in a dank, computer infested hovels and haven't gotten near pussy since they were expelled from one 20 years ago.

      ... and after all those wars over there with men getting killed off, how long do you think it would be before those geeks would find themselves being offered a New Life with Islam where you not only get a wife, but you get one that will keep your household from falling apart while you solve the next major problem in cyberwarfare for... uh... which side was it we were all going to be on again?

    • You woulda gotten killed right then and there. Ass wiping occurs with the LEFT hand, also known as the dirty hand.
  • Unfortunately, war has often sparked the economy, not just in technology, but across the board. The 1930's were the Depression era, but as soon as oue war effort got into swing, the economy improved.

    Because of the type of threat, technology will be the big "winner" of the business, from detection devices, to warplanes.

  • The fact that we have undermined a terrorist network and overturned a repressive government in weeks, with only a handful of American casualties...


    We tend to believe that our actions have had long lasting effect on this troubled region, but my take on it is quite different. US tends to wage its war and then pack its bags and go home leaving a war ravaged country and its warlords to fight the rest of the war between themselves and their common enemies.

    We might benefit overall from these effects, but the moment the US Soldiers leave, every warlord in Afghanistan is gonna be on everyone else's throats. Afghanistan had some notable politicians but Taliban made a point by wiping them all out.

    We cant wage a two month war and then leave all of a sudden telling ourselves that our work here is done and now this nation would pull itself together towards a road to peace. This country is far from being over from the civil war.
    • by Afrosheen (42464) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:42PM (#3228782)
      Do a little google searching and you'll find that in Reagan's time, he also declared an 'international war on terrorism'. That basically consisted of bombing Libya for awhile, packing the bags and going home. Same shit, different decade.
    • US tends to wage its war and then pack its bags and go home leaving a war ravaged country and its warlords to fight the rest of the war between themselves and their common enemies.

      Post-WWII Japan says hi.

      Why do you think they are far and away the most capitalistic of the Eastern countries?
    • If this is a war in which the American populous believes that it is fighting for its survival, as it did in world war 2, then the end result will not be sa anticlimactic as Reagan's bombing, but rather more akin to the marshall plan of world war 2 and the rebuilding of Japan

      As to referring to the Middle East as a "troubled region," let's not forget that most of that trouble didn't start until the balfour agreement, circa 1940. This is not some ancient bloodfeud; it is barely half a century old, relatively recent in historical terms, and something we can possibly correct.
    • by curunir (98273) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @02:58PM (#3229858) Homepage Journal
      You can rest assured that the US won't leave Afganistan until it is absolutely positive that the country won't fall back into turmoil.

      See, Unocal has been planning an oil pipeline through Afganistan for some time now. One of the breadbasket republics (I think Turkmenistan) has huge, unexploited oil supplies that Mr. Bush feels are in dire jeopardy of not being exploited to their fullest. The problem with an oil pipeline is that it makes a wonderful terrorist target since it is so hard to guard.

      So...there's really no danger of the U.S. abandoning Afganistan the way they have so many other countries so long as there is a financial interest in keeping the country stable.
  • by CrazyJim0 (324487) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:23PM (#3228636)
    I got nothing to do but, sleep, play video games and work with some computer vision algorithms.

    www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~sager/ai

    Freaking would be nice to have a job. Being tied down by $50,000 in tuition debt is borderline retarded.
  • by rde (17364) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:24PM (#3228648)
    If this boom exists, it's driven by paranoia and greed, not tech. Slimeball companies are coming out of the woodwork selling dubious 'solutions' that are expensive, impractical and usually just don't work.

    Actually, it's not paranoia, it's the perception that the public are paranoid, now that I think of it. Take NASA's recent, ludicrous decision [space.com] to delay announcing shuttle launch times. This is not unlike the face-scanning/whatever tech; it does nothing except convince those who don't think too hard that something is being done. Whether people are that dumb, I'm not sure.
    • Many of these 'security measures' seem nothing more than sad attempts to pacify some of the public and increase the bottom line. Now anything from concerts to theme parks can turn away outside containers as a 'seurity precaution' so you can purchase their safe in house products. Prime example I've seen recently is Disney World and other major theme parks. They now go through any backpacks, baby bags, and purses. I cannot understand why they do this since they don't even check for anything on the body. An Ak-47 can be broken down into numerous small pieces and easily reassembled. Can you imagine the impact of a massive shooting at Disney World? I don't see what NASA wants to gain by delaying announcements of launch times other than making it more difficult for people to view it. They always have fighters in the air anyway, so no plane can get near the pad. Unfortunately, the most effective thing for a terrorist to dois to go around the country in a coordinated attack on the nations theme parks. This would put fear into the very heart of middle America.
      • by Pii (1955)
        Yesterday, a number of newspapers carried a story about the incredibly inept security screening process in use at Airports even under the so-called "hightened" levels of awareness.

        Tests conducted by the FAA between November and February revealed:

        • Investigators carried knives past screeners in more than 70% of tests.
        • Screeners failed to spot guns in 30% of tests.
        • Screeners failed to detect simulated explosive devices in 60% of tests.
        • Overall, screeners failed to stop prohibited items in 48% of tests.
        • Investigators either secretly boarded an aircraft or gained access to the airport tarmac in 48% of tests.

        Anyone that believes the new airport security measures in force today have provided us with any increased measure of security is a fool.

        These measures are at best, placebo.

      • Many of these 'security measures' seem nothing more than sad attempts to pacify some of the public and increase the bottom line.

        Also they often appear to draw attention away from the places which need asking. Much of the problem can be put down to failures of people rather than technology. From the CIA/FBI not having any people fluent in the languages spoken in Afganistan to the US air defence system falling to pieces...

        Now anything from concerts to theme parks can turn away outside containers as a 'seurity precaution' so you can purchase their safe in house products. Prime example I've seen recently is Disney World and other major theme parks. They now go through any backpacks, baby bags, and purses. I cannot understand why they do this since they don't even check for anything on the body. An Ak-47 can be broken down into numerous small pieces and easily reassembled.

        Assuming a terrorist commando would use a regular gun, rather than have a gunsmith custom build an easy to smuggle weapon.

        Can you imagine the impact of a massive shooting at Disney World?

        How about a light aircraft packed with explosives... Which would be genuinly difficult to intercept.

        I don't see what NASA wants to gain by delaying announcements of launch times other than making it more difficult for people to view it. They always have fighters in the air anyway, so no plane can get near the pad.

        Just so long as they ensure that no one can get within the range of a man portable missile system.
  • The fact that we have undermined a terrorist network and overturned a repressive government in weeks, with only a handful of American casualties, has transformed the way even Americans think of technology.

    Really? We let Omar slip through our hands. The Taliban leader, remember him? Don't hear about him anymore, do you? He was in a town and we were waiting for him to surrender the next day, and he disappeared that night. And what about bin Laden? Where is he these days?

    I don't quite call this closure...

    • Really? We let Omar slip through our hands. The Taliban leader, remember him? Don't hear about him anymore, do you?

      Well, yes I hear about him on an almost daily basis from FOX News, WTOP Radio in DC, numerous other places.

      If you were at all concerned with this topic you would hear about both Omar and bin Laden on a daily basis without even trying,! Just like the rest of the informed world hears about them (all levels of "informed"), rather than parroting this nonsense.
  • by InterruptDescriptorT (531083) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:25PM (#3228657) Homepage
    And it's hard to get one of those without being a US citizen, let alone a permanent resident.

    A lot of my fellow coworkers are H1-B holders and are thus shut out from government jobs due to a lack of security clearance or the unwillingness to hire anything but US citizens. The funny thing, however, is that there are fewer and fewer US college graduates with CS and engineering degrees, the very disciplines that will continue to serve the post-9/11 security needs. US high-school students don't want CS or Engineering degrees--they're geeky and 'hard'. Instead, they graduate with Communications or Marketing degrees and end up fighting for the same job at IHOP. Meanwhile, the tech jobs needed to build the systems that shore up federal and state security go unfilled.

    When will the government grant security clearance to foreigners so we can get much-needed talent on these critically important homeland security tasks?
    • by stoolpigeon (454276) <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:35PM (#3228729) Homepage Journal
      You're wrong.

      I work w/college kids at my church. The vast majority of them are getting good, solid degrees in engineering, CS, math etc.

      It is idiotic to give security clearance to foreigners. They should not have access to these jobs and the 'need' to give more visas to people from outside the US is one created by companies in search of cheap labor.

      Anyone who wants to work on homeland security should do so - in their homeland.

      I'm not against immigration, and if someone becomes a citizen and resident- more power to them. But otherwise- hands off the sensitive info.

      .
    • by danheskett (178529) <{danheskett} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:37PM (#3228743)
      When will the government grant security clearance to foreigners so we can get much-needed talent on these critically important homeland security tasks?

      In a word, never.

      Terribly sorry to be contrary, but foreign nationals should literally never be working with any type of sensitive government information or operation.

      The risk is too. I am sure you are a nice person and all, but there is simply too much risk. Proper background checking is simply impossible for most foreign born workers.

      Also, there is no shortage of US college grads with CS and engineering degrees. Its simply untrue. I've never found any data to suggest that there is a critical or even real shortage of technical workers.

      I won't debate the value of the H1B program with you now and here, but in short granting H1B workers security clearanes is simply too risky to be worth the marginal payoff it may provide.
      • granting H1B workers security clearanes is simply too risky to be worth the marginal payoff it may provide.

        -- and, anyway, there are plenty of guys with green cards.

  • Let Me Help (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:27PM (#3228671) Homepage Journal

    but the war in Afghanistan has -- correctly or not -- enhanced the idea that technologies are our only feasible response to the profoundly changed geopolitical reality that Osama Bin-Laden created last fall.

    not, I should say.

    Sure there's things that can be done with technology to help improve security in "The Post 911 World", but there's no substitute for really good, on the ground, human intelligence.

    The U.S. is notorious for relying on tech toys, eyes in the sky, etc. while neglecting to send actual people to find out what is really going on in the world.

  • Really Bugs Me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by inc0gnito (443709) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:28PM (#3228676) Homepage
    I'm not really sure why, but when everybody reffers to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 simply as 9/11 or even worse 911, it really bugs me. It seems like it has become just another buzzword in a culture that thrives on sound bites to keep them informed. Is this just me? Am I the only one who thinks that it trivializes what happened when we treat as just another element of pop culture?
    • Re:Really Bugs Me (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swein515 (195260)
      Doesn't bother me:

      Pearl Harbor
      The Holocaust
      Tienemen Square

      Those are all shorthands for tragic events. I don't think any are trivialized.
    • "911"("nine-one-one") bothered me, because that's not even a date. It's almost like some reporters started saying that in order to tie it with the police emergency phone number. "9/11" ("nine-eleven")did not, because it is actually a date.
      I understand what you mean though. It almost seems like people were searching for a quick name that could be easily marketed.
    • It's called a synonym. For most people, this is the best way to refer to the events that are synonymous with "9/11". I'm all for this, since most news articles related to the economy have been redudantly referring to "the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center" or some such, often reminding us that airplanes were used to demolish the buildings, etc., which is a bit insulting to the readership's intelligence. We don't need to be reminded what happened on 9/11. Just saying "since 9/11", or "because of 9/11" has sufficient meaning in itself.

      This is not trivializing the events. We often use shorthand versions of every event to easily communicate it and sum it up in one or two words. If I say the following, you will know exactly what I mean, and you shouldn't believe that I'm trivializing these events: Gulf War, Holocaust, Columbine, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Dresden, Y2K, T(H)GSB, etc.

      Or do we need to say: The War where we liberated Kuwait against Saddam Hussein, the events in which millions of Nazis were killed in gas chambers and kept in concentration camps, the school shooting in Colorado where two students killed a dozen other students, the surprise attack by the Japanese which killed 3000+ Americans, the two Japanese cities that the US dropped atomic bombs which led to the treaty that ended World War II, the massive conventional bombing in Germany that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, the Year 2000 (or its associated "bug"), The (Hopefully) Great Slashdot Blackout which protests the behavior of Slashdot editors against posters and moderators, etc.

      Which versions do you prefer?

    • "9/11" is merely a modern version of:
      "Remember the Alamo"
      "Remember the Maine"
      "Buy War Bonds"
      "Loose Lips Sink Ships"
      "Defeat the Hun"
      "The Crusade in Europe"
      "The Evil Empire"

      Each major even which has spurred the US to War has had some slogan or phrase attached to it which reminds us why we're fighting. Given how modern society is big into abbreviations, I don't view the moniker "9/11" or "911" as a trivialization, merely our society's personal mnemomic reminding us what happened on September 11th, 2001, and why we're doing the things we're doing, or at least why our government is doing what its doing. Its not a reflection of pop culture, but it is a reflection of current US culture.
  • by Wind_Walker (83965) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:29PM (#3228681) Homepage Journal
    There have been tons of other businesses that have been helped by 9/11... just a few I can think of off the top of my head...
    • American flag manufacturers
    • Bumper stickers with "These Colors Don't Run" on it
    • American flag decal producers
    • Record companies who make "Tribute Albums"
    • Those damn flag-on-plastic-so-you-can-fly-one-out-your-car-wi ndow things
    Just a few that I've become annoyed with... er, taken notice of.
  • I disagree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by David Kennedy (128669) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:31PM (#3228701) Homepage
    I disagree.
    I work a large telecommunications company which
    has been crushed by the past year. The dotcom
    implosion was predicted and it's a very different
    world for a technologist post-that. I don't see
    9-11 having an impact on my job or the IT market
    as a whole. In fact, the increased international tension
    has further damaged economies already shaky from the dotcom bust.

    There is no new boom. There can't be and there
    won't be. There will be a very slow and steady
    growth; the assets which need to shift first to
    revive the industry are telecommunications based.
    They're expensive. $10s of millions expensive.
    Committing to such projects takes time. Consumers
    cannot drive the demand for new net services,
    not in the same way the can for other commodity
    goods. There must be framework. It's like wanting
    new trains. You simply don't get startup railroads,
    who can afford the track?

    What many IT folks miss is that much of the
    industry we're in is invisible. Consumers don't
    know what I do, or why my job is needed. All they
    know is that the internet is still slow, TV is
    still TV and that most of those new fangled
    interactive services are too expensive and trivial
    to bother with. IT cannot sustain growth with the
    consumer need, and, with my consumer hat on,
    I'm not prepared to pay through the nose for
    broadband, don't like interactive TV and haven't
    got a PDA/laptop etc. Without this low level demand
    and we're in a minor global depression remember,
    there will be no significant IT recovery for a
    few years. No months, years. 5-10. No boom,
    just steady industrial scale growth, like everyone
    else.

  • Any tech boom that comes along in the US will come to a screeching halt if Senators Hollings and Stevens can get the CBDTPA passed, and anything that includes a "digital interactive device" becomes both unuseable and prohibitively expensive (someone will have to pay the R&D costs - and it will be you). The entire tech industry will move overseas.

    But hey! CBDTPA will create it's own tech booms in Europe and places like India so it's not all bad. (Don't know about Mexico & Canada - they're too close to our Senators from Disney.)

    Yeah, I know - off topic.
  • Any idea where the input came from?
  • by Cally (10873) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:45PM (#3228807) Homepage
    I'm breaking a self-imposed rule by answering on a katz story. But... do you /really/ think more computers and software will help protect you from more low-tech terrorism? If so, you're even more stupid than you seem.

    Sorry for the language, but it's what I (any most European anti-terrorist experts, which is to say, those who have some experience and understanding of what they're dealing with) think.


    The only way you'll stop it happening again -- IMHO -- is to stop funding Israel and get the fsck out of the economies and political systems of supposedly "independent" states that don't want you there (the people, that is, not the rulers), and to stop backing dictatorships like Saudi Arabia just because they're "on your side". In Ireland they used to say: "You cannot have a military solution to a political problem." Guess what? They were right.


    *sigh* now I'm going to get flamed to fuck. Well hopefully someone might be prompted to think... I just hope you don't wait until you're up to your waist with dead Americans and "collateral damage" (I know, they're barely human but they still count... )

    • do you /really/ think more computers and software will help protect you from more low-tech terrorism? [That]'s what I (any most European anti-terrorist experts, which is to say, those who have some experience and understanding of what they're dealing with) think. The only way you'll stop it happening again -- IMHO -- is to stop funding Israel and get the fsck out of the economies and political systems of supposedly "independent" states that don't want you there (the people, that is, not the rulers), and to stop backing dictatorships like Saudi Arabia just because they're "on your side". In Ireland they used to say: "You cannot have a military solution to a political problem." Guess what? They were right.

      Sadly, you are correct. The amusing thing about all of this is that we actually know what we have to do to crush the enemy who will attack us again.

      We have to diversify our energy supply for the US into American-produced energy systems, diverse ones more resistant to attack. None of these are oil (or its derivative gasoline).

      If we really want to stop the attacks, we should be pushing for more American-made, American-operated, and American-maintained energy supplies like clean coal, wind energy, fuel cells (for storage and distribution, plus vehicle power), and solar energy (in remote non-wired areas). Not tomorrow - today. Right now wind energy is half as expensive as oil and takes a max of 18 months to build a new plant - and the system (the grid) can take up to about 20 percent variable power supplies. If you throw fuel cells in you can store the energy where produced and use it for vehicles (like farm vehicles, trucks, SUVs).

      But at the moment every dollar we spend on oil results in 50 cents going to the terrorists and those who aid, educate, supply, and train them. And the countries behind this are known: some are our supposed "allies" like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, the Phillipines, and Signapore. That's where the enemy lies.

      Propping up dictatorships with tech won't forestall the attacks. It will just encourage more. And propping up oil-dependent energy will do the same thing. It's their supply line - more than 90 percent of their funding (indirect and direct) - comes from oil money, while less than 2 percent comes from drug money (used mostly for field operations income).

      In fact, when in the field in Europe and the US, the terrorists fund themselves from the low-tech hacker techniques, like stealing credit cards, bank fraud, offshore tax havens, free email.

      Tech is not our friend in this war. Sound national policy is. Most of the useful tech is the cheaper faster better stuff like cheap bombs that have GPS, not fancy doodads that cost millions per missile.

      -
    • Amen, you got it dead right. People like to think that you can get a couple missiles and a shitload of guns to handle any political problem.

      The irony of an Irish quote being used in regards to terrorism is amusing, since the IRA started it.
    • by WillSeattle (239206) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @02:10PM (#3229477) Homepage
      sorry.

      Some of the actual things that we can individually do - not the government, trapped in the Big Oil is Good world - are:
      (choose one - but do at least one)
      1. buy a compact flourescent lightbulb at the local hardware store or Home Depot - $4 to $6, use 1/8 the energy (this is Good Tech).
      2. get a furnace controller (turns heat down when you're at work, or asleep, but heats it up in time for waking or coming home) (Good Tech)
      3. get a tuneup for your car (better mpg)
      4. next car you buy, new or used, get one that gets 5 mpg better than your last one (off the shelf we can get 40+ mpg for cars, SUVs and trucks - but consumers need to buy it).
      5. change your furnace filter (improves energy efficiency and cleaner air).
      6. next time you buy an appliance - washer, dryer, dishwasher, toaster, microwave, oven, etc - get either the best or second best energy efficient one.
      7. buy 50 cent rubber seals to go behind your wall outlets (you're a techie, can't you do minor electrical stuff?) - up to 10 percent of heat loss is external-facing wall sockets in most houses. At Home Depot or hardware store.
      8. buy a $2 foam insulator for your hot water heater hot water pipe (going out) - keeps it warmer and less cold showers when you turn on the hot water.
      9. if your old hot water heater or furnace needs to be replaced, get the most energy efficient one you can.
      10. if wiring for motion detectors, consider wiring your furnace/air conditioner controller to adjust temp based on occupants - and lights too. this is good tech.

      All of these save you money - and cut the supply line of the enemy who wishes us dead.

      If the hundreds of millions of Americans all did this - just one thing for each person - we would change the entire energy dynamic and painlessly switch energy supplies without any government intervention, while delivering a body blow to the enemy and their supporters. Then we could stop propping up anti-democratic regimes for energy supply reasons.

      But inaction is what the al-Qaeda depend upon.
      • ...But are all of these better on net balance?

        I know most are, but speaking about the light bulbs, does it take 8 times the energy to produce a compact flourescent bulb than a normal carbon filament or whatever they are? If so, your energy savings could be negated...

        If you sell your car and buy a new one, isn't the balance of energy consumption MORE than it was before you bought the car, no matter how efficient the new car is, because someone else is driving the old one around?

        I agree with your ideas and actually like them, but after reading the "Recycling is Garbage" [williams.edu] article, I like to double-check these ideas.
    • >In Ireland they used to say: "You cannot have a >military solution to a political problem." Guess >what? They were right.

      So when do you stand up and say that you actually have a millitary problem? At what point do you say you're not going to tolerate having democratic allies murdered or threatened by dictatorships with zero respect for human rights and actually do somthing about it?

      Israeli destruction of an Iraqi reactor is the only reason that Saddam didn't have nukes during the gulf war and terrorists don't now have access to nuclear material. If you're really worried about terrorism, that should be important to you.
  • Keep those resumes up to date.

    Excuse me? How about "Get those business plans up to date."? Why wait the few months it's going to take before the hiring actually starts. Why not get a jump and start your own business? You know how much you hate the boss? Well, hate yourself and be your own boss. Now you can tell yourself to go home at 5 PM, and even respond back to the boss with a "No!" The really great part is if the company does go under, you'll be the last to be fired. Or maybe someone will come buy out your business.

  • Ah yes, first internet/tech got hyped beyond belief making the hype reality and the hype pendulum swung to the stratosphere fed by media. Then ppl started to realize it was hype and so it crashed fast, the media forcasting a self fulfilling prophecy of business/economy doom and gloom. The gloom hype became reality. With a little 9/11 nudge we have another swing coming, the hype is starting to swing again - the new buzzword - SECURITY. 9/11 was not the author of the new hype, merely a catalyst. Kinda like pouring gas on fire.

    Will SECURITY hype become reality? Should it? Or will it be just hype and a false sense of security.

    It should be a fun ride.
  • You are pigeon-holeing yourself into what effect an event has on *... and then you change the event after the next big event happens and start all over again. PLEASE STOP! Really, people 40 years into the future with brilliant analytical minds, degrees in philosophy psychology and divinity will come together and give us an answer. I really think you are biting off more then you can chew with this kind of stuff. I appreciate your effort but I really think that this kind of stuff is way to complex to be scratched with a measly 1000 word essay. Please try to stick to something easier like affect of the Slashdot user base on incoming techies (read new readers) with its very interesting and eccentric viewpoints. Something that you would have a much better understanding of and would be more of an authority of! Hell some people might stop filtering your stories.

  • Earth to Mr. Owens (Score:3, Informative)

    by GMontag (42283) <gmontag@guymont[ ]com ['ag.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:50PM (#3228840) Homepage Journal
    A huge increase in "homeland security" spending not only by governments, but among biotech firms as the country expects and prepares for attacks potentially more lethal than those on New York and Washington.

    Ahem... If you are referring to the anthrax attacks, then yes, New York and Washington belong in the sentance, especially when speaking of biotech. However, the anthrax attacks were not all that lethal, with just a handful of casualties. Besides, you left out Florida, another forgotten land in the attack discussions.

    If, however, you are referring to the incredibly lethal aircraft attacks, those occurred in New York, NY and ARLINGTON VIRGINIA!!! Yes, folks, the Pentagon is in Arlington Virginia.

    The DC 2600 meetings are in Arlington, VA also (right across the highway from the Pentagon), but we do that just to trick "the man" ;-)
  • When I first read the title of this article, all I thought was "What the hell? There was no tech boom after 9/11."

    Then I looked down a bit to where it says "Posted by", then I thought to myself, "Ahh. That explains it. It's a Katz article."

    Sad thing is, I'm one of his biggest fans, and even I can't help but think that he's a bit silly at times.

  • by FortKnox (169099) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:51PM (#3228845) Homepage Journal
    Tech boom?

    First thing I'd do to investigate this "tech boom" is look inward. Yeah, the company that you are employed by [vasoftware.com].
    If they anticipate a tech boom, then why bring in the "giant ads" or this [slashdot.org]??

    Can I get links next time? Cause I know you are just quoting stock brokers (that trade tech stocks). They need you to start buying tech again....

    Rob Owens, a tech industry analyst at Pacific Crest Securities
    Owens and other analysts point to these factors

    Yeah, these analysts need your income. They can come up with stats till there blue in the face, but tech companies aren't employing. You will need employees for a boom, right? Well, as soon as I see these tech companies hiring like wildfire, I'll still be worried if I have a job tomorrow...
  • Continuing increases in sales across the tech spectrum as individuals, businesses and governments make sure their hardware and software systems can deal with the challenges and problems of a post 9/11 world.

    Well of course there is going to be a boom, because we'll all need new hardware once the CBDTPA [politechbot.com] becomes law, hence fueling the "Post 9-11" tech boom.

    Because in the post 9/11 world, we're all potential terrorists and thieves, and the gov't has to protect it's corporate cash cows.
  • Biometrics is booming, disaster-recovery services are booming, and even the people that hate the incursion of things like biometrics and face rec technology are drawing more attention to the companies that make it.
  • by nazgul000 (545727) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:56PM (#3228879) Journal
    There is always a remarkable trickle-down effect within private enterprise that occurs when massive, targeted government spending pours forth. And it's no surprise that, given the trauma of 9/11, the government is bringing its massive resources to bear to develop technological solutions to many domestic security issues (many of which are structurally almost insoluble, by the application of technology or otherwise). Interestingly, the Dep't of Defense is even resorting to open-ended solicitation of "new ideas relevant to homeland defense and security" from technology companies with which it has dealings.

    All you have to do is glance at the tailfins on a 60s Cadillac to understand the unshakeable faith Americans have had in new technology over the past century. Technological progress as panacea is still a fundamental, if often unspoken, tenet of our shared culture.

    However, when it comes to "homeland security", the search for technological solutions (e.g. systems to put air passengers and air cargo under x-ray and gas-cromatographic microscope) largely misses the point. Massive essentially indefensible borders, enormous reliance on a vulnerable modern communications infrastructure, the lack of internal security paranoia characteristic of a wealthy, free democratic society... these characteristics militate against easy high-tech band-aid solutions to "homeland defense."

    So what's the solution? We can protect the United States from attack by consistent and forceful _projection_ of power, by eradicating from the earth those who bring violence inside our domestic boundaries, those who threaten to do so and those who aid and support such people. By doing so we relentlessly disincentivise those who might consider attacking us. Structurally, the United States will always be vulnerable to attack within its borders. A massive and massively expensive build-out of new security technology will not alter this fundamental truth.

    Deployment of massive amounts of high-tech infrastructure that will do little more than inconvenience honest US citizens will not secure our nation. Judicious application of our Rooseveltian "big stick" will.
  • The problem is on the digital battlefield there is no rules or consequences. Our network was taken down last week due to an DoS attack. All of the packets were spoofed, it's very hard to find out who took our internet connection out. Countries and people have no fear of what will happen when they take down a website. Untill this happens expect the "digital war" to esclate. For all our power and might we got taken down by 6 guys with plastic knives.
  • by realgone (147744) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:58PM (#3228891)
    ...the idea that technologies are our only feasible response to the profoundly changed geopolitical reality that Osama Bin-Laden created last fall.

    On the other hand, last fall's events could also suggest a shift *away* from technology is our only feasible response. It all depends what particular trends you want to find in a given situation.

    For example, my apartment is within a stone's throw of the old WTC site. On the morning of the attack, almost *everything* went offline; it was next to impossible to get a cell or landline out, transportation was shut down, broadcast antennas were gone, etc. (Heck, you couldn't even see more than a few blocks because of all the dust and smoke.)

    As a result, many of us were reintroduced to the actual communities in which we live, as opposed to the virtual ones we'd created for ourselves. No longer able to rely upon the technology to which we'd grown so acustomed, we were forced to go out and interact with one another in more traditional ways. I spent a good part of that morning up on my roof, meeting neighbors I'd had no reason to talk to before, watching events unfold. Word of mouth was pretty much the only way to learn what was happening.

    And now, more than half a year later, I'm finding that some -- not all, but some -- people are a lot less willing to put their entire faith in technology anymore. Not the way they used to. The friend who used to run her entire life via Palm has now gone back to the old-fashioned day planner. Old pals who once relied upon email as an easy way of keeping in touch have begun returning to phone calls and mailed letters again. The local community -- we're talking on a block-by-block level here -- has begun to reassert itself.

    Am I suggesting this is a national trend? Or even noteworthy? Of course not. It's a local and probably fleeting phenomenon. The point is, you can take a series of events and make them mean almost anything you want. Katz wants to see it as a technological boom waiting to happen? Well, bully for him. Doesn't make it so, any more than what I just wrote suggests things are heading for a technological bust.

  • by rlp (11898)
    Tech boom - right! That must be why I got laid-off last week, along with about 500 other folks in my company.
  • Seriously. Who's footing the bill for all this?

    At what point will basic economics conquer this latest "boom". Everything inevitably will have to bolster the bottom line, otherwise costs are going to be passed on to the customer, or paycuts to the staff. My guess will be both, and all this new spending will, in the long run, just further injure the economy.

    Oh, yeah, and exactly where is the proof that we've gotten rid of Osama and company anyway?
  • The tech business here in the Bay Area is still in the serious doldrums. See-through buildings, recently forgotten, are back - some are prime locations like the brand-new Excite@Home building in Redwood City. SF, where I live, is not as badly hurt because the economy is more diverse - but all those whiners of a couple of years ago who complained about the "dot-com invasion" are hitting the road because they can't find tech jobs.

    So I don't see much of a boom yet, except for fancy Apple toys like the new iMac and iPod. The fundamentals have to get better - IT spending needs to recover from big cyclical budget cuts, and there does need to be a new Next Big Thing that people will actually pay for.

    Of course if CBDTPA passes (which I think is unlikely, but send those faxes) you can kiss the industry goodbye.

  • Sorry Katz. I just don't see any new jobs opening up, or any new businesses offering new opportunities. In fact if you listien to quarterly reports, most of the established businesses arn't doing that well either. Consumers don't have that much money and they arn't going to spend it as they are afraid that they are going to lose their jobs too.

    As an asside note, I lost my job as a software engineer for Iomega back in July. I couldn't find anything at all so like a moron I joined the Army like an idiot but at least my student loans will be paid off and I have won't have to worry about being laid off.
  • Mr. Katz has it all wrong. IT is not going to be the area of tech that will boom post 9/11 as we go into a much different type of war, a war of cloak and dagger and targeted, precise military actions. The fields of tech that will undergo booms in funding will not be IT, or computers, it will be Chemistry, Physics, Aerospace engineering, and Biotech.

    Biotech will get the most - designed to come up with biowarfare countermeasures (better Anti-biotics for Anthrax, better vaccienes (sp?))

    Physics will get the next most for new weapons, counter measures, and the ever famous missle defense shield. Think applied physics in the areas of superconductors and photonics for ground and air-based chemical lasers.

    Aerospace engineering will get quite a bit from the govt. to develop better unmanned drones, superior targeting equipment, and replacing all the bombs getting dropped in Afghanistan and maybe Iraq later.

    Chemistry will get the last batch of major funding, for new explosives (Thermobaric bombs were a combination of applied physics and new explosive chemistry), chemical detection equipment (analytical chemistry, micro-sensors for detecting micromoles of chem warfare/neurotoxin agents), and chemical support for the applied phyics field listed above. Probably even new polymeric materials for aerospace applications.

    There will indeed be another tech boom, but its not going to be in IT. Given the enemies of the US in this war on terrorists, IT is useful in getting intelligence on the enemy, but its going to be the ground forces and new weapons that take them out, not an improved IT solution or technology. Unless that IT allows one to fly an unmanned drone better, its not going to get much more funding than it already gets.

  • Wall Street analysts have been buzzing for months now about the new spending about to be unleashed as government

    Katz sounds so much like one of those mid-1999 Silicon Valley recruiters offering stock options that its downright cute.

  • Yeah, right. Ecconomy booming. Maybe in comparition to what it could be, but you didn't attempt make that point. (and I'm not sure I'd belive it.

    I know many laid off tech workers. Not .com either, some have been in comptuers longer than I've been born. No jobs out there. Every company I know of is in the mode of "We are not hiring, we are trying to keep the people we do have."

  • by schnurble (16727) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @01:44PM (#3229251) Homepage
    Despite much hype to the contrary, Silicon Valley is quite alive and well, as is our increasingy data-driven, tech-based economy.

    Jon, you're full of shit.

    If the Valley was quite alive and well, then why did my former company go from almost 1700 people to less than a hundred in 18 months (and then I got laid off in January). IPIX [ipix.com] wasnt one of the cruft. I helped design and implemented most of the Enhanced Picture Services (as seen on eBay.com) system, hell I ran it all singlehandedly for a few weeks at a time, and usually with a tiny ops team. If it was such a technology boom, I should've been able to hire people to help me. We also ran the Full360 real estate virtual tours system.

    Now I see why everyone's tired of your same old bullshit, Jon.

  • Part of the reason the CIA didn't uncover Bin Ladin sooner is that it's too fixated with electronic surveilance and has gotten away from actually sending in operatives to infiltrate small but radical organizations.

    Remember the Unibomber? People who don't adhere to the normal regieme of society and technology fall into a blind spot, as far as US intelligence is concerned.

    When some guys with box cutters hijacked some airplanes, our government responded with renewed calls for a missle defense grid.

    Huh?

    Technology alone isn't the solution to terrorism. But 'the best solution money can buy' tends to be a tech solution.
  • Silicon Valley is alive and well, just like everywhere else in America. There was never any problems with things being dead. However, it still is hard to get a job and a lot of people are unemployed. I moved out of the bay area last year after being laid off to avoid a constant game of leaping from job to job just to get laid off when the company went under.

    I feel bad for my friends who stayed down there, who are competing with about 250 other candidates for any programming job that opens up, because most of the jobs gets picked by favoritism of people who have an in at the company. Some of my friends just moved to the bay area for a job, and don't know many people yet to get that luxory. Before reporting booms, lets try to look at some realities, ok?
  • by deeny (10239) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @01:56PM (#3229352) Homepage
    Silicon Valley is alive and well? Then how come so many tech geeks I know are unemployed or working at Starbucks, bookstores, etc.?

    It's true that there is a whimper of a pickup, but it's just a whimper. Many people are running out of unemployment $ and I expect that there will be a rise in foreclosures on houses as Santa Clara county continues to have one of the higher unemployement rates of urban areas in the country.

    Heck, even VA-whatever just had another, quiet round of layoffs. Most people can't even remember how many rounds their companies have had -- it's *that* bad.

    And, while there are still recruiters in business, not a single contact I have from last year works for the recruiting firm they did when I received their address. It's not that they've moved -- they're laid off.

    I'd give it another six months at least before declaring it even alive. It's got too much brain activity to be clinically dead, but it's not out of the ICU yet.
  • "The battlefield will not be physical so much as it will be digital," Rob Owens, a tech industry analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore., told the San Francisco Chronicle recently.

    "OK, Agent Smith. I want you to start by taking down Al Queda's Internet access."

    "Uh...sir? There is no Internet access in Afghanistan."

    "Perfect! Then disrupt their cellular telephone communications."

    "Right...er...they don't have cellphones."

    "Well done, Smith! Now, I want to disrupt their landline network."

    "Sir, they don't have -- strictly speaking -- what you would call a 'telephone network.'"

    "I do say, Agent Smith, I'm very impressed! Then let's hit their power grid. I want 98% of Afghanistan to be dark within 72 hours."

    "Well, sir...uh...that's pretty much taken care of, too."

    "Wonderful, wonderful, Smith. This new digital warfare is really working out! Now we'll just wait a few weeks and they'll feel like they're living in caves. Join me for golf?"

    -Waldo Jaquithi
  • Hello, are you even paying attention? We are in the worst tech slump in years. Now the dot-coms are dead, and because of 9/11, most companies are in a hiring freeze or are laying people off.

    I was laid off on 9/20/01, busted my ass every day and it took me a good month to find a job. My 2 other friends that were laid off are still unemployed. Well, one is unemployed, one is slinging lumber at frickin' HOME DEPOT. These are skilled programmers that couldn't find a job to save their lives.

    Maybe in the gov't sector jobs are booming, but everywhere else it sucks.

    Mark
  • Well, we've heard JonKatz rave about mainstream corporate movies, now he's repeating the corporate media's perception of the tech economy, which is: "Wow, the tech economy crashed but we still need technology!"

    No shit. In the past five years, and unprecedented amount of money was spent on hardware and software. What came of it? Microsoft got stronger, Windows became slower and more insecure, and the Web became full of pop-up ads.

    A few people got broadband access, and Cisco sold some routers. That's about it. The rest of the investment capital was spent on dot-com pizza parties.

    If you want to say that this country continues to have an underdeveloped tech infrastructure, then say it. But it's insulting to hear media buzzwords like "trends" and "new spending."

    Trend means, "Hire marketers now." New spending means, "Get ready for more pizza parties." Neither of these things have anything to do with the long-term planning of a fast and reliable tech infrastructure.
  • ...but about 3000 people were killed in the WTC, while about 20000 worked there. That means that a lot of PC's, routers, and other high-tech gadgets need to be replaced.

    In addition, all those 'smart' weapons are loaded with semiconductors, and they can only be used once.
  • Here in Research Triangle Park, NC we are in the midst of the worst recession and the worst unemployment since the invention of the vacuum tube.
  • I graduated college just after Sept. 11th and got laid off Sept 19th. I was out of work for three months and finally got a terrible position cleaning up HTML in a marketing shop. Now that job seems to be in jeopardy. If there's a post-9/11 boom, then I have yet to see it.
  • Allahu Akbar!

    Greetings to you, Holy One, and may your struggles against Satan be fruitful.

    We have only a short time before the battle here, over which I am granted authority by you, shall be won.

    There is a problem I must bring to your attention before the completion of this chapter in our relationship:

    Many of the young men who assist me are without wives. As you know, the women of Satan are so numerous here that one can hardly look on a woman without knowing she is either Satanic or fast falling under Satan's spell. All I ask of you is this: That upon victory, my men be granted wives of their choosing from among a number of young, fertile, women who are without children of their own, to worship in accordance with their husbands' traditions. There must be many young women of whom you would like to rid yourself as they are nearly in Satan's grasp already. To us, in the Land of the Great Satan, however, they would appear to us as pure as the driven snow. If you have enough such tarnished women that some of the more heroic captains among my men, on the occasion of their victory, could take more than one wife, it will, I am sure, make the subsequent chapters of this book we are together writing all the more fruitful!

    Allahu Akbar!

  • All I can say is, now I don't feel quite so bad about missing out on all those .COM opportunities as I toiled away at my boring 'ole programming job at one of the largest defense contractors in the world... :-)
  • by t0qer (230538) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @03:09PM (#3229950) Homepage Journal
    Dear Jon Katz,

    Times are still bad here in SV. I was laid off last January a week after buying my house. I've learned to eat less to make house payments, i've lost 60lbs this last year alone.

    I survive by making flyers, perhaps another SV resident has seen them.. "Cheap PC repair 1/2 the price of Fry's" Fry's charges $70 bucks to install ram, I just charge $35. I get about 2-3 calls a week for work. I make about 400 there, then I also do part time web work for a company which is another $200@month. Finally I do data entry into a MySQL database for the same customer which pays a flat rate of a dollar a record. I do about 200 records a week.

    I never really get to sleep anymore.. I find myself putting in over 16 hours a day into these various venues for money. The money isn't stable or reliable, and the difference for the mortgage has to be made up by begging the family for money. It has taken it's toll on my health both mental and physical. Go ahead, look at my user info, there are some posts I made while starving, I re-read them and realized jeesh hard times can make you lose your mind.

    I'm going to finish this up by saying you should really check with us geeks out here before you go off saying "oh there is a new boom in SV" There just isn't. Out of 9 sysadmin friends there is only 1 left employed post layoffs. His company is an IT outsourcing company and he's worried about his job. A lot of us full timers were replaced by these "hired guns" now these guys are getting scared too. Sorta paints a ugly picture doesn't it?

    --toqer

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