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Comment: Re:I wonder how much damage... (Score 1) 273

by JWSmythe (#46784403) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

I've gone through this at a few places now. Besides resistance from the users ("we only know how to use Outlook!"), is migrating from Outlook to another solution ranges somewhere between unlikely to impossible. For someone like me, I only have 3 or 4 appointments scheduled, and the other few hundred are meetings I was invited to. :)

You can have the best plan, with the best business reasons, but when a senior executive tells the CEO that he can't switch, you'll frequently find that it will veto the migration.

Here's a real-world example. I was Director of IT for the company. The CEO told me specifically to get rid of Exchange, because the upgrade costs were too high. We were literally a couple weeks from switching. The Director of Sales went to the CEO and demanded that we keep Exchange, or he would walk.

Funny thing about the sales department. He didn't manage to sell anything, and he couldn't retain the customers. The accounting staff ended up doing all the customer retention. That guy cost us more money than he made. IT, on the other hand, brought costs down, and improved the customer experience.

The only thing that sales brought to us were headaches, and very pretty forward looking reports, that pretty much consisted of a graph showing our sales history, and a line going up at a 45 degree angle showing our future revenue. Every few months, he had to update the graph, so it showed our revenue losses, and had a new starting point for his upward line. I don't think he had a grasp of the concept of forecasting.

Comment: Re:A few observations and suggestions (Score 3, Informative) 273

by JWSmythe (#46779575) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

Microsoft is probably counting every OEM that ships with the trial version of Office, and all the bundled licenses, even if they aren't used.

Most companies buy too many licenses, so they can be sure they have enough. So if we buy 50, and use 30, but only 10 use it on any sort of regular basis, MS will still count it as 50.

Comment: Re:I wonder how much damage... (Score 4, Interesting) 273

by JWSmythe (#46779547) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

For most users that I've known who were willing to try OpenOffice, Calc worked fine for them.

The problem is Outlook and Exchange. The users see the mail client, calendering, and the like, as essential. The word processor and spreadsheet are secondary to that. Once some exec starts talking to sales about getting just Outlook, they are sold on the wonders of getting the whole MSOffice suite.

There are enough users who refuse to even try OpenOffice for the word processor. "I can't because...". I've tricked some users into switching, by just giving them shortcuts on their desktop with the MS names instead of the OO names, and changing the default save types to the MS counterpart. When they ask about why it looks different, I just tell them "oh, this is the newer version.", and they're fine.

Comment: Re:It was a "joke" back then (Score 1) 275

... and since you said teleportation, your future prediction would be completely ruined by the sudden realization that you can safely establish stable wormholes with stuff that's already in most homes.

I don't trust any forward looking statement. Business people throw those around all the time, which always equates to "I hope we stay in business". They never make the forward looking statement of "In the next 6 to 9 months, I hope we go bankrupt, and the shareholders murder us."

Comment: Re:Can I be the first to say.....? (Score 3, Informative) 71

by JWSmythe (#46753137) Attached to: Saturn May Have Given Birth To a Baby Moon

Nah, the Saturnians just did yet another launch.. You'd think they would have learned by now that they're really not good at it. Look at all that debris they left in orbit. That's what it's going to look like around the Earth in a few thousand years, if we don't start cleaning up after ourselves.

Comment: Re:Medical doctor (Score 1) 731

by JWSmythe (#46742401) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

I think the first AC below is right. Without a good support structure, including people to defend you, you most likely won't survive the first few weeks. I'm fairly sure you're not the only person around (or even on here) that can identify and replace a bad cap. :)

It's ok though, if you make it to our compound, you'd be welcome and protected. You'd better know more than just swapping electronic components though. Everyone is a soldier first, and their specialty second. You won't do us much good dead.

Comment: Re:Medical doctor (Score 1) 731

by JWSmythe (#46742327) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

A lot of us build from our parents work. Some of it we don't, because technology caught up sufficiently to the mainstream. Like, before my father tired, he was working on bleeding edge work with lasers and thermal imaging.

I don't need a ruby rod and flashtube to fire a laser, at some huge gov't expense, and $10,000 (if I remember right) for an infrared thermometer. Now I can get a $20 that does both.

He quite literally had a truck filled with gear that was cooled by liquid nitrogen, to do thermal imaging. I believe the truck was the cheapest component. Instead, I can spend $2,500 for a handheld camera that does much better quality imaging.

There are some things that really don't change much. I do my own work around the house. I work on my own cars. I've built electronics. Some techniques I learned from him. Some I've improved on. If he was still alive, I believe he would be impressed.

Comment: Re:Medical doctor (Score 1) 731

by JWSmythe (#46741247) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Correct, but if you're skilled with electrical gear, you can make electricity.

A car alternator, belt, pulley, a bit of wood, and a running river, can give you constant power.

That power can run our soldering iron, refrigerator/freezer, or other useful things.

The guy who knows all the in's and out's on a car, can give you reliable transportation. In the case of the recent walking dead episodes, he can give you a way to drive down the tracks quickly, rather than walking for days. (Hint: a Chevy S10 has the correct distance between wheels to sit on the rails)

A big enough mini power plant can run arc welders. Building foot thick steel reinforced concrete walls is better than hiding in almost any house.

And for the record, I'm a long-term IT guy. I also have experience in electronics, refrigeration and HVAC, automotive work, firearms handling, and farming. I'm also spoken for. My friends and family already know where to meet up if there happens to be an apocalypse. They have the written plans and maps. If an apocalypse happened, we'd be set back up and having LAN parties within a few weeks. :)

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.