So, here's a sample of what's wrong with American Education
Friday, January 29, 2021
So, here's a sample of what's wrong with American Education
The San Jose Mercury-News yesterday had two headlines that caused me to scratch my head . . . .
The first said "I-Phones top $100 Billion" but the story didn't support the headline. We'll discuss that in a subsequent post.
The second said "HP building new supercomputer" WHAT???
Here's a picture of the supercomputer headline and the first paragraph, along with a picture of "the machine" (must be a mock-up), followed by the citation
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Years ago, maybe even eons ago, I and a few others at HP Colorado Springs spent time trying to 'Chase Glitches" The idea was that in the newfangled digital circuits of the day, the gremlins causing the 'real problems' were glitches, transient spikes of energy usually attributed to mis-designed logical paths, or to "race conditions" that had long bedeviled IBM mainframe designers of synchronous circuitry abetted by careful attention to wire cable lengths and timing diagrams for fast logic circuitry.
Bill Farnbach, a brilliant designer in our sampling 'scope labs understood this problem from a different standpoint, which was that we needed to ignore these spikes and look ONLY where conditions were stable, after a switching event had 'settled down' -- this of course became the basis for HP's valuable Logic State Analyzer approach, and a couple of generations of logic designers got 'relief' from the worst of these transient behaviors.
But this is not a universal panacea, and HP Colorado Springs has continued to be on the forefront of dealing with these issues, even supplanting the 'old standard' Tektronix in this arena. And a couple of weeks ago, at Greg Peters' urging, I made contact with Brad Doerr, the site manager for HP Colorado Springs, who graciously took me through a tour of their amazing new "Fault Tracer"
Talk about a versatile solution. This is essentially a fully tailorable 'trigger system' for a 'scope (analog) display, or a logic analyzer (state) display. The trigger shape, pattern, magnitude, directionality, and duration can all be controlled by the operator -- what we in the olden days would have called a "do-all" trigger function. I was mesmerized. The world has definitely evolved from the simple one I knew.
I am attaching the first page of a once-confidential document that describes this for your reading interest. And I thank Greg and Brad for their patience with my questions about it.
Monday, December 14, 2020
Cleaning up some old files, and getting ready for yet another personal move (this time from California to Washington to be nearer to our grandchildren), I found some vintage David Packard memos.
Many folk who joined HP from about 1971 onward (about the time Packard was returning from the Defense Department) had this view that Packard was a demi-god, with wisdom and perspective, to whom we could all turn for advice and assistance. Not exactly doddering, but beneficent and kindly.
Old-timers knew better, and one shared two notes with me (that should have been included in The HP Phenomenon, but weren't). Dave's handwriting was not exactly fine penmanship, but it certainly conveyed authenticity.
The third note came out n 1991, near the end of Dave' s 'tour of duty' at HP, when a San Jose Mercury-News story described HP origins without asking Dave.
Note 1: Sent to Al Bagley, General Manager of the F&T division, circa 1957: "Bagley This is both a waste of money and a violation of policy! DP
Friday, December 4, 2020
HOUSTON? Really? It was bad enough when Palo Alto was forsaken by HP (or was it HPE?), arguing that San Jose was more 'hospitable'. But Houston? So Compaq finally won after all? Even though the Compaq products are more significant for HP Inc. than for HPE?
Oh, sorry, I forgot that Tandem, another Bay Area start-up, is the chief residual product family for HPE, and that was acquired for HP via the Compaq acquisition (or merger, or take-over . . . ).
So the San Jose Mercury-News story spends much time explaining that the "new San Jose" headquarters will now be repurposed to become the lead for HP Labs and a host of researchy-like things, and TRUST US, the employment in the area will NOT BE AFFECTED. Right, except maybe for the salary ranges.
And the Houston Chronicle spends much time saying that even though it won't change employment in Houston either, it will be "A RENAISSANCE" for the area, since HP is such a bellwether attraction for other company leaderships. Really? Google might be, but HP? These days?
The Washington Post had a somewhat different slant on the story. It foretells a MUCH LARGER HPE Houston https://abc13.com/hp-enterprise-moving-headquarters-from-california-to-texas-spring-tech-giant/8421335/ Since they quoted CEO Antonio Neri, it might be closer to the truth: “As we look to the future, our business needs, opportunities for cost savings, and team members’ preferences about the future of work, we are excited to relocate HPE’s headquarters to the Houston region,” CEO Antonio Neri said in a written statement Tuesday.
I don't quite understand the comment:"team members' preferences about the future of work" Wasn't it HP that Rob Enderle extolled in ComputerWorld in May about "remote work"? Rob is that rare commentator who still says what's on his mind without regard for politics. https://www.computerworld.com/article/3546255/the-hp-example-how-to-do-collaboration-and-remote-work-right.html Title: The HP example: How to do collaboration and remote work right First Sentence: Companies that figure out how to carry on successfully with a distributed workforce can emerge from the ongoing pandemic stronger than before. HP offers lessons on how to do that." Note that he did NOT say, "by moving to Houston"
So. lessee, now. Agilent moved to Santa Clara from Palo Alto; Keysight moved from Santa Clara to Santa Rosa; HPE moved from Palo Alto to San Jose to Houston. Oh, yes, there is still HP Inc. (or HP INK, as some call it). and it's still in Palo Alto, right?
Would Hewlett and Packard be rolling in their graves? Or had they long since quit worrying?
There undoubtedly are those who think this Blog has ended (some might say, mercifully). SURPRISE!
I'm still alive and kickin', a Covid bout in March notwithstanding, and still interested in things HP. It's just that my connections with the company have been much more modest in recent years, and if there's nothing to say except pass along Obituaries of PIPs (Previously Important People), it seems almost wasted ink.
Oh, THERE's a topic. INK, as in HP Ink-Jets and derivatives. Chris Goward, who runs a fabulous consulting firm called WiderFunnel, recently interviewed Anthony Napolitano, who runs the HP service business regarding "Ink as a Service". See the short Facebook clip showing Anthony and the idea: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=303711624104243
I did a most enjoyable workshop for VP Steve Nigro and about 100 HP execs in the printing world in 2013. Steve retired from HP in 2019. Many know of Steve's impressive resume:
Stephen Nigro is an industry veteran who has spent more than 37 years at HP working in a variety of capacities, most recently as President of 3D Printing, overseeing the global build out and execution of that business segment. Prior to that, Nigro was Senior Vice President of Imaging and Printing, leading all of HP’s printing businesses including HP Inkjet, HP LaserJet and HP Graphics.
It turns out HP's "free ink for life" plan wasn't actually "for life."
HP recently informed Instant Ink plan customers that after just three years, it was ending its "free ink for life" deal, according to Consumer Reports. It becomes not-so-free as of Friday.
What was this deal? The company remotely monitored printer buyers' ink usage (creepy!), and sent a "free" cartridge when they were running low...with some caveats.
Printing (and ink) was not unlimited. Users were allowed to print 15 pages per month. Subscribers also had to have a credit card on file with HP. If you went over 15 pages, HP would charge you a dollar for 10 additional pages.
Oh, another fun component of the plan: Every five pages, HP would PRINT AN AD on your printer. Don't worry, the ad wouldn't count against your quota. Phew!
But now those halcyon days are gone. HP will charge participants in the program 99 cents per month for their 15 pages. Sure, nearly $12 a year doesn't sound like a lot, but, again, they signed up for FREE ink for life.
There are tiers that cost between 99 cents to $24.99/month for more pages, based on your printing needs. One positive change to the plan is that you can roll over your unused pages up to a cap.
The bait-and-switch "free ink for life" deal is just the latest trick pulled by HP (and other printer companies) to make as much money as possible from their machines. Writer Cory Doctorow how HP has milked its customers dry with “security chips” in ink cartridges that stop your printer from working if you try to use (cheaper) ink from a third party.
Printer makers face the same challenge as every other hardware company: How to get people to keep spending money once they've made the initial investment. The winning formula is subscriptions, which is why you see tiered pricing plans for everything from fitness classes on Peloton to cloud storage from Apple. So, of course, Big Printer is in on the action.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
They nearly let Kay Magleby go, but by defining the first HP computer as an Instrument controller, Packard was appeased enough to let the project proceed. Clay would run afoul of Hewlett on several occasions, one being Clay's penchant for playing early morning golf before coming to work. As Clay told us two days ago, he liked a 6:00 or 6:30 am starting time, which allowed finishing by 9:30 or so, and getting to work by noon. Hewlett was incensed when he learned from son Jim what they were doing. Jimm working for Clay, also liked golf as it turned out. Vindication for Clay and his team came when one night about ten pm Hewlett's home machine failed, and they answered his call to the plant since they were still working.
Magleby and Clay would go on to hire Jimmy Treybig, Jim Kasson, Mike Green and others who later formed the Tandem founding team when Hewlett got nervous and cancelled the Holiday Inn order because it was "too much business and not enough scientific"
Top managers for the computer group at HP were on a merry-go-round. First Bob Grimm, then Jack Melchor, then Tom Perkins, then Clay on an interim basis awaiting George Newman, followed by Carl Cottrell and Bill Terry before Paul Ely--eight GMs in five years, a worse record than HP CEOs since Carly. Magleby gave up when Perkins was hired; Clay gave up when Newman was hired. Perkins started a fabulous VC firm when he left, and promptly hired all of Clay's team, using Clay as an advisor.
Packard was away at the Defense department for President Nixon; when he returned, he asked Clay to return to HP "to get us out of computing altogether"--this mere months before the disastrous HP 3000 introduction in autumn 1972. When Clay refused, Packard wouldn't talk to him for five years. And then Paul Ely proved to be the right selection, and the rest, as they say, is history.
No wonder these names aren't enshrined--HP for several years was just 'not sure' whether this was a good idea. And the cultural clash was profound as well. Years later, both Hewlett and Packard would agree that actually they were timid, to say the least--Packard volunteering, "Well, we didn't really louse it up too badly." Small solace for those who worked so hard to make HP successful in this game.