Richi Jennings

Sun's handy Andy boxes, feeble.gov (and Brit amused by US life)

September 07, 2005 8:05 AM EDT
In today's IT Blogwatch, we look at Sun's new Galaxy server line and tip-toe around the politics to find the IT angles in the FEMA debacle. Not to mention a Brit's "laugh at a couple of the more mundane aspects of the American lifestyle"...

Sun to launch Galaxy (geddit?), which uses up to eight-way dual-core AMD Opertons. Nancy Gohring reports that Galaxy was designed by Andy Bechtolsheim, one of Sun's founders who left the company in 1995 but returned when Sun acquired Kealia. Bechtolsheim is seen as one of the keys to [Sun's] historical success and ... some observers think Sun now has a chance to regain some of its former reputation as a market leader. Sun's Jim Grisanzio teases us with his ignorance: Some buzz building for our new Andy boxes ... I don't know anything about these new machines, other than they are supposed to be amazing. But what of SPARC? Sun blogger Ben "my wife's got pinker hair than your wife" Rockwood brings us his hitchhiker's guide to the roadmap: the UltraSPARC product line is pretty damn confusing ... UltraSPARC III, UltraSPARC IIIi, UltraSPARC IV, "kickers", interconnects, multicore, partnerships, changing naming convention, Niagra, Rock, the list goes on and on and on. Add it up and you're a really confused customer who doesn't know what the heck to buy.

The FEMA backlash gathers momentum, with Mark Hall calling the agency "Feeble," ragging on its inept, inadequate use of IT: If FEMA were truly a federal organization it would build a single database with a single user interface to help people during these stressful times. If FEMA is going to be the organization we depend on during a crisis, it needs IT leadership as well as overall management leadership. Xeni Jardin notes that you can't file a disaster assistance claim at fema.gov unless you're using Internet Explorer 6. Commenter Michael Dalling notes that it also doesn't work if you're blind or visually disabled, which (as another commenter points out) is a violation of the Section 508 regulations for accessibility and usability of US federal government websites. Dan Lyke doesn't like FEMA's masters, the DHS: it seems that adding another bureaucratic layer of political patronage and graft above FEMA was a bad idea. Go figure. Hey, eighty billion bucks a year spent on "no fly" lists and whiz-bang security technology which doesn't work doesn't make us safer. Whoah. MSNBC's Mike Brunker notes that calling FEMA to make a claim results in a package containing the claim form being mailed to the address of the evacuee. Since the evacuee is in a shelter, mail service has been suspended in many of the hardest hit areas and some of the homes are likely still under water, it seems clear that those claim forms won’t be mailed back any time soon. But Doc Searls has turned off all the media and even some blogs because such a huge pile of time and energy are wasted casting blame or protecting others ... Great TV and radio, perhaps, but also useless bull$@!&. If Katrina has done one positive thing, it has put common ground underneath the left, right and center of the American democracy. We all want better, more responsible, more accountable and more responsive government.

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And finally... Scalix blogger "ravelox" summarizes his first three months in California since moving from the UK.
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk.