Friday, October 22, 2004

Baseball Writing

Baseball, as an American Sport, is the subject of much love and loss, angst and excitement, pleasure and pain. Baseball, the game itself, is as enjoyable to watch as it is to play, it is unlike any other popular sport, where a team responds to the actions between two players-one throwing- the other batting- and separate team support for these two in their moment relies on the awareness of this play. An extremely democratic game, where the confrontation between two opposing factions is face to face-and the Teams must compete to support this confrontation, much like a candidate and their party support. The game ends when one side wins - there's no real time limit on a game- an inning may be minutes or hours, the pace can be rapid or leisurely- patience may be tried, opportunities missed, a stolen base here, a passed ball there, a clean up hitter left to start the next inning. It is truly a wonderful pastime. Baseball also gave rise to delicious sports reporting of such emotional content that it rises above any other American journalistic endeavor and influences other topical items with allusions to the game in the coverage of American Politics, War, and Culture. Our conversations are peppered with comments like "missed the ball", "struck out", "home run", "on deck", and "in the bullpen". We root for our teams like they are our family. Ecstatic wins and depressing losses, instances which defy logic, canonization of a player's achievement or demonizing failures make great matter for opinion which may be interpreted as a stunning defeat or a miraculous win -depending who's root root rooting for the home team. These are the facets of the diamond which have made Sports journalism a lively read, and provides a full spectrum of interpretation from logistical to the incredible, skill and chance make for an unpredictable game whatever the statistics might suggest, a good team can fail, a bad team can succeed in a game and that game can be all of itself or part of season, it all makes for great subject matter filled with human drama outside our personal dramas. So as these Red Sox try to break the curse (it's not achieved yet), be certain it will matter not if they win or lose but how they play the game. For if they win, they will be perceived to do the same next year, and if they lose, they will be perceived to try again. And that is what Baseball is all about and someone will write about it one way or another.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

EMC and Dantz

The gigantic data corporation EMC has purchased Dantz and its software titles like Retrospect. I find this amusing because for YEARS I've wondered why EMC supported just about every Windows and Unix platform except Apple's. To me, this has been a glaring omission with EMC's products. I find it a welcome addition for I once toured the Hopkinton EMC campus where you could see every EMC product and thousands of servers and disk storage units and computers from every major and a lot of minor companies-including laptops-except Apple. I mean, jeez, they claimed there was more storage in this one building than the whole country of Italy. A search on supported systems on the EMC technical page had no mention of Apple at all. So now the big question is: How long will Dantz still support Macs? I don't know the answer to this question. We all know that there are rabid Apple haters out there. I project a conspiracy theory here: EMC is a major Republican supporter, Al Gore is on the board of Apple. It would conceivably be possible that EMC would want Apple products to go away. Another realm of possibility is that the Small to Medium Business Server market is moving toward Apple's Xserve, which is an excellent product for a fantastic price point WAY less than any other major manufacturer's offering (Anyone considering a new server for their group should consider this option- a stand alone G5 XServe with a 1000 user licenses costs 4000$ or less). And EMC is struggling in this market, not really sure how to deal with smaller companies. Personally, I think it's the sales folk at EMC who can't grasp why the smaller markets would go to some other vendor. It's a culture thing- In the computing world there are two types of "Professional" sales folk. One is the Grey Suited Sales drone with briefcases and Dell laptops who only regard you if you have considerable cash $$$ to spend on. The other is the Lacrosse shirt and blue-jeans folk who will sit down and whittle away their product to your budget. EMC tends to be the former. I suspect it's their Banking and Insurance clients that have insinuated this type into the Sales culture. Apple could get by without Dantz (I have for years), but they would need their own backup product or partner with someone (Like Mike Bombich of Carbon Copy Cloner) to make an Apple enterprise Backup Program meaningful (and I don't mean .Mac Backup). How about Veritas? After some needling of tech support a couple years ago, they did put up OS X support (since they already had bsd support), and now I suspect OSX is fully qualified at this point. (I've not researched this...) There are others in the market, mostly small potatoes and Unix front ends to ditto and psync. Meanwhile, what happens next remains to be seen. Is this a gentle move into a smaller market for EMC or a Microsoft-like gobble, chew, expel type move to diminish competition?