Category Archives: Uncategorized

The IT manager role (car paradigm)

The “pre-cloud” era (or, before virtualization and public cloud providers): Read instructions, assemble all parts, turn engine on, let everybody drive (and then pick up the pieces):

Some assembly required…

The “cloud” era (or, virtualized datacenter, services outsourced in the cloud): Get in, put company in the back seat, CEO sits in front, CIO drives:

Closing a business in Greece

A few years ago I was working as a freelancer. Now, being a freelancer here means two things: First, that you essentially run a business and second, that you are a constant target for the tax collectors, even if you don’t have income from freelancing. In the recent wake of tax raid, I decided to close the books once and for all. How difficult can it be to close a business than opening one? Hah!

I paid a visit to my tax advisor, who prepared no less than five applications and a couple of printouts and some advise. Armed with these, I set off for the state tax office. First stop, the auditors. After consulting the legislation and doing a thorough check, they gave me this:

“Just go around and fill the blanks”, she said. “Off you go now!”

Apparently, it was my turn to walk up and down two floors in the tax office and visit almost every single department to collect signatures and certifications like:

  • I have paid all my VAT obligations
  • I don’t have any assets registered
  • I have filed all my income declarations and done my taxes for the past 8 years
  • Other obscure things I don’t remember
After that, back to the auditors to check if the others had done their jobs, get more signatures and back to the register office to get the final declaration… All these took more than four hours, and as I was told, my case was an easy one since I did not have had any assets or pending invoices. I had to wait in queues for more than two hours, yet, the most obnoxious fact was that every office had a terminal running the same application. In simple terms this means that every one of those behind the desks could have run a check on all these and let me do my job in less than ten minutes. Or, wait, they could have used a workflow and a web portal and let me do their job in 5 minutes. But, noooo, let insanity rule. And drag the whole country down to a loud and spectacular crash. 

When Windows XP counts your cash

Time for an illustrated post: From a nearby mall (I swear I didn’t do it; I was fast enough to grab these shots with my relic Nokia 6300)

OK, we know that XP has been loooong ago out of support for regular customers; will be around since 2014 for banks, presumably… So this ATM will be upgraded in two-three years from now. Let’s see the next slide, please:

That’s the splash screen of IBM Tivoli TMF and we can see it’s version 4.1.1. Currently the latest release is 4.3.1, so we’re a bit behind on this, too, aren’t we?

A few questions that pop in my head as I deactivate the phone camera and put my wallet back in my pocket:

  1. Why on earth would I trust a machine running XP, the most targeted and abused OS so far, to count my money?
  2. This ATM rebooted three times in a row and then worked just fine; most probably not due to a fault (we know that PCs fail miserably and die or reboot constantly) but due to maintenance. Why would a bank run maintenance tasks remotely in broad daylight?
  3. Tivoli is a quite decent platform for managing the box and its software; yet it’s not cheap and needs backend infrastructure, let alone services from (expensive) consultants for customization and operation. If XP was chosen as a low cost platform, bundling Tivoli and friends would make it a quite costly solution.