Bestseller Fraud

I’m a bit more interested in how people choose the books they buy, now that I’ve put out a novel. I’m also a bit more sensitive to the term “Bestseller”. You really should be too.

Remember, back when we were kids and FM radio was just catching on? Remember how all of the DJs talked about “the charts”? We all thought that those were accurately compiled from actual sales numbers and call in requests. It wasn’t until some years later that most of us learned only a few major record store locations were counted and that all of the major labels had identified those locations. If they wanted to boost a record/album’s standing they would simply arrange a free giveaway of a couple hundred copies at one or more of the locations. When the next set of numbers came out the artist was skyrocketing up “ the charts” and they were a “top 10 artist”.

I haven’t yet figured out if the New York Times Bestseller List has a similar sampling flaw being exploited or if there really is some form of overall ethics in the listing. I do know that the secondary uses have nothing to do with ethics at all.

You have to understand the “wow factor” to understand what is honking me off. I see it in all of the writing and book business magazines. You read it in press releases for books and even in IT magazines when they talk about books. They usually couch it to avoid direct criminal prosecution, but some don’t even bother with that these days.

A bestseller from xyz publishing!

 In part, I have to be pissed with the NY Times. All of us, from Junior High forward have heard about the NY Times best seller list. This list was supposed to convey accuracy and integrity. Even if you didn’t listen to your English Lit teacher telling you about it, you heard about it on TV talk shows. In the American Psychology, bestseller became synonymous with NY Times Bestseller. The NY Times worked to achieve this, then didn’t defend it, now, we get raped by it.

Some years ago, I became aware of the blatant abuse when reading some trash put out by PMA, now called IBPA or something like that. Basically a lapdog organization herding sheep to the slaughter at Amazon. There was an article talking about a member publisher’s “new bestseller”. When you dug deep enough to find the actual numbers you found out the book had “almost sold out its initial print run of 5000 copies”. To say that I had cognitive dissonance when discovering that would be an understatement.

I have even encountered the same thing with my own books. When “The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer” came out, some write-ups referred to it as a bestselling application development book for the OpenVMS platform. Well, it certainly never made the NY Times list, but, the only book in print in that category so….technically they are correct…I just wish the NY Times had defended its turf somehow. When most of us here “bestseller” we think there was some process which went into measuring that title against all others. Sadly, that is almost never the case.


Backshoring is Now Officially a Megatrend

It was an inevitable outcome for a failed policy. The criminal fraud which has occurred with wanton abandonment over off-shoring had to end with Bernie Madoff style arrests and thousands of companies quickly trying to tidy up their books before the feds come in for a closer look. The beginnings of the legal brew-ha-ha began today with the auctioning of a piece of Satyam.

The criminal cases are going to drag on for years and involve many companies. Given the news and the closeness of growth reported by most other offshoring companies, Satyam wasn’t the only offshore company going for a Pulitzer with their financials.

Now, it appears, that the Fed has offered up something of a get-out-of-jail-free card to companies who were willingly participating in the offshoring scam which ran rampant through the business community. All you have to do is jump onto the backshoring bandwagon with both feet like this company did.

It’s really quite amazing that you could be a company engaging in a practice which brought about world wide recession and have the Fed offer up a get-out-of-jail-free card. At least they are going to force one of the leading culprits into bankruptcy now. GM and EDS were at the root of the offshoring debacle, and they both need to be forced into bankruptcy with upper mucky-mucks servering lengthy prison sentences. Yes, HP owns EDS now, but they should have thought about the prison time before offering to buy a company which was going to be held accountable for its role in the global economic resession.

What to look for?

Over the course of the next 6 months, you will see large companies who couldn’t talk enough about their offshoring suddenly start talking about how many jobs they are bringing back to the U.S. They will also go deathly silent about their offshore divisions. Most of the offshore divisions will be spun off into “ partnership” type companies so the parent company doesn’t have to admit they have an offshoring business. The companies who don’t do this simply won’t be in business right now. Mom, dad, and Aunt Carol simply aren’t going to buy stock in your company. The “green” and “social conscience” funds seem to already be migrating to companies that have publicly sworn they will abandon offshoring before the end of the year. In less than 18 months, if you are a company that still has offshored some portion of your IT jobs, you simply won’t be able to give your stock away. Your competitors, on the other hand, will enjoy a rising stock price along with available credit.

Second thing to look for:

A re-writing of the charters for many “green” and “social conscience” funds. Oh, they will still be sticking to their values. They simply will want the investors of those funds to let them issue loans directly to companies which meet the fund’s investment criteria. The green wave is taking off and will run for at least 5 more years (longer if all governments officially admit we’ve passed the tipping point for crude oil). You can only help a company become green so much by purchasing its stock. The SEC will only let the company sell a limited number of shares. So, the next big thumb screw will come from the funds themselves issuing loans with a magnitude of strings and inspections to the companies they are trying to force to be green.


Microsoft Dropped Support for PC

Isn’t that an eye catcher? It is far more accurate than the pee-pee-ka-ka being spouted by “industry analysts”, big 4 consulting companies and MBAs everywhere. What these supposedly knowledgeable people are spouting follows:

We have to get off of VMS because HP is dropping support for the VAX.”

It’s very difficult to determine if this statement comes from genuine cerebral damage or outright intent to commit criminal fraud. In the case of the “industry analysts” and the big 4 consulting companies it is hard to believe the statement comes from anything other than an intent to commit criminal fraud and drum up some off-shore porting contracts. In the case of MBAs, they really do tend to have been dropped on the head repeatedly as children.

Part of the problem might be that VMS is VMS is VMS. The VAX to Alpha port of VMS was so clean that a lot of end users and managers had no idea their VAX was now an Alpha. Granted, the Itanium hasn’t lived up to any of its advertisements, but it is the current architecture VMS runs on.

Yes, HP is dropping support for the VAX architecture. They are no longer going to compile, patch, update, etc. VMS for that architecture. They also haven’t manufactured one of those CPUs in well over a decade, so…either the companies still running on a physical VAX have stockpiled a lot of old spare parts, or they have went the emulator route rather than migrate to an Alpha…or migrated to a different OS on the Alpha platform AND chose to run a VAX emulator in some kind of virtual environment. It doesn’t really matter. Odds are they haven’t been applying OS and layered product updates for a while. When was the last time anyone reading this actually got software on a 2400′ magnetic tape or a TK-50 from HP?

The Alpha is going to be supported until some time in/around 2016 and the Itanium (known as the Itanic by many) will be supported until some time in 2025. So, you have a very long time to make a decision. For those who can rip out the MACRO code in their home grown applications, they can mostly recompile on the Itanium and start running on an architecture with a lower support cost. Those of you unfortunate enough to have written production software with MACRO (assembler) have a much tougher row to hoe than most others. R0 ain’t what it used to be when you get over there. Higher level languages will be happy happy joy joy.

Microsoft hasn’t shipped an operating system or application which will run on the 8086 in years. This same group of “industry analysts” and big 4 consulting companies should be telling everyone to abandon Microsoft.


Oracle Strips to the Waist

It was a rather odd turn of events when Oracle jumped to purchase SUN. While they have been looking to have their own OpenSource Linux distro, most thought they were simply going to crush RedHat and take that distro over. Nobody really though them stupid enough to attempt going toe-to-toe with both IBM and what’s left of Microsoft while still trying to crush RedHat. Guess we all should have been warned about thinking.

This may very well be Oracle’s swan song. Yes, SUN is the originator of Java and Java is quite the rage. Yes, SUN is the originator of the codebase which hath become OpenOffice. Yes, Oracle got themselves an OpenSource Unix distro…well free anyway…that comes with an installed base, but to those of us who’ve been around a while, it sounds like the Quaker Oats buys Snapple deal all over again. Paid too much for a product that’s only going down.

Yes, most corporations are now standardizing on the Open Document Format. Decades of excessive fees and proprietary restrictions from Microsoft have finally taken their toll. MS Word is no longer the corporate document standard. There are, however, quite a few word processors implementing the Open Document Specification. IBM recently released the best implementation out there as far as completeness, Lotus Symphony. It has some missing features and some bugs, but hands down is without equal as far as implementing the complete specification goes. OpenOffice has way more in the way of recognition, features, and plug-ins, but it has some severe gaps when it comes to the implementation of the specification. Will OpenOffice ever manage to implement the complete specification? I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t look like they are heading in that direction right now.

OpenOffice has another severe flaw, it was written by Java developers not software developers and data architects. If you’ve been in the software industry for any length of time, you can spot applications with this fault just like you can spot applications that were written by Visual Basic programmers instead of software developers and data architects.

The easiest way to spot this problem is to create a large document with many screen shots, open the document in OpenOffice, then in a terminal window use the “free” command to check free memory. Kill off OpenOffice and open the same document in Lotus Symphony and try the “free” command again. I got forced into this little experiment when I was trying to port “The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer” from a WordPerfect format to OpenDocument. At the time my machine hand only 2 Gig of RAM and I needed to keep both a 900+ page converter generated file open along with the new file I was pasting into. I started crashing badly when I got to around 300-350 pages in the destination document. That’s when I noticed that I was out of RAM and using swap.

Boosting RAM didn’t help. Started having the same crashing problem when I got to 400 pages. That’s when I pulled down Lotus Symphony and tried the experiment above. Symphony functioned well within the 2Gig limitation even with both documents open. Why? Symphony was written by software developers and data architects who happened to use Java rather than Java developers. They knew that throughout history we have had to restrict word processor type applications to only loading a few pages at a time. Java developers don’t understand such things. They want everything loaded live in the VM and that is how they design applications. Memory issues are someone else’s problem.

It is true that IBM has a large investment in Java, but it is also true Oracle won’t get away with trying to force commercial licenses down the throats of those currently using the language. No, it seems Oracle has stripped to the waist and decided it’s time for Microsoft to die.


The Holier Than Thou Tax

Over the past few weeks we have been hearing stories about how every government in the Union is trying to increase revenue since the corrupt bastards that run the banking system were deregulated during the Clinton administration and allowed to continue running unchecked through the Bush administration flattened the economy. Since all of the elected criminals…errr…I mean officials view themselves as holier than thou (at least trying to portray such an image until we find out about cigar use in the oral office), the first thing they reach for is a new “sin” tax. Here in IL, that tax increase, plus mild price hikes by the manufacturer nearly doubled the cost of tobacco products a couple of weeks ago.

You know, this holier than thou sh*t has really gotta stop. They have already fraudulently lowered the blood alcohol level so far that you cannot walk through a room and smell an open can of beer with any hope of passing. Before they did that they taxed alcohol nearly out of existence, then they wondered why all of their tax revenue vanish. Gee, Einstein, what do you think happened?

Here in IL, and pretty much every other state that I have been to, the police departments have been horribly corrupted by both the legislature and the people who run them. Now; every raise, bonus, promotion, equipment upgrade, set of brakes for the squad car you’re driving, etc. all hinges on how many DUIs you issue. Law enforcement officers aren’t allowed to be law enforcement officers anymore. The system has forced them into becoming revenue generation machines simply to draw a paycheck.

Recently there was a big round up of police officers in Harvey IL on corruption charges of renting out their badges to provide security for drug dealers. The TV news had all kinds of officials putting their face in front of the camera saying how shocked they were that law enforcement officers would so quickly rent out their badge and the public trust. Yeah right! You manufactured them! You, the same person they are interviewing and a member of that same holier-than-thou cult which give us Al Capone, Murder Incorporated, and the first Heroin pipeline into America. You couldn’t remove all sin and form your religious Utopia with Prohibition, so now you are trying to get all sins taxed out of existence. I mean why wouldn’t you? Just look at the rousing success you had with Prohibition! That raid in Harvey was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your current round of success. In less than two years people will look back on the historic reports about corruption in the New Orleans police departments as the Norman Rockwell era.

I have finally figured out how to put this highly detrimental movement in check and help balance the budgets. The Holier Than Thou Tax. A $3 tax on every bible printed or imported into the United States. Doesn’t matter if they give them away, if it is created, it is taxed at the time of creation. Tax must be paid prior to the units leaving the printer. Same tax on every Tanakh and Quran and any other bible type book I’ve forgotten about. A $10 meeting tax will be levied for every service or other religious event occuring in a place of worship with the tax to be paid within 7 days of the event or service. Furthermore, the tax exempt status of all religious groups will be null and void, they will pay the same tax all other businesses pay.

Taxation has been favoring a religious agenda for far too long. It is time to enforce the separation of church and state by implementing the Holier Than Thou Tax. Uncle Sam will start looking forward to Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. They might even find the funds to help the Post Office stay open 7 days per week to keep the stream of revenue coming in.