Thursday, March 22, 2007

The wonderful world of ERP

A short update on my employment status.
I started with EDB Gruppen on March 14th - after an interview for a project coordinator position they asked me if I wanted to join them as a developer instead. Not sure whether that was a compliment or not, but in any event I've now begun my new career. I'm currently trying to find out what the hell is going on around me.

I'm working with the CargoLink division which is the department that handles the main transport ERP system for the big big DSV transport group. Basically, if DSV wants some cargo to go from A to B, CargoLink makes them able to book trucks/planes/ships, pick up, and deliver that cargo - as well as invoice the crap out of every player involved.

It's an old 70's system, recently ported from HP3000 to the IBM AIX it's UNIX and DB2 SQL mingled with some old COBOL code. And if that gibberish means nothing to you, think about how I feel..! I doubt the sentence was quite accurate.

I'm not sure how I feel about this job just yet. On one level, it's very interesting because I'm experiencing "real stuff" that makes "real physical actions" happen. Not as "virtual" and conceptual as most of my other projects. On the other hand, it doesn't feel all that sexy - and I'm still wondering how my broad skills are going to come into play in the long run, if I am to specialize in very specific system functionalities.
But, then again, I've often felt that I lacked some deeper technical insight and a bit of dirt on my hopefully this will just enhance my generalist skills even more.

The workplace is great on all other levels. Nice location, good facilities, benefits and a great cantina :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

List of startpages

I've been meaning to ditch Google Desktop for a while now. It's handy but I have the feeling that it consumes too much processor power held up against how much I actually use it. It slows down the startup, that's for sure.

Similarly, I'm getting fed up with my Google startpage. Recently, they added a fold-out functionality, so you can read entire articles within the startpages instead of spawning a new tab. Good stuff but it doesn't go down well with all kinds of feeds, of course. Also, I am getting pretty tired of its dull appearance. So far, my browser (FF) starts with a GMail tab and the Google Startpage. I want to put all those 3 things together, since I am actually checking mail/news 3 or 4 different places. You get to the point where all your nice little helpers divert your attention so much that you are wasting time instead of saving it.

So, I went to look at some alternatives...and I thought I might as well list them here, briefly commented:

- The extensive one. Everything is here and the focus is clearly on news feeds. Styling is nice but options of customization are few.

- Tight and neat. Compares to Webwag and is strictly functional. I can't decide whether it's too boring. Love the "flakes" metaphor, though :)

- The playground. You can drag anything anywhere. Yikes. Luckily, you can turn on "gravity" to bind feeds in place. The background is fully customizable, nice touch. Something about the styling puts me off, though. Too idiot happy, maybe the Protopuppy reminds me of Stimpy...and the lower menu hangs when I scroll, too.

- I nearly chose this over Google in the beginning. Maybe I should have...the styling is nice and neat, not too much, not too little. Since this is a newcomer, I'm doubtful of durability and compatibility.

- The all-in-one. I chose "personal homepage" as the start can do "blogging" instead and one or two others. It's admittedly very good. The styling is nice and simple, yet characteristic. You can scale it as you wish...move into blogging further down the road. Problems: apparently it doesn't go beyond 1024 pixels, so I have 1/4 of white browser space to the right. Not pretty. Also, it has 3 privacy levels that can be configured per feed through an ugly drop-down. I don't want that choice, basically. Don't default it - who makes a startpage with feeds that need hiding? I'd place my porn a lot deeper than that..!

- The stylish gay cousin (let's call him Mac). When you see this, you automagically think "oh, man...this has to be sluggish"....but in fact, it's not too bad. It has some of the happy stuff of Protopage...but a bit more subtle and designer-like.

I know I've left some out...but I don't know feel free to point me in other directions.

My choice? Tough one. My rational mind says Netvibes, or possibly Pageflakes/Webwag. You get tight, no-nonsense service. However, the dull Google startpage has me craving for something pleasing to the eye...something that actually makes me want to look at the headlines every morning.

can come on a bit strong because there is so much text. Protopage is too much stress. Webjam is great but has a few, serious flaws. Pageflakes is prehaps a bit stronger than Webwag, if not in terms of style then in terms of feed setup and the option of importing feed templates.

That leaves Yourminis which I have soon as I get the time to configure it properly! It may disappoint me with bloatedness and lag, but it looks good and seems fun to interact with. And it is certainly different from the other industry leaders...which gives me street cred in my own shallow mind...