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HP Lays Off 5,000 More Employees

12/31/2013 00:00 AM EST
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zewde yeraswork
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Re: An incompetent CEO at work
zewde yeraswork   1/6/2014 9:34:37 AM
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HP remains the pride of Silicon Valley, and along with Intel and Microsoft one of the companies that the United States in general can be proud of. It's been a space fo rinnovation and evolution for some time. That explains why so many people continue to care and show concern when the company seems to be moving in the wrong direction.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: leadership at HP
zewde yeraswork   1/6/2014 9:31:21 AM
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It is to be expected, I think, that among engineers there is a belief that if only engineers were running things, were completely in control of their own fate, most of their problems would go away. That is, as you say, wishful thinking, but it's a powerful sort of belief and one that is not likely to dissipate.

David Ashton
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Re: Happy new year
David Ashton   1/5/2014 11:56:34 PM
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@DMcCunney, many thanks again, hope to get this done within a week or two but the best laid plans...etc.....  will email you and let you know how I go

 

Cheers // David

DMcCunney
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Re: An incompetent CEO at work
DMcCunney   1/5/2014 10:30:07 PM
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@Junko: Brilliant analysis. I tend to agree. I had much higher expectation for WebOS, too..

HP is making it open source, but I don't see anyone actually putting in on new machines.

What I find fascinating, though, is that many of our readers do care about HP. They get so passionate about what HP could have done or should have done.

Given HP's storied history and place in the field, it's not surprising.  Given my choice, for instance, I specified HP printers and servers.  They tended to be high quality, well manufactured, and robust.  (I was heartbroken when an HP Laserjet II in the computer room at a former employer finally died.  It had been built like a tank and just ran.  It didn't do fancy stuff, lacking Postscript siupport, but I didn't need it for the purposes it served.)

My SO likes HP laptops, and has had several.  Alas, when her old one died and she needed a replacement right away, the model she wanted was out of stock at the retailer she went to  She called me and said "What about ASUS?"  I've used ASUS gear, the specs were similar, and I said "Sure."  She's been happy with it.

But that illustrates part of HPs problem: PCs are commodities, bought on price, and given similar specs, it doesn't much matter whose name is on the box.  Can't compete on price? You have trouble, right here in River City...

It makes Meg Whitman's announcement that HP would make PCs in the US fascinating, because doing so requires HP to either find ways to compete on price or develop PCs customers will willing pay more for.  A partial model might be the successful line of HP laptops aimed at women buyers, with packaging by iconic fashion designer Vera Wang.  Someone at HP realized that many women were fashion conscious, and wanted a laptop that looked good as well as worked well.  (That model has been used in more general terms by Apple, whose product have superb industrial design.  Apple figured out that good looking products sell.)

DMcCunney
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Re: An incompetent CEO at work
DMcCunney   1/5/2014 10:10:33 PM
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@betajet: DMcCunny said: You will find folks who chart DEC's decline from CEO Ken Olsen's decision to kill the Jupiter project, intended to create the successor to DEC's 36 bit DEC-10 and DEC-20 machines, but I think that's misplaced.

I think it has a lot more to do with Ken Olsen's famous 1977 statement regarding microcomputers: "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home".  Yep, that totally missed a gigantic market waiting for the right product.  It's pretty ironic that DEC, which disrupted the computer market with the PDP-1 minicomputer totally missed that the microcomputer would do the same to them.


I don't think they totally missed it, but they were too late to the party.  DEC arch rival Data General suffered a similar fate.  They came out with the Aviion RISC workstation, but it couldn't replace declining revenue from Eclipse sales.  They had a storage management product that was well regarded, and that part of DG got bought by EMC, but the rest is no more. 

But yes, it was ironic.  It's also quite common, and DEC is hardly the only company that had the problem.

DEC is a casualty of cheap memory.  When memory was so expensive that nobody could afford more than 64KB, the PDP-11 ruled.  That was a great architecture.

I logged time on PDP-11s, under RSTS-E and RSX11m+.  I was trying at one point to get an expense reporting system used in another area of the bank I worked for up for a look in my area, as a possible replacement for a mainframe based application.  The small Systems Manager couldn't officially support me, but could give me an account on the PDPs and have an operator show me how to mount a tape.  Once I got the software loaded, I discovered I had to get the Applications Manager to regen RSTS-E with matrix support, and then track down the programmer who had put it up in the other area of the bank, and get him in for consultation on getting it customized for our shop.  Fun, for suitable values of the term.

 

DMcCunney
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Re: Happy new year
DMcCunney   1/5/2014 9:54:42 PM
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@David Ashton: I reckon I could publish your posts as a beginners guide to Linux :-).

Thank you, but there are many, and better than I could create.  I was just offering a few pointers as places to start.

I had a look around the Ubuntu site and they have a lot of help there too.

The Ubuntu forums are also useful.  When I first tried Ubuntu on the Lifebook, I used the Xubuntu distribution.  This is Ubuntu intended for lower end machines, using the XFCE4 window manager, which is lighter weight than Unity.  It successfully installed and ran, but was painfully slow.  Posters on the Ubuntu forum said that Ubuntu had a steadily advancing idea of what "low end" was, and that too much Gnome had crept into the Xubuntu distro and was slowing things down.  They recommended what I did - install from a Minimal CD to get a working command line interface system, then use the apt-get package manager to pick and choose the rest.  The result was a system which was hardly a speed demon, but was usable.

I suggested you try Ubuntu simply because it does the best job I've seen of figuring out what your environment is and installing itself with almost no under interaction.  There are other distros that can install to older hardware if you answer various questions during the installation, but many new Linux users won't know the answers.

Email reaches me at dennis dot mccunney at gmail dot com.  Feel free to continue this in email, as it's a bit off topic for this thread.

DMcCunney
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Re: An incompetent CEO at work
DMcCunney   1/5/2014 9:35:45 PM
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@Yog-Sothoth: I recall how DEC introduced the Rainbow PC, the only problem was that it could only use pre-formatted floppy disks bought from DEC. A huge mistake that killed their chance in the PC market.

That wasn't the only problem.  The Rainbow came out in the days when IBM compatibilty was not assured, and users used Lotus 1,2,3 and MS Flight Simulator to test compatibility.  Compaq became the gold standard for IBM compatibility.

The Rainbow wasn't 100% IBM compatible.  That was deliberate on DEC's part, and the incompatibilities tended to be in places where DEC thought what it did was technically superior to what IBM did.  And it may have been, but users bought PCs as platforms to run applications, and expected to be able to run the applications they bought.  The Rainbow mostly got taken up by companies that already ran other DEC products and weren't bitten by the incompatibilities.  It got next to no pickup in the general PC market.

Yog-Sothoth
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Re: An incompetent CEO at work
Yog-Sothoth   1/5/2014 2:39:44 PM
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betajet, that is a very interesting summary. I recall how DEC introduced the Rainbow PC, the only problem was that it could only use pre-formatted floppy disks bought from DEC. A huge mistake that killed their chance in the PC market.

betajet
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Re: An incompetent CEO at work
betajet   1/5/2014 2:10:22 PM
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DMcCunny said: You will find folks who chart DEC's decline from CEO Ken Olsen's decision to kill the Jupiter project, intended to create the successor to DEC's 36 bit DEC-10 and DEC-20 machines, but I think that's misplaced.

I think it has a lot more to do with Ken Olsen's famous 1977 statement regarding microcomputers: "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home".  Yep, that totally missed a gigantic market waiting for the right product.  It's pretty ironic that DEC, which disrupted the computer market with the PDP-1 minicomputer totally missed that the microcomputer would do the same to them.

Another big problem IMO was the architecture of the VAX-11, which made it very hard to pipeline.  VAX-11 instructions are byte-aligned and can vary from 1 to at least 50 bytes long.  The CPU has to interpret each operand field to determine how long the instruction is.  With a pipelined machine, you want to start interpreting a new instruction (or instructions) each clock cycle -- how do you do this if it's hard to calculate the length of the current instruction?  RISC machines have a huge advantage by making all instructions the same length (typically 32 bits), so finding the next instruction is trivial.

DEC is a casualty of cheap memory.  When memory was so expensive that nobody could afford more than 64KB, the PDP-11 ruled.  That was a great architecture.

resistion
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Re: leadership at HP
resistion   1/5/2014 8:23:52 AM
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Breakup seems inevitable. Printers and PCs separated. Neither really outstanding at the moment.

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