Remedies For Silicon Valleys Malaise

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2001-01-15 Print this article Print

It's gotten so gloomy around silicon valley that even I, usually full of mirth, am starting to get depressed.

Its gotten so gloomy around silicon valley that even I, usually full of mirth, am starting to get depressed. Even the road ragers look melancholy as they cut off unsuspecting tourists. Boohoo. This case of manic despair has been incubating for months, and its hard to feel sorry for anyone. Theres a way to relieve our depression, though, and it has nothing to do with Pfizers Zoloft medication. It involves getting rid of the clutter thats blurred our vision. Here, then, is my prescription for curing the Silicon Valley flu.

Start with cell phones. Ban them: They make people misbehave. It happens while theyre driving, in restaurants, and in the presence of friends and family. Cell phones wont get interesting for three years—after the 3G specs are ironed out and companies that wasted money buying spectrum space recoup enough cash to build some infrastructure.

Dump those PDAs but not all of them—just the ones that people think make them more organized. People are wasting brain cells trying to enter data into the stupid things just because they feel powerful with 1980s-style processing power in their shirt pockets. PDAs wont get interesting until cell phones do and, of course, by then theyll be interchangeable.

Forget chips. Intel announces a really fast Celeron, bumps its bus to 100MHz and rues its corporate dealings with Rambus. And AMD is trying to team up with Transmeta to target the server market. Meanwhile, the Itanium is a blip on the outer edge of a few futurists radar screens. These signs show that the chipsters have no idea whats going on. Stay far, far away.

Extricate XML. Theres a fat chance this will happen, but it may save your sanity if you can erase this overused buzzword from your memory. XML may be able to let companies glue their old data stores together, and it might make a rich transactional language, but at what cost? Every vendor has committed itself to developing toward it. Now its a quagmire, as numerous parts of the XML spec are fragmenting. In technology, its best to keep things simple; otherwise, they end up like CORBA.

Theres more—much more—but Im out of space—or just spaced out. Rid yourself of the clutter, and youll be much better off.

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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