New webcam

My crufty old P233 linux box finally started to give up the ghost, so I went looking for solutions that didn’t involve connecting the camera to a PC. I found a couple affordable IP based webcams: the LinkSys WVC54G and the DLink DCS-900. The Linksys is considerably more expensive because of the wireless capabilities, though it does look nicer. After a little searching on the web, I found this walkthrough for a lobotomy for the DLink, assuring me that I could make it work on a linux box with wget and other tools. I ordered one up last week and installed it this morning, replacing my trusty old Connectix QuickCam Color, mess of parallel cables and P233 minitower with the DCS-900, an extension cord, a power brick and an ethernet cable. Woohoo for heat and volume reduction…

Vendor Presentations

A few suggestions if you are in the business of pitching software to Higher Ed:

  • If someone asks for a rough estimate of system capacity, don’t say “you tell us that”. This is not an answer, make up some hand waving total B.S. underestimate if you have to, but don’t just leave the question unanswered.
  • If you claim the best strength of your system is the designed in from day one ultra high power encryption, don’t leave your wireless access point set to factory defaults or the password on the Administrator account on your laptop blank.
  • A “whitepaper” that your lawyers made you lock up in a safe and not release to the world is not a whitepaper. Sorry, it just isn’t.
  • If there are multiple salespeople from your company at the presentation, all of them should remain in the front of the room or off to the side. They should not be pacing in the back of the room taking head counts, getting impressions, doing hand signals or anything else to make the attendees feel nervous.
  • If you are going to do a demo of any kind, it needs to be repeatable and highly scripted. You should know the clicks, check boxes and any associated props needed like the back of your hand. Half assed, mickey mouse demos that only half work do not instill confidence.
  • Don’t promise the kitchen sink. You’re application is not going to be able to wash my dishes, make my wife happy or change the baby and we all know that, so don’t promise any of them.
  • If I hear “No one has asked us that before that I know of” one more time…
  • Reading verbatim from a document we already have does not answer questions. We wouldn’t be asking for clarification if what was in the response was clear to begin with.

Why is it that all sales people feel the need to wear expensive suits, pricey watches and other jewelry? A clean suit is all I need to see, the rest just reinforces the perception that we are going to pay too much for whatever we choose.

A day and a half of vendor presentations makes you think, I guess.

SANS Windows Security Training

I’m in Indianapolis for the week, attending a Windows Security class.

We’re across the street from the Convention Center and just down the street from the large downtown mall, so lots of pricey meals within walking distance.

Yesterday leaving a session, I heard the following exchange between two attendees (edited for a “family” site):
Person 1: “You know that piece of crap Access application *she* wrote?”
Person 2: “Yeah”
Person 1: “Someone sent out an email to a bunch of people about it not working, and then my boss replied just to me asking ‘When the hell did we get in the #$%*$*& programming business?'”

Good to know we’re not the only shop with Access craplications…