Critical Warning Number 6 – (Fake or Scam)

Every now and then I hear a commercial on the radio that piques my interest.  In this case it’s the radio add “Critical Warning 6″ which I end up listening to every morning on the way to work in July and August 2012.  In part, it goes:

Something very big will happen in America within the next 180 days. It will be more devastating than the credit crisis of 2008. For most people, it will hit them like a brick wall. It will touch Americans harder and deeper than anything else we've seen since the Great Depression. Michael Lombardi feels so strongly about this, he's decided to present his "Critical Warning Number Six" in a new video. In case you're not familiar with him... Michael Lombardi has been widely recognized as predicting five major economic events over the past 10 years. In 2002, he started advising his readers to buy gold– related investments when gold traded under $300 an ounce. In 2006, he begged his readers to get out of the housing market...before it plunged.

My thoughts, and please share your own on this issue below:

  1. Scare Tactic – The voice used for the advertising is a threatening male voice about to tell you something you don’t want to hear.
  2. Timing – “Within the next 180-days… ”  As of this writing if you poke around on like you can find mention of this ‘prediction’ going back to November of 2011 and possibly further back.
  3. Verification of Past Predictions – I tried to use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to see what this website looked like in the past.  After all, if Mr. Lombardi has posted his past predictions online we should be able to see them.  Unfortunately, the Wayback Machine doesn’t seem to have an old web archives of his content.
  4. Who Else Made These Predictions? – I read a book prior to the present economic crisis by Harry S. Dent that seems to say the same thing Michael Lombardi is saying, but the information is verifiable.  A few differences.  The Wayback machine shows Dent ready to publish his book back in July of 2008.   Dent sells a newsletter that essentially draws parallels to the great depression 80-some-years ago.  It’s a good read and I’m a firm believer that history is a fine indicator of the future.  But as the immortal Samuel Clemen once said, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme”
  5. Why Share Your Knowledge? – If you lived in the future, let’s say the year 2022 and you traveled back to 2012 what would you do with your knowledge?  How would you leverage this knowledge? One way would be to setup a newsletter and charge $200/year sharing your knowledge with others.  The other would be to take your capital and make smart investments.  Then there is the third way; you could invest with your knowledge of the past and then share the knowledge as a newsletter.  If you invest first and have a large enough following you can make money as your followers invest and drive up prices.

I’ll probably come back to this and add as time allows.

About Jay Farschman - Jay currently works as a Senior Systems Administrator for an asset management company in Colorado where he works with companies that produce hardware, telecommunications software and financial services.  Jay previously owned a consulting company and provided training and consulting services for three Fortune 500 companies and numerous small businesses where he leveraged Linux to provided exceptional value.

Integrating JIRA and MS Project

A couple of weeks ago I was tasked with setting up an environment where our Project Manager, working with MS Project is able to setup all of the software development tasks and then sync that data with JIRA, the tools used by the development, technical services and QA teams to track their work.  On top of that the executive team wants the ability to monitor progress using MS Project.  They’d like it to work on iPads, Windows, Macs, Androids.  Pretty much everywhere.  Oh, and it should be too costly.

You can do this with MS Project Server and Sharepoint, but as soon as you start down that road there are all kinds of problems not the least of which is the cost which will be well into 5 figures.  So didn’t didn’t go there.

THE PARTS

  • R/W JIRA Users – Using JIRA, Dev, QA and TS log progress and time spent with a browser connection.
  • JIRA Server – We are adding The Connector to the JIRA server to enable synchronization of data between a MS Project and JIRA.
  • R/W Project Manager – A virtual workstation with MS Project 2010 loaded with a JIRA connector.  This system is the only system allowed to write to the .MPP files on Mercury (the file server) and synchronize those files to the JIRA server.
  • File/HTTP Server – The location of the project files.  We will be loading a .NET framework Project Viewer by Housatonic that allows 5 concurrent users read-only access the active files.  The project viewer works just like project, but runs on Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, etc.  That data is updated by the PM who pulls progress updates from JIRA.
  • R/O Executive – Management with read-only access to the project plan as served up on Mercury.  These user may also access JIRA directly
THE PROCESS
This outlines the workflow.
  1. Project Creation – The PM creates projects in MS Project 2010 on a single workstation and updates JIRA which replicates all of the components of the project onto the JIRA Server.  The project files live on Mercury and are now visible to the executive team through a web browser.
  2. Working on the Project – As users work on the project they use JIRA to log their time and tasks completed sharing notes with other users as needed.
  3. JIRA / Project Synchronization - The data on Mercury does not automatically reflect the data in JIRA. Periodically, the PM will open MS Project and sync up the data.  This will pull the task completed and time worked from JIRA into MS Project.
  4. Reporting – The PM will periodically create reports that include links to the project.  The hyperlinks will cause a project viewer to open allowing management to drill down into details as necessary.
THE COSTS
  • JIRA Connector ($500) – Licence for a single user.
  • JIRA Runs on a CentOS server which we already own.
  • Project Viewer ($400) 5 concurrent licenses.
  • Runs on a Windows Server that we already own. ($0)

OPINION

I love this setup.  I’ll enumerate my thoughts:

  1. I don’t like MS Project, but I understand that Project Managers feel comfortable with it and over time executives have grown up using it.  So I see the need.  I just don’t like paying for multiple copies of MS Project when I don’t have to.
  2. The Project Viewer looks very much like MS Project, but it runs through the web on OSX, Windows, iOS etc.  So, when the executive team are being cool, they can work on iPads.
  3. The JIRA Connector works surprising well.  There are some procedural things you need to keep in mind when working with it due to fact that we have read-write users in both JIRA and MS Project.  These sorts of things are common sense to sysadmins, but need to be discussed with your team.
  4. JIRA is a great tool for software development.  Period.

One other aspect was added to this project now.  Basically, pretty PowerPoint’s are created and converted to PDFs for distribution to those who will be using the ‘Project Viewer’.  Embedded hyperlinks in the .PDF work great when the user needs additional detail.  Just one problem though, If you are using an older MS Office like 2003 it cannot save links in PDFs.  You’ll need 2007 or above and I don’t believe any version of Mac Office can save a hyperlink.

About Jay Farschman - Jay currently works as a Senior Systems Administrator for an asset management company in Colorado where he works with companies that produce hardware, telecommunications software and financial services.  Jay previously owned a consulting company and provided training and consulting services for three Fortune 500 companies and numerous small businesses where he leveraged Linux to provided exceptional value.

How to Get a Solid Price on Equipment

I’m not entirely sure how they do it, but BuyMyTronics.com seems to consistently offer the best pricing in this space.   What space?  They buy used equipment.  If you have Mac equipment they are definitely the best place.

I recently confirmed this after looking at Apple’s own buyback/reconditioning program.

While on the subject, PaceButler.com has a phone buyback program.  I have successfully sent them old junk phones from where which they recycled as well as not so old iPhones.  Pace and all of these companies are going to handle the shipping costs and they make everything very simple arranging for pickup (UPS) for you.  Your responsibility is the boxing of the equipment.

NOTE: I recently sent BMT a spreadsheet with my available used equipment.  They got back to me promptly and with reasonable prices.  They made offers on stuff that their website did not have listed as well.  Shortly, after that we got a check.  Nice company, nice employees, nice CEO and the best value.  We will use them again as our equipment ages.

About Jay Farschman - Jay currently works as a Senior Systems Administrator for an asset management company in Colorado where he works with companies that produce hardware, telecommunications software and financial services.  Jay previously owned a consulting company and provided training and consulting services for three Fortune 500 companies and numerous small businesses where he leveraged Linux to provided exceptional value.