27 September, 2009

Promo efforts

Way cool stuff going on in the promo area lately - things are really speeding up. More people are working in one area or another, spreading the word and helping users out.

The recent efforts by the KDE forums team rock. Luca Beltrame just introduced Kdialogue while Sayak Banerjee blogged about the teams other efforts like improving the speed of the KDE forums. Over the last year the KDE forums have become a vibrant community, making a difference.

Meanwhile the KDE community continues to attend conference after conference, giving thousands of visitors a chance to meet those behind their software or to discover KDE - Myriam just blogged about the latest one, but lots more are in the pipeline. I haven't had time to go to many events lately, but I have fond memories of the last few I visited. Meeting hard working people like Eckhart makes it interesting in itself, and the many visitors are often fun to talk to. There are so many misconceptions and easy-to-answer questions, and many are so interested in seeing what is going on it gives a lot of energy. Unfortunately we can't visit even half the events we'd love to go to, so if you're interested in spending a weekend or a few weekdays with a bunch of gearheads, join the KDE promo team!

Of course more happens at KDE-promo, including the writing of articles and announcements, but that's for another blog.

26 September, 2009

Should be easy-peasy.

Kenny and I just discussed it, and it should be easy. After all, it gets it right about 50% already...


Konqi. It is reasonably smart with tabs - you can enable opening new windows and pop ups in tabs. So you click a link in Gmail, and it opens a background tab. I often want to read it so I have to activate the tab - redundant. Firefox is slightly smarter - middle click (open in tab) opens a background tab, a normal click, which opens a new window (in a tab), activates the new tab, and goes back to the previous one after you close it.

Yet sometimes I want those windows to open in background tabs too.

Basically, the solution would be to have Konqi open the tabs and activate them only if you want to. Who writes the patch which makes Konqi read my mind and choose the right thing 100% of the time instead of 50%? Should be easy...

13 September, 2009

government - big or small

Sorry, this is a rant about politics. I try to not let it bother me anymore, but sometimes I can't help myself. Skip it if you don't care about such stuff...

He. Havoc blogs about the size of government and how various political parties think about it.

He links to a pie chart of the US government spending on Wikipedia and accuses both liberals and democrats of saying one thing and doing the other. Basically, Republicans say they want tho make the government much smaller, Democrats want to increase it's size. The reality is that both balloon the size of the government (see what Republican Bush did with federal spending...). Of course the public prefers decreased taxes and increased spending, showing they're just as nuts as the politicians.

Personally I've often felt irritated when there was talk about problems and solving them. Apparently, the solution is always 'spend more money on it'. Because budget is always limited, we take money from something not currently in the spotlight and move it to an area the public currently cares about. Then, in a few years, that less-important topic becomes news - cuz you know, the budget cuts hurt, and now service in that area sucks. So the money is moved again...

Instead of the whole liberal/socialist discussion, why can't we stop moving money and start focusing on returns? I am not interested in how many billions are spend on health care, I'm interested in good health care for the lowest possible price. In other words, efficiency. If good health care for all dutch citizens costs us 20% of our yearly budget, so be it. As long as I don't have to pay 25% for getting 15%!

Politicians focus too much on how much money is spend on a certain category. Why can't we define what we want from that service and make sure we get it for the least amount of money? I don't hear politicians talk about 'lean six sigma' and improving management. They always want to trow more money at the problem.

And we all know what happens if you double the amount of money spend on something. You might get 10-20% more, but output never doubles. I'm not saying management bull crap like six sigma is going to save our government, but the public sector is on average between 10 and 20 years behind on management innovations used in the private sector. I believe a combination of good management and good management techniques DOES improve efficiency. We can do so much more with our money, and every citizen of every country knows it... I don't get why politicians don't talk about THAT.

A well known dutch politician, shot for his ideas a few years ago, Pim Fortuyn, actually spoke about this. Of course in his typical, rather extreme fashion - the attitude he was shot for. But he said it: decrease bureaucracy. Do 20% more with 10% less. I doubt he, or anyone, could have pulled it off in a 4 year term, but at least he made it a real topic.

Oh, current politicians in NL do work on it - by letting others solve the issue they can't. They are introducing market economics in our health care system, and successfully did the same in the mobile phone and internet connection markets (our rates are now among the lowest in the world). Yes it works. But in many areas it isn't possible. And I think it's not a vote of confidence in yourself if you admit you can't do something reasonably well so let someone else (the market) take care of it... Get of your lazy asses, read a few management books and do something! Local governments won't get of their asses themselves - research has shown the vast majority of government agencies only introduce new management techniques to improve efficiency when the law forces them to. And the few which do experiment and strive to improve are often almost beheaded when something goes wrong - don't ya dare to try something new and better!

Meanwhile, what will be the topic for the election? "wat kost een allochtoon" (what are the costs of an immigrant for society). Sure, important I guess. But I'd rather pay 10% less and get 20% more - a few immigrants won't make a difference if that were to happen...