Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Retrospectively speaking

Jon is gone (flightblogger). He started his blog not long before this one. Similar subject, except he was a little more specific in focus. My interest was, and still is, truth engineering. The TE blog predates this one by one month. The idea was to look at the general issues related to computing and to discuss these with some notion of contribution to the general welfare. Of course, what was taken as the generality was the human condition of being prone to err (especially, those who are in the position of blaze out). And, this blog came about as there was the program for motivation. Hence, 7 oops 7. We'll go more, below, into what was the common interest that helped get the Jon's and my blogs started.

Jon's blog was picked up by a publication firm later that same year. This afforded several things to Jon and the firm (will look at this some later time). Needless to say, Jon's blog had a lot of readership and was there with the news during the 787 recovery process. Of course, now that the work of the program is oriented toward delivery issues, Jon is off to better things. His blog? Not as active (for several reasons that would be interesting to consider).

787 recovery? Yes, 2007, specifically 07/08/07, was when a 'potemkin' event took place that, in retrospect, is still not believable. What were they thinking? But, we'll leave that for another time. Let me quote from a recent article which appeared first in a Seattle paper (mind you, there is now a final assembly plant that is not in the SEATAC area -- who would have known in 2007? -- so, sarcasm out of the northwest would be expected): Jones said the plane rolling out Friday had fewer than 100 jobs incomplete, a very small number. In comparison, when Boeing rolled out the very first Dreamliner in 2007 in Everett, the plane was a shell with a few fake surfaces painted to look real. That plane didn’t fly until 2 ½ years after rollout.

Ignoring, for now, who is Jones and what plane (787, of course, but what number?) is rolling out, we can see that the first plane (in a state that was long way from being operational) was used for a media event that was highly touted and attended (as if the thing was going to be in the air in a matter of weeks -- in fact, delivery was planned for mid-2008). Too, there were reports in papers, at that time, that the snap-together approach was ready to go (the pieces to be joined had been designed by disparate firms -- across the world, mind you -- so as to be brought together in a matter of days -- the pieces were fully stuffed, it was claimed). All sorts of things can be pulled together to sketch the message and mindsets of that time which was five years ago (and what happened afterwards - such as pulling back work, building a new assembly plant, and more). Too, thanks to the new media, we can trace what happened the past few years as the program turned itself around (including some of the engineering issues that were resolved).

Aside: much water has passed 'neath the bridges, if you would. There was a major recession caused by financial mismanagement. Its effects are still being felt. And, a certain banker still thinks that he's the 'last man' standing. At that time, Facebook was relatively unknown. Since then, it has boomed (as in, having the record for the number of users - huge number). An IPO is planned which is making some go gaga. Are we better at things like 'risk' and other management? Well, again, are we?


In 2007, new media (including social) was still an unknown entity used by few. The effects of these new methods have become phenomenally distributed widely. Too, though, all of the issues are still there. Jon's emphasis was semi-journalistic, and he had sources that may, or may not, have been reliable. Some of these seem to have been within the company. The Company, itself, started a blog to give its message. And, we know that FB has become a medium for corporate expression. What major company is not represented there (well, many actually)?

The past two days have given us another look at risk and its management. In 2007, prior to things unfolding, those in the game were talking as if a downturn was not ever going to happen. No, we have things under control was the message, and the feeling, albeit the unraveling went much deeper than many had allowed for. The blogger felt like old Rip as he caught up with what he had ignored (in his interest in cyber matters) for so long (a bunch of idiots had screwed up the world, essentially).

So, we'll have to keep revisiting computability issues (and the underlying mathematical paradigm). Of course,  even with all of the problems there has been strides forward. One might say that the success can be measured by its associated grief (let's take the LT 0.001 and GT 9.999, as an example -- the haves have been very successful in bloating their smelly selves -- the have nots did not see the looming troubles -- we'll be getting back to all this, again and again).


As we said before, "we're not back" except for retrospective concerns that relate to larger things. What does that mean? Engineers know what they're doing. Management is mostly the issue. Zuckerberg will see this. In a company with a long history of engineering success, there ought to be rewards for those of that mindset (though, things, like IPOs, dazzle some). And, processes that accrue results ought to be favored over hype (somehow, new media seems to be more this than of any substance).


09/16/2013 -- So, the five year retrospective time. Business week devotes a whole issue. It will be interesting to read all of the perspectives, WSJ, FT, etc. We will have to say some things about Raytheon's push out of Hawker and its subsequent bankruptcy. Like Spirit's split from Boeing, wishful thinking on the part of management and the company led to problematic results (for a lot of people).

09/21/2012 -- To err is human; but, to be human is to be error-prone. We can 'hope' that if we're careful, we'll not get bit. It (as in __it) happens, goes the saying. Now, computers are error prone, to boot. Just in a different manner than we are, yet there is an overlap which we'll get to.

08/24/2012 -- Jon reports that there have been seventeen 787s delivered so far, each costing Boeing about $100M. The question is when will the company meet the break-even point.

05/31/2012 -- Today, the module left the ISS, got itself out of orbit, jettisoned as required, got through the heat of re-entry, and parachuted itself down. Successful, in other words, completion of a test shot that also performed (functional orientation during test, we'll look at that further). Essentially, SpaceX demonstrated a way to get material up to and down from the ISS. We'll be watching now as they go toward manned attempts.

Modified: 09/16/2013

Friday, May 4, 2012

Unknown unknowns

Yes, that type of discussion (unknown unknowns) did take place in about the same time frame as the company emerged from a deal with a whole bunch of debt on its back. The deal took place in another era, it seems in looking back. But, were lessons learned (see Financial Amnesia)? Just like with houses seen as ATMs, some of the thinking then thought that those who could were allowed to pull enormous amouns of money from out of a company (leaving behind, yes, debt -- some type of payout for the special folks and an onus (read larger than life) for the less fortunate).


The news of the recent filing brings to fore another set of chapters (pun intended). For instance, those in the town were you find the company, who had tried to work out supporting arrangements (tax relaxations, bonds, etc.), heard of the pending filing through reading the WSJ. It remains unclear how the fallout from all of this will affect those who have worked at the company or who have pensions or any number of other things. GS (do you have to guess?), or course, declined comment.


Early introduction
The debt cannot be wished away or swapped (one news source said that some swap deal had been done). Gosh, using that 'swap' word brings up the bedevilment that continues. Oh yes, remember. One, very large company, who had loads of promises on their books (oh yeah, we'll cover you if needed -- they said), were not to be seen when things hit the fan (yet, in their 'trading' heyday, there were bonuses paid up the wazoo). Do I have to say this aloud (sufficient are three letters, okay? -- the extent of their toxicity is still an unknown)? Ah, they were following the whims of the best-and-brightest.


So, we're just going to bring forward, for now, posts from the past that are pertinent (since the company involved was mentioned).
  • June 2, 2008 -- yes, oops are more prominent than not. For so long, and for so many, the pangs were just taken by those who had no control over the situations. Has it ever been any different? Near zero, folks, with sacrifices all around (the 0.1% are the ones who are good at sloughing off pain from their arses -- if you want one distinguishing feature of the type). 
  • October 26, 2008 -- leveraging as a game, essentially. How was filling the pockets of some through the debt of others seen as smart? Oh wait, that was the way? People need to wake up to this fact; interminable servitude is one result. 
  • November 12, 2008 -- notice that this was before the bottom. Actually, the problem was there from the get-go. Some of these deals did fill some pockets (to a very large extent) for awhile.  
  • March 24, 2009 -- yes, the extent of pain felt by others from the effect of your actions needs to be part of the near zero equation (describe an associated meme to get the truth processed, perhaps). 
  • January 15, 2012 -- Well, Mitt will bring us closer to seeing what goes on behind some of the doors. Yes, he made his money doing deals like this. Doesn't seem to have any conscience pangs? But, then, confession is of another faith (is it not?).  

Nothing anti-business ought to be construed (or mis-construed) from these postings. Rather, the notion is to make the realities more clear. That is, the Main Street influence that goes on after Wall Streeters (and their ilk) spend their bonuses on luxury items needs to be better understood. Somehow, these issues are not seen due to colored glasses (why else the popularity of those WStreet movies that glorified greed and arse'arity?).


And, have we not bound into debt our, and our's, progeny's future? We'll get back to that.


05/29/2012 -- Jamie's bank in the news, again.

05/28/2012 -- Can we tell if we're on a limb

05/14/2012 -- GS and Onex are out, according to this report. Something else of recent interest is Jamie's bank losing some money. Ostensibly, they're taking risks to get gains greater than cost of capital. Sheesh, guys, Ben is giving you almost free money. Why not just admit that it's the thrill of the gamble? 'bet' being using in business? And, no one seems to barf at that idea.

05/05/2012 -- The theme will continue. A note to add, now, is that something to discuss is how Ben's largess helps with the debt loading.

Modified: 05/29/2012