Archive for March, 2011

761 Days

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Clouds over San Francisco

761 days.

That’s 2 years, 1 month, and 3 days.

761 days ago, I hosted a small group of interested EDA folks, journalists, and bloggers in a small room in the Doubletree hotel after one of the evenings after DVCon.

Most of the discussion that year was around OVM and VMM and which methodology was going to win out and which was really open and which simulator supported more of the System-Verilog language. Well, all that is put to bed. This year at DVCon, 733 days later, we all sang Kumbaya as we sat around and our hearts were warmed by the UVM campfire.

But, back to that small group that I hosted 761 days ago. Those that attended this conclave had shrugged off all the OVM and VMM hoopla and decided to come hear this strange discussion about Cloud Computing and SaaS for EDA tools. Some, no doubt, thought there was going to be free booze served, and they were certainly disappointed. Those that stayed, however, heard a fiery discussion between individuals who were either visionaries or lunatics. For many, this was the first time they had heard the term cloud computing explained, and their heads spun as they tried to imagine what, if anything would come of it for the EDA industry.

Over the 761 days since, the voices speaking of cloud computing for EDA, once very soft, grew slowly in volume. All the reasons that it would not work were thrown about like arrows, and those objections continue. But slowly, over time, the voices in support of this model have grown to the point where the question no longer was “if” but “when”.

761 days, that’s when.

Yesterday, to the shock of many at SNUG San Jose, including many in attendence from Synopsys, Aart DeGeus personally answered the question asked 761 days earlier. Indeed, those individuals gathered in that small room at the Doubletree were visionaries, not lunatics.

There are many reasons why Synopsys should not be offering its tools on the cloud via SaaS:

  • Customers will never let their precious proprietary data off-site
  • It will cannibalize longer term license sales
  • The internet connection is too slow and unreliable
  • There’s too much data to transfer
  • The cloud is not secure
  • It’s more expensive
  • It just won’t work

But, as it turns out, there are better reasons to do it:

  • Customers want it

Sure, there are some other reasons. The opportunity to increase revenue by selling higher priced short-term pay-as-you-go licenses. Taking advantage of the parallelism inherent in the cloud. Serving a new customer base that has very peaky needs.

But in the end, Aart did what he does best. He put on his future vision goggles, gazed into the future, saw that the cloud was inevitable, and decided that Synopsys should lead and not follow.

761 days. Now the race is on.

Dear H. Gries

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Below is the response I received 2 days after my original email to Verizon. As you can see, no change on my end at this point. I’m not too happy, but what do you think?

Verizon

Dear H. Gries,

Thank you for choosing Verizon. I have received your email dated 3/14/11 regarding your request to handle your concerns over a DSL technical issue that you were trying to report when an order was placed to remove your DSL and add Fios to your home. My name is Janine, and I will be happy to assist you.

We apologize for the delay in our response and regret any inconvenience to you.

I understand how important it is to be treated with respect and handle your concern efficiently.

We always welcome feedback from our customers and we appreciate your comments. We apologize for any difficulties you have experienced.

We constantly review our processes and procedures to determine where we can improve upon the Verizon customer experience. Customer feedback is vital to our business. Thank you for taking the time to offer your comments.

I am researching your online issue immediately. I have contacted our DSL escalation party to see if she can run your service back in immediately. Once I hear back from her, I will contact you back with her answer.

Although additional follow-up is needed, it has been my goal today to address your concerns related to the problems you have experienced. I hope I have succeeded in meeting that goal. In the meantime, if you have any other questions, please let us know. We look forward to serving you.

Thank you for using Verizon. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,
Janine
Verizon eCenter

*****Simplify your life. Cut the clutter and help the environment with paperless billing!*****

Enroll today at: http://www.verizon.com/gogreen

Original Message Excluded:
————————-

Dear Verizon

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

This is an actual email I sent to Verizon 2 days ago regarding an “issue” with their broadband service. I will post their reply in later posts. This is an “opportunity” for them to show how they “provide excellent service” to each customer, even little guys like me. If you are in a service business, like I am, there might also be some lessons to learn. Your comments and thoughts are welcome.

Verizon

Dear Verizon, 

On the evening of March 9 at ~10pm, our DSL service stopped working. The following morning at ~8am, we contacted Verizon for technical support. We spoke to Ivan (empl # Z192506), who told us that the DSL service should still be active and offered to send us to DSL support.

However, before forwarding the call, he recommended that we upgrade to FIOS. I told him that I was interested, but that FIOS would take days and that I needed the internet connection up today. He was extremely pushy, several times refusing to forward my call until I agreed to upgrade. I finally told him that I was only interested in fixing my DSL at this time and that I wanted him to forward the call immediately, which he finally did.

When I spoke to DSL support, they told me that the DSL had been deactivated because an order for FIOS had been put in. I told them that I had not put in an order. They could not tell me who had put in the order, but it was scheduled for March 21, 11 days later. I pleaded with them that I had not put in this order and that I wanted the DSL turned back on, but they said they could not do that. Even if they did, they said it would take just as long to turn on DSL as to get FIOS. They suggested I talk to the billing department.

So, I called the billing department and spoke to a gentleman who confirmed that the FIOS had been ordered, but he said he could not see when or who ordered it. I asked several times to try to find out where this order originated, but he would not say. Instead, he kept telling me to “move on from here”, like he was my psychiatrist. I found his demeanor to be extremely rude, non-empathetic, and condescending. When I asked to talk to a supervisor, he claimed he was a supervisor. I asked him why the DSL had been turned off before the installation, and he said that this was a possibility and that Verizon made no guarantees as to how long DSL would stay active before FIOS was connected. I told him that, if true, that would be a horrible way to do business and that Verizon customers would all object, but again he kept making it seem like I was the problem because I would not just accept what was happening and go happily away.

Today (March 14) I called again and spoke to a gentleman named Harry (empl# V119648). Harry was very helpful. He confirmed the order for March 21, and also told me that it was Ivan (empl # Z192506) who had put in the order, DESPITE MY TELLING HIM NOT TO!!! Harry also told me that the order had been entered wrong, leaving the default to disconnect DSL immediately, rather than having it disconnected when FIOS was installed.

In the meantime, my wife and I have been using our iPhone Mobile Hotspots (from Verizon) to access the internet for our home computers. I don’t know if we are going to go over our 2G limit on our phone’s mobile hotspot data plans, but we really have no choice.

Here is what I am asking for:

1) Immediate restoration of our DSL service for the period between now and next Monday March 21 when FIOS is going to be installed. However, I still want the FIOS installation at this point to go forward on Monday.

2) Waiver of ALL installation charges for FIOS service, since we did not order it.

3) Credit for DSL service for the time between March 9 and the day we have FIOS installed.

4) Credit for any overage charges we incur on our cell phones in the interim period before FIOS is installed.

5) Written (on paper) apology for being given misleading information, for being signed up for FIOS without our permission, and for being treated with such lack of respect by Verizon.

My other recourse is to consider this transaction as fraud, and report it as such.

I await your response.

Harry Gries

Winners and Losers

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Washington General and Harlem Globetrotter at LAXEngineers tend to view the world in binary. There’s the good guys and the bad guys. There’s the right way and the wrong way. There are rich folks and poor folks. Democrats and Republicans. You’re with us or against us.

And there are winners and losers.

This week, working the Agnisys booth at DVCon, I got to see all these types and all the shades in between. I got to see the good guys (me, of course, and anyone who was with me) and the bad guys (the competition). I saw people doing things the right way (telling the truth, or close to the truth) and the wrong way (pure fabrications). I saw rich folks (CEOs in expensive suits and shoes) and poor folks (the guys at the hotel tearing down after the show). Most of the people from Silicon Valley were Democrats, I suppose, and many of the others were Republicans. And, of course, for the Big 3 EDA vendors, it was all about who was with them (on the EDA360 passport) or against them (everyone else).

But, when you look a little closer, you see a lot of shades in between. Personally, I knew people at almost every booth with whom I had worked before. They’re not good or bad, right or wrong, rich or poor, democrats or republicans, or with me or against me. They’re just old friends working in an industry they love on technology they are psyched about.

I actually had some foreshadowing of this as I was flying up to the conference. As I was passing through the metal detectors at LAX, I had noticed some tall gentlemen dressed in green warmup suits. Realizing it was a basketba,ll team, I curiously glanced at their logo and saw the name “Generals”. Later, I was able to get a full view of the name “Washington Generals”.

If you are not familiar, the Washington Generals are the basketball team that travels with the Harlem Globetrotters. They are perennial losers. The spoil and object of countless Globetrotter jokes. According to Wikipedia, the Generals lost over 13,000 games to the Globetrotters between 1953 and 1995, and won only 6 times. That’s a winning percentage of 0.0005! If anyone deserves the title of “Losers”, it’s the Washington Generals.

As I sat waiting for my flight, I noticed some other apparent basketball players dressed in red with white and blue trim. Could it be? Yes, they were the Globetrotters, winners of those same 13,000 games that the Generals had lost. If anyone deserves the ttle of “Winners”, it’s the Harlem Globetrotters.

What surprised me at the time was that these eternal rivals, Winners and Losers, were traveling together, joking and laughing like best friends. Although I know that they obviously travel together and they know eachother, for some reason I had expected them to be separated. The good guys and the bad guys. The Winners and the Losers.

Just as the Generals and Globetrotters are rivals on the court but friends off the court, these EDA veterans were rivals at the booths at DVCon but friends in the bar afterwards. The EDA industry is kind of like a professional sports league. Sure, the teams compete with eachother. But players move between teams all the time and most of the players are friends off the field. In the end, what’s most important is that the league grows and is successful.

Hopefully, going forward, EDA will be more like the NBA than one of these failed leagues.

harry the ASIC guy