Friday, May 7, 2010

It's time to blog something

It's been awhile since I've blogged and now it's time. As Technology Alignment enters new markets, new facilities and expansion, it's time to write something finally. As you can see from my blogs, I'm not really the blogger that most bloggers are; I just don't do enough entries. I've gotten emails from many of those that have used Automatix (a project that I supported because it made using Linux easier - you go Arnie! Pioneer Linux is pretty much at the way side since 2 years ago now and we've just stopped development. That's what this blog is about.

Pioneer Linux was meant to be a simple to use operating system that was easy to use, allowed the installation of applications that people needed using Automatix and also our own Pioneer tools and repositories called Cowboy, cowgirl and so on. These were pretty good technologies years ago and we were using Pioneer Linux internally for years at Technology Alignment. Every employee who came to the company, regardless if they were Windows or MAC (sheese) they ended up with a Linux desktop, period. They all figured out Linux easy enough, it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to use it.

What's funny is that those that used it just dumped Windows at home. I won't get into MAC users, you know how they are ;-) I see commercials for Windows 7, what a joke it just makes me laugh. Windows is mine people spew and think how great it is. I saw it, it's another stinkin' Windows application. Hey, whatever people want to run they should run but you know what, most of these people haven't seen Linux or think it's some geek thing that they couldn't use. Instead they deal with viruses and other malware like it's just the way it's supposed to be. Heck, it's not the way it's supposed to be. I remember OS/2 and how great that was but failed. Everyone followed the Windows craze and watching it was like some scary science fiction movie like pod people. I was watching the pod people as they kept using Windows and dealing with problems, and it wasn't pleasant. It really was a scary movie when you think about it. It was just shear madness. Remember the movie network? They all screamed out the Window: "I'm fed up and I'm not going to take it anymore". Well people you should be fed up by now and move to an alternative that's not only effective but efficient.

I still have to thank Kade for getting me to try it, just don't let Kade know ahahahahahaha. I just installed Ubuntu 10.04 on most of our systems from 1.3 and up systems. We replaced most all of the Pioneer Linux systems with it and I'll tell you what, this is the operating system the masses need and should be using. It's good for 3 years and 5 years on a server. It's real easy to use, it installs everything really easily. It's what the masses really want, or do they? It's scary to lose what you're accustomed to. I'd be really worried going to Windows 7 since I can't stand using Windows. I remember marketing and selling Linux to computers stores way back when and the comment we always got back was they wouldn't sell or market it because people would stop coming in to get their Windows serviced. My stars, I suppose people need to make money and off the sweat of others, but again my stars.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is what people need and should take a serious look at. Get someone to show you their system and be amazed at the simplicity. Be amazed that you won't be spending a fortune anymore on operating system tunes, spyware removal or virus removals and operating system crashes. You won't see your computer getting slower over time. I'm still using an old Dell here that works great for everything I need for business, it's a 2.8 and I don't need more since Ubuntu 10.04 does it all.

Do yourself and your computer a favor, get an operating system that's smooth and fast. You can do it, Windows 7 wasn't made for you it was made for Microsoft to increase profits and companies charging you all the time to fix your computer. Go for it, you'll be surprised and glad you did.

Many thumbs up to Ubuntu for this version! I still can't believe how good it is! Pioneer is gone, they did it at Ubuntu!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Finally back with something to write about

It's been awhile since I blogged and think it's pertinent that I say something finally.

As you may know we moved to Idaho from Wyoming about 6 months ago and we all love our new home with a decent workforce. It seems that Wyoming didn't have the resources needed to grow the company and get it moving in the right direction for expansion and limited resource for programmers. Idaho offers us more with excellent resources in many areas. A lot of things have been happening here in Idaho as the company has settled in from it's move.

Well we've made additions to our supported telephone lines with the snom phone line. I just had to blog our feelings on the phones along with what our partners are seeing right now. We reviewed these phones with some skepticism at first since they were inexpensive and we were thinking they didn't have market share in the US like Polycom. The techs here liked Polycom and Grandstream phones while others liked Aastra, probably because they used to work with Nortel. snom was kind enough to send us sample phones and these phones and when the techs got their hands on them they had a field day. Remember, we have 3 lines of telephones here that are green technology. snom is a green phone also with a lower power consumption than any of the phones on the market. Combining a snom phone with a green series VoIPTelCaster PBX now means your organization will truly be running green.

Compared to Polycom, the snom phones were a very high unit at a very reasonable cost and with features we believe to exceed the Polycom line. Compared to Polycom support, snom was a winner there also without the need to partner directly with Polycom. Our techs were excited how easy they were to provision and having the ability to make changes to the telephones without having to reboot the phone. In comparison to Polycom the phone matched or exceeded our expectations in terms of usability, performance and support.

The bottom line is Technology Alignment is providing direct support for the snom telephones versus the other manufacturers that work with our system. This means that the snom line allows our partners a single point of contact using VoIPTelCaster with the snom phone lines. In comparison our partners were required to partner with Polycom to get any support. We still support Polycom on VoIPTelCaster, but we do not provide any direct support on the Polycom line.

There's more coming and I'll be writing more as we continue.

Thank you,


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Windows and tools for business

As I type this new blog entry, Technology Alignment is preparing for it's office opening in Boise, ID. In Boise we believe that we found the holy grail and an excellent workforce and the ability to expand. Of course, we're still planning on opening an office in Norwalk, or another area of Connecticut to attract more people with the skills needed for our entry into new markets. Many people have been calling and asking what we're doing with the operating systems, Pioneer Linux. The Pioneer Linux workstation is being released still, but we are concentrating on our Pioneer MigrationSERVER.

The one thing we've found thus far is that Windows is very seated in the market. Although it may have many issues, it's what people find easy to use. Remember, I personally have not really used a Windows system since ME, but played with Windows 2000. My last Windows desktop was a Sony Vaio with ME loaded. After awhile I installed Mandrake and then MEPIS on the laptop. They were great, easy to use and easy to understand for me. I still liked Windows 3.1 since I was able to configure things easily and add functions I wanted. In came Linux and there was a new operating system that was easy to use and without the open RPCs that people love to exploit.

During the Pioneer hayday we created a basic desktop that anyone, I felt, could use. It wasn't bloated and it amazes me that the new systems being released today are as bloated as Windows. I don't get it, but that's what the market wants I imagine. I saw Bryan at the office running BSD with Rat Poison, WOW now talk about an efficient and effective desktop, reminded me of the old IBM Mainframe days on a 370 to 390 series. I was amazed that this group had created such a wonderful desktop. Bryan wanted to prove a point to me about Windows users. We had a Windows system in house for shipping in the back, so he had me work on the box. WOW, I was amazed at how many clicks I had to make to do something. Windows was so alien to me, it was like WOW again and I couldn't figure anything out. Well, actually I could but didn't want to be bothered. I asked him where the command prompt was so I could do something like you do in Linux or BSD. Well, it doesn't work like that. I guess you all know that running Windows.

I imagine the bottom line and what Bryan was trying to show me was how difficult it was for someone going the other way from Windows to Linux. If you're used to clicking a zillion things to do something, I guess typing a command would be difficult because you have to learn everything. Well, I didn't want to learn everything to be honest and do a million clicks to accomplish something I can do on Linux in a few commands. So Windows is probably never going to be my desktop. I'm wanting BSD now with Rat Poison – WOW I still can't believe how effect it is! But Bryan's point was well taken, regardless of how bad I view it as, it's still an effective business tool for people who don't want to learn something new. Of course you'll have to deal with the inherent problems with Windows, but what the heck you can find some good IT folks to keep your Windows environment going. I still don't understand why they have a registry with “hives” and causing all of those problems, but if it works for you like Linux or BSD works for me, more power to you. It's all about getting business decisions completed or working with the available tools for you and people within the organizations. Of course I'm not a gamer, so who cares about home computers running games, I use it for basic things at home and of course I work too many hours so use it like my system at work.

We're now tying everything together from the PBX to the mail servers and CRM. This method allows us to work with our Pioneer MigrationSERVER and actually give it for free and tie in our CRM and mail server for Unified Reporting, or as some call it Enterprise Reporting. The bottom line is it doesn't matter what your desktop is, as long as you have a good browser, of course we suggest you use Firefox instead of IE or Opera is pretty good also and my perferred browser due to the memory leaks in Firefox. So what we're seeing is the desktop doesn't matter, but we're staying with MigrationSERVER for the systems on Unified Reporting – PBX, CRM and Mail Servers. A bit about our new VoIPTelCaster series, they provide reporting like has not been seen previously.

If you're using a VTC 500 Plus or a VTC 1000 Plus, the system provides the ability to expand with mail servers and CRM applications. The mail servers allow the company to implement a mail solution that ties to the PBX to show the amount of emails to calling. Some calling campaigns in a call center, for example, have information being sent. If an agent were to make 60 dials and 20 connects, speaking to 20 people, are there 20 emails being sent to the prospects? Adding the CRM provides the ability to get a view into the effectiveness of the calling campaign. If a company is utilizing a different CRM, the data may exported into a companies reporting tool. Using the three (3) major components in a unified reporting methodology, the reports can display high performers and low performance of agents at a glance by group and by department.

You know it's becoming critical that companies manage better today than before because of the competitiveness in any market during a recessionary period. This means that a company owner in a small company needs the same tools as an SMB or Enterprise. To remain competitive, the tools are offered at a low cost, starting with the PBX. Of course not everything we do is open, but you can still get an open source version of the CRM with PostgreSQL freely from the community project pages. It's only the CRM and not compatible with the HIATLANTIS CRM, but it's a tool that will help you manage any sales or support organization from the smallest SOHO to the largest Enterprise.

The bottom line is that your business tool, be it Windows, Linux, BSD or OS/X, you have the backend tools that make it simple to manage a SOHO to SMB.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CiaoTalk ready for paid, free coming


CiaoTalk paid services have launched now at to be followed by the free. This is mainly for consumer, but the lines are business quality and the same as the business lines actually using XO, Level 3 and MCI Gold for the transport. Starting at $9.95 per month your home users can now have quality phone service with their broadband connection. What's also great about this service is the ability to use standard SIP devices. We've completed this with Vitelity and you may have seen the press releases last week also.


CiaoTalk is a Bring Your Own Device service, which means people don't need to sign annual contracts or even purchase equipment from us. A PAP or other Analog to Digital device is easily used with CiaoTalk and you can find that people can purchase SIP phones such as Linksys, Polycom, 3Com, Aastra or Grandstream. Using a PAP device, of course, allows people to use their existing analog telephone they probably already have at home.

By allowing people to BYOD and not forcing them into long-term contracts, we believe you'll find it an easy to use service.

HIATLANTIS community edition

We have released our HIATLANTIS community edition, which is a rewrite of our full edition, using PHP and PostgreSQL. If you would like, we suggest you download a version of our application to test and then use the full version.

As you are aware, we've dropped MySQL and have moved to PostgreSQL and some of you may have read my interview in Information Week regarding the move.

If you have any questions about the free version of HIATLANTIS running on PostgreSQL, please contact your representative for more information. Under our license you are able to sell and support this version without ramification. You may not however create any derivative works from this product. We've closed sourced the application and it is not released under the GPL any longer and is licensed under the BSD license and Creative Commons no derivative works license for the documentation.

Pioneer Basic 3.5 being readied

We are completing our Repository setup for the new version of Pioneer 3.5. Since we're supporting the 3 series for another 5 years, we've created the updates to the system now. These should be completed by Wednesday of this week allowing you to run your updates. We've decided to get everyone up to the next release before releasing and finalizing our 3.5 builds.

Of course we'll continue to support your KDE release you are currently running, but the 3.5 release will be moving to GNOME. You can change your current KDE desktop to GNOME when we complete the repository builds.

GNOME presents a better desktop today without the problems that have become inherent in KDE, which was not the case previously. GNOME will be provided on both the desktop and server, with the server as before being stripped for server functionality.

Pioneer Stagecoach

Pioneer Stagecoach will be the same as previously with both the server and desktop being preinstalled. It's still used in education and by smaller companies and workgroups. We will continue to support the KDE version along with providing the GNOME on the new 3.5 release.

All Linux is the same and a religion fallacy

A person once told me that all Linux is the same and that it's a religion almost and wouldn't discuss what the differences were between the different versions. I've now heard this from other people as they tell me the same thing that all distributions are pretty much the same. They aren't the same and Linux is basically a kernel and you build on. I thought I'd address this since we're hearing it more and more, probably a propagation by some Windows folks and educators who don't understand what Linux is and they either intentional or unintentionally confuse the industry even more. All Linux distros are currently installing everything they want and forcing users to uninstall what they don't want instead of installing the applications they do want.

We've tested the latest Ubuntu here deciding on our directions and seeing what people like. Well, I must say if I wanted that much bloat I would install Vista. We're trying to build different versions for people with specific functionality to meet the needs of the individual, companies and enterprises. Keeping our products unbloated will maintain a pleasant experience for our users.

Pioneer Warrior BSD

Pioneer Warrior is moving to BSD, with specific hardware support. You'll still be able to build your own systems if selling Warrior and it is not meant to be a replacement for our Linux offering but only as use for those wanting a computing platform for development and servers. As many of you who have been with us since 2002 know, we used to run BSD servers until the pressure from outside sources had us move to Linux. BSD for developers makes sense and will be a clean install with the required tools.

Warrior BSD Desktop (Developers and Enterprise)

The desktop will be unfamiliar to many of you as it will be completely void of the fluff that many see in Pioneer Linux. There have been several articles you may have read lately about me saying that Linux is becoming as bloated as Windows and OS/X, both which I believe are pitiful examples of a computing environment while Linux hasn't reached that stage yet although may be reaching it to meet consumer demands. We're keeping our commitments on the Linux side and using BSD for serious computing requirements.

Desktop environment

The desktop will have only tools for business and will be void of any games. The delivery of applications will be via a GIT server to install applications and updates. The desktop also does not include a start menu and you reach your applications via right-clicking on the desktop to get your application running. As you can see below, a picture of our BSD system with the desktop and icons. Although this is only a pilot, or a pre pre-alpha, I do enjoy my experience with the operating system.

Back to the future

When I went into coding in 1974 having learned assembler with assistance from the guys I worked with way back then when I was an operator on a mainframe, I was efficient and effective with my code. I've seen Visual Basic followed by Visual Studio and Microsoft releasing .NET Framework. I always wonder why people would release products like that with so much ineffectiveness that it blows my mind. When I say back to the future I'm saying it's time to keep your investment in your hardware and program effectively and efficiently so you can run your applications for some years instead of the throw-away projects we've become accustomed to.

The enterprise workstation and developer workstations are meant to provide an operating system that will last the life of the hardware. With Warrior, you can even run developers and workstations on older PIII systems.

The Warrior developer workstation is meant for real programmers. If you like to code, please check out our new Warrior developer and enterprise workstations coming soon. The enterprise workstation is meant for companies who need to have people perform their jobs and maintain the hardware for some years without having to move to the latest and greatest platforms just because they exist. It's now time to go back to the future.

Server environment

The server environment is meant to be just a server that provides no desktop. Our second release of VoIPTelCaster will be running on Warrior BSD Server with no frills and SSH access. There will be no desktop included with the BSD server, but you can install the limited desktop if you wish.

If you'd like to be involved in the testing, please let us know.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Where we are and where we're going

This blog is one of my favorite as we release our new VoIPTelCaster PBX and also the upcoming release of Warrior (Pioneer Desktop 4) and Automatix3. Instead of doing Automatix3 for Warrior only we will be doing this with the release of Debian and Ubuntu also. If you've been following, you know that Automatix3 will be using PostgreSQL for the backend and TuxSoftware has partnered with us to get this out quickly and will be the front-end to Automatix3. If you're wondering what all this means, let me explain a bit more.

Automatix3 is now part of the Technalign family and TuxSoftware is joining us in the development of the application using the Alpha release as the front-end for the new Automatix3 application. There will not be another Automatix after Automatix3, since Automatix3 will be following a different development cycle. The back-end of the application will allow users to search for an application or solution to a problem with a question and be database driven. Technalign is attempting to solve many of the business problems that our partners are experiencing today. When a Technalign partner looks for a solution it's pretty much the same as community member looking, or a new Linux user exploring for an alternative to Windows, so Technalign is working with the community and it's business partners to come up with an open source solution that works for everyone; business, consumer and community in one shot.

Since Automatix3 is used as part of the search, a set of tools will be available to the developers of open and closed source applications. It's not meant to be a replacement or competitor of LaunchPad, but is meant to be a method for a developer to get an application out to the users and part of the Automatix3 installation. With TuxSoftware, delivery of needed applications and needed utilities and codecs will be provided immediately. This means that users will be allowed to find a replacement for Automatix2. We'll also be keeping the repositories up and running now for those needing Automatix2 for many of those that have requested it remain up and running. You'll see HIATLANTIS community edition in Automatix3 as we've promised to release an open source version of the application. You can see more of this on the pages of course along with Automatix3 and other open source projects.

With the help of Kevin at TuxSoftware, Jared at Automatix3, our internal developers and myself we would like to say thank you for all the input (regardless if an attack or not) and assistance up to this point!

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please visit the Technalign pages at

I, as well as the admins and everyone in the communities would love to hear from all of you and what you would like to see us working on to improve our products.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New directions at Technalign using PostgreSQL with HIATLANTIS and VoIPTelCaster

As you may be aware, we've taken HITLANTIS off the market for awhile due to the fact that we've had issues with licensing MySQL. Although both HIATLANTIS and VoIPTelCaster are being open sourced, please visit for more information, the issue comes into play with our commercial versions of the products. There are a few issues with releasing a product using the MySQL product along with upfront money required to do business with MySQL. Since these projects are uncertain in terms of volume we are not certain how many will be sold in the market. Using MySQL represents some issues for Technalign in terms of the upfront costs required by the company, around $20,000 is the start of negotiations with MySQL, and they seem to be willing to drop the pricing to $5,000 or $10,000 to begin a relationship. $10,000.00 is for support services, regardless if you need it or not and another $10,000 for a pre-purchase of licenses. Not wanting to pay these amounts, MySQL was more than happy to work with Technalign and take 7% of all sales of our products, plus a minimum investment of $5,000 or $10,000 (Why did I feel like I was buying a used car in these discussions?). This doesn't include the limitation of the number of trials that Technalign would be held to. There is more detail, but honestly, we believe that the costs could cause the products to be too high since Technalign sells to resellers, and the cost would have to be passed on to those resellers and bottom line to the end-user. We didn't even have a problem with just providing a flat rate, but that was unacceptable to MySQL.

This caused us to have an internal meeting to decide the best approach as we were already converting our HIATLANTIS application to PostgreSQL. My reason for calling MySQL was to see if there was a means in working together that would have been beneficial to both companies. Technalign, since Release 1.0 of Pioneer has been promoting MySQL and has included it as a default install on our servers (MigrationSERVER and Stagecoach). One thing that kept coming up was our smaller partners with a similar model to ours developing open source and commercial applications based on their open source products. This would have meant that those small developers (some working out of a basement or garage) would have to make these same commitments to MySQL and paying those upfront costs to MySQL. They are not much, but if a developer's application fails, that upfront money would be an issue to the developer. Great for MySQL, but bad for the company with additional loses.

In our meeting; Ron, Scott, Bryan, Jared and myself were discussing the alternatives. We've spoken to PostgreSQL in the past and placed any commitments on hold until we were able to figure out our next best steps. Some of the suggestions were that we move to Oracle or DB2. I felt that PostgreSQL offered an excellent solution and everyone did agree having used it “way back when” - including myself in the late 80s. We formed our decision based on our smaller and larger ISVS that use MigrationSERVER and Stagecoach who would be hurt by a MySQL decision.

What's next?

MigrationSERVER 3.1 and Stagecoach 3.1 will continue having MySQL as the default installation. As we move forward with our Warrior product ( we've made a decision to move MySQL to the unsupported repositories and PostgreSQL to the default in MigrationSERVER 3.2 and Stagecoach 3.2 while testing with our Warrior Server. Technalign will support the PostgreSQL database technology via it's partner network and that of the community via forums and so on.

HIATLANTIS and VoIPTelCaster community editions will released with PostgreSQL with VoIPTelCaster being the first in the next several weeks. HIATLANTIS is being redeveloped and changed to be released to the community with a PostgreSQL database as well. The project pages and screenshots of the rerelease is already on the pages. This, of course, is open source so anyone can make changes to utilize MySQL versus PostgreSQL as with VoIPTelCaster. As with all Technalign's open source projects requiring a database, Automatix 3 will also use the PostgreSQL data where required.

You'll find more PostgreSQL projects started and tools and utilities to compensate for the directional move in the future. We believe that providing the right tool for any project means a commitment in development and support. Technalign, and myself, is very proud to have made this decision and move into a direction that makes sense for Technalign, the community and our ISVS moving into this direction. It was a decision based on our requirements as well as those that we work with hand-in-hand.

If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comment area or the tapioneer forums.