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Archive for November, 2007

Express Computers

Posted by tggokul on November 29, 2007

I have been seeing the interest in my Cisco posts rise considerably over the months. They are one of the top read posts and though I don’t claim to be an expert in Cisco, I think I can say beyond reasonable doubt what they are trying to acheive in the UC space ( There was an interesting debate going around what UC is all about and is it really worth the hype. Will post about that at a later date)

Anyway, one of my readers who works for Express Computers mailed me giving a brief of Express Computers and I am posting it so that it would help people looking for Cisco gear at a good price.

Express Computer Systems is based out of Irvine, Ca and has been a used
networking hardware reseller since 1993.  For over 13 years they have provided hardware solutions to IT Managers, Universities, and Enterprise Companies worldwide specializing in the Used Cisco aftermarket carrying over 2 million  dollars of on-hand inventory.  Express Computers employs CCNA certified in-house technicians that  test every piece of equipment for sale.

Sounds good to me and if there is something you guys need, these guys might be able to help you.

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Posted in Cisco | 1 Comment »

Is Akismet getting old?

Posted by tggokul on November 29, 2007

Though my blogging frequency has gone down dramatically, the number of comments that are left on my posts have increased in the last few days. But as you might have guessed, 99% of them were SPAM.

These were the kinds that were caught by Akismet a month or two ago and even though I mark these as SPAN, Akismet doesn’t seem to be catching them the next time around. I still think Akismet is one of the best SPAM catchers but it looks like there is something else behind these SPAMs that is catching Akismet unawares. Any ideas what?

Anybody else facing these problems?

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

Real world Sharks

Posted by tggokul on November 17, 2007

Joshua writes about the legally correct but morally wrong action of IBM.

It is a shame that loyal customers are treated the way they are and their hands are twisted to take these atrocities lying down. I am also aware of a few cases of IBM treating their loyal partners like dirt as well. Shame on you IBM.

There was a rumour a few months earlier that IBM was going to be bought over by private equity firms and broken down into smaller entities and sold off. I think this is the right time for that. IBM has become a behemoth running amock and needs to be reined in.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

Have some more modesty, Mr.Google!

Posted by tggokul on November 10, 2007

I got a call the other day from HR dept of Google for a job opening. She started of with “We have a job opening  in Google”. Since I was not looking for a change currently, I was very polite and said “Sorry,I am not interested in a change. Thanks for calling”.

That is when she went ballistic. A smarter person would have said “Thats fine. But can you atleast hear us out and see whether that interests you. This is the profile etc etc etc”. Not her. She went off saying “But Gokul, this is Google we are talking about”. She had that  incredulous tone that somebody would actually be stupid enough to actually shove off Google. I was still polite and said ‘Yes, I am aware but as I said before I am not interested”.

She became now plain rude “This is the kind of opportunity people wait all their lives for. A call from Google and you are saying such a thing”. That is when I said “Not if people like you are there”. She slammed the phone on me. I am pretty sure my resume would be in the “black-listed” zone. Guys in google, can you verify that for me? 🙂

Now, I have tremendous respect for Google and I wouldn’t mind working there someday, but this kind of high handedness reminds me of the high pedestal days of Microsoft a few years ago.  Expecting people to drop all their work for their beck and call is just plain egoistic and though I am sure these people form a small percentage of the working force in Google, these guys have to be uprooted fast, lest they become the very obstacle for innovation.

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

A year later!!

Posted by tggokul on November 10, 2007

Today marks the one year anniversary of this blog.  If I were to have a balanced score card on the performance of this blog, I would need to separate it into four quarters.

The first two quarters were phenomenal and I achived what I wanted to achieve when I started this blog. Read more, learn more about the thought leaders and look at a path in attaining that status. I did not do much justice to this blog the subsequent two quarters and it speaks volumes that my most read posts are the ones I wrote in the first half.

Honestly speaking, being busy is not an excuse. Saunders writes regularly and he is the CEO for crying out loud. Though I would like to believe that I can get back to the ways of regular blogging, the enormous work load I am carrying right now speaks otherwise. I have stopped guest posting in Garrett’s blog as well because of this workload.I have not done justice to the Telecom Professionals Group as well for sometime.

I met a lot of people thanks to this blog and the highest point was a guy whom I interviewed for an opening in my company knew me from my blog 🙂

So I am going to give myself a A during the first half and a D during the second half and overall a C+ for the year. Have a long way to go!!!

Posted in General, Saunders, Telecom Professional Group | 1 Comment »

Cisco can’t win on price!!!

Posted by tggokul on November 3, 2007

I had a boss who used to boast that he has never lost a deal on price and I always used to wonder whether that was necessarily a good thing. And Cisco is facing that in the Indian markets currently.

I have reasonable knowledge of Cisco’s IP Telephony and IP Contact Center products ( purely at the voice layer and not data layer) and also on how low they can go on price after discounts. I have come across atleast two cases where our guys ( though we are primarily an contact center application development company, sometimes we do system integration as well) have quoted cisco solutions to small contact centers ( 10-15 agents) and even after discounts it is way higher than say an Avaya solution. They came back to me asking whether we can reduce it further and that is when I quoted the title of this post “Cisco can’t win on price”.

The next thing is then how do you convince customers to go for Cisco. Yes, Cisco is an infant in the Contact center space ( I will go a step further and say they are not exactly very mature when it comes to even IP Telephony namely IP PBX). But what is their selling point? I know what it is because I have felt the advantage but it is going to be very difficult to explain that to even the sales guy let alone the customer.

Last week, we were working on Cisco’s Customer Voice Portal (Cisco IVR based on VXML) and there was this unique problem where the VXML browser was not rendering media to the user even though the prompts were being queued at the browser level. Now my first logical thing would have been to suspect the browser ( which incidentally is the Voice gateway as well. Pretty neat stuff from Cisco; using their ingress gateway as VXML gateway) and probably even network congestion. After gazillion hours of work and even more cups of coffee, we finally figured that a database query through Webshere was taking a long time to return the resultset that caused this hogging. ( This might not be too clear a description. Feel free to leave a comment here if you are looking for further inputs on this issue).

The point I am trying to make here, applications and infrastructure are so inter-linked in the IP world that a problem in one can be manifested on the other. This is Cisco’s selling point. They control both. Avaya has no control on the data layer. Let’s say I had the same problem in Avaya IR or Avaya Voice Portal, the issue would have been tossed around between the infrastructure and the applications teams for months without any resolution. Cisco delivers one unified platform. Again good luck explaining this to your sales guy trying to meet his quartely numbers.

Fighting on price will decimate the market. It has happened to the IP PBX companies. We see a lot of them going belly up because of this. Cisco can’t and shouldn’t fight on price. They should fight on features, fight on unified applications, fight on unified management.

Posted in Cisco | 3 Comments »

Giving it back

Posted by tggokul on November 3, 2007

Innovations from Google and Cisco are not something new and if I were to write about every time these two innovated, I would be stuck to my keyboard almost every minute of my life.

But when Google and Cisco make an attempt to give back to society, I had to take time from my othersise busy schedule to write it. Google and Cisco are helping UN fight poverty. It makes you feel better that not everybody is chasing money all the time. Sometimes they do try to make the world a better place.

Posted in Cisco | Leave a Comment »