Tech-related Twofer

Tech-related Twofer

Filed under "stuff doesn't work" and "consequences of lost focus" - I ended up dealing with an interesting bug in the new "Catalina" update for Mac OS.

No, not the one giving antivirus and other "data protection" types nightmares about the kernel being locked down, no extensions, etc.

It turns out for a lot of people, you walk into a Starbucks, hotel, etc., that when you connect to the wifi, it connects, but that login/authentication sheet that is supposed top open up to allow you on the network never does. There are a lot of proposed fixes. Most of them don't work. One that does reliably work for the friend in question is to go under ```/System/Library/CoreServices``` and find the "Captive Network Assistant.app", and manually run that immediately after you connect. Then the sheet opens up and you can acknowledge the terms of use, etc.

You're best off dragging it to the dock for easy access, as the latest update didn't resolve the issue.

For those of the "but Linux will Save You" bent, given the ongoing, and now latest, shenanigans in open source, don't bet on it. You can now be disinvited from participating in professional communities and conferences for having worn a MAGA hat. We're not at the point of the licensing terms being changed to not allow deplorables, but I wouldn't count on it not being tried.

Tech-tangental, the Didact gives some pointers on how to recognize a scam like WeWork, and looks at why it failed.

If you were watching TV back in the late 2000s or thereabouts (like I did), then you will recall the ads for Regus offices. They were basically offices that you could rent short-term and run your business out of it without being tied down to a long-term lease.

This is great for businesses that are small and growing rapidly, but don't have a whole lot of cash on hand. It provides them with tremendous flexibility.

But it exposes the business that provides those short-term leases to IMMENSE risk. It's not hard to figure out why. Basically, Regus and businesses like it will enter into long-term leases with the property developers of specific buildings, and they have to front a LOT of cash to do so. And they also need to have steady, regular, predictable cashflows in order to ensure that those lease payments are paid off in time.

Inevitably, when your revenue comes in the form of short-term cash payments from small clients that may or may not renew their leases after a few months, but your costs come in the form of multi-year leases to developers that require and demand regular cash payments on a highly predictable schedule, well, you have a BIG problem.

But that problem is not impossible to overcome. With smart financial management, careful husbanding of resources, proper stewarding of cash in the bank, and very careful due diligence done on the leases, combined with keeping the costs of cleaning and maintaining those short-term offices low while still maintaining a clean and attractive environment...

Well, it can be done. Regus proved quite well that it could be done. They were, and are in their current form, a profitable company with plenty of cash in the bank.

WeWork was precisely NONE of those things.

It was not low-cost; keeping Shrillennials happy with branded coffee and funky workspaces and beanbag chairs and free food and all of the other assorted stupid shit that they need on a daily basis is EXPENSIVE.

It was not profitable; WeWork was losing bucket-loads of money every quarter and every year, burning through vast amounts of cash at very high speed.

And it was not well-managed, as the resulting train-wreck has shown.

When the whole "short term offices" trend opened up, given my work patterns, I looked into it. Costs were still prohibitive for my needs but several came close. Close enough I checked out several. So then I looked at possibly getting into the business. Knowing a guy with family in real estate we could get a line on several properties, but when we looked at the monthly overhead costs for lease/etc., initial capital outlay for furniture, tech infrastructure, etc., plus maintaining niceties like coffee, etc.... it was, at best, damn difficult to get the money to work out.

Meaning it was dicey as hell, and not worth the significant risk of losing our shirts for a paltry win.

Not impossible - I've had a couple clients over the years with space at a Regus facility and they were happy with it. Nevertheless, fraught with too many ways a downoturn of any sort could kill it deader than a doorstop.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.