Archive for June, 2008

The Smoking Gun

June 30, 2008 Comments off

Check out Steve Gillmor’s post over at TechCrunchIT about his best guess at the future of Microsoft’s online services/platform strategy.  Pretty compelling arguments, and perhaps we’re seeing an opportunity for Microsoft to climb out of 3rd place in the online ecosystem.  Only time will tell, but this sure seems plausible!

As Bill Gates closed the door for the final time Friday on his ex-office (Ballmer takes over Monday) the rhetoric about continued one day a week doesn’t match the reality. Whether you believe Bill will have an ongoing role in Office and Windows futures, I bet most of Bill’s input is already factored in by the owners of those two dominant sources of Microsoft revenue.

What comes next depends on whether Microsoft can pivot to the open Web paradigm as predicated in the Live Mesh strategy, or meander along while attempting to catch up in search and failing to buy Yahoo. You can find plenty of the latter analysis elsewhere, but here we’ll go for the throat of Microsoft’s disruptive opportunity by using a time-honored approach when faced with few facts but a lot of clues. Namely, building a case out of circumstantial evidence. And a smoking gun.

[ … GO READ THE REST!!! … ]

The Live Desktop is Mesh plus Silverlight. A Silverlight Office, however iteratively it is rolled out, will provide Microsoft the leverage to frame the discussion of an Internet Operating System. By mandating openness at all costs combined with a clear user contract trading software for services, the strategy puts Google and Apple in the position of explaining how they too get from here to there. Perhaps a SIlverlight-like runtime from either company is in the pipeline, but more likely are the Gears and SproutCore developer frameworks which are lighter-weight and less fundamental to each companies’ current success.

Contorting the words of Johnnie Cochran, if the glove fits you must convict. Will a Silverlight-only Live Desktop emerge soon after Election Day? If so, what will Microsoft or its developers do with it? Will Ray Ozzie, who spent the first half of his career as the most successful third-party application developer in Windows NT’s history with Lotus Notes, lead a wave of Live Desktop development under the rubric of Services with just enough Software? If the Himel post goes 404, maybe not.

The Smoking Gun
Steve Gillmor
Sat, 28 Jun 2008 20:28:27 GMT

Categories: Microsoft Tags: ,

Country hell

June 26, 2008 Comments off

My wife and I have pretty eclectic tastes in music: we’ll listen to just about anything.  However, neither Alicea or I listen to what I like to call “twangy” country music (some of the more rockin’ stuff isn’t half bad).  We spent 11/9 years (respectively) in the South … and we haven’t looked back.

Alicea’s working over at a certain global technology firm based in Redmond, WA these days as an admin, and her office mate loves country music.  Check out Alicea’s Twitter feed from this morning…

Alyleth: Got my smoothie – ready for work! Unfortunatly my officemate’s music of choice is country…. KILL ME NOW!

Alyleth: lyrics… no shoes, no shirt, no problem… WTF?!?!?

She just told me the chorus to the next song that came on, and I can’t make this up, shouted to the world (and Alicea’s office), “she thinks my tractor’s sexy.”

Wow.  And I thought “John Deere Green” was a lame song.

Categories: rants Tags: ,

No more tunes at Starbucks?

June 25, 2008 Comments off

BUMMER!  I actually kind of like having media available at the checkout.  I’ve scored a couple nice selections that way (2-disc Police set, and the movie Juno).  Oh well…

Report: Starbucks scaling back music offering | Tech news blog – CNET

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Get a luggage cart…

June 24, 2008 Comments off

I just read in Engadget that there’s a new suitcase out on the market that has a battery and motor to assist you in hauling your treasures from place to place.  “The PA series of checked baggage features a 12V NiMH rechargeable battery pack supplying power to the wheels when the handle is gripped and the bag is tilted. The bags weighs 10.6kg (23-pounds) which is about 3kg (6.6-pounds) more than standard hard luggage, according to the manufacture.”

HOLY CRAP!!!  This is just really sad.  So let’s get this straight, not only am I giving up nearly HALF of my allowable luggage weight per bag (50 pounds … that I get to pay $15 for the first bag on some airlines) but I get to spend $1365 for the pleasure!?!

I get my luggage from Target, or Fred Meyer, or Costco.  I try not to spend more than $100 for a bag, because it’s going to get just as trashed by the airlines as the expensive stuff, so why bother?

So here’s the deal, why not just rent a luggage cart for $1 and buy a $100 suitcase?  Then you can have the other $1264 to pay for the too-narrow, too hard, no legroom, next to the engines, no free soda, middle seat in the back of the plane of your dreams.

Categories: rants Tags: ,

By the numbers

June 20, 2008 Comments off

There’s nothing like a little bit of shameless self-promotion every once in a while.  :-)  We just sent out the following email internally to remind everyone of what IT “brings to the table”.  Fun times.

There are some things normal people can do. For everything else, there’s IT.

Number of employees and contractors that keep clients happy, loyal and paying: 600+

Number of distribution lists delivering vital targeted information to interested people: 711

Number of emails a month that attempt to infiltrate unsuspecting inboxes under false pretenses: 1,255,000

Amount of MBs it takes to backup all Civica files so that there’s no bloodshed when a server crashes:13,000,000

The 11 IT staffers who keep it all running without concern for a life, limb or sanity: Priceless

Without our IT department, most of what we do every day wouldn’t be remotely possible. So if you cross paths with any IT staffers in the near future, tell them thanks. Don’t send them emails though… they’re kind of busy.

If you’re interested, take a look below for all of the gritty details. Sure we don’t necessarily all know what some of these things actually mean, but IT says they’re important, so we should probably take their word for it. Either way, these are some pretty impressive numbers.

·         570+ employees

·         40+ contractors

·         9 offices in 7 cities on 2 continents, plus a number of “remote” folks in additional cities and countries

·         Servers

o   90+ physical servers in production and hosting of dev VM’s

o   220 IT/AMG hosted dev virtual machines and 22 production VM’s (142/12 in Bellevue alone)

o   8.75 TB of SAN storage capacity in the Civica datacenter (6 TB of capacity allocated)

o   6.8 TB of file server storage used across the organization

·         Email

o   875 Exchange mailboxes (users, testing, project use, etc.)

o   38 Conference Room scheduling mailboxes

o   711 Distribution Lists on Exchange

o   1.54:1 ratio of DL’s to employees (!!!)

o   520 GB of mailbox and public folder storage

o   Monthly inbound email traffic from Internet (through MXLogic filters)

§  1.4M messages sent to company-owned accounts (multiple domains)

§  84% denied, 5% quarantined as spam or virus infected

§  145k messages delivered (11% of total received)

·         Backups

o   13+ TB of data written to tape each week

o   22 tapes used per week (600GB/tape)

o   50 hours to do a full back up the Civica file server (includes data replicated from other offices)

·         Network

o   28 data circuits and 35 voice circuits (230 lines) across all offices

o   57 Mbps of Internet connectivity across all offices

o   144 Mbps of inter-office backbone connectivity

o   93 networking devices in use

§  15 firewalls

§  11 routers

§  47 switches

§  20 wireless access points

·         Civica Datacenter

o   15,000 Watts / 52 Amps of load the UPS (40kW/139A capacity)

o   72,000 BTU’s of heat generated in the room (average gas grill puts out 35-45,000 BTU’s)

o   6 tons of cooling used to keep equipment cool

Categories: technology Tags:

Here we go again

June 9, 2008 Comments off

TechEd 2008 is this week, and once again I’ve been able to talk the powers that be into letting me attend.  Really looking forward to it, even though it’s in Orlando again where it’s in mid-90’s for heat and humidity.  Thank goodness all this stuff is inside!

First up is a full day demos on Windows Server 2008.  Tomorrow we get a keynote from Bob Muglia, MSFT VP of Server and Tools Business Unit (Bob was actually on my flight from Seattle).  Then it’s non-stop breakout sessions, labs, community group meetings, etc.

I’m a total geek – and I’m in heaven!

Categories: TechEd Tags:

Stop and listen

June 6, 2008 Comments off

I love that NPR’s “best of” CD sets for stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered is called “Driveway Moments.”  The folks at NPR have a chance, because they’re not trying to give you a story in 30 seconds or less, to really dive deep into a topic or an interview.  At least once a week I find myself reaching my driveway or parking spot at the office and sitting in the car listening to the end of a story … a driveway moment.

This morning I just had a “desk moment” listing to the last hour of Morning Edition here in the office.  The story that captured my attention was an interview with Bill Eppridge, a photojournalist who covered Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign for President in 1968.  Today is the anniversary of RFK’s assignation.

Now I wasn’t alive in 1968 (heck, my parents got married in 1970), but this story completely rocked me.  I completely felt the empathy and sense of loss that rocked the nation when he was killed.

A wounded Kennedy lies on the kitchen floor.
credit Bill Eppridge
Bill Eppridge was following Sen. Robert Kennedy into the kitchen when shots rang out. He continued snapping photos, sensing he should document the moment. Life/©Time

It’s definitely worth 7 minutes of your day to listen to this.

Categories: Observations Tags:

Security for security’s sake is dumb

June 5, 2008 Comments off

I added the Microsoft TechNet Radio RSS feed to my Zune desktop a long time ago, but never got around to listening to any of them.  While I’m working today I’m finally getting a chance to rectify that oversight.  🙂

I’m currently listening to an interview with Alan Levine from April 2006 (“TechNet Radio Security Series – an interview with Alcoa’s CSIO”).  At that time (maybe still today?) Alan was the Chief Security Officer for Alcoa, the aluminum company.  At one point (about 18 minutes in) he makes a great observation on how some people in IT try to secure everything for the simple fact that they can … “security for security’s sake” as he says.  It’s a bad idea, Alan explains…

“and if you don’t believe that, tonight when you go home park your car in the driveway with your wife.  You both get out and you go into the house, and before she can come in lock the door.  You’ll find out that security for security’s sake serves no purpose.”

I’m a huge fan of giving real-world, non-IT examples of tech scenarios to help people better understand what’s going on.  This is an awesome example of that … and one I’ll have to borrow!

Categories: IT Tags: ,

Hanging in there…

June 5, 2008 Comments off

For those of you who know me, you know that one of my standard answers if asked “how are you doing?” is “hanging in there.”  Well today I can honestly say that’s an apt description.  I haven’t felt this crappy in a LONG time.

These last 6-8 weeks have been the absolute worst season for my allergies I’ve ever experienced.  EVER.  It’s so bad that I’ve even been diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma – oye vay.

So if you see me around and I’m not my normal cheery self, now you know why.  Bleh.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,