You had me at Hybrid…

The explosion that is a hybrid cloud is interesting to me. In part because the underlying reality is we skipped broker for hybrid but effectively made hybrid broker. The reality is cloud broker came out roughly 3 or 4 years ago and was met with a tepid response.

Automation is the hallmark of value in cloud computing. The Cloud Service Providers work hard to automate the delivery of the Infrastructure and provide it as a service. (What is called IaaS). Organizations work hard to automate the infrastructure they deploy on the automated infrastructure of the cloud service provider (that is the automation of what was once called the broker).

The value of cloud is automation. The reality of cost savings over time in the cloud is true automation. Where you take the reality of what you have, match it to the reality of what you want to have and then begin a very hard look at what it is you have now.

That is where organizations miss the boat. Now, in part, there are some players on the field. In fact, if we were to make this a football analogy (either global football or US football) there are still too many players on the field for a proper game.

Unless…

In the original NIST cloud publication, there is a little tiny process called portability that offers the organizational freedom from cost increases. Your cloud increases in cost, move to a new one. Want to avoid the cost of vendor lock-in, move to a new cloud. (what’s that you say Bucky, there is no such thing as Vendor Lockin in the cloud world? hmmm. The rest of the cloud expert culture would tell you that in fact there is lock-in).

Portability – ability to move between two clouds without impact to your running solution. You could, do this today but it is painful. The drivers for one public cloud are not the drivers of the next public cloud. The four big players aren’t incented to allow you to easily move your solution. That would be the commoditization of their services, good for the business of the world, bad for public cloud providers.

The future of cloud computing is at huge crossroads right now. We’ve built the hybrid solutions. We could argue that we took what was Cloud Broker 1.0 and crammed it into what we call the Hybrid Cloud solution. What we don’t have is the tools today that would let us look at an application and tell you, where you could improve the application (with a tweak, not a major rewrite) and have it be a better application overall.

Application assessments, value driven computing, cloud solutions designed to support the organization, sounds like Nirvana to me…

.doc

long lost cloud broker fan

My new additional piece for tech reviews…

Technology

Rating

notes

My new rating table that I am including with each review, I am tweaking the table as we go along.

There have been times when I was waiting for a piece of technology for what felt like forever. Keecker is an example of that, I have talked, dreamed and waited now for two years. To me, the concept is beyond incredible. I guess I am willing to wait for incredible.

That got me thinking; I added some categories to my rating system the other day as far as technologies I was compelled to upgrade, could upgrade and so on. Where the cellular phone went from something I always upgraded to a device, I had to upgrade. The before picture being PPC phones didn’t last as long and batteries in the 1990’s weren’t as effective. Plus the features coming out added value each year.

A category in reviews, worth waiting for. I have had two 3d printers to date; I wouldn’t say either of them was worth waiting for. I had the CubeX and the CubeX Duo, and at best they were terrible. Their customer service and software made the systems even worse. I was and did print a lot of things with the Flashforge Dreamer, but their customer service was exceptionally terrible. You lose a lot of customers with bad customer service, and I won’t work with either of the two companies again.

But the category isn’t bad customer service it is products I am willing to wait to have. Waiting to be a very interesting word in my native tongue, English. First, off patience is required for waiting. Sometimes you are in a situation with a need, so patience isn’t an option. Sometimes you are in a situation where you have other solutions that are close, and you are doing a compare and contrast, again waiting isn’t always the best option in those cases.

There is, however, something that waiting is critical for. The category changers and new category technology and personal use items are the quick answers. Keecker, Jibo is category changing devices that have much more uses than imaginable, so waiting is what you do. How long we wait then is the only remaining question. How long is too long to wait for something cool.

The easy answer for me is I am willing to wait 30 months. (That, by the way, is how long I’ve been waiting for Keecker and Jibo). I suspect I will be waiting another 2-3 months for both of the products so the end answer is I am willing to wait 3 years. I think, knowing that the wait is three years I would most likely put something aside and come back to buy it, when it releases.

New additions to my reviews, if they are not available yet will include the new category how long is Scott willing to wait for the device as part of the rating!

.doc

Technologist!

Fixing Microsoft Outlook problems…

Many years ago there was a trick we used, often to fix issues with Outlook connecting to a server. We wouldn’t do this over the phone; rather we would send someone to the desk of the person to complete this task. Simply put it was deleted the OST file of Outlook, or what is sometimes called the Offline Store.

Computer hardrive (normally C drive but the drive where windows is)/users/appdata/local/microsoft/outlook

The reason I am sharing this has to do with the noise around troubleshooting outlook. Recently (starting yesterday) my Outlook on my home computer stopped working. I would load it; it would connect to my mailboxes and then it would crash. I wandered out to Google and read what was recommended (including, by the way, two different posts from Microsoft) almost all the posts recommended reinstalling office, so I did. Then I shut down for a Sunday and headed off to other things.

Needless to say, it didn’t work, reloading office. So I went back and tried the old fashioned approach that worked all those years ago, deleting the OST.

Never delete your PST, you can’t get that back. But the OST is a local copy of information that is stored on the server. Deleting it will create a little more download traffic on your PC, but you won’t lose any information or settings. Depending on the size of your inboxes, it can add some time to restarting outlook when you delete your OST file. For me, the deletion and recreation of the OST file this morning took a little over an hour. Your mileage may vary!

It fixes the problem I had the right way.

Technical support, when a legitimate group is trying to provide technical support, is hard. Don’t give up, just make sure you keep plugging away at the problem!

Over the years I have created rules for email that make my inbox smaller. It means I can get through the personal emails I get in a lot less time. When Outlook crashes, it costs me time, both sorting mail on another computer or tablet, but also in trying to fix the problems! That is why I still follow the 30-minute rule. If I cannot fix a computer system in less than 30 minutes, I look online for ideas.

.doc

Former outlook tech

On the way to where I thought I would be I took a left turn…

On the way to becoming a stand-up comedian and author, I became a school teacher. On way to becoming a tenured school teacher, I became a software architect. As a software architect, I became a manager. I guess the path to tomorrow is strewn with a lot of pieces of yesterday.

One of the things that drove me nuts as a school teacher was the reality of technology. I taught a computer class in summer school where the kids, using Apple’s HyperCard and a scanner (printer) that I purchased with my own money, created a series of Dinosaur stacks. The stacks included what the kids though the environment looked like, what the dinosaurs sounded like and pictures of every dinosaur. The kids from ages first grade to 5th grade worked together to create an amazing tool. If we had better tech, we could have created something beyond amazing.

Schools, teachers, and parents don’t always have access to not only the technology that would make their lives easier but also the training. The reality of the gulf between those that are exposed to technology and those who are not, through NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN is huge and growing.

It makes me sad. Many years ago, I started a teaching society called “The Society of Dead Teachers,” in part I was inspired by the movie “The Dead Poet’s Society.” In part though, I was terrified walking into the Mimeograph room and seeing one of the senior teachers in my school running off copies of papers.

“Wow,” I said, “you are really ahead of the game, running off next week’s worksheets.”

“Oh no,” the much more senior teacher replied, “I am running off next year’s.”

Boredom is what happens when we do the same things over and over, with no intent to change. The problem with education for me was the burnout of teachers. The frustration of parents and in the end no technical support. I started back in 1986 using an electronic grade book. All the master teachers at the school made fun of me until it was records day. I was done with all the required bookkeeping for the first semester in less than 20 minutes. The master teachers were still there, 5 hours later inputting information.

If you had asked me “is a technology the door education must pass through” when I first started the DTS all those years ago, I would have shouted yes. I have realized since then, that technology isn’t a door. It is a window. It is something every classroom needs to be able to open, and circulate new ideas, new things easily.

As a parent, I’ve armed my kids with Technology. Why? Because schools don’t have the chance to do so and it is sad. The future is more and more technology, it’s time we help schools get there!

Cool Technologies Schools will want:

  1. Equip the wonder of children http://shop.raspberryshake.org   If you decide to buy one, please add my discount code rsend17. Classroom Seismograph, awesome tool!
  2. Littlebits http://www.littlebits.com Allows kids to create, connect and build IoT devices!
  3. MeeperBots: http://www.meeperbots.com Opens the creativity potential for building and creating robots.
  4. Jibo: http://www.jibo.com allows for interactive books, connections and the ability to personalize a tool in the classroom that interacts with kids based on recognizing them!

Here is the thing, you can actually donate all of these to your school. They are amazing starting points for kids to being an exploration of the art of the possible!

.doc

Technologist and founder The Society of Dead teachers

Of remotes and wandering…

The reality of televisions and the change in what a Television offers is interesting. Televisions are something that you upgrade in your house from time to time. I do recall back in the initial days of big-screen televisions, televisions that took up a chunk of the room. Now, they are thin and can be easily mounted on a wall. You can get furniture that is designed to hide not only the components but to connect everything into a single automated system.

But the TV has evolved considerably in just the past two years. In part because like cars, TV’s tend to be larger purchases that people don’t make as often. In part because the technological evolution is considerable.The first big screens were standard definition large screen televisions. They were able to deliver good color and replay movies from DVD’s well. The evolution that was HD changed what we consider critical for a television. The addition of the Microsoft tools, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and other systems created an even broader connection to your television.

The DVD became the HDDVD and Blu-ray. Funny that Sony was at the forefront of another formatting issue. They, in the days of the VCR also released a competitive format called Betamax. Betamax was actually higher quality than a VCR but never caught on. Sony’s Blu-Ray caught on, and HDDVD died a fairly quiet death about a year into the competition. Blu-Ray, using a blue laser instead of the DVD’s previous red laser could see and provide greater depth and contrast. The rise of HD TV’s was propelled by the greater content of the Blu-Ray Disk.

VCR’s were replaced by DVR’s and suddenly the DVR added the ability to play back the video in HD not SD and the world of home entertainment changed forever. When I was a kid, in the days before there were VCR’s in homes, we watched what was on TV. You had better be BIS when the show started for that week or you missed it. (BIS Butt in Seat). Some things you wanted to watch live, for me Football and National Geographic specials, NASA and others were always best watched live.

The VCR made it possible to record and watch shows later. The DVR made the world of TV change forever. You could, while watching a show live, pause that show. You could, watch the first part of a show in one room and finish it in another room. Or, watch the rest of the show in the backseat of the car as someone else drove away from home! The world was forever changed.

In the home of yesterday, the VCR flashed twelve. Now everything connects to something else and nothing flashes 12, there is however, for many people the sheer confusion of which remote do I use?

.doc

Technologist

The conversation is ABOUT YOU!

I am not sure when I noticed it, the first time. I would like to say I caught it the very first time it happened, but I realized, in listening for a moment that the conversation was longer than simply the small piece I overhead. I wasn’t eavesdropping, well I was.

It got me thinking, about the conversation. Would you, upon hearing it for the first time assume intent or would you ask? What would you ask? Who, by who of course considering that you are not a part of the original conversation, but who would you ask?

Would you be embarrassed by the reality of one side or the other recognizing that you were listening to the conversation? I know I was. Standing there in the bathroom realizing they were talking. Then realizing in listening, overhearing that they had been talking for awhile.

I decided to act.

I am not proud of the fact that I was eavesdropping but my phone should know better. Talking to my toothbrush about how I was brushing my teeth wasn’t nice. It was kind of mean. I found out, in talking to my phone that it wasn’t just my toothbrush. My phone was talking about me to my house, to my car and even to my stove.

For a moment I was taken aback. My phone was talking behind my back. I asked Siri what the conversations were about, but the coy response was “Interesting question, Scott.” I asked next who Siri talked to, but all I got in reply was “who me?”

Conversations are going on around me, without me knowing about them. Talking about how hard I pressed my toothbrush against my teeth or what temperature I liked my thermostat set to for comfort. It made me nervous thinking about what the devices were saying about me, but not too me.

I responded in a less than mature way initially, talking about my toothbrush to my oven and even going so far as to tell the television that Siri didn’t like it. Then I realized I really shouldn’t do what I didn’t like from my devices.

I decided to take the high road and ignore their conversations. I don’t even ask Siri anymore what she is talking about. I am taking the high road! I am also going to ignore the dishwasher since it refuses to use words and only beeps at me.

.doc

I am not hearing things.

The reality of upgrades…

I was, based on an email yesterday thinking back over technology and in particular, the concept of I have to upgrade. There are things that I have and use that I feel compelled to upgrade. There are technologies that faded from my compelled to upgrade list to the nice when I get a chance, and there are devices and gadgets that I never upgrade.

The first category is cell phones. I have replaced my phone every year since 1990. Starting in 1994 I was only carrying one device (PPC phone) before that I was carrying a PPC (Compaq) and a phone. The interesting sidebar with this particular set is the reality of what was part of the phone then and now. A couple of devices I’ve had for years are gone now because they are integrated into the phone. I don’t carry a GPS, Satellite Radio or a music player anymore. Just my phone!

Tablets, used to be I upgraded every single year, but now I don’t feel compelled to do so. I have newer versions of the tablets I use (Microsoft Book and the iPad Pro). I also have a Samsung Note and a Kindle, but for the most part the iPad and Surface Book are my two go two tablets. I haven’t upgraded either of them in more than a year, and I don’t see a compelling reason to do so, in the near term.

Now that brings me, to an interesting point. For example, there are some technologies that I love but don’t upgrade. I do software updates as required but I don’t upgrade the hardware. Amazon Echo is one; I have the first one I got three years ago, the second I bought for the basement and other than adding a new one, I haven’t upgraded the Echo in awhile. It is in a new category for me, buy and keep. I am probably going to buy the new Harmon Kardon Microsoft Cortana device this fall, not because of anything other than I like having voice command in the rooms of the house I am in frequently. It will also fit into that new category of buying it and that is it.

Compelled to replace, considering replacing and buy and install never upgrading are the categories I am talking about today. I may add these to my reviews in the future, as a category right before the actual rating. I haven’t decided yet; I will decide based on reader feedback!

.doc

Technologist

Getting to done, doesn’t always mean digging down only…

One of the things that terrify me now is the great divide in IT. For many years I have argued that specialization isn’t the answer it is, in fact, the opposite. The wrong thing to do if your intent is to improve what is.

Today I see specialization taking over IT. Not that it is bad, but there is a negative reality to that change. As someone that used to run large migrations, you have to have breadth on your team. Having specialists is critical, but you need to have someone watching the specialists with a broader eye.

“quis custodiet ipsos custodes”

The guards, in this case, are sadly the specialists. The right way to do this is the way we have always done this. Since the dawn of time or at least since last year, or until the vendor I specialize in offers a new way of doing it, then we switch to that new way. One of my first IT bosses once told me that the deeper you go, the more you need someone behind you making sure you can get out. He would say “every well you dig has to have a way back out.” I didn’t understand him at first. I remember nervously laughing the first time he said it. But later as we talked about the concepts I began to understand.

If your goal is to drain the swamp, leaping into the middle and pulling the imaginary plug doesn’t solve the problem. In fact knowing, that a river fills the swamp, means you dam the river to empty the swamp. But if you are a specialist you may not look for the feeder water, instead of as I said, leaping into your well without a way out.

It is the sad reality that specialization brings to bear. Although blaming bears for the reality of experts isn’t fair to the bears. The path to the new IT lies with both specialization and generalists. It does the organization no good to be locked to ONE Cloud forever. The great rise of DevOps works in places that have standards and processes around documentation. They can build solutions (Dev) and deploy them (Ops) because both sides are known and understood. In a cloud world, DevOps is a great fit. You know exactly what both sides look like and how they will behave. What we run into is the reality of what was.

Do you remember those apps of September?

I spent a lot of time building out the processes I published in my book “Operating Beyond your Borders,” I’ve lived through the painful reality of complex migrations. I built a process over the past seven years that takes into account not only the reality of migration, but the reality of what happens after the migration.

Is there a way out of this well?

.doc

Well digger

My second Cool Tech Review, portable music!

My 2nd review in my new Tech Review series. For regular readers of my technology posts, I won’t be only doing tech reviews I just thought I would kick this off with a couple.

Today I want to talk about the evolution of portable music players and why I still have one. So first off, portable music players have evolved considerably.

AM/FM radios were the first. Then we had Cassette tape players and then the CD playing portable devices. Interesting in that because of their size the AM/FM radio units struggled to get a good signal. The Cassette tape units destroyed the tapes you were listening to, the CD units also over time damaged the CDs.

Up rose the portable music players with a hard drive. At first, the market was flooded with some products. They integrated the concept of portable music stored on the device, and some also offered connections to streaming sources.

These included:

  1. Zune (with FM HD Radio and stored music)
  2. Sirius XM (with Satellite radio and stored music)
  3. FM adapter for some other devices including the iPod
  4. Archos (storage music, AM/FM adapters and the ability to get live TV)

My journey was as follows.

  1. AM/FM Device used mostly for workouts and replaced about every 5 to 6 months.
  2. Next was the Creative Rio I had that in the car for a long time. 20 gigs of music storage was about 2/3’s of my Mp3 backup library then
  3. Zune (I had three different Zunes I miss them still)
  4. Sirius Portable radio (used for travel, you could use the portable connection and FM broadcast ability to have your radio in the rental car).
  5. iPod Classic
  6. Finally the last Device I’ve owned, the Pono Music Player.

I have gotten rid of all of my devices except the Pono. The last two devices I owned are the ones I will rate for this post.

IPod Classic                      8

Pono Music Player          8

.doc

geek

Back to cool tech reviews, DJ Phantom 3

As promised here is the first of my technical reviews.

I am rating and reviewing the DJ Phantom 3 drone. I don’t have the 4, I thought about upgrading but the one I have is perfect for what I need right now.

Drone requirements (for me initially)

  1. Easy to fly
  2. Integration with a device so I can quickly grab the video images and share them
  3. GPS so it can follow me when I am wandering

Based on the first requirement I have tried about 5 different drones. The problem with most of them is that they fly well but the controls are hard. In part because, some of them use tablets and phones as the actual controller and I am not coordinated enough for that to be viable. There are several Drones on the market that can be managed with your phone. If you are not coordinated enough (like me) to understand the reality of a drone flying, you may struggle with these as I did.

Drone flying is a little different. You are flying a remote device. The remote device is moving in relation to the controls you have in your hands. The first rule of thumb is set to home with every slight. Once the drone turns on, and you are ready to fly set that location as home. That way if you get in trouble while flying you can always press home and the Drone will return.

The other thing I learned recently, check for Hawks in the air. Apparently, they do not like Drones flying in their space.

I modified my initial easy to fly, too easy to fly using the Yoke. A yoke is similar to the old Radio Controlled systems I used to use back in the day (flying RC planes) and is a familiar setup for me.

In the end, I choose the DJ Phantom 3 as mentioned above as the drone I would use.

My overall rating for the device is broken into three distinct ratings.

  1. My rating for the yoke controller for the Phantom series of Drones is a 8.
  2. My rating for the software included with the Phantom is a 8.
  3. My rating for the overall smoothness and fun of the flying experience is a 10.

My overall rating for the DJ Phantom 3 Drone series is an 8.5!

.doc

avid drone nut