Or…

Geek 2.0 meets Geek 1.0

If you’ve been following the “Web 2.0” conversations, are interested in the future of web technology, or just have a half hour or so to kill, you should check out this video of Tim O’Reilly and Bill Gates. In the video from Mix 06 O’Reilly leads off by drawing a paralell between Web 2.0 and Microsoft’s Live Software, a parallel which I’m afraid Gates didn’t (or didn’t want to) understand.

Common Web 2.0 topics came up, like perpetual beta, user added value, RSS, etc. Not surprisingly Gates was clearly uncomfortable with the topics. For example, when O’Reilly brought up the topic of perpetual beta, Gates went to his comfort zone and talked about how Microsoft’s plan to upgrade IE as often as three times per year was cutting edge. Similarly when O’Reilly mentioned the mashup of craig’s list and Google Maps as part of the evolution of the web as a platform rather than continue on that topic, Gates shapes his response into a description of the products Microsoft is developing to compete with Google Maps.

Through the whole presentation it becomes increasingly clear that Gates is only comfortable speaking about his own company’s technology while O’Reilly is talking about the direction of the industry. This is why I say Geek 2.0 meets Geek 1.0. Geek 2.0 (O’Reilly) speaks in terms like standards, technologies, trends, platforms. Geek 1.0 (Gates) speaks in terms like program x, technology b, product t. Geek 1.0 thinks their software vendor should and will innovate within their field, while geek 2.0 reaches out to open-source products and custom mashups and software which will evolve with usage.

Watch the body language in this video. O’Reilly looks like he could be sitting in his living room talking to someone. Gates looks like he’s on trial. Pretty bad since the Mix conference was hosted by Microsoft.

Check out the video here.

Thanks to Ken for pointing this out last week.

microsoft, oreilly, o’reilly, web 2.0, web20, web office, software, software development

In 2000, EDS, a major information technology and business firm took the term “cat herding” and ran with it for this fantastic super bowl commercial, but what does cat herding mean?

The term is used to draw a parallel between cats, who are inherently independent and difficult to control, and IT workers, who are inherently independent and difficult to control. Anyone with a cat of their own probably has a good idea what I’m talking about. In a more broad sense, herding cats refers to getting different people or groups to coordinate on a goal.

Carla Emmons sums it up nicely:

Herding cats implies the futility inherent in a position as an IT manager.

In a modern IT shop it is quite literally impossible for a manager to know everything about their employees’ jobs and I believe that is the main cause of this precieved futility. To try to understand and control everything your employees are doing is just as bound to fail as trying to get your cat to come when you call its name. The good IT managers know it, the best ones embrace it.

So what is an IT manager to do? I think effective cat herding boils down to just these three things…

  1. Hire good people
  2. Get them the resources they need to do their jobs
  3. Protect them from the politics and metawork as much as possible

Remember, cat herding (IT management) isn’t about your own goals or job fulfillment, it’s about allowing your employees to reach their full potential.

funny, comercial, super bowl, it, it management, project management, buzzword, office lingo, language, definition

SunFireT2000After receiving my try-and-buy Sun Fire T2000 over a week ago it’s finally up and running. While we have yet to hit it with much of a load, here are some thoughts on the out-of-box experience:

Before even powering up there are a couple interesting observations about the system. The first is the lack of power button, switch, or key. In fact there is only one button on the system and that is an indicator button which just flashes an LED on both the front and back of the system to make it easier to locate (a nice feature, by the way.) You’ll quickly find the hot-swappable dual power supply and fan compartment. The adventurous will find and the big button on top of the system which allows you to gain access to RAM and other non-hot-swappable components.

All of these compartments and components are accessible without the need for tools. The hard drives are on hot-swappable sleds which pop out the front of the box. The hard drives are small (2.5″ I believe) allowing room for 4 bays in the front and still affording enough space for ventilation. I was somewhat surprised to find laptop-style drives in a Sun server, but I guess I can’t come up with any reason not to.

After giving the hardware a good once-over it was time to get the T2000 up and running. I have to say Sun came up a little short on the out-of-box experience at this point. I’m comfortable with, even partial to the absence of on-board video on a server, and Sun has chosen to include serial via RJ-45 on the T2000. Sun was on the right track including two cables appropriately shielded for use with this port, but neglected to include an adapter to go to the 9 pin serial we all have on the back of our PCs.

After rummaging around for the proper adapter to hook the T2000 to an old laptop we plugged it in. The system is surprisingly (read obnoxiously) loud, but hey, it’s a server not a desktop. After a few minutes of the regular hardware diagnostics stuff the system came up to an sc> prompt.

This is where those who are not familiar with Sun’s newer hardware will come to a complete stop. The only documentation included with the system is the Sun Fire T2000 Server Getting Started Guide and that does little more than tell you what the different lights mean and where you can find more documentation online. If you get online and grab the Sun Fire T2000 Server Installation Guide this will walk you through dealing with the SC serial management port. In my opinion Sun should have included this one in hard copy with the system as well.

After a couple more steps things start to feel familiar and the rest of the setup is much like the Solaris 7, 8, and 9 installs I’m used to. With just a few extra steps here you can (and I’d recommend) configure the SC Network Management port which will allow you the same functionality as the SC Serial Management port without the need for the serial cable and adapter. You will need an extra network drop and IP address to use network management, but then you’ll be able to telnet to it for administrative functions. Of course in a production environment you’d want this behind a firewall or on a private subnet.

Other than that the system seems quick. Our next step is to get Oracle on the system and throw some queries at it. I’ll share more as soon as we get some results.

UPDATE: I have now had the chance to test drive some Oracle jobs on this system. Check out my findings here.

database, database administration, database administrator, dba, dbms, rdbms, solaris, sun, sunfire, sysadmin, system administration, systems administration, t2000, try and buy, unix, oracle

Nearly a month after iLounge reported the settlement schedule for the iPod battery claims there is now a schedule posted on the official settlement website.

The dates are a bit different than originally reported, but it’s good to have official notification. Here are the highlights:

March 24, begin fulfillment of generation 1 and 2 claims which requested $25 cash settlement.

April 7, begin fulfillment of generation 3 battery replacements in the order claims were received.
Begin mailing discount codes for store credit settlements.

Those eligible for a claim under AppleCare should have already received their $25 check.

So I look forward to having a functional iPod again, but I can’t help but feel cheated for the year I’ve been battery-less. Oh well.

ipod, battery, apple, apple computing, mp3

SunFireT2000After being tipped of on the Sun try-and-buy program by Alan Baker, a coworker and cohort, I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring for a chance to test drive a SunFire T2000… and today it arrived.

Here’s what Sun has to say about their program:

Toss your toughest workloads at the multithreaded Sun Fire T2000 server with the Solaris 10 Operating System, and watch it crank up your database and Web application performance.

We’re so confident in the quality and performance of the world’s first eco-responsible server, we’re offering a free 60-day trial, risk-free. If you’re not totally impressed, just send it back at our expense and owe us nothing.

Chances are that you will be dazzled by your trial server and come back for more. The new Sun Fire T2000 server will likely become your multithreaded workload energy-saving powerhouse of choice.

When you apply for the Try and Buy program you get the choice of a four, six, or eight core 1GHz UltraSPARC T1 processor. I chose the eight, not just because bigger is better, but also because it is closest to our production Oracle servers in capacity and price.

So once we can find the time we’ll get 64-bit Oracle installed on there and run it through the paces. On deck are some join, function, lookup intensive datamart creation scripts which currently crush our production server every evening. This should be fun.

Also of interest is Sun’s claim of this server being “the world’s first eco-responsible server”. While I am unlikely to bring in a kilowatt meter to verify these claims, we are a very green university and hey, everyone wants to save a few bucks on electric.

UPDATE: I have now had the chance to test drive some Oracle jobs on this system. Check out my findings here.

oracle, database, database administration, database administrator, dba, dbms, rdbms, sun, solaris, systems administration, system administration, sysadmin, unix, t2000, try and buy, sunfire

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