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Showing posts from October, 2007

Our need for architects ...

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I have now returned from Chicago, but before leaving I walked around the city and I was admiring its spectacular architecture. The picture I selected here shows the old Tribune Tower, just across the street from the Wrigley complex. Originally called the “Cathedral of Commerce”, it’s truly one of the best Gothic creations around.

As you now look back up the river from the South side, toward Lake Michigan, you can see a wonderful line-up of buildings, each representing a completely different style. Starting with the over-the-top, flamboyant, wedding-cake layers of the Marina City apartment and office complex that has been featured in many movies, there follows the austere IBM Plaza that, even in the early 1970s, represented a very minimalist style. Next to them we now have the Trump Tower pushing skywards from the riverside – all concrete and glass. Lastly, there is the very ornate Wrigley Building. Once called “the Jewel of the Mile”, it was an American adaptation of the French Renaiss…

Changes in Attitude ...

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I was in Chicago for a working weekend with another group of friends and I took time out for a quick break. I walked into the local Corner Bakery Café and as I ate a sandwich, one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs came over the speakers:

“Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred years too late
The canons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder
I’m an over-forty victim of fate!”

The picture included here captures me in a more reflective mood, on the deck of a 19th century clipper. I have included it as I think I am a pirate and there’s much about me and the way I think that, I have to admit, is reminiscent of the rebellious sailors of old.

And I was reminded how often I can be a contrarian. Throughout my IT career I was a bit of a renegade, a bit of a disruptive influence. When everyone else was happy to go left, I turned right.

This song reminded me that following one of my recent blog postings, I had the good fortune of catching up, on email, with Tony Bond – a former ITUG Chairman and the pers…

Busting Myths ...

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I have spent an extended working weekend in Chicago. I have been appointed to another User Group board and am wrestling with many of the same topics I saw when on the ITUG board. The weather in Chicago was perhaps the best I have ever seen – three perfect fall days. The fall colors of the trees lining the river were pretty spectacular.

It reminded me very much of a fall trip I took recently in Colorado and the picture I have included here is of the Eastern approach to Independence Pass, the gateway to Aspen. The picture here is among my favorites, and from time to time I see it come up on my PC as my screen-saver pulls up pictures from a folder.

When I am in the major cities, I really do like to walk through galleries and admire the art. Whenever I am in London I stroll down Mayfair and when in Chicago, I head for Rush Street. The galleries I spend time in aren’t your usual high-profile tourist spots – and those familiar with London must be wondering what I am talking about.

But for me, …

The pull from twin stars ...

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In my inbox, when I returned from Brighton, was an email from Fred Laccabue with a couple of good pictures – one of which I show here. This photo was taken towards the end of the European ITUG event following a period of cooler weather, overcast and wet. I didn’t see Fred take this picture but that afternoon, as I walked along the shorefront, I heard a number of cameras clicking away from the main pedestrian path elevated several feet above me.

I was looking out to sea and watching a number of yachts heading down the channel towards the Atlantic. There was a following sea and it reminded me very much of the old Crosby Stills, Nash and Young song “Southern Cross”, the opening few lines very appropriate for a sight as beautiful as this:

“ Got out of town on a boat goin’ to Southern islands
Sailing a reach before a followin’ sea”

When I was much younger, I did a lot of competitive sailing in and around Sydney harbor. I did an offshore event and saw the sun and set over the coastline of Aust…

You can't survive if you ain't got drive …

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I have just returned from a successful European ITUG event. But the picture on the left was taken at the SATUG event earlier this year and I was reminded of it by some of the comments made by the ITUG leadership. You will see Scott Healy, ITUG Chairman, and me banging away on drums, along with all of the other SATUG attendees, and looking back it occurred to me that perhaps we were drumming to a different beat. Oh well.

Seated to my left is a colleague of mine, Anthony. He is a South African and like me, has elected to settle in the US. Anthony’s world has just turned upside down – he’s become the father of twins and anyone who knows dad’s in similar situations knows that life will never again be the same. But for South African’s all over the world, even with new families, there’s only one thing on their minds right now – the Rugby World Cup.

While living in Australia I had different shirts for summer and winter. In summer my shirt simply said “I support the Australian cricket team, an…

Bugs are everywhere ....

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I caught up with Chis Rooke on the way over to Brighton for the Euro ITUG event and we shared the same flight into Heathrow. Chris was already showing the first signs of the flue and he was quick to put distance between himself and anybody else as he didn’t want to spread the germs.

As any traveler can tell you, getting any cold virus or a flue is the last thing you need! Early this year, while at SATUG, I managed to catch the bug. Out of desperation I overdosed on medication mixtures, and thought I was going to die! I still don’t recall much of the closing evening river cruise.

Seeing Chris again reminded me of one of our earliest meetings some 15 years back – in Nice back in 1992. I was a Program Manager working out of Tandem Cupertino and had been working on NonStop NET/MASTER – indeed it was at this event where we first demonstrated working code.

But my time with Chris in Nice was on a different topic completely. I was interviewing with him for a new job in his marketing team, and o…

The artists among us ...

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This past weekend at Brighton was one of the best in a long time, weather wise, according to the locals, and a lot nicer than I had been expecting. The last time I had visited Brighton was very late in December 1975, and it was pretty dreadful.

On Sunday there was a charity motorcycle gathering and a couple of us took a little downtime from the preparations for the ITUG event to walk through the bikes and exhibits. I have no idea how many bikes finished up participating, but there had to be more than 1,000, by my estimates.

What caught my eye was the mix and variety of the community. There were the customary groups of mechanics and engine technicians. There were the craftsmen working on leather saddlebags, cases, and clothing, and there were the artists who treated metal, wires, and paint as just different components with which to sculpture. The art works on display were amazing! No question, some of today’s reality shows on TV have contributed enormously to the general public’s interes…

Don’t change my toys!

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I had this picture taken as it really shows me in my “other office” – 15A. As most of you have figured out by now, I spend a lot of time out of the office – at events, seminars, and with clients. I am more at home over a coffee table these days, with a writing pad, sketching out configurations, than doing just about anything else.

I have arrived in Brighton for the Euro ITUG event and if you take a closer look at this photo you may recognize that this is one of the newer models of the blackberry PDA. But what I don’t think you will be able to tell is that it’s not the one I usually use. I had to borrow it from my wife, as I had left my PDA / Phone on the kitchen counter-top.

Some of you have commented in your emails to me that it looks like I am loosing weight – and yes, it’s true. Probably in another blog posting I will get into the background for this – but it’s enough to know that I had to change belts before I left on this trip. The exercise of replacing the belt, literally as I wa…

The club at the end of the street …

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of entertaining a number of visitors. I had Lyman Lundquist of IBM up from Austin, and he was a lot of fun. I also had Peter Shell of ACI, and newly appointed to the position of IT Director for Asia Pacific, as well as Brad Poole, a longtime colleague from my days at Tandem.

While we were waiting for Peter and Brad to arrive, Lyman looked me squarely in the eye and said, “so, you like that little restaurant La Grillade in Crows Nest do you? And you used to spend a lot of time there!” I have only just recently returned from Sydney and had spent one evening there with a good friend Dieter Monch, the former Managing Director of Nixdorf Computer in Australia, but how did Lyman know about my tastes in restaurants? “And I have a good friend who just visited me and who says he knows you, and believes you have been going there since the ‘80s!”

There was a time back in the late 70s where I had a small software company called EDOS Australia. Focused on the IBM main…