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Showing posts from March, 2008

A question of balance!

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Back in the early ‘70s I worked at the Steelworks in Wollongong, an industrial town south of Sydney. It was when I first realized that being part of IT had an upside – the data center was the only building on the campus that had air conditioning, and as anyone familiar with what working near a blast furnace is like, any place cool was a welcome relief!

Wollongong sits on top of rich coal deposits that are part of a dish-like coal basin that lies beneath Sydney and surfaces at Wollongong, Lithgow to the West of Sydney (and beyond the Blue Mountains) and Newcastle, a little North of Sydney. The picture I have included here is a view of the Port Kembla facility, with the Wollongong Steelworks lying behind the coal unloading facility – courtesy of the National Library of Australia.

There are a number of interpretations for the word Wollongong, with the Sydney Morning Herald providing a couple I found particularly relevant to today’s blog posting. The first from a Terry Gorman, who concluded…

The need for standardization!

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I was sitting in the airport lounge in Frankfurt when I came across an article in Time magazine. It was a story about a British real estate development company that built a building for a group of artists “fashioned from 20 recycled containers in London’s Docklands district” back in 2001 and had since constructed another 27 buildings from these old containers. In the London suburb of Uxbridge, “a 120 room Travelodge hotel is being built out of 87 (of these) steel crates, stacked and snapped together Lego-like into two nine-story towers.” The picture I have included here is of the construction of this building where the installation of the containers is clearly visible.

I wasn’t working in IT back at the birth of containerization, in fact I wasn’t even at school yet, when in 1955 the “world’s first truly inter-modal container system used the purpose-built container ship, the Clifford J. Rodgers” sailed between Vancouver, British Columbia and Skagway, Alaska. It carried 600 containers t…

ACI Strategy - it's all about choice!

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I have just returned from spending a few days in Omaha attending the annual ACE Focus meeting. These two day meetings provide more in-depth technical coverage than is usually found at the regular ACI user events, and ACI customers have been coming for more than a decade to hear the messages directly from company executives.

The picture I have included here is of the venue of the Wednesday night social event – a reception held at a local sports bar called the ICEHOUSE. And I found this extremely ironic as my own involvement with ACI came through my association with the ICE product. For most of the ‘90s, ACI had been the global distributor for ICE and then, as we began the new millennium, ACI purchased Insession, creating a separate business unit that it named Insession Technologies. For nearly six years, as part of ACI it enjoyed a successful partnership with the NonStop community and had provided a number of solutions in communications, web services, and security.

But the decision in la…

It's still the same, just different!

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I have just returned from Prague after spending a couple of days there with folks from GoldenGate and HP. As I mentioned previously, this is one of my favorite cities and I really enjoy any opportunity to visit there. On the evening of the last day, we even had time to go down to the old town – and the picture I include here is of me and Sami Akbay, GoldenGate’s Marketing VP, taken by Scott Healy, GoldenGate’s Industry Solutions VP and the current ITUG Chairman.

Sami only joined us the day before, after the most miserable trip ever, from his perspective. He was in Cairo and planned a routine visit to Prague, via London, with BA. He checks out of the hotel, elects not to use the hotel’s Mercedes, and jumps into a taxi. As he heads for the Cairo airport, he asks the driver for a receipt, and then it all goes horribly wrong. The driver didn’t carry receipts so he headed back into the city to get them, but in the process found time to take a twenty minute coffee break! After a madcap rush …

From higher altitudes!

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I took a weekend break in Boulder. The first for many weeks, and I needed it. I had just returned from Orlando and on Sunday, it was back on the plane for a trip to Prague – one of my favorite cities in all of Europe.

The weekend along the Rockies proved to be unseasonably warm so it was a good time to grab the motorcycle for a ride up into Wyoming and to revisit some of my favorite front-range roads. The picture I have included here is of me parked at a rest stop just outside Laramie, as Interstate 80 (I80) crests the 8,600 foot summit – the highest pass on I80 as it connects New York with San Francisco.

While the temperature for most of my trip had been in the 70sF (20C), passing over this summit brought it down to the low 40s (5C) with winds pretty constant at 45 mph (60+ kpm). It was also at the midpoint of the 300 mile (480k) loop I had chosen and the views from this altitude were spectacular. I took the time to have a good look at the surrounding mountains and to peer down into th…

Thirty years on - a new generation!

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I had only been back in Sydney for just over a year when IBM launched the “Glendale Series” of mainframes – the IBM 4331 and IBM 4341. The year, 1979, was a very exciting time for IT in Australia as the federal government was allowing a capital investment allowance of 40 percent, as an incentive to industry, which included new computer purchases. However, this great deal was due to expire on June 30th, 1979.

So, with the New Year, corporations were waiting for the announcement of this new mainframe and were anxiously standing by their fax machines eager with anticipation. As January 30th dawned on the US East Coast (January 31st in Sydney), the news finally broke and the price points were stunning. It was a circus! IBM worldwide quickly became overwhelmed with orders and introduced the first lottery – allocating new machines according to a random draw.

These new mainframes featured high-density logic chips, with up to 704 circuits per chip. And with the older IBM 370/158 rated as a 1.0 …