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Showing posts from July, 2009

Getting aligned ...

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Many external conditions influence the direction we take. Often it is simply something we have seen in the media or have overhead in a coffee shop. Other times, it’s just a situation or circumstance we may unexpectedly recall. The picture I have included here is from a few years back when NonStop solution architect Gary Stevens arranged for his son to take Margo, Brad Poole, and myself on a hot air balloon flight over Phoenix, Arizona.

This picture reminded me of how the simplest elements can change the direction we are taking. The slightest breath of air can easily push a balloon off course. I always thought landing a balloon would be problematic and so it was with this flight – coming down, as we did, alongside an Ostrich farm during the commercially important egg-laying season! Not a happy farmer.

Closer to ground-level, every little bump and pothole can deflect us from our desired path. While I am ignorant of all that goes into the maintenance of a hot air balloon (and I have to ass…

Change is everywhere!

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Readers of this blog will recall that, in my last post I was aboard a cruise ship anchored in St Petersburg under overcast skies, and not all that enthusiastic about going ashore. There was a sense of moodiness, almost indifference about the city, and walking through its parks and visiting its historic mansions was no longer the priority it had once been. The following day, just after I had posted to the blog, the sun finally came out and we took a tour of the chateaus of the former Czars.

There have been many generations living in the city created by Peter the Great – many more following the rise of the Bolsheviks. The present generation, still reeling from the break-up of the former Soviet Union and a little uncomfortable with their position in the new world order, proved to be somewhat indifferent to visitors. Tolerating them, up to a point, and their cash, but not really welcoming them.

St Petersburg had been built as the Venice of the North – with canals and bridges evident with ev…

From Russia, with love …

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Today I am in St Petersburg, Russia where the weather is inclement. And with the weather, there’s a sense of moodiness, as the dock where we berthed is unfinished, and the surrounding area in the process of being reclaimed from the sea. I have yet to leave the ship but as I view the foreshore from the deck of the ship I do not get any sense that there will be a warm reception waiting for me as I step ashore. Perhaps that will change over the course of the next few days, but for the moment it looks an unattractive place to visit!

St Petersburg lies at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland, and we traversed it neither in daytime nor under evening skies – but rather, something in between. While the sun set around 11:00 pm, the nighttime sky didn’t make an appearance. Instead, a gray twilight will now be with us till dawn – illumination I heard referred to as “white night!”

As a Baltic seaport, there have been many attempts to make St Petersburg a major gateway into Russia. The Czars erect…

Common standards, uncommon advantages!

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I am still catching up with work following HP’s Technology Forum and Expo (HPTF&E) in Las Vegas. I will be leaving for vacation at the end of this week and that is only adding to the pressure to make sure I meet my commitments. The picture above is of me alongside HP’s “Performance-Optimized Datacenter” (POD) that was on display in a small exhibition space beneath the main expo hall.

Seeing a “standard” container used this way really took me back to my early days in IT. Some readers may remember my post from March 28, ‘08 “The need for standardization!” where I wrote “the time I spent working in the container shipping business really reinforced for me the value that comes from standardization ... (and) when it comes to standardization, we are beginning to see the same revolutionary approach to packaging appear in the computing industry. It is already well on its way when it comes to storage, and now it’s all about blades!”

Back in the early ‘70s I saw first-hand the value that cam…