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Showing posts from July, 2012

The HiSSS of Infrastructure - Part 4

We've arrived at the end of our acronym-ical journal, and what better way to finish, than with everyone's favorite topic... security. Security is the often overlooked, and even more often derided, facet of information technology that everyone loves to hate. Security means rules, and rules means that we don't get to do everything we want, the way we want to. Security is the fun-killer.

Even though most IT professionals have to deal with security in some fashion, infrastructure has a unique role to play in securing systems. In fact, security needs to be right up there with the four other big paradigms of our philosophy of infrastructure. It needs to be there for one very important reason. In infrastructure we have the ability to make a huge impact in the security of a system, often times for very little effort. By the same token, if we don't take security seriously in infrastructure, we also have the biggest opportunity for a huge impact from a negative direction. More …

Auntie — the sky is falling!!

That's an 'em dash' in the title there if you were wondering about the joke...

So this past week Apple announced it's earnings report, and the worst thing in the world happened. They missed the predictions. Apple only made $8 billion in profit. They were supposed to make $10 billion.

I'll pause a moment to let that sink in.... one more moment... ok... So what does it mean when a company like Apple only makes an outrageous sum of money instead of a OMG FREAKING OUTRAGEOUS sum of money? It means that the pundits sit down at their iPads, at their kitchen tables, with their bluetooth wireless keyboards, and pound out paragraph after paragraph of snarky prose about how it's the beginning of the end for Apple, and that we all told you that it would never survive after Steve Jobs passed on.

I'll pause another moment to let the irony of that last run-on sentence sink in.... ready yet?.... ok.... So as much of an Apple fan boy that I am, let me begin by saying tha…

Seven inch what?

I've been a huge fan of the iPad ever since it was released, despite waiting until the iPad 2 before getting one. I remember one of the first competitors to the iPad was a 7-inch tablet by Samsung (IIRC). At the time I bristled at the idea of a smaller than 10-inch tablet. I just didn't 'get' why you'd want something, that I was viewing as a laptop replacement, in such a small size. But then a few weeks ago, something made me start to think differently.

First off, Google announced their Nexus 7 tablet. A seven inch device that starts at $200. That's a great price for what you get inside. But... it was still seven inches, so what would I use a device like that for? The answer came from a strange enough place. My ex-wife purchased a portable DVD player for the boys to use in the car on trips, and in their beds at home instead of falling asleep to movies on the living room couches. I looked at the devices and it hit me. Seven inches is a great size for a portable …

The HiSSS of Infrastructure - Part 3

We've arrived at the second 'S' in the HiSSS infrastructure philosophy, and that S is for Scalability, which interestingly isn't even a real word according to my spell check. However, mangling the English language is pretty second nature for people in the information technology field, so we can all be forgiven for yet another faux pas.

Scalability, simply put, is the ability for a system to grow as it's needs increase. Although this sounds like a simple concept, it actually is incredibly hard to achieve. When a software developer, or a systems engineer, sits down to design an application or build a host, they're usually most concerned with how they're going to accomplish their immediate needs. The idea of how they can grow their system to infinity is often something that gets considered later in a design cycle. Some shops are much better than others at considering scalability, but often times the answer is tossed back in infrastructure's lap as "de…

Best of... "To iPhone or not to iPhone"

I've decided to bring over a couple of my posts from my personal blog that talk about technology. This one quoted below is from when I was considering jumping from Android to iPhone. A few weeks after this post I did jump ship, and was happy I did, but I liked this post because it talked about my thinking at the time and why I considered it a big bonus to get inside the Apple ecosystem.


To iPhone or not to iPhone….
Apologies up front if this post is a bit more geeky than normal for me, but I’m going to dive into the realm of cool smartphones for a bit and ramble about things that most people might not care less about.  A year ago I decided to make the plunge and join the smartphone revolution. Since I’m a Verizon customer my choices were based on an Android phone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile or Palm WebOS. The iPhone was not an option at the time. Well, after a bunch of research I decided to go with the Palm Pre+ with WebOS. I loved how it was an entirely different view on how to cr…

Under the Surface of Microsoft

One of the big tech announcements recently, that caught the world by surprise, was the new Microsoft Surface tablet. Although many people expected some sort of tablet annoucement, I don't think anyone thought that Microsoft would pull out a full-on iPad competitor, complete with massive innovations in design and functionality. My first impression of Surface is that it's a really great piece of technology, and things like the built-in kickstand, and the smart-cover-like touch keyboard are really inventive. Since I'm writing this on an iPad with a wireless keyboard, I know there are plenty of times when the marriage of an old-school physical keyboard input method with modern touch screen interfaces results in something even better :)

The thing I wanted to comment on though wasn't the introduction of new hardware, because I think that story is still evolving, and Microsoft's involvement with it's OEM's could be quite the fireworks show. What I want to ramble o…

The HiSSS of Infrastructure - Part 2

In the first installment of this series, I outlined my Infrastructure Management methodology, called HiSSS. In that first posting we talked about the concept of High Availability. In this segment I'm going to tackle the notion of Stability.

Stability is pretty self-explanatory, simply, you don't want a system that is repeatedly tipping over. Just like we might say that an athlete has a stable stance when they're competing, we want our infrastructure to be strong and stable, so that it doesn't fall over, and leave the customer with a bad taste in their mouth. One of the first ways to do this is to control the rate of change in our systems.

Controlling when and how things happen in our systems is often called 'change management'. We want to manage any changes that are occurring, and mitigate any risks that might impact the stability of our systems. Often times, this change management process relates to software being developed, but it's just as important for …

Old faithful moves on...

About 7 years ago I sank a LOT of money into a personal LaserJet printer. The HP LaserJet 1320 was a great little personal printer, despite costing a fair amount of money for a printer (around $500 MSRP at launch). For years that printer has cranked out page after page after page of beautiful black text. Originally we purchased it because our kids loved to color, and it was getting really expensive to print all their coloring sheets on an inkjet printer. So a laser printer was the perfect solution. We went through reams of paper printing outlines of Star Wars characters, dinosaurs, and other assorted topics that the kids were in to from time to time.

The time has come though to retire old faithful. Despite being a solid printer, and most likely having some solid life left, it's reached a point where I needed something with a few more features. In particular I've found myself in need of a scanner on a number of occasions recently for various document signings, and with my last c…

Where am I, and why am I running?

As many of my friends know, I took up the sport of running back in 2010 when I needed to get in shape. As I entered middle age, my metabolism did a revolt on the eating habits of my younger years, and I had to shed some pounds and regain my health. So what does this have to do about tech? Well, as a gadget guy, with a distinct interest in all things that make life easier, I wanted to utilize some form of technology in my running.

For most runners, the go-to gadget is GPS. In the old days, runners had to plot their distance using courses that had been pre-measured, or through maps, or a variety of other methods. You would go for a run, and you may or may not be at the correct distance that you think you are. Well, in the wonderful age of technology we can solve that problem. And solve it we will!

For the gadget minded runner (or biker/walker/hiker for that matter), there are a few different options for determining where you are at any particular time. If you feel comfortable carrying you…

I love typing on my iPad

Ok, before you think I've gone crazy and suddenly believe I like smacking away at a non-responsive touch-screen, let me clarify that title... "I love typing on my bluetooth keyboard on my iPad." Like many people, I took the plunge and got a wireless keyboard for my iPad, because for any serious typing work, you really can't beat the smooth responsiveness of the Apple Wireless keyboard.

But, just to clarify things further, it's not the bluetooth keyboard that is the reason I love typing on my iPad. Let's correct that title one more time... "I love writing on my bluetooth keyboard on my iPad." There we go, that's better, and it gets to the heart of what I wanted to share in this post. I'm going to make a bold statement, which I'm sure tons of people will find issue with, but here is it. The iPad is a perfect writing tool. Ya, that's right. I just said that a small 10 inch device that you need to purchase an additional keyboard for to t…

The HiSSS of Infrastructure - Part 1

Over the course of my career, I've come to specialize more on a portion of Information Technology called infrastructure. Namely, the underlying support systems that allow all of the cool internet based services we know and love, to flourish and operate without a second thought. These support systems consist not only of physical hardware, such as servers, switches, routers, storage arrays, and so on, but also of the support software that drives these physical systems. Often that includes things such as application servers, proxy servers, network device operating systems, and various shared applications such as e-mail, messaging, and workflow management. Although in the case of most shared software, a team outside of infrastructure manages the application from a user perspective, infrastructure often takes the lead in managing upgrades, software patches, and physical implementation design.

The method that is used to manage these types of systems are varied, and depend greatly on the…

Great Googly Moogly

Recently the tech world buzzed with a series of announcements, one after the other, from Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Despite writing this blog entry on an iPad, I want to tackle my thoughts on Google first. I'm not seeking to do a product review here, this is more of just a rambling commentary :).

As many people know, I've completely "drank the kool-aid" when it comes to Apple products, and most of my ecosystem revolves around 'i'-Somethings. However, I also utilize a lot of other services, and one that has a lot of my information (for better or for worse) is Google. As many a geek did, I jumped on Google very early on in it's history, as a search engine, and continued to add their services to my lists of technologies. My domain is a Google Apps for domain, I really like Google+ for it's layout and functionality, and Google Docs is quickly becoming my prefered method of cloud based document creation/sharing/storage. Now I'm also utilizing Blogger…

Yet another new blog...

So I've decided to start a new blog, which I do from time to time. I have my main personal blog at http://boolah.dupadee.net/ which is where I can feel free to write about various topics of interest to me. However, I wanted to try something a bit different for any writing I do about technology. Often my tech posts feel out of place on my personal blog, and my personal posts feel out of place for the tech people who might read my tech posts. So I'm going to start up a new targeted site here and see how it goes. It might get abandoned as many blogs do, but who knows, something might stick.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to try the new Blogger. I haven't used their service in a looooong time, and from the looks of it, it's gotten a complete and total over-haul from older versions I've used. So far I'm liking it, though I'm not sure it's quite as full featured as good old faithful WordPress.

Now, about the name of this blog. Many people know that I a…