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    Thursday
    Apr172014

    TSA messes with Pre TSA, frustrated Business Travelers and Newbies

    Leave it to the TSA to frustrate all users of Pre TSA, those who are registered pre TSA like myself and people they try to introduce Pre TSA to.  It used to be I could get through pre TSA in less than 5 minutes.  Now it can be 10-15 minutes because the TSA let’s people they think should try pre TSA give it try.  WSJ article writes on this problem so let’s just point to the same things the do.

    First WSJ says there is a problem.  Yep.

    Trouble Selling Fliers on the Fast Airport Security Line

    TSA Precheck program is stirring traveler confusion, aggravation

    TSA is trying to get more people to sign up.

    Trying to hook new enrollees, TSA has been funneling regular travelers into Precheck lanes for a sample of swifter security. Some of the newbies get confused, however, and end up clogging the expedited lanes, angering Precheck veterans. And some regular travelers are getting the free perk so often they conclude they are already in the program and don't need to enroll.

    The WSJ asked an Operations Management professor for comments.

    "It used to be great, but recently the Precheck lines have been the slowest of all the lines," said Fred Van Bennekom, who teaches operations management at Northeastern University and has timed TSA lines out of curiosity. "Sometimes there's almost no one in regular lines and we're all backed up at Precheck."

    The mess up starts because the TSA let’s passengers who don’t know what pre TSA is in line, and they are almost always totally confused.

    The influx of people to Precheck annoys some program veterans. Ann Fries says she sometimes finds 20 people in the Precheck line at Tampa, Fla., her home airport. Many get befuddled when told they don't have to take off their shoes and can leave liquids and laptops in bags. They ask why, slowing the line. Then they ask how they ended up in that lane.

    "We went from people who knew what they were doing to people in line who don't know what they are doing," said Ms. Fries, who signed up for Global Entry to get Precheck when it first started.

    Thank god, the TSA figured out people 75 or older are not good to add to the pre TSA line.

    Mr. Pistole said he has heard the complaints about Precheck lanes getting clogged, and TSA has already decided to stop moving travelers 75 years of age and older into Precheck service, unless they are enrolled, because they sometimes can take 10 minutes to move through. As Precheck enrollment grows, the "managed inclusion" effort will be phased out, he said.

    And here is the kicker how TSA has shot themselves in the foot.

    The Precheck free trial has confused some travelers—including Dr. Van Bennekom, the Northeastern University professor—who routinely get boarding passes printed with "TSA Precheck" and assume they are now enrolled in the program. After several trips with free Precheck privileges, Dr. Van Bennekom went to a Precheck lane only to be turned away. He learned he had to pay to be enrolled.

    If the trial access was an enticement to buy, "then they are lousy marketers," he said. "I've never received any communication that says, 'Now that you've experienced fast check in, for only $85 …' " For now, he says he gets free Precheck so frequently he won't bother to sign up.

    Thursday
    Apr172014

    A Techie's View of Mobile in 3D graphics market

    The market for 3D software continues to grow and their users can have different views on what they need.  I found this post on Tech Soft 3D by their founder on Trends for Mobile App Development.

    His first comment is on Tablets which I agree with.

    Tablets are currently about consumption. Almost all developers building apps for mobile devices are focused on “consumption” rather than “creation.” In other words, 3D models are usually created or stored in one place, and then later viewed and interacted with by people working away from their desks. This mirrors how tablets are used in general – to consume media such as video, books, web pages, etc.

    Tablets will soon move past consumption. This is happening already, to some extent. We edit photos and videos, post to Facebook, compose emails, and with keyboard extensions, we might even write documents and create presentations. Devices are becoming more powerful and developers are figuring out the UX models that make creation more feasible. An example is Autodesk’s SketchBook app, which is already wildly popular for professional-grade painting and drawing. Skepticism about engineering on tablet devices reminds me of how we once wondered whether a PC or even a Mac would ever be used for “serious” engineering work. There is no inherent limitation that makes me think that this will not happen in due time. It’ll probably even come faster than we think.

    Then he tackles the iPad vs. Android.

    iPad is the favorite for consumers and execs. Apps designed for consumers generally are available on the iPad first. It also seems that apps built for the iPad are often targeted at showing simple views of projects or “dashboards” to execs, rather than doing much work. Think of these as fancy “reporting” apps.  You know how we execs are –suckers for pretty graphics!

    Android users are hungry for more. I’ll go out on a limb and say that compared to the typical iPad user, Android users are either a) more technical, b) more focused on what they would consider “real work” or c) both. As a result, they seem to be pushing for more and more advanced applications on their devices.

    Given so much of the 3D engineering software market is on Windows he makes the observation on Microsoft tablets.

    Windows-based tablets shouldn't be counted out. Much has been made in the media about how much Microsoft is lagging behind in terms of tablet market share. Those numbers aside, I would hardly count them out. Why? Because many large enterprises rely heavily on a backbone of Microsoft technology. As they consider their “mobile strategies,” Microsoft remains a strong incumbent for enterprises that use Microsoft and greatly favor predictability and integration with existing processes over speed. They will wait patiently, and Microsoft will no doubt continue to heavily focus development on this enterprise market. Unlike iPad, (but like Android), the hardware will come from many sources, so expect to see plenty of purpose-built tablets for use out in the field and on shop floors by people with dirty hands in rugged locations. Look for some interesting things here.

    The one part I disagree with is his point on phones.  I would say almost all of his users of Desktop PCs would agree, but i don’t.

     ….But not on phones. Now that I just said “never say never,” I will go ahead and say that the form factor of today’s phones means they will only be used for lightweight consumption. I can’t imagine a usage model that would make creation feasible. No one is building anything more complex than a simple viewer for phones and I don’t anticipate that happening due to the limitation of screen size. Now that I said it, someone will surely prove me wrong, but there you have it…

    The power of a Samsung Galaxy Note with Stylus and having it with you all the time is just beginning to change things.

    Thursday
    Apr172014

    Intel Data Center up 11%, PC down 1%, so glad I stopped working on the PC

    Windows XP in 2001 was the last time I worked on PC operating systems.  I started working on the PC in 1987 on the Mac products at Apple.  After 14 years I was tired of PC operating systems.  In 2002 I switched over the Server operating systems, then management tools before exiting Microsoft.  Now I focus more on Mobile and Cloud.

    Intel announced its numbers and Data Center Group is up 11% and the PC group is down 1%

    • PC Client Group revenue of $7.9 billion, down 1 percent year-over-year
    • Data Center Group revenue of $3.1 billion, up 11 percent year-over-year
    Thursday
    Apr172014

    Google steadily builds capacity in its Data Centers, $2.35B Q1

    Google released its Q1 numbers yesterday, and I waited until GigaOm’s Derrick Harris through up the nice graphic of the quarterly spend.

    NewImage

    Derrick’s post is here.   One nice part I liked is he inserted the CFO’s comments about the infrastructure spend.

    Here’s what Google Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette had to say on Wednesday’s earnings call, according to a transcriptpublished by research firm Morningstar:

    As it relates to CapEx, listen, you’re right, that we – and I’ve mentioned this in the last couple of quarters, where we have – and just a reminder to everybody, right, if you think of the CapEx categories, right, data centers first and data center construction, then production equipment, then all other facilities is kind of like the hierarchy of needs. In the case of data center construction, we have found that the option value of having more capacity on standby and available to us to grow versus not having it is actually a real strategic issue for the Company. In that sense, if for whatever reason, we had a spike in demand that was really pronounced and sustained for a couple of quarters and we did not have the capacity, it would be a real issue strategically for us relative to the quite low cost of having the infrastructure in place. So that’s why we’re really pushing ahead of the curve, and so it’s with this view of long-term. So, from that perspective, you’re also right that, that’s the mindset we’re applying. And we’ve always said that CapEx was lumpy, so you have a good manifestation of it right now right here.

    Google is one the few Cloud companies who can keep up with their demand by building data centers.  Most need to dip into Wholesale providers.  Think about if the big guys can’t anticipate their loads and build everything why should the rest of you?  Google is the exception with a $9bil annual spend. ;-)

    Tuesday
    Apr152014

    DePaul shows their new data center space in Dupont Fabros Chicago Facility

    Normally when you see a wholesale data center space like Dupont Fabros you can’t go into the spaces that are occupied.  here is a video of DePaul University sharing their new space in Dupont Fabros’s Chicago Data Center.

    Dupont Fabros has more information on the building here.

    CH1 - Chicago, IL

    Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, CH1 is one of the Midwest’s most sophisticated and efficient data centers. The facility is constructed in two phases of 18.2 MW of Critical Load each; Phase I was delivered in August 2008, with Phase 2 delivered in February 2011. Clients are able to lease one or multiple dedicated computer rooms each with independent redundancy and security. The property has multiple major fiber carriers on site and benefits from some of the country’s most competitive power rates. Customer requiring substantial office space can utilize the adjacent and exclusive 32,000 square foot office building. The facility is currently 100 percent leased.