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    Tuesday
    May042010

    Why I didn't buy an iPad 3G on Apr 30, opted for a Thinkpad X200 TabletPC

    The iPad has sold over a million units since launch in 28 days.

    iPad comfortably beats iPhone to 1 million mark - Can other OEMs grab some of the success?

    Posted by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes @ 4:20 am

    Categories: Industry

    Tags: Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Apple Inc., Tablets, Notebooks...

    It took the iPhone 74 days to hit the magic 1 million sales mark. The iPad has accomplished the same feat in under half the time.

    “One million iPads in 28 days—that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.”

    The first iPads I saw in public and used was at Microsoft Commons

    image 

    The Commons, a signature piece in a massive expansion that is adding the equivalent of a Columbia Tower to what the company calls the world's largest corporate campus.

    The Commons is a cross between the University of Washington's HUB, University Village and Pike Place Market.

    The complex of 14 restaurants, shops, soccer field, even a pub is the gooey filling in the emerging West Campus, a 1.4 million-square-foot town square of four office buildings that will house the company's Entertainment and Devices division, which developed video-game player Xbox and music-player Zune.

    I've talked to Microsoft employees who stood in line to buy an iPad when first available.   It is sad that Microsoft made the choice to invest in development of the Surface while Apple choose mobile devices - iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.  Which reminds me of data center guys who think bigger is better.  Mobile, smaller, integrated, and agile is the new thinking for data center design.

    Mike Manos has an iPad. Olivier Sanche of course.  Bunches of people I know have one as well.  Why didn't I buy one?

    My Dell Laptop is 3 years old and I am ready for a mobile device.  Apple has released new MacBook Pros with i5 chips, iPad is shipping.  I used this as a good opportunity to think about how I work and what is the best tool, treating this as a design exercise similar to designing products and data centers.

    First where do I work?  Here is my home office where I spend all of my time when I am not travelling.  I spend 2 -3 days at a stretch working in my home office.

    Here is a picture of my home office.

    I have 500 sq ft of space and  a treadmill to exercise given I am not walking much. image

    My commute home is down 100 stairs to our small 850 sq ft beach house.

    image 

    While we are building a new house above.

    image

    Now that you see my site,  What are the primary tasks I do.

    • Blog with Windows Live Writer.  I've tried to find a better blogging tool on Mac and Windows, and there are bloggers on the Mac who will actually run Windows VM just to run Live Writer.  Blogging is one of my main communication tools, as my clients read my blog regularly.
    • e-mail is where I next spend time.
    • IM using Skype, Messenger, and Office Communicator, vast majority texting, not using voice
    • iPhone for another screen, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter feeds, idea writing.
    • Mind-mapping with Mind Manager.
    • Talk on the phone less than an hour a day.

    People get iPad's to play games.  I have an xBox 360 on a 47" LCD Samsung display.  It works well for watching videos.  8 inch iPad display or 47"?   I think I'll choose the 47 inches.

    image

    So, what did I buy?  While hundreds of thousands of people were getting iPad 3G on Apr 30.  I received a ThinkPad X200 TabletPC. 

    lenovo_thinkpad_x200_tablet_outdoor_screen_slate-display

    1.86 Ghz Intel duo processor, 3 GB RAM, 160 GB HD, USB ports, full keyboard, etc.  The few things I can't do on the Thinkpad vs. iPad, like buy apps through Apple App store is what I can do on my iPhone.

    And, best yet, I was able to buy last year's model from Lenovo outlet for $995.  So, while a million people are making trade-offs owning an iPad, I have all the functionality I need in a Tablet device - full keyboard, pen input, usb ports, DVD drive.  It weights 3.5 lbs, but I think my arms are strong enough to hold it.

    And, last I did a peer review.  I sat down with one of my Microsoft friends yesterday who has an iPad, and he agreed the X200 Tablet was the right device for me as I spend more time creating which means I need to type.  And, now I can write on the TabletPC.  Ink and paper form has its benefits.

    My new idea desk is set up as big post-it area with the TabletPC.

    image

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    May032010

    Psychology of the Data Center, learning from the Science of Football - Alabama’s Nick Saban

    I just had a conversation with Tom Roth who introduced me to some of the work that The Pacific Institute does.  Tom and I had an interesting discussion on data centers as he is familiar with real estate development in Eastern Washington’s recent data center build out that has used up hydroelectric power which has little employment impact the original dam developers intended.

    image

    image

    When I heard of Tom’s company I thought of some of the top data center leadership (Urs Hoelzle, Mike Manos and Olivier Sanche) all leaders with better people skills better than most.  It made sense that the flaw in many data center is not thinking about psychology and the people.

    Tom Roth was a college quarterback at WSU and his brother, Joe Roth was a Cal quarterback.


    * Cardiac QB Tom Roth wasn’t the only standout signal caller in his family. Younger brother Joe starred at Cal and finished sixth in Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior in 1976. Tragically, he died of melanoma cancer three months after that season ended. He was forecast to be a first round NFL draft pick.

    Behind the Helmet: The Life of Joe Roth

    Joe Roth was an exceptional
    Joe lived with class and he died with dignity. His football success brought him a great deal of individual attention which he shied away from and shared with his teammates. He was determined to battle his cancer and live his life without pity, excuses, blame, and special attention. Joe taught his teammates, coaches, professors, classmates, friends, fans, and family members to cherish life and to never take a moment for granted.


    Joe's life still serves as a model for all of us to live with faith, humility, and courage.

    Running a Google search for “The Pacific Institute” I turned up this article about Alabama’s football coach Nick Saban use of The Pacific Institute training.

    The Science of Alabama's Nick Saban

    Larry Burton by

    Larry Burton

    Sabanatpractice_cropped

    Larry Burton (Panama City Beach, Fla.): The longer I am around Nick Saban, the more I learn about him.

    I guess that's true of anyone you know. But I am always surprised when I see a new layer of Saban peeled back.

    To understand Saban is like dealing with a mutating virus. Constantly changing, always working, always seeking to grow, and infectious to others.

    Of course, I mean all that in a good way.

    This sounds like the data center innovators, not a typical data center IT mindset.  Can you imagine if football was played the way IT is run?  Boring and out of sync with current practices like IaaS, PaaS, and other Cloud Computing methods.

    Alabama used the Pacific Institute for mental conditioning.

    It's all just one more part of the Science of Saban.

    Then there is the mind itself. Not just inputting the playbook and the knowledge to do your job, but how to condition your mind, just like your body.

    For this, Saban brought in the Pacific Institute, a Seattle-based company that has conducted mental conditioning classes for Crimson Tide players since 2008. So if you have a new untested quarterback as Alabama did last season, you get his mind as conditioned as his arm.

    "They've proven to us you can be so much more effective if your mind is allowing you to be effective," quarterback Greg McElroy said. "Both Antowaine and Nesby (Pacific Institute instructors) have helped us incredibly."

    We talked about the kind of off-the-field activity that had Alabama players in the headlines a few years back. Now, that too has disappeared, thanks in part to the science of Saban and the Pacific Institute.

    Forbes even mentions The Pacific Institute in their article about the most powerful football coach.

    All players have to attend personal growth seminars taught by Seattle's Pacific Institute.

    I don’t think I’ve run into a Psychology and Data Center discussion, but it makes so much sense.  In the same way a good quarterback makes critical decisions for the rest of the team, shouldn’t data center staff have the skills of a top quarterback.

    The main problem is getting IT executives to spend money on people.  A few will get this idea and realize most IT problems are related to a decision someone made before or after an event.

    For all the money spent on IT, shouldn’t more be spent on Mental Conditioning, the psychology of a data center?

    I am looking forward to many more discussions with Tom Roth and his network to discuss psychology in the data center.

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    May032010

    ARM outperforms Atom in benchmark, watch for the business model for benchmark companies

    Anyone who has been in the tech industry knows to take benchmarks statements “with a grain of salt.”  Linley group has a post on the ARM outmuscling the Atom processor.

    ARM Outmuscles Atom on Benchmark

    ARM—and, for that matter, MIPS—CPUs outperform Intel’s Atom, at least as measured by the CoreMark benchmark when normalized for frequency. ARM rates its Cortex-A9 at 2.9 CoreMark per MHz (CM/MHz), whereas Atom running a single instance of the benchmark achieves only 1.8 CM/MHz. In fact, all of the single-thread CPUs profiled in Table 1 outperform Atom in terms of per-clock performance.

    Linley provides a table.

    Table-1[1]

    The business plug is to buy Linley’s report.  So, their motivation is to sell research, not to support research paid for by Intel, ARM, or a vendor.

    In our latest report on CPU IP, we look further at the midrange and high-end CPU cores from ARM, MIPS, and others, including both household names and obscure companies, such as IBM and Beyond Semiconductor. The report compares not just performance but also die area, power consumption, and microarchitecture features. As the above comparison highlights, levels of CPU performance that were once the province of PC processors are now available for system-on-chip designs. When combined with the latest DSP, video decoding, and graphics technology, these CPUs imbue consumer electronics and communications systems with capabilities far beyond what seemed conceivable a few years ago. --Joe

    Joseph Byrne, senior analyst

    The sentence above that gets people’s attention is this one.

    As the above comparison highlights, levels of CPU performance that were once the province of PC processors are now available for system-on-chip designs.

    The competition that will be interesting us in the Data Center space is SeaMicro (Intel Atom) vs. Smooth-Stone (ARM).

    As James Hamilton mentions in his blog.

    Over the past year I’ve met with both Smooth Stone and SeaMicro frequently and it’s great to see more information about both available broadly. The very low power server trend is real and advancing quickly. When purchasing servers, it needs to be all about work done per dollar and work done per joule.

    Click to read more ...

    Saturday
    May012010

    Australia has largest Carbon footprint per person from Coal electricity generation, largest Uranium reserves WW and no nuclear power plant, where is the logic?

    The Economist has an article about Australia’s prime minister backpedaling on the environmental stance.

    Australia and carbon emissions

    A change in the climate

    Make us greener, oh lord. But not yet

    Apr 29th 2010 | SYDNEY | From The Economist print edition

    ONLY a few months ago Kevin Rudd, Australia’s prime minister, was painting a dark picture about looming storm surges, rising sea-levels, a fall of over 90% in irrigated farming and a drop of nearly 2.5% in GNP over this century unless Australia took action against climate change. “Action now,” he declared. “Not action delayed.” But this week Mr Rudd climbed down from what seemed a defining pledge of his leadership. Instead of using this year to get parliament to adopt an emissions-trading scheme that would put a price on carbon pollution, action will now be delayed until 2013 at least. Some wonder if it will ever happen at all.

    I knew Australia had a vast coal electricity production, but didn’t know it put them at the top of a carbon impact.

    Relying on coal for most of its electricity, Australia is one of the world’s highest carbon-emitters per person.

    Australia has environmentalist who are proud of the nuclear free stance.

    Australia

    There is an active anti-nuclear movement in Australia,[3][4][5] and the country has no nuclear weapons or nuclear power stations. However it has run a research nuclear reactor since 1958. (The original HiFAR reactor was replaced by the OPAL research reactor at Lucas Heights, 40 km southwest of Sydney, in 2006.[6]) Nuclear weapons have been tested in Australia atMaralinga, Emu Field and the Monte Bello Islands.[5]

    Australia also mines and sells a large quantity of uranium ore. Nuclear waste dumps have been proposed in Western Australia and South Australia.[5]

    But has the largest uranium ore deposits in the world and second to Canada in Uranium ore export.

    2007 uranium mining, by nationality. Data is taken from [2].

    Australia has the world's largest uranium reserves, 24% of the planet's known reserves. The majority of these reserves are located in South Australia with other important deposits in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Almost all the uranium is exported under strict International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to satisfy the Australian people and government that none of the uranium is used in nuclear weapons. Australian uranium is consumed strictly for electricity production.[citation needed]

    So, being one of the largest carbon emitters per person is OK, yet you are a leading exporter of Uranium allowing other countries to run nuclear power plants, and 75% of your coal mining is exported.  Seems like the Australia prime minister is in a no win situation to take an environmental stance for Australia.

    Click to read more ...

    Saturday
    May012010

    Green Incident Management approach, another smart data center blogger to follow

    This last week was an intense week of face-to-face discussions talking to some really smart people who are working on innovative solutions.  For example, my meeting with Smooth-Stone was quick and compressed, running at speeds of idea transfer that builds future relationships of information exchange.  When I blogged about meeting Smooth-Stone there is nothing I really wrote about that isn’t public information other than I now know 4 Smooth-Stone executives. 

    I keep the GreenM3 blog constrained to either my own thoughts or public accessible information, always asking people for permission to blog about specific areas.  This way I can have intense knowledge sharing conversations and people know I won’t blog about conversations without their permission.  As one executive who I met on the phone last week, then met in person twice, and have taken him on wild ride of ideas introducing him to people who can help him execute green solutions said, “you know 95% of what you talk about, people can’t follow and you lose them.”  

    Part of the reason why I write this blog is to slow down, simplify ideas, discuss publicly accessible concepts - thinking about when is the right time to discuss ideas with a broader audience. One of my long time technology friends who I am glad to start discussing his ideas is John Farmer now that he has his own blog at http://farmhead.blogspot.com/.

    image

    Here is a bit of background on John.

    I've always been fascinated by machinery, whether software, hardware, or large organizations. I'm currently an Engineering Director at Adobe Systems and work on SaaS-related technology.

    Interests

    John’s interest and I overlap a lot, including both having black belts which is not relevant for physical fighting, but more as we have gotten older in how you fight battles and win vs. the competition in organizations and the industry.

    John’s recent posts on Incident Management reminds me of a green approach to the problem.  How do you be the most efficient and effective in resolving the problem?

    Tips for Handling Events, Incidents, Outages, and Maintenance

    I get a lot of questions from new service teams about what they should do to prevent downtime but very few people ask for advice on how to handle an incident. This is a bit like asking a boxer for the best way to avoid getting in the ring. It’s not a question of “if” you’re going to be in the ring but “when”. There’s an old saying – the more you bleed in the gym, the less you bleed in the ring and that definitely applies to incident management as well.

    John has taken the time to write three posts on Incident Management.

    Having sat in on more war rooms than I’d like to remember, I thought it might be handy to write down some of the things that my team has found useful over the years. I think every service organization should have a standard approach towards three specific activities:
    1.    Tips for Handling Service Incidents (just one service)
    2.    Tips for Handling Service Outages (multiple services affected)
    3.    Tips for Handling System Maintenance

    Here is one my favorite Tips.

    Get your head straight
    First, stay calm. The worst thing you could do is cause a major outage, destroy some data, or make the existing problem worse in a panic. Simple problems can easily become large complicated problems after a few bad decisions made in haste. Take a breath before continuing. This is especially important with a page at 3AM or if a panicky client is in your office. Tell the client you’ll handle the problem and run through your normal procedure.

    John closes with good advice that is grounded in years of martial arts practice and ways to handle the stress of combat.

    I hope these posts help you with your handling of incidents, outages, and maintenance. Success here is mostly about being prepared, being calm, good communication, and practice, practice, practice. If you think your service is bullet-proof and you won’t need the practice – you’re wrong :-)

    I’ll be reading John’s blog post on a regular basis, and referencing posts that I think are relevant to a green data center approach.  On my last trip, I was able to squeeze a 1/2 hour meeting with John before I flew from SJC to SEA. 

    In the airport, I was able to shake hands with three of the Smooth-Stone executives I met 8 hrs earlier and were flying back to Austin. The Smooth-Stone CEO was on the flight to SEA, and we were able to discuss more ideas when we landed and I hitched a ride instead of taking the bus back to Redmond.  This last week was intensely interconnected.

    Click to read more ...