Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Article: IT- 10 Years After Y2k

The hysteria in the late 1990s was everywhere! Well, almost everywhere.  There were a few of us helping folks understand why Y2k was not going to be the end of civilization as we knew it.

I just released an article for publication about IT ten years after Y2k-- you can read it by clicking here!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2011 IRS Standard Mileage Rates

On 12/3/2010  the IRS announced the standard mileage rates for 2011.  They are:
  • Business:  $ .51
  • Medical & Moving:  $ .19
  • Charitable:  $ .14

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today is AWEsome!

I'm in the center of Ohio, in the Appalachians, serving a client this week, and today they had their first snowfall that'll stick!  I've seen a half dozen deer so far while driving this is the week, and the snow began falling this morning beautifully.  While driving to work this morning I saw a boy waiting for his school bus and trying to catch a snowflake on his tongue!

For most of the country, this is not a big deal.  But for this Southern California beach boy, this is an awesome sight!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mounting Network Volumes on Macs

I like having my Mac automatically attach a couple of our network volumes when I login.  I've found a few ways to do this, which our clients' Mac users seem to really appreciate.  Here's the best method I've landed on so far.
  1. The Mac OS includes an application in the Utilities folder called AppleScript Editor.  Open it, which will give you the ability to begin creating a script
  2. Insert the following, including the quote marks and substituting your server name and share where indicated:  mount volume "smb://[servername]/[share]"
  3. Repeat on as many lines as necessary for as many shares as you'd like to automatically mount
  4. Save the script, then save it as an application
  5. In System Preferences, under Accounts, go to the user's Login Items and add the app you created in step 4, and then check the Hide box associated with that app
  6. Restart the Mac and let it mount the apps; mine takes about 40 seconds to mount two volumes
  7. Finally, in Finder, drag and drop the mounted volumes to the Devices section of the Sidebar to make them easily available when saving files in applications
Those seven steps are actually a quick and easy process that will help the Mac users on your network.  And once you've created the script and application, you can copy it to all of your Macs!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Strategic IT Outsourcing

I just released an article for publication on strategic IT outsourcing that identifies which church and ministry IT roles might be wise outsource candidates.

If you'd like to read it, click here!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Internet Archive

Today I needed to look at a website's content from years ago.  Not finding what I needed, I called my friend Ross Gile who steered me to an amazing resource!  You may find it as helpful as I did!

Point your browser to and put the website you're looking for in the search field.  That'll take you to their Wayback Machine, and the content there will likely amaze you as much as it did me!

Thanks for your great help, as always, Ross!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Protecting IT From Disaster -- Article Update

While at lunch last Friday with a good friend and IT colleague, I was challenged to look at the security section of my recent Surviving an IT Disaster article.  He was right, and I've updated the article accordingly.  I hope you find it helpful... click here to download a free advance copy in PDF format.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Entourage Incorrectly Flagging Email as Junk?

Entourage uses the 'Junk' category to help users move classes of email into the Junk folder.  Sometimes unwary users will decide to rename the Junk category and use it for some other purpose-- after all, who needs a 'Junk' category, right?  The result will be that anything identified with that renamed 'Junk' category will be treated as junk!

A client had done exactly that, and then made her own contact a member of the renamed category.  The result was that every email she sent was moved to the Junk folder rather than the Sent folder.  The emails were sent out from her computer okay, they just didn't go to the correct folder after sending.

The fix was to rename the category she had renamed back to 'Junk', then un-categorize everything she had identified with that category.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two New Articles on Disaster Recovery & The Cloud!

Disaster recovery is thought by many IT Directors to be their most important responsibility to plan for.  I've just released a new article to the publisher on this very important topic.
       You can download a free PDF version of it by clicking here.

Few concepts have captured the imagination of those responsible for computer system like The Cloud.  I've just released another article to the publisher on The Cloud and my thoughts from the recent VMworld conference in San Francisco.
       You can download a free PDF version of it by clicking here

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Kindle Love/Hate Relationship

Stephen King may love his Kindle, but I'm beginning to have doubts.

I Love the Kindle!
I love being able to read books on my iPad and Droid smartphone.  The convenience is terrific, and the technology works well.  And with the ability to tell the devices what font size I want, it makes reading pretty comfy!

I Also Hate the Kindle!
My wife wants to read one of the books I just read, but I have no way of sharing it with her unless I change her device registration to my account.  If she has her own account, with her own settings and preferences, doing so will make her very unhappy.  Also, a friend just asked me if I have a good book she can read while traveling cross country later this week.  Same problem: there's no way to share a book!

If Amazon wants this technology to become pervasive, rather than just a novelty, it's going to have to find a way to let people share a book among family members or give a book away.  Here a couple ways they might be able to accomplish that:
  • Let people identify family members by linking to those who have the same home address.
  • Let people transfer their book for a small fee, maybe half of the purchase with a maximum of $3.00
Those solutions seem pretty easy and sensible.  People share printed books all the time, so this isn't really a potential revenue loss if strategically managed.  And coming up with a reasonable solution can make this technology truly pervasive.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tech Support -- A Love Story

A user at one of our clients called HP's printer tech support last week because a roller in her printer wasn't working.  The technician did some diagnostics and quickly determined the problem was her computer, and after a few "fixes" determined it had viruses and she needed to buy a product they sell.  The result was that she had a totally unusable computer-- and a printer whose paper feed roller still didn't work.

We had to re-image the computer to make it useful again, and HP still had to replace the printer's roller.

Tech support is definitely the worst part of the computer user's experience.  Most who answer the tech support line do their best; but support person and user lack of knowledge, conversation trees, and knowledge bases often exasperate people and can even lead to incorrect conclusions!  There's no easy answer to the problem, but it is a problem.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bank Security Fail

Banks don't get it.  I called my bank to ask about an error they made on my account, and to protect my identity they asked my name, address, and birthdate.  Those are all easily available on the Internet.  Very unimpressive security.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

VMware Fusion Rocks! Again!

I run Windows 7 64-bit on my Mac in VMware Fusion.  When installing Windows 7, I set hard drive to 60gb.  But I've recently been running short on space and was NOT looking forward to re-installing Windows 7 just because I needed a larger hard drive.

Figuring I had nothing to lose, I told Fusion to increase the Windows 7 hard drive to 100gb in its Settings.  It accepted the change, then took a little time to rebuild the hard drive.  When it was done, I started Windows 7, went to Computer Management, and told Windows 7 to expand the C drive to maximum.  Within moments I had a working-- perfectly!-- Windows 7 machine with a 100gb hard drive.  Sweet!

Once again, Fusion proved to me that it totally rocks!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our Daughter's Gone to College

I never understood what friends were going through when their kids went off to college-- until now.  It's a basketful of thoughts and feelings that, for me, add up to joy... but that doesn't mean it's without some sadness.

I'm very excited for her!  Our daughter is in place a great spiritually, psychologically, morally, physically... she's terrific!  I believe she's ready for the university experience and will do well.

I'm also scared for her.  There will be many who will try to hurt her while they pursue their selfish desires.  That includes her fellow students, professors, and others she'll be with.  You can believe that my prayers for her will not decrease during this phase of her life.

I also miss her, even though we said goodbye at her dorm just last night.  She brings me and my wife so much joy!  Her absence can definitely be felt, and it's underscored by us knowing she won't be home later today to share her day's adventures.

I know she'll continue to mature into the woman God has in mind for her to be, and will impact many around her positively and draw some closer to Christ.  That's all great stuff!  But I miss her...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!"

That quote from The A-Team's Hannibal Smith sums up well our flirt with an IT disaster last week.  Here's what our lead engineer, Gary Messmer, wrote:
Monday one of our virtual hosts' RAID array disks entered "predictive failure".  Should be 'no worries', after all it's RAID 5 and you can lose a disk without losing the data-- or so the theory goes.

However, server performance got bad when the disk failed and all the services on the virtual servers on that host became extremely unresponsive.  Since we have multiple churches and ministries from around the country hosted in our rack, we needed to restore high performance quickly.

In the 'old days', without virtualization, restoring a server with a failing hard drive required physically replacing the drive-- making that server unusable while doing so.  Our replacement drive arrived the next day, and then we had to install it and let the RAID array rebuild, too much downtime (about 36 hours of 'really slow' processing time) for our liking-- and our clients!

Thanks to virtualization, it was just a matter of minutes.  We stopped the essential virtual servers, copied them to another host, and then restarted them.  Everyone was working again in minutes!  This even while we waited for the replacement drive to fully restore the affected host!

When disaster strikes, virtual guests (the servers running on a virtual host) can be quickly moved to another host in a matter of minutes-- it’s just like copying files.
Well said, Gary!  The benefits of virtualization are huge!  And the cost of the software that makes it possible is free for most churches and ministries.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

VMworld 2010

I got to attend VMworld in San Francisco last week, and it was great!  There were more than 17,000 of us geeks enjoying the free-floating electrons in the air.

One of my conclusions is that The Cloud is here, and it's going to take over.  Whether the best solution for you is a private cloud or a public cloud, that is the immediate future of computing.

I'm working on a brief article explaining exactly what that means and how it applies... keep your eyes open for it in the next week or two.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting the Most Out of Your Church Management Software

I just published a new article that's my attempt to put my finger on the reason so many churches and ministries are dissatisfied with their church management software.  The blame rests on the CMS providers and on the churches and ministries; and I offer suggestions on how each can help improve the situation.

You can download a free PDF preview of the article by clicking here!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yup! I Bought Another Mac!

I may be one of the most misunderstood people in IT:
  • Since mid-2008 I have been using a MacBook Pro.  Most of my colleagues are still getting over that, not sure if I'm going through midlife crisis and trying to look cool, or if I've 'gone over to the dark side' (their words exactly!).
  • I've written a number of articles objectively analyzing the Mac, and because I don't wholeheartedly love it, many Mac evangelists hate me and write long documents trying to prove I am its enemy.
But in an article earlier this year I said I like the Mac!  I just haven't drank the Kool-Aid!  Here's exactly what I said:
Would I Buy Another Mac?
I'm asked that question a lot!  Because of the job I have, the answer is yes.  I could not support our clients' Mac users without one.  If I were buying a personal computer, the answer is probably yes.  Because they are nice to look at, if I had the extra cash to do so, I probably would!

When asked that question, I tell people the objective facts as I've explained them [in this article].  When I ask them if that matches the perception they had of the Mac, they always say no!  My next question is usually, "And what other commercials and marketing hype do you totally believe?"

Well, this month was the time for me to get a new computer, and I bought another Mac!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yeah... I'm Braggin'...

I have good reason to brag... not because of something I've done, but because of someone I know!  Amanda & Charles (our daughter and her boyfriend) did something noteworthy yesterday, and I'm honestly proud to know them!

They started cookin' up a storm mid-afternoon, making nine dishes to give to homeless folks in Huntington Beach.  They made chicken, broccoli, and rice, then they packaged them up in an attractive presentation and went driving looking for homeless people who were hungry.  Isn't that great?!!

James 1:27 talks about religious devotion the Father accepts as pure and faultless: "looking after orphans and widows in their distress" and Jesus says in Matthew 25:31-40 that when we feed the hungry, we are feeding him.  My bragging then, is for good reason!  I know those who, in purity of heart, serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords-- even when it seems no one is looking.  How cool is that?!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Always Reconcile Your Credit Card Statement!

Like many Westerners, we make most of our purchases throughout the month on our credit cards to earn points we can use towards vacations, etc.  It's a wise stewardship decision, as long-- and only if-- we pay our credit card statement in full every month.

Troubling Trends
We've noticed over the last couple of years a couple of trends that are very troubling:
  1. Almost every other month we find fraudulent charges on our statements.  These are not due to our carelessness; we are careful to only make online purchases on secure websites and we shred all of our receipts when we're done with them along with all other potential-identity-theft trash.  These fraudulent charges are usually for less than $10, so they'd be easy to miss (think the thieves are doing it that way on purpose?); it's rare to see one for more than $10.
  2. Merchants have begun asking if we want our receipt when we make purchases.  They're probably wanting to be ecologically sensitive or just trying to be courteous, but their question suggests that many say they don't want their receipt!  Without a receipt, how can one verify the charges on their monthly credit card statements?
If we didn't reconcile our monthly statements (the process of matching every charge on our statement with a receipt), we would throw a lot of money into theives' pockets-- money we are trying to manage well.  Is that what you're doing?

My Recommendation

I strongly recommend you get a receipt for every credit card and debit card purchase, and reconcile those receipts against your monthly statements.  Our family averages about 90 receipts per month, and reconciliation takes me 10-15 minutes.  If you make fewer purchases, it'll take you much less time.  And it will save you money when you catch those charges that are wrong or shouldn't be on your statement!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Favorite Mobile Apps

I travel a lot and rely on a number of mobile technologies to help me stay productive while on the road. Whether you travel a lot or not, mobile technology can help you in your personal and professional life.  I just released a brief article for publication that lists my favorite mobile apps... click here to get a free copy in PDF format!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healthcare Makes Me Sick!

Our healthcare insurance carrier is conducting themselves in a manner that is changing my perception of their industry-- for the worse!  Their industry is under a lot of scrutiny these days, and I'm beginning to believe they deserve it.

My Perspective To-Date
I run a small business and am sympathetic to the plight of the small businessman (or woman).  Our taxes and fees are increasing, and doing business-- especially in California, is challenging.

But I have always defended the insurance industry as I would any legitimate business.  They provide a service, and they have a right to do so profitably.

Our Situation
Without going into specifics, our health insurance company made fast changes to their plans that cost us and our team members thousands in the last year.  These were done without warning, and they were entirely unsympathetic to our plight.

The person in our office responsible for dealing with them was under so much stress from them that I personally took on the responsibility earlier this month.  I've been working with them for three weeks, and now I understand why she was nearly at tears.  They have been insensitive, uncaring, and unresponsive.

Big Isn't Always Better
Before starting our small business in the mid-1980s I was in executive service for General Motors.  They had pirated me from a similar role in Ford Motor Company.  I understand working in a large corporation, and know that sometimes they can be difficult to navigate.  Sometimes their personnel can be unsympathetic to customers' needs.  But an objective and caring manager can create a culture where the customer is king (or queen) and reasonable needs are met.  The best part is that everyone wins in that scenario!

My New Perspective
I'm beginning to believe that those who hate the healthcare insurance industry are justified.  I can't believe I'm saying that, but after trying to deal with them for three weeks, they have completely turned me around!

I spoke with their CEO's office, and they are trying to navigate the corporate culture to resolve our issue.  Unfortunately, the first person I was referred to had the sole responsibility of defending and explaining their plan.  Not helpful.  Next is that person's manager and the national VP.  I hope I will be writing a follow-up post that says they made everything right, and that my original position (that of defending their right to do business and to do it profitably) is still in tact.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Basics

I love baked potatoes-- especially with steak! My wife makes the best I've had... she puts a rub on them that makes even their skin taste good. Mmm...

Restaurants rarely serve them steaming hot these days. I'm not sure why-- maybe a lawsuit someone won, or maybe they just don't care. This has even been true at some of the finest steakhouses around, so it has been surprising!

Last night We went to a steakhouse (The Hitching Post in Buelton, CA) to celebrate my birthday. I was so happy to see that the potato was steaming hot! The steak was excellent too... It was a great dinner.

What's Your Potato?
Serving baked potatoes hot seems pretty basic. It's a 'no brainer'! But we all have baked potatoes in our lives-- areas where we may have gotten a little lazy or stopped putting in that 'little extra' that makes what we do special.

I confess that I've been focusing on my baked potato for the last year. The Lord reminded me that an aspect of what he wants me to do as I serve others was a little off. My heart had gotten kind of lazy. I was still doing all the right things, but I wasn't doing them for the right reason. I've been working on that, and am enjoying the fruit of it.

The Reward
The best part, I think, of doing the right things for the right reason is that it brings an extra element of joy! Proof again that good is better, and serving well is worth it!

So... what's your potato?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CITRT is Awesome!

The Church Information Technology Round Table continues to meet the needs of many in IT ministry.  Yesterday I attended my third roundtable event this year-- this one hosted by ACS Technologies, and was again challenged and encouraged.  Next month I'm attending one hosted by Shelby Systems, and already I can't wait!

If you or someone you know serves a church or ministry by helping with their computer systems, these grassroots events are a 'must attend'!

What Is a Roundtable Meeting Like?
The meeting usually begins with brief introductions by everyone attending, then goes into the listing of topics attendees would like to discuss.  Those items are then prioritized by the attendees, and then the fun begins!  We all share... we're all helping each other!

It's a great opportunity to meet peers, be encouraged, get answers, and help others.  Get to know this group!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mac's Amazing Reputation

The Mac has an amazing reputation.  If I could sum it up in one sentence:
The Mac is a beautifully crafted computer whose operating system is so well engineered that it is not susceptible to malware attacks nor does it ever have problems, and it is comparable in price when compared to Windows computers, in part, because it is so trouble free.
I agree with the first part: it is beautifully crafted.  From a look and feel perspective, it is the nicest computer I have ever worked on.  In fact, I probably love working on it because of how nice it is to sit in front of!

But the other parts of its reputation are pure myth.  I'm sorry, that is just the truth.

Operating System
As I wrote in a 2008 article, the operating system is easy to completely trash.  I had another near call this week when I needed to delete some large reference files on my hard drive to make room for some I needed while serving a client.  After deleting nearly 90gb of files to make room for the 110gb of files I needed to temporarily put on the desktop, my MacBook Pro started behaving poorly.

I've gone through Mac OS issues enough times now to suspect that the hard drive had a bad set of permissions.  So I ran the Disk Utility and told it to repair my permissions on the hard drive, and it had hundreds to repair. I can honestly say that I have never had a similar issue on a Windows hard drive, but this is the fifth or sixth time I've experienced it on the Mac.

Susceptibility to Malware
While speaking to a church's staff this week, I was asked about this; it is a common myth.  The issue is that those who write malware (viruses, trojans, keystroke trackers, etc) do so to make a name for themselves in the hacker subculture, and Macs don't have enough market share to let one have much of an impact on the worldwide computing public.  In addition, Macs are an easy target, so again, writing malware for them wouldn't do much to bolster one's reputation.  Thus, there just isn't much malware that is written for the Mac, which makes the unassuming public believe they are impervious to attack!

Macs cost more than similarly equipped Windows computers; usually 75% to 125% more.  That's the plain and simple truth.

Perception is Everything!
Most Mac users are very forgiving of Apple when they encounter a flaw, saying things like, "Oh, Apple will fix that in the next update."  But when they see a flaw in Windows, they are quick to point out how bad Microsoft is, as though it were the Evil Empire.

This is true of people in most aspects of life.  If someone makes a serious mistake due to poor judgment, others will typically have one of two responses:
  1. If they like the person, they'll say, "Oh, everyone's entitled to make a mistake now and then."
  2. If they don't like the person, they'll say, "It was just a matter of time before they really blew it!"
It's just human nature!  Like 1 Corinthians 13:5 & 7 says, "love keeps no record of wrongs... always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  (NIV)

Would I Buy Another Mac?
I'm asked that question a lot!  Because of the job I have, the answer is yes.  I could not support our clients' Mac users without one.  If I were buying a personal computer, the answer is probably yes.  Because they are nice to look at, if I had the extra cash to do so, I probably would!

When asked that question, I tell people the objective facts as I've explained them here.  When I ask them if that matches the perception they had of the Mac, they always say no!  My next question is usually, "And what other commercials and marketing hype do you totally believe?"

Monday, April 26, 2010

2010's Hot Technology

A few times each year Steve Hewitt, Christian Computing Magazine's Editor in Chief and I have the privilege of speaking at conferences about what's happening in technology. We talk about the trends and products we think are hot and those that are not hot. I've just released an article recap of what I shared at a recent conference... click here to download a free PDF of it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

McAfee Causing Corporate Meltdown -- The Fix

Yesterday McAfee caused havoc in corporate America by telling Windows XP workstations that a necessary file was a worm!  If you’re running McAfee for anti-virus protection, at least some of your workstations may have been affected.  The symptoms are constant rebooting and/ or inability to do any work on them.

McAfee apologized by posting a fixed SuperDAT.  If your systems are unable to connect, click here to download it directly.

McAfee posted instructions on how to replace the file it deleted manually on their website... click here to access it.

In December last year we announced that we moved our anti-virus spec from McAfee to Sophos because of Sophos' ability to protect systems better in today's computing environment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great Fundraising Idea!

While at the CITRT Spring gathering last month at Saddleback Church, I was impressed by Saddleback's recycling program.  In the picture you'll notice they have trash cans with a lable on them stating their recycling ministry is able to provide a Bible for every 10 cans or bottles collected.

Turning trash into Bibles is a GREAT way to motivate me to recycle!  Sure, I care about the planet; but I care much more for the lost souls on the planet!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Inseparable Bond of Technology & Mission

I was honored when the Lausanne World Pulse recently asked me to write an article for them about how technology is impacting the mission of The Church. My opening paragraph says:
In a recent conference about technology in church ministry, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, CA) said, "Every time there is an advance in technology, The Kingdom advances." Technology has a huge impact on our mission-- not the 'what' of our mission, but the 'how'. 
Click here to download a free PDF of the article!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm Shocked! Again...

In April, 2009 I was asked by a client to update their database software.  I was surprised to learn they were running on such an old operating system that it could not be updated!  I gave them the minimum specs of what they needed, which they passed on to their 'computer support guy'.

Now, twelve months later (March, 2010), I am on-site to update their database. Their computer guy finally got them a free Windows 7 computer with, unfortunately, all the usual junkware on it (stuff that gets included on Compaq consumer models).  I was surprised to see, however, that he didn't update the system for them!  There were 42 updates to be installed!

In addition, Office 2007 is unlicensed.  He told them to just ignore the license key entry window when they start up.  Even though charity licensing is only about $70!

I am shocked at what so many are willing to live with when it comes to computer support.  And, considering that those we are honored to serve have the most important mission on earth-- the spreading of The Gospel, I'm glad we provide such a high-quality level of support.  Nonetheless, I am-- once again-- shocked.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mac Office 2008 Critical Update Released Today-- CAUTION!!

Today Microsoft released a critical update for Mac Office 2008.  If you run the Web Services Edition (Version 13.0.3-- click the Entourage menu option and About Entourage to find out), DO NOT RUN THE UPDATE!

Because it was critical, I ran it, then spent the next few hours bonding with my friends in Microsoft's India support facility as we reset things back to where they were before I ran the install.  They will test it (don't you think they shoulda done that before releasing it?) and let me know tomorrow what they find.

In the meantime: STOP!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Yesterday was probably the most discouraging day I can remember.  It had its victories and accomplishments-- and a couple of great conversations, but a couple of issues were so overpowering that I truly felt like I wanted to quit-- my job, my family, everything!

Just the day before our pastor spoke about how one of Satan's schemes is getting us to the point of wanting to quit and how to deal with it.  I sat there thinking, "I've never wanted to quit... that must be as low a feeling as there is.  I'm glad I've never felt that!"  Little did I know what I would deal with the next day!

I was so overwhelmed with the feeling that I didn't want to spend time or talk with anyone.  I kept to myself.  I took myself out for a meager dinner-- alone.  I came home and read, then went to bed at 8.

Today I hope to keep in mind whose team I'm on (the Lord's) and get over it.  I work for him, live for him, and love for him.  And really, he has blessed me so big!  That feeling was way out of line!

The Bible says "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ...spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph 6:12, NIV)  When things seem that overpowering, recognize they may not be from your own thoughts or feelings... they may be from unseen dark spiritual forces.

For those who deal with that level of discouragement, now I get it.  I'm so sorry you deal with that.  God loves you; he loves me.  He has great things in store for us!  And even though there are situations in our lives we wish were different, he cares.  The key, I think, is to remember that, and to press on.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Article on Computer Data Cleanup

It's Spring, and to many of us that means "Spring Cleaning". Computer data is one of those areas that needs constant grooming, and the payoff is big! But to some just thinking of it feels like a chore. In this article I'll help you organize your data and delete unnecessary files easily.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cloud Computing Reflections

In November I posted an entry about an article I wrote about Cloud Computing; that it proves Solomon was right that there's nothing new under the sun.  As I've been thinking about Cloud Computing and what it's evolving to mean (server-based computing to minimize traffic and hardware requirements), the following struck me as... interesting!
  • When engineering Novell Netware networks in the mid-1980s using programs like WordPerfect, we engineered them so all software ran from the server where the data also resided.  Microsoft decided to enter the word processing game and did so in a big way, eclipsing Word Perfect.  But their solution, Word, was so inefficient they recommended running it from the local hard drive.
  • Microsoft decided to enter the network game and did so in a big way too, eclipsing Novell.  They did their best to achieve Netware's reliability, even adopting Novell's strategy of using a database called a directory to manage the network.  But things were often unstable and services conflicted with each other, so they developed the strategy of running many servers to minimize service conflicts and to further distribute the network, pushing as much data and programs as possible to the workstation.  With today's hypervisor technology we're finally able to engineer Microsoft networks with very few server 'hosts'-- part of Cloud Computing architecture.
So, more than a dozen years later we're finally able to do with Microsoft Windows networks most of what we were able to do with Novell Networks.  Congrats to Microsoft!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Airport Security FAIL

There's a lot about U.S. airport security that doesn't make sense to me.  Today I was put in a holding cell to await a 'pat down' because, they said, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt over a t-shirt.  They didn't require others with two shirts to go through a pat down.  I just got lucky, I guess.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Political Landscape Shifts Again!

Yesterday political history was made again when Scott Brown, a Republican, won the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy.  Senator Brown won by 5 percentage points, or 120,000 votes.  Former Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney told Fox News, "To have a Republican senator, that's unheard of. ... This is monumental. This is epic."

37% of Massachusetts voters are Democrats, compared to just 12% who are Republicans!  And President Obama carried the state by 26% in his 2008 election!  This marks a definite swing.

On 7/19/2009 I posted a blog entry about why I needed to stop following the news:  the direction of politics and the way they are running the country was making me so angry.  I think many Americans feel like me, that most in the two main political parties are watching out for their self-interests and those of large contributors; they are not watching out for the American people and doing what is best for our country.

The mainstream media likewise seems to have an agenda, and it's not about what is best for the United States of America.  Rather, it's about what they'd like to see happen in the U.S. to correct wrongs-- whether accurate or not-- against the environment, less fortunate countries in the world, minorities, and special interest groups.

The American people are starting to revolt!  And it's about time.  We want our country back!  We want it back so we can fix the wrongs recently done by politicians and make this country a true world leader again!  It's time to take back the power we've given to lawyers and news agencies... those that look with disdain on the citizens of this country who are speaking out against the current tide of political elitism.

Yesterday's election in Massachusetts gave me hope.  I think that's true for many.  I pray that the U.S.A. will again become the world's beacon of hope; a place where all are equal and where the government and the press respects citizen's rights and perspectives.