Monthly Archive: November 2004

Gone for good

If you are looking for a book to take your mind of something, or to make a long train journey seem to fly by.  This is the book for you.  Take care though, once you start reading you won’t want to stop so make sure you have 5-10 hours free during the week you start reading it! 

I loved it and it made a few difficult days for me really quite enjoyable.  There are plenty of twists and turns, you feel for the characters and the action never ends. 

Jonathan does it again

Yet again Jonathan Scwartz continues his policy of openly and very clearly describing Sun’s strategy for all to see.  I have never seen the like of it before, although I can only commend him for it.   As always I strongly recommend that you read his blog regularly, but here are a few snipits from his latest post which I liked:

On his positioning of the role of Linux today:

But let’s be clear. Do I expect an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs to pick up the Java Desktop System? No. No way. He’s not our target demographic, not a route to make 120 million into 1.2 billion. A call center in Bangalore, a factory in Tennessee, a generation of kids that care more about ringtones than Win32 legacy? Dedicated internet terminals in shopping malls, touch screens in phone booths, the world’s academic environments? There’s a market calling.

Which I found interesting because many of these applications are best served by embedded or thin client approaches rather than a full Linux distro.

Why is music download on phones measured in the billions of dollars (vs. the paltry music download business on PCs, even with iTunes)? Because phones are authenticated (with a …

OneNote and a new way to improve meetings

I recently had the opportunity to try out a new way to manage and a record a meeting using my Tablet and OneNote, here is how it went:


  1. First I created a main page for the meeting, where I recorded the location, attendees, objectives etc
  2. The I created sub pages with all of the material that I had been sent about the meeting, embedded as background images, (drag and drop word documents onto OneNote and it provides this as an option).  I was then able to quickly jump to these and mark them up if I needed to
  3. Then I created a sub page to keep my hand written notes
  4. Finally, I plugged in a $10 microphone on an 8’ lead, put it in the middle of the room, and recorded the whole meeting. As the recording proceeded, I made short handwritten notes when key points were made.  The key thing is that I did not try to take thorough notes, just jot down a memory clue that I could use later.
  5. Because I did not take extensive notes, I could remain focussed on the discussion, which is a major benefit
  6. On the way home (I travelled …

The Little Money Book

This is a great book to read in the bath just before you go to sleep, very thought provoking but with each thought served up in bite sized chunks.

The book is essentially 50 or so extracts from other books, papers or speeches on the subject of money.  It really is a facinating, if disturbing, read. 

It covers the following topics:

Metal money – all about the origins of money

Money information – all about the virtualisation of money

Measuring money – probably the best chapter – all about the lack of a link between money and happiness and value

Dept money – all about the scary levels of debt in the world

Mad money – stories of the ‘great’ crashes and why/how they happened

DIY money – money alternatives

Spiritual money – other ways to think about money.

I ordered this book from the library, but ended up buying myself a copy it was that good.

What does he do? The importance of top down Journal keeping to programme communication, coordination and team spirit

This is the first in a series of articles about Programme Management.  Many of the things I am going to say apply to project management and to management in general but Programme Management is my focus.  I need to start by setting the scene. 

My experience is enterprise IT infrastructure programmes, so that’s what I will be talking about.  By Programme I mean a collection of projects with many dependencies between them.  By IT Infrastructure I mean all the common IT services that a business needs, desktops, portables, file, print, directory services, communication, collaboration and coordination services, systems management etc, you get the idea.  On my biggest programme, we had approaching 90 different server types so I won’t list them all.

Anyway onto the first topic:

“What does he do? The importance of top down Journal keeping to programme communication, coordination and team spirit”.  

Why you may ask did I pick this topic first?

·        because almost no one does it

·        because it can make a huge difference for very little cost

·        because communication and collaboration and coordination are key to any programme and journals help with all three

·        because I happen …

Microsoft’s new command shell

Microsoft have finally decided to take the Windows Command shell seriously, or at least Jeffrey Snover – the lead architect did.  They are creating a next generation sell that is built on top of .NET.  John Udell does a great job of describing it so please read his article, it will blow you away and don’t for get to watch the video as well.

MSH is quirky, complex, delightful, and utterly addictive. You can, for example, convert objects to and from XML so that programs that don’t natively speak .Net can have a crack at them. There’s SQL-like sorting and grouping. You write ad hoc extensions in a built-in scripting language that feels vaguely Perlish. For more permanent extensions, called cmdlets, you use .Net languages.

With MSH, Windows system administration manages to be both fun and productive. And the story will only improve as the .Net Framework continues to enfold Windows’ management APIs. Competitors take note: Windows is about to convert one of its great weaknesses into a strength. [Full story at]


Maybe theres hope for mainstream inter-enterprise collaboration afterall

I have been frustrated since the beginning of the Internet at the difficulty of collaborating inter enterprise.  The current techniques don’t work for me.  They frequently depend on too much inter-enterprise coorperation, expensive client software, too many firewall ports opened etc.  Well it seems that a mainstream solution is finally on the horizon with Microsoft’s LCS 2005 product.  Here are a few snipits to get you started:

The product, formerly code-named “Vienna,” is expected to be available in beta sometime in June or July. Microsoft is looking for customers to test the product in beta, leading to a general availability release of LCS 2005 by the fourth quarter.

and it allows inter-enterprise connections:

Chief among the new features in this version will be support for federation of IM and presence so that customers can extend the technology to their partners, suppliers and customers. This will allow users to see presence information across, not just within, enterprises, from other applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Excel and SharePoint Services.

fairly firewall friendly:

Users from outside the network will use the Windows Messenger client and tunnel into the network using Session Initiation Protocol over firewall port 5061, Microsoft officials said. Full encryption and authentication …

Welcome back to the Tablet!

Back in June I handed my TC 1100 Tablet back to the project I was working on and wrote a farewell blog article where I wrote up my on off love affair with Tablet PC computing.  In that article I concluded that a Tablet did not really meet my needs a home worker.  Well as time has progressed I have missed the Tablet more and more, and eventually a great deal on eBay offer seduced me and I now have an older TC1000 with 768MB of memory and a cheap TDK PC Card Bluetooth adapter. So what changed my mind:


  • I realised that I loved the slate format but hated the keyboard on the TC1*, and that all of the usage scenarios were slate format ones.  I had been trying to use my Tablet before in a multi-purpose role, I don’t do that now I have a range of machines that I use for specific purposes.  For example, almost all of my writing, evaluation and analysis work is done at my desk using my three monitor setup driving 2 Windows 2003 servers.  All of my company mobile working needs I use a IBM T40 …

Workspace modifications I have made to accomodate Stills

Summary Status Description Efficacy Working from home Approved and implemented Allows me to work when I would otherwise be too ill to travel.  Allows me to spread the workload throughout the day reducing intensity. Reduces exposure to infectious agents. Allows more frequent and effective breaks. Reduces stress Allows distraction and...

AOSD Update

When I provided my last update I had just gone back onto 10mg of Steroids and was feeling quite a bit better.  It didn’t last very long and have been having a pertty wild time over the last month as my symptoms have been so variable.  I have also noticed that more “bits of me” are in pain, now added to the long list are Toes, Back, Chest, Jaw.   I have also been working pretty hard trying to get a project finished which turned out pretty well by all accounts so that was quite encouraging, but it did me in so I took last week off as a holiday to recover, but ended up spending most of the time writing and on the phone trying to sort out extended sick pay, dispability living allowance and grant assistance for a special seat and keyboard.  I also took the opportunity to write up some of the most frequently requested information, so I don’t have to keep writing it out, or more likely forgetting important information when people ask.

I have attached the files for anyone who is interested in the drugs and non-drug treatments I have been using.