Monday, April 30, 2012

Stepping Back in Time


It is the prerogative of the holiday maker to point out the grossly antiquated whilst on vacation and say 'how quaint'.  You know the idea, hopelessly inefficient farming methods in France,  your local Post Office in a sleeping English town and as shown above the Lausanne Telephone directory.


Unfortunately I am  resident of Lausanne in 2012  and I am both staggered and apaulled that my taxes are being spent on producing this large paper book for each telephone subscriber in our Canton.  Can you imagine the waste?


You see, when we can make the jump of assuming that everyone has a personal Internet connection and a smart phone we would not require:


The Local telephone directory
Yellow Pages
The weekly Coop or Migros supermarket catalogue
Almost all Business paper communication
Almost all Financal paper communication


As a first step into the 21st century Lausanne Tax authorities allowed electronic submission of the 2011 tax return which was due April 2012.  Prior to this you could complete it electronically, after which you needed to print it out.  Upon receipt the return was scanned and then processed.  Come on!



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lausanne Rude Behaviour

We took Lausanne public transport last night to get home.


It was just an unpleasant experience.


In Switzerland we wear shoes on our feet.  These shoes come into contact with the ground which is often dirty.  Therefore, putting your shoes onto a seat which I or other members of the public need to sit on is not just rude, it's also selfish and ignorant.


So to see this first hand, not once but twice in less than 30 minutes, well it makes my blood boil



Flame off!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lausanne 20Km 2012 styly


Yes, it is that time again, our report from the Lausanne 20Km run, this year we participated in the midst of tropical weather conditions  (25 degrees plus!)


Marcus Race Report
In short I gave it my 100% but still the results fell short of what I had hoped for.




The course is quite hilly and this matches the Lausanne city terrain.


The first clue that I was not in good shape was that I did not pass  many fellow runners as we ascended from Ouchy upto the Cathedral.  Hills are my speciality after all.


At Km 10 I was feeling quite unwell and tried hard not to be sick . But I kept going.


I've never perspired so much whilst watching quite large people teaming past me on the subsequent downhills.  Indeed it is an inspiration to be in better shape for next time!




Runners Excuses
Every runner achieving a mauvais time , has reasons, mine are:


- still 5Kg over weight
- legs very sore and tired from a weeks cycling
- my severe knee pain made a late entry in race


All this sounds rather negative so on the positive side:


+ Asics Gel Kayano 18 shoes and More Mile Running socks worked like a dream.  Like running in slippers!
+ iPod Nano 5th gen (the best one) and my marathon sound track really helped
+ No injuries
+ Not tired post race




Results
Marcus 20Km time 01:34
Agata 20Km time: 01:48
Marcus drank 3xElectrolyte drinks + 1 SIS GEL at 12Km


Links
Lausanne 20Km
20Km results from Datasport







Friday, April 27, 2012

Cateye Rapid 5 Rear Light

Subtitle: Marcus uses a stapler!


This is a review of the Cateye Rapid 5 Rear Cycling Light  In a word: disappointing, but not quite useless.


The benchmark affordable and powerful rear light to me is the Cateye TL-LD610 5 LED . Mine dropped off and was lost about 2 weeks ago so time for a replacement.


The rapid 5 is product TL-LD650 so I thought I was in for an upgrade.  Oh dear:



  • Form factor is excellet as with earlier TL-LD610
  • On the long sides of the light is a small button to switch on and change the flashing
  • BUT, the 5 uniform LEDS have been replaced by 1 large LED and 4 smaller
  • The blurb talks about 3 LEDS and 2 sidemounted but I did not see any side positioning change over the 610
Now the killer disappointment:  Recall flashing cycle lights, well flash in order to save batteries and draw attention.

They have reprogrammed all the flashing modes to be bloody annoying. 

a) Rapid mode is like you are in an acid house disco in the 1980's
b) Pulse mode, is the best of the bad, like a weak Nightrider
c) Flashing mode, looks like you just had an accident

Leaving d)solid mode, thus draining the batteries and not drawing enough attention, and not being as good as 5 large LEDs solid.

It would not be possible for another cyclist (e.g. Agata) to follow me with this flashing light.  Not without murderous intent and  / or a headache developing.

So now I have to try and return the Rapid 5 and hope TL-610 lights are still available since they have disappeared from the Cateye website.




And so, what about the stapler?  Well yes the light was packed in an aggressive mix of cardboard, sharp plastic and held together with staples.


In my paperless world I'm ashamed to admit I still keep my pre millenium stapler, used I hope for the last time this century.


Links
Cateye Rapid 5 Flashing Modes

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Airport Etiquette




At the airport recently whilst manwatching I decided this was indeed the ultimate pretentious and frustrating environment.


So I would like to present a set of DON'T DO THIS rules that will hopefully prevent me from being subject to loud tutting and adverse comments




Anxious Check in syndrome
Where you constantly check and recheck your ticket and passport whilst waiting in any of the lines.   You checked it once, now stop!


Jump the Queue
The checkin queue is long, but if you just cut past everybody else then you can checkin quickly.  


Most Apple Gadgets
The outward and pretentious display of as many Apple Gadgets simultaneously as possible.   


Surprise liquid alert
Indignation at the bag scan about some new restriction on taking liquids in your hand baggage.    You swear that only last week this was not so.


Arguing with Security Scan people
Can you imagine how boring the Scan people's jobs are?  Hitting you with a full bureaucratic come here for a scan, rescan, strip search and more is their idea of heaven.  Meanwhile you are holding me up. Stop it.


2 bags really?
With frequent signs indicating strictly only 1 bag is allowed you try to sneak on with 2 or more bags or a bag that is so way beyond the limits of hand-luggage that your fellow passengers could think of deputising each other and trying to lynch you.



Sitting Down
Oblivious to anyone behind you, you feel it is a good idea for your body to go into moonwalk slow-motion as you reach your seat and think about actually getting out of the isle and sitting down (to let me pass by)


Leaving the Phone on
You always leave the phone on until the last minute, way after the doors are closed and until the stewardess has to shout at you.  Rules, well they must be for other people.


Children
You check your kids into seats adjacent to me, but you check yourself in far away.  You know what tossers your kids are and decide that sitting them far away from you and next to me makes perfect sense.


Free drink competition
You are convinced to implement some basic supply demand curve Economics and since the alcoholic drinks are free reason that your demand for them should approach infinity


Emergency Exit restrictions
You reason that the restrictions on loose items in the emergency exit seat row can't possibly be right and succeed in arguing your way into delaying our flight departure.


You are in my seat
You often don't look too carefully at your seat row number and letter.  But you always ask me confidently to move and when proved wrong shuffle off without an apology.


End of Journey Sitting up
At the end of the flight you stand up immediately and then lacking any spacial awareness thrust your case or body into my face since I am still sitting down and will do so until the cabin doors open and we have some prospect of moving.


Yes, airports are full of the most inconsiderate and self important people, please beware.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In Praise of SysInternals



Whilst trying to determine what the Zinio Bookreader was upto I had occasion to update my SysInternals utilities


From the readme here is what you can download



AccessChk - AccessChk is a command-line tool for viewing the effective permissions on files, registry keys, services, processes, kernel objects, and more.


AccessEnum - This simple yet powerful security tool shows you who has what access to directories, files and Registry keys on your systems. Use it to find holes in your permissions.


AdExplorer - Active Directory Explorer is an advanced Active Directory (AD) viewer and editor.


AdInsight - An LDAP (Light-weight Directory Access Protocol) real-time monitoring tool aimed at troubleshooting Active Directory client applications.


AdRestore - Undelete Server 2003 Active Directory objects.


Autologon - Bypass password screen during logon.


Autoruns - See what programs are configured to startup automatically when your system boots and you login. Autoruns also shows you the full list of Registry and file locations where applications can configure auto-start settings.


BgInfo - This fully-configurable program automatically generates desktop backgrounds that include important information about the system including IP addresses, computer name, network adapters, and more.


CacheSet - CacheSet is a program that allows you to control the Cache Manager's working set size using functions provided by NT. It's compatible with all versions of NT.


ClockRes - View the resolution of the system clock, which is also the maximum timer resolution.


Contig - Wish you could quickly defragment your frequently used files? Use Contig to optimize individual files, or to create new files that are contiguous.


Coreinfo - Coreinfo is a new command-line utility that shows you the mapping between logical processors and the physical processor, NUMA node, and socket on which they reside, as well as the cache’s assigned to each logical processor.


Ctrl2cap - This is a kernel-mode driver that demonstrates keyboard input filtering just above the keyboard class driver in order to turn caps-locks into control keys. Filtering at this level allows conversion and hiding of keys before NT even "sees" them. Ctrl2cap also shows how to use NtDisplayString() to print messages to the initialization blue-screen.


DebugView - Another first from Sysinternals: This program intercepts calls made to DbgPrint by device drivers and OutputDebugString made by Win32 programs. It allows for viewing and recording of debug session output on your local machine or across the Internet without an active debugger.


Desktops - This new utility enables you to create up to four virtual desktops and to use a tray interface or hotkeys to preview what’s on each desktop and easily switch between them.


Disk2vhd - Disk2vhd simplifies the migration of physical systems into virtual machines (p2v).


DiskExt - Display volume disk-mappings.


Diskmon - This utility captures all hard disk activity or acts like a software disk activity light in your system tray.


DiskView - Graphical disk sector utility.


Disk Usage (DU) - View disk usage by directory.


EFSDump - View information for encrypted files.


Handle - This handy command-line utility will show you what files are open by which processes, and much more.


Hex2dec - Convert hex numbers to decimal and vice versa.


Junction - Create Win2K NTFS symbolic links.


LDMDump - Dump the contents of the Logical Disk Manager's on-disk database, which describes the partitioning of Windows 2000 Dynamic disks.


ListDLLs - List all the DLLs that are currently loaded, including where they are loaded and their version numbers. Version 2.0 prints the full path names of loaded modules.


LiveKd - Use Microsoft kernel debuggers to examine a live system.


LoadOrder - See the order in which devices are loaded on your WinNT/2K system.


LogonSessions - List the active logon sessions on a system.


MoveFile - Allows you to schedule move and delete commands for the next reboot.


NTFSInfo - Use NTFSInfo to see detailed information about NTFS volumes, including the size and location of the Master File Table (MFT) and MFT-zone, as well as the sizes of the NTFS meta-data files.


PageDefrag - Defragment your paging files and Registry hives.


PendMoves - Enumerate the list of file rename and delete commands that will be executed the next boot.


PipeList - Displays the named pipes on your system, including the number of maximum instances and active instances for each pipe.


PortMon- Monitor serial and parallel port activity with this advanced monitoring tool. It knows about all standard serial and parallel IOCTLs and even shows you a portion of the data being sent and received. Version 3.x has powerful new UI enhancements and advanced filtering capabilities.


ProcDump - This new command-line utility is aimed at capturing process dumps of otherwise difficult to isolate and reproduce CPU spikes. It also serves as a general process dump creation utility and can also monitor and generate process dumps when a process has a hung window or unhandled exception.


Process Explorer - Find out what files, registry keys and other objects processes have open, which DLLs they have loaded, and more. This uniquely powerful utility will even show you who owns each process.


Process Monitor - Monitor file system, Registry, process, thread and DLL activity in real-time.


ProcFeatures - This applet reports processor and Windows support for Physical Address Extensions and No Execute buffer overflow protection.


PsExec - Execute processes on remote systems.


PsFile - See what files are opened remotely.


PsGetSid - Displays the SID of a computer or a user.


PsInfo - Obtain information about a system.


PsKill - Terminate local or remote processes.


PsList - Show information about processes and threads.


PsLoggedOn - Show users logged on to a system.


PsLogList - Dump event log records.


PsPasswd - Changes account passwords.


PsService - View and control services.


PsShutdown - Shuts down and optionally reboots a computer.


PsSuspend - Suspend and resume processes.


RAMMap - An advanced physical memory usage analysis utility that presents usage information in different ways on its several different tabs.


RegDelNull - Scan for and delete Registry keys that contain embedded null-characters that are otherwise undeleteable by standard Registry-editing tools.


RegJump - Jump to the registry path you specify in Regedit.


RootkitRevealer - Scan your system for rootkit-based malware.


SDelete - Securely overwrite your sensitive files and cleanse your free space of previously deleted files using this DoD-compliant secure delete program.


ShareEnum - Scan file shares on your network and view their security settings to close security holes.


ShellRunas - Launch programs as a different user via a convenient shell context-menu entry.


Sigcheck - Dump file version information and verify that images on your system are digitally signed.


Streams - Reveal NTFS alternate streams.


Strings - Search for ANSI and UNICODE strings in binaryimages.


Sync - Flush cached data to disk.


TCPView - Active socket command-line viewer.


VMMap - VMMap is a process virtual and physical memory analysis utility.


VolumeId - Set Volume ID of FAT or NTFS drives.


Whois - See who owns an Internet address.


WinObj - The ultimate Object Manager namespace viewer is here.


ZoomIt - Presentation utility for zooming and drawing on the screen.



So don't delay

  • First time run requires you to accept license agreement
  • Web based help
  • Command line help with /?  example:
g:\sys> strings /?

Strings v2.42
Copyright (C) 1999-2011 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals - www.sysinternals.com

usage: strings [-a] [-b bytes] [-n length] [-o] [-q] [-s] [-u] <file or directory>
-a     Ascii-only search (Unicode and Ascii is default)
-b     Bytes of file to scan
-o     Print offset in file string was located
-n     Minimum string length (default is 3)
-q     Quiet (no banner)
-s     Recurse subdirectories
-u     Unicode-only search (Unicode and Ascii is default)






Links
Microsoft and Mark Russinovich SysInternals
Zinio Reader Download








Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A night to remember



Since it is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic it is not surprising that the British Television and Radio press are full of reflections of this dramatic event.


I'd like to steer readers in the direction of the Walter Lord book 'A Night to Remember'.  In particular the audiobook narrated by Martin Jarvis.


It's been broadcast before on BBC Radio 7 and it's successor BBC Radio 4 Extra now has episodes 6 through 10 to listen to  (in other words  I informed you too late and to listen from the beginning you'll need to buy the book)



Links
Walter Lord - A Night to Remember

Bloody Terrorists



I don't know how easy this picture is to see  (click for original) but what you see is AVG anti virus concurrently scanning over 50 files.   Actually it is processing more than 100.  And why?


Well it is all to do with Software Terrorists  (i.e. Virus Writers). With over a 90% worldwide market share Microsoft Windows is platform target number 1 for Virus writers.


What got AVG started was  when this evening I made one of those multi Terabyte copies from source Server to target-backup then every file that is opened must also pass thru the AVG virus scanner.


Just think of the overhead!


Each file must be pattern matched, on the fly as it is read or written, transparently to the application program that manipulates it.


Just think of the thousands of virus signatures that must be presented against EACH file.


It's truly mind boggling.


And yet, even with that behind the scenes loading my server can still write thru to Physical Disk at over 100MBytes/second.   I wonder how fast it would be if <like some other vendors>  I could not be bothered with a Virus program.   Ho hum.


Links
AVG Anti Virus for Servers



Monday, April 23, 2012

Lights out in the Bedroom



At last we have come up with an elegant and inexpensive night-time lighting solution for the bedroom.


In essence it's a combination of 2 elements:


Steffen Power Remote







IKEA Ledburg Lighting Strip










We simply attached the Ledburg strip to the underside of our shelf, plugged it into the Power Remote and hey presto we have bedroom light consuming less than 2Watts of power.


The light is not overpowering, so it's ideal when Marcus is tapping away on his laptop in bed, whilst Agata is getting some sleep.


When all is complete I just press the button and darkness returns :-)




Links
Steffen Power Remote switch vendor
Using the Ikea Ledburg lighting strip for IT lighting
Steffen Manual

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lausanne 20Km test run

Well  running is quite topical today.  It is of course the day of the London Marathon 2012 .  But we have been concentrating on the Lausanne 20Km instead.


I can predict with 100% confidence a mediocre to poor running time at least for Marcus in the forthcoming 20Km Lausanne run, which by the way is April 28th.


This is due to multiple reasons including overweight, and a potentially serious injury or two preventing pain free running.


Therefore, in order to narrow the gap Agata planned for a weekend 20Km preparation around the actual course that we plan to run in a weeks time. 




2.5 hours later we finished.  Slow but sure that's what I say.


So, how is it looking for April 28th?

  • The weather is planned to be > 20 degrees.  Lausanne heatwave!
  • We might run to the start  (from home)!
  • Just like last year the Adult 20Km starts at 18.10,  really a crap time to start
  • Marcus will really try to take it easy, pains will remind him of that constantly
  • The route and the music are already planned!


The best we can say is that weekend we also managed 120 music filled lengths (3Km) of the Mon Repos pool this Sunday Afternoon.   So we are getting prepared for a Summer Exercise season, just not running!

Links

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Finis SwiMP3 2G music player



The Finis SwiMP3 2G player is quite difficult to find, however in my humble opinion it is the finest underwater, waterproof MP3 player available today.


Until now I had been using the SwiMP3 1G Player   (blue and white) but suddenly it only plays whilst connected to a computer, else it's as dead as a dodo.  


Hence the urgent order, since silent swimming during the last week has been as I remembered it pre MP3 swimming .... boring as hell!




So how is the new player?



  • Essentially just like the older 1G Byte capacity player, but this one has a 2G Byte capacity and is coloured black and yellow



\\





  • The waterproof protective rubber cab is now attached to the player and the cap and the cord is significantly more rubbery.
  • As before, there are 4 controls ON/OFF, reset,  track forward/volume up,  track backward/volume down
  • It is still difficult to turn ON player.  You have to hold the ON/OFF button, but holding it for too long turns it ON then OFF again!
  • In the picture the SwiMP3 2G CE writing is over a clip which can go through the strap of swimming goggles.

    For me this is too fiddly and its more effective and easier to tuck the player inside a swim cap
  • The 2G Byte music capacity is plenty large enough for swimming.  In fact the old player of 1GB was too big! A simple drag and drop of .mp3 files to player 'disk' whilst USB connected suffices.
  • The player charges via USB connection, a red flashing light which becomes constant when charged.

So I have just made the first of what I hope of many more swims using the new player.   I celebrated the returned to sound with an Amazon purchase of Faithless - Passing the Baton.  Sounded great!



Links
Finis SwiMP3 player 2G
SwiMP3 from enjoymedia.ch  fast delivery for CH!
Finis SwiMP3 player 1G review
Finis SwiMP3 player 2G support    manual  buttons

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Next BIG thing



Agata and Marcus have always liked the Infiniti FX. It has large and muscular lines that would be at home in a rough, tough wildlife setting.


Perhaps transporting us from our Weekday town house to our Weekend mountain retreat. Or in our real world, finally a car to transport our two bicycles (together!) to our next race


But whilst the Infiniti was an originator there are now a fleet of copycat automobile makers.  It seems the year of the crossover SUV is upon us:


New Crazy:




Bentley  EXP 9F  (as witnessed at the Geneva Motor Show)






Lambourghini Urus




Range Rover Evoque convertible






Nissan Murano convertible


&& Established Crazy


Audi Q7: when you think bigger is better




Porsche Cayenne Turbo: The ideal tuner base car








Of course this is all relative sanity,  America has a market for Pickup Trucks, but, is America still a country of farmers?  Exactly what large cargo need I transport behind 'the cab' on a daily basis?


So excluding America and focusing back on other world markets   I would wish the uneconomical, bully-ly large,  carbon outrage, expensive crossover and its newborn convertible variant be gone.  


Links
Audi Q7
Infiniti FX
Range Rover Evoque

Thursday, April 19, 2012

To Wiki that is the Question

A Wiki is an easy to use Documentation tool that stands as a compliment (or alternative) to  what has often become large corporate complicated Data Management Systems.


The essence of a good Wiki is that it is so easy to use; End Users can immediately document their work and contribute to the work of others.  Moreover corrections are made directly and results visible for all to see.


Unlike traditional Documentation systems you don't consciously checkout, edit, then put back a document, rather you edit the document directly via a Web Browser.


Because your Document is Web Based it is natural for a page to contain links i.e. jumps to other Pages.  So common parts of a set of documention is only stored once and linked to.  (Analogous to Third Normal Form, you Database people!).  Linked documents are hierarchical by nature and almost impossible to print   (an Advantage I would argue).




Must Have Features
  • Basics: Ability to write tagged text via a web browser.  That is a wiki after all.
  • Ability to have formatted text, unformatted text  (monospace e.g. Courier font), and Pictures  (e.g upload and display inline .JPG images)
  • Security:  Means at least a login userid and password is required.
  • Search: Search whole or selected namespace
  • Revision History:  At least save 1 or 2 old versions of any edited page so that mistaken edits or deletions can be backed out
  • Namespaces:   You can categorise your work into logical areas.   Example  AIX, Storage, SAN.

    Then ideally you can have users with different authorisations, example: Superuser == do anything,  SANguest == read only access to SAN area,  AIXsupp == readwrite to AIX only
  • Trails
    Ability per user to naviagte their last set of pages by clicking on their names atop of the screen






Wiki Setup Choices & Behind the Scenes
  • Linux or Windows
    Most Wikis will have been developed in a Linux Environment.  So they are usually most compatible with a Intel x86 environment and may be available for the non Windows platform.
  • Database or Files
    Large Wiki implementations store all their data types i.e: wiki data content pages, diagrams, attachments within an SQL database.

    This has the benefit that the datastore can potentially be run on a separate (powerful) machine, maybe in a corporate Highly available datacentre configuration.   But all that leads to complexity!

    For smaller environments and unless your data stored plans to grow over time to multiple GBytes simpler wikis store their data in regular files within typically a directory structure, removing the need for any Database, making it simpler and cheaper  (no DB license!)
  • Underlying:  PHP or Java or ..
    The underlying implementation is normally PHP or Java for portability and technically if you are a Strong PHP advocate then you may refuse to accept a Java wiki!
  • Storing Text Data
    You are storing markup text and supporting diagrams.   In this way the overall data storage requirements are low.

    I'd recommend that you directly link to bulk data stored on your companion Windows Network by windows share and not try to embed everything into the Wiki data area.  Similarly in a corporate environment you link to, not make a copy of Corporate documentation stored in their Big Shiny and unfriendly Documentation server.

    My guide is that 1 person is unlikely to generate more than 50MBytes of text+ 500MBytes diagrams per year. (Remember you link to external bulk documentation trees!)
  • Plugins
    Wikis can be written in an extensible manner so that third party developers can enhance function.  Example a plugin that takes the current page and saves it in the form of a PDF document
  • Currency
    Is it obvious to comment that you need a stable, well supported and reliable/ mature  product.  A well sized user base, User and Developer Forums, Developers who fix bugs on time and develop new Releases.

    If you get it right you'll want your wiki to last a decade or more.




Some Very Annoying Limitations
  • Text is entered using a Markup language.  This is ridiculous in the 21st Century.  Ideally there should be a graphical editor where you can create text, insert diagrams, and tables, just like a good Word Processor.

    But no,  you enter your text with tags around it, then hit the save button and it's formatted and displayed
  • Due to above inserting Diagrams can be painful or painfully slow, meaning that many people just enter text.




My Recommendations


If you work in a profession with Information Overload  (IT is a classic example),  and want to keep your personal Professional Knowledge portable between employers then a Wiki provides the ultimate way to say:  Yes, you can take it all with you


Personally I use DokuWiki


For Corporates a Wiki implementation is a tough one


  • You really need it!   Hierarchical Document Management systems choke and stifle users.
  • Because the raw syntax of a Wiki that you enter text via differs per wiki you are going to be stuck with that Vendors Wiki! Choose carefully.
  • A large Corporate Wiki can be implemented on a large UNIX system, with a separate and high available Database node  (for example).  But just sanity check:  Make the implementation (inline with Wiki-ness) as simple and as streamlined as possible.  If you can fit it only a single UNIX system then do so!  If your long-term data storage requirements don't require a back end database, then don't use one!
  • The Wikimatrix choice wizard is a good first step at making a Corporate Wiki choice.   For me MediaWiki or Confluence.




Links
WikiMatrix Choice Wizard
My top 3 Wiki Suggestions

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Your Card is very important to us

Okay, I am a little late, but to those who were generous enough to send us Christmas 2011 cards we thank you!




We would like to therefore emphasise that:

  • We might be somewhat slow, but everything gets processed sooner or later
  • Sending cards predominantly from the UK to Switzerland we realise is more of an effort so we really appreciate it
  • As you can imagine,  your paper images have been scanned!  Digitally preserved forever.  I am sure you did not expect anything less from us




We are already planning for Christmas 2012, this time we'll be carding in advance

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Planning that Technical Conference



In older and simpler times technical training for your computer vocation was easier.


There used to be only 1 choice:  Technical Training Course, usually from the vendor e.g. IBM.


Today things are more complicated:



  • Courses are available from the Vendor (e.g. IBM) , or Vendor Assisted  (e.g. Third Party using IBM Materials), or Independent Educators  (since it's a profitable line of work).
  • Technical Conferences  (e.g. SAP Sapphire)  where you learn about forthcoming product lines and technologies.

    Critically important for large Organisations, you attend to understand the mind and preferred technical direction your vendor is travelling and why.
  • Certification Courses:  Vendor courses to gain a vendor specific qualification, e.g. SAP BASIS, or IBM PowerHA
  • And for the kids:  Cramming courses where you get a valid qualification after just weeks of intense effort, whilst not actually knowing anything really, since you have no experience.

So today I was mailed the above helpful email from IBM regarding conferences.  I was interested in at least 2, unfortunately there is a big BUT.  Last year I tried to attend a similar conference my manager told me that attendance was possible iff:

  • I took unpaid leave for the duration of the conference
  • I paid for flight and all transport costs
  • I paid for meals and all accommodation
So I learnt my lesson.   In 2012 I have only two chances to attend any of the above 

FAT CHANCE
&
NO CHANCE

May your negotiations be more fruitful