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Kevin HoustonChoosing the Right Memory for Your Blade Server

With the advancement of CPU architecture, identifying the best options for memory within your server has become more challenging.  Should you use a single DIMM or does multiple DIMMs make a difference?  What about memory speed – does it really matter?  Should you buy single rank (SR), dual rank (DR) or quad rank (QR) DIMMs.  I’m not going to pretend to be a memory expert, but hopefully I will help answer these questions in today’s post.Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 CPU OverviewWith current Intel CPU architecture, there are a few things to note: balancing memory is key for performance and you’ll want to have 2 CPUs to get full access to all memory.  Although the latter may seem obvious, for environments with smaller workloads, two CPUs may not be needed.  As you can see in the Intel CPU image below, 1/2 of the server memory is attached to each CPU, so in order to prevent yourself from being stuck with 12 DIMMs in a 2 socket server, populate the 2nd CPU.

More importantly, though, is balancing the memory.  Each CPU has 4 channels of memory, typically 3 DIMMs deep, allow up to 12 DIMMs per CPU.  Although populating a single DIMM per CPU is accepted, you will not get the best performance, and here’s why.  Picture a highway with a toll booth.  There are 4 lanes but only one lane is open.  While the cars will have no trouble getting through the single toll booth, they can’t get through as quickly as they could if all 4 toll booths were open.  This is the same with using a single DIMM.    Let’s say your application needs 32GB of RAM.  If you put a 16GB DIMM on each CPU, you won’t have as good as performance as 4 x 4GB DIMMs per CPU.  In a nutshell, I always encourage populating in groups of 8 (4 per CPU) in order to maximize the memory channel’s performance.

Does Memory Speed Really Matter?

Memory_Frequency_ComparisonThe short answer is – yes, if you need performance.  In a white paper written by John Beckett from the Dell Solutions Performance Analysis team, different memory speeds were compared which showed a substantial 13% decrease in performance in 1333MT/s vs 1600MT/s.  The catch, though, is that Intel has 3 different “bins” of CPUs, so in order to get the top memory frequency, you’re going to have to use a CPU in the “Advanced” bin category.  An additional FYI is that the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 now goes up to 2133Mhz in both 1 DIMM per channel and 2 DIMM per channel but drops down to 1866MHz at 3 DIMMs per channel – so if you want the best performance, buy a top bin CPU and keep the memory qty to 16 DIMMs or below.  For more information on populating DIMMs, as mentioned in the previous section, check out that white paper I referenced above.

 

What About Memory Ranks – What is Better?

This is one question I’ll ask for your opinion on.  From what I’ve researched, it appears that Dual Rank (DR) DIMMs are preferred for performance compared to Single Rank (SR) DIMMs or Quad Rank (QR) DIMMs.  I know that QR DIMMs have memory chips stacked, so it runs at slower frequencies, however I’m not sure I get why DR DIMMs perform better.  I welcome any feedback you have on this one.

Tools To Help You 

In a summary, my personal recommendations for memory performance is:

1) Use same size DIMMs in groups of 8 for a 2 CPU design

2) Buy the:highest frequency memory possible

3) Use Dual Rank (DR) DIMMs

In addition, here are a couple of websites to help – I encourage you to check them out since they offer additional information on power savings and high availability features:

 

I’m interested in your thoughts or comments around memory configurations or best practices.  Please post your comments below.

 
Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

William LearaLanguage Applications for UEFI BIOS

imageEarlier this year I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an M.S. in Engineering, majoring in Electrical & Computer Engineering.

After taking ten classes covering many interesting software engineering topics, I completed my Master’s Report entitled Language Applications for UEFI BIOS.  Here is the abstract:

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is the industry-standard Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware specification used by modern desktop, portable, and server computers, and is increasingly being ported to today’s new mobile form factors as well. UEFI is firmware responsible for bootstrapping the hardware, turning control over to an operating system loader, and then providing runtime services to the operating system.

ANTLR (ANother Tool for Language Recognition) is a lexer-parser generator for reading, processing, executing, and translating structured text and binary files. It supersedes older technologies such as lex/yacc or flex/bison and is widely used to build languages and programming tools. ANTLR accepts a provided grammar and generates a parser that can build and walk parse trees.

This report studies UEFI BIOS and compiler theory and demonstrates ways compiler theory can be leveraged to solve problems in the UEFI BIOS domain. Specifically, this report uses ANTLR to implement two language applications aimed at furthering the development of UEFI BIOS implementations. They are:

1. A software complexity analysis application for UEFI created that leverages ANTLR’s standard general-purpose C language grammar. The complexity analysis application uses general-purpose and domain-specific measures to give a complexity score to UEFI BIOS modules.

2. An ANTLR grammar created for the VFR domain-specific language, and a sample application which puts the grammar to use. VFR is a language describing visual elements on a display; the sample application creates an HTML preview of VFR code without requiring a developer to build and flash a BIOS image on a target machine to see its graphical layout.

My Master’s Report has finally been published in the University of Texas library system and is ready for download from the following links:

Language Applications for UEFI BIOS

<direct link to report>

Also, I’ve posted to Github the source code for the various applications and ANTLR grammars I created for the report:

https://github.com/WilliamLeara/LangAppUEFIBIOS

I hope you find it interesting.  If you’d like, leave me a comment (below) on what you think of the report!

Barton GeorgeChatting with the leaders of Major League Hacking

The weekend before last, the Major League Hacking crew helped put on a hackathon at the University of Texas.  The event drew over 700 students organized into close to 100 teams.

Major League Hacking, which Dell helps power, is the official collegiate hackathon league and puts on more than 50 hackathons across the US, UK, and Canada per semester.

In advance of the event I got to have lunch with MLH’s commissioner, Mike Swift along with co-founder Jon Gottfried.  After we ate I grabbed some time with the duo to learn what MLH is all about.

Some of the ground Swift and Jon cover:

  • What is Major League Hacking and what’s a hackathon?
  • How did Dell get involved and what role did project Sputnik play?
  • How the U Penn hackathon beat out the triple deterrents of Valentines Day, the release of House of Cards and two feet of snow
  • MLH’s plans for global domination
  • The power of learning from fellow students and the community

Pau for now…


Mark Cathcart‘Born and raised’ Texans forced to prove identities under new voter ID law | theguardian.com

There are so many things wrong with this, it is hard to know where start. Yep, it’s a law that solves a problem, which for the most part doesn’t exist.

The fact it takes Eric Keniie 3-buses to get to a vital Texas state service, just shows how broken our transport system is in Austin. Here is a man, which, if as reported, seems a reasonable grasp on life, and a good approach, who makes living as a scrapper, foraging in other peoples garbage and when feeling flush, handout food to neighbors.

So much for the Texas miracle.

‘Born and raised’ Texans forced to prove identities under new voter ID law | US news | theguardian.com.


Mark CathcartThere are no $1.4 Billion do-overs

Draft only (for comment_review by Chronicle printad staff)


William LearaNeat Things from COMDEX 1987

imageOn a fabulous Computer Chronicles, Stewart and crew visited the COMDEX computer dealers’ conference in Las Vegas, in 1987.

There were several notable announcements:

  • the much anticipated release date for OS/2
  • Chips & Technologies rep talks about the difficulty in reverse-engineering the PS/2 BIOS
  • AST added bus mastering to the ISA bus and called it SMARTslot—who needs Microchannel?
  • Western Digital is doing a PS/2 clone
  • plug-in upgrade cards that turn your 8088 into an 80386
  • color printer… speed of only 1 to 2 minutes per page! (my Dell color laser prints color pages at 24 pages per minute)
  • A new wireless networking product (in 1987!)  Only $2000 per client!

 

Interesting that the Chips & Technologies guy assumed that the entire industry would move to PS/2 clones; he estimated three years.  Of course, what ended up happening was the PS/2 architecture dying off after several years, and the clone makers (with Intel and Microsoft’s assistance) made their own industry standards by continuing to extend the PC AT BIOS and by creating EISA and later PCI.

 

Enjoy (9:29)!

COMDEX 1987

 

full episode:

https://archive.org/details/comdex_2

Gina MinksIs it science, or hippie mumbo jumbo?

This post is dedicated to my friend Sheryl. I was frustrated yesterday at a long series of fails, and wondered on Twitter if everyone had lost their minds due to the solar eclipse. Sheryl wasn’t buying it. This made me wonder….aren’t some of our moods, etc. affected by lunar cycles? This made me do a quick google search, which was inconclusive, and way too quick to know if anything I saw was real. But this

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Mark CathcartProp-1 The Wrong Rail for Austin

One reason I have not posted to my blog recently is the fact I’ve been spending my time lobbying, writing an posting on why this is the wrong solution. Since my last blog a lot of additional material and discussion has happened. Also, long overdue I’ve joined AURA, a number of their members have produced some great information. I was also impressed with Roger Cauvins’ calm, logical argument at the recent KUT Views and Brews. You can hear the whole Views and Brews here.

From where I sit, this was never about rail, it was always about developing an under-developed corridor of central Austin. A previously undesirable corridor because of it’s proximity to I35 and the noise and associated congestion, along with specific properties, which, without rail wouldn’t be nearly as viable or valuable.

An AURA blog post nails where the funding for much of the pro prop-1 support is coming from, and by doing so also confirms what I thought, and had previously heard about the route for the rail in Prop-1.

It’s also well worth listening or watching the following City of Austin Central Corridor Advisory Group. For those that are short of time, use the menu to skip to the citizens communication section and listen to the first speaker, Mike Dahmus. Having been surprised by the direction and format of the meeting, that basically rubber stamped the route, Mike discussed  what was wrong with the selection and the proposal. If you can, continue to listen through the Mueller developers, to Linden Henry and David Dobbs, possibly the two qualified people in Austin on transport.

If you can’t be bothered to listen, Mike has written this elsewhere on the Prop-1 rail proposal.

Project Connect has ignored public input in favor of misrepresentation and obfuscation to justify the predetermined route preference of UT and speculative development interests. Please don’t fall for the premise that this somehow represents good transit planning; so far, most knowledgeable Austin transit activists oppose the plan, and every national transit advocate/expert who has spoken up about it has been amazed at how badly the process was run and how stupid the recommended plan is.

Prop-1 route was decided and heavily influenced by developers, and then a justification sought. It’s easy to see that those in the urban sprawl areas, will vote against this because they’d never use it, and will add circa $300 per year to their property taxes yet many of them commute into the central business district.Meanwhile, those, especially long term residents in the central districts, Zilker, Bouldin, Travis Heights etc. who have seen huge property tax increases as the property value increased, face another $400 per year for a system they can’t use and for which for the most part won’t help with traffic congestion.

It’s worth remembering that unless you die, or move out, an improved property value is worth zero, nothing, nada. However, the tax burden is real. The elderly, retired and those barely surviving now due to increased costs, will now be further penalized by the increased taxes which are proportionately much higher, due to their higher per sq foot property value, which will ultimately force more people to sell their properties and move out, further gentrifying those neighborhoods.


Mark CathcartWhy Millennials Are Avoiding Small-Town America

In my last post Decaying Texas, I posited that many of the smaller towns and “villages” in Texas are dying, comparing the state of things here with China.

In his blog, Why Millennials are avoiding small town America, Beau Dure has a good write-up of why the millenial generation is turning their back on small towns, and without them, there really is no future. It’s not a problem you hear politicians talking about, ever.


Gina MinksCan being sad impact how your brains work?

My brain is fried. I want to try and finish a blog post (for work…), and finish some messaging work I started. So of course I’m here blogging to just make sense of things. I think one reason my brain is fried is that the numbness over my dad dying has started to wear off. And I’m just having lots of feels. I’m trying to stay with it – and feel the feels (like I

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Gina MinksMy Ada Lovelace post: Celebrating Tsalagi women in tech!

Today (Oct 14) is Ada Lovelace day. She was one of the early computer scientists (circa 1800s!). We tend to forget those who went before us, and forged the pathways on which we now walk. With that in mind, I give you the person who is fascinating me on this day. Golda Ross was one of the pioneers of space travel, back in the 1950s. She was a math whiz, she was in the initial

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Gina MinksI miss my blog

I miss blogging. I spend a lot of time sharing other places now, and I really miss having conversations here. So I’m going to try an experiment – things of importance to me I’ll take the time to post here first. I’m on a big kick about things not being as they appear, maybe that will come out as a theme IDK. Should be interesting.   This blog post pushed me over the edge –

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William LearaTonight I Celebrate My luv (OS)

Yes, thank you Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack for the title inspiration:

Yes! Stay Classy 1983!

With all due respect to Peabo and Roberta, this is actually an awkward introduction to a UEFI BIOS development you may not have heard of:  the Linux UEFI Validation project and its luvOS live Linux image.

luvOS is a customized Yocto Linux distribution designed to foster OS-side testing of the UEFI interfaces.  You burn the live Linux image to a flash drive, have your test system boot to it, and it will automatically test the various UEFI interfaces that OSes, particularly Linux, rely on.  A “live Linux image” is a ready-to-boot OS that runs from removable media, e.g. SD card or USB flash drive, without having to be installed on a hard disk.

From Intel’s UEFI Community Resource Center:

Currently, the validation of UEFI firmware implementations is mainly based on the UEFI Self-Certification Tests (SCT). This tool is great to test the quality of the firmware implementation in a preboot environment. However, testing only in a preboot environment also means that the firmware is tested in isolation from the OS. Thus, even if all the preboot tests pass, those results may not necessarily predict that the interaction between the OS and the firmware will be smooth and flawless. A testing scheme based only on preboot tests is not enough. After all, in the real world, the firmware will need to work not in isolation but in close interaction with the OS.

The firmware-OS interactions do not stop once the system has booted and the control is handed over to the OS. We still have the UEFI runtime services. It may seem at first that runtime services are about just writing and reading variables and nothing can possibly go wrong with that. Yet, it was discovered recently that a system could be bricked by simply writing too many variables. Low quality (not to mention malicious) software may take advantage of these kinds of scenarios to bring whole systems down. The situation is worrisome if one considers the attacker may target the thousands of systems around the world having the same firmware. No single test suite run in isolation, either at preboot time or runtime, could possibly catch bugs in such scenarios.

The end result is that bugs, either in the firmware or OS implementation, evade detection and are ultimately discovered for the first time by end-users. At this point, it's too late, as usually all the developers has moved on to new projects. The only solution is to fix the bugs in the OS. For Linux, because we aim to run on pretty much any hardware, this has resulted in the kernel adopting a "least common denominator" approach to UEFI support, or if you will a "support the most buggy implementation" mantra.

The luvOS is a new distribution based on the Yocto Project which incorporates existing open source test suites into a single, easy-to-use live image. The virtue of creating a new specialised OS solely for validation is that it becomes possible to validate all phases of OS execution from the moment firmware hands over control. In other words, it's possible to test how each of the bootloader, OS kernel and userland environments interact with UEFI, and then report the results in a consistent way.

 

Installation

I burned the luvOS 1.0 .IMG file to a USB flash drive to perform the testing.  I was successful in both Linux and Windows, although Windows was a little more difficult.

 

Linux

For Linux, I used the dd command:

image

 

Windows

For Windows, originally I tried a utility called Linux Live USB Creator.  Unfortunately this pretended to work:  I was able to boot to the flash drive, but nothing happened.  To be fair, they say .IMG support is still under development.

There are versions of dd for Windows.  I tried the one from UnixUtils, but wasn’t sure how to specify a Windows drive letter as a Unix device path, so rather than spend a lot of energy researching that I moved on.

The alternative that worked well was the open-source Win32 Disk Imager utility I found on Sourceforge.

image

 

Running the Tests

The tests are run unattended and took around twenty minutes in my experience.

image

luvOS tests many things:

  • ACPI
  • SMI latency
  • EFI variables
  • processor c-states
  • … and more

… and also includes running the Intel BITS test suite, as discussed in a previous blog post.  Checkout my results (following) to get an idea of the scope of the tests.

 

The Results

The results are generated in their own partition on the removable media.  I was never able to get the results from within Windows 8.1.  The Disk Manager console detected the drive and partitions, but was unable to assign a drive letter to the partition containing the results.  From Linux, I mounted the results partition with the command:

sudo mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt

(your device path may vary)

image

I’ve placed a .zip of my results at this link.

 

Conclusion

I think luvOS is a must-have new validation tool, and nicely complements both the SCT as well as Microsoft’s UEFI HCT tests.  luvOS has been in development for some time, but only went 1.0 on 30 Sep 2014, and 1.1 on 7 Oct 2014.  The source is available on Github.  I think Matt and Ricardo would appreciate the community downloading and running luvOS.  They welcome issue reports, comments, and suggestions.

Mark CathcartJoin the Foglight beta

If you read the prior post, a Q&A with our VP of Monitoring, Steve Rosenberg and want to know more, or would just like to try our future Foglight app monitoring solution out, it’s now available in beta here.laptop[1]


William LearaThe Inside Story of Windows NT

A neat book I just finished is Showstopper!  The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft, by G. Pascal Zachary.  Until recently, I didn’t even know this book existed.  It’s a fascinating story, and I recommend it.

The book tells the great story of Dave Cutler, an OS architect at Digital Equipment Corp, whom Bill Gates wooed to come to Microsoft after DEC management decided not to pursue Cutler’s ideas for a next generation OS.  Cutler had designed the PDP-11’s RSX-11M OS as well as the DEC VAX’s VMS OS and so was considered without-peer when it came to OS design and development.  At the time, (1988) MS-DOS was all the rage, but Gates realized that for the personal computer to move forward and take advantage of cutting edge technologies such as the new Intel 386, it needed a “real” OS:  something with preemptive multi-tasking, a flat memory model, security, multi-user capabilities, a journaling file system, etc.  Dave Cutler, and the lieutenants he brought with him from DEC, delivered Windows NT, and this book tells the story.

The book reads like a software engineering version of Soul of a New Machine.  It’s accessible to the general reader, but software developers will especially appreciate its stories.  There is talk about the kernel, networking and graphics subsystems, user interface elements, debugging, documentation, plus tight deadlines, company politics, and fun personalities.  Some of the people in the book who led the development effort for NT are still at Microsoft today!  For example, S. Somasegar, and even Dave Cutler himself never left.

Mike Abrash

A name that might be familiar to BIOS programmers is that of Mike Abrash, a guy that gets tossed around as one of the best x86 assembly programmers of all time.  He was the author of Zen of Assembly Language, considered a classic text on the subject.  Anyway, the NT graphics team was having big problems getting their code mature and performing fast enough.  They actually implemented the graphics subsystem in C++ rather than C; quite a risky step to take considering this was the 1988-1993 timeframe, and there was no such thing as a C++ standard.  Lucky for them, Microsoft hired Mike Abrash, who jumped in and saved the day.  The book beautifully describes how Abrash implemented a Super VGA driver when the NT plan only called for 16-color VGA, and then went ahead and fixed the code’s performance problems.  The book concludes the episode by saying:
Finally the graphics group had something to crow about.  People long had complained about the group’s sluggish gains in speed.  They had all but given up hope of dramatic improvements.  Then, as one teammate said, “a miracle happened:  Mike Abrash.”
Mike Abrash is still the go-to-guy for performance tuning as evidenced by this recent (2007) email from none other than id Software’s John Carmack.

An Ironic Comment

At one point the author is talking about the personality of Bill Gates.  It’s ironic that he describes him this way:
Which was the real Bill Gates?  The richest American by virtue of his roughly seven billion dollars in Microsoft stock, Gates was an object of envy and awe, paranoia and adulation.  These strong emotions made a balanced assessment of his actions impossible.  Anyway, the choice between saint or sinner was an illusion; these were cartoon images of Gates.  The real Gates resembled a big-city political boss; more Richard Daley than Rockefeller.
Funny that Zachary calls him “more Richard Daley than Rockefeller”—I don’t think anyone would say that today, since Gates is devoting his fortune and time to philanthropy much the same way Rockefeller did!  It’s a fact that Rockefeller spent a longer portion of his life in the philanthropy business than in the oil business.  I think the same will be said of Bill Gates one day.

Crazy Editing

My copy of the book was published by a company called E-Reads, who weren’t the original publishers, and who also don’t seem to be in existence any more.  Anyway, every so often throughout the book there are quirks to the layout, like newlines inserted in the middle of sentences.  It doesn’t really take away from the story, but it is irksome.
A real embarrassment is the back cover.  The second sentence says “Driven by the legendary Bruce Cutler…”—the entire book revolves around DAVE Cutler, but on the dust jacket they call him Bruce!  How did such an error escape notice?  “Dave Cutler” is the protagonist and appears on virtually every page of the book, yet they messed up his name on the back cover!   Anyway, it obviously doesn’t change the story of NT, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

Closing

In closing I would simply repeat that this is a neat and highly recommended read.  It takes the reader back to a time when Microsoft was at the forefront of what was happening in technology, much like the Facebooks or Goggles of today.  A must-read for all software engineers and systems programmers!

William LearaUSB 3.1 Developer Days, Berlin, Germany

original announcement:
http://www.usb.org/developers/events/USB31DevDaysBerlin/

The USB 3.1 Specification adds a SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps speed mode that uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cable. The specification extends the existing SuperSpeed mechanical, electrical, protocol and hub definition while maintaining compatibility with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols as well as with existing 5Gbps hubs and devices and USB 2.0 products.

The USB Type-C Cable and Connector Specification defines a new USB connector solution that extends the existing set of cables and connectors to enable emerging platform designs where size, performance and user flexibility are increasingly more critical. The specification covers all of the mechanical and electrical requirements for the new connector and cables. Additionally, it covers the functional requirements that enable this new solution to be reversible both in plug orientation and cable direction, and to support functional extensions that designers are looking for in order to enable single-connector platform designs.

The USB Power Delivery Specification defines the use of a sideband communications method used between two connected USB products to discover, configure and manage power delivered across VBUS between USB products with control over power delivery direction, voltage (up to 20V) and current (up to 5A). The USB Power Delivery 2.0 update adds a new communications physical layer that is specific to the USB Type-C cable and connector solution. The specification also extends the definition of Structured Vendor Defined Messages (VDMs) to enable the functional extensions that are possible with the USB Type-C solution.

What:  USB 3.1 Developers Days is an opportunity to review these specifications and engage with experts in a face-to-face setting
When:  The conference will be held October 1-2, 2014
Cost:  Members US $475.00
         
Non-members US $960.00    
Registration will close on Monday, September 22 at 5:00PM US Pacific Time. All attendees MUST be pre-registered as on-site registration will not be available.

Agenda (subject to change):
Day 1:  USB 3.1 (featuring the new USB Type-C connector)

- Registration check-in
- Introduction
- USB 3.1 Architectural Overview
- USB 3.1 Physical and Link Layers
- USB Type-C Functional Requirements
- USB 3.1 Protocol Layer
- USB 3.1 Hub- USB 3.1 Compliance

Day 2: Track One
- USB Cables and Connectors (including USB Type-C)
     * Overview
     * USB Type-C Mechanical requirements and compliance
     * USB Type-C Electrical/EMC requirements and compliance
- USB 3.1 System Design
     * USB 3.1 design and interoperability goals, and design envelope (EQ capability, channel loss budget)
     * System simulation:  reference channels and reference equalizers
     * Key system performance metrics and design trade-offs
     * Design recommendations and trade-offs for package and PCB designs
     * Silicon design considerations, including equalizers and system margining
     * Re-timing repeater design requirements
     * Design to minimize EMI & RFI

Day 2 :  Track Two
- USB Power Delivery 2.0
     * Introduction and Architectural Overview
     * Electrical/Physical Layer
     * Protocol Layer
     * Protocol Extensions (specific to USB Type-C)
     * Device and System Policy
     * Power Supply
     * Compliance

Where:  Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm
            Augsburger Strasse 4110789
            10789 - Berlin
            Germany
http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-9387-sofitel-berlin-kurfurstendamm-/index.shtml

Tel.: (+49) 30 800 9990
Fax: (+49) 30 800 99999

Hotel Accommodations
The group room block is at the Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm. To receive the group sleeping room rate of EUR 145 per night (single occupancy, includes tax, breakfast and guestroom internet) attendees should make their reservations by completing the Hotel Reservation Form and submitting it directly to the hotel via fax or email. A double occupancy rate of EUR 165 is also available. The reservation deadline is Monday, September 15, 2014. Reservations received after September 15th are subject to availability and room type and will be offered at the group rate based on availability only. 

A major credit card is needed to guarantee guestroom reservations. Any reservation cancellations should be made by September 25th to avoid cancellation penalties. If the room is cancelled after this date or is not checked in on the day of arrival, the hotel will charge 100% of the agreed room rate for the entire stay to the credit card on file.

Hotel check-in time is 3:00pm. Check-out time is 12:00pm.  Early check-in and late check-out are subject to availability. 

Hotel:  Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Cut-Off Date:  Monday, September 15, 2014
Group Rate:  EUR 145 per night

William LearaUSB 3.1 Developers Days, Singapore

original announcement:
http://www.usb.org/developers/events/USB31DevDaysSingapore

The USB 3.1 Specification adds a SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps speed mode that uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cable. The specification extends the existing SuperSpeed mechanical, electrical, protocol and hub definition while maintaining compatibility with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols as well as with existing 5Gbps hubs and devices and USB 2.0 products.

The USB Type-C Cable and Connector Specification defines a new USB connector solution that extends the existing set of cables and connectors to enable emerging platform designs where size, performance and user flexibility are increasingly more critical. The specification covers all of the mechanical and electrical requirements for the new connector and cables. Additionally, it covers the functional requirements that enable this new solution to be reversible both in plug orientation and cable direction, and to support functional extensions that designers are looking for in order to enable single-connector platform designs.

The USB Power Delivery Specification defines the use of a sideband communications method used between two connected USB products to discover, configure and manage power delivered across VBUS between USB products with control over power delivery direction, voltage (up to 20V) and current (up to 5A). The USB Power Delivery 2.0 update adds a new communications physical layer that is specific to the USB Type-C cable and connector solution. The specification also extends the definition of Structured Vendor Defined Messages (VDMs) to enable the functional extensions that are possible with the USB Type-C solution.

What:  USB 3.1 Developers Days is an opportunity to review these specifications and engage with experts in a face-to-face setting
When:  The conference will be held November 19-20, 2014
Cost:  Members US $425.00
          
Non-members US $875.00    
Registration will close on Monday, November 3 at 5:00PM US Pacific Time. All attendees MUST be pre-registered as on-site registration will not be available.

Agenda (subject to change):
Day 1:  USB 3.1 (featuring the new USB Type-C connector)

- Registration check-in
- Introduction
- USB 3.1 Architectural Overview
- USB 3.1 Physical and Link Layers
- USB Type-C Functional Requirements
- USB 3.1 Protocol Layer
- USB 3.1 Hub
- USB 3.1 Compliance

Day 2 :  Track One
- USB Cables and Connectors (including USB Type-C)
     * Overview
     * USB Type-C Mechanical requirements and compliance
     * USB Type-C Electrical/EMC requirements and compliance
- USB 3.1 System Design
     * USB 3.1 design and interoperability goals, and design envelope (EQ capability, channel loss budget)
     * System simulation:  reference channels and reference equalizers
     * Key system performance metrics and design trade-offs
     * Design recommendations and trade-offs for package and PCB designs
     * Silicon design considerations, including equalizers and system margining
     * Re-timing repeater design requirements
     * Design to minimize EMI & RFI

Day 2 :  Track Two
- USB Power Delivery 2.0
     * Introduction and Architectural Overview
     * Electrical/Physical Layer
     * Protocol Layer
     * Protocol Extensions (specific to USB Type-C)
     * Device and System Policy
     * Power Supply
     * Compliance

Exhibitor Opportunities
Applications and agreements for exhibitors are now being accepted. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to increase your company’s exposure at this event and demonstrate your company's industry leadership in advancing the USB landscape. 
Where:  Marina Bay Sands
              10 Bayfront Avenue
              Singapore 018956
www.marinabaysands.com
Tel.: +65 6688 8868

Hotel Accommodations
The group room block is at the Marina Bay Sands. To receive the group sleeping room rate of SGD 300 plus tax per night (includes complimentary guestroom internet), attendees should make their reservations by visiting https://resweb.passkey.com/go/USBDevDays by Monday, November 3, 2014. Reservations received after November 3rd are subject to availability and room type and will be offered at the group rate based on availability only. The special group rate is available from November 17th through November 20th. Reservations beyond these dates will be offered at the group rate based on availability.

A major credit card is needed to guarantee guestroom reservations. Any reservation cancellations or changes should be made 14 days prior to arrival to avoid cancellation penalties. If the room is cancelled less than 14 days prior to arrival, the hotel will charge 100% of the agreed room rate for the entire stay to the credit card on file.

Hotel check-in time is 3:00pm. Check-out time is 11:00am.  Early check-in and late check-out are subject to availability. 

Hotel:  Marina Bay Sands
Cut-Off Date:  Monday, November 3, 2014
Group Rate:  SGD 300 plus tax per night

Mark CathcartIt’s not dead, It’s RESTing

Not withstanding the dead parrot sketch, here is a great example of the technology is “dead” type article I wrote about here , if you are a programmer, agree/disagree?

Claiming anything is dead often gives the claimer the right not to understand the thing that is supposedly “dead” but to just give reasons why that must be so and move on to give advice on what you should do instead.

 


Derik PereiraNoah and his Ark

The main feature of Sinjar is a slab of a mountain range thrusting up from the surrounding desert. Sinjar has a feel of antiquity about it. Noah, the Biblical patriarch of flood fame, is said to be buried there, and local tradition holds that Mount Sinjar is the actual resting place of his eponymous Ark. Sinjar was once a crossroads of ancient societies and cultures, and when one drives through the streets of the town, the ruins of empires past can be seen in the very foundations of its buildings, with bits and pieces of Persian, Greek and Roman carved stone mixed in with the brick and mortar of modernity.

The people of Sinjar consist of Sunni and Shi'a Arabs, Turkmen, and an ancient people of Kurdish ethnicity known as the Yazidi. The Yazidi represent a direct link to history as told in the Old Testament of the Bible, the Koran, and the Zoroastrian texts of old Persia. The Yazidi were among the first worshippers of the monotheistic entity of Judeo-Christian upbringing call God, and the Yazidi men all claim direct lineage to Adam, the first man created in God's image. That the Yazidi of Sinjar have survived, intact, into the modern era is a testament both to their resilience as a people and the remote nature of the land they live in.

The Yazidi revered the archangel Melek Taus, who refused to bow before Adam at the creation of man out of deference to God, thereby incurring God's favor. Local legend held that Melek Taus, when confronted with the evil that man had done to the world, cried for forty days and nights, flooding the world with his tears and extinguishing the fires of hell. Noah and his Ark, carrying the hope for continued life on earth, came to rest on Mount Sinjar.

Perhaps it is time for Melek Taus to start crying again.

William LearaUpcoming USB-IF Compliance Workshop, 10 Nov 2014, Taipei

Registration for the next USB-IF Compliance Workshop is now open and available at http://www.usb.org/app/members/events/.  The workshop will be held November 10-14, 2014 at the The Westin Taipei.  To attend, your company's USB-IF membership must be in good standing. 


original announcement:

http://www.usb.org/developers/events/compshop/


Please review the important event information below.
Location:

The Westin Taipei
133 Nanjing East Road, Sec. 3, Taipei 104, Taiwan R.O.C.
Phone: +886-2-8770-6565
Fax: +886-2-8770-5765

Event Dates: November 10-14, 2014
Hotel Reservation Deadline: Monday, October 27, 2014

Certification testing WILL be available for the following products:

· SuperSpeed End Product Hubs (using CERTIFIED SuperSpeed hub silicon)

· PCs; Notebooks; Motherboards with SuperSpeed capable ports (using CERTIFIED SuperSpeed silicon)

· SuperSpeed peripherals and peripheral silicon

· SuperSpeed Compound Device (with exposed downstream ports using CERTIFIED SuperSpeed silicon)

*NOTE: SuperSpeed Compound Devices with exposed downstream ports must register as a SuperSpeed Compound Device. Like hub vendors, compound device vendors are required to reserve a hotel room to serve as their test suite for demonstrated interoperability testing with visiting peripheral vendors for the duration of the workshop. Compound devices that do not meet this requirement will not be eligible for the Integrators List.

SuperSpeed USB Certification Testing

There will be certification testing available for the following SuperSpeed USB products.

  • 1 SuperSpeed Peripheral (peripheral and peripheral silicon)
  • 1 SuperSpeed Host (For Certification: PCs, Notebooks, Motherboards with SuperSpeed capable ports must be using CERTIFIED SuperSpeed silicon)
  • 1 SuperSpeed Hub (using CERTIFIED SuperSpeed hub silicon)*
  • 1 SuperSpeed Compound Device (with exposed downstream ports using CERTIFIED SuperSpeed silicon)**

* NOTE: Space is limited for SuperSpeed Hubs. Please register for the waitlist. Priority will be provided to those who are seeking SuperSpeed end product hub certification (must have certified SuperSpeed hub silicon). Informational only testing will be given second priority. We will notify you when your registration has been accepted and moved from the waitlist.  

** NOTE: Compound devices with exposed downstream ports must register as a SuperSpeed Compound Device. Like hub vendors, compound device vendors are required to reserve a hotel room to serve as their test suite for interoperability testing with visiting peripheral vendors for the duration of the workshop. Compound devices that do not meet this requirement will not be eligible for the Integrators List.

Pretest Requirement:

PRETEST REQUIRED: A pretest is required for all products seeking USB-IF Certification. Please remember to submit the required reports so we can move your registration from submitted to completed. Only completed registrations may attend the workshop. Pretest instructions are located on the workshop event page.


Registration
:

A limited number of testing slots are available. Registrations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Each member company representative may register the following:

· Up to one (1) SuperSpeed peripherals

· Up to one (1) SuperSpeed USB host or hubs.

· Up to one (1) SuperSpeed Compound Device (with exposed downstream ports)

Testing Schedule:

· SuperSpeed USB testing will be held Tuesday - Thursday 8:00AM -6:00 PM and Friday 8:00AM- 3:00 PM.

· USB 2.0 Host and Hub testing will be held Tuesday - Thursday 8:00AM - 6:00 PM and Friday 8:00AM- 3:00 PM.

· USB 2.0 Peripheral testing will be held Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00AM - 6:00 PM.

USB 3.0 Hub vendors with exposed downstream ports will need five (5) samples of the registered product and two (2) company representatives to attend for testing purposes.

Vendors with compound devices will need two (2) samples and two (2) company representatives to attend for testing purposes.

The registration form will reject attempts to register after the registration limit has been reached. Once testing slots have been filled, a waiting list will be started. Products on the waiting lists are NOT guaranteed a testing slot.

Vendor-Hosted Test Suite Form:

The purpose of this form is to get your Vendor-Hosted Test Suite placed on the correct testing floor and space appropriately to prevent testing interference.  Please fill out and submit your completed form to the USB-IF via fax at +1(503) 644-6708 or by email at admin@usb.org by Monday, October 27, 2014

· Faxing in this form does NOT register you for the event. To register for CW#93 please visit https://www.usb.org/members/events/.

· Completing this form does NOT make your sleeping room reservation for your suite.  For information on how to make your vendor-hosted test suite reservation and general attendee sleeping room reservations please read below.      

Making Your Room Reservations:

Please make your hotel reservation using the hotel event reservation page at https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/USBIFComplianceWorkshop93. Use the FIRST and LAST name you listed on your Vendor-Hosted Test Suite form if you are required to host a suite so we can find your reservation and place you in the correct room.   

The hotel cut-off date is Monday, October 27, 2014. We recommend you make your reservation as early as possible. This will help ensure your ability to get a room, as the hotel has been known to sell out.  Once the group block is filled, rooms will be available at the prevailing rate.  If you register and are unable to secure a room Monday-Friday the standard event cancellation policy will apply.  Please note: if needed, you are responsible for organizing and requesting a late checkout directly with the hotel.

Cancellation Policy:

If you become unable to attend this workshop, please notify us as soon as possible by email to cancellations@usb.org so your testing reservation can be released to other members with products to test. Companies that no-show or do not cancel their testing reservation(s) for the upcoming workshop in writing to cancellations@usb.org by midnight (PT) Sunday, November 2, 2014 will not be eligible to test at the next scheduled Compliance Workshop, and subject to a $500 cancellation fee. The cancellation fee must be paid before the company will be eligible to register for future workshops. This policy will be strictly enforced.


Mandatory On-Site Check-in
:

SuperSpeed USB Host and Hub and SuperSpeed Compound Device

A special, mandatory check-in session will be held Monday, November 10th at 2:00PM for system, motherboard and hub vendors in the USB-IF Hospitality Suite. System/motherboard/hub vendors must be set-up and prepared to begin testing at 8:00AM Tuesday, November 11thand staff their stationary suite for interoperability testing through 3:00PM on Friday, November 14th.  

SuperSpeed Peripherals

We have separated SuperSpeed peripheral testing into two different testing periods. Please make sure to select one of the two testing periods when you register for the event.

1. Tuesday, November 11th -  Wednesday, November 12th

2. Thursday, November 13th - Friday,  November 14th

SuperSpeed USB Peripheral vendors must check-in to the Hospitality Suite one day prior to your testing slot.

1. Slot 1 (Tuesday, November 11th -  Wednesday, November 12th) must check-in on Monday, November 10th between 3:00PM - 4:00PM. Testing will take place November 11th -  Wednesday, November 12th from 8:00AM - 6:00PM.

2. Slot 2 (Thursday, November 13th - Friday,  November 14th) must check-in on Wednesday, November 12th between 4:00PM and 5:00PM. Testing will take place Thursday, November 13th from 8:00AM - 6:00PM and Friday, November 14th from 8:00AM - 3:00PM.

SuperSpeed USB Peripherals do not need to host a stationary suite.

Non Cert Vendor Stationary Suite

Non Cert Vendor Stationary Suite vendors must check-in on Monday, November 10th from 2:00PM - 4:00PM in order to be placed on the printed schedule. Non Cert Vendor Hosted Stationary Suite vendors are automatically scheduled for testing all week (Tuesday, November 11th – Friday, November 14th). If you would like a different schedule please notify admin@usb.org.

Test Session Notes:

· The USB-IF intends to test battery-powered devices with a dead battery in addition to normal testing. Bringing your product with a discharged battery (i.e. device will not turn on) is required. This is to investigate dead battery current consumption with the potential to become a compliance requirement in the future.

· Products may also be tested through the USB-IF Certified Test Facilities. Please visit http://www.usb.org/developers/compliance/labs/ for a list of certified facilities.

· Complete event details and registration for this workshop are available at http://www.usb.org/app/members/events/.

Regards,

USB-IF Administration

Mark CathcartLinux Foundation Certification program

LFCS-LFCE_badge_rgb[1]I was delighted to be able to endorse the Linux Foundations’ new certification program at its’ recent launch,a long with industry luminaris including Mark Shuttleworth.

 “Linux certification that is based on performance and is easily accessible will be key to increasing the number of qualified Linux professionals,” said Mark Cathcart, Senior Distinguished Engineer, Dell. “The Linux Foundation’s approach to this market need is smart and thoughtful and they have the proven ability to deliver.”

Although I’ve contributed little to nothing to Linux in the way of technology, I’m totally impressed in how totally pervasive Linux has become, from embedded to Enterprise, since I wrote the chapters in the Year 2000 IBM Redbook on why IBM was getting involved with Linux.

So the new Linux foundation certification program is a perfectly logical step in furthering the skills and workface that are driving Linux today. Congratulations to Jim Zemlin and the Linux Foundation for achieving this significant milestone.

Linux Foundation Training and Certification

Jim Zemlins Blog entry on the certification program

Linux Foundation Press Release covering the program announcement

16-years? Wow, time to send in a donation to the “Way back machine”, I’d forgotten they have many of my old pages here and here.


Mark CathcartMobility Forecast: BYOD and EMM in 2016

Tom Kendra from Dell Software Group, VP of Systems Management sits in the next isle over from me in Round Rock, such is the way of cube life, from time to time I overhear him on calls and meetings. This is a great summary on cio.com of what I’d heard him say, and the urgency he’s been driving our team.


Matt DomschSpamfighting: updated opendmarc packages, handling DMARC p=reject

I took a few months off from dealing with my spam problems, choosing to stick my head in the sand. Probably not my wisest move…

In the interim, the opendmarc developers have been busy, releasing version 1.3.0, which also adds the nice feature of doing SPF checking internally. This lets me CLOSE WONTFIX the smf-spf and libspf2 packages from the Fedora review process and remove them from my system. “All code has bugs. Unmaintained code with bugs that you aren’t running can’t harm you.” New packages and the open Fedora review are available.

I’ve also had several complaints from friends, all @yahoo.com users, who have been sending mail to myself and family @domsch.com. In most cases, @domsch.com simply forwards the emails on to yet other mail provider – it’s providing a mail forwarding service for a vanity domain name. However, now that Yahoo and AOL are publishing DMARC p=reject rules, after smtp.domsch.com forwarded the mail on to its ultimate home, those downstream servers were rejecting the messages (presumably on SPF grounds – smtp.domsch.com isn’t a valid mail server for @yahoo.com).

My solution to this is a bit akward, but will work for a while. Instead of forwarding mail from domains with DMARC p=reject or p=quarantine, I now store them and serve them up via POP3/IMAP to their ultimate destination. I’m using procmail to do the forwarding:


DEFAULT="/home/mdomsch/Mail/"
SENDER=`formail -c -x Return-Path`
SENDMAILFLAGS="-oi -f $SENDER"

# forward all mail except dmarc policy reject|quarantine.
:0 H
* ? formail -x'From:' | grep -o '[[:alnum:]+\.\_\-]*@[[:alnum:]+\.\_\-]*' | xargs opendmarc-check | egrep -s 'Domain policy: (reject|quarantine)'
${DEFAULT}

:0
! mdomsch@example.com

This introduces quite a bit of latency (on the order of an hour) for mail delivery from my friends with @yahoo.com addresses, but it keeps them from getting rejected due to their email provider’s lousy choice of policy.

Tim Draegen, the guy behind the excellent dmarcian.com, is chairing a new IETF working group focusing on proper handling on “indirect email flows” such as mailing lists and vanity domain forwarding. I’m hoping to have time to get involved there. If you care, follow along on their mailing lists.

I’m choosing to ignore the fact that domsch.com is getting spoofed 800k times a week (as reported by 8 mail providers and visualized nicely on dmarcian.com), at least for now. I’m hoping the new working group can come up with a method to help solve this.

Do your friends use a mail service publishing DMARC p=reject? Has it caused problems for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Kevin HoustonPOLL Results: How Many NICs Do You Use for Virtualization on Your Blade Servers?

Last month I ran a poll asking “how many NICs do you use for virtualization on your blade servers” and the results may surprise you.

Over 10% of the readers replied, and here are the results:

  • 2 x 10GbE – 49.59%
  • 4 x 10GbE – 26.02%
  • 4 x 1GbE – 4.88%
  • 6 x 1GbE  – 4.88%
  • Other (see below) – 4.88%
  • 8 x 1GbE – 3.25%
  • 6 x 10GbE – 2.44%
  • Greater than 6 x 10GbE Greater than 8 x 1GbE – .81%

“Other answers” included:

  • 2x10GbE std, 4x10GbE for DB-hosting blades
  • 2xFDR and 4x10GbE
  • 2 or 4 depends on models of VIC adapters
  • 2 x 1GbE

As you can see, nearly 50% stated they use 2 x 10GbE NICs for their virtualization on blade servers.  What are your thoughts on these findings?

 

 

 

Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

Matt Domsch[REPOST] Who am I?

I’ve started blogging again on the Dell TechCenter site, Enterprise Mobility Management section, along with the rest of my team.

Here’s the intro to my first post, “Who am I?”:

The existential question, asked by everyone and everything throughout their lifetimes – who am I? High school seniors choosing a college, college seniors considering grad school or entering the job market, adults in the midst of their mid-life crisis—the question comes far easier than the answer.

In the world of technology, who you are depends on the technology with which you are interacting. On Facebook, you are your quirky personal self, with pictures of your family and vacations you take. On LinkedIn, you are your professional self, sharing articles and achievements that are aligned with your career.

What about on the myriad devices you carry around? On the smartphone in my pocket, I have several personas—personal, business, gamer (my kids borrow my phone), constantly context-switching between them. In the not-too-distant past, people would carry two phones—one for personal use and one for work, keeping the personas separate via physical separation—two personas, two devices.

Read more…

Barton GeorgeBernard Golden: PaaS, Standards and Open Source

Last but not least in my series of four videos from the Cloud Standards Customer Council is an interview with Bernard Golden.  Bernard, who is the VP of strategy at ActiveState, provided an industry perspective talk entitled: What Should PaaS Standards Look Like.  Bernard then sat on the PaaS panel that followed.

I sat down with Bernard and he gave a quick overview of his talk as well as provided his thoughts on OpenStack and its need for focus.  Take a listen:

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Barton GeorgeAzure architect talks about Kubernetes and the future of PaaS

Here is the third of four interviews that I conducted last week at the Cloud Standards Customer Council.  The theme of the conference was “preparing for the post-IaaS phase of cloud adoption” and there was quite a bit of talk around the role that PaaS would play in that future.

The last session of the morning, before we broke for lunch, was a panel centered around Current and Future PaaS Trends.   After the panel ended I sat down with panelist John Gossman, architect on Microsoft Azure.  John, an app developer by origin, focuses on the developer’s experience on the cloud.

Below John talks working with Google on Kubernetes and getting it to work on Azure as well as the potential future of PaaS as a runtime that sits on top of IaaS.

Stay tuned for my next post when I will conclude my mini series from the Cloud Standards Customer Council meeting with an interview with Bernard Golden.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Ryan M. Garcia Social Media LawMy Awesome Announcement

I hate tooting my own horn but this is one of the proudest moments in my still short social media law career.  Please forgive the somewhat staged presentation but those who know me know that if I’m going to tell a story I need to make it interesting.

I was at the University of Texas Co-op’s law school location last week browsing the Nutshell books.  (Go with me, people.)  For those of you not in the legal profession, congrats on that by the way, know that the Nutshell series is put out by West Academic (one of the biggest names, if not the biggest name, in the legal publishing world) and is a fantastic resource for an overview of legal issues in a particular topic.  They aren’t casebooks–larger books with often edited cases to look at judicial rulings on certain areas.  Nutshells get right to the point and provide essential information on the overall legal topic.  I used more than one when I was in law school and as a practicing attorney.

But I noticed something was missing from the Nutshell section.  Can you spot it?

Can you spot what's missing?

Can you spot what’s missing?

That’s right, there’s no Social Media Law in a Nutshell.

Let’s fix that, shall we?

I’m proud to announce that I will be writing Social Media Law in a Nutshell for West Academic.  My co-author, Thaddeus Hoffmeister, is a professor of law at the University of Dayton School of Law and has previously published a book on social media in the courtroom.  His knowledge of social media litigation, evidence uses, and applicability in criminal cases will combine with my information on the marketing, content, employment and other social media uses to make this a comprehensive review of social media across all legal channels.

Doing this as a Nutshell book feels perfect right now.  There isn’t a wealth of case law on social media issues, but there are certainly cases out there.  In some areas the most fascinating legal issues are taking place outside of a courtroom so a Nutshell allows us to cover those topics in ways a casebook couldn’t.  Plus, when the movie rights get picked up we all agree that Hugh Jackman can play me.  He’s just a more talented and better looking version of me who can also sing and dance and has a better accent.  The resemblance is uncanny.

I’m not sure when the book will be released but it certainly won’t be until 2015 at the earliest.  Rest assured I’ll let you all know as the process unfolds.

Yesterday I published the 100th blog post here on SoMeLaw Thoughts.  When I look back at how much has changed in social media since I started writing about it, not just my own professional involvement, it’s staggering.  I feel incredibly lucky to take this journey and contribute to the field as well as participate in a line of books that I personally value.  To join the ranks of the Nutshell books blows my mind.

Thanks to all of my readers and friends on social media who have pushed/pulled/heckled me along the way.  An even bigger thanks to my family for putting up with my little side projects.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some writing to do.


William LearaA Tour of the Intel BITS

Burt and Josh Triplett have created a nifty tool for validating that a BIOS has successfully configured Intel resources such as:

  • MSRs
  • C-states
  • P-states
  • power management reference code
  • select ACPI tables
  • SMI frequency and latency
  • microcode

From the website:

The Intel BIOS Implementation Test Suite (BITS) provides a bootable pre-OS environment for testing BIOSes and in particular their initialization of Intel processors, hardware, and technologies. BITS can verify your BIOS against many Intel recommendations. In addition, BITS includes Intel's official reference code as provided to BIOS, which you can use to override your BIOS's hardware initialization with a known-good configuration, and then boot an OS.

The application runs equally well on either UEFI or Legacy BIOS systems.  I successfully ran the utility on both Nehalem (Legacy-based) and Sandy Bridge (UEFI-based) systems.

Snapshot_20140923_232006

Setting up the tool and launching it took literally four minutes.  In the download is an .ISO file.  Installing the tool is simply burning the .ISO to either a CD or a USB flash drive.  The INSTALL.TXT file gives the Linux dd command to accomplish this.  For Windows, I used the excellent Rufus tool on a USB flash drive with the following settings:

image

I then was able to legacy boot to the USB flash drive which booted directly into the BITS tool.  Here’s a sample run (1:58):

BITS version 1090 on a Sandy Bridge system

The BITS tool can be run via a simple text menu system, or also can be controlled via a Python scripting interface.  There is a configure menu that allows the user to modify the assumptions in the tests.  The verbosity of the tests can be adjusted.  There is a facility for saving the test logs so they can be analyzed off-line.  The source code is also available for users to download, modify, and compile themselves.

The download is free.  The website has a good screenshot tour of the capabilities; more detailed documentation is found in the download.  I think the tool will be a great help to BIOS developers.  At a minimum it can be the start of a conversation with your Intel FAE over what constitutes the “correct” MSR settings, microcode, reference code, etc.

Ryan M. Garcia Social Media Law13 Quick Thoughts About The iPhone 6 Plus

You wouldn't like the iPhone 6 Plus when it gets angry.

You wouldn’t like the iPhone 6 Plus when it gets angry.

Because social media and mobile technology are so well connected and because I didn’t want to post a long thing on Facebook, here are some quick thoughts from my own use of my new iPhone 6 Plus.  Most of these are answers to questions I’ve been asked.  If you have some questions, fire away.

  1. Yes, it’s big.  When you put it next to an older model iPhone it seems gigantic. Shockingly, once you start using it away from your old phone it does seem a bit bigger but not much.  I believe a similar technique will be used to shrink Paul Rudd in the Ant-Man movie.
  2. Yes, it fits in my pocket.  Both my jeans pocket (but I don’t wear skinny jeans because a-I’m not skinny and b-ew) and my shirt pocket.  When it sits in my shirt pocket the top bit including the camera does stick out so it might concern people that I’m filming them as I walk by.  Which I’m not.  Probably.
  3. I have no idea if it fits in a suit jacket pocket.  What’s a suit jacket?  I live in Austin and I’m in-house counsel.  That means I’m forbidden by two sets of laws to wear a suit.  Same with this sports coat people mention.
  4. Yes, I can use it one handed.  And that’s without doing the double tap to bring the top stuff down to the bottom, although that helps too.  I don’t know if it’s because I have large hands (I never thought I did) or if it’s because I grew up playing arcade games in the 80s (which required you to dislocate three fingers to play Defender for more than 3 levels–and don’t get me started on my finger speed thanks to Track & Field).  Either way, I can use it just fine with one hand.  A bit slower than the iPhone 5 but that could be the size or just getting used to it.
  5. Set up was super easy.  Maybe it’s because I’m used to switching Apple phones, but the old back-up with encryption (to keep your passwords) and restore from backup worked flawlessly.  I did have a slight hiccup getting the phone to active (you have to call an 866 number for AT&T) and then there was a weird iMessage bug (solved by turning iMessage off and back on, IT Crowd for the win!).
  6. It’s actually faster to use with two hands.  I didn’t think about this but maybe it does show my hands are that big.  I was never able to use my previous iPhones with two hands.  My hands just got in the way–at least to make it any faster than using it one handed.  But now there is plenty of room to navigate so I can move faster with two hands typing.  That’s pretty neat.
  7. The predictive keyboard is very cool.  Having a few options available is nice and it seems to make that damn autocorrect less intrusive.  I hope this doesn’t mean Damn You Autocorrect is going away because those are the best.  My favorite feature–if someone sends you a message with two options (e.g., “This or that?”) then without typing a character the predictive keyboard will give you the choice of “This” or “That.”  Nice touch.
  8. Jitterbug mode sucks, will hopefully improve over time.  You know Jitterbug, the smart phone for “aging Americans?”   Using an iPhone app that hasn’t been redesigned for the 6 Plus’ screen feels a bit like using an app on Jitterbug.  Suddenly everything is blown up to silly levels as iOS scales the apps to fill the space rather than give a big black border like the first iPads did.  My Good For Enterprise app still shows 3.5 emails on the Inbox view only now each one is massive.  Compare that to the native Mail app that shows 6.5 in highly legible type.  I know it’s just a matter of time before the main apps I use update (Good, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) but that can’t come fast enough.
  9. The battery rocks.  This may be a combination of leaving autobrightness on (which works much better than it did with my 5–I constantly had it on brightest mode for most of the day) but I noticed it yesterday when I cranked the brightness as well (before realizing I didn’t need to).  Right now my battery is sitting at 75%.  I’ve had typical usage of it today, perhaps a bit less than others.  But on most days my iPhone 5 would be at 20%-30% by the end of lunch.  75% is amazing.
  10. I still haven’t played with the camera.  I look forward to having fun with slow motion and burst photos and all that, but I’m not a good photographer and I take pictures when needed.  Like if there’s a funny sign.
  11. Native HD screen rocks!  The biggest draw for the Plus over the basic 6 was, for me, the native HD screen.  This screen has all the pixels of a 1080p video stream.  Every other phone has to squeeze it down a bit.  Every other iPad with more pixels is just stretching the image out.  This is fantastic for someone like me who only uses my iPad to watch movies and read comics.  Now I don’t need that for movies (and I’m hoping Comixology gives us full page view on the 6 Plus soon).  I watched some Netflix on it last night and that was awesome.  Holding a 5.5″ screen a foot away from my eyes seems larger than my living room TV which is 57″ but ten feet away.
  12. I’m hopeful this is my iPad replacement.  I don’t like travelling with two devices or having some games/apps on my iPad while my essential stuff is on my iPhone.  My goal is for this device to replace my old phone (check) and my iPad (let’s see, but so far so good).
  13. There is no item 13.  But congrats on making it to the end.

Mark CathcartGaining a better city view

10584048_10152680088100530_6382819846875428430_nMckinney Texas is a great city, it contains all the best things about Texas towns and architecture.

Now I’m delighted to say they’ve adopted an become a reference for a number of our products. You can read the full solutions brief here.

The city deployed Foglight Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and Toad Data Modeler from Dell Software to increase application visibility, speed troubleshooting and improve integration giving

  • Better visibility into the city’s critical
    web and legacy applications
  • More-modern applications and services for employees and residents
  • Faster diagnosis and problem resolution
  • Proactive troubleshooting
  • Stronger integration of disparate applications
  • Ability to get more out of existing infrastructure

Yes, the picture is of McKinney Falls State Park, it’s not a city property.


Barton GeorgeThe Future of PaaS, its “value proposition” and Docker

At last week’s Cloud Standards Customer Council held in Austin Texas, the first panel of the day dealt with “Current and Future PaaS Trends.”   The panel debated whether there should or could be a PaaS standard as well as what its future might look like.

One of the panelists was Diane Mueller, community manager of OpenShift Origin.  I grabbed some time with Diane after the panel and got her to share her thoughts on the viability of a PaaS standard and how she saw the technology evolving.

Stay tuned for two more posts from last week’s Cloud Standards Customer Council meeting and more PaaS prognostication.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Ryan M. Garcia Social Media LawEight Social Media Rules For Kids

“Mommy? I need more Candy Crush lives!”

Coming up with rules for kids on social media is hard.  First, coming up with any set of rules for kids is hard as any parent can attest.  But when you’re talking about a complicated subject like social media it can be even trickier.  There are very real risks of kids not realizing what’s appropriate or not on social media or not realizing who can see their content.  There are also scary but not true stories about predators seeking kids on social media or other online boogeymen that even if we rationally don’t believe we also don’t want to be the one parent whose child actually faced the monster.

Even though I work in the social media space I hadn’t given the topic of social media rules for kids much thought until a co-worker (hat tip to Gretchen) asked me about it this week.  My boys are too young for any social media platforms and still young enough that their friends aren’t pressuring them to join.  But I know that will change and it will change faster than I want it too.  And while it may be a simple rule to say “No social media until you’re [AGE]!” I also know that social media is as much a part of young culture as it is adult culture.  Banning something isn’t as effective as teaching them the right way to do it.

But for young kids first experiencing social media it’s a huge topic to cover.  In some ways I compare it to driving a car–it’s a tool that everyone uses and it’s important to learn how to use it properly because bad things can happen if you mess around.  But in other ways this is a bad comparison–when a teenager learns to drive they’ve been sitting in a car as a passenger for many, many years.  Children first going online typically haven’t been a backseat passenger to their parents’ online activities so we have to teach them the rules of a road they’ve never been on.

This topic prompted me to post some initial rules for kids on social media which I invited comments on and then revised.  I share them here because it was a good conversation but let me make a few important call-outs.

  • As with any set of rules for kids, these are completely customizable for your family and your children.  I am not saying this is the right way to do it, this is just one way to start thinking about it.
  • The rules are written a bit strongly but that’s because social media is similar to a car that weighs several tons–use it correctly and you’re good.  One bad accident can have serious consequences.  I’m not trying to scare people, I’ve just worked long enough in the space to know better.  I imagine ambulance drivers and emergency room workers have similar conversations with their kids about driving motorcycles.
  • These are basic rules that I want to apply to all platforms but also to trigger a series of conversations about how to use social media.  That’s the basis of rule five. Nobody should think you can give these rules to a child and then they know what to do–this is the foundation for you to teach them about posting appropriate content, providing appropriate responses, and engaging with people they do or do not know in real life.  This is the start of the conversation, not the end or the totality.

That said, here are the Eight Rules.  If you have additions, please leave me a comment below.

  1. This is not your account, this is my account with your name on it.
  2. I will set the password and you will not change it. If the platform requires you to change it then you will come to me and I will change it for you.
  3. I will be monitoring your account. Don’t post or say anything that you don’t want me to see because I will see it. If you’d like something more private I’m happy to buy you a diary and a pen.
  4. When I say I will be monitoring your account I mean that I will be actively watching your account and so will many other people. All of these people, like me, have your best interest in mind when we stop you from doing unwise things.
  5. I understand you’ll be learning how to use social media and that the learning process is a journey so I will be patient and explain the things you should and shouldn’t do. You, in turn, need to understand that there are risks and concerns you can’t comprehend right now so while some of my advice may seem odd you will still need to follow it.
  6. If you ever have a question about posting something, ask me first. Social media is about conversations but it is also very different from the actual conversations you’ve had with family and friends. It takes time to learn but it’s better to ask first than regret later.
  7. I will warn you once before I remove your access to the account. Unless you do something really awful in which case you won’t get a warning. Trying to circumvent these rules (making another account, deleting accounts, etc.) is automatically awful.
  8. If you think these rules are strict just wait until we talk about driving when you’re 16.

Barton GeorgePreparing for the Post-IaaS world

Today I attended a day-long event put on here in Austin by the Cloud Standards Customer Council.  It was a packed agenda focused around the theme “preparing for the post-IaaS phase of cloud adoption.”

Craig Lowery, Sr Distinguished Engineer in Dell Software, chaired the event and gave the opening presentation.  I grabbed some time with Craig during the lunch break to get his thoughts on the event and have him hit the highlights of his presentation.

Take a listen.

Stay tuned next week for three more short interviews from the event around Docker, the future of PaaS and more.

Pau for now…


Jason BocheBenQ W1070 and the Universal Ceiling Mount

Over the weekend I hung my first theater projector, the BenQ W1070 1080P 3D Home Theater Projector (White), using the BenQ 5J.J4N10.001 Universal Ceiling Mount, both available of course through Amazon.com. While I didn’t expect the installation to be overly complex, I did employ a slow and methodical planning approach before drilling large holes into the new knockdown theater ceiling.

After unboxing the projector and the universal ceiling mount kit, I looked at the instructions, the parts, and the underside of the projector. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re in the same boat I was in – the diagrams don’t closely resemble the configuration of what you’ve got with the W1070. Furthermore, reading some of the reviews on Amazon seems to suggest this universal ceiling mount kit doesn’t work with the W1070 without some modifications to the mounting hardware. I read tales of cutting and filing as well as adding longer bolts, tubing, and washers to compensate for the placement of the mounting holes on the W1070. Not to worry, none of that excess is needed. If you concentrate more on the written instructions rather than the diagrams for mounting the hardware to the projector, it all actually works and fits together as designed with no modifications necessary. The one exception to this is that not all of the parts provided in the kit are used. This perhaps is what leads to some of the initial confusion in the first place. The diagrams suggest a uniform placement of four (4) mounting brackets on the underside of the projector in a ‘cross’ pattern. While this may be the case for some projectors, it’s not at all a representation of the W1070 integration.

For openers, the BenQ W1070 has only three (3) mounting holes meaning only three (3) mounting brackets will be used and not all four (4). Furthermore, the mounting holes are not placed uniformly around the perimeter of the projector. That, combined with the uneven surface of the projector can lead to uncertainty that these products were meant for each other and if so, then how. Simply follow the directions and screw the three brackets into place while allowing a little give so that you can swing the brackets into a correct position. I say _A_ correct position because there are nearly countless positions in which you can configure them and it will still work correctly resulting in a firm mount to the ceiling.

The image below shows an example of how I configured mine:

Next, place the mounting plate on top of the mounting brackets. Slide the mounting screws in the brackets, and gently swing the brackets themselves, so that the screws can extend through one of the channels in the mounting plate. Gently remove the mounting plate and torque the screws attaching the bracket to the projector.

I took some additional steps which may not have been necessary with modern projector technology but nonetheless the methodical approach helps me sleep better at night and reassures me I’m not destroying my ceiling in the wrong spot. I used a felt tip marker to mark a center point on the projector relative to the telescoping pole that will mount to the plate.

I then temporarily removed the mounting plate to measure the telescoping ceiling mount offset relative to the front and center of the projector lens. This measuring translates into the offset for the ceiling mount relative to the center of the room and distance to the projection wall. Performed correctly, it allowed me to mount the front of the lens 10’10″ from the projection wall (sweet spot for my calculated screen size, seating, zoom, etc.) as well as mount the lens exactly in the middle of the room from a side to side lateral perspective.

In closing, the only other thing I’d add here is that if your lag bolts are not hitting studs in the ceiling, don’t bother with the plastic sheetrock inserts. While they may work, I don’t trust them for the amount of money I spent on the projector and I certainly don’t want the projected image wiggling because the projector isn’t firmly mounted to the ceiling. Only one of my lag bolts hit a stud. For the remaining bolts, I went to home depot and purchased some low cost anchor bolts (these are the ones I used along with a fender washer) good for 100lbs. each. Suffice to say, the projector is now firmly hung from the ceiling.

Post from: boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist

Copyright (c) 2010 Jason Boche. The contents of this post may not be reproduced or republished on another web page or web site without prior written permission.

BenQ W1070 and the Universal Ceiling Mount

Mark CathcartDecaying Texas

It’s been an interesting month. I live in Austin Texas, boom town USA. Everything is happening in construction, although nothing much in transport. In many ways Austin reminds me of rapidly developing cities in China, India and other developing countries. I’ve travelled some inside Texas, but most on I10 and out East. I’ve tended to dismiss what I’ve seen in small towns, mostly because I figured they were unrepresentative.

Earlier this month I did my first real US roadtrip. I had my Mum with me for a month and figured a week or so out of the heat of Texas would be a good thing. We covered 2,500 miles, most up from North West Texas, also New Mexico, and Colorado. On the way back we went via Taos, Santa Fe, and Roswell and then back through West Texas.

There they were small town after small town, decaying. Every now and again you’d drive through a bigger town that wasn’t as bad, but overall massive decay, mostly in the commercial space. Companies had given up, gone bust, or got run out of town by a Walmart 30-50 files away. Even in the bigger ones, there was really no choice, there were Dollar Stores, Pizza Hut, McDonalds or Burger King, Sonic or Dairy Queen, and gas stations. Really not much else, except maybe a Mexican food stop.

It was only just before sunset on the drive back through West Texas, with my Mum asleep in the backseat, I worked out that my camera and telephoto lens rested perfectly between the steering wheel and the dashboard and I started taking pictures. These are totally representative with what I’ve seen all over Texas. Just like the small towns out near Crockett and Lufkin in East Texas; pretty similar to anything over near Midland; outside El Paso; down south towards Galveston.  Decaying Texas.

Click to view slideshow.

What there were plenty of, in the miles and miles of flat straight roads, were oil derricks, and tankers, hundreds upon hundreds of them. It’s not clear to me what Governor Perry means when he talks about the Texas Miracle, but these small towns, and to some degree, smaller cities have more in common with the towns and cities in China and India, slowly being deserted, run down in the rush to the big cities.

Click to view slideshow.

Interestingly, while writing and previewing this entry on wordpress, it suggested the mybigfatwesttexastrip, which ends with the following

The pictures above tell the story of a dying West Texas town and the changing landscape of population movement away from the agrarian society to the city.


William LearaPCI-SIG Compliance Workshop, Taipei, Taiwan

original announcement:

https://www.pcisig.com/events/apaccompliance_workshop/


Dear PCI Developer,

Registration is now open for the PCI-SIG(R) Compliance Workshop #91, which will be held October 28-31, 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan!

Objective

The PCI-SIG Compliance Workshop #91 is held to promote PCI Express(R) specification compliance in the industry with the goals of eliminating interoperability issues and ensuring proper implementation of PCI specifications. Participation provides an opportunity to find and fix problems before release. This saves your company time and resources while offering valuable networking and training opportunities with your fellow engineers. Official testing capabilities for Workshop #91 include PCI Express 3.0 and PCI Express 2.0.

Cost

Attendance at this members-only event is free. Please note that your credit card information will be collected for product registration(s); however, you will not be charged unless you do not bring your product to the event or your product registration is not cancelled by 12noon Friday, September 26, 2014.

Registration Information and Deadlines

Onsite registration is not available. We do not accept onsite product registrations, so you MUST register your product prior to the registration cut-off date of 12noon PT on Friday, September 26, 2014. Your testing schedule will be created based off of the information you provide for your registered product, so please be sure that any changes to your product’s information are completed prior to 12noon PT on Friday, September 26, 2014. No product detail changes may be made after registration has closed as we will be distributing anonymized testing schedules in advance of the event. Name badges and non-anonymized test schedules will be distributed on Tuesday morning from 8:00-8:45am outside the PCI-SIG Hospitality Suite (Room 401).

In case registration exceeds our testing capacities, we have established a reasonable cap for each product type and revision. If these caps are reached during online registration, we will put any additional products on a waiting list and notify the product registrants. Products will be moved from the waiting list to full registration if possible, based on the order of their attempted pre-registration and will be notified the week of October 6.

System Vendors: System vendors are required to bring a laptop to the workshops for use in their Interoperability test suites with a compatible browser (Chrome or FireFox) for wirelessly submitting Interoperability test results electronically to a Hospitality Suite Server. The wireless application will provide a means for saving the test results to a soft copy PDF file in the gold suites and interoperability test suites. Additionally, a URL will be provided along with login information where testers may view their test results and download a soft copy PDF after the workshop. These results are only available until the next scheduled workshop.

You must register your products and reserve your hotel room before the cut-off dates to confirm your space at the event. Hotel reservations will not be accepted after Monday, October 13, 2014 and registration will close 12noon on Friday, September 26, 2014. All members can register and find additional information online at http://www.pcisig.com/events/apaccompliance_workshop/.  

Best Regards,

PCI-SIG Administration
3855 SW 153rd Drive
Beaverton, OR 97003
Phone: (503) 619-0569

Hollis Tibbetts (Ulitzer)To Heck with 'Big Data,' 'Little Data' Is the Problem Most Face

"Big data" gets all the press - but for the vast majority of people who work with data, it's the proliferation of "little data" that impacts us the most. What do I mean by little data? I'm referring to the proliferation of various SaaS and Cloud-based applications, on-premises applications, databases, spreadsheets, log files, data files and so forth. Many organizations are plagued with multiple instances of the same applications or multiple applications from different vendors that do essentially the same thing. These are the applications and data that run today's enterprise - and they're a mess.

read more

William LearaCould This Be The Wrongest Prediction Of All Time?

imageIn yet another fantastic Computer Chronicles episode, Stewart and Gary are this time talking to computer entrepreneurs. The year is 1984.  Among the guests are Gene Amdahl, Adam Osborne, and the co-founder and CEO of Vector Graphic Inc., Lore Harp.

The context is a general discussion about the PC industry, asking where can entrepreneurs successfully innovate, and how is it possible for start-ups to compete with IBM.

Gary’s question to Lore:
I know that you’ve been involved very closely with the whole industry as it’s switched toward IBM hardware; what are your feelings about the PC clones?
…and Lore’s response:
In my opinion, they are not going to have a future …
I don’t think they are going to be a long term solution.
The Computer Chronicles, 1984
Little did she know that IBM would stop being a serious PC competitor within ten years, and would stop selling PCs altogether in twenty.

What fascinates me about this crazy-bad prediction is that she brings up some interesting points, but then manages to come away with the exact wrong conclusion.  Listing her remarks one by one:

1. Clones are not creating any value—putting hardware together and buying software that are available to anyone

That the clone makers were putting together off-the-shelf hardware and software is incontrovertible.  However, the question she should have asked is “why would anyone pay a premium for the same batch of off-the-shelf hardware and software just because it says ‘IBM’ on the front?”  In other words, the off-the-shelfness (I made that word up) of the PC industry was a threat to IBM, not to the clone makers.

2. Clones are not creating anything that makes them proprietary

I guess that was the prevailing business wisdom at the time—you create value by creating something proprietary and lock-in customers to your solution.  What would she think of today’s industry around open source software?

Of course IBM ended up following exactly this strategy themselves—creating a proprietary system:  the PS/2 running OS/2.  The market refused to accept it and to become beholden to one vendor.  In the end, it was actually the PC clone makers lack of proprietary technology that ensured their eventual triumph over IBM.

3. If IBM takes a different turn, software vendors will follow suit, leaving out clone makers

As with her other remarks, this one also turned out to be quite prescient—IBM did indeed take a different turn and created the PS/2 with Micro Channel running OS/2.  But rather than the software vendors following IBM, they abandoned IBM.  Microsoft quit development of OS/2 and bet the company on Windows and Windows NT.  The software industry followed the clone makers, not IBM.

4. Clone makers cannot move as quickly as IBM (?!?!?!) because IBM will have planned their move in advance

What is hilarious about this statement is that of all the myriad things one could say about Big Blue, “moving quickly” is not one of them.  Anyway, as already mentioned, IBM planned their move years in advance and introduced their own proprietary hardware and software system.  The clones moved even quicker and standardized on ISA/EISA and Windows.  The rest is history!


Full episode:  https://archive.org/details/Computer1984_5

Whatever happened to Lore Harp and Vector Graphic?

William LearaAs the Apple ][ Goes, So Goes the iPhone

With the great success of the iPhone comes many illegal knock-off manufacturers.  Sound familiar?  It should—Stewart Cheifet reported the same thing happening to a previous Apple product, the Apple ][ … in 1983!

Checkout the video clip from a 1983 edition of The Computer Chronicles:

William LearaApple iWatch Revealed! (in 1985)

In another great episode of the Computer Chronicles, Stewart and Gary demonstrate a watch-based computer.  In yet another example of “the more things change, the more they stay the same”, Stewart makes the remark:

Is this another example of technology in search of a purpose?

That is the topic still being debated today, thirty years later:  will the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Pebble watch, or the iWatch have real value, or is it just technology for technology’s sake?  Are people willing to carry 1) a smart phone, 2) a computer or tablet, and 3) wear a watch?  It’s great to see how the “next big thing” today is really just another attempt at what was tried thirty years ago.

Is a wrist-computer worthwhile?  Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Full episode:  https://archive.org/details/portablecomp

image

Hollis Tibbetts (Integration)Application Proliferation Accelerates - CIOs Unaware of Impending Integration Headaches

The advancement of technology has led to widespread Cloud application usage throughout businesses and corporations. So widespread that IT is largely caught unaware of the impending Integration (not to mention security, backup/recovery, compliance and governance) headaches that result from such rapid proliferation.

Even without this SaaS and Cloud "explosion", organizations already faced a huge challenge integrating all their legacy and on-premises applications and data sources in order to more optimally run, manage and make critical decisions about the business. Over the past decades, enterprises purchased a large numbers of on-premise software packages to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations - and in most cases created an un-integrated hairball information and process architecture.

Despite the evolution of various application and software platforms, integration architectures and so forth, enterprises still find themselves unable "catch up" with the rapid growth in applications and data sources - and are therefore unable to take full advantage of all their data.

Business Intelligence expert Gaute Solaas, CEO of software vendor iQumulus comments, "The typical enterprise has thousands of data sources and applications, and there is an increasing number of data-producing devices and entities on the horizon. IT isn't prepared to deal with that - businesses need tools to easily and cost-effectively harness this ever-increasing number of disparate data sets - and enable the productive and meaningful presentation of the resultant information to individuals across the organization."

SaaS and Cloud technologies bring tremendous benefits to the organization; however, everything has a downside - these days, anyone with a credit card and $25 to spend can create a new application and data island. No longer does IT need to be involved - or even aware of its creation. And increasingly IT isn't aware - and that's troubling.

In an era where the concept of "instant gratification" is increasingly being applied to applications and data storage (thanks to SaaS and Cloud), increasingly individuals, small groups, departments and line of business owners are swiping their credit cards and getting "instant" business applications - without regard for the downstream consequences - such as Integration, Business Intelligence, security, compliance and backup/recovery (just because someone else hosts your data doesn't mean it's necessarily safe, secure or even backed up. Many organizations face a major financial risk with SaaS and Cloud applications).

In the rush to take advantage of these easy to procure and deploy application, storage and computing solutions, there is a real consequence - the unknown proliferation of cloud silos across the enterprise.
Unfortunately, SaaS and Cloud vendors are largely resistant to incorporating frameworks such as Dell Boomi (and others) that make their products simple to integrate with existing systems.

Jason Haskins, Data Architect at Alchemy Systems, a rapidly growing international company that delivers innovative technologies and services for the global food industry, has to deal with thousands of different data sources as part of his Business Intelligence data architecture. He anticipates the number of disparate sources could easily double in the next 24 months. "Embracing all these different formats and creating a system with a focus on usability, flexibility and scalability is the key to success in this area. It's typically a big mistake for IT to try to force people to restructure their data or to change the way they do business. By bridging the IT and the business world with a flexible and easy to use system, everybody wins."

Don't expect this trend and the integration headaches to slow down - the burgeoning market for Mobile applications will add fuel to this fire. Chris McNabb, General Manager of Dell Boomi commented, "To take competitive advantage of the cloud, companies are desperately looking for ways to accelerate the development of integration flows between their various cloud, on-premises and mobile applications."

Meanwhile, IT continues to be held responsible for many of the implications resulting from this widespread proliferation. Security, governance and compliance are just the tip of the iceberg. Integrating all these disparate systems to automate processes or build effective Business Intelligence systems is another - and online backup and disaster recovery planning is yet another.

A recent study by Netskope validates this app and data explosion - and how IT is being caught unaware. They found that IT experts misjudged Cloud application usage within their companies by as much as 90%. In the Netskope report, IT professionals estimated that their company only used 40 to 50 applications. The actual number: nearly 400 Cloud applications. And this is in addition to the hundreds to thousands of disparate and often distributed on-premises "legacy" systems in most organizations.

Mark CathcartDell PowerEdge 13g Servers with NFC

Although I have not worked in the server group at Dell for almost 3-years, I was delighted to see in among the innovations announced at yesterdays PowerEdge 13g launch, the Near Field Communications (NFC) concept and prototype I proposed just over 2-years ago.

The enhanced at-the-server management, and from anywhere: Dell introduces iDRAC Quick Sync, using Near Field Communication (NFC), an industry first. And is one example of many that belies the notion, commonly held, that Dell doesn’t innovate.

For customers managing at-the-box, this new capability transmits server health information and basic server setup via a hand-held smart device running OpenManage Mobile, simply by tapping it at the server. OpenManage Mobile also enables administrators to monitor and manage their environments anytime, anywhere with their mobile device.



Mark CathcartLet’s Go do rail like Houston!

Mark Cathcart:

Fantastic write-up on the mechanics and rights and wrongs of Prop-1. Just vote NO. I can’t vote until 2016, make your vote count for both of us.

Originally posted on Keep Austin Wonky:

Advocates for this November’s ‘road and rail’ Proposition 1 would like the electorate to believe the proposed light rail segment will achieve success similar to Houston’s stellar Red Line. Here are the top 3 reasons why they are wrong and why it matters.

rail_opex_ntsd1

Source: National Transit Database. “UPT” means unlinked passenger trip (i.e. boarding). Median values for a category in bold.

 

View original 792 more words


Gina MinksWhat does the death of Twitter mean to online enterprise tech communities?

You probably have heard about the changes Twitter is planning so the timeline can be more “user friendly“. Twitter wants to take the noise out of your timeline, by determining what you should see, much like Facebook does. I think this marks the end of an era. And I’m not alone. In the blog post something is rotten in the state of…Twitter  @bonstewart discusses the ways social is just not what it used to be (the article is

read more here

Kevin HoustonIntroducing the Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server

With today’s announcement of the Intel E5-2600 v3, Cisco announced the UCS B200 M4 Blade Server.  Here’s a quick overview of it.

The 4th generation of the Cisco UCS B200 will offer the following:

CIsco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server

  • Up to 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 CPUs
  • 24 DIMM of DDR4 memory delivering speeds up to 2133MHz and maximum capacities of 768GB
  • 2 x hot plug HDD or SSDs
  • Dual SDHC flash card sockets (aka Cisco FlexFlash)
  • Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1340: a 2-port, 40 Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)-capable modular LAN on motherboard (mLOM) mezzanine adapter.

Model specifics have not been provided at this time, but Cisco has released a datasheet which you can find here.

 

 

Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

 

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.

Kevin HoustonHP Announces the BladeSystem BL460c Gen 9

Today HP announced their next 2 socket blade server based on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 CPU, the BL460c Gen 9.   Here’s a quick summary of it.

  • UHP Proliant BL460 Gen9p to 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 (up to 18 cores per CPU).
  • 16 x DDR4 DIMM slots providing up to 512GB of RAM
  • Support for up to 2 x 12Gb/s SAS HDD or SSD

I wish I could provide more information, but unfortunately HP didn’t market this new product beyond this blog post so I don’t have any additional details including when it will be available to order.  As I get them, I’ll update this blog post, so check back in the future.

 

 

Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

 

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.

Kevin HoustonIntel Announces the Xeon E5-2600 v3 CPU

Today Intel announced the next generation of their x86 CPU,  the Xeon E5-2600 v3.  The specific CPU models being offered vary by server vendor, so here’s a summary of what the new CPU will provide.

Summary of the Intel E5-2600 v3 CPU:

  1. Increase in CPU Cores – up to 18 cores with additional offerings of 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 4 cores.
  2. Increase in Shared Cache – up to 45MB of Lower Level (LL) Cache
  3. Increase in QPI Speed – up to 9.6GT/s
  4. New DDR4 Memory – 4 x DDR4 channels supporting 32GB DIMMs (64GB in future); max of 2133 MHz

Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 CPU Overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more details on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3, check out this great write up on TomsITPro.com

 

 

Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

 

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin HoustonA First Look at the Dell PowerEdge M630

The PowerEdge M630, Dell’s newest blade server based on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 was announced today.  Although specifics haven’t been officially posted on Dell’s website, a video releasing some highlights of the newest member to the PowerEdge family was found on YouTube by Gartner Analyst,  @Daniel_Bowers, so here is a quick look at it.


M630 with 4 - 1.8 SSDThe PowerEdge M630 is a half-height blade server with up to 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 CPUs (up to 36 cores), 24 DDR4 DIMMs, up to 4 x 10GbE CNA ports plus support for up to 2 additional  I/O mezzanine expansion cards (up to 8 x 10GbE total ports).  Best of all is the “4 drive configuration” as shown in the image to the left.  More details on that when it becomes available…

UPDATED: The newest addition to this blade server is the use of 1.8″ Solid State Drives (SSDs) offering high performance at an affordable price point. Dell has not published the available drive sizes, but as they become available, I’ll publish them here.

Check out the full video on the Dell PowerEdge M630 Blade Server here.

Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com. He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace. Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization. Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.

Kevin HoustonA Look at the Cisco UCS M-Series

On September 4th, Cisco released a new line of modular servers under the UCS family known at the M-Series.  Interesting enough, though, Cisco’s not calling the new servers “blade servers” but instead they are taking a play out of HP’s Moonshot playbook and calling them “cartridges.”   The M-Series won’t be available until Q4 of this year, but in this blog post, I’ll highlight the information Cisco has provided.
Cisco is taking a very unique approach with the UCS M-Series.  Veering away from the tradition server model of each server having its own NIC and RAID controller, the servers in the M-Series are “disaggregated” and share a NIC and Storage.  Although this platform is ideal for nearly any single-threaded application, Cisco appears to be targeting the M-Series for “Cloud-Scale Applications.”

M4308 Chassis

M-Series-M4308-Chassis-Front-1024x500The chassis for the new M-Series is known as the M4308 and is a 2U form factor that holds 8 x 1/4 width server M142 server cartridges – more on these below.  As you can see in the image, the front of the chassis is not very complex.  On the left side is a series of LEDs that give basic information on the chassis such as if it has power, if there are any alerts and if there is network connectivity.  On the right side you’ll notice LEDs with the numbers 1 – 8 signifying the cartridges, most likely confirming they are connected and powered on.

Cisco M4308 chassis - rearThe rear of the chassis houses the 4 x SSD drive bays (choice of SAS or SATA drives with capacities ranging from 240 GB to 1.6 TB per disk) that are connected to a single 12G modular RAID controller with 2-GB flash-backed write cache (FBWC).  The chassis shared 2 x 1400 W power supplies and has 2 x 40GbE uplinks.  From what I can understand, these 40GbE links connect the single internal Virtual Interface Card that is shared across each of the server cartridges (which equates to 5GbE per server.)  In the image of the rear of the chassis on the left side is what appears to be a PCIe port that could be shared across the blades server cartridges, however nothing was mentioned in the blog or data sheets, so that slot’s use is unclear.  One thing they did mention in the Cisco blog is that the design of sharing RAID and NICs is performed through something called UCS System Link Technology – a silicon-based technology  that gives M-Series the ability to connect these disaggregated subsystems via a UCS System Link fabric and create a truly composable infrastructure. Based on details from the data sheet, the 40GbE uplinks will connect directly into the UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnect, and up to 20 M4308 chassis can be connected in a single domain.  Hopefully Cisco will reveal more about this technology as it gets closer to availability in Q4.

M142 Server Cartridge

Cisco M142 CartridgeThe Cisco UCS M-Series sesrvers are nothing like the UCS B-Series blade servers, which is perhaps why Cisco is calling them “cartridges”.  A single cartridge actually holds 2 servers each with 1 x Intel E3 CPU, and 4 x 8GB DDR3, 1600MHz DIMMs.  The Intel E3 CPU speeds being offered are:

  • Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1275L v3 (8-MB cache, 2.7 GHz), 4 cores, and 45W
  • Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1240L v3 (8-MB cache, 2.0 GHz), 4 cores, and 25W
  • Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1220L v3 (4-MB cache, 1.1 GHz), 2 cores, and 13W

A quick observation – if you multiply 45W x 16 compute nodes, you come out to 720W.  As mentioned above, the chassis has 2 x 1400W redundant power supplies, so this leaves 700+W for the VIC and RAID – or is this a preview into what Cisco’s next cartridge might require?

For more information on the Cisco UCS M-Series, visit Cisco’s website.

 

 

Kevin Houston - Founder, BladesMadeSimple.comKevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

 

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.

 

 

 

 

Hollis Tibbetts (Ulitzer)CIO Shocker: #Cloud and SaaS Surprise Awaits

The advancement of technology has led to widespread Cloud data and SaaS application usage throughout enterprises. And CIOs are unprepared for the (mostly unwelcome) implications - largely unaware of the "SaaS Sprawl" in their organizations. These Cloud applications are available for just about every role in a company - from human resources to marketing, there's an app for that. And odds are, someone in your organization is using it - most likely without IT knowing. As app (primarily SaaS and Cloud) use within organizations continues to spread and accelerate, IT professionals are largely unaware of the massive scale of Cloud application utilization. However, IT continues to be held responsible for many of the implications resulting from this widespread proliferation.

read more

Mark CathcartRail isn’t about Congestion

It's not going to fix congestion.

It’s not going to fix congestion.

Prop.1 on the Austin November ballot is an attempt to fund the largest single bond in Austin history, almost half the $1 billion going to the light rail proposal.

Finally people seem to be getting the fact that the light rail, if funded, won’t help with the existing traffic. KUT had a good review of this yesterday, the comments also some useful links. You can listen to the segment here: Is a Light Rail Line Going to Solve Austin’s Traffic Problems?

Jace Deloney, makes some good points, what no one is saying though, and what I believe is the real reason behind the current proposal. There is a real opportunity to develop a corridor of key central Austin and, some unused and many underused land, West of I35, and from Airport all the down to Riverside Dr.

This is hugely valuable land, but encouraging development would be a massive risk, purely because of existing congestion. Getting more people to/from buildings in that corridor, by car, or even bus, into more dense residential accommodation, a medical school, UT Expansion or re-site, more office, whatever, will be untenable in terms of both west/east and south/north congestion. So the only way this could really work, is to make a rail corridor, with stations adjacent the buildings.

The Guadalupe/Lamar route favored by myself and other rail advocates wouldn’t add almost any value to that new corridor. It’s debatable that it would eliminate congestion on the west side of town either. But with a rail transit priority system, the new toll lanes on Mopac, the ability to get around at peak times, and the elimination of a significant number of cars in the central west, and downtown areas would make it worth the investment.

Voters need to remember this when considering which way to vote in November. If the city, UT, and developers want to develop that corridor, they should find some way of funding rail from those that will directly benefit. City wide economic impact; new tax revenues, new jobs is a slight of hand, a misdirection.

It’s not acceptable to load the cost onto existing residents for little benefit, just so you can developers can have their way.


William LearaFall 2014 UEFI Plugfest

The UEFI Testing Work Group (UTWG) and the UEFI Industry Communications Work Group (ICWG) from the Unified EFI (UEFI) Forum invite you to the upcoming UEFI Plugfest being held October 13-17, 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan.clip_image001

If you require formal invitation documents for Visa application/traveling purposes, please contact Tina Hsiao for more information.

UEFI membership is required to attend UEFI Testing Events & Workshops. If you are not yet a UEFI member, please visit UEFI.org/join to learn about obtaining UEFI membership.

Please stay tuned for updates regarding the Fall 2014 UEFI Plugfest. Registration and other logistical information will be provided very soon.

 

Event Contact

Tina Hsiao, Insyde Software

Phone: (02) 6608-3688 Ex: 1599

Email: uefi.plugfest@insyde.com

William LearaMy Favorite Obituary

image
Okay, I know it’s a bizarre title, but bear with me.  Mr. Tom Halfhill, a computer journalist I grew up reading in COMPUTE! magazine, wrote the following “obituary” upon the death of Commodore.  If you’re like me and grew up with a Commodore 64 computer, I think you will find it a poignant tribute.  (have tissues nearby…)

Beautifully written, thoughtful and accurate, this “obituary” best tells the story of Commodore and expresses the spirit of the early personal computer era.

R.I.P. Commodore 1954-1994

A look at an innovative computer industry pioneer, whose achievements have been largely forgotten

Tom R. Halfhill

Obituaries customarily focus on the deceased’s accomplishments, not the unpleasant details of the demise. That’s especially true when the demise hints strongly of self-neglect tantamount to suicide, and nobody can find a note that offers some final explanation.

There will be no such note from Commodore, and it would take a book to explain why this once-great computer company lies cold on its deathbed. But Commodore deserves a eulogy, because its role as an industry pioneer has been largely forgotten or ignored by revisionist historians who claim that everything started with Apple or IBM. Commodore’s passing also recalls an era when conformity to standards wasn’t the yardstick by which all innovation was measured.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, when Commodore peaked as a billion-dollar company, the young computer industry wasn’t dominated by standards that dictated design parameters. Engineers had much more latitude to explore new directions. Users tended to be hobbyists who prized the latest technology over backward compatibility. As a result, the market tolerated a wild proliferation of computers based on many different processors, architectures, and operating systems.

Commodore was at the forefront of this revolution. In 1977, the first three consumer-ready personal computers appeared: the Apple II, the Tandy TRS-80, and the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor). Chuck Peddle, who designed the PET, isn’t as famous as Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, the founders of Apple. But his distinctive computer with a built-in monitor, tape drive, and trapezoidal case was a bargain at $795. It established Commodore as a major player.

The soul of Commodore was Jack Tramiel, an Auschwitz survivor who founded the company as a typewriter-repair service in 1954. Tramiel was an aggressive businessman who did not shy away from price wars with unwary competitors. His slogan was “computers for the masses, not the classes.”

In what may be Commodore’s most lasting legacy, Tramiel drove his engineers to make computers that anyone could afford. This was years before PC clones arrived. More than anyone else, Tramiel is responsible for our expectation that computer technology should keep getting cheaper and better. While shortsighted critics kept asking what these machines were good for, Commodore introduced millions of people to personal computing. Today, I keep running into those earliest adopters at leading technology companies.

Commodore’s VIC-20, introduced in 1981, was the first color computer that cost under $300. VIC-20 production hit 9000 units per day—a run rate that’s enviable now, and was phenomenal back then. Next came the Commodore 64 (1982), almost certainly the best-selling computer model of all time. Ex-Commodorian Andy Finkel estimates that sales totaled between 17 and 22 million units. That’s more than all the Macs put together, and it dwarfs IBM’s top-selling systems, the PC and the AT.

Commodore made significant technological contributions as well. The 64 was the first computer with a synthesizer chip (the Sound Interface Device, designed by Bob Yannes). The SX-64 (1983) was the first color portable, and the Plus/4 (1984) had integrated software in ROM.

But Commodore’s high point was the Amiga 1000 (1985). The Amiga was so far ahead of its time that almost nobody—including Commodore’s marketing department—could fully articulate what it was all about. Today, it’s obvious the Amiga was the first multimedia computer, but in those days it was derided as a game machine because few people grasped the importance of advanced graphics, sound, and video. Nine years later, vendors are still struggling to make systems that work like 1985 Amigas.

At a time when PC users thought 16-color EGA was hot stuff, the Amiga could display 4096 colors and had custom chips for accelerated video. It had built-in video outputs for TVs and VCRs, still a pricey option on most of today’s systems. It had four-voice, sampled stereo sound and was the first computer with built-in speech synthesis and text-to-speech conversion. And it’s still the only system that can display multiple screens at different resolutions on a single monitor.

Even more amazing was the Amiga's operating system, which was designed by Carl Sassenrath. From the outset, it had preemptive multitasking, messaging, scripting, a GUI, and multitasking command-line consoles. Today’s Windows and Mac users are still waiting for some of those features. On top of that, it ran on a $1200 machine with only 256 KB of RAM.

We may never see another breakthrough computer like the Amiga. I value my software investment as much as anyone, but I realize it comes at a price. Technology that breaks clean with the past is increasingly rare, and rogue companies like Commodore that thrived in the frontier days just don’t seem to fit anymore.

My Thoughts

But Commodore deserves a eulogy, because its role as an industry pioneer has been largely forgotten or ignored by revisionist historians who claim that everything started with Apple or IBM.
This is so true.  Especially with the return of Steve Jobs to Apple and that company’s resurgence, people have the following idea of computer history:  Apple invented the personal computer, then IBM and Microsoft unfairly took it over.  That’s ridiculous—in fact, the Commodore PET was launched before the Apple ][.  The TRS-80 was the early PC market leader by virtue of Radio Shack having a nation-wide distribution system in place.  Commodore took over market leadership with the introduction of the VIC-20.  It wasn’t until VisiCalc was released on the Apple ][ (by dumb luck) that Apple caught a break and became a significant company.
The 64 was the first computer with a synthesizer chip (the Sound Interface Device, designed by Bob Yannes). The SX-64 (1983) was the first color portable, and the Plus/4 (1984) had integrated software in ROM.
This reminds me of a comment Steve Wozniak made at the 25th Anniversary of the Commodore 64, a celebration hosted by the Computer History Museum.  He criticized the C64 as not being expandable.  First of all, that’s just plain wrong.  The C64 was just as expandable as an Apple ][, it just used serial, parallel, cassette, and an external expansion port to do it, rather than the internal expansion slot approach used by Apple and others.  But anyway, my main point is that the C64 didn’t have to be so expandable, since, unlike the Apple ][, so much was already built in!  Like the SID sound chip—Apple ][ owners had to buy a separate expansion card; C64 owners had four voice sound for free.  The basic Apple ][e was monochrome—the C64 gave you color for free.

In Closing

Ironically, when Mr. Halfhill says “…and it would take a book to explain why this once-great computer company lies cold on its deathbed”, someone did, and I highly recommend the book!:
image
Long live the Commodore 64!

William LearaDMTF Webinars Now Available On-Demand

The Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF) produces standards of great interest to BIOS developers.  (e.g., SMBIOS) Did you know that DMTF webinars are now available online for on-demand viewing?

There are currently 20+ talks mainly covering virtualization, storage, cloud computing, and the management of these technologies.  See:

http://www.dmtf.org/education/webinars

Note:  Viewing requires the user to register with BrightTALK.  It’s quick and painless and does not cost anything.

Ryan M. Garcia Social Media LawIceholes: How The ALSA May Win The Battle But Lose The War

You know what we do to bad ice on a pedestal?

The biggest surprise hit of the summer is not Guardians of the Galaxy but rather the megaviral smash Ice Bucket Challenge benefiting the ALS Association. Rather than be thankful for this windfall the ALSA has recently decided that they should own this challenge and prevent any other cause or organization from using it. What do you think they are, a charity?

Oh yeah, they are.  Then maybe they should start acting like it and not a bunch of selfish iceholes.

First, some background. The ALSA did not create the ice bucket challenge. The gimmick has been around for a long time. In fact, when this latest round started over the summer it began as a challenge to dump a bucket of ice water on your head or donate $100 to a charity of your choice.  It was only when the challenge first passed to professional golfer Chris Kennedy that the donation was flagged for the ALSA and the individuals he tagged kept the charity when they made their videos.  Later, there was a significant wave of ice bucket activity in Boston due to native ALS sufferer Pete Frates and concerted actions by the Red Sox organization.  Facebook’s data team’s analysis shows that Boston does appear to be the epicenter of the challenge going truly viral.

Nobody is exactly sure why the challenge has reached its current level of popularity, but that’s true for most viral hits in the social media age.  Sure, the videos are funny. And having one person tag several others to participate makes for an exponential reach. And having the challenge somehow associated with charity so we all think we can have fun while helping out a worthy cause makes it seem nice too. There are even a scattering of super serious videos in the mix depicting a bit of what the disease means to its victims and their families. We can identify all the elements but we still don’t know what made this challenge go viral like it did.  Heck, even I did one.  Although I’m not linking it after the reasons behind this post.

That doesn’t really matter though. It doesn’t matter that we can’t explain why it went viral; it went viral. It doesn’t matter that perhaps the amount of money we give to charities is out of proportion to the impact of the disease as IFLScience linked in a Vox article infographic; there is no doubt this is a horrific disease and increased attention to it is a good thing. It doesn’t matter that ALSA only spends a small percentage of its budget on research; it performs several other valuable services and all charities have to spend a lot of money to ultimately make more money in the end.

Here’s what does matter: the ALSA was given the greatest gift of their life in terms of this ice bucket challenge.  Donations are through the roof.  Yesterday they reported making over $94.3 million in donations in just the last month.  Last year, in the same time period, they received around $2.7 million.  Rather than just say thanks or give the tearful Sally Field “You like me, you really like me!” Oscar acceptance speech they decided to go another direction. They decided to take that warm fuzzy feeling we’ve had from watching or making these videos and donating to a worthy cause and pour a giant bucket of ice water on our flames of altruism.

As first reported on the Erik M Pelton & Associates blog, the ALSA filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office to be granted a trademark for the term ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE as used for any charitable fundraising.  They also filed an application for ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE but it’s the main application that should make people furious.  Heck, it made me enough to write a blog post on a Thursday night and I never do that.

Filing a trademark for the term “Ice Bucket Challenge” would allow them to prevent any other charity from promoting a campaign that the ALSA had fall into their lap.  The ALSA did not create this concept.  They did not market this campaign until it already went viral.  They have no responsibility whatsoever for this going viral.  If the ice bucket challenge had found a connection to the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society then it could have gone just as viral.

What on earth could make the ALSA think they should have any right whatsoever to prevent someone else from using this challenge?

I can’t think of a good reason.  I can think of reasons, mind you.  They just aren’t good.  Fortune was able to get a statement from ALSA spokesperson Carrie Munk:

The ALS Association took steps to trademark Ice Bucket Challenge after securing the blessings of the families who initiated the challenge this summer. We did this as a good faith effort after hearing that for-profit businesses were creating confusion by marketing ALS products in order to capitalize on this grassroots charitable effort.

Sorry, ALSA, but that excuse doesn’t hold water.

First, obtaining the blessings of the families who created this challenge is nonsense.  Even if you got permission from everyone who ever did an ice bucket challenge–SO WHAT?  This was a charity drive.  You think the first charity to earn a million dollars from a bake sale should get to stop all other bake sales?  Because that’s what filing a trademark on the challenge is an attempt to do–you’re trying to stop any other charity from using the term for fundraising.

Second, you heard some shady companies were making money off the Ice Bucket Challenge?  Wow, that must be weird.  To think there are these companies just sitting around making money off something they didn’t create.  JUST LIKE YOU.  Who cares if someone makes an Ice Bucket Challenge shirt and sells it?  If it says ALSA on it or has your logo you can already go after them without this new trademark application.

The ALSA’s actions are atrocious and reprehensible.  They may have raised a ton of money this summer but it could all backfire over a move like this.

But here, ALSA, I’m going to be nicer than you appear to be.  Here’s a way for you to cover your cold, soaked behinds and spin this in a favorable way.  What you should have done is post on your website the day you filed the application, saying that you are only doing so to protect all charities from shady profiteers but that all charities would be free to use the mark forever for no charge if you received the trademark.  The fact that you didn’t tell anyone about the application and only commented when it was called out on social media (by the way, you’ve heard about this social media thing and how a lot of people use it, right?) you can just blame on being so busy counting all your money.  It’s a bad excuse, but maybe it can save some face.

Because right now you look like a bunch of iceholes and I resent every penny I gave you.  Not for the good work you’ve done, which is a lot, or the families you’ve helped, which are numerous, but for being greedy instead of generous, selfish instead of, you know, charitable.

Update Aug 29: The ALSA has withdrawn their trademark application. Good.


Jason BocheVMworld 2014 U.S. Top Ten Sessions

Following is the tabulated listing of VMworld 2014 U.S. top ten session as of noon PST 8/28/14. If you plan on catching up on recorded sessions later, this top ten list should be highly considered. Nice job goes out to all of the presenters in this list as well as all presenters at VMworld.

Tuesday – STO1965.1 – Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive
Rawlinson Rivera, VMware
Suzy Visvanathan, VMware

Tuesday – NET1674 – Advanced Topics & Future Directions in Network Virtualization with NSX
Bruce Davie, VMware

Tuesday – BCO1916.1 – Site Recovery Manager and Stretched Storage: Tech Preview of a New Approach to Active-Active Data Centers
Shobhan Lakkapragada, VMware
Aleksey Pershin, VMware

Tuesday – INF1522 – vSphere With Operations Management: Monitoring the Health, Performance and Efficiency of vSphere with vCenter Operations Manager
Kyle Gleed, VMware
Ryan Johnson, VMware

Tuesday – SDDC3327 – The Software-defined Datacenter, VMs, and Containers: A “Better Together” Story
Kit Colbert, VMware

Tuesday – SDDC1600 – Art of IT Infrastructure Design: The Way of the VCDX – Panel
Mark Gabryjelski, Worldcom Exchange, Inc.
Mostafa Khalil, VMware
chris mccain, VMware
Michael Webster, Nutanix, Inc.

Tuesday – VAPP1318.1 – Virtualizing Databases Doing IT Right – The Sequel
Michael Corey, Ntirety – A Division of Hosting
Jeff Szastak, VMware

Tuesday – SEC1959-S – The “Goldilocks Zone” for Security
Martin Casado, VMware
Tom Corn, VMware

Monday – HBC1533.1 – How to Build a Hybrid Cloud – Steps to Extend Your Datacenter
Chris Colotti, VMware
David Hill, VMware

Monday – INF1503 – Virtualization 101
Michael Adams, VMware

Post from: boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist

Copyright (c) 2010 Jason Boche. The contents of this post may not be reproduced or republished on another web page or web site without prior written permission.

VMworld 2014 U.S. Top Ten Sessions

Kevin HoustonIDC Worldwide Server Tracker – Q2 2014 Released

The Q2 2014  IDC Worldwide Server Tracker was released on August 26, 2014 and it reported that the demand for x86 servers improved in 2Q14 with revenues increasing 7.8% year over year in the quarter to $9.8 billion worldwide as unit shipments increased 1.5% to 2.2 million servers. HP led the market with 29.6% revenue share based on 7.4% revenue growth over 2Q13. Dell retained second place, securing 21.2% revenue share.

IDC_2Q2014_WWServerTracker

Modular servers – blades and density-optimized – represent distinct segments of growth for vendors in an otherwise mature market,” said Jed Scaramella, Research Director, Enterprise Servers and Datacenter at IDC. “As the building block for integrated systems, blade servers will continue to drive enterprise customers along the evolutionary path toward private clouds. On the opposite side of the spectrum, density-optimized servers are being rapidly adopted by hyperscale datacenters that favor the scalability and efficiency of the form factor.”

If you want to read the entire press release, please visit http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25060614

 

Kevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.

William LearaQuick-Start Guide to UDK2014

Getting the UEFI Development Kit (UDK) installed and building is the first step in attempting to work in BIOS development.  Here is my experience getting the latest version of the UDK, UDK 2014, to work in Windows.

Step 1Download UDK 2014 (101MB)

Step 2:  The main .ZIP is a collection of .ZIPs.  First, extract UDK2014.MyWorkSpace.zip.

Step 3:  This is tricky:  you next have to unzip BaseTools(Windows).zip, and it has to be put in a subdirectory of the MyWorkSpace directory from Step 2.  The “BaseTools” directory should be at a peer level to Build, Conf, CryptoPkg, etc.  Note that this will entail overwriting several files, e.g., EDKSETUP.BAT—this is okay.  The final directory structure should look like:

    MyWorkSpace

        -->BaseTools

        -->Build

        -->Conf

        etc.

Step 4:  Open a Command Prompt and cd to MyWorkSpace\.  Type the command

edksetup --NT32

to initialize the build environment.

Step 5:  Build the virtual BIOS environment:

> build -t VS2008x86 for Visual Studio 2008

> build -t VS2010x86 for Visual Studio 2010

Step 6:  Launch SECMAIN.EXE from the directory:

Build\NT32IA32\DEBUG_VS2010x86\IA32

imageA virtual machine will start and you will boot to an EFI shell.  Type “help” for a list of commands—see Harnessing the UEFI Shell (below) for more information re: the UEFI shell.  Congratulations, at this point you are ready to develop PEI modules and DXE drivers!

That is the absolute minimum work necessary to boot to the NT32 virtual machine.  There is additional information in the file UDK2014-ReleaseNotes-MyWorkSpace.txt, which is included in MyWorkSpace\.

 










Footnotes