I've moved -> basraayman.com

By Renegade on Monday 8 February 2010 11:18 - Comments (21)
Category: General, Views: 6.242

Or actually, my blog moved. I decided to purchase my own domain and moved my blogging activities to http://basraayman.com

Hope to see you around on my new domain! :)

Prepare to zjoin ze gestalt...! Or GestaltIT tech field day preparation.

By Renegade on Tuesday 3 November 2009 16:14 - Comments (4)
Categories: General, Gestatl IT, Views: 7.126

As you may have read in my previous post I was asked to join the GestaltIT tech field days.

Some people commented on the win-win fact for both the person attending, and the company presenting. And yes, I agree with both. But a post made by Ocarina Networks on their blog gave me a different view on what would be my own benefits.

Basically they posted a challenge for the attendees, stating the following:
[q]In anticipation of this event, we’re challenging the attendees to bring us their toughest data set on a thumb drive. It can involve whatever files they want Ocarina to try to shrink–JPEGs, video, audio, PDFs, homeshares, email databases and so on. They will probably want to include several similar but not duplicate files, such as a series of PowerPoint files that contain some of the same slides but also different ones, or similar slides that have been edited.

On November 13 when the participants arrive, we’ll collect all the thumb drives. Then we’ll pick a few at random from a hat, and do a real time demonstration of the Ocarina ECOsystem compressing and deduping the files.[/url]

Now, as you might have guessed from the text in this quote, Ocarina Networks specializes in data deduplication. Basically they have a look at the data you want to store, find similar patterns and have them all point to one valid copy of the data. The process itself is a little more complex than that, but this short version should give you the gist of it.

Now, how did this change my mindset on what benefits these kind of challenges have to the attendees?

Simple. By challenging you, they are asking you to bring a tough dataset. They want to prove that this technology works, no matter how impossible the set of data may be when it comes to dedupe. And that's where the catch is.

Investigation!

Since most of the people attending like a good challenge (or so it would appear to me) and most of them are not the experts in dedupe, they need to investigate! Sure, bringing a thumb drive along with some data is no problem. But you probably want to make it challenging, so you need to investigate what kind of data gives dedupe solutions a hard time. You can look for reviews, blogs, tests and a lot more and you will find a lot of information on the various dedupe solution types (end-to-end, back-end, etc).

And that brings me to the point of this post. I want to give the guys from Ocarina a run for their money and I want to see what the product can do. So I searched for a dataset that is hard, and I created a fairly normal dataset. Both containing some structured and unstructured data and I am curious to see what the results will be. Independent from the results however I learned a lot about dedupe, not just from this vendor but in general, and that is to me one of the biggest personal benefits I can see when it comes to this event.

So let's see how this goes, and expect a longer post on dedupe after or during the GestaltIT tech field days! Only a little over a week left until we kick it in to a higher gear. :)

By the way, the first part of the title of this blog post was supposed to be slightly German sounding since "Gestalt" is an actual German word. Somehow I can't help but think of some sort of dodgy Monty Python sketch when talking about "the Gestalt". :+

"You are an industry thought leader." Ehm, did you pick the right guy?

By Renegade on Friday 23 October 2009 16:42 - Comments (5)
Categories: General, Gestatl IT, Views: 5.003

The title of this post was my first thought when I received the invitation to join the Gestalt IT Tech Field Day.

To start off from the beginning, I'm a regular reader over at Gestalt IT. "So what is Gestalt IT" you may wonder now. Well, on their website you will find the following:
We are collecting the best analysis and commentary from leaders in the fields of virtualization, networking, storage, and desktop engineering.

...

We work with independent experts, bloggers, and writers to generate content focused on IT infrastructure topics. Many of our articles and posts are syndicated from the blogs of their authors, meaning that they select their best and most relevant work and transmit it to us using an RSS feed, just like Google Reader and other feed readers use. Posts are then formatted and edited for publication here.
So, you could call it an agregate of posts that are collected and submitted by people who know their stuff in things IT.

So, I read that they were organizing something called a "Tech Field Day", which is basically an event where they invite bloggers from all over the place to come to San Francisco and see and test new products by various vendors. You can use the stuff they introduce, punch holes in their product and exchange ideas and opinions.

The big difference to a regular conference? It's not sponsored by a big company. The main point is not profit. The people there are free to say what they want and can write about the things that they find interesting.

So, after reading about it I asked the initiator of this Idea, Stephen Foskett, when we would be seeing something similar in Europe. Shorlty after I received a short tweet from him with the question if I would consider attending.

Now, having the quote from the field day website in mind, namely:
The following industry thought leaders have tentatively agreed to attend
I was pretty confident he just sent his tweet out to the wrong person. But actually he did mean to talk to me. Can you imagine that? 8)7

Anyway, after confirming that I would be more than happy to attend I am now on the list as it appears and will probably be in San Jose, CA on the 12th and 13th of November and you can expect some blog posts about what I will see there and if we have some WiFi going on you will also see some tweets.

We will be seeing products introduced by:And the event is sponsored by some other companies who won't be presenting but will for example help in hosting part of the event:I'm looking forward to it, because instead of spending some time with myself, I will actually be able to talk to some genuinely smart folks there and be able to exchange ideas and opinions.

The Kindle is coming to Europe! Hurray, so what..?

By Renegade on Sunday 18 October 2009 10:26 - Comments (4)
Category: General, Views: 4.047

I was pretty psyched about the Kindle coming to abroad to Europe. First of all it means that we get a halfway decent e-book reader over here, and more importantly a lot of books in a format that is at least somewhat of a standard, be it a proprietary one. The pricing model is also okay in my opinion, be it not overly cheap.

Since I do a lot of reading I was actually seriously considering the option of purchasing one, but decided to wait. An important reason for me was a missing option of using a backlight. Instead of clipping on additional accessories that light up half the room, a built in solution that offers soft lighting in the dark would be a great option. Anyone who ever worked with a back-lit keyboard on a MacBook will know what I'm talking about.

Today Robert Scoble replied to me in a tweet and wrote about a new e-reader that Steve Jobs is supposedly working on. He also responded that the new device will do a lot more than black and white books with crappy typography.

Now, first of all I'm sure it will do a lot more. Apple or if you will, Steve Jobs are not the kind of players in this market to just copy someone else's product and features and then introduce it on the market. Independent of the fact if you like Mr. Jobs or not, usually they take several good ideas and try to build a product around that. E-Ink (the company) already introduced color E-Ink displays and I think this will be a big change for those media.

Instead of reading a 16 gradient monochrome screen, you can now actually read something on true black and white. Think of things like school or college where you would be able to just have your study books with you in one device, with the option of marking things, making notes and so much more.

You could add the 3G-service we already know from the Kindle so that we can purchase new books wherever we are. And perhaps, what the heck, even throw in wireless so that we can use it to browse blogs or websites without the need of a subscription. Or perhaps introduce the subscription, but just for the situations where we don't have a wifi connection.

If we get "the next generation of e-book reader" as Robert Scoble says, I just hope it won't make coffee. I don't want a halfway decent e-book reader that does other things good. I want an e-book reader that is truly great, and perhaps does other things but not at the cost of being a lesser e-book reader.

So, let's hope @Scobleizer is right and we get a great new device and not a mediocre one as we've seen it way too many times before. :)

Update
My bad, Robert talked about Steve Jobs, and yesterday I was probably short on caffeine so that somehow got changed to Steve Ballmer. Woops. :X Be it that this does not change my idea that even Microsoft is more of an idea combiner. Anyway, the post above got changed just slightly so that I am now actually naming the correct Steve. ;)

Lo and behold! The EMC community expert! Or something?

By Renegade on Thursday 15 October 2009 10:26 - Comments (4)
Categories: EMC, General, Views: 3.031

About two weeks back (Friday October 2nd to be exact), I received an e-mail from Erin Capellman. She's one of the people working for EMC and seems to be at least partially, if not even full time, responsible for the EMC community network.

Basically it's the same as a lot of other online communities. People meet in a digital environment and exchange ideas, meet peers and get new information. Something that can be quite useful and add a lot of value to projects you are working on.

Apparently someone noticed that I spend some time asking and answering questions, or even talking about ideas or trends in the EMC community. The e-mail stated that:
EMC has initiated a program across all communities, entitled the EMC
Community Expert program, to recognize outstanding member contributions.
Only 20 individuals have been selected to receive this leadership
designation. You were nominated by managers across EMC communities
because you have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment to
helping customers, partners, or employees.

...

We deeply appreciate the time and commitment that you continue to make
to EMC, its customers, partners and employees. Thank you and
congratulations from all the communities of EMC and their thousands of
members.
Now, it's quite nice to get such a mail, but it also made me think if this is something related to a persons interests. The answer is yes. You can't be successful or spend a certain amount of time just because you are hoping to get some recognition. It simply won't work.

However, I am convinced that certain people have a nack for communicating online. Be it in a community or by various other means. When I look at my own "online CV" I can look back at quite a history. I've been part of a very big community right here at Tweakers.net and got a good feel on how to talk to people online.

I don't know if this made a huge difference in getting the above "leadership designation", but I am certain it didn't hurt. Yesterday they announced the community experts on the various pages, and it's kind of funny to see a picture of youself online with such a title:

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/jwn5WhakHfIXwnXcBIMCC9Ox/full.png

So, to end this with a question. Is being successful in one online community also beneficial if you want to be successful in other online communities?