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Headed to the annual CCCU Technology conference May 30, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Friends, Information Technology, Management, Technology.
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In a few minutes I will be driving up to Cedarville, OH (USA) to attend this year's CCCU Technology conference. This is one of those conferences where the attendees are also the speakers. I will be speaking at two of the presentations.

The first will be an introduction to my idea of I.T. organizational quality or development (evolution?). I wrote about it in this previous blog entry. The second talk will be with two other I.T. managers from fellow CCCU schools about disaster planning and leveraging off of our organization and the relationships we have between the schools to help during a time of disaster. 

This conference is always good, both for exchanging ideas or best practices with colleagues from other colleges and universities and for renewing friendships that have been forged over the years. This year, it will be especially satisfying as many of my fellow I.T. staff members where I work will also be attending and presenting talks as well. That, is a level 3 activity.

I am looking forward to a great week.

How much time do you have each day? May 30, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Management, Random.
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Clock parts photoThis post over at PierG's blog talks about having a fixed amount of time and learning to do more with that limited time. Is time management about managing time, or is it really about managing your activities given a fixed amount of time? Reading it reminded me of a quote I read many years ago. It went something like,

"You have the exact number of hours in a day that Mozart, Gandhi, and Einstein had. So, what are you going to do, today?"

Any time I feel like I simply don't have enough time to do everything that needs to get done, I remember that I am working with the same 'raw time' as everyone before us had, including the greatest artists, politicians, and scientists. That thought reminds me that it's possible to do great things with only 24 hours in a day.

Do you know about Informational Timing? May 28, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, News and politics, Other, Random, Technology.
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What is 'informational timing,' you ask? Well, it's simply the recognition that information has value that increases and decreases over time. You might even call this the temporal value of information.

For instance, let's look at the newspaper. If you could get tomorrow's news today, then that would be extremely valuable. And, getting today's newspaper tomorrow is a lot less valuable. This may be a bad example because I am not talking about looking into the future.

Let me use a different example. Let’s say you had a professional event (like a meeting for a group of managers or technical staff) and you used a web site to announce the event. You will probably have a large demand for that information soon after it gets posted and people notice it. Then, as the event approaches, the demand (as measured by web traffic) would go up until the day of the meeting when people are doing their last minute verification of the time, place, and possibility getting directions.

Believe it or not, even after the event people will still need that information and there is still value in it. They may have attended the meeting and forgot the sponsor's name or wanted to get contact information for the next meeting or event. Or, they were unable to attend the meeting and wanted to know what the purpose was after the fact. So, in this case, you should not remove the information from the web site the day of the event, or even the day after the event. Ideally, it would be accessible for a long time after the event took place, even though the value of that information and number of hits would eventually diminish to zero.

Since some information like announcements will drop in value over time. It would be nice if Information like that had a TTL (time to live) setting or tag. Other information, such as information on how to do something or factual data or historic information would all have a much longer TTL. There may even be a need for some information to have the TTL set to infinity.

Finally, information like the phone number for a business or the hours of a store that should have a TTL that extends to the point when that information is changed. Then, the old phone number or business hours should no longer exist, because it would no longer be accurate. That kind of factual data has a TTL equal to the moment it changes. In that example, the TTL would be a conditional statement. If new data then TTL=0, else TTL=infinity.

The saga of the Liebert 30kVA UPS failure is over May 27, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Random, Technology.
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Yes, this week the Liebert technician finally fixed our Liebert 30kVA uninterruptible power supply (UPS). If this is the first you are reading about it, then check out my previous posts here and here.

The good news is that we were able to get our servers all back to normal UPS supplied power this morning during our normally scheduled maintenance. So, maybe things will just work for a few years.

Oh, happy day!

Count the cost before you hit the road May 26, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Family, Information Technology, Management, Random, Technology.
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Calculate how much gas you will need for that road trip…

If you are wondering how much it will cost you to drive to grandma's house this Memorial holiday weekend, then you should check out this web site that will calculate how much fuel your car will require for the trip. It takes information like the distance you will be driving, the make and model of the automobile you will be driving, and the average price of gasoline then tells you how much gas you will use and what it will cost you.

I don't know how accurate the web site is, but it's sponsored by triple-A (AAA) so I think it would be mostly accurate, don't you think? Let me know if your real gasoline consumption and actual trip costs are very different from the projected numbers.

Old Fashioned Kentucky Disaster Recovery Plan May 24, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Humor, Information Technology, Management, News and politics, Random, Technology.
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As I promised in this previous post, here is the old fashioned Kentucky disaster recovery plan in pictorial form…

Bottle     +    Bullet

Yup, it is what it seems.

Note: If you adopt this plan, there are two things to be aware of. First, there is no way to fully test this plan. At least, once it's tested it can't be repeated. So stick with 'dry runs' when doing your testing.

Second, it's important to use the bottle before the bullet. If you reverse the order, you can't fully implement this plan.