Thursday, November 15, 2007

If Business Meetings Were Like Internet Comments

This is quite true...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Think Bigger - Drought Response

Most people who live in the Southeastern, United Stated have heard about the drought having experienced the total ban on outdoor watering. Some folks who travel through the Southeastern region may have heard of the drought on the news and other people may have only heard of the drought in passing on national news.

We recently traveled up to Charlotte, NC for a business trip. I was unaware the drought was “that” pervasive in the southeast. However, the Charlotte area (last I heard) was still in a level 2 drought status. I have heard reports of some 37 year old wells in TN drying out. It seems the largest concerns are the water supplies over the coming months, whereas the northern GA region has been placed under Level 4 drought conditions, which is essentially a total outdoor watering ban.

Having been under this for a number of weeks and seen the influx changes coming into our daily practices (some probably well deserved), I still have a number of questions or concerns regarding our societies reaction to drought.

People Are The Only Concern

While it is understandable that people value “their” own life(style) over all others, we as a human race and as stewards of this planet, need to adjust our perspective in terms of resource management. We must be able to supply, maintain, and react to changes in conditions and work to reestablish the foundations of whatever needs to be changed at the 'entire' ecological level, rather than just what is necessary to spartanly maintain human life.

What I mean, is we must begin to adjust our engineering thoughts to include watering of plant life in droughts. We must begin to design ways to keep water flowing at “green” levels even when it is arid and dry. This IS possible with our technology today, it just is not done because too many people focus on the cost equation. Our society is too cheap, we need to work on grand engineering projects that benefit all life, not just slightly improve the human experience when it is cost effective or a dire emergency.

Outdoor Watering Bans

Outdoor watering bans are the low hanging fruit, they quickly and easily provide savings but they only mask the 'true' problem. The true problem is our societies are overcrowded and under served. We have no infrastructure to support the numbers of people who exist in many regions. If you take a geographical region and dramatically shift its water tables (Too much or too little; New Orleans or what is feared for Atlanta in 2008 and beyond with no rain) people adapt, but the ecological environment does not. It dies. Crops die, trees die, shrubs die, grass dies, yet people are able to last longer... at a reduced quality of life. That is not acceptable.

Infrastructure Enhancements and Postponements

If the drought is as severe as people say, believe, and fear. Then now is the time for action.

  • Why have the level 4 communities not placed a moratorium on new homes, apartments, and business constructions? Each new building constructed will increase water consumption.
  • Why have they not introduced impact fees for the constructions? (directed to new water and road engineering efforts)
  • Where are the grants for engineering and technology schools to begin projects on improvements to eliminate these issues in the near-future.
  • Where are the new wells and reservoirs being built?

A Grand Solution

One such larger initiative would be a large scale oceanic water desalination and pipeline process. We already pipe oil all around the world, why not water? The technology exists, is proven, and is still being improved upon. Unlike oil, there is a far greater supply of water that exists, that can be moved around to solve problems. All the communities in North America rely on local water pools, which are subject to regional weather patterns. Period of drought, flooding, and otherwise. At least on the side of droughts, we could provide enough clean water to stabilize the entire ecosystem, not just minimalistically maintain our existence, while we watch the crops, trees, shrubs, and grasses die off, which also begins to affect the local wild life and onward with additional ripple effects.

While there are more skilled people already thinking about these issues and working on them, I fear none of them have the scope of vision necessary or the skill sets to teach those who have the resources and influence to move forward with such endeavors. I hope that I am wrong, but the from my vantage point the solution is simple and deliverable within a very short span of time... if we just focus on expanding our vision and stewardship of this planet.

If you have not already take some time to dive deeper into the information that is being made available regarding the drought and the efforts in place. If you see problems with them, take the time to contact your local officials and make suggestions and ask questions. We all do not need to become process experts on on water delivery and conservation... we have those already. Just need to be aware enough to help guide the processes in place to where they should be, or (if needed) encourage those who are doing the work to think in a larger scope.

Some Resources on the Drought

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Crazy at work? It may just be office ADD

Well I can state, that I experience some of the items discussed in the article. I have known that every email, phone call, instant message, or knock on the door put me back, but I did not realize how far or how much impact those items can have on us.

"What's more, when people do finally start working again, they
don't reach their earlier level of concentration for 10 additional minutes.
Total time that can be lost answering just one e-mail: a half hour, and that's
the best case scenario. "Every e-mail interruption is like a hand grenade being
thrown in the middle of your brain," says Dr. Hallowell."

This is an interesting article on too many distractions.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

World of Warcraft – Data Mining

Earlier in 2007 Blizzard released the Armory, which made the data of all their servers available to the public. I have used the Armory a few times to provide information on my character(s) to friends. However I had not looked into data mining or other statistical usage from the database.

However, in general surfing around I stumbled upon some resources and folks who are already neck deep in data being mined from the Blizzard armory for World of Warcraft. The following are a few of those links and sites and I am sure there are plenty that I have not found yet.

The Build Mine

Llew Mason's Musings on Data Mining

WoW Insider's write up of Zyph's data mining

Zyph's Forum Post regarding his data mining

Armory Musing's

This next link is not necessarily related to mining the armory, but is a nice statistical and charting effort of changes to the character classes over time as recorded by a World of Warcraft player.

Charting WoW Balance Changes

The above are some quick links to some existing efforts and analysis, there exists great opportunities for tools to be built of mining data and analyzing based upon specific criteria. One such items are the crop of guild progression tracking websites. One i have used frequently is

WoW Jutsu

Beyond this there is the possibility of tool sets to aid guild recruitment for PvE and PvP and countless other utilities and tools.

VMware - Endpoint Format is Invalid - Join Domain

Here was a fun little problem, which hopefully none of you will ever have to encounter. At work we had a project to set-up a number of VMware images of XP under an ESX server. Previously we had images created in Virtual PC and those would not play nice with VMware Converter so we just created a new image.

We SYSPREPed the image and packaged it up and moved it along to the ESX server admin. They loaded it up and we were going to change the machine name via script to something much more functional than the randomized name that SYSPREP generates. However when running the script (which also renames the AD machine account - nifty) it was failing, with a generic error of 1706.

Let the troubleshooting begin...

Upon further research Group Policy was not working because the VMware machine would not hit the SYSVOL on the domain controller. However, when logged into the VMware machine we could ping other nodes on the network, but we could not use file sharing at all. Admins shares, manual shares, nothing anywhere. (Including SYSVOL on the DCs). Strange. Yet, all other resources on the network could reach THIS machines file shares just fine. Research on that topic turns up a lot of other issues which did not apply to this situation many related to the DCs and group policy. Not applicable.

Ask a couple coworkers for thoughts and we jump back to basics and try to disjoin from the domain. Well once disjoined, it would not rejoin to the domain. We received the error message,

The endpoint format is invalid.

Couple of searches later we stumbled upon the following thread on the VMware forums,

Win2003 VM’s will not join domain.

Once the VMware tools were removed, the machine rebooted we were able to join the machine to the domain again and file sharing resumed normal application along with Group Policy application. We still have to test the rename script on the updated core image, but I am optimistic regarding those results.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Digital Cameras and EXIF Information

The moral:

There is a lot of hidden metadata stored from digitial cameras and depending upon the photo and how it is prepared for public consumtion may include information you may not want disclosed...,18807651