chuck.goolsbee.org  goolsbee.org, serving useless content from an undisclosed location since 1997

April 18, 2010

We’re back! ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD!

Filed under: Technology — chuck goolsbee @ 12:16 am

Welcome to the new server!

OK, that took a little longer than I thought. Things SHOULD be working OK. If you have any problems logging in, please let me know.

March 23, 2010

Farewell Aperture, for now.

Filed under: Apple,Photography,Review & Criticism — chuck goolsbee @ 6:51 pm
At least this houseguest cleans up after itself!
At least this houseguest cleans up after itself!

My 30-day Apple Aperture trial expired. I ended up deciding not to buy the software though. Why?

$199 seems steep for an application that runs like molasses on my fairly well-spec’ed machine; a MacBook Pro 2.53GHz with 4 GB of RAM. I like Aperture’s RAW editing features. Once I got the hang of them that is. But… damn this application is slow. This was with a library of less than 100 photos. I note that iPhoto bogs down once its library exceeds 5000 images. Aperture was dog slow right from the very first image.

Every once in a while I would see some moment of brilliance, and think I was falling in love with the software. Then it would smack me with a spinning cursor and drive me away. I would hope that a trial period would show you all the reasons to love a new product, but in this case it just drove me back to using iPhoto + Photoshop.

I’m open to being convinced otherwise, so feel free to chime in if you have a differing opinion.

February 22, 2010

The Winding Road Ahead, and a Glance at the Rear View Mirror.

Filed under: Datacenter,digital.forest,life,Technology — chuck goolsbee @ 4:27 am

To some this sign may be a warning. To others it is an invitation. A temptation. A true desire.

I’ve driven this particular road many times and always pause at that famous sign. It is one of those landmarks and moments where you step out of the car, relax a bit, stretch your legs, gather your thoughts, take a deep breath… and then dive in. As the road coils and contorts before you the senses heighten and sharpen, and your focus becomes laser-like. Right now I’ve metaphorically pulled over at that sign and am shaking the thoughts of the long straightway that lies behind me out of my mind, preparing for the focus required of the next challenge.

After ten years in my position at digital.forest, I’m looking to move on to something new.

If digital.forest were a road it would be a well-maintained six-lane freeway today… but I knew it when it was a dirt track alongside a cow pasture. Founded by a close friend in 1994 it was essentially a one-man operation for several years. My friend brought me on-board in the spring of 2000. In the decade since it has grown and prospered. The road did indeed have many treacherous grades and diminishing radius curves, but we navigated them all with aplomb and daring. Our industry boomed, and while we managed to raise some very modest capital, we watched in awe as competitors pulled in millions of dollars, and built amazing facilities. Then, very soon thereafter our industry busted. Those very same competitors had over-built, over-extended themselves, and died off at an astonishing rate not seen on earth since the K-T Extinction Event. We used our revenues wisely, not spending on luxury offices or standard “dotcom datacenter” frivolous eye candy, but instead focused on finding, serving, and retaining what we had: Great Clients. We did this through conservative spending on what was really important to our clients, namely buying critical infrastructure to ensure their uptime. This allowed us to grow and thrive when others were shrinking or dying. Of all the things we’ve done before or since, those worst days of our industry were truly digital.forest’s finest hour, and I look back at what we did, and how we did it, with pride.

We filled our original facility to capacity, and in 2004 went looking for a new one. We found one of those amazing facilities built in the exuberant boom days that had never been completed. It was perfect for us. Not too big, but with room to grow. Over several months in 2004/2005 we completed the long-dormant construction and moved in. It was the craziest half-year of my professional life. My team worked around the clock, seven days a week, for four months straight to build, equip, and then move a live datacenter twenty-nine miles across a major metropolitan area. Operationally it was a flawless migration. Our Account Management team did an amazing job working with our clients, letting them know what was going on and why, and scheduling their move times weeks in advance, often down to the minute. My Technical Operations team executed the move with speed and precision. Most importantly, we did not lose a single client in the process.

What amazing clients they are! I’ve met truly wonderful people during my time at digital.forest. It has been a privilege to serve them, and a joy to watch many of them succeed and grow. Most of all though, the greatest benefit for me has been to make many of them my friends. Our clients are in very good hands, as my other privilege has been to work with some of the most competent and capable people I’ve ever known in my twenty-five years in business.

That move to a new facility is what transformed digital.forest from a rural two-lane blacktop into a super-highway. We expected that “room to grow” would last us a few years, but within months we were expanding again, metaphorically going from two lanes to four, and then six. Curves were smoothed out, bridges built, grades reduced, and guardrails erected. What was once a winding road was now a superslab, on a straight and fast course over the horizon.

Personally, I prefer the winding road to the wide freeway. The challenges are more vivid, and the work keeps me alert and feeling alive. It has nothing to do with the size of the company, as even large organizations can have immediate challenges. I joined one of the larger companies in the Fortune 500, Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s Inc.) in 1990 when they committed to completely transforming their advertising processes from analog to digital. What an amazing ride that was! I left Macy’s to join a small, but international publishing company in 1995 to create an entire IT operation from scratch, then volunteered to transfer to their UK headquarters to successfully reorganize their IT department. From there I went to digital.forest and helped it grow eightfold during my tenure. It is on these sorts of courses I prefer to grab the wheel and shifter to carve up the corners. No freeway driving for me.

I have some projects to complete and/or hand off to others at digital.forest, but mostly I’ll be focussed on finding that next great road. Something that will get my engine roaring in tune with gear changes and sweeping curves.

Let me know if you hear of one.

February 21, 2010

Protected: Macworld Conference MacIT882 Session Slides

Filed under: Apple,Technology — chuck goolsbee @ 1:10 pm

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

The 7 Rules for Writing World Class Technical Documentation | SCALE 8x – 2010 Southern California Linux Expo

Filed under: Technology,Writing — chuck goolsbee @ 9:47 am

The 7 Rules for Writing World Class Technical Documentation | SCALE 8x – 2010 Southern California Linux Expo.

Saw these seven nuggets of wisdom from Bob Reselman via Twitter and my friend (and fellow speaker @ Macworld Expo) Dan O’Donnell.

Writing a technical document is hard. Reading a poorly written technical document is harder, and probably more painful than writing one. It takes a lot of work to create a clear, accurate, engaging piece of technical writing. Thus, in order to make life a little easier for all parties involved, I am going to share with you the 7 Rules that I follow when creating a piece of technical documentation.

The 7 Rules are:

1. Dry sucks
2. Before you start, be clear about what you want your reader to do after you end
3. Write to a well formed outline, always
4. Avoid ambiguous pronouns
5. clarity = illustrations + words
6. When dealing with concepts… logical illustration and example
7. Embrace revision

Wish I could attend the session in question.

February 15, 2010

Apple releases Camera Raw for Panasonic Lumix G1

Filed under: Apple,Photography,Technology — chuck goolsbee @ 3:46 pm

I noted last week that Apple finally released compatibility in Aperture & iPhoto for RAW files from the Panasonic Lumix G1 series cameras. I haven’t used the RAW features of my G1 much yet, as there has been no way to handle them in my workflow. Now that I can, I think I will.

I attended every user conference session I could that featured Aperture workflows and RAW format work at Macworld last week (when I wasn’t teaching MacIT sessions that is!) I REALLY want to start handling all my images in RAW to avoid the destructive nature of the JPEG format work I’ve been doing since I went digital back in the day. Until now I really couldn’t. I’ve installed the new update, and have requested a 30-day trial of Aperture 3.0. I’ll let you know how it goes!

January 30, 2010

Twitter as a Marketing tool: Failure

Filed under: rants,Technology,The Internet — chuck goolsbee @ 12:25 pm
Twitter Marketing Failure
Twitter Marketing Failure

Twitter is an amazing communications channel. It serves to maintain several types of communications. Here’s how I use it:

  • Keep a sort of running conversation going with my friends, many of whom are literally scattered around the globe.
  • Follow news, as it is shared and interpreted by friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
  • Gain insight into things I’m interested in, such as Datacenters, the Network Operations side of the Internet, Web Hosting, Cloud Computing, Technology news, Apple, the Automotive Industry, Collector Cars, Photography, and the Pacific Northwest.

At work we use Twitter as an out-of-band comms channel with our customers. We post notifications of scheduled maintenance, new support blog posts, and real-time updates when there is any sort of an issue going on within our facility, such as UPS maintenance.

Twitter is great for items that are “important now” like that. Where I have seen Twitter consistently fail, is marketing to new customers via responses. Usually this is a Twitter API driven “bot” (automated software) that responds with a pat bit of sales-speak to any Tweet that makes mention of them, their product/service, or posts a URL that links to them in any way.

The image above is an example of one such miserable, fail-prone auto-replies. I posted a URL pointing to an article on TechFlash, which is a local news blog, covering the Seattle-area technology & business beat. The article in question pointed out the irony of a local Tech Exec, being swept up in a long-term criminal investigation concerning suspected organized crime involved in a Seattle strip club. The exec in question committed perjury with regard to having “Clintonian” relations with a stripper at said club. The irony of course was the same exec’s on-stage demo of their software which allows people to perform background checks of people they meet, on the fly using their mobile phone. The criminal history feature of this software is called “Sleaze Detector.” The layers of irony here are too good to pass up, so I sent the tweet.

The employer (which by the way has a history and reputation in Seattle of seemingly sleazy executives) of this seemingly sleazy executive responded to my tweet with a discount on their software!

This is why human beings are unlikely to lose their jobs to software over the long run. Software lacks judgement, and can not detect sarcasm or irony.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress