About Duffbert...

Duffbert's Random Musings is a blog where I talk about whatever happens to be running through my head at any given moment... I'm Thomas Duff, and you can find out more about me here...

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Co-author of the book IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide
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Co-author of the book IBM Sametime 8.5.2 Administration Guide
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03/21/2012

When you have a bounty system...

Category New Orleans Saints NFL bounty system
When you have a bounty system, you get aggressive defensive players.
When you get aggressive defensive players, they injure offensive players.
When they injure offensive players, they get paid.
When they get paid, someone talks.
When someone talks, the league finds out.
When the league finds out, the league gets angry.
When the league gets angry, you lose your job for a season.

Don't lose your job for a season.  Play within the rules.

03/19/2012

Book Review - To the Cloud: Cloud Powering an Enterprise by Pankaj Arora, Raj Biyani, and Salil Dave

Category Book Review To the Cloud: Cloud Powering an Enterprise Pankaj Arora Raj Biyani Salil Dave
A picture named M2

Working in IT, I don't go a day without hearing something about "The Cloud". Either people want you to move to it, stay away from it, or don't have a clue as to what it actually means.  Couple that with all the vendor hype and jargon, and I quickly find that most discussions end up with both parties using the same words while meaning completely different things.  To the Cloud: Cloud Powering an Enterprise by Pankaj Arora, Raj Biyani, and Salil Dave was recently sent to me for review, and I think I've found a good option for clearing up much of the confusion when the cloud discussion heats up.  This book is short, concise, readable, and is well positioned as an introductory exposure to what "moving to the cloud" actually means.

Content:
Explore: Understand the Cloud; Understand the Value Proposition; Chart the Cloud Landscape; Summary
Envision: Recognize the Case for Change; Drive a Shared Vision; Analyze Cloud Opportunities; Build the Business Case; Summary
Enable: Define Adoption Approach; Select Cloud Providers; Upgrade the Organization; Revamp Tools and Processes; Summary
Execute: Rethink Enterprise Architecture; Design Solutions for the Cloud; Implement and Integrate Solutions; Operate in the Cloud; Summary
Epilogue - Emerging Markets and the Cloud: Explosive Economic Growth; The Opportunity - Leapfrogging Legacy Technology; Case Studies; Emerging Market Challenges; Summary
Glossary
Index

I wasn't kidding when I said short and concise, as the book is only 119 pages.  Even so, it packs more information in those pages than some books twice the size (or more!)  The authors all work for Microsoft, but I was pleasantly surprised that the book does not read as an advertisement for all things branded with the MS logo.  The information is largely vendor-agnostic, and only occasionally mentions specific solutions when appropriate (and even then covers both MS and non-MS options).  As such, I would feel comfortable recommending this without fear of looking like a marketing shill for any one vendor.  

The Explore chapter does an excellent job in breaking down what is meant by "the cloud", as well as what it might mean in particular cases. A vendor might offer to move you to the cloud, but all they are doing is providing a hardware infrastructure for you.  You still have to manage the operating system, upgrades, and the applications that run on them.  Others might offer you a full platform, which means they'll take care of the hardware and the operating system provisioning, but you still have to write and maintain the applications you run on their resources.  The complete cloud solution is when you start using a software offering completely hosted and managed by the vendor.  You simply use the software without regard to hardware, operating system, or application maintenance.  Other than minor configuration choices, the vendor takes care of everything.  Even knowing these basic classifications can cut down greatly on false expectations and wasted time and money.

The remaining chapters guide you through the choices, decisions, and steps you need to consider if you want to successfully migrate some portion of your business to cloud-based computing.  Seeing the process laid out in this clear and concise fashion is incredibly valuable, as it sets the correct expectations as to how much work is involved, as well as what you can expect to gain (or potentially lose) by such a migration.  Granted, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of detailed questions, concerns, and issues that have to be dealt with along the way.  But To The Cloud provides the solid framework to get from on-premises computing to a solution where you focus on the business instead of simply keeping the lights on.

To The Cloud should be required reading for your team if you're starting to consider migrating some part of your IT operation "to the cloud".  The two or three hours spent reading this book up-front may well save many months and considerable dollars that would otherwise be spent spinning your wheels trying to get started.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Publicist
Payment: Free

03/17/2012

Book Review - Celebrity In Death by J. D. Robb

Category Book Review J. D. Robb Celebrity In Death
A picture named M2

It seems like I'm not getting much time to read lately, but when J. D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) releases a new novel in the "In Death" series, I make time.  Celebrity In Death is the latest installment that follows the life of Lieutenant Eve Dallas as she kicks butt and solves murder cases in the 2060 version of New York.  In Celebrity, Dallas has to figure out who murdered a video star at a party she was attending. While all the potential suspects are known, the clues as to which one did the deed are elusive...

Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, and McNabb are attending a party centered around the new video of her Icove case.  The Icove Agenda, written by reporter Nadine Furst, is highly anticipated, but of course Dallas would prefer not have anything to do with parties or publicity. Her role switches from attendee to cop when one of the co-stars is found dead in the lap pool on the roof, and everyone at the party becomes a possible murder suspect.  Dallas quickly finds out that the deceased was not a favorite of anyone involved in the film, and in fact most of them end up having reason why her death isn't anything to shed tears over.  Still, a death is a death, and Dallas stands for the victim, regardless of how they lived their life.  As she drills down into everyone's story, she starts to uncover some past history that leads her to believe that this murder isn't the first one the suspect has committed, and it probably won't be the last unless she can provide the evidence to tie together the coincidences.

While this wasn't wasn't as edgy or tense as prior novels, it was still interesting with some unique twists. The focus was more on investigative work, trying to tie together past actions to the current case.  The actors and actresses who played Dallas and company looked eerily similar to their real-life counterparts, which made the murder feel more personal to Peabody and McNabb, as the dead actress played Peabody in the film..  In addition, Dallas felt like she was looking into a mirror, seeing how others view her by watching how the actress interpreted her character.

An In Death novel is like catching up with old friends, and I never tire of watching Dallas go head-to-head with murderers.  Celebrity In Death is no different, and I can't wait until the next installment.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed

03/17/2012

Book Review - Pineapple Grenade by Tim Dorsey

Category Book Review Tim Dorsey Pineapple Grenade
A picture named M2

I love reading Tim Dorsey novels, but I really struggle to review them. How do you describe a story where a murder victim is found with no internal organs, fishermen are wandering around Miami with a dead shark, one of the main characters is using a prosthetic leg found on the beach as a bong, and two vigilantes dressed as superheros are ridding the world (or at least Miami) of car-jackers?  And that's in the first 15 minutes of reading... Dorsey's latest, Pineapple Grenade, follows the crazy adventures of Serge Storms and his continually stoned sidekick, Coleman, as Serge starts his new life as an international spy-for-hire.  

In the most current adventure, Serge gets it in his head that he's going to become a spy. Not that anyone has hired him, mind you. He just starts "spying" in obvious ways to catch the attention of various CIA groups and different embassies.  His strange (but normal to him) activities stand out because a major summit of Latin American leaders is about to happen in Miami, and everyone has security on their mind.  So while everyone has Serge on their radar, no one knows exactly who he's working for. Is he part of the network of one of the small countries? Is he being run by one of the CIA groups competing with each other for territory? Even the different groups themselves don't know if Serge is working for them as part of a power play by opposition within their ranks.  There's a good chance that Serge doesn't even know who he might be assisting.

And then there's Serge's sidekick, Coleman... who is blissfully stoned and agreeable to anything... so long as there's more beer or weed coming.

For me, Dorsey novels are an escape into a world of bizarre entertainment while getting some not-so-subtle commentary on how people in Florida roll.  Yeah, it can be over-the-top at times... actually, it's more a case of *how high* the over-the-top it's going to be.  Dorsey creates some of the most strange, funny, and disturbing contraptions and setups for how Serge balances the scales of justice.  The fact that he can even think these things up should worry people... :)

There's one other aspect I enjoyed in this (and every other) Serge novel that Dorsey writes. Every disconnected observation and sideshow that happens somewhere during the story will, in most all cases, reappear at the end during the climactic finale. From a writing perspective, I'm not sure how he can keep that many thread straight and wrap them at the end, but it's fun to watch it happen.

Pineapple Grenade was a bit more confusing to me than other Serge novels, but I still enjoyed the read.  If you want a few hours of crazy entertainment and plot twists that never stop, this novel will deliver.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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