It was a very well organized conference in Santa Clara on Thursday, February 19, 2009. I decided not to bring my computer and take copious notes of each presentation as I usually do, and instead spent my time listening and watching. So this blog has fewer details and more opinions. Here were the presentations that left an impression on me:
PK Agarwal, CTO for the State of California started off the morning with a great speech about the computer behaviors of different generations titled "The Changing Workforce". The content was not new to me - about baby boomers, millennials, generation X, generation Y, etc., and their response to technology, so I was free to just enjoy the presentation. He was a great speaker. A memorable one-liner: "How can you tell when you are opposite an introvert or extrovert engineer? Watch his eyes and see whether he gazes at your shoes or his own." Then at the end of the talk, PK showed a video about collaboration that had me weeping buckets of tears. I had to run out of the auditorium to wipe my face clean of mascara.
I was suitably impressed with the 10 point summary of Dean Nelson/Mark Thiele's Data Center Pulse meeting that emerged at the conclusion of their first face to face membership event But I'd like to recommend one additional point to make it 11: the group should plan to disband in June 2010. Why? Because we need to take their focused approach and apply it to existing industry groups - redundancy with Green Grid, DoE, ASHRAE, 7 x 24, etc., will not serve us, only slow us down. So Pulse Board: complete your 10 points in a time you can pledge to live with, and then hand it off so your Board can go and influence more topics!
KC Mares was great on the Critical Facilities Roundtable panel that Bruce Myatt organized. KC really hit hard on vendors who are hiding behind useless server nameplates to legally protect themselves against any litigation for using servers in less than pristine and optimal conditions. As Michael Tomczyk of the Mack Center at MIT likes to say, "if i can work on my laptop with a long haired cat shedding hair and dandruff all over my laptop, why can't a server take the same beating?" KC had his facts on humidity and temperature ready to challenge all server vendors: Listen up and loosen up! Let's get this industry into the 21st century now.
Ric Telford of IBM was the only speaker who gets low marks from me. In the nicest possible way, I'd like to ask whether he wouldn't like to trade me a couple of IBM Thinkpad RS 61-8920s for a chance to do a sanity check on his slide deck for his next presentation? It was a mishmash of pages that left me distracted about where that $1.3 million number came from (with no context about percentage or absolute spending on the slide or in his comments).
The Teladata audience deserved better than a goofy presentation from a company with the biggest marketing budget (or close to it). This is the company that created IBM JAM through Mike Wing, the company that put Borobodur back together again. Don't take my high opinion of this industry leader and discard it needlessly.
Next week I am going to see my 7th grade English teacher, Nancy Adrian. She taught me how to write. She taught me to refine my arguments. She also had our class memorize that Robert Frost poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". Here are four of the lines:
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
I have always thought fondly, and literally, of that little horse who knew his way home without direction from his carriage driver, and it reminds me of how often we go on autopilot ourselves, without thinking, ranting on in some fashion because we've given the same speech so many times. So with apologies to Ric for the above admonition, I caught him this time but he may catch me out next month...
Check out Intel's Kevin Bross' new blog here... And thanks to Amy Wohl for this (World Community Grid) and this. Have a Green Day! PS. this was a scary blog to write because I don't actually like to criticize people. But Kirk Varnadoe, former Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, said, "Do something scary every day." Occasionally I live by that rule. I just did.