Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager

It’s always interesting when organisation try to move into a space which has been on the edge of their core competency.

For a long time now corporate have trusted Microsoft file servers, but not trusted (because it’ been too noddy) Microsoft to protect that data. So rather than Microsoft going after the traditional backup market, which would be a really tricky sell they have started to go after a side market, and arguable an emerging market.

And so is born Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager.

Will they succeed – probably.

Smaller Tablets

Mary Jo Foley is talking about the emergence of a new Tablet form factor:

First it was the slate. Then it was the PC-Tablet convertible. Now it’s a mini-Tablet that can do everything that a traditional Tablet PC can do, plus store electronic books, that could end up as the new gadget on which Microsoft is betting to further Tablet PC momentum.

Highlighting an ABC News Article which states

I am meeting with our tablet people about the idea of carrying text books around. They’ll have just a tablet device that they can call up the material on. That’s been a dream for a long time, we’re making progress there.

Personally I love the feel of an A5 notebook. There is something that it ‘just right’ about the size. The key thing though, would be weight and depth. If it’s too heavy it’s a problem and if it’s too think it’s a problem. I regularly carry such a thing around and I think I would be as happy with that as I was with the 12.1” screen on the HP I had for a while. But if I had that it wouldn’t fulfill my requirements in many of the areas where I found the tablet really useful, but then again the 12.1” screen wasn’t big enough either for those situation.

For personal note taking though, the A5 form factor would definitely be better than the A4 factor and it is big enough for viewing presentation and other such activities.

Would I use it as a primary device, I doubt it. It  would have to be truly powerful and come with an incredible docking option for that to happen. And by docking I’m not talking about cool hardware. I’m talking about software. Where the device immediately recognises that now I am connected to a larger monitor I can automatically rearrange the windows and the behaviour would change to utilise that kind of working. And as I am unlikely to use it as a primary device then the synchronisation technologies would have to go a lot further than they do today.

Every minute spent is an investment

IMG_1579

How do I invest my precious time and do I invest it in the correct way. It’s a huge multifaceted question. The start of the question has to be another question and that is “what am I here for?” From a Christian perspective there are a number of way of phrasing it, the one I like most is “connecting with the purposes of God” but that’s more like a vision statement than a mission statement. So if I was to derive a mission statement from that vision statement what would it say.

Vision statement: Invest my time to connect with purposes of God.

So what are the purposes of God? Well, as with so many things in the Christian life, some of the things the Bible tells us explicitly other things God leaves as a bit of a mystery for us to discover. There is no doubt that one of God’s purposes it to reveal Jesus through Christian people. But the ways that God wants to do that He leaves as something for us to discover. There is no doubt that God wants to transform lives by revealing Himself to them. But the way that God wants to do that He leaves as something for us to discover.

So is it possible to derive the vision statement into a mission statement? Well I’ll have a go.

Mission statement:

It is my mission to invest my time in a way that connects with the purposes of God by:

  • Devoting my time to discovering the mystery of God’s purpose through study, prayer and mediation and in so doing discover God’s purposes for me as an individual
  • Devoting my time to my wife and children and in so doing discover the purposes of God for the family
  • Devoting my time to the service of others and in so doing discover God’s purposes for the Cross of Jesus Christ

I believe that by investing my time to discovering the mystery of God’s purposes I will myself become changed through the journey. The reason I believe this is that I also believe that God doesn’t create these mysteries as a cruel game. God creates these mysteries because he wants to connect with us in relationship. He wants us to invest our time in knowing Him. The mysteries of God’s purposes reveal something of His character and in taking the journey to discover those mysteries we connect with that character in a way we could never do if it was simply given to us on a plate.

 

We need an 'original content' filter

One of the biggest problems I have when reading through blogs is that I get the same information and the same content many time over. That’s because lots of people keep their blog statistics high by reproducing someone else’s content with little or no original content of their own.

It would be great to filter out ‘none original’ content, actually it’s becoming essential.

I don’t like it when people repeat things to me in my normal life, so I don’t see why I should put up with it in my IT life.

Families Part One of Many

Sunset with Jonathan and Emily

What is a flower worth?

What is a sparrow worth?

What is a house worth?

What is a relationship worth?

Priceless

Many people believe that it is money that makes the world go round, but they would be completely wrong. it’s relationships that make the world go around.

My immediate biological family consists of Sue, Jonathan, Emily and myself. But I like to think that we have a much more vibrant view of family than that. Family is really about close personal relationships that last through thick and thin. I have a biological brother who I love dearly, but I also have a friend who I have known for more than 20 years who I could discuss anything with and has been with us as a family through the best and worst of times. I thank God that I am surrounded by a rich set of relationships.

For the last few weeks I have been taking Jonathan to a climbing lesson at our local leisure centre. it was his birthday present, and that in itself says something about him and the type of person that he is. I have no part in these lessons for me it could be a dead hour but it’s not. I go in the gym and create lots of sweat. The great thing is, the gym is on the first floor (or second floor if you aren’t British) and has a huge window looking into the climbing room. So although we are in completely different rooms we are still connected, we are still in relationship. Jonathan has two choices at this point. He could completely disown me (because I’m not that pretty a site in the gym), but he doesn’t, he climbs up the wall either side of the window and peers in looking for me. He’s looking for a response, a relationship response. I also have a choice, I can decide that he is embarrassing, but I don’t I give him the biggest thumbs up I can possibly give and off he goes up past the window to the top of the wall. Later on when I am trying to cool down a bit I go up to the window and look in. Again, he could disown me at this point, but in front of the rest of the people in there he returns my thumbs up.

It’s just a simple example, but it’s an example of the pricelessness of relationships.

And just as I am finishing off – in comes Emily and gives me a big kiss and says ‘good night’. Priceless.

Working from Home Today

IMG_0060I decided to work from home today in order to get some peace and quiet. Guess what – today was the day when my neighbour decided to start having their garden dug up.

So far they have delivered a small digger, a small dumper truck, two skips, and loads of stone. I have no idea what they are doing but it’s certainly not a peaceful and quiet day at Chastney Towers today.

Of course there are two problems, the first one is the noise, the second more pressing one is my curiosity as to what on earth they are doing. This is not helped by Sue coming in every few minutes giving me an update.

We had our garden landscaped about 18 months ago and I have to admit to a certain amount of envy and one-up-man-ship.  After all they have already had a conservatory built and turned their double garage into a snooker room. It’s all just too much.

The always-on social impacts

My friend Steve has just posted a really interesting article on the business case for PDA’s, but most importantly the impacts of the Always on Society.

It’s very interesting observing the social impacts of the working environment that people are forced to work in. I wrote the other day about the general working environment and it’s impact personally on my productivity. (Today I am working from home and it’s Friday s feel great). But it’s a really interesting thing to observe how other people interact with technology and the various connection infrastructures that they have.

Sue, my wife, is an interesting example. She works as a Pastoral Worker for our church (a voluntary position, but no less demanding) and the way that she interacts with the various connection infrastructures is fascinating.

When we come home from holiday, or even a short break, Sue has established a routine that drives me nuts, but is actually no different to the way so many people interact with their connection infrastructures. On films people returning from holiday, walk through the door with bags in hands, turn to each other, have a big hug and say something like ‘it’s great to be home’. Not in my house, are you kidding. As soon as Sue gets through the door she picks up the post and goes straight to the phone which will inevitably be flashing with a number of messages. These messages will be the few messages that have been left in the last 24 hours, because she has already phoned it every day while we have been away. And while she is walking around with the hands-free phone listening to the messages she walks into the study turns the PC on and sits down. She then goes through the post while the PC is booting up (still listening to messages) and down-loading the emails. She then goes through the emails. As a man this is infuriating because I am, of course, completely superfluous to this activity (there is nothing worse for a man than to feel redundant). So what do I do, I go and get the bags in from the car of course.

The thing is, these messages and emails can be anything. It’s not primarily personal correspondence that she is dealing with here, it’s primarily work related. And because she is a pastoral worker these messages can be anything and generally include births, deaths, sickness, upset, separation; anyone of the full spectrum of life’s highs and lows.

Yet, just because it is there, she needs to reconnect herself. She knows it drives me mad, and she knows that for me it marks a stark and sudden end to a holiday that I would rather keep going for a few hours.

I don’t take a laptop on holiday, not because I will fell the need to stay connected, because I know Sue will need to.

The other thing she has is the need to read text messages as soon as they arrive, wherever whenever, even if it’s late at night. For me, it’s more likely that the message itself will spoil my nights sleep, for Sue, the knowledge that there is some information that she doesn’t have will definitely spoil her nights sleep.

Now, there is some logic to all of this. And I’m not saying I’m right and she is wrong. I’m just saying we are different. For Sue, she would rather get all of the information in small doses. Just because she has the information doesn’t mean she worries about it. For me, I’d rather not have the information at all, because I do worry about it. Not sure whether that’s a man-woman thing, or whether it’s our different personalities. What it does mean is that she sneaks away while we are on holiday to phone home and listen to the messages and that definitely troubles me, because it feels a bit like she is behaving like an addict would. She only does it because she knows it winds me up, I’m sure.

Anyway, at today’s level of technology there is a certain level of disconnection. If we are camping in Northern Scotland there is no mobile signal and I’m not driving to a phone box so she can listen to the messages. But those days are rapidly coming to a close. So what will it take for us to fully understand what we are doing to ourselves in being this connected and when will we understand how to train people how to deal with his level of connectivity. How do you train someone to turn off a mobile phone? How do you train someone to know that stuff happens and to relax in it? How do we change the technology so that we get the really important stuff and not the dross? I have a colleague who sends everything to me as ‘urgent’ and it’s not. One of these days he’ll send me something really important and I’ll miss it.