I'm taking the next couple of days off to go sit on the Redneck Riviera and contemplate the oil rigs out in the Texas Gulf.
Hey, only in Texas can you sit on the beach, watch the seagulls lulling about, watch the flying fish jump across the waves, keep an eye out on the pelicans diving for the flying fish, and all while watching the big oil companies help to make us energy independent in real-time right off the Texas coast.
However, while I'm contemplating nature on Mustang Island, you should start to think about signing up to attend the Information on Demand event in October out in Viva Las Vegas.
I have agreed to make a return engagement to the land of the Flying Elvi, two dollar craps, and casino master data modeling so that I can cover the tidings via the Turbo blog.
I won't put on too heavy of a sales pitch on your attendance at the moment, because the seagulls await.
But let me just lead by saying early bird registration (read: discount) ends on August 31st, and this year's keynote is going to be presented by none other than Malcolm Gladwell.
If you don't know who Malcolm Gladwell is, well, you need to get a clue and go read some of his books.
I've read all of them, and am a regular reader of his pieces in the New Yorker.
Malcolm has a way of looking at the world -- and, in turn, helping others look at the world -- that is very unique and often discounts what is typically deemed to be "conventional wisdom."
In fact, his latest tome, Outliers, will make you downright rethink what constitutes what we've come to define as "success."
For me, this will be sort of a Malcolm Gladwell homecoming.
Back in 2000, right as the air was drifting out of the Web 1.0 bubble, I had an opportunity to attend the Industry Standard Internet Summit out in Laguna Niguel, California.
The roster of speakers and Internet luminaries was mind-boggling, everybody from Bill Joy, the chief scientist of Sun, to Steve Case, then head of AOL, to John Doerr, the venture capitalist and humanitarian.
It was an absolute Internet-oriented intellectual feast, and set amidst the tres chic and gorgeous confines of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel (where everybody should spend at least one night of their life).
Gladwell's first book, The Tipping Point, had just come out, and what better venue to hear him tell the story behind the story than amongst a gathering of the best and brightest in the technology and media industries.
It was definitely a highlight of the event.
So, you can read more about Gladwell in his bio here, and that's the first reason I'm going to give you for attending this year's Information on Demand clan gathering.
Now, if you'll excuse me while I head to the beach to think about some others reasons I'll start to mete out upon my return.
And for those of you heading out to San Jose to attend the Search Engine Strategies conference next week, I'll be speaking at the event and look forward to seeing you there.
Technorati Tags: beach, information on demand, las vegas, malcolm gladwell, outliers, information management, tipping point, vacation
First, congratulations are in order to Roger Federer, for winning his first ever French Open.
And to Tiger Woods, for once again demonstrating that he is one of the greatest golfers who ever lived and who pounced on the field at The Memorial in Indianapolis this past weekend and let everybody know he is ready to rock 'n' roll at the U.S. Open in Bethpage Black in two weeks.
Me, I proved late last week why I work at IBM and am NOT a professional golfer.
My dad and I were playing in his annual Member/Guest tournament at the Denton Country Club up in North Texas, and alas, we put in our worst showing in the three years we've played in the tournament.
Despite a great start, on a course that was in impeccable shape (the greens there are some of the best in the state), we just couldn't pull it together.
But, we had a great time trying, and most importantly, the father/son time was...well...priceless.
I'm even thinking my dad and I could maybe even do one of those MasterCard commercials, just in time for Father's Day:
Four days of golf in a row with some of the best players on one of the best courses in north Texas: $750
A new Titleist cap with magnetized ball marker: $20.00
A hot dog and cold beer at the turn: $12.00
That impossible approach shot you made over the forest, that curving putt for birdie on 18, and all that quality time you spent with your dad:
Sign me up.
But whatever you do, remind me not to Tweet every last detail of my travel plans.
USA Today has a story today suggesting that Twitterers need to be more careful about announcing to the world they're going to be out of the country for a week, lest they invite burglars over to steal their stuff (which is what happened to Israel Hyman and his wife during a recent trip to Kansas City).
This raises the specter of how social media are requiring us all to learn new rules of the road, both personally and professionally.
A number of folks from inside and outside IBM will be gathering both in Yorktown Heights and in cyberspace (via teleconference and emeeting) next week to discuss some of these new rules of the road in IBM's second Social Media Summit.
Currently, the lineup includes social media experts from the likes of Comcast, Pepsico, Intel, Ogilvy & Mather, Text100, CoTweet and Google, .
If interested, click here to learn more about the event and to register.
Technorati Tags: netiquette, twitter, vacation
I survived the sharks, the sea turtles, the anemones, and even a major election in Grand Cayman.
But I also survived being (mostly) unconnected and blogless during my scuba vacation.
I did so at the strong encouragement of several of my friends who follow this blog on the Internet Evolution site.
And boy oh boy, did they have some strong feelings about my not blogging during my holiday!
Auntie NoNo observed that "This is VACATION. This is not WORK time. It is meant as a time for bodily and spiritual rejuventation. Commune with the rays, not the hum of a hard drive."
DHCIR piled on, suggesting two blog posts would lead to three, three to four, and so on, and that I should get away from the "addictive" blah-gging.
Being the crowdsourced kinda guy I am, I followed the advice of the crowd and focused most all my attention on vacation and didn't write a single blog post while on holiday (well, not a work-related one, anyhow).
But also in the spirit of crowdsourcing, SteveGNYC remarked on Internet Evolution overnight that he would "love to hear from you upon return," specifically (a) that you did not become snacks for sharks" (we're okay on that front, Steve, unless I were writing this from the stomach of Jaws!), "but more importantly, (b) how did you feel not checking in, tweeting, blogging, calling, texting, etc.
Well, first off, Steve, to be perfectly honest, I didn't completely cut myself off.
Electronic communications are so integrated into my life these days, even though I didn't spend much time focused on work, I still used the digital media throughout my vacation.
My room had a powerful wi-fi connection in Grand Cayman, and it became my daily ritual to post videos I shot on my morning dives of the fishes and turtles up to Facebook.
By mid-afternoon, I'd have a whole peanut gallery full of commentary on my Facebook wall from friends, colleagues, family members, etc.
That was a whole lot of fun -- it was like all my friends were on vacation with me, looking over my shoulder and adding their witticisms via the Facebook comments feature.
Mind you, I'm very much a knowledge worker, but posting a video on Facebook doesn't take an excessive amount of knowledge (in fact, it's probably one of the easiest things one can do on Facebook!), so I didn't feel as though posting videos was treading anywhere close to work territory. And I got a real kick out of hearing from my friends in near real-time.
But Steve, to get more to the point of your question, I also felt just fine about not blogging for the entire week.
Auntie NoNo was absolutely right, vacation is just that.
If I'd have been posting throughout the break, that meant I would have had to have tuned into the blogosphere information flow on all things IT and digital media, which meant I really hadn't cut the umbilical cord.
As the old adage goes, a vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer. It should be just long enough that your boss misses you, and not long enough for him/her to discover how well he/she can get along without you.
Boss, I'm back, I'm blogging, and I sure hope you missed me while I was gone...even if just a little.
In a post from earlier today, I promised a debrief of my recent experience in Panama.
As with any good vacation, the first question was one of motivation. Why there, as opposed to somewhere else?
Well, first, I'd never been there.
Second, it wasn't our first choice (I traveled there with a couple of friends), but it was a logical one (one of those friends had served in the military there and had lived in Panama City).
Third, we wanted to get in some scuba diving.
And fourth, I really wanted to go see the Panama Canal (my same said friend had encouraged me to read "The Path Between the Seas," David McCullough's breakthrough book on the building of the Canal, before embarking on the trip).
Any one who's ever involved themselves in a large IT project should read McCullough's book!
My overall impressions of Panama were most favorable.
Though it obviously has conditions not dissimilar from other countries down in that direction -- disparities in wealth, large underclass, emerging infrastructure -- it's a country that seemed to work just fine and was perfectly content with itself and its status in the world, especially with its ongoing construction boom and the planned expansion of the Canal to accommodate post-Panamax ships.
Even Donald Trump has jumped onto the Panama City building bandwagon, initiating his "Trump Ocean Club Panama" project (No word yet on whether or not there will be an associated reality TV show.)!
The cuisine in Panama was quite good.
If you ever go, don't miss a visit to Manolo Caracol in the "Casco Viejo" section of town, where a prix fixe meal saves you the hassle of looking at the menu, and where the Panamanian cuisine is as good as I got while there.
For visiting the Canal, I have a couple of recommendations.
One, make sure you take the time to check it out. The Canal helped define the country, and you're missing out on what makes Panama so unique if you don't see it.
Second, see it at both ends. The Miraflores locks are the last set on the Pacific side, and there's a very good museum and video overview there. The taxi ride is only about 15 minutes from the center of the city.
However, to see the locks up close and personal, take a day and ride the Panama Canal Railroad Company (which is operating again after a roughly 10 year hiatus) train to Colon, and have a cab driver take you to the Gatun Locks.
It was at Gatun, watching the BIG Panamax cargo ships being hauled through the series of three locks at Gatun, that I truly understood the strategic global shipping importance of the Canal.
The scuba diving in Panama was mediocre, but we were on the Pacific side and the diving around Contadora just didn't come close to measuring up to the Caribbean diving I've done around Cozumel, Belize, and Bonaire. But, as they say, a bad day diving beats a good day at work any day of the week.
Overall, it was a very nice and relaxing trip, and if the true test is whether or not I would go back again, the answer is absolutely yes.
But next time I'll be sure to take my golf clubs. : )
Technorati Tags: panama, panama canal, manolo caracol, vacation
I'm feeling a little under the weather.
I joked on Twitter that it's because I'm about to take some vacation, and without all the stress of working, my immune system becomes excessively deficient.
You think I'm kidding?
(My London-based colleague responded that perhaps I should consider drinking some vodka. I guess it would certainly kill whatever germs I have!)
I'm just glad I don't work for Amazon in the U.K.
For my time away from the office, I'm planning on visiting the Panama Canal and also doing a little scuba diving.
I've never been to Panama, so if you have any hints, tips, and tricks, feel free to send them my way.
I'm very excited about seeing the Canal up close and in person.
I've been reading David McCullough's master work on the subject, "The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914" which, if you haven't read, is a wonderful book.
To be sure, I don't think I'll ever view a large project at Big Blue to be so daunting again, at least not through the same lens or to the same degree.
At least at IBM, I typically don't have to fight mosquitoes carrying malaria and yellow fever, nor have to deal with excessive tropical heat or move millions of cubic feet of dirt and rock.
What I do have to deal with is inordinate layers of "bluereaucracy" and posting presentations on the Interwebs.
To make the latter more easier, SlideShare has come up with a PowerPoint plugin that lets users edit and publish presentations directly to their SlideShare accounts, reports TechCrunch.
The new feature also allows one to automagically notify others of the new presos via Twitter. Very cool.
But, me so sad, because as usual, there isn't a Mac version available out of the gate.
I got my revenge with a new T-shirt recently sent to me by one of my IBM running buddies in Toronto.
The T-shirt has a really nifty looking Windows Vista logo on it, with the following tagline just below it:
Thanks for that, M. It's an instant classic!
Technorati Tags: cloud computing, panama canal, productivity, vacation, vista
I've just returned from my Jacques Cousteau-like adventure in the Belizean Carribean sea where I was completely cut off from the world for a week.
I highly recommend it.
As the boat initially drifted out to sea a week ago Saturday, and I watched as my Blackberry Cingular bars slowly dissipated from 4 to 3 to 2 and...then...nothing...I was a little trepidatious about being cut off from the world.
Then, on Sunday morning, the scuba diving started, and my information withdrawal began to lessen a bit.
By the time I dived the famed "Blue Hole" on Tuesday, I had completely forgotten the Internet existed.
Mind you, I wasn't a complete technophobe while floating about on the Aggressor III. I had my MacBook Pro, along with my Nikon CoolPix complete with underwater housing so that I could take lots of pics of all the cool creatures and sea coral and view them on a bigger screen as we made our way about the Caribbean.
The boat itself was equipped with a big screen TV on which DVDs and iTunes programs could be played, and where we gathered every evening for a slideshow on what to expect from upcoming dive sites.
And the boat was even equipped with a satellite-based email and Internet system that one could use for a mere 89 cents an email. I don't even know what the cost per minute to surf was, although I'm sure it wasn't cheap.
I never even asked. I wanted to know what it was like to be completely cut off from the world.
Only when I got back to port in Belize City this past Saturday did I discover that Michael Phelps had, in fact, won his 8th gold medal.
Or that President Musharaff of Pakistan had resigned.
Or any of the other news that occurred through the course of the week.
And I have absolutely NO clue what happened in the tech world while I was gone. Feel free to add a comment below to help me catch up!
But I must say, I didn't miss being connected. Not one iota.
That's probably because I was too (rightly) focused on all the great adventures I was having 80 feet under the sea.
I saw all kinds of incredible creatures: Sea turtles, Manta Rays, several HUGE Spotted Eagle Rays which are glorious to watch as they swam by with their huge "wing" spans.
I dove up to five times a day, including at night. If you've never been 30 feet down at the bottom of the ocean in near darkness, I highly recommend it.
I have to say, I have never been more relaxed and at peace with myself and the world than I was out on that boat, completely disconnected from the world for seven days.
Which is why the first thing I did once back on land was to jack in to the wi-fi connection at the Radisson Hotel and download my 400-something emails and find out that Joe Biden was Obama's pick for veep.
See, I discovered that the Internet is kind of like air underwater. You don't need it until you do. Then, you suck it in for all the oxygen you can garner.
I'm breathing better already.
Technorati Tags: always connected, belize, scuba diving, sea turtle, spotted eagle ray, vacation
Welcome back to my reality.
No sooner had I fled to the wilds of Colorado so that I could strap two boards to my feet and fly down multiple mountains in the below-zero cold did I find myself saved by technology once again.
If you didn't hear, there was a very cold snap and blizzard-like conditions in the Vail-to-Denver corridor earlier this week, which ultimately led to the closing of two highways (40 and I-70) and to displacing over 2,000 people on the roads to Red Cross Shelters.
Fortunately, I had my trusty Crackberry Pearl on my person (which performed beautifully at minus 15 degrees Farenheit), by which I was able to receive timely road closing updates from my girlfriend, another good friend, and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
On the mountain itself, trusted information was at something of a deficit. Several people thought they heard that 40 was now opened on the eastbound lane, but 70 was still closed in both directions. Yadda yadda yadda.
I just needed to know whether or not my friend and I could get back to Denver via the two highways, plain and simple, and preferably we wanted to find out before we hit the roads.
With the help of my trusted information brokers (said girlfriend and friend and the CO DOT), we were able to get enough information via my mobile device that indicated that the roads were reopened (in the direction we needed them to be) and that we were safe to set out on our journey.
We arrived in Denver safe, sound and warm, and I was able to share a few pics and even provide some Twitter updates along the way (when the ATT Edge data network was available).
Now if they could only build some kind of skiing anti-collision avoidance system. : )
I'm on vacation.
But we know how that goes.
Crackberries, free wi-fi access at the Denver International Airport, time to kill while waiting on friends.
Anyhow, I just wanted to check in and say Happy Holidays to everyone out there in Blogland.
I hope you and yours are having a very happy and merry time, and are enjoying a little down time.
If you are reading this blog, you may have reached that consummate stage of holidaydom where you're not enjoying your down time much -- you know, the part where you're bored out of your mind and need to get a technology news or general Web fix.
I sympathize, and I share your plight. The following posts are my minor contribution towards alleviating your boredom.
Me, I can only see so many movies and watch so many football games before I start to get a little cabin feverish, and Austin's been too darned cold to hit the golf course.
So, I'm going skiing instead!
While I'm out trouncing about the slopes of Winter Park (I'll be the dreaded crazy Texan on skis trying to avoid the trees....I beg for apologies and forgiveness to my Coloradan amigos in advance), I'll be giving some consideration to the tech year that was 2007...before doing a little prognosticating about 2008.
But first things first...I will shortly crawl back into my wi-fi wormhole here at the Denver airport to check on how deep the base is at Winter Park!
Technorati Tags: 2007 year in review, holiday boredom, vacation
The New York Times' Ken Belson took a trip to examine IBM's vacation policy, which explains that "nobody's keeping track" of our vacation time anymore.
Well, that's true, although getting IBMers to actually take all their vacation time in a given year is like trying to get Microsofties to stop using Facebook.
TechCrunch's Mike Arrington explores in a post earlier today that on a percentage basis, 17% of Microsoft employees (over 13K) are active on Facebook, including several senior execs.
I'm not sure how many of we IBMers have staked out a camp on Facebook, although I've seen numbers that would suggest we're upwards of 14K population there ourselves (with over 450 IBM-related groups).
Maybe we could plan a vacation to Facebook?
Meanwhile, across the pond, the U.K. Trades Union Congress is advising companies that perhaps it's high time to establish some formal social networking guidelines, lest there be any cyberslacking going on?
One thing's for certain: Just as with vacationing IBMers carrying their ThinkPads and Blackberries to the beach, the lines between personal and professional are increasingly getting blurred.
It will be interesting to see whether or not a rush of employer-employee lawsuits will emerge over the public-professional/private-personal intersection in social networking-space.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to head over to Facebook to send somebody a fish for their virtual aquarium.
Technorati Tags: facebook, ibm, social networking, vacation
This comes under the memo heading of "While I was away..."
First, I spent most of the last week "nlogging." That's a new Web 2.0 euphemism that I'm introducing. It stands for "not blogging." I would have used "nblogging," but that just doesn't roll off the tongue quite the same way.
Anyhoo, while I was out, Forrester analyst and blogger his-own-self, Peter Kim,
placed me on his Top 20 Marketer Blogs list.
Except, it seems, I was named number 21...on a "Top 20 List."
Is that kind of like being number eleven on David Letterman's "Top 10" list?
Regardless, it's perfectly fine by me. King + Ace = 21 and Blackjack.
Thanks, Peter, for the props, and for putting your list together. It's nice to see the analyst community coming around to some of the new media marketing voices out there in the b'sphere.
Speaking of new media voices, also while I was out, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs' infamous and anonymous blogger was unmasked over the weekend by the old media.
The New York Time's shoe leather reporter Brad Stone did the unmasking,
and the Forbes' Daniel Lyons' confessional post
Next stop: Donny Deutsch's marketing hipster TV show "The Big Idea" and a book deal about an anonymous blogger who cleverly writes a blog imitating a big time tech CEO with the end purpose of going on Donny Deutsch's marketing hipster TV show "The Big Idea" and getting a book deal.
Also while I was out...Saturday night, Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron's home run record of 755 during a game against San Diego.
Did anyone else notice the PSA spot just a few minutes before Bonds took his last at-bat of the game against the Padres Saturday night? The one with the Venus de Milo crumbling apart as the voiceover talked about the perils of steroid use?
The media plan alone deserves an Effie.
Home run, totally out of the park and into the parking lot.
The key, bottom-of-the-ninth, 2 outs and bases loaded question being: Will there be anyone there to pick up the ball, or will the deafening silence of the crowd continue on?[Read More