Ten years ago the goal for systems management was to use one set of tooling to manage a diverse set of platforms for the entire lifecycle of a server. There are still some organizations who have such a model, but most have dropped the ambition to use one tool to rule them all. Many shops are moving towards tactical tooling that is “best of breed” and keeping a siloed approach to automation use cases.
#2: Infrastructure is less important
Infrastructure is becoming less important from an investment perspective and is being viewed as a commodity. This trend started with virtualization and is accelerating with cloud. Ironically configuration management problems only get worse with the ability to easily provision more resources but organizations are tackling those problems in silos.
#3: DEV is driving DEVops
In most organizations operations is still being viewed as an obstacle to business progress. That has been the driver towards external and internal cloud. The whole devops trend is being driven by DEV and not ops so the typical value achieved by say server automation is nice, but time to market of releases is what’s driving IT spend.
#4: IT is already lean
One of drivers for server automation 10 years ago was increasing operational efficiency. Are OPS teams running at high efficiency? No, but from a staffing perspective they are running so lean that there is no headcount to reduce. In an environment where server count is growing it’s still very easy to justify a big automation project, but if server count is going down and headcount stays flat it’s hard to justify a large automation spend.
Depending on how the outsourcing arrangement is setup, it can either be a driver or a roadblock for automation. In a lot of deals the outsourcer needs to invest in automation to meet their SLA’s but many times it can also be the opposite. I’ve seen many cases where the outsourcer resists automation because they are financially rewarded for operating in an inefficient manner.
We all know what time of year it is in the USA, its indoor training time for much of the country. Most cyclists avoid using the trainer like the plague. Trainer sessions are usually very boring, and its very difficult to gauge your efforts. In the past people used TV or cycling training videos like Spinevervals to make trainer rides bearable, but even that didn’t help too much. When the Spinverval guy said do a 9/10 effort, what does that equate to for me? Even if you knew, it was easy to cheat yourself in a training session by just going slower. There was no real record of your efforts.
In the past two years a few products have come out that have transformed indoor training for me. The first product is TrainerRoad.com, which is a software tool that allows you to execute structured workouts and display real time performance data including an accurate estimate of power, even if you don’t have a power meter. TrainerRoad connects your computer to ANT+ devices via the Garmin ANT+ USB dongle. You can pick up a Garmin ANT+ stick for $25 on Amazon. It picks up the data from your heartrate monitor and ANT+ speed/cadence sensor.
If you have a powermeter it will pick that data up as well, or you can use the calculated power which is very accurate on the trainer. On real road rides, power calculation is notoriously inaccurate because there are multitude of variables that a power calculator cannot take into account, most notably factoring in wind resistance. There are less variables with an indoor trainer, when I go 20mph on my Cyclops trainer, TrainerRoad can make an accurate assessment than I’m pushing X amount of watts.
The Sufferfest is a great collection of downloadable videos which feature footage from protour races. Its way more entertaining than the old Spinverval or CTS vids of looking at people ride trainers. Plus TrainerRoad has complete integration with Sufferfest workouts.
Why is AppleTV on this list? People generally like to display TrainerRoad on a larger display such as TV. Dealing with cables and wires to share your screen can be a pain in the ass. AppleTV has a technology called Airplay Mirroring which allows you easily share your laptop screen and sound with your TV.
Like many avid cyclists, I’m a huge fan of Strava, the social training tool which keeps track of cycling performance via cycling computer data and phone applications. Strava has been around for a few years now. It started out as a pay service with limits on uploads for free users, but last year they introduced a “Premium” offering and removed the free upload limit.
The premium offering gave cyclists some addtional features. Probably the most notable was SufferScore, a feature which gives your ride a numberic score of effort based on a number of factors. There were also addtional power visualizations and the ability to sort leaderboards by weight.
Many loyal Strava users went for the premium offering just to show support for the service. The addtional features were not very compelling, but people wanted to support Strava. Its been over a year now, and premium users are starting to get disatified with the lack of updates. Sure, Strava has made enhancements to the service. Most notably, improvements to the mobile apps and a running offering as well.
The vast majority of premium users have a Garmin device making mobile enhancements irrelevant. When the premium offering was introduced, people assumed Strava would gradually add more training and analysis tools. As it stands now, Strava is a lot of fun but its not a serious training tool.
For serious cyclists, they have to use other software offerings in order to get detailed analysis of their rides. Training with power meters is becoming much more common, and Strava’s power analysis is extremely weak. You get a number for average power and some visualizations of power output over time. People who actually train with power meters are forced to use another service like Training Peaks in order to get any true insight into their training data. Strava doesn’t even provide the most basic functions such as power zones and normalized power metrics.
There is definitely an increasing backlash to Strava premium due to the lack of development. The lack of development is especially alarming when you consider the amount that Strava has grown over the last few years. I assumed by now that Strava would have much more serious ride analysis and training tools.
When I started to hear rumors about the iPhone5 earlier this year I was worried. I heard that Apple was definitely increasing the size of the screen. I always thought the iPhone had a great form factor for what people do with a smartphone. Here are my top 10 activities:
Notice something missing from that list? Phone manufactures often tout the user experience of watching movies on some huge screen, but I never watch extended video clips on a phone. Sure, on occasion I will bring up a clip at restaurant, like showing my relatives a black bear eating from my father’s birdfeeder, but I don’t watch movies or TV from my phone. Laptops and tablets provide a superior video watching experience.
I see a lot of handset manufactures coming out with these huge bricklike phones that do nothing to help my top 10 use cases. Sure a bigger screen is nice, but its not nice when the phone can’t fit in your pocket and weighs ton.
With the iPhone5, my biggest fear did not come true. The footprint of the actual device is less than the iPhone4, even with the extended screen. Its noticeably thinner and lighter, which I really like. I also don’t have to bother with a bumper case since the antenna issue that plagued the iPhone4 is resolved.
While I’m not a fan of all the needless lawsuits going on in the smartphone industry, the prototype device pictures reminded me of the phone I used prior to the original iPhone.
I really loved my Treo 650, it was the first phone I owned that did e-mail well. You could even install “apps” and browse the web in a very limited fashion. It could definitely fit in your pocket, but it was a tight fit to say the least. It interesting to see the “bigger is better” smartphone trend. It reminds me of the SUV trend of the 90’s. At some point there will be a backlash.
Of all the phones I’ve owned over the years, probably the ultimate form factor for it’s time was the Nokia 8260.
The 8260 was an awesome phone considering it came out 12 years ago. It was absolutely tiny for the time, had great battery life, and an easy to use interface. Instead of looking to tablets for design inspiration, smartphone makers should spend some time with the Nokia 8260.