IT Is Power. Try Living Without A Single Breadboard For A Day.

Don MacVittie

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Latest Blogs from Don MacVittie
In nature, things seek a balance that is sustainable. In the case of rivers, if there is too much pressure from water flowing, they either flood or open streams to let off the pressure. Both are technically examples of erosion, but we’re not here to discuss that particular natural proc...
There are many instances in the world where third-party verification of thoughts and ideas are just a useful thing to have. Cases where the vested interest of one party makes their opinion suspect, even if it is unbiased. For those cases we have a whole collection of organizations and ...
I was working for a mid-sized enterprise as an IT manager, a project that was on the cutting edge of technology at the time, and because it was on the cutting edge, we were using a whole slew of different embedded applications and their masters to collect data. Those masters were writt...
Recently I was in a conversation where someone seriously suggested that Web Application Acceleration and WAN Optimization should be the job of developers, since they are in the code and creating the network traffic. At first I was taken aback by this suggestion. I was a manager of a sm...
Our basement, like most geek basements, has a pretty good collection of outdated computer gear. Some of it is running on the network, some of it is sitting there waiting for the end times. Or for a crook to break in and steal it so we don’t have to dispose of it. I’ve posted this pictu...
My older children, like most kids in their age group, all played with or collected Pokemon cards. Just like I and all of my friends had GI Joes and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Kung-fu grip versus hard hands, they and all of their friends sat around talking about how much...
In a couple of unrelated bouts of cleaning – one to show The Toddler my Boy Scout sash, which required going through boxes in the basement until I found it, and the other attempting to dig a toy out from under the stove, which required pulling the stove out from the wall and cleaning u...
One day many years ago, Lori and my oldest son held up two sheets of paper and said “These two things are exactly the same, but different!” Now, he’s a very bright individual, he was just young, and didn’t even get how incongruous the statement was. We, being a fun loving family that l...
The debate about whether data center consolidation is a good thing or not is pretty much irrelevant if, for any reason your organization chooses to pursue this path. Seriously, while analysts want to make a trend out of everything these days, there are good reasons to consolidate data ...
The presumption of the hype cycle is that you need and will adopt cloud computing en-masse. This is an interesting presumption, but the security, economics, and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) will have to be there long-term for it to stand any chance of being true. Of the three, I see...
It should be no surprise to anyone that the number of mobile devices is increasing at an astounding rate.  In fact, according to Ericsson, mobile broadband subscriptions will double in 2011. Let’s all just take a moment to ponder what that means to our worldwide infrastructure. Lots h...
Lately there has been a whole lot of breast-beating and article writing attributing this trend to that vendor and this other trend to this other vendor. You may have noticed that we at F5 benefit from some of this noise. It is pretty well accepted that we are the ADC leader and most pu...
The limiting factor in the adoption of file virtualization has been, in my opinion, twofold. First is the FUD created by the confusion with block-level virtualization and proprietary vendors wanting to sell you more of their gear – both of which are rapidly disappearing – and second is...
You get the call at 2am. The data center is on fire, and while the server room itself was protected with your high-tech fire-fighting gear, the rest of the building billowed out smoke and noxious gasses that have contaminated your servers. Unless you have a sealed server room, this is ...
Happy New Year! Out with the old, in with the new! No really. I know that a sane IT manager or network admin is averse to change just because there is so much natural change in our particular industry, but this is one of those times where you can run, but you can’t hide. The one thin...
The purpose of an usher, be it at an old time movie theater or a wedding, is to take people to suitable seats and see that they’re comfortable. The purpose of a bouncer is to throw out bums and keep the peace. These two words conjure pictures in your head of similar folks, but their fu...
Every once in a while, I like to step back a bit and write for those who haven’t been in the field for a zillion years. For starters, it helps refresh the pool of information out there for people trying to research something they haven’t done before. It helps a lot that I enjoy sharing...
While helping Lori with her fishtank avocation, I have learned a lot of incidental information, like the fact that there are essentially three types of tanks – reef, fish, and mixed. Reef tanks hold corals, anemones, etc, while fish tanks hold fish, with a minimum of incidental coral o...
As you all know, I try to keep my marketing spiel for F5 to a minimum here. I don’t hesitate to mention when F5 has a product that will solve your problem, but try to focus on the problem and technical solutions. But sometimes I want to crow about how good our product lines really are...
I’ve been pondering another installment in my Load Balancers For Developers series revolving around recent changes in the market that drive a trend toward availability of Virtual Load Balancers, giving developers an idea of what, when, where, and why they might take advantage of a virt...
Lori pointed me at a blog by Alan Shimel about sexual harassment in Open Source that is well written and pretty well documented. I read it with interest, and was kind of surprised that Open Source as a group was implicated. And of course he wasn’t implicating all of Open Source, just p...
We spent the US Holiday Thanksgiving at my Mothers’ house some 500 miles away. We love when we get the chance to see her, and there’s always someone else there. This year one of my wonderful nieces was there with husband and baby in tow. And the baby was sick. Now this is my grand-nie...
As solid and reliable as fishtanks and rifles are, they share a common weakness. The tiniest crack in either will eventually destroy the entire product. Why did I choose “fishtanks and rifles”? Lori and my hobbies include those two items, but there are other things the same applies to....
I recently replaced my home laptop. My trusty old Dell Latitude was just worn out, as we tend to put our systems to a lot of use, and it was three years old – dead battery, failed to start one time, telling me it had no hard drive, etc. We buy enough computer equipment that even though...
For decades now, the game Dungeons and Dragons has suffered from what is commonly called “Edition Wars”. When the publisher of the game releases a new version, they of course want to sell the new version and stop talking about the old – they’re a business, and it certainly does make th...
The hype around cloud shows every indication of settling down, which, if you go with the Gartner Hype Cycle model means that the trough of disillusionment is yawning before you. But you don’t have to dip into the trough, if you didn’t ride up the hype hill. The thing is, that with thi...
When I was in Radiographer (X-Ray Tech) training in the Army, we were told the cautionary tale of a man who walked into an emergency room with a hatchet in his forehead and blood everywhere. As the staff of the emergency room rushed to treat the man’s very serious head injury, his cond...
We were sitting and chatting with a fellow geek last night, and he was describing a corporate network he is familiar with. The description was like a tale from the old show “The Twilight Zone”. If it was a security vulnerability, it was present. If it was a standard and accepted securi...
One of the things that I love about technology is the fact that every time there is a problem, five solutions crop up to solve it. One of the things I hate about technology is the fact that every time there is a problem, five solutions crop up to solve it… And there are marketing geeks...
I am barely old enough to remember when US “Service Stations” really were – when someone else pumped your gas, and while it was pumping they washed your windshield and checked your oil. Not old enough to have actually used one mind you, but old enough to remember them. Whenever my Mot...
That’s a mouthful, but this is just a quick blog to point you at the actual blog I guest wrote for our F5 Fridays series. In short, we’ve been toying with F5 BIG-IP WOM in the labs as a performance and distance enhancement tool for VMWare vMotion moves over the WAN when NetApp Flexc...
When I was earning my bachelors, I joined the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and through them, several special interest groups. One of those groups was SIGRISK, which focused on high-risk software engineering. At the time the focus was on complex systems whose loss was irret...
As those of you close to me know, I have an interest in historical military firearms. As a veteran, I of course have an interest in the M-16, since I used it, but otherwise my tastes run more to World War II era weapons of all countries. Interestingly, in the United States a law chang...
“Don’t worry about doing the business taxes, my cousin Vinnie is taking care of it.” Is not the type of statement that inspires confidence. But you’re doing it every day. Or at least some of you are. Picture this: A small vertical market, most of them using a variety of hosting serv...
If you’ve never heard of my Load Balancing For Developers series, it’s a good idea to start here. There are quite a few installments behind us, and I’m not going to look back in this post any more than I must to make it readable without going back… Meaning there’s much more detail back...
You could, in theory, install 2 foot diameter pipes in your house to run water through. If you like a really forceful shower, or want your hot-tub to fill quickly, bigger pipes would be your first thought. Imagine your surprise if you had someone come in, and install huge pipes on the ...
Every once in a while you hear something going on in the political spectrum that strikes you as meaningful and useful, that you hope against hope they will manage to get past the details and partisanship and move forward on. Right about the time of the writing of this blog, in the Unit...
I had a blog partially written for today when @GeorgeVHulme tweeted this: "WAHOO! Minnesota goes Private Cloud!". And that changed my thoughts and direction completely. Here’s the article George linked to State of Minnesota Signs Historic Cloud Computing Agreement With Microsoft. The f...
Every once in a while you see something that reminds you of the old “right tool for the job” adage. I’ve probably told this story here before, but for those of you who don’t sit at the edge of your chair waiting for me to post another blog, I’ll re-tell it so you can laugh at me.   ...
There is one little thing you’re missing from your IT budget. While it impacts manpower most of all, you’ll be feeling it throughout your budget, and see signs of it in other departments as well. You should plan for it, because it is nearly a guarantee that it will continue to impact y...