Phone Books go in the trash while computing heads for the Clouds

There it was….We pulled up to our house and saw a white plastic bag on the driveway, after a moment we realized it was a new set of phone books. My wife and I looked at each other, we hated to do it, but we picked it up and put it directly into the recycle bin. That is how much the world has changed- we wouldn’t even think of using a phone book, it sort of feels like trying to drive to the city in a Model T Ford. When you need a phone number, or just about any information now, you simply go to the Web.

Lightning is the new fast. The world isn’t just faster, it’s getting faster all the time at a faster pace. I needed an extra XP test machine for a project I am working on and pulled out the old Alienware machine in the corner. I hooked it up to a CRT we haven’t used in a long time. Not long ago it was a dream machine, fast, sleek, spacious. But it was really annoying to only have 1GB of RAM and nearly full 72GB disks. The CRT was the real shocker, no matter how high I set the rate or messed with the resolution, the flicker was really annoying and it occured to me that I could never work like this, although I did for 20 years. That is how much things have changed, that is how far we have come.

The project I needed the test machine is for a client with a brand new system of hosted virtual desktops.  My regular desktop is a powerful iMac running Mac OSX and Windows in a Virtual Machine along with XenApp and other sessions to various virtual machines. Darn it, the new remote virtual machine running at my customer site was way faster than my local system!!

The future has arrived and I love it. It just amazes me how fast it has come upon us. We are only one step away from the reality that computing will come from the cloud and it will be faster and better than anything we have ever known. Hold on, get ready, re-tool and re-think because things are getting faster and faster, faster and faster all the time!!

BTW- did I take that picture of the phonebooks in the driveway? Of course not, it came from Google images, really a lot less work to search and quickly download than going to get the camera, take the picture and upload it to my computer!

Like water all over the Earth, computing is evaporating into the clouds and a mighty rain is about to fall….Do you agree??

Hosted is good, eating your own dog food and riding the bus

I have been using Citrix products for a very long time. For years I have run my day to day applications as hosted desktops and/or published applications. As corporate types like to say “eating your own dog food”- never quite understood how that phrase came about, but that ‘s another topic for another blog….

Recently I made a (test) switch to local PC and Mac desktop execution for daily work. Of course I can’t just work on one machine, so I synced my data over to a Mac OSX laptop with XP and Windows 7 running as virtual machines. I worked with both FUSION and PARALLELS, but that too is a topic for another blog. From wherever I work, I remotely access my lab which is running it’s virtual machines on Xenserver and Parallels Virtuozzo.

I did that as I wanted to give Windows 7 a real world workout and I was travelling a lot and in the process of switching laptops- perfect time for an experiment.

To make a long story short I prefer my apps hosted. While I totally ‘get’ the desire for people to have their own customized environment, I find local execution to be sluggish and it feels a bit annoying to me to wait for the cute little local un-striped hard drive. Running hosted by nature means running on high power machines with fast I/O, fast network connections to your data and a generally more responsive experience. Customers we have recently moved to XenDesktop say the the same thing- their hosted desktop outperforms even their newest desktop machines. I realize that most people will be surprised by this and it certianly wouldn’t apply to high graphics uses such as gaming, but for what I do most of the time I prefer Server Based Computing.

You know when your Dad tells the same joke over and over again and you wince. Well one of those ends with the punchline, “Why drive in a $25,000 car when you can drive in a one million dollar bus?!?”.

In this case, I have to agree with Dad- give me the big fast honking server anytime, I want to see my apps fun as fast as possible, be resilient to failures, instantly rebuildable and know that my data is safe and secure. For day to day use, I am going back to XenAPP and probably Windows 7 hosted on XenServer/XenDesktop displayed on my iMac.

How about you, what do you prefer?

Citrix Synergy Keynote, attention span and “the Twitter effect”

Today was the keynote kickoff for Citrix Synergy in Las Vegas. First was the presentation by Garr Reynolds, a fascinating speaker who is versed in Zen philosophy and Japanese culture and the author/creator of  Presentation Zen. Garr provided a great perspective on applying the Zen concepts of Beginners Mind, Openness and Nakedness to technology and business- I highly recommend you watch the link.

Throughout this presentation, and the keynotes that followed by John Gantz of IDC and Mark Templeton CEO of Citrix , myself and several colleagues were all actively commenting and reporting on the events via Twitter, my feed is showing to right on this page. Old enough to have grown up with computers but on the old side for social media, I do use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family and Twitter to microblog to my tech/business community niche, but not quite like a teenager or 20 something does…

I normally Tweet about once a day but today I was surrounded by the iPhones of Joe Shonk on one side and Gus Pinto on the other, and, watching the Tweets by Brian Madden, Gabe Knuth, Jason Conger and other great community people, I was inspired to “full on” Tweet throughout the event to the #citrixsynergy hash code on Twitter.

It was a fascinating experience. I am usually the one in the room who closes the laptop, focuses on the speaker and fully engages, you know, old school where you actually pay attention to what is going on. Instead I became absorbed in the multi-stream process of listening, reading and posting. In the process I experienced and learned a few interesting things. First I found that I did miss some points and content because of the extreme multi-tasking. This was at first kind of disturbing like how you feel when you get frustrated because you are tired and can’t focus. However, other peoples reports of details, nuances and points that I missed added a different kind of richness and detail. I lost the laser like focus I am used to but gained info and viewpoints (in real time) that I normally do not have access to while in just my own head. Instead of singular focus, it is like being immersed streams of data. You don’t learn bit by bit but through a kind of overload coming in from multiple inputs of information, some live, some texted, some from you, some from others.

While I am not going to change my work habits by spending my days tweeting, I do think that Twitter provides a different mode of learning and communication that is valuable. Think of it as a another “tool in your belt”. I am going to experiment with it some more and find the situations were it works best, would like to hear from you and your thoughts/experiences on the subject.