Thursday, 18 October 2007

While I won't be able to attend myself (since I will be at TechEd in Spain at the time), the Seattle Code Camp is set to take place November 17th and 18th in Redmond. Anyone interested in presenting or attending (it's free!) can go to seattle.codecamp.us for more information and to get signed up.

Code Camp is a new type of community event where developers talk with—and learn from—fellow developers. All are welcome to attend and speak.

Code Camps are (1) by and for the developer community; (2) always free; (3) community developed material; (4) no fluff – only code; (5) community ownership; and (6) never occur during working hours.



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Tech
Thursday, 18 October 2007 12:23:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Recently I have been working on writing a set of practices for taking the IT Help Desk to the next level. Well, actually it's about fixing what's broken and reworking the people, processes and technology components in order to be a great, service-oriented help desk with happy customers and happy, motivated employees. And yes, it is possible to have it all.

At any rate, I read this blog entry by Tim Heuer recently, and it illustrates well the common problem with IT support processes. Read and weep.

When you read something like that and both laugh and cringe (mostly cringe in my case), it makes you think.

ITIL, COBIT, and everything else standards-based aside, there's a whole slew of internal motivations and behaviors common to IT organizations and customers, yet not really addressed by standards, that can make or break the success of your service desk and organization. Having processes and checklists in place is great, but what makes for a really great IT organization? What makes someone a great help desk customer?

You never get perfect (on either side of the desk). But you can run a practice that is measurably successful and does more than maintain status quo (not always a good thing, by the way) and just get the job done.

What are some of your help desk stories, good or bad? What have you seen that works? For all that is decent and tactful, please don't disclose your employers, any people or specific teams here (or they'll be deleted). But some illustrations would be great. Just be nice. :)



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Management | Tech
Tuesday, 16 October 2007 15:01:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Adam Shostack of Microsoft takes a critical look at threat modeling and changes to TM processes in a short series of posts on the MSDN Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) blog. It's a good read, especially when aligned with Larry Osterman's recent writings (which I mentioned recently) and those of others. If you're not a reader of the SDL blog and you're a security person or developer, I recommend it highly, by the way.

"In this first post of a series on threat modeling, I’m going to talk a lot about problems we had in the past. In the next posts, I’ll talk about what the process looks like today, and why we’ve made the changes we’ve made. I want to be really clear that I’m not critiquing the people who have been threat modeling, or their work. A lot of people have put a tremendous amount of work in, and gotten some good results. There are all sorts of issues that our customers will never experience because of that work. I am critiquing the processes, saying we can do better, in places we are doing better, and I intend to ensure we continue to do better."

Here's quick links to the blog articles by Adam. Those interested in secure development need to know and use a threat modeling process, and a critical view of said processes is important, so it's good to see this healthy example:

(also via Michael Howard's blog, which is a must-read security resource, too)



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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 16 October 2007 08:06:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 13 October 2007

Okay, who wants to add me for Halo 3 fun? My XBox Live gamertag is gergin8or. I'm pretty lame at these games but what the heck. What's yours?



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Geek Out | Random Stuff
Saturday, 13 October 2007 12:42:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 11 October 2007

UPDATE: The question of whether this actually tells you whether you're left or right brained has come up (I wondered myself how legitimate of a brain test this could actually be), and a post right here on greengabbro.net offers a reasonable and well-written explanation as to why it likely does not, in fact, tell you much of anything about your personality or brain. There's also some links to some interesting auditory "illusions" that I found quite interesting. But still, regardless of the braininess of the image, please enjoy playing with the illusion below. It's true that it can be seen turning either way (it's an illusion). But it's also still very interesting that different people see it different ways on the first try, or more often than not the first several tries.


The Herald Sun, a newspaper in Australia, has a cool page up with an animated image that can tell you whether you are right- or left-brained. Here is the original page, with the details.

Look at the image below. Which way is the dancer model turning, clockwise or counterclockwise?

Most people see it turning counterclockwise, which is correlated to being left-brained. If you see it turning clockwise, you're right-brained. Can you make it change directions? for some it can be difficult to impossible. I can get it to change briefly if I really try (I see it turning counterclockwise).

Here's what they say it all means:

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking

 How's it look to you? What do you think?



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Random Stuff
Thursday, 11 October 2007 10:32:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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widows_home_server_logo Windows Home Server, a way-cool implementation of the operating system that lets you easily create a flexible and remotely-accessible storage point, is now available for purchase on newegg.com. The price (as of the time of this posting) is $189.99, and it's worth every penny.

What is Windows Home Server? In a few short words... Backups, share and access files, easy setup (simpler than a VCR to use) and you just add drives to grow over time. Plus there's a bunch of cool add-on's already available. If you're a Windows geek, it's based on Windows 2003 server, so adapt away!

First of all, you should read a few of the reviews on the newegg page. They accurately and effectively describe the high points (and the remarkably few lower points) of the product. And here is a marketing description of the product that hits the basics:

Windows Home Server helps you pull together and protect all your family's files in a single, central location that makes sharing easy.

Protect the things you care about
Keep all those digital memories safe for future generations with features like automatic daily backups and full system restore.

Connect with your friends and family
Share your photos, music, movies, and other files from a single, central location that everyone in your home can get to. Friends and family can see and share any files you want, whether they're in another room or another country.

Organize everything all in one place
This smart hub helps your family organize all your shared files in one place. Windows Home Server cuts down on clutter and brings order to digital chaos.

Grow into the future
You can add more space easily whenever you need it, so no more hard choices about what to keep and what to delete. And new products and services will be added as Windows Home Server keeps growing and getting better.



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Tech
Thursday, 11 October 2007 06:20:19 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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