This month’s set list is taken from a single singer-songwriter partnership comprised of Pete Atkin and Clive James. Yes, THE Clive James (Writer, Broadcaster, Poet) is also a lyricist. Clive and Peter began working together decades ago, and have an extensive recording career together. I first discovered them on BBC Radio4 about them. It’s a radio programme so even if you’re not in the UK you can still listen. For some reason the BBC doesn’t protect radio shows as much as television. Perhaps because so much BBC Radio content get syndicated to noncommercial radio elsewhere.
So after a listening I identified three songs that I felt were outstanding. They are all from album called “Beware of the beautiful stranger”. The title track concerns a man’s trip to a fairground to have his fortune told – I guess its akin to when a woman is warned of a “dark handsome stranger”. Anyway, I bought the album off iTunes. Oddly enough despite the duo’s cult following this influential album is out of print – so the 2nd copies of the vinyl and CD are massively expensive on Amazon. But you can pick up the album from iTunes for less than a ten quid. The cover is wonderfully retro. That corduroy suit and cravat is sooo retro!
Anyway, my version of my favourite tracks is up on Soundcloud for your delectation. The only song I think I’m really doing different is the one called “Laughing Boy” which sounds a bit Elvis Costello like. Anecdotally, I heard a story that Pete and Clive did discussing writing for Elvis Costello. I think the generally view was Elvis didn’t need any help in the writing department!
So there’s three tracks in this single recording… and I’ve provided the links to the lyrics if your interest (and the music) Pete has the words and music up on his website.
There’s a couple of things new about the VCSA that caught my eye. Firstly, the setup/installations/import/configuration (take your pick about the appropriate word to use for getting the appliance ready for use) has been radically overhauled from previous releases. Previously, there was convoluted process of downloading, importing and then running thru a configuration process (the manual process was better the automated method) – that involved ‘toggling’ between different UI. That’s all changed – now you mount .ISO to your workstation with visibility to an ESXi host – and ‘setup’ wizard runs though the entire process. This is MUCH better than the previous approach, and I think it will help improve adoption of the “linux version” of vCenter.
As ever care must be taken over the FQDNs/IP address used – ensuring that DNS is up, accessible and is resolving. If you don’t you find the installer process will crash and burn… In this case I asked for the VCSA to have FQDN of vcwdc.corp.com, and that wasn’t resolvable to the IP I’d assigned.
Secondly, The ye olde 5480 VMware Studio portal still exists but the look, feel and functionality has changed significantly.You shouldn’t really need to touch this unless you need to re-configure the networking (for example) of the VCSA…
Thirdly, the VCSA Console is much more like the ESXi DCUI interface. I quite like this tidying up process – standardising on the console look and feel, makes the VCSA and ESXi feel more like the double act they really are. There isn’t a huge amount you can do here admittedly – just to say that you can do things like enable SSH to PuTTy into….
As some as you might know I’m taking a grown-up gap year to pursue my own personal interests (travel, photography, music, and creative writing). In the last two months I’ve been ‘gigging’ around my local “acoustic session” scene in area. Just so you know there is a difference between an acoustic session and the popular term “open mic”. An acoustic session is totally unplugged – whereas an open-mic will have mic and perhaps even amplification. Right now I’m playing at least once a week, but I’m thinking of upping that to twice a week. The idea is to get over my ‘performance nerves’, as I often play a song in the kitchen quite well, but even with a small audience my nerves cause me to screw it up or not ‘commit’ to the song enough.
I have a ‘set’ of songs from January and February. Folks have been asking me if I was doing any recording, and I’ve been avoiding that for a while. But this afternoon I recorded Februrary’s set in the kitchen this afternoon. The reason I did that was because they are more familiar, and also they are all related to each other. Looking at my black folder of music in Jan, I realised I had few Elvis Costello songs. So I thought I would practise those and gig those around the circuit. I’ve written a couple of songs in the last couple of months, but I’m not sure if they are really ‘ready’ for a public outing than just the local pubs!
So in Soundcloud there is a recording of the set. They were recorded individually with GarageBand with a Snowball Mic, and then a little effect put on each one to make them stand out a bit.
5) American without tears
First appeared on the country sounding “King Of America” album. It tells the story of the young women who fell in love with G.I’s “over-sexed and over here” in the UK during WWII, and then found themselves living in the US after the war was over.
As promised I’ve been chipping away at the VMUG Wiki. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks updating the vCenter chapter based on the Windows edition. I say weeks, in truth I spend a couple of hours each week on the Wiki, just fitting it in around my other interests that are focus of my gap year. I’ve been toying with recording the “sets” that I’m “touring” (more grand term, than it really implies) around various acoustic sessions in my local area. The other week someone said I should go to Sheffield and put myself up on stage all mic’d up and plugged in. Not sure I’m quite ‘seasoned’ enough for that yet! But perhaps I might record each monthly set and put it up on SoundCloud for those who are interested.
ANYWAY. Digression. This post is supposed to be about the VMUG Wiki. So the main “news” is the chapter on the Windows vCenter setup is completed and live – you can find it here:
It’s back – Vendorwag! So why the 3-year hiatus? Well, I felt whilst I was working with VMware that spending precious time working with other vendors wasn’t really very ethical. VMware employed me to promote VMware, not other vendors after all. Additionally, my first role at VMware was in the competition team – helping VMware folks handle competitive situations. It seemed a bit hypocritical in my day job, helping to defeat the competition whilst at the same time being all lovey-dovey with the same competitors here on my personal blog. Anyway, now I’m in my Adult Gap Year and a free-agent again, I felt it was finally OK to crank-up the Vendorwag. Plus I see it as a good way to keep in touch with the wider industry whilst I’m off being creative.
For those of you have been round the block for a while in the virtualization space like me, Liquidware Labs has an interesting pedigree. One of the co-founders is David Bieneman – who came to my attention when he found the VizionCore company (it went on to be acquired by Quest, and then Dell). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting David at the London VMUG – and that was in the previous decade. Yes. We are really getting that old…
Liquidware Labs positions themselves as a desktop transformation company (hence Transforming the Desktop!), and see themselves as solving the thorny problems of profile management (ProfileUnity), Application Layering (FlexApp), Monitoring and Diagnostics (Stratusphere) of existing environments in pre-transformation assessments, as well as diagnosing typical problems once the desktop transformation has gone live to users. The technology works for physical, virtual or cloud hosted desktops – as well as being compatible with the popular VMware and Citrix EUC suites.
The Vendorwag is slipping comfortably back into its original format – with an Elevator Pitch, Product Lowdown and Techknowledgy Demo strands. Each video is really intended for a different audience or character.
You can watch the videos embedded here on my blog, alternatively if you prefer you can subscribe to the Chinwag/Vendorwag podcast. If your specifically interested in the vendorwag I would recommend the videos – because they help complement the audio element substantially, and of course a demo without being able to see the screen – will stretch your powers of imagination!
The Elevator Pitch is a high-level overview of Liquidware Labs value proposition. It’s some elevator because the video runs to 30mins! That would be some skyscraper! You can see the Elevator Pitch as the kind of video discussion you point your senior management at – for those people who aren’t concerned how the product works or indeed what it even looks like – just what it can do for the business.
J.Tyler “T. Rex” Rohrer is one of Liquidware Labs Co-Founders with a focus on strategic Alliances. Tyler Rohrer helped co-found Liquidware Labs after leaving a key role within VMware’s Enterprise Desktop Team. Previously, he was a partner at FOEDUS, which was acquired by VMware. Tyler heads up the Strategic Alliance program and is engaged in managing the company’s relationships with major platform and storage partners.
[Note: To see us in glorious TechnoColour and Panovision – make the video full-screen and make sure HD quality is selected]
The Product Lowdown
For the more ‘technically” mind the Product Lowdown talks about the product – what they can do and what their capabilities are. This video will be of interest to those who will eventually press buttons and knobs in the software, or the kind of person manages a team who will do that for them. Increasingly people are delegating tasks to others, but that can lead quickly to a “de-skilling” – or what I sometimes paraphrase as “I spend so much time doing high-level architecting, I don’t know how stuff works anymore!!!”. You know that anxiety we all have as we get older and “mature”, that our technical skills aren’t sharp as they once were. Hopefully this video will help you understand the technical challenges, advantages and disadvantages – and leave you being able to talk the talk (and be credible), even if you through with walking the walk.
Jason E. Smith, VP, Product Marketing. Previously an owner of Entrigue Systems, which was acquired by Liquidware Labs after its founding in 2009, Jason E. Smith currently heads the company’s Product Marketing team. In this role, he works strategically with Product Management, and focuses on go-to-market strategies for the company. Jason’s previous experience includes external strategic product and marketing consulting for Citrix, Red Hat, Scriptlogic, UltraBac Software, Internet Security Systems, and RES Software. Jason is a frequent speaker on technology trends in desktop computing. Recent speaker engagements include Citrix Synergy, VMworld, and VMware Partner Exchange, as well as numerous local CUGC and VMUG events.
[Note: To see us in glorious TechnoColour and Panovision – make the video full-screen and make sure HD quality is selected]
The Techknowledgey Demo
Like me you’re probably fine with a little theory, but all theory and no practical – can after while make you feel like you’re loosing grip with the real world. I don’t know about you – but once I have got the first principles of what technology does and how it works – I need to see it in action. That’s where the Techknowledgey Demo comes in. See the technology in action on screen, often visually illustrating the theoretical principals outlined in the Product Lowdown.
Jason Mattox, CTO is well-known in the virtualization community for his world-class knowledge and leadership in end user computing. In his role as CTO, Jason actively drives product development and product roadmaps for the company. What I personally love is the fact that Liquidware Labs selected their CTO to deliver the demo. How often does that happen now in our industry? Nowadays most C-class executives of software are so far removed from the coal-face of technology they would have to get one of their “minions” (the SE who actually does know how the product works!) to do it for them.
[Note: To see us in glorious TechnoColour and Panovision – make the video full-screen and make sure HD quality is selected]
Well, a few weeks have gone by since I made my little announcement. I’m happy to say things are going well on the creative front, and I’ve been toying with the idea of recording some songs and putting them on her for your delight and delectation. This post is about my computer life. As promised I’ve started contributing to the VMUG Wiki project. I must admit the first couple of attempts were disaster. I had technical problems as my home lab has been down for months, and the process of updating the vSphere5 content to vSphere6 content is actually – sorry to say this – tedious.
Anyway, last week and the week before – I got over my technical problems and started to find an approach for updating the content that feels quicker, and therefore less tedious. What floats my boat is writing new content about something that has changed significantly, rather than playing a ‘spot the difference” game with software that if you blinked you’d miss any changes. Anyway, someone had to do this job, and as I have time on my hands now, it might as well be me.
So I’m pleased to report we have a new chapter on the VMUG Wiki (probably the first in months!) called thrillingly “Installing VMware ESX 6“. Yes, I know there’s a broken image in the content. I’m working to resolve that – we have a more serious problem with images in Wiki generally – as MediaWiki sometimes fails to create “thumbnails” correctly. I’m working with the VMUG folks to try and resolve that.
For those like me who have been in this game for a while – there are no surprises here. Indeed some of the content is so similar I haven’t bother to swap graphics around when the only difference in the UI is the bloody build number! However, there were one or two new things that caught my eye.
Firstly, “Lockdown Mode” (that highly popular feature of ESX 😉 ) has a new option or mode called “strict”. I understand this prohibs the use of the DCUI to turn it off. So the only way to turn off “Lockdown Mode” is if the host is manageable via vCenter. That makes vCenter the only method by which the host can be managed. I guess this removes a ‘backdoor’ method caused by the root account being compromised. In my experience customers (except govt/military types) rarely use this feature – in fact many people lower security by enabling SSH which is normally disabled.
Secondly, the other thing I noticed is if you attach two vmnic to vSwitch0 they marked as being Active/Active. Previously, ESX marked one as being Active (vmnic0) and the other being Passive (vmnic1 for example). I consider this an ‘improvement’ but I imagine most experience VMware shops pretty much have the network setup nailed down by now and automated – and never use this method anyway.
Thirdly, I notice the TCP configuration has changed slightly for DNS (this might have changed a while ago, and I hadn’t noticed). You can now set a IPv6 DNS address (whoopee!), But the ‘odd’ thing is the option to set a secondary DNS for IPv4 seems to have disappeared. I assumed you could use comma separated values in the box – but it doesn’t seem to accept that. I dunno if that’s “by design” or bug…. If someone in the ESX team is reading this and knows their onions I’d be interest to know what the rationale is behind this… so I can feel less stupid and educate the community.
Finally, I am working on Chapter 2: Installing vCenter. That’s proved to be a bit more interesting given that there’s the new “Platform Service Controller” (great sexy name there!) and new Postgres support for the Windows version of vCenter. I increasingly find setting up the Windows vCenter a total ball-ache. That’s not because of VMware, but because of the bloody Windows dependencies that must met first. I mean why does anyone bother with the Windows vCenter for new deployments (lights touch paper and walks away!
Note: If you have never seen this parody of slone ranger types on their “Gap Yah”, you have missed out… 🙂
Today was officially my last day with VMware. I’ve been at VMware since August 2012, initially securing a role in the competition team as the “Senior Cloud Infrastructure Evangelist”, and then I moved into a “Senior Product Integration Architect” role in the EVO:RAIL Team in August, 2014. I was at VMware for 3-years, but of course it feels much longer, because really I’ve been solely focused on VMware technologies since 2003. This year was my 10th VMworld, and I’ve attend both the US and EU events for 10 years in row. That’s 20 VMworlds (for those who find 10×2 a bit of challenge).
It’s been crazy 3-years, going from essentially company of 1 person as independent freelance contractor – to joining a company of 20K strong with billion dollar profit was quite a transition. One I hope I successfully executed on, and I would cheerfully recommend to anyone in similar position that you spend sometime in “VendorLand” in your career. You owe it to yourself to be exposed to as many different perspectives and experiences in life. And that was partly the reason I joined the company. And if you like that also a reason for moving along.
I’ve been in the IT industry since 1993, and whilst I’ve had some ‘breaks’ such as doing Masters in American Studies in 1996, and taking 3-months out to travel round the US in 2000 – it has been a long time since I’ve taken time out to do something that’s 100% about me and my interests. The last 10 years have probably been the most significant to my career – for my own satisfaction I thought I might be interesting to list those achievements of the last 10 years:
Became one of the first freelance VMware Certified Instructors (VCI) in Europe
Pivoted the “RTFM Education” website to be one of the top go-to locations of quality content on virtualization
Sold the said website to a media company in Boston, MA
Spoken at practically every VMworld event since 2006.
Spoken at innumerable VMUG UseCon events in the US and EU, being state-side one-week every month for two years..
Authored 9 books on VMware technologies – two of them self-published with money donated to charity
Launched and ran two successful podcast channels for five years – the Chinwag and Vendorwag
Co-hosted the VMware Communities Podcast with the industry legend that is the mighty, John Troyer…
Raised money for UNICEF and others charities via book royalties and the successful “VMworld Swagbag” Competition
It’s my guess that in 12-months time when I’ve recharged the old batteries and little grey cells – I will need to come back this bulleted list as reminder what I have achieved and contributed to the industry. I personally feel I’ve lived through an exceptional period in our industry. 10 years ago or more there was no such thing as virtualization in production x86 environments. VMware cut swath through the datacenter, and radically changed the way do things – and continues to do so. I’m quietly proud that in my own small way I had my own part in that story….
So it feels ‘right’ at this stage in my life to step back and take sometime out. After all we only have one life, and its not always good idea to defer things into some hazy future that never arrives. So I’m taking what I call an “Adult Gap Year”. Of course “Adult Gap Year” is a bit of joke, on the way the current generation seems to take a break before or after university to go ‘travelling” and decompress after all the pressure of high education (yes, its so tough having 10 hours of lectures a week, right?). But in similar way I kind of feel a break would do me the power of good.
So what am I going to do in the next year? Put simply all the things I’ve been saying I was going to do in the last 10. I’ve had ideas and ambitions of non-IT nature that I’ve been thinking about for ages. The vast majority (in fact all of them, and that’s some majority) are of a creative format….
Committed To Community: It’s my intention to carry on speaking at VMUGs. In fact in recent years I spoken less at VMUGs because my responsibilities to the company, projects and customers had to come first. So I’m hoping to spend sometime state-side speaking at UserCons. The VMUG community is something I feel passionate about, and it will be my way of staying connected with y’all even whilst I’m taking my Adult Gap Year. I’ve decided to spend at least 1-day or perhaps 2, supporting two key initiatives – the VMUG Wiki and Feed4ward projects which I helped kickstart. I really care about these two projects, and I’ve begun to realise whilst its one thing to help launch these things, the real ‘graft’ is in the continued support and development.
Travelling Man: Like many a road warrior I’ve seen an awful lot of airport carparks, airport terminals, taxis, hotel rooms, and business parks and convention centres. I rarely get enough to time explore places. I have more than a tourists interest in the United States, having done a degree and post-graduate research on its literature, cultural and history. During my research its become clear that I want to discover and explorer the national parks of the US – as well as my own area of Derbyshire and Peak District. Along side I want to write a Travelog/Reportage/New Journalism account of the journey, which I hope to self-publish in a book form, hopefully with photographs of the places I visit.
Poetry Please: I’m poet. And I know it. Hope I don’t blow it. To quote Bob Dylan for second. In my teens and early 20s along side writing lyrics for songs, I also tried my hand at some poetry. That’s a passion I recently re-discovered when I moved to the country. I joined a local poetry group and rekindled the interest. I have ideas for two collections of poetry – and have a working title for the first called “False Confessions” (The title is reference to the idea that you cannot trust confessions that are made under-duress, something our friends in Bagram and GitMo never really understood). The working title for the other collection is “False Memory Syndrome”. The theme is about memory and how much humanity can trust memory and history. I hope to self-publish these two collections by the end of next year…
I could make a wild sensation as rock ‘n’ roll star: As some of you might know I’ve got a big passion of music. This year i joined my local song writers group, and penned my first song in about 25 years. Right now, it doesn’t feel like I’m going to have the creative head-space to write poetry and songs (and yes, I do know there’s some cross over in both directions). But what I do want to do is be more out there from a performance perspective. Currently once a month I walk down to my local pub, and hammer out about 3-4 songs along with my fellow musicians at our local “acoustic session. There’s a very healthy live music scene in my area, and I want to get on that circuit – and build up my confidence in performing to a crowd. I think the way to be a good performer is to perform frequently – and once a month isn’t really cutting it. Plus I tend to bring new songs to the group every month (after all you can’t trot out the same song to the same people every month!) But that means I rarely perform the same song more than once. I think the way to get better at performing isn’t just practise and rehearsing – but performing that same material multiple times to different audiences in different venues. At the moment I’m thinking of focusing on the local pubs ‘session’ nights, but I’d like to try my hand at the bigger “open mic” slots in the larger towns and cities near where I live.
Oh, for those who don’t get the reference (sigh…)
So yes, I know a long blogpost. Is there any other from Laverick? But I wanted to explain my thinking and the rationale about taking this time away. I hope to see you all in my travels….
I’ve just registered for the first London VMUG of next year kicking off the season on the 21st Jan. I won’t be speaking, so I will be just another attendee in the crowd.
There’s the usual round up of presentations from VendorLand including Bitdefender, Velostrata and Tegile – as well as VMware themselves…
The start of the new year will be chance to have heated panel debate as well as 2015 Community Speaker Awards… and the all important vBeers after the meeting sponsored by 10Zig…
This year meeting will be opening a new chapter on the London VMUG. After this years finale of the UK National Event much of the steering committee from the London User Group have opted to exit stage right on high. That’s sensibility that resonates with me – wanting draw things to a close – not with whimper but a bang… So the 21st will see an introduction to a brand new steering committee and I think is chance for “Fresh Blood” to come into the group – whilst at the same time giving ‘respect is due’ to the former members for all their hard work in the past.
A couple of weeks ago the national VMUG event was held in Birmingham. As ever I was there with the VMworld Swagbag and supported by Michael Poor and Barry Coombs in the process of raising money for this years good cause. This years good cause is “CodeClub”. They are a not-for-profit that run after school coding classes in the UK for children between the ages of 9-11. I’m pleased to say we managed to raise £500 for their worthy organisation…
Well, would you believe where the time has gone? Another year and another UK VMUG beckons as well as new SwagBag Competition. In case you don’t know – for the last couple of years I’ve ‘bagged” a VMworld Bag, and stuff it with quality ‘swag’ gathered over the year. Each year this bag is raffled off at the UK VMUG event held in the November. The money raised is donated to good cause. This years good cause is “Code Club” (https://www.codeclub.org.uk/) it’s goal is to help 9-11 learn the first principles of programming – rather than just being users of Word, Excel and the Internet.
To stand ANY chance of winning the Swagbag you must attend the VMUG vCurry event or the UK VMUG event itself. The UK VMUG event is held on Thursday 19 November 2015 – at National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull. The vCurry Event happens in the same venue the night before, and usually incorporates a quiz. The UK Event has special guest visitors including Josh Atwell and the know legend in his own lifetime, John Troyer.
Full Details for the UK VMUG and vCurry Event are here – Register Today!
Anyway, that’s it from me – lets have a look at the bag and this years award winners…. I call it the Oscars for Swag!
UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention to other additions to the bag. Firstly, I’ve got one of those “Tile” things to give away. It was vExpert gift. Basically, you stick a ’tile’ on something important that you frequently lose (like your keys for instance), and your phone will locate it with a special app. Sadly, you cannot use a tile to find your phone (which for me is more common…). Ravello has also offerred a free subscription to their service – in case you don’t know Ravello allows you to run nested ESX in the Amazon EC2 cloud – which could be the next incarnation of the homelab. Finally, PluralSight have included a free subscription to their training. You might know PluralSight acquired TrainSignal a while back which was the go-to source for training on VMware technologies.