Monthly Archives: April 2013

Following the rules

  • Company rules say that the pilot must make some chatty announcement as the plane gets to cruising altitude.
  • Company rules say that the pilot must make some chatty announcement as the plane begins descent.

Funnily enough, the weather doesn’t change a lot in the three minutes gap between these points on the short LAX/LAS hop.

Good news, Bad news

When I have an early weekday flight from Heathrow, I often stay at one of the nearby Hiltons the night before. It’s convenient, not outrageously expensive (especially with points), means I don’t have to get up at 4am to drive up the M3, and I can get a good breakfast in the lounge before going over to the terminals.

So I was doing that last night, checked in, went to check my email, and the laptop power supply went “pop”. No charging possible. I tried a new cable in case it was the fuse, tried different sockets, but it was clear that something was broken. Not a good thing to happen when you’re about to be away for a week with no real hardware support.

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Countdown to Impact – a historic perspective

The Impact conference starts in 10 days in Las Vegas. For the speakers that means we need to finish up writing presentations, although that seems to happen later and later at each event.

Many conference regulars will be there: myself, Lyn, Morag, Ralph as well as executives and some others who aren’t allowed out in public so often, and  the marketing people. As always, this is a busy week not only for the public talking but also the stream of meetings that we participate in. Going to Vegas is not a jolly, and there’s often attempts to NOT be sent.

There used to be a much stricter deadline for finalised presentations, as material was only distributed in physical formats. So it had to be submitted several weeks in advance.For some subjects that was fine, but it made it harder to deal with late-breaking changes, such as if an expected product announcement was cancelled or a new feature altered its implementation.

I was digging through my cupboard a few weeks ago and found the book of presentations from the 1998 MQSeries Technical Conference in Washington DC – properly published and bound. Very nice, but heavy and for those of us who try to fly with only hand-luggage a bit awkward. Back then, we also often used boxes of real acetate foils, carefully separated and hopefully kept in order; there was no guarantee of projection systems even if we had laptops with us. (That DC event has special memories for me, though it’s not why I kept the book.)

It’s interesting looking back at that old material. Features of MQ that were considered interesting or exciting but which are no longer used; and the converse, features that are still critical to customers. Here is the MQSeries V5.0 presentation from 1997/1998 as an example. The “web admin” feature is long gone in that form, as is the DCE Directory Service support. But transaction coordination is still very heavily used.

Although we try to predict which features are going to have a long-term value when planning new releases of MQ, these “What’s New” presentations do show where we got it right and where we didn’t.

Recognizing a fellow traveler

While on a plane, I suddenly noticed a very familiar scent. At first I could not quite place it, then I turned to the lady beside me and asked ‘Do you stay at a lot of Hilton hotels?’ She looked surprised and replied that she does. She had just applied some of the lotion we all liberate from the hotel as they are in TSA approved sizes (and it’s really nice lotion).