Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weather Conditions from The Weather Channel

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Weather for Ottawa, Canada

Hourly Forecast: 2/27

1 AM
Snow Shower. 33F. NNE 9 mph. Precip 40%%
2 AM
Snow Shower. 33F. NNE 9 mph. Precip 50%%
3 AM
Snow Shower. 32F. NNE 9 mph. Precip 60%%
4 AM
Snow Shower. 32F. NNE 9 mph. Precip 70%%
5 AM
Snow Shower. 32F. NNE 9 mph. Precip 70%%
6 AM
Snow Shower. 32F. NE 9 mph. Precip 70%%
7 AM
Snow Shower. 32F. NE 9 mph. Precip 60%%
8 AM
Snow Shower. 31F. NE 9 mph. Precip 60%%
9 AM
Snow Shower. 30F. NE 10 mph. Precip 60%%
10 AM
Snow Shower. 30F. NE 10 mph. Precip 60%%
11 AM
Snow Shower. 31F. NE 10 mph. Precip 50%%
12 PM
Few Snow Showers. 32F. NE 10 mph. Precip 30%%


Last Updated: 2/26/10 11:47 PM Local Time
For more weather information, visit www.weather.com from your PC or
mobile device.


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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

BrainStorming

Four Perfect Situations for Brainstorming

by Paul Williams

While there are innumerable reasons for hosting a brainstorming session, the purpose for meeting can be summarized with four situations. They are the need to meet to:

  1. Fix Something Broken / Problem Solving
  2. Grow Something
  3. Get Ideas / Fill Idea Pipeline
  4. Innovate / Make Something New

(1) Fix Something Broken / Problem Solving

Fix Something Broken / Problem SolvingThis is what is traditionally thought of as Creative Problem Solving (CPS). You've identified that you have some sort of problem (or 'opportunity' as some prefer to call it), and need to brainstorm some solutions. Perhaps you need to drive sales by x% in Q1? Determine ways to raise money to put a new roof on the church? Find ways to stand apart from your competition? You'd identified something that needs to be addressed (the problem) and need solutions.

Think About: Are you sure you're solving the right problem, and not simply addressing the symptoms? What are the assumptions? Constraints?


(2) Grow Something

Grow SomethingYour franchise has reached a certain size and you want to grow bigger. Your new company has a steady flow of clients - now you want a "brand" - a logo, website, long-term goals, etc. You've got something already established and want to make it bigger.

Think About: Where are you now? Where do you want to go? Is this an ultimate goal, or a next step? Are you ready to manage the responsibility associated with the growth? What do you feel you "must keep", or can growing mean starting over from scratch?


(3) Get Ideas / Fill Idea Pipeline

Get Ideas / Fill Idea PipelineYou're tapped for ideas. You need to come up with a series of new product flavors for the next year. You want to determine your FY'10-11 promotional calendar. Your idea bank is near zero and you need to replenish the account.

Think About: How refined do you need the new ideas to be: sketch ideas or near-final proven concepts?


(4) Innovate / Make Something New

Innovate / Make Something NewCombine ideas in a way that hasn't been done before. You want to do something innovative in your business category. Something above and beyond (a) your competition and/or (b) what you have done in the past.

Think About: Do these ideas need to be truly "new" or just new to your category? (You may find a practice in another industry can become your best practice.


Conclusion

As I've looked across the clients I have served, and meetings I've attended with employers; the reasons for brainstorming always boil down to these basic four situations. Even if - at times - the reason may be a combination of one or more of these... these are still the root situations.

Understanding these four situations will help you define clear objectives and the desired outcome of the meeting.

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Google Reader (1000+) - 2009 Cloudies Awards

The 2009 Cloudies Awards

This is the second year of the “Cloudies” award and still only one judge (me).  However, there are things in the works to make the “Cloudies” a more official and non-tongue-n-cheek next year.  I did solicit some tweets this year for awards. Please don’t be offended if you are not in this list.  This list represents my radar and is somewhat of a goof.  I  am a one man show and not a global organization.  If you don’t agree with me please post a comment and if you have a good argument I will create an updated post. Here goes:

Cloud Hero of 2009

Beaker Chris Hoff

I predicted this early in 2008 (see And the 2009 Cloudie Award Goes To…)

Most Influential Cloud Bloggers

randybias Randy Bias of Cloudscaling

Randy has done some fantastic blog posts this year on cloud computing.  There are few people out there that can match his total understanding of infrastructure computing.

ruv Reuven Cohen of Enomaly

Love him or or not, his blog always has in depth coverage coverage of the latest announcements on cloud computing.  It is one the first places I go to figure out the impact of something new in cloud computing.

Top IaaS

Amazon

Sorry folks, no one even comes close to these guys on the IaaS.

Rackspace

Despite a few missteps here and there, these guys are the only folks on Amazon’s radar.

Top PaaS

Rightscale

Still the one-and-only on-ramp to the cloud (IaaS)…

Heroku

I am sure there are a lot of other great PaaS’s out there; however the “Cloudies” is not a democracy.  Every customer of these guys raves about their service.

Top SaaS

SalesForce.Com

Blah, Blah, Blah

Google Apps

I guess you could call them the Amazon.com of SaaS.

Best Private Cloud Vendors

Eucalyptus

Running in Nasa, Eli Lilly and a few other places puts them in the lead at this point.

Canonical

A close second to Eucalyptus.  Backed by Canonical with Ubuntu server and KVM it makes for a great story…

Best Cloud Application Providers

RabbitMQ

They got clowns the the left and jokers to the right.  RabbitMQ stuck in the middle with you.

Appistry

They have a great story down at FedEx and Bob and Sam are some of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

Best Cloud Orchestration Tools in the Cloud

Chef

Zenoss is to Nagios as Chef is to Puppet. Oh yea I am an adviser for Opscode.

Puppet

What can I say, Puppet is the Nagios of open source configuration management.

Best Monitoring Tools in the Clouds

Zenoss

Zenoss is the Zenoss of open source monitoring.  They added some great cloud (Amazon) monitoring features this year.

collectD

The dirty little secret of cloud monitoring.  Rightscale uses CollectD for monitoring.

Best Security Solutions for the Cloud

VPN Cubed

First is usually best.  Plus you gotta luv the CohesiveFT dudes…

AWS VPC

Best of the rest.

Best Cloud Builders

CohesiveFT

Elastic Server gets it done in 09.

rPath

Best Cloud New Comers

WebappVM

Very cool new PaaS.

Cloudant

CoudchDB as a Service.. Ya gotta luv it.

Best Open Source in the Clouds

Opennebula

This project is where Eucalyptus was about 1 year ago.

Best Languages used in the clouds

Ruby

Java

Biggest Cloud Disappointment in 2009

Snoracle

Congrats… Two years running.

Best Killer Apps in the Cloud

Soasta

350k eFile’s in 22 hours all on AWS… Tough to beat these guys.

Cloudswitch

Zero touch movement of enterprise legacy application to Amazon EC2.  Sounds like a winner to me.

Best Cloud Startup Success Stories

Flightcaster

These guys are paving the road for the avg folk like me to do “Big” things with data.

Best New Cloudy Terms

Nosql

“Not Only SQL?”

Meatcloud Manifesto

Give me an API or give me death.

Worst Cloud CTO

Russ Daniels CTO at HP

Best Cloud CTO

Adam Jacob

I am biased; however, I think Chef from Opscode is the most exciting thing to happen to “enterprise systems management” in many years. Adam and Jesse have assembled a freaking great team.

Best Cloud Analysts

monkchips

cote

Best Cloud Innovation in 2009

Chris K WenselCascading

Best David vs. Goliath Cloud Vendor

OpenQRM

Best Cloud Tweet

Meatcloud Manifesto

Best Cloud Arguments

Cisco v HP

samj v Everyone

New Awards in 2009

Best Cloud Presentations

Simon WardleyCloud Computing Why it Matters

Chris Hoff - The Frogs Who Desired a King: A Virtualization & Cloud Computing Fable

Rookie of the Year

lmacvittie Lori MacVittie

cloudbzz JohnTreadway

Best Cloud Argument (Redemption)

GeorgeReese

George was right.. Austoscaling doesn’t matter.

Best Cloud Philosopher

joeweinman

Best Cloud Evangelists

jeffbarr

davenielsen

Best Agile Infrastructure Dudes

patrickdebois

cread

Honorable Mention

jamesurquhart

gevaperry

vambenepe

KrisBuytaert

zoopster



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Google Reader (1000+)http://www.lightstalking.com/habits

Why Some People Almost Always Take Awesome Photographs

If you have ever spent serious time working or learning from a well-known professional photographer, then you will come to realise that some of them barely ever take a bad photo. While it can be a little disheartening to see the shots from an afternoon and know that their worst shot is better than your best, it also means there is a technique to the craft that can be emulated. In my experience, the people who take constantly excellent photos have a few characteristics and follow a few rules that set them apart from many other photographers. Here is what I have witnessed.

Reflections for the day
Photo by Christolakis

They Know Their Camera – Most folks I have seen whose skill I want to copy know their camera like the back of their hand. Without taking their eye from the view finder they can switch back and forth from auto-exposure bracketing, white balance adjustments, ISO, aperture and whatever else their weapon of choice can do. Usually this is a result of them having used the same gear for years and practiced so much that adjustments on their camera become a reflex. A great piece of advice for amateur photographers with a new DSLR is to sit down and read the instruction manual from cover to cover!

E-510
Photo by Hamachi

They Pre Plan – On the way to a shoot, these photographers are already thinking about (and probably chatting to their assistants about) the conditions they expect to be shooting under. That means they take the right selection of gear and know exactly what to do when they get there. If they are not sure about the shooting conditions, they will often plan according to a variety and take appropriate gear. I spent many train trips in Japan (as a photographer’s assistant) simply listening to my boss tell me about what the shooting conditions would likely be and how we should react to them.

They Know the Theory – A big part of what allows these people to pre plan their shoots is knowing what type of shooting situations require which type of reaction. Knowing that indoor fluorescent lighting will give a green tinge to most photos means you can adjust white balance setting on a camera accordingly. Knowing that photos of lightning are best taken at 100ISO with a tripod gives you an advantage when that situation rolls around. Knowing how to react to challenging shooting conditions allows such folks to pre-plan their shoots. The easiest way to get to know the theory behind photography is to read everything you can get your hands on about the subject.

Lightning; My First Try
Photo by Kuzeytac

They Get Close – Good photographers (usually) fill the frame with the subject. There is a reason that the first three rules of photography are “Get closer. Get closer. Get closer.” This might be generalising a little (landscape photography for example doesn’t require strict adherence), but when shooting a subject or person, these photographers get up close and personal. There is a reason that paparazzi get so close and jostle each other – good people shots require as much proximity as possible.

Beautiful old lady from Darap(Sikkim) village
Photo by Sukanto Debnath

They Know Post Production – Whether they shoot on film or digital, these folks know how to get the most out of the post production process. That might mean burning and dodging in a darkroom or masking and correcting levels in Photoshop, but these guys have a solid understanding of what makes a great picture and they usually have an efficient work flow to back that up.

A lot of this comes down to a combination of two factors. Education and practice. Now education is what you make it – from reading websites like this one to buying and reading photography books and guides all the way through to going to photography colleges. Practice is pretty straight forward. How close you get to being able to emulate those folks who can take a great picture every time really depends on how much time you are willing to put into these two things.

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Now this is neat

Energy-gathering soccer ball turns kicks into light

Energy-gathering soccer ball turns kicks into light

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world partly because it requires so little: a ball and some space to play is all you really need. And because of that, it's extremely popular in third world countries. Now, the Soccket has arrived to make soccer a helpful addition to the places its played.

The Soccket uses an inductive coil mchanism inside to save up all that kinetic energy used kicking it around. It can then plug in and charge an LED light using that energy. About 15 minutes of play can provide 3 hours of charge, which seems pretty reasonable to me. A great idea, and one that will definitely help people in need.

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The red phone box that has become Britain's smallest library | Mail Online

The red phone box that has become Britain's smallest library

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:01 PM on 01st December 2009

Cunning villagers have found a novel way to cope with the shortage of libraries in their area by turning an old red phone box into a book exchange.

The former BT phone kiosk has been transformed from a telephone exchange to Britain's smallest library by cunning residents and now stocks around 100 titles.

Villagers rallied together to set up the book box after their mobile library service was cancelled.

Book box: Villagers in the Somerset village of Westbury-sub-Mendip wait in line to use the country's smallest library which was converted from an old red phone box

Book box: Villagers in the Somerset village of Westbury-sub-Mendip wait in line to use the country's smallest library which was converted from an old red phone box

Happy reading: The phone box now houses titles from cooking books to the classics and blockbusters to children's books
Happy reading: The phone box now houses titles from cooking books to the classics and blockbusters to children's books

Happy reading: The phone box now houses titles from cooking books to the classics and blockbusters to children's books

The parish council purchased the box, a Giles Gilbert Scott K6 design, for £1, and residents in the Somerset village of Westbury-sub-Mendip put up wooden shelves inside and donated their own books.

The phone box now houses titles from cooking books to the classics and blockbusters to children's books.

‘It has really taken off,’ Parish councillor Bob Dolby told The Guardian.

‘Turnover is rapid and there's a good range of books, everything from reference books to biographies and blockbusters.’

Reinvented: The box was bought for £1 and residents put up wooden shelves inside and donated their own books while a located business supplied the signs
Reinvented: The box was bought for £1 and residents put up wooden shelves inside and donated their own books while a located business supplied the signs

Reinvented: The box was bought for £1 and residents put up wooden shelves inside and donated their own books while a located business supplied the signs

Meanwhile resident Angela Buchanan was also full of praise for the book box.

'It's such a brilliant idea,' she said. 'Our nearest library is Wells, four miles away, so if you don't want to go into the town but have run out of something to read, it's great you can use this.

'All sorts of interesting books turn up – manuals, picture books, good literary novels.’

The phone box library is open every day for 24 hours and is lit at night. There is a regular check on it to see if some titles are not moving. These are then shipped on to a charity shop to keep the phone box collection fresh.

BT has received 770 applications for communities to 'adopt a kiosk' and so far 350 old boxes have been handed to parish councils.

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