Friday, November 20, 2009

Henry's Hand Ball

I really like Thierry Henry - to watch him play in his prime when he was at Arsenal was pure joy - the guy was (is) so graceful, fast and strong, he must have given defenders nightmares. Even at Barca, my adopted team, he's been a great striker, though he does seem to be showing his age a little.

I like him even more for fessing up to his handball against the Irish - being part Scotch-Irish, I really feel for the men in green - what a total bummer. And, while I guess I respect FIFA for sticking to their guns and saying that the ref on the field has the final say, it sure feels to me like the fairest thing to do would be to allow a replay.

Just now as I was taking a quick break from the marketing and bus dev workload to check the headlines, I just about fell out of my seat when I read this in an AP story about the controversy:
"Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen raised the issue Thursday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at a meeting of the 27 EU leaders in Brussels."
What a hoot! Can you imagine Obama bringing up a call in an international baseball game with say the Japonese PM? Just goes to show you how seriously the rest of the world takes soccer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tech Data Gets Serious about Open Source

Very interesting announcement from Tech Data this week about their Open Tech initiative to bring more OSS solutions to their resellers.

Several things of interest. First just that they are doing this - I think it speaks well of Tech Data's leadership and also of the growing realization that Open Source solutions often deliver greater value to business users than proprietary incumbent solutions.

Second, what they will be doing - here's the list from the press release:

Through Open Tech, Tech Data will:

  • Recruit New Open Source Vendors – Tech Data is negotiating with several open source ISVs interested in expanding their reseller partner base. Tech Data will recruit open source ISVs developing a wide range of solutions, including business intelligence and database management, data backup and recovery, content management, messaging and unified communications, office productivity, middleware and security.
  • Recruit And Enable New Open Source Resellers – Tech Data will enable existing open source resellers to expand their practices with new solutions and open source technical training available through TDEducation. The company also will leverage its data mining and channel marketing to identify and recruit new resellers likely to add open source alternatives to their solutions offerings.
  • Establish The Open Tech Community – With a membership of resellers, open source ISVs, and leading hardware manufacturers, the Open Tech Community will work together to develop strategies to capitalize on emerging demand for open source solutions. The community will interact through physical and virtual events, and the new Open Tech Web portal.
  • Expand Open Source Licensing Expertise – Tech Data’s software licensing specialists will support the licensing requirements for all Open Tech software partners.
  • Enhance Open Source Sales And Marketing – Open Tech will provide open source vendors with a comprehensive channel marketing program to recruit and enable targeted resellers. Open Tech also will provide extensive open source product training for Tech Data’s Sales teams.
  • Develop Custom-Configured Open Source Bundles – Through its East and West Coast integration centers and on behalf of its reseller customers, Tech Data will custom configure systems and servers with open source solutions for quicker deployment to end users.
Lots of goodness here, but I think they saved the best for last - Develop Custom-Configured Open Source Bundles. This demonstrates real Open Source savvy on Tech Data's part. This is where so many resellers get tripped up on Open Source - because open source is so disaggregated and imminently configurable, for many resellers, trying to figure out what Open Source bits to sell, and in what combination(s), is akin to ordering at McDonald's without value meal options. Tech Data is stepping up with their Custom Configured Bundles to give resellers the critical assurance they need (something I suggested distributors should do in my 2006 LinuxWorld Magazine article titled Open Source: Changing the Enterprise Software Supply Chain for Good - scroll to bottom of first page for the section on Distributors)

Some questions - will they include any pure community (that is non-commercial) OSS projects in the program? I'm thinking Apache, Debian, lesser extent OpenNMS, since they have a corporate entity that offers training and support. If yes, what will the support mechanism be? Will Tech Data offer support on these solutions or will they tap into, and provide some assurances around, the support ecosystms that surround many of these projects? I look forward to the follow-on announcements.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seen at GDC Austin

GDC Austin was a great show. So much more manageable than SF. Met some great people at some very cool studios, makers of game peripherals and students going through hell, and paying money for it. Here's a short highlight hit list:

Devices and peripherals
  • Definitely the coolest gadget I saw at the show were the 3D, surround sound gaming headphones from Psyko Audio out of Calgary. James, the Head Psyko, gave me a demo and it is really cool how, wearing these headphones and playing Call of Duty, you can tell where the enemy fire is coming from.

    Here are some pics I snapped with my phone - they are cool-looking and thoughtfully designed, the second photo shows the ventilated ear cover

The other really cool peripheral I saw was from Spawn Labs, based in Austin. They've made a small hardware console (unit, STB???) that allows the gamer to play their console games from any PC anywhere.

  • talked to the guys at Frozen Codebase - best booth at the show, IMHO, featuring looping video of the drummer chicken (actually the person drumming was in a rabbit suit, apparently couldn't find the chicken suit). And I kicked Norb's butt in Wii ping pong - the gran poo bah hat he was wearing might have had something to do with my success...

  • I spent some time at the Intel Booth, but didn't win the netbook raffle :-(

    Bob from Virtual Heroes gave me a demo of their Moon Base Alpha game which was developed for NASA to stimulate interest in the space program. It'll be available free on Steam in November. Bob also talked about how he used Intel's Graphics Performance Analyzer to quickly identify a bottleneck in the way a part of a scene was rendered. Was cool, and for $300 (free if you'll give Intel your email address) the price seemed right.