Tuesday, August 31, 2010

VMWorld Conference Day 1 (and Day 0)

Not much commentary, I just wanted to lay down some photos.

I arrived early on Sunday, found my way to the Moscone center, hopped on a bus with 300 other crazy VMWorld attendees and rode out to the shore for a 5k at dusk in San Francisco. I forgot my parka.





I hit a nondescript "wine bar" for dinner. The dinner was decent enough, the wines weren't anything special. I was fed, I was tired, I was ready for bed at about 9:00PM.

Monday started the conference. It was hard to miss:



Here some photos throughout the day at VMWorld:

Social Media and Blogger Lounge:
This is where the cool people hang out and tell each other how many Twitter followers they have. You know how you can tell they're cool? The dancing little icons under the cloud. Also, they'll tell you. 

Lab Thunderdome:
Okay, the labs are clearly where it's at this conference. The monitors you see facing you are just 1/4 of what's in this room. The lab text appears on the right hand monitor, the left hand monitor is a Virtualized set of machines for you to experiment with. Very nice setup, VMWorld! 

Cisco's new APs are scattered around the three conference buildings, and are doing a damn fine job of keeping the public wireless network up and running. This bodes very well for my future plans, considering there's about 17,000 conference attendees and most of them have at least 2 WiFi devices each. Way to go, Cisco!


The Microsoft Exchange session was jam packed. Very interesting things from this session. Exchange used to run on one server, now it's split into roles and functions, and so Microsoft split them into distinct servers. VMWare is bringing them back together onto one physical box. The circle is now complete. 

How 20th Century: e-mail and print stations. 

A panel of experts. The most interesting comment? That company employees are being more productive for the company with publicly available cloud tools like facebook, youtube, gmail, and Google Apps than they are on company software, and they can't use any of these tools from inside the firewall. Apparently, everyone is having this discussion, Bennie.

Our New Overlords:
That raised dias in the middle of the Lab Thunderdome is even more ominous in person. Also, bad techno seems to be emanating from somewhere inside of it. Ominous. 

Stress-Relief:
Foosball, ping-pong, pool. The usual geek pressure release valves.

So much for the conference. I'll get some pictures from the exhibit floor tonight, but I was way too wiped out for it yesterday. It was a sea of humans doing the zombie-shamble between booths with platefuls of buffet food. No thanks, time to find a real dinner.

Here we go:

Tadich Grill: California's oldest restaurant. Opened by, of course, a Yugoslavian immigrant. I am not at all surprised. My people are feeders. 

Of course these pictures don't do the place justice, but the gentlemen wearing jackets are the waiters behind the counter. They were superb.

I asked the waiter to bring me, literally, food and wine, and he selected two excellent choices. A decent enough Pinot Noir along with some form of bouillabaisse with the best sourdough bread ever. Perfect dinner!

I'm off to grab a bagel and a coffee and hit Day 2! Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

San Francisco/NorCal Dining - Need Suggestions!

Hey folks, I'm heading to San Francisco at the end of the month for VMWorld, and I'm building a map of must-hit restaurants, kitchens, food stands, coffee shops, etc. I'm also heading up to see old friends in Santa Rosa for the weekend.

Are you a NorCal native? Hit my Google map and leave a suggestion or two in the comments. (Or just leave your suggestion here in the comments, if you like). Anyplace between Santa Rosa and San Francisco is fair game.


View San Francisco Food Tour in a larger map

The plan is to be at the VMWorld conference until Sept. 2nd, then head up the coast to visit wine country and friends until the 7th. I'm also going to try and make a pit-stop into the TWiT Cottage in Petaluma to catch a taping of This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte on Sunday.

Lastly, if you're in the area between 8/29 and 9/7 and want to meet up for drinks or dinner, let me know!

Reach me via the usual methods: http://www.google.com/profiles/ereasons

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Performance Tax is Back Again!

Good God.

It's back and worse than the last time. The "Performance Tax" idea, payola in reverse, has returned to Congress's doorstep, and it is more ridiculous than ever. As if it weren't absurd enough to have radio pay to promote your music, they have added the following absurdity:

The RIAA wants a federal mandate to put FM receivers in "cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics."


If it was from anybody less reputable than Ars Technica, I'd think this news was an Onion-esque spoof:


The mind boggles.

Enjoy Penny Arcade's brilliant send-up here.

Check out details on the Performance Tax from the last time it reared it's ugly head here.

Here's how you can help fight the Performance Tax.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Value vs. Capital - The Balance Sheet

Mike Masnick over at Techdirt has some rock-solid analysis on Kodak, and why it's an outstanding example of the Innovator's Dilemma.

The article sent me off on a tangent in the comments about the role of disruptive technology, and the Internet in general. I asked if there were any examples of technologies that expanded capitalization in a market instead of shrunk it. I was promptly corrected (of course there were! Most technology is introduced to this effect!). Mike listed many of the basics: automobiles, telephones, computers, etc.

My question revealed my bias: I was thinking only of the Internet (which I would equate more to Mass Production than to the Automobile, in terms of historically allegorical technologies). A new product is likely to expand a market, but a new *mode of production* has vastly more complex effects.

Part of my reply:
When it comes to new technology in general, I think you're absolutely correct--they tend to increase the pie. I was thinking specifically of the Internet's effect on photography more than the digital camera's (which was enabled by the move to digital).
The effects of the digital camera may enable greater capitalization if it was the only innovation in photography, but it also enabled photography to make the jump to the Internet, whose benefits I don't think are as black-and-white[...].
While the Internet's disruption has made many a billionaire, it's certainly well on it's way to destroying some entire industries. And it seems to me, many of the institutions that are popping up to replace them don't have the same capitalization, if they have capitalization at all.
I know the Internet is adding Value, I just don't know if it's adding Value in a place where Capital can capture it.
I think the music industry is a very good example of what I was questioning. The industry is expanding, but capitalization is definitely shrinking. I know more people making a living from their music than ever before, but only because of a massive disruption of the music industry that has cost billions of dollars.

There are more players than ever getting their slice of the pie, but that pie is certainly shrinking (if the pie is measured in capital only). Lucky for them it was a really really big pie when it started to shrink.

The Internet added Value to the music industry, but it added it in a way that Capital couldn't capture it. I see this a lot when the Internet disrupts some legacy industry.

What I'm really looking for is a way to measure the change in Value vs. the change in Capital. (But traditionally, we measure Value in terms of Capital!)

If any brilliant economists/sociologists out there are reading this humble little blog, share your thoughts on this.