Saturday, April 17, 2010

Alternative Planning

The events of the past days in Iceland shows us how fragile our infrastructure really is and how powerful "Mother Nature" can be. We grow to depend on our technology but few ever think about a disaster from the point of view that the technology no longer works. Sure we have disaster plans for:
- IT systems failing: we get new hardware and restore the backup
- fire or natural disaster: move to a new building/location, get new equipment.
But what happens when the technology can no longer be used:
- a nuclear blast generates EMP and fries the electronics in our computers, cars, radios, hospital equipment, electrical grid
- the atmosphere is filled with particles and planes can no longer fly through it
- a LARGE asteroid impacts the Earth changes the dynamics of rotation.

Yes, at least some of these are improbably scenarios but at the beginning of last week the 10 Europeans sitting in meetings with me in Chicago weren't the least bit worried about going home on Thursday and coming back in 2 weeks for a SAP GoLive. As of Saturday only one that I know of got a flight to Rome, many hours by train from his original destination. The rest were wondering if they would be at their meetings on Monday or still here in the USA. Some of us are starting to think about an alternative GoLive support plan.

I am sure that companies that depend on air freight for keeping their production lines running are now scrambling to find alternative shipping methods to get material to open airports. This impacts costs in a very real way and may even push some companies into situations from which they can not recover.

How long will it last. We all hope that flights resume on Sunday/Monday but this is not something we can control, not something that Congress can pass laws to fix or have hearings to "Punish the guilty" (though I am sure that they will). Nature has reminded us that we need to be flexible and to never depend on anything so much that we can't do without it.

Robert Paterson has a good article on this topic at:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thoughts on iPad Day One

Much has been said in various blogs about why to get an iPad or why to wait. There is no need to rehash that. There are good points for either decision. As a geek, today was tough to watch the unboxing of 2 iPads on the TWiT Network and not have one myself. I will wait a while. Clearly Apple has hit another "long drive" and scored multiple runs with the iPad just as they did with the iPod and iPhone.

These are paradigm changing devices and move us toward a future that we saw only in Star Trek and other SciFi movies not so many years ago. Some look at these devices and wonder "why do I need it". The real benefits become apparent only after obtaining one and discovering new ways of doing things. Books don't go away, they just become more accessible. Radio and TV becomes audio/video podcasts or streaming networks such as TWiT. Real time interactivity between show hosts and the audience, only a dream for the big networks, is already a reality for shows that are "connected". This is enhanced by these devices for those who embrace them.

There is a healthy competition between between the iDevices and Android devices. Apple has again set a high bar for tablets in both hardware and software. I expect that in the coming months we'll see other hardware for Android. There is room for both and having both will ensure that companies as well as developers continue to innovate and improve.

Thank you Apple and Steve Jobs for moving the bar up a notch or 2. The challenge will be met.