Gary D's Take

The Big “Merger”

When I started doing this a few years ago, I titled it “Gary D’s Take”. I have some other blogs and sites that are related to businesses and things that are not entirely just me. This is just me and what I think.

As a T Mobile customer I have some concerms about the pending merger with AT&T. My main concerm is that I know those guys at AT&T pretty well. While the official story is that they plan to honor T Mobile’s pricing and way of doing things (and they have to for a while) I know how they are and how they think…..they won’t be able to keep from AT&Ting it up! It’s just not in them!

For those of us who have invested in GSM technology ( I started with an HP IPAQ) its sad. I have been a happy T Mobile customer for years. They proved that you could keep your pricing reasonable , give excellent customer service and be sucessful. I just don’t think any of that will last much longer. None of those things are part of the A companies business model. Now the Germans that run T Mobile are really really really smart guys so maybe they have some grand plan to come out on top when the dust settles. I hope so.

Meanwhile… I guess I will just watch and wait.

Having The Time Of My Life!

Having The Time Of My Life!

Jul 2, 2011

I recently restructured the way I work. For some this statement would be one way to say they are out of a job. Not true in my case. In fact I have a lot more J-O-B (or jobs) than I used to.For the past two years, I have been at the Hardy Services division of Hardy Corporation developing something called Mission-Critical Infrastructure Management. (url: http://mission-criticalservices.com) The idea is to be a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for all things related to the support of data centers and server rooms, outside of the servers,switches,software(the IT STUFF). This covers specialized cooling, UPSs, raised floors, clean agent fire suppression (like FM200), environmental monitoring, generators and lots more. This is a great idea! Like all great ideas, it may be a little bit before its time. I have come to realize that some people don’t really want a single point of contact. Well, they do but they want it to be them. I call this the DIY approach and it is quite prevalent in the IT world. For the DIYers, I am another guy selling stuff like UPSs, CRACs(Computer Room ACs) and the other stuff  I mentioned. This has brought me some success but the embracing of the whole concept has been less than what I had imagined. The principals at Hardy and I still think this is a great idea and we are continuing to pursue this type of business- THAT HASN’T CHANGED. We have just come to the conclusion that the road to get there is longer than we thought. Having come to that realization , through mutual agreement , we have scaled back my activity to match the current size of the business, to leave some time for me to pursue some other interests. I am still pursuing the Mission-Critical opportunities with Hardy, I am just not spending all my time on it.

My new venture with E Tech Communications and Ernie Daw (the owner) takes me back to the world of communications and IT. This is a familiar place for me and where I have worked most of my life. Ernie has spent the last several years (and lots of money) developing a Tier II communications facility. E Tech has redundant commercial power feeds, emergency UPS and generator power and bandwidth and voice lines from several carriers. It can provide high level support for services like communications hosting ,end pointing and network routing. We have added some unique services to our portfolio like hosted telephone service , email archiving and data backup. We are currently working to expand our services to include some unique disaster recovery implementation services and IP trunking services.I have been working with E Tech on these projects for some time now and I wanted to be able to spend more time on these and some other projects.
What has happened is I have at least four jobs now. Besides the Mission-Critical projects and customers at Hardy, I have become involved with their internal IT work. I have taken on more of a sales role at E Tech as well as developing communications products for us to market. At both Hardy and E Tech I have those “other duties as assigned” thing that is in everybodies job description. If you think I am complaining, THINK AGAIN…I’m not…I am having the time of my life!
I get to help lots of people solve lots of problems and I am playing with more cool toys than I have in a long time….it just doen’t get any better than this.          

The Thanks in Thanksgiving

This is kind of similar to my “Check Up From The Neck Up. I sent this out to the Hardy email list and I wanted to share it here. This may sound trite and hokey but I truly believe this:

We would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to a group for whom we are TRULY thankful….our customers, partners and friends. Without you , none of what we do here would be possible.

As we begin another holiday season, here’s hoping that we all take the time to count our blessings and think about what is truly important in our lives. Let’s give thanks for family , friends , good health and our faith in God.

It seems like things are not going well in our country right now but just remember that we live in the greatest nation on earth. Reflect on all the opportunities that living in this country affords us and how much better off we are than most of the world.

Pray for our soldiers here and abroad and also for our leaders. Mat they be given the wisdom and foresight to lead us out of these troubled times and do the best for our nation.

The Difference Between Remote Access , Alert Notification and Monitoring.

I am couching this discussion in terms of Mission-Critical Infrastructure but this really applies to several different disciplines especially IT.

First let’s define and qualify each of these items.

Remote Access is the ability to access a piece of equipment from a remote location. A remote location can be another part of the building on the same LAN or another part of the world across the internet. The basic premise here is that you can access the device interface without having to connect directly (plug in to) that device.

Alert notification is the ability to set parameters like “if the the temperature is above 80 degrees” send a message.The message can be an email , a text message , a blinking light or a phone call.

Monitoring is when someone is constantly watching a displayed set of parameters from a device.

About now , some of you are saying “why the Ned’s First Reader definition ?” You may not be confused about which one is which but trust me there is some confusion out there. There seems to be special confusion regarding Alert Notification and monitoring.

The best analogy is to the way voice mail works. If you just have a very simple voice mail on your phone, then while you are out of the office , you need to periodically call in and access the voice mail to see if you have a message.

If you have outcalling or voice mail to email , then you get a notification pushed out to you that you have a message. This is how alert notifications work.

If you are sitting at your desk and the phone rings , you answer it…..this is monitoring.

Lets say you have a problem with your cable tv , would you rather leave a message in the voice mail that that person will get the next time they check it or one where that person will be notified of the message? Obviously notification is better but what is that person turns off their cell or doesn’t check their email? What you really want is to call and have a person answer and take care of your problem. Monitoring provides the fastest response to problems and unlike the other two , monitoring can be PRO-active instead of RE-active. With monitoring , problems can be detected and dealt with BEFORE they cause a failure.

Monitoring offers a PRO-active approach which will head many issues off at the pass. In the event that an emergency response is needed, monitoring gives the fastest reponse to critical issues.

Hardy offers all three of these options to our mission-critical clients depending on their equipment and needs. Our Premium Care Plan includes monitoring as a standard part of the package.

Social Media and Me

Being a technology guy, all this blogging and tweeting and facebooking just kind of comes naturally to me. Occasionally I wonder about it though. Is this what we do instead of having real human interactions? Those people who like to pore poop on everything ( we all know some ) say this is what has taken the place of having a real life and real interactions with people. For some this may be true. I have worked with those poor souls who spend their lives in a dark room by the glow of the CRT(Cathode Ray Tube) maybe now by the light of the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) Hold on , I gotta turn on the light so I can see to type .Those poor wretches who spend their days and nights pounding away at the keyboard. However a lot of us who do this stuff DO have lives and careers and families. What’s the value to us? For me , I get to share some of my thoughts and experiences with my lifelong friends who BECAUSE they have lives and families and jobs wouldn’t get to talk to me very often under normal circumstances. I get to know who is not feeling well and needs some cheering up. Sometimes I am the one who needs cheering.We get to remember those special moments and times that bond us forever and that only we can really inderstand.

So to the poop pore-ers…….when the people you have known all your life are scattered to the four corners of the earth…its nice to remember those times that you shared back in the day . Its really special to be able to share a little piece of your life now with those friends and loved ones because those are the people who really get you when no one else does.

Life Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Every so often I have to “check-up from the neck up”. The other day I was complaining to my wife about being at a football game to watch my daughter cheer. It was cold , I was missing something on TV and the bleachers were hard on my behind. I was thinking to myself how lucky my daughter was to have parents that supported her……….just like my parents did…….uhoh…..memories of my Mom and Dad sitting in the stands watching me play football flashed through my head. Were those bleachers any softer, was TV any less engaging? My Dad was a busy guy too.

I just heard that a friend of mine lost his brother and I realized that its been a while since I talked to mine. And there is that unanswered email in my inbox from my sister.

I grumble about my stomach issues sometimes. Then I realize I have a friend from high school who has one of those recurring conditions (I am not good with medical names and things) that gives her constant pain. I need to just watch what I eat and I’ll be fine.

I listen to my friend who is still at the company I used to work at talking about all the crazy things going on there. ( I actually have more than one of these) and it dawns on me what a great place I work at now.

Yes my daughter is very fortunate in lots of ways…….but so am I.

Take stock occassionally people……it’s good for your soul!