Procedural Documentation

I am often responsible for designing procedures for complex tasks that may be passed onto users who lack the history for how certain procedures are born.  I frequent Lifehacker for GTD tips and inspiration.  Author of a recent posting “How to Start Using Procedure Checklists for Flawless Task Execution” used an example that I will use here.

“When the spouse of a cookbook author asked her why she always cut the roast in half and cooked it in two separate dishes. She told him that was how her mother did it, so she called her mother to ask why. The mother said that it was how the grandmother did it, so the author then called the grandmother and asked her why she cooked her roast in two pans. The grandmother laughed, explaining it had nothing to do with better cooking and everything to do with being too poor to buy a big roasting pan.”

Reason for lack of news

If anyone reads this site, I have been short on information (useless or otherwise) since late ’09. In the latter part of last year I was hired by a well known VMware Virtualization consulting firm. It has been a roller-coaster ride of experiences, training and travel. The team of consultants are beyond phenomenal and have been a huge help in getting me up to speed on the various VMware products and 3rd party virtualization tools that my previous client-base had neither the need (or funding) for. This being said, I can’t share too much detail on what I am doing with concern that it may be seen as proprietary. I can share that I have worked with the following products:

  1. VMware Lab Manager 4 – Give you the ability to duplicate your production servers in a “fenced” network so they may have the same name and IPs without interfering with the running production version.  Great for app-dev.
  2. VMware View 4 – The cornerstone of the VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) world.
  3. Quest Virtual Access Suite – Competitor to VDI with a very robust management/deployment interface.
  4. Liquidware Labs Stratusphere – Analyse your physical or virtual machines to see their VDI fitness.  Great for seeing if certain application configurations are good candidates for virtualization complete with pretty graphs.
  5. AppSense – I get giddy discussing this management suite.  GPO’s, roaming profiles, and 5-10 minute Active Directory login times BE-GONE!  AppSense is a great solution for virtual and physical environments whose scripted logons have now grown to do more harm than good.  It is able to execute all scripted elements simultaneously (map drives, configure Outlook, install printers) instead of sequentially, drastically improving login times.  I could write a few pages on the 4 products that make up the AppSense Suite but will instead leave you a link to Brian Madden‘s AppSense Tutorial http://www.appsense.com/brianmaddentraining/

I finally own a “smart” phone

This is by no means a review, I’m simply bragging. After enduring the Windows Mobile 6 OS (reboot, freeze, repeat), while all my colleagues have moved on to the Moto Droid and iPhone, I luckily strolled into my local Verizon store and picked up the HTC Incredible with Android 2.1. Here are the specs for those who haven’t been drooling over them for the past few months: http://www.htc.com/us/products/droid-incredible-verizon#tech-specs

8 MP camera on a phone is just amazing. Pics of Dallas, TX. The autofocus is hit or miss, it chooses to select some mysterious element just short of the actual target so that takes some getting use to. Considering this was not the reason I purchased the phone, I could really care less. I travel a bit and this camera does an excellent job of capturing my expense receipts so I don’t have to keep up with the paper copies. There is even an app that will take these images and string them together into a PDF for easy sharing!

I recently met up with a friend of mine and starting talking up the phone, then he said that’s great, you should see my new phone. He had been on the preorder list for the HTC Incredible and was shocked I just happened to pop into the Verizon store and pick it up before the mad rush. Needless to say we spent the next hour talking about all the neat apps we had found and comparing notes.

Being a bit of an enthusiast when it comes to anything with Linux on it, I downloaded the SDK and added the ADT Plugin for Eclipse. When I have time to actually read up on putting together one of these XML-laden applications I will try to capture my experience and provide my own first HELLO WORLD Android app. Which will be available for $2.99 on Android Market (kidding).