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July 12, 2008

Welcome to the Funcar

That’s right folks.

The Arrowhead of Awesomeness in Action at Dover!

Black Warrior Technology has become an official member of the Microsoft Small Business Racing Team.

Which means The Arrowhead of Awesomeness can officially appear on the #00 Toyota Camry driven by Michael McDowell for Michael Waltrip Racing.

Why?

Because there is no type of sport that does more for its sponsors than racing/motorsports. And the motorsport that does more for its sponsors than anyone else?

NASCAR, without question.

First...the right side. 

Every NASCAR driver receives special media training, and is fully briefed on sponsors. Which totally rocks. Think about other professional sports. How many times have you heard any kind of ball/hockey/soccer/what-have-you player talk about a sponsor before, during, or after the event? Not at all. But NASCAR drivers, owners, and crew members constantly thank their primary sponsors by name whenever the cameras are running.

Why?

Because the teams know that without sponsorship, they have no rides. Without rides, they basically have no team. Which is why having your logo riding around right beside the numbers on a car during a NASCAR race totally rocks.

Not only that, but NASCAR fans are some of the most rabid fans anywhere. They are fiercely loyal to drivers, teams, manufacturers, and sponsors.

Why?

Because everything that goes into the creation of the grand carnival that is NASCAR matters to them. They’re no different in that regard than superfans of any sport anywhere. But the loyalty that fans of other sports have is pretty much limited to teams and players. OK…sure, there are bat, ball, glove and sportswear manufacturers who benefit in other sports. But only because they are directly associated with the activity of that given sport.

NASCAR is different in that they offer nearly any company from nearly any industry the ability to sponsor a team.

And then the left side AKA The Double O Awesome side!

Why?

Because NASCAR also knows that sponsors also bring their own fans, typically greenfield type of fans, who have never been to or watched a race before in their life.

And, to be honest…

The attitude of NASCAR appeals to me. NASCAR races are preceded with a prayer, a singing of our national anthem and presentation of our flag, replete with a flyover of some kind of military aircraft normally timed to roughly coincide with the “la-and of the Freeeee!” crescendo.

Not only does the respect for God and country mean something to me, but the fact that NASCAR works hard to be a family-friendly sports matters VERY MUCH to me. It’s important to me that The Arrowhead of Awesomeness won’t be shown next to the Playboy, Penthouse or some other porn empire’s logo. Let alone plastered on the backside of some Vivid Video starlet.

Thanks to Microsoft and its amazingly awesome Small Business Specialist sponsorship program they entered into with MWR, the price point for all this is an astonishingly low price. $4K? That’s chickenfeed for the kind of exposure you are getting.

The tried and true, classic style profile shot. Look at that SWEET logo placement! 

So the question you should be asking yourself shouldn’t be…

Why?

The question you should ask yourself should be…

Why Not?

And the only question I still have for myself is…

Why Didn’t I Do This Sooner?

|| posted by chris under business, hardware, media, more cowbell, motorsports, thumbs up || comments (10) || ||

July 9, 2008

One Down, One To Go

Thanks everybody, for being cooler than a roomful of Fonzies!

The first of my speaking engagements at Worldwide Partner Conference went smashingly well yesterday. That was the Windows Mobile keynote in room 372 BCEF talking about Mobility in Small and Medium Sized Businesses.

The room was full, and I don’t remember anyone leaving during the session at all. Despite the fact that my own Awesome Per Minute ratio was through the roof.

Of course, the reason the keynote went so well was totally thanks to the amazingly kickass job that Laura Johnson and Steve Doe did laying out the case for Mobility in small and medium-businesses.

I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to share Black Warrior Technology’s approach to Mobility and Windows Mobile in particular.

The second of my speaking engagements at Worldwide Partner Conference happens Thursday, July 10th, which is tomorrow, at 1:30p. It’ll be in room 382 ABC, which is the room across from the Green (Mobility) Lounge.

I’ll be speaking about specific examples of Black Warrior Technology’s approach to Mobility and Windows Mobile that have turned into huge wins for both our customers and our company.

Which, like the hokey-pokey, is REALLY what it’s all about!

|| posted by chris under business, hardware, mobility, nostalgia, opinion, rx, thumbs up, travel || comments (0) || ||

July 9, 2008

Our Homegirl

A-Fresh knows that to be a playa...you gots to be in tha game. Word.

You’re prolly hearing lots about WPC 2008, even from people who aren’t anywhere near the conference.

Which means they missed the world premier of a brand-new rap sensation.

A-Fresh in tha hiz-zay.

Jea-lous?

Peace.

|| posted by chris under more cowbell || comments (0) || ||

July 6, 2008

A Matter Of Time

Repent Harlequin, said the Tick-Tock Man!

There’s no single more important thing to the long-term health of any network system than accurate time.

Without accurate time, there is no way to assure than any transactions flying in that environment will maintain fidelity. In other words…

There’s no way to know that databases, Active Directory, file systems, or anything else that uses any kind of timestamp isn’t shredding itself to bits.

10 years ago or so, time sync used to be much more of an issue. Oh sure, you could always load a dialer program that would call Colorado (in the US) and get a time adjust to the master clocks. But that was a major pain in the tookus. And it cost you money with each call.

Thanks to the glorious achievement that is the Internet, and a little gem called Network Time Protocol AKA NTP (including its eponymous sibling Simple Network Time Protocol AKA SNTP), time sychronization became largely a moot issue in data networks during the 90s.

The key to time synchronization, at least as far as maintaining a healthy network goes, is not so much having correct time (more on that in a minute), but having consistent time, which are two very different concepts.

Although it might make your users mad when the clocks on their PCs are off a bit, it is usually far more healthy for the average data network to be 5 minutes off everywhere, as opposed to having different parts of the network running on-time whle other parts do not.

The consistency of time in a data network has far-ranging implications. For Active Directory, one of the primary functions that depends on consistent time is network logon.

That’s because Active Directory uses Kerberos tickets to validate logon traffic. The tickets, which are by design time sensitive and expire so that captured traffic cannot be replayed and used to compromise systems in a classic man-in-the-middle attack, rely on consistent time. We’re normally talking about a 5 minute (which is an absolute eternity, in computer time actually) for everything to remain both hunky and dory.

The stampede rush to all things virtualization is poised to make time synchronization a key network design issue, all over again.

Because when the magic act that is virtualization makes the hardware go poof, there’s one major thing that goes away forever…

The BIOS Clock

Sure, a BIOS clock isn’t the end all, be all.

But it will keep you, and your systems, in the ballpark.

So if you aren’t spending time planning clock synchronization for your virtual systems, you’d best get that taken care of, and pronto.

|| posted by chris under business, hardware, it pro, migration, rx, time, virtualization || comments (2) || ||

July 6, 2008

Save A Tree At WPC With Windows Mobile

You know what's REALLY sexxay? Getting a reflection of your camera in the shot. Now that's HOT!

While checking in this morning at WPC, I did not bring a printout of the final confirmation e-mail I had received earlier this week. And I actually did that on purpose.

That e-mail contained a barcode which could be scanned at the regstration desk, and would make checking in a breeze.

But it seemed to me, at a conference with subthemes of conservation, sustainability, and responsibility…

Asking people to print even one extra sheet of paper has…well, a pretty significant impact.

So what I did instead was…

  • Opened the confirmation e-mail on my Windows Mobile device
  • Asked the girl at the registration desk to scan it anyway (she was mighty skeptical)
  • Reveled in saving one more tree from a senseless death when the happy “boop” sound indicated that the barcode actually scanned.

It worked a treat, just like those new electronic-only boarding passes.

If you’re using Windows Mobile 6 with an Exchange 2007 server, then you already have the e-mail in HTML format. So you can just open the e-mail and position the barcode on the screen.

if you’re still using Exchange 2003 like I am, well then you should prolly know the truth about HTML e-mail using Windows Mobile 6 and Exchange 2003.

But your confirmation e-mail should contain a hyperlink to the barcode image. Click the one that has GenerateBarCode.aspx buried in it and bang…you’re in business!

You know who has this sort of stuff knocked already? Who does this kind of thing every single day for the most ordinary things?

Estonia.

This kind of stuff is old hat to Estonians, the most digital people on the planet.

|| posted by chris under mobility, rx || comments (0) || ||

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