Thursday, September 22, 2005

Setting Expectations

As I recently said in my podcast (patriotcast), It is always important to set expectations. I will now attempt to set expectations with the hurricane Rita.

Seaside structures will be destroyed. If the storm hits Galveston, it will be wiped out. Road access to Galveston will be destroyed and anyone who stayed in Galveston will be stranded for 3 to 10 days, assuming they weren’t killed in the storm.

The petrochemical industry will be severely impacted. Any oil refinery in the greater Houston area will be damaged and offline for weeks, perhaps months. The reduction in refining capacity will drive gas prices up to $4 to $6 a gallon. Refining capacity was already at max’d out prior to this disruption.

There will be flooding along the Houston Ship Channel.

Houston will be severely damaged.

Power will be out for 2 to 6 weeks. Sewer treatment plants will be offline. Water will be disrupted for days.

Basic services – police, fire and hospitals will be disrupted for 1 to 2 weeks.

Unlike Katrina, you will see a far greater use of military assets in the initial rescue and recovery effort.

However, there are no levees to fail. The water will recede within hours since the area is above sea level.

It will be ugly.

Please, get out now!

To All of You in the Path of hurricane Rita

I hope you have a safe journey as you evacuate away from the coast. Please get out of the way of this storm. If at all possible, please lend a hand to neighbors, friends, etc. and help them evacuate. Most importantly, please leave NOW.

To anyone staying behind – please don’t. The force of this storm will be devastating. Structures will be destroyed.

Best of luck to everyone who will be affected.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Thank You MacWorld Boston, You Will Be Missed

On Friday, September 16th IDG World Expo announced that MacWorld Expo Boston has been cancelled. It is a sad day in the Mac community.

I began attending MacWorld in Boston in 1987. Unfortunately I have not been able to attend MacWorld Expo San Francisco. I know I’m truly missing a grand event in San Francisco and perhaps fate will allow me to attend some time in the future.

I consider myself very fortunate to experience the Boston shows. We all remember the hot, humid August days, the traffic, and the commuting between the two Expo sites - the World Trade Center (Boston) and Bayside Expo. I remember people bungee jumping from a crane. A friend of mine said it was the scariest thing he had ever done. I also remember the keynotes, especially when Steve Jobs returned and Bill Gates joined the keynote via teleconference. The announcements of the new partnership between the two organizations made headlines in papers around the country in 1997. Ironically, that was the last Boston MacWorld until 2004.

I thoroughly enjoyed the return of MacWorld Boston in 2004. The new convention center was enormous. Unfortunately, the number of vendors was limited, however, there were meetings galore. I was able to attend the keynote, “The Macintosh at 20 – The Celebration of 20 Years of Innovation. The keynote was hosted by the always-entertaining David Pogue. The original Mac development team appeared on stage and told tales of the early days. I bought a DVD of keynote and will hold on to it forever.

Bmac, Boston Macintosh User Group, was able to participate in the user group booth. It was refreshing to see so many people interested in a local user group. On Tuesday night in 2004 Bmac held its July monthly user group meeting at MIT and received a great turnout. The speaker for the evening was an Apple Engineer who was on vacation. This was quite a coup since Apple was not at the show.

The 2005 MacWorld Boston was another memorable event. I attended the MAC IT conferences and significantly participated in Bmac user group booth. While the show was small, spirits were high and I was able to meet and speak to numerous industry pundits, e.g., Chris Breen, Bob LeVitus, Andy Itnotko, Jason Snell and Adam Engst. This year Bmac was able to obtain meeting space at the show so Bmac held its July meeting at the show. The speaker was Adam Engst of TidBITs fame and again, we had a great turn out.

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone involved with MacWorld, especially Sarah Hindmarsh of IDG Expo, who’s hard work and support of Bmac will always be appreciated. I would also like to thank all of the speakers and vendors for their contributions. And finally, I would like to thank all of the MacWorld Boston attendees throughout the years for your continuous support and love of the Macintosh community.

Thank you MacWorld Boston, I’ll miss you.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Motorola ROKR (aka the iTunes Phone) - A necessary move

Motorola ROKR (aka the iTunes Phone) – Another good move by Apple. It is crucial that Apple take some sort of action in this direction. Partnering is definitely the way to go. OK, so why an iTunes Phone? One word – teenagers. Wouldn’t a teenager love having the phone and iPod all in one neat little package? Yes, 20 and 30 something’s would want it too but that group would be more concerned with service and feature set. A teenager simply needs cellular service around their hometown.

Mobile virtual network operator – As was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article on September 8th, one possibility is for Apple to enter the wireless service arena. To do so, Apple would buy wireless service wholesale and resell it. This could be the third rail of the iTunes Phone. I would not attach the Apple name to any wireless service. As all cellular users know, we all are disappointed with the reception and coverage, no matter who we use as a provider. Wireless service does not match Apple’s image of a high quality product and service. Step aside and let someone else take the blame for inadequate service.

The iPod Nano - another winner from Apple

The iPod Nano – This product has every appearance of a winner. Apple has capitalized of the simple and universally recognized design of today’s larger iPod. As people say, size matters and in this case the smaller, the better; the larger the capacity, the better. And then there’s price point, getting the best bang of for your buck. Apple has achieved all three with the iPod Nano. The only issue I have is the name, why Nano? However, my concern about the name is pushed aside by the sleak appearance combined with the full functionality of its larger cousin.

What will this product do for Apple? Once again, the teenager and 20 something market is critical to capture. The goal – create a fan base for life. Every company in the world would love to have the loyal following that Mac owners continuously demonstrate. And Apple has repeated the process with the iPod. Innovation and quality are everything. Every MP3 developer is trying to design the iPod killer. Apple needs to do everything possible to prevent this – constantly improve the product, create a price range to meet everyone’s needs from the teenager to the high-end audiophile, and reduce physical size while maintaining the best interface in the industry. The iPod Nano addresses all of these issues and proves that Apple is still the leader of pack and will remain so as it continues to be sensitive to these factors.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why does it take so long to provide relief?

I, like everyone else, am frustrated at the length of time required to provide relief. I have extensive experience in business operations and therefore understand that some delay is to be expected, however, this seems to be taking too long. Let me explain. Recovery forces must be self-sufficient. This means they bring their own food, water, fuel, sanitary facilities and transportation. If you bring in 5,000 workers, you need to have physical space to “shelter” (read support) these people. Tent cities would need to be created. And this is just for the workers. Why do you need to do this? These workers will be on site for several days or weeks.

Obviously, you could disburse workers into the area while having others set up the necessary support facilities. Now let’s work on the timeline. Step 1 – Notify workers to move to centers to prepare to be mobilized. Step 2 – Load supplies and workers onto transportation. Step 3 – Transport workers. Step 4 – Disburse workers and supplies while creating “shelter” for workers. Step 5 – Prepare outside facilities to receive refugees. Step 6 – Transport refugees to outside facilities.

Step 1 – Place workers on alert – 12 to 24 hours
Step 2 – Load supplies – 12 hours
Step 3 – Transport workers – 12 to 48 hours
Step 4 – Disburse workers – 12 hours
Step 5 – Prepare outside facilities 24 to 48 hours
Step 6 – Transport Refugees 12 to 48 hours

Total time – 3.5 to 8 days

OK, so where do you put the refugees? And let’s keep in mind we’re talking about big numbers – over 100,000 people. An outside facility needs to be able to provide shelter, sanitary facilities and kitchens. Two possibilities come to mind – schools and hotels. I would allocate every school to this function. Classrooms become sleeping areas. All schools have sanitary and cafeteria facilities. I would move people north, east and west outside of the disaster area. This would affect a significant number of states. The start of school would be delayed.

Let’s assume an average school has 10 classrooms and you can put 12 cots in each classroom. That means a school could house 120 people. You would need 833 schools to house 100,000 people. Sounds doable to me.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


To all of those effected by this event - The thoughts of the nation are with you. I realize at this moment the situation is absolutely unbearable, however, I truly believe that state and federal authorities are moving as quickly as possible. A rescue and recovery operation of this size unfortunately takes time to help those in need. My thoughts are with everyone effected and to the rescue and recovery personnel.