Tag Archives: Texas

The Cells of Smart Power

When I last wrote about “smart power”, I was taking US business and especially political leaders to task for failing to craft comprehensive, forward-looking energy policy.  They seem to be more concerned with drilling for today’s dwindling oil than planning for tomorrow’s growing needs.  Meanwhile, citizens feel powerless to do much about it.

Part of the problem is one of scale.  Our energy dilemma is big and not easily solved.  There’s a great deal of economic inertia keeping us stuck in hydrocarbons.  As I said before, I believe it’s largely the role of government to help “unstick” us– to provide incentives, tax or whatever, in facilitating a transition from a polluting power paradigm to one more responsible and sustainable.

But that doesn’t mean the citizenry should sit back and wait for their tax dollars to be put to proper use.  There are moves we can make at local levels to get change underway… and set the stage for more expansive solutions.  Continue reading

Smart Grids and Stupid Policies

Rolling power blackouts, a common resort in northeastern US states when extreme weather takes hold, are now steamrolling into an overheated Texas (although not yet as widespread as initially feared).  Unfortunately, the outages are largely indiscriminate thanks to an outdated, dumb electrical grid.  This puts people and produce at risk.

Tonight we lost power for a few hours and felt the impact immediately.  Our 30-year-old air conditioner was already struggling to overcome 111 degree Fahrenheit heat– without it or fans going, our little house quickly turned into a big oven.  As I walked around in the dark lighting candles and contemplating my car’s lovely air cooling ability, my mind went back in time…  Continue reading

Texas Linux Fest 2011

The Texas Linux Fest is a new one-day technical conference, just in its second year.  I was not able to attend last year due to it being held at the same time as the 2010 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, and this year it was looking questionable also– but thanks to Gabriel Beddingfield all obstacles were removed.  Gotta love the Linux community!

The conference was held at the downtown Hilton in Austin, Texas, a great central location for the state in general.  Attendance of over 550 looked to be on par with expectations, as the keynote room was full.

Delivering the keynote this year was Ken Starks of the HeliOS Project.  His subject was “How Desktop Linux is Shaping the Future.”  I enjoyed his talk but have to admit I didn’t see much of a link between the body and the title.  The talk was engaging, a bit rambling, and to me was more about improving the Linux experience for end users.   Continue reading

The Incredible Shrinking Nokia

Like one ex-colleague, I wonder what Nokia will look like when the economic dust settles.  I’m told that the last remaining Irving (Dallas, Texas area) building is experiencing a sort of settling– dwindling employees are being shuffled swiftly downward as lower office space opens up, emptying the upper floors.  My prediction of the site downsizing into a regional sales support office appears to be bearing out.  Where else is this occurring?  Offhand I don’t know… but I keep hearing that global roles are heavily impacted, which continues to confound me.  Is this really signalling a retreat back to Finland?

I still see new openings in other areas, but I remain curious about the overall picture, i.e., what is the loss-to-gain ratio?  When a company leaks employees here and there rather than laying them off wholesale, getting a picture of the headcount becomes difficult.  I’m sure that’s by design in this case.

The question is, can Nokia execute well enough or are too many key employees being let go?  The company now estimates that 2009 will see a 10% reduction in global handset sales.  One could argue that such a drop necessitates an equivalent or at least proportional cut in headcount.  But does that factor in the hoped-for area of growth, Internet services?  The slow rollout and misfires of Ovi.com suggest that the venture suffers a resource issue of some sort.  Is it fully staffed, or just running like a skunkworks project?

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Tolls and Trolls: when cops are the criminals

In 1993 I was helping a friend and colleague with his play-by-mail (PBM) gaming business (this was before the boom of online gaming of course).  One of the highlights was a road trip to Ohio for a PBM convention.  My buddy had warned me of speed traps in his home state of Missouri and made it clear that if and when I did any of the driving through it to keep our rental car’s cruise control set at 5 miles per hour under the limit.

On the way up we encountered no difficulties, other than nervousness over the immense flooding at the time.  However, on the return trip my friend was stopped by Missouri highway patrol for allegedly speeding.  That would have been laughable given that he was following his own advice regarding speed, but the trooper wasn’t kidding.  He went so far as to accuse us of being drug runners— despite the fact that our car was completely packed with computers and convention booth materials!

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Nokia </3 Irving?

Pardon me for use of the emoticon, but I was coming up dry for clever article titles today.  I think maybe the current cold weather has frozen key neurons.

Anyway, the “</3” commonly symbolizes a broken heart, or lack of love.  In this case, I am wondering about Nokia’s true sentiments regarding its Irving, Texas location.

The Nokia Irving campus has been surrounded by negative speculation at least since the US factory (Alliance) closed down and its operations sent to Reynosa, Mexico.  The rumor mill was fueled further when Nokia Siemens Networks was formed, and further still when the campus’ Building 1 was emptied.  Anonymous comments on internet sites have not generally expressed much hope.

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Not fit for publication in Oklahoma

As a Texas Longhorns fan my most recent favorite things were watching them win against Ohio State in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl and then reading about Florida’s win over the Oklahoma Sooners.

And I’m not sure why, but at the end of the Florida story one of those typical “Test Your IQ” ads caught my eye.  I highlighted the important part for Sooners fans (for reasons that should be self obvious to the rest of us):

Sooner Fan IQ

Sooner Fan IQ?

Based on the average player score of 130, I’d say that at least Oklahoma’s college educational process is working well.  The goal now is to start enrolling more fans.  : p

Now please excuse me… I need to go get my free Gators jersey…