February 26, 2009

03.06.09... Who watches the Watchmen? I will be actually. It will never live up to the genius of Alan Moore's entire story, but it can capture the dark essence of what the "real world" would be like with masked superheroes. Think I'm just a fanboy exaggerating? Read "Watchmen" for yourself.

Pitchers, catchers, and position players are spread across Arizona and Florida. The DEFENDING WORLD SERIES CHAMPS, the Philadelphia Phillies, opened spring training games with a loss to Pittsburgh. It's all good. Most of the Phils are not playing in the WBC, so that will give them all plenty of time to sharpen up from the offseason. And what an offseason it's been - teams have committed to youth (Rays showed what can be done with young talent), they've kept the spending to sensible levels (Yankees don't count), and decided locker room harmony is more important than star talent. About damn time.

If the Flyers fix their defensive lapses, this will be a tough out come playoff time. And I don't buy the #1 goalie argument. I buy the hot goalie argument - go with the guy who's melting the ice between the pipes. Biron or Nitty can serve that purpose; I trust Stevens will handle the situation with his usual calm and analytical bent. They're in the midst of a tough stretch (4 games, 6 days, including NJ and Boston), but they games in hand against everyone in the east, except Ottawa.

The name Devin Harris will give me the sweats until the Sixers clinch a playoff spot. That was the longest 1.8 seconds since the Tunney/Dempsey fight. The Sixers are an OK team, but they need to make the playoffs again to get used to the process and gain confidence. The Flyers have a chance at the Cup, but the Sixers have a chance to lay a foundation for the next few years. Very smart not to have traded Andre Miller.

The NFL Combine (can you believe they televise this stuff now?) just finished. As you know from reading these musings I'm all about sports, but even I have a tough time getting jazzed about staged workouts. Watch the tapes, that'll tell you how fast a guy runs 40 yards in pads (Jerry Rice wasn't the faster on the track but you couldn't catch him). Plus, you have to want it in football more than any other sport. There is entirely too much pain involved to go at it halfway; which is why guys like Patrick Willis, Ray Lewis, Jared Mayo are my favorites to watch.

I liked "Slumdog Millionaire," but it wasn't all that. It was a weak year for great movies, but "Fost/Nixon" was better; didn't see "Milk," so can't comment on Sean Penn's win, but Frank Langella was excellent as Nixon. And of course, they didn't get wrong with Heath Ledger - and it wasn't a sympathy vote.

Just finished "The Great Train Robbery" by Michael Crichton (my favorite of his is "Sphere"). Talk about one of those people who just had "it." Whether you're a Jordan, Gretzky, Ruth, Woods, or an Einstein, Homer, Lincoln - some people just have "it," and that "it" translates into genius.

Going to leave you with my favorite quote from Beowulf (spoke by Beowulf):
"Each of us must accept the end of life here in this world - so we must work while we can to earn fame before death. For a warrior it is best to live on in memory after life has departed."


February 19, 2009

Despite my lack of flexibility, I am making a special effort to pat ourselves on the backs... today marks Syzygy 3's 5th birthday. As the cliche goes, seems like yesterday. We're proud of our accomplishments, our clients, and the fact that we have made it through a number of trials (some of our own doing; others caused by outside forces). Thank you to our clients, families, friends, and all those who have played a part in our success.

For all those who are suffering through the current economic doldrums (and we are not immune), we offer one piece of advice --

Be in business come January 1, 2010. All plans should funnel into that one goal - survival. We look forward to being with you.


February 19, 2009

This is a dead-and-buried horse topic, but I will continue to pound the drums until more people take note and actual act upon the advice.

The web is a dangerous place. Not in terms of life or death (unless you live in the "Fringe" world - show is really growing on me), but in terms of having personal information stolen, or just ruining your computer. The dangers are also becoming more insidious as legitimate sites are being compromised with malware (Read more here). So how do you prevent being just another victim statistic?

1. Be aware of your surroundings - it's the same we were told as kids; know where you are and who might be around. It's easier said than done given the diversity of online content, but we've all been online enough to get suspicious about certain elements on even the most trusted sites; if you're unsure, don't click it.

2. Make your online inconvenient - restrict what your browser will automatically download or activate; for the most part, if you have to work to download or access something online, then something you don't want accessing your machine will have to do the same. This gives you another layer of protection - from them and yourself.

3. Invest in a good security software - again, this not the cure-all, but you need some protection. Set the software so that you get those annoying pop up windows that ask if you want to allow something; it's a tiresome process, but not as much as re-building your machine, or tracking down the fiend who stole your usernames and passwords.

There are no absolutes in this game. Even the most careful people sometimes fall prey to spyware/malware/viruses. What you want to do is reduce your risk as much as possible. Start by using your head.


February 12, 2009

Had a great lunch with a friend of mine who owns a technology liquidation firm (Liquid Technology). Basically, he brokers the sale of technology from one company to another; or, he buys the equipment outright and then resells it down the road. While he's seeing a slowdown in his operations (you'd expect him to be the busiest guy on the street), he said the refurbished market has never been better.

Don't dismiss refurbished gear, especially network appliances, out of hand. Most manufacturer's will continue to warranty the devices (hardware replacement, technical support, firmware updates/upgrades) as long as you continue the purchase the warranties. The reduced cost for the same performance and capabilities is the primary reason to investigate refurbished gear before purchasing. You can even get refurbished servers (sans the OS) if you want to run a small development or testing environment. We're seeing strong interest in the refurbished market when we present a hosted VOIP solution, especially for Cisco gear. It makes sense and is a good way to get the most of every dollar.


February 06, 2009

So, for the first time in how ever many years, I was not glued to my couch watching the Super Bowl. Now, I did get to see the game up to the Pittsburgh field goal that made it 20-7, but I had to follow the rest of action (and there was a lot of it) via text messages with my girlfriend (in honor of Dr. Z we'll call her the Brawling Brunette - she takes Krav Maga a couple times a week). So regrettably, I missed most of the fun.

So what would take me away from the TV and scads of nachos? I was standing on the floor of the Prudential Center in downtown Newark, NJ banging away to "That Was Just Your Life," "All Nightmare Long," "Enter Sandman," and "Die, Die My Darling," among other Metallica classics. It was a very good show (Metallica Newak setlist. Hetfield was in strong voice (though his mikes should have been tuned up to give him an equal footing against the guitars) and Hammett was excellent as usual. While I had a good time, would have preferred to watch the Super Bowl. The Brawling Brunette has already helped ensure I don't have another conflict in the future - the Super Bowl is now in my calendar for the next three years (she's so damn organized).

This is kind of a dead zone for sports now. The NCAA tournament is still weeks away; pro hockey and basketball are still grinding away at the regular season schedule; pitchers and catchers report in about seven days, but the WBC is gonna play havoc with the schedule (and I'm not a big fan of the tournament). On a side note - $18,000,000 for Bud Selig?! You gotta be kidding me. By the way, did I mention the Phillies open the 2009 season as the defending World Series champs?

Flyers & Sixers, thy names are inconsistent. Not going to comment on their recent play until after the NBA All-Star break. Too frustrated, I might say something completely negative.

"In The Woods" by Tana French; eh. "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck - tough book to get through. That will not be how I remember Steinbeck.

Sword and Machine Head opened for Metallica. I heard them from one of the restaurants (remember, watching the game), but they sounded good (good comparisons to album versions).

"Lost" is back and I'm into the new storylines. I'm not guessing or theorizing on what's ahead; just going to enjoy the ride.

And I know I'm biased, but no major nods for "The Dark Knight?"