How to find your next great book read

How to get any Book Economically + 3 Team Building + 1 Mind Control Must Reads

As always you can get books on Amazon and if you are looking for Audio versions, you can use Audible. In Amazon you get each book separately, while Audible allows you get a bunch of them using their subscription options. But still it is a pay-per-book.

However, if you really read a lot, or need to go through many books, reading just what you need in each one, you need something that is a “read-as-you-can” subscription.

Oyster got it for you. You can read any of its 100,000 titles for ~$10 a month. However, it has one drawback. It is currently restricted to the USA only.

Scribd has become my favourite recently. It has more than 300,000 books available for you to read on almost any device, it has no Geographic restrictions I am aware of, and you can signup to it via PayPal for less than $9 a month. You can keep books on your device and read them offline.

A complementary hack you can use allows you to turn almost any eBook you have on any App or device, turned into an Audio book, read using your phone’s text-read-aloud option. Here is a nice YouTube video on how to do it on iPhone, iPad devices:

Now that you got your Book Tools ready, let me share with you several Team Building Must-Reads I was recommended to read by my Management Empowerment mentor:

  1. The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive (Could not find this one on Scribd yet..)
  2. Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust – This books shows you how you can control the one thing, no matter what happens to you as you try to lead, or simply survive.
  3. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Here is this one on Scribd

Here is a last one, which I am going to take a look at soon:

Positive Poker: A Modern Psychological Approach to Mastering Your Mental Game - this one was recommended on the DABCC Radio – Virtualization & Cloud Podcast

What your current recommendations for great team building books or Text to Audio solutions?

P.S.

I just got this question from one of my Blog’s readers: Are you familiar with a good utility for creating an audio book (by using text-to-speech) that can get as input popular formats of e-books?

Here is my response: Great Question!!!

for desktop you could use TextAloud to read out Word docs and such.

On your iPhone and iPad look at SpeakIT! (I got it several days ago, since it is good if you want to turn a quick doc into audio, because it requires you to paste the text, rather than convert a file.

Another Mobile app is File Converter . I tried it several times and it looks awesome! I turns any file to any file. So you can convert from one eBook format to another, AND you can also convert eBooks into audio files! It uploads your eBook to a server, converts it and downloads the audio to your mobile device. Seem to work great! The sound type is pre-defined as far as I see.

Another option is SoundGecko which I use a lot. It converts web pages, PDF files, Blogs (RSS) into Audio using various sound types. You can get the Audio via the SoundGecko App or via a Podcast channel it creates for you.

Do let me know if you found something better..

Now all you need is time to listen all this :-)
I don’t have an App for that (yet).

Learning PowerCLI Book Review

May the Power(CLI) be with you! (PowerCLI Book Review)

Remember the famous line Yoda tells Sky Walker in the first “Star Wars” movie? He says “May the Force Be With You!”

For years I have traded it with “May the cursor be with you”.

Recently since I had a crash on PowerCLI and then on PowerShell, I started looking for good books on PowerCLI.

The first one I found was dated 2011, so it was good, but not good enough.

Then I saw on twitter Robert van den Nieuwendijk was looking for reviewers for his new “Learning PowerCLI” book.

Learning PowerCLI Book Review - Book

This was right on for me and I got free access to the book copy for review, within few hours.

I will be using it through my journey to get more intimate relations with our VMware operations. But I can say the quick “I need to” test came out with flying colors. I mean, you could read the book chapter by chapter, but you would also want to quickly find how to do something specific. In this case I was looking for Data Store latency information and within 5 minutes found the background materials as well as the specific commands.

Having a trusted guide (Robert), I also took on his warm advise to finally look into the automated comprehensive vCheck Script as well as the PowerGUI tool and wonderful set of ready to use packs (more on this on a separate post). One word of caution – I would not use just any library pack offered there, before I take a look at the author and the scripts, and I always run them under a user with read-only permissions, preferring a quick test on a test environment first, just to quickly see it actually works.

This resulted in a quick report I was able to construct within an hour, showing a possible savings of ~ $15,071.

For now I think I’d replace Yoda’s blessing with “May the Power(CLI) be with you” :-)

More on my review of the book soon…

P.S.

What are your favorite Power CLI resources?

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P.S.

Until 26 March this book is on the packt’s buy 1/get 1 free book sale, along with all their catalog here:

http://bit.ly/1j26nPN

The Hidden Disruption inside Microsoft Windows 8

The Hidden Disruption inside Microsoft Windows 8

It seems that everyone is focusing on the inconveniences and incompleteness of the transition Windows 8 is aiming at.

Let me tell you something, if you are not absolutely enthused about what it brings, keep reading, because you are missing big times.

I finally got to playing with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, and more importantly Sky Drive (soon to be renamed to One Drive) as well as the Microsoft store. Up until now, I thought working with Windows 8 would be a time loss. As many say it seemed to be the “Windows Vista” failure played again. So, as many do, I thought I should stick to Windows 7, if I want to get some work done, and avoid playing with something that will be dead in the water soon enough.

If you feel the same, here is what you are missing:

The combination of Sky Drive / One Drive along with the Microsoft Windows App store is the real deal here. If successfully executed, it could lead to (here are just few points) –

1. Less Viruses, as software is gotten through a single more reliable source.

2. Malicious code that still sneaked in, would be removed quickly from all computers through the Store updates.

3. User data as well as Apps and settings can easily migrate across computers, reducing setup or recovery time for desktops and servers.

4. The 3rd party APP developers will look into embedding their data and settings into Sky Drive / One Drive as well.

5. Licensing can be managed much easier, automatically, through the store.

6. The whole desktop APP market and IT APP Management market could be disrupted due to the focal position of the Windows APP store and its built-in ease of deployment and manageability.

Furthermore, I have to say, I like the “Single App on the whole screen”, because it puts away all the clutter of other apps and windows, and lets me focus on what I need to do.

Windows 8 is a bit cumbersome, because it represents a transition period, yet the goal is worthy and I will be spending more time on this new puppy.

How do you feel about all this?

What Every Engineer and Corporate Executive Needs to Know About Patents

Mini Summary notes of the meeting at Microsoft with Mr. Darren Jiron

1. Patents are all about to execlude others from practicing the invention, but not nessesarily about allowing you to practice the invention. That is because others can have a patent with wider claim than yours, allowing them to exclude your invention…
2. Patent is enforced only via the claims it has included, not by its topics
3. You want your claims to capture the maximum possible implementation of your invention. For example if you invented the first pencil, your description better aim to include other alternatives for a device used for writing, such as a pen…On the other hand over-generalizing can lead to rendering the patent as void.
4. Patents can help you maximize the value of your invention, (my addition: but you better have it valuable for your customers in the first place..)

Additionally I have to say that looking at the last years filled with patent trolls and patent wars, I’d prefer to get inventions free to use for everyone, with the obligation to pay the patent owners, only when it makes the user of the invention, a revenue, and payment would be a small percent of the revenue. That way inventors earn what they should, while innovation and market growth is not blocked. Not easy, but very possible to implement.

What do you think?

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The truth about the magic spell “Market Share”

So very often you decide what’s your position based on the magic words “Market Share”.

If so this post is a must read for you.

Bottom line is, you need more data to figure out the actual meaning of market share, such as:

1. Number of new units sold in a period
2. Actual growth of new units
3. Number of replacements
4. Units used
5. Sales to resellers
6. Sales to end customers
7. Units returned to vendor

Get the full story here:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/07/android-market-share-smartphone-users-google-apple

Manager, just had massive layoffs in your team

Manager, just had massive layoffs in your team?

Here is your must do list, that is if you want to get the rest of your team get up from the ground…and get team work back in…

There are two words for you to burn into your mind: Empathy and Integrity.

1. Create a “black list” of the concerns, fears and frustration. Create a “white list” of recovery and progress items, that could take everyone forward.

2. Add your own “black” and “white” items (how will I succeed now as a manager? what new opportunities do I see in spite of this crisis?)

3. Get your trusted leaders to add more to the list.

4. Get the team together and read out loud the “black list”. Then ask them to comment on it. If they don’t, comment as if you were them. Then respond to each item. Then share the “white list” and get people to comment on it.

5. Let the team send more items via anonymous means.

6. Respond to the additional topics candidly. You are NOT wasting your time. You are actually saving time lost over fear and frustration water-cool discussions as well as slow and careless work, and contagious low moral.

7. Don’t blame anyone for the getting into this situation, but do refer to what needs now be done. Otherwise all what your team will be doing, is arguing, defending and attacking.

8. If the “powers that be” made a mistake in going through the layoffs, discuss it with them, until you are convinced in the necessity of this painful act, or if they admit of their harm doing and aim to correct it, now or in the future. Only then you can stand up and gain your team’s trust and energy. If you don’t agree with the decisions taken, speak up and tell it to your team. You may get into trouble if you have unworthy management, and in this case, you are better off going somewhere else. You can’t lead anyway, if you can’t truly accept the decisions taken, or object them.

9. Acknowledge that these layoffs may have been reduced, if you had prepared your team, to be valuable for the next future challenges the company needs to tackle. Your team’s career should go through an innovation process, same as products and services do. This means you should get your team trained in the realms that would turn their current expertise irrelevant. This also means team members would have to put into this learning process, extra work hours, to bullet proof their future.

Not every fear or concern can be resolved, but going through the steps I revealed here, will put you in a much better position, than most managers, right?

What would you add to this list?

VMware vSphere 5.5 cool new features

Here is my pick of the VMware vSphere 5.5 cool new features:

1. Support of ~52 TB on a single vmdk allows big storage VMs, closer to real server capacities
2. The vCenter appliance now supports up to 100 hosts and 3000 VMs with the internal DB takes it into SMB plus size or moderate Development shops level
3. Official support of latest 4 virtual hardware versions reduce the need to upgrade VMware tools component, when new vSphere version ships, hence less reboots for VMs
4. Utilizing better reliable memory section in a hardware, leverages the protection for the more critical parts of the ESX hypervisor. This adds to the overall stability of the virtual VMware based data center.
5.latency issues in the hypervisor are addressed in new, easy to configure settings.
6. vSAN (beta) included in the core vSphere aiming to address the massive need for low-cost storage for VDI deployments. It allows defining VM storage needs in terms of speed, reliability, caching, raid level and other operational factors. vSAN then dynamically assigns the VM resources off the storage pools it had found avail with those capabilities. vSAN turns any local disk on any commodity ESX hardware into a part of the aggregate vSAN based datastore.

P.S

Here are some VMware vSphere 5.1 Cool features I did not have time to post about until now…They are still great!

Voma – VMFS on disk meta data analyzer finally! Checks for file system errors but does not fix them yet

New sparse disk efficient can reclaim unused guest (!!) disk space - Only for sc sparse disks and VMware View machines

Storage I/O control turned on by default to get more I/O info about VMs and assist storage DRS mechanism

You now get SSO (Single Sign On) server which you can hook to multiple Microsoft Active Directory domains as well as vCenter servers. Once you authenticate, the SSO server provides your VI Client with a certificate, it can later use to authenticate all the VMware v5.1 solutions

That’s the last time vi Client has a non web version

The new web client option has a new ‘pause’ feature allowing you stop a wizard walk through saving its data and state to continue later on as you do other actions first. Very nice time saver!

Third party plugins need update to fit the new server-based / web GUI client

That’s it for now folks! What features did you like the best?