XP Elimination — The looming crush…

2017-07-27T00:01:03+00:00 June 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|

It’s an interesting time… 

There’s a familiar feeling in the air at many large enterprises.  I remember this feeling.  I think it’s was somewhere in ’98 or ’99, back in the pre-Y2K times.  And for those of you too young to remember those days in the I.T. world, that feeling is the “holy-cow-are-we-doing-enough-to-get-in-front-of-this” feeling. 

Back in those days, we had a looming deadline (real or imaginary, it doesn’t matter), full cooperation from the front offices (management, HR, and accounting), and incessant media reminders that planes were going to fall from the sky if you didn’t update all your COBOL, replace all your hardware, upgrade MS Office, and so on.  As a result, every single vendor was suddenly releasing new versions of everything, and the money flowed like the champagne on Wall Street.

Now…  Well, now, it’s a tad different in a handful of ways.  Because now, while we have a massive OS End-Of-Life date (XP EOL – April 8, 2014) and a floundering economy, we also have a replacement OS that — like it or not — is not being widely adopted in the Enterprise (yes, I mean Windows 8 RTM).  And, as some of you may not be aware, XP still has a massive…  MASSIVE… footprint in the Enterprise, 10 years on and going strong.  So stable has XP been, that the largest Enterprises really don’t want to move away from it, and therefore really haven’t.  As a result, the development world hasn’t always been so inclined to move their products forward to the Win7/8 development model, either.  The chicken and the egg, playing chicken.

But the calm is falling away as the concerns are finally rising up to the executive suites, and dollars in I.T. are starting to have their leashes loosened.  The front office folks are finally starting to hear that the desktops are going to fall out of support if something isn’t done.  And “no longer supported by Microsoft” is something that executive folks understand.

So here we are.  Let’s look at some facts.  Less than one year until the XP EOL — and after the Enterprise had pretty much completely skipped Vista — they are *trying* to embrace Win7.  They’ve been planning the implementation for years.  Heck, it’s practically a cottage industry.  Hopefully, there are whole teams devoted to the project; folks whose whole job is focused around design and deployment tasks, and were hired (or contracted) solely for that purpose.  They might even be underway migrating/upgrading/implementing.  However, it also might be the case that it’s too difficult to get it done in limited time with the limited resources at hand.  Which is why even in a time that the large Enterprise is still not hiring *employees*, they are sure bringing on a lot of consultants and contractors in an effort to provide design and implementation experience; and in some cases just to throw bodies at the problem.

But I have a feeling they’ve been counting on a sliding XP EOL deadline all this time.  And guess what?  Nobody thinks that’ll happen (not publicly anyway).  Microsoft needs to get some traction under Win8, so they need movement away from XP asap. 

The good news is that the rumors and reports about Win8.1 seem to be exactly what the Enterprise was after (or close enough to it).  So we’ll feel good about completing the current migrations to Win7 (with Classic of course, to look like XP).  And by the time the Enterprise completes the Win7 roll-out (after the XP EOL date, of course), they’ll already be moving on and doing testing/development for the Win8.1 pre-release.  Of course, if Microsoft allows the GPO-controlled removal of much of the Consumer-market stuff in Win8.x (can I get my Classic, anyone?), the Enterprise might just keep the Win7 implementation motor running, and just start pushing out Win8.1 right behind it!  Why not!?!

But either way, Win7 implementations are finally happening all around.  Win8.1 looks like it might be Enterprise-ready out-of-the-box.  The infrastructures are being upgraded to accommodate all this (Can you say, “cloud”?).  And Coretek’s customer demand has exploded as folks turns to us for additional help and partnership in these massive projects that — I’m proud to say — we’re pretty good at. 

Well guess what?  We *are* turning it around, and we will “get-in-front-of-this”…  And it looks like the appearance of Win8.1 might just help ease that XP Elimination Post-Y2k-esque drop-off, too.

It’s an interesting time… 

 

 

Sarah, The Team, and the “Walk For Wishes”…

2017-07-27T00:01:03+00:00 May 8th, 2013|Uncategorized|

It all started simply enough — fellow Coreteker Sarah Roland sent out an email mentioning that she was starting out a Coretek walking team for the “Walk For Wishes” event, and asked for anyone to join or support her in her effort.  The Southeast Michigan Walk for Wishes 2013 event was to be held at the Detroit Zoo, in support of the Make-A-Wish Michigan foundation

Upon seeing the email, I immediately thought of my wife, who had done some charity-focused walks in the past, and forwarded the email.  She loved the idea, and immediately joined in. 

Fast-forward to a sunny,  wonderful Saturday May 4th at the Detroit Zoo where 3000 of our closest friends came out to help raise more than $345,000, and had a great time doing it.  And Sarah’s little Coretek team even raised over $500 in the process — not bad! 

And once we arrived on the morning of the walk, the kids and I could not resist either, and jumped in with Sarah’s family, making it a two-family team.  Sarah’s son was an excellent zoo tour guide!  We had great time all the way through.  Here’s a pic of some of our team crossing the finish line…

walkForWishesFinish

It ended all-too fast, and wrapped up with a nice celebration ceremony and lunch.  Afterward, we made our way back through the zoo afterward just to see some more sights at a little more of a leisurely pace.

All in all: great enthusiasm, a great zoo, great company, great food, and of course, a great cause. 

Thanks to Sarah for putting it together, and thanks to many of you reading this for donating.

See you there next year!

🙂

 

Earth Day Reflection, 2013…

2017-07-27T00:01:03+00:00 April 24th, 2013|Uncategorized|

As you may recall, last year the folks at my <un-named customer location> graciously permitted me to participate in their Earth Day recycling “event”.  During this event, the organization encourages the employees to bring in certain items to recycle, which are picked up and utilized by nearby recycling organizations.  This year, the supporting organizations again included those that accept old eyeglasses, old mobile phones for soldiers, etc., as well as computer component recycling by local organization re-Source Partners. 

No matter what your opinion of “Earth Day” itself, I think it’s a great idea to utilize this day in a way that fits your motivations.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think it matters as much *why* you do good things, as it does that you just *do*.  So in my busy life, I think it’s great to have these sorts of reminders to make at least a tiny donation (like the eyeglasses, phones, etc.), especially when the stuff doesn’t even matter to you any more.  Even recycling old computer junk with organizations like this can be considered a “donation” when you think about all the componentry and raw material that will be scavenged from the old computer hardware and returned to usefulness in new products; so much better than filling up a land fill!

 EarthDay2013This year, while my part was fairly small (my mother’s old PC and monitor, 2 of my wife’s old laptops, 2 desktops I got off eBay fro Dev/Testing, and 2 Intel clone servers that served me well), I took a moment to reflect on a couple things:

  1. Even though these are all *working* computers and parts, all of the computing power — combined — is still just a fraction of just ONE of my Virtual Machine hosts that replaced them
  2. It’s a tiny piece of “mess” in my basement that can’t and won’t be re-made; these types of computer components are just not seen as much anymore (and certainly will not be seen in my home anymore) as smartphones, tablets, and other modern devices (and cloud services) have pretty much replaced the need for these things

So that’s all the good news…  The bad news is that my basement still has a ton more of this old hardware.

😉

But I hope Earth Day 2013 helped you in some way, too.

 

 

 

Happy Holidays from Coretek Services…

2012-12-19T23:51:27+00:00 December 19th, 2012|Uncategorized|

With the busy Holidays upon us, we at Coretek Services want to take a moment to wish all the Joys of the Season to all of our families, friends, loyal customers, and prospective customers…  …and even to each other!

Happy Holidays, everyone.  May the Season bring you the opportunity to receive everything you wish.

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving of Plenty…

2012-11-21T00:33:50+00:00 November 21st, 2012|Uncategorized|

For this Thanksgiving…

 

…May you know what plenty is.

…May you have the plenty you seek.

…May you appreciate the plenty that you have.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from Coretek Services.

 

 

 

TekTopics.com is One

2017-07-27T00:01:05+00:00 October 24th, 2012|Uncategorized|

One year ago, we published the first post of the re-born Coretek Services blog, under the new moniker TekTopics.com

The plan back then was to re-start the blog with a variety of Coretek employee authors, to do our best to be technically informative at various skill levels, and to hopefully be entertaining.  Along the way, we’ve brought an interesting diversity of content forward; from complex technical issues to the personal anecdotes — and all with the professional and helpful approach of the great folks I work with every day. 

We kicked it off with a bang with a cool post from Chris Shalda about Sharepoint, and it was only fitting that the year be closed out with another post by Chris about Citrix icons.  In between, we published an article every Thursday except one (I was on vacation, and I decided it was okay).

One of the wonderful side effects of this blog is that while the authors reveal a little bit about their experiences and themselves in their writing, it provides a hint to some of the complex, exciting environments in which we live and work every day.  And in my role as principal blog maintainer, I’m extremely fortunate that this blog (and the blog-related activity) really connects me to this team of diverse and disparate folks at Coretek in a way that otherwise may not happen.

So I’d like to take a moment and thank all of those that have contributed to our blog in any way (attending meetings, offering ideas and suggestions, etc.).  And especially, I’d like to thank those that took the extra bit of their precious time to share just a bit of themselves in writing over these past 51 weeks: 

Without all those folks, you’d have had to suffer through many more posts from me, so we all thank them very much!  And we have some great things coming up, just around the corner…  So stay tuned…

🙂

Coretek Services Summer Picnic 2012

2017-07-27T00:01:07+00:00 August 22nd, 2012|Uncategorized|

As another end-of-summer draws near, and with the 3rd annual Coretek Services Summer Picnic behind us, I just want to take a moment and thank everyone involved for the hard work it must have taken to put together, and the fun spirit it provided for all of us in attendance.  It really is nice to get the great folks at the core of Coretek together — along with family and friends — in such an informal and comfortable atmosphere. 

By the time the picture above was taken, many of us had broken out for a relaxed game of Mushball, gone off for a lazy pedal-boat ride around the pond, chased the kids off to the bounce house, etc.; all after having a wonderful spread of food, drink, snacks, and mostly-slushy slushies.

Then as the shadows grew long, and after some advice on extreme low-speed driving (“…it’s 15mph in the park folks; just go 10 to be safe…”) from the Sheriff Department, it was time to load up an arm-full or two of leftovers, and head off until next year. 

See you then…

 

 

 

Summer Community Project

2012-08-08T23:42:07+00:00 August 8th, 2012|Uncategorized|

Recently about 40 Coretek employees, their friends, and family members, got together to help a family in need.  The family’s home had fallen into disrepair; serious health issues prevented them from being able to keep up with much-needed repairs and yard work. 

We assembled on a Saturday morning with our tools, work gloves, and supplies, to help out.  Braving the heat, humidity, and bugs, we helped to transform the place.  Some of the major jobs we were able to tackled:

– Installed a new back door for the house
– Cleared overgrown weeds, trees and grass
– Tilled the garden
– Painted the house and garage
– Power washed the vinyl siding
– Pruned several tree branches
– Dispose of refuse, like old shingles and garbage cans
– Spruced up flowerbeds with new mulch (lots of mulch!) and edging

…and other work items are still to come…

They say nothing worth doing is easy.  This project wasn’t easy, but it helped some folks that really needed it, and lifted the spirits of everyone involved.  I think we were all proud about what was accomplished; I know I am.

 

 

Coretek Services Recruiting Event…

2017-07-27T00:01:07+00:00 July 12th, 2012|Uncategorized|

Okay, folks…  It’s probably no surprise that, as a consulting company, we are always on the lookout for the best people to come and be part of our team.  We spare no effort to search out and find (and keep!) quality individuals that want to have a great career in Information Technology, and can uphold the Coretek Values and Mission

We are a fast-growing consulting services organization with opportunities ranging from entry-level to senior enterprise consultant levels.  Our philosophy is to bring in people that are highly motivated, with a thirst and aptitude to explore new technologies. 

We work hard — and play hard — here at Coretek Services!  As a relatively new person to the team myself, it is so exciting to see the dynamics here, and to have the opportunity to work with people who put helping others and our customers success at the top of their priority list.  Coretek has many highly-skilled, multifaceted, technologists to learn from and to help grow your career.  

So now, we’re throwing open our doors and inviting you in!

We’re having an in-house Recruiting Event so that you can come in and meet us in-person — and find out what we’re really all about (more than just a blog post could possibly relay).  So come and join us!  Our Recruiting Event information is as follows:

  • When:  Tuesday, July 17th 2012
  • Time:  3:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Location:  Coretek Services office

38505 Country Club Drive
Suite 210
Farmington Hills, Michigan 48331

 

To RSVP, send a resume to:  Wendy McQuiston ( wendy.mcquiston@coretekservices.com )

But you ask…  What will the evening be like?  Will there be food?  Will you actually meet a real Coretek representative?  Actually, all good questions! 

There will be a company overview given to the group at the start of the event.  Then, we will sweep you away to one-on-one interviews with our folks.  You will get to speak to different people, and share your background, skillsets, etc.  We are not a job-shop, or head-hunting organization;  we actually *care* about who you are and what you’re all about; so we take the time, so we don’t waste your time.

We will also have some snacks/finger food appetizers.  So it is both a social, comfortable setting, and an interview format.

I hope to see you there! 

 

 

 

 

Earth Day Reflection…

2017-07-27T00:01:07+00:00 April 25th, 2012|Uncategorized|

Recently, I participated in some Earth Day recycling events at <un-named customer location>, where I’ve been working on a project for some time.  This customer puts together a really great program of accepting contributions, donations, and recyclable materials; and they make a light, celebratory, atmosphere of it all.  It’s easy to get a bit swept up in it! 

I had just started working with the un-named customer not too long before last year’s Earth Day, and missed the opportunity (or inclination, frankly) to participate.  This year, I was determined to “do my part”.

The customer partners with re.Source Partners for technology recycling, as well as a couple others that deal with certain other donate-able/recyclable items.  Together, they provide quite an impressive list of things that may be brought in to recycle (computers and parts, printers, batteries, cell phones, etc) — and if you’re anything like me, you have at least one or two of these things somewhere in your house.  Except in my case, I have *many* of these things. 

Over the years, as a consultant “back in the day” for many SMBs, I picked up alot of computers/servers/monitors that I could just never seem to part with; usually for sentimental reasons.  I could point around my basement, and recall that I did my first packet captures on “this” machine…  And built my first NDS replica on “that” machine…  And so on.  But this time, I was determined to take advantage of the Earth Day event opportunity to get rid of… *something*.  

So when the time came, I took out the minivan seat, and started filling up the back with… CRT monitors!  The perfect thing to recycle.  They take up too much space, are obsoleted by flat-screens, and I honestly didn’t want to even have to move them again.  That was an easy decision!  Far easier than having to get rid of… say… the first server on which I ever slaved a reverse DNS sub zone.

But as the van filled up, I realized there was still some space left, even after I had loaded up every monitor I had (except the three I still use).  Oh no!  My spacial relations urges were trumping hoarding compulsions, and I was going to have to fill that space up and recycle some of my precious babies!

And so I did.

In the pic below, you can see two massively heavy old Compaq servers that were my second and third-ever NDS replica servers (I still have the first server, thank you).  To the left of that is a rack-mount ATX chassis from an old datacenter that once serviced DNS for hundreds of users, and spent many years as various incarnations Linux firewall for me over the years.  To the right of the Compaq servers you can see an old buddy’s 486 from back in the 90’s.  Yes, all 9 of the monitors you see are from me.  The coolest is the tiny one at top right; it’s an old IBM grey-scale server monitor I used to use on my 386 running NetWare 3.12.  I still have the server though…

Of course, every server that’s actually *running* in my home is 64-bit these days, and anything that isn’t 64-bit is pretty much a recycling contribution waiting to happen…  I guess the museum will remain until next year…

I want to thank <un-named customer> for holding the Earth Day program, and for being kind enough to allow me to participate.  I hope some of you out there got a chance to participate in one or more of these types of programs.  It benefits everyone involved!

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