Explaining Bandwidth

It is not uncommon for someone to look at me sideways like I’m talking geek.  This commonly occurs when I’m trying to explain bandwidth to someone.  Even if they “hear” the numbers in mbps (megabytes per second), I know they still don’t get the relative jumps of each.  So I’ve created this graphic.

I’ve taken each of the common connective technologies and depicted the throughput as the area of a circle.  Now imaging that each of these technologies is a water (or beer) pipe.  They’ll all eventually fill your glass but how fast do you want that drink to be ready? Continue reading Explaining Bandwidth

NonProfit Technology Conference 2012

The 2012 NonProfit Technology Conference has opened the voting for the proposed sessions.  Part of the selection process is to let the community vote on the sessions, which is a nice way to avoid any appearances of bias and sort of crowd source the agenda.  I’ve got two sessions up for consideration and would appriciate your support.  Both of these would draw on my experience in these areas.  Based on the votes and comments, I’d bring in additional SME’s to bolster key points.

Click on the links of the titles to be taken to the site where you can see the status and (I hope) vote yes! Continue reading NonProfit Technology Conference 2012

Peer-to-peer, wireless network could help in disasters

An interview I did originally posted at http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9219561/Peer_to_peer_wireless_network_could_help_in_disasters,
and http://www.cio.com/article/688745/Peer_to_Peer_Wireless_Network_Could_Help_in_Disasters

Peer-to-peer, wireless network could help in disasters

LifeNet open-source software would link devices via Wi-Fi, professor says

Matt Hamblen
August 29, 2011 (Computerworld)

With a recent earthquake and devastation from Hurricane Irene, many cell phone users on the East Coast experienced clogged networks that made wireless calling difficult. Continue reading Peer-to-peer, wireless network could help in disasters

Red Cross comm team ready for disasters

An interview that I did and is posted originally at http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/082911-red-cross-comm-team-ready-250197.html?page=1
and http://www.cio.com/article/688730/Red_Cross_Comm_Team_Ready_for_Disasters

Red Cross comm team ready for disasters

IT system’s design is based on experience from years of disaster experience, says Red Cross IT exec

By Matt Hamblen, Computerworld
August 29, 2011 01:34 PM ET
While most businesses back up data and records as potential disasters approach, the American Red Cross has a communications and information systems infrastructure built to bring key data into areas ravaged by storms like Hurricane Irene . Continue reading Red Cross comm team ready for disasters

Irene takes out cell towers, disrupts communications

An interview I did with ComputerWorld that is posted at http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9219556/Irene_takes_out_cell_towers_disrupts_communications
 and http://www.cio.com/article/688722/Irene_Takes_Out_Cell_Towers_Disrupts_Communications



Irene takes out cell towers, disrupts communications

Storm affects 1,400 cell sites, FCC reports

By Matt Hamblen
August 29, 2011 12:12 PM ET
Computerworld – Communications
networks took a hit from Hurricane Irene, as 1,400 cell towers and cell sites were damaged or disrupted — mainly in Virginia, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina, the Federal Communications Commission said Monday. Continue reading Irene takes out cell towers, disrupts communications

Hurricanes Ike and Irene … what’s up with the “I” storms?

Hurricane Isabel tore up my dock.  Hurricane Ike led us on a chase across the Gulf coast.  Now Hurricane Irene is doing the same up the East coast.  These crazy “I” storms.

I trust the professionals at the National Hurricane Center.  While I do look at the model predictions and make my guesses, it is just me gaming the system.  I don’t know what the models represent or which ones are more accurate.  So I just rely on the NHC predictions.  That said, Emergency Management needs to be prepared for these storms even if they’re not in the path.  It’s a sad no-win situation for most EMs.  If they prepared and it doesn’t hit, they’re tagged for wasting money.  If they don’t prepare and it does hit; they’re tagged as incompetent.  The sweet spot in the middle is very small.

Attached is a slide deck that I use in class to expose students to the changing path of Hurricane Ike.  Nothing beats real life examples.

Hurr Ike Track

Skip the annex, just be inclusive and flexible

I’m reading an article Children and disaster planning: The National Commission on Children and Disaster’s finding and recommendations by Emily Cathryn Cornette and Angelique Pui-Ka So in the Journal of Emergency Management (Vol 9, No 2, March/April 2011).  From the article:

The [National Commission on Children and Disasters] recommends that children should be categorized independently of at-risk populations because grouping them with other special needs populations leads to a lack of concentration on, and the eventually marginalization of, children’s needs.  The Commission feared that placing children in the all-inclusive “special needs” category would also encourage disaster planners to merely push children into the appendix or annexes of current plans instead of incorporating children’s needs into the body of the plans themselves.

Advocates that represent — or at least claim to represent — segments of the population want more specific attention to their cause.  The natural turn was to assume the disaster plans were for the mainstream population and this special interest group had special needs not addressed in the plan.  Appendices were added to the end of the plan to handle these “special” situation.  Advocates keep pushing for more special appendices which creates unwieldy plans with many very strict paths.  At times, it feels like the advocate is telling the EM “don’t worry, we’ll kick you in the seat of your pants if you’re wrong” and less like a meaningful partnership to help all.

When will the entire emergency management community and all special interest advocates recognize that we’re all in a segment of the population that needs special attention?  Nearly everyone in the population could fit in at least one the categories of children, elderly, disabled (visibly or not), economically depressed, under-insured, socially isolated, dependant on some form of technology, or just basically ill-equipped to response to and recover from a disaster. Continue reading Skip the annex, just be inclusive and flexible

Flood Humor

A local faith group held a disaster preparedness fair to encourage everyone to be ready in case the nearby river flooded the town.  One of the church going ladies said “No thanks. I have faith that God will keep me safe.”

Inevitably, the river flooded in the spring.  The mayor called for an evacuation of the area.  A truck drove by the chuch lady’s home to assist her.  She called to them, “No thanks, God will keep me safe.”

The river waters rose to her home, and she moved up to the 2nd floor of her home.  A boat came by to rescue here.  She turned them away, “No thanks, God will rescue me.”

The water rose even more.  She sat on the roof of her home and prayed.  A helicopter came down to rescue her.  She waived them off, “No thanks, God will save me.”

The water washed her away and she drown.  Standing before God, she said “What happened?  I put my faith in you and you let me down.”  God look at her and said, “I sent people to help get you prepared.  When the flood came, I sent you a truck, boat and helicopter.  You turned them away.”

Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon

Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon race bib

I completed the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon.  It is my first 13.1 mile marathon and the longest.  My goal was to completed the race.  I was proud to find that I completed the course near the average time of all runners.  My official time is 2:22:29.  That placed me 3435 out of 5682 finishers with an average pace of 10:53 per mile, or 5.5 mph.  The average time of all racers is 2:19:03; the fastest time is 1:13:53.

I have a new found respect for people who complete full 26.2 marathons.  We’ll see how it goes in October as I’m registered for the full Marine Corps Marathon in DC.