Category Archives: Technology

Win7 cold boot took just 28 seconds on my netbook

Windows 7’s Release Candidate has surprised me once again – on my Samsung NC10 netbook it took just 28 seconds to display the logon screen from hitting the power button – that’s for a cold (machine turned off) boot – resuming from sleep is almost instantaneous!

Just 15 seconds later I was logged in (that includes the time for me to enter my password) and running an application.

While running Windows 7 Beta I very rarely turned my machine off – instead opting to use “sleep” due to the tiny power use and reliable “go to sleep”/”wake up” – I expect I’ll find the same with the Release Candidate.

Amazing – a bare metal Win7 RC install took just 21 mins on Samsung NC10 netbook

Thanks to geognerd for the image

At 9pm this evening I powered up a brand new Samsung NC10 netbook (I subsequently wrote this post from the machine in question) for the first time. I hit “F2” as the power light blinked into life to change the boot device order – making my USB memory stick(thumb drive) the primary.

I didn’t even both letting the machine boot it’s pre-installed Windows XP Home operating system – I simply booted into a  Windows 7 installation, removed the existing partitions and pretty much took the defaults.

At 9:21pm the shiney new NC10 was fully up and running in Windows 7 RC Ultimate edition with aero glass and sound working perfectly.

At 9:25pm I’d connected the machine to the Internet for the first time via my Vodafone 3G card – I have the “pebble” modem which (like most 3G cards these days) automatically provides the associated software and device drivers.

Where did I get the bootable Win7 USB stick?

I build it myself by doing the following:

  • I download the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) from here. The resulting file was 2.35Gb in size. 
  • I configured the target USB memory stick to be bootable following the instructions on Jeff’s blog
  • The Windows 7 RC installation kit download was a “.iso” file – I used undisker to extract all of the files (and folders) from the “.iso” and place them on the (now bootable) memory stick

Note: I wrote an earlier post with some guidance that you may find useful

BTW the filename for the Win7 RC installation kit following the 2.35Gb download was “7100.0.090421-1700_x86fre_client_en-us_retail_ultimate-grc1culfrer_en_dvd.iso”

I’m delighted with the result – a fast, lightweight system with a beautiful user interface.

GreenIT: What will it take for mainstream companies to allow their employees to work when, where and how they choose?

I’m working at London’s GreenIT09 conference today and during the keynote I asked the question shown in the title to this post.

As was the case at last year’s conference there is much talk of great progress being made by suppliers and their customers in reducing the electrical power requirements of data centres. The following quotes were referenced:

  • “50% of hardware acquisition cost is expended in cooling and power in 2009” – an analyst 
  • Power cost will equal server capital cost by 2010″ – an anyalyst

I have read similar quotes from a variety of sources and rather than focussing on the details I think it’s fair to say that data centres consume a great deal of power – supposedly equivalent to the airline industry – the cost of power is likely to continue to increase – power is a significant Operational Expense

Paul Coby (CIO, British Airways) gave a very interesting talk during the keynote – the highlights of his talk were:

  • 14% global CO2 emisions Worldwide due to transport, same as agriculture
  • emissions from cars and vans comprise 45% total transport, rail is 2%
  • BA are “finding the happy conjunction of cost saving, IT efficiency and GreenIT”

I’ve spoken (both online and in person) to many people from businesses across a wide range of organisations (businesses, public sector and charities) over recent months asking how people do their jobs.

Paul’s reference to the incredible percentage (14%) of CO2 emissions being due to transport really illustrates the a key aspect of my findings – most organisations mandate that their employees work at specific locations at specific times using prescribed tools.

We should free people to work when, where and how they choose thereby enabling the following benefits:

  • reduce travel times, frequency, cost and stress – enabling people to choose whether to travel in rush hour when they choose to collaborate face to face can reap these benefits. A hybrid of working from home at the start/end of the day can bring significant benefits – preventing people meeting face to face by expecting excessive working from home can be detrimental to productivity. It’s all about choice though as some people will still prefer to work in the office all of the time.
  • improved work life balance – being able to “time shift” and “location shift” work can bring significant benefits to both the employee AND their productivity levels. Parents may be able to take their children to/from school and also remain productive (depending upon the age of their children!) when sickness prevents their children from going to school

The technology required for effective remote working has existed for many years – there are innovative products and services that can be purchased to enhance the experience but the basics of a laptop, headset and a broadband/wireless/3G connection can be used by normal (non-technical/specialist) people across the land TODAY without significant additional cost.

Going as far as Voice over IP and video conferencing (using personal/often built-in webcams) can improve the feeling of connection with your remote counterparts. I’m particularly partial to innovative solutions such as Microsoft’s Roundtable device as I blogged about in detail here though don’t get hung up on buying additiona hardware and software – these may make sense once you’ve freed your employees to work remotely simply using webcams.

Clearly some tasks are best carried out in person and some roles/jobs are physically oriented hence are unable to take advantage of “time shifting” and/or “location shifting” – good examples being driving a bus, serving in a restaurant.

In my experience in order for work to be something you do not a place you go it’s critical for the entire management chain to buy into measuring their employees productivity by their results and both parties being clear upon the deliverables and time frames – this is cultural change though as @tebbo pointed out “cultural change starts with individuals”.

People coming into work (typically the so called “Millenials”/”Digital Natives”/”Generation-Y”) are not encumbered by the legacy of how work is traditionally done and hence I’m confident over time the barriers will be removed.

Your comments are much appreciated