Archive for the ‘Personal Computing’ Category

Citrix Synergy 2011: Day 2 – Simon Sez!

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello (again) from San Francisco – for the last time this week!  

I’ll be heading back to Austin tomorrow, but it was great being here in California for a few days, and being a part of what was happening at Citrix Synergy 2011.

Day 2 started a bit slow, but Simon Crosby certainly got us back on track. 

Simon Crosby on stage at Citrix Synergy

Simon Crosby on stage at Citrix Synergy

Here are the highlights:

  • DJ Solomon was running music before the session and at the after party – I gotta say I was impressed.  I’m not a big club beat guy, but this was good tunage. 
  • Citrix Partner Awards:  Gluster – Best Partner Solution for Accelerating Cloud and Best in Show!  App-DNA wins best partner solution for desktop transformation, and Abiquo wins best partner solution for virtual datacenters.
  • After the Citrix Partner Solution Awards, Simon Crosby took the stage – I’d been looking forward to this – Simon never fails to provide surprise and insight.
  • It should be obvious, but a lot of people still don’t get this – virtualiztion is not the same thing as cloud.  Does virtualization have a place in cloud?  Yes.  Can you evolve from a highly virtualized environment to a cloud?  Yes.  But there is a purer way taken advantage of all the inherent characteristics of cloud (elasticity, mutli-tenancy, etc) by designing and building cloud from the ground up – something that platforms like OpenStack offers.  (Check out the whitepaper at to learn more about that design methodology.)
  • OpenStack will help drive what we need in the cloud – getting key vendors together to figure out and build the cloud out right. – Simon Crosby
  • To delight (users) and to protect (enterprises) – that is the mission of IT – Simon Crosby
  • Interesting analogy from Simon: private cloud vs private cloud similar to driving your own car vs flying in a commercial plane – we drive our own cars, have control, etc – commercial airlines focus on building in process so that air travel is safe and reliable.  Interesting fact – the FAA was created by the airlines to help ease people’s fear of flying by implementing standards and a governing body.
  • Enterprises are seeking economics, elasticity, and pay-as-you-go from the cloud. – Simon Crosby
  • Our consumer choices are increasingly impacting our workplace – Simon Crosby
  • Roughly 100% of users violate their company’s security policy to get their job done – apps, public cloud access, etc.  It’s important that we as an industry recognize that and leverage it for progress.
  • Tarkan Maner, CEO of Wyse – wow, quite a captivating speaker.  Was quite comfortable making a number of claims about thin clients and the future of computing, a number of  which I’m not in agreement with (there is now no need for thick clients, etc), but overall, I enjoyed his address.  Some key takeaways include cloud recommendations: start working toward hybrid cloud, build based on policies, develop to open standards, ensure the right and evolved IT skills are in place, and put users before infrastructure.
  • Also learned a new phrase – “FInT this.” = Facebook, Linked In, Twitter.  Do any of you actually say this?
  • Train at Citrix Synergy!
    Train at Citrix Synergy!

    Zynga CTO Allan Leinwand also presented today speaking about their zCloud – they went from concept to production in 6 months, and can provision 1000 servers within 24 hours now.  They are all about “scale fast or fail fast.”  Nice to see that we as a group are starting to understand this notion.  Nice quote to the crowd during his discussion: “Some of you might be playing our games right now.”

  • Also got a chance to interact with friends in the press as well as users who wanted to know more about OpenStack and Dell’s role in Project Olympus and its Early Access Program.  You can also drop me an email at if you want to learn more.
  • And to top it all off – Train in concert at the Synergy afterparty!

The twitterati was in full swing as well – check out #CitrixSynergy.

Citrix fans – it’s been fun – see you next year! 

Until next time,



November 8, 2010 Leave a comment


It amazes me how incredibly computer savvy both of my kids are now. 

Maybe that shouldn’t surprise a dad with two kids less than five years old.  It’s just that one moment they’re searching for dinosaurs on Google, then the next moment, they’re fighting each other for the last jelly bean

Anyway, today my oldest asked me why the computer keyboard was all out of order.  Why doWhy QWERTY?es it go Q-W-E-R-T-Y-… when it should go A-B-C-D-E-…  I explained that there are certain letters that are used more often than others when you write / type words, and that this design was used by a lot of people over many years, and is the best and fastest way to type.

And then she asked, “Are you sure it’s the best?”

( Kids.  Always with the backtalk.)

So we started out on the path to figure it out.  We googled QWERTY, and a number of interesting texts came up discussing the matter.  After a few minutes of reading, some healthy discussion, and a couple of shots of chocolate milk, here’s what we came up with.

The QWERTY model was actually developed quite a long time ago, in the late 1800s, and evolved over a number of attempts at an effficient keyboard, including one that started “A-B-C-D-E-…”  The key here is that a few of the pioneers in this space happened to be tied into a company that put out one of the earliest “writing machines”, which embedded the QWERTY format into its model, and marketed the hell out of it.  Next thing you know, its everywhere.

(We’ve seen that movie before.)

We also learned about a science known as “letter pair frequency” – for example the frequency of the consecutive letters “th” in the English language is 1.52%, while the frequency of the consecutive letters “ur” is 0.02%.  This is a key part of defining how the letters were to be arranged.  A lot of pretty smart people spent a lot of time figuring that out.  God bless ’em.

Fair question...

Fair question...

So, it’s clear that QWERTY is a pretty good system, based on actual science.  But our question here was “Is QWERTY the best?”

Turns out there are a number of issues with the QWERTY model – a lot of the most frequent letter combinations require the same finger to type it, one hand ends up typing more than the other in a lot of cases, etc, etc, etc.

One of the most famous contrarians to QWERTY was a gentleman by the name of Dvorak, inventor of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, seen below.  It was apprently developed with a focus on letter pair frequencies and hand physiology.  In fact, some Dvorak-ites claim less of a chance of carpal tunnel with this keyboard.

The Dvorak Keyboard (Source:

The Dvorak Keyboard (Source:


Some interesting facts we uncovered about the Dvorak keyboard:

  • The home keys are made up of the vowels and the most used consanants.
  • You can type ~400 of English’s most common words with just the Dvorak “home keys” (vs ~100 on QWERTY).
  • In general, ~70% of typing occurs on the Dvorak home keys (vs ~30% on QWERTY)
  • Dvorak attempts to make stroking motion go from the outside of keyboard toward the middle, based on the assumption that its easier to tap your fingers from pinky to pointer vs the other way around
  • Some operating systems offer you the option to configure your keyboard in the Dvorak model

Interesting stuff, no?

At this point, knowing that our research was far from thorough, we figured that no matter how interesting or scientifically superior that Dvorak model may prove to be, QWERTY has engrained itself so deeply into our culture at this point that it’s difficult to see the mainstream world changing. 

On computers, that is.

It will be interesting to see how / if this becomes more of a discussion topic now that we’re heading toward smaller mobile devices, tablets, etc.  Also with advances like smart typing (aka autocorrect) and the “SWYPE” techinque for mobile keyboards, perhaps the opportunity to better fine tune the keyboard will present itself.

So is QWERTY the best?  Probably not. 

Will the world likely adapt a better model in light of newer input devices? 

Well, maybe it’s time we thought about it. 

It is also at this point that I realize my kid is long gone, and is now watching Disney channel upstairs.  Oh, well.

At least she’s watching Little Einsteins.  🙂

(“Princess, can you help Daddy reset the computer keyboard back to QWERTY?”)

Until next time.

Joseph B George
@jbgeorge /