Category Archives: MCNC

New gig…

Well, though I was not looking for a job and was very happy with my current job at MCNC as Director of IT & Data Center Services, I got an offer too good to refuse. A former colleague who has been doing some consulting work with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro called me and encouraged me to apply for a position there. I did, and in short order, I interviewed, they offered, and I accepted a position as Associate Vice Chancellor for Administrative Systems. This is a great opportunity professionally, back to what I was doing at UNC-Chapel Hill, and will also reinstate me in the North Carolina retirement system, one of the best in the country. Though the commute will be longer than I have today, it’s worth it for me and my family. I start there on the first of May.

January has hit the ground running…

From the pause of the holidays, to full speed ahead! Things are really getting in gear at work and at home. It’s time for a new semester, which is always fun. I’ve always enjoyed the sense of a new beginning, both as a student and as an instructor. I’ve got another small group (15 students) for my systems analysis class, which is a nice number. Enough for good group dynamics but small enough to really engage everyone. It’s a busy time at my “day job” at MCNC as well, as we are in the throws of a strategic planning process, as well as getting ready to enter budget planning season.

On the home front, Scouts are busy (heading to Washington, DC on a trip tomorrow), though I’m stepping down as scoutmaster after 6 years to hand the mantle to one of my compatriots. After being a scoutmaster and a cubmaster for several years before that, I’m ready to step back from the “front-man” role. My youngest son, Jeff, is working on his Eagle project, restoring parts of an old cabin at Moorefields Plantation near Hillsborough, NC. Hope to finish by early February.

High School band is still moving on (I’m president of the band boosters) but as Jeff is not in the winter club ensembles, my personal involvement is not as great as in marching season.

Nothing of great substance here; just wanted to post a few fresh bits…


Messaging (email), calendars & collaboration

As part of my charge at MCNC, I’m responsible for the corporate IT infrastructure for our organization of ~45 people. We have a hodge-podge of software for collaboration — IMAP email daemon, MeetingMaker calendar, a plethora of IM clients, standard Microsoft Office clients and a Microsoft file server environment. We need to replace our IMAP daemon as it has some issues, the calendar software is not everyone’s favorite, and we email too many files around. We have experimented with Google Apps for your Domain, and that’s very promising, but not quite there. I really think it needs IMAP support. There’s a good article in the current issue of the Economist magazine that highlights Arizona State’s use of Gmail for students. I think, though that in the next 12-18 months, we’re going to see a lot from Google in this space. My colleague Paul Jones also wrote about this in his blog recently.

We’re looking right now at a product called Zimbra, and it is promising, though a bit sluggish in performance, I think. It’s inexpensive, though, and might hold us until we could actually outsource much of this to Google or someone like that. Organizations like mine don’t need to be spending their resources supporting email, calendaring, IM, etc, and need to focus on their core mission.

Electric power for dummies?

So, I am spending the afternoon pouring through Wikipedia, trying to come better up to speed on various things electrical.  While I’ve managed data centers for years, I have typically not had to deal with power and circuit issues the way I need to do now.  We’re working to determine PDU utilization, circuit routing and a myriad of other things as we continue to build out the occupancy of MCNC‘s data center…I think I need to go find the book “electric power for dummies”!  I’m sure it exists somewhere!

Work update

In the time I let this blog go fallow, I decided to change jobs and move from UNC-Chapel Hill to MCNC as Director of IT & Data Center Services. I still get to work with the National Lambda Rail (NLR) Experiment Support Service and the Internet2 HOPI project (though that is morphing as I2 begins to deploy “newnet”). This had been a long time coming, as I was not really happy with where I’d found myself at UNC after a big reorg. Now that I’ve made the move (March 2006) I’m quite happy with the decision! I still teach at UNC as an adjunct in the School of Information and Library Science. I have been teaching Systems Analysis & Design (INLS382) since 1998, roughly one course per semester. The good news is that’s enough of a UNC affiliation to let me still buy basketball tickets. Go Tarheels! It promises to be a great year for the ‘heels.