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24 February 2012


Russell Steele


Thanks for the kind words and excellent summary of the events. As you noted this was a team effort, but with out Laura it would have been an impossible task. We are also indebted to George Foster for the original idea that SESF should sponsor the TechForum and his assistance that we shoot as high as possible for a kick off speaker. I think we met the goal with Rick Hutley. Following his outstanding presentation Rick spent over an hour with the County IT Staff and Supervisor Ed Scofield.

The presentation will be on NCTV in the near future and I highly recommend that anyone who could not attend watch the presentation and Rick Hutley's interview.

John Galt

I wasn't able to attend, but I heard first-hand reports that Mr. Hutley's presentation was very interesting and engaging. Awesome accomplishment for all involved.

I'll definitely be looking forward to watching this on NCTV.

--John Galt

George Rebane

This comment on TechForum2012 by Michael Anderson was posted under 'American Technical Slide ...' before I had a chance to compose this post.

Just got back from the event. Best technical presentation I've ever attended in Nevada County.

As I suspected, the event was entirely non-partisan and the room was filled with a good sample of Nevada County denizens of all political types--liberals, conservatives, and independents.

Mr. Hutley also gave George a good run for his money regarding the Singularity prediction. All in all, an extremely informative, entertaining, and worthwhile presentation. Once it's up the NCTV website I encourage everyone who was not able to attend to have a look.

The video below is about the future in glass; Mr. Hutley's presentation was in this same vein, but about every category of technology you can image. Well done TechForum organizers and SESF.


Posted by: Michael Anderson | 24 February 2012 at 03:36 PM

Ryan Mount

Rebane Test? That's awesome! ha!

A disgruntled IBM colleague of mine (he's in marketing so he's perhaps even more cynical than me) was complaining about the gi-normous internal bureaucracy we have within my IBM Software Group. How it takes forever to get anything done. Disclosure: I work for IBM and I am more empathetic towards these processes as they mitigate risk and ensure quality...imagine that! When was the last time you saw an IBM Point of Sales cash register crash?

Anyhow he quipped the other day: "Apple innovates furiously and we be the iPad. IBM innovates furiously and we get a slot on Jeopardy."

Being a software solutions and services guy, I jumped in and asked him to consider what a system like Watson might mean to, let's say, US Medicare fraud auditing, as a sample use case. Or if it was installed in a third world country for payment processing and auditing. So we're talking, assuming IBM can get through their quality/risk processes in a timely manner a couple of years to implement such things to replace an entire call center of Yuba County government employees. So 2035? I think that's way too conservative.

Yeah, the American narcissist class may look cool at Starbucks with their iPads and their Sea Glass Pearl colored Priuses (is that the plural of Prius? Maybe it's Priusim? Priusii?) parked out front, but elsewhere on planet Earth, we're building Skynet to jab the paranoid. And that's a good thing.

Douglas Keachie

Wussimobiles would suit some here, but the well to do of all political stripes are buying them up.


Ryan Mount, Cisco also has (from my perspective, had) a set of ISO-9000ish processes that at first blush look like straightjackets, but in actuality are a pretty good process for getting promising technologies the engineering, marketing and manufacturing resources needed to deliver what is wanted at about the time the sales guys promised it would be there.

That process isn't entered immediately, there is time to make mistakes. That isn't the case after everyone signs onto the final project and sales starts selling it...

Russell Steele

Laura van den Berg has posted some more pictures and interesting thought on the SESF Blog here: http://sesfoundation.org/2012/02/25/techforum-students/

Ryan Mount


I used to run a couple of large data centers for the company that was just gobbled up by IBM last year. And no where in my designs did you see anything but Cisco gear: load balancers, switches and routers. The whole network stack was always a pure Cisco play for good reason. It [mostly] just worked. But boy are their solutions expensive(that's an understatement) compared to their competitors. Note, I didn't say better.

Anyhow, being a start-up guy (please no questions how I arrived @ IBM: big fish eat little fish), I've actually come to appreciate extensive QA control both for product quality and risk mitigation. And IBM does it well, as I'm sure Cisco does. Of course out in the marketplace, such controls really impact our time-to-market competitiveness. It also impedes innovation. Also I've found that the, um, "less productive" employees tend to hide behind such processes. "Not my job, man."

But then again as the saying goes, no one ever got fired for buying IBM...or Cisco for that matter.



The process of getting project goaheads at cisco included a thorough analysis of the profits the new gizmo would make possible at the target customers. Cisco loves customers, wants them to make lots of money and be able to give lots of that money to Cisco.

In return, Cisco was the most customer focused company I've ever worked for. The "not my job, man" attitude is one that I never saw there in five years, and I never saw anyone hiding.

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