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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

How to Properly Wipe and Return a Laptop

June 19, 2012 3 comments

imageThis week, I had the chance to experience something that is a rare occurrence: returning a laptop to my employer. Microsoft has been good to me, and I wanted to make sure I properly returned the laptop to them and saved both them and me from hassle.

In this blog, I will describe a process for properly wiping a laptop of data and making it ready for a new owner. You may want to use this advice if you plan to sell an old machine to a friend too.

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Making the Best Use of PowerPoint Slides

October 20, 2011 16 comments

This week, I presented at the InsightOut conference in Tokyo, Japan. The experience has been amazing. I met a lot of interesting people from different database platforms. I would like to share some lessons I learned from presenting to an audience that does not speak my language.

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Neat trick on United Airlines

October 16, 2011 3 comments

Thanks to everyone for a great PASS US – I had a lot of fun at the conference.

Today, I am heading to Japan. My ticket is an economy ticket, and it is a long flight (around 12h). The price for a business class ticket (two weeks ago) was simply too high – 10K USD. Of course, I am not thrilled about such a journey in cramped conditions. But fortunately that is not what is going to happen: I will be lying down sleeping all of it. Here is how:

First, I asked for a potential upgrade at the check-in counter (hint: always be friendly to the girls there, and never sign up for specialized meals). I am only Silver Member on Star Alliance – but they bumped me up to Economy Plus – 5 more inches of legroom. So far so good…

Second, I asked at the gate itself for an upgrade to business. Because the plane is not full, they sell the final upgrade real cheap: 600 USD for upgrade from Economy Plus to Business.

Result: Trans-Pacific flight for the price of Economy + 600 USD. I will be enjoying my champagne and priority boarding in a few minutes.

My Speaking Schedule the rest of 2011

August 23, 2011 2 comments

For those of you who would like to hear me throw my usual tantrums at conferences about data modeling, high scale tuning and optimal use of hardware. Here is my speaking schedule for the rest of 2011.

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A Mobile Phone – How Hard can it be?

August 11, 2011 1 comment

I have recently switched to iPad as my primary device for media viewing, music, book reading, email and to some extend blogging (though I still find Live Writer superior and even run VMware Fusion on my home Mac for that purpose alone). Because I no longer need a big screen on my phone, it is therefore time to go back to the old days.

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Markets – Another View

August 7, 2011 9 comments

It seems all of Britain is watching TV and the Internet this Sunday, catching up in the news on a downgraded US and waiting for the opening of a stock market that has once again fallen apart. I am on vacation, but I decided to go for a bit of market research myself. This took  me to Spitalfields Market in London, on the periphery the banking district.

As I stand at the entrance to this chaotic place, I take a moment to reflect on where we are in the world today. Our politicians have failed us, driven by greed and voted in by the champions of the politically correct, the religiously mad – or both. Market risk mechanics go for regular, chaotic walks – with their corporate lapdogs on leash. In order to make money in a society obsessed with the service industries, our best talent is sucked into investment banking to come up with new algorithms to predict the next big move, with about as much certainty as we predict the weather – which is not very certain at all.

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Good coffee in Heathrow T5

May 30, 2011 3 comments

imageAs some of you may know, I need my coffee strong, good and made by people who are passionate about what they do. Airports are unfortunately often deserted by such people, which leads to even more grumpy behaviour.

But today, I found the exception: V Bar in Heathrow T5. While not the epitome of coffee you will find in Italy or Brazil, the place is run by Italians who obviously know a thing or two about the relationship between the man and the machine. A surprising piece of quality in such a place.

Recommended for the frequent traveller; V Bar is located near the A20 gate, just next to the the escalator to the BA lounges.