VxRack Nodes

I’ve been asked quite a bit lately on VxRack node types and options so I wanted to go over what is available and some of the options. First lets start off with the VxRack 1000 Flex options. At a high level there are 3 vxrack node types that can be configured in a VxRack solution; Dense Compute, Dense Storage, and a Storage only node.  Each of these nodes have a couple variations in order to properly size and accommodate various workloads.

VxRack Node Types 1000 FlexVxRack Node: Dense Compute

vxrack node dense compute

VxRack Node: Dense Storage

vxrack dense storage node


Winning Powerball with Big Data

If you are looking for the magic formula to win the lottery you have come to the wrong place. However today we will have some fun with some of the Powerball’s previous winning numbers so we can better decide on how we want to make our picks for the upcoming drawing.

Before we get started lets take a step back and get a basic overview/understanding of how powerball works. Drawings are held Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time. The game uses a 5/69 (white balls) + 1/26 (Powerballs) matrix from which winning numbers are chosen. Each play costs $2, or $3 with the Power Play option.

I also want to note that there was a format change on October 4, 2015 which we will want to keep in mind when calculating powerball winning historics. The white-ball pool increased from 59 to 69 while the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. The new setup was designed to help create more winners and also more rollovers. Which is why we are now looking at a record estimated $1.3 billion dollar prize.

So the more and more I’ve researched different ways to predict powerball numbers using big data I was able to come up with two important facts that will save you some time and heart ache.

  1. The Powerball numbers are drawn randomly
  2. As humans we pick numbers non-randomly

About 70% to 80% of powerball purchases are computer picks and about 70% to 80% of winners are from computer picks. [source] So if I was going to play I would buy mostly randomly generated tickets based off of a computer; but possibly play one based off of historical data. I built this excel spreadsheet [download] with the data from powerball.com on all historical winning numbers back to 1997. So download and enjoy (if you win I would expect a small donation 😉 )

In the excel spreadsheet you notice I have setup 3 tabs. The first tab is a random number generator for each of the white balls and the powerball in the event you don’t trust the powerball computer picks.

generate random powerball numbers

The second tab is a table of all of the past winning numbers in the order they were picked. This would be a good data source if you wanted to utilize some data processing to calculate odds and trends.

The third tab is the frequency of each winning number called and broken down by white balls and power balls. Here are some screenshots:


As I started crunching the numbers and odds I realized that the overall odds of random are already so high that if I want to actually play the powerball my best bet is to just let the computer pick the numbers. The moral of this unfulfilled blog entry is that we pick numbers non randomly and the powerball is picked at random.  So if you want to win, make sure you do it randomly 😉

Let me know your thoughts on the excel data and how else we could make the numbers more useful in the comments section below.

Could not find a server that was suitable Halo 5

It’s not often I get to sit down and enjoy some online gaming these days. But when I do, I expect a pretty simple end user experience and shortest time to actually play a game. My most recent Xbox One game purchase was Halo 5 Guardians and I have had some issues connecting every time with what seems to be a generic error message: Could not find a server that was suitable for all members of your fireteam.

Could not find a server that was suitable for all members of your fireteam. Halo 5
Could not find a server that was suitable for all members of your fireteam. Halo 5
Connection Lost you have been disconnected from the local network. Returning you to the main menu
Connection Lost you have been disconnected from the local network. Returning you to the main menu. Could not find a server that was suitable for all members of your fireteam.

I found an Xbox  support article called: Troubleshoot Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer issues which gives some suggestions for basic troubleshooting but has still been unable to correct an ongoing problem keeping me from playing. There are also a pages on halowaypointreddit, and gamefaqs that offers some user suggested troubleshooting.

Here is what I have tried and what has seemed to work:

Hard Reboot (pull the power plug) of Xbox One: Has worked once, but not consistently.

Hard Reboot of Router: Has also worked once, but I like to keep my xbox in the DMZ and the hard reboot assigned another IP to the Xbox so I had to go back and reconfigure. Long story short, that has only worked once as well.

The best advice I have so far is: Unplug your Xbox, then unplug your router, breathe deeply for a minute, turn back on your router, then turn back on your Xbox. This has worked the most consistently for me so far but I’m not happy with this as a solution. I can play other games fine when this is a problem so any other advice or troubleshooting techniques would be greatly appreciated.



Google Trends for Monday and the days of the week

As I’ve been building out the framework for “Attack the Week” I started to become curious as to which days of the week were most searched for, commented about, or even tweeted about. Since I’m building a framework for Mondays, I was curious as to which days people are actually interested in. My initial thoughts were that Fridays were going to win in a land slide, but it turns out that its not quite the case.

My initial data search lands me at Google Trends, where I searched for the 5 days of the week and their interest over time. While this isn’t the best way to determine how popular a specific day of the week is, it does give some direction and a good idea of what people are searching for when it comes to the days of the week.


Google Trends Days of the week

So a typical business work week (Mon-Fri) is about as I imagined it. We have Friday on top with the most searches, Monday in second, and a close tie between Wednesday and Thursday; followed up by Tuesday with the least interest according to Google Trends. Now for this experiment I’m not as worried about the weekend, but while we are here and for curiosity sake lets dive into some weekend stats compared to Friday.

google trends weekend

google trends weekend chart


So according to Google, Sunday has the most search interest, followed by Saturday, and then Friday. So while we can make several assumptions as to why this is the case, I’m going to simply assume that weekends are more popular than weekdays.

Now onto tweets per day… I was limited to only three keywords for my search on Topsy, so I decided to go with Monday (obviously) and the most popular work day: Friday. Now for the third I was on the fence but decided to go with the most popular day of the week Sunday. Not only did it have the most interest on Google Trends, but it also precedes Monday so I could possibly notice any overlap.



In this one month sample of tweets, I noticed that Friday has about a million more mentions than Sunday and Monday. I also noticed that the tweets usually came a day or two before the actual day being talked about. Which also makes sense, people will tend to tweet about anticipation or the lack there of versus “Today is Friday”.  I could dive down a bit more and do a sentiment analysis on the days, but this is enough data to satisfy my curiosity for today. What other tools could I use to lookup similar data to this ?

Attack the Week

Well today is Monday and I thought it would be a good idea to try something new. I’ve been reading the Tim Ferriss classic: “The Four Hour Work Week” and have looked at some normal everyday actions with a new set of eyes. Mostly in an effort to become more effective with my time, I was thinking this morning of a quote I like: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Usually when I tackle a large task this quote always runs through my head. So I decided to see how I can apply this quote and my quest for effectiveness to Mondays. As a result, today “Attack the Week” is born.

Most of us view the work week as a set of five equally busy days of business. However we tend to like Fridays better as they are closer to a non working weekend in a typical 40 hour work week. We also usually have the same routine for each of these five days, and chip away at projects or processes the same everyday. Well today lets look at Monday’s in a new light and plan to attack the week vs our typical “case of the mondays”

I will be working on a framework for Mondays rolling forward, but today I just wanted to share my new motto for Mondays and #AttackTheWeek a different way. If you have any ideas on how you approach the week, comment below and I may put them into my new framework. Happy Monday !

***Update: I’ve launched www.AttackTheWeek.com to start storing my ideas, make sure to subscribe if interested!

Windows 10 IoT Raspberry Pi 2 Setup Tutorial

After researching tons of use cases and features of IoT devices and machine learning techniques, I decided to go ahead and purchase my first Raspberry Pi 2. I primarily want to explore setting up sensors and streaming that sensor data to various cloud providers.  I’ve also looked at a couple projects dealing with some mesh networking that looked interesting, but for this project we will be setting up Windows 10 IoT Core on the Raspberry Pi.

So to get started with Windows 10 IoT core you will need either a Raspberry Pi 2 or MinnowBoard Max. We will obviously be using a Raspberry Pi 2 in this tutorial. If you haven’t already purchased a RPi2 I recommend purchasing a kit with power supply. Luckily I had a micro USB cable available and an AC adapter. You will need at least 600mA at 5V to be up and running. You will also need a microSD card. I went with a 16GB card so we will have plenty of space, but an 8GB card should be enough for a minimal setup.

Download Windows 10 IoT core

Once you have your hardware in place, download the setup tools from http://ms-iot.github.io/content/en-US/Downloads.htm .  You will see “Windows 10 IoT core for Raspberry Pi 2” go ahead and download the ISO file called “IOT Core RPi.ISO” You can mount the ISO or open it with an archiver software such as WinRAR. Inside the ISO is an MSI file to install the components. Go ahead and install the package. Note: There are some tools in this package to make this much easier if you are using Windows 10 already for your operating system, but I am not so we will be using some 3rd party tools instead of the native Microsoft Tools.

Now that you have the software installed, you will see Microsoft IoT in your start menu or program files, with 2 executables.  One is called WindowsIoTCoreWatcher which is a lightweight program for viewing all of your IoT running machines. The other is called WindowsIoTImageHelper which will help you flash your microSD card.

Windows IoT Core Image Helper
Windows IoT Core Image Helper
Windows IoT Core Watcher
Windows IoT Core Watcher

From what I have read these applications are supposed to only work or are only supported when using the Windows 10 OS. I’m currently using Windows 7 and both seem to launch fine. I’m going to go ahead and try using the flash utility but will also list the steps for an alternative way to flash the microSD card.

Flashing the microSD card with Windows IoT Core Image Helper

So if you see the screenshot above it looks like the microSD card is detected, but only showing 7Mb. Even though this is a 16GB card, I’m going to push forward anyways and see what happens. This utility is about as easy as it gets; first select your microSD card and then select the image file. The image file is located here: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft IoT\FFU\RaspberryPi2\flash.ffu (unless you chose to install into a different path) . Once you have the correct settings, simply click “Flash” and you will see a command prompt appear with the status of the flash.

Windows IoT Core Image Helper Progress
Windows IoT Core Image Helper Progress

After the microSD card is flashed, you can now insert the microSD card into you Raspberry Pi 2 and boot.

Windows 10 IoT Configuration

Once the RPi2 is booted with the new image, you will see the windows 10 logo and a typical boot screen. Once the OS is finished booting you will have an option for language. I simply selected English and that was all you needed for configuration. Now since I had my ethernet cable plugged into the device is picked up an IP address and was given a device name of “minwinpc” by default.

Windows10 IoT Core Raspberry Pi 2 Screenshot
Windows10 IoT Core Raspberry Pi 2 Screenshot

Once the device is up and running you have two tabs, one is a device info tab (shown above) and the other is a tutorials tab. You will also notice that if you launch the WindowsIoTCoreWatcher on the same network you can now see your device.

Windows IoT Core Watcher miniwinpc
Windows IoT Core Watcher miniwinpc

If you right click you have four options available: Copy Mac Address, Copy IP Address, Web Browser Here, and Open Network Share. Pretty simple ! You are now able to develop on your windows 10 iot raspberry pi 2 device ! If you have any questions or thoughts, please use the comments below.

VMware Photon on vCloud Air

Tonight I wanted to provision one of VMware’s newest open source projects on VMware vCloud Info. Photon is a minimal Linux container host OS. It is designed to have a small footprint and boot extremely fast on VMware platforms. Photon is optimized for vSphere and validated on VMware product and provider platforms. Photon supports the following container specifications: Docker, rkt (rocket), and Pivotal Garden.

I would encourage you to sign up for a vCloud Air On Demand subscription if you haven’t already. If you are familiar with VMware products and would like to deploy VMs in the cloud for testing or for production this is the way to do it. vCloud Air Signup

If you sign up using my link you will get $300 in free credits. Which is plenty to play around on or even build a nice lab in the cloud.

My mic was messing up in this so I apologize, but let me know if you would like to see more videos like this in the comments below.


Official page of: VMware Photon


Xbox Elite Controller

Announced today at #XboxE3 was a couple pieces of good news and one I have mixed feelings about. First lets get onto the good stuff !!! The first and probably the best news by far is the fact that Xbox One will now have backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games ! I can’t stress how much this stressed me out when I first found out that my collection of games was now useless. Now Microsoft has come back and totally redeemed themselves !!!

Today a new multiplayer mode for Halo 5: Guardians was also announced called “Warzone” which will have up to 24 players competing in maps that are up to 4 times the size of legacy halo maps. Halo was the game that originally drew me to Xbox, but I was later drawn to the competitive world of Call of Duty. These new announcements might just draw me back.

So back in January I purchased a custom gaming controller from a small company called Scuf Gaming. (read about it here)  and it was great! I had a controller fully customized to my gameplay and also joined a small elite force of gamers that took esports to the next level. With today’s announcement of the Xbox Elite Controller, I’m kind of bummed that everything special from my own custom controller will now be mass produced and easily accessible to anyone with an Xbox. While I enjoy a level playing field, the competitive side of me likes to always have a leg up. So while I’m a bit bummed that I thought I had a great piece of hardware, I was also part of some great gaming pioneers. Now we can all compete on the same level with the same hardware. Let people’s skill really shine through. I wonder if professional esports will ever test for nootropics such as AlphaBrain ? Maybe that will be the next video game steroid, what do you think ?

Xbox Elite Controller  


Cisco Live 2015 – ABC Guide

Cisco Live is coming around again this year and in order to get all of the information to you I thought the easiest way to organize it would be to do it alphabetically. So here is my attempt to give you all you need to know about Cisco Live 2015 in ABC order…

Cisco Live Aerosmith

This years musical guest at the customer appreciation event will be Aerosmith !

Cisco Live Blog

Check out all of the Cisco Live featured blogs here.

Cisco Live Conference

250,000 sq feet of floor space; 200+ exhibitors; 24 hours a day for over 4 days !

Cisco Live Dates

June 7 – 11, 2015

Cisco Live Explorer Pass

Explorer Pass includes Access to World of Solutions, during show hours only (Monday – Thursday) and Access to Keynotes and Innovation Talks (Sunday – Thursday)

Cisco Live Free Exam

Purchase a Full Conference pass and receive one FREE Cisco certification written exam (more info)

Cisco Live Guest Keynote

Mike Rowe is an Emmy-nominated TV host, writer, narrator, producer, actor, spokesman and former opera singer. Mike is best-known for his work on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs, the narration of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch and, most recently, CNN’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It. (more info)

Cisco Live Hotels

There are several official Cisco Live hotels offering special discounted rates (more info)

Cisco Live IoT

Read more about the Cisco Live IoT – Internet of Things (here)

Cisco Live Justification

Need help convincing your boss that you should go ? This should help !

Cisco Live Keynotes

Keynotes include: John Chambers, Blair Christie, Rebecca Jacoby, Mike Rowe and more!

Cisco Live Mobile App

Use this mobile app to adjust schedule on fly, take your surveys, review the conference guide, check event map

Cisco Live NetVets

NetVets play a unique role in the Cisco Live community. As long-time attendees of Cisco Live and Networkers events, they have a unique perspective — one that makes them a valuable resource to their fellow attendees and for Cisco itself. (more info)

Cisco Live Opening Times

Registration opens at 3PM on Saturday June 6 and 7AM on June 7 (full schedule)

Cisco Live Passes

All conference passes can be found here: Cisco Live Passes

Cisco Live Questions

If you have questions that arent addressed here or on the website, feel free to use social media and contact Cisco Live on twitter @CiscoLive and make sure to use the hashtag #CLUS

Cisco Live Registration

You can view all of the registration packages for Cisco Live 2015 here.

Cisco Live Schedule

Looking for information on keynotes, events, and full schedule ?  Maybe here?

Cisco Live Training

Cisco Live is full of training opportunities and to make things easy, the speakers will categorize the difficulty of each of the sessions by Level 1 (Introductory); Level 2 (Intermediate); Level 3 (Advanced) full information

Cisco Live US 2015

Cisco Live is all over the world, but the one in the United States will be held in San Diego, CA

Cisco Live Videos

Watch past Cisco Live videos here

Cisco Live Wiki

Did you know that there is an official Wiki for Cisco Live? Wiki Link

Cisco Live Youtube

Check out this video playlist from CiscoPress on youtube


I had a hard time finding X and Z, but if you come up with any ideas please post in the comments section.

EMCElect 2015

First and foremost I want to thank the EMCElect of 2014, I had a great year and learned quite a bit on utilizing social media for the greater good of the community. I’ve always had social profiles and dabbled with social media but this past year I truly learned the value and benefits of social media. It allowed me to meet, interact, and learn from the top experts in IT. I’ve developed new relationships and learned about new solutions and techniques not published in an “official” document but simply published with the hashtag #EMCElect. So again, I am truly thankful to all those that contributed in 2014 !!!

I’d like to give a big shout out to Mark Browne (@DathBrun) Dennis Smith (@DennisMSmith) and Sean Thulin (@sthulin) for all of their efforts and contributions in 2014, we couldn’t have made it this far without you guys, thank you!

Now on to 2015! I had the privilege of being selected as one of the EMC Elect judges to help bring in the new class. Which was a very humbling and challenging position to be in. To start, just because you were a member in 2014 didn’t mean you are guaranteed a spot in 2015. Every year there is a level playing field which opens up opportunity to everyone. We also went through a ton of nominations of top industry professionals and had to chip away until we found the best of the best. There were many that barely missed the cut, but those that did make the cut will help make 2015 an exciting year!

Without further adieu, I’m pleased to welcome in the #EMCElect class of 2015: