fighting the lack of good ideas

hybrid cloud for dummies by judith hurwitz et al

Many years ago, I started programming C++ with a friend of the family and member of my home church. We dove in with Borland C++ for Dummies by Michael Hyman and Stephen Prata’s C++ Primer Plus (Waite Group). Prata’s book was fantastic – if you were at the advanced high school / collegiate level. While precocious in some areas, I was only 13: and it was too advanced by far in most of its topics.

Enter the “for Dummies” book. Hyman’s accessible, funny, and progressive pedagogical style was fantastic – and not just for me. Jeff also benefited because, while he “knew” C, he was really a Fortran programmer by trade. So he wrote Fortran in C. And then as we learned C++ together, we wrote Fortran in C++.

That aside, I became a fan of the “for Dummies” series because they took [generally] difficult and/or broad topics and condensed them into a format that I could grok rapidly, and could then branch from quickly – kind of an advanced “Cliff’s Notes” approach. In a style not generally as condescending as the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” and “for Mere Mortals” series, the “for Dummies” books were great intros to a variety of topics for me.

I picked up Hybrid Cloud for Dimmues by Judith Hurwitz, Marcia Kaufman, Dr Fern Halper, and Daniel Kirsch expecting to see something I could recommend to non-techies and/or stodgy types who are interested in quickly and summarily grokking cloud technologies.

As has been the case with several other books recently, I’m glad I didn’t pay for the book – the time it took me to skim the material and pick out any nuggets I either was not familiar with, or interested to see a potentially different spin on was about 30 minutes.

Pro Tip: always check to see if your library has a book before committing to purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc

Clue #1 (which I would have gotten at my library had I spent a smidge longer with the book before checking out): all four authors are partners with Hurwitz & Associates.

Clue #2: no mention of HP’s competition to the IBM SmartCloud product line (which, ftr, has been around longer than IBM’s) – Cloud Service Automation and*.

Clue #3: barely any depth in any of the chapters … more like a “Cliff’s Notes” book than any other from the “for Dummies” series I’ve run across (which is fairly evident even in the TOC with how close subsections are to one another).


If you truly know absolutely nothing about cloud computing – private, public, hybrid, etc – and the associated *aaS acronyms – PaaS, IaaS, SaaS, etc – then you can pick up slightly more than is in the most recent issue of the in-flight magazine on your favorite airline in the course of a couple hours of skim-reading this book.

If you know anything about cloud – don’t bother. While I am happy introductory materials exist, if you are going to totally neglect some vendors’ offerings, you need to NOT promote other vendors over them – without some form of disclosure indicating why!

If you are wanting to give your CEO something they can skim and perhaps gain some mini insights into cloud computing because they want to keep up with all their peers who are “going into the cloud” … well, he should be able to finish it during his lunch break – without losing any chewing time.

For everybody else … spend 20 minutes on Google or Wikipedia – it’s cheaper, and far more likely to be useful down the road.

*I work for an HP partner, and have been immersed in HP Enterprise Automation products since before HP purchased Opsware in mid 2007

passive income is not a business plan


Shortcuts are great.

But only when you know the long way.

Without hard work, the short cut will seem hard.

Passive income seems to fall into this category.

Some people think panhandling is a form of passive income. It’s not. The panhandler works for his money – he talks to people, shakes a cup, whatever: he gets your attention, and tries to make you give him what he wants.

I have a Google AdSense account. I am also an affiliate with a few other places. I put Amazon links into some posts. From those links, if any purchase is made, I get a small percentage back.

But they are NOT a business.

They’re a shortcut. They’re fantastic – but in the last several years of having an AdSense account, I have yet to see a check from Google. In the past several years of having an Amazon affiliate account, I’ve paid for about three books.

You hear of high-volume sites that make all their money off advertising revenue – advertising may or may not be “passive”. But to maintain a high-volume site takes work. Hard work. Lots of it.

You [generally] don’t magically get traffic just because you are the smartest person in the world (I should know, I get on the order of only a few dozen hits per week! :))

You get – and keep – traffic because you have content or a service that people want to use. That they rely on. That they interact with in some meaningful way.

My friend Jay maintain[ed|s] AIMFix. For quite a while, it was THE best (and only) tool which would remove viruses which spread via malicious links across IM networks – dominantly AIM. I wrote a small library he used (at least for a while) in that program.

He put a metric butt load of effort into that tool, and made a little money from the “passive” advertising he had on his site.

Then traffic tailed-off, and so did his AdSense revenue.

So many businesses are started online with the premise that they’ll “make money from ads”… with nothing more of a business plan than that. They fail almost universally.

Businesses succeed when they follow the tried-and-true path of “work-deliver-earn”. And, “spend less than you earn” [ref].

If your only plan for earning money is to park a bunch of ads on a domain, you may make a little money for a little while. Especially if you’ve managed to register a reasonable typo domain (eg “ or “”).

But you need to have a reason for people to want to come back. To engage. To use what you offer.

Make something I want. Give me a service I need. Provide me with content I’ll return to.

Or maybe, just maybe, build something I can buy and hold.