Personal Challenges for a Southern Winter

I was standing on the platform of one of Sydney’s underground train stations one day a couple of weeks ago and in the few seconds between catching my breath from running down the stairs and my train arriving, I caught glimpses of two advertisements: one for and the other for The train arrived, I jumped on , and the ads got lost in the chaos that is my brain. Or so I thought. The next morning, I found myself looking at the two web sites – instead of the usual troll through uninteresting or depressing news stories – I guess my brain had made some strong connections between “ration”, “fam”(ished) and my great love of food:-). There I was sitting at the kitchen counter, enjoying the winter sun streaming through the windows, savouring my first coffee for the day and reading through some of the pages, I realised that I didn’t actually know what real hunger or poverty meant. I mean I’ve visited and have had friends amongst some of the poorest of the poor in India and Africa when I was young, and I’ve been hungry, or had to scrounge for money in my school or college days. But I was almost always in what I can only say was “a position of privilege” compared to that of the folks I was exposed to through my grandpa (as an eye surgeon in India) and my parents (as doctors in India and Africa) . I say privileged because there was always that unconscious, comforting knowledge that any hunger or shortage of money was fleeting; there has never been a time when I didn’t know that shelter, warmth and a decent meal were not far away.
I was speaking to some friends about this and Aron, who moved from Zimbabwe not so long ago, speaking from experience I guess, said that it would actually be harder to wilfully deprive ourselves of things that we take for granted than to deal with not having that choice in the first place. You don’t waste time or effort thinking about what you don’t or can’t have, he said, and you just get on with getting on with it.
We were also celebrating my little girl’s birthday when we had that conversation and we were watching her , her big sister and their little friends having a great time, picking on the variety of food and treats we had for them, opening up presents and just generally making a mess of the place. Later after the little ones had exhausted themselves (and us) and were finally in bed, I went back to the Ration Challenge and I found myself thinking of what it would be like as a father to celebrate my little girls’ birthdays with just the rations given out in the refugee camps. I simply can’t imagine it, so after I received the Rational “toolkit” I thought it might be a good idea to have the whole family do the challenge, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.
I can see what Aron meant; I’m under no illusions that I will even being to understand what it’s like in those camps but I know it’s going to be a huge challenge: I like my organic fair trade coffee, high-grown Orange Pekoe tea, the goat curry my wife cooks, the herbs, citrus fresh from our garden, still warm just-laid eggs from our chooks. And did I mention my Achilles heel – chocolate? And if that wasn’t hard enough: I started to explain what we were about to do to our four and a half-year old and well, lets just say that I failed miserably:-)
Honestly I suspect I’m going to have a very hard time keeping to the rations for my girls, but I’m certainly going to try. And though we’re so far removed from those camps – distance and otherwise – I hope that my commitment might make some small difference to them, through your support.

I’m also still working on getting a team of four together for the Oxfam event and just beginning baby-steps training for that as well. I’m really keen to do it the walk this year and hoping we’ll be able to get the team (we need two more to join) together and get cracking.So it’s certainly going to be a very interesting winter.

Obviously this isn’t my usual techie post and I hope you will excuse the slight diversion:-) You can find my Ration Challenge page at

UrbanCode Deploy with Patterns: Hello World, the vSphere edition

In the concluding paragraphs of my last post, UrbanCode Deploy with Patterns: Hello World ,I briefly compared the UrbanCode Deploy with Patterns (UCD+P) use of OpenStack HEAT Templates (HOT) for blueprints with my own simple XML blueprint for vSphere compute resources.  In the past week a Fix Pack was released for UCD+P which adds initial support for provisioning to VMware vSphere infrastructure. So in this post I’ll do a “Hello World” -style example of connecting UCD+P to a vCenter 5.5 server, provisioning a VM on it and deploying multiple UrbanCode Deploy (UCD) components to the VM.

Continue reading “UrbanCode Deploy with Patterns: Hello World, the vSphere edition”

HTTP Value Sets in UrbanCode Deploy

Remember that old,old post of mine: HTTP Filtered Value Set Providers and dependent enumerations ? Probably not. It goes into a little feature of Rational Team Concert that makes it easy to avoid having to duplicate data from external systems that RTC might need to integrate with. UrbanCode Deploy can do something similar for value sets for process properties.

Continue reading “HTTP Value Sets in UrbanCode Deploy”

UrbanCode 6.0.1: New and Noteworthy

UrbanCode 6.0.1: New and Noteworthy

The first of a series of posts by Eric Minick on what’s coming up in the 6.0.1 release

Out with the old…

“Out with the old and in with the new” they say. So it is with the Jazz Jumpstart team. Well, kind of. Tox ‘s blog has the scoop, and I’m now part of the Rational Emerging Technologies Team. So to signal the change in a trivial sort of way I’ve changed the WordPress theme for this blog. You will notice that the incredibly valuable blogs of my ex-Jumpstart mates are still accessible from here, in addition to additional value from other members of the ULL/RETT teams, with more to come over the coming months.

So my new focus area is DevOps and while this may not exactly be “new”, I think the way IBM sees it is certainly different or more holistic. Taking a look at the DevOps entry point on, there’s more to it than just release management and/or automation in aid of continuous delivery. Here’s a pictorial depiction of this taken from DevOps: The IBM approach a whitepaper I’d recommend reading.


From a technology point of view it means I focus (initially at least) on the UrbanCode stuff and Governance of Application Development Outsourcing Solution (GADO). As an aside: there’s a little bit of a coincidence with my focus on UrbanCode. Back in July 2012, way before IBM acquired UrbanCode, in writing about Managing Android platform source with RTC I referred to an UrbanCode article “Reducing the pain of Build Failures” when talking about componentization. So I was already a little familiar with the products, but couldn’t have guessed at just how familiar I would have to become:-).