Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jim Gray in Wired

In February, I wrote an article about participating in the search for Jim Gray. Wired Magazine has just released a most excellent article about Jim Gray and the search. It's great to see a professional follow-up to this story. I only wish it could have included some more answers (hey, if you're going to wish, you should wish big!).

Be sure to also check out the Timeline for Tenacious Trip to Southeast Farallon Island on January 28, 2007 article.

Good stuff.

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VMware IPO - A Major Success

VMware went public today!

Check out VMW on Google Finance.

Back in October of last year, I wrote an article that noted how VMware, a subsidiary of EMC, was kicking butt as a software company, but the value that they were bringing to EMC shareholders was clearly not being represented in the EMC stock price.

In February of this year, EMC and VMware announced that they would sell about 10% of the company in an IPO to happen this summer. Great minds think alike -- and ours too! I wrote about that here.

VMware pre-sold over $368M of the proposed 10% to Intel Capital and Cisco (see these articles).

For the IPO today, VMware priced at $29.00 and opened at $50.00. Near the closing bell, I took this snapshot:

Up 84.83% is what you call a successful IPO.

No wonder. IDC estimates the virtualization market at $20B by 2011. VMware is currently at $1.2B. Do the math on that. There's definitely plenty of upside for companies in the virtualization space. (Disclosure: I am a founder and shareholder of Cassatt Corporation, a company that sells virtualization management software for large data centers; I am now also a customer and shareholder of VMware).

When I wrote my original article, EMC stock was selling for about $12/share, and had been largely flat for years. Yesterday, EMC stock was selling for about $19/share. That's over a 50% rise in share price in under a year. A key kicker of that rise in share price was, indeed, the VMware IPO. Well done EMC! Your stock has finally moved and you are delivering shareholder value from your most excellent VMware asset.

Finally, Intel Capital and Cisco have more than doubled their Net Asset Value of their VMware investment in just a handful of weeks. Honestly, that was a lot faster than I had predicted. They should expect a little extra something in their holiday bonus this year.


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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Setting Up My New Apple MacBook Pro

I recently celebrated a birthday.

Some people don't like birthdays. They fear growing older.

I don't have that reaction at all. About a birthday, I always say: "It beats the alternative!" And, I truly believe that.

My fiancée bought me the best gift ever. Something that I will use many hours a day, every day of the week.

A shiny, new Apple MacBook Pro.

OK, so now I have to move everything off my old Apple PowerBook G4 and turn it into a dedicated software test machine.

The easy way is to use the excellent Apple Migration Assistant tool. I didn't want to do that, however, because I wanted a fresh start. You see, as part of what I do, I install a lot of crap on my system. A fresh computer every couple years is always an opportunity to get a fresh start. So, that's what I did.

I downloaded the latest versions of all the software that I use the most. And, I kept track, just for you. Here's the list:

  1. Quicksilver β51

  2. Safari 3 Beta for Mac

  3. VMware Fusion Beta

  4. VoodooPad Lite

  5. Inquisitor 3 for Safari

  6. Set up Mail.app (accounts, rules)

  7. Transfer files from old Mac (using FireWire Target mode)

  8. Backup/Recover Address Book and iCal databases

  9. SpamSieve (export/import the old corpus)

  10. Windows XP (under VMware Fusion)

  11. Windows Live Writer Beta (under Windows XP; took forever for Service Pack 2 and .NET junk). Thank goodness Windows boots incredibly fast under VMware Fusion!

  12. Remote Desktop Connection for Mac (get the new Beta)

  13. Firefox

  14. F-Script Anywhere

  15. Aperture (actually was pre-installed)

    • Move over Aperture and iPhoto Library

  16. Xcode

  17. AppleCare Online Registration

  18. Google Desktop for Mac

  19. Google Earth & Picasa Uploader (easily from Google Updater)

  20. Adium

  21. Copy over login.keychain (since "Export" option doesn't work)

  22. Adobe Reader

  23. Application Enhancer with SDK

  24. Safari Bookmarks (export/import)

  25. FlickrExport Lite for Aperture

  26. KeywordAssistant for iPhoto

  27. Full Tilt Poker

  28. Quinn

  29. Bluetooth Connection and iSync my Nokia E61

    • Customize modem script to access Internet through phone's EDGE connection

  30. DarwinPorts and Subversion

  31. Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac

  32. RsyncX

  33. Chicken of the VNC

  34. Flip4Mac

That's enough to get me going.

Now, off to order that new 24" iMac for the office computer... So glad that I own Apple stock.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cisco Joins Intel Capital as Nation’s Smartest Investors

Earlier, Intel Capital announced that the will put in $218.5M to buy a 2.5% stake of the VMware IPO for a mere $23/share. When I wrote about it, I speculated that Intel Capital should expect to get a 3-4x return on that investment over the next 5 years.

That's only an $800M+ gain for their investment. Not bad at all. This investment alone will put them in the "elite" category for venture investors. Well done!

Cisco announced that they will join the party. It appears as though they like to make easy money, too.

Cisco will put in $150M to buy about a 1.6% stake in VMware.

Also brilliant.

Anybody that gets in on the low end of the VMware IPO (currently $23-$25/share) will do very well. Congratulations to Intel Capital and Cisco for knowing how to invest wisely.

I’ve written about the VMware IPO previously here and here.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Fill Tilt Time Wasting

A good friend suggested that I try FullTiltPoker.net.

She is no longer a good friend.

Permit me to explain.

She plays a lot of Poker. Real poker, against real people, at real tables, for real money. Texas Hold 'Em mostly. She's quite good.

I play a bit of pretend poker. Fake poker, for fake money. I'm OK. But, I'm really not much of a gambler. Yeah, I'm an entrepreneur, and some people think of that profession as "gambling" but it's really not. There is luck involved, to be sure, but that's not quite the same as gambling. I do enjoy poker, however. Very entertaining.

Anyway, my friend mentioned that she'll login to Full Tilt Poker to get a quick poker fix in the morning.

I surveyed some of the available (FREE) online poker playing, but very few had support for the Apple Mac OS X system. However, Full Tilt Poker did! I had no excuse. I had to download the client and give it a try.


The application is really well done. Gameplay is very good (except when you have somebody at the table with a sketchy internet connection). The graphics and animations are nice. Sound is decent. Gameplay is pretty quick (play 70 hands per hour easily). Play with fake money. Re-fill your fake chips every 5 minutes (if you lose it that quickly, which is quite likely when you get started). Makes it very easy to try different playing strategies. It's awesome!

Now, they do have a real money side of the site as well. I watched a heads-up match where the pot was $44,700 for a single hand. Crazy. It can be entertaining to just watch. The real-money online tables play hands much faster than the real-money tables at a casino, so you can win it faster (or lose it faster). I just play the free chips and leave the real-money play to the professionals.

They have every possible poker game you can imagine - Hold 'Em, Omaha High/Low, Omaha High, Stud High/Low, Stud High, Razz, Multi-table Tournaments, and lots of events. All really well done.

Now, I wouldn't necessarily call this "Massive Multiplayer" at this stage. I've only noticed about 60,000 people playing on the site at one time (but, to be fair, I haven't really looked very often).

Bottom line: Full Tilt Poker is tons of fun. And, it's FREE. However, it just ate a week of my life. Yikes. Now, I need to exercise a little self restraint!

Do not download this application unless you, too, would like to say goodbye to a week (or more) of your life.


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