High school students make an impression during virtual reality internshipGraduation season is in full swing and soon the class of 2018 will be venturing into the real world. But a select group of high school seniors recently took a detour into the world of virtual reality as part of a unique internship program with Dell’s product engineering team, and I had the honor of joining them for part of the journey.My interest in this program is twofold. First, I’m a father, and I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of investing in our youth. Second, I am passionate about encouraging young people in under-represented communities to get excited about and involved in STEM education. I’m active with the local chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and serve the executive sponsor at Dell for the national NSBE organization. This has allowed me to contribute to the development of a diverse workplace and to give back to the community by encouraging the next generation of engineers.A New Kind of ProgramInternships are nothing new at Dell – we work with university undergraduate and graduate students all the time – but a recent challenge from our leadership to get more involved in STEM initiatives led my team to propose a program for high school students in the Pflugerville Independent School District, located near the Dell campus in Austin. We had no idea what to expect from a group of younger students, but their hard work and creative thinking literally blew us away (pun intended – read on to see why).In all, 13 students took part in the paid program, meeting several days a week for six weeks with our engineers to create a virtual reality experience. The project sounds simple, but was actually quite complex: create a virtual world and have it generate real-world stimuli. In this case, the students designed a virtual room in which there is a fan. When you turn on the fan in the virtual room, it signals a real fan to blow air on you. The interns were divided into teams, with some working on hardware, others on art and graphics, and others on virtual reality programming.Team Phoenix for the Win!I had the honor of observing the teams as they presented their final projects to a group of Dell leaders earlier this month. While we are so proud of the fantastic work the three teams accomplished, Team Phoenix won first place by creating a project that clearly stood out from the rest. All three teams used Dell Visor VR headsets, Dell G5 Gaming laptops and a third-party microcontroller as the basis of their solution. The judging panel noted that Team Phoenix took things to the next level by incorporating other stimuli such as hot and cold air, as well as a clever use of animations within the virtual world that they created. The result was visually stimulating and scored high on all of the criteria (difficulty, creativity, artistry and final presentation). Each member of Team Phoenix received a Dell G5 Gaming laptop, but they were all winners in my book! Scroll down to hear what some of them had to say about the experience.Special thanks to Sonny Quintanilla and the Dell Client Product Group – Software Engineering organization for guiding the students throughout the process, and to the Pflugerville ISD teachers and staff who partnered with us on this venture. And my sincerest congratulations to the winners and all the Pflugerville ISD students who participated. You all are leaps and bounds ahead of me at that age…and I thought I was pretty advanced! I know your parents and teachers are proud. As you graduate and contemplate your future in the real world, I hope you will seriously consider a career in science, technology, engineering or math. Whatever you choose, your future is bound to be bright.In Their Own Words…“It really helped that we were able to all work together despite what our backgrounds were.”-Liandra Niyah“I want to thank everyone who made this internship possible because I guarantee you this has been some of the best six weeks of my life. I loved working at Dell; it’s an amazing place.”-Heather Brown“I was always curious about virtual reality and had never experienced it before until this point. My first experience with VR was at Dell during a field trip, and I fell in love with it instantly. It was just such an immersive experience.”-Roger Ellis“Just to talk about how much this internship has fired me up, I’ve already started my own project. I’m so proud of my team and what we were able to achieve considering none of us really had any background in what we worked on.”-Danny Link“I feel like all of our interests were piqued throughout the internship.”-Carter Doan“Communication was really important in our success. At first we didn’t know each other, so we were working separately even though we were a team, and we didn’t realize the importance of communication and teamwork.”-Nate Mekuria
The short blog on the long goodbyeDigitalization is roaring through the field of IT like a hurricane, upending everything in its wake. Business processes, business models, working relationships, even society at large – they are all succumbing to the upheaval. Only classical large computing systems – the insuperable mainframes – are weathering the storm. Their ranks may be thinning, but mainframes are still mainstays at most large companies, insurance firms, and banks. Mainframes are secure and reliable, making them popular systems for transaction-heavy applications, but the main reason they’ve stuck around so long is because of how expensive it would be to replace them.Nonetheless, they are well past their expiration date. It’s now been over 15 years since the end of the mainframe was predicted. It was said to be unavoidable, unstoppable, and far preferable to deal with it today rather than wait until tomorrow. That was quite a few tomorrows ago. Technical wizardry made it possible to delay the end again and again – for example, by introducing object-oriented programming and Linux to the mainframe. Nonetheless, we always knew we would one day be forced to bid farewell to this once revolutionary technology. Digitalization’s prevailing technologies and processes make that abundantly clear. With a bit of acrobatic finesse, you might be able to work with AI, big data, or cloud computing, but once you hit apps and DevOps, the party is over. These modern technologies simply don’t have a place in the old mainframe landscape, and any additional tricks would just make systems more complex and more expensive. At some point, it is simply time to accept the fact that mainframe technology belongs to the (rather distant) past, and to finally bite the bullet and do what needed to be done 15 years ago – or ten at the very latest: develop strategies to replace the mainframes.And this long goodbye from mainstream technology is not only causing technical problems. Since at least the turn of the millennium, we have been warned there would soon be fewer mainframe experts in the field. Slowly but surely, they are leaving the workforce and heading for retirement. There is no reinforcement in sight, because what young, ambitious IT fan is willing to devote a career to things like PL/1? They would much rather become blockchain experts or work in media. The increase in Germany’s retirement age from 65 to 67 has granted the mainframes a bit of a grace period – and I don’t doubt that desperate mainframe operators were one of the first things on politicians’ mind when that piece of legislation was passed.Nevertheless, that relentlessly ticking clock will soon reach the day when there are simply not enough experts around to operate these systems. And because legislation that requires mainframe experts to work until the end of their lives and even beyond is bound to encounter both legal and biological hurdles, it is finally time to look squarely at the solution we’ve been avoiding for so long: It’s time to switch off the mainframe.
The Autumn Project TeamAdults: Seamus Jones, Brian Blossom, Sarah Egnatuk, Ronnie Egnatuk, Keith Dyer, Karl HamandChildren: Autumn Egnatuk, Stella Hamand, Andi EgnatukNot Pictured but played an integral part: Chad Fenner, Scott Johnson, Andy WilksSoon after, Ronnie followed up with the Autumn project team: “It has been two weeks since Autumn received the additional hands form Dell and we could not be more impressed with how proud she is to wear them and show them to her family and friends. We are truly grateful.”This is a wonderful example of how collaboration, innovation and technology can make a massive impact and truly change lives.As Seamus explained “If we can make a difference in a child’s life, by providing greater functionality and most importantly increasing his or her confidence, we want to help. That’s why we do what we do.”At Dell EMC, we use technology to enable others to reach their full potential. We’re proud to be a part of this project, and as Seamus said, “This is only the beginning.” He is currently in contact with several nonprofit organizations to grow awareness of dysmelia and help both children and adults with limb differences.For additional information on this project, or if you or someone you know has dysmelia and could benefit from a 3D printed prosthesis, email Seamus Jones at [email protected] special thanks to e-Nable and Team Unlimbited for providing the open-source 3D templates both Dell and Deloitte continue to use in building 3d printed arms for children and adults who ask for them. This project is truly an inspiring ‘open source’ team effort. Autumn throwing a ball with her mom Sarah’s encouragement! Seamus Jones helps Autumn get familiar with her new hand Autumn Egnatuk is a typical four-year old girl. She loves gymnastics, her beloved doll “Rainbow” and the Disney movie Frozen. She’s curious, full of energy and enjoys playing with friends and her younger sister. The fact that she was born without a left hand doesn’t seem to slow her down. She can do everything her preschool classmates can – and then some!Autumn Egnatuk with her parents Ronnie and SarahAfter she was born, Autumn’s parents Ronnie, an OEM Enterprise Product Specialist at Dell EMC, and his wife Sarah researched everything they could about limb differences and prosthetics. Most guidance recommended starting early. However, their initial attempts to get a prosthesis for Autumn were met with frustration and disappointment.The Egnatuks secured an appointment at a world-renowned hospital that caters to people with amputations and limb differences, hoping for assistance and a long-term plan for Autumn. Unfortunately, they were told that because Autumn was meeting age-appropriate developmental milestones, she didn’t need a prosthesis. Insurance doesn’t typically cover them for children, despite research showing multiple benefits. A prosthesis not only increases functionality for children with limb differences, but it can help build self-confidence, which is critical for kids during this period of their lives.Children like Autumn who have dysmelia (the term for all types of congenital limb differences) not only want to blend in with their classmates and friends, but they want – and deserve – the increased functionality that a prosthesis can bring. Determined, Ronnie and Sarah continued their quest and finally found a company in Houston, TX, that had experience in pediatrics and specialized in upper limb prosthetics. They began the tedious process of filing for medical necessity with their insurance company. After seven long months, Autumn was finally approved for a passive prosthesis device. It looks like a doll’s hand but does not function. It was a good start, but not a long-term solution for an energetic and growing little girl.3D Printing ProsthesisIn September 2018, an article on Dell’s internal website caught Ronnie’s eye. Tara Sawyer’s story “Changing Lives Through 3D Printed Prosthetics,” described Dell employee Keith Dyer’s daughter Phoebe, and her journey to getting a 3D printed arm. The Dyers live in the UK, and like Autumn, 7-year-old Phoebe has dysmelia. The Dyer family worked closely with Deloitte Digital to get 3D printed hands for Phoebe. Phoebe loves her prosthesis, and even got to show off her custom Manchester United hand to the players at a home game!Ronnie was intrigued and reached out to Phoebe’s dad Keith to learn more about their process. He wondered if this process might be something they could look in to for Autumn back home in Texas. Around the same time, Seamus Jones, who works in Technical Marketing for Dell EMC, was also inspired by the story and reached out to Keith to see how our team in Round Rock might be able to help locally. Seamus knew that we had 3D printers on site because our OEM team often develops custom solutions for customers. We have the design (CAD) and 3D printing expertise to accomplish a project like this. Keith put him in touch with Ronnie, and the “Autumn Project” in Texas was soon underway!3D PrintingIt takes approximately 14 hours to print a child’s size hand using 3D printer, and another four+ hours to assemble. But the time and cost are minimal compared to a traditional prosthetic.3D Printers in Round Rock, TXFor the Autumn Project here in Round Rock, Seamus coordinated with engineers Ric McKinney and Karl Hamand, who readily agreed to help. Normally, most of the 3D printing done onsite is industrial black. But they wanted to give Autumn the opportunity to customize hers, so the PowerEdge Product Marketing team agreed to sponsor the ABS and PLA material in additional colors. Autumn chose a yellow and orange version, and a light blue and white “Frozen” version.Before long, the team had created two brand new hands for her:The Hand OffJanuary 18, 2019 was the big day – time to present Autumn with her new hands. The Egnatuks traveled from their home outside of Houston, TX, and Keith was in town from the UK.Seamus brought donuts and toys to help Autumn feel comfortable (he has daughters of his own, and knows sugar is often a quick way to make friends with a little one!). The most important thing was that she felt comfortable and had time to try on and get used to her new hand. After all, this entire project was about her.As you can see, the hands were a hit:Autumn trying on her new prosthetic while Keith Dyer shows her pictures of his daughter, Phoebe
We are constantly searching for the right balance to enable us to achieve our best possible life, whether in our professional priorities, diet, exercise regimen, relationships, or myriad other areas of our lives. Similarly, companies are searching for the right balance in their IT infrastructure across physical and virtual machines, storage, networking, security, and lifecycle management whether it be on-premises, public cloud or the edge. IT decision makers and administrators know that the right balance can lead to the capability to harness intelligence from huge amounts of data, driving competitive advantages and better outcomes.Along with an exponential amount of data comes a growing number of clouds. Ninety-two percent of organizations have both public and private cloud environments installed, but the dynamic nature of these clouds, driven by ever-changing business demands, requires maximum flexibility, agility, manageability and security. More and more companies are turning to the world’s #1 global x86 server provider,¹ Dell EMC PowerEdge, to give them flexible and secure infrastructure on which to build, run and manage their hybrid cloud, with the latest VMware stack including VMware vSphere® 7 with Kubernetes, VMware vSAN™ 7, and VMware Cloud Foundation™. Read on to discover your competitive advantage with Dell EMC PowerEdge and VMware.Thousands of companies across the world use VMware vSphere for server virtualization, but the new capabilities in vSphere 7 bring to market some great opportunities for both IT and app developers alike, with native support for Kubernetes built into vSphere 7. Now, applications can be deployed using any combination of virtual machines, containers and Kubernetes. In addition, one of the most exciting new features in vSphere 7 on PowerEdge servers specifically is the new vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM), which enables IT to deploy, manage and update both hardware and firmware drivers using a desired state model, when combined with OpenManage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV). OMIVV is the systems management plug-in from Dell for vCenter. Customers have maximum flexibility and control when patches and updates are deployed, with unified software and firmware lifecycle management. And they can do it simply within vCenter, a familiar and comfortable tool. Save time as cluster images are replicated automatically, at your desired pace, once an ESXi host or baseline cluster profile is established. Monitor for compliance and drift automatically, and schedule updates from within vCenter.Dell Technologies is one of only two OEMs at this time that offer vLCM. For our Dell EMC vSAN Ready Node customers, this is an exciting step to offering simple, reliable and consistent lifecycle operations in vSphere and HCI clusters. If you’re wondering what a Dell EMC vSAN Ready Node might be, it’s a PowerEdge server that has been configured and jointly certified to run VMware vSAN™, which is one of the fastest-growing hyperconverged software offerings today. Think of a vSAN Ready Node as an HCI building block, and Dell Technologies is proud to offer customers flexibility to design their hybrid cloud for optimal performance and agility with one of the broadest vSAN Ready Node portfolios on the market.²To round out the full software stack, VMware has introduced VMware Cloud Foundation 4, the simplest path to hybrid cloud. It serves as an integrated software platform that automates a complete software-defined data center (SDDC) on a standardized hyperconverged architecture, such as Dell EMC PowerEdge MX. Access this Tolly report³ to learn how you can deploy your private cloud in days rather than weeks with PowerEdge and VCF 4.*Flexible, scalable and manageable hybrid clouds are nothing without security. Together, PowerEdge and VMware deliver enterprise-grade security from chip to server to VM to cloud-native applications, starting with cyber-resilient PowerEdge architecture and extending through built-in intrinsic security in the VMware stack, including vSphere Trust Authority, network-level micro segmentation in VMware NSX®, distributed firewalls and VPN, storage-level encryption for data at rest and clusters, and much more.Whether you’re an established vSphere customer, just beginning to look at HCI solutions like vSAN Ready Nodes, or looking to flexibly architect a better hybrid cloud to support traditional and modern apps, the new VMware stack plus PowerEdge can help you strike the right balance of flexibility, agility, manageability, and security. Simplify and accelerate your hybrid cloud journey from the core to the cloud to the edge, with Dell EMC PowerEdge and VMware.¹ IDC WW Quarterly x86 Server Tracker, 2020Q1, June 9, 2020 ‑ Units & Revenue.² Based on Dell EMC review of vSAN Ready Node offering across all OEMs listed on VMware vSAN Compatibility Guide on March 25, 2020.³ Tolly report, commissioned by Dell Technologies, “Tolly Proven PowerEdge MX Reference Architecture for VMware Cloud Foundation and Deployment Best Practices,” April 2020.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Battling a COVID-19 resurgence driven by a more infectious variant, South Africa is preparing to roll out its first vaccines to the country’s frontline healthcare workers. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said a delivery of 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to arrive at Johannesburg’s international airport on Monday and there are plans for jabs to be given to doctors and nurses starting in mid-February. Mkhize said South Africa intends to vaccinate 67% of its 60 million people in 2021, starting with the most vulnerable health care workers.
CSENGELE, Hungary (AP) — A kosher slaughterhouse in southern Hungary has increased its exports to Belgium since the European Union’s highest court upheld a Flanders region law that prohibited slaughtering animals without first stunning them into unconsciousness. But the traditional methods practiced at Quality Poultry also are at the center of a debate over animal rights and religious rights. Last month’s European Court of Justice ruling has provoked fears of eventual EU-wide prohibitions on ritual slaughter. Animal rights groups say that slitting the throats of livestock and poultry while they are conscious amounts to animal cruelty. Jewish religious authorities consider pre-slaughter stunning to be a prohibited form of injury that renders meat and poultry non-kosher.
SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Google will pay $2.6 million to more than 5,500 employees and past job applicants. The payments are to resolve allegations that the internet giant discriminated against female engineers and Asians in California and Washington state. The settlement announced Monday closes a 4-year-old case that the Labor Department brought as part its reviews of the pay practices at federal government contractors such as Google. That inquiry resulted in accusations that Google had been paying its female engineers less than men in similar positions during a period spanning from 2014 to 2017. Google isn’t admitting any wrongdoing, but the settlement still could blemished its once-cherished reputation as an employers that pampers its workers.
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia’s leader says he is proud his country became the first in Europe to give its population the COVID-19 vaccine product made in China. President Aleksandar Vucic expressed his gratitude to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday for the 1 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine delivered to Serbia. Vucic said that by receiving the jabs, “the citizens of our country expressed deep trust in the Chinese vaccine and with that also in the Chinese state and Chinese experts.” Last year, Vucic kissed the Chinese flag when China delivered masks and other protective equipment and he criticized the European Union for an alleged lack of solidarity at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.