Karmiel September visit

Although it may seem summer has finished in UK, its still extremely hot in Israel and this time of the year.

I have a list of about 9-10 IT related jobs in our large warehouse at the north of the country in Karmiel again.

Therefore I schedule a time to do some preventative maintenance up there, and get all the small jobs fixed.   I had to set up PCs for a two new members of staff, one of the PCs has the VNC remote software not working so it required a site visit.    In the picture I am changing out defective cooling fans in PCs as the heat and dust puts extra strain on our PCs here used for keeping inventory of our food distribution, databases of families we help and donations amongst other things.

Lunch time.   For me, I stretch lunch break very slightly to do some procurement of parts.   I got 3 new cooling fans for the PCs here, two I ended up using straight away, also a hardware store just by this nice junction meant I could get some insulation tape some electrical plugs also.

I needed to set up and test Skype with the other two buildings, also install Dropbox and few other apps, test and inspect two small UPS systems which are defective and need to scrapped.   I have two more UPS units I can send up from another building.

This is outside our Karmiel warehouse, it doesn’t look that big, but it contains a lot of space on the inside.

Later, I went and stayed with one of the volunteer staff from this site:

Outside the place I stayed.   All these flats look brand new.   Karmiel is a fast expanding city.   this balloon thing in the distance is a fancy sign post advertising flats for sale.

Unlike what you see in the news, this part of town has Arab Bedouin families but they seem to live side by side without any troubles.

Getting up in the morning I can hear people using power tools and roosters crowing.

The outskirts of the town, more construction going on.  This is a Jewish neighborhood with most of the people working in construction are Arab.

Arab towns (several less than a couple of miles away) are expanding too of course.

Karmiel isn’t particularly religious city, but religious Jews and religious Arabs with often 5-10 children mean rapid expansion of housing is necessary.

Beautiful rolling hills in the distance from this junction by the industrial estate.

Well got most of the work done, making some adjustments to the wireless routers will be another day as well being able to monitor the VOIP telephone system switch and get a better UPS back up power system.

Time for some much needed couple of days off while I am working away to see a few places….

Off to Tiberias again next……

Judah’s visit to Jerusalem

This is my friend Judah Gabriel Himango, he is a fellow believer from the US I have known for about a year or so, we are quite similar sharing a keenness for problems solving in IT, although Judah is a web designer and programmer.

Hes likes to use his coding skills not just at his regular job, but also to serve the Lord, which one of these is his excellent Chavah Radio site an online radio station with Hebrew worship muisc, listeners can just hear what being played and add their own choices of songs to be played next.    Judah is using the same web site model to providing Arabic worship music to Egyptian Christians too, as well as other web sites teaching on which guitar chords to play this type of music too.  I think radio has always had exciting potential for providing worship material and teaching to those who can’t get it.

As well as we have similar interests in biblical theology and technical things, Judah happened to be flying on over to Eretz Israel to do some IT training courses, so stopped off on the way to stay at my place in Jerusalem as he needed a place to stay and didn’t mind my couch, it was fun to show him around places, we must of done 8-10 miles of walking easily I think.

Here is Judah close to the Pillar of Absalom with the Mount of Olives in the background.   I like to often get several pictures to join together to make a panoramic image, but as they were at a slightly odd angle I couldn’t quite cut the edges without losing detail, so its left as it is 🙂

We saw the UN HQ near my house, the Haas promenade, many bits of the old city including Jaffa Gate, praying at the Kotel, bartering Arabic quarter, grab food, then off to my church King of Kings Jerusalem.

Here is the Golden gate again, this is the place where our Lord Jesus will come back according to scripture.   Doesn’t matter its bricked up  and has an Arab cemetery in front.    I am sure there are spiritual power tools to make a way through 🙂

While we were there, I have just noticed this sign, whats odd, is the bit that says the “last path” (up to the Mount of Olives) and the other one “Gate of Mercy”  I have not seen this before!  interesting clues of the future!

We had enough time to quickly show him around the ministry I work for at Bridges for Peace and the nice old historic building which belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Later we had dinner with our mutual brother in the Lord and wonderful musician Teddy Chadwick of Yerubilee blog who produces worship music on a harp.   A small country like Israel and things like Facebook frequently mean you find different groups of friends who know each other from wildly different places.   This bit was a new experience for me as this was a brand new Yemenite restaurant in Jaffa Street which I have never had food from Yemen before.  He later went off to see some of his family, then headed to Netanya to see other friends and do his IT training.

He is a terrific guy I finally met in the flesh and love his enthusiasm for sharing his love for the Lord and writing about his experiences.   We will stay in touch and hopefully meet again another time 🙂

Here’s some of his writings of his experiences:

http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-divine-presence-at.html http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-mt-of-olives-islamic.html http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-finding-my-brother-in.html http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-mediterranean-delights.html

Skype and voice over IP services in Ethiopia banned

This apparently is my 500th blog post, wow.    I have never really had much of an opinion about control of the internet by governments, until I saw this yesterday;

Ethiopia bans Skype; 15 years of jail time possible

This is very sad as I have a close friend who used to live in Israel who is of Ethiopian origin who has gone back there.   The above article mentions 700,000 out of 84m people, (less than 1%) have internet access.

Last time I called him on Skype a few months ago I missed his call, then he was offline as  the internet connection was too unreliable for me to call him back, so I rang him from my Skype account to his mobile using some credit which worked pretty good.   So this is a good solution although can’t remember how much I spent last time.

With violence at a high amongst believers in Ethiopia, its sad that cutting off a cheap form of communication makes things harder for families on either side there.  Foreigners should be careful what they say on the phone to friends there as its likely all calls are monitored.

There is only one ISP in Ethiopia and its owned by the government, there is an interesting wiki article here about the laws of the web in the north eastern African state.

This really awful for African Jews in Israel who almost certainly still have family and friends back there.   Israel has 1.5% Jews of Ethiopian descent, and there are many more who want to come back soon.

Note to anyone in Ethiopia who has any type of computer, especially Christians doing ministry projects out there, get yourself a free piece of software (Windows or Mac) called Truecrypt to encrypt drives (internal or external) on your computer, if you are worried about any information which is sensitive in case a computer is seized by any form of hostile government.

A blogger who writes on Ethiopia mentions more on this here: http://transformingethiopia.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/new-telecom-crime-bill-grossly-criminalising-individual-liberty-at-stake/#more-5785


Karmiel IT visit visit in November

In case you have just found this blog, I am a volunteer IT system admin person looking after the computer systems for a Christian charity in Israel with three buildings to take care off.   This building is special as its 180kms from where I normally work and I also go and visit once in a while when something urgent needs sorting out or I have a number of regular jobs to do.   I like this trip as it does mean I can combine it with a weekend away somewhere, like seeing Netanya, Akko, Nahariya, Cana, Tel Aviv, Nazareth or Tiberias and often stay with colleagues or friends close by.

I needed to do some more work at our food bank at Karmiel, a few jobs to do, mostly because of recent thunderstorms made the power go off causing all the PCs to reboot suddenly there, including the main servers and telephone equipment, this is not good as the UPS battery back up system appears to be useless as the batteries had not been changed in a while, they normally only last 3 years.

I get the new batteries from an electronics shop run by a Russian man and his wife, he has an amazing knack to talk on the phone in Hebrew and write in Russian at the same time!    I got someone from work to order the batteries (he doesn’t speak English) and I had them a few days later.

I don’t have a decent mobile toolbox, heck I don’t even have a car to get up there, I borrowed a old ladies’ shopping trolley off someone in our headquarters, put the new batteries and my tools and software CDs in there and took the bus up to Karmiel, I left at lunch time as the only bus that goes in a straight forward linear direction from Jerusalem to Karmiel is at 2pm.

Karmiel is quite different from Jerusalem.   Quiet, clean and orderly.   I have been to Wales a couple of times in the last couple of years, and Karmiel is quite similar, the city is surrounded by hills.

I got into the warehouse about 30 mins early and got into the wiring cabinet and disconnected the UPS systems, opened them up and replaced the batteries and quickly tested them.  The other jobs to do, was to do some site survey for a bigger UPS system but this needs a heavy duty shelf to hold at least 25 kilos worth of equipment inside a cabinet.  The cabinet will also have a 48 port switch quite soon.

Also needed, was to install the new antivirus application, this is the third time I have had do this, seeing as our AVG licence ran out, and I previously installed Bit Defender antivirus was terrible and never worked right, Panda antivirus (free for non profits) was ok but too basic and wouldn’t protect us properly from online threats, this time I had three years subscription to Avast so I could get this installed and not have to worry about it for a long time!   Not only was this over 50% saving of the licences compared to Bit Defender, it saves a lot of time having to carefully test and plan installing this all over again now we have it for 3 years.   Normally you can install antivirus using remote software like VNC, but I wanted to do in person, in case in crashes the server it would not be easy to sort out from 180kms away.

Last thing to do, was set up a nice HP Officejet printer in an office, the desk on the user’s PC is very cramped so I put it in the corner of the room and switched it from USB to network connection, so it can be shared among multiple staff and I can see if it (and all the other PCs, servers and printers online and working using my Spiceworks remote software.

Once I got a whole days’ worth of work done, I took the friday off, saw my Messianic Jewish friends who moved from my town of Portsmouth to close by in Karmiel, Israel, which was really nice to see them, I got another early morning bus at about 8.30 over to Nazareth, my second visit to Jesus’s home town to go and stay in a legendary mansion converted to a youth hostel.

Check back soon!

Fix problems with Googlemail, calender, Chrome and Hebrew in Israel

When using Google’s mail and calender services in Israel, sometimes a few slightly odd things happen.

When using Gmail, the login screen changes to Hebrew without warning.   I think this mainly happens when using Chrome.   Quite a few people I know have switched from Firefox to Chrome, I haven’t done so because of this.    Its mainly a problem for travelers to Israel with a  laptop, and the browser finds your IP address is in Israel and pre-empts that you need Hebrew, which of course for people who don’t speak or aren’t very skilled in Hebrew this can be a problem trying to get it back to English!    Also, as an IT system admin in the holyland I use the business version of Gmail (no complex nightmares of Exchange for me!)   this happens when I create new email accounts for new members of staff, even though the Google control panel is configured for English.

Thus here above is a way to fix this if this happens to you.   Of course, the icon layout is reversed, if you find your language changed to Arabic instead or some other language, you can probably ‘guess’ where the options to change the language is based on this:

Also, I have also had a case when using Google maps, I see Israel with no place names at all, but all the surrounding cities (Damascus, Beirut, Amman, etc) labeled in Arabic?   I guess the maps are rendered according to preferred methods of a particular political viewpoint but sometimes it comes out wrong!   Google has a big R&D facility in Tel Aviv and Haifa and I think their headquarters for the Arab market are in Dubai.  Hope Google can fix these problems 🙂

IT support in Israel – replacing fans in PCs

Skip this if you don’t want to read IT repair work,  this is just an example of things I do at my work, that saves us money and time and keeps equipment running longer.

We had this PC that was spare I was going to set up for our personal department, I spend hours getting it ready with Windows XP plus 100+ updates, Adobe Writer, database and another 10 or so specialist apps only to find I got some strange errors when booting it mentioning it had a fan problem.

To my surprise there was actually 4 different fan faults!

  1. The fan in the power supply was wearing out, so for the first 30 minutes until it warms up when you use the computer it sounds like an elderly blender!
  2. On top of the main processor (which is an AMD Athlon 64 3000 chip)   the fan appears to be spinning slower than normal, this is was giving the error upon boot up
  3. Also, the chipset fan, which is a little fan that is integrated into the motherboard was completely dead, not spinning at all.  This was probably causing it to freeze in Windows as well.
  4. Lastly, there is meant to be fan on the back chassis of the PC, this was missing.

I bought this from a local computer shop.  Actually this is the bad one, but you can see this fan has a 4 pin drive connector on these.  I don’t like these at all, this makes the voltage supply to the PC’s hard drive unstable and can cause the hard disk to malfunction, its better to use a fan with a 3 pin connector that plugs into the motherboard, on this one there are two connectors on this PC for this purpose.   I had to look in 4 computer shops around Jerusalem to get these fans, as they had none, or only 1 or 2 in stock!

So, the last standard ATX power supply I bought to fix another PC recently cost us 200 Shekels which I thought was a bit expensive, as it was just a fan failing, I opened up the metal casing of the power supply and snipped the wires on the fan, and as this fan was just an 88mm type unit I snipped the wires on this and twist the wires together and sealed it up with tape – no more grinding from back of this computer.

Now normally the heatsink and fan on top of the AMD Athlon 64 754 type processor you buy as a set, but this type of AMD chip is obsolete and not been made in about 5 years so finding this part could be difficult.   Actually it was easy as the fan was also just an 88mm unit, so just needed to take 4 philips screws out to replace this part.

The motherboard chipset fan was more tricky.   I had to get this part from ebay as its manufactured directly for Asus, the board manufacturer.

As you can see this fan has the plastic fastening bolts off centre and a small two pin wire that feeds back to the main board.

Lastly, I fitted one more 88mm fan on the back panel of the PC.

This is what I got, which was about US$10/£6.50, this meant I had to completely gut the PC and remove all cards and wiring, flip the whole motherboard assembly upside down and squeeze two plastic lugs to free this little fan and fit this new one.

Lastly, the front USB ports had broken off and come loose inside the PC, this happens a lot on poor quality clone PCs, this case I think was one of the ‘medium’ quality ones I have used though.   I used a glue gun (one of those things you push glue sticks in the back)  to fix this back on the inside of the front plastic fascia.   I don’t know how much structural strength this has now, but seem ok at the moment.

All these little repairs have saved me from having to throw the PC out or buy drastically more expensive parts.

For some reason, doing IT support in a hot desert like country like Israel, means with the high amount of dust around, I am often replacing fans on computers of all kinds.   It seems the oil in the motor bearings solidifies causing friction noise when spinning up, this is especially true when a PC hasn’t been switched on in months when introducing a new staff member.

On a typical day I am normally answering calls to the helpdesk, researching on new IT solutions for the future, managing backups, setting up new staff on the servers, fixing staff’s own laptops as well as repairing or replacing failing hardware.

Logmein – IT pros working around the world in fun places

I entered a competition recently, its from a program I use at work called Logmein to connect to my office PC from home, not sure when a prize of some kind will be announced.

The competition was a photo from whilst on holiday where is a good place to work from remotely.

Here I love my job!  I don’t actually have an income, but doing volunteer IT support in Israel has to be one of the best things ever!   Its also interesting to see other IT admins doing their roles from other unusual parts of the world.    In this picture in the top left corner of the screen, I am climbing up the Negev desert close to the Ramon Crater.   I once worked with a chap doing IT for the hospitals, who looked after servers on a cruise liner, so I am curious of what the most fun and unusual IT job there could be.

I mend a Samsung NC-10 netbook with a dodgy screen

Taking small break on bible places and things in Israel, skip this if you are not interested 🙂

I fix laptops for people, as for some reason I like repairing them, and people have given me donations towards my volunteering work here.

  • Saves you buying a new computer! well yeah, er of course 🙂
  • You feel like a boss after fixing your computer, and feel and extreme sense of satisfaction of doing it yourself!
  • Stick your tongue out at the iPad crowd, as laptops are still way better than tablet computers, you can type on them, and angle the screen to a comfortable setting and are the best device for real work on the move.  🙂

Rather than throw it away when it gets a fault, if you have steady hands and the right tools, it can be revived again, give this a go!

You need, small philips screwdriver, spludger or some suitable plastic prising device like a guitar plectrum, a bowl or something to put the screws in safe.  Also have another working computer on your desk to follow these instructions and the helpful Youtube videos.

One of the leaders of my bible study had this quite popular Samsung NC-10 mini laptop, the problem with it is the screen on it disappears into a white background or flashes white lines on it, by adjusting the screen you can fix or make this worse.

It seems to be a popular problem, its caused by the cable that connects the screen panel to the motherboard going bad, it seems a poor design in this computer means the wires get pinched by the screen hinges.

If you do some Google searches you can see this model laptop suffers from this issue a lot.  I tracked down the part and read up how it dismantles and decided to try and see if I could fix it.

I bought a replacement genuine Samsung part from eBay.    Like all screen cables for laptops, its got a flat rectangular end and its thin in the middle and has another small rectangular end that plugs into the motherboard with an extra cable for grounding that is fixed by one philips screw.   This part cost me US$17 including shipping from China which took two weeks to get here.  You can buy this part from sellers from UK and US at a higher price too.

The sellers do not usually provide any help on fitting or how to do a repair.

I didn’t take much pictures of the work I did, regrettably, but check out these Youtube videos, someone has kindly made available that show a tear-down of this model computer.  Its actually quite easy to take apart, although fitting the cable is quite tricky, as it has to be routed in the exactly the right place through the hinges.

It seems if you take the laptop apart and make sure all the connections are in tight some people say this will fix it but then the problem may come back again a bit later.   Therefore I thought it would be best to replace the LCD cable.    Take attention to where the cables sits underneath the LCD panel other the screen will look wonky and this might pinch your new cable again.

One you have both sections of the NC-10 apart, you need to remove one more philips screw where the cable attaches to the board, give it a gentle wiggle for the cable to come free.   To remove it from the screen end, there is a piece of yellow tape to removed which you should keep safe or replace when you reassemble it.

The rounded chrome coloured screen hinge that houses the troublesome cable is made of two pieces and very gently with screwdriver you can prise it apart and get at the cable.   The tricky thing is that the centre of the cable is wrapped around the hinge along with the cable for the screen mounted web cam.  These have to go in a very specific way, so take a picture with a camera that can do close up pictures, so after you remove the bad cable you know how to fit the new one.

Once this is done, you can put refit the LCD panel in the screen lid and put in the bottom screws and loosely reassemble the laptop and see if the screen lights up, whilst holding F1 to go into the BIOS screen to prevent it from booting into Windows.   If all is well, you put it back together and enjoy your newly fixed Samsung!

If this has been useful to you, and you mended your own computer, please consider giving me a donation to the work I am doing providing volunteer IT support to a Christian charity in Israel.

Body of Christ in Israel

I was thinking about the different types of people I know in various Christian organisations in Israel, one thing we have in common is as volunteers we have put our careers in hold, often got rid of our cars and sometimes houses, are away from our families to help serve in all different types of roles.

From this, I have realised we all have gifts and talents but often our nations of origin hold significant strengths and abilities also that define us.

This isn’t meant to put any us in boxes as such, but these are some of the common abilities I have seen amongst fellow volunteers in Israel.   Sadly I have not included the UK, as there is very few Brits I see here.

1. USA

Traditionally the media have always labeled America has been the biggest supporter of Israel, and its true but as the US has more Christian organisations than anywhere else in the world, so I would say American Christians have particular talent in leadership.

American is the pioneering force behind Christian media and press, and a lot of great lot of the gospel has come up from TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, it has helped to shape the message of Jesus to spread all over the world.

At the moment America has a heck of lot of debt, I tried to work it out but I couldn’t fit all the numbers onto the LCD screen on this calculator, I can’t see a clear solution to fix this, but I hope this encourages a shake up of America’s Christians to pray and intercede for their government.

2. Japan

Believers in Jesus in Japan officially only make up less than 1% of Japan, the ones that truly know the Lord and I really admire they the most servant hearted people I have seen, especially in the food bank here at Bridges for Peace putting together bags and pallets of food that are going to the needy.  They are not recently threatened by war, but more of geology related problems can be just as destructive, and its great there is great relationships between Israel and Japan, as Israel helped out with the most recent devastating earthquake.  They also seem to be the politest people in the world too. 🙂

3. Suomi (aka Finland)

There isn’t any Finnish people at the organisation I am at the moment, but there are a lot I know in other Christian organisations here.   Interesting enough I know most of them speak Finnish and Swedish, the ones in the west of the country next to Sweden prefer to speak Swedish.

Given that Finland has only 5 million people – less than Israel, but many Finns tell me that all the churches they know support Israel.   It seems like replacement theology is a foreign concept to our friends from the chilly top corner shelf of Europe.  The Finns seem to have a knack for good sound biblical teaching I think, and there are a few dedicated Finnish Christian organisations in Israel.

Thus, Kudos and Kiitos for the dedication from the Finns. (Kiitos is the only Finnish word I remember which is thankyou)

4. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

Our Commonwealth brothers:

These guys seem to have more of a sense of adventure than anywhere else, going traveling around other places.   For instance, I have been to a few Youth hostels in France and America and always see Aussies, Kiwis and Bokkies there, and they make good travel companions.  The seem to be attracted to the outdoors and getting their hands dirty, which is why they also excel at sport, but excelling even more at trying to be super competitive over each other.   So they seem to naturally take to doing overseas volunteer work in a Christian ministry..

And they drive on the same side of the road as us Brits too. :o)

5. Nigeria

I don’t think we have any Nigerians volunteering in any Christian organisation I know of here, but since a few years ago, when the Nigerian government told the Muslim population they can have a free paid for trip to Mecca, the Christian population complained they ought to have a free trip to Jerusalem as well, the government obliged, and now we see a lot of Nigerians here showing their support for Israel, so they bless this land by just being here touring and seeing places.

6. Canadians

They don’t seem to get too cross if you call them Americans by mistake.  They seem to not moan about cold, and they like hunting.   Canadians seem to stand out by their warmth, cheerfulness and great humour especially under pressure.

Canada probably has the best government of anywhere at the moment as PM Stephen Harper proudly makes his unwavering support for Israel as a Christian, not caring what his fellow peers think but trusting in the bible.   I can only wish we had more leaders like this.  Fer sure Eh.

7. The Netherlands

The Dutch have a talent for prayer and intercession, this is reflected by a hardcore group of Christians from Holland that go praying along the walls of the old city every day, 6 days a week, just not Shabbat or Jewish holidays.

8. Thai and Filipinos

I see a lot of people from East Asia here working with the elderly and holocaust survivors.   These people have such abundance of patience and love for the infirm.   I see a lot of people from these countries in the UK too working as nurses and carers also.

9. South Koreans

The last Asian country to mentioned here but with the largest amount of Christians in Asia I think.  I don’t see many volunteering here, but theres a lot of them on Christian tours here, the Koreans seem to excel at worship I think.   I see them playing guitar in Ben Yehuda Street every weekend and in the parks too.  Its funny seeing a small boy playing a big guitar thats the same size of him too doing a Hill Songs cover in their own language.

10. Israelis

Last but not least, Messianic Jews I have met here in Israel, seem tough and well prepared for all kinds of situations, due to training in the army as well as being people of the book, therefore having to deal with threats from neighbouring countries, inaccurate, dishonest or slanderous news in media around the world, as well from harassment from Jewish anti missionaries.  I like the fact that Israelis seem very outgoing and like travelling and going to see live music a lot too.

Lastly, this is not meant to be exhaustive, only a sample of people I have seen here, there in fact other groups of people, such musicians from Denmark and even in recent times there Arab people who have a passion for Jesus, this is something I would like to find out and write at another time.

VMware conference in Tel Aviv

I got up and left the house at 5.30 to go to a IT conference at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv.

As I mentioned before, Tel Aviv’s unique multistory bus station is a strange affair, finding the way out is very confusing.   With stairs and lifts that go all over the place, but no signs explaining the way to the street, I feel a bit like someone from the Labyrinth movie with David Bowie. 🙂

Once I go to taxi rank I jumped in a car and asked if the man could take me to the hotel, he said the journey would be 80 Shekels (£14) I told him I wanted a ride with the meter on, as this was too much, fully aware of rip-off scams of taxi drivers explaining the meter is ‘broken’ and offering a ‘special deal’ to naive foreigners, this driver complained to me he has to pay 35% of the journey to the government.  I just got out and walked away as he wanted to offer me 70 instead.  I just thought if you don’t want to pay those fees, find a different career!   Another driver who was polite and legit with the meter on charged me about 37 NIS instead.

The food at the event was on par with a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, there is a huge buffet of different things on offer, traditional Israeli breakfast spread of bread, salad, yoghurt, etc, lot of cake after the first seminar and various types of coffee served by a waiter, and a really superb choice of things for lunch too.  There was also a free bar, well just two types of beers on tap, which was very welcoming when sitting outside given it has been about 35 degrees C recently.   Full marks for the catering, but then again with $850m earned last year I guess VMware didn’t want to look like cheapskates.   The Microsoft event I went to in 2008 which had the Windows 7 launch in London I only got a couple of sandwiches though.

The seminars were mostly spoken in Hebrew with the powerpoint slides and annotations in English.

Most of the products on offer were showing the new upcoming (v5) version of VMware ESX, and addons and third party software apps from other vendors, aimed at someone with a VMware system already in place.

I had some questions I asked the staff, such as differences between the freeware and paid for licences of ESX, they told me to go to the web site, but there isn’t much there.

So not a great deal of value for my job or for my plan to build a server at home, but I did get decently fed, a IBM 100 anniversary T-shirt and a HP flashlight, got to chat to chap from the Israeli company I used to work for and a few other people.