We're getting into the hottest part of the year now, so everyone is encouraged to come join us in the air conditioning every third Thursday for some Pizza and drinks and stimulating conversation.
If you want a chance to direct the conversation, volunteer! If you have any questions about presenting, don't hesitate to bring them up at the meeting, or email programs [at] cactus <dot> org.
This afternoon I talked for a while with R.W. Rushing, the marketing manager for Jump.Net, our newest co-location sponsor which is hosting our new SPARC 10 for us. I'd tried to reach Dewey Coffman, one of Jump.Net's CEOs, but he is obviously a very busy man, for reasons that this article should make obvious. R.W. was Mike Rice's contact at Jump.Net in setting up our sponsorship agreement and he spoke to me at some length about Jump.Net.
Jump.Net, started in 1995, is a very busy company and growing fast. their two primary lines of business are connectivity and web hosting. Although Jump.Net's connectivity offerings include 'old school' options such as ISDN and T1 connections, their main focus these days is DSL. Jump.Net was Texas' original DSL provider, even before SW Bell jumped on on the DSL bandwagon, and turned on the first DSL line in Texas in 1997. Their DSL service isn't limited to Texas, though. Through various cooperative agreements, Jump.Net is currently providing DSL access in 90 cities in 35 states in the US.
Jump.Net's second line of business is web hosting and co-location. Many well known known online businesses are Jump.Net customers, and some, such as garden.com 'grew up' with Jump.Net. Says R.W., "We've been garden.com's Internet service provider since they were three people in a garage". They take pride in the quality of their connectivity, providing a 100% uptime guarantee and no less than 12 redundant connections to the Internet backbone. Their co-location facilities are open 24 x 7 to their customers, with in-house support at all times. "3 AM is actually our busiest hour!" says R.W.
Jump.Net isn't standing still in the fast-moving waters of Internet entrepreneurship. Their newest line of business is called Jump.Net Ventures which J.W. described as "kind of like a venture capital company", but instead of investment cash, Jump.Net exchanges premium Internet services for equity shares in new Internet startups, This allows new ventures to move toward proof of concept more quickly and attract necessary financial investment.
I asked R.W. how Unix fits into Jump.Net's operational picture. "Be careful", he said, "I'm the marketing guy". He did inform me, though, that Jump.Net's president has at least 15 years of Unix experience, and that all of the system admins are highly Unix qualified. Most of their tech support and administrative folks are "pretty heavily into Linux at this point." R.W. says. "We have a culture at Jump.Net that is tremendously rewarding for Unix system administrators. There's a lot of freedom, there's as much responsibility and as many interesting projects as they care to take on, so we've been very fortunate in attracting and keeping very highly qualified sys admins."
Jump.Net has been a generous supporter of other non-profit community endeavors besides CACTUS. They provide volunteer hosting for the Austin Software Council and for the Austin Chamber of Commerce as well as organizations such as Girlstart, an effort aimed at getting young women involved in technology at an early age. I asked R.W. about efforts to bridge the country's cultural technology divide by providing computer and Internet education in the public schools. He said that Jump.Net has looked at this, but still hasn't found a good way to apply their energies to this. With as much expertise as they have to bring to the table, let's hope they find a way to get involved with the effort.
In conclusion, R.W. said that one of the things that really makes Jump.Net special is that they're very approachable. R.W. said that Jump.Net has "more sys admins per square foot than any other co-location facility in Austin", and they pride themselves on being a helpful family of Unix administrators to their customers.
R.W. asked me to pass on a bit of contact information for anyone interested in learning more about Jump.Net. Wade Andrews is their Corporate Sales Manager and also, apparently, a very clueful and experienced Unix system admin - an unusual combination of skills. Wade can be reached at wade [at] jump <dot> net. R.W. also offered to answer any questions anyone might have, and can be reached at rw [at] jump <dot> net.
CACTUS always seems to have trouble mustering the required effort from its officers and members to keep up its essential functions. The newsletter, the membership database, scheduling of presentations, system administration on our various systems, etc. all often seem to be barely hanging on! I used to think that this was due to laziness, or a bad attitude or some combination of evil forces which turned otherwise good people into bad CACTUS officers. Now that I've been in the hot seat myself, I see clearly what the problem is!
The root of the issue is time. Many of us are stretched to the max in these busy times between family and work, and perhaps other volunteer commitments, and CACTUS duties often get short shrift. But even deeper than the issue of personal time is the fact that often those of us who are officers feel that we're working alone. We tend to forget that CACTUS, as a group, has a large pool of technical and organizational talent which, if we were all working together, would make very light work of many of the group's tasks.
The bottom line here is that the volunteerism that makes CACTUS work isn't just the effort by the officers. We need and welcome participation by as many members as are able to get involved. If your job is interesting, consider doing a presentation on what you do. If you've got special Unix skills which you're excited about, consider offering a tutorial. Our programs chairperson would be delighted to have more presentations by members. We don't always have to have an outside speaker or presenter at our meetings!
The officers also need to remember that they're not working alone. If you're an officer and are going to be unable to do an important CACTUS job, send an email to the other officers and/or to the membership and ask for help. We're all in this together!
As a final note, it should be mentioned that the one essential CACTUS function which seems to be holding up well is the monthly pre-meeting pizza purchase! As long as we have pizza and sodas at our meetings, we can be confident that things will get better :)
Once again, we have no scheduled program for this month's meeting. Member-at-large Jack McKinney may show up and offer one of his many excellent presentations. My vote would be for a re-run on his IPv6 presentation which I showed up for late last time and consequently didn't grok the rest of the talk. Ray Schafer, our programs person, informs us that next month we have someone from Cisco scheduled to talk to us about load balancing with their Network Director product, and he's approaching Sun about sending someone to talk about the new Solaris for our July meeting although nothing has net been confirmed.
Lets welcome our newest Corporate sponsor, LaserLink.net. The following description came from their web site.
"In contrast to typical ISPs that are invested in building their own brands, LaserLink.net was founded to build the brands of our client organizations through a technologically superior VISP (Virtual Internet Service Provider) product. We do everything to enable a client organization to offer first-class, totally branded Internet access to its customers or members."
Check out their web site, http://www.laserlink.net. Mark Bonner is the contact person, 512-428-9443 The email addresses are chip [at] laserlink <dot> net and wrat [at] laserlink <dot> net.
We also thank Bill Dodd for renewing his membership.
To renew your membership, please send check or money order payable to CACTUS ($25/yr for regular membership and $96/yr for corporate sponsorship):
CACTUS PO BOX 9786 AUSTIN, TX 78766-9786You can also pay in person at the general meetings. Please direct any inquiries or address changes to membership [at] cactus <dot> org.
Please do not show up earlier than 6:20 pm on the specified day. Enter through the main entrance at 10000 Burnet Road for ARL:UT. Tell the guard that you are here for the CACTUS meeting. You will be required to sign a log book, but not required to wear a badge. The guards will direct you to the auditorium entrance. Limited parking in the front of the building is available, but more extensive parking is available in the large parking lot just north of the ARL building. After 6:30 pm, all entrances to JJ PRC, except for the Burnet Road entrance, are closed and locked. You can still enter the parking lot in front of the ARL building. No parking tags are necessary after 6:00 pm. See map for further details.
Online maps are available at:
| | ^ <---- to MOPAC | | | | | | North | | | to Braker Lane ---------------+ | -+ /-----------+ | | | | | | +--------+ | | | Parking | | | | Lot | | | +----------+ | | | | +------------+ | | | | +-------+ | | | | +---+ | | | | | | | Rutland | ARL | | | | +--------- | | | | | +--------- | | | +---+ | | | +---+---+ | +------------+ | | | | | | South | | | to US 183 | | v