Now that I am on Annual Leave, I am wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thank you so much for visiting and see you next year!
Now that I am on Annual Leave, I am wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thank you so much for visiting and see you next year!
The first session I recommend you should watch is all about our EUC Vision and announcements with Shawn Bass. This session shows how we move forward with the Anywhere Workspace solution and will include the most important updates. If you are looking for one session that covers the updates without going into depth, this is the one for you.
Building on the Anywhere Workspace keynote, Shawn Bass, CTO for VMware EUC, will go in-depth on the vision and announcements for VMware Workspace ONE and Horizon. Part 1 cover the critical relationship between employee experience and zero trust security, as well as the role of automation.
Following up on the previous session, Shawn Bass will go into the weeds on SASE and Horizon. After the first Keynote, there is still be a lot to be told. So if you are looking to learn more about enabling Multi-Cloud Virtual Desktops & Application Delivery, this is the one for you.
The EUC Solution keynote continues with a deep dive into two important topics. First, Shawn Bass will talk about VMware SASE, VMware Secure Access, and what they mean for end-user computing strategies in a world of distributed work. Next, we will take look at what’s new in Horizon, and a deep dive into what’s coming next.
Ever wondered where the “Extreme” bit from Blast Extreme is referring to? In this session, seeing is believing. Johan Van Amersfoort, who recently wrote his second book VDI Design Guide Part II, will share his knowledge and expertise in this technical session. With demo’s, usecases and customer experiences, Johan, together with Matt Coppinger and Spencer Pitts, will blow you away.
It’s also one of the sessions that got the VMworld People’s Choice Award, so make sure you check this one out!
You will witness VMware Horizon hosting insanely intensive workloads, from cloud gaming and immersive VR training to movie making and warfighting simulation. We will show what it takes to extend VMware Horizon beyond your typical VDI use cases and into the realms of media production, gaming, simulation, training and more. You will also learn how customers are utilising VMware Horizon, Blast Extreme and more to deliver next generation services during a global pandemic. Oh, and did we mention that we will show you some demos which will blow you away? This is a must-see session for any EUC enthusiast!
Matt Coppinger, Director, Product Management, EUC, VMware
Spencer Pitts, Chief Technologist, VMware
Johan Van Amersfoort, Technologist EUC, ITQ
If you have a Tech+ Pass for VMworld then you should definitely check this on out: “Meet the Expert” for End-User Computing.
You can ask any question and the expert will answer it the best they can, as long it has something to do with EUC 🙂
Meet the End User Computing experts, bring your questions and ask us anything. These experts are prepared to answer your toughest questions spanning from virtual desktops and apps, unified endpoint management, security, to practical tips and tricks, successful implementations…the list goes on.
Christopher Dayton, Director, VMware
Spencer Pitts, Chief Technologist, VMware
And then, last but definitely not least, Johan Van Amersfoort will do an incredibly cool demo, together with CTO of Synterex, Jon Towles. I won’t say too much but you will not be disappointed 🙂
At VMworld 2020, Johan Van Amersfoort presented The Nerdfest VDI Demo which blew the audience away because of the great demos which involved Horizon, Bitfusion, GPUs, ML, etc. The Nerdfest VDI Demo was an enormous success and deserves a 2021 edition. For The Nerdfest EUC Demo, Johan has teamed up with mobility expert Jon Towles to bring you a next-level, demo-packed session that will combine the slick Day 0/1 onboarding experience, with some custom-built Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub Virtual Assistant (AVA) workflows, and integration into VMware Horizon for modern managed, full clone desktops. This session promises to show you a mix of real-life use cases and some serious “Art of the Possible”
Jon Towles, CTO, Synterex
Johan Van Amersfoort, Technologist EUC, ITQ
Hope to see you there!
In my previous post I explained that I was switching out my Homey Pro for a Raspberry Pi 4. Now that all the hardware is in, it’s time to set everything up! This is what I got:
Setting up the hardware.
The first thing to do is screw everything together, as that is super easy, I am not going to explain that. When everything is correctly screwed together, the SSD can be formatted and configured with the Raspberry Pi Imager. Just plug it into the computer, choose the right OS, click next and it’s done. What I do want to mention is that SSH is turned off by default. Creating a file named “SSH” on the boot folder of Raspbian OS activates this again. The next step is plugging everything in and booting up. Since last year, the Raspberry Pi supports booting from USB devices. In case yours does not work yet, try updating the Raspberry Pi to the latest Firmware and EEPROM after booting from an SD card first. Below are the commands to do this but luckily mine was ready to go.
Configuring the basics.
Now that the hardware is plugged in and the Raspberry Pi is booted up, configuring everything is next on the list. Look for the Raspberry Pi on your network, remember it’s IP address and SSH to the device with:
There are a couple of things that need to be done before installing and configuring Pi-Hole and other programs you might want to run on the Raspberry Pi:
# Update the list of programs sudo apt update # Upgrade the programmes with all it's dependencies sudo apt full-upgrade # Reboot to activate all the changes sudo reboot # The next bit should not part of any regular update process! # Update the OS kernel sudo rpi-update # Update the EEPROM to the latest version sudo rpi-eeprom-update
After this, reboot again and the Raspberry Pi is all up to date.
Changing the default password is also highly recommended. Choose a strong password, you can even make use of a password manager like I do.
With the basics done, the Raspberry Pi is ready to be used for it’s original goal; Replacing the Homey Pro.
To connect my Zigbee devices, I use a ConBee II. To read, configure and update the Zigbee stick on the Raspberry Pi, deCONZ is needed.
# Set user USB access rights sudo gpasswd -a $USER dialout # Import Phoscon public key wget -O - http://phoscon.de/apt/deconz.pub.key | \ sudo apt-key add - # Configure the Stable APT repository for deCONZ sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://phoscon.de/apt/deconz \ $(lsb_release -cs) main' > \ /etc/apt/sources.list.d/deconz.list" # Update APT package list sudo apt update # Install deCONZ sudo apt install deconz
There is one change I made after the installation, which is letting it run on another port than the default one. The reason for this is that deCONZ uses port 80, which is also used for Pi-hole. As Pi-hole overwrites the config file with every update, it’s easier to change the port for deCONZ instead.
# Change directory cd /lib/systemd/system # Open file in an editor sudo nano deconz.service # Changing the port to 8080 # Look for the following line and replace 80 with 8080 for example ExecStart=/usr/bin/deCONZ -platform minimal --http-port=8080 # Restarting the service sudo service deconz restart # Install Homebridge and Homebridge Config UI X
sudo npm install -g --unsafe-perm homebridge homebridge-config-ui-x# Setup Homebridge as a service
sudo hb-service install --user homebridge
Now go to <IP.ADDRESS>:8080/pwa/index.html and setup your Zigbee devices.
Does your stick not show up? Make sure you use an USB-Extension cable to decrease the risk of any interference. Especially if you use an external drive connected to other USB ports like I do.
HomeBridge is an amazing application to expose non-HomeKit devices to HomeKit. When the Zigbee devices are setup in deCONZ, they need to be exposed to HomeKit too.
# Setup repository curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_14.x | sudo bash - # Install Node.js sudo apt install -y nodejs gcc g++ make python net-tools # Test if node is working node -v # Upgrade npm sudo npm install -g npm
Go to http://<IP.ADDRESS>:8581 and install the applications. In my setup I have Nest, Ring and ConBee (uses the Hue app). Make sure to use Verified applications to minimise the risk of security or compatibility issues.
The last step is to connect HomeBridge to HomeKit. Scan the QR-Code from HomeBridge on your iPhone and you are done.
You can see that my sensors appear in HomeKit, just like the Nest Thermostat does. I already made some automations but will add more in the future.
The last step is Pi-hole, which is not needed but it’s a great add-on to the Raspberry Pi. I use it as an AdBlocker for all my IoT devices in my network, plus my phones/laptops. And if you don’t want to have ads on your Smart TV, hooks hat one up too! With Pi-hole, you’ll get faster browsing and much more privacy. Check the website to learn more: https://pi-hole.net
# One line install curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash
Just go through the configuration after this and add the Raspberry’s IP as the DNS on your device in settings. Or cover all of your devices in your network and set it as the Router’s DNS server.
I have replaced my Homey Pro for a Raspberry Pi and got it all working. It’s cheaper, faster and has more possibilities in the future. Let me know in the comments what you think and what you want to see next time.
Reading the title you must think, “That’s totally unnecessary!“. Well yeah, kinda, hear me out!
TL;DR: It’s faster, more stable and price wise not too bad nowadays.
I am a big fan of home automation, from Philips Hue lights to a Nuki Door Lock and much more. In the past few months I tried to combine everything together in one platform with Homey. And although it is a great platform, it was not for me. I use HomeKit for all my automations and on top of that, all of my wireless devices either use Zigbee or my own WiFi. With 95% of Homey not being used, I needed something else.
So then, as every tech enthusiast does, I went online searching for alternatives, which ended up in hours (days?) spent online. As I only need Zigbee, and already use HomeBridge, I looked for something in a small form-factor but stable enough for home automation and this time with an ethernet connection. In my case, a good alternative for Homey was a Raspberry Pi, a Zigbee Receiver and HomeBridge. For comparison:
This means that I have a cheaper way of doing the same thing. Unfortunately using a Raspberry Pi with a SD card is not the most stable way, so I looked for external storage. And luckily, the Raspberry Pi 4 now (since end of 2020) officialy supports booting from an external USB device. With prices of SSD’s low enough plus the speed advantages and reliability of them, it was a no brainer to go for an SSD. After reading a great blogpost from Jeff Geerling I decided to go for an NVMe SSD. The NVMe SSD had the same price as the SATA 2,5″ SSD I was looking at (Kingston A400) and in case I repurpose the drive, it’s faster too!
This is what I went for:
It’s not super cheap compared to the Homey Pro I was using, but I will also be using the Raspberry Pi for Pi-Hole and some other applications. On top of the hardware I will be using HomeBridge to expose my Zigbee devices to HomeKit. For automations I will continue to use HomeKit and the Shortcuts app. As soon as all the hardware is in, I will make a step by step guide on how to install it, including some pictures and recommendations.
This year I am coming up to a 4 year tenure at VMware, I started out as a Graduate in Cork, Ireland and in 2019 I moved back to the Netherlands to join the Field Solution Engineering team. In these past years I always had a special curiosity in the Digital Workspace and was named Subject Matter Expert in this field.
Now during the pandemic most of us need to Work From Home and if you need some insights you can check out my blogpost about it. But if anything it has showed up that the Digital Workspace is more important than ever. As I always had great interest in the Digital Workspace and the importance of it nowadays, I decided to join the Digital Workspace Business Unit within VMware.
I am very happy with this opportunity and expect some Digital Workspace related blogposts this year!
During the Pandemic of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), working from home is something almost everybody does. But how do you do it well? And what impact does it have on your social life?
In this blogpost, co-authored by Simran Arora (VMware Solution Engineer, UK), we will share some insights into how to effectively work from home (WFH). We’ll also give some tips on how you can WFH without crushing your social life or get Zoom’ ed-out.
Some tips right of the bat:
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a large amount of people started working from home. This experience won’t be new for a few people; however, for many, it’s still an unknown territory altogether.
Although my job always allowed me to work from home, this current situation has thrown lots more challenges. Working remotely in a normal scenario already used to cause many people to struggle with the lack of distinction between work and home life. Since the pandemic, that’s heightened significantly because those boundaries have increasingly blurred as we are forced to be confined to our homes. In the current situation the usual advice about visiting the office every once in a while, and working elsewhere a few days a week, or heading to your coffee bar for a few social interactions, is currently unacceptable. All this suggests, is that it’s more complicated than ever to strike that ultimate goal of achieving a far better “work-life balance”.
It’s the desire of this “work life balance” that results in significant amount of people preferring to work from home or requesting flexible working hours. While it’s essential, it is a phrase I rarely use. I’m not the first and won’t be the last to speak about how it isn’t strictly achievable. Work and life will never be equally balanced. Some days the scales will tip towards the direction of work, other days, family life would take priority.
So instead of trying to achieve the impossible, I’ve mentioned below a few things I’ve been doing to assure both my work life and my private life can manage alongside one another in harmony even if they’re not completely balanced.
Define your hours
Having set working hours is the first step to stopping one from overworking or worse, never shutting off. When work is at home, and home is at work, it’s challenging to identify the difference apart. The temptation to stay logged on, replying to emails or carrying on with work is usually there. Therefore, having clear, defined hours isn’t just helpful for your own mental state and wellbeing but also for those who live with you.
Another key consideration when working from home is making sure those who you live with are happy with the arrangements. By setting some time away for work means they do not feel as if they’re living in an office or that your work continually takes you away. You are essentially allowing everyone to have some kind of structure around other household activities like mealtimes and Netflix time.
One of the considerable benefits of working from home is having the flexibleness and freedom of setting your own hours. Although those hours don’t have to be 9-5, it’s good to define work hours and have them written down, so they become easier to stick to. It equally ensures you’ve got enough downtime for yourself and so you can enjoy the family time as well.
In an office environment, you have got your core working hours so you shouldn’t need to work longer than those simply because you’re at home. Additionally, in an office environment we usually get the visual and social cues to switch off, take breaks and finish for the day. These short breaks are harder to seek out when working alone at home. Therefore, setting the alarm for break and lunch, scheduling an end of day meeting or call can give you a way of closure to the working day and transition into your own free time. Giving yourself an activity to mark the end of the day may also help you to switch off. Something as simple as a brief walk outside or grabbing coffee from downstairs, can signal the brain that it’s the end of your working day and almost can feel like it’s replacing a daily commute making it easier to turn off.
A Morning Ritual
One way to ensure you have got time to yourself that’s not dictated by work is to wake up early enough and make an easy morning ritual. By having a morning routine, whether it’s mindful practise like journaling and meditation, or exercising or simply reading with a quiet cup of coffee ensures you have had time for yourself before the working day has begun. It can help set you up for a productive day and prevents that feeling of urgency or being behind the curve from the instant you wake up. Having a pleasurable morning routine to assist you to prepare and provide you some time for yourself helps keep that work-life balance
While you may feel you’re being more connected than ever with one after the other Zoom meetings, what we miss out on are the social conversations. Working from home doesn’t provide those ‘coffee machine moments’ which divide the day and enable us to snap out of work mode for a short time. This is why it’s essential to set that time that aside even if it means ringing up a colleague to catch up rather than scheduling a zoom call.
I treat my calendar as my ally and like to use it to organise both my work and social life. I prefer to set aside time to call a friend or perhaps catch up with social media messages, so I add this to my calendar to ensure that I keep a healthy proportion of non-work time in my schedule as well.
Set aside a chosen ‘non-workspace’
It’s a classic piece of advice when it involves homeworking: to create a dedicated workspace sort of like a home office space if you can. By having space specifically set aside for work will help establish good boundaries around where work stops, and home life begins. Doing so can help you section your house and shut off fromworkat the endof the day. It’s essential to recognise that your living space in your house is just as important as your workspace if not more, therefore by having these boundaries one can minimise the risk of overlapping these spaces.
A separate office is ideal, but not everyone encompasses a separate space for a home office. Many people might be working from their table, a corner of the living room or spare bedroom. Which makes it even more important to stop your work from spilling over into your living or relaxing space.
It’s been crucial for me to designate space and time for work, even though I’m living in a place with not much room to spare. I do not like to mix my living and working space because, just by having that space helps me lot to have the abilityto switch “work brain” on and off.
Above are just some of the things I’ve been doing while fully working from home since March. I hope these tips can help anyone who’s struggling to find that balance. Like I said I don’t believe we’ll ever get a complete work life balance but it’s something we should always be aiming towards for the sake of our own mental health and equally for us to be as productive at work.
For more on work-life balance, check out this podcast, in which I share some personal WFH experiences and more tips:
To come back to the tips at the beginning of the post, a dedicated Workspace / Desk is key to your mental and physical well-being. It’s great for the work experience for you and your customers/colleagues, but also for not getting distracted by family members or other things that are going on around the house.
On the left you can see how I worked from home for the first couple of weeks of the pandemic, I also just bought the house so not all the rooms were done yet. But the office was one of the first one to finish and on the right is the result.
Here is some equipment I invested in to make sure I can have a more pleasant experience while working from home and in return provide a better and more favourable environment for my customers when I present to them on zoom. (Believe me, my butt is also thanking me!)
I also use Apple AirPods for the audio, as I can walk around freely without too much disturbance for the listener, but that’s completely optional!
If you want to go full Pro, invest in a good microphone such as a Blue yeti X.
Being restricted to your house can feel like you are locked up. Working out can give you that extra serotonin boost that you need to keep yourself mentally healthy. Besides, it also helps to keep fit physically. Even the best chair makes your back, neck and ass hurt if you sit down for 8 hours straight. And if you plan your day correctly, you’ll have some time to exercise during the day. Even a couple of minutes can help you feel better!
Hobby at Home
Another great thing to do is getting a hobby you can do at home. I started making my own Kombucha (Fermented Tea), more about that in my next blogpost But the idea is that you keep yourself busy and only Netflix is not a great way. Being able to fully let go of your work has helped me getting more motivation the next day to start, fresh energy and a clear mind is the best way to start your day!
Optional: Leave home once in a while and go for walks during the day
During these difficult times, I know there are lots of restrictions. Some countries have more severe measures than the others, however, if your country allows and it’s safe for you to do so, do make time for a walk at least once a day. You can eat your lunch while walking around the block, or go for a walk while calling your friends. Take the dog for an extra run. Just make sure you wear a mask when you go to public places 🙂
How are you keeping sane during lockdown?
Now that we have shared some tips, we would love to know what you did to make WFH more enjoyable?
If you made it till the end of this blog, here is cat “Maki” making sure you stay safe and stay mentally healthy!
Don’t feel okay? Reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey you, it’s time to talk!
Although my website suggests that everything is tech, I have wanted to talk about Mental Health for a long time. A recent blogpost from someone in the vExpert Community has made me decide it was time [link].
**Please consider that the following subject involves my personal experience. Names have been left out due to privacy and that others might have experienced it differently.**
Mental Health and subjects around it has always been close to my heart, as I was struggling myself when I was young. Starting from an age of 8, I was extensively bullied at school and my local sports club. I was a skinny young boy with a lack of confidence and social skills. Being a gymnast also didn’t help, wearing a tight leotard/maillot was the “perfect reason” to bully me. As I didn’t know how to handle bullies, I was eventually always the one that got angry and therefor expelled. This anger stayed with me for a long time, getting me into trouble even more.
After years of trying different therapies, my parents decided to put me on a after-school youth care (best decision ever!). During my time there I had Social Skills Training to learn to talk about myself. Having others around me with similar problems also gave me the feeling that I wasn’t alone. Because feeling alone is something that I really struggled with besides anger. And that loneliness was killing me, literally.
It took the caretakers over a year to get me back up my feet. Loving myself and taking care of myself mentally was something I learned during that time. And things changed, majorly. I went to a different school to leave behind the bullies and have a new start. I quit the local sports club and took on self defence courses to gain confidence. When I was a little older I started going to the gym, to gain some weight and also as an outlet for stress. Working out is something I do till this day, it’s a great stress relief and also good for your physical health, win-win:)
During the following years I always tried to improve myself mentally, while helping others by talking with people with similar issues. I still struggled with anger issues sometimes, but it was less and less. I even considered becoming a Psychiatrist, but I loved technology too much to not do something with it. I eventually did Electrical Engineering with a minor in Embedded Systems, can’t go more technical than that.
When I joined VMware, I noticed that Mental Health was something quite big on the agenda for a tech company. It amazed me that within such a big company, there was a form of openness about mental health I hadn’t seen before. One of the programs that VMware has for instance, is the Mental Health Programme. Having a team across NEMEA with Mental Health First Aiders to reach out to whenever needed. With my background in Mental Health issues, I felt like I had to be part of that. And so I did, I became a Mental Health First Aider. The first line of psychological support for employees. Attending the MHFA course to get more insight into mental health issues helped me mentally but also enabled me to help others in a better and structured way. I am currently also a member of Mental Health Steering Committee within VMware, creating more visibility for Mental Health within my region.
In sharing my story I hope to inspire others with Mental Health Issues. You are not alone in this world and it’s okay not to be okay (sorry Joe Baguley for stealing your line):
Mental Health.— Joe Baguley (@JoeBaguley) October 21, 2019
Mental Health day has come and gone, but it doesn’t ever stop being important.
It’s extremely important to me personally, and to all of us here at @VMware – read my thoughts here.https://t.co/9fPOQFi3u0#ItsOkNotToBeOk
If you have any questions please reach out to me.
You can also reach out to MentalHealth@vmware.com or see the VMware website at https://benefits.vmware.com/gb/worklife/nemea-mental-health-programme/
These are special times. First of all, I would like to express admiration for how everyone interacts to date. The care people have for each other and the flexible attitude of many employees is special.
Everybody should be focusing on their well-being and the ones around you. Follow the guidelines of the government and adjust the measures where necessary.
I wish everyone the very best in this difficult period and empathize with people who are sick and family members who have lost a loved one.
And for them who are suddenly working from home, it can be hard. Check this Infographic for some tips:
On 21st January 2020, VMware announced its intend to acquire Nyansa (“knee-ans-sah”) . This announcement does not completely come out of thin air, as it part of the vision VMware announced back in January 2019:
Revolutionising SD-WAN with Network Edge
‘Network Edge connects and enables critical functions where the customer requirements for transformation reside — at the Edge of the Enterprise — at the branch, in the cloud, and in the data center..’
With this acquisition, VMware keeps building on its belief that SD-WAN has unlimited potential in supporting technological advancements in the networking world.
So, who is Nyansa?
We’re Nyansa (“knee-ann sah”). It’s a word from the Akan language spoken in Ghana that means wisdom from learning. Go figure. Engineers named the company, what do you expect?
Yeah we’re weird––but wonderfully humble. Unlike a lot of folks, we don’t think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but we ARE wickedly smart.
We dig data, I mean REALLY dig. It’s as simple as that. We have a bunch of PhDs from MIT, and MBA types from Harvard, Cisco/Meraki, Aruba Networks, Google guys and so on and so forth. And we’re as diverse as diverse gets. Despite all that, our geeks know how to code, right, the first time, every time. And it shows. We hope.https://www.nyansa.com/company/
“The acquisition of Nyansa will accelerate VMware’s delivery of end-to-end monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities for LAN/WAN deployments within our industry-leading SD-WAN solution,” Sanjay Uppal, VP and GM of VMware’s VeloCloud Business Unit. “Nyansa is a proven solution that solves many of the shortcomings of today’s vendor-specific solutions.”
As you can read, VMware keeps investing in technology to suit their customers and give them the best possible products. And with this acquisition, VMware keeps building towards a better and true SDDC (Software Defined Datacenter).
Additional resources to read:
My name is Remi Schipperus and I am a VMware Solution Engineer for Healthcare & Education in The Netherlands. Two years ago, I completed my Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. I was ready for a challenge, and the borders of my home country could not stop me. Joining VMware’s Graduate Academy program was the perfect decision! Fast forward and I am working in the field, in my home country meeting customers every week and speaking at events.
With each day bringing new challenges, being in the field can be a tough but also a very satisfying role, allow me to share with you my diary of a typical week.