leave the laptop. you have two weeks in a new country / continent, why sit down with a laptop? If you want to email or blog, there are many internet kiosk/ cafe type places.
Seriously, leave it.
Two weeks is too long in London. Give yourself a day to get over jetlag, and 1-2 days to cover the major attractions. Then take the next ten days to travel around, and come back to london to a final sweep of interesting places, and get ready for the flight.
You can grab a train to Paris (France), and spend a day or two there - get another country in. Get a flight to Dublin, Cork or Belfast (45 mins) Yet another country.
mod parent up.
The first step is to find out what the business wants, and how much it is willing to pay. THEN you go out to find out what tech is appropriate/affordable to do it.
Ask the heads of each office, and the main business managers what they want the tech to do now, in a year and in three years. Do you have a business continuity plan that has to be allowed for. If you don't have a BC plan, now's a good time to have one done, before you buy a load of kit that may not do the job.
Once you have a list of business needs, and put them in a prioritised list (again the managers set the priority), you go out and look at what can do the job. Assuming you find a reasonable solution within budget, you need to plan the migration.
Protip: do not attempt to migrate everything in one go. Do it in steps, with breaks in between.
Proprotip: whatever your migration, be able to revert to the original solution in less than 8 hours - ie one working day.
Migration is the biggest gotcha - plan, plan and plan again. Do a dry run. Start with the least critical services. You do have backups, right? Fully tested backups, from ground zero? You do have all your network and infrastructure accurately and completely mapped out, and all configuration settings / files stored on paper and independent machines?
Both arguments for VM and KISS have their place - only you can decide. But when you do decide, make sure it's based on evidence, and will end up making the business better.
Don't forget Total Cost of Ownership - the shiny boxes may run faster, but will you have to hire two more techs to keep them running, or a new maintenance contract?
Don't forget training - for you, your staff and the end users. If you're putting shiney newness in place, people will need to know how to use it, and do their jobs at least as quickly as on the old solution. No use putting in shiny web4.0 uber cloud goodness, if the users end up spending an hour doing a job that used to take 5 minutes, because they don't know how to use it properly, or the interface doesn't easily work with their business processes.
"Executives" are interested in money - what earns money for the company, what costs money for the company, what can increase future money for the company, what prevents increasing future money for the company.
Think about the main things you are doing, or plan to do over the next week, month, quarter, year. Which of the four results (earn, cost, increase, decrease) do those things do? Can you mitigate (reduce) the negatives? Can you improve the positives? What are the costs (time, money, resources)? What are the impacts/benefits (save or increase time, money, resources)?
Here's a couple of examples:
"Our mail system is aging and is struggling with the current load. I estimate it causes up to two hours delay per employee per month. I plan to increase the memory and disk space. It will cost $x hundred, and take 3 days to implement. The benefit will be the increase in productivity and delay the need to buy an entire new server for two more years."
"Our finance dept is struggling to keep up with the number of invoices that need to be processed. With the CFO I am evaluating three new systems which can help automate the process. The cost of the system is $x in capital expenditure, and then $y in annual licence fees. The CFO estimates that it will reduce the time to invoice clients from 10 days to four days, and increase cash flow for the company."
So, think in terms of money. Think what business problems or opportunities that IT makes better (or worse). State the problem or opportunity, what you are doing / want to do, say what the impact of your proposal is / will be.
Stick to this basic formula, and you'll soon be seen as someone who brings answers and adds value, instead of the stereotypical geek who complains, costs money and does little of value.
First of all, establish exactly what it is they are asking you for. 'Strategy' has to be one of the most abused words in the modern world. Is it really strategy - ie setting goals without defining how they are acheived? Is it policy - ie setting the framework of rules to work within while achieving the strategy? Or is it tactical advice - the nuts and bolts of how you actually implement the strategy and policy?
Assuming it is strategy, then
Second, define what you want IT to achieve - in terms of benefits and abilities, and what you want IT not to do - in terms of drawbacks and liabilities.
Third - prioritise the importance of each of the individual results from point two above.
Now you have a list of things you want IT to do, and you understand how to allocate funds and time, based on their priority. The next steps are to decide the policy to run them, and tactical implementation.
You'll get a lot of folks here saying things like "allow FOSS...deny " These aren't direct strategies. A strategy would be to allow solutions to be developed/deployed based on fitness for purpose. The conseqent policy would be to allow multiple OS / applications to be deployed within a controlled framework. The following tactic would be to assess what the user needs and can afford, identify what potential market solutions are out there and how much they cost (capex and opex) and pick the best.
+1 to the above.
As they're offering you a range of experiences, it would be beneficial to learn functional programming, procedural programming, parallel programming. Oh and lisp. If you get a good understanding of the similarities and differences of func vs procedural, and teh thought processes on how to solve problems with them, you'll do just fine. Parallel programming (SIMD / MIMD) is only going to become more and more important as the number of cores in common use rises.
The actual implementation of each functional / procedural language is largely irrelevant - it's learning how to think and solve problems in their respective paradigms.
LISP is a great teacher - derided for the brackets, it is incredibly powerful and based on extremely fundamental maths. Using a handful of operators, you can do the most amazing things.
2) Snow Leopard is not a service pack.
Even their own marketing calls it "fine tuning". Apple senior execs called it a refinement of Leopard, or words to that effect. It's a service pack.
... took out the express slot because not enough of their customers wanted it. I...never saw the use for it
It's a pro slot, used by pros, to connect pro kit - usually high end audio, video and storage. Remind me of the branding of this product again... oh yeah, pro!
How often does a MacBook Pro user replace their battery?
In my case, after just over a year - and that following recommended charge/discharge practices. Apple kindly sent me a replacement, as the first was an explosion risk. It died a little over a year later. My experience is not unusual for a Powerbook battery. The lack of easy access to replace the cell cheaply with a non-oem part is a strong disincentive.
Apple is pricing their notebooks more aggressive *and* improving the hardware
Apple is reducing the price of entry. It's arguable they are NOT improving the hardware (beyond normal Moore's Law) for the same price at the mid and high end prices. Cf express card loss, FW400 loss, discrete gfx loss. And even in their Pro line, they charging $30 for a lead to let you connect to any external display - not even a free HDMI slot. Last but not least, still offering only 2 USB slots, on the 15" models is a joke - especially as there's no express slot now. Use an external mouse, and now you can't plug in your external drive, as there's no spare slot for power. Use a mouse and a external card reader, and you're SOL to do anything else. I wanted to buy a MBP from this upgrade cycle. I won't - instead staying with a Powerbook G4 that's alot slower, but offers so much more in terms of usability. My hope is that APPL will correct some of these decisions in the next cycle. It's unlikely we'll go back to discrete batteries any time soon, but hopefully get what many users want - connectivity options.
hey, what have strippers ever done to deserve being classed with politicians?
If the blimp costs $20,000
In military purchasing, you'd barely get a washer for $20k, never mind an entire platform!
How much did they cost? When did you buy them? How much are they worth now. How much can you earn from using them? how much do they cost to run?
Add up all the costs, over 12 months, 24 months, 36 months. Add up all the potential revenue they'll earn.
If the first is bigger than the second, you're losing money - sell them now for as much as you can, cut your losses. If the revenue is bigger, you might consider using Net Present Value (look up the NPV function in your favorite spreadsheet) to determine if it's really a profit. If the NPV is negative or zero, sell. Only if the NPV is postive , and by more than a fistfull of dollars, AND you're confident about the numbers should you hang on to them.
Or can you donate them to a charity, and write them off for tax?
Rant: given that performance / price ratio is constantly improving, why would anyone ever ever ever buy hardware a second before they absolutely have a proven need for it to earn a buck? That's like buying fuel, and letting it evaporate in the desert sun.
Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.