Cisco Live 2019 – My First Year as a Staffer

What is is like to be a staffer?

When you become a Cisco staffer, the event changes for you.  With responsibilities that involve “whatever got you there”.    Contrary to what many might think, most Cisco internal employees do not get to go to Cisco Live!, you need to have a reason.   As one of my internal mentors tells me “Find the hook, find something they need you for” and then you just might get to go.

This year, our team built the “Cisco Innovation Network” a series of booths all around Cisco Innovation and pushing the limits of Cisco technology both home and abroad.  Our Toronto Co-Innovation Centre alone had 3 demo’s we had to build.

This means the responsibility to keep things running, get things setup, and ensure everyone above and below is happy.   It must run perfectly – or at least appear that way.

Finding time for social activities is a challenge, and you have to pick your schedule carefully.    I found myself rushing to an appointment, and then rushing back to the booth to help my team.   There was little down time, lunch was often on the go – on one day it was skipped.

The event is for our customers, so even with a full pass, you still cannot just waltz into a session – you have to wait for everyone else to enter so customers can get the best seats, and then only if there is space, you can go in.    This year I couldn’t find time to go to a single session, but that is ok, they are recorded.    I didn’t get to see the keynotes, as we were in our booth, and due to space constraints we were asked to leave the space for the customers.

Event Prep

This was very busy, with one of our projects coming down to not just the wire, but being completed on the show floor.     Not due to lack of planning, that was actually our plan, with one of our partners coming with us, they finished their work only a few days before the event, and we did the integration LIVE for the first time on the show floor.

Our team setup a mock up of our demo’s here in Toronto, just the way they would be on the show floor, and then started to inventory our packed gear.   We counted every part, and brought along extra gear just in case.



We couldn’t miss anything, if we did, even shipping was not fast enough, so we brought spare parts, and even spare gear so that no matter what happened we would be ok.  So we placed everything we were going to take out.



We also made sure that we split gear across who was travelling.  We couldn’t lose an entire demo, some of these things were one off designs and proofs of concept so we couldn’t lose them.

Then we realized we needed extra things, like cables, connectors, couplers, power strips.  All things you cannot just “run out and get” in San Diego.  There isn’t a Wal-Mart or Best Buy next door, so it all had to come with us.

A view under the covers….

We arrived at #CLUS on Saturday, with the plan to start checking our booth out.    We wanted the extra day to ensure everything was going to go ok, so direct from the airport to the show floor.    We found a few issues, short cables, some cables that were trapped under some things,  and it was crazy on the floor.  You wouldn’t think we were opening in two days.   No carpets, many vendors had not even shown up yet.

As we pushed to finish our build out on Sunday, everyone was arriving, and we could finally get things buttoned up once and for all.     I had my first appointment on Sunday this year.   Meeting with the Cisco Champions at the Cisco Store.

As a former Cisco Champion before I joined the company, I was asked to host the team during the tour at the on site Cisco Store.   We have been working on Innovation in Retail for some time here, and it was a great opportunity to share what we have been doing in Toronto and what the Cisco Store has been doing with the Champions.


Monday morning came, and the World of Solutions opens at 10AM, that means arriving as early as possible to make sure nothing went wrong over night.   The floor does not open to anyone until 8:30 – that means 90 minutes.

Everything went ok with our go live, we had a small “heat” issue in our little networking closet (someone tossed something against the front of the rack, and then someone put the  back of the rack almost back on so it couldn’t get any air) and then a power problem due to lack of plugs.

Only a few minutes before the floor opened our entire network in our little pod “exploded” we still do not know what happened but every machine reported an IP Conflict, and the IR829 for our demo just stopped responding.    We took the nuclear option and powered off/on – and that problem never occurred again.    It was a tense moment.

Here is quick montage of how the morning went…



It isn’t all fun and games…

We had many responsibilities this year.  With 3 demo’s and only 5 staff from our centre, it was tight.  Add in that some of us had responsibilities outside of the booth area and the days became very long.

Hosting the Cisco Champ’s in our booth was great along with the probably thousand demos we did during the week.

Then running from demo, to theatre talk, back to demo, back to off site interview or talk.



I hosted a group from Europe on a Smart Building Tour of the World of Solutions one day,  and then 5 talks in our booth on various days and times.  One of them was before the event even opened.

Daily we had to ensure the demos were working in the AM.   Then throughout the day.


Don’t forget your roots…

The community aspects of Cisco Live are very important to me personally as well as professionally, so I did ensure to walk by andtry and stop at the Social Media Hub when I was in the area.


This year it was located near the Sails Pavilion, and was a great location.   The “hat” display was a nice touch as was the “build your own lego avatar”

This is a common place for the friends, family and colleagues who meet every year to talk and meet.   There always seems to be someone hanging out there.

As is normally the case, in and around the event conclusion daily many people find their way to the SMH to meet with friends and discuss the learning of the day.  Sometimes we get some cool visitors who stop in to share their wisdom.  A crowd generally gathers when @denisefishburne shows up.


This group is always important to me – it is literally the reason I attend Cisco Live.

Next year…

I will be there.  The question is will I find my hook, my reason.   Just because we had a booth space this year does not mean we will next year.     Either way the event is about everyone that comes to it.     The slogan this year “You Make Possible” is very fitting for this event.   Without the community, without the people, and without the passion Cisco Live would not be what it is today.

Before I sign off, I would like to just provide my wrap up video of the event

See you in Las Vegas 2020!


How Cisco Live! Changed My Career…

As Cisco Live #CLUS approaches, I am reminded of way back in 2012, my first Cisco Live.    I was working for a cloud startup, and managed to talk my boss into letting me go.   Not always an easy thing to do in a small 8 person shop.


 Where it all started…

When I arrived, I found my way into Tom’s Corner – and ran into Tom Hollingsworth – @NetworkingNerd .  Tom was very welcoming, and introduced me to an entire community of peeps, many of whom I now consider family.

I became more active in social networking online, mostly twitter.    Slowly growing my social network online.  Until one day in 2015 – I launched my online presence known as CANTECHIT.   Just so we are clear,  That is CAN-TECH-I.T. – Although many over the years have called me “Can Tech IT”  either way, I am Justin.   A technology generalist geek.

After launching my blog in 2015, I wrote some articles that became rather popular, with my own writing style, and what has been described as a conversational blogging flare.     Some articles about Meraki as their platform was blooming, a few quick articles as the Cisco WebEX board was launched and to this day, and article about Windows 2012 WiFi Authentication continues to be my number 1 search hit.   I am really no good at SEO – to be honest I am not that great at english either.   However I am always sure that my premises is clean, and my premise is well thought out (That’s for you Tom).

Inspiration Hits and Content Rolls in

During 2015 and 2016, I really started to publish some of my best work.     I was getting some ping backs from other bloggers,  I had written about some strange technical issues I had run into and how I solved it.   I had also written some personal stories about my life.  One article I am very proud of is one on what I call “Dedication Sickness” and how it changed my life.   A link to it here.

I had also started working with the Cisco Champion program at Cisco, a team that delivers content for social influencers.  I had been accepted into their program, and happy to say to this day, I still working with the program even though I am now an insider.

Picked up by Gestalt IT and Field Day

For me much of this changed the day I got a call from Tom Hollingsworth, and it went something like this “Are you free Aug 10-12 we would like to invite you to Networking Field day 12”

This was pivotal for me.   I highly respected the “Field Day” team, their content and those involved, and to be honest did not feel like I had risen to the occasion, nor did I feel like I was good enough.  Quickly I found my stride in that program, and figured out that I was just me – and that is all they wanted.

Content Is King – Opportunities Abound

If we could all be tripping over content like crazy, blogging would be simple.   Finally, I had content available to me.  Between Cisco Live,  Cisco Champions and Tech Field Day, I had lots of content.     I was offered the opportunity to host Cisco Champions Radio, basically given the opportunity to have my own radio show, and interview anyone I wanted (They said, except @ChuckRobbins – but hopefully I will get to one day).    Along with many co-hosts, we interviewed everyone from Cisco TacOPS, to Enterprise Networking, to program founders.     A sample here.

In 2016, I was given the opportunity to talk at Cisco Live about Social Branding and how to build a social brand.

Professional Social Networking Was Key

All of these programs and opportunities gave me the opportunity to meet people, and build relationships with amazing professionals.   These were people that designed Cisco technologies, actually built Cisco silicon and held titles of distinguished engineer and an entire host of distinguished speakers.

Year after year went by, and I was provided the opportunity to work with, and learn from these amazing professionals, and they pushed me.

Empowering My Employer

As all of this was happening, I worked for a Cisco Partner.   My involvement, my blogging, my time with Tech Field Day helped me get better at my job.  I gained significant knowledge and became a better architect.  I was able to keep my company ahead of the curve, and help train others.  This lead to promotions, and leadership roles within my company.   Some of the things I learned, and some of the things I blogged about became major business opportunities for the company – that lead them to fully support my activities including going to Field Day, and Cisco Live every year.

I knock on Cisco Canada’s Door….

One Friday night, while updating some LinkedIN postings, I ran across a posting at Cisco Canada.   They were looking for someone for the Toronto Innovation Centre.    As I read the postings I kept thinking “There is no way this is real” and “Did they write this just for me”

There was zero hesitation.   I loved what I was doing – and I was working on amazing projects with amazing customers and together with my leadership team we had built an amazing professional services organization – but, this read like a dream.

So I brushed off my resume, cleaned up my cover letter and applied.    After a long process, many many many interviews (including 3 the day after my first daughter was born),  I made the call to my boss at the time and said “We need to talk”.

He told me “You have to go for it!”  he knew that this was my dream, and something that would turn into something great, and with his support, and that of my internal references.  I got the job.

Those internal references – are people I met as a part of my involvement in Cisco Live!.

Where I have landed, and why I am quiet.

Anyone who knows me in real life, knows I am hardly ever quiet.   Currently working with the Innovation Centres at Cisco (Not affiliated with my blog) I spend much of my day on confidential projects, or working with technologies that I cannot share publicly.      I also have been lacking the inspiration to write about something specific, and I never have written unless something specific pops up.   The work we are doing is revolutionary, and we are working on the latest in technology and solving many difficult problems for customers and we speak to 1000’s of people per year about our programs and talk to many students per year.   We all love what we do.

That is it… and some thanks….

So that is it,  Cisco Live, changed my career.  It was not without some hard work – but it all started with a visit to Live, and ending up in Tom’s Corner.  That resulted in joining the Cisco Champs, attending multiple Networking Field Day’s, even more Cisco Live’s and eventually now working as the Innovation Architect at Cisco.    So thanks to all of you that believed in me, and gave me a chance, and those that are continuing to support me.

See you at #CLUS 2019….

When does YouTube plagiarism cross the line?


A week ago when I published this blog article, it was after seeing YouTube plagiarism hitting all new levels.     What drove my decision to write, was that I saw the post mentioned below – and decided to write.    Why specifically this one?    I know Steve (FlightChops) personally, we have studied together, he has helped me, I have appeared in his vlog before.   I want to be 100% clear – nobody asked me to write this. NOBODY.  I don’t write FOR anyone, I am not a shill, or narcissistic enough to think that I have some kind of internet clout.

This morning I received a message asking if I would take this blog article down from Steve (FlightChops).     I simply won’t do that.  Nothing I have said is incorrect or untrue, and the rest is my personal opinion.   I told him that you can’t turn back the clock, and newspapers don’t print retractions simply because someone doesn’t like the content.

In actuality,  Steve (FlightChops) was not super happy I wrote this BLOG, because it is causing him some problems.   I am stuck in a hard place between a professional acquaintance – and my journalistic integrity.

That being said,  I welcome both Steve (FlightChops) and Steveo1Kinevo to send me their comments and/or statements – and I will post them verbatim here on my blog, or they can feel free to post it anywhere they want, or use the comment section.

The Neistat Effect

There are many YouTubers out there who have literally millions of followers,  PewDiePieCasey Neistat – go ahead and pick one.  There are innovators within the YouTube platform that came up with amazing ways to do things, the “vlogging” format was not invented by Neistat, but he found a way to make it compelling enough to make a living on it.

Is Neistats work still unique?  It is to him – but then you look at the many people that clone or copy his recipe.   Is this plagiarism? No. “a guy who builds a really nice chair doesn’t owe money to everyone who ever has built a chair”

Then look at someone like Devin Graham of DevinsuperTramp.  Devin and the team at Supertramp built a business out of compelling viral type videos and stunts.

Each has their own unique style, and while there are many that clone, copy or even build videos on “How to VLOG like Casey Neistat” these people are just using his method.

Now let’s look at when it goes TOO far…

When imitation becomes plagiarism

Here is a video posted by “FlightChops”  Steve Thorne who was one of the original YouTubers in the private pilot aviation world.   As he says himself “I basically made a job by sucking”.    This video below posted just over a year ago went accidentally viral.  Steve doesn’t do viral videos, he just does Steve.  4.5 Million Views, his most popular video ever and some pretty cool content.

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 6.06.05 PM

Fast forward a year later and fellow YouTuber steveo1kinevo (Steve Nazer) posts this gem as seen below.  Basically the same screen shot, and nearly the same title.

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 6.06.22 PMDoes this qualify as plagiarism?   Perhaps it even goes as far as to qualify as Trade Dress Infringement.    To explain what that is, Wikipedia states “Trade dress protection is intended to protect consumers from packaging or appearance of products that are designed to imitate other products; to prevent a consumer from buying one product under the belief that it is another”

The issue goes one step further.   Steveo1kinevo also prunes, and blocks any account that posts any form of negative comment about his content.   A number of comments were left calling him out on this plagiarism, but he immediately removed those after he noticed them.     Anyone who posts comments about his flagrant use of the EXACT music tracks that Neistat uses, or his obvious use of a Boosted Board in his videos is immediately filtered.

Justin’s Take

To be clear, I live in Toronto, and I actually know Steve Flightchops,  but that doesn’t change the facts of what I have posted above.    While they say that imitation is the finest forms of flattery, I would say that in this case, it feels more like a case of trade dress infringement is the worst kind of plagiarism.

For Flightchops, this is his livelihood, his career and his art.  For those plagiarizing, it’s “just a youtube channel”.

If it wasn’t so blatantly obvious, and if some attribution to the original work was at least provided, and comments mentioning that someone else did it first and this deserves credit where it is due were not deleted.   It wouldn’t feel so wrong.

On YouTube – Content is king, and many people will run out there and try to cash in on your good fortune.   I just wish people were a little more honest.


I am not a software developer

In your career it is important to know your limitations.  I am not a software developer

I am not a software developer.  This is a gift.   I know many people that are, just like the matrix, they don’t even see the code – they see the solution, the answer, the journey.  I see an empty IDE and no idea where to even start.

I am an IT Generalist, who specializes in architecture, networking and voice collaboration technology.  I started my life in the TDM voice world as a computer nerd, so when VoIP showed up it was easy to pick up and over time I spent time learning VoIP, then networking, then building a manufacturing IT infrastructure, and then a cloud provider.   None of these required me to be a software developer, the word “DevOPS” didn’t exist much, the developers generally kept to themselves

I have spent my entire career trying to figure out what the next big thing is, or what I thought was up and coming – and spending time on that.  Mostly because I thought it was cool and fun.   However now I reach this impasse where every cool and interesting thing I want to get involved in ends up with some kind of code based development requirement, or even simple API implementation to do things that are cool and not out of the box.
In a recent conversation with a Sr engineer from Google she told me “Network Architects are insane, how you can understand all of that I will never understand” – I told her, I felt the same about software developers.   Perhaps we could learn from each other in that regard, I told her I understood how she feels.

Software developers think “It’s really easy, I don’t understand why you don’t get it” or “Just do X / Y / X”.   “Just learn Node.JS”.    I see networks and I see Chopin, but when it comes to code, I can barely play chopsticks.

Some days I stare at my console and think “I could do this if I could only figure that out”.  It pains me when people say “We have an easy to use API Kit” or “We have an easy to use REST-API”.

My industry is transforming, to a software defined world.  The last time I touched a line of code was Borland Turbo C in college, and before that it was Visual Basic 1.0 in high school.

Recently I started to touch micro-controllers, and “program” in the Arduino IDE.  I have built some small projects by mostly cut-pasting code examples and other projects, cobbling together code bits to get what I needed, hardly programming but it is as close as I have been to any kind of code.   Part of why it worked for me was, it is linear execution, which I understand a little.

I don’t need to be a software developer

I’m not going to be, let’s be honest, I will not be the next major software genius that writes the next big blockchain based super electronic currency, or code part of the next World of Warcraft series.   There is however some things I need to be able to do, make one API talk to another, and collect information from one API into a database and then do things with it.  Nothing that is ground breaking.   I need to be able to automate things, inform intent in networks with context from…. well…. whatever it is I need.    Create basic things.   So for that reason I will take these next 12 months to take a shot at it.    I have a great support system where I work now – with our developer network to back me, and some close friends who have offered the support to hold my hand.  Will this work?   I don’t know, but I feel that it is something very important.

In the end I don’t need to develop code as beautiful as Chopin, but I need to play some Fur Elise.


EV Explosion Imminent?

This has been my first post in awhile.   With my new gig, I have been very very busy, much of the things I work on – I cannot blog about.  Sometimes I tweet a bit about what is going on, snippets here and there but nothing that hits me and says “Bloggable” – so for those that follow, more will come.


Back in the 90’s during a trip to Florida, a gentlemen asked me if I wanted to drive a car called the “EV1” – a 60-100 mile range EV manufactured by General Motors.  At the time I didn’t drive the car on a roadway, but on a dyno.   I was instantly hooked, instant smooth acceleration, a unique and futuristic vehicle.  I knew at this point I wanted an electric vehicle, and this would be the future.

Realism kicked in – at the time I lived well over 60 miles from where I worked, my life had me driving 150+ miles in a single day and owning an electric was simply not feasible in my life – that and the GM EV1 was only ever leased in California.  It also came with Lead Acid batteries or later on NiMH which resulted in heavy weight, low life and limited places to charge but at home (some public locations existed). An interior that was years ahead of its time made the entire car look very futuristic.

Eventually just like GM killed the Pontiac Fiero (Which I happened to be driving at the time) the GM EV1 leases were all cancelled, owners FORCED to return their cars, and they were almost all destroyed except a few that remain on inactive display today.   Go and check out “Who Killed The Electric Car” for the whole story, it is a good one.

Hybrids and What We Learned?

I’m not here to discuss these – they are complex – which is part of the problem.  Take a complicated internal combustion based vehicle, add in electric, then try to combine it – make things even more complex and voila – great car.  However not without challenges.

To add some context, I did own a 2009 Toyota Prius – also known as the “Gen 2” which was an amazing car, I loved owning it.   It was futuristic, and gave me a little bit of the feel of the GM EV1, the electric power was amazing, I could force the car to drive only on battery which was an amazing feeling that only those who have driven an EV can describe.  Sure it only went 5KM and only under 50KPH, but it was PURE battery.

Over the years I had it, it never had a single problem, with the exception of a very very over active traction control system that caused the brakes not to function properly (Ok that was pretty serious) but otherwise the car was very reliable.  I was featured by CityTV in 2010 when I took one of their reporters on a drive to demonstrate what I called “Floating brakes”

This ended up being a software related problem, they claimed they fixed it – but I still had issues.  They also claimed my car wasn’t affected.

Why is this relevant?  All electric cars have one problem – power – they can quickly and easily destroy themselves because the motors have instantaneous torque – so complex traction control or torque control systems need to be used to ensure the electric motor doesn’t just spin the tires endlessly.

Think of it this way – electric motors can put out maximum torque at zero RPM instantly.   Gasoline engines have to “rev up” or get moving somewhere into their power band before they deliver maximum torque, so there is little shock on the drive system.   Electric motors have enough power to just twist stuff.

“Range Extended” EV cars exist today, some where the engine only charges the batteries like the “Volt” – I see these cars as a stop gap measure, but they are here to stay.   Mechanically driven Hybrids will remain in the performance market, but in the cheap car world, systems similar to the Volt will be popular simply because they are less complex.

“Modern” EV’s

Surprising but, we have not come very far, if you put aside the DIY’s and the one off EV cars the first mass produced generally accepted electric, was without question the Nissan Leaf, first delivered in 2010.  Part of the reason for this long gap is very simple – battery technology.  The Leaf used Lithium Ion, lighter weight and a higher energy charge per pound.   The styling left something to be desired and the range was only about 110km (depending) due to the very small 24KWh batteries.   Many followed suit with similar cars with similar poor performance, 0-60 times near 10 seconds and ranges as low as 60KM and as high as 150km – but still nothing that could get the average long distance commuter to and from work and to the grocery store without relying on charging stations that didn’t exist.

Things are improving, with current EV’s available with BIG incentives in many regions, where I live there is a $14,000 incentive from the government, but that was recently revoked for any car worth over $75K (Rich person tax) and rumors have that incentive going away completely.

What can you get today?   A short example is the Smart ForTwo EV (135KM), Ford Focus Electric (185KM), Nissan Leaf (150km), Hyundai Ionic (180KM), Kia Soul (150km), VW E-Golf (140km), Chevy Bolt EV (350KM), BMW i3 (156km), and of course, Tesla.    However with the rare exception of the not widely known about Chevy Bolt EV, all of these have very small batteries designed for city runabouts.   Most have 25ish KWh batteries, with the Bolt around 60kwh, and the Tesla with various ranges.    We also have this problem of range ratings – depending on which range “test” you look at it varies by 30% – well if I need to get to work 70KM each way and I buy a Focus Electric because it’s supposed to 185KM, and doesn’t – I’m not going to be happy – also keep in mind weather plays a HUGE factor on electric range, to the tune of 30%.

Tesla “Revolution”

It would be difficult not to suggest that the current EV revolution was largely at the behest of Elon Musk.  A man sometimes compared to the late Steve Jobs in how he manages companies and builds empires.  He started a bunch of businesses that he sold and eventually one of them was “PayPal” which he sold to E-Bay for 1.5 billion.

Many credit Elon Musk for starting Tesla but that isn’t actually true, he started there as an investor, eventually taking control of the company and turning it into what it is today.A close-up of Musk's face while giving a speech

Musk focuses the company on battery and drive train technology, with the intent to build a system that can be used by all automakers – focusing on the real problems associated with EV’s, battery technology, charging and reliable drive trains.

His goal was to create the $30K USD EV car – and with the Model 3, he is coming close to that.   The Tesla Model S was the first generally available EV Car that exceeded the 200 mile range even with the small P60 model with the P100D model surpassing 300 miles.   However prices approaching 6 figures are pretty common, a base Model S will run you $75K USD, a Model 3 with the longer range battery will run you $44K+ USD.   These are not inexpensive.

Tesla is however pushing this forward, and unlike the “big 3” and the overseas car makers, they have no petrol past to worry about, only an electric future.   Somehow Tesla managed to get a $250 Million dollar interest free loan from 250,000 people who plopped down $1000 to get in “line” for a Model 3 that might be delivered at some point, maybe in the near future with no promises.   From a company that has a history of late vehicle delivery I might add. People are actually getting those cars, but I will be honest, the car isn’t without it’s quibbles and problems, and, it is still a premium car.  Many who are willing to plunk down $80K+ simply cannot because the company just cannot deliver cars fast enough, that is a nice business problem to have but if Tesla does not figure out how to fix it soon, other car makers are going to start eating away at their market share quickly.   Most of the Tesla problems are related to manual manufacturing processes in their facilities and problems with automation – things are just happening too slowly.

200 Miles+ in 2019

Just about every car maker has cars coming in 2019 that will exceed 200 miles (325KM).    Nissan’s very popular Leaf (arguable the most popular EV next to Tesla) is rumored to have over 225 mile range, the Bolt EV is already there, Hyundai claims the new Kona will have 250 mile range.
Image result for jaguar ipaceJag has an SUV coming called the ipace with 239 mile range and over 500FT/lbs of torque carrying a 90KWh battery for $69K USD.  A shot across the bow at the Tesla Model-X for sure, and for a significantly lower price.

2019 will be the year when EV goes mainstream (In my opinion).   CUV/SUV cars that are fully battery operated are showing up, and performance cars have already started to integrate the extreme performance that only electric can provide.

What this also means is – let the battle begin on price.  Tesla will start to feel the heat, with other car makers figuring out how to actually deliver cars, Tesla will be left behind if they cannot figure out how to actually deliver product.

EV Challenges

Owning an EV is not without its challenges, just to name a few lets talk about them, you might be surprised.

Plug Standards


Image result for J1772That’s right you thought electrical plugs were standard, if you have ever traveled the world you know the plugs differ, and on cars that is no different.   Luckily the world seems to have standardized on the average “Level 2” charger, or the one you would put in your home, and they call it “J1772” or “Level 2”.  You will find this on almost every electric car – except some Teslas, but they give you an adapter for it.  Any charging station at any public place or home you will find this charger – but – it could take about 8+ hours to charge your car from empty to full, not exactly a “fuel” stop

Image result for CHAdeMOThen we have “Level 3” chargers, which are designed to fill your battery from empty to almost full in 30ish minutes.   There is no clear standard here and the entire world seems to still be arguing.  They do this by basically bypassing the internal A/C charger on board and delivering DC power direct to the battery cells. These fit into 3 standards as the most common.  CHAdeMO (Left) a japanese standard and CSS (right) a more North American standard.   The CHAdeMO became popular because the Nissan Leaf uses it, and the popularity of that car drove adoption of that plug standard.   Here is the best part, because of various technical reasons – an adapter from CHAdeMO to CSS is not impossible, but would be VERY expensive to build,  Tesla makes a CHAdeMO to Tesla adapter, but not CSS.   From where I sit,  CHAdeMO is on its way out, CSS is going to win this battle, even the european union is looking at passing a law to remove subsidy for CHAdeMO installs.   Luckily right now, most stations have BOTH.

As per normal Tesla didn’t follow suit, part of the reason is that they recognize that people need to charge – FAST,  double the speed of most Level 3 chargers – they created their own system called “Supercharger” and even went so far as to deploy a network of them realizing if they were going to sell EV’s then people will need a place to charge them, their chargers using their own technology charge must faster than their counterparts.  I will give Telsa one thing, their connectors are much nicer looking than the counterparts.  They call it the UMC, but now depending on the market the cars are sold in – some are coming with standard Type 2 connectors.

Battery Replacements

Most of the companies are getting around this worry by consumers by basically providing a REALLY long warranty, 8 years and 192,000 KM from Tesla, longer than some of the others.  We also have not had mainstream EV’s long enough to understand what a battery replacement would cost – nobody has had their Tesla long enough.

Nissan Leaf owners have seen $5,000 USD to $8,000 USD prices on replacement batteries, but it seems they replace most under warranty.   Tesla batteries have a price around $12,000 for some Model S cars, the bottom line is these are expensive.

70% design life seems to be the magic number in the industry, once your battery loses 30% of the capacity, the battery is considered failed and your manufacturer will replace it.   Under 60K Miles in the Leaf, regardless of age, Nissan has been known to just replace the pack.  Tesla is very hush hush about the work they do – they tend to “Just fix it” and send people on their happy way.

The bottom line is, there is tons of good will going on, car makers need people to trust the technology and not worry about the batteries, so they are offering this kind of coverage.  Most manufacturers are stating that the batteries will survive the life of the chassis – I am not sure I agree with that statement.

The current Nissan Leaf batteries switched to a passive cooling system instead of active cooling – users all over the internet are talking about early battery degradation – cost savings by Nissan, but is it hurting the opinions of EV owners?   The internet opinions suggests it does.

Charging Stations

chargepoiontsOne look at this map and one might think “Wow they are everywhere”.  However there are challenges, many are restricted access, many require paying for expensive parking to access, some charge you to use them and sometimes at rates that are higher than what it would cost to fill a gasoline vehicle.   Some are very busy stations and often full.

Then there is plug standards, only about 15% are Level 3 fast chargers, the rest are J1772 Level 2 – remember 4-8 hours to charge depending on your particular car, but wait,  the J1772 chargers are typically 30A Max.   Many of the public charging stations can be limited by the installer, many are 7-10A maximum.  Why?  To limit how much they are putting in your car, after all someone has to pay for the power.

“Free” charging is pretty common right now, but that is changing quickly, some “free” charging comes with a expensive parking charge – at least you get something out of that deal, but if it is 7A, and you are there for 1HR, that is not going to net you very much additional range.

It would also appear that many that charge are doing so based on TIME – and not KWH, which is pretty poor when you consider they are limiting you to less than 30A, so a 1 hour charge might cost you $15 – but only net you 25 miles of additional range, that is exceeding gasoline costs.

The last problem is – etiquette, some EV owners are of the opinion once your car is full, you should return to your spot and move it – giving the spot to someone else to use.  Many feel the spot is theirs, and they are not moving.   Do you move your car mid day today?  Probably not.   Our minds and mind-set needs to change, but fights over charger access do occur.

In my opinion public charging stations should be considered a nice convenience, but if your intention is to buy an EV – and rely on public charging stations to complete your journey – you are making a big mistake.   You cannot rely on their availability, or output.

Electrical Grid Stress

Nuff said.   Right now if every person was using 7.2Kw to charge at least 1 car in the garage, based on the math on the street I live on – only half the houses on my street could do it before it overloads just the transformer on my street.   The grid is far from ready for this explosion.  Also what happens when “Sorry boss power went out, couldn’t charge the car” is your excuse at work?  Is that going to fly?


We are on the cusp of an EV revolution, with reasonable prices on vehicles that go the distance and are practical.  I have said for years, the first EV that is $25K USD, that goes 350 Miles on a charge will win the electric car game.  We are not there yet and will not be, my guess is 2022.

I need to do ‘the things I want in a single day’ without thinking about charging in order for this EV thing to work.   We are close to that, we are there for those who live in the city, but for commuters like me, like I said, 2019 will be an interesting year.

The bottom line is, for electric cars – EVs to catch on, we need to eliminate the fuel stops, because with EV’s right now charging the car in the 200 seconds it takes to fill my VW Golf simply isn’t possible, but I hear they are working on that too.

I simply cannot go about my day depending on access to a limited charger network that has limited reliability, limited spots, and a long charge time, I have to go about my business and make it home – no range anxiety and no questions asked.

A two car family could probably own one petrol car, and one EV – long trips you grab the Petrol car, but day to day, the EV becomes the choice.    Time will tell – for me – my next purchase will probably be one of these EVs, that I know for sure.


Why you should care about IPV6 even in an IPV4 Network?

I sat down with @SCOTTHOGG who literally wrote the book on IPV6 security for Cisco, and talked about why YOU need to learn about IPV6 and IPV6 security, even if you do not run IPV6 today.

The game is changing, and many people have zero clue about IPV6, how it works and how to secure it, meanwhile pretty much every network around IS actually running it.

Check out the latest episode of Cisco Champions Radio.

Cisco Champions Radio – Tech Field Day

As you know, I was previously a Tech Field Day delegate, many people have asked me “What is Tech Field Day” and how did it start?

Well, I grabbed Stephen Foskett at Cisco Live this year, and asked him those questions in my in-depth interview.    Check out the link and the audio below..

Cisco Champions Radio – The Importance of Flexible Infrastructure

Back at Cisco Live in June, I had a chance to sit down with David Zacks – Distinguished Engineer at Cisco Systems and talk about Catalyst 9K, and the importance of Flexible Infrastructure.

It was a great honour to get a chance to sit with Dave and talk about Cat 9K and microsegmentation and how Cisco has really changed the way they create hardware.

Check out this episode here!

Podcast Discussion Topics

  • Introducing the Cat9K platform and next gen of chip set.
  • The power of the single code base in the new Catalyst Platform 9300, 9400 and 9500.
  • The ability to empower people with analytics at the edge.
  • Focusing on the flexible infrastructure and looking 1-3 years out.v
  • Encrypted threat analytics.
  • The power behind Network Intuitive.
  • The importance of flexible evergreen hardware as Cisco moves into being a software company.
  • Working with the design team to build a flexible infrastructure.
  • Moving to intent based networking.
  • Elevating the conversation in SDA and why it was built it in the first place.
  • Micro-segmenting.
  • How to do identification through context.
  • Coming out of the starting blocks with SDA.
  • CLI is not going away.
  • Building blocks for a new network implementation.
  • Moving networks into the 21st century.
  • Explaining cryptographic compliance.
  • SPLT packet review.

Listen to the episode below…

My Weight Loss Journey…

Disclaimer:   Before modifying your diet, speak to your doctor, do not do anything I am talking about without talking to a medical professional.

I have always just consumed whatever I wanted.   Then when life got busy, my diet got really bad.   Tons of fast food, always on the go.  The problem is that the more I ate, the more I wanted to eat.   When work got busy, I would eat more.   I realized I was eating when life got busy – but there wasn’t much I could do.

It is easy to grab a pizza slice, or a burger at a fast food restaurant.   The entire world pushes us to eat horribly.   Every TV advertisement, or billboard talks about the amazing Big Mac, or Asiago Range Chicken Club – who doesn’t like cheese, on fried chicken with bacon.    It was nothing for me to just devour an entire bag of potato chips in an evening.

Then one day, I had problems going from my basement office, upstairs without getting winded, I had to hold my breath to tie up my shoes and I simply could not keep up with regular life anymore – I felt horrible.   I had reached an all time high weight of 258lbs.

With a new baby on the way, some kind of a switch flipped inside me – and I realized I had to do… something.

After talking to my good friend Adam, who recently went on a similar journey, he helped mentor me into the Ketogenic Lifestyle (KETO).

Before I get into what I did and how – this is my opinion on the matter, and what you will come to realize is that many people agree, and disagree with many of the things I will say here.  Please read, learn and understand for yourself and make your own decisions – again, seek medical advice.

I started my journey on June 4th, 2017 – I was simply not proud of who I had become.

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Weight: 258.4lbs
Body Fat: 39%
BMI: 37.1 – Obese
Resting Heart Rate: 86
Resting BP: 135/90
Fasting Blood Sugar: 6.3
Starting Waist Size: 44





These numbers were alarming, I was seriously overweight, and my fasting blood sugar was pre-diabetic.   I have a history of diabetes in my family, I was not on a good path.

I went down the road of the Ketogenic lifestyle.   With a focus on weight loss and eating healthy.



What is Keto ?

Keto is a scientifically based food regimen.   I say it is scientific – because this is not something you can just half-ass.   You need to take it seriously, you cannot “cheat”.  The key for success is understanding the ketogenic process in your body.

If you do Keto properly, you actually learn a ton about what you are eating, and the affect of that food on your body, and on your health.

Ketogenic diets are low in carbohydrates, and high-er in fats.

Fat is not your enemy – our bodies are fat burning machines, they are actually designed to burn fat.   They can burn other substances for energy – like sugars in the form of carbohydrates, but our bodies are designed to burn FAT.

Keto is all about putting your body in a fat burning state, something called “Nutritional Ketosis”  The idea is that we feed our bodies FAT, to burn for energy, but when we don’t eat enough fat, our body goes looking for fat to burn — and hey, I had close to 100lbs of it on my body at the time.

Your body burns consumed carbohydrates, or sugar, then when it runs out of that (if it even does!)  it burns any consumed fats, and then AFTER that, it starts to burn off body fat.

The idea is running on ketones instead of blood sugar.   Your system still needs blood glucose to operate important things like the brain – but your system will generate what it needs from the proteins in your system.   There is no need to take in significant

Carbohydrate Addiction

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded through studies that eating carbohydrates stimulates the addiction centres in the brain.   If you look at the typical North American diet, or worse the poor North American diet, what you typically see is tons of pasta, bread, sugars but the bottom line is carbohydrates.   Tons of processed food, all filled with very cheap to manufacture carbohydrates.

Image result for effect of eating carbohydrates on blood sugar

See the red line?  That’s what happens when you eat significant carbohydrates – your blood sugar spikes like mad.  This causes your brain to feel happy, and you feel full – but only 240 minutes later, you crash hard and start feeling hungry.  You never reach nutritional ketosis, because you ran for more food.   This means you don’t often burn the fats you are consuming – instead you pack them on.

The Low Fat Scam

What is with the war on fat?   Did I not just say we are fat burning machines?   Well, it has to do with fat around our bellies.    People think “Oh I don’t want to be fat, don’t eat fat” so the “low fat” industry was born.   However if you compare many “low fat” alternatives,  they pack in the carbs to make up for the missing fat.   How is this helping?   It isn’t.   High carb, low fat foods, generally processed are super easy for the industry to manufacture, at very cheap prices.

Fat is not your enemy.

Keto has benefits!

Enhanced mental focus:  You will be able to focus on tasks without getting as distracted

No more sugar spikes:  You feel fuller longer, without the hunger pains or the drive to run and eat.  Skipping a meal happens by accident because you just don’t have the up and down sugars in your system.  Your system will normalize, you can actually reverse type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Better health:  This goes without saying

More Energy!

What are the results?

Here are my results…   Results may vary, and it depends on your unique situation.  My results came with a little more exercise than normal (which became easier once I started)  I feel way more energy, amazing concentration.    My results are dramatic, and your can be too.    The best part is not how I look, but how I feel.

As of September 24th

Weight: 198.9 lbs — Lost 59.5
Body Fat: 28.4% — Lost 10.6
BMI: 28.6
Resting Heart Rate: 54
Resting BP: 120/80
Fasting Blood Sugar: 5.2
Finish Waist Size: 36

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How can I do this?

First, tell yourself you can do this.  The bottom line however is that you have to want to do it.   Whatever your reason is, not because someone told you to, but because that magic switch in your head flipped one day and said “I want to be healthy, I need to be healthy”

If you are waiting for me to link you to some magic diet pill, or magic recipe to make this work – move on, you won’t find that here.   This requires work, and sacrifice – I won’t sugar coat it (besides, those are carbs)

I am going to provide some reading, why re-invent the wheel, I will provide you with the amazing things I have read to learn about Keto before I went on this journey.

The biggest advice I can provide you with, is to learn and read before you do anything.  The key to success is understanding the science of Keto.

Beginners Guides – Read both, and understand

Learn about what is high and low carb

There are great visual guides on – check these out, learn what works and what does not.

Courtesy of

Some great guides over at DietDoctor that show you what is good and what isn’t on Keto…  Below is a good sample of keto friendly foods..

Keto diet foods: Natural fats (butter, olive oil); Meat; Fish and seafood; Eggs; Cheese; Vegetables that grow above ground

Not everything you think is safe — is safe on Keto.   Here is a good example of vegetables, because not all are built the same.   Photo again courtesy of

Low Carb veggies

My tips…

  1.  Track.   You must track everything you eat in order to learn about your foods.  I use a tool called Cron-o-meter to track because it properly supports Net Carbs.
  2. CALCULATE YOUR MACROS CORRECTLY!   Highly recommend this calculator

2.  Read.  I said this already, but you need to learn how your body works, and read up on what you can and cannot eat.

3.  Learn your body.   Learn to understand your body, you will be learning new cues, new feelings.

4. Stick with it.  Keto flu is real, you will read about it, and it sucks.    It goes away

5. Water.  Drink it, lots of it.  Constantly, the Ketogenic process needs more water to operate than you probably consume today.

6. Supplements.  You will probably need some supplements, see your doctor but generally you need to consider magnesium and potassium supplements.

7. Calories MATTER!  – lots of people will disagree here.  However your body is an energy consumption machine – calories in, calories out, calories stored.  You need to run a deficit in order to lose weight.  PERIOD

8. You cannot eat unlimited fat.   See #7