Wednesday Sep 29, 2010


I've never fully introduced myself, but my name is Kathy Brown and today is my last day at Sun-Oracle. It was 11 years ago that I came to Sun though the Forte acquisition. Doesn't time fly! At that time I was a QA manager testing the Forte 4GL and Synerj products. However with Sun came some interesting career possibilities, so I decided to stick around and jump into Web Engineering and haven't regretted it since. The smart and accomplished people and the cool and interesting work always outweighed the downsides.

For the last 3 years I was both the business and engineering owner of CWP Identity, the identity management system for Sun's externally facing websites. Because lots of sites need identity, I got to see an interesting cross section of teams and projects. It's been a great learning experience.

What's next? I'm going to be doing some SEO consulting. Search Engine Optimization for organic Search is an interesting space and I'm sure it will keep me busy for a while. In the meantime, if you like some of the blog entries here, check out my blog on a variety (not just SEO) of web topics.

Thursday May 08, 2008

Duke backstage!

A sneak peek into getting Duke ready backstage for his fans and photo shoot[Read More]

Monday Apr 28, 2008

Hits and Misses of the Web 2.0 expo

Hits and Misses of the recent Web 2.0 expo conference that took place in San Francisco at Moscone Center.[Read More]

Saturday Mar 15, 2008

Tales from Sun's web edge

Before 1752, the Americans and British started the new year on March 25th. We aren't quite to that day yet, but in honor of the old new year date, we have decided to relaunch this blog with a new look and number of tales of all the interesting internet facing websites that Sun has.

BTW, check out what the cal command returns for Sept. 1752. Leave a comment if you want to know why.

Sun has something like over 200 websites. Yes, many are in the domain and over the years we have made great progress in making them all look alike, but the reality is that there are many, many separate sites running on different servers in different locations and managed by different groups. Lots of these sites tend to be focused on a different audience segment. Our group, .Sun, as providers of core web platform infrastructure, work with a variety of these groups within Sun, and we see a broad spectrum of strategies and approaches.

One interesting development recently is how sites geared towards Sun employees have migrated from within the firewall to the edge. With Sun's mobile workforce, it's easier to have essential tools and content on the edge .. but with that trend comes new challenges.

Saturday Jan 05, 2008

Stormy weather in San Francisco

The San Francisco bay area had quite a storm yesterday. Gusts of 70MPH were clocked on the Golden Gate bridge, and the San Rafael bridge was closed. I live on a hill near Lone Mountain and the wind gusts were very strong. There were times that the building shook. One wind gust blew my patio furniture against the far railing of the deck.

patio furniture after storm

It's lightweight plastic .. but still.

With no power for seven hours, I finally got bored (not to mention I wanted a hot meal) and went walking towards the panhandle and the Lower Haight. The power outages were in pockets, some blocks had power, some didn't. The trees in the neighborhood got a serious pruning. There were branches all over the sidewalks and one downed tree. Should have brought my camera.

Check out this picture of the San Rafael/Richmond bridge from

Monday Nov 19, 2007

Jury Duty

An vignette of the court system[Read More]

Friday Sep 22, 2006

wifi in South Texas

In Corpus Christi rush hour is when you have to change lanes to maintain your speed.[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 22, 2005

Very wierd "re-fi" spam

I've been using my yahoo account too long, it's getting way too much spam. Some of it is beginning to slip by their filters (which are pretty good).

In my yahoo inbox today:


Your specific case has been considered to the obligatory peoples, and upon meticulous weighing up, we are able to tender to you the subsequent offer.

Based upon meticulous weighing up you are eligible to obtain a considerable gain on your primary property investment.

By completing the subsequent attached form in a timely manner we will be able to settle our review, and we feel firm you will obtain not only a decreased rate of interest, but also a cash return that will execute all your holiday needs and more!

Please go here to settle this stage of the agreement.

Wishing you all the best over the holiday period,
Lois Arias

So I guess these people want to refinance my mortgage?

Sunday Oct 30, 2005

The curse of Google

Note: This is another entry in the series of blogs I've written about Gartner's ITxpo event. I've captured thoughts and notes from selected sessions I attended. The below is from the "The Evolution of Taxonomies and Search Information Access"

Most people love Google. It's simple, uncluttered page appeals to many, and the results make it as the search engine of choice. But there is dark side to this success. Because the expectation it has set in the minds of millions is a curse, according to Gartner's Dr. Rita Knox.

What is the curse? The first is the expectation that everything is searchable. The more saavy of us know that Google doesn't index everything. For example it can have a tough time with dynamic data locked up a database. The second part is that expectation that search results should be 1-10 of N. If your search is narrowly targeted, this works. But for general searches it returns too much information to sift through.

In the CEO Mastermind Interview at the event, Steve Ballmer asked why couldn't search learn about him (the user) as he used it? I'm sure the reader will come up with better examples, but here's one to illustrate: if I search for "rye" do I mean rye bread or rye whiskey? If google knew I was a enthusiast of different types of whiskey, it would know. It would have that context about me. Of course that would mean that it would know my identity/profile .. which is a whole other conversation.

Rita agrues that for search to be more useful, you need to allow the user to provide context for the search ... or at least organize the results into verticals. We aren't fulfilling her version, but here at Sun, we have taken some steps towards this. If you now use's search you will see that the results are organized in tabs. Recently we rolled out this feature for the developer sites. Has it been useful to you? I'm curious.

Friday Oct 21, 2005

SeeBeyond acquistion positions Sun well

As many of you know, Sun recently bought SeeBeyond . SeeBeyond is in the Integration space in the Application Software world. It seems to have been a good move from the Analysts' perspective, in the sessions I attended at the Gartner IT/XPO Symposium, the acquistion was mentioned not less than four times, usually accompanied by the comment "Sun is now a player in the SOA space" For those of you that are SeeBeyond customers, Gartner says the acquistion is a good thing for you, because instead of buying SeeBeyond for the customer base, like a recent Oracle acquistion, the SeeBeyond acquisition plugs a gap in our offerings, so there won't be conflicting, competing product lines.

SOA, which translates to "Service Oriented Architecture", is the hyped thing of the year, according to Garner. Used to be portals, now it is SOA. There were far too many sessions to pick from on SOA or it's kissing cousin, Web Services. It depends on who you talk to, but from what I can gather, SOA is a paradigm where you have loosely coupled (or completely uncoupled) application services that can talk to each and clients. Didn't seem like a new concept to me, but what seems to be new is the supporting technology that is coming out from the industry to support keeping the services uncoupled from the clients that use them, not to mention the BPM stuff that runs on top that coordinates workflow through all these services.

While you can have SOA after a fashion without using the WebServices standards, no one seriously considers doing this. The interoperability of your services would suffer greatly if you are not using the standards.

If you read my earlier post on the death of the database, the point underlying that session is that the use of SOA leads to an universal connectivity that makes persisting certain types of information unnecessary.

So is the hype deserved? I don't know. Depends on how much interconnectivity we see across companies and organizations.

Thursday Oct 20, 2005

IT/XPO .. day 4

This is my last day here. I was originally going to stay for the half day tomorrow and fly out at night, but with hurricane Wilma looming, I decided to get the heck out of dodge and changed my flight to leave at the ridiculous hour of 6AM EST tomorrow.

I visited some Sun folks at the ITxpo floor and chatted with the openSolaris folks. They have been blogging up a storm.

Despite the conference winding down, I've got a couple of topics to blog about, just haven't had the time yet.

For example, instead of blogging about SOA, I went to a party at Pleasure Island, known as Disney for adults. I think I have finally figured how to navigate this place (don't get me started about my commute), and found it pretty easily. Most of the bars are the standard disco type places, the 70s/80s place was fun, but the oddest place had a stand-up comedian dressed as "club president" interacting with the crowd.

Wednesday Oct 19, 2005

Death of the Database? .. from IT/XPO

This morning I attended a session that had the rather contraversial title "Death of the Database". The speaker asked all the media bloggers to stay for all of the session instead of rushing out and blog "So and so from Gartner says ..."

A better, although not perhaps not as big of draw of a session name, would have been "Evolution of Persistence". The speaker's point was that the role of a the database will change in the evolving tech landscape where data is everywhere in the network, real time, and doesn't need to be persisted into a database.

For example, why do you need an inventory database, if your system can get all the info needed from the RFID tags on your widgets in your warehouse? If the data you need only has to live for a transient time, ie. for the duration of a transaction, why persist it?

I found his assertions thought-provoking, but it raised more questions that it answered. Think of the security issues, will your financial institution really allow your application access to a transaction while it executes, so you can confirm that the order has been paid for? Can we really get away with not storing the state of an order in an eCommerce scenario? What happens if the service goes down and we lose the state and it isn't persisted? You get the picture.

As far as the question, will DBAs have a job in the future? He advised DBAs to start learning about middleware since the persistence will move up the stack in the form of queues, actual objects (ie. RFID tags), and in the services themselves. Your mileage on this advice may vary.

Monday Oct 17, 2005

Gartner IT/XPO conference .. it begins

I haven't blogged here for awhile, but this week I'm at the Gartner IT/XPO conference and I thought I would capture some of what I'm hearing. The theme is "rapid results, faster ROI". Gartner seems to think that we are poised on a revolution of IT (I think it's been going on for a while), where projects can't take a year and we need to transition to more SOA.

So I agree that projects can't take a year. Most of our projects don't, they are more on the order of weeks, a lot of tweaking of what is already in place. In the web world the requirements are ever changing and our stakeholders often can't completely visualize what they want, not to mention that they change their mind. In all fairness they are just reacting to a changing marketplace. It's way better to prototype something, get the stakeholders to validate what you are doing and schedule the additional features for quarterly rollout. Upper management is way happier when they see tangible results.

One of the interesting things about attending one of these is finding out what your own company is doing. If you are doing SOA, you might need to abstract out the communications between your clients and services using an ESB (enterprise service bus) layer. Turns out Sun has open-ESB project on, check it out

Wednesday Jul 13, 2005

Before the break fades away

Capturing some images of summer before I completely lose myself in work again.

The fourth of July was beautiful in the City, I never saw any fog which is unusual for the summer, here are the city denizens sunning themselves in Dolores Park.

[Dove mama baby bird]

Our baby birds grew up and left the nest. First mama and papa bird left the nest and watched from nearby. Then the babies spent a day working out how to fly on the patio floor. Then they were gone.

[Dove mama baby bird]

We visited the alameda county fair where we saw both horse and pig racing as well as hobby collections. Waching piglets jumping hurdles on a track was very amusing. The collections had everything from barbies, to carved animals, to beer coasters.

[Dove mama baby bird]


Friday Jul 08, 2005

Baby Birds

So mama bird is definitely a dove. June must be their nesting time, check out this story of a dove family The blue ring around the eye was the identifying factor that confirmed it for me. However our home decorating friends had it wrong, baby doves don't just hatch into little birds that sit upright. They hatch into little tiny birds that barely move, let alone hold up their heads. I was surprised that they were that much like humans.

We know this, because our dove family had the misfortune to encounter the painters that the association had hired to repaint the patio walls. The painters didn't get at first what I was trying to warn them about. But when mama bird flew away, disturbed by the racket, we all could see the little birds lying helplessly in the nest. During the day she kept trying to stick it out on the nest but many times the commotion the painters were making with moving trelises and ladders was too much for her. I thought about moving the hanging pot but was afraid that could be a bad idea. For all I know she wouldn't recognize it once moved.

After the painters left, it was at least a week before we saw the baby birds poke their heads up. I was worried as I thought we had disturbed them too much. But nature perserved.

[Dove mama baby bird]


We are part of .Sun, a group in Marketing that operates and designs Sun's web presence. So naturally we focus on the web in this blog but random musings slip in often.


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