Friday Sep 05, 2008

Aloha

After 13 great years at Sun, today is my last day. 

I started back in 1995 the month that Java was introduced and leave after seeing it open-sourced and, as of earlier this week powering of all things, the Free Software Foundation's GNU 25th birthday video.

My ever changing roles (a self-indulgent look at my life at Sun)

I began my career at Sun, after a brief stint in chip marketing, in manufacturing operations as part of a team setting up manufacturing in Brazil.  From Ops I returned to marketing as a product manager for the JavaStation and then Sun Ray.  The naming process for Sun Ray provided an entre for me to become Sun's Naming and Logo Tsar, which in turn led to advertising.   From there I grabbed the chance to drive the design, development and managing of Sun's first (and only) consumer website, java.com.

For my last leg here at the fiery orb, I saw an opportunity to champion Sun's participation in GNU/Linux and FOSS arenas.  Its been a wild ride but I've very proud of all that we've accomplished in packaging and doc publishing as well as the cool podcasts) and have enjoyed all the great people I've met in the various communities.

What's next and Where can you find me?

On Monday I start at Lombardi Software, a late-stage start-up and Sun partner here in Austin.  I will be the marketing director for their cloud-based offering Blueprint (which you can register for for free, as in beer, on their site).  As for blogging, once I get settled you will be able to find me here.

Coda

Yep, my 5-year plan at Sun ended up lasting a little longer than I originally planned.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the many varied opportunities I've had here and all the fantastic people I've had the chance to work with both inside and outside the company.

I look forward to working with many of these people in the future when our paths will invariably cross again!

Pau for now.

Friday Jun 27, 2008

Gratuitous 200th Blog

The title says it all. From Jan 5, 07 until now, woo hoo! 

Pau for now... 

Thursday Jan 24, 2008

Of Nobel Laureates and Narcolepsy

If you were a regular watcher of the Sopranos, you probably remember Janice's narcoleptic born-again boyfriend in season 3.  Well it turns out the guy who played him, Turk Pipkin, lives right here in Austin and is a pretty interesting fellow. 

Driving to work the other day I heard Pipkin being interviewed on a local morning show.  Turns out, not only is he a juggler (he played the ping pong ball juggler on Waiting for Guffman), author, writer for TV and former stand-up comedian but he has also written, directed and produced an amazing sounding documentary.

The film is called "Nobelity" and features interviews with nine Nobel laureates around the world.  As the blurb on Amazon describes it:

"Filmed across the U.S., and in France, England, India and Africa, Nobelity combines the insights of nine distinguished Nobelists with a first-person view of world problems and the children who are most challenged by them." 

It sounds very cool to me.

In addition to making the movie, Pipkin has also started a non-profit called the Nobelity project.  

If you're in Austin this weekend and have some extra cash burning a hole in you pocket, you can check out the star studded fund-raiser he is hosting for the Nobelity project at the Four Seasons.

Pau for now...

Tuesday Jan 22, 2008

OpenSolaris + Ubuntu + Sake = Memories

I love playing matchmaker.  I was therefore psyched that Jim Grisanzio and Mako were able to hook up while Mako was visiting Tokyo.  Not only did the two of them get together but a few folks from Ubuntu Japan also joined the party.  (In fairness, I think it was Jim who joined Mako and the Ubuntu'ers).  Check out the scene at Jim's blog.

My Life as a Salary Man 

All of this makes me natuskashi about the four years I spent right out of college in Japan.   After an initial stint as an English teach (which gave me the time and resources to study the language) I became a salary man at Sony.  I joined their international advertising group but soon busted a move to the UNIX workstation team. 


Here I am with a bunch of my co-workers showing off Sony's line of computers circa 1990.

For those who don't remember (which is probably everyone), in the second half of the 80's Sony had a workstation named NEWS (Network Engineering WorkStation).  A Japanese OS and the long list of Japanese ISVs made NEWS a big hit domestically but didn't carry much weight outside of Japan.  We tried all sorts of things but companies like Sun, Apollo and DEC had the market pretty well sewn up.  Just to give you an idea of how tough the field was in the US at the end of '88/beginning of '89, the HP 9000/370, Apollo DN 4500 and Sun 3/4000 were all using the Motorola 68030 which ran at a scorching 33MHz!

Welcome to the Boomtown

Tokyo at the end of the '80s/beginning of the '90s was a very exciting place to be.  It was the height of their bubble (and a little bit of the deflating) and yen was flowing like mizu.  They were bringing in the best designers, architects and artists from around the world and things were looking pretty uber hip.  I had a cool six tatami mat apartment about 10 minute bike ride from Asagaya station.  There were tons of tiny cool jazz and blues bars right near the Asagaya train tracks that I hung out at.

I've only been back to Japan once since I left.  About five years ago I went to help with a marketing course at Sun Tokyo.  It was great to be back and i went and visited my old 'hood and hit the bars at Asagaya. 

I'll need to find another excuse to get back.

Pau for now...
 

Thursday Jan 03, 2008

Whole Foods coming to Kahala Mall

Happy New Year or as they say in Hawaii, Hau'oli Makahiki Hou. 

I just saw this morning that Whole Foods, headquartered here in Austin is not only coming to the Kahala Mall but it will be even bigger than originally planned.  Looks like this is one of three that are slated to open in the islands. 

I have fond memories of the Kahala Mall -- riding our bikes there as kids and hanging out.  What I want to know is whatever happened to The Book Nook, Farrell's, Jenny's Garden, Kahala Music, Pete's Model Craft and our favorite, India Imports (don't see many head shops in mainstream malls these days).   What drew us to India Imports however, wasn't the paraphernalia in the glass cases (we were a bit young) but the rich catalog of cool black light posters of everything from dragons and cougars to Tweety Bird and Jimi Hendrix.

Getting back to the present, I hope Whole Foods does well in Hawaii.  That being said, the whole "“rahodeb” fiasco has left a bad taste in my mouth.  What I really wish for Hawaii (and for Austin) is a Trader Joe's.  Much, much better priced and much more manageable

And while we're at it, what about a Peet's?

Pau for now...

Farrell's Update:  Looks like Farrell's is back in Hawaii.  And it wasn't just Hawaii that had Farrell's, look how mighty the chain once was.  And in contrast, today.

 

Wednesday Dec 05, 2007

Hawaii goes to Sugar Bowl

I'm not a huge football fan but I gotta admit I'm pretty excited by the fact the University of Hawaii Warriors will be heading to the Superdome to take on Georgia on new year's day.  Hawaii, led by Heisman finalist  Colt Brennan, had a fantastic season and ended up with a perfect 12-0 season, the only team in the country to do so.

This is pretty amazing stuff and the whole state is going bananas.  The Bulldogs will be a pretty tough team to beat but there is definitely precedence for Hawaiian teams pulling out outrageous victories -- think back to wee Chaminade's stunning of Virginia in '82.

And since we're on the subject of Hawaiian athletes, I was pretty surprised to find out that Punahou graduate Michele Wie is the number four on Forbes' 20 under 25 - The top earning young superstars. (I'm always looking at ways to plug the alma mater ;  BTW did I mention that Barack Obama went to Punahou?)

Pau for now...

Wednesday Oct 31, 2007

Coolest Pumpkin in the Neighborhood

My daughter and I just got back from trick-or-treating a little while ago.

I wanted to share the coolest carved pumpkin that we encountered:

How they carved this I have no idea.  (If you don't recognize the creature, he's from the film Pan's Labyrinth.)

Pau for now...

Tuesday Oct 02, 2007

30 Hours in the Texas Hill country

My wife and I celebrated our 5th anniversary this weekend by getting away to the Hill Country that surrounds Austin.   On Saturday we chilled by the pool at the Marriott at Horseshoe Bay.  It was great to simply relax and read -- no diaper changing, no wrestling kids to bed -- a nice break.

On Sunday we took a scenic drive from Horseshoe bay, down to Fredricksburg and then home via Johnson City, birthplace of President Lyndon Johnson


The outskirts of Fredricksburg

Fredricksburg is an interesting little town with two major influences, Germany and The Pacific campaign for World War II. 

The town was founded in 1846 by Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach and like a lot of small towns in central Texas there is considerable German influence and many signs in German. 

The town is also the birthplace for Admiral Chester Nimitz, the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Forces in World War II.  As a result, the road that runs through town is named "The Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway" and in town they have "The National Museum of the Pacific War."

 
Off the Willow City loop, north of Fredricksburg


Der Kuchen Laden: wrought iron and glass blocks. 

 
Nothing says Fall quite like a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins 


Pau for now... 

Tuesday Aug 14, 2007

Music to Emigrate from California to

In February of this year I made the journey out of California in search of a better life for my family and me.  My destination was Austin Texas and my route took me through California, Arizona, New Mexico and into the heart of Texas. 

Since I keep hearing of more folks leaving the high real estate costs and general confusion of the Golden State I thought I would share the 20 CDs that guided me as I made my journey to our new home.  Hopefully these will come in handy for someone else looking to make the move ;)

Pau for now...

Tuesday Jul 03, 2007

A Soggy 4th on tap

You may have heard about the all the rain that has been pelting the central Texas area, well its still here.  In fact tomorrow they are predicting severe thunder storms. 

Its actually pretty spectacular when the storms roll through and right now thanks to all the precipitation, Austin is as lush as Ireland.  Additionally there is a bunch of stuff left to do in the way of unpacking boxes so here at chez George we should be able to get a bunch done over the break.

 
We will NOT be holding our 4th of July picnic here.

Pau for now...


 

Thursday Jun 14, 2007

They're Packin' up the house

We are now less than 24 hours away from ownership of our new home.  The movers are downstairs packing up the kitchen while I type.  We got the second lien tied up earlier this morning and Im waiting on a call from the title company to find out how big a check to bring tomorrow to the closing.  Still need to sync up on the delivery of the fridge and have the final walk-thru of our current townhome in the next hour or two. 

On top of all this excitement, Tuesday night I realized that my passport had expired (one week before Im supposed to travel to DebConf in Edinburgh).  Working with a company out of San Francisco who expedites such matters has been a bit of nail biter these last few days but it looks like it will work out (I hope I didnt say that out loud).

Im taking down the computer tonight and hope to be back up on Monday at the new digs. 

Our Austin experience 2.0 is about to begin!

Pau for now...


Monday Jun 11, 2007

This is the week!

After four months in a 3 story townhome surrounded by boxes and blank walls we are finally moving in to our new home!  We had our walk thru last Thursday and except for a few minor things here and there the house looked fantastic.  

The big day is this Friday when we sign the papers and get the keys.  It will be so nice to be able to actually get organized and get all our stuff unpacked.  Whats particularly great is that the kids will have room to run (toddle) around both inside the house and outside.

Life here in Austin is about to get a whole lot better :)


A view from the trail behind our house. 


Two speedboats on Lake Austin (aka the Colorado River) from the trail.

Pau for now... 


Wednesday Jun 06, 2007

Omidyar Joins Punahou Board of Trustees

You may have missed it, but a couple of weeks ago eBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar was elected to Punahou School's board of directors.  I didnt know Pierre at school but it sounds like the 8th and 9th grade years he spent there made a big impression on him.   On the board he joins another high tech superstar Steve Case, also a former Punahou student (and who lived down the street from me on Hunakai when I was little; we also went to the same college -- I have obviously done more with my life than he has).

Punahou is actually a pretty special place.  It is a private, co-educational school that was founded in 1841 by Yale missionaries and goes from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  Its on a beautiful 76 acres right at the beginning of the lush Manoa valley and when you are in high school, you get to hang out between classes on the lawn under the palm trees.

Here is a list of some Punahou students you may have heard of:

  • Dr. Sun Yat Sen - Father of modern china
  • Kelly Preston - Actress
  • Barack (Barry) Obama - Senator from Illinois and candidate for president 
  • Steve Case - Former Chairman of AOL-Time-Warner
  • Pierre Omidyar - Founder and Chairman of eBay 
  • Michelle Wie - Professional golfer
  • Mosi Tatupu - NFL running back
  • Barton George - Author of this blog :)
And what blog about Punahou would be complete without another gratuitous yearbook  picture of Barack (Barry) Obama from 1973.  I have no idea why he appeared in two different pictures within the same classroom, you usually only got to be in one.  His future potential must have shown through even then.

Barack Obama in '73...Nothing quite says the 70's like placards with Zodiac signs.
 

Pau for now...

Wednesday May 30, 2007

Only 15 more days!

Its only a little more than two weeks until we move into our new home here in Austin.  For the past four months the five of us have been living in a three story town home (not very easy when you have three kids under 3).  We've only unpacked about half our stuff and havent done anything to make it homey since we knew that our new home would be available soon.

Im still blown away by what we get for our money here in Austin.  We could never have afforded a house like this in the Bay Area at this time.  Not only that but this house is half the price and twice the size of the house we had in San Jose (in fact our house here in Austin is larger than our entire lot in San Jose).   Im amazed that a disparity like this can still exist and that it has not been arbitraged away or at least brought much closer.  Sure it gets really hot in Austin and there is more industry in the Bay Area, but 4X the cost for real estate!?

It will be interesting to see twenty years from now how housing prices between the two areas compare.  Im sure Austin's prices will continue to rise, particularly with all of us high tech refugees from California.  What I wonder is when will this exodus from the Bay Area be enough to cause a reality check for Silicon Valley and produce a correction?  This same situation is true for commercial real estate and this fact hasnt been lost on on either our CEO or CFO who realize that holding a large amount of land in the Valley is one of the poorest uses of the company's capital.   As a result, Sun has been consolidating campuses and actively supporting more people to work from home or re-locate.  It seems like each week Im hearing about another co-worker who is leaving the Bay Area for a greater affordability and a better quality of life.

Go east young man! 


The house we never could have afforded in the Bay Area. 

Pau for now...

Friday Apr 20, 2007

Its Bluebonnet Season

Having just moved to Austin a few months ago we are experiencing our first "Bluebonnet season."  Bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas and when they start blooming in the spring everyone and his brother goes and gets family pictures taken in them. 

Who were we to buck a Texas tradition?

 
One of the brood rompin' thru the Bluebonnets. 

 

Pau for now... 

 

About

I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.

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