Friday May 06, 2011

And we're back.

Welcome to the other side. In the unlikely event that you have this blog in your bookmarks or RSS feeds, please now point them at http://blogs.oracle.com/calum (RSS - Atom).

EDIT: Apologies for any broken image links you're seeing -- blogs.oracle.com doesn't seem to be serving PNGs or embedded video files properly at the moment. Hopefully just a teething problem that'll be fixed soon...

Monday Oct 04, 2010

A decade at Sun redux

I felt a mild flutter of excitement when I finally received my 10 year Sun/Oracle service award notification on Friday, two months after my actual anniversary, because Sun had some nice gifts you could choose from (I chose a telescope for my five year award!).

Assuming Oracle would be much the same, I hastily logged in to see what I fancied, only to discover out that there was only one option: a ballpoint pen. A $200 ballpoint pen, certainly, but a ballpoint pen nonetheless.

How many people in the IT industry, I wonder, have a use for a $200 ballpoint pen? I certainly wouldn't carry around a pen that expensive, as it's the sort of thing I'd inevitably lose. Even as UI designer who does a fair bit of sketching, I just tend to use whatever pen or pencil comes to hand. And if I did want my own fancy, personal pen, it would be a fountain pen, not a ballpoint. (But you have to rack up 20 years at Oracle to earn one of those—even 15 just gets you a 'rollerball'.)

Indeed, up until I left university, and for a while afterwards, I did carry around a fountain pen. But it wasn't an expensive one, and it was in the days when I still wrote a lot more than I typed. I doubt there are many people in our line of work who do that nowadays.

So if you're reading, corporate gift overlords, we minions do appreciate a choice. And if you're not going to give us a choice, could you please at least give us something we can either put to good use without fear of losing or breaking it, or something that looks nice on a shelf? Or, if in doubt, just stick an extra few quid in our pay packet that month, and let us buy whatever we like :)

Thursday Sep 04, 2008

Virtual Box 2.0

Sun xVM VirtualBox 2.0.0 was released today, and is available for download from virtualbox.org. New features include 64-bit guest support, host interface networking on Solaris and OS X hosts, support for nested paging on modern AMD CPUs, and a native front end for the OS X client (and a move to Qt 4 for the others).

More detailed changelog here.

Thursday Aug 02, 2007

VMware 1, Parallels 0

I'd been using Parallels 3.0 for the past few weeks to run SXDE 2 on my MacBook Pro, but started having problems when I upgraded to Solaris Nevada build 69-- the X server wouldn't start any more, and I just couldn't get it going at all.

I took the opportunity to try out the VMware Fusion Beta instead, and so far it's the clear winner. It does feel a trifle slower than Parallels (even with debugging turned off), and its snapshots aren't as flexible, only allowing one per VM. But its VM tools for Solaris are way ahead of Parallels' non-existent offering-- clock sync, on-the-fly desktop resize, copy/paste/drag+drop from Solaris <-> OS X... nice. (Haven't figured out if shared folders are supposed to work on Solaris yet or not-- the settings are available which suggest they should, but the folders I've nominated don't show up anywhere obvious, so I'm guessing they don't.)

Assuming it's just as happy at full screen on my Sun 24" display when I get into the office, I'll be sticking in the VMware camp for now.

Edit: Oh, and did I mention that Solaris sound and networking work out of the box on VMware too?

Monday Apr 30, 2007

Och-aye-demy

Just noticed that KDE's Akademy conference is taking place in my old stomping ground of Strathyclyde University's Computer Science Department in Glasgow... pity there are no usability sessions on the schedule, might have been tempted to gatecrash for nostalgia's sake :)

Back in my day (1989-93), the Graham Hills building was called Marland House (we'd just bought it off BT), and its main function was to house a lab full of QLs that Sinclair had donated. Despite the stories in the press at the time, every student didn't get one to take home-- AFAIK they all stayed in the lab, and all we ever did with them was our 68k assembly language assignments (as set by Duncan Smeed, who's probably still setting them today...)

The top few floors of the Livingstone Tower, on the other hand, housed (as they still do) the staff offices and the 3rd and 4th year computer lab, which at the time had just been kitted out with smart new Sun terminals (ELCs, IIRC-- which looking back at them now were the forerunner of Sun Rays, I guess). Little did I know then...

Friday Apr 27, 2007

Three years of blogging

Following Martin's lead, I thought I'd have a quick trawl through what stats I have to see what my most popular blog entry has been over the past three years of b.s.c. history. It turns out to have probably been the one about my Freecom network storage drive. How does that saying about the network and the computer go again...?

For the record, my first b.s.c. blog entry was about the JDS deal at AIB, which was actually a bit under three years ago. For blog entries before that, you'll have to check out my old advogato diary...

Wednesday Jan 10, 2007

Holiday catchup

So, first blog of 2007... bliadhna mhath ur, and all that.

It was a fairly quiet break for us this year, at least in terms of travelling and seeing family-- we did neither, apart from a one-night spa break up the road at the Johnstownhouse Marriot in Enfield. (The food there really is gorgeous.)

We were out and about around town a bit though... went to see Jason Byrne on December 23rd, and we took in Casino Royale, Flushed Away, Happy Feet and Deja Vu at the cinema (mostly for free-- thanks Curly!)

Work-wise, I'm trying out a Sun Ray 2 at home for the first time this week... the technology is certainly impressive, although it remains to be seen whether it'll oust my laptop as my working-at-home tool of choice. It would probably be more useful if I had one on my desk at work as well, to get the full benefit of session mobility-- maybe it's time to retire my old Ultra 10....


About


I am an Interaction Designer in the Systems Experience Design team, arriving at Oracle via Sun where I've worked since 2000. I currently work on sysadmin user experience projects for Solaris. Formerly I worked on open source Solaris desktop projects such as GNOME, NWAM and IPS.

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