Monday Dec 14, 2009

The joys of filling in expenses

One of the nicest things about not travelling so much earlier this year was not needing to fill in expense reports.

Today I have finally knuckled down to the task of getting up to date with things after being away pretty regularly over the last two months.


I would like to find the person who configured our system in a way that forces you to enter the exchange rate for every single foreign currency entry. This alone adds hours to the job.

On the plus side, expenses days motivate me to work much harder so that I can get promoted as high up as possible - at some point, surely I would qualify for my own personal assistant to fill in my expenses for me?

Friday Sep 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Sun Ray!

The main product I sell, which keeps Mrs Saul in the life to which she is becoming increasingly accustomed, was ten years old on Wednesday.

Happy Birthday Sun Ray!

Thursday Sep 10, 2009

Straight to the point

I've always liked Oracle's adverts.

There is no wittering about 'passion' or other nebulous and meaningless terms - the term 'passion' in particular has always got my goat.

They give a clear, easy to understand message in nice bold type, with no need for multi-ethnic clip art of people in suits smiling at each other over desks.

I think they are particularly effective in the Middle East, where so many cultures and languages mix.

We're fast, we're the best, everyone uses us.

Everyone reading that gets the point pretty quickly. I don't think anyone who's seen Sun's 'passion for innovation' posters has walked away any more enlightened about what we do than they were before.

Sunday May 03, 2009

The ultimate network technology - the Bassett Hound

I've just been reading a document that's been translated from the original French using some kind of automated translation tool. The overall quality is surprisingly good, but just what is...

'A telegraphic network Ethernet 10/100 Basset hound of the star type.'


The image of Fred Bassett running around the server room made me chuckle.

Tuesday Apr 21, 2009

Oracle will love Sun Ray

I like this article.

We know what product Oracle really want from Sun - the Sun Ray, which just happens to be what I sell!

Joking apart, there is a good fit for this particular product set. Who knows how things will progress, however.

The article mentions Ellison's 'The Network Computer'. My first job out of university was for a London PR company that represented Oracle's spin-off network computer company. I still have the mousemats somewhere, if someone's interested in seeing a bit of thin client history. If I remember rightly, I organised a meeting or two for Network Computing Inc, as I think they were called, in London and Holland.

My interview for the job at the PR company also included my presenting about the desktop and 'network computing', which meant talking about Oracle and Sun's plans. I knew nothing about the IT industry at the time, but enjoyed learning a lot very quickly. The 'thin client' side of things seemed promising.

I had no idea that, 12 years on, I would be making a living out of thin client computing, working for one of the companies I was talking about during my interview, with the second about to acquire that company. It's amazing where a graduate job you get thanks to your knowledge of French and German can help you end up...

Thursday Apr 16, 2009

Sun Microsystems kit = low WAF

I have finally managed to get hold of some of our own kit for demos and internal training.

At the moment a shiny new U24 workstation and a Sun Ray 270 are installed and sitting in our spare room, next to my desk, ready to help me get up to speed with the latest release of one of our software products.

After getting everything unpacked and set up, I rushed off to find Mrs Saul and show it to her. I think Sun kit looks great - stylish and well put together. I was also excited to show her a Sun Ray, the product that has ensured I have been paid every month for the last four and a half years.

Mrs Saul's verdict? 'Urr, that looks awful!'.

The Wife Acceptance Factor for this particular product range is clearly pretty low... I would like to keep everything in the spare room for the coming week, but based on past experience, I expect I will find myself forced to drag it all back to the office in a day or so.

Sunday Sep 14, 2008

Off to Las Vegas

I'm off to Las Vegas for VMworld. Fourteen hours from Dubai to JFK, 5 or so to LAS with a three hour layover.

Sun shareholders need not worry - I am fully booked for the whole week, attending talks directly relevant to driving desktop business forward in FY09, meeting colleagues to discuss what's working elsewhere and to hear about the product roadmap, as well as learning all about some new products so that I can, in turn, pass that knowledge on to the teams I work with. I will also be speaking for about half an hour during a Sun slot on Weds.

If I have a spare moment, I promise to spend it in my hotel room, reading product documentation.

If I have a spare moment after those spare moments I will be doing my best to find a good blues bar and to enjoy some live music.

Thursday Jul 03, 2008

Goodby EMMA, hello again SEE

The financial year is over. I can't give details, for obvious reasons, but I'm very happy with the way things went for my particular products.

Regular readers might remember that my previous region was called SEE - Southern and Eastern EMEA, Middle East and Africa. From January we lost Mid-Europe and Russia and the CIS countries to become EMMA - Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa.

We are now SEE again, as Russia and the CIS countries have come back. Mid-Europe will stay separate. On top of that I am no longer part of EMEA - we've become part of a so-called 'emerging markets' grouping, which consists of Greater China, India, Latin America and SEE. This is an interesting idea - growth areas that might not be geographically all right next door to eachother, but which have similar challenges.

There's huge potential for desktop in this new region. I'm looking forward to meeting up with my Russian colleagues again and seeing what the people in the new region are doing in terms of my product set!

Here's to another (financial) year. Moscow, Almaty, Tashkent and other places - here I come...

Monday Dec 17, 2007

Sun get the right greeting for a change

Our EMEA VP actually said 'Happy Christmas' in his 'holiday email' to staff today. I was quite pleased - by all means wish people 'Season's Greetings' and 'Happy Holidays' (which he did too), but let's not forget that it's Christmas as well.

Dubai seems to be extra Christmassy at the moment. There are no overtly Christian symbols on display, but the shops and malls are full of Christmas trees, Santas and winter scenes. There are some angels on the trees this year, something I can't remember seeing in previous years, but I might be wrong. The Philipino staff in my local supermarket are all in full song when I walk in and the shop's empty, accompanying the cheesey Christmas music CD that plays on repeat.

It probably feels more like Christmas in Dubai than it does in parts of the UK where misguided local authorities feel that any overtly Christian and Christmas displays will 'offend' the local non-Christian population. In the towns in which this is occurring for yet another year in a row, local minority leaders are probably getting tired of banging their heads against a brick wall trying to make people understand that although they are Muslim, Sikh or Hindu they are not 'offended' to see people celebrating Christmas.

It was good to see Trevor Philips putting his foot down about this recently.

Thursday Sep 13, 2007

Adding value - how to do it

A colleague of mine recently asked me how I manage to add quite so much value.

My response was that adding value is all about holistic strategies that encompass global goals and local niche requirements, going forward. An energised, focused team with well built out core competencies can meet client requirements for value driven strategies and networks, whilst retaining and achieving central revenue growth and dynamic market movement for both end users, stake holders and shareholders, without compromising a global ethics platform based on best practices and innovative 360 degree approaches to business process excellence.

If anyone thinks I'm wrong, please let me know.

Wednesday Aug 15, 2007

Speaking at VMworld

I've just had confirmation that I'll have a speaking slot at VMworld, VMware's annual conference, being held this year in San Francisco.

I'm sure my talk will be the highlight of the week, so make sure you're there to hear a 40 minute technical talk on two of Sun's recent VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure wins in Sun's Southern and Eastern EMEA region.

Can't wait..!

Tuesday Feb 20, 2007

Dear colleagues - send a link to the file not the file itself

Dear Colleagues

It's great to receive interesting information encapsulated in large PDF or StarOffice files. All interesting stuff, that helps me do my job better. However, sending this fascinating content as an attachment means that all of us in the field who are not lucky enough to be enjoying a highspeed connection to the internet have to wait for ages while Thunderbird downloads the file. If we're particularly unlucky we have to stop and restart Thunderbird, which is a waste of time.

We have an internal site that can be used to post files so that you can send a link to the file rather than the file instead. For the sake of my sanity, please start using it!

Warm regards


Tuesday Feb 14, 2006

ThinkThin blog

Craig Bender has started a group blog concentrating on thin client stuff. You can find it here. In the future I'll post any technical thin client stuff there instead of here, leaving these pages free for rants and raves and my thrilling travel updates and offroad adventures. A while ago I gave myself a target of one 'technical' or general work related post a week, but haven't managed it. Still, no point writing if there's nothing particularly new to say. This new blog should encourage me to get down to things again and post some useful Sun Desktop related stuff.

Sunday Jan 15, 2006

Get your dog off the line

Whilst catching up on work and writing up the odd blog entry I've been listening to a couple of recordings off recent conference calls I've missed. I'm pretty sure that someone's dog was barking in the background of one, whilst another section had various people having a heated discussion in Spanish in the background. Guys! It's called a mute button. Pressing it means that you can have your pets be as noisy as they want and that your colleagues can pop in for a quick chat without everyone else on the line listening to your exciting exchanges. We recently had a company wide email with the subject 'Conference call etiquette'. I thought it was going to contain some tips on how to behave and how best to manage a conf call, but it was actually a request to make sure that the correct people listened in on calls. Time for an official set of recommendations I think, the most important being to have a chairperson manage larger calls to make sure things run smoothly. As an opinionated person, the appropriate group is welcome to solicit my thoughts on this subject!

Monday Dec 19, 2005

Getting SchoolTool running with Solaris

A customer of ours is looking at SchoolTool, as well as considering Sun Rays with Solaris on AMD for their school environment. SchoolTool is written in Python and has packages for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux available, but nothing prepackaged for Solaris. It's very simple to install, although the readme misses out a couple of critical steps and there is a small error in the Makefile. I used a recent build of Solaris Express running on my Toshiba laptop, but I expect any Solaris version will work fine, providing the right versions of Python and libxml are installed. Here are the steps I took. \* Download latest source distribution from SchoolTool website. \* Unpack into /usr/local, which gives me /usr/local/schooltool-0.11.3 \* Ensure I have the latest versions of Python and libxml2 and that my PATH is correct. I use pkg-get to get the latest GNU stuff and handle dependencies. \* cd into /usr/local/schooltool-0.11.3/Zope3 to build Zope. \* Link gcc to Sun's /usr/ucb/cc mv /usr/ucb/cc /usr/ucb/cc.orig ln -s /usr/sfw/bin/gcc /usr/ucb/cc \* Run python install \* The readme file misses out a step here - you need to run make next to complete the installation of Zope. Whether you use Sun's make or GNU make compilation will fail with the error 'Command failed for target 'bin/runzope'. This is due to there being no bin directory present in the SchoolTool directory. Make the bin directory and run make: mkdir bin make \* Everything appeared to compile correctly. \* Build SchoolTool. cd /usr/local/schooltool-0.11.3 python install \* The readme misses out a step here. You need to run make again. make \* Create a copy of the example server configuration file: cp schooltool.conf \* Make any changes necessary. It seems to work out of the box, but you may wish to check that it doesn't conflict with any other web servers currently running. \* Start the schooltool server: /usr/local/schooltool-0.11.3/ \* The schooltool server started and listened on the defaultport: port 7080. I accessed it via http://localhost:7080 Login with username manager and password schooltool



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