Wednesday Mar 16, 2011

It's been a long time..I shouldn't have left you...

Well it indeed has been a long time since my last blog entry - the in fact is my first blog entry in the new Oracle world order. We've just been informed that blogs.sun.com will finally be moving to blogs.oracle.com in the near future. This site has provided a wealth of information of the years - I can't begin to count the amount to times I've referenced the many excellent blog entries by my co-workers. I often will google "topic at hand site:blogs.sun.com" first since a successful hit usually results in high quality information. All that said I'll try to increase my blog output and offer up some insights now that I'm part of a new family...

Monday Jul 20, 2009

Volunteering @ Sun: NJ/NY BEN Hosts 60+ HS Students...2009 Governor's School

For the fourth year in a row the Sun Black Employee Network and a whole bunch of other Sun volunteers came together to host 60+ students from this year's NJ Governor's School of Engineering and Technology Program. We were back in our Somerset office once again which made for easy logistics this time around - the program ran pretty much on time most of the day although it was tough to keep the session s from running over.

This year we have a Facebook fan page where we've been posting information, photos, and videos about the program.

We experimented with fewer but longer sessions this year - 6 sessions lasting 30 mins vs 9 sessions lasting 20 mins. I think the new format went over well but our survey responses are still coming in so I'll report back on the general consensus from the students. They kept their energy levels up all day and many said they got a lot out of the content. It doesn't hurt that I'm sure they enjoyed the tons of giveaways we had for this year's program. And speaking of content I promised I'd put the presentations up on my blog so the students could dive into the issues discussed in more detail.

In addition the website referenced during the Student Learning Services lunch time session are as follows:

Lastly I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the Sun volunteers for all the help. Pulling off these events are never easy - throw in a few hiccups into the mix and things get even more interesting ;-) That said I think the program ran rather smoothly even with less people actually volunteering this year.

At the end of the day I think the kids got a lot out of the event and I'm sure their lives were positively impacted. Without help from you guys we could never make things happen - Diane Mathis and I really appreciate all the tremendous efforts and look forward to your help next year.

Thursday Aug 14, 2008

Volunteering @ Sun: Governor's School Podcast

My co-worker and partner in the struggle, Diane Mathis, was interviewed by the folks from Sun.com Headlines. Volunteers at Sun will be featured in a new regular podcast called Philanthropy at Sun. Check out the inteview (MP3).

Wednesday Jul 16, 2008

Volunteering @ Sun: NJ/NY BEN Hosts 80 HS Students for a day

I'll post more later but for the third year in a row the Sun Black Employee Network and a whole bunch of other Sun volunteers came together to host 80 students from this year's NJ Governor's School of Engineering and Technology Program. The students had to endure a lot getting to our 101 Park Ave NYC office from Rutgers in Piscataway - half of them had to walk from the Lincoln Tunnel because of the mid-town gridlock due to the All-Star Game festivities. Even with all that they kept their energy levels up all day and many said they would have stayed even longer since they got a lot out of the content. And speaking of content I promised I'd put the presentations up on my blog today so the students could dive into the issues discussed in more detail.

I'll discuss more about the day, upload some pictures and video in my next post. In the meantime I'd love to hear some comments from any student that attended the event. I'll see you guys on Friday at Rutgers...

Friday May 23, 2008

Quote of the day...

"We know from past campaigns that presidential candidates will say many things. But once they have the responsibility to govern the country and lead the world, that difference between what they said and what responsibilities they have to fulfill are vastly different. I'm very upset with John with some of the things he's been saying...And I can't get into the psychoanalysis of it. But I believe that John is smarter than some of the things he is saying. He is, he understands it more. John is a man who reads a lot, he's been around the world. I want him to get above that and maybe when he gets into the general election, and becomes the general election candidate he will have a higher-level discourse on these things." - Senator Chuck Hagel

Wednesday Feb 27, 2008

More desktop related tidbits for Solaris

Two new nice tools for enhancing your Solaris desktop!

A new version (9,0,115,0) of the Flashplayer 9 plugin for Sparc and x86 is now out for public consumption. Besides the bug/security fixes the big addition the support for standard H.264 and AAC codecs - for more detail check out this blog. The plugin will be bundled with Build 84or 85 of Solaris Express but of course you don't have to wait.

The other tool is a publicly available SecondLife viewer for Solaris x86 (both S10 and Nevada/OpenSolaris - we have access to sparc builds internally that will hopefully be made public soon). The bits can be downloaded from here. More details about the build and tips if you are interested in rolling your own biaries from source can be reviewed on Dana's blog.

Wednesday Feb 20, 2008

How not to be an Obama surrogate...

Getting caught out there - it doesn't get much more textbook than this. It just goes to show you if you plan on backing someone make sure you do your homework or at least get the cliff notes from someone in the know.

Today's lesson is for folks to go the Library of Congress and do the research yourself before you choose any of the remaining candidates. Happy hunting...

Monday Feb 11, 2008

Recent quotes that caught my ear...

Ever since college I've kept a running file of quotes that interested my senses. The last few weeks have generated a few more entries:
We STOMP you out! - Michael Strahan (from the Superbowl 42 Tickertape Parade 2008)

By 2050 most Americans will have their roots in Africa, Asia, or Latin America. White America is not ready for it's pending minority status. - Jim Wallis

Those who would trade in their freedom for protection deserve neither - Talib Kweli (from the song 'What is Beef?')

I believe most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off - Mike Huckabee

Senator Clinton I think fairly has claimed that she's got the experience on day and part of the argument I'm making in this campaign is that it is important to be right on day one. - Barack Obama

It did take a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and I think it might take a second one to clean up after the second Bush - Hillary Clinton

Thursday Dec 20, 2007

Volunteering @ Sun: NJ/NY BEN Hosts 100 HS Students for a day

I'm woefully behind in entries so I'm doing my end of the year rush. One of the things I've been most proud of is helping run a great volunteer event at Sun. During this past summer the employee group I'm a part of (Sun's Black Employee Network) along with a number of other Sun volunteers once again hosted 100 high school seniors from the NJ Governor's School of Engineering and Technology Program. this was the second year in a row we did in a whirlwind of a day where we gave the students exposure to how Sun creates, sells, uses, and services technology that impacts the world at large.

We kept the format from last year of having a fast paced day with small groups. We divided the students into 9 small groups and rotated them through 9 breakout sessions. Each session was 20 mins - we planned for 10-12 minute presentations, 5-7 minutes of Q&A, and a few minutes leftover to move the groups to their next sessions. Our post-event anonymous survey of the students got us a 96% positive rating on the day so while we've got a few things to tweak it's clear the students are getting something out of our effort.

We had some special keynote speakers in Hal Stern, Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering, and Jim Parkinson, Vice President, Collaboration Engineering who both did a great job in opening and closing the event. Them along with all the great speakers, student team leads, people who helped us get swag for the students, etc all made the day another reason why I still like working at Sun.

Last but not least here's a picture of some of the team that pulled off another great event.

We're now confirmed to run the program again next year so we'll have another chance to experiment with the format and maybe allow for longer sessions so the students can have more in depth presentations or demos. Looking forward to the next go around...

A thing of beauty: It's called a check hook...

It's been a long while since I've made an entry but it's been a busy year. Tons of activity on the work side, joy and pain with the family, and more fighting the good fight with martial arts. Since the last time I've mentioned my martial arts training I've gotten my 1st degree black belt (the original black belt is a "0" degree - you're basically starting all over again) and this past Monday I successfully passed my black/green test. I was able to get a lot of motivation leading up to test by watching the Floyd Mayweather / Ricky Hatton fight 3 times over the weekend.

While Floyd obviously rubs a lot of people the wrong way from his boasting and wearing out that tired hip-hop focus on money one thing that can't be questioned is his work ethic. His training regiment is impressive to say the least - if you haven't seen it catch repeats of 24/7 on HBO. Mayweather in many ways is not the most exciting boxer out there: he doesn't throw a lot of combinations which is a real shame given his superior speed and stamina, rarely knocks people out early in fights, and often requires a real challenge to see his best skills on display. However you can count on him to always have amazing Compubox stats, show off nasty right hand leads and effective counter punching, and see a defensive showcase almost every fight.

That said he put on a clinic December 8th. People shockingly were giving rounds to Hatton early in the fight for nothing more than managing the real estate of the ring - he barely got any punches of note in those early rounds although he did a good job brawling. However Mayweather's superior skills just overwhelmed Hatton in the end. While th fight ended in the 10th the real damage was done in the 8th round - a it was just a thing of beauty. You see Mayweather throw combinations, soften Hatton up with body punches, and then just punish him with crosses and hooks. The 10th round was just the finishing touch but if you ever want to see a textbook check hook look no further than this below:



And here's the technically devastating 8th round where Mayweather's Compubox stats were through the roof:


PUNCHSTATS

FIGHTERS Mayweather Hatton
TOTAL PUNCHES
Thrown 329 372
Connected 129 63
% 39% 17%
JABS
Thrown 72 63
Connected 29 11
% 40% 17%
POWER PUNCHES
Thrown 257 309
Connected 100 52
% 39% 17%


The fight gave me great motivation as I went into my test where we now have more physically demanding challenges and weapons use. The worst is the chocking combat - you either choke or get chocked and things don't stop until some cries uncle. I'm still sore 3 days later but I should be ok in time to enjoy Christmas.

In any case I'll talk about my Nevada build 80/compiz 6.2 installation on my Tecra M2 hopefully before the year is out. Enjoy the holidays everyone and have a happy new year...

Wednesday Jul 11, 2007

Flash 9 for Solaris Sparc and x86 is in the house!

Finally! After a long gestation period the Flashplayer 9 plugin for Sparc and x86 is now out for public consumption. Leon Sha and other at Sun have done a great job working with Adobe to make this important technology available for Solaris. The Flash 7 plugin while usable had many issues particularly with intensive SWF files and had poor A/V sync on video. Of course even beyond the missing out on the features you only get with the later releases many sites over the last year have been requiring Flash 8 or 9 so even worse Solaris users were locked out. As a result many of us have had this at the top of our wish list (of course Adobe Reader for x86 is running a distant second).

I've been playing with the betas now since January and they have steadily improved to the point where now content at YouTube or classic animations like Maatkara, Genryu's Blade, and Xiao Xiao work extremely well now. The plugin will be bundled with Build 69 of Solaris Express but of course you don't have to wait. Happy browsing...

Friday Jun 29, 2007

Televised Presidential Debates...

Just some random thoughts I had to get off my chest. I watched the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS last night and it was just another reinforcement that these events have little value. These debates highlight many of the qualities and skills that actually have the least importance when it comes to leading this country. There was some symbolic benefits given the nature of the event: the debate focused on many issues pertinent to people of color and the panel was comprised of journalists of color. However the current debate format is completely inadequate given that you can't possibly give an answer to the complex problems the country has in the few short moments a candidate has to respond. The responses for the most part end up being feel good sound bites but ultimately content free. I'd much rather this format be scrapped an replaced with a Meet The Press approach. Each candidate in a two hour session should be on a stage solo and questioned by a panel with some minimal audience input. I'd be interested in seeing a variation of this where subject matter experts are allowed to briefly comment after a candidate's response to offer more depth to the conversation. This variation is easier said than done of course given the bias the "experts" might have but I think it would be a valuable addition nonetheless.

Monday Jun 11, 2007

The State of Diversity and Trends in the Technology Industry

On May 31st the Sun NJ/NY Black Employee Network hosted one of my mentors Alfred Edmond to speak about the state of diversity and trends in the technology industry. Alfred currently serves as the editor-in-chief of BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine and is a senior vice president of Earl G. Graves Publishing Company Inc. Of course if you know Alfred he can speak to a wide range of topics and has an opinion on almost everything - the conversation branched off into a number of issues and lasted nearly 4 hours.

He spoke at length using no presentation or notes which allowed us to solely focus on the conversation which was a great change of pace. Once again of course I'd expect nothing less from a fellow Rutgers grad ;-) I've made the audio of the session available as part of our standard practice to share the experience.

Streaming Audio: Realplayer, Windows Media Player/iTunes

Podcast: MP3

Friday Mar 30, 2007

Hurricane Katrina: 18 Months Later...

On March 15th the Sun NJ/NY Black Employee Network hosted my good friend Dr. Jeffrey Robinson to speak about the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast region. A majority of the time we focus our bi-weekly meetings on our own internal needs or on topics explicitly related to our industry. However I always find it refreshing and beneficial to look outside our narrow focus from time to time to see how our talents and resources can be used to impact the community at large (last summer's Governor's School Event with 100 HS students being an example).

Dr. Robinson (a fellow Rutgers alumni) is an Assistant Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and has been working over the last year with the Small Business Administration on ways to speed redevelopment of the region. His presentation was an excellent dissertation on the state of the Gulf Coast and as you can imagine the amount of improvements that have happened in the last 18 months is severely lacking.

He literally got off the plane at 1:00 AM the night before and was showing us pictures and video that was less than 24 hours old. Seeing areas that were completely decimated with very little to no progress in the rebuilding process was sobering to say the least. His presentation went way beyond the visual and detailed the state of affairs in areas such as health care, education, crime, repopulation, grants/loans, and insurance. The presentation was so good in my mind I'd say it was the perfect follow up companion piece to Spike Lee's documentary "When the Leeves Broke" - it was just that impressive. Of course I'd expect nothing less from a fellow Rutgers grad ;-)

If you have been lamenting the fact that the general news media has largely moved on from giving the Gulf Coast region the regular coverage needed to make rebuilding a priority for our country then please take the time to listen and review the presentation.

Presentation: Hurricane Katrina: 18 Months Later (PDF)

Streaming Audio: Realplayer, Windows Media Player/iTunes

Podcast: MP3

The session is a little over 100 mins long but believe me it will be time well spent. If you know of anyone displaced by the hurricane and they are still trying to get back to the region there is a lot of good information in the last 40 mins of the presentation on resources they can leverage.

Tuesday Jul 25, 2006

Volunteering @ Sun: NJ/NY BEN Hosts 100 HS Students for a day

In my last entry I mentioned the employee group I'm a part of (Sun's NJ/NY Black Employee Network) along with a number of other Sun voluteers would host a great event on July 18th at our Somerset office. We had 100 high school seniors from the NJ Governor's School of Engineering and Technology Program in a whirlwind of a day where we gave them exposure to how Sun creates, sells, uses, and services technology that impacts the world at large.

Needless to say pulling this event off was not a picnic. We had a very short runway to create and execute on our plan and having the annual July 4th US shutdown to contend with didn't make things any easier. However it is a testament to the folks I proudly work with here at Sun that made this a very enriching experience not only for the students but for the Sun employees as well. A special thanks goes out to Diane Mathis, Valerie Barnes, and all the team leaders who made this event a pleasure to participate in.


(Click on pictures for larger versions)

Given that we were dealing with HS students we decided on having a fast paced day with small groups. We divided the students into 9 small groups and rotated them through the 9 breakout sessions I mentioned in my last entry. Each session lasted 20 mins - we planned for 10-12 minute presentations, 5-7 minutes of Q&A, and a few minutes leftover to move the groups to their next sessions.


(Click on pictures for Realplayer video)

This seemed to workout well because holding the kids attention was a big concern so we hoped the fast pace not only gave them a wide range of content to digest but the physical moves every 20 minutes keep the juices flowing. Even still after lunch we had a few drowsy eyes here and there ;-). We combatted that by having tons of giveways (t-shirts, wifi locators, mugs, hats, etc.) that were graciously donated to us by many people throughout Sun. Prentice Hall/Pearson Technology Group, the publisher of Jim Mauro's and Richard McDougall's latest book, donated a few copies of Solaris Internals: Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Kernel Architecture, 2nd Edition that Jim could give away during his session on Solaris & Galaxy engineering.

The feedback we got from the students was extremely positive. We had an online survey they could do up to 5 days after the session so we could get anonymous feedback on how to improve the event. The response rate was rather high - we had 70 out of the 100 students participate overall and had 66 who left detailed free form comments. One student put his comments in the form of an Ali style rhyme which had a few of us cracking up. All the sessions rated well - in particular the Sun Ray session scored through the roof but that is not surprising since I haven't run into anyone who has seen a Sun Ray in action the first time not walk away highly impressed. Sun Ray's just have that cool factor that's hard to beat but of course my co-worker Jeff Reilly made the demo that much better by showing the full range of what a Sun Virtual Desktop can do. Even sessions that I thought would have scored lower due to not having that wow factor were well rated I'm sure because the presenters did a bang up job of making the material fun - of course I'm sure a few well timed giveaways helped too ;-).

In any case I hope this becomes not only an annual event at our office but hopefully will inspire others within Sun to do the same. With that said here are a few pictures to give you more of a taste of what the day was like.









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