Tuesday Oct 26, 2010

New Look

How do you like the new look? It was time to change things up around here. The old 'eco' theme was a little long in the tooth, and I had overloaded it with so much stuff it was taking forever to load. So I've moved to a more streamlined theme.

Let me know what you think!

Monday Oct 18, 2010

No Mythbusting (I Haz a sad)

Well, sadly, my Mythbusters caper is not to be. I was so looking forward to it, as it was going to be an awesome one! We were going to blow up a car. Or at least utterly destroy one.

But there are these things called lawyers. And it would seem that they have quashed the idea for fear of someone, somewhere, getting sued.

I hate when that happens. I'll just have to dream up some other scheme.

Wednesday Oct 13, 2010

International Flavor

I really like how international the visitors here are. I need some visitors from Australia, and maybe even Greenland just for fun, to fill out the map. But it's really cool how it's not just all US visitors, or European visitors. I'm thankful for all my readers! Keep coming back!

Update: I now have Australia and New Zealand! If only someone in Greenland knew about this blog ...


Monday Oct 11, 2010

Henchmen with Bad Teeth

Ok, the Orbiting brain lasers are pretty cool, but the genetically engineered cyber goats rule!

Wednesday Oct 06, 2010

More Myth Busting?

mythbusters.jpgSo if you've been reading this blog for a while (right, as if!), then you've read about my previous encounters with the Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman. (I posted this one on another blog, but I just moved it here).

I'm pretty excited because I may just pull off my biggest Mythbusters caper yet! (Even bigger than almost becoming 4-square mayor of Mythbusters central ... oh, wait, I never said anything about that. Ha!) I'm working on it as we speak. All hush-hush and stuff.

So watch this space for more updates as they become available. This could be completely off the hook and too much fun, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much just yet ... Ok, maybe a little.


Well, we didn't bust any myths. And all things considered, Jamie was very gracious to us. I'll explain more on my other blog, and post a link here when I do.

P4240045 copy

For the first time, Adam was even there, but he didn't talk to us. (That's me in the orange shirt standing next to Jamie.)

Thursday Jul 22, 2010

Employment Opportunities at Sun Labs

Someone out there must want to come work on our team, to work on Sun SPOTs, and to have as much fun as we have here. Check out the job listings here:

[From Employment Opportunities at Sun Labs]

And then go apply! Come join us! Make history. Or at least make Sun SPOTs. :-)

Monday Apr 12, 2010

SparkFun.com vs SPARC International Resolved

Nice to see that this was worked out with a minimum of lawyering and all seems well again. We love SparkFun.com (hey, I just ordered a new Stepper Motor from them this morning!!) and we hated to see bad blood.

Monday Nov 02, 2009

I'm back!

It's been a long hiatus from blogging for me, but I'm back! Here, I'll make some excuses:

  1. I usually take the summer off from blogging, and it just kind of got away from me
  2. I ended up suffering from a "persistent, intractable migraine" which had me cowering in a dark room for over 3 months, and even in the hospital for 5 days. I'll can now tell you what true misery is like.

Ok, so I only have 2 excuses, and only one of those is really a 'reasonable' one. Fine, I can accept that. But I'm back and should be back to blogging regularly shortly.

Some things I hope to be blogging about soon:

  1. My trip to China with Roger this summer
  2. My current work on a Sun SPOT Application Exchange marketplace -- similar to, but of course way better than -- the Apple iTunes store, right?
  3. Some new "Stupid Spot Tricks" with some new sensors I've gotten including a soil moisture sensor (which Roger has already blogged about better than I will, but I have a project for it so ... ), some gas-detection sensors, etc.

At least that list is longer than my list of excuses for not blogging. I might even write up the experience of the headaches, since it was an epic journey, but we'll have to see on that one.

Sunday May 10, 2009

Turbulent Blogging

hp-logo-v2.gif I was actually sort of dreading my flight today. Not because of the usual strip-search tom-foolery that passes for 'security' (don't get me started on the inanity of the TSA's rules-based systems with no room for the application of intelligence), but because I was flying on Southwest which continues to steadfastly refuse to provide in-seat power. Not that even that is all that great, thanks to Apple's design-flawed in-flight power adapter which will just barely run but will not charge, my laptop. But I digress.

But I am, again, pleasantly surprised by Southwest. They are 'testing' an in-flight WiFi system that allows (only slightly-limited) WiFi access while in-flight. The block VoIP (though I have heard you can bypass this even if you are willing to run the Adobe whatever-it-is voice stuff). The performance and throughput is actually quite impressive! I was able to download and install a 6.3MB application update in about 10 seconds or so.

So here I am, happily blogging away from 35,000 feet. I have read some news, watched some YouTube (though they claim that video is not allowed. I guess YouTube isn't 'video'). Done some email, twittered a bit, and am about to post this blog entry. Schweet. I only hope that Southwest decides to keep the service, expand it to all flights, and keep it free. I'll opt for in-flight WiFi on Southwest over in-seat power on American Airlines any day of the week.

[ The world is coming to an end! Repent and return those library books! ]

Monday May 04, 2009

Twitter ... In Real LIfe

200905041723.jpg Chances are, if you 'tweet' you've already seen this one, but if not, you really should. I encourage everyone to 'tweet' in real life. Maybe we should start a "tweet in real life" day like "Talk Like a Pirate" day.   

[ How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all? ]

Monday Apr 27, 2009

5 years old

So today is a milestone. Five years old! No, I'm more than 5 years old (though there may be some debate about that in some circles). But blogs.sun.com is 5 years old today (look back courtesy of the Wayback Machine). Yes, hard to believe that 5 years ago, blogs.sun.com got started. I was a few months behind the curve, and didn't get started until June of '04 (see my first blog post here), but I've been here for most of the ride. Of course, back then (and still!!) MaryMary was one of the most popular bloggers. Go Mary! (Maybe someday I'll make her blogroll)

Here's to hoping for another 5 years of blogging for Sun!!

[ The only really decent thing to do behind a person's back is pat it. ]

Friday Feb 20, 2009

Awesome Twitter/Blog integration

tour_1 So You'll (maybe) notice the 'retweet' button right here, and on every blog post now. Well, I'm a big fan of twitter, and this is a really cool little widget that, if you tweet, will allow you to re-tweet my blog posts -- on the off-chance that I make one interesting enough to tweet about. :-)

So retweet my blog posts!

[ People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them that Benjamin Franklin said it first. ]

Thursday Jan 29, 2009

Blogging news

So I apologize fr my quiet period recently, but I have been traveling without much time to blog. I do have a number of blog entries queued up to post over the next few days as soon as I am done with them, but I also had some "breaking news" to post: Mary Holzer, our (Labs') fabulous PR, Communications and all around everything person, now has a blog! You should definitely put it on your "must read" list and keep up with it!


Expect great breaking news, interesting articles, and other great stuff from Mary!

[ When in doubt, use brute force.

-- Ken Thompson ]

Monday Nov 17, 2008

StarOffice 9.0 is here!

So Today, amidst all the other turmoil, Sun has released StarOffice 9.0. Why is this a big deal? Because it (finally!!) gives native support to Mac OS X! YES! Finally, after all these years of running OpenOffice.org under X11 (notthatbad, but not ideal) or running NeoOffice, we get to be first-class citizens! This is also a big deal because the Blogging Plugin is also available for Mac OS X, which means that now I can use StarOffice to post new blog entries.

Yes, this is a big deal. Yes, I'm really happy about it. If you're a MicrosoftOffice User, I suggest that you give StarOffice a try. The price is a lot more manageable ($34.95 for a single license, $25/user for enterprise volume pricing), the features are outstanding, and it's a nice, pretty interface.

[ "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company." ]

Thursday Nov 06, 2008

The Finger

As you may or may not know, I did some fairly serious damage to a finger over the weekend. No, I didn't almost cut it off, but the effect is roughly the same. Crushed it beyond recognition.

I thought it would be better by now, but alas, it is not. I went back to the Dr. this morning, and was told that, in no uncertain terms, I have to stop using the hand altogether for at least the next 3 - 5 days. No typing with it, etc. That, or he will pull the fingernail out, which made him sound more like Dick Cheney than my doctor, frankly. He's not as scary looking as Cheney, but his threat seems credible.

So, I'm breaking his rules and typing this message, but I will be doing my dead-level best to not type any more than is absolutely necessary, since I believe his threat, and am really not up for Gitmo-style medicine.

Don't look for many blog posts, etc. until this finger thing is resolved.

[ "We are upping our standards ... so up yours."

-- Pat Paulsen for President, 1988. ]

Wednesday Nov 05, 2008

My one political post


For those of you who have followed me on Facebook and/or Twitter, you will know how extraordinarily difficult it has been for me to keep politics off of this blog. But I have. Until now. So this will be my one, and only, political post on this blog.

I am proud beyond measure of this country. While I have some minor disappointments (what were you thinking up there in Minnesota's 6th congressional district? And California? Passing prop 8? I am stunned by the bigotry and intolerance showed by those two votes, but I digress) I am encouraged by the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

I encourage you to watch this:

It is inspiring and intelligent. It shows grace and tolerance, and a depth of understanding that this country sorely needs.

I will also say that Senator McCain's concession speech was a class act. I suggest that you also watch it.

His speech was gracious, and inspiring. The actions of his supporters, on the other hand, was disappointing and revolting. I hope that this country can move forward, heal the divisions, and allow President Obama to lead this country.

While I am inspired by President-Elect Obama, and encouraged by the hope of this nation, I am, as always, disappointed that there are people like Christine Distelhorst in this country, who say such things as these. Please, let's move forward. When you hear such hate-filled and ignorant speech, call it out into the light. If you are tempted to make such comments, think twice. Then think again.

Let's all remember that we are in this together. No more "us vs. them" please.

Wednesday Oct 29, 2008

Map of where I've been

Cool little tool to map where you can map out where you've been in the world:

Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

Or in the US:
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.comLooks like I've been lots o' places. Not enough, but I've seen at least \*most\* of this country.

[ Never be led astray onto the path of virtue. ]

Legal (dis)claimers

I love the “notices” that come on the bottom of email messages. Many of them (most) are so farcical and ridiculous as to be laughable. Like this one, which is typical:

Notice: The information contained in this message and any attachments is privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. Any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.

Of course they are completely useless and unenforceable, but everyone insists on using them anyway.

And then a person I know sent me the following “claimer” which I love:

Claimer: Views presented in this article probably or definitely allude to people real, unreal, imaginary, virtual and otherwise. Any harm or libel cast on people dead, alive or transient is either intentional or otherwise. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, however he refuses to take responsibility for said views and believes the use of "airquotes" to be a birthright. Claims not included in this claim are also claimed.

Perfect. Love it.

[ Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.

-- Fletcher Knebel ]

Off Topic Post, but Important

[ Olivia and Carolyn waiting to meet Michelle Obama ]

This is off-topic for my blog. Wildly so. I almost never post anything so personal here. But it's important to me, and important in general, so I think it needs to be said.

I know this amazing person. I've known her for almost 30 years. We went to high school together, and that was a long time ago. She is, and always has been, one of the more outstanding, upstanding people I've ever known (and not insignificantly because she still even speaks to me after all these years).

Yesterday she sent an email to her family and friends after getting to visit with Michelle Obama. I am honored to have been included in the distribution of that message, and she has graciously consented to let me post it:

Words can't express how much fun this event was. I have more pictures posted on facebook (thanks, David!) for those of you that want to have more peeks.
Carolyn was "speaking out" for herself and her fellow special needs friends. We wanted to make it clear that we don't need Sarah Palin as an advocate for Special Needs. She's an insult to the intelligence and well-being of the HUGE umbrella of special needs syndromes. The current administration has caused us to lose top researchers, lose hope, and lose lives. It's a crime and, just as W, McCain is not going to advance stem cell research, he's only supporting the existing lines of stem cell funding.
It's too late for Carolyn to benefit from advancements, but not too late for many of her friends. Many of you are blessed with healthy children...please don't let one day go by without being grateful. Current lines are excellent for the AIDS, Cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's....but for "orphan diseases" we are at the mercy of advancement.

I could never have said it that well. And I believe that she is entirely correct. Any belief that McCain/Palin would give 1/100th the attention and dedication to our Special Kids is laughable. They don't understand what that means, and are incapable of doing it.

Her daughter, Carolyn, has Mucopolysaccharidoses, which is a mouthful to say. Visit the MPS Society Website to find out more about it, and consider making a donation to support their research.

[ Micro Credo: Never trust a computer bigger than you can lift. ]

Tuesday Oct 28, 2008

Cary Area Murder follow-up


In a follow-up to a posting from several months ago (and feel free to file this in the "really not all that surprising" category), police arrested Brad Cooper, the husband, last night and charged him with murder in the death of his wife. Full story here. While not the end of the story, at least there is the hope that there will be a final resolution to this tragic story.

[ Know what I hate most? Rhetorical questions. -- Henry N. Camp ]

Thursday Oct 23, 2008

Addition to the blog-o-rama


A warm welcome to someone I have never met, except in the Twitterverse, Rick Kenney (aka tehduh) and his new blog. Ok, so I have talked to him on the phone once, but that doesn't count. He's part of the team that does wonderful stuff for us like make blogs.sun.com possible, so be nice.

[ Grabel's Law: 2 is not equal to 3 -- not even for large values of 2. ]

Wednesday Oct 22, 2008

OpenOffice Blog Client

So I've just downloaded the latest and greatest OpenOffice.org for Mac – a native version! No more NeoOffice!! No more X11!!! – and installed the blog extension, so I'm making my first blog post from OO.o. We'll see how it goes with this, and whether or not it can convince me to change blog-clients.

[ fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped. ]

Tuesday Sep 23, 2008

Nigerian Scam?

I put this on my facebook page earlier, but I have now received about 10 copies of it via email and twitter, so I thought I had better post it here as well. These Nigerian or 419 scams are getting worse every day!

Dear American,

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude, caused by unfortunate circumstance of me.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. You may not know but my country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you will assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you personally.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, esteemed lobbyist for UBS, who is guaranteed will be my replacement as Ministry of Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may have heard of him as the well-known leader of American banking unregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency which is why we contact you direct. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred at once to the rightful owners.

Please reply with all of your bank account, 401k, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout-AT-treasury-DOT-gov so that we may transfer you your commission in this for guaranteed transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds and your earned commission of this perfectly safe transaction.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

It's really time to do something about this scam ...

[ Job Placement, n.: Telling your boss what he can do with your job. ]

Monday Aug 25, 2008

Tap, Tap, Tap ... Is this thing on?

I hate to use public humiliation as a means to get action, but sometimes, it's the only way. I've been trying for a week to get some response -- any response -- out of Facebook support. I know, you may think that is an oxymoron right there, and given my current experience, I'm inclined to agree with you.

How hard is it for a support organization to actually respond to issues submitted in a finite amount of time? How hard can it really be? Seriously.

Here's the issue. I own a group on Facebook for the Wake County Special Education PTA (Wake SEPTA). I'm their de facto webmaster. So I decided to promote them on Facebook. Why not, right? Well, I managed to somehow click the wrong button and change my location. Duh. Silly mistake. But it, apparently has dire consequences. I lost Administrative rights to my Raleigh/Durham based group, WakeSEPTA. This wouldn't be a problem if there were other Admins that could re-authorize me. But there aren't, so the group is 'orphaned' such that no one can join, and I can't get back in to administer it.

So last week I began asking Facebook Support for help. So far, nothing. Not a peep. Not a response. No help. Nothing. Is the help alias hooked straight to /dev/null? Sure seems like it.

One would think that Facebook would be interested in actually supporting users. But apparently once you're hooked, they don't much care. I'd love to get this issue resolved. I would have loved to have gotten this issue resolved a week ago. Seems like an easy thing to fix. But it does take some response from Support before it can get fixed.

[ Wethern's Law:

Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups. ]

Tuesday Jul 15, 2008

It's a sad day

As of 2 minutes ago, the search for Nancy Cooper, our neighbor, is officially over. Her body was found last night. I don't even know what to say. I am at a loss for words, and am deeply saddened. The neighborhood of Lochmere is an open, friendly, and close-knit community and this hits hard.

Monday Jul 14, 2008

Nancy Cooper Search Site

There's now a site dedicated to the search for Nancy Cooper. If you can volunteer, please do so! http://nancycooper.blogspot.com/

Search for Nancy Cooper

Family and friends of Nancy Cooper thank all of those who helped on Sunday with the search for Nancy. They had 150+ people looking on trails and covering the city with close to 2000 fliers. Truly the fliers are everywhere, which is a good thing.

The plan for today (Monday) is to go out and search more. There will be headquarters at both Lifetime Fitness and Java Jive starting at 9 am. From there people will be sent to a designated area to search in larger groups focusing on the area 20 feet to the sides of the trails and also out-lying neighborhoods. Volunteers are needed throughout the day.

Needless to say, we'll be out searching today. Hope you can join in.

Sunday Jul 13, 2008

Help find Nancy Cooper

Copied verbatim from Rich Sharple's blog, but this is big ... and scary for us.

One of our neighbors - Nancy Cooper has been missing since the morning of Saturday, July 12. She went for a run around 7am on Saturday morning in theLochmere / Regency Lake area of Cary, NC and never returned. Nancy is white, has shoulder length brown hair and hazel eyes, she’s 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a T-shirt, running shorts and light blue running shoes.

There’s more information and photos on WRAL.com and the News & Observer. If you’re a local blogger - please help spread the word and If you have any information contact Cary Police at 919-469-4016 / 4012.

Wednesday Jul 02, 2008

Open Communications

I think we (Sun) 'get it' and get it right, most of the time. Not on everything, for certain, but when it comes to communication, openness and transparency, we have that down. As a counter example ...

I use a nifty piece of software from BareBones Software called Yojimbo (I know, the name sort of blows, but it's a great 'digital junk drawer' for my Mac and helps me save, organize and keep track of lots of stuff in one place. But I digress). Don't get me wrong here, I love the product, and use it almost every day. But their communication strategy seems to be modeled on Apple's. Tight-lipped and reticent. The users on the Yjimbo users' alias are clamoring for answers, for insight into what may, or may not, be going to happen with the product, and where things are headed. the response from BareBones?

Yep, pretty much. Well, other than to point to their FAQ, which says:

We'd like to offer an iPhone version of Yojimbo, but can't currently say if/when this may happen nor what its feature set might be. As soon as we're able to provide more info about our plans, we will do so.

The equivalent of "we can neither confirm nor deny ..." and a non-answer. Don't get me wrong, I understand that at times it can be advantageous to carefully control the release of information so as to not over-promise, under-deliver, or to make a big splash with your announcements. But there is a lot to be said for involving your users, for making them feel involved, a part of the process, and invested in your products. A user that has a mere affinity for a product is not nearly as good as a user that has an investment in, and a commitment to, a product or company. Involving your users gives them the investment and commitment to make them useful assets, not just the other end of the payment stream.

And what has all this to do with Sun? Well, I really think that this little experiment we call blogs.sun.com is a shining example of what can come of a company that values open communication with its customers -- and potential customers. Very few of our customers, I would venture, are unclear about what we are working on, where we are investing, and what they can expect from us. Yes, we all want to see more from the stock price, etc. but it's pretty clear that we have a real commitment to open communication with our customers.

I wish more companies would show the same.

[ "Now is the time for all good men to come to."

-- Walt Kelly ]




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