Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

3G and Loving It...

Maybe I am lagger. Maybe I am ignorant due to the perpetual deficiency of the US mobile infrastructure, but I have to say, I love my 3G wireless modem. I never signed up for this service in that past as I saw it as a slight upgrade to GPRS. Well turns out it is way better.

About a month ago I signed up for Vodafone's mobile broadband service. It it great. I get 3G just about anywhere in Europe. It consistently delivers a megabit of bandwidth.

No more hotel bills for internet access. No more signing up for WiFi in airports to then only use it for 20 minutes.

I know 3G is not new, especially in Europe, but I am a newbie and love it.

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Monday Oct 01, 2007

CEC 2007, Less then a week away...

It is that time again. Time for our annual Customer Engineering Conference (CEC). Held this year from October 7th-10th in Las Vegas. I know I probably say this for every CEC, but I really do think this is going to be our best ever conference.

Why? Let me run down some of the highlights for this year:

  • The video challenge: Engineers will have a chance to record a brief video about their role as a technology innovator and share their most interesting and compelling stories and experiences.
  • Sun Learning Services: SLS will be at CEC doing a number of things, from their speaker workshop, to technical training sessions, to free Java, Solaris and JCAPS certification training.
  • The CEC UnConference: A great chance for anyone to propose a topic and speak out about it. A great open forum to voice your ideas and receive instant feedback. Also check out speed geeking at the same time, which is a great way to hear lots of different topics and ideas.
  • Fantastic keynotes from Jonathan, Andy, Dave and Don. Plus a very cool industry panel you won't want to miss.

  • Second Life: Our first ever virtual CEC. Even if you can't attend there will be a place Sun folks can go to be a part of the conference. Our general sessions and several other technical sessions will be hosted in second life. Also we are audio taping all of our sessions so we plan to post the presentations and audio content in second life as well. Come check out our island and the Vegas style conference center we have built for you.
  • Solaris Installfest: We will once again have a Soalris installfest at CEC. So bring your laptops (PC and Intel Mac) and we can flash them with the latest Solaris builds.
  • Black Box: We will have the real thing, the Sun Black Box at CEC. Come by and check it out.
  • Constellation System: Ever seen a HPC system like this? If not, come by the Pavilion and check it out. Can you say 3456 ports?
  • Luminary Track: We will have a special luminary track again this year where we will feature some of Sun's high profile speakers
  • Competitions: We will have a number of competitions again this year. Make sure you check them out as the awards are very cool this year
  • Interactive: We will continue our interactive experiment from last year, you will again be able to interact directly with our keynote speakers by sending in comments and questions via SMS, email and instant messaging.
  • The Party: Hey is Vegas, so we had to have a fantastic party to celebrate our success and to create a place where you can mingle, meet and chat with friends.
  • Eco Friendly: This will be our most eco friendly CEC yet. See if you can spot how many ways we addressed Eco into the conference itself.
  • We have increased out attendance this year to a record 4000
  • We have increased our partner participation significantly this year
  • We have launched a new sponsor program this year and this years sponsors include; Brocade, Cisco, HP, Intel, HCL, Qlogic, Symantic, Trend Micro and VMWare
  • We will have a new Pavilion this year with great technology demonstrations and exhibitors from APC, AppGate, Emulex, IBM, Layer 7 Technologies, Safari Books, SAS, Scalent, Wipro and of course Sun.
  • We had a record number of content submissions this year and CEC will feature over 200 unique technology sessions
  • We will be hosting a product launch at CEC! More soon
See, I told you it was great! I plan to blog again this year to give you the behind the scenes views and commentary, so stay tuned.

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Thursday Sep 20, 2007

R&D in Israel

I know it has been a bit since we signed this agreement, but I thought is worth the time to write a bit about this since I got my blogging SW up and going again.

Back in August Sun signed an agreement with the State of Israel to effectively collaborate on joint R&D. Essentially what this means is that Sun will now have access to a bunch of great resources and ideas coming out of Israel and in turn when we engage with a Israeli company on a collaborative R&D effort the government funds a portion of our joint effort. Great stuff.

I met with Dr. Eli Opper, the Chief Scientist of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. Boaz Yehuda, Sun's Israeli country manager was also present. We exchanged some formal comments on the agreement, well the geek in me came out so my comments were far more informal. After that we had a great chat about the current technology climate in Israel. We also chatted about Sun's history in Israel and Dr. Opper's time in the US and familiarity with Sun. There are so many great startups, technologies and resources based there. I hope that Sun will be able to leverage this wealth of ideas and people.

Here is to Sun's continued success in Israel.

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Monday Sep 17, 2007

Back at it...

As my son used to say, "wadda happ'in". It has been far too long since I have been able to post a blog entry. Due to a number of reasons least of which was my mac hard drive crashing and having to reinstall Ecto and such. In any case, I am back on the air. My plan is to get back to a regular cadence again in the blog-o-sphere...

Tuesday Apr 24, 2007

Personal Tag...

One of the greatest concepts of community software and web 2.0 is tagging. The simple idea of adding meta data to content. No taxonomy. No index. Just simple, meta-value.

I am not sure if this blog is another form of tagging or just another web fad, but I have been tagged. Yes I am sure you have seen by now many a web folk have been tagged and as such must wax poetic on five relatively unknown facts about themselves. Many have been tagged; Jonathan, Hal, Volker, etc. now it is my turn. Who tagged me you ask? Well due to my tardiness, many. It started with Mary Cay Kosten and then on to the Diva's and Volker. Now for a bit of encouragement through embarrassment. Of those that have tagged me, it is my pal Mary Cay who has not quite come out into the sunlight to share her ideas with the world (her blog is only internal). I know she has ideas to share and I can understand wanting to work out her blogging neophyte-ness internally first. However, now it is time to shine light on this outstanding woman executive, Mary Cay, come on in, the water is warm! It is time to make your mark in the blogosphere.

Ok, so on to the task, five personal facts about myself.

1) I am adopted. I know, how could any parent give up such a handsome nerd? Well needless to say, I was provided with adopted parents that enriched me with the freedom to investigate and experiment, sometimes with less then perfect outcomes. You will see from another fact below, this freedom inspired an un-quenching need for information and tinkering. I believe this was the underpinnings of my geekness. I appreciate the fact that I was never discouraged, even when it meant that I disassembled a perfectly functioning household appliance, automobile or device and built some other completely useless (in my parents eyes) contraption. Thanks Mom and Dad!

2) I am an enthusiastic amateur adrenaline freak. This essentially means that I love any sort of adrenaline rush, but I generally suck at it. How can you fail as an adrenaline freak? Well you can crash, a lot! Those that know me away from work may know that from time to time when I mountain bike, ski, motocross, race, etc I tend to crash. I used to have a saying that if you didn't come home bloody then it wasn't much fun. Well I have given up that saying for extra pads and braces. I still crash but it does not hurt as much. My brain thinks it is still in its teens, but my body feels like it is near retirement. I have broken several bones, some of which I never quite made it to the doctor to repair, dislocated a knee, torn MCL and ACL (several times), bumps, bruises and cuts. All in the name of a little fun - ohh and the accompanying adrenaline rush. So the next time you see me walking by and you wonder why I have a continuous limp, you will know why.

3) Movies and music please. Yes I love movies and music. What kind of movies? Any movie that has a start and a finish are tops in my book. Love them. If you give me a few hours of time (beyond work, my family and such), I will most likely use it to watch a movie. So if you must know, my blog often takes a back seat to movie watching. What kind of music? Here I am a bit more specific. I like just about any kind of music except one; country music. Is it degrading to the word music to precede it with the word country? Anything else; rock, R&B, rap, classical, new wave, trance, pop, techno, world, etc. I love it all. If you must know I have over 20,000 songs in my library and purchase new music at a rate of at least an album or two a week. The long tail has done wonders to music lovers as we can now experience music beyond what Wal-Mart and other giants think we should enjoy.

4) I have the knack. No not the band (although I do have the Knack in my library), I mean the knack to fix things. The years of taking things apart things apart, building news things and simply tinkering to figure out how things work, has left we with a general ability to fix just about anything. I have had nicknames like MacGyver, Gadget and such due to my love for fixing and tinkering. It has paid off well and it is a rare day indeed when I am forced to call on someone else to fix something. Fun for me is building, creating new things out of seemingly useless components. So next time you are stuck in the middle of no where with a broken toaster that you need to turn into a solar powered aircraft, you will know who to call.

5) Last but not least, I love being a Dad. For anyone that has kids, I don't think I need to go into much explanation. Suffice it to say that nothing in this world brings me more pleasure then spending time with my Son.

I hope you have enjoyed this little peregrination into my world.

Now on to the fun part of this. It is my turn to tag five people. I tag Chris, Peter, Baty (will give Jim a reason to do a second posting), Jason and Giuseppe.

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Sunday Apr 22, 2007

Redshifting the Sun

Some of you may have heard recently about Sun's focus on what we call "Redshift". In fact, here is a presentation that Greg gave at our analysis summit earlier this year. You may think that with terms like Redshift and Sun that we would be talking about astrophysics. Well there is a small relationship, more later.

Redshift is simply a term we use to describe the shift we see in a set of customers, applications, infrastructure, etc. that are not served by Moore's law. This essentially means that there is a set of problems that are not solved by the every increasing capacity and capabilities of traditional computing. Those set of problems that are served by Moore's law are every increasing their focus on efficiency of computing. Those that are not served by Moore's law (Redshift) are constantly consuming more and more. More storage, more bandwidth, etc. For example, have you ever seen a high performance computing (HPC) program ever say, "no thanks, that is way too fast and much too large for problem". No, they consume what our industry can give them. HPC is not the only area. More and more network based services are not able to get the bandwidth they would like, the storage capacity they would like, the computing cycles they would like.

We see networking computing ever expanding. More users, more applications, more services. Just as the universe is ever expanding (thus the Redshift relationship). The Internet, its users (now the programmers) are every expanding, Redshifting.

I thought you might enjoy this video I found "Shift Happens". Some good data that shows we are by no means at the end of utilizing the Internet and its network computing capabilities.

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Friday Apr 06, 2007

Parsing "to come"...

Looks like IBM may be having more problems yet "to come". An article in the The Register this week shows a slide from a recent IBM presentation that lists the date of Power 6 to ship in the future, or "to come". I am not sure how to parse "to come". Does that mean they can't figure out when they will be done? In any case, interesting news.

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Wednesday Apr 04, 2007


I was in Russia this week visiting a few of our customers and meeting with the team in Moscow. As with many of my visits, I once again found a Sun team that was energized and excited about their growing business. Thanks to Victor and Chris for hosting me!

One of the customers I met with this week was ЛУКОЙЛ-ИНФОРМ (Lucoil-Inform). Lucoil is one of the largest oil companies in Russia and they held a press conference announcing their success in putting their new ERP system into production. They invited Sun to attend the press conference and talk to the press about our technology, products and how we worked with Lucoil and SAP to deliver their solution. I included a picture from the event. There was a lot of discussion about the implementation, architecture and operation of Lucoil's data center. There was a great piece of video produced from the event showing the press conference and some video of Lucoil's data centers. Thanks to Mr. Alexander Pruzhinin and Lucoil for your business, a successful partnership and a great press conference.

If you can read Russian and want to know more, follow these links:

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Sunday Mar 25, 2007

Back Online...

It has been almost two months since my last post. As you may remember, I was about to embark on a serious travel campaign. Well I am back. Let me recap. A week in Germany and the UK for GSE kickoff and EMEA FY08 strategy meetings. A week of vacation (skiing in Vail) and a day of meetings in Colorado. A week of meetings and GEM reviews in France and Spain. A week of GEM reviews and customer meetings in Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy. A week of reviews, all hands and GSE meetings in Southern and Eastern EMEA (Prague, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Dubai). A week in California for our annual R&D review. And finally a few days in Rome for my staff meeting. There you have it, almost two months of travel. I am now back at home in Prague and the good news is that I still have a family waiting here for me ;-)

There is way too much to highlight here about the travel, however I will say the best part of the travel was meeting with customers and our fantastic field staff in the many parts of the world. The energy that all of the locations had was infectious! If I had to pick out one particular highlight, it would have to be the in-house bar at our office in the Netherlands (see the picture). I have been to many, many Sun offices around the world, but I have never seen a bar in our own cafeteria. I love it! Maybe this is a best practice we should share with the rest of the world? Ohh, and the person in the photo is Diana Pittman, my (acting) staff operations manager. Diana got to experience the fun of some of our GSE GEM reviews. Fun!

Thanks to everyone I got to see and chat with over the past weeks. I hope to see you again soon.

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Wednesday Feb 07, 2007

Web 2.0 that even Mom would understand...

I was passed a link today to a really cool video. This is a great demonstration of what Web 2.0 really is. If you have 5 minutes, I promise this will be well worth your time.

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On the road again...

Yesterday I was in Frankfurt attending the German Systems Engineering kick off meeting. Klaus Hank (our German GSE Director) kicked off the meeting in which he said... Well I am not sure what he said as it was in German, but I am sure it was good. I followed Klaus and talked to the group about our success in the first half of the year and the plans for the second half, including early indications of our goals and intentions for FY08. I believe the chat was well received. At least the mood was good with the group and there seemed to be a general excitement about our future.

Germany was the first stop on a two city trip this week. Now I am in London for a few days of FY08 growth and strategy meetings. This is the start of a four week period in which I will be hitting 14 cities. For those playing along at home, the order is; Frankfurt, London, Denver, Paris, Madrid, Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam, Munich, Milan, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Istanbul and Dubai. The good news is that on my stop in Denver for a few AIM, CEC and Customer Engineering meetings, I will be taking a week off to do some skiing in Vail.

Download Flash plugin

Peter Reiser also turned me on to a pretty cool new web 2.0 widget. The company is Plazes and it is a simple web widget that allows you to share your physical location and locate others. It is pretty cool and has all kinds of potential for future mashups. You can see it on the right side of my blog. It tracks your, or in this case, my current location around the world. So if you are really, and I mean really, board you can follow my 14 city tour over the coming weeks.

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Tuesday Jan 30, 2007

It's a good thing...

No, I am not trying to revive Martha's famous tag line, read on. In the past coupe of weeks there has been plenty of good news. I am sure by now you have read the news, but if not - let me recapitulate.

First, there is nothing like growth and profit to put a smile on your face. Sun had a great Q2. Let's keep the momentum going!

Intel and Sun announce a new relationship. Yes that is correct, we will now be building a number of systems based on the Intel processor. Which of course is in addition to our existing products which utilize AMD and SPARC processors. This should make it clear that we are going where our customers want us to be. Delivering more choice then ever before! On top of this, Intel will support Solaris and dedicate R&D resources to ensure Solaris runs well on Intel, ohh and they will be distributing Solaris via their sales channels.

Sun is the number one contributer to open source software, and I can prove it. The EU commissioned a study of economic impact of open source software on the European IT market. The report can be found here. You will find in this independent report that Sun has contributed over three times that of the next largest open source contributer (IBM) and five times of what RedHat has contributed. Ohh and if you read carefully you will see that this report did not consider the open source contributions Sun has made in OpenSolaris, Java and NetBeans, so our contribution is actually much greater then reported. If this does not make it clear that Sun is open and focused on the open source communities, I am not sure what will.

We taped out Rock. Rock is the next generation of processor and leadership in the CMT space. It just keeps getting better and better...

So as I said. It is a good thing. I think Martha would even agree...

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Wednesday Jan 10, 2007

The quiz...

I saw this quiz posted on Chris' blog, thought I would give it a try... I even went back and was less generous with my answers and the answer was the same. I am Ironman! My son is going to get a kick out of this as he is always Spiderman, now Ironman can battle Spiderman for what to have for dinner...

Your results:
You are Iron Man

Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
Inventor. Businessman. Genius.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

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Tuesday Jan 09, 2007

Bud and Bud make nice...

For you beer lovers out there, I am sure you are aware of the long running battle between Budějovický and Anheuser-Bush about the ownership of the Budweiser name. Well there is good news. It would seem that the two companies decided to hold a "kegger" and got intoxicated enough to make nice with each other. It was announced today that Anheuser-Bush will begin distributing Budvar from Budějovický.

They still have not solved the naming claim relative to Budweiser, but at least the rest of the world will find it easier to finally drink a decent "Budweiser".

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Monday Jan 08, 2007

A hard days hard drive...

I have to relay an experience I had recently. First there is really no value in telling this story except as therapy for me. The set up. I have a NAS based RAID system at home on which I store all of my digital video, music, pictures and such. This system is the central data hub for all digital content that is important for my family and I. One of the drives went bad last week and thus the file systems were no longer available. Not really that big of a deal, right? Well you would think it would be easy, I can pop down to the local computer store and purchase a new hard drive, replace the bad one and begin the RAID recovery. Well that is how I thought it would go. Here are the events that actually took place.

First I had to find a local computer store. It turns out that this is not an easy thing to do in Prague. Yes there are computer stores but apparently they only sell computers and not components, like a hard drive. After a bit of searching I was pointed at a web site that sold all kinds of computer stuff. Even better, the site is in Czech, English and German. Good so far. On a Saturday I placed an order for a 250Gb drive. They had exactly what I needed and it was in stock! I had my choices of delivery options and went with the 24 hour delivery option (vs the pick it up yourself). Being Saturday, I figured that the drive would show up on Monday. Wrong. It finally showed up on Wednesday. Better, the delivery guy called me to ask how to get to my location. I had to pass the phone over to Inka, my admin and favorite interpreter. It turns out the the delivery guy did not have a map. What would a delivery guy have a map?

I will cut it short at this point to say that after three days of messing around I could not get the drive to work. In the end, I figured out that the drive must be defective. The following week I decided to take Inka on a field trip to the Prague location of the computer parts "store". First there is not really one location for this place, rather picture a number of locations each potentially on opposite sides of a street separated by about 300 meters. I will call one side of the street "side A" and the other "side B". So we start off on side A and ask at the info desk where we should go to return the hard drive. Well off to side B to the service desk. Once on side B, down an alley and up a flight of stairs we find the service desk where we find a crowd of people and I swear a few small families camped out. Yes we had to wait in line, and some had been in line for ages. I didn't have time for this so I told Inka, "let's just go buy a new drive and I can return the bad one later". Surely this would not take this long, right? Wrong.

We then had to go back to side A. Waited in line to use a computer to go on the web and place an order for a new drive. Apparently the staff is just too shy to be able to talk to any customers. That took a bunch of time. Then we got an order number. Perfect, now all we had to do is wait in line at the pickup counter and we would have the drive in no time. Wrong.

Now we had to take the order number and go back to Side B to pay for the drive. So back across the street. Wait in another line to pay. We pay and then get another number that we can use to pick up the drive. But guess where pick up is? Yup, back across to side A. So across the street one more time to wait in line again to get the drive.

After over an hour of all of this I finally had the drive.

The net of this, is my lack of understanding as to why a city the size of Prague does not have a computer store. You know a store; where you can walk in, look around, pick something out and then go pay for it? Why? I just don't understand... Maybe my years in the US have just made me soft...

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