Tuesday Mar 31, 2009

Solaris powered Nehalem

    Yesterday, Intel had a big announcement of their Xeon® processor 5500 series CPUs for servers. In conjunction with that announcement, Sun announced some impressive world records with Solaris on these new processors. Some of you may know of the Xeon® processor 5500 series by the code name Nehalem, and there has been a lot of press about this new CPU architecture, and the performance it brings to the x86 space. Intel CPUs have come a long way since the old 8086s, and the 8088s used in the first IBM PCs. (yeah, I have one in my collection)

    But where are the Sun server's using these new CPUs, you might be asking. Well, you need to be patient, as we have several coming on April 14th. And we've made it easy for you to keep from missing it, by offering to send you an SMS reminder of the Sun Open Network Systems Launch - April 14. So go get yourself registered for that SMS reminder, and make sure you don't miss these energy efficient, high performance servers using Intel's Xeon® processor 5500 series and Sun's innovation. You won't be sorry. :-)

Monday Feb 16, 2009

SF34 Live - Coming to the end

image2129740568.jpg My oldest us getting tired and a headache, so he us lying down for a bit. He made it through 'Transformers', and my dad is still watching, although I expect he has dozed some.

Every year I think I'm going to make a list of notes for helping plan next year's, and haven't made them until just before, so I'll do it now. These might be handy for other folks as well. While we got here by 11am, there weren't enough seats together on the 1st floor for our party of 4, so we ended up in the balcony. I may not be remembering rightly, but I seem to recall more leg room when we were downstairs last year. For a party of 4 or more wanting to sit together, I would suggest getting there closer to oeming time, which was 10:30am this year.

Another thing I should do better is to plan when to go out for dinner as soon as I get the line up with times, particularly when going with friends. I really like the social aspects, and having a meal with friends is a nice way to break things up, even with the increased social nature of watching movies at this event. Food has gone well this year, for both my son and myself. Neither of us has overly eaten, and I think our selections worked well. I've found fruit a good choice again this year, with this year's selections including some easy peeling, tasty oranges, plums, Fuji apples, and grapes for Alexei. I brought 3 swiss cheese sandwiches, and have only eaten 2 so far. Plenty of fluid, some peanuts and a shared can of pringles. Not too bad.

We've entered the final stretch with 'Star Trek II : The Wrath of Kahn', and the die hards are excited. The best, or at least one of the best Star Trek movies, this is the first time Alexei has seen it. I hope he enjoys the big screen experience. With another marathon wrapping up, it's time to discuss movies for next year's, at the Boston Science Fiction Marsthon 35 website. \^_\^

SF34 Live - Past halfway

We are past the halfway point, which ocurred during 'The Thing from Another Planet', a truly classic, well made 50s movie. Next we enjoyed another classic, this one from 1984, 'Repo Man' with Harry Dean Stanton and Emelio Estevez. The current movie is the remake of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' with an all star cast including Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldbloom, and Leonard Nemoy. "rat turd. Caper." \^_\^

Sunday Feb 15, 2009

SF34 Live - Update 2

image1229843367.jpg The movies continue, as well as the MST3K style comments. Sadly, 'Chrysalis', based on a Ray Bradbury story, was slow and awkward. Storyline was good as usual for Ray, too bad the movie didn't pan out. A short break and we were on to 'Logan's Run' staring Michael York and Farrah Fawcett, a classic that had a short run as a series.

Oh yeah, in case you are wondering what the picture is, after seeing that large a turn out for the tinfoil hat contest, most of which were pretty darn impressive, my 'stealth' hat and I decided to sit this one out. The team of space Vikings won, and a well deserved win too. The children's winner used a Dr. Who theme, with a fantastic K9 model as a hat. We're well into 'Runaway' with Tom Selleck, Kristie Alley and Gene Simmons (of KISS fame). What a step into electronics antiquity, yikes. \^_\^

SF34 Live - we're off

image882846045.jpg SF34 is now officially under way, as this pic showing Duck Dodgers attests to. Our first film was a premiere of 'Alien Trespass', a great film with gorgeous scenery, and modeled after 1950s film like 'It Came from Outer Soace'. Really brings a nostalgic feel with modern color and beauty.

And speaking of 'It Came from Outer Space', it has just started, and in 3D to boot. I guess it's been a while since I've seen a blue/red 3D, cause this looks pretty cool. I am finding the darkness of the red side a bit annoying, but still cool.

I've started off slow on eating, and ended up with no breakfast, which seems to be working well for stomach comfort. A lot better than starting off with a film like 'Cloverfield', with it's stomach turning videography. A friend from Mosaic Commons, Tim Pierce has joined us for the fun. They ran out of programs, so I emailed the line up to Tim, using a copy/paste jailbreak app, to copy it from Evernote to gmail. \^_\^

SF34 - Settling in

image722288774.jpg We are at the Somerville Theatre for the Boston Science Fiction Marathon 34 (SF34), and settling in. This year they handed out a large Manila envelope along with the traditional Atomic Fireball. Looks like someone had a warehouse to empty, but I'm not complaining. They contained comic books, a random sci-fi book, and assorted chotchkes. We are watching a bunch of trailers as blast off time approaches. More updates to come. \^_\^

Saturday Feb 14, 2009

Local Flavor

image1959841441.jpg This past summer, we sold our house in anticipation of buying our new home in our new community at Mosaic Commons. Until our unit is complete, we have been living in an apartment complex, which happens to be down the street from the Weetabix factory. We have seen the factory in passing, but never gave it much thought until we moved here. Now, when the wind is right, and it's not so cold that we have the windows closed, which needs to be pretty cold with the always on heat in this apartment (but that is another story), we catch a wheaty, toasty whiff from the Weetabix factory by the Nashua River.

The scent isn't terrible, but it can be strong. Out of curiosity, my wife bought a package of Weetabix, as can be seen in the picture. The package calls it a biscuit, and it claims to be organic. It has a delicate, almost nutty taste, and tends to crumble easily. I haven't spent much time investigating what the common ways of eating it are, but my youngest has enjoyed it crumbled with milk, by itself or added to other cereal. I have tried it, and while it is tasty, I think it would be better with something else. I hope to have more time to play with cooking once we are move in and get settled, and I can see potential for Weetabix. Till then, it's a tasty snack for home, as it doesn't seem like it would travel well short of being dust. \^_\^

Friday Feb 13, 2009

Finally - Blogging from my iPhone

image662778023.jpg After several false starts with other blogging clients for the iPhone, I am having success. Sure, I still need to work out the nuances of this client versus what I use on my Palm T3, and the tools I use to make using the web interface easier, but I'm headed down that road. A couple of upcoming events have been nagging me to get something working, as my previous mobile blogging involved using Bluetooth tethering from T3 to my RAZR, and that won't work with my iPhone.

The first event is the Boston Science Fiction Marathon this Sunday. I enjoyed blogging about it last year, and my oldest son will be joining me this year, so I am looking foreward to it even more. 3 generations of my family will be in attendence, as well as some friends I hope.

The other event is my annual anniversary trip to Block Island in June with my wife. It's still too early to make lodging reservations, but I look forward to it every year, and want to be ready to blog when the mood strikes. I still don't think the Surf Hotel has been sold, which isn't surprising in these economic times. Who knows, I may actually be moved into my new home in >Mosaic Commons by then.

I'm also going to use this post as a test of iBlogger's photo capability, by including a pic of one of my cats watching President Obama's inauguration speech, as you saw at the beginning.

Sunday Dec 14, 2008

Shaving again

    As the title says, at long last I'm shaving again. I'm pretty distracted by the ongoing construction of Mosaic Commons, the new cohousing community we are moving to, and so more things slip through the cracks than usual. Oh, and being temporarily in an apartment until the new home is complete, with most of my stuff in storage, doesn't help.

    My usual state of facial hair these days is a full beard. It's been getting rather long and scruffy though, as I seem to have misplaced the AC adapter to my trimming razor. My failing memory tells me I did actually recharge the trimmer since being in this apartment, but I've searched everywhere that same memory thinks the AC adapter might be, and a few other spots, and I can't find it. Even when I am sure it must be in one of several spots I've already looked, and I look again. Must be gremlins.

    I do have other razors, but they are for a clean shaven face, which I have very little of, and their trimmers are poor. So I finally overcame my cheap nature and decided it was time to look decent again and get a new trimmer razor. A quick trip to Target to get a birthday present for one of my youngest son's friend's party, and I checked out the razors. Of course, they didn't have my model (Norelco G250), but I wasn't surprised as I had googled it and found few places listing it. There weren't many choices, so I went with the same manufacturer, Phillips/Norelco G370. It has a different system for trimming to a certain height, but what choice did I have. Being a cranky old yankee, when I don't want to change, I really don't want to change. Sigh.

    I didn't think of this when I bought the new razor, but once I got it home and opened the package, I realized that the AC adapter might fit my old one. And guess what, it does. Woot. Now I have 2 trimmer razors that wll be useless if I misplace the 1 AC adapter. :-) I decided to try the new razor, because it did seem like it might be a safer way to trim back my beard without overdoing it. I started at the highest level and level by level slowly trimmed the beard. And while it was kinda neat feeling all that chin hair, now that I'm back to my old length, I really prefer it, and it definitely looks neater.

    Next step? I want to see if the new razor works as well for maintenance trimming as it did for major trimming. Hmmm, with cold weather coming, and winter break at hand, maybe I should have left the beard until next year. Too late now. :-)

Friday Jul 11, 2008

I don't know how to say goodbye

    I've been through a number of downsizings at Sun. I even ended up on the down side of one of the early ones, but found a new position just before taking a job elsewhere. I work with many fun, talented people, and I've shaken my head at some of the folks let go in the past. But I'm still getting over the number of people I knew well and worked with, and the number of really talented, top notch employees who got let go on Thursday. Some of these folks where in high demand, both by sales teams and customers. These same folks drove a lot of training in hot, important technology topics, like Solaris, virtualization, consolidation, ZFS, Zones, etc, and they are gone. I really hope that they find another opening at Sun, now or soon. I have no doubt that many of these folks will be in high demand, even in a tough market like this. And I wish I could tell them this personally.

    I guess this time I'm coming to the realization that through all the other rounds of layoffs, I didn't pay enough attention to how to gracefully and comfortably keep connections with the people I knew who were being let go. I'd keep my eyes open to openings, and let someone know if I thought they might be interested, but there usually weren't many such opportunities. I don't drink alcoholic beverages, and particularly these days many of them aren't local, so going out for a beer would have been awkward at best. Maybe some of the new crop of social networking technologies, like Twitter, IM, SecondLife, Facebook, will make it easier going forward, but I know friends on these who have left and haven't been on them much since. Commiserating with friends still here takes some of the shock away. I just need to find a way to stay connected with them if they go, by their choice or Sun's.

    This isn't how I really want to do this, but for the moment it's something. All my friends let go by Sun this week, not goodbye, but till we meet again.

Monday Jun 02, 2008

DRM sucks ... battery life

    I like reading, a lot of it is science fiction, and so does my wife. She actually reads more than I, and has the good fortune to work at a library, where she has access to a virtually limitless supply of books at almost no cost. I'm thrilled that both of my sons are following in our footsteps in this regard, as they are both enthusiastic readers and regularly take advantage of the library system.

    While my wife reads mostly 'physical' books, I read a lot on my RAZR V3xx and my Palm T3. And while there are multiple formats and readers for the Palm OS, our library's DRMed format is MobiBook. Some other ebook sources I use also use that format, and the Mobipocket Reader isn't bad. I think I prefer Plucker, which is a readily available format for a lot of Public Domain stuff via Project Gutenberg, and I use it for 'mostly text' web page reading.

    The problem with MobiPocket is that it really seems to drain my battery faster than most anything I do on my T3. I got several of David Weber's Honor Harrington book for my birthday, and reading them ends up generating multiple battery warning pop-ups, requiring several visits a day to the cradle for a boost. I attribute this power hungry nature to the encryption heavy nature of DRM, although maybe I'm enjoying the books so much I'm reading more. Or maybe the battery I installed in my T3 a while back doesn't have the lifetime the original had, and is fading already. Nah, more fun to blame DRM. Excuse me, I've got to get back to my reading. :-)

Wednesday May 21, 2008

My new home takes shape

    While I continue to struggle to get my house ready for selling, I take some comfort in the progress of my new community, Mosaic Commons, both from a personal level and from a construction perspective. One of our many resident geeks set up this webcam in our marketing trailer, and it happens to look at my house (the one on the right). I can now look to the future whenever I'm having doubts.

    As it turns out, one of the General Contractor's folks working on this project had the chance to take some fabulous aerial photos of our site, including this one, where my home is one of the 2 large buildings on the bottom just left of center. This picture also gives you a sense of the 2 neighborhoods, with Camelot Cohousing in the upper right part of the picture, and Mosaic Commons in the middle to lower left. These 2 communities are part of Sawyer Hill Ecovillage in Berlin, MA. We still have units available, so come be my neighbor. :-)

Monday Apr 21, 2008

Rail Trailing it

    I live in New England, which is notorious for bad weather and frequent changes. Still, the last week or so has been quite warm spring weather, including today, much to the chagrin of the runners in the Boston Marathon. But that is another story. Today's weather, and the kids being on April vacation this week, inspired us to make our first sojourn on one of our local Rail Trails. This one starts in Ayer and goes up through Pepperell, although we rarely ride the whole thing as a family.

    This was the first time on the trail for my youngest with his new multi-speed bike. We have been furiously getting rid of stuff and downsizing, and due to a miscommunication when our dumpster arrived, my youngest's mono-speed bicycle got put out by the side of the road and quickly claimed. Needless to say, he was quite upset, but a quick trip to our local Salvation Army and $20 later, he had a 'new' bike with 18 speeds. He did great, riding for a 4 mile round trip with no complaints and plenty of energy.

    We even had my Dad along, who has an electric bike, which is basically a 15 speed with a mounted, and heavy, battery and electric motor. With this he can start up quickly and get help on the hills. Since he is legally blind with severe tunnel vision from his triple bypass surgery, and this is his primary means of getting around farther than he can walk, I guess I won't chastise him for 'cheating'. :-) Unfortunately, our car bike rack really doesn't have room for more than 3 full size bikes, and while my youngest's new bike can fit in the back of the car, my Dad's is too much, so he rode to the trail head and back. Guess he ended up with more of a work out than me.

    Here are some pics I snapped on the way. I've never given cell phone cameras much credibility, but I have to admit that the one in my RAZR V3xx isn't bad, and really handy, even compared with the 2 small digitals I have.

Almost everyone is on the trail. :-)

Now we are all on the trail.

Including me. :-)

A break at the half way point, and some stone skipping too.

Nice scenery too.


I was cursed with errors of '6' inn writing this post. First, I mis-heard my wife and accepted the '18' speeds of my youngest's bike. After she read this blog she suggested I was mistaken, and so during today's ride I checked. He does have 6 back gears, but only one pedal gear, so he has a '6' gear bike. Second, he lasted for the full trip, which was '6' miles round trip, not 4. And he was a champ today as well, going for the full 8 mile round trip. :-)

Saturday Mar 29, 2008

Kick ME?

    What have I done to deserve kids like this. A slap on the back and much giggling by my youngest, and the result is below. I'll get him for this. :-)

Saturday Mar 08, 2008

A snowman comes into existence

    During our most recent snow storm, the temp was warm and the snow perfect for snow balls and their larger sibs, snowmen. So, while I shoveled our driveway, my oldest got to work on his creation.

    Step one, start with a nice big, solid base. Follow that up with a nearly as big abdomen. Not quite big enough yet.

    Ooops, after asking Dad several times if it was big enough, and what do I know, it was too big for him to lift. I needed a break from shoveling anyway. On three, and we had it on. The rest he could handle, with some help/company/interference from his younger bro. Hey, don't we have a pair of old boots around you could use? :-)

A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.


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