Saturday Nov 24, 2007

On Bluetooth Headsets

    I have really come to appreciate a bluetooth headset as an accessary for a cell phone. I detest not having both hands free to drive with, but find talking on a cell phone no more distracting than arguing with talk radio. Perhaps I should get rid of radio as well, but I'm not one to abdicate all responsibility just because something might happen. So I've always used a headset for my various cell phones when driving, but found the wired kind were too awkward for use when not driving, and often awkward when driving. They also would wear out every couple of months due to broken wires, so even replacing them with the cheapest I could find was costing money and a regular effort. I thought that maybe a wireless headset might resolve that problem. I started with a Motorola HS850 I bought from eBay, used with my old Nokia 6130i, and found it not quite what I was hoping. It seemed to lack oomph, and was a bit flaky. After it ended up on the wrong end of a bit of road rage, I tried a Motorla H700. I liked the folding boom concept, and I read that older models weren't great, but the newer B revs were. I ended up with a B rev, and found it much better. It was lighter, and I found it so comfortable that I would wear it all day and forget I had it on.

    I enjoyed it for close to a year, and then a month or so ago, it started acting up. It would drop it's connection to the phone at random times, and sometimes reconnect right away. It started to refuse to connect, which got really annoying just before a long con call. Googling the web for how to reset turned up repeated suggestions that plugging it into it's charger for less than 5 seconds was supposed to reset it. Sounds like an odd way to reset particularly when it seems like a not unlikely thing to happen by accident. Anyway, it did not seem to help my situation any. I tried deleting the pairing from the phone, but got exceedingly frustrated trying to get the headset in pairing mode. Even when I did manage to get them paired again, it still acted flaky. I thought a power removal reset was my last hope, but since it has a built in rechargeable battery, that was not going to be easy. I decided to try leaving it on until it ran out, and then, as if to taunt me, it worked without any problems for 4 days before it finally ran out o juice. Made for some interesting explanations, as I started a day or 2 before I went camping at a state park with some friends, and ended up with it on most of the trip.

    A full recharge later, and it still wasn't better, so that's when I started researching for a new headset. I also decided to try taking it apart, which didn't seem easy, but here is the result. After carefully putting it together again, being careful in replacing the little rubber piece which acts as the switch for the boom, it seemed to be it's old self again and worked flawlessly for a week. Then, I took it off to go play basketball at lunch, and when I came back it didn't want to connect with my phone anymore. Meanwhile, my research had me leaning towards a Jabra headset. I didn't want to pay as much as a Jawbone would cost, despite it's high praise, and I wanted to get it at a local store like Best Buy, so I could try it for comfort before completely committing to it. While the Jabra BT250 got good reviews, I was concerned about the form factor. I was convinced that fit and comfort where likely to be the most important aspects of a new bluetooth headset, as I expected the quality level to be closer than the previous models I had used. I scoped out the Best buy website, as I didn't want to spend a lot on a new headset either, being the cheapy I am, and spotted the Jabra BT5010, which also seemed to get good ratings and looked cooler and hopefully more comfortable than the BT250. Since I am seriously 'addicted' to the ease of use of my bluetooth headset, I didn't waste much time toodling off to my near by Best Buy.

    Although it looked like a good size store to me, the selection did not include the Jabra BT5010, which the sales clerk said was because they were a smaller store. I didn't want to leave without a replacement headset, so I reluctantly decided to try the Jabra BT250. I got it home, carefully opened the package, since I wanted to return it if it was uncomfortable, and set it to charging. I did try it for a few days, and while it worked well, with particularly strong sound if you got an ear tip that fit snugly in your ear, it was just too darn uncomfortable. I always knew it was there, and it started to get annoyingly painful after an hour or so. A couple of days later I found myself in the Framingham area, so I stopped in to the Best Buy in Shopper's World. Sure enough, they had the Jabra BT5010, so I bought one and brought it home to try. Charged it over night, again being careful of the packaging, and gave it a try. OK, it was more comfortable than the BT250, but still not quite as comfortable as the H700. I could go most of the day before it started to be annoying.

    Perhaps I was too used to the H700, but I found the BT5010 took a bit of getting used to. It has a sliding boom microphone, which is one of the features I liked when I saw it, as I thought that would help me sound better when speaking. Unfortunately, if the boom mic slides back up even a little bit, it disconnects the call. I lost count of how many times I had to apologize for dropping a call due to that, from sneezes, moving my head while my hand was near, scratching, coat collar, etc. Also, since it has a moldable ear hook, I was often trying to get it snug, and being unused to the button at the top for disconnecting calls, would again end up dropping a call when trying to push the headset on tighter. The sliding boom picks up and drops calls, but does not power it off like the folding boom on the H700. To turn it off and on, there is a tiny button on the back, which is hard to push when you put the headset on your ear and then remember it isn't on. Heck, it's not that easy to push even when it's off your ear. It functioned OK, but it still wasn't as easy to use or comfortable as the H700. It was more comfortable than the BT250, the the BT250 went back to Best Buy. Back to eBay.

    On eBay, I found H700s going for as low as $20-30 in auctions, although there where warnings in some about making sure you get an original. Not paying much heed, I successfully won an auction for an H700 for around $20 including shipping. I had the BT5010, so I wasn't in a rush, and when it came set about charging it fully. Even a cursory glance, having owned one for a while, I could see it didn't look quite right. I was sure it was a fake, but as long as it worked and was comfortable, I didn't really care. It did work fine, and although the ear hook was stiffer, I swapped it with the one from my original and was fine. Problem was, it only worked fully for a few days. Then I went looking and found the person I bought it from was de-listed from eBay. Bad sign. I tried emailing him. Bounce. Another bad sign. I was ready to give up when he actually replied to my email, and explained he was de-listed while they verified his business, and that he would be back on eBay shortly. He was willing to take it back, but I had been burned before on a low cost item where the shipping was more than the item, so I was hesitant that I would end up with pretty much nothing.

    I decide to try a more safe means of purchasing an H700, and found that Amazon, through a partner, was selling real ones for $40. The Amazon page had a guide from Motorola showing how to tell a fake from and original, further confirming the status of the one I got from eBay. I purchased one from Amazon, which turned out to be an original, and which I am happily using to this day. During my research, I saw hints that Motorola was stopping making the H700, so I will try to verify and get an extra or 2. When I get comfortable with something, I get cranky when it breaks or gets lost and I can't get a new one. :-) Besides, I may convince my wife to get one. She has already tried the BT5010, and wants to try the H700. She isn't as big a fan of headsets, but does see the benefit for con calls, which she is doing more of these days. BTW, it looks like what killed my first H700, and partially killed my second, was a suspect wallwart. Don't know if it is a fake or not, as it looks real, but I made the connection after the fake H700 started having problems, and I remembered that sometimes my RAZR showed fully charged but seemed to wear down quicker than usual. Further testing confirmed that one of my Motorola USB chargers was not providing proper charge. Interestingly enough, the one that came with the fake didn't even work at all. Should I get a spare from eBay? \^_\^

Thursday Nov 22, 2007

Old eyes and new flashlights

    Looks like it's confession week here on the old blog. I've always had a thing for flashlights, probably stemming from my wee little days when I wanted to stay up later than my parents let me. I've owned quite a number of interesting flashlights over the years, including one from the 80s which included 3 LEDs in the side to tell you the battery strength. I didn't think that was such a compelling idea, and avoided buying one. Then one day, while partaking in a common habit of mine to browse stores during clearance sale times, I wandered into an American Eagle Outfitters and found said flashlight on clearance sale. Feeling generous, and loving a bargain, I bought one and soon discovered that while I did indeed find the LEDs rather a waste, the flashlight itself was surprising powerful. That was one of my favorites, until I lost it. :-( They stopped making them even before I bought mine, so getting a replacement was out of the question.

    Before I digress into more war stories of my flashlights, which may make another blog entry sometime, I'll move on to my eyes. Today being Thanksgiving Day, one of the things I give thanks for are my eyes. Most of my life I have had better than 20/20 vision, and my eyesight was one of the few things the Navy found worthwhile back in the 'An Officer and a Gentleman' days when I tried joining the Navy flight school program. Suffice it to say that I didn't make the program, and went on to live a productive life anyway. As I age gracefully, \^_\^ , my eyes have started to weaken, so that I am learning new habits, like trying to always have a pair of reading glasses at hand. Darn frustrating to not be able to read things I used to read with ease. Oh well, I'm well stocked with reading glasses, and I'm slowly getting used to it.

    The other night I went out for a bite and a night out with my best friend. We checked out a 'super buffet', and despite buffets being a weakness of mine, we enjoyed the food, didn't eat too much and did much chatting. We would have probably done more chatting, but the wait staff seemed to be wanting us to move on, despite the abundance of empty tables. Earlier in the day, my youngest had put his hand through a window pane, and ended up with stitches between 2 of his fingers. My wife called to ask me to pick up some antibiotic ointment for him, so my friend and I stopped by CVS, a local drug store chain. I don't get out shopping as much as I did in my youth, for a variety of reasons, so when I do and I'm not rushed, I often browse. While doing so at CVS, I saw a 21 LED aircraft-grade aluminum small flashlight. It was packages to let one try it, and upon trying it I found it was bright. It was only $10, so I couldn't resist. I didn't really have a compelling reason for it, but I bought it anyway. Turns out it's been handier than I thought. I've already used it to distract and entertain my youngest when he was getting close to being fussy. And it's strong, very white light came in handy at church on Sunday.

    Despite my best efforts to keep reading glasses in as many handy places as possible, I was fighting a cold and was a bit spacey in the process and ended up at church without reading glasses. Our church does have a large print order of service, but those old hymnals can be tough on the eyes. While resigning myself to humming the hymns, I recalled the flashlight, currently in my pocket, and how extra light often helps me read. Sure enough, the bright white light helped. That and holding the hymnal at a readable distance allowed me to sing along and handle other reading that came up. Since it was an intergenerational service, meaning the kids stayed in the service instead of going to Sunday School, I again used it to distract my youngest, who had stayed up front for the story for all ages, and had been quiet though restless for a while and would soon likely start making noise. I finally caught his attention, showed him the flashlight, and he made his way back to our pew. Now I'm thinking about getting another one, as I inevitably loose things I use a lot, and may never find this model again if I don't get one now. Hmmmm, I wonder if CVS is open on Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday Nov 20, 2007

Dude, you're getting Solaris

    I'll start right out by admitting to being a big fan of the Muppets. I love the Muppet Show, although I'm approaching the age where I could do the role of Waldorf or Stadtler, the elder hecklers from the private box. It should come as no surprise that I have seen most of the Muppet movies, including Muppets from Space. In this movie, there are a couple scenes in which a Muppet bear tries to calm his human boss in a secret government agency by suggesting 'baby steps, sir, baby steps'. I like using that line myself to remember that success doesn't have to come fast or in big strides.

    By now you have probably heard that Dell to carry Solaris 10 on PowerEdge servers as noted by CNET, and noted in Jonathan's blog. Based on a CNET News Blog from last year, Dell: No Solaris until it's a standard, looks like Solaris is making progress, at least in Dell's eyes. Not too long ago we announced that IBM is doing the same thing, selling and supporting Solaris on their x86 servers, with another Jonathan blog about it. More progress for Solaris.

    Even more exciting is the availability of a developer preview of Project Indiana, an OpenSolaris binary distribution with the look, feel, and tools of a standard Linux distribution. The best of both worlds, available in a Live CD to test out and provide feedback on as it moves forward. The way I look at it, Solaris is doing as the Muppet bear suggested, and making great progress in manageable 'baby steps'. Or as the young man from the old Dell commercial might say "Dude, you're getting Solaris".

Monday Nov 12, 2007

A short holiday in Portland, ME

    Just came back from a short trip to one of my favorite places, Portland, Maine. My wife and I first went to Portland when my oldest was a baby, while my wife attended a conference. That was when I first had a lobster omelette at the IHOP next to the hotel, and I've had them often since. Not much can compete with fresh Maine lobster, and it's not often you can get it for breakfast. Man, there was a lot of lobster in that thing.

    We have been back many times. We started a Christmas tradition of going up so the kids could ride the Maine Narrow Gauge RailRoad Company and Museum train, which would have holiday lights set up along it's route. The kids loved it, despite it being darn cold. It was a great time to get some holiday shopping done. Haven't done that in a while though. :-(

    The old port area by the waterfront has a wonderful selection of shops and restaurants, and makes for nice casual walking and browsing. Another of our favorite attractions is The Children's Museum of Maine. This is one of the best places for kids, with play exhibits for every age and interest. My kids always love it, and this trip was no exception. I was there with them for 3.5 hours, and they still weren't bored. There is a play fire engine, pirate ship, space shuttle, LL Bean camping area, grocery store, veterinary, car repair area, toddler area, dress up theatre... If you have kids and you are with them in the Portland area, you have to take them there. It's a bargain at $7 per person.

    We stopped by the L.L. Bean Outlet Store in Portland to get my oldest a new winter jacket. Not quite the selection of the 7x24 L.L. Bean store just up the rud a piece in Freeport, ME, but we managed to get him something. I always find Portland one of the more relaxing cities I visit, and it's on the ocean. Bonus.

    Another nearby attraction that the kids enjoy is the Desert of Maine. This is an interesting glacial geological phenomenon, and the kids really enjoy going there, but it is closed at this time of year. They have a campground, so we usually make a camping trip out of it, with the requisit tent and s'mores. Reminds me, I'd better pencil in a weekend for that trip next summer, as it may be hectic.

    You know, this post didn't start out as an advertisement for Portland, ME, but is sure looks like it turned into one. I'm not one to try gratuitously promoting businesses, etc. but I do like for folks to have easy access to more details about stuff I find interesting or important. The L.L. Bean link is borderline, but the 7x24 store does make for neat late night holiday shopping trips. When I dated a girl from Wellesley college, they had a yearly bus trip late at night for just that reason. Honest. \^_\^.

Tuesday Nov 06, 2007

Comments are back, I guess.

    Apparently, although I have always had comments turned on in my settings, they haven't been working for a while. A friend of mine recently asked why she couldn't comment, and since I thought she should be able to, I checked the setting. It was set to allow comments, but I unset it and reset it to see if that resolved the problem. It appears to have done the trick, as several folks have now been able to comment. Not that I necessarily have a lot of content worth commenting on, but feel free to indulge. Also, feel free to let me know if comments aren't working. :-)

Monday Nov 05, 2007

Mr. Hai Karate

    Not long ago, I was at a friend's parent's house. I had brought my oldest for the birthday party of my friend's oldest son, and there was much pool and other fun, including much enjoyment of birthday gifts. It was a nice warm day, and all involved had fun.

    Towards the end of the day, the number of kids dwindled, and I was hanging out with the few adults there. As I recall, the discussion worked it's way to theater, i.e. doing performing arts, and my friend's father mentions that he did Hai Karate commercials. Suddenly he starts looking familiar. Being the geeks that many of us are at this party, one of my other friends brings up YouTube on a handy gadget and does a quick search. Sure enough, he discovers this, amongst others.

    And yup, it is easy enough to recognize my friend's father. I've seen some of these ads, not when they originally ran, but in re-runs and a few years back when I picked up a cheap, at the time, CD of old TV commercials. Brings back memories of my childhood TV watching days. I always thought the Hai Karate commercials were fun, and was thrilled to find out the star is someone I know, who is a friendly, down to earth person. In a word, cool. He made several, although not all of the, ads for Hai Karate, but I haven't found any of the others he was in.

    I did some searching for that CD, as there were other fun commercials, but so far I haven't found it. I remember uploading it to a server at work, but I think that server died a few years back, so I doubt I'll find them there either. Makes me wonder how many other secrets are out there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. \^-\^

Friday Nov 02, 2007

Thumbs up to Jim's Deli

    I recently presented to a customer in Portsmouth, RI, and since this was an early afternoon presentation that was a bit of a drive away, my co-workers and I hustled down to make sure we avoided traffic delays. We then had a few minutes to grab a quick bite of lunch and get to the customer. As we continued down the road past the customer site, we kept our eyes open for something quick and reasonably healthy. I remembered having gone to a deli nearby, and we pulled in, having found nothing else by then.

    We ended up in Jim's Deli, which was the same place I had gone before, but new management. I don't often pay much attention to places like this, but this one is different. They had signs on the wall for each of their menu items, with easy to read fonts for us aging boomers, and a wide selection of items. They were very friendly and helpful, prices were good, and they even had a mission statement. For a small deli, they were tops in customer service, which impressed me enough to write this post. If you are ever in the Newport/Middletown/Portsmouth RI area looking for a quick bite, I highly recommend Jim's Deli (957 W Main Rd, Middletown, RI 02842). I had the 'Big Cheese'. \^_\^

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Pictures from CEC 2007

    The Paris, as we are driven from the airport to the Paris/Bally complex.
    The Project Blackbox tour rig, on display in the main eating hall.

    Some of the 4000 engineers attending CEC 2007, eating lunch. I'm at this end using one of the rare electric outlets, so I could Skype video with my family at home.
    The UltraSPARC T2 product launch, with Andy Bechtelshiem, John Fowler, and ? on stage. Can't you tell?

    My room is behind that 'The Producers' sign somewhere. Explaines the funny screened view from my room.
    One of the video balls at the CEC Party. Live video of the band was displayed on this ball.

    A fire eater at the CEC party. Smart doing it by a pool.
    My view for most of Wednesday, as I spent the day going home.

    Bye bye, Egypt, no wait, it was Las Vegas, yeah that's it.
    A disappointing attempt to capture some of the amazing scenery I flew over on the way home to Boston.

All pictures courtesy of my Motorola RAZR V3xx. Explains a lot, don't it. :-)

Thursday Oct 18, 2007

More TDHing

    In this installment of my version of This Damn House, I do some minor work in a bathroom. My wife suggested we take baby steps, to at least make progress rather than procrastinating until we had 'time'. So, in that spirit, here is the before :

    And after a quick bit of putty work, and some warm water to wipe of the old wall paper glue, et voila :

    Naturally, nothing is as simple or quick as it should be. The tile cement I had from several years back, that I had used on another towel rack and a few miscreant tiles, was hard as a rock, oddly enough, so I had to work a trip to HD into my schedule. This gave me time to wipe the glue off the walls in small time slots, so as not to overwork my mouse using arm. Oh yeah, and I figured the kids wouldn't be using that bathroom until the towel rack had time to cure, but within 5 minutes my oldest was in there and for some reason found he needed to lean on that towel rack, which of course gave way. Doh. All in all, it worked out OK. What's next?

Wednesday Oct 17, 2007

It's a Lady Bug Day

Lady Bugs on the ceiling
Originally uploaded by Dr. Agonfly.

    In the Spring or Fall, when there is an unseasonably warm day, we have what my family calls a 'Lady Bug Day'. sometimes it will be a dragonfly day as well, but the Lady Bugs are more obvious. I noticed them through our kitchen window mid day, and forgot until I went into our bedroom, to see this on our ceiling. We are used to them, as for years there would usually be a half dozen or so Lady Bugs handing out in a corner of the ceiling all year long. They don't usually get in the way, and eat other less appreciated bugs, so they are welcome to stay. Besides, since I usually try to capture and release any insect or other living thing that makes it's way uninvited into the house, I'd have my hands full with this mob. And yes, today was unseasonably warm.

Monday Oct 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - Environment

    Seeings that it is Blog Action Day, an effort devoted to testing the solidarity of bloggers world wide to speak out on a single topic in a single day, and the topic is about the environment, I decided to blog about something going on in my life right now. Very dynamically too. In some of my previous blogs, I have commented on cohousing, and more specifically my current involvement in Mosaic Commons, a cohousing community that is buuilding in Berlin, MA.

    One of the usual values of cohousing is an interest in environmentally friendly design. There are a number of ways that various communities express this, including pedestrian focused access, tight heat envelopes for the homes, wood pellet heating, solar heating, all the way to more devoted efforts like the EcoVillage at Ithaca, NY. We are doing as much as we can, and are currently dealing with the difficult balance of cost cutting with enhanced green design, or more specifically, do we cut the number of windows in our units to help defray the cost of going to triple pane windows.

    I like natural light the best, and feel that personally and for others in my family, the amount of natural light has a real effect on our moods. Can I quantify it, no. Doesn't make it less real, nor any less important to me. So I definitely don't like the idea of cutting the number of windows. And I have trepidation about triple paning as well. I have done just a quick bit of Googling to get a better sense of what I already basically knew, that the more panes of glass, the less light that is getting through. How much of a difference is what I didn't really have a sense for. According to one paper I found, it can be up to as much as a 44% reduction in the amount of light, depending on what coatings, etc are used on the triple pane window. Wow. So to reduce the number of windows on top of that kind of potential light reduction really makes me nervous.

    Another aspect of cohousing that is interesting is the decision making process. I have to admit that, despite it's challenges and occasional failings, the consensus process we use at Mosaic seems to work pretty well. It is based on certain principles, including only blocking a decision when it is for the good of the group. Kinda odd when you think about it. If everyone else (i.e. the group) wants a certain outcome to the decision, a single person can basically block it for the good of 'the group'. I'll have to puzzle on that some more, but suffice it to say that I have accepted and tried to work within this framework.

    Which means that even though I have what I think is good reason to not want to reduce windows and triple pane, I have to consider what is best for the group if I want to block that decision. OK, particularly at this stage of development, we need to be sensitive to costs. But there is value in long term investments like triple panes that will save us money over the long term. but if the group thinks this is best, how do I justify saying it is best for the group not to do this? Is the loss of a sale, should I back out because of this decision, something bad for the group, bad enough? Is my unqantifiable sense that this will be less good for everyone's mood in the community defendable enough? What about the fact that I may be able to restore the windows in my unit to their original design locations and sizes, but that would not help other households who could not afford to do that? Will I even be able to afford to do that myself? When do I stop asking questions and tell my wife to make the decision? :-)

    Not an easy process, but one that I hope shows the true metal of this community, as that is the primary reason my wife and I are doing this. We have a great home, with a nice piece of property, but we want to give that up for the comfort and strength of a community of friends that have similar values and that we will enjoy living with. It's during difficult times that you get to see more of what people are like behind their social faces, and I hope this will be another opportunity for the community of Mosaic Commons to grow and prosper.

Wednesday Oct 10, 2007

Open Standard I/O

    I changed roles at Sun, and am now a Technical Specialist focusing on our x64 technologies. While there is always an element of time spent on both customer relationships and technical skills development in pre-sales engineering roles, I prefer a balance more weighted towards technical depth and skills development/maintenance. I've always felt that as a technical professional, you have more credibility if you have spent at least some time working with the technology and products.

    Part of coming up to speed in a new role is getting a better understanding of the available resources. An important resource for sales is the ever present presentation. And while I appreciate the efforts of marketing to help promote our products, I need to be prepared to avoid potential rat holes by knowing the details of the background material used in developing the slides. If I'm hemming and hawing when presenting because I don't have confidence in the slides, I loose credibility. I get particularly wary when ambiguous or overloaded buzz words are used, such as 'open', 'free', 'grid', 'utility computing', 'blade computing', etc.

    Can you believe it, it took me 2 paragraphs to finally get to the meat of this post? :-) Sun has an impressive family of modular computing systems, or blade computers as they are commonly characterized. Among the many values of our modular computing family is the use of industry-standard open I/O. Ah, buzz words. What does that mean, industry-standard open I/O, and what is the benefit? It means that our compute modules use the same industry-standard open I/O technologies that our rack servers use, PCI-Express (PCIe). Instead of having I/O daughter cards on the compute module itself, that then need to connect electrically through the backplane to an I/O card in the chassis, making maintenance and reconfiguration more difficult, we pass the PCIe lanes through the passive backplane to PCI-SIG industry-standard PCIe Express Module slots at the back of the chassis. Simpler and more reliable.

    What is the benefit? There are several. Since the PCIe Express Module slots are separate from the compute module, you can easily hot swap PCIe Express Module cards, without needing to power down and remove the corresponding compute module, enhancing tool-less maintenance. Instead of having to remove the compute module, swap a daughter card and also swap an I/O card in the chassis, you can just swap the I/O card in the chassis. Fewer steps, less chance for human error, quicker. Sounds good to me.

    By sticking with industry-standard I/O, compatibility with 3rd party cards is enhanced, as is design and testing. PCIe is a well established standard, developed by a group of companies, and based on years of experience with previous generations of I/O interfaces. There are chip sets implementing the PCIe standard from several companies, and a well developed ecosystem of people and resources with the skills for designing it into systems. This makes it easy for 3rd party companies and partners, like QLogic, to develop cards for use in these modular systems, and the cards are compatible with other vendor's systems. For instance, I understand that NEC and Fujitsu use PCIe Express Modules for some of their systems, and others are planning on using this standard.

    Another benefit of using an industry-standard I/O technology is that as technology gets enhanced, and it inevitably does, maintaining compatibility is easier. Our implementation of the PCIe industry-standard I/O technology is forward-compatible with PCI G2 and IOV, adding to the investment protection provided by Sun's modular computing platforms. Building systems that take advantage of the well established design and years of testing experience of industry standard open PCIe makes for higher reliability and more choice, something I can talk to customers with confidence about.

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

US T2 Server Launch

    I am attending today's product launch by Sun at CEC 2007. John Fowler is leading the launch with Rick Hetherington and Andy Bechtolsheim showing the new products, and Ichiro Hirose, VP, Global Marketing, Fujitsu representing Fujitsu.

    The products launched include :

  • The T6320 modular server for use in the Sun Blade 6000 chassis with the US-T2 CPU, 64GB RAM, 176Gbps I/O, and built in ILOM.
  • The X5120 server, using the US-T2 CPU, 64GB RAM, 2TB of storage, 80Gbps I/O, and built in ILOM in a 1RU form factor.
  • The X5220 server, using the US-T2 CPU, 64GB RAM, 2TB of storage, 80Gbps I/O, and built in ILOM in a 2RU form factor.

    Next, Marshal Choy came up and did a demo of LDOMs, including a mention of the Solaris 8 Migration Assistant for running Solaris 8 in a zone. Just one element of the great virtualization technologies built into these new servers.

    A customer, Jason Turner of Mediasite, spoke of the kind of needs his company has and how these systems help meet that need. And these systems are available through Sun's Try and Buy program, so go try one out. Q&A and Andy B. is moving at his usual speed. :-)

CEC 2007 Day 3

    Another day, another General Session. Today's started with a neat drumming act. Color of the day is green, representing an Eco Responsibily sub theme of today's Our World theme.

    Dave Douglas was the first presenter, talking about Eco Responsibility including some of what Sun has already done to reduce GHG, carbon footprint, power usage, etc. Some nice progress, like a new Bay Area data center that increased compute resources by 450%, while reducing power usage by 60%. More needs to be done, and it's happening.

    Next up, Jonathan Schwartz. He covered 3 questions on the $2B+ we invest annually in research and development - For whom?, In what?, And how? Some other topics : side comment on his ZFS in Leopard statement, NetApps lawsuit, Solaris download in Antarctica, lack of EA games on iPhone (Java), open sourcing Sun Ray.

    I like the interaction enablement through email, sms, and IM, particularly for a large group of 4000 folks interacting with a single presenter. Let's you write and ask question when you think of it. And it's easier than walking to a mike. While I haven't tried out Second Life, it is being used to make these sessions available to the thousands of engineers not here, and they show the Second Life conference room sometimes, where there is an avatar wearing a Batman costume.

    I'm looking forward to the product launch later today. More to come....

Monday Oct 08, 2007

CEC 2007 Opening General Session

    Day 2 at Sun's CEC 2007 is the first full day of content. Soul In The Machine is the act that started the session with Vegas style entertainment. I was interested in the stunt kite one of the performers was flying, which did seem to be real, as I saw the 'strings' collapse when the performer exited.

    Dan Berg starts the content describing our new CE 2.0, web 2.0 based social networking, content and collaboration service, for Sun's Customer Enpineering community. The CE community includes Field Engineers, Systems Engineers, Technical Specialists, etc at Sun, as well as Sun's partners.

    Hal Stern took over discussing scale, direction, etc. This is in line with today's theme 'Our Universe', including his interest in astronomy as a young man, and his view of Saturn through a telescope.

    James Baty is now delivering a talk on 'Red Shift', as Greg Popadopolous describes the fast changing massive scale opportunities taking place in the world today.

    More to come ......

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


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