Tuesday Dec 22, 2009

Great example of excellent presentation skills

Quick post here: I just wrote about a fantastic 15-minute talk I found on the TEDIndia site.  If you want to see a great way to visually present information, watch the whole 15-minute talk.  I was engrossed the whole time, and the speaker is excellent.

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Thursday Jul 16, 2009

Snapcasting the Sun Stockholders Meeting

Today was a special meeting of Sun stockholders.  The question on the table: whether to approve the merger whereby Oracle acquires Sun.

I decided to "snapcast" the event live, using a free web-based application call G-Snap!  I've blogged about g-snap! before but in the last few months they've done a fair amount of improvement to the interface.  It's really slick and full-featured now.

Click here to view the event log for the snapcast, so you can see what I typed and the comments people made.  Password: sunvote.

There was good news and bad news about the snapcast.  The good news: over 50 people joined the event with only about 30 minutes' notice, and the interface worked like a charm.  I was able to upload photos to the event live, so people could see what the auditorium looked like, the meeting agenda, and a bomb-sniffing dog outside the premises.

The bad news: I was approached by an official in the auditorium who nicely instructed me to turn off my computer during the meeting.  I was assured the meeting would be brief, and indeed it was.  Total elapsed time: about 8 minutes.

Nonetheless, I came away from the event eager to try G-Snap! again for something like this.  I thought of using my twitter account to tweet as the event went along, but I would have lost the sense of community.  By snapcasting, I was able to send live updates just as I would with twitter, but I also had the benefit of others being able to "tweet" live as well, bringing everybody together.  It's a lot more cumbersome to try to arrange that via twitter, but with G-Snap! it was trivially easy to do.

Maybe the Oracle stockholders meetings will allow photos and live blogging.  We'll have to see about that.

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Friday Oct 17, 2008

For Linux Users: Why Solaris? Here's One View.

A funny coincidence happened to me this week: I was talking with one of my colleagues about Linux and Solaris, and why somebody would pick one over the other.  Personally, I use several operating systems on a regular basis: Solaris at work, Mac OS X when I'm mobile, Ubuntu Linux at home, and Windows XP (Service Pack 3) to track my spending with Quicken.  (I currently run that inside VMware Workstation on the Linux box, which I started using years before virtualization became the "it" term it is today).

(okay, I can't resist this side note: the first time I used Quicken virtualized, it was over ten years ago on my Sun system using WABI at first, and later the x86-based SunPC card.  Sun's been doing some kind of virtualization stuff for a long, long time.)

Anyway, the topic of "Why Solaris?" was on my mind...and then I saw this blog posting, entitled "Why I like Solaris".  It's written by a former Sun employee who tells of his experience learning Solaris after having been a Linux user for a few years.

The blog post makes some interesting points from a developer's point of view about what was missing from Solaris that put obstacles in his way, but were later fixed (the release of Solaris 10 a few years ago fixed a lot of inconveniences, for example).  But what I got out of the blog entry was the general feeling that if you develop for the platform, things are going to work for a long time to come.  Oh, also that ZFS as a development tool is pretty cool, because it takes the risk out of trying an experimental change: you just create an instant snapshot, make your changes and test them, and if you don't like the result, go back to the previous snapshot.  That's a nice debugging tool.

You can see more context by reading this blog entry on ZDNet, which addresses yet another article attacking the viability of Solaris.  It's interesting writing, worth taking a look.

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Friday Oct 10, 2008

Using ScribeFire with Roller blogging software

(this blog entry is a note-to-self kind of a thing.)

I've been using a cool Firefox browser extension called ScribeFire to write my blog entries; I like it because it's easy to write the blog entry without having to worry about writing HTML markup, and it makes it easy for you to post the blog entry to just about any kind of blogging software you want.  I usually write to my blogs.sun.com blog, which runs the Roller blogging software.

That's all good, but recently I couldn't post new blog entries with ScribeFire and I couldn't figure out why.  I'd go back into the Account Wizard, where you tell ScribeFire about your blog, including username and password.  But it kept failing on my username and password, and I was absolutely sure I had those correct.

Well, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong.  This will certainly apply to Sun employees but it may apply to others out there using Roller blogging servers.  Here's what I needed to do:

  • Log into blogs.sun.com (my blogging site); recently, we switched our authentication mechanism to something all Sun employees know.
  • under the "Actions" section there is a choice labeled "Edit user profile"; click on that.
  • Choose a "Weblog Client API Password", which is different from the password you used to log into blogs.sun.com.  This password is what ScribeFire will use when it tries to post a blog entry for you, so you need to tell blogs.sun.com what to expect for a password.  Confirm the password and save.
There you go.  Now you can go into ScribeFire and update your settings.  Here's how I set mine:
  • Open ScribeFire and click on the "Add" button under the Blogs tab; this launches the ScribeFire Account Wizard;
  • my blog's url is "http://blogs.sun.com/drapeau"; enter yours and Continue;
  • Click the Configure Manually button that appears next;
  • Select "MetaWeblog API" as the blog system type (I don't know why not "Roller"; just trust me here);
  • for the API URL, type "http://blogs.sun.com/roller-services/xmlrpc";
  • for the Username and Password, use your username and the password you entered as the Weblog Client API Password above;
That should do it.  Now you can blog with Scribefire, which should make blogging easier and more fun overall.

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The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. What more do you need to know, really?


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