Friday Jun 25, 2010

Blog Continuity

Well I didn't think I was going to be living this myself in such short order, but as noted in my previous blog entry ">So long, and thanks for all the fish :), I am moving on to new things.

On Monday I will officially become the CTO of Asset Science LLC.  We will be doing mobile and wireless sensor based applications, along with some ERP and factory automation for Cell Phone Refurbishing.  The web site is at, but there is not much there.  We are working on it :)

So the mobile and wireless sensor applications part makes sense to most people, as I've been doing mobile applications for the past 10 years, and have been doing wireless sensor based applications for the past 3 years.  This should be clear by my blog entries over the past 3 years :)

But the Cell phone refurbishing business is a new one.  It turns out that this is quite a vibrant business.  At first I thought these companies took our old dead phones and tried to make them work again, in order to resell to markets where cheaper phones were needed.  Well I was wrong.  The phones being refurbished are the ones that people return as part of their insurance plan with companies like Asurion.  So these are recent and hot phones.  To give you an idea of volume, for just one model of phone, this one company refurbishes 30K of these per month.  Its pretty amazing.

So, in keeping with a post on my personal blog Blog continuity plan, what's that you say ?, I am doing my last blog entry as a pointer to my next gig :)

Thank you for listening, this is Eric Arseneau signing off for the last time. 

Thursday Jun 24, 2010

So long, and thanks for all the fish :)

It is rather unfortunate, but this is likely my very last blog entry, as I have resigned from Sun/Oracle and tomorrow is my last day.  Here is an e-mail I sent out about my resignation

I was trying to build up a list of people I've had the pleasure of working with for the past 6.5 years, and the list just got too long and I thought I would be missing some key people.  Therefore I decided to send to all.  After all, what's the worst that could happen now :)

My experience at Sun/Oracle has been a pretty incredible one.  I've had the pleasure of working with a great number of people in all parts of the Sun/Oracle organization.  From working in the tools organization to working in Sun Labs, I've had the chance to do some pretty amazing things.  The amount of support I have had over the years from fellow co-workers and management at all levels has made a lot of my projects possible.

But change is the only constant in this world.  I have been presented with an incredible opportunity to create my own startup and grow my own engineering organization, which I could not pass up.  I am sure that I will be using a lot of what I have learned throughout the years here at Sun to good advantage.

Special thanks go to Roger Meike, James Gosling, Craig Gering, Octavian Tanase, Jeet Kaul, Bob Sproull, Bob Brewin, Roger Brinkley for putting up with a significant amount of crazy projects that I feel did good for us as well as the community itself.

I wish you all the very best with your current and future endeavours, and look forward to our paths crossing again in the future.

I am available on LinkedIn, my personal e-mail is eric at

Thank you,

Friday Jun 11, 2010

Anyone remember what a "sneaker net" is?

I still remember the days when networks were token ring, so complicated that you couldn't transfer data between computers even though they were connected.

What good is it to store all your data if you can't back it up, find it, or make any use of it? 

[Read More]

Friday Jan 29, 2010

My desktop is secure, why should my web app worry?

I can see the convenience of a web app for most people.  It can be really nice to run anywhere and get access to functionality and data.  So now, why then would people insist on making web apps so hard to get into? If you want to make a web app like a desktop app, why not do so?  Don't force me to login every time for starters.

[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 12, 2009

Being a 2009 JavaOne Rockstar AND a Kid :)

I may be turning 42 years old shortly, but I can still feel like a kid.  My co-author got this really cool little toy and I wanted MINE.  Well mine arrived at the prompt 2:15 FedEx delivery.  Its small, cute, a toy and not very big deal, but it is still making me grin like an idiot :)

If I could find more "simple" things like this that made me smile this much, I could revert back to being a total kid :)

Update: It comes apart!!!  Oh what fun I can have now :)

Tuesday Aug 04, 2009

Cambrionix 49-port USB hub for professional nerds

I wrote a blog entry a couple of years ago on something I call the BEAST, 49 Port USB Hub, 49 USB cables and 49 Sun SPOTs !!!.  Well, it seems that someone felt that something like this could be useful to others, so they build a MUCH nicer looking one, check it out

Cambrionix 49-port USB hub for professional nerds

Its pretty amazing what people will come up with.  We actually dreamed up a 49 SPOT holder that would allow one to drop in SPOTs, much like the walkie-talkies that security people have for charging their radios when not in use.

Friday Jul 17, 2009

It’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally?

I've been reading in various places about how the battery in my laptop and my cell phone should be maintained to maximize battery life.  Here is an extract from an Apple site (

Standard Maintenance
For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her MacBook Pro on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month. Need a reminder? Add an event to your desktop’s iCal.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I like being able to use my computer's at their full capacity.  This means that when I am at home, I leave my laptop plugged in 90% of the time.  This gives me a couple of things

  • I get full CPU and IO power to have the computer service my every whim as quickly as it can.

  • When I need to go mobile with my laptop, my battery is fully charged

If this goes against the recommended way to work with a laptop, WHY don't laptops come with utilities and ability to discharge the battery while they are plugged in?

If I had such a utility, and I knew I was going to be at my machine for the better part of the day, I could just start the utility and let it do its magic.  As it stands, I am stuck unplugging and using the machine in its less than optimal settings until the battery dies.  I don't like it, so someone please fix it.

Note, with the new 17" Apple Mac Book Pro, the battery lasts a long time.  Meaning I get to spend more time in this less than optimal state.  I understand that I can maximize my power savings settings to decrease the lifetime of the battery.  But then, what to do when I am on the road and want my power savings to maximize the lifetime of the battery. 

Monday Jul 13, 2009

Tim Horton's in NYC? Starbucks on every corner? Recession? World nuts, yes!!!

Being a Canadian, I have to say I LOVE Tim Hortons, Tim Bits anyone?

BUT, with a Starbucks on every corner and a supposed recession going on, this blew my mind

Tim Horton's a Canadian doughnut place that, ... [Tim Hortons]
For some reason I just had to share this with everyone :) 

Friday Jul 10, 2009

Blog continuity plan, what's that you say ?

Here is an extract from an entry I did on my personal blog, which I forgot to share with you all

I think that blogging is an excellent way for future employers to see what I've been up to in the past, and to get a more lively version of a resume.  Would you rather see a watered down 2 page resume that tells you nothing, or would you like to see what makes a person tick ?

It seems that a blog can give a pretty broad overview of what a person is like.  Provided of course that this person takes the time to write up opinions, status, pet-peeves and such.

Now, if you go with the premise that a blog is a valuable tool to communicate who you are and what you are about.  Then using your blog to tie all of your activities together seems to make a lot of sense.

One of those activities will be work, we all need to earn money and most of us are stuck doing it by working.  Some of us have made the decision to stay with one or two employers, some of us have been at multiple employers throughout our careers.  For some of us, our employers strongly suggest that we blog.  Of course this is done to help communicate information to your customers, but it also helps make the employer's site THE place to come to for information.

If having more than one blog is unavoidable, then should you not make sure that there is a thread that ties all of your blogs together?  This is what this blog is for to me.

Lets not forget also, that I can gain quite a bit from blogging on my employer's blog.  Take for example my current employer, Sun Microsystems.  Sun's web site is so high in rankings with Google, that anything coming off of it ends up being ranked pretty highly as well.  This means that Google searches will show my stuff pretty highly in the results list.  Try Googling for Eric Arseneau, almost all hits come to me.

The plan is to cross link between here and whatever blog I use with my current employer.  Therefore providing a path throughout my employment life :)

The original blog entry is at Blog continuity plan, what's that you say ?

The root of my personal blog is at System Child's Ramblings

Thursday Jul 09, 2009

I am a ROCK STAR, that is a JavaOne 2009 Rock Star

Its pretty amazing the things that can get you jumping out of your seat sometimes, but today I just got this really cool e-mail:

2009 JavaOne Conference Speaker Award
Dear Eric,

Congratulations! Your session titled "FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science and Technology): FRC-FIRST Robotic Competition" was a Top Session at the 2009 JavaOne Conference. Survey results from the people in attendance at your session rated you as an exceptional speaker. With this honor, you are now considered one of the JavaOne Conference Rock Stars and we would like to send you a commemorative award as recognition.

Please provide us the following information so we can send your award:
- Shipping address you would like the award sent to. (we will send via FedEx so please provide a street address)
- Is this address a residence or business address?
- Daytime telephone number

In addition, we will highlight your session on the JavaOne conference home page with a link to your presentation(s).

Thank you again for your efforts in making the 2009 JavaOne Conference a success.

If you have any questions, send an email to j1papers-AT-sun-DOT-com

The JavaOne Conference Content Team

Now to figure out how to explain this to my family as they beat me at Rock Band :)

PS: This presentation was 100% the work of Derek White and Brad Miller, all I had to do was get up on stage and blab, so thank you guys. 

Tuesday Jul 07, 2009

Want to read: The Big Switch

Want to read: The Servant

Book recommended on leadership.

Want to read: The 4-Hour Workweek

Starting a new thing on my blog, books I want to read.  Lets see how the format should be over time.  I wish I could to the same type of thing as Facebook does, where you attach a link and it provides a nice synopsis and picture :(

Include a software update service with my OS please?

Here is a rant, why doesn't every OS provide a software update service?

I may be the only one, but I doubt it, but the idea of having MANY small little services that are running to check for recent updates.  Even worse are the ones that check as I launch the app.  Has anyone told these people that when I want my document/App, I want it NOW.  If you go off and check stuff every time you launch, it seems absurd to me.

I have and am using various ones now, App Fresh and Version Tracker. These are cute and do mostly work, however I need to regularly run these apps to get my updates AND not all applications update the same way, so I have to manually have to do the upgrade anyway.

Now, provide a registration service on every OS. Each application must provide a URL to get access to information about latest releases.

Why is this not being done already? If it is, then why is it not on my OS of choice yet :(

Tuesday Jun 30, 2009

How many different USB connectors does it TAKE?

I just got a development kit with some cool toys in it, which is way cool.  However, it did come with a not so nice surprise. You see, up until now I already knew there were a few different kinds of USB connectors

  • USB A - the big boxy looking one

  • USB B - the wide narrow one

  • USB mini B 5 pin - the one we use on Sun SPOT

  • USB mini B 4 pint - I know about this one because there are 400 of them sitting in a cupboard in the lab, due to my screwing up in thinking that ordering a USB mini B cable would be enough to get the right thing :(

One of the projects I've been working on, PlaySIM, used a new USB connector I had not seen before, it seems to be a

  • USB To Go mini B connector - scratch head to see what the functional difference is between the mini B and the togo mini B?

So when I got this dev kit I started with on this blog entry, I was not surprised to see this mini B connector again.  What DID surprise me, was

  • USB To Go mini A connector

Why?  I dont get it?  Is there really a need to have a USB A & B type connector?  What do they diferentiate? Is it actually physically required?  Is is a scam by cable sellers to get another round at this?

What makes me really laugh is the couple of blog entries I've seen where all the mobile phone manufacturers, including Apple, are supposedly going to use "micro" USB connector as a standard.  So does this mean

  • Yet another USB A & B pair of connectors coming out?

  • Which connector will they all use?  You think they will use the same actual one, or use different ones as they get as confused as we do with all these different seemingly useless connectors :)

If someone can help me understand this I would really appreciate it.  Will be more than happy to post an update including extra information.

Now, let me go to my USB cable bin and see if I can find the right one to get this board working :(




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