Tuesday Jul 22, 2008

This is not an ALERT

In an effort to gain visibility in a world of information overload, the media invented the "ALERT". However, there seems to be no consensus as to what an "ALERT" means. The result is "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" syndrome, where an ALERT more often than not adds to the noise.

I made the mistake of subscribing to ZDNet mailing Open Source ALERT mailing list. Note to ZDNet, a post by Dana Blankenhorn is not worthy of an alert. That is not to discredit Dana whatsoever. I subscribe to Dana's blog. However, a daily blog post is not ALERT-worthy. I unsubscribed. ZDNet lost a communication channel to me, their customer.

Note that cable news is not immune, where they spend endless hours of analyzing a single topic. An ALERT is intended to notify the viewer of something eventful, although it rarely does so.

My thoughts on good vs bad alerts.

Good alerts - including mandatory Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Apple references:

  • Yahoo buys Microsoft
    Microsoft buying Yahoo lost its alert-ability months ago
  • Google Trends shows googling Google on the decline
    Not that it will ever happen
  • Microsoft places [anything significant] under an open source license
  • Apple opens up iPhone to developers, and AT&T Unlimited data plan is really unlimited, enabling SlingBox owners to Sling.
    GlassFish & MySQL Unlimited really is Unlimited.
  • Tsunami. Earthquake.

Bad alerts:

  • Microsoft buys Yahoo
    See "endless hours of analyzing a single topic" above
  • new iPhone model released
    "... endless hours ..." yada, yada, yada
  • Anything about Britany Spears
    Alerts should be newsworthy
  • Alien Invasion
    They're already here

Wednesday May 09, 2007

Liking Twitter for JavaOne

I'm liking Twitter in a major way for letting others know what I am doing at JavaOne, and for me keeping up with others as well. I'm sure I have more than 7 friends on Twitter, but I just haven't had the time to build my twitter network.

For me, the big question is will I still use it post-J1? I think so, albeit not with the same punch output (I like to watch boxing :-) ). Only time will tell.

Sunday May 06, 2007

Twittering CommunityOne & JavaOne

Instead of only blogging about JavaOne this year, I've decided to follow others (eg: here & here)  add Twitter in to the mix. Feel free to subscibe to my twitter feed (via SMS, IM or RSS feed).

Twitter augments blogging on JavaOne because:


  • Attending a conference is highly transactional, from meeting people, attending sessions and seeing something new and cool on the show floor
  • My cell phone battery lasts longer than my laptop battery.
  • More frequent updates because I can send SMS messages while standing in line(s) for sessions.

Does this mean I will not blog on JavaOne? Nope. I'll blog while at JavaOne. But the blog posts will be less frequent and, honestly, more thought out and strategic in nature.

Time to go spend time with the family before I leave for the week.

Saturday Mar 31, 2007

I quit my job

Yes, it's true. After 10 years at Sun I have finally quit my job. Why? Well, I have been in sales for 8 of those years and have enjoyed it quite a bit. I have been looking for something new. Roughly two years ago, I started consulting for customers around Solaris, SOA and JES. While I have met some great folks and learned a lot from them, something just hasn't seemed right. I think it's my lingering mid-life crisis :) It's hard to say goodbye to sooo many I have worked so closely with so many years. Sigh. The question is what to do now.

I'm too much of a wimp to be a test pilot. Too short to play pro-basketball. Too heavy to be a jockey. I've got a face for podcasting and a voice for blogging - and I sure can't make a living doing it. Hrumph. I do know English, but the travel looks to be a killer. Sure am glad I have a  backup plan.

To be honest - it is April 1st after all -  I already have a solid backup plan. In fact, it's a done deal. "Quitting my job" is a bit of an exaggeration. It's more of a role shift. I'll be the Glassfish Product Manager when I get back from my vacation. Yep, I'm on vacation next week. Yeeee-haaaawwww!!

Technically, I did say goodbye to my co-workers. But I also said "See ya' in a week". The Clingan Zone will be more quite than normal during that time. When I get back, I'll be blogging a bit more about Glassfish and Java EE and a bit less about Solaris Containers & Zones. No worries, you'll have to pull Zones from my cold, dying virtual hands. In my new role I get to pretty much dump Windows and go back to Solaris.

I have been living a bit of a double life. While I have been blogging about Zones quite a bit, I have also been working with customers on deploying the Sun Application Server within zones.  That's where posts such as this, this, this, this, etc originated. Ssoooo why Product Management? I'm spreading my wings, getting a broader taste of Sun. Something completely different. Ya' know, a bit closer to the inner workings. Hopefully it's not like finding out how hot dogs are made :)

I'll have the benefit of working more closely with link-master Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart and Glassfish evangelists Alexis and Jamey, in addition to Ken, newbie blogger and Sun-keeps-pulling-me-back-in Tom. Sreeram, Jerome, Rich, Peter, and a host of others. I'll be working for Paul, so make sure you send him lots of email saying very nice things about me and be nice when you leave comments on The Clingan Zone :) I've been transitioning into the role slowly as I transition slowly out of my prior role. Yikes, there is a lot to do, but I'm up for it. The team is highly energetic and supportive. I'm bucklin' up because I'm in for one hell of a ride.

Sssooo, did I get ya' with the April 1st twist? Hey, it's not as bad as this one, is it?

Happy April 1st! 


Monday Mar 19, 2007

Attracting Open Source talent

I'm not the first to bring this up (not even close), but Ian Murdock has joined Sun. He's not the first participant to do so. Semi-newbie employees include JRuby studs Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo.  I've got this gut feel there's more to come. Nope, no insider info. Just an ever-expanding gut, so when I get a gut feeling, I notice it.

So what is the "source" of this gut feeling? There is simply no other company doing sssooo much with Open Source today. Part of our strategy is to Open Source our IP and build new communities. Another is to strengthen ties with existing open source communities. Hiring from the outside is a good way of strengthening those ties. It lends us some "kick-start" credibility in those communities, although "more complete and consistent" credibility still needs to be earned. External hiring adds to Sun a better understanding of  the culture of those communities and even impacts the Sun culture over time.

Personally, I think there is a lot Sun can offer to active Open Source participants looking for a change. In case you were wondering, you can can look for a role at Sun that may be of interest to you. I don't know if we had an opening for a "Chief Operating Platforms Officer", but when you've got access to talent that fits a need and that talent can make a difference, 'ya simply go for it :)

Thursday Mar 15, 2007

Sun Web Roundtable - your input requested

Steve Staso has posted a meeting notice for Sun web folks to meet on April 11th on what we should be doing to improve the customer and partner web development & deployment experience. What would really help facilitate this meeting would be feedback from the broader web community. If you have a few spare cycles, stop by Steve's blog and post a comment. The first comment, globalization of Sun's current offerings such as Startup Essentials, is an excellent start to the conversation.

I'd like to see as much of the conversation happen out in the open as possible, and I bet Steve would as well.

Here's some ideas:

  • What barriers exist for you to develop and/or deploy using Sun products and technologies?
  • Are there technologies/frameworks you wish Sun were supporting that we do not support today?
  • Are we putting too much emphasis on a particular product and/or technology?
  • If only Sun could do [insert action here], it would make my life sssooo much better!
From there, Steve's team can formulate strategies on how to move forward.

Wednesday Mar 14, 2007

Geez, another meme


I simply don't like meme's that waste time, and I think that this is another one of them. None-the-less, I'm tagged and don't want to be a spoiled-sport. My wife and I don't listen to much music together, mostly talk radio. However, she would do much better than I with this meme. I simply don't like country music. Note, my musical interests are much wider than the list below, but my wife isn't exactly a Metal enthusiast.

Name five songs (or artists) that you love but annoy your significant other.

1) Flight of Icarus, Iron Maiden

2) Black Star, Yngwie Malmsteen

3) Rainbow in the Dark, Ronnie James Dio (Best Metal voice in the industry)

4) Eyes of a Stranger: QueensRyche

5) No Excuses, Alice in Chains (I know, it's not Metal)


I won't pass this one on. I'll just have to take the risk of whatever happens when memes don't get passed on. 7 years bad luck? Bad rep? More memes?


Sunday Mar 04, 2007

10 Years at Sun

JavaStationI've done it! As of March 3rd, I have been an employee of Sun Microsystems for 10 years. I've seen ups and I've seen downs. I've played sales geek and I've played consulting geek. I've used numerous technologies, from E10k's and 4800's down to his younger brother, from a JavaStation (pictured to the right) to a Sun Ray, from a portal server down to Solaris, from a 6920 down to a disk drive,  from highly focused RFP's to the much broader  blogs.sun.com. Sun has always supported open standards, and I have watched us completely embrace open source, to the point where we have become the largest contributor to open source movements.

I doubt there is any other company in the industry where you can do all of these things and be a part of so many accomplishments. I've done my 1/35,000th (~average #employees) of effort to help make it all happen, and it's been an honor. Somewhat surprisingly, the most rewarding of all has been blogs.sun.com, both in reading and publishing content. Being able to share what I learn and continually learning from others  (blogs.sun.com and beyond)  is extremely rewarding.

It's been fun and I can't wait for what's in store for the next 10 years. Hopefully early retirement ( :) ), but if that doesn't happen, I'll have Sun's continuous innovations to fall back on :)

Monday Feb 26, 2007

The Big 4-0

Haven't been doing the blogging thing since I was on vacation last week. During that week I turned 40, so it seems a different subset of blog entries apply to me. My hair is thinning, my hairline has receded to my nose and ears (where it seems to collect), my spare tire is inflating, the wrinkles are deeper and my memory is, is ... ummm ... uhhhh.... what was I saying?

Not to worry, regarding the mid-life crisis thing, I'm was an early bloomer - somewhere around 36-37. I'm well versed in how to handle age. It's all a matter of perspective. I'm not old, I'm mature. My spare tire isn't inflating, I'm gaining weight proportionally less everywhere else. My wrinkles aren't getting deeper, I'm connecting the dots. I'm not losing my hair, I'm doing my part in focusing the press. My hairline isn't receding, I'm just being efficient as Southern California is much too warm for trapping heat with hair. On the other hand, I am contributing to global warming . I bet the scientists don't have the balding baby boomers in their equation (although I am really post baby boomer). I'm not losing my memory, I'm ... umm ... uhhh ... what was I saying? Oh yeah, it's all a matter of perspective.

Thanks to the wife for my surprise party, and for those who attended. It truly was a surprise and a good time.

Although I am more "mature" now, don't expect my blog posts to convey it :)

Tuesday Feb 13, 2007

Couldn't wait for the iPhone ... so I didn't.

The iPhone sounds like a great consumer device, but as you may know it's not for me (yet). Good thing because the 20GB iPod I have carried around for 2 years died Saturday. The hard disk sounds a bit like nails on a blackboard if you put your ear up to it. Can you believe my birthday (the big 4-0) is next week? What are the odds? Yeah, my wife didn't like the odds either but she bought me an early birthday present anyway since I have to travel this week. I'm the proud owner of an iPod Video Why not try to fit it all on the Treo 700p? Well, a few reasons:

  • The iPod Video has 80GB disk space. That's 20 SD cards in my pocket. While it might help my self-esteem, it's a bit much. It's also 10x what the iPhone will have. I have a boatload of podcasts and Video content for my daughter thanks to the Neuros Recorder 2.
  • To be rather frank, listening to podcasts on the Treo sucks, and that's its primary role for me. I have yet to find an application that effectively bookmarks the audio and returns to the bookmark. Kinda crucial for listening to podcasts, don't 'ya think? I'm tired of guessing where I left off at. The Treo is fine for listening to music, though. In addition, I can stream audio off the 'Net with my Treo - something I can't do with the iPod. This has come in handy.
  • I can listen to audio and browse at the same time. While it takes two devices, I don't get the choppy audio I tend to get combining the two on the Treo. I don't know if it's an need-more-CPU problem or a Palm OS problem, but it doesn't work great. To be honest, I can live with this but the experience is better with both the iPod and Treo
  • The iPod video has better resolution - 320x240 versus 240x240. Big enough difference, but not for a 6 year old :)

Hey, my 10 year Sun anniversary is a couple of weeks away. I think I hear the hard drive making funny noises. ...

Tuesday Feb 06, 2007

How many S's does it take to characterize Sun?

I had to do a double-take when I read this intro to a CNet article by Stephen Shankland. Here's the intro to his piece:

Storage and software company declares turnaround and sets new goals after years of financial troubles.

Wow, server is nowhere to be found. And two S's (storage and software) I wonder if  he modified his article (or flubbed the reading) because it now says:

The server and software company ...

Now we are up to 3 S's, albeit in disparate locations. Software, Storage and Servers. There is one more S, as mentioned in today's Sun Analyst Conference. Jonathan's slide deck has a slide or two that help characterize Sun (Slides 28 and 29). Which S is Stephen missing? Services.

Services generate a significant portion of our revenue - over $2B gross margin according to our annual report. Not exactly chump change but nary a mention in most articles I read. I bet Steve agrees with me, as his job in life is to provide customers with support offerings such as the Sun Connection.

Now, you can say that Sun is a services company due to our servers, storage and software. True. We generally do not provide "general" consulting services as that is the role of our partners. However, we wouldn't be a server, storage and software company without services either. It's a ying-yang thing

Sssoooo, now we are up to servers, storage, software and services. That's 4. However, that's dividing and conquering Sun's value proposition. I know it makes chart creation simpler, but.that's simply not who we are. Time for a McNealy-ism. I have yet to find automotive industry analysts who says Ford / GM / etc are a dashboard and bucket-seat company. I also don't see Car & Driver test-driving just the steering wheel, and creating magic quadrants of each individual piece that makes up the car.

Now to look at the other side of the coin because that's not entirely fair. Our industry isn't entirely analogous to the automotive industry. Sun does sell the car, although we primarily sell the steering wheels, bucket seats and dashboards. It's not necessarily the way we want to sell them, but it's been the nature of the industry for decades. Most companies like to buy this way. However, we think the customers outpacing Moore's Law want to drive cost out of - or avoid entirely - a specialized (read: expensive) infrastructure into more general purpose "cars" such as BlackBox and the Sun Grid. Check out Greg Papadopoulos's slides at the analyst conference for this to "hit home".


Can a server company alone build a BlackBox or Sun Grid? How about a standalone software company? Storage company? Services? Well, a services company probably could, but not nearly as cost-effectively as a systems company can. Whoa! That's it, instead of calling Sun a storage, systems, software and/or services company, why not a systems company? Well, besides the fact that showing only two companies in a magic quadrant chart does not show much value add :) Sun can be best characterized as a systems company. Actually, we have been calling ourselves a systems company for as long as I can remember. We've also been advertising ourselves as such, but it doesn't seem to stick in the world of divide and conquer IT. Trade rags exacerbate the problem because that's the way traditional IT wants to read it. The good news is that a new IT class is emerging, and Jonathan views those in that class as the "IT as a competitive weapon" companies. I'll refer to them as car buyers. Once we have car buyers, we can look forward to the Car & Driver of IT publications. Then we'll know we are making progress.

Whups, almost forgot. To finish this post off, it takes one S to characterize Sun: systems.

Monday Feb 05, 2007

Feeling powerless while traveling

I sent to John Wayne airport regarding the current state of "power affairs" within the airport. Since my flight is delayed, I seem to have some time and, luckily enough, the power. It's insane that in this day and age an airport is covering up power outlets. I don't want to speculate the reasoning (temporary?), but the side effects are clear. Business customers are not being served properly by the airport. If you are flying to Southern California and feel that access to power outlets is important, I suggest that you consider alternatives to John Wayne airport. To make the point, I snapped a picture of the two power plug expanders plugged in to the wall outlet. Mine is the white horizontal one that I carry around for situations just like this. The other one is from a guy (one of many) sitting on the ground due to lack of chairs near the power outlet.

Overloaded power outlet

I'll let you know what the response is if I get one.

Friday Feb 02, 2007

Why I'm not screaming for an iPhone ... for now

When the iPhone was announced, my jaw dropped as much as that of any other geek. The iPhone is definitely a game-changer. Let's face it, the iPhone is just frickin' cool. However, there are some things mission that I want.

  • No Java. How can Steve Jobs say that Java is not worth building in to the phone? Others agree. There is plenty of content. The stability of PalmOS (Ahem - Garnet) has nothing to do with Java and everything to do with the aging OS, name change notwithstanding. No Java? No John.
  • Faster data throughput available on networks other than Cingular. And I'm not afraid to use it.
  • Tools I really like that may or may not have equivalent on iPhone
    • Backupbuddy.net. Used it again today to restore my Treo. Yeah, it had to do with Treo instability. If things get out of whack, I wipe the Treo, and use BackupBuddy.net to restore over the air. Takes about 30 minutes and does not require a PC/Mac. I have used it to restore bits for other reasons than stability. Really handy. I bet .Mac ties in to the iPhone, but I'm not sure it will restore a phone from scratch.
    • Kinoma 4 and TCPMP. I can listen to pretty much any radio station on the 'Net. Also has handy links to view traffic cams. Of course, I also roll my own content. Then there is mOcean3 for downloading and/or streaming podcasts . I even have access to YouTube content. Then there is access to live video content.
    • GMail mobile (Java)
    • There's more, and I'll add them as I need them.
  • DRM. Everyone's rights but mine are protected. I've stopped buying content from the iTunes store and will only be out roughly $25. I mostly listen to podcasts these days anyway, or streaming music from XM.
  • 8GB storage limitation. I already have 11GB of SD cards filled with content for when I travel and for when my daughter travels.
  • Internal Battery. I carry around a spare for my Treo. I've only used it once, but let me tell you, I \*really\* needed it.
  • Can't do everything with one hand. When I have my Grande Mocha in one hand, how do I navigate my phone? Heck, my knees are already doing the steering. Yeah, I'm kidding. Mostly.
  • Price. I can buy a laptop and use a webcam and Skype for less, although not nearly as sexy. Plus, I'll have to buy new pants with bigger pockets. Much bigger.
  • Last, but not least, I'm locked in to a 2 year plan with my current provider thanks to my Treo 700p. It has it's issues, but so do I. It's an empathy thing.

I have a feeling many of these issues will get worked out by Apple, although I don't think business users are their first target. Since I have almost 2 years to go, I have time for Apple to address these. The one that worries me the most is 3rd party application support on the iPhone. On the Treo, 3rd party apps fill the gaps. Who will fill the gaps on the iPhone.

One thing's for sure, and that's that others are not going to stand still and let the iPhone steal all the thunder. And that is good for the little guy.

Thursday Jan 25, 2007

I'm tagged, ssssooooo, 5 things about me

I've was tagged by Charles quite a while ago and am just getting around to it. Is there a time limit to these things? Am I already doomed to a life of bad luck? Regardless, here goes

  1. I was a foster child and grew up in Markham, IL, a southern suburb of Chicago. Unlike many foster children that move from home to home, I got lucky with 15 years in one place with a wonderful family. It was the best thing for all involved at the time. I still talk to my paternal father quite regularly and we enjoy a wonderful relationship. Although I was bummed he missed the Bears win the NFC championship game. DA BEARS are in the SuperBowl!.
  2. I was a mid-long distance runner in high school and college. Actually, I ran everything from the 4x200m relay up to a 1/2 marathon. My PRs are a 23.? 200m, 49.9 400m, 1:56 800m, 3:59 1500m, 15:40 5K, 34:11 10K. I am most proud of a 77:21 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) I ran in high school, and that was the day after running a 15:41 3 miler. Solid times for the distances, but not great. I don't talk much about my running past. Mostly because I've lost my mojo. Ever since I tore my ACL in college jumping a bush on an easy run, I haven't been the same. Is there a "5 most stupid things" list? I was going to run a 5k last year, but my knee blew up like a balloon. Me-thinks my running days are over. With a torn ACL, I can probably take up Yoga because I'm sure I can wrap that knee around the back of my head. One of these days on one of our business trips, I'll have to join Scott for a run, although I may have to hit the stationary bike with Scott on the treadmill.
  3. I was a chess nerd in high school. Yeah, you know, the kind of kid others make fun of. Why do you think I could run??? Since the Chess "season" overlapped the track season by a few weeks, one of my track coaches constantly joked about using "weighted" pieces to keep me in shape. I was part of a team that placed 3rd in the state (Illinois). I played eighth (lowest) board. I'm sure I'll get whipped badly by Charles. For my fellow chess geeks, I played about an 1800 USCF rated strength at my peak, which lasted about 1 game. Right now I literally couldn't break into 4 digits. My most memorable chess moment was playing a game during the intermission of a demolition derby (without a board, that is). I was playing our "board 1" (best player) who was a candidate master with a USCF rating of 2060. Of course he won, but I did get good attack going with the Benko Gambit before I was beaten to a pulp. I do like to play occasionally, and have always wanted to collect chess sets. Yes, I'm still a nerd.
  4. I play guitar, and have played since the 7th grade. I use the word "play" very loosely. I am most definitely not as accomplished as Tom, especially when it comes to singing. My voice can peel the soap scum off the shower door. I was in a junior-high garage band, and subsequently in a high-school garage band. Neither made it out of the garage. I loved heavy metal. With my long (but not glamor rock) hair and Iron Maiden T-Shirts, I think I intimidated the other chess players in high school my junior/senior years. For you Sun folks, I was like an Eddie Bontado to the other chess nerds. Today, I don't listen to metal much, but I do love to pop in an occasional  Ronny James Dio and/or Yngwie Malmsteen in between geek podcasts. Jaime understands. My problem playing guitar is that I never stick with it for more than 6 months at a time. I am now picking up piano since my 7 year old daughter is taking lessons. I can proudly say that we have both mastered "The Singing Donkey".
  5. I dated my wife 8 years before getting married. I think she sensed "geek". Much of the 8 years was spent driving 6 hours each way every other weekend to see her. Gargantuan phone bills. Worth every hour, mile and penny. It took me 8 years to wear her down and for her to realize that geeks aren't all that bad. We have now been married 12.006447 Klingon years as of yesterday. Um, that's 9 Human years. No, I'm not really \*THAT\* much of a geek :)
Now to tag others. However, I'm going to tag 4 folks that are not yet bloggers but are folk's I've been working on to blog. And as you can see from 5) above, I'm persistent. Dave, Greg, Daryl, Darnell and Allison.

Wednesday Jan 24, 2007

How personal should a business PC be?

I recall trying to sell some Sun workstations into a customer a while back. I couldn't believe how important a CD player was to the opportunity. My guess is that the users wanted to listen to music, but they would never admit it :) Yeah, this is pre-iPod/MP3-player days.Last night,  while checking my StatCounter logs, I ran into someone hitting this post. The comment section is especially interesting.

PC stands for "Personal Computer". That makes sense if you own it. But a PC at work is really a BC (Business Computer). You don't own it. Your employer does. Many employers lock down their BCs so end user's can't "personalize" them too much. The more "personal" it becomes, the more it costs the company to support it. Many  companies trend to the other end of the spectrum. The end users can do whatever they want. Thanks (or not) to government regulation, this peice of the pie is subject to shrinking (I have no data to back this up, not even anecdotal).

So here's the question. How "personal" should a business PC be? Here's an example. Let's say you are given the following options:

  1. You are given a "PC", and you can do what you want with it.
  2. You are given a "BC", and you can't do everything you want, but the company returns 1/2 of their savings to you. Let's say the savings is $500/year to you for the reduced management costs.
  3. Given my new-found weight loss, I have to add the Sun Ray :) You are given a Sun Ray at home, and $1000/year. The company's management costs drop as well as their real estate costs. FYI, I am not getting $1000/year. IBut I will save that much in gas :)

I know what most of you are thinking. "Hey, for $500 or $1000, I can buy a laptop". Yep, a new one every year, but you can't plug it in to the company network, and put them at risk.

 What would you choose?


John Clingan-Oracle


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