Thursday May 28, 2009

The World Learning English

Interesting little video about the world learning English. And check out China. My goodness. Are they motivated or what? They view learning English as pure opportunity. Very interesting perspective.

Monday Nov 17, 2008

Fuzhou Software Park, China

Shaoting and I spent the day at the Fuzhou Software Park today. Great day. We hope to get a new OpenSolaris User Group started at this facility. The Fuzhou Software Park is one of approximately 50 such parks in China. This one is home to Fuzhou University, 300 software and IT companies, and tens of thousands of students and developers. It's big.

Fuzhou Software Park, China Fuzhou Software Park, China

Fuzhou Software Park, China Fuzhou Software Park, China

Fuzhou Software Park, China Fuzhou Software Park, China

Fuzhou Software Park, China Fuzhou Software Park, China

Fuzhou Software Park, China Fuzhou Software Park, China

Sunday Nov 16, 2008

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest: Hefei, China

Yesterday I attended the ACM/ICPC Programming Competition in Hefei with Shao-Ting, Chengzu Zhou (Ricky), and Edgar Liu. Very impressive event. There were hundreds of Chinese students working in teams solving problem sets written in English while programming using NetBeans running on OpenSolaris. Absolutely outrageous. I had a ball. Loved every minute of it. Here are some shots:

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

ACM/ICPC Programming Contest ACM/ICPC Programming Contest

Sun China is the technical sponsor for the regional China ACM events, which includes five live contests as well as a series of online pre-qualification sessions. In total, more than 15,000 Chinese students participate and touch OpenSolaris and NetBeans. That's very cool.

Saturday Nov 15, 2008

Hefei University of Technology

Yesterday Shao-Ting and I stopped by Hefei University of Technology to meet with some professors and students about starting an OpenSolaris User Group. We also met with Wei Liu, Sun's Campus Ambassador at at the university. Really great day hanging out with these guys. Shaoting and Wei talked about the OpenSolaris distribution, and I talked about some ideas to start a user group.

Hefei University of Technology Hefei University of Technology

Hefei University of Technology Hefei University of Technology

Hefei University of Technology Hefei University of Technology

Hefei University of Technology Hefei University of Technology

Hefei University of Technology Hefei University of Technology

More images from Shaoting here.

Friday Nov 14, 2008

University of Science & Technology of China

A couple of days ago Chengzu Zhou (Ricky), Edgar Liu, and I presented OpenSolaris to a group of graduate and undergrad students at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, which is not too far from Shanghai. I understand that USTC is in the top 10 of Chinese universities, so it was a quite pleasure to speak there. We covered the new features in the OpenSolaris distribution, the OpenSolaris Web Stack, and the OpenSolaris community. It was great fun for three hours. The questions from the students were excellent and their enthusiasm was infectious. I'm continually impressed with how much Chinese students are interested in connecting with the West.

University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei

University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei

University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei

University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei

University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei

University of Science & Technology of China in Hefei IMG_2406

IMG_2403 IMG_2390

Friday Nov 07, 2008

China Universities in November

OpenSolaris at University of Science & Technology of China I'll be in China next week for OpenSolaris activities in Hefei and Fuzhou -- user group meetings, gatherings with students and professors, and the ACM/ICPC coding contest at the University of Science & Technology. I have to remember to bring a jacket. The contest will be a bit on the formal side. Other than that, it should be pretty casual. I'm thrilled to be going back to see Chinese university students. Should be very cool. It's becoming my favorite activity on OpenSolaris. I'm also looking forward to seeing Shaoting, Chengzu Zhou, Edgar Liu, and Fang Li. These guys -- and many others -- are doing a great job building community in China. 

Also in China: there will be new OpenSolaris User Groups soon. Shaoting recently sent a proposal to advocacy-discuss to connect two existing OSUGs in China to the main community on opensolaris.org. Today I set up those projects and updated the OSUG leaders grid. We are now at 78. Get infrastructure for your OSUG here.

Tuesday Oct 21, 2008

OpenSolaris Test Farm: SPARC, Intel, AMD

[osol-announce] test farm server interface released. Go get a 15 gig account and test your OpenSolaris software on some SPARC CMT (Chip Multithreaded), Intel Quad Core, and AMD Dual Core machines. This is an outstanding service offered by the testing community, so jump in and take advantage of it. You know, for some of us involved with OpenSolaris for a long time, it's really cool watching some of these projects come to fruition -- especially this one because the testing guys have always been leaders in the OpenSolaris community. And it's great that the systems are based in the U.S. and China. Asia is now very much top of mind in the community. And since the Sun China team was heavily involved in implementing the systems in Beijing that helps us connect some of these communities internally and externally around the world. To me, this is a core community building activity. In this case, engineers offering some critical resources for developers to get their work done. I can only see this project growing. Good stuff. See links and instructions in Jim Walker's announcement above. Also, see Jim's blog and Simon Sun's blog for more info on OpenSolaris testing, and also Robert Sohigian's blog for engineering at Sun China. I know I'm missing some guys, too. :)

Monday Oct 20, 2008

The Individual vs The Context

Harmony and China's dream, from David Brooks, columnist at the NY Times:
If you show an American an image of a fish tank, the American will usually describe the biggest fish in the tank and what it is doing. If you ask a Chinese person to describe a fish tank, the Chinese will usually describe the context in which the fish swim.

These sorts of experiments have been done over and over again, and the results reveal the same underlying pattern. Americans usually see individuals; Chinese and other Asians see contexts.

Interesting distinction in perspective. I wonder how the Chinese language fits into this notion of context. In other words, how does the language itself express context and not individualism. I'll have to ask some Chinese friends because it seems the concept is pretty similar in Japan. In fact, I'm reading a book on Japanese linguistics that would tend to support this view from Brooks. The book documents how the Japanese language is used to create context vs how the English language is used to do the exact opposite -- topics vs subjects, passive voice vs active voice, nominalized verbs vs action verbs, etc. There are probably a lot of exceptions among people on both sides of the language/culture line, but the tendencies seem pretty clear.

Thursday Oct 16, 2008

OpenSolaris in China Programming Contest

Jim -- The Hammer -- Hughes was in China recently for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest. Excellent to hear from Chengzu (Ricky) Zhou on advocacy-discuss that OpenSolaris is being used as the contest platform for the contest's China 5 regional sites event. It's really wild looking at many students using OpenSolaris at the same time. See pics in Ricky's blog.

Saturday Oct 11, 2008

Engineering Across Languages and Cultures

I had great fun earlier today participating on the cross-cultural engineering panel at the Pasona Tech conference in Tokyo (here, here). We addressed cultural, language, and career issues facing Japanese engineers as they engage employers and developers around the world. This is not only an interesting subject for me, but it's also an important issue since economies are globalizing and software development is moving to open source community development. Dealing with people from around the world every day is now normal. It's not an occasional interaction. So, having a sense of language and cultural issues is critical since these things pervade our jobs -- even if you work in the country in which you were born and even if you work in your native language.

Since I have an interest in China, I talked a bit about the changes occurring in Chinese technology universities, and especially how students, professors, and administrators are now assertively engaging westerners in English. That was not necessarily true a few years ago in China, and it's not especially true in Japan today so it will be interesting to see where those trends lead in the future. A side note: when I'm in China I talk a lot about what the Japanese are doing to build community here and how they contribute to communities in Japan and around the world (their contributions are substantial but many times difficult to find at first). So the learning can go both ways since both sides have a great deal to offer.

At the event, we also talked about different communication styles (face-to-face vs online) among Japanese and American developers. Again, both sides could do a bit more reaching out to each other in these areas. Americans tend to be direct and Japanese tend to be indirect, and this very obvious difference can lead to some rather interesting situations. Balance is critical. If you have too many Japanese in a given situation, it's too far skewed to the Japanese language and thought processes. The opposite is true, too. When you have too many Americans in the room there is too much English and American thinking going on. You need both to balance things. You should try to offer enough communication channels for everyone to participate at some level, while encouraging the bilingual people to serve as conversation facilitators reaching out to both sides simultaneously. I think Tokyo2Point0 and the Tokyo Linux User Group are good examples of communities who recognize this issue and address it very well. I'm sure there area others, too. This is how I'd like to work with the OpenSolaris community in Japan. If the community is built with an international focus as its foundation, then it has a good shot at growing large and connecting globally.

Many opinions were shared on the panel and at the nomikai afterwards and they all had validity. No single person has all the answers covering such subtle issues like these, and there is lots of room for humility and opportunity to rule the day. I look forward to the next cross-cultural engineering event in Tokyo. We should meet quarterly to continue these conversations. All posts on cross-cultural engineering will be here

Thanks to Toshiharu Harada, Edward Middleton, Gosuke Miyashita, Iwasa Takuma, Hiroumi Mitani, and Tomoyuki Sakurai for their participation at the event. And thanks to Shoji Haraguchi for snapping this image.

Wednesday Oct 08, 2008

Face to Face

David Sifry, founder of Technorati and Offbeat Guides, talks about building international businesses. Two quick points: you need to find great local people you can trust, and you need to make sure they are properly connected and can execute. How do you do this? There are no exceptions: you have to go there. Wherever there is. You have to go spend time with people. Face to face. 

GNOME.Asia in China

Nice to see more open source conferences going to China. I can easily see that in the future the vast majority of my work will be done with significant connections to China. I'm especially interested in the China, Japan, Korea relationships, actually. Also great to see Sun sponsoring of the conference, and Sun engineers participating with technical sessions and community building talks.

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

Beijing OpenSolaris User Group

And to wrap up the day, we did a session at the Beijing OpenSolaris User Group. Great to meet everyone!

Beijing Jiaotong University

I went to Beijing Jiaotong University with Shao-Ting and Chengzu Zhou today. We spoke to a group of about 60 college freshmen. I really love going to universities here. It changes my perspective. And it's hard not to feel welcome when people jump out of their skin to talk to you, and when students and professors and school administrators ask you to come back. I'm continually impressed by the level of English spoken here, and how eager students are to engage in English. People have even asked me to move here! Talking to administrators afterwards, I was not at all surprised to hear that integrating with the west is a top priority for the university. You don't have to hear that, though. It's obvious. Very nice day ...

Beijing Jiaotong University

Beijing Jiaotong University Beijing Jiaotong University

Beijing Jiaotong University Beijing Jiaotong University

Beijing Jiaotong University Beijing Jiaotong University

Beijing Jiaotong University Beijing Jiaotong University

Beijing Jiaotong University Beijing Jiaotong University

Wednesday Sep 24, 2008

Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

I just got back from a couple of hours at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications talking to a small group of 30 students about OpenSolaris. Sun's Robert Sohigian also spoke about career opportunities these guys can expect to encounter as they finish school and enter the dynamic IT work place here in Beijing. It was a really nice night, and the students had a lot of interesting questions during and after the talks. Fiona set all this up and she has more here.

Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

Tuesday Sep 23, 2008

Dinner with Intel

Nice dinner tonight with some of the OpenSolaris engineers at Intel. I'm stuffed. :) Very cool time. Intel has guys here in Beijing and also in Shanghai as part of the Intel project on OpenSolaris.

Dinner with Intel

 Liang Kan, Wesley Huang, Jim Grisanzio, Tony Su, Jiang Liu

Dinner with Intel Dinner with Intel

Dinner with Intel Dinner with Intel

Meeting Globally

I had a nice meeting today with part of Sun's globalization team in Beijing. These guys are involved in a whole range of OpenSolaris engineering and community building operations around China -- user groups, education activities, release engineering, teaching, input methods, testing, and internationalization & localization. Great conversations. Thanks, guys.

Globalization Dinner with Intel

Globalization Globalization

Check out the two images above. That's a new handwriting recognition application written by Feng Zhu in g11n that will eventually make its way into OpenSolaris and offer a new way of inputing characters. The application is self-learning and makes character recognition easier. Users can define their own glyphs and mappings between glyphs and characters. Look for a source release in the Internationalization & Localization Community Group as part of the Input Method project in the coming months. Basically, you write on the screen and are presented with some characters as options. Chinese. Japanese. Korean. Sanskrit. There will be a web interface for the community to help input the thousands and thousands and thousands of characters into the database. Should be cool.

The characters in the screen shots below mean "move" in English. The second one is written more carelessly.

Monday Sep 22, 2008

Left in the Street in Beijing

I'm in Beijing for the week. Just got in. Really wild ride to the hotel from the airport. The driver got lost. Three times. Ok, it happens. Not a big deal. He was a charming fellow and trying very hard to please me. But each time he stopped and got out to ask for directions, he left the car running in the street. In the middle of the street. In traffic. With me in it. Now, Beijing is known to be a rather busy place. In fact, it's one of the most densely populated places on the planet. And with the lines on the road being mere suggestions, why would you park your car in traffic with a customer inside as you dart through oncoming traffic to ask for directions from the guy all the way over there on the sidewalk? I must admit, this has never happened to me before. Fortunately, the guys in the gigantic trucks were able to see the car in time and dodge around me with horns blasting. Got my attention, though, that's for sure.

Sunday Sep 21, 2008

Beijing Next Week

I'll be in Beijing next week to meet with the Linux and OpenSolaris communities and also hook up with students at Beijing Jiaotong University and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. Can't wait. Should be a nice trip. Also looking forward to seeing my Sun colleagues and our Intel partners as well. If you are around, please feel free stop by the OSUG meeting.

Monday Aug 04, 2008

Ignoring China

Silicon Valley: If we ignore China, will it go away: "From Hong Kong to Singapore to Tokyo to Beijing and Sydney, they get it. But here in the Valley, there’s push back to the idea that China poses a threat to the Valley’s continued tech dominance. It took me a while to realize why. The Valley really is threatened and, rather than confront the challenge, prefers to remain in a state of denial. It’s easier in the short term. The questions I’m asked here in the Valley mostly center on Chinese government politics, Internet censorship, counterfeiting, and pollution. Sure, these are big issues, but there’s very little curiosity about what new technologies are being developed in China. It’s just a given that there really aren’t any, so why bother asking?" -- Rebecca A. Fannin, VentureBeat

Should be an interesting decade, eh? Not asking questions is a fascinating position to take in any situation. Looks like an interesting new book. Will check it out.

Sunday Aug 03, 2008

Chinese Ambitions

China’s Ambition Soars to High-Tech Industry: "President Hu Jintao hinted at China’s vaulting ambitions during a meeting of China’s scientific elite last June at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he called on scientists to challenge other countries in high technology. "We are ready for a fight," he said, "to control the scientific high ground and earn a seat on the world’s high technology board. We will make some serious efforts to strengthen our nation’s competence."-- NY Times.

Cool. More competition. Should be good for the West. Right? That competition should be good for Japan as well. Rhetorically, though, this article is interesting. I never hear the Japanese talk this way. Americans are bold rhetorically, and the Chinese are demonstrating that they are as well. Not the Japanese, though. I wonder. Is aggressive rhetoric a necessary ingredient for innovation and growth? 

Monday Jul 28, 2008

Japanese or Chinese?

Ok, what language is more difficult to learn for western adults -- Japanese or Chinese? The consensus seems to be that Japanese grammar is more difficult than Chinese grammar, but Chinese pronunciation is more difficult than Japanese pronunciation. I would agree. Now, can you imagine a language that combines the most difficult aspects of Japanese and Chinese and includes the complexity of their character-based writing systems? I still think telepathy is the way to go.

Tuesday Jul 15, 2008

Koppel on China

A great conversation here between Charlie rose and Ted Koppel talking about China. Looking forward to viewing Koppel's new program.

Sunday Jul 06, 2008

Energy Efficiency and Economic Opportunity

Japan sees a chance to promote its energy-frugal ways: "According to the International Energy Agency, based in Paris, Japan consumed half as much energy per dollar worth of economic activity as the European Union or the United States, and one-eighth as much as China and India in 2005. While the country is known for green products like hybrid cars, most of its efficiency gains have been in less eye-catching areas, for example, in manufacturing ... Japan's strides in efficiency are clearest in heavy industries like steel, which are the nation's biggest consumers of power." -- International Herald Tribune

Seems that high oil prices are offering the Japanese new markets around the world for their technologies. China seems particularly interested. For obvious reasons.

Thursday Jul 03, 2008

Building Community Big in China

If you want get a feel for the China OpenSolaris community building operations, check out John Jiang's mail to advocacy-discuss a few minutes ago -- [advocacy-discuss] Community Building Efforts in China -- 365 Days, 122 Events, 19600 Attendees. "One event every 3 days, with an average number of 160 attendees," John says, for a total of about 20,000 people. That's not bad, especially when you realize that the people he's talking about practically jump out of their skin to talk to you and to learn what's going on in OpenSolaris around the world. And it's not just OpenSolaris. You'll see from John's mail that NetBeans, Studio, MySQL, and Java are mixed right in, which is cool to see since we want to connect existing communities as well as build new ones. The excitement is utterly palpable in China. If you haven't been there, get on a plane and go. Trust me. You will be surprised to see the changes that have taken place over the last few years there.

[Oh, and sorry, our Jive forums really messed up John's mail (I'm not surprised at all). He had a nice grid outlining all the events. The initial text is enough to give you an idea, but to see the tables go to his blog.]

Sunday Jun 08, 2008

Koreans Going After English

Some South Korean parents are so motivated to get their kids into English classes that they are willing to split up their families to do it -- For English Studies, Koreans Say Goodbye to Dad. That's just very sad. The Korean government has stated that it will start addressing the problem by hiring more English teachers. I also didn't know that there are now more than 103,000 South Korean students in the United States -- the highest population of foreign students in the country.

English Required

Every time I read an article about how Japan wants to make Tokyo competitive as global financial center, the issue of the obvious lack of English language skills here comes up. Every time. Here it is again -- Japan increases push for Tokyo as finance centre. I doubt China will make this mistake. China's economy is emerging now during a time of globalization, whereas Japan's emerged prior to globalization.

Wednesday May 21, 2008

Beijing: Linux, OpenSolaris, OpenOffice

Some images here from Robert Sohigian and Fiona Duan at the special joint meeting of the OpenSolaris community and the Linux community to hear the latest from the OpenOffice community. Expect to see this more and more activities like this as the communities get together to share ideas and collaborate.

Update: See Robert's blog on this.

Tuesday May 13, 2008

Community Collaboration in Beijing

Check this out --  Beijing OpenSolaris User Group 16th Meeting (May 20th, 2008). The Beijing OpenSolaris User Group is doing a joint meeting with the Beijing Linux User Group to hear a preso from Louis Suarez-Potts on OpenOffice. Cool. Nice to see the communities collaborating more and more like this.

Monday May 12, 2008

Japan Inside China

Very interesting. A little Japanese inside China -- [i18n-discuss] Solaris Teacher Training and Sun University Tour- Dalian. Next time I visit China, I have to spend some time in Dalian to explore this China-Japan connection. I first read about this in a Tom Friedman column, but it's not talked about that much here in Japan. Gotta check it out.
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