Friday Aug 26, 2005

Another year on the playa

I'm headed out for yet another year at Burning Man. I'm rather new from some perspectives -- I've only been attending since 2000, but have been there religiously since my inaugural year. This is the first time since that first year I have the luxury of arriving on Sunday and staying the whole week. Hurrah! Seeing an essentially empty plot of land grow to a city of 35,000+ (complete with roller coasters(!), churches, mail delivery, roller rinks, bars, pools, an opera, newspapers, radio stations, an incredible array of art, and most anything else you can imagine) and then all completely disappear within 7 days is an experience that's hard to replicate elsewhere.

Plenty of people have drawn parallels between open source communities and the Burning Man community. What Burning Man has that most open source software projects don't have is that tear-it-apart moment. The transient nature of the physical community is part of the appeal. At the end, you watch lots of incredible things literally go up in flames, and the rest of it disappear overnight. Walking around the last night is incredibly surreal; the landmarks you used for navigation all week have vanished and you're left a little lost and confused as the ephemeral community precipitates back into their everyday lives. While it's a crucial part of playa life, I expect to never have that moment with OpenSolaris.

All of this is a pretty long winded way of saying that I'm taking a vacation, and will return to blogging after I dig myself out of the overwhelming email backlog that accompanies any sort of time away.

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Monday Apr 04, 2005


I'm conflicted. On one hand, George Hotelling's gopherblog1 brings me a nostalgic chuckle. On the other, I lament this fine, structured protocol being usurped in the name of a weblog. I have hazy recollections of days when http sites carried only esoteric physics information and pictures of peoples' cats, but gopher sites were useful. Caring about any of this certainly relegates me to a niche that shouldn't be offering opinions.

1If your browser is confused by the protocol, try firefox.

Thursday Feb 17, 2005

the Liane community

I hadn't logged into my Orkut account for a while, but it was time to accept connections of a few more friends over lunch. Poking around at my scraps revealed that there is an entire community there of "Liane"s. In Portugese. Seems that what I thought was an uncommon name is not entirely rare among Brazilian women. Nobody will ever mistake me for Brazilian (too bad, really), it's been a few years since I visited Brazil (highly recommended, by the way -- Rio is a gorgeous, friendly, vibrant city), and my Portugese is nonexistant. Still, maybe I'll pull out the Portugese-English dictionary again and join the forum.

We'll never compete in numbers with the vast Dave conspiracy 1, but the idea of a Liane-specific support network is still amusing.

1If you work in tech in the US, there's always at least one Dav[e|id] in close proximity. Usually multiple. I currently work regularly with six of them, rendering the usual technique to differentiate between two useless. Only one of them blogs, further validating the hypothesis of a vast underground Dave network. Clearly they're not ready to go public yet.

Wednesday Feb 16, 2005

powder 8s and a touch of altitute sickness

After 2 years of burn-the-candle-at both-ends effort on smf, I'm now trying to catch up on at least a little of my neglected vacation time. I had a few days in London (prior to some internal Solaris 10 training), which I'll try to remember to blog about once all my pictures are back. This weekend, my boyfriend and I made a short hop to Salt Lake City for my first time skiing in Utah.

Sunday was beautiful and sunny at Alta and Snowbird, even if the snow was a little heavy. Monday was a bit windy and clouded over, but with the reward of consistent fresh snow. Despite some altitute sickness, we spent the day making figure eights in the powder at Snowbird. Nowhere near good enough to play competitively, but a pretty nice valentine's day nonetheless. I wanted to take a few pictures of our tracks from the lift, but the snow was consistent enough to cover them up every time. A small price to pay for fresh tracks nearly every run.

I'll catch up with a new smf entry here soon.

Friday Feb 11, 2005

exercise in machismo

Some time ago I had to stop using my beloved 1982 Fiat Spider as a daily driver. It is an aging Italian sportscar, so a minor tantrum was to be expected from it once a year or so. But, getting to work was becoming an increasingly stressful endeavor. So, a hunt for a new car began.

Many hours were spent talking me out of waiting for the less-than-reasonable new Elise about to be released in the US. Eventually, I had to cede to the logic of a compromise car. Practical, reliable, maintainable, and even used. I've never been a fan of the Miata's handling, and while the Honda S2000 had the sweetest little engine you've ever heard, its lackluster steering feel would have always left me wanting. I've always loved the BMW M-coupe's looks, and a test drive confirmed everything I'd read about its performance. Lots of power and perfectly predictable to handle. But, no convertible. That was a non-starter.

After a month or two of foot-dragging, I managed to swallow my pride and climb into an M-roadster. Ok, it can probably be forgiven for looking like the Z3. All the power of the M-coupe, but plenty of body twist just waiting to jump out and bite you at the most inopportune moments. What a brute! Still, that's a lot of the appeal, and there were a few reasonably priced low-mileage examples to be found. So, we jumped in and bought one of those examples.

What prompted this useless anectdote? A friend sent along a link to a review from the Car Talk guys. They've, as usual, got it pretty spot on. Fortunately, I haven't run afoul of the law with the beast yet.

Thursday Jan 13, 2005

A small leap for a kernel geek

I went skiing yesterday and skied off my first cornice. What fun! I wish I had pictures, but left the camera in the car. It had to be the easiest run-out to a cornice in the world, and the snow was awfully friendly but... it still felt like the first drop off a roller-coaster, except you had to push yourself over the precipice (took me a few minutes to get up the nerve). Rewarded by a nice dropping feeling in the stomach and a big grin. Surely those who are more accomplished skiers than I will chuckle at my amaturish joy; I'll probably also look back on this entry with a bit of embarrassment someday, but whatever. It was great!

I was at Alpine Meadows in the Sierras for the first time. Nice little hill. I usually go to Squaw, and just got back from a holiday vacation at Whistler. Whistler/Blackcomb is the best unkept skiing secret in North America. 6.5 mile runs through incredible bowls to mid-mountain. Untracked turns to be made serviced by lifts even 4 days after a meagre snowfall. Never mind, I'm getting nostalgic. Already. This was my second time there and I'll be back again before the Olympic craziness gets into full swing.

Back to Alpine -- the cornice was into Wolverine Bowl, then a nice little run through Waterfall. Best snow was, no doubt, through High Yellow Gully. And, there's nowhere but the Sierras where you regularly get to have a lovely January day of skiing complete with lunch outside in the snow in your shirtsleeves. Beatuiful. (Paid for by sore muscles due to heavy snow, but often worth the price.)

(An aside -- I'm assured I looked like a complete dork dropping off that cornice. I figure the fact that I did it twice without faceplanting was victory enough. Despite technicolor hair, I'm no Seth Morrison.)

Saturday Jul 31, 2004

Fashionably late.

It is definitely time to join the party, a growing wave of blogs from Solaris kernel engineers. Along with Stephen Hahn, I've spent the last few years of my life working on Solaris' new userland boot, system configuration, and system-service start/restart mechanism, the service management facility (smf(5)). Plenty more to come on that in subsequent postings.

I've been at Sun for 7 years. I spent a few years working on Sun Cluster 3.0 with cluster-wide devices and filesystems. Given the chance to escape from the gory details of the SCSI and fibre channel specs, I joined the Solaris Resource Management group and happily considered hardware-as-abstraction for S9RM. Andrei Dorofeev gives a solid introduction to what the heck the Solaris resource management features are in his blog, so I'll demur. newtask -c, prctl(1M) (and other rctl stuff), and observability/managability of NFS server threads were some of my contributions.


Liane Praza-Oracle


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