Thursday Apr 05, 2007

# of Sun Bloggers

Shel writes that Microsoft now has 4500 bloggers (6% of their employees) among it's 71,000 employees and wasn't sure about the current Sun bloggers numbers. Here they are:

# of employees: 34,600 worldwide
# of bloggers on blogs.sun.com alone (# posted on the bottom of the left panel on blogs.sun.com): 3,432 (10% of our employees)

The # of Sun bloggers doesn't include 50 employees whose blogs live outside of blogs.sun.com, but are syndicated on the site, nor does it include employees who blog on java.net.

Friday Mar 30, 2007

How Sun blogs saved two homeless guinea pigs

Something cool happened today. Liz Drachnik emailed me today with a blog question (that's not the cool part) and she said this at the end of the email:
"BTW - I used the "petfinder.com" link on your blog to adopt a pair of rescued guinea pigs for my son. My babysitter may also adopt a dog after I pointed her to the site. I am a big supporter of rescued animals."
Meet "Oreo" and "Cookies"...

pigs








To this I say that is dang cool! I wish there were a way to see all the direct/indirect and tangible/intangible goodness that results from blogs.sun.com.

Friday Mar 23, 2007

The Blog-aissance Faire of the Future

Via xkcd: "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language."

blagofaire













(About Cory.)

Sunday Mar 04, 2007

Blogging as an employee motivation tool

Just finished reading John Clingan's entry about hitting his 10th anniversary at Sun. During the last 10 years, Sun has shown a stunning array of innovation, highs and lows. Taking that into account, want to know what he describes as being most rewarding?
"...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."
Very cool. Very cool indeed. Congrats John! :-D

Sunday Feb 25, 2007

Blog Bling is like eye shadow...


eyeshadow ...a little bit goes a long way. And right now, the Library Thing is causing my blog to push the limits both visually and page load wise. It's probably nearing the blue eye shadow with matching liner and mascara stage, but since I was a teen in the eighties, I have solid experience at this kind of thing and therefore the risk involved in this kind of maneuver is limited, but still, I rightfully aspire to become a semi blog widget minimalist when the new Roller themes roll-out.
Quick side note: The new themes are gorgeous -- Greg is building them now and we hope to roll them out to blogs.sun.com next month. I think most of them will be Sun brand-free by default, so the Roller community can leverage them as well. Sun folks who like the Sun ad widget, can still add it to their blog if they'd like no matter which theme they use.
Anyway, how much blog bling is too much? Well, that's subjective of course, but if one equates blog bling to eye make-up, this dude is sporting multiple shades of eye shadow & liner, and heavy mascara on fake lashes -- think Boy George circa 1985.

On the other hand, I like the spirit of sharing that blog widgets introduce -- both by the freely distributed widgets themselves as well as the blogger information they reveal.

Thursday Feb 08, 2007

Blog Content: Not just for blogs anymore

A new release of the Sun.com portal was deployed late yesterday. In addition to a new tab for developers, a lot of additional Sun products were added for the "My Products" tab. My view only shows Solaris and a couple Sunfire products, but there are ~30 products that a user can add to their view.

Notice the blending of community content (blogs and forums in this case) with traditional corporate website content?

portal









































You may have also noticed syndication of Sun blog content on some of our product pages. Recently, the addition of Technorati blog feeds based on a given product topic are piped into these product pages. Check out the Sun Fire T1000 page for example.

T1000














































So, you never know how far your blog and forums thoughts will travel. :-D

QUICK UPDATE: If you want to read the blog entry at the top of the Technorati list of blogs shown in the above image, here's the link. It's an interesting perspective from a now Sun customer as he made his way through the selection process in a race between Sun, HP, Dell, IBM, and Rackable.

And one of his reasons for choosing Sun is "Their CEO blogs, and he blogs in an open and honest way. Yes, this was a key selling point for me."

UPDATE TO THE QUICK UPDATE: This is too exciting to not mention. Rama blogged about the two Sun issues that the SmugMug CEO blogged about in the link noted above. Then, 12 minutes later he replied to Rama's post in the comments. I seriously LOVE that organic conversations like this can happen so effectively via the blogosphere.

Tuesday Feb 06, 2007

New Eco Blog Theme

eco The Sun Green Team has created an Eco theme which is now available to all blogs.sun.com bloggers. If you want to check it out, Aaron and Mary are using it on their blogs.

My favorite feature of the theme is the rotating 'Eco Fact'. Here's an example: "Eco Fact: The US currently emits 43,000 pounds of CO2 annually per person. (EPA)"

Which reminded me of this interesting fact I recently read in "Backyard Living": "One acre of trees absorbs 6 tons of carbon dioxide and produces 4 tons of oxygen. That's enough fresh air to sustain 18 people for a year!"

Mary raised the question of how to move her blogroll to the link section of the new theme. For those wondering the same thing, I posted the steps below in her comments -- step eight (a Mary-ism) is entirely optional, but highly recommended:

How to move your blogroll to the 'Link' section of your new Eco Theme in eight easy steps:

1. Login
2. Click on the "Create & edit" tab
3. Click on the "Bookmarks" sub tab
4. Click on "Blogroll"
5. Check "Select All"
6. In the drop down list select "/"
7. Click on "Move selected"
8. Swivel-swivel-double snap!

Friday Jan 12, 2007

Something to consider when selecting blog font color

A large portion of your blog audience read your blog through a feed reader. If you're using a theme with a light colored font (such as Roller's brushedmetal theme), it looks great against the background of your blog, but barely visible against the background of some feed readers.

Light colored font against the blog's contrasting background:

house

Light colored font against a feed reader's light background:

house

On the other hand, I wonder why feed readers don't convert the font color to something that renders well against their background. I suspect some of them do, but bloglines doesn't. The moral of the story is you simply can't rely on them doing this for you.

Tuesday Dec 19, 2006

A couple new features on blogs.sun.com

Roller 3.2 (deployed to this site earlier in the month) provides a template model that allows bloggers to add a couple site metrics to their blog. I added total # of comments and entries as an experiment to my right nav. To do this, I added the following to my weblog file in the area where I wanted it to render:

bsc-stats2


Dave just added the same(+) to the front page of blogs.sun.com:

bsc-stats








The jury is out on whether or not this is useful information for the front page of a blog site, but it gets my vote because the total # of Sun bloggers is a frequently asked for bit of data and frequently mentioned in the blogosphere. What do you think?

Another cool thing you may have noticed on blogs.sun.com is I recently added Arabic to the available languages on Jonathan's blog in preparation for the first entry translated into Arabic -- it should show up this week thanks to Tim, Chris, Waleed, and a cast of other folks!

arabic



































Tuesday Dec 12, 2006

Want to work on Sun blogs and other cool community projects?

I've said it before, but I'm luck enough to be the Engineering Program Manager for some of Sun's hottest community venues:

blogs.sun.com
forums.sun.com
community.sun.com
mediacast.sun.com
wikis.sun.com (coming soon)

If you're a wickedly smart Software Engineer interested in joining the team, there's a position waiting for you.

Tell them Skrocki sent ya. ;-)

Obligatory fine print: Sun Microsystems is an equal opportunity employer and appreciates your desire to be considered for a position. Sun only accepts resumes submitted through the Internet, via Sun’s website at http://www.sun.com/corp_emp/indexus.htm. We invite you to visit this website and apply for positions for which you feel qualified.

Thank you for your interest in Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Thursday Nov 30, 2006

What does a Second Life Corporate Event look like?

A friend of mine (in a non-technology sector) was asking me what a Second Life corporate event looks like -- Roger, a video is worth at least 1,000 words:

Wednesday Nov 22, 2006

Sun and the United Nations










One of the primary reasons I (and many other people with philanthropic interests) work at Sun is because it is a socially responsible company -- Sun doesn't just talk about why social responsibility is good, but it demonstrates this stance through action.

One such action is Sun's sponsorship of the UN Youth Summit. Thanks to an invite from Mary, I was able to contribute to one of the events. I co-hosted a couple Blogging 101 sessions for UN representatives and UN Youth Delegates. Jennifer, fellow co-host, summarized the sessions well on our group blog.

Discussing the value of leveraging blogging to spread their message and form fruitful relationships with these amazing people tasked with such an important charter is an experience I won't soon forget.

More about the event, per the UN website:

"The United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit (GYLS) seeks to strengthen the worldwide movement to engage young people in decisions about the future of their communities, regions, and our emerging global society.

Young leaders, one young man and one young woman from the 192 United Nations member states, will meet in New York on 29 - 31 October 2006, to share ideas and actions plans on ways to reduce poverty and accelerate the achievement of the other Millennium Development Goals and build peace, with sport and culture as vehicles for reaching out to youth worldwide." Learn more

Tuesday Nov 07, 2006

Vloggies, Bloggies, and ummm...Gov't Voting

'Tis the season to vote...and there's plenty to weigh in on (sorry for ending a sentence with a preposition, but "..and there's plenty on which to weigh" doesn't feel right).

Government Voting: I voted today in record time. I spent <5 minutes in the polling booth -- less time than the polling machine demo given by the nice, retired lady who lives for volunteering at the polls every election day. I felt like interupting her to let her know I knew what to do, but that dang Catholic guilt got the better of me again. I do have to give a shout-out to the work-from-home situation which allowed me to quickly pop into the neighborhood polling place mid-day when it wasn't busy.

Vloggies: The results are in and neatly summarized by Scoble. I was glad to see that my favorite vlogger, ZeFrank, took home some bling. Too bad the Vloggies didn't offer a "Favorite Geriatrics Vlogger" because Peter from the UK would have won hands down.

Bloggies: TOMORROW is your last chance to vote for your favorite Sun blogger or Sun blog enty. You have to be a citizen of Sun Microsystems to vote tho'. I think they should change this. Here are my picks (hopefully, I won't get in trouble for voting more than once):

Favorite Blog Entry: New Song: Java EE 5!
Technology Category: TheAquarium
Favorite Blog: ThinGuy
Business Category: Jim Grisanzio
Favorite Blog: MaryMary
Technology Category: Roumen's Weblog

Sure they are all favorites to win, but two elements that had a heavy influence on my choices were:

1. Level of blogging effort
2. Passion

There are at least 10 other Sun blogs that I read consistently, but didn't want to lose my Bloggies Voter Card for going over board.

Friday Oct 27, 2006

Tagging: Coming to a Roller blog site near you

So, once we deploy Roller 3.1 on blogs.sun.com, Roller tagging of blog entries will be supported. As with most bloggers, I've been in a few tagging debates. To be honest, I've always been skeptical of the value -- especially regarding folksonomy tags (everyone roll their own). Taxonomy tags (official/standard tags defined by an ontologist -- or a tag PhD of sorts) definitely hold value, but taxonomy tags aren't exactly widely used in the blogosphere.

Being a volunteer librarian, you'd think I'd understand the value of applying metadata to information for ease of findability -- imagine a giant pile of books in no particular order vs a neat & tidy library organized by the Dewey Decimal System. Needless to say, the latter certainly makes it a whole lot easier for you to find the information available for the topic you are researching. It wasn't until I read Amibient Findability this week that I tagged myself with the "blogs tag supporter" metadata. :-)

Sun's use of the Roller tagging functionality will likely be a mix of folksonomy and optional taxonomy tags. The taxonomy part is still being debated, but it'll likley consist of a list of tags for our top twenty-ish Sun-centric terms. This will help us more efficiently mash up blog entries with traditional Sun website content on sun.com. We do this today via keywords in blog entries. Here's a blogs data + traditional corp site data mash-up example: http://www.sun.com/servers/coolthreads/t2000/product-blog.xml

Sun bloggers will be happy to know that the new Roller tagging functionality is super easy to use. Simply enter your (space delimited) tags in the new tags field when adding a new blog entry. As you type in a tag, Roller will suggest existing tags when available. In the example below, once I typed in the 1st two characters of a tag I used on a previous entry, Roller suggested it.











You'll also see that you can search your entries based on tags:




















We plan to deploy Roller 3.1 to blogs.sun.com next week. So, start your tagging engines!

PS...Thanks to Elias @ IBM for contributing this functionality to Roller.

UPDATE: Per Elias' comment below, comma delimiters and multi-word tags are also supported.

Monday Oct 23, 2006

Blog Polls: An Alternative Blog Communications Channel

About three weeks ago, I experimented with a poll widget on my blog. The purpose of the experment was multifaceted. I wanted to:

a) Test drive the widget
b) Find out a little more about why people visit my blog
c) Prove the theory that people are more likely to respond to a poll than leave a comment

My findings:

a) pollhost.com is super simple to use. It's a free ads-based tool. For the most part the ads are friendly, but I did notice one that I wasn't so crazy about. I can't remember what it was for, but it had a scantily clad chick as the focal point. They do offer an ad-free service for $29.95 a year.

b) I probably could have received more conclusive information if I had refined my question and answers, but here are the results:



c) As of this posting I have a total of 152 blog entries and 201 comments. That's 1.32 comments on average per blog. The poll has 48 results for one blog entry. That's 48 human responses on a single blog entry. Definitely proves my suspicion.

I'm not sure why people don't leave comments. I don't think it always boils down to a lack of time. How many times have you run into an acquaintance who had plenty to comment about posts you had written, but never left a comment? Why is this, I wonder?

I've had a few friends say that they had troubles leaving a comment a looooong time ago when we had a few bugs to work out. Maybe they fear a repeat performance? If this is the case, I assure you...

..."Come on in, the water is fine."

(I can't for the life of me remember who wrote the above quote. Anyone?)
About

Sr. Community Engineering Program Manager/Acting Director for Sun's external social networking sites (blogs, forums, wikis, etc.). Skrocki's personal blog, LinkedIn.

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