Monday Sep 28, 2009

This blog just might go on and on too...

Hello Downtown Diner customers! I know I told you guys this branch was closed and it was but I'm re-opening for a one-time special event. You know how Celine Dion keeps saying she's retiring from show business but she re-surfaces again and again? It's kind of like that.

I'm re-opening the blog because something occurred in my life that was work-related \*and\* blog-worthy and on top of all that I managed to take some pictures during the event. Two of my colleagues, Fan Yong and Liang Zhen, presented about the Lustre file system at the Beijing Open Solaris User Group last week. Gina Li was the hostess for the event, which attracted over 60 people. Fan Yong presented about the Lustre product in general and our roadmap, and then Liang Zhen did a deep-dive into the Lustre Network, aka LNET.

I'd like to thank everyone who attended the event. You all showed so much interest and dedication. I know it was a long day - you worked the whole day and then stayed at the user group meeting until 9:00 at night. And you had so many good questions. That was gratifying for us because it showed that the presentations were relevant for you and you cared enough to follow up with 20+ thoughtful questions. We hope to see you at BJOSUG and Lustre events in the future!

Many thanks also to the Beijing Open Solaris User Group for providing this forum and the dinner.

BTW in case you don't know about Lustre - it's Sun’s open-source file system that is used in large and complex computing environments. The product is just seven years old and it's already being used in 15% of the top 500 supercomputers in the world and on six of the top 10 supercomputers. If you want to read more you can check out the Lustre Wikipedia page and if you want to join the Lustre Community please go here.

Here are some pictures from the meeting.

The audience
audience

MC Gina
MC gina

Fan Yong
fan yong

Liang Zhen
liang zhen

Monday Apr 27, 2009

The Downtown Diner has opened a new branch

My life got pretty crazy around the end of last year and I couldn't find much time to scramble eggs for the customers at The Downtown Diner.

Plus, to be honest, I was censoring myself pretty heavily since this blog is corporate-sponsored. You guys weren't getting full-on me, you were getting a filtered version of me. I always asked myself the question, "Will I be representing Sun well if I write this? What kind of picture am I painting of a Sun manager with this?"

Basically I wanted to make grilled cheese sandwiches but I felt compelled to use whole wheat bread and Brie when really, doesn't a grilled cheese sandwich taste better when it's Wonder Bread and American cheese?

So anyway I created a private blog where I can serve up whatever blue plate specials I want - http://thedowntowndiner.blogspot.com . Feel free to drop by there.

It's a new branch but the waitress will still recognize you.

Monday Nov 24, 2008

I've been to Beijing Tech Days before

I've done booth duty before.

But nothing, I repeat \*nothing\*, had prepared me for the wave of eager young developers that descended upon our Globalization booth at 8am on Friday morning. It was a thing of beauty.

At one point I thought of you all and decided to snap a few pictures so you could see the ocean of people I was swimming in.

tech days

tech days

tech days

See that guy in the yellow sweater? That's Aaron and I was trying to hand completed surveys back to him. But the tide kept pushing me out to sea!
tech days

Sohu.com later confirmed my suspicion that the number of attendees was much higher than expected - somewhere around 3,000.

I wanted to talk to all of them, ask them where they worked, what they thought of Netbeans and especially our localized version of it, blah blah blah, I could have gone on and on.

But there were just so many of them! So I did the best I could. I smiled at all of them and talked to a few. And I handed our give-aways as fast as I could.

I'm looking forward to next year already!

Monday Nov 10, 2008

It was either the scarf or the tiara

Along with my co-facilitators Lucia Yip and Gerald Ng, I got to facilitate my second course for Sun managers last week - a class called "Experienced Manager Essentials." I covered the topics "Leading High Performance Teams" and "Rapid Decision Making." It was a great class, mostly because the students were very talkative and made jokes to keep the atmosphere light.

That was one thing I saw last week so clearly - a talkative, relaxed class can TOTALLY make or break the class for everybody, especially the facilitator. If people will raise their hands and contribute, give their own perspective, disagree with the facilitator, anything, it makes the whole thing so much more worthwhile. So if you're headed for a class any time soon please speak up during the class, your facilitator will thank you for it.

teaching class
That scarf I'm wearing? Totally borrowed it from my 8-year-old.

teaching class
I love the unplanned color coordination in this shot.

teaching class
Stanley, Mark and Albert, looking so engrossed! Thank you guys for that!

teaching class
Lucy, Winston and Guang trying to decide if they'll build a boat or stay on the island.

The week was insanely busy because I was tied up in class all day and then at night I was trying to catch up on emails and also prepare for the next day's class. I wasn't getting as much sleep as I like to and as you all know, I'm still caffeine-free so I couldn't even use coffee as a crutch.

The good thing about last week is that it forced me to use one of the skills we stress for managers in the course - delegation! I wouldn't have gotten through the week without the help and support from so many wonderful people.

- Thank you Jasper for running the Tech Days prep meeting.

- Thank you Susan for covering for me at the PAC meeting, and for being willing to cover for me at Staff.

- Thank you Jim for managing the printing of the books that we'll give away at Sun Tech Days in Taipei, Guangzhou and Beijing.

- Thank you Grace for scheduling 1,001 appointments for me this week and next.

- Thank you Jack for negotiating with the Labs team on behalf of AGC.

- Thank you Buddy for taking care of the kids and everything at home all last week. I know I was no help to you at all and you carried that whole load without complaining once. Okay once, but that was only when I had snapped at you. :)

I know I am sooo lucky to have solid people like you to delegate to. Thank you all for carrying me through last week!

Friday Oct 17, 2008

Sorry about that!

One of my team members shot me on Monday, then waived his hand at me and yelled across the field, "Sorry!"

It's all good.

Teambuilding at the laser tag base.

team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building

Many thanks to Eric and Jacky for the pictures.

Tuesday Oct 07, 2008

Hong Kong - simply irresistible

I was in Hong Kong two weeks ago to facilitate my first management course for Sun. It was called Experienced Manager Essentials and I facilitated the session called "Leading High Performance Teams". My co-facilitators were also Sun employees - Lucia Yip from our Hong Kong office and Hok-Siong Wong from Singapore. The cool thing about these courses is that the facilitators aren't professional coaches, we're regular Sun managers like anyone else so we can bring in real examples from the life of a manager at Sun, and that hopefully makes the classes more interesting and relevant for the students.

I adore Hong Kong. Here are some snapshots from my week there.

Here's the class. That's Lucia, Hok-Siong and me in the front holding up the poster.
management class

They have Krispy Kreme in the Hong Kong Airport! As a Southerner I can say this is a HUGE relief to know that soul food is available in the middle of Asia. Alas they don't have the "Hot Now" sign and when I asked the staff if they could sell me a hot doughnut they had no idea what I was talking about. How can you work in a Krispy Kreme and not know about Hot Now?!
krispy kreme

All you can eat shark's fin and bird's nest?! Um, for me that would be NOT VERY MUCH!
all you can eat shark fin

Yep, that's what it is. Nope, don't know what animal.
dried sheep parts

Remember those amazing drummers at the Olympic Opening Ceremony? Now some of the drums are on display at the Beijing International Airport. I have no evidence to confirm that these are actually the drums from the Ceremony and believe me my husband is dubious but seriously, what else could that "0349" mean?
drums

Saturday Sep 27, 2008

Another localized release!

sun cluster

This time it's Solaris Cluster Express 9/08, available in eight languages simultaneously - English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. This 'simultaneously' part is a big deal for us in the Globalization team - it means we have to start localizing the software while the engineers are still working on it and the writers are just starting to write the documentation. Most of our releases today are 'sim ships' but that doesn't minimize the accomplishment each time we pull it off so hats off to the members of the G11n team who worked on this one - Kazuhiko Maekawa, Jacky Cao, Jan Hnatek and William Xue. Great work guys!

So what exactly is Sun Cluster Express? It's a complete version of Sun™ Cluster 3.2 software that runs on Solaris Express Community Edition Build 97. In addition to language support in so many languages, it has all kinds of goodness in it like an upgraded Sun Management Center, enhanced fencing mechanisms, zone clusters, a loopback file driver device, and of course many bug fixes. The Sun Cluster blog has many more details.

Why don't you give it a spin?

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

Where are the games on this thing?

calculator
Grant was in my office the other day and found my trusty calculator (I know - I'm so old-fashioned!). He pushed all the buttons and flipped the switches for a few minutes and then finally asked me, "Where are the games on this thing?"

So where are the games? Sun wants to find them. The ones that you're writing with Darkstar.

Project Darkstar is running a contest now and they're offering some great prizes. The grand prize is a pass to the 2009 Game Developer Conference (GDC), the chance to show off your stuff at GDC, and cash for your travel. And you get featured on the Project Darkstar site. Entries can be submitted between November 17, 2008 and January 19, 2009. Details are here.

Extra points if you can write something that runs on my calculator. :)

Tuesday Aug 05, 2008

Another localized release - Communications Suite 6

The English and localized versions of the Sun Java Communications Suite 6 have just been released! The single most important feature is Sun Convergence, which is the next generation unified communications client. If you want to see some screenshots of Convergence check out Jim Parkinson's blog.

For Comms 6 we did a 'sim ship', which means the localized versions shipped simultaneously with the English version. It's really difficult for both the development team and the localization team so hats off to everyone who pulled this off! There are seven localized versions of Comms 6: Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German and French.

Why don't you take it for a spin?

Here's a cool graphic that Srinu generated using wordle.net, which lists all the members of the G11n team for this release. Congratulations everyone!!!
comms g11n team

Monday Aug 04, 2008

Another localized Release - Identity Mgr. 8.0

Sun Java System Identity Manager 8.0 is now available in eight languages: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Korean. It can be downloaded here.

This localized release was brought to you by the incredibly dedicated and passionate IDM L10n team, including Anita Daley, Basha Chand, Vasek Novak, Shinichi Hanaki, Pavel Heimlich, Pierrot Berreur, Paty Rodriguez, Pedro Zeman, Sandy Cheng, May Zhang, Charles Liu, Jaro Sulc, Nicky Stastna, Misato Kabasawa and Ivy Zhang.

Congratulations everyone on a job well done!

Tuesday Jul 22, 2008

On the road again

Sun and Cosoft are co-sponsoring an Software Parks OpenSource Tech Day in fifteen cities around China throughout July and August. I spoke at the events last week in Changsha and Wuhan (where the average temperature in July is around 95 Fahrenheit or 35 Celsius - don't ask me why we plan these roadshows for the summer...) about Sun's open source technologies. I introduced OpenSolaris, Glassfish, Netbeans, OpenJDK, Java DocWeb, OpenOffice and Sun's open source localizations. It was my first time to speak at this kind of event so it was a great learning experience for me. I even spoke a little bit in Chinese. I think speeches are most meaningful when the speaker adds some of their unique perspective, so I talked about the time my mom had a secret recipe for a cake and she never shared it with us until she started a blog and decided to publish the recipe. She didn't know it at the time but she was part of a revolution that's all about sharing, and I'm so proud that my mom and my company are leading the charge.

Other speakers at the event were Vincent Liu from Sun, Chen Xu from Intel and He Wei Jia from RedFlag Linux.

We had about 100 participants in each city, here are some pictures:
changsha 4
changsha 3
changsha 1
changsha 6
changsha 5

Tuesday Jul 08, 2008

Train the Trainer Training

This week I'm in Hong Kong for Train the Trainer training (try to say that three times fast). Sun recently launched a new set of management classes and one of the tenets is that Sun managers should teach them rather than a consultant. So I'm here with three other managers and we're learning from one of the greatest - Master Trainer Mike Andrew, the author of "How to Think Like a CEO and Act Like a Leader."

Tomorrow I have to do a demo of a session called "Leading High Performance Teams". I have to do a decent job otherwise I won't get certified and if I don't get certified I won't be able to teach the course so wish me luck!

Meanwhile I'll leave you with some pictures taken from Sun's Hong Kong office, which is on the 66th floor of Central Plaza. The views are stunning even on a rainy day. It's a good thing I don't work here because I wouldn't get any work done, I'd be looking at the view all day long.

hong kong
hong kong
hong kong

Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

The Local Face of Sun in China

LISA (Localization Industry Standards Association) is one of the professional organizations in the Globalization industry and they recently did an article called "The Local Face of Sun in China" about Sun's engineering work in Beijing. They interviewed our site director Sin-Yaw Wang and me. You can read the article here.

Sin-Yaw Mel

This was my first time being interviewed for an article like this and I learned a lot. The main thing I learned is what it's like to hear your own words after they've gone through someone else's filter. I'm not saying the interviewer misquoted me - she didn't.

But it changed the way I think about communication. It made me wonder, let's say I do an all-hands with my team and afterwards I asked them to write down the top three things they remember, would they be the three things I thought were most important? Would the messages sound different coming back from my audience? (Sad note to self,those were all closed questions ...)

Tuesday Jun 10, 2008

Going green by working from home

There's an article on Yahoo Finance today about Sun's Work From Home program and how employees are able to protect the environment by working from home. It details how much we're helping the environment by allowing people to work from home, for example employees are saving more than $1,700 per year in gasoline and wear and tear on their vehicles by working at home an average of 2.5 days a week.

Pam Kong recently gave her own account of the environmental benefits of working from home in her blog here.

The Work from Home program means a lot to me and my team personally, since 90% of my team work from home 3-4 days a week. We all come in to the office on Thursdays for what we call "AGC Day", it's mostly a chance for us to have face-to-face meetings, share announcements, and give the foosball table a little love. Shortly after we started the program I did a survey and came up with our stats on how we're benefitting by working from home:

By working from home 3-4 days per week, the 34 people at AGC who work from home are:
- spending a combined 160 hours a week doing some thing other than sitting in traffic.
- sparing the air 5,489 kilograms of carbon dioxide per week. (source: http://www.carbonfootprint.com/)
- saving Sun $272,000/year in real estate costs.
- prepared in case our building shuts down due to a bird flu scare - we would continue to work about the same as usual.

That last point is especially relevant as Beijing prepares for the 2008 Olympics. It's going to be a zoo around here so many people are encouraged to work from home during July and August. No problem for us, we do that all the time and we'll be just as productive during the Olympics as any other time.

The Work from Home program has been a huge success for us. Only one person switched back to be office-assigned after trying the program for a few weeks. That was me. What can I say? I love the harsh lighting and the big desk and the bad coffee. And I guess the nature of my job as a senior manager makes it harder for me to get my job done from home. But to the 34 AGCers who are working from home, sparing the air, and hopefully using some of those 160 hours with your families, I tip my hat to you.

Tuesday Apr 15, 2008

Kudos Skrocki!

This post isn't about me but I will start by saying how astute I am to have recognized Linda Skrocki's greatness many months before a major industry magazine did the same. You might remember I recommended her blog last May as a good tool for staying digitally literate.

Well last Friday Skrocki was recognized by ReadWriteWeb as one of the "New Robert Scobles", meaning she's one of the leading corporate social media evangelists of our time. Kudos Skrocki! Twitter on! :)

linda skrocki

Tuesday Apr 01, 2008

Innovation and Creativity: are they linked?

There's an intriguing article in Forbes today about a guy named Gordon Knox who tries to pair artists with high-tech companies for short-term projects. He says when brilliant artists meet brilliant engineers, "so many opportunities right in your face are suddenly possible."

Wednesday Mar 26, 2008

Hey Hefei, we're coming to you!

An engineer from my team named Jim Jiang is going to host a Sun University World Tour event at Hefei University next Sunday. If you live in that area please join him. If you know someone who lives in that area please encourage them to attend. There will be swag!

DATE: March 30
TIME: 13:30 - 17:30
LOCATION: 合肥工业大学学术活动中心一楼报告厅

AGENDA:
- The latest in Java technology
- Sun and Open Source
- Cool Features for NetBeans IDE
- Java Puzzle

For more details you can see Jim's blog.

Thursday Feb 28, 2008

The problem with my questions lately...

Here are some questions I've asked at work in the past few days:

- Is there anything I can do to help you?
- Did you find out what our options are?
- Do others in the team have that same impression?

And here's a classic one from my home life:
- Were you born in a barn?

You know what the problem is with all these questions? They're all closed questions. And damn, that was another one. Closed questions can be answered with "yes" or "no". I've got to start expressing myself with open questions. All the management books and classes will tell you this. Open questions invite the other person to engage in a discussion with you and they don't presuppose what the correct answer is, which some of my closed questions do. Closed questions make it all too easy for you and the other person to escape from a perhaps tense conversation without ever getting to the heart of the issue. But asking open questions isn't as easy as it might seem.

Here's what I should have said:

- What can I do to help?
- What are our options?
- What do the others in the team think about this?
- What will happen if we leave the front door open here in the middle of winter, Precious?

Does anyone else out there struggle with this? OMG, there I go again.

Monday Feb 25, 2008

Hey Chengdu We're Coming to You!

Hey Chengdu! We're sending three of our best and brightest engineers to your city to host the \*first\* official Chengdu OpenSolaris User Group event! Please join Rachel, Jacky and Serena if you want to learn about OpenSolaris, meet some of Sun's employees, and be a part of the newest open source user group in ChengDu. Here are the meeting details.

DATE: Saturday March 1
TIME: 2:30-6:00pm
LOCATION: 电子科技大学沙河校区二教 307 (UESTC (University of Electronic Science and Technology of China), Second Classroom Building, Room 307
AGENDA:
(Chinese)
OpenSolaris 社区简介及 Zones, Dtrace, zfs介绍
OpenSolaris 用户组介绍
Open HA Cluster 揭秘
开源软件翻译项目与工具

(English)
Introduction to OpenSolaris community, and OpenSolaris New Features
Proposal for Participating in OpenSolaris User Group
Open HA Cluster
Open Source Translation Projects and Recommended Tools

chengdu poster

Thursday Feb 21, 2008

"Leave Britney Alone!"

This morning I went on a little detour as I was browsing the news and it turned out to be the most interesting part of the journey. Detours are usually like that, aren't they?

I started off reading Amanda McPherson's take on Sun's open source strategy. Let's just say she's a little critical and I'll leave it at that.

Then I read what Dana Blankenhorn had to say about McPherson's posting. The article is titled "Leave Jonathan Schwartz alone!" Right about this time I was starting to get bored, and then I noticed this picture in Blankenhorn's blog. chris crocker

And I thought "Who the heck is that? And what does that picture have to do with this article?"

That's where the detour started.

Blankenhorn mentioned in his article that this was Chris Crocker, whom I googled and finally found my way to this video, which explains it all, even the title of Blankenhorn's posting. Crocker apparently does a lot of humorous vlogs but this one is supposed to be his true sentiment. I had no idea Britney Spears was a gay icon. You've got to check out the youtube video. It's kinda funny and scary and sad at the same time. But mostly funny.

Who knew that reading blogs about technology would eventually lead you to a transgender teen in Tennessee, who is most famous for defending Britney Spears when the critics were being so tough on her? That's what I love about blogs, you just never know where they're going to take you.

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