Wednesday Jun 18, 2008

Calling All Geeks -- Twittering Teddy Bear

OK, this must be the ultimate geek thing to do... making a twittering teddy bear. Thanks to Guy for tweeting about this...

How 2.0: How to Make a Twittering Teddy Bear from My Home 2.0 DIY on Vimeo.

 Wonder what else I could use in my house? Maybe the Twittering washing machine, or twittering fridge?


Monday Apr 28, 2008

Babies and Fathers

As most of you know I have a 15 month old baby boy and I am sure I didn't appear in any of these videos, but you never know...

All Ink Must Be Good Ink

Not sure you have all been following the news in Europe this week, but it seems that Jerome Kerviel has found himself a new job. This is the same person who lost more than $7.7 billion for his prior employer -- Societe Generale and almost caused the stock market in Europe to tank. So what job did he get? You are not going to like this answer -- he is now an IT Consultant!

Isn't this just crazy? I would have thought that, assuming he didn't spend the rest of his life in prison, he would have never been able to land a job again. Can you imaging reading the resume and hiring this guy? Absolutely amazing...

Monday Mar 24, 2008

Do you need a FedLet?

You know when Daniel posts a blog like this, there can only be something really cool and exciting about to happen.. Unfortunately he has not shared the news with me, but I was hoping that by driving enough traffic and comments to him he might spill the beans!

Come on Daniel.. what is a FedLet? Or is it a Fedlet, fedlet, FEDlet, FEDLET, ....


Sunday Mar 09, 2008

Job Change

I cannot believe that I have not blogged at all this year, and for those still subscribed to the blog I have committed the classic blog error of non-posting. But just like falling off a horse the best course of action is get back on the horse.

My job has changed quite a lot since my last post, I have taken over the marketing around Sun's infrastructure (aka Middleware) products. I am sure I will still muse over OpenOffice and the incredible surge of adoption of this product, but my focus will naturally shift into middleware and where the industry is going.

I am hoping you will enjoy this ride into Software Infrastructure as much as I enjoy this new responsibility

Wednesday Nov 28, 2007

Write buggy code -- Get sued!

I am sure you have all experienced software glitches, from the notorious blue screen of death to mundane rebooting of your wireless router because suddenly it froze. Now if I was running a nuclear reactor, or some mission critical medical machine my tolerance for rebooting would be zero, but for most of us this has become a way of life. I do consider this when purchasing a product, but I can't say this is one of my top purchasing criteria. 

So what you might say! Well here is the story that caught my eye -- "Microsoft Sued Over Halo 3's 'Consistent' Crashes" Wow, what is the world coming to when games are so important to us that we will sue if they crash? I for one will have to monitor this case to see where it goes, but isn't it strange that suing a software maker for a crash has never entered into my mind? Change software vendors, write them a letter, demand a refund... but sue them? Not sure what this will do to software quality, but I am sure some legal eagles will get some money out of this...

Oh well, back to my day job...



Thursday Nov 01, 2007

Do we really need to know the truth?

I have just returned from a flight to the East Coast aboard one of my least favorite airlines -- Alaska Air. Why they are at the bottom of the list of airlines that I like is that the really don't have great customer service. Since I fly from Seattle, they are THE airline at the airport and as such the competition hasn't got them to really go out their way to make things right, or really to be pleasant. In addition they have had a few crashes in the past that was blamed on spotty maintenance record and their "Incidents and Accidents" list is a little worrying.

With this as a backdrop, I boarded the plane to Boston without a hitch, and although I knew I was going to be fleeced for food (Sandwich $5) and entertainment ($10) I was pretty happy that we boarded on time. The flight attendants told us to buckle our seatbelts, switch off the cell phone etc. etc. and then we just sat there! About 40 minutes later (yes 40 MINUTES) the pilot comes on the intercom and tells us that there are some maintenance issues and the GPS and flight navigation computers are not working.. but don't worry when we take off we will make up the time because the jet stream is really strong. OK, at this stage, I wasn't worrying about the jet stream, I was worrying about the flight computer! After another 15 minutes the pilot informs us that all is well and we will be departing shortly. And he was right, we were all fine!

But, did we really need to know that the flight navigation system wasn't working? And if we needed to know that didn't we at least need to know what was wrong with it and what the maintenance crew did to fix it? Was it just a Ctrl-Alt-Del reboot that solved it, or had they just done a defrag or fdisk to repair the disk, or had they replaced the whole board? My problem is that if you want to tell me what the real problem is, then tell me how it was fixed and why I shouldn't need to worry about it again! (Also, please tell me we are going to be delayed before I sit there for 40 minutes wondering why nothing is happening!)

Whew, I feel better. There must be something therapeutic about blogging!

On my return flight we were delayed another hour (Sitting in the airplane) while the "Maintenance crew wrote some things up in the log book!" Oh dear.. here we go again!


btw: Alaska it would be nice if you apologized for being late, even thought I would be he first to agree that safety comes first!

Thursday Oct 25, 2007

All I want for Christmas...

For those of you, like me, love gadgets and technology, Terry White has a great blog and an awesome Christmas 2007 Gift Guide.

For those of you wondering on what I want, just pick a page, I am sure I can make use of almost EVERYTHING in this guide!



Wednesday Oct 24, 2007

Google's Developer Pledge Needs Updating

Having just read ZDNet's piece on the Google's developer pledge of allegiance:


I can't help but think that this could be improved:

"I pledge allegence to the web" Why just the web? I love the web just as much as anyone else, but surely this is too limiting? With devices such as mobile phones, Blu-Ray devices, set-top boxes, and the like, I think that pledging allegiance to the Internet makes way more sense.

"One platform" great aspirational goal but is there really only one platform? Each web browser is its own platform, in fact each version of each browser seems to have its own nuances and could almost be considered a platform. As a developer I am also concerned about writing applications that work on way more than one platform.

"DOM" and "AJAX"  Although both these technologies are core to things like HTML/XML rendering and client technologies like Google Maps. These are way to limiting... What about PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc. As a developer I use all of these and, oh yes there is that other little technology out there called Java! How little is Java?

From Java powers more than 4.5 billion devices:

  • over 800 million PCs
  • over 1.5 billion mobile phones and other handheld devices (source: Ovum)
  • 2.2 billion smart cards
  • plus set-top boxes, printers, web cams, games, car navigation systems, lottery terminals, medical devices, parking payment stations, etc.

Please don't limit me by having me pledge allegiance to only DOM and AJAX!

IMHO, perhaps they should have used this as their pledge of allegiance?

I pledge allegiance to the Internet,
and to the innovation and ubiquity for which it stands,
one common vision
of creating liberty and opportunity
for all.


Thursday Oct 18, 2007

Are you ready for Medipedia?

With the news today of Google's heath care platform and Microsoft's entry into this market I am getting more and more worried that it will not be the new killer staph bacteria that will wipe us out, but it will be Medipedia

Just try going to Google today and typing in "headache and sore throat" and you get 1.7 million entries! Now how are we going to find out if it is just the common cold, or something more sinister? Surely not by combing through 1.7 million entires, otherwise we will need to add to that sore watery eyes and painful wrists.

So perhaps Medipedia will be born?

All us want-to-be doctors and internet trained surgeons can create our own entries on what the underlying cause and remedy is for any ailment. Medipedia will save tax payers millions by closing down the FDA. Who needs some bureaucracy when the whole internet world can try out our remedies and then vote on them. 5 stars -- it healed me, 4 stars -- I got better, 3 stars -- didn't really work, 2 stars -- it made me worse, 1 star -- oh dear.... While we get rid of the FDA, lets also get rid of medical board exams, I am not sure about the rest of you, but by watching ER and Grey's Anatomy, I think I can handle almost anything!

Perhaps with Medipedia and the new Google medical imaging application, I will be able to take 3D tours of the body, and not just any body, but MY body-- scarey...

Medipedia sure sounds interesting.. quick go get the URL.. OMG.. it is taken!

I for one, am not ready for Medipedia, or for Google and Microsoft to have access to my medical records.


Wednesday Oct 17, 2007

Announcing: Remix Undefined Mashups Version 2.0

We are on the brink of a new age.

We're about what Web 2.0 is about. An AJAX-driven GUI, this will change everything: Folksonomy. We shall transcend borders. It's all about community. Float this. You need someone who gets it. Tag me. Social is the new push. Cry out, blogosphere!

Clustering. Splog is an aggregate noun. MSM just doesn't get it. Roll your own roll-your-own. It's all changing. Hack it. On-demand streams. The buzz is loud and clear. Single. Word. Sentences! 2.0 is the new New. Label what defies categorization. Clear that. This is newer media. "ASL" is geezer speak. Always be launching. Faster. Faster! The new is old. News clouds.  The words aren't what they were. Podcasts are it.

OK OK enough!!!  

I didn't create this stuff rather it was generated by the Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator What is really scary is that at first pass you probably thought this might be real! Well it isn't, but it does bring home the fact that there is so much hype out there and new buzzwords that you really need to do some checking before believing the next big thing is about to launch.


Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Garbage Utility Computing?

The more I talk to the world about utility computing the more I am amazed that the average person wants one definition of "utility computing" The world really isn't that simple. Lets consider your typical utilities that you pay for in the average home -- electric and garbage. Both are undoubtedly utilities, but both have a very different payment model.

My electric utility provider only charges me for electricity I consume. This model is very consistent with the model we use at where we charge $1/CPU/hour for compute utility. Like my electric company, unless you use the utility you pay nothing. (As a side -- wouldn't it be great if could create the same set of energy consuming hogs like TVs in standby mode, cell phone chargers that aren't charging anything,etc. We could made millions off the useless use of compute, and like the electric utility charge you for this no-value. Alas just a dream, we only charge for what you actually use doing real work, maybe the electrical utilities should do the same?) 

Now some utilities like my garbage utility charge me irrespective of whether I put the garbage out or not. They actually charge me the same if I have no garbage or a can full of garbage. This too is a utility and is very similar to the electric utility, just the business model is different. Phone service is another utility where there is more of a hybrid model of pay-per-use over a certain threshold. Hosting services seem to use this utility pricing model.

So which one is the true utility -- sorry to have to shatter some ideals here.. but BOTH! Utility isn't about how you pay, nor it is rental -- I don't rent electricity, it isn't leasing -- I don't have a lease for any hydro-electrical plants! What is it? It really is about getting someone with expertise in an area to provide a service to you that is more beneficial for you to pay to have run on your behalf than run it yourself.

Grid today did a great write-up on the origin of Utility Computing and to reiterate the theme there -- I believe that we are in the early days of Utility computing, the "killer application" has not been found yet, but this will be the dominant compute model of the future. I am excited to be at the forefront of this evolutionary charge and part of the team moving forward.


Friday Oct 12, 2007

Friday Fun Stuff...

 The absolute must get T-Shirt for your fellow colleagues, maybe you could even get it customized with your blog address on the back?

 You can order it here.

These guys at Dispair Inc, have some great stuff, and their blog is a must read!

Happy Friday


Thursday Oct 11, 2007

Data Centers in a Diamond Mine?

I was really interested in the Computer World Article -- Data centers get religion. So now we have data centers in chapels, diamond mines, and who knows where next. Now before you convert your bomb shelter, granny cottage or your upstairs bathroom to your data center perhaps we need to step back and ask a more fundamental question... Do we need another Data Center? 

Lunatic, I hear you say! BUT wait... Lets consider electricity -- do you have a generator at home. I do! I live in a relatively rural area where the lights go out a few times a year. My generator is there just in case the power goes out. It came in really handy last year when the power was off for a week. Initially I was ecstatic.. I called everyone and told them I was off the grid and loving it! Then reality set in and I soon realized that my core business wasn't providing electricity! I was so happy to be back on the grid again...

But let me get back to my premise.. Most of us don't generate our own electricity and most of us don't know where the generation happens (Some could be nuclear, wind, hydro, coal, etc.) Basically the industrial "evolution" has occurred... we used to generate our own electricity and now it is a utility that we subscribe to.

The industrial evolution now is transforming compute into a utility. Consider Amazon's S3, EC2, or my favorite Sun's where you can run your applications or store your data. You don't care where the data center is, you only care if the service you get meets your requirements. If we (Sun) decide to move our data center it shouldn't impact you, you still get compute tone (like dial tone) and are happy. Just like your electrical utility you might care about how green the energy is (or how green your compute utility provider is) and this might change your purchasing decision. We at Sun are very proud of our Eco Innovation initiative and if you are looking for a Green Compute Utility provider we just might be the best in town!

 If you really need your own data center, or like I have, my backup generator, perhaps consider Project Blackbox, but I still think you need to adapt to the industrial evolution and run your business on the compute utility --

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

Startup Camp less than 2 weeks away...

I was just checking out and realized that it is less than 2 weeks away. Being one of the masterminds behind our first StartUp Camp I can't believe how well this is growing and gaining traction. With the first camp back in 2006, we were so worried that we wouldn't get enough people, then we were worried about how unhappy everyone who couldn't get in was going to be. The net result -- register early.. like TODAY

For those of you who are new to this whole camp experience let me explain it like this. You get together with a group of like minded individuals (in this case all worried about Startups) and then whoever wants to go talk gets up and proposes a topic and they you think it will be interesting.  Once all the topics are on the board, you basically have the agenda.


Now this is where it really gets interesting. You vote with your feet, if you like a topic you go there, if you get there and it turns into a vendor pitch, you leave! Simple, no pressure. All the rooms we used had glass walls, so it was really easy to see who was hot and who wasn't.

The sessions I attended ranged from "How to optimize system performance in a horizontally scaled architecture" to "How to raise funds to get your startup funded." The worst pitch was from some vendor discussing how their tools worked... I think we all got up after 2 minutes and went to another session.

My absolute favorite part of startup camp was "speed geeking" -- basically everyone who wants to participate has 5 minutes to tell anyone who comes by their table why their startup is best. Attendees vote with their prized wooden nickel.. and the winner gets prizes!

Below is a video of last years winner -- Kristopher Tate, Founder of Zooomr

What Makes the 'Best Startup'?

It is really simple.. If you think you interested in things that startups are interested in, or you are are a startup, and can get to the New York City Seminar and Conference Center in New York, NY on October 22-23, 2007, you will not be disappointed.



Musings from Mark Herring at Sun...


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