Friday Jan 09, 2009

New OpenSolaris Storage Community Page

Question: So, what have I been working on? 

Answer: A new update to the OpenSolaris Storage Community page.

The new home page now provides a What's New section, an easy way to see the latest Storage Stop blog entries and storage announce posts, and a Video Highlight section.

Peter Buckingham and I plan to provide regular updates to both the What's New and Video Highlight sections, so keep checking back.

If you have any questions or suggestions, email me (paul.kasper at, leave a comment, or post to the storage discuss forum.

Friday Oct 31, 2008

Check out Dabbleboard!

So, I've been looking for a free, open source online whiteboard for a long time.  I tried using skirbl and dimdim, but they both fell way short of my requirements.

But, have no fear.  Dabbleboard is here!

Dabbleboard is a very easy-to-use online whiteboard that can be used by anybody who uses a browser.  You can even save a library of your drawings or common objects that you use.  And, the most important feature is that it is very easy for multiple people to draw on the same whiteboard.

The best way to see what I'm talking about is to check out the tour.

I plan to use this for a number of reasons,  especially when my team at work needs to brainstorm.  We are all over the country, so finding tools like this should help a lot.

BTW, Happy Halloween!

Tuesday Oct 21, 2008

Customizing OpenSolaris Screen Resolution running in VirtualBox on a MacBook Pro

Wow, I didn't think the title of this blog entry was ever going to end!

After much trial and error, I finally found a fairly easy way to customize the OpenSolaris screen resolution running in VirtualBox on a MacBook Pro.  After installing OpenSolaris on my system, I was unable to increase my screen resolution to 1440x960 through the System->Preferences->Screen Resolution panel...and that made me sad.

So, here's the procedure that made me happy again.

  1. Install VirtualBox on your MacBook Pro.

  2. Install OpenSolaris in the new VirtualBox instance.

  3. Start up OpenSolaris.

  4. From the VirtualBox VM application (the one OpenSolaris is running in), choose Devices->Install Guest Additions.

    This will mount the vboxadditions_2.0.2_36486 disk image on your OpenSolaris system.

  5. Become root in OpenSolaris (You can open a terminal window by choosing Applications->System Tools->Terminal).

    # su root

  6. Change directory to the disk image.

    # cd /cdrom/vboxadditions_2.0.2_36486

  7. Install the Solaris VirtualBox addition.

    # pkgadd -d ./vboxadditions_2.0.2_36486

    This package installation creates the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

  8. (Optional) In the /etc/Xll/xorg.conf file, add the new screen resolution to the Modes field in the default ViewPort section (I added the 1440x900 entry).

    ViewPort      0  0
               Depth               24
               Modes           "1440x900_60.00" "1024x768_75.00" "800x600_75_00" "640x480_60.00"

    NOTE: After some more testing, it looks like you don't need to do this step unless you want to be able to select a specific resolution from the Screen Resolution Preferences window.  Once you install the Solaris VirtualBox Addition, all you need to do is expand the VirtualBox window and the OpenSolaris desktop expands as well.  I swear this didn't work the first time I tried this, which is why I had this problem in the first place. That's a few hours I'll never get back...

  9. Reboot OpenSolaris.

  10. After OpenSolaris reboots, change the screen resolution by choosing System->Preferences->Screen Resolution.

    You'll see the new resolution that you least I did.  Everything has been working so far.

  11. Be happy that you now have a larger area to enjoy OpenSolaris!
BTW, thanks to Peter Schow for helping me with this problem on the OpenSolaris help forum

Tuesday Sep 30, 2008

Storage Networking Dictionary

When I attended the SNIA conference last week, I was fortunate to pick up a hardcopy of their 2008 dictionary.  It is a really exhaustive list and a good reference. 

Here's the online version:

I was nice to see that Sun is one of the sponsors that make the dictionary possible.

Tuesday Sep 23, 2008

SNIA Conference: Day Two

It's been a long day listening to talks about the emergence of flash memory, cloud computing, open source storage solutions, and general purpose storage servers.  My favorite talk was by Art Licht, who is a principal engineer at Sun.

His presentation, General Purpose Storage Servers, talked about how it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell storage boxes and servers apart.  In fact, by using OpenSolaris and ZFS, companies can create much-less expensive storage than what is currently being provided by proprietary storage solutions.  And, in most cases, the performance and reliability are better!

And, this solution doesn't mean you have to buy Sun hardware, although we hope you do.  OpenSolaris runs on Intel and AMD-based machines...really, it's true! 

Oh, BTW, here's a link to the caricature of me drawn by Doug Shannon during the OpenSolaris Summit on Sunday.  I'm the one on the right, top row.  Not pretty....

Monday Sep 22, 2008

At the SNIA Conference

I'm in Santa Clara right now attending the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) conference.  It's a chance for storage developers from all over the industry to get together and share what's happening.

On Sunday, the day before the conference, Sun hosted an OpenSolaris Storage Summit and around 100 folks attended.  One interesting note is that we used a wiki for the summit registration, and it worked out really well.  After a day of talks about OpenSolaris storage technology, not only from Sun but from the community, we had a very fun island-themed party. Since I work from home most of the time, it's great to get out of my basement and meet a bunch of people face-to-face...both from Sun and from other companies.  

One of the most interesting presentations during the Summit was from Paddy Sreenivasan, who talked about the work being done on Amanda for OpenSolaris.  According to their website, Amanda is the most popular open source backup and recovery software in the world. The Amanda community is using OpenSolaris and ZFS, which is a great example of how open source communities can work together.  I plan to learn more about Amanda and how they manage their enterprise and community deliveries.

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

Open Work, Keeping Fit, and Lawn Care

I've been participating in Sun's Open Work program now for about 4 years.  I used to live in Colorado and worked at Sun's Broomfield campus, but I wanted to be closer to my extended family as I started my own family.  And, Sun's work-from-home program allowed me to do just that.

Two kids later, I am still enjoying the benefits of working from home and it has really worked well for me.  There are a number of advantages about working from home, but one downside is the tendency to keep working through the day without ever leaving the house...or your chair.  This is bad for both your mental and physical health.

Another problem I have is that my lawn is getting out of control.  The weeds outnumber the blades of grass and it's starting to become kind of embarrassing. 

So, to combat these multiple problems, I'm going to start a new lawn care fitness routine.  Every day, I'm going to try to take 30 minutes out of my day to go outside and do yard work.  I'll get some exercise, get some fresh air, clear my head, and start making my yard look better. 

I'll let give an update in the next few weeks to see how things are going.

Tuesday Jul 15, 2008

Giving Feels Good

I was feeling kind of down today and I opened an email from one of my coworkers with a pointer to One of our own MySQL engineers has a son who is in need of a bone marrow transplant, which is terribly expensive - $200k, approximately.

This story made all of my problems that I was fixating on seem pretty lame and I donated some of my secret stash of paypal money. 

Ivan, keep fighting and get better soon. 

Thursday Apr 17, 2008

15 Years at Sun

Well, this Monday, April 14, 2008, was my 15th year anniversary at Sun.  For starters, I can't believe I've been working that long. And, I can't believe I've been fortunate enough to work for a technology company for that long...especially a great company like Sun.

Throughout my 15 years, I've seen a lot of changes happen at Sun.  I've been at Sun during the good times and the not so good times. I started my career working on the Solaris 2.4 installation documentation, I was fortunate enough to write a retail book for Sun, I was one of the initial architects of the Sun System Handbook (which is still my proudest accomplishment at Sun), and now I am helping to drive the OpenSolaris storage community

I started working for Sun in Colorado Springs, moved to Broomfield, CO when Sun built a new campus in 1997, and now I currently work from Woodbury, Minnesota, due to Sun's flexible work-from-home program.  The ability to work from home in Minnesota gives me the opportunity to be closer to my extended family and to spend more time with my two little girls. 

While at Sun, I've worked with a lot of great people and have forged life-long friendships.  Sun has been a big part of my life and I hope I can continue to make Sun a success for many more years.

Here are a few pictures of the Sun campus ground-breaking ceremony in Broomfield, Colorado, in 1997.  I couldn't find a current picture of the campus...if someone has one, please leave a comment. 

Many of these people are still at Sun today!

Here I am more than 10 years ago...I haven't aged a bit!  ;)

Not a bad view!

Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

"Five by Five" - Episode #1: Adding Comments on

Here's my first attempt at doing a screencast.  I used the free version of Jing, but I hope to use iShowU in later episodes...

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Wednesday Apr 02, 2008

Check out!

As you can tell from my last entry, it's been a long time since my last post.  I've been busy at work, but I also found that I really didn't have anything to talk about.

But, I hope to change that with a series of updates on the new Sun This new wiki is still in beta and was launched late last year.  It is based on the Confluence wiki, an enterprise wiki that provides a lot of very cool features.

Although I don't get to work on as much as I'd like to in my current position, I like to use it when I can and to help others make good use of it.

So, stay tuned on this blog to get tips and tricks on using and anything else related to this new information portal.


Thursday Jul 19, 2007

Web Information Transit Map

Are you feeling lost in the Web 2.0 world?  Are your social networking skillz a little rusty?  Don't worry, the Information Architects Japan folks can help you find your way.  Click on the map below to download a readable version or to view a clickable online version.


In all seriousness, this map is pretty mind boggling. It's definitely modeled after some of the big city transit maps, but this picture is even more daunting.  I sometimes feel completely overwhelmed by the Web 2.0 explosion and everything that is happening, and this one picture shows me why.  It is unbelievable how much has changed on the internets in the past few years.

It's clear to me that you can't do everything, so I'm trying to see what social networking areas fit me.  I'm starting to blog more on this blog and I'm active in Sun's wiki projects. The bottom line is that the Web 2.0 phenomenon is here to stay and we all need to catch the next online bus or subway and hang on!

Wednesday Apr 25, 2007

Temple of the Sun is Cool

I'm a big fan of games of any type and my day job consists of helping get information out to users. So, what could be better than a web-based game that helps users learn in a fun way?  That's exactly what the new Temple of the Sun game does.

This game does a great job of promoting the use of the Solaris Express Developer Edition and specifically the Sun Studio software developer tools. It uses an Indiana Jones theme (o.k., it is Indiana Jones) and it's a old-school, 2-D game that puts your C/C++ coding skills to the test.

If you are computer nerd, then this is for you. And, you'll end up playing for at least 5-10 minutes.

I hope to see more of this type of multimedia from Sun, and it would be even better if I could work on one of these projects.  It would be fun to be part of the test team.  :) 

Thursday Apr 12, 2007

Hooked on Wikis

I admit it.  I'm a little obsessed with wikis right now.  I think it's because they are so easy to use and it's a very easy way for a group of people to work together on something.   I've really enjoyed using wikis on some of my team projects at Sun, and I think the teams have really benefited by them.

Since I knew I was going to start using wikis more at Sun, I wanted to start experimenting with starting and moderating a non-work wiki to help get my feet wet.  So, I set up a wiki for one of my favorite games at

I choose wikispaces for three main reasons: 1) it's a very simple, "no frills" wiki, 2) it has some great notification and backup features, and 3) it's free.  The simplicity of the wiki is the most important thing...lowering the barriers of participation is always good and you will have a more active community because of it.

Adam Frey, the co-founder of wikispaces, talks about using wikis in education in a podcast by Sue Walters.  Because of its simplicity, wikispaces is used by over 25,000 teachers and students in grades K-12 all around the world. 

Anyway, next time I'll provide some thoughts on what I've learned with the savagepedia web site.

Friday Feb 23, 2007

Getting the Word Out

If you've had a chance to hear Jonathan Schwartz talk lately or if you've read his blog, his main message is that Sun is doing a lot of great things, but people and companies still don't know about it. Whether it's our new line of x86 machines or free Solaris, many people still think Sun is a company that sells only SPARC-based hardware with an expensive, "proprietary," UNIX-based Solaris operating system. 

Well, I don't work in Sun's marketing department, but I think all of us at Sun can help. So, for the past few weeks, I've been sending my brother-in-law emails about Sun products and how they can help him at his company. My brother-in-law is a system administrator at a company that makes plastic parts for car manufacturers. He mostly administers Windows machines, but he does have a few Linux boxes that run specific applications.

As I said, I've sent him pointers to try out Solaris for free, to check out OpenOffice to negate the cost of Microsoft Office, and to look at the new x86 hardware Sun has to offer (which will run Windows!). So far, I don't think he's switched anything over to Sun yet, but he does ask me questions when we get together and I do have him thinking about it. And, more importantly, he now knows more about what Sun has to offer.
If we can all find one person in our life to "educate" about Sun's great products and services, it will make a difference...for both Sun and our new customer!




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