Thursday Apr 12, 2007

A drop of water

My son took this picture of a drop of water on to a shallow bowl.  I cropped and changed the contrast a little.  We turned off the lights in the room, set a long exposure, and used the camera's flash.  We didn't use a sync strobe or any other tricks to time the drop. 

Just patiently waited for the drops to fall...


Tuesday Mar 20, 2007

Favorite podcasts for March 2007

I'm still addicted to podcasts while commuting.  Ever since I started listening to podcasts about a year or so ago, I've been waiting to hear "From WHYY ... This is FRESH AIR."  Well, finally that time has come.  You can download the latest episodes from iTunes or directly from NPR here.

 I also just found another one of my radio favorites--Car Talk.  Their podcast is not free, but they have a free "Call of the Week" available on iTunes. (The link on to the "Call of the Week" seems to be broken).

And one more podcast I'm listening to is from Jonathan Coulton called "Thing a Week".  Jonathan posts a new original song every week.  I'm not sure if he's still doing this, but there appears to be 52 free songs on iTunes.  My favorite so far is "Code Monkey".  I happened to search for it on You Tube and actually found a video of Jonathan performing this song.  Enjoy!

Monday Feb 26, 2007

DST changes in two weeks (Sun Alert 102775)

An issue that I've been working on lately has been to evaluate the effects on the CDE calendars from the new Daylight Savings Time changes for the US and a few other countries.  The new DST starts March 11 this year. 

Patches created for the Solaris Operating System will fix the issues related to the CDE calendar manager (dtcm) and calendar server (rpc.cmsd).  Unfortunately, appointments which  were created before the patches were installed and which are starting in the new DST period (between March 11 and April 1 and between Oct 28 and Nov 4) may have to be recreated.   For more information on the DST issues in Solaris see Sun Alert 102775.

In addition, Sun has a site which gathers all the DST issues for Sun products at:

Growing up in Hawaii which doesn't observe DST, I never understood why it was needed.    Infact, I wonder why everyone doesn't just use GMT.  It would make traveling and coordinating meetings across timezones so much easier.  Of course it would be a little confusing since I would eat breakfast at 4 pm, have lunch at 8 pm., dinner at 3 am. and go to bed at 7 am.   Hm...  Maybe that would not be such a good idea after all...


Sunday Jan 21, 2007

Disc Golf in Golden Gate Park, SF coming soon

I happened to be hiking thru Golden Gate Park in San Francisco Sunday afternoon and came across this odd looking object:


I thought it was some kind of bird feeder or maybe some science experiment.

It turns out to be a portable basket used for the sport called Disc Golf.  The San Francisco Disc Golf Club is creating a new 18-hole course in Golden Gate Park between 25th and 30th Ave along the north side (Fulton St.).  Here's a map of what the course will look like:



They hope to finish the course by April 1, so more on this in the coming months...  It sounds like a lot of fun!




Thursday Jan 18, 2007

Conan - iPhone Commercial (parody)

I was joking with Alan Coopersmith last week about Apple's iPhone.  Here's an excerpt of our chat on IRC:

Jan 10 15:06:27 <jeremy>        I think the iPhone is \*the\* killer app and could replace just about every handheld device in the home.
Jan 10 15:06:40 <jeremy>        Hey, maybe I've found something to blog about.
Jan 10 15:09:19 <jeremy>        iPhone = iPod, cell phone, digital camera, touch screen games (such as Brain Age), TV remote (maybe), GPS device (eventually), scientific calculator, garage door opener (why not?), alarm clock, keys to a Prius, hm...
Jan 10 15:10:31 <jeremy>        strap it to your arm and it will replace your wrist watch as well. :-)
Jan 10 15:12:46 <alanc> I've used a cell phone instead of a watch for the last few years already
Jan 10 15:15:07 <jeremy>        yes, but it's not on (or near) your wrist, eh?  ;-)   If I only had some time to play with photoshop... maybe even a shaver attachment. :-)

Well, looks like Conan beat me to it.  Here's a funny commercial from NBC (via YouTube):

Tuesday Jan 16, 2007

Wii Sports for exercise

 So, I've been thinking about getting a Wii for the kids (and me!).  I found an interesting article on using the Wii for exercise at:

It resulted in weight reduction, lower BMI, lower heart rate, and less body fat.  Basically, you just dance around for 30 minutes a day

Actually, after the first time my kids and I played Wii Sports for about an hour at a relatives house, our arms were aching the next day...

Is this the future of exercise?

Wednesday Dec 27, 2006

Playing with Belenix OpenSolaris LiveUSB

After reading Jonathan's blog a few weeks ago, I really wanted to try running OpenSolaris from a  LiveUSB. Unfortunately when I read that blog, I only had a 512 Mb flash drive, so I shopped around and finally bought a Kingston 1Gb drive on Amazon for about $25. I had also had an old Belenix LiveCD 0.4.2 lying around, so I thought I would try that first. 

I downloaded the latest disk image of the the Belenix LiveCD (which was 0.5.1) and the usbdump script and put them in my home directory on my Solaris 10 partition on my Ferrari 3400 laptop.  Then, I booted up the old Belenix LiveCD 0.4.2 and it worked fine.  It even automatically mounted my home directory from the Solaris 10 partitition in /mnt/solaris1.

I ran the script:  

# ./ /mnt/solaris1/uejio/belenix0.5.1.iso

It did give me a nice WARNING saying that all data on my USB device would be destroyed.   I also got a few other errors such as:

umount: warning: /mnt/microroot not in mnttab

and some other error about a missing  stage1 file from the installgrub command.  That didn't sound good.

Next, I tried to boot from my USB drive.  That actually is kind of tricky on my Ferrari 3400.  I thought there might be some BIOS setting to boot from USB, but could not find any.  Finally, I searched the net and found that I needed to set the BIOS to boot from harddisk.  When I select the boot menu, the harddisk had a little plus sign to the left of it.  When I selected it, I saw two entries: one for my harddisk and the other for the flash drive.  The flash drive must be plugged in before turning the computer on.  Once I had that set, my laptop tried to boot from the flash drive, but then I got a "bad PBR sig" or something like that.

Oops... I guess I shouldn't have ignored that error from installgrub.  So, back to booting the Belenix LiveCD.  But, then I thought to myself, why can't I just boot from my Solaris 10 partition and run installgrub from there?  That would be much quicker since I'm booting from the harddisk instead of CD.  (Infact, why can't I try running usbdump from Solaris 10?  I'll have to try that someday.) 

After looking at the script, I found that it does:

# cd /boot/grub
# installgrub -mf stage1 stage2 $devs > /dev/null

Fortunately, Solaris 10 has the stage1 and stage2 files in /boot/grub, so I disabled volfs and ran the installgrub command.  I used the rmformat to tell me where the USB device was and used d0s0 instead of d0p0.  (I'm not really sure what I'm talking about, though.)

So, after all that, I tried booting from the flash drive again.  The darn Ferrari doesn't seem to save it's boot settings, so I had to select F2, then from the boot menu, select the "+harddisk" and move the flash drive above the harddisk.  I wish is would save that setting so I don't have to keep doing that...

Finally, here I am running Firefox 2.0. from Belenix 0.5.1 off of a liveUSB!

Next to try: getting Solaris installed on a liveUSB similar to "World's smallest bootable Solaris media?"

I think I'll save that for another holiday.

Tuesday Nov 14, 2006

Wait wait, don't tell me what my favorite podcast is...

 wait wait logo

Wait wait, don't tell me what my favorite podcast is...

uh... actually let me reword that. 

Q: What is my favorite podcast?

A: "Wait wait don't tell me!" from National Public Radio.

I've been listening to this hour long weekly podcast for about a 8 months now.  Occasionally I listen to it on the radio in real time on the weekends, but mostly, I burn it to a CD-RW and listen to it in the car.  It's a current events news quiz type show making fun of what just happened in the past week or two with popular and obscure questions on the news.  It's a call-in show with some regular cast members (such as Paula Poundstone) and a few celebrities every so often.

My favorite celebrities have been Alan Alda and Tom Hanks.  I think this show has been on for several years, but I just discovered it and look forward to listening to it every week.  Enjoy!

Another one of my favorites was Inside the Net with Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte.  I say "was" because they just replaced it with a new video podcast called "net@nite".  Fortunately for me, they still have a podcast version which I can listen to in the car.  The thing I liked best about Inside the Net was that it went in depth into a particular "Web 2.0" web site and gave the human perspective of who was behind it, how it was formed, etc.  Infact, I feel that it was only after they interviewed the creators of YouTube, did YouTube actually take off.

Net@nite has only had 2 episodes so far and the first one was kind of boring even though they managed to get Steve Chen (from YouTube) on for a few minutes.   I'll listen to the second episode later this week after I finish listening to another episode of This American Life (650,000 civilian deaths in Iraq?  Really?)


Monday Nov 06, 2006

Has the Internet changed your life?

It always amazes me how much my life and the business world has changed over the past few years because of the Internet.  I shop online, research products, read the news, watch YouTube videos, play games, keep in touch with friends and family, and I even spend some time blogging.  I did some of this 5 years ago, but every year it seeems that I spend more and more time on the Internet.  At first glance that would seem like a bad thing...

But, interestingly enough, I find myself:

  • paying more attention to current events (because of reading the news more often on the Internet)
  • reading more books (because I found good reviews on the Internet)
  • listening to more music (that I downloaded off the Internet)
  • practicing more piano (because I'm more inspired by above music)
  • composing more piano music (because I've been practicing more)
  • watching more TV (because I can keep up with episodes I missed on the Internet)
  • being closer to old friends and family (because of email)

Am I the norm or the exception?  According to a not so recent report from 2005 on, an estimated 1 billion people will use the Internet in 2006.  That includes 200 million Americans.  So, maybe I am the norm?

But, what about the future?  My kids can't imagine the time before we had personal computers.  They can imagine life without the Internet, but they've had it for as long as they can remember.  I can barely remember owning a black and white TV and can't remember growing up without a TV.  What will the world be like 30 years from now when my kids are my age?  It's almost scary to think about it...

Wednesday Oct 18, 2006

Photos of Sun Products

Did you know that Sun has a website for its brand and also for photos of its products?  The photos are at  So, now when someone asks me what an Ultra 20 looks like (we just got a few in our lab), I'll point them here.

Someone must have had a lot of fun putting together these scenarios for Project Blackbox...

Tuesday Oct 17, 2006

Blackbox Tour on YouTube

I missed the demo on Project Blackbox at work today.  But, I found a link to a YouTube video by Sun.  Enjoy!

(If anyone knows how to embed the flash player directly into my blog entry, please let me know.  Thanks!)

Thursday Sep 28, 2006

What are some of the ways to generate/remember passwords?

I just got an email to change my password at work this week.  I dutifully changed it and then coincidentally read an article on Lifehacker on using your password as a reminder.  Very interesting concept that I might use with some modifcations as suggested by the comments to make it more secure.   Who knows?  It might make a difference in my life, too, since I probably type some password or another a dozen times a day.

I used to use a tongue twister in another language translated to English as my password since it had both numbers and letters.  It was very easy to remember and also helped me to learn that language.  Unfortunately, I had to change it because it was too long for many systems. 

Will this work for you?  Any good ideas for how to generate and remember strong passwords? 

Friday May 05, 2006

Favorite podcasts for Spring 2006

Been too busy to blog lately. But not too busy to keep listening to podcasts, so I thought I would update my favorite podcasts for Spring 2006. They are (not in any particular order):

Reviews for the Weekend by Ebert and Ropert. - I watch about 2 or 3 movies a year in a theater, however, I really enjoy listening to movie reviews. It's great to know that I'm not missing much...

Security Now! - This computer security podcast is pretty technical and even a pseudo-geek like me sometimes can't keep up with how public key encryption works for example.

NPR Technology - A summary of the weeks technology broadcasts from National Public Radio. - Still haven't learned to speak Mandarin yet. But, at least I've learned a few phrases (Bù hǎo yì si). This is not your typical foreign language class. It's quite entertaining and useful for the modern world. For example: Dàn shì tā méi yŏu shŏu jī. That's something about not having a cell phone.. :-)

The Naked Scientist - Interesting Science show from the BBC. Probably middle school or high school level at times. But, it's been a long time since I was in high school. We had fun listening to this on the drive from SF to Tahoe. Definitely helps pass the time.

This Week's Challenge - NPR Music Puzzler - A musical puzzle in a common song is played in the style of another composer. For example, one was "Scarborough Affair" in the style of Beethoven's moonlight sonata.

Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know - Uh.. not sure how to describe this one. A short satire on the news.

NPR: Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! - Current events quiz. Common events and a few obscure ones.

Inside the Net with Amber MacArthur - Interviews by Amber MacArthur with people who are doing "Web 2.0" sites.

Game ON! - A game podcast by our own Chief Gaming Officer Chris Melissinos from Sun Microsystems. Yes, I admit that I still play video and computer games once in a while (well more like every week...) My current favorite is Runscape which is an online RPG game in Java. Over 100 servers supply the game to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I'm a level 37 monk. :-) I wonder what hardware they run on?

Friday Mar 10, 2006

Hail in San Francisco

This evening we heard a loud crash which turned out to be thunder. Then lightning, then more thunder and lightning, and finally a lot of hail! And this is in San Francisco, California.

Here are a few pictures:

Maybe it will snow tomorrow...

Sunday Mar 05, 2006

Get Things Done with 43Folders?

My favorite podcast lately has been "Inside the Net". I can't find the home page for Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte's podcast, but you can subscribe in iTunes. (Here's an RSS link (

A recent episode highlighted a productivity website called 43Folders. I'm not one to procrastinate much, but also I'm not one of those people that gets everything done on their to do lists and has 0 messages in their inbox. (I have almost 3000). Anyway, there's some interesting tips on getting things done on 43Folders. One is called a "Hipster PDA" (I've been carrying around a small notebook in my back pocket and a small pen in my front pocket for years...), another is a book entitled "Getting Things Done", and the third thing that I keep meaning to look at is how to get control of my email...

If I ever get around to getting things done, I might post more on this... :-)




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