Tuesday Apr 08, 2008

Tech Days and Photos

I recently had a round-the-world trip to speak at 2 Sun Tech Days events - Sydney and Johannesburg.  Both events went very well, I presented on "New Security Features in Solaris" and "OpenSolaris: A Definition" in Sydney.   In Johannesburg, I presented the same security talk, as well as the OpenSolaris talk again along with Jim Hughes and his "Nevada" talk.  It is always good to get out in front of customers and hear feedback.  I think they also appreciate talking to the engineers who help build the stuff instead of people a few steps removed, it gives them a much better chance of hearing the detailed kind of answer they are looking for, especially when they are asking deep, technical questions.

As always, I travelled with my camera and managed to use a lot of my free time to shoot.  I posted a tiny fraction of the shots on my flickr account in 2 sets.  Have a look -  Sydney and Africa.



Friday Jul 20, 2007

Nice trip

In late June I attended Trusted Computing Group meetings in Rome (yes, Italy, not New York).  Sun is an active participant in the TCG and has been for several years.  My areas of interest are in those working groups that deal with the interactions between different parts of the system and also interactions between systems (hosts).  More and more computers these days are shipping with TPMs (Trusted Platform Modules - a hardware chip soldered directly to the motherboard), so we are interested in taking advantage of the TPMs to make the overall system more secure.    In Solaris, we do not yet have the plumbing (i.e. driver and basic OS support) in place for TPMs but there is work being done in this area that anyone can contribute to if they are interested.  Look for more in the future!

Oh yeah - and Rome was amazing.  I had never been there before, and it is an incredible city.  Consider the history of that area, its been populated for well over 2000 years and there are bits and pieces of history dating way-WAY back all over the place.  I took some pictures - have a look.


Saturday Sep 17, 2005

More photo blog stuff

I updated my Photoblog this past weekend and migrated it to start using the PixelPost system. This is my first foray into the world of MySQL and PHP programming, but I found it to be surprizingly easy and smooth. I was already pretty familiar with CSS and scripting, so it wasn't much of a problem. The really nice thing is the way it keeps track of things in the MySQL db and the nice administrative interface so I can upload pics and keep track of comments and categories with a nice interface.

So, for anyone interested in managing their own photoblog site (as opposed to using Flikr or one of the other blog services) and learning a bit about the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) paradigm, I highly recommend PixelPost. Most major web hosting services (I use Lunarpages) offer all of the pieces you need to get started with something like this - including MySQL DBs, and PHP support.

Wednesday Aug 31, 2005

New Camera

I recently broke down and bought the digital camera that I'd been coveting for quite a while - The Nikon D70. For the past 2.5 years, I have been shooting with a Coolpix 5700, which is a very respectable camera that has served me well all over the world (Singapore, China, etc). If anyone wants the old one, I'm selling it on EBay :)

The new one give me alot more control over my images - things like really controlling the depth of field with the aperture settings can make a big difference in some shots. non-SLR models don't have big enough lenses or long enough focal lengths, which means that the aperture setting has little effect on the depth of field. For example, if you just want the foreground to be in focus and you want the background blurred, you need to set the aperture to a pretty wide open setting (F4.5, for example). On a non-SLR camera, you may be able to set the aperture, but the result is virtually indistinguishable from when the aperture is set to the other extreme (F22). With a true SLR and a quality lens, you can really control what parts are in focus and what parts are not, and ultimately it makes a big difference in the overall impact of the images.

So, my wife and I spent our recent 10 year anniversary in Las Vegas and I took some time off from throwing money away at craps to exercise the new gear out in the desert at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I went \*early\* in the morning while the sun was still low and the temperature was a very comfortable 74. I think the results were pretty good, though I always see things I could have done better.

Friday Mar 18, 2005

Photo Editing Software

If you do alot of digital photography, you probably have certain tools that you like to use in you "digital darkroom". Photoshop is usually considered THE tool for "serious" photogeeks. Yes, I know, it doesn't run on Solaris (or Linux), but I when I am working on photos, I want the best tool for the job and am not going to let OS religion dictate my choice of tool. However, Photoshop CS is also seriously expensive for the full blown version.

The Gimp is a very powerful tool that is included in Solaris 10 and on most Linux distros. Personally, I don't care for the Gimp interface, but that's not to say it won't do the job. GIMP does have a nice interface for adding extensions and there is a growing community of GIMP extension developers who are always adding nice enhancements. Most digital workflow steps can be performed in the Gimp just as in Photoshop. Its a matter of choice and convenience.

One thing that the GIMP and Photoshop do not offer is a way to manage huge libraries of photos. I have thousands of images on my hard drive and searching through lots of subdirectories and looking at non-descriptive filenames (ex: DSCN01234.JPG) is not a very efficient system. There are alot of packages out there for managing digital photo libraries. If anyone actually reads this, maybe I will get a bunch of suggestions for OpenSource photo managers that I can try out and report on later.

I have always liked using ACDSEE, it is very fast, it has nice browsing features, has great archiving, backup and restore features. It also includes an editor which can do all of the most common digital "tweaks" that one usually performs.

My new favorite tool is Picasa2 from the folks at Google. The interface is slick, the editing tools are more limited than those from ACDSEE, Gimp, or Photoshop. However, the editing features that they do offer are really easy to use and I have had excellent results using Picasa2 to adjust my photos for web publishing. It has nice features for archiving, backup/restore, and searching. I highly recommend using this if you keep your photo library in Windows and need a good utility for managing and doing basic "digital darkroom" operations.

Here is my photo gallery, most of the photos in this were edited with Photoshop, but I am starting to use Picasa2 more and more now.

Friday Mar 11, 2005

Photos from Singapore and Beijing

I recently returned from a trip to a couple of our offices in Asia to help spread the good word about Solaris 10 to our internal people and key partners. There were alot of people involved and it was very interesting all around. Being a Solaris engineer, we tend to lose track of the fact that the rest of the world is only now being introduced to Solaris 10 and all the new features that we are familiar and comfortable with are sometimes confusing and exotic to others. So, getting out and presenting our technical features to the outside is very important and beneficial to Sun in general.

A nice side benefit of trips like this is that I get to visit exotic (and not so exotic) foreign places and practice my photography skills.

So, here are some albums from my recent visit.




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