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· I’m kind of overrun with things I want to write about; I was looking dispiritedly at the “blog this” list and I noticed a nifty intersection with my management chain. OK, maybe it’s kind of a feeble hook, but I get to knock three things off the list; herewith interesting stuff from Stern, Loiacono, and Schwartz, but there’s a missing link ...
Sunbeams: Fallen Eucalypt
· Back in 2004 when we were just getting blogging going at Sun, I had this Sunbeams series, where I highlighted interesting sunblog posts. Just now, I had a few browser tabs I was thinking of writing about, and noticed that four of them qualified, thus this revival. Item: mod_dtrace; there’ve been times I would have paid big money for something like this. Item: Neutering WinXP to make it safe. Item: a medley of sausage. Item: JohnnyL has a really bad day (illustrated). Yow.
· Today Claire Giordano has a nice piece on community-building, which is a real issue in these days of highly-distributed companies like Sun. If you’re not watching Claire, you probably should be; her fingerprints are all over Solaris’ Zones and SMF and Volume Manager, and she’s been the single most important person in making OpenSolaris a reality. Definitely one to keep an eye on. On top of which, she’s got a cool header graphic.
· Several people have noted that the blogs.sun.com team won a Sun award that seems to be kind of a big deal. There’s a problem: while the other folks on the “team” (Simon, Hoffie, Will, Danese, P@, Dave) are outstanding, we are like maybe 5% of this story, max. There was Jonathan who said “do it” (not knowing at that point that he had blogging talent), then there was Dave Edmondson who deployed PlanetPlanet to make PlanetSun, then there are three lawyers you never heard of—Steve Schulman, Damien Eastwood, and Dave Farrell—who helped us figure out how to do this without getting ourselves or the company busted. James Todd did a bunch of internal work before it all started that gave us some credibility. John Fowler and Juan Carlos Soto managed Simon and me and gave us nothing but support. Add those people in, and you have 10% of the credit. The other 90% belongs to the thousand-plus people here who rose to the challenge and joined the conversation: engineering poets, marketing hackers and well, yes, some complete raving loonies, and their dogs. Just go here and search for the word “background”. Enough said; more than enough.
· When we launched this blogging thang, I hadn’t actually expected much entertainment value. But when you get a couple thousand smart people holding forth, I guess on average some of them will turn out to be funny. Recent examples would include anything Tim Caynes writes (and no, I have no idea what he’s talking about either) and Jeff Kesselman on Sex at IBM and Sun (nothing to do with sex, unfortunately). But you really gotta respect someone who can be funny about RMI exceptions (well, mostly the picture).
Sunbeams, Mount Sabalan Edition
· Let’s start with the high-tech stuff: Jeff Bonwick already got pointage from Jonathan this week, but this piece is totally a must-read anyhow. As you might have heard, there’s a lot of talk about open-sourcing Solaris. Easy to understand in principle, but Mike Kupfer offers an elegantly-written look at the details. Still in Solaris-land, read about the dreaded
rm -rf / (even typing that into my editor makes me shudder). Enough of that geeky stuff; recently we’ve had a charming cameo from Jennifer Love Hewitt and magical ambigrams from Chandan—if you don’t know what an ambigram is, follow that link and you’ll be delighted. Also worth a visit is Paul Humphreys who on top of working at Sun has the best side-job in the world, and I’m not kidding. Then there’s Tim Caynes, scroll down and read his untitled September 23rd piece, I have no idea what he’s talking about but it’s still amusing. Mount Sabalan, you ask? It’s in Iran. Right away, you’re thinking geopolitics, culture wars, political turmoil. Nope, it’s a vacation spot, and Masood Mortazavi, one of our better writers, climbed it on his summer vacation.
Sunbeams, Bow Wow Wow Edition
· Starting on a serious note: Onno Kluyt runs the Java Community Process, which makes him a VIP, and he’s got a pointer to its scholarship program; this is how you go about getting the seal of approval on your software if you’re a non-profit or an OSS hacker who can’t afford the regular process designed for organizations like IBM and BEA. Check out the recipients. Next, Dave Johnson, who qualifies because he’s about to start working here, wrote a nice picture/analysis of the inside of Rome. With Rome and the Pilgrim Universal Feed Parser, the world has two full-function general-purpose syndication feed wranglers. How many do we need? Hopping over to the other side of the world, Chandan has a neat little piece on pricing in India; if you read to the bottom you’ll find a nastily amusing picture. Tor Norbye asks an obvious question: what is the caps-lock key for and why don’t we just get rid of it? In the eye-candy department Willys Ingersoll posted some remarkable pictures of Shanghai. Will Snow, who’s always worth reading, has a scary story about how to get yourself in big trouble real fast by shifting sun.com infrastructure. In the warm-glow department, check out ML Starkey on working the holiday weekend. And finally... well, this is a little weird, and we all know what they say about what nobody knows on the Internet, but apparently one of our Sun bloggers is a dog.
· Well, normally I’d stick this in a Sunbeams posting, but it’s good enough to go standalone; you might want to take a trip over and check out Potsticker Guru AKA James C. Liu. A geek’s geek and a good writer and funny, too.
Sunbeams, Transylvanian Edition
· Our own Bryan Cantrill, world’s most enthusiastic kernel engineer, shares one of the world’s most sickening sensations—a live demo that goes bad—and still manages to be funny. Janos Cserep gives us a Transylvanian travelogue, with lots of colour and some decent pictures too. While in Europe, Daniel Templeton has been running first-rate series of posts on the subject of Germany from the viewpoint of an American expat. Torrey McMahon has some offensive imagery in the context of cheesy seventies glam-rock, what’s not to like. Finally, Dan Baigent reports a story that caused quite an internal stir; some ignorant blogger writing up LinuxWorld 2004 and claimed that the Sun booth was full of Windows boxes. (What actually happened was that someone was fooled by all the Linux and Solaris boxes running JDS, which from a distance does look quite a bit like Windows.) Dan’s take is light-hearted, but you should see the internal mailing lists. If you really want to get a bunch of our engineering Linux and Solaris geeks mad, accuse them of running Windows.
Sunbeams, Pink Edition
· Mostly nontechnical today, so let’s do the geeky stuff first: Chet Haase talks up ImageIO and he’s right, it’s coolio, I’ve used it too. Greg Reimer draws a persuasive analogy between conspiracy theories and Internet Worms. Then, Chris Calkins gives us an almost-all-pink day including a huge picture of a terrific flower; definitely my kind of stuff. Jason Schroeder has a wonderful I-hate-airlines rant, every frequent traveler in the world will be saying “Amen!” And to end the week on a light note, here’s a posting reproduced without permission from the Sun internal Mac Users mailing list: “And it came to pass in those days that they did iPodify their bimmers, yea even unto the those of them that had already more toys than they knew what do to with...” I mean, if iPodifying bimmers isn't a sign of the End Times, well, I just don't know what is.
Sunbeams, in Simultaneous Arabic and Hebrew
· Let’s open with something heartwarming: the simultaneous launch of the Arabic and Hebrew OpenOffice localizations. On the technical front Val Henson introduces Crash-Only Software, another thing that’s obvious when you think about it, only I hadn’t. Ted Kim goes way deep on Infiniband, not omitting the politics. Alec Muffet, it turns out, is the father of “crack”, which has been a fixture in the security landscape as long as I can remember. Paul Lamere, who writes about computer speech, illustrates the problem with a charming and horrifying poem about English orthography. New face Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine deserves notice for his name alone, and his material is very promising. On a lighter note, while Sean Gallagher doesn’t work for Sun, the title of his article about us having sold JDS to Allied Irish Bank is just too good to pass up. Finally, I discovered Richard Friedman, and if you follow only one pointer out of today’s Sunbeams, go look at his pictures. Wow.
· Well, I said once a week, and it’s been longer than that, but we’ve all been busy. To start on a cheerful note, here’s Jeff Solof on child sacrifice and theological page-turners (really). Staying nontechnical, Josh Simons writes about rare digital books, which will get any bibliophile’s heart pounding; Geoff Arnold points us at an amusing note from Neil Gaiman and adds a chuckle to it. Moving to technology, Bryan Cantrill worries about keeping Usenix relevant. And last week, one big news story was the open-sourcing of Java3D. I am one of the few living humans to have actually shipped a working J3D app, so this turns my crank a bit, if you need 3D I doubt there’s a smoother API in the world for it; check it out. I’m going to have to go revive my Pseudobabyloniana project, should be a snap to move it from Perl to J3D.
Sunbeams: Writhing Like a Vast, Salted Slug Edition
· [Editorial note: I’ve gotten a bit of pushback on Sunbeams, from a prominent journalist and my Mom among others. Fair enough, I think the Sunbloggin’ ecosystem has had the necessary leg up. However, I am (for the nonce) still reading them all, and there is some good stuff there, so for the next little while I’ll do a Sunbeams once each weekend. Jeepers, I just looked, there are now 355 accounts on blogs.sun.com.] On the musical front, the Welblogger has a piece on The Arlenes which includes a pointer to a beautiful MP3, and Warren Strange saw The Hip in a small club in Calgary (I’m green with envy). The greimblog usefully contrasts two categories of religiosos, JXnuts and XCnuts (he compares the Web to the slug in the title). Will Snow, who runs sun.com, gives us a slice of life leading up to Java One. Edward Tufte is one of my intellectual heroes, and this week both Richard Kenyon and Martin Hardee have Tuftean outings, the latter with a priceless direct quote that I’d never heard before. Finally, Norm Walsh gives us the lighter side of standards-committee meetings: “What we need are anti-namespace nodes.”
Sunbeams: Treasure from Boiled Liquid Edition
· Let’s start with Phillip Wagstrom’s debut: If you've got something with a Sun logo on it that's not working right, you call me; once again, a window into a world I don’t know. Moving on, David Ogren gives us tasty little bite of blog-propaganda. Jon Haslam shows us how to use the incredibly-advanced features of Solaris to torture
tcsh users, but then spoils it by admitting to being a miserably-deluded
ksh devotee (Everybody Knows
bash is the One True Shell). On the lighter side, Steve Lau calculates the cost of commuting, and Henry Jia survives some tests including “pass through electric grid” and “get treasure from boiled liquid”—with these guys on our side, how can we lose? To end on a serious note, Simon Phipps points to a remarkably beautiful video (watch it more than once) and Alec Muffet reflects on, well, life and how to live it.
Sunbeams, Father’s Day Edition
· A few days back, Jeff Dillon pointed out that on the face of it, Google and its ilk are violating the spirit of the GPL. Obvious once you read it. Man-Ching Wong is griping too, but in a mild way about pulling a customer-support shift on the weekend. It’s obvious that a company like Sun must have a ton of people like MC, but this is the first exposure I’ve had, it’s a different world. On the Solaris front, we have Eric Schrock showing cool Solaris tricks that I would have killed for back in my integration-geek days; how the hell do they do that? Then you might’ve heard something about Solaris and Open Source? On that subject Andy Tucker is da man (well, one of ’em anyhow) and he’s wrestling with what Solaris OSS means, don’t miss it. Finally, Norm Walsh has a lovely photo-essay; and if the pictures aren’t enough for you, start poking around a little bit in Norm’s site and read how he does it, maybe you think you’ve ever done deep metadata? Norm’s way ahead of you.
Sunbeams, Rare Goats Edition
· First up, a couple of posts on SunRays, from Josh Simons and John Clingan. They are indeed pretty neat, although when, earlier this week, I was at SunLabs in Massachusets, it took the little grey guy a couple of minutes to find my Sun desktop which lives in Santa Clara and render it the first time; but then it was fine and snappy. Danese Cooper has a straightforward explanation of why CEOs probably aren’t going to be blogging any time soon. On another note entirely, Jim Waldo writes about the impedence mismatch between how engineers view the world and how the world views engineers. And just to get out of geek mode, Richard Elling has notes on the word “war” and nice pictures of rare goats that he rescued.
Sunbeams, June 16
· Simon Phipps’ FISL: In Translation is an elegant argument for expanding your language repertoire and your mind, Rich Berlin has a nifty little piece about bass vibrato and Google and Richard Giles writes on how his new self-publishing podium has opened some doors for him. Ron Ten-Hove gives us a small, densely-written essay about metadata in the Web Services context. Brian Cantrill’s remarkable opening outing dives deep, with a metaphorical side-trip through cerebral malaria, into dtrace, which is causing some heavy heartbeats among kernel-weenies. On a lighter note, our GNU Desktop Mechanic pens an ode to Bloomsday from Denver, Dave Edmondson gives his car an enterprise-class audio upgrade (you have to see this to believe it), and Scott Hudson takes home a Star Destroyer. (No, ongoing is not going to turn into BoingBoing, I miss writing the longer bits and will again, it’s just that between coding furiously on the Zeppelin and den-mothering the Sunblogfloggers well I’m busy.)
Sunbeams, June 13
· Herewith the latest harvest from the Sunbloggin’ posse: John Clingan is on a bit of a roll; his top piece questions the whole “technology analyst” ballgame, and second from the top, he washes some dirty Sun laundry in public (who says we don’t let it all hang out?). Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart does some basic consciousness-raising about J2EE and Application Servers. And Martin Hardee writes about the horrendous difficulty of keeping something like Sun.com organized and (ideally) useful; that’s a problem I wouldn’t be brave enough to anywhere near.
Sunbeams, June 10
· I’ve subscribed the aggregated feed over at Planet Sun, mostly in curiosity at how this experiment turns out. Since we’re now somewhere around 300 contributors and growing fast, I won’t be able to keep up down the road; but at the moment I do see a lot of interesting stuff go by, and what I’ll do is aggregate the bits that catch my eye every little while here under the label Sunbeams. Today’s take includes Moazam Raja on Omniscient Debugging (I’ve subscribed to Moazam separately, he’s essential), Hung-Sheng Tsao on all sorts of geeky sysadmin stuff, Frank Lagorio’s scorching smackdown of marketing in Sarbanes-Oxley space, Ron Ten-Hove on JBI (the programmer’s-eye view into Web Services), Josh Simons’ adorable albino squirrel (I’m not kidding, check it out), and finally MCWong’s must-read guide to Kopi in Singapore.
By Tim Bray
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