Archive for September, 2007

The Monster in 16E

September 30, 2007

I flew today from Boston to SFO for Sun’s Innovation@Sun conference, which starts tomorrow evening. I was happy to get an aisle exit row seat in the Premier section, but not so happy with the traveler in 16E, the seat next to mine. John, a 14-year-old boy, was traveling with his brother and parents. Brother James took the window seat, John was next to me, and their parents had the window and middle seats across the aisle from us.

I think John asked me what time it was at least eight times before the flight took off. And then he asked me to explain the rules of sudoku. And then he tried to convince me of the importance of having Jesus in my life. He was fairly persistent on this last point until his brother told him to knock it off, and I told him he shouldn’t talk religion at someone if they weren’t interested.

For awhile he had both feet propped up on the back of the seat in front of him, near the air phone. When I pointed out that he was annoying the man in that seat, he did move his feet and apologize. He wasn’t a bad kid, just a very curious and hyperactive one, except for the proselytizing.

He was polite to the United flight attendants each time he summoned them with the call button. He used that button more on that one flight than I have had cause to use it in over a dozen years of business travel. I lost track after awhile, but I think he used it at least seven times.

One might ask what his parents were doing through all of this. Enjoying the peace and quiet on the other side of the aisle so far as I could tell…

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South of Half Moon Bay

September 15, 2007

[south of half moon bay]

I’m in California for two weeks, including this weekend due to a string of meetings in Menlo Park. I brought my camera gear and took some shots on Highway 1 south of Half Moon Bay. The above was the first place I stopped. After lowering myself to the beach using a series of ropes to stop from sliding down the very steep pathway, I reached the bottom to find a very well-organized beach cleanup operation underway. I grabbed a trash bag and a latex glove and spent a few hours picking up trash, taking an occasional shot, and enjoying the weather, the scenery, and the wildlife. I saw pelicans in abundance and several dolphins riding the waves pretty close to the beach. And for some reason I saw many bird carcasses in various states of decay all over this beach. I asked a local about it and she said it was common at this location, but she didn’t know why. I also found a dead seal. 😦

Getting back up to the roadway was more challenging than getting down. I was feeling reasonably virtuous lugging my bag of collected trash, along with my camera bag and tripod, up to the highway, but anything I did paled in comparison to the guy who somehow…and I do not know how he did this…brought not one, but two, automobile wheels (tires AND rims) back up that very steep slope.

Sun Stock Price to Quadruple

September 9, 2007

As you may have seen from its recent preliminary proxy statement filing on the SEC website, Sun currently plans to ask its stockholders to approve a 4-1 reverse stock split of JAVA.

To that, I say: It’s about time!

As our stock rocketed into the stratosphere during the bubble, the stock split twice at least in part I assume to keep it within a reasonable price range. Now that our industry has moved past the unpleasantness of the dot com implosion, it’s time to put the stock price back roughly where is should have been had that craziness not occurred.

To those who say this is more window dressing than substance, much like the recent change of our ticker symbol from SUNW to JAVA, I disagree. On both points, actually.

First, while Sun’s business is certainly much broader than Java, why not tie the ticker symbol to our most visible brand?

Second, while I’m sure the financial types have concrete reasons for such a split, from my perspective the psychological aspects of a five dollar stock price on employees and on those who watch JAVA are the real issue. True, the financials don’t change materially with a split, but admit it, when you mentally compare Sun to another company don’t you look at the relative stock prices as your zero’th order comparison? That isn’t sensible, but psychology isn’t always sensible.

The above was generated (minus the annotations) using Yahoo’s new interactive charting tool. Stock splits are indicated by the small red “S” circles. Play with the live version of this chart here.

Crazy Jonathan’s $49 Developer Support Model

September 7, 2007

It’s called Developer Expert Assistance and I had no idea it existed until someone mentioned it in a meeting today.

A developer with a problem or question about Sun software technology can get help from Sun technical experts for $49 per incident. This help can include sanity checking approaches, programming questions, guidance on best practices, and other technical assistance. For Java, for Sun Studio (C, C++, Fortran, etc.) and for Solaris 10.

And the best part? Quoting from the FAQ:

    Q: What if I have follow-on questions to my original query?

    A: Your original query is assigned a case number. The case is not closed until you are satisfied. As follow ups to your question, you will have the opportunity to exchange further information and data with Sun until the case is satisfactorily closed.

This is perhaps one of Sun’s better hidden secrets. Even though I knew what I was looking for on sun.com, it still look me a long time to find this information. Here are some links:

For heavy-duty developers, you can buy a one-year subscription to DEA that covers an unlimited number of incidents related to one product or technology ($249/developer), or a premium subscription that covers all products and technologies ($549/developer.) Both of these plans could be real bargains, especially if you are working with new technologies and want Sun to have your back while you come up to speed.

Too Cool: Solaris 8 running on Solaris 10

September 6, 2007

I just read Dan Price‘s blog entry on Project Etude, which shows in detail how to package up a Solaris 8 environment and transfer it to run within a Solaris8 container on a Solaris 10 system using new technology developed by Dan and his team. If you’d like to move a legacy application forward onto new Sun hardware and start a gentle migration to Solaris 10, consider investigating this technology.

For the Marketing view, which is also worth reading, visit Marc Hamilton’s blog.