Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rock Wall

I spent time this weekend working on a rock wall around the tree in front of our house. It is getting there, but what a pain. It is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. There is a piece that will fit - it is just a matter of finding it. Here are a couple of shots of my progress thus far ...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Couple of days in Tahoe

Just back from a couple of nice days in Tahoe staying in a cabin with friends. Here is a picture taken the first day.

A bunch of us went skiing at Donner Ski Ranch. We met up with some other friends there as well, so there were two dads and six kids. Three were on skis and five on snowboards.

Since the ski area is pretty small, we were able to find everyone pretty quickly. And with the weather the way it was - pretty windy - there were only four lifts open. So we spent most of the day on the front side where it was reasonably protected. We did end up on the back after lunch. It was also pretty protected, but getting there was tough. The top was really windy, and you had to either keep you speed up to get from one lift to the other, push if you had skis or walk if you had a snowboard (which is what I had to do).

The next day we awoke to a snow storm. It started snowing at night and continued for most of the day. So we played games and played in the snow - sledding and building a snow shelter. Here is some clearing of snow in the shelter and three inside. Pretty cool!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Combining Exercise and Gardening

Very quick blog entry this time. Just had to show a picture of Julie combining her exercise with gardening. Check out the nice workout cloths, iPod, butt pack, long gardening gloves and big waste can. Quite a picture:)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Web 2.0 Goes Mainstream

We have gone mainstream with Web 2.0.

Slight digression. For those of you who have no idea what Web 2.0 is. let me give you a simple definition. Web 1.0 was all about static content on the Internet. You could go out and find information. Most of this information was provided by companies. You could also transact on the Internet - buying things from sites such as Amazon and eBay. Web 2.0 is all about the interactive Internet. Rather than information being static and transactional, it is interactive and dynamic. Much of the content comes from individuals and communities. For more information, take a look at at Web 2.0 .

And one more digression. Technology in general follows something called the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. That is, there are always early adopters and visionaries who are willing to try almost anything. Many technologies never make it beyond these folks. When it does, it crosses what is called the Chasm and moves into significantly greater adoption. That is where we are with Web 2.0.

Now back to Web 2.0 going mainstream. There are a number of reasons I say this. But the most telling is how my wife is now using the Internet. She is not technical, does not write programs, was pretty much like most users of the Internet. She looked up information, used email and did some ecommerce. But recently EVERYTHING CHANGED. She first started listening to podcasts. She found out about flickr from her favorite Creative Mom Podcast and blog. She has become a part of a community.

I offered to help her create a blog. She now has one and it is actually a mashup (a Web 2.0 term which means to combine different pieces of information from different places on the Internet together). She has a picture, an interactive connection to her flickr pages, links to other sites and the blog itself. She put this together with no help from me - she just used the capabilities. Check her blog out to see what I mean, and click on her flickr map. If she can easily do this, we are past the early adopters and visionaries!!

There are other reasons as well. Mostly the number of sites that are being created quickly and easily where they are combining capabilities from multiple other sites into something that is usable and more interactive. Taking advantage and creating communities where people of like interest can come together. And leveraging the massive number of Internet users. A few examples below.
  • M2 Route - ability to map your running routes. All the site does is overlays on a mapping program your own route. Simple to create but useful if you want to track and share routes. There are lots of sites like this out there ...
  • flickr - as mentioned above is a great site for pictures, but that in and of itself is no big deal, they have made it easy to tie into other sites as Julie has done with her blog. And you can do your own mashups on flickr like show your pictures easily on a Google map.
  • digg - a site where users vote on the best articles, and these articles make it to the front page based on number of "diggs".
  • friendster - social networking site which is actually way better than the more widely known myspace.
  • Yahoo Pipes - this is way more advanced, but provides the facility to create more easily complex mashups. It provides a fairly easy set of tools to do this. Not programming but rather assembly.
I could go on and on as this is just exploding. The web is becoming more friendly and easier to use. We have crossed the chasm and are into mass adoption. It is far easier for everyone to use, to create their own mashups and to join and participate in communities. The next few years are going to be really interesting!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

100 Things ...

I like the 100 things list so have decided to create my own
  1. I was born in 1962
  2. In Peninsula Hospital (CA)
  3. My mom and dad are Virginia and Ronald
  4. When I was born, we lived in San Bruno
  5. I am half Italian and half a bunch of other things (Swedish, English, Irish, ...)
  6. When I was about 1 we moved to Concord
  7. My elementary school was Woodside (we were the Wolverines)
  8. My best friends were Alan and Kendell
  9. I use to love riding my bike around the neighborhood, no hands, without pedaling, in the dirt, ...
  10. I have a brother Todd who is almost five years younger than me
  11. Todd and I get along great, although he lives in Utah so we don't see each other much
  12. I started swimming on our local team when I was 4 1/2
  13. My middle school was Oak Grove
  14. My first job was working at the neighborhood swim club, Ygnacio Woods Swim Club
  15. I also worked as a gatekeeper and lifeguard
  16. I was in scouts until middle school
  17. My high school was Ygnacio Valley (the Warriors)
  18. I played on the football team
  19. I played offensive guard and defensive line or noseguard
  20. I made second team all league when I was a senior (as offensive guard)
  21. I also swam one year, played baseball another year and ran track one year
  22. I met my future wife Julie at the end of our Sophomore year
  23. I worked at Concord Pool Center while in high school, where I delivered chlorine to swim clubs, worked in the store, did repairs and went out on jobs
  24. I also worked at Pool And Game during high school and summers at college, where I worked in the store and then ran a store in Alamo
  25. My first car was a Capri (given to me by my parents)
  26. My best friend (other than Julie) in high school was Craig (and he is still a best friend)
  27. My parents bought an Apple II
  28. I went to college at UCSB (Santa Barbara)
  29. I am a founding member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity (rechartering)
  30. We built a volleyball court on the vacant lot across from our house (we needed 13 dump truck loads of beach sand - which we loaded by hand - to fill it)
  31. I graduated with a bachelors in computer science
  32. I started out as a bio-chem major
  33. I enjoyed playing on inter mural teams
  34. I got married (to Julie:)) the year I graduated
  35. My first real job was at Amdahl Computer
  36. I played a fair amount of softball and volleyball in after work leagues
  37. I left Amdahl after three years and joined Sun Microsystems
  38. I got my MBA from Santa Clara University soon after starting with Sun (started while at Amdahl)
  39. Our first kid Anthony was born in 1991
  40. We bought property and had a vacation house built at Clear Lake (sold before our move)
  41. We moved to Colorado Springs in 1992, still with Sun
  42. Our second kid Nick was born in Colorado in 1994
  43. I actually missed his birth as I was traveling (Austin, TX) five weeks before his due date
  44. Our house in Colorado Springs was huge (4200 sq ft)
  45. One of our neighbors in Colorado was a four star general
  46. We moved back to California in 1996, again still with Sun
  47. I enjoy biking, running, swimming, and golf
  48. I have completed a number of Triathlons
  49. I have raced my mountain bike a few times as well
  50. My best golf index was just under 10 (not there now!)
  51. I have three bikes (less than I had in the past:), two road and one mountain bike)
  52. I am a HUGE fan of "Life is Good" as you can tell from the name of my blog
  53. We have a vacation house in Pacific Grove
  54. I have had back surgery for a herniated disk
  55. I have another herniated disk :(
  56. I have just had my first midlife "change" (typically called a crisis, but no crisis here) and bought a 350Z convertable
  57. I am a big fan of Tivo (DVRs in general, but Tivo is the best)
  58. I do a lot of traveling with work (India maybe 6 times, China once, numerous trips to Europe, etc.)
  59. I really like podcasts, my favorite is Buzz Out Loud
  60. I LOVE spending time with my family
  61. My mom and dad are divorced, but each has remarried and is happy
  62. My wife is an artist (she will love this as she is still not sure:))
  63. I have grown to appreciate art
  64. My favorite TV show (other than sports) is American Idol
  65. I have two blogs (this one and one at
  66. I am left handed
  67. Although I eat with my right hand ...
  68. I eat very healthy - avoid most of the things that are bad for me
  69. I exercise a lot, mostly at the Sun fitness center during the week
  70. I ride my road or mountain bike on the weekends and usually get a run in as well
  71. I really like Christmas
  72. If I would have been a teacher, it would have been at middle school
  73. My favorite wine variety is Zinfandel
  74. I am a fan of beer, especially micro-brews on the darker side
  75. I am not a big reader, but enjoy it
  76. I am not much for sitting and doing nothing, I have to stay active and busy
  77. I like cats (and have two of them), have had dogs but am not a big fan of them
  78. I am a social introvert
  79. I goal oriented
  80. I make lists - even on the weekends
  81. I am positive
  82. I can be a bit grumpy at times - mostly in how I say things
  83. I have good eyesight (knock on wood)
  84. I plan on starting a non-profit to teach kids how real business works
  85. I am a Republican
  86. My two favorite places in the world are the ocean (Monterey Bay) and the desert (Scottsdale/Phoenix Arizona)
  87. I like rocker chicks with raspy voices and fairly hard rock in general
  88. I really like the diversity in people and like to focus on what is good in everyone
  89. I don't have much tolerance for inconsiderate people or people who are not nice
  90. I have never tried drugs (unless you include beer, wine or two puffs of a cigarette)
  91. I like wearing shorts, I don't like wearing ties (and almost never wear one - even when I meet with customers at work)
  92. I would like to do something in city or state government in the future
  93. I enjoy yard work, doing home projects and working in the garage
  94. When I retire (for real), I would like to travel (duh) in the US and around the world
  95. One of my future trips to Europe will be to buy a car, drive it there on a vacation and then have it shipped home (the choices are Porsche, Volvo (no), BMW, Mercedes and Saab)
  96. I plan to continue to spend time with my kids as they grow up and have families
  97. I want to buy a house, fix it up and sell or rent it out
  98. I think that I can do almost anything
  99. I do not want to slow down when I get old (because I am old ...)
  100. It is good to know that there are at least 100 things that I can think of:)

Nice "Valentines" Date

We celebrated Valentines Day a couple of days late - with a date last night.

The main event was a Chris Botti concert at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. But before I get to that, lets talk about dinner.

We don't go to Oakland all that often. Actually, the only reasons that I have been there recently are for a sporting event at the Colosseum (Monster trucks once and a Warrior game more recently) or to visit Craig at his shop - The Outboard Motor Shop / Star Power Marine. So we had no idea where to go eat before the concert. I did a search on the web and found a good list of restaurants, but still didn't feel comfortable with a Valentines dinner at a place that I picked off the web. So called Ken - a guy that works for me and use to work at Forte Software, a company that we (Sun) bought a number of years ago headquartered in Oakland. He recommended a few places and we decided on Oliveto Cafe and Restaurant.

This turned out to be an awesome choice. It is in Oakland, but right on the Berkeley border across from the Rockrimmon Bart station. A bit of a digression. This is actually a very cool area. It feels more like a college town than I would have expected. It was really alive. There were nice specialty wine, meat, grocery and flower stores on one side and a number of cool looking restaurants on the other.

Back to the restaurant. They do a new menu each night. So they include any specials as they create the menu. We took one of these menus home since it was so cool. Todd - expect a copy in email:) They are known for making their own salami and pasta daily. So rather than go with two full meals, we went with a salami starter, we shared a "Polentina with Green Garlic and Parmesan" soup, "Ravioli of Graised cavolo nero, ricotta and Pine Nuts" as our pasta and "Charcoal-Grilled Sierra Mackerel with Sweet Potato Puree and Old balsamico" as the main course. This was all very good - although a bit on the unhealthy side ...:)

We then went to the concert. The opening act was Dana Glover. She plays the piano and sings. You might know her from the theme song from the first Shrek movie - It is you (I have loved). She has a nice raspy voice and was kind of funny in her comments between songs.

Then it was on to Chris. He is really really good. I am not a big instrumental fan, and the trumpet is not one of my favorite instruments, but he is impressive. He mixed it up nicely, had a guest singer who joined him for a few songs, brought you back to his time with Sting and his first professional gig with Frank Sinatra.

As you can tell, we had a great time!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Day Job

I tend to talk a lot about family and other things outside of work. I don't talk all that much about what I do day in and day out. I don't really want to do that here either:) But here are just a few snippets that might give you a flavor.

I am responsible for a set of products at Sun that we broadly call the Java Composite Application Platform Sute. A suite of development tools and products that allow companies to compose new solutions from their existing IT infrastructure to quickly provide new value.

Some of the common names for this are application to application (A2A), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), Business to Business (B2B), and now Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

We are developing the next generation of these products in open source. The open source effort is called OpenESB. This is the creation of a community that aids in the development of these products. The larger Sun strategy is to open source everything that we create in order to gain the largest possible adoption which will result in a larger customer base and ultimately more revenue!

It is a very fun time to be in this space. The adoption of SOA is growing at an amazing rate. It is no longer a question of if a company is going to use SOA for their architecture, but rather when and how fast.

We were recently positioned in the leadership category by Forrester, an analyst in this space. Here is the press release and full report if you are interested. We are seeing great momentum with our customers and through significant growth in sales and our sales pipeline.

We are growing our partnerships around these great products. The best recent example is an HUGE announcement that we made with Accenture that focused on Java CAPS and our Identity Management solution.

There is an excellent newsletter for customers that we have created called Sun Integration Insights Program. You can sign up for it here. There is also a sample that you can look at.

And lastly ... The company that we acquired that provided us with the core of Java CAPS was called SeeBeyond. Interestingly, wikipedia has an entry for them that talks about the acquisition.

They are located in Monrovia, CA. This is close to Pasadena.

The picture is my home away from home, the Ritz Carlton (only $135 corporate rate:)).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Five minute update

I don't think that I will have time to do a nice update today, so here is a five minute one. Just the things that are top of mind.
  • Is it winter or spring. Looking at the weather for next week, rain (or snow in the mountains) almost every day. Perfect - just when I am taking a week off. Oh well, I will find a way to get outside anyway and there are lots of things that we can do inside as well!
  • Like playing the Wii. I think I have to buy a game for it. I have been using the game that we rented for Nick. Call of Duty 3. Pretty cool. Even a non gamer like me can play it. The best part is that you don't die easily. Or rather you can almost die multiple times, but as long as you hide for a bit and recover, you are back to full strength:)
  • Work is busy and fun right now. Lots of customer issues that we are working. Shipping new releases of our products. Having HARD conversations about strategy. All things that make you think and can / will have a big impact on our success.
  • Last night was "Sophomore Guidance Night" for Lynbrook. The whole discussion was around getting ready for college, what classes they should take, when to take the SAT, and so on. Hard to believe that Anthony is 42.6% done with high school.
  • The kids are all school and soccer right now.
  • Julie is all over the web and new technology.
Life is good!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is this all part of my midlife crisis?

I got this magnet for Christmas from Santa (in my stocking I believe). It is attached to my file cabinet in my office. It is awesome - exactly how I feel!!

I was looking at it today and thoughts of my a few things that are happening.

I bought a new car. Not just a new car, but a two seater Nissan 350Z. Not exactly your family car.

We are booked to meet up with my Phi Psi brothers in April for an All Gaucho Reunion. This should be really fun to hang out with my bothers and their KIDS.

I plan to soon start up a non-profit. More on this in a few months ...

And I just ordered another magnet. This one is as good as the last one - in some ways better!

Is this all a part of that thing they call a midlife crisis?

Monday, February 12, 2007

What a performer

This may be another one of those - I am a bit behind. But just had a link to this sent to me and had to post. This is Jerome Murat. What an amazing performer.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Nick's Birthday

It ain't over yet - but things are winding down. They are all in their sleeping bags, so I can write up a quick blog entry ...

Today was Nick's birthday party. He and his friends started off pretty early. Here was the agenda (including the rest of the night and tomorrow).
  1. Meet at 10:30 at our house
  2. Head to Chipotle for an early lunch
  3. Then to Sky High Sports for some trampoline play (right after lunch:))
  4. Back home
  5. Open gifts
  6. Watch the Chronicles of Riddick
  7. Sing happy birthday and eat ice cream cake
  8. Go for a spa and swim (wow is that water cold!)
  9. Eat pizza
  10. Play video games, whatever ...
  11. Watch another movie - Robinson Crusoe
  12. Play some more
  13. Go to bed (~midnight)
  14. Aebleskivers for breakfast
  15. And play some more
  16. Everyone heads home (10-11am)
They had a good time. They sure look tired but happy. I expect that they will be up before I get up tomorrow (or later today).

Overall, a pretty good party!

Global Warming - just a little behind ...

I know that this post will seem about a year behind the times. I try to stay up with things, but finally got around to renting "An Inconvenient Truth" and had to write about it.

This was really good. I am not one to believe what I hear. But even if you are like me - there is a lot of truth in what is presented. The pictures that he showed that compared past and present really drove home how important this topic of global warming is. Below is one of these pictures - of Mt. Kilimanjaro 30 years ago and today.

There is one quote that Al used in the movie that I really liked.

What gets us into trouble
is not what we don't know
It's what we know for sure
that just ain't so

Mark Twain

So if you are like me and have not seen this. Rent it. It is definitely worth the time.

Friday, February 09, 2007

League Wrestling Tournament

Spent the afternoon at Anthony's JV league wrestling tournament. This is a tournament with 14 schools - most of which are a bit thin in the number of wrestlers that they have.

Lynbrook took maybe 12 wrestlers, so we were pretty well represented. And in the end, we ended up with a couple seconds and a few other top 6 finishes.

Anthony had a tough draw. The tournament is seeded, meaning the best wrestlers are paired up with the worst wrestlers through the brackets in hops that the top two in each weight category will end up wrestling for the championship.

Anthony worked REALLY hard in his two matches, the first losing by points and the second by pin late in the third round. I am pretty impressed with the ability of these kids. They are all in good shape and most have been wrestling for a number of years.

Above is a picture of him wrestling in his second match. This was taken with my phone, sorry for the low quality.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sharing the blogging experience ...

Today is a new day. I have now helped Julie to begin blogging ...

We are sharing the experience. She is sitting at one computer and I am at the other. I helped her create her blog called Julie's Art Journal at First it was an iPod and podcasts. Then it was the world of art online, with websites, blogs and podcasts. Now her very own. What next ...

Well - we will be creating a website for her art. And who knows what will come after that!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl ... advertisements

So ... what did you think of the Superbowl today?! I was hoping the Bears would win. But Payton Manning had his day, even with the weather and the Bears supposed better defense.

But the real question is - what did you think of the advertisements. This is the most expensive 30 second slots of any tv show. As a result, they should be the best of the best. Here are my top 10. If you happened to miss them, check out the link below.

10. Coke: Black History - perfect for a game with two black head coaches
9. Snickers: Mechanic - sharing a snickers ... and a kiss
8. Marketing - hot chicks
7. Revlon: Sheryl Crow - just because it is Sheryl Crow
6. Bud Light: Faceoff - rock paper scissors, rock wins!
5.T-Mobile: My Favs - fitting for Charles B
4. Blockbuster: Mouse - using a mouse to go online for movies, a real mouse
3. GM: Robots - just awesome, machine w/feelings
2. Bud Light: Hitchhiker - you know he picked up the chainsaw guy too

1. Sprint: Broadband - connectile disfunction

Oh - and the worst, Van Heusen. Why did they spend the money???

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Wii vs PS3 (and Xbox)

During Christmas break - Nick and I drove somewhere together and had a long and in depth conversation about the future of home entertainment and gaming. The impetus for this was whether to buy a PS3 of a Wii.

To make a long story short. We decided that the company that has the best chance to win in the home entertainment system market is Microsoft with the Xbox. They are not there now, but are on their way. They have added movie downloads. They have a good gaming experience. And so on. But what did we end up buying - the Wii (Nick bought it himself).

It came down to the most fun game system. EVERYONE enjoys playing Wii Sports. We haven't even purchased another game yet. Likely Nick will get one for his birthday. But at this point all we have done is created players and played the different sports.

And we are not alone. Wii is kicking butt. I suspect that all of this will change in a few years as home entertainment systems mature. The buying decision then will be based on a broader set of criteria, but for now - the fun won over the most intense graphics and gaming systems.