Tuesday, June 2, 2009

May 4th 1987 was when I started at Sun Microsystems

Back in my college days in the mid to late 1970's, we were all told that if you stayed at the same company for more than three years that you were killing your career. As the old adage goes, "it is better to be lucky than good" and I have been very lucky to be at Sun.

There are too many people to thank over the years. But, if I had to pick two, it would be Betsy (Maclean) Ferry who hired me and Neil Groundwater who has been my mentor over the years. Neil is the first user of Unix outside of the state of New Jersey and a certified Unix god. He is a retired multi-millionaire who does what he want when he wants these days.

Below is my first Sun t-shirt that I received on my first day of work. Still wear it :-)

Below is the wall in my office with seven Sunrise Plaques as the highlight.

Below is Scott McNealy's signature on my Sun 1982 to 1992 Ten Year Anniversary book. I may have prompted Scott on how I wanted him to sign this, I can't remember :-)

SunSpot Changing The Game

How many Sun employees earn our Java One passes is to help out in a lab or at a booth at Java One. In 2007, at Java One, I was very fortunate to help out in multiple labs. This is more interesting to me than attending the lectures because it is actually doing something, but more importantly, you are talking with folks who are doing interesting things with Java. The most exciting and standing room only lab was for SunSpot. I am sure it will be the same way this year as well. SPOT stand for Small Programmable Object Technology.

Above is the SunSpot kit that you can get more information on at SunSpotWorld.

The best place to get more information is at David G. Simmons SPOT blog.

The number of interesting applications with this is really limitless. What is also very nice about SunSpot is that it can be programmed with NetBeans.

Below is from the Sun SPOT introduction hands on lab from the listing of Java One curriculum that has Spot in the keyword.

Session Title: Introducing the Sun SPOT (Small Programmable Object Technology) and Sun SPOT Community: Java on Wireless Sensor Networks
Session Abstract: The Sun Small Programmable Object Technology (Sun SPOT) is a commercially available, small wireless sensor that runs a version of Java technology called Squawk that is compliant with Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME). Users of the Sun SPOT and those interested in finding out about the platform are encouraged to come to this session and meet each other.

The Sun SPOT platform, developed at Sun Laboratories, is a small, battery-powered wireless device with an application development environment based on the Java programming language. The Sun SPOT, smaller than a deck of cards, comes equipped with a 32-bit ARM processor and an IEEE 802.15.4 radio for wireless communication. Stackable boards include sensors and actuators such as accelerometers, light detectors, temperature sensors, LEDs, push buttons, and general I/O pins. The device can be duty-cycled to run for months on a single charge of its rechargeable battery. The small-footprint Java virtual machine, called Squawk, can host multiple applications concurrently and requires no underlying operating system. The full platform includes tools for programming, deploying, configuring, monitoring, and debugging a network of Sun SPOTs.

The session is informally structured and includes several demos and presentations on existing Sun SPOT projects. Speakers include members of the Sun Laboratories Sun SPOT team as well as members of the Sun SPOT community. Those thinking of using the Sun SPOT for specific applications are encouraged to describe their ideas to the group, so it can discuss the suitability of the platform for the application. Attendees will find fruitful contacts and should leave with their questions answered.

Thanks John Gage! and JavaOne 2008

It was a great JavaOne in 2008 . It was very memorable on a number of fronts.

Below was the night of CommunityOne where ten of us on the System Engineering (SE) side of the house in Americas Software Practice went out for a nice dinner.

Above, starting on the left and going clockwise is Jeff Bounds, Pavan Venkatesh, Bill Green, Michael Drevna, Bruce Haddon, Peter Gratzer, Dave Edstrom, Jim Hoffmann, Ron Gregory and Scott Fehrman.

Above is Rich Green, James Gosling, John Gage (holding a Gold Duke Award) Jonathan Schwartz and Chris Melissinos on stage at JavaOne 2008 (video here) after Jonathan presented John with a Gold Duke Award.

John Gage is the most amazing person I have ever met. John is Sun employee #21, the first Sales Rep at Sun, The creator of Net Day, the person who coined Sun's tag line "The Network Is The Computer", “the most connected person ever" as Scott McNealy stated on the last day of JavaOne, the person who did more for Java than anyone else on planet Earth. Yes, James Gosling is known as the Father of Java, but IMHO, without John Gage, Java would have just been another language and not the dominant programming language that it is today. Without John Gage out there explaining the vision of Java, I really don't think Java would have won purely on its programming excellence.

This list of John Gage's accomplishments just go on, and on, and on... I have personally heard John Gage and Bill Joy tell the story on how John came up with Sun's tag line on a train ride in China. That tagline has and will forever stand the test of time. As a matter of fact, at the Odyessys in Technology - Sun Founder Panel that was held to honor the history of Sun Microsystems on January 11 th, 2006 at the Computer History Museum, I was the person that went to the microphone and asked John and Bill to retell that story. You can watch the video here.

I have often said that if I had to make a slow train trip across the United States and I had to make a choice between having a super model next to me or John Gage – I would choose John Gage in a femtosecond. John would be able to tell amazing and true stories for the entire trip of places he has been, famous people he has met and remarkable things he has done. BTW, I would make the same choice even if I was single :-)

Thanks for everything John Gage!

Above is Jonathan Schwartz, CEO for Sun Microsystems, John Edstrom, Sun Microsystems Campus Ambassador for Virginia Tech (as well as Campus Ambassador of the Month for Sun in February of this year) and James Gosling, the Father of Java. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, John is my oldest son as well :-) Thanks to Jonathan and James for taking time out of their busy schedule for a picture with John.

A very special thanks to Chris Melissinos for taking time out of his busy JavaOne schedule to speak with my son John and introducing John to Jonathan and James.