Thursday, February 27, 2014

Two Floor Tickets - Wizards vs. Magic - Priceless 80th Birthday Celebration With Slim

Tuesday evening, my father aka Slim, my mother, aka Weasie (both nicknames that I gave my parents in the 1970s that I have called them ever since - read my book to learn why :), my wife Julie and I went to the Wizards vs. Magic at the Verizon Center.

I have Wizards season tickets with long time friend and former next door neighbor Peter Eelman.  As season ticket holders, we enjoy a number of perks each year.  One of the main perks is we have a great Senior Guest Services Specialist in Tony Duffy.  Tony helped get the whole night setup.  In the middle of the 2nd quarter, Tony came buy with two bags of Wizards items for my father.  In the bags were:

  •  Signed Bradley Beal plaque with a piece of a game worn jersey when Bradley had his highest scoring game ever for the Wizards.
  •  Wizards game warmup jacket.
  •  Wizards golf balls.
  •  DC-12 glasses.
  •  Wizards coasters.
  • A message was put on the Verizon Center's four large screens:
    •  Happy Birthday Lt. Col. John K. Edstrom!

That is Tony above with my father giving him the many gifts.  I want to express my sincere thanks to Tony for making this such a great night for my father and me!

A perk that was happening the night of the game was a "Chalk Talk" where the Wizards guest services had the Directors of player personnel for the Wizards, Capitals, Redskins and Nationals all talk about player contracts.  Below is my father in the Wizards cap before the event started. I asked a question on what happened with the $36 million penalty the Redskins had a few years back.

We are in front of the "M" Lounge which is only for those patrons who have first row court side seats.

When you have court side seats, it comes with free drinks and food.  We ate at all three of the court side restaurants - "M" Lounge, Courtside Clube and Dewar's Coaches Club.

Standing in front of our seats.

Enjoying our free drinks and food in our super comfortable seats.

As we were sitting down, Steve Buckhantz, play-by-play announcer for the Washington Wizards on TV (along with Phil Chenier who is the color commentary part of the great team) was finishing up his pre-game broadcast when he was walking off the court to head upstairs to do the game.  I ran into Steve and asked him to wish my father an happy 80th birthday which he gladly did.

Before the game my father had a friend come over, Chris Sanders, who is the grandson of my father's good friend Oscar Sanders.  Oscar passed away in 2008. Chris has first row floor seats at Wizards games.  That is Chris getting up after sitting down with my father.  Chris is very fast or Julie was taking the photo from section 402, I can't remember which is true :)

Above is my father with the legend of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Bullets - Bobby Dandridge.   I was in the tunnel and I ran into Bobby and we started talking.  I had met Bobby once before at an autograph signing session and I remember how nice he was there, so I thought I would walk up to him to ask him a huge favor. 

I told him that me and my father were huge fans of his and we were there in 1978 when he helped lead the Bullets to a world championship.  I asked him if he would mind walking out to our seats and wishing my father a happy 80th birthday and getting his photo with my father.  He said, "of course!" As we walked up, we were told to wait by security because it was during a pre-game presentation.  Bobby could tell that I felt I had missed the window for him to speak with my dad, so he said to me, "it's all right, we have time.  It's not like I am playing tonight, right?"  I told Bobby that I remember when he became a member of the Washington Bullets and I read in the Washington Post that a driving reason that Bob Ferry (Bullets GM) picked up Bobby was because he read a quote by Julius Dr. J Erving that "no one checked him better than Bobby Dandridge".  Bobby said to me, "that was awful nice of him to say that".

THE absolute happiest I have ever seen my father, "hey slim, there is someone here I would like you to meet" and he looked up and saw Bobby Dandridge .  My father popped up out of his seat like he was shot out of a cannon and started shaking Bobby's hand and had the biggest smile I have ever seen him have.  My father said to him, "oh this is GREAT, we saw you play back in the 70s when you won it all!"

As wikipedia states on Bobby Dandridge:  "Named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1970, Dandridge was also an important part of the Milwaukee Bucks team that won the NBA championship in 1971 alongside the Hall-of-Fame duo of Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Oscar Robertson. Dandridge is usually mentioned as one of the NBA's best forwards in the 1970s. He played a total of 13 seasons in the NBA, nine of them with the Bucks as well as four with the Washington Bullets, with whom he won an NBA championship in 1978 while forming the frontcourt with another future Hall-of-Fame duo: Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld."

I can honestly say that Bobby Dandridge is my favorite Bullet/Wizard of all time because he defines what a class act truly is both on the court and in life.  I cannot thank him enough for taking time out of his night to speak with me and then walk out of the tunnel and spend some time with my father.

Above is John Wall - first round pick for the Wizards, NBA All-Star and the 2014 NBA slam dunk champion.  John had an incredible night scoring 27 points.

I was speaking with one of the Wizards Girls and asked her if she could get a Wizards t-shirt for my father.  She brought over one for him and one for me.

The picture above and below were taken by my wife, Julie, from our regular season ticket seats in section 402.

Above is John Wall bringing the ball up, just in front of us, with his running mate Bradley Beal.  John Wall and Bradley Beal are the two most gifted (and youngest) guards in all of the NBA.  Bradley had 21 points that night.

Wizards won 115 to 106 to cap off a perfect night!

At the end of the game, Zach Leonsis, son of the Wizards/Capitals/Mystics/Verizon Center Ted Leonsis, wished my father a happy 80th birthday as well.  Zach was sitting three seats away from us and I asked him to wish my father a happy birthday - which he gladly did.  The whole Leonsis family is a class act.

Above is the selfie that Slim took the next day wearing the Wizards warmup that Tony Duffy gave him.

As the old Mastercard commercials used to state:

"Price of two floor tickets at a Wizards game $1,500   Watching your father have the time of his life and have Bobby Dandridge personally wish him a happy 80th birthday - PRICELESS!"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Crowd Sourcing Patents

There is an interesting article on crowd sourcing patents titled, "Obama advisers want to “crowdsource” patents, call again for new law" at arstechnica.

As the article by - Feb 20 2014, 5:37pm EST starts off:  

"In June, President Barack Obama called for action against patent trolls. Today the White House held a short conference updating what has happened in the arena of patent policy since then and announced new initiatives going forward—including one to "crowdsource" the review of patents.

"I don't think we felt like we had a choice but to take action on the issue of patent trolls," said Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling at today's event. "What we were seeing wasn't a trend upward [in patent threats], it was a hockey stick."

Patent trolls are killing innovation and the Obama administration needs to take serious action.  Personally, I would like to see that there would be NO patents for software because of the patent trolls are getting patents for absolutely obvious and non-innovative ideas.  These patent trolls are not creating any value, they are just trying to be the "mafia of the Internet".  They serve no useful purpose and only add tremendous cost to the equation.

Mr. Mullin brings out one of the fundamental problems:

"Unless the crowd-sourcing initiatives were to put major new burdens on applicants—which would be resisted—the fundamentals of patent examination aren't going to change. Patent examiners get an average of eighteen hours to review a patent. Most importantly, examiners effectively can't say "no" to applicants. They can reject a particular application, but there's no limit to the number of amendments and re-drafts an applicant can submit."
We will have to see if Obama follows through on this....

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dinner in Old Town Alexandria

Julie and I went to Old Town Alexandria for dinner Saturday night.  Perfect day to take her Mini Cooper S convertible, put down the top since it was 64 degrees and sunny.

Below is a photo of the dock in old town with Julie on the right.

Below is where we ate The Fish Market in Old Town Alexandria.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Getting Together With Scott Radeztsky - Sun Microsystems Colleague

Longtime friend and Sun colleague, Dr. Scott Radeztsky, was in town this past week.  We got together to discuss old times at Sun Microsystems and got caught up in general.  It is also nice for me to ask Scott questions about physics - since that is what he got his Ph.D. in at University of Wisconsin.

We went to Clyde's in Ashburn to have a couple of beers and a nice dinner.  It's always great seeing the ole SUNWers...

Below is Scott and me enjoying a beer at the bar while our table is being setup.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1991 Floppy for Lotus 1-2-3 for Sun SPARC Systems

Cleaning out an old desk, I found this 1991 floppy.  Not sure how many of these are around :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Winning the Application Platform

Note: This appeared in the IMTS Insider dated Feb 13, 2014
By: Dave Edstrom

James Carville, American political commentator, is known for coining the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid,” when it was used in 1992 to drive home Bill Clinton’s primary attack point positioning him against President George H.W. Bush.

In the computer industry, there is a similar phrase to focus the big picture, “It’s the platform, stupid.” The Holy Grail is not about selling a lot of software; the Holy Grail is about selling lots of software by winning the platform, specifically the application platform.

There is a famous 2006 video of Steve Ballmer of Microsoft jumping around the stage screaming, “developers, developers, developers.” What Mr. Ballmer was really saying was that Microsoft couldn’t continue its hold on the WINTEL (Windows and Intel) platform without taking care of developers.

What are the key components in winning the application platform? The first key component is to win the architecture. This is best done by having an open architecture. The second key component is to have an outstanding developer platform. The third key component is applications: software applications and hardware expansion solutions.

The first question to answer is, “what is a platform?” Prior to Java, the programming language and computing platform created by Sun Microsystems, a platform was typically defined as the combination of hardware and software that developers would use to build their applications. The WINTEL (Windows and Intel) system was the most well-known platform. “Windows” referred both to the operating system (OS), the software development kit (SDK) – which are the libraries developers’ use – and the integrated development environment (IDE), which developers use to build their applications. During the 2000s, a popular platform was LAMP. LAMP stood for Linux, Apache HTTP Server (aka a web server), MySQL and PHP, Perl or Python. The LAMP stack was very popular because it included the necessary OS, database and programming tools to create a website that was open source and free to use. The application platform includes the set of software tools necessary to build the application and, many times, this includes a database. Android is the open source platform that was created by Google. iOS SDK is Apple’s software platform for their mobile devices.

Why is owning the platform important? Let’s turn on the time machine and go back to a Sun Microsystems conference room on July 1987 when the first ever SPARC (Scalable Processor ARChitecture) system and SPARC microprocessor was introduced. In May of 1987, I started at Sun Microsystems as a Systems Engineer (SE) working in a pre-sales environment. Basically, an SE was the technical arm for the sales rep that explained the technology, did presentations, ran benchmarks and basically did anything on the technical side to drive sales. The average sales rep was in their late 20s, making $350,000 in the Washington DC Sun office. Sun had the best development environment and the best bang for the buck for the workstation market. Sun introduced the Sun 4/260 and announced it would license the technology for both systems and microprocessors. Many Sun employees questioned the logic of this strategy. The overall question could be summarized, “We are killing it in the market. We introduced a system that is literally 2 ½ times faster than any other system that is out there. Why would we be possibly want to license this technology as opposed to keeping it for ourselves?”

The question would be answered by Scott G. McNealy, President, CEO and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, when he visited in person shortly after the global announcement of the new SPARC system. The question was asked of Scott, “Why license SPARC as opposed to just keeping it ourselves?” In the next half hour, we all received a Ph.D. in the economics of technology from the Harvard and Stanford graduate. Scott asked the question, “What were the two most successful computer architectures of all time?” He looked around the room for a few seconds and then answered his own question. Scott went on to explain that the two most successful computer architectures were the IBM mainframe and the IBM PC.

The IBM mainframe was so dominant in the computer industry that many companies felt the only way to make money was not to compete with the industry giant, but to create boards that would be compatible or plug into IBM’s mainframe computers. The term Plug-Compatible Mainframe (PC-M) was created. Scott went on to explain the IBM mainframe market share was above 80 percent. IBM’s mainframe architecture was clearly dominant.

At the other end of the spectrum was the IBM PC. IBM felt pressure in the late 1970s and early 1980s to respond to the quickly growing market that was led by companies like Apple, with the Apple II, Radio Shack, with the TRS-80, and the Commodore PET. Feeling the time pressure, IBM used off-the-shelf parts for the hardware and leased DOS from Microsoft. This combination of off-the-shelf hardware and a leased operating system allowed for the creation of the PC compatible market. These PC compatible systems were called PC clones or IBM clones. The IBM PC architecture was the dominant architecture.

Scott then brought the conversation back to economics and asked the question, “How expensive would it be for Wang, Data General or any of the other proprietary architecture companies to completely change their architecture?” The rhetorical question drove home the point that changing your architecture would be an extremely expensive proposition and could put a company completely out of business. The reasons it is so expensive to completely change the architecture is that customers have applications that they have purchased and written. What do they do with those applications? This could be, and typically is, a nightmare for companies.

By licensing SPARC at both a system and microprocessor level, Sun was attempting to establish an architecture that would be the new platform for high-end workstations and servers. Sun had a world-class developer program. By building the systems on an industry standard VME bus, Sun made it easy for hardware developers to use the new SPARC systems.

Scott McNealy was able to educate all of us by first explaining the logic from an economic perspective. The technology perspective was important, but it was second to understanding the economics of a platform. It was a lesson that none of us would ever forget. At your company, are you simply creating products or a platform? Even if you are not creating a platform, this is a conversation that you should be having, because your competition is not sitting still. Remember, it’s all about winning the platform.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dave McPhail - President and CEO of Memex Automation on BNN

This is an excellent interview of Dave McPhail - President and CEO of Memex Automation on BNN.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sun Microsystems and Microsoft OpenOffice Patent Meeting

I saw this thread on patents at EE Times and thought this is a great defense use of patents.   This EE Times thread referenced the original article at Softpedia.

This is a great Sun Microsystems versus Microsoft story for all of us old SUNWers :)

[as told by Jonathan Ian Schwartz, then CEO of Sun]

"As we sat down in our Menlo Park conference room, Bill [Gates] skipped the small talk, and went straight to the point, 'Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.  We're happy to get you under license.' That was code for 'We'll go away if you pay us a royalty for every download' – the digital version of a protection racket."

Sun Microsystems did not ink a patent covenant agreement with Microsoft.

[Schwartz' reply to Gates:] "'We've looked at .NET, and you're trampling all over a huge number of Java patents. So what will you pay us for every copy of Windows?' was a short meeting."

Stanley "Tat" Thompson Snowstorm in Ashburn, VA --- Photon and Nero in the Snow

My late Uncle Stanley "Tat" Thompson of Zumbrota, Minnesota used to have a great line for the question that people invariably ask during this type of snowstorm, which is, "how's the weather where you're at?"  Tat's answer was usually, "clear and still".   The other person would say, "I thought you were getting hammered with snow?"  Then Tat would say, "Clear and still - snow clear up to your a$$ and still coming."

Below is a movie of our dogs Photon and Nero in the snow that is 16" and more coming.  We could end up with 2 feet of snow when it is all said and done tonight. This was Nero's first time in this type of deep snow.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sun Microsystems Reunion!

Sun Microsystems Reunion

  • Host:
    Butler, Chabrier, Hauge, Shoemaker
  • no phone

2014 Car Show in DC With John Meyer and Mike Geldner

John Meyer and I met Mike Geldner at the DC Convention Center for the 2014 Automobile Show.  After that, Mr. Geldner was kind enough to invite us to his home on the Potomac for a fantastic dinner.  Below is (left to right) me, John and Mike with the Corvette Stingray (C7) behind us.  We are all Corvette owners.

Below is a video I took of the Corvette Stingray.

Above is the Stingray Coupe and below is the convertible version.

Below is an interesting concept car - a single seater

Below is a video of all the Mustangs from 1964 on that they had at the Auto Show:

Above is the new Mustang and below are a couple photos of the famous Shelby Cobra.

The engine in the impressive Audi S8 is below

Below is the famous 1964 Daytona Cobra Coupe

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Great December 2013 Visit With Memex Automation

I had a great visit with Memex Automation in December.  I did not talk about this or post anything until after we had proceeded with (and most importantly made public) that I would become the Chief Technology Officer for Memex Automation in an ownership position.

It was a fantastic three days thanks to the tremendous hospitality of Dave McPhail and John Rattray. I had the privilege of spending some time at the office as well.  Memex Automation is a great team and it is a true honor to be part of the Memex team.

Below is John on the left with the hat and Dave on the right with me in the middle.  They rented a big limo for my final night in Toronto.

Above is the skyline of Toronto and below are photos from the Great One's bar.

Yes, it snowed the whole time and yes it was somewhat cold :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Slim!

Awhile back we celebrated my father's (aka Slim) birthday.  My sister and I rented a Hummer limo, Tim and Michael came back from college and we all went out for a very nice night on the town.

Above is me, Tim, Julie and Michael in front of the big black Hummer limo.

Below is my parents in the limo.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

HUGE Congratulations to Shannon Sweatman of SMT!

When I think of thought leaders in manufacturing, I think of Shannon Sweatman of Southern Manufacturing Technologies.

Below is an announcement from the Manufacturing Instititute:

"The Manufacturing Institute announced they will award 160 Honorees with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award. The STEP Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C-suite.

On February 6, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize these Honorees from over 110 companies at the STEP Awards in Washington, D.C. The STEP Awards program will highlight each Honoree’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing. By telling the real stories of these women, we will inspire the next generation of talent to pursue careers in the industry and support current female talent within the manufacturing industry."

   Congratulations Shannon!