Friday, December 14, 2007

Melodrama returns to the Bay Area!

It was with great excitement a large group of us trekked down to Scotts Valley two weeks ago - Daniel Dye has brought back melodrama to the Bay Area with the premier of his Merry Christmas Brent Spudley -or- Yuletide Hijinks. As you might guess, it is a holiday themed story, about the kind hearted Ms Cuddly who gives out toys to disadvantaged children every Christmas - and, well, any other day they need them. Her generosity has greatly impacted her "bottom line", and she finds on the eve of the Christmas holiday that the bank is going to foreclose on her mortgage. The dastardly Victor Von Sprout is found waiting in the wings (okay, behind a Christmas tree!) to take over the mortgage and turn the toy factory into a brussel sprout processing factory, with the help of his dastardly assistant, Diamond Visage. Will the kind hearted Spudley family be able to save the day, and help Ms Cuddly save her toy factory? You'll just have to watch the show and find out!


The Golden Crow Theater has done an excellent job of putting together this production, with a beautiful set and fun sound effects. They even have all the popcorn you can eat or throw! It was so much fun getting to boo the villian, hiss at the villianess and cheer the hero (who, like always, is just a little thick headed, but as sweet as apple pie).


All of the performers did a really good job, but I was especially impressed with the energy of Geneva Holloman, who played Molly Spudley. My only disappointment was that we didn't get to see more of Daniel, who only popped in at the begining and end as the narrator. I'm sure not being on stage gave him better flexibility to direct, and the resultant product was so good that I couldn't possibly hold this against him. I was really impressed with the Golden Crow and the overall production of the show. There is one weekend left, and I can't recommend enough that you try to catch this show before it closes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

libsoftcrypto gate building again!

I'm so excited - I'm finally back on the libsoftcrypto/removal of SUNWcry/SUNWcryr project, after being mired in other tasks for the most recent past, and the best news is I have the gate building again.  Some of my recent code review comments I accepted caused build failures when a full clobber nightly was done (gotta love makefile magic ;-) and I also hit a flag day with librcyptoutil and its new version string.  Good news, last night's full clobber build on sparc completed successfully.  Now to see if it still passes tests, while I work on integrating the rest of my code review comments.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kari's entry for the Little Mermaid contest

I am so excited that they are making a Little Mermaid musical! I can't wait to see the Disney magic come alive on stage - so many ocean creatures (not to mention water!)  Anyways, my friend Kari is trying to win a contest so she can go see the Little Mermaid on Broadway and also attend the recording session of the show's original cast recording.  That would be so cool - an excellent experience for her, since acting is what she wants to do for a living.  I was really impressed with her dynamics. She has such a beautiful voice, which comes off fantastically considering this isn't anywhere near a professional recording!  It's too bad she couldn't get a real piano player, but her voice more than makes up for the tinny backup music. give her a listen - if you like her, vote for her. Thanks!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Day in Hollywood/A Night in The Ukraine

A big group of us made it to Sunnyvale Community Player's outstanding production this Friday - and we were all so glad to be there! The entire thing was very "Gaslighter" like, making me very envious of the folks having such a fantastic time on stage


The show starts out with ushers at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, introducing us to the life of an usher and big hits from the 1930s, winding up with an introduction to the the second act, a Marx Brothers Comedy, A Night in The Ukraine.


We were greeted by the entire cast in the opening number, full of energy and great spirits. I thought their usher costumers were very cute, but found myself a bit perplexed by the subtle differences as Act I progressed. Why did Mike Rhone have a gold strap hanging over his shoulder? Head usher, I guessed, but they all had a different number of bands between their brass buttons on their chest, which I couldn't figure out. Personally, I would've loved to have seen actual costume changes during Act I to better fit the song each person was singing. Yes, it would've meant quick changes - but my years at the Gaslighter say it would've been possible. I suppose remaining in their usher costumes is probably how the show is typically done.


The sets were really neat, with rotating doors and a clever "ankle stage" (thanks to John Whenger for explaining this all to me during intermission!)

We were all very impressed by the amazingly talented cast, as they all spread their wings during Act I. In particular, we were very impressed with Aaron Weisberg on the saxophone! Wow! Bariton, Alto and Tenor saxes! Teri Weitze was a wonderful hoot when she sang "Nelson", and Molly Gazay was mesmerizing with her rendition of "The Best in the World". Keith Pennings never ceased to amaze us with his piano playing *and* ukelale playing! Kristin Brownstone did a delightful job with "Too Marvelous for Words", as well.


Geri Carlson Sauls did it again, with a fantastically choreographed "Famous Feet", and a bringing down the house "Doin' The Production Code".


One of my favorite numbers was "Japanese Sandman" featuring Mike, Anna & Molly.


If musical reviews are not your thing, you are sure to enjoy the second act, A Night in the Ukraine! This is where Teri Weitze really comes alive as Mrs Pavlenko, a wealthy widow. She did a masterful job of being thoroughly disgusted with her staff and visitors, putting on a wonderful sour puss whenever it was needed. Keith Pennings, as Carlo, played wonderfully off of Kristin Brownstone, as Gino (the silent Marx brother). These two lit up the stage with their constant joviality and horsing around. "Gino's Harp Solo" was incredibly funny!


Mike Rhone did a wonderfully sappy "hero" as Constantine, who falls in love with Nina Pavlenko, played by Anna Traina. They were both perfectly syrupy sweet as they fell in love over some dropped papers. Of course, foibles led to heartbreak, which brought us to the delightfully silly "Again" sung by Mike & Anna.


Aaron Weisberg did steal the show as Samovar (Groucho Marx), with clever appropriate come backs to the audiences occasional groans, bouncing around with unbounded energy and an excellent sense of comic timing.


This was such a fun show - everyone in our group had a wonderful time. We found ourselves singing songs from the show when many of us got together again on Saturday night. We had a blast! There's just one more weekend for this show - and I can't recommend enough to get out there and see it!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Caltrain based pubcrawl!

We had a blast! There are lots of pubs & dive bars near Caltrain stations, which we've seen every time we've taken the train up to San Francisco from Mountain View - so on Saturday, 11 of us hopped on the 11:19AM train from the Mountain View station and got of at 4th and King in the city.


We arrived just in time for a fantastic lunch at the 21st Amendment. The beers were tasty and the food was hot and delicious. We hoped to get another pretrain beer at the Hotel Utah, only to find they were not open at 2:30PM on a Saturday. No hours were posted, either, so I don't know if they were supposed to be or not. (checking their website: they are not open on Saturday afternoons - bummer!)


When we arrived at the train station, we noticed an announcement saying the southbound train would be leaving 15-20 minutes late, so thinking we had 45 minutes 'til the next train left some of our group went off hunting an open bar. I got nervous when I saw the northbound train arrive only about 5 minutes late (especially since it arrived at the platform marked "next train"). So instead of going to the bar, we all just picked up travelers for the train (some got coffee, some got beer). It turns out, the sign was out of date & had been a message left up for the 2PM train which was running late! Our train left right on time! *whew*


We hopped off the train Burlingame to drink beer at the Steelhead Brewery Co. The one bartender was a bit frazzled, but we got all our beers and pool balls in a timely manner and had a very fun hour hanging out in the relaxing pool hall portion of the bar. Amy & I split a beer sampler, which was a fun way to try 8 beers without over doing it. :-) When it was time to get to the station, we were all a bit disappointed. After seeing all of the other bars & restaurants near this train station, we really could've spent all day in Burlingame!


We wandered back on to the train, bypassed San Mateo, and got off in Belmont, meeting up with the 12th person from our group and headed over to Ausiello's Tavern. We had even more fun here with the tasty pitchers of micro brews, peanuts in their shells, shuffleboard and darts. It turns out that our visitors from Boston are very serious about the rules for darts (cricket), and there were no "do-overs" for really lousy shots. As it was, we still had a close game (though they ruled with the points). We were having so much fun, we decided to stay at this stop for 2 full hours. Of course, about 10 minutes after 5:43 left Belmont, our group got antsy and started asking when the next train was going to be. Another round of beers settled the natives until we could catch the 6:43 out of town.


We then went on a hunt of dive bars in San Carlos. Our first choice, which will remain unnamed, was filled with people smoking cigarettes. As we had several folks with asthma in the group, not to mention nobody wanted to smell like that, we gave it a miss. We then popped our heads into Sneakers, which looked like fun - but were told we would have to wait 10 minutes just to even think about ordering drinks. We were on a schedule! No way were we going to spend 10 minutes of our already dwindling hour just waiting to step into the place! So, we settled on the Carlos Club - arriving mere moments after happy hour ended. No $2 PBRs for Paul, then! The beers were good here and service was quick - Karaoke didn't start 'til 10, though, so we had to leave without singing our hearts out. :(


Next stop was in Redwood City at the City Pub! Our group of 12 was promptly seated, and beers were quickly brought out. The eccentric menu proved to have something for everyone. I loved my crab cakes & heard great things about the turkey burgers. Yum! While they are not a brewery, they did have a large selection of micro brews which we all enjoyed. As we realized this was going to be the last stop for our San Jose couple, we attempted to get them a quick shot - only to find out that the City Pub does not have a license for hard liquor. Ah, well, it was probably for the best!


Our last stop was at the San Antonio station, where we wandered through back roads (led by our Mountain View native) to Fred's Place. It is one of our favorite local dive bars in Mountain View. A large selection of beers on tap, good drinks & friendly bartenders. Always a good way to cap the evening (and walking distance home for the remainder of the group).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bridge School Benefit

I made it to my first Bridge School Benefit concert this past Sunday. Performing on the 28th were Regina Spektor, Tegan & Sara, My Morning Jacket, John Mayer, Tom Waits & Kronus Quartet, Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Young & Metallica. *whew* It was quite an incredible lineup, and with the exception of Metallica, I was quite impressed with how quickly each performer set up & tore down to keep the show moving. All sets were acoustic. I had never heard of Regina Spektor before the concert, but I was very impressed with her music - I'll have to get one of her albums.


Maybe I'm just too easy, but I loved Tegan & Sara, too. I had only heard their one big song before, and was impressed with the rest of their material. I also hadn't known before the show that they were twins. Pretty neat.


Tom Waits with the Kronus Quartet had to be the best performance of the evening. The energy was amazing, the crowd was thrilled, he sang new songs and old songs and didn't hold back at all. I particularly liked his performance of The Day After Tomorrow. His energy and connection to the audience was just amazing.


It was quite an honor to see THE Jerry Lee Lewis perform as well. He did all of his big hits; Roll Over Beethoven, Sweet Little 16, Good Golly Miss Molly, and Great Balls of fire and a few more. We got to dance to Jerry Lee Lewis live - wow, truly a once in a lifetime experience.


I feel asleep during Neil Young. I swear, most of his 35 minute set was one song (and my friends, who did not sleep, agreed). I like Neil Young, he was just a bit too mellow for me live.


And then there was Metallica... oh, sweet, Metallica, what are you doing? First of all, it took them at least 40-45 minutes to set up (other bands did tear down & set up in 15 minutes), then their roadies came out and did sound checks for at least 10 minutes - conflicting horrendously with the music the amphitheater was playing to entertain us during the break. If I never hear a monotonous "Hey, Hey, Hey" again, it will be too soon.


I love Metallica. I saw them the first time in the 80s on their Justice For All tour. I have most of their albums, I used to play many of the Black Album tracks on my bass guitar. I was just really annoyed with the long delay and annoying roadies, so I started in a bad mood. For some reason, they chose to do mostly covers - which is alright, but covering Rare Earth? That was a bizarre choice. It got better, as they moved onto Nazareth covers and finally into Metallica songs. I'm not sure why they did so many covers, when it was much more interesting to hear Metallica songs done acoustically (and in one case, a completely new arrangement). I think this was my 5th or 6th time seeing them in concert, and I guess I just wanted more Metallica. Once they got to playing, and playing their own stuff, they ROCKED.


It was a great day out - I love being in the lawn for these types of concerts. Much more freedom for dancing, walking around, and just hanging out.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good geeky fun song

this just popped up on IRC - a guy singing about the basic mess we're in with IPv4 to the tune of American Pie. Definitely worth the extended version listen!  You just might be a networking nerd if you find yourself laughing out loud more than once... ;-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Miss Molly Bell's class

I've been taking a 10 week intensive acting class in Menlo Park on Monday nights - it's been great so far! Molly's been dancing our behinds off, and we've been getting exposure to more contemporary work than I've ever seen before in my years of doing community theater! She's very direct, and is getting a lot out of each of us. I'm still stuck in some of my personal classic ruts (like trying to belt notes that really should be sung in my head voice), but she's given me some exercises to help with that. I just need to take time at the piano this week to try to work through them. She also gave us each two monologues to prepare for next week. We don't have to have them memorized, but still, a lot of work to do!


It's so good being home again - I'm still just unwinding my head from the Grace Hopper conference. That was so intense, too! I was up every day by 7:30AM EST, and generally busy with conference related activities until 11:30 or midnight. Now, just to get caught up on my missed work, and act on all the cool things I learned here.

Miss Molly Bell's class

I've been taking a 10 week intensive acting class in Menlo Park on Monday nights - it's been great so far! Molly's been dancing our behinds off, and we've been getting exposure to more contemporary work than I've ever seen before in my years of doing community theater! She's very direct, and is getting a lot out of each of us. I'm still stuck in some of my personal classic ruts (like trying to belt notes that really should be sung in my head voice), but she's given me some exercises to help with that. I just need to take time at the piano this week to try to work through them. She also gave us each two monologues to prepare for next week. We don't have to have them memorized, but still, a lot of work to do!


It's so good being home again - I'm still just unwinding my head from the Grace Hopper conference. That was so intense, too! I was up every day by 7:30AM EST, and generally busy with conference related activities until 11:30 or midnight. Now, just to get caught up on my missed work, and act on all the cool things I learned here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

GHC: goodbye

It's about time to go and finish packing and head to the airport. I'm in Innovation Strategies: Finding the Big Idea, but I have to leave early and the session started late, so I'm not going to write anything up on this session - but Brittany is blogging this session right next to me, so it'll be covered :-)


Sponsor Night last night was incredible - got to talk to so many amazing women, meeting new people, reconnecting with friends and even bumped into a woman, Heather, that I went to Snider High School with in Fort Wayne, IN. Small world!


This was such an amazing conference - I've got so many things to take away from this. So much to think about. I'll try to write more thoughts on all of this later - but for now, I need to pack!


Valerie Fenwick

. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Entrepreneurship: The Fundamentals (and Fun) of Idea Generation

Entrepreneur Denise Brosseau led us through two exercise on idea generation.


The first was a bit hectic, as the assignment was not totally clear to everyone. We all knew we were supposed to be talking about existing products, but many of us were coming up with new improvements/add-ons/etc for these already existing things - when we were actually supposed to be discussing other people's recent improvements to various technologies. We learned techniques that worked and several that did not. We were under an extreme time crunch, which force us to keep moving and really focus, but didn't give us any time to flesh out ideas. We also realized, too late, that our group was too large to communicate effectively. These were all the concepts she wanted to get - and we had fun in the process!


Our second exercise was to come up with new ideas for computers in 8 categories, things like globalize, futurize, and expertise. One of the women in my group quickly realized we had 16 people, so we then divided into brainstorming groups of 2. We were able to get a lot more ideas out and could each focus on a specific area without being inadvertently constrained by the other minigroup's thought branches.


This was a lot of fun & gave me a lot of ideas about thinking out of the box.


Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

Friday, October 19, 2007

GHC: Panel: Outstanding Women in Computer Security

This panel had women from both industry and academia: Carol Taylor, Eastern Washington University; Rose Shumba, Indiana Univeristy of Pennsylvania; Kathy Jenks, Sun Microsystems, Inc.; Becky Bace, Infidel . The moderator, Carrie Gates from Computer Associates, asked each woman to start out answering a few set questions. I've captured a few of their answers and related ideas below.


Carol Taylor recommends having a multi-disciplinary background to be successful in computer security field, and she loves the field because there are never ending problems that are very socially oriented.


Rose Shumba said grants from NSF & Cisco really helped her to get involved in information assurance, as they wanted a security lab set up and to have security worked into their courses at IUP, so she really had to dive in and get hands on experience. She recommends that you attend as many conferences you can, including black hat conferences, in order to keep your skills sharp.


Kathy Jenks sort of morphed from an individual contributer developing software into a management role, which eventually led to being in a position to bring up an awesome team of security engineers for the Solaris operating system. (that's the group I'm a member of ;-) To be successful, she recommends being curious, paying attention to the industry and discussing security from an objective perspective.

Becky Bace grew up in the south (North Alabama) and started her own company in 1998 (Infidel). She got into security on accident, by taking a job a friend recommended her for and suddenly found herself working on an early Intrusion Detection System. Since then, she's written two books on security, funded security research programs (like CERIAS at Purdue) and companies, among many other major accomplishments in the industry. Becky Bace mentioned again how important mentoring was to her career success (a repeated theme in this conference!) She sees this as a great field for women, since it is still growing, is very dynamic and has great social implications.


This was a really cool panel - it was so neat to hear from successful women in the industry!


Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Split Session: At the Internet's Edge

RFID: IP Network Applications and Societal Implications - Monique Morrow


Monique gave a great overview of the technology, which was a bit of a repeat for me, since I attended the RFID talk yesterday, but she did cover different aspects - covering passive vs active RFID chips. Passive devices are lower cost, but have lower range & more expensive readers than active devices.


"Hybrid" RFIDs that contain bar code, for backwards compatibility, are likely going to be the most popular. As this technology gains foothold in the world, we'll be able to get much larger & more accurate data about merchandise, pharmaceuticals, employees, etc.


By 2009, Monique is anticipating a significant share of network traffic with be RFID related (data, voice, video, RF, GPS).


Wireless Security Best Practices Guidelines - Nancy Cam-Winget


Wireless LANS are everywhere now - touching all of our lives, whether you know it or not.


These are so popular because they are cheaper and easier to deploy than traditional wired networks, and lead to increased productivity for employees. What's not to like?


It's harder to secure - the network goes beyond the walls ("open air"), uses a very standard protocol that anyone can use and understand - or their readily available inexpensive devices will.


Most common threats:
Accidental rogue access points
ad-hoc wireless networks
denial of service attacks
client mis-association

WEP was designed with out much (any?) input from knowledgeable security folks.


By the time the committee realized this, there were already millions of units deployed. So, they needed to come up with something to not immediately break those units.


So, a new standard was created (WPA2), but still needs to be backwards compatible for some time. This protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, but not if you still allow people to use WEP. It does not protect against rogue networks, though. She cautions that new deployments must not be done with WEP.


New technology for doing rogue detection & confinement is becoming available, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.


This was a very interesting talk, considering we have a WEP network here at Grace Hopper...


Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Technical to Management: Expect the Unexpected - A synopsis of two women's first

Jessica R Eidem and Tara G Pelletier, both from IBM, went over their initial experiences - pros & cons - of leaving the technical track and going for management.


Jessica talked about how difficult it was giving up her technical role - she had to purposefully stop making technical decisions, to avoid micromanaging her team. This is a something I've thought about a lot in the past, and that is the main reasons I've stayed technical. I'd like to advance my career, and sometimes management seems to be the only path - but I enjoy the technical aspects of my job so much, I can't let go.


They both agreed that they get a lot of intangible benefits from helping their employees grow their careers, through training or giving them challenging opportunities.


They state how important it is to set expectations up front and acknowledge the work of employees to the correct people. They made it very clear that folks should make sure they really want to go into management, because the work they do will greatly impact peoples lives.


This was an outstanding overview of the pros and cons of making this large career change.


At this point the presentation turned into a panel, adding Bev Crair from Cisco and Susan Miller from Sun, two women who have been in management for many years.


The panel was truly a delight to listen too, full of good advice about MBAs, gender diversity, managing career and life balance and why they went into management in the first place.


Bev reiterated how important it was to not pursue an MBA directly after completing a bachelors degree - the work experience you get is invaluable to understanding the course work in an MBA program. She also recommends taking an MBA program aligned with your own life - for example, if you're working full time, don't try to pursue an MBA full time. It's too much work and you won't be with students in the same mind frame of yours.


All of the women on the panel do have an MBA, and they all seem to believe it's really helped them with their work.


This was a very valuable panel - I really wish they could've been given more time!



Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Helping Businesses Invent the Future: Improving Engagement among Women in High Tech

Heather Foust-Cummings from Catalyst, Inc, gave a fun and deeply interesting talk on attempting to expand opportunities for women & business. She notes that while women make up 46.3% of the workforce, they only make up 15.6% of Fortune 500 corporate officers, and only 6.7% of Fortune 500 top earners. Wow. So it's not just our imagination that we make less than men.


Catalyst, Inc has been doing more and more studies of women in technology and science, most recently they did a study with an online survey in January-February 2007. The survey was not random, more of a "convenient" sample, but they found the respondents were from a variety of backgrounds.


Women in technology gave these barriers for lack of career advancement:

  • Lack of similar role models
  • Lack of a mentor/champion who makes accomplishments known
  • Exclusion from important networks of key decision makers

According to Heather this is not unique to women in tech - women in other professional jobs have the same problems. Bummer!


She went on to go into great detail of her yet to be published survey results (so we were asked to not publish them yet), ways individual women can improve their chances of career advancement, and things managers can do to get a good balance and make sure they don't overlook the women in their organization.



Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: PhD Forum: Algorithms

Jo-Anne Ting started us out with her presentation on Automatic Bayesian Learning Methods. Her goal is to help systems that need to learn, learn on the fly. For example, robots or automaton cars. Her research is focused on finding the most suitable algorithm that can do this with limited memory and in real time, that doesn't get confused with with outliers.


Wei Ding gave us an overview of her research with correlation of spacial data, starting out with an example of the cholera outbreak in London in 1854, and how the outbreak was only stopped once proper analysis of the spatial data was done. She gave a good overview of how she's applied her research to analyzing problems with water wells (arsenic) in Texas & finding water on Mars. Her research results are supporting expected troubled areas in Texas - cool!


Wow - one of the folks asking a question on this paper is one of my friends from the Bay Area (Kelly), who a couple years back moved to Virginia to be a professor. I didn't know she was at this conference. Neat!


Our final presenter is Michelle L. Crane talked about her research on slicing the 3 layer architecture of UML. Her goal is to map actions to a symantec domain. I'm not familiar with UML, but I still found the discussion quite interesting.



Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

GHC: Keynote speaker

It was tough getting up this morning, the caffeine kept me up (shaking) til about 2:30 or 3AM, but I"m glad I drug myself out of bed (and so happy that Jen toasted a bagel for me).


Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, had a lot of interesting points about why women have problems following up with a career in computer science. A big thing they are doing at Harvey Mudd is making their introduction to computer science class as exciting as the careers students will be able to do once they graduate.


She noted another interesting thing that I can really relate to: lots of women students think they must be in the wrong field, because they don't spend their evenings trolling slashdot.org, or writing more code just for fun. It turns out, you can love your field, and still have hobbies outside of your career.


Another interesting tidbit - apparently parents & school counselors are telling high school students that there are no longer any careers in computer science, since the dot-com bust - that it's a dead field. Weird - we're all still using computers, aren't we? We certainly aren't still buying systems and operating systems from 1999 are we?


I can't agree with her more - computer scientists do have an image problem. It really is a fun career, and does allow you the flexibility to pursue many different careers and still leaves room to have hobbies.



Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Neat things!

Wow, what a fun day!

I had a total blast at the banquet - it was great hearing about all the awesome accomplishments of all those magnificient women! I was so happy to be a part of their celebration! All presenters were asked to give 20 words of advice, but since I didn't have my laptop, I didn't capture any of them. I do hope someone posts them, though! One of the best pieces of advice that I do remember (and agree with!) is read every email you send at least twice before sending. :-) I just wish I had the time to do that! I have over 3000 mails in my inbox - and I've removed myself from most email aliases, so most of this is not junk. So, I find myself between a rock & a hard place sometimes: annoy people because I haven't responded to their mail, or annoy them because I have too terse of a response. Hrm. Have any of you come up with good strategies for handling that? If so, please leave a comment on my actual blog and not on the Grace Hopper site (so I can see it). (for those of you reading this via my actual blog, just click on the comments link below this entry.)

Cool things from today:

  • talking to students about their research in networking & security
  • meeting up with folks from Purdue
  • getting a special Purdue Computer Science shirt made specially for this conference!
  • working at the Sun recruiting booth and getting to talk to lots of fascinating women
  • attending excellent sessions all day long! I can't wait until tomorrow!
  • DANCING with 100s of women

Odd things from today:

  • Head waiter insisting: "There is no tuna at this table" when 5 of us had indeed been served tuna, vs the mahi mahi other folks were eating. I might not be able to tell the difference between mahi mahi and cod, but tuna is unmistakable. I don't care what the chef or head waiter claimed - we were eating tuna.
  • Waiter saying "Yeah, this is decaf"... and it wasn't. "I am Cornholio! I need TP for my..."well, you know where that is going, and my normally uncaffeinated body was a bit spastic with the regular coffee at 8PM. Not sure if I'll get to sleep tonight or not! Poor Jen - nobody wants to hang out with Cornholio.


Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Working with a Virtual Team in a Global Company

This is a birds of feather session that started out a bit strangely - with no introductions or structure, per se. I guess I was expecting something more like a panel, but with less structure - not the hanging out the panelists were apparently expecting. They wanted to avoid too much duplication with their earlier session, which I was unable to attend as I was working at the Sun recruiting booth.


In general, they are recommending using tools and technology to make working with remote team members more productive. Some obvious things, like sharing information in advance so everyone can be on the same page, speaking slowly on the phone & pausing to give the international folks time to speak up (as there is often a delay on the line).


Everyone had great ideas to share - biggest seemed to be being organized, following through, and learning to communicate with out visual cues. One of the speakers noted that with our global community, we can't count on the visual cues we've all learned growing up anyways - even when we are face to face.


One of the women, who is a manager, said that when she holds meetings with her global team, she has all people call in - even if some folks are local. She wants a "level playing field", though with most conference call management companies charging by per line dialing in, I imagine it is tricky decision to make.



Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Business Innovation through accurate, high-volume data capture: Using RFID to shed light on the dark corners of the enterprise

Deirdre Athaide may be from IBM, but she's promising that we won't be getting an hour long sales pitch. She started out with a good solid background on RFID software (Radio Frequency ID software), using an ongoing example of book store inventory.


After having done inventory at National Record Mart many years in a row, which involved working til 2-3AM with clueless contractors who would completely mess up our alphabetizing, and miss entire sections of product, which would result in weeks of recounting efforts on the part of management...which unfortunately involved me. We had to use contractors, because the entire point of doing inventory was to check for loss - caused by customers and staff. That is a nightmare - and RFID can be the perfect solution for that. Of course, it requires total compliance by all record merchandisers, employee training, and installation of servers/readers.


She also covered how money can be saved in the pharmaceuticals industry, by allowing manufacturers to track individual bottles of drugs through the supply chain until they reach consumers. She explained the complicated "chargeback" processes between manufacturers, wholesalers & retailers that currently leads to $40 billion a year lost in sales due to theft and diversion! An additional $40 billion a year is lost in counterfeit drugs. The proposal is that the unique chip ID and EPC# for each RFID tag makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit, and very easy to track (you can "see" the contents of a box w/out actually opening it.)


Then her laptop died (apparently the power strip she had plugged into was not actually plugged into a power source....), but good for her - she has her presentation memorized! It took a few minutes for a gentleman to show up with a long extension cord to bring her power!


She noted how this is also used for knowing where which employees are when, particularly for hazardous jobs.


Deirdre then did a brief spiel on how important privacy is to IBM and that the technology is neutral, the security and privacy issues are around how the technology is used.


I asked her about more specific issues on privacy, for example, I don't want someone driving by my house to know all of the books/cds/prescription drugs I have in my house. She mentioned there is are new tags that can have their antennas clipped after you purchase the item, though that just limits the range - it doesn't actually stop it from working.


So I can see the huge benefits for this technology, but am concerned that it could be rife for abuse.



Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

GHC: Split Session: Interplay of Life & Work

What a fun session! Three very diverse women presenting here gave lots of different perspectives on how they balanced life & work!


Cecilia Aragon, Computer Scientist, grew up in a small town in IN, feling she was good at nothing, but after getting out of her small town she has had quite a successful career, obtaining a PhD in computer science & moving forward with an exciting life. She's an aerobatic pilot - quite a task, considering she was afraid of heights and flying and much smaller than the standard man the cockpit of most planes was designed for! She had to get special shoes cobbled with thick soles, a booster seat & 40 pounds of weights.


Barbara-Ann Fox, Technologist - grew up a tom boy and has found the best role models for her professional career were men. She ran her own "personal workshop" asking herself these questions: Who am I? What do I want? Where do I find Satisfaction? How do I operate most effectively? Her beest advice: Trust yourself. Reengergize yourself, be human, design your life. (Don't evolve: sometimes you need to start over from scratch). She realizes that she'll never be the expert, but it's not part of her requirement path so it doesn't stress her out. She recommends doing things you think are impossible - because you may surprise yourself!


Robin Wilensky, Solution Architect, hasn't been afraid of reinventing herself as needed. Once she joined Sun, she started making her own niche. This was good, because she could do what she loved - but troublesome as people didn't know what to do with her. She makes personal & professional goals, and balances the issues together. Working 'til 1 AM every day is not conducive to good social life, which she wanted, so that had to stop. She was surprised to find she was still productive, got a lot of work done & nobody was really requiring her to work those crazy hours! Robin has a slightly different perspective on being expert: if you talk about something enough, you will eventually become an expert!


We got to hear more from Cecilia Aragon after the panel, when she showed us a cool video of her in her specially built plane, She went into detail about how somehow being an aerobatic pilot was somehow less scary than getting a PhD in computer science! (she does all of this while working full time and raising a family with the help of her husband)

Valerie Fenwick

. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

Grace Hopper Welcome Session and Keynote

The wireless is down, so I'll be writing down my thoughts using "vi" for now, and attempt to jam this into my blog editor later on! Hopefully this will cut & paste in fine later. Please let me know if any of the links are broken - there's no way to check right now!


Telle Whitney, co-founder of the Grace Hopper conference, gave a fantastic overview of the sponsors, the purpose of them, and why we're all here. She let us know that this year's conferencer is SOLD OUT! Cool!


Stu Feldman, President, ACM, told us about an investigation of lack of women in computing that ACM is doing. They have a wiki where they want suggestions.


Jeanette Wing, National Science Foundation, talked about her grand vision for computing - that everyone will be using computational thinking by the middle of the 21st century. Much of her talk focused around thinking out of the box when considering the question: What is computable?


Donna Dubinsky, all things Numenta (founder, CEO, Board Chair), Palm, Computer History Museum, etc - wow! "Thinking about Thinking" covered the background of Numenta - a company founded to build a new computing platform based on the human brain. What a complicated problem - brains are so flexible, and computers are not!


She used the example of vision & pattern recognition and how it can be very useful in other areas like car safety (cars are now very safe, they need to protect now against bad/unsafe human behaviours) and pharmecutical (what drugs realy work for whom). For example, our eyes take in lots of data & passes it on to our brain, and we can always recognize things like... a cat, regardless of how odd the cat is (odd color, mising tail, missing foot, etc). Numenta's goal is to teach computers how to do that. Fascinating!


Valerie Fenwick


. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Made it to Florida! Newcomers Session and Poster Session

So after two long flights, Jen & I made it to Florida yesterday. It's unbelievably hot here, even in the evenings. I know, I know... it's not the heat, it's the humidity. I grew up in the midwest, but California has totally softened me to this type of weather.

We got to wander around Downtown Disney a bit last night, though we tried to get to bed early to help get over our jet lag. That didn't happen, but I did get up before 9 so I'm exhausted now. Hopefully I can get up even earlier tomorrow - I don't want to miss any sessions!


I attended the Newcomers session tonight, even though this is not my first Hopper - I haven't attended a Hopper conference since 1997, so I felt I was due for a refresher. There was a nice overview of who Grace Hopper and Anita Borg were, though I was oddly left craving more information. Like, why was this conference started in the first place? What was Hopper's famous nanosecond wire? What happened to Anita Borg? (I know the answers... linked above! :-)


The opening reception and poster session was very interesting. I wish students had business cards with their name and session title on it, as I'm afraid I've forgotten many things. I do remember some very interesting presentations on gender and social networking sites, the science behind online dating, as well as a neat talk on routing protocol optimization. The women whose names and talks I did get were Lin Chao on terascale computing, Graciela Perera on doing Diffie-Hellman key exchanges using images, and Dana Zhang had a fascinating poster on automating definition of roles for Role Based Access Control (RBAC).


Everyone really had something interesting to contribute! I only wish there had been more cake ;-)


Well, I should try to get some sleep for my early start!

Valerie Fenwick

. You may comment on this blog by visiting the GHC Forum.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Last chance to see Beauty & The Beast!

We had another sold out production last night, and now we're down to our last two shows. There are still tickets left for both tonight & tomorrow night, so please come on down and catch our show before it just becomes a distant and pleasant memory.  All the details on purchasing tickets and where the theater is located can be found at the Saratoga Drama Group's website.  Don't forget to tell the Box Office that you're coming to see me! :-)

Grace Hopper Conference 2007

I'm totally excited about the Grace Hopper Conference next week in Florida! I've been chosen as an official blogger, so the Grace Hopper website will be picking up this blog for the next week - so the format of my entries will be slightly different than normal (including signing my name to to my entries). All the attendees here from Sun met today to discuss who would be doing what when. I have an incredibly busy schedule for Thursday, starting with an 8AM bloggers meeting! Those of you who know me well know I am not a morning person, so that combined with the jetlag will make for a tricky 8AM start. Yikes!


Looking forward to meeting you all next week in person!


Valerie Fenwick


Friday, October 5, 2007

Music Man from Sunnyvale Community Players

A group from Saratoga Drama Group went to check out Sunnyvale's The Music Man last night, since we had a night off from Beauty and the Beast. The show was a lot of fun, with simple yet beautiful sets, gorgeous costumes and beautiful voices. My friend, Steve Anthony, was really outstanding as Marcellus - stealing every scene he was in, with his hilarious antics and incredible facial expressions that really brought each scene he was in alive.


The opening scene on the train was very catchy and enjoyable - the movement of the cast perfectly recreating the motion of a train, so you could really believe they were moving... except for Kevin Cornelius (Harold Hill) who for some reason remained still on the suitcase he was sitting on. It was an odd choice, as it drew attention to him when we were all still supposed to be wondering who this Harold Hill Character was they were so wound up about.


The quartet was delightful, starting out seemingly "rough" then really coming together as the show developed and their characters became friends instead of rivals. It was an interesting character arc for all of them, that added a nice subplot to underscore the main characters.


Krystin Skidmore, who played Marian, was amazing. Her voice swelling above the orchestra, easily heard even in her softer moments. Good diction, I'm sure, helped with that. I never quite felt the romantic connection with Harold Hill, as she seemed to retain her wariness through much of the show... until she quite clearly resolved that she'd allow this conman into her life.


Kevin Cornelius was an outstanding Harold Hill - his height greatly contributing to his stage presence, as he seemingly towered over the residents of River City. Other standout performances were seen from Alex Martin as Tommy and Eulalie's dancing ladies.


There were a few "zombie chorus" moments (non smiling, slightly terrified dancers) and a few times when the ensemble forgot to watch the music director, but overall the group numbers were fun and enjoyable! I particularly liked Shipoopee. Some of the younger girls were unbearably cute and were so much fun to watch (particularly with an oversized trombone!)


I really enjoy seeing a show where microphones are not used. It is a much richer sound, with no risk of technical glitches or popping from the microphone. Since Sunnyvale has a proper pit for the orchestra, they can do this and achieve a really beautiful sound.


The show is closing this weekend, but I can't recommend going to see this show enough. It was a lot of fun!


That is... if you can't get tickets to see me at Saratoga Drama Group's Beauty & the Beast. :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Plate!

Our cast photographer was generous enough to provide me with a picture of me in my plate costume wearing the COOL hat I made! Never mind my awkward expression - I'm sure I was in the middle of some word like... "word". I'm normally very good at smiling and dancing at the same time, but not so sure about smiling, dancing AND singing. ;-)

Valerie as a Plate!

Don't you just love my Princess Leia wig I'm wearing?


Opening weekend was great! We performed to two essentially sold out houses! Folks walking out of the theater said things like "This is the best show I've ever seen on this stage" and "Wow!" Reviews on Artsopolis are raves as well. Please book your tickets now for the remaining three weekends. Just call: (408) 266-4734 and tell them you're coming to see Valerie!

Monday, September 17, 2007

15 tickets left for opening night!

Beauty and the Beast will be opening this Saturday at Saratoga Civic Theater, and our opening night gala is nearly sold out. This Sunday's matinee is selling fast! Rehearsals have been going really well, so we are ready for an audience.


A few of you have asked... why am I a plate? Well, the basic premise to this story is that a cruel and evil prince is rude to an old beggar woman... who turns out to be an enchantress. She gets really ticked off and puts a curse on the prince and everyone who lives in his castle. He becomes a beast, while his staff become objects loosely related to their prior profession: candles sticks, clock, tea pot, knapkins, whisk, cutlery, cheese grater, rug and ... plates. I'm one of 6 and our costumes are really cool. It's a 4 foot, 13 pound, wooden plate mounted on a harness on our backs. The plates spin, which is neat - but makes them a bit more dangerous while in motion, so I'll have to be much more careful with crossing through the orchestra going forward.


I'm working on making "Gaslighter" hats for all of the plates - they should be finished tonight, and I'll hopefully get a picture I can share. I'm getting a lot of help from Linda, which is fantastic. She really is a great seamstress.


Anyways, get your tickets & come see the show!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Incredibly heavy enchanted plates

Wow, last night was a tough rehearsal! We reworked numbers with our "enchanted" costumes on. I skipped the leotard, knowing I'd be dancing a lot and not wanting to get it sweaty, and donned my harness and plate. It was heavy, but very cool. They spin! After about an hour and a half of going up & down stairs with a giant plate on my back, I felt like I was going to collapse. Fortunately, our choreographer, Geri, gave us a 10 minute break after that. Then it was back on with the plate for another 40 minutes. My back was killing me last night. The only saving grace is that in an actual show we will not be wearing the plates for that long without long breaks.


The dance numbers are cleaning up well, and we haven't had to make too many adjustments for the plates - though they are disconcerting, because when I'm wearing it I can't see behind me at all. So, I'll apologize up front for any toes I might step on!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stressful rehearsals

Last night was our first night with the set (which is GIANT! and really cool!), and also our first night with some folks in costume ... and also the first night with the orchestra.


Wow! talk about sensory overload! I feel bad for the orchestra, because it was the first time for the actors on the set, we had to stop and fix a lot, so they had to do a lot of sitting around. The good news is the orchestra sounds INCREDIBLE! They were a bit loud in a few places, but I believe our rehearsal orchestra is "extra large" (that is, not all musicians will be at all performances). Besides, I'm sure Dan, our music director, will have us all well balanced by opening night.


It was quite a challenge putting together the set, since not all pieces were labeled - but we eventually got everything asssembled. It really is a spectacular set with beautiful colours and intricate interlocking pieces.


We also got our costumes, though I don't think any of us know how to attach the GIANT plates to our body harnesses. I hear it takes an hour, so I'm guessing I'd better show up to rehearsal early on Tuesday! As of Saturday, though, I couldn't even pull one plate out of the crate they came in. They are incredibly heavy. I'm not sure why the folks that made the original costumes did not make the plates out of something lighter - like papier mache, balsa wood or Styrofoam. They seem to be made of plastic or ceramic - with a diameter of 4 feet and thickness of 3 inches. This will be interesting!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Strong encryption included with Solaris 10 09/07!

Yay! The day is finally here! A base version of the Solaris operating system now includes full strength crypto! The packages contained in the Encryption Kit are now included in Solaris 10 09/07 (aka Update 4) by default. This includes: SUNWcry, SUNWcryr and SUNWcryman. Now things like IPsec and OpenSSL will have access to full strength keys at installation time, and you'll no longer see weird errors coming from OpenSSL.


This was a simpler, and hackier, approach than what is being undertaken for Nevada/OpenSolaris. For Solaris 10 09/07, I "simply" got advice from legal that this is okay to include now, filed a package RTI requesting that the FCS versions of the Encryption Kit packages get included in the WOS (Wad of Stuff), and requested those packages to be freshbitted like everything else. These packages had problems with zones, and the like, that were never noticed by internal testers before - since they weren't included by default. Mary D. & Tony S. worked with the patch gatekeepers to get script patches integrated that would do the class action scripts required to fix those packaging errors.


Everything should be in tip top shape now! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The great outdoors!

Had a fantastic trip to Yosemite this weekend - staying in Camp Curry. What a fun place! It's still very rustic, yet it's walking distance to clean bathrooms with running water, showers, buffet, pizza shop & bar. The bartender, Ken, was very friendly as he explained that their wine list was out of date and that they no longer carried Foppiano wines, and promised to pass on my disappointment to the management. As I'm not a huge jug wine fan, we decided to have beers on tap. Not bad for the wilderness.


Deer were all over the campsite, cautious of the people, but not at all spooked. We didn't see any bears, though some of the other campers' snoring could've easily been mistaken for a bear growl ;-)


Hiked up to Nevada Falls - using the John Muir trail this time. After my last experience attempting to climb up Half Dome, I'll never go up the Mist trail again! My calves are aching horribly - guess I'm still not in climbing shape!

Friday, August 31, 2007

SUNWcry/SUNWcryr removal webrev posted!

Darren Moffat & Dina Nimeh did a lot a work several months ago to remove SUNWcry and SUNWcryr packages from existence (rolling the stronger crypto into the base operating system packages) and factoring out libsoftcrypto.  The work got put on a back burner as the ZFS crypto project started getting really hot.  I took over the gate for them & have been working on resyncing it to the latest ONNV bits, fixing build issues, and getting it ready for integration.  It's not 100% there yet (still need to get rid of merge turds, clean up multiple deltas, etc), but I've sent out the code review.  Please take a look & provide comments by 7 Sept 2007.  Thanks!

 

Rehearsing on the stage!

In a very exciting development for SDG's Beauty and the Beast cast, we had our first major rehearsal on the actual performance stage last night - and all of the rest of our rehearsals will be on the actual stage. We have now moved out of the tiny dance rehearsal room at the Historic Hoover Theater and onto our large stage.... which will be made tiny by the GIANT set pieces we'll have on there. The tech crew taped out the positions of the farm house and the F.C. (Freakin' Castle), and we discovered that where we thought we could enter, there were now walls. Most of our big dances had to be reworked last night to accommodate the odd placement of set pieces (which I'm sure will look fantastic from the audience). I hope I can remember all of the changes for our next rehearsal. At least we're doing these changes now when we still have weeks to get used to the new steps and other changes.


Our vocal director, John, is back in town and reminding us of our harmonies. We aren't too bad, but will need to refocus on some dynamics and breathing. Singing isn't all about just having the right notes.


We've had a photographer in catching shots of our rehearsals - it's pretty neat to look and see a show build up from scratch.


Next week's rehearsals should see more of the actual flow - back to what we were doing in Hoover, but now on the proper stage.


Considering how many more weeks we still have, the flow of the show is very good and we're doing well on time, too. These next few weeks will just be polishing, which is a fantastic position to be in.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar eclipse

This was pretty cool - I read about on the Internet yesterday, and my husband and I set the alarm for 3:30AM this morning, threw on some sweats and went outside to just look at the red moon in the sky for about 10 minutes. The view was fantastic - I can only imagine how neat it would've been if we had a telescope or binoculars, but even with the naked eye it was an awesome sight.


Lunar eclipses aren't rare - it's just rare to get such a good and unobstructed view of a full lunar eclipse.


Unfortunately, had a hard time falling back to sleep after that (the cat expecting her breakfast didn't help), but I think it was worth being a bit tired today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Neck deep in rehearsals!

Rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast at Saratoga Drama Group are well underway. I'm doing a ton of dancing, and while I did have all my music memorized a few weeks ago - the dancing has pushed it from my brain. We have a night off of rehearsal tonight, so I'll have to sit down with my keyboard & plunk through my harmonies. That's actually a pretty big recent accomplishment for me - I've learned to read enough music that I can actually do the "one fingered bandit" on the keyboard (or piano - I just don't own one myself!) and plunk out notes.


I can even play a few songs, but nothing complicated like what we're singing in BnB. Once rehearsals wind down, I'll have to start practicing piano again. My 6 year old nephew plays way better than me - I'm sure he always will.


I had a few recent callbacks, but haven't been cast in anything beyond Beauty & the Beast. The last show I was called back for the director said I just had too many conflicts for October, since I'm going to the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference and taking an acting class. That's okay - a break will be good for me, and there will be other shows! Also, having a break in my acting will give me a chance to see my friends in shows!


Anyways - tickets to Beauty and the Beast are more than 75% sold out for opening night (Sept 22), so call now for tickets or visit the website. Don't forget to say you're coming to see me!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

FIPS 140-2 rough draft design posted!

I've finally gotten a rough draft design for the FIPS 140-2 work I'm doing for getting the Solaris Cryptographic Framework certified. It turns out we have to do some coding work, first, before we'll even be certifiable. I've tried to capture it all in the rough design, but I am new to the FIPS 140 world, so would love feedback from more experienced folks.


Another engineer will be joining me on the enhancements soon - yay!


If you're interested, design discussion is going on on the crypto-discuss at opensolaris . org alias.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wonderful Town was Wonderful!

This weekend we caught West Valley Light Opera's Wonderful Town, a musical based on the play, My Sister Eileen, about two young ladies that move from Columbus, Ohio to NYC in 1935. I'd never seen the show before, so found myself in for quite an unexpected treat!


The sets by Stephen C. Wathen were, as usual, incredible, truly bringing you into the seedy little apartment in Greenwich Village. The street scenes were vibrant, the club was intense, and I even found the velocoraptors hiding in the trees in the opening drop. (Stephen's sets always have a dinosaur hidden in them somewhere for those of you with keen eyes).


Afton Bolz as Eileen Sherwood absolutely glowed with the uber-cuteness factor, even though she played being oblivious to the fact very well. Her light soprano voice balanced very well with Leslie Hardy Tamel's (Ruth Sherwood) rich alto in the amazingly well put together song "Ohio". These two actresses really brought me into their story, making it an absolute delight of a production!


K. Michael Riley was outstandingly sleazy as newspaperman Chick Clark, making my skin crawl every time I saw him make a move on poor naive Eileen. A part well played!


Jennifer Smith (Helen) and Jay Steele (Wreck) played off of each other very well, as a "living in sin" couple in NYC, always drawing attention during the cast-wide pantomime scenes, and pulling off lots of delightful shenanigans.


Other standouts include Caren McCreight as the NYC Tour Guide, Matt Tipton as a drunk *and* a police officer (and many other roles, as far as I could tell!), and Reggie Reynolds as Violet (a ne'er do well).


My absolute favorite part of the show was in the police station when all the Irish cops sang "My Darlin' Eileen" to a lovely girl they insisted was Irish. Jeff Henson as Officer John Lonigan really stole the show with this song, with his rich velvety voice and perfect Irish accent.


The show runs for two more weekends - it's well worth the ticket price! Please go out and support the arts!


On a related note, I'm very excited about rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast starting next weekend!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

June, I hardly even knew ya...

Wow, what a month!


First, and most importantly, Mark & I tied the knot on June 2! It's a lot of work planning a large event from across the country, but it all just turned out so perfectly! We were married in Foster Park's Bridal Glen in Fort Wayne, IN - we couldn't have pulled it all off without the amazing help of all of our family and close friends.


After we got married, we ran off to NYC and Sonoma, CA to honeymoon for a couple of weeks. It was relaxing not being online, riding our bikes and enjoying long leisurely dinners with just the two of us.


In the middle of June, I returned to the office to find a backlog of several thousand emails. I've made a dent into them, but if you sent me something & never heard back - please try again!


I've been busy with work related to FIPS-140-2 certification of the Solaris Cryptographic Framework and fringe work related to making SUNWcry and SUNWcryr more accessible to the masses. I'll write up more about that once I know where we stand.


After all of that, I decided I'd captain Team Salty Dawgs again for the American Lung Association's 2 Rock Breathe Easy ride. It nearly killed me, but I did nearly reach my fund raising goal. Just a bit more & I'd be there. I do appreciate all the incredibly generous pledges I did get this year - the overall generosity of Sun employee's never ceases to amaze me!


I did the ride last Saturday - 66 miles in 5 hours and 10 minutes of ride time (6 hours and 16 minutes including breaks), 12.8 mph was my average speed, and I burned about 2500 calories. I'd really like to improve that time for next year so that I can get back in time to enjoy the post-ride festivities! As of now, I'll just try to get rolling about 40 minutes earlier ;-)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Calling all potential captains!

The campaign for this year's Breathe Easy ride is ramping up, and I will not be able to captain Team Salty Dawgs this year, due to the timing of my impending nuptials. I may still do the ride for fun, but won't have the time to organize a team or do fund raising. I haven't had much luck recruiting a captain for this two time top fund raising team - so thought I'd try to find folks via this blog. Anyone available to do a GREAT ride on June 30, 2007, willing to find some teammates and raise some funds for lung disease? I'll take things over again next year, but need a little help this year.


Any takers?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Small parts vs small actors

I got a question about the size of my recent role in Saratoga Drama Group's Bye Bye Birdie, which I thought I'd talk about here. Gloria is definitely a cameo role - I was only on stage as Gloria for about 4 minutes, but I made it as big of a part as possible while I was on that stage! Many folks commented on my character after the show as being "naughty", "obnoxious" or "funny", so I obviously did make an impression.


My middle school director, Miss Nichols, always said, "There are no small parts, only small actors", which is a hard thing to hear when you're a heartbroken 12 year old who just found she only got a bit part in the school's big show, but my experience as an actress has shown me that it is true!


If you were to look at my acting resume, you'd see my stage life is filled with bit parts and character roles, and I have found they can be the most fun! You don't have to learn as many songs or lines, yet it's possible to make your character just as big (or bigger) than any of the leads. It's about realizing that every role in a show is important, or the author would not have put it there in the first place.


In addition to my role as Gloria, I also played a teenager and a parent in various scenes. This required I actually step into a different role and focus on who I was. Even though my teenager role had no lines, I still had a name (chosen myself) and a undying lust for Conrad Birdie. Audience members who did not know me did not realize I had been multiple characters - the best compliment I can get as an actress! Even though I literally came back on as a teenager only moments after my Gloria scene, I blended right in - although I'm sure this will be the last time I'll be cast as a teenager - I am getting "long in the tooth"! :-)


Years ago, I did HMS Pinafore, and instead of being a standard sister, cousin, or aunt, I was cast as a sort of escort/guard to Sir Joseph Porter. Another woman, Connie, and I were dressed in military garb, had jet black wigs, and very stark makeup. We followed Sir Joseph Porter around, serving him tea, and other odd things. Connie, like me, knows there are no small parts, so the two of us worked together to synchronize our movements and both dove completely into our roles. Nearly every night during notes, though, we got told by the director that we actually had to pull back - we were stealing the scenes!


A good friend's mom actually won an award for best actress in a community theater group for a role in which she had only ONE LINE! I did see the show, and I did agree, she was outstanding. She showed every emotion with just expressions, never needing to speak. Her "background" character was fascinating and compelling, telling an entire story with just her eyes.


It is important to keep this in mind, whether you're a lead role or just in the ensemble - you are there for a reason! Step up to the plate and become that character. The entire show will be much more enjoyable for you and the audience if you do.


There is a great website, StageAgent, where you can go to look up role sizes, vocal ranges, and amount of dancing required. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Telnet vulnerability FUD is making me crazy!

Sun did a pretty awesome thing this weekend. A vulnerability was reported on an OpenSolaris alias, not even the correct place to report a security vulnerability, an engineer who happened to be reading his email on the weekend saw the post, reproduced the bug in house, fixed the code, got code review, tested and integrated a fix into Nevada (aka OpenSolaris) within HOURS. On a weekend. We have folks that are on pager call for handling this type of stuff, but since this was not sent to that alias, we were so lucky that several other engineers were watching an open alias for this & responded & fixed it on their day off.


The next day, Monday, the fix was integrated into the Solaris 10 patch gate, with official T-Patches on their way, yet I'm still seeing articles like this from News.com which make it sound like we're still trying to figure it out. And gets the facts wrong (I believe the Sun rep was misquoted, but I don't know that for a fact). The article mentions that only as of last month did we start shipping with SSH enabled by default. *UGH* We've been shipping with SSH enabled by default since Solaris 9 - for YEARS now. I think what they meant was that as of last month, Solaris 10 Update 3 started shipping with ONLY SSH enabled by default. That is, telnet, rlogin, etc are all disabled by default. It was part of our huge security initiative, Secure By Default.


There are several workarounds to this problem:

  • Disable telnet on your S10, S10U1 or S10U2 system
  • make root a role
  • Disable telnet to root for non CONSOLE logins (default, btw, since the initial release of Solaris)

Solaris 9 and earlier are not affected. This was unintentionally introduced into the Solaris 10 & Nevada code base when a major project integrated into Solaris 10.


I am mystified as to why we didn't immediately release a SunAlert with the workaround, but I know those folks were waiting for the IDRs to be available - and they are now. Official patches will be available Real Soon Now. I'll keep poking a sharp stick at folks to try to convince them to do better OFFICIAL communication, but what we've got going with OpenSolaris on the discussion aliases is very cool.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fiesta del Mar is now a limited time engagement

Woe is me, the best Mexican restaurant this side of the Mexican border now has a limited lifetime in Mountain View, its home for the last 16 years. Normally, I would not be so up in arms about a restaurant closing, but this little place has always made us feel at home, has the most polite and friendly servers and clientelle, unlimited home-made salsa & chips, and delicious hearty entrees that cause a Pavlovian reaction just thinking about them - and this restaurant has done nothing wrong!


A friend of mine noted that this is just capitalism at work, and that my objectivist college background should enable me to see past the loss of this fine establishment, and rejoice in the redevelopment of this into office space. While that may be true, I just can't get past how this closure seems inherently unfair. The business itself is thriving! Customers come from as far away as Dublin & San Francisco on a regular basis. Even when visiting on a Tuesday night, an hour long wait is not unusual. The staff will happily make you a pitcher of margaritas to bide your time until a table opens up, where they will promptly serve you - all the while engaging you in conversation or teaching you some Spanish, if you're so inclined.


This would be different if the business was failing and someone was coming into Mountain View to revitalize this space, but that's not the case. As a resident of this fine city, I think it's imperative that we try to keep local flair and flavor, to continue to bring visitors and revenue into the city.


I'm not sure what I can do, but I hope to figure it out soon - any advice?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Close call!

Riding our bicycles in today, we were nearly involved in what could have been a very nasty accident! Mark & I were waiting at the red light at Middlefield and Shoreline, in the bicycle lane on eastbound Middlefield. We were chatting away, and missed when the light turned green. That slight, and unusual, delay saved our lives. The car sitting next to us, a small Toyota, started driving just after the light turned green, but just before us. Mark & I casually entered the intersection when suddenly a blue van came RUSHING southbound on Shoreline - running a very red light at about 40 mph. Because of our minor delay at leaving the intersection when the light turned green, the small Toyota was hit by the van instead of us. Even then, I was suddenly faced with two cars coming towards us - out of control. I screamed and totally froze - crashing metal at those speeds that close is too much for my little helmet to protect against. We were very lucky that the little Toyota wasn't a bit further in the intersection, or the severity of the impact would've certainly sent the crashing cars just that much closer to us and I wouldn't be able to write this now.


Please, please, please drivers - don't run red lights. Is it worth nearly killing two cyclists to get to work on time?


Shaken and fortunately not stirred.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ten years later....

Walking into the building today after yoga, I caught the strong odor of burnt toast. This reminded me of an... incident I had when I started here ten years ago while trying to get a bagel *extra* toasty. I started here in January 1997, just as the Internet boom was starting to ramp up. At Sun, we still got free bagels and donuts once a week - heck, I can't remember if it was on Tuesday or Wednesday anymore! These donuts and bagels were a BIG incentive to get into the office early, otherwise you'd miss out on the deep fried delicious snacks.


Fresh out of school, I would arrive here at the office, dressed business casual, at about 8:30AM. One morning (a Tuesday or Wednesday), I was toasting my bagel & decided to toast it twice (as the first time it came out a bit underdone). The smell of burning bread alerted me to trouble, and I reached into the toaster oven to try to retrieve my bagel. After burning my hand trying to grab the incredibly hot doughy delight, I tried reaching in again with a paper towel... Even though the element was off, it was still hot enough to catch that paper towel on fire. Oops! Quickly, I dropped the paper towel in the sink & turned on the water. Waited a minute, then retrieved my now overdone bagel and sulked back to my office. Embarrassed by my rookie bagel move, I was still relieved that Sun engineering is a late rising bunch, so nobody else witnessed my bagel flambe.


Looking back on the last ten years, I've been all of the following:

  • Novice
  • Solaris Test Collection Gatekeeper
  • JavaVM, GreenThreads & Javadoc tester
  • Firewall novice
  • Sustaining Engineer
  • Patch creator
  • Chief complainer about SunScreen's NAT facility
  • Architect and developer of new NAT in SunScreen EFS 3.0
  • SNMP expert
  • Tweaker of all things stateful in SunScreen
  • Documentation reviewer & sometimes writer
  • Bug princess
  • IPQoS Novice
  • CIM/Wbem novice
  • ON novice
  • IPsec novice
  • Userland cryptoframework component designer & implementor
  • Test developer for PKCS#11 components
  • Bug queen
  • BoF organizer
  • Solaris update release tech lead
  • ON CRT
  • Chief receiver of complaints about update releases & patches
  • Open Solaris sponsor
  • Open Solaris sponsor.. sponsor
  • Smartcard novice
  • Crypto export rule enforcer
  • Fixing code I wrote many moons ago... geez, why didn't I comment that code?!?! Who wrote these lousy man pages?!? I did?!? Oh, well, then... I guess they aren't that bad. ;-)


Here's to a great ten years at an incredible company where I've had many different jobs (only one job change actually involved an interview), and even more roles. I've learned you can't be just one thing here at Sun, you must take multiple roles, do multiple tasks, and keep learning. There's always more room on your plate - there has to be. It's how we grow, both as a company and as individuals.


Here's hoping for a few more good years here! Who knows what jobs or roles I'll be doing next year?

Ten years later....

Walking into the building today after yoga, I caught the strong odor of burnt toast. This reminded me of an... incident I had when I started here ten years ago while trying to get a bagel *extra* toasty. I started here in January 1997, just as the Internet boom was starting to ramp up. At Sun, we still got free bagels and donuts once a week - heck, I can't remember if it was on Tuesday or Wednesday anymore! These donuts and bagels were a BIG incentive to get into the office early, otherwise you'd miss out on the deep fried delicious snacks.


Fresh out of school, I would arrive here at the office, dressed business casual, at about 8:30AM. One morning (a Tuesday or Wednesday), I was toasting my bagel & decided to toast it twice (as the first time it came out a bit underdone). The smell of burning bread alerted me to trouble, and I reached into the toaster oven to try to retrieve my bagel. After burning my hand trying to grab the incredibly hot doughy delight, I tried reaching in again with a paper towel... Even though the element was off, it was still hot enough to catch that paper towel on fire. Oops! Quickly, I dropped the paper towel in the sink & turned on the water. Waited a minute, then retrieved my now overdone bagel and sulked back to my office. Embarrassed by my rookie bagel move, I was still relieved that Sun engineering is a late rising bunch, so nobody else witnessed my bagel flambe.


Looking back on the last ten years, I've been all of the following:

  • Novice
  • Solaris Test Collection Gatekeeper
  • JavaVM, GreenThreads & Javadoc tester
  • Firewall novice
  • Sustaining Engineer
  • Patch creator
  • Chief complainer about SunScreen's NAT facility
  • Architect and developer of new NAT in SunScreen EFS 3.0
  • SNMP expert
  • Tweaker of all things stateful in SunScreen
  • Documentation reviewer & sometimes writer
  • Bug princess
  • IPQoS Novice
  • CIM/Wbem novice
  • ON novice
  • IPsec novice
  • Userland cryptoframework component designer & implementor
  • Test developer for PKCS#11 components
  • Bug queen
  • BoF organizer
  • Solaris update release tech lead
  • ON CRT
  • Chief receiver of complaints about update releases & patches
  • Open Solaris sponsor
  • Open Solaris sponsor.. sponsor
  • Smartcard novice
  • Crypto export rule enforcer
  • Fixing code I wrote many moons ago... geez, why didn't I comment that code?!?! Who wrote these lousy man pages?!? I did?!? Oh, well, then... I guess they aren't that bad. ;-)

Here's to a great ten years at an incredible company where I've had many different jobs (only one job change actually involved an interview), and even more roles. I've learned you can't be just one thing here at Sun, you must take multiple roles, do multiple tasks, and keep learning. There's always more room on your plate - there has to be. It's how we grow, both as a company and as individuals.


Here's hoping for a few more good years here! Who knows what jobs or roles I'll be doing next year?

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Rocky Horror Show - Live!

Wow! What a blast! A large group of us went to see the Rocky Horror Show - the musical - last night in San Jose with the Actor's Theatre Center. The production was incredible! The sets were fantastic, and the troupe really did a great job working with the small stage. This is the first time I've seen a non film production of this, and I was very impressed. The live band really added to the ambience of the show. The entire cast did a great job sticking with nuances from the movie, leaving the pregnant pauses exactly where we expected them so we could throw our our comments, wise cracks and jabs with no fear of interupting the actors. Tad Morgon really shone as Dr. Frankenfurter, belting away the tunes so smoothly that he could put a young Tim Curry to shame! The show was wonderfully costumed and the cast were all very adept at moving around in 4 inch high heeled platform shoes. They were all obviously having a great time, which helped us have an incredible time in the audience. My favorite scened had to be the slow motion death of Columbia, Dr. Frankenfurter & Rocky. Hilarious! Special kudos go to David as Brad & Aaron as Rocky. You guys both rocked!


Late last year, I also saw Gilligan's Island - The Musical, done by the same group (different actors, though) and was just as impressed. If I'm going to keep this up, I should probably save myself some money & get a season subscription!


There are still two shows of Rocky left tonight (8PM and midnight) If you read this before then - go catch the show. A good time will be had by all! I promise! Do the time warp one more time for me.