This week get to know Andrew Larmour
, a self-professed geek from Australia who loves a good challenge and helping IBM Business Partners with technology. Learn more about Andrew on his profile
on My developerWorks. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am in my 40s and a bit of a geek - I love technology (I wish I was at CES last week), aircraft and cars. I've worked in the Retail, Automotive, Photographic, Military and Logistics industries before my career in IT - all of which I think helps me relate to customers better. These days, as part of the Industry Business Partner Technical Strategy Enablement (IBPTSE - yes, I am not a fan of the name either) team I am focused on three industries: Telecom, Media & Entertainment and Energy & Utilities although I spend most of my time on Telecom.
Our team is dedicated to making sure IBM's Business Partners in those target industries are successful with using IBM technology - predominantly the WebSphere family of software. We cover all types of partners, although usually they are:
Independent Software Vendors (ISV) - we are often called in to assist with enablement on WebSphere products, helping the partner to evaluate our software as a platform for their software and figuring out the right strategic direction for them with respect to our software products. Some that I have worked with include Soprano
(who recently became a validated partner in our Telecom solution framework - Service Provider Delivery Environment - SPDE), eMagine
and Digital Water
System Integrators (SI) - I spend most of my time supporting these partners - if they're new to our software, I help them with the technical elements of selling the solution - that may even include doing the architecture, providing training, writing proposals in conjunction with the partner. At Globe Telecom, we partnered with Nokia Siemens Networks Consulting Services team
to win the business. Since this was the first time NSN had worked with IBM software I did a significant amount of work on the architecture and making sure that NSN got it right (technically). On subsequent projects with NSN, they have been much more self sufficient - which is really what we want to happen.
Network Equipment Providers (NEPs) - are a special category of business partner for us - they're quite different to IBM's typical partner and are very Telco specific. I personally have worked quite closely with Huawei in China to conduct interoperability tests between IBM's Telecom software and Huawei's components. This included testing WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Presence Server, WebSphere IMS Connector and XML Document Managers Interaction with Huawei's IMS Core components. Since we added a China based team member - Xie Tong
- my involvement with NEPs has dropped off and Tong handles most of that work.
The whole ASEAN region seems to be a hotbed of Telco activity at the moment. I am working with customers and partners in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. That's occupying most of my time as well as some personal development tasks. Naturally, I need to spend some time on my internal and external blogs and mentoring activities (I have two mentees) .How did you get started in IT?
I've been in the IT industry since 1994 but was a geek long before that - way back in 1983, I got my first computer, a Microbee
(an Australian Z80 based computer with a whole 32K of memory!) which I used to write all my school essays and reports. In 1994 when I finally finished my degree part time at Monash University in Melbourne (Australia), I got a job with the Victorian Auditor General's Office - where I started using IBM technology. I deployed Lotus cc:Mail, Lotus Organizer Group Calendar and Lotus Notes 3.0. We were the first Notes 3.0 site in Australia using the Windows NT platform. I recall the server shipping on 16 floppy disks!
From there I moved into a local IBM Business partner doing Notes/Domino work, then into an international IBM Business Partner (Software Spectrum) continuing down the Notes/Domino path. While I was there, I established a close relationship with IBM locally and internationally becoming one of the leading experts in Asia Pacific on what was then SecureWay Host Integration products (Host on Demand, Host Publisher, Screen Customizer, PComm) - those products ended up under the WebSphere brand and when I joined IBM nearly 10 years ago, I was hired into the brand - forgoing all my Lotus history. Since joining IBM, I have had the pleasure of being closely involved in some bleeding edge products and projects. I established myself in the Australia/New Zealand WebSphere team as the guy that looked after all the non-core products. That meant I had to cover things like WebSphere Portal (from V1!), WebSphere speech products, pervasive computing products like WebSphere Everyplace and the WebSphere embedded technology.
Now that I think about it, I have been involved with a lot of significant IBM technology very early in its life.
WebSphere Portal - since V1
Eclipse - which stared out life as Edgelets within WEA in 2002
J9 JVM which stared out as our embedded JVM and is now the basis for all JVMs in IBM
WebSphere Application Server V3
Lotus Notes V3.0 (on a Win32 platform)
Not all of the technology I have worked with has been so significant for IBM. Some of these technologies live on, but plenty are now pushing up daisies. It's still been fun.
I think experiencing IBM from the point of view of a customer, a partner and as an IBMer has given me valuable insight into our partners and customers which has helped me on the way.Tell me about one of your favorite IT projects you've worked on.
That's tricky - obviously successful projects figure highly when I think back, but there have been a few where we have been unsuccessful, but the challenges have been tougher and they rate quite highly too. If I put my sales hat on, I would probably say Globe Telecom's Service Delivery Platform has been very rewarding - I was the architect for that and it has proven really successful for Globe and for IBM. While I continue to be heavily involved at Globe and am very proud of what we have achieved there, probably my favourite project was from a few years ago - we were trying to win a deal with Telstra in Australia for a multi-channel portal. A project that lost its executive sponsor with a management reshuffle at Telstra, so the whole project just died. We were positioning WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Everyplace Mobile Portal, WebSphere Voice Application Access and WebSphere Voice Server to deliver Telstra's portal to all channels - Web, Mobile Phone (via phone browser) and Voice. It was bleeding edge stuff and I met some good friends in IBM from all corners of the world on that project. We were proposing the use of WVAA to deliver both a Voice Portal with a subset of the same content that visual users would access but also a statistical conversation model to enable a Natural Language interface. Our future plans also included support for a multi-modal interface (using X+V which we demonstrated to Telstra) that mixed voice and visual interfaces to deliver a truly unique user experience. It was a challenge to bring together all of these different technologies and demonstrate them let alone write the proposal. It was a shame to see all that effort go to waste after the Telstra management shuffle, but that is the way this sort of thing goes sometimes. I guess if I am honest, it is those sort of technical challenges that I really enjoy and why I work for IBM.What's ahead for you in 2010? What new things do you plan on learning?
For now, from a job perspective, it's business as usual. We have some Telco classes coming up in Bangkok and Manila in February (pretty much the same classes that we ran in Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi last year with some small updates). The classes are free for Business Partners - if any partners would like to attend, feel free to contact me and I will let them know how to enroll. I hope to do a bit more work in the Energy & Utilities sector (which will hopefully be reflected in the blog), but that's dependent on the customers and our partners - if they need me or not.
On a more personal note, I plan to do my professional certification (as L2 IT Specialist) and I need to improve my skills with iLog, Telecom Content Pack and WebSphere Business Events, so I will be looking to pick up some deeper skills with those products. I expect the Telco and Energy & Utilities sectors to be quite active this year throughout Asia Pacific so I anticipate another busy year with lots of flying.How do you use developerWorks?
I often search developerWorks for whitepapers and am often satisfied too! I find developerWorks a tremendous resource for both IBMers and Business Partners as well, so I recommend it often. I point partners to developerWorks downloads to get trial copies of software too. Of course, I also write on my team's blog on My developerWorks
, but that is a relatively recent occurrence - I only created the blog at the end of October 2009 - but there are a number of bloggers here that I now regularly follow and I am seeing quite a bit of useful information cropping up within My developerWorks.What's the most interesting, satisfying, or challenging thing about helping IBM Business Partners and ISVs?
It's funny that you ask that, because for me, job satisfaction and interest is all about the challenges. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be pulling my hair out all day long on ancillary stuff, but interesting technical challenges really does drive job satisfaction for me. I like to think of our business partners as part of my team - which is really the case when we're jointly in front of a customer anyway. I am a firm believer in the need to stretch myself so if I can work with a partner who is equally keen to solve those technical issues, then I am going to be a happy chappy. What inspired you to start a blog for The Industry Business Partner Technical Strategy Enablement (IBPTSE) team?
I have been blogging internally at IBM for a few years quite erratically. When IBM launched Lotus Connections 2.5 beta through the Technology Access Program, I migrated my old blog to the new environment because it was much more reliable and more stable than the old connections 2.0 based blog central. At that time, within out team we were discussing how we could better share information to other IBMers around the world, so I started a community for our team - that was May 2009. That blog has been humming along with a small but regular readership. Given our team is targeted at Business Partners, it seemed to me a bit silly to only be sharing these blog posts, files bookmarks with IBMers so, I figured My developerWorks would be a good place to extend the reach of our team and provide information to partners that we deal with and those that we don't (but should). If anyone else is interested in what we share then that's a bonus. I have been looking at where the blog traffic is coming from and noticed a few from Google, mostly direct for from My developerWorks, but I did notice that it has been picked up by the smarterplanet team (Sam Palmisano's Smarter Planet speech on the 12th of January
) so someone else finds it useful too. I am pretty chuffed about that. :-)You seem to travel quite a bit. Any survival or productivity tips for fellow IT professionals who travel?
I do get about - lots of overnight or all day flights - that's the thing with living in Australia - the closest country I can go to is New Zealand and that is still three and a half hours flight time. The next closest that I visit is Singapore at seven and a half hours. Most of my work recently has been in ASEAN, although I have also spent quite a bit of time in China and South Korea as well in my current role.
Last year, I only had 60 flights, but was onboard aircraft for 11.7 days and flew 210,593 km. In the past five years, I have flown 1,046,148 km so I guess that classes me as a frequent flyer. The things that work for me (which may not work for everyone) that greatly assist my travel and my productivity are:
How are you using social networking today? What significance does it have in terms of the work you do?
- I travel light - hand luggage only - being a Qantas Platinum (OneWorld Emerald) helps there as that gets me two pieces of carry-on instead of the normal one when traveling in economy.
- Shoes are the killer when traveling with only carry-on - I wear the same Bundstone dress boots for work, travel and after hours.
- I hold an APEC Business Traveler card which is effectively a three year visa for 18 of the 21 APEC member nations which gets me priority through most immigration checkpoints so I waste as little time as possible at airports.
- I try to fly on OneWorld airlines mainly so that all my miles are accumulated in a single account rather than having a number of small accounts, I have one large one with Qantas. It also means that come upgrade season (now!) you are more likely to get an operational upgrade (this happens for high status flyers when the economy cabin is full and spare seats in premium economy or business). Trust me, anything you can do to get out of a economy seat for overnight flights is worth doing...
- I depend on my Nokia e71 - enabled with Lotus Traveler, Lotus Mobile Connect, Lotus Sametime. Combined with the browser on the phone, I can get to almost all the IBM internal systems I need while I am out and about. That includes the IBM internal Lotus Connections implementation (I have three internal blogs including a travel blog from which I often post from my phone, then update with photos later).
- Toothpaste in the Philippines is available in 90g tubes - with the 100ml/g restriction for carry on, I now buy my toothpaste in Manila :-) (In Australia, the tubes step from 45g to 120g and 160g)
- I carry a set of Bose Noise canceling headphones - an expensive item, but given the flights I do, justifiable in my mind at least. They wash away all the background noise in a commercial airliner and make flights more bearable.
- I carry eye shades and ear plugs for overnight flights it is the only way I can sleep on a flight. Qantas will give them to you if you ask for them, but the ones I carry are a bit more comfortable - every little bit helps.
I use a number of social networking tools, some internal to IBM such as Lotus Connections, Socialblue, Cattail and Fringe, but I also use a number of external tools too - including My developerWorks
(naturally), Lotuslive Engage
Certainly the internal Connections and Catail tools are very important to the way I am able to do my job. The file sharing capability, the blogs, communities of interest, forums and activities all make me more effective at my job - I reckon it saves me four hours per week. Equally, My developerWorks and LotusLive Engage are important tools in collaborating externally with customers and partners on work matters. The other external tools, are not so related to IBM. LinkedIn is quite business and career focused, but I don't get a huge amount of business value out of it other than participating with other industry specialists in some discussions. The others are for my interest or purely social so they don't have any great significance for work.What publications or websites do you read or visit?
I subscribe to Australian Aviation (been a regular reader since 1977) and (when I can get it) also read KitCar Magazine (UK) but you probably don't care too much about that. In the IT world, I follow:
A number of Fierce Industry newsletters
(FierceWireless, FierceTelecom and FierceIPTV)Computing UnpluggedSearchDominoWebSphere PowerDomino PowerPalm BoulevardZDNetSmart PlanetMakeTelecom TVEnergyMatters
Plenty of IBM internal newsletters and sitesIn your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Spare time... hmmm. Not so much. Spending time with my family, work and travel - that's pretty much me at the moment. I would like to exercise my inner mechanic though and build a kit car - The Raw Striker
is probably my ultimate dream machine, but customs duty in Australia make them really expensive :-(. Still, because it is a kit car; I could buy a few bits at a time and spread the cost out a bit more.- Thanks Andrew!
I'm not at Lotusphere 2010
this week, but the excitement is contagious! If you want to follow along, check out #ls10 on Twitter
and My developerWorks blog posts and podcasts tagged with Lotusphere
In honor of Lotusphere, I'm bringing you an interview with Rawn Shah, IBM social software practices lead. Rawn's moved on to new frontiers, but he was once part of the IBM developerWorks team and without Rawn's visionary ideas about social computing, My developerWorks
wouldn't be where it is today. He is the author of a new book about to be published, Social Networking for Business
, that I'm looking forward to reading and I hope you enjoy these insights from Rawn.
Connect with Rawn: My developerWorks profile
- BlogYou've worked in many different roles: network admin, systems programmer and author to name a few and you've gone from dotcom startup to Big Blue at IBM. What have been the most interesting transitions during your IT career?
It's hard for me to remember the feeling from the earlier ones years ago, and some roles I worked in parallel so there weren’t as many major changes. The last large software application I wrote was a TCP/IP network router in 2007, but I don’t program much anymore. I'd say the most interesting ones was either moving from being a startup to working for IBM, and another transition from being an technology editor to an online community program manager. These were very different job roles: from managing various independent writers to leading teams of folks working on social software. It truly helps you learn the differences between motivating individuals and teams. In the move to IBM, it took a few years just to appreciate the scale of difference in knowing people well, across the company, even more than trying to meet people across the industry. There was also a steep learning curve with social computing just starting to rev up in the 2000s. Congratulations on your new book, Social Networking for Business! There's a lot of info out about social networking right now - what perspective does your book offer that makes it unique?
Thank you. The book focuses on how people work socially, the collaborative methods they use, how they experience it, how they subdivide or build up tasks, how they decide on governance and proper etiquette to working together, and how culture emerges in social groups. Unlike many other books which tend to focus on social media marketing and issues around using tools around the Web, this book reaches across both external scenarios, as well as within the enterprise. The focus is on understanding the dynamics of the social systems that these tools support. That is much more a study of human behavior, social collaboration, and business productivity, than trying to understand the technical aspects of the software.
Each chapter focuses on a different dynamic, for example various leadership models in social computing, different ways of accomplishing tasks socially, understanding elements of culture and behavior, encouraging members and participation, and more. Beyond theory, it provides examples of each of these dynamics in action. Like an architect, I hope this book helps people to look beyond the technical or physical structure and into the artistic design, human factors, social impact and practicalities of social computing ideas. What did you learn in the process of writing Social Networking for Business?
This is the first book project I have taken on entirely by myself. My other books (a variety of other subjects) have all be co-authored with several folks. It really tested my resolve to work on a singular project several times a week for two years—this, on top of my day job of course. It was also very much a subject in constant motion, with new ideas and approaches to social computing emerging every few months. I’ve probably revised the book a dozen times. The final book itself, I trimmed down from about 400 pages to its current version of about 200 or so.
Writing for business readers rather than technical was also another big shift. My last work as co-author is intended for a deeply technical audience: SOA Compass
(IBM Press 2005, and now in six languages worldwide). What’s more writing for Wharton School Press was also a little intimidating; the Wharton professor and the editorial staff were very pleasant and accommodating, but there is a different kind of rigor that goes into explaining in simple detail without expounding at length on a topic.
The topic itself is constantly reshaping itself, but I have found that adoption tends to be a top concern, once people get beyond the “What is it?” question. Companies want to know how to apply social computing across their employees, customers and partners, but they also want to know what the payback or gain of taking part may be. So far, there are many different scenarios where the rewards are real, but I have yet to find anyone who can claim a common set of methods, metrics and value that applies in every scenario. For CIOs and IT departments used to delivering very specific ROI measurements for their application installations, this lack of a systematic means of measuring ROI can make it difficult to justify the cost. On the other hand, as many will tell you, there is no question of “do you need a phone system for your business?” as a means of communication. My prediction is that social software and collaboration will eventually become a standard cost of doing any kind of business. Your favorite and your least favorite thing about social networking?
Pros: It’s a brand new frontier of ideas especially when you become involved in trying to take this from an artistic to a scientific approach. There are lots of opportunities on an intellectual level which really drives me.
Cons: It’s a brand new frontier of ideas especially when you become involved in trying to take this from an artistic to a scientific approach. :)
It’s true both ways. On the con side, I end up talking with folks ingrained with the subject and those just entering it, and often find people rediscovering some of the same ideas over and again. There are still so many new things to be learned, but having to go in reverse sometimes can also readjust your perspective on what people need. How has being a father changed how you use social networking?
I went dormant for a while, not posting online too often. This book writing project started when my first child was about a year old, and ended about two years later just before my second one was born. On a daily basis it was a flip-flop between deep intellectual discussions with many experts on the dynamics of social interactions, and then watching Curious George and Yo Gabba Gabba—“Don’t… bite your friends… Don’t… bite your friends”—with my son, and then back to work after he went to bed. Let me tell you, it changes the way you think. Both have their ups and downs. Since this book was dedicated to my son Ryhan, I will eventually have to write another one to dedicate to my daughter Zoe. What advice would you give on being an active social networker but balancing it with the rest of your job and the rest of your life?
What I think many folks new to the subject find hardest is that it takes time (years, not weeks) to become involved in a social group. Much of it involves if you can, on a personal level, form and maintain relationships with people you don’t see or talk to except in brief bursts. Most folks don’t get to spend hours at a time working closely with other individuals in an online social environment. That’s okay. However, frequency and authenticity of interaction does matter. You need to connect with others just as you would with your in-person relationships.
But don’t lose your life to it. Talk about the subject in a relevant and useful manner. But, there is also nothing wrong with occasionally talking about what you do in your off-time, if that’s okay with the social environment you are in. What that does is bring up other concepts that perhaps the other members may be interested in and want to talk to you about. Therein lays serendipity.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
What I read regularly has changed quite a bit over the years. It used to be fairly heavily technical and developer oriented, but these days, they are more around social systems, economics, employee behavior, and enterprise technology
Online, I read blogs like Crave.cnet.com
(for my gadget news fix), CNN Money
, BBC news
, the Enteprise 2.0 Adoption Council
(private community for enterprise social software). Most Web sites I tend to find per recommendation from others on Twitter or on internal social sites. There are a lot of IBM internal sites and communities I read too.
I tend to read a lot offline as much as online. Having been a writer and editor, I still regularly follow a number of publications like the Economist, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Strategy+Business and Harvard Business Review.
I see Twitter as a stream of info to dip into occasionally rather than to soak in for hours. I tend to be specific on who I follow and which followers I accept. I only track several hundred folks but will read posts by rhappe (Rachel Happe), jowyang (Jeremy Owyang), kdpaine (KD Paine), rotkapchen (Paula Thornton), turbotodd (Todd Watson), briansolis (Brian Solis), ITInsider (Susan Scrupski), horizonwatching (Bill Chamberlin), and eric_andersen (Eric Andersen). Are there any technical experts or blogs you follow on My developerWorks?
I read Luis Benitez’s
and Todd Watson’s
blogs often because they are both in my field and interesting writers. I was reading the Extremeblue Internship Experience blog
over the summer—I was mentoring an intern team working on social computing activity metrics. I’m starting to discover new folks on there too. What do you think about My developerWorks so far?
It’s interesting and a third home online so I visit it occasionally. I like the fact that its open to allowing any developerWorks member to get involved in. There’s a lot to growing a new ecosystem like this; and it is new because the users have not been working in such an environment for very long, even if developerWorks itself has been around for over a decade. I’m really glad to see that content from My developerWorks now appears on the main developerWorks page. Outside of the social networking universe, what hobbies or interests keep your flame burning?
My other passion is practicing and teaching Japanese swordfighting. It’s exhausting physically but nice and relaxing mentally from work. On http://battodo.ning.com
, you’ll find photos and videos of my students and me over the years. I teach mostly middle-school and high-school now. That audience requires a whole other approach to trying to explain ideas and practices. For example, “Let’s not try to get anyone hurt in class by swinging your wooden sword wildly. Now, line up so you can practice how to cut in half this target about the density of a person.”- Thanks Rawn!
This week get to know Loiane Groner, a member of My developerWorks
from Brazil who is sharing what she knows about Java and reaching out through the IBM Academic Initiative. (And if you haven't already heard, developerWorks is now in Brazilian Portuguese - check out the new site
!) Learn more about Loiane in the interview below and find her in these places: My developerWorks profilePortuguese-Brazilian blog
, English blog
, and My developerworks blog Twitter
Java User Groups where Loiane is coordinator/leader: ESJUG
and CampinasJUGTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I'm Brazilian, 23 years old; I have bachelor degree in Computer Science, 4 years of experience in design and development of Java applications. Currently, I'm working at IBM Brazil as Systems Analyst/Java Developer in an international project (health care customer). I'm an IBM Academic Initiative
Ambassador. It is a voluntary work and this project provides to universities IBM tools, courses, lectures and a relation with IBM that help universities to graduate students with better qualification and ready to the market. I’m also JUG (Java Users Group) coordinator/leader of the following jugs: ESJUG (Espirito Santo Java Users Group) and CampinasJUG (Campinas Java Users Group) Why did you decide to go for an IT career? How did you get started?
This is a funny story. When I was in High School, I decided I wanted to go to Law school. But I did not like to memorize all the dates and facts about History to pass in SAT tests. I always liked Math and Physics a lot, and in senior year, I resolved I'd like to go to a computer/math school. I always liked computers (my parents gave me my first one when I was 10 years old), so my final decision was to do a major in Computer Science. I did not know anything about algorithms, and my first class about it in college was not so good. Some classmates have already heard anything about it, and everything was new to me. I studied a lot, and I learned it, and I fell in love with computer logic and algorithms in my first semester. In my college senior year, I won a merit award (Senior Year Computer Science Student - 2008), and I did make my parents very proud. I'm glad about the decision I did made some years ago, and I can say I love my job. What inspires you in your work?
I'm very fortunate. I have/had the opportunity to work with brilliant minds. These amazing professionals are my inspirations. So I study and work hard to be like them in the future. What do you want to learn about next?
There are many Java
frameworks I want to learn. I know a little bit about Hibernate, Spring, Struts, JSF, iBatis, and I want to learn more about these frameworks. I also want to learn about some programming languages, such as Phyton and Ruby, and study more about C and C++ languages. And I want to learn about UNIX OS. You blog in both Brazilian Portuguese and English! Is that tough? What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I started to blog in Portuguese, which is my first language. I write the tutorials for myself, my blog is a log of everything I've learned. My job requires some English knowledge, so I decided to start to blog in English to improve my English skills and vocabulary. I know I have a lot to learn about it, and some readers are helping me. This may sound a little awkward: recently, I tried to first write a post in Portuguese and then, translate it to English, but it is very hard to do this way. It is easier to write in English first and then translated it to Portuguese. It is interesting how our brain works! I think the best way to learn a foreign language is to learn how to think in it; forget you know your mother language and try to communicate only in the language you are learning. This method has been helping me a lot.
The coolest thing about blogging is the networking. You meet a lot of people from all over the world. And some of them you can meet in person - and maybe become real friends. It is very nice when you go to a conference and someone tells you they read and like your blog. It is an amazing feeling when you write a post and someone leaves a comment that it helped to solve a problem. It is a great reward! How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks as a source of knowledge. If you google about Java (or any related technology), you will find an entry in developerWorks website. It is great for students and professionals. (developerWorks is now in Brazilian Portuguese - check out the new site
!) What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Some interesting twitter accounts: ibmacademicbr
(IBM Academic Initiative - Brazil), KathySierra
(coauthor of Head First Java and Head First EJB), martinfowler
(author of Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code), developerWorks
(that is a lot of interesting links), jduchess
(a java users group for female developers). There is a lot more (I follow many interesting people, it is hard to list all of them). When you have free time, what hobbies or activities do you like to do?
I love computers! So I spend a lot of my free time in front of it: blogging, programming contests, playing games. I also like to spend some time with my family and my dog (pomeranian puppy), and I love to travel.- Thanks Loiane!
Happy New Year! I'm hoping 2010 is going to be even better than 2009 on My developerWorks! And since I want to start the year out with a bang, I'm bringing you an interesting interview with Alan Harris
, whose blog "The Strange Tales of a Polyglot developer", never fails to suck me in with its honest POV.
Learn more about Alan in the interview below, visit his profile on My developerWorks
, visit his blog
, and follow him on Twitter
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a senior web developer at the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, VA. I've been developing software for about 10 years, migrating from desktop to firmware and finally arriving at web development. At
the moment, I'm working on a new offering for them based on Ruby on Rails that will dovetail nicely with the existing in-house CMS.How did you get started as a developer?
I got my start working at a Naval subcontractor in Virginia, although I spent the first year or so working directly on PCBs (printed circuit boards). I had been programming in a hobbyist capacity for quite a few years prior to this, and when I saw a need within the company for someone to step up and offer some programming assistance, I jumped on it. I worked with them as a developer for several years and the things I learned at that company have stayed with me throughout my career.How do you keep your technical skills sharp and growing?
Community involvement and a healthy dose of curiosity. This is part of the reason I started a blog here on the developerWorks site: it seemed to be a vibrant community where a lot of people were discussing interesting (and relevant) topics. I wanted to be a part of it. Beyond that, I can't help but play with new technology; I'm trying to move away from saying "I'm a C# developer" or "I'm a Rails developer"...that would be like a mechanic saying "I'm a socket wrench." The tool you're using doesn't define you, what you accomplish with it does.How do you use developerWorks?
Personally, I've been tied to the Microsoft platforms for a long time, mainly because the organizations I worked at were themselves tied to them and one goes where the work is. I've read a lot of entries on this site to learn more about IBM's offerings, as well as how people are using them. In between, I occasionally write a post about whatever might have piqued my curiosity or set me off on a Dennis Miller-esque tangent. What's on your list to learn about next?
Next up on my list is Erlang. I spent about 12 months working on the side with Erlang to develop proof-of-concepts and experiment with the "Erlang way", but had to set it aside in favor of other priorities. I see a lot of value in the "shared nothing, massively scalable" message-passing style that Erlang functions in so well and I need to devote the time to seeing what I can create with it.So, you're blogging on My developerWorks, and I have to say although I'm not a developer, I'm a big fan of your blog. Tell me about your experience as a blogger so far.
A big pet peeve of mine are blogs that talk down to you in a technical sense. I'm not out to impress anyone (nor be impressed), only to converse with other developers (and non-developers) about the state of the union with regard to web development as I see it today. I started the blog just as a way to get out thoughts I had that would randomly pop up during a day's work; I write the entries the same way I would discuss with a colleague across the table. Luckily, from what I've seen so far people seem to enjoy the discussion, so I will happily keep writing in the hopes that we can all keep up the dialogue.Your blog has an interesting name: The Strange Tales of a Polyglot Developer. From your perspective, what's unique about being a polyglot developer?
I've heard it argued that a polyglot developer is a jack of all trades and master of none. What I have found from my observations of others is that they often have an excellent grasp of how best to solve a problem with the least amount of code possible. In the end, code you develop is code that you or someone else has to maintain. If I can write something functional in 10 lines of Erlang, I won't use 20 lines of C# or 15 lines of Ruby. Knowing that these tools are out there as well as how best to apply them is a recipe for a valuable team member in my opinion.
Are you a gadget person? Have any gadgets you're a fanatic about? Or new ones you'd like to get your hands on?
Actually, I'm not much of a gadget person! Now if a new programming language comes down the line, I'll try it out, no question. I even tried LOLcode
. The shelf life of gadgets tends to be woefully short, but C++ is still alive and kicking. Hell, so is COBOL. I'd rather invest my time in code.What are your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?
For a good pick me up, the "S--t My Dad Says" tweets are always a good time; same with "The Real Shaq". For web development I love following the Smashing Magazine guys as their tweets are 90% links to really informative and unique stuff that people are experimenting with. I also follow the 37signals guys as I have a real appreciation for "opinionated software."
What do you like to do when you're away from a computer screen?
Away from a computer screen I like to spend my time practicing Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I'm a huge billiards fanatic and I'm growing to appreciate bowling, although I'm less likely to embarrass myself with the former. I've also been a drummer for more than 20 years, so I try to devote a little time to making music when I can. - Thanks Alan!
Into Java? You won't want to miss this interview with Chris Bailey
, an IBM Java Client Support Architect. He's been helping out developers in the Java Runtimes and SDKs forum
for many years and just recently began blogging on My developerWorks
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hi. My name is Chris Bailey, and I'm part of the Java Technology Center (JTC) team in IBM. The JTC is based in locations over five countries, from Ottawa in Canada through to Shanghai in China. I'm based at the Hursley Park Development Lab in the UK. I'm very lucky in that I have a fairly broad remit, so I get to work on a range of things. My "day job"is as the technical architect for the IBM Java service and support organisation, which is primarily responsible for fixing bugs in the IBM Java deliverables but also has a wider scope to enable IBM Java users to delivery successful application deployments. That second part means I'm also involved in our work to deliver new debugging capabilities and tools, improve the documentation, handle requirements, and look at the wider quality of IBM Java.What Java resources does IBM offer that you think more people should know about?
There's a few things that have been around for a while that I'm not sure are widely known about, in particular the IBM Development Package for Eclipse
and the IBM Java Runtimes and SDKs forum
. The development package gives you a version of Eclipse that uses the IBM Java SDK, which means you can develop with the same Java that you deploy with, and you can use the debugging capabilities during development. The forum provides a a great way to ask questions about IBM Java and provide feedback in to problems your seeing and changes you think should be made. There's also a lot of relatively new stuff. In the last year or so we've delivered a whole set of new tooling: Garbage Collection and Memory Visualizer (GCMV), Memory Analyzer, Health Center and Diagnostic Collector, and we've also released new how-to style documentation in the Java Troubleshooting Guide.Is there anything new the IBM Java Technology Centre (JTC) is working on?
There's lots going on at the moment in a whole range of areas. There's a big focus on usability, so we're working on improving the documentation. expanding the tooling and debugging capabilities, and leading JSR 326 / the Apache Kato project to provide a diagnostics API for writing tools. We're doing a lot of work on garbage collection and performance, providing deterministic Java in WebSphere Real Time and looking at scalability. There's continuing work with the open source community through the Apache Harmony
projects and we're also working on other languages on Java, particularly PHP which is available as part of WebSphere sMash
. Oh, and of course there's the work to deliver Java 7.0 which is in full swing.
Add to that the impending acquisition on Sun by Oracle and you can see that its an interesting place to be at the moment!Tell me about your blog on My developerWorks...
The Java service and support organisation spends a lot of time debugging and troubleshooting Java applications and deployments. The "IBM on troubleshooting Java applications" blog
is aimed at taking some of the knowledge we've built up on best practices and debugging techniques and sharing that with the wider Java user community. Hopefully some of the information covered will help developers to troubleshoot bugs more easily, and allow them to provide us with valuable feedback on some of the tools and debug capabilities!How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks both as a way of communicating what's going on with IBM Java: developerWorks hosts the formal downloads and documentation, I moderate the "IBM Java Runtimes and SDKs" forum
, and I've written a couple of articles in IBM Java in the past; and as a way of keeping up with what else is going on with Java technology: I follow a number of the article feeds, including Java technology, WebSphere and Open source. Hopefully with My developerWorks
it will get much easier to communicate with users of IBM Java.How did you get started in the IT industry?
It's pretty boring I'm afraid. I did a degree in Electronic Engineering at Southampton University and joined IBM through the graduate recruitment program. I've been working with Java ever since.
Who was your first service provider? When did you first access the internet?
Er, probably Demon Internet using an 18K modem, probably around 1993.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I use both Facebook and LinkedIn, and I follow a number of sites through feeds: BBC News
, The Register
, UK Climbing
, a few forums and some blogs. I've not progressed as far as using Twitter yet.What future technology would make your life easier?
I'm finding time management to be a bigger and bigger problem. It used to be a case of just dealing with your work items and meetings whilst trying to stop the the daily deluge of email getting in the way. With all the new productivity and collaboration tools, the downside is that there's many more sources of incoming work and time pressure, so anything that can organise and prioritise work load better would be great.So you love rock climbing - what's the most adventurous or challenging climb you've done so far?
For the last 3 years or so, yeah. One of the great things about climbing is that it takes you to countries (or
parts of countries) that you wouldn't normally visit - it takes you off the
tourist trail. So far, outside of the UK, I've climbed in Spain, Portugal,
France and Sardinia and whilst those aren't off the beaten track in themselves, the bits that I've
been to probably are.Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars. The special effects in the original Star Wars films were ground breaking, yet they were used to improve the story rather than the story being there to showcase the technology. More technology should be used that way!Thanks Chris!
This week, I'm bringing you an interview with Chris Walden, the new developerWorks Open Source zone
editor who is doing quite a bit of interesting work around open source software on My developerWorks. Learn more about Chris and join in on the open source software collaboration by visiting: his profile
, his blog
, the Real World Open Source wiki
, and the Real World Open Source group
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I've been into technology all of my life. My father spent his life in the electronic manufacturing end so I had access to things like calculators (when the were driven by red LED displays) and other gadgets as they came along. I tinkered with programming starting in High School because a friend of mine had an Apple IIe. I had an idea early on that computers were about problem-solving.
My technical career began on the support queue at CompuAdd where I quickly developed the skill of cutting away possibilities and zeroing in on the source of the problem. This was back when memory was $10 a meg and you actually tried to fix them rather than always throwing them away. From there I moved to a value-added reseller doing field support, which was invaluable. I spent time as a sysadmin for a couple of small companies, running mostly Novell and Windows NT. I spent time with the Texas Lottery Commission and then finally at IBM, starting as an architect and then moving into the editorial staff of developerWorks.
The editorial work has been a huge surprise for me. It was an opportunity that I had not expected and I've been enjoying the change of pace immensely. I've spent the last year plus working as the content acquisition editor of the Web Development zone. My role is essentially to determine what content will be useful for people who are interested in working with Internet-based technologies and causing articles on those topics to be written. I work with the author to help them refine their ideas into something that I feel will resonate with our audience and then help get the article into shape for publishing. At that point I hand it off to our talented production editors to get into final shape for posting on the web. It's very much like editing a section of a paper-based technical magazine; it simply happens to be delivered electronically.
However, this month I have moved from being editor of Web Development to editor of Open Source. I'm actually swapping with the other editor. We realized that our backgrounds and interests complimented each others' areas and so we arranged a switch. I've actually had my eye on Open Source since I moved into developerWorks so I couldn't be more excited!
Tell me about your favorite (or most interesting or challenging) IT project...
Gosh! There's been so much. I think, though, that the work project that I still think back on from time to time was the Y2K change-out at the Texas Lottery Commission. I was placed in charge of the workstations. There were several challenges. First, our biggest issue was that the stations in most need of replacement belonged to the people in the lowest strata. There was a little political fall-out about those people getting new machines while the directors had to make do with what they had. Secondly, there was no uniformity to our software. The machines were a hodgepodge of software which had been installed and managed one at a time.
My answer was that everyone would get their machine swapped. We'd start with the people at the top, then roll their machines down to the next level, and so on until the final machines fell off of the bottom. This was popular, because everyone got an upgrade. I also used the opportunity to move to an image-based approach to the operating environment. We divided the drives into operating space and personal space. People kept the data in their personal space and the operating space could be re-imaged at any time. It really cleaned up our environment and made it a lot easier to work on people's machines.When did you first start using open source software?
I discovered open source about ten to fifteen years ago. I always struggled with the cost of keeping my home computer system going. I had access to great software in the places that I worked, but I couldn't afford to keep my home system quite so shiny. In addition, my own curiosity takes me in a lot of different places technologically. So I had a rather insatiable appetite for software, which cannot be legally satisfied commercially.
I had tinkered with Linux, but hadn't quite gotten it to work. However, I had discovered things like Pegasus email and the Netscape browser which I'd begun using. Finally, about Redhat 4, I got Linux to run and started trying to use it to do work. When I was at the Texas Lottery Commission I actually switched at some point to a Linux desktop, because we were a Novell shop and Novell was already supportive of Linux at the time. I haven't run another desktop since.What makes you so passionate about open source?
I struggled to learn about some kinds of technology because of cost. As I said, I was curious about everything from programming to system security to graphic design and media editing. I was uncomfortable with stealing software to learn about it. However, when the software is free, you can have as much as you want. I don't have to choose a particular area of software to specialize in so I can afford it. I can get into anything and everything as my whim dictates. It's actually given me a bit of a reputation in some areas of my life outside of work as a Jack of All Trades.
To give you an idea, I've used open source projects to:
create business documents
surf the web
edit complex audio
run live sound for theatrical events
do 3D modeling and animation
touch up photos, adjusting skin, red-eye and even removing major objects from a photo
write theatrical scripts and screenplays
remotely support a network and workstations
create a full-color magazine
build and manage complex web sites
broadcast an online radio show
That's quite a list... and it's incomplete. I just love the fact that anyone who is willing to apply their mind and their time to learning something new can be rewarded. Technology is no longer just for the wealthy. It's for everyone. Anything becomes possible.
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time?
I think that Cloud computing is going to be a big game changer, more than people appreciate. We are just scratching the surface on the power of virtualization. As we all become more interconnected with mobile devices and advancements in the Web 2.0 approach to doing things the resources that Cloud can provide are going to make a huge difference. Anyone will have access to the kind of technological power that was once reserved for the government and large corporations.
There are areas of encryption and identity protections that I think should be making huge strides, but are so under-appreciated except for geeks like me that they haven't really broken through. Imagine if you had near complete control of your personal information by only allowing what you wanted read by whom you wanted. Wouldn't that change the game? What's on your list to learn about next?
That's a tough one. I'd really like to get further into multimedia production. I've gotten a little into video production, but haven't really had the time to develop any real skill there. I'd like to be able to be able to express myself better there. I'm trying to learn more about social networking, especially OpenSocial, and how this can be applied to connect people who should be connected.Do you have any advice to share with students or new IT professionals just starting out?
Do more than just your job. If you go in and do what you're told and draw the paycheck, that's fine, but no one is going to come up and beg you to be more than you are. You may become the living example of “rising to your level of incompetence.” Be curious! Dig into the documentation and experiment with different ways of doing things. Innovate!
I progressed in my career because I was always able to reach a little further. A large part of that was the fact that I would just RTFM (read the fine material). Learn just a little more than you have to and enjoy the chances to play with technology. It's those extra discoveries which make it fun and the fun builds your passion and skill.What do you think is something that is not commonly known about developerWorks that would benefit others?
That's a tough one. It's hard to know what people don't know. I'm going to change that around to what I think is underutilized. I think our audience doesn't take advantage of the opportunities to interact with developerWorks. They tend to quietly read the material but not jump in with a lot of comments and letters to the editor. I know that I would welcome more interaction with my audience. I think that My developerWorks falls into that category as well. It's all well and good to be a consumer, but when you actually spend a few minutes expressing yourself and sharing your wish list you help to shape what you get. It's a very open-source concept. You give a little here and there to get what you want. If you do nothing, you get what you get.How are you using social networking today? Do you see it changing in the future?
I have mostly used social networking for personal things outside of IBM. It's only as I stepped into the editorial realm that I've appreciated the value of what social networking can provide for me professionally.
I've been on MySpace, though it was really hard for me to keep up with it. I got onto FaceBook and find myself being much more active there. It think it's because FaceBook does more to get in my face and remind me of opportunities to interact. When I see an email about a comment that someone left I'm a lot more driven to quickly give a comment back.
I'm really intrigued by the new tools in My developerWorks. I've started a Wiki
and a group
called Real World Open Source to help accumulate people and ideas about how to use open source solutions in our daily life.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?Slashdot
is great, of course. There's a lot of noise there sometimes, but you definitely find a core of people who are passionate about their technology. I also like to get on different lists with various kinds of news. One that I've been enjoying lately is Fast Company
. It has bits of tech news with marketing analysis and other diverse business views of the world. I've had several things that I've explored as a result of one of their articles.
Most of my exploration is less driven by specific sites and more by my own searching. Google provides. I punch in what I'm curious about and it always seems to find things that are useful. What I search for is driven by whatever is happening to me today or the problems that people have to challenge me.
This week, I'm bringing you an interview with Susan Visser,
a seasoned blogger and social networker with unique insights on DB2 , certification, and publishing. Learn more about Susan in the interview below. And don't forget to visit her profile
on My developerWorks and catch the latest on her blog
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on:
I'm working on expanding the collection of books that are available to help train people on any of our information management products! These books include the retail books that you can purchase on amazon.com (including kindle versions) as well as the custom books that IBM gives away for free at events. One of the more recent books that published is IBM Press' DB2 pureXML Cookbook
.What inspires you in your work?
I'm inspired by people! I find something truly amazing about every person I interact with. I'm blessed to be sitting in the Toronto Lab, surrounded by 2500 brilliant IBMers. I like to help people realize their dreams of becoming authors and try to help promote the work that others do.How do you think the publishing world is changing with new developments in technology like online publishing, ebooks, blogs, kindle, etc?
I don't think the publishing world has quite figured out what to do with all the change that is happening in the world right now. Actually, I'm not sure readers have figured out what they should do with all this change either! The one thing that hasn't happened is a slowdown in published materials. In fact, I'm constantly overwhelmed at the amount of content that is available on every topic. One thing for certain is that literacy skills are more important now than ever before!How are you using social networking today?
Social networking has always been important in my life... but now I'm able to connect with more people than I could just face to face. I use my blog to tell readers about something that has come to my attention that they may wish to know about. I use Facebook to connect with my family, friends, and work colleagues on a variety of topics. I use LinkedIn for my professional network. I've been using ChannelDB2 and PlanetDB2 for years now but I am fully embracing the rich features available in My developerWorks! There is a thing as too much, so there are a few social sites that I'm not using.Tell me about your blog on My developerWorks...
I started my blog in 2005! Does that make me an early adopter? I like to write and connect to people, so blogging was a natural progression in my career. I'm on the education team and was constantly being told that there were a lack of skills resources available to our customers. I knew that this wasn't true, so my intention was to use my blog to broadcast about the vast collection of resources that we have available. I like knowing that I help people find what they need to keep their skills current. My only complaint about blogging is that the tools are not always stable or flexible enough for me to be really creative in my posts.So far, what do you think about the update of the My developerWorks environment to Lotus Connections 2.5?
I've been actively using and teaching people about the amazing features that exist on My developerWorks now that it is on Lotus Connections 2.5. The only thing that could improve the environment is by having more people registered and using the site! The more the merrier!What publications or websites do you regularly visit?
The first website that I visit most regularly is PlanetDB2.com
which is a collection of blog entries from the IM community. Nearly instantly I'm aware of what is on the mind of all my fellow bloggers. I use the ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs
site for the same reason, but this community is much broader than what I get on PlanetDB2.com. The second site that I visit most often is amazon.com. I like to monitor the books that we've published and the reader comments that the books receive. I like to stay on top of what the competition is publishing and promoting.What gadget that you currently own, can you not live without?
It isn't really a gadget, but I don't think I could live long without the internet! Sure, I go on vacations where I don't use the internet for an entire week... but I'm wishing I could! A gadget like the Blackberry would be perfect for me... but alas, the price is too high for Canadians, so I connect to the internet via laptops at work or home.- Thanks Susan!
This week, I'm privileged to share an interview with John Swanson
, the managing editor of the English language developerWorks newsletter. John's been part of the developerWorks team for nine years, and as the newsletter editor, he has a bird's eye view of what's going on in the developerWorks universe. The free developerWorks newsletter is a great way to stay posted on what's new in developerWorks each week - subscribe here
Learn more about John in the interview below and visit his My developerWorks profile
to add him to your network. So what's the most interesting thing about being the editor of the developerWorks newsletter?
The free candy! Just kidding. Every week, there's something new and cool on developerWorks and I get to tell the world about it -- and I like coming up with new ways of showing developers how they can benefit from the resources on our site. And after 10 years, we've accumulated a colossal amount of material -- tutorials, articles, demos, podcasts, and more (not to mention My developerWorks). Plus, subscribers can customize the newsletter so it focuses on information that's relevant to their interests and location.From your perspective, what topics are the developerWorks audience most interested in lately?
The Linux stuff always draws a crowd -- the "Lazy Linux" piece was the top draw so far this year, and the "Learn Linux, 101" series has been popular lately. Other hot topics included "Speed up your Web pages," "Introducing Apache Mahout," and "10 great tools for any UNIX system." Our readers LOVE top-10 lists. What's next for the developerWorks newsletter?
Well, my goal with the newsletter is to make the developer community aware of all the great resources on developerWorks, so as new stuff comes online I'll be showcasing it for everyone to see. If I'm doing my job right, readers are focusing on the content and not on me. (I'm sort of a digital carnival barker.) That's a longwinded way of saying what's new with the newsletter is what's new with developerWorks -- so subscribe
already! :o)Each week, you write such a creative editorial introduction for the newsletter - how do you keep your creativity sharp?
Thanks! Again, I have a lot of great material to work with. There are so many facets to developerWorks -- different topics, presentation formats, skill levels, etc. -- that there's always a new angle we can take with the newsletter. It's fun to find new ways to help developers overcome the challenges they're facing. What do you think is something that is not commonly known about developerWorks that would benefit others?
Well, I'd like to believe that everyone in the IT community has set up their profiles on My developerWorks
with robust data about themselves -- but I don't think we're quite there yet. It really is a one-of-a-kind resource that can help people connect and get exposure. (I mean, it costs nothing -- what can it hurt?)
It's funny: I'm really not a person who's prone to hyperbole -- but having worked with developerWorks for nine years now, I really do mean it when I say there's no other place quite like it on the Web. If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
Hmm. Does a fishing pole count? If you're talking about computing, well, I'd go with a good cell phone with a decent signal -- we're quickly moving into a time when most, if not all, information-related tasks can be done with a phone. I mean, I'd have developerWorks -- what more could I possibly need?What future technology would make your life easier?
I think speech recognition software has yet to hit its stride. Yeah, it's out there, but it certainly isn't part of our daily lives the way I think it will be one day (think household appliances). I see a future where people do far less typing.How are you using social networking today?
I love to connect with friends and colleagues on My developerWorks and Facebook. When you work at home like I do, it's important to find ways to connect with others, and social networking has enabled me to connect with a wide range of folks who have enhanced my life an many ways -- people from all of the chapters of my life, including the current one. My developerWorks is great because there's an emphasis on the future -- solving problems, building careers, finding ways to move forward (and less on who sat next to you in Calculus class).Do you know your Myers-Briggs or Kiersey personality type? Care to share?
I've taken both tests, but it's been years. I seem to recall that I'm officially an introvert -- but I do, in fact, get charge out of being around others. My personality makes taking those tests a little like nailing Jell-o to the wall.
- Thanks John!
This week, I bring you an interview with Hazem Saleh
, a developerWorks author and blogger, who has carved out a reputation for
himself in the world of open source technologies. Learn more about Hazem in the interview below and visit his profile
on My developerWorks to add him to your colleagues.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
My name is Hazem Saleh. I have five years of experience in JEE and open source technologies. I am an Apache MyFaces committer. I created and contributed in many components in the MyFaces projects such as Tomahawk CAPTCHA, Commons ExportActionListener, Media, PasswordStrength and others. I am the founder of GMaps4JSF (an integration project that integrates both Google Maps with Java ServerFaces). I am the author of the "The Definitive Guide to Apache MyFaces and Facelets (Apress)" book. I am a technical articles writer. I am a JSF public speaker. I am now working for IBM Egypt as a staff engineer in an E-Gov project in Qatar.How did you get started in the IT industry?
I started working in the IT industry once I graduated from the Faculty of computers and information System (Computer science department). I worked in free lancing and in a Canadian company in Egypt called (NTG) before joining IBM Egypt (TDC - TCG).Describe your favorite IT project
I like working in frameworks architecture, design and implementation.What has your experience been like working with the Apache MyFaces Project?
I contributed in the Apache MyFaces project with many patches, and I was the creator of many components like (the Tomahawk CAPTCHA, the media, the passwordStrength). I also contributed in many other components such as the MyFaces Commons ExportActionListener. I had the chance to be an author of the definitive guide to Apache MyFaces and Facelets book
Working with the Apache MyFaces team makes me learn a lot of best practices, design strategies and problem solving techniques. I was really honored to be selected as a project committer.
The real benefit of working in an open source project is that your ideas are always validated and enhanced by other people from the open source community. Every day, you hear a lot of ideas and learn a lot from different experiences of a very talented technical people.
In the Apache MyFaces project, there are many subprojects under the MyFaces core (Trinidad, Tomahawk, Tobago, ExtVal, Orchestra) and all of them offer many cool features to the JavaServer Faces community.You wrote an article on developerWorks recently: GMaps4JSF in the JSF 2.0 Ajax world. What inspired you to work on this project and write this article?
JavaServer Faces offers a clean web programming model. It gives the web developers a higher level of abstraction that allows them to build powerful web applications by just using a set of components without even knowing their implementation details.
GMaps4JSF gives the JSF developers a level of abstraction that they need when using the Google Maps APIs inside their JavaServer Faces web applications.
I have the pleasure to be the founder of this project. I wrote an article about it on developerworks to let the people know about the library and how to use it inside their JSF 2.0 applications.What new technologies do you want to learn about next?
Flex and GWT.How do you use developerWorks?
developerworks is my first class technical reference. It contains a lot of good materials in all technical aspects. developerworks articles, tutorials, forums and blogs help me learn new stuff. I usually use developerworks forums for finding solutions to the issues I usually face in my daily job.What inspired you to start blogging on My developerWorks?
The main thing that inspired me to start blogging on developerworks is sharing and exchanging the knowledge with the developerworks technical community. [Visit Hazem's blog on My developerWorks
]What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Jim Driscoll's blog: http://www.java.net/blogs/driscoll/
Ryan Lubke's blog: http://blogs.sun.com/rlubke/
Roger Kitain's blog: http://www.java.net/blogs/rogerk/
Ed Burns on Twitter: http://twitter.com/edburns
Martin Fowler on Twitter: http://twitter.com/martinfowlerIn your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Working for open source projects, playing computer games, and playing a little gym :).- Thanks Hazem!
Continuing my vicarious travels around the world, this week I bring you an interview with Jakub Gaj
, an IT consultant working in Poland. Jakub is an avid user of the developerWorks AIX and UNIX forums and wikis, as well as a gadget junkie and surfer. Learn more about Jakub in the interview below and visit his profile
on My developerWorks to add him to your colleagues.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hello, my name is Jakub Gaj, I'm 31 years old and I work as IT consultant/freelancer. I'm currently in Poland working on data center migration project at one of the major international banks. I used to work on the same project last year in London, now I'm living in Warsaw because of my lovely girlfriend :)Do you have an area you specialize in?
Yes, I specialize in IBM Power Systems, my domain is IBM System p (pSeries) platform with AIX, PowerVM, HACMP, etc. Generally speaking, I build Unix servers & clusters using IBM virtualization technologies in mostly financial/banking environment.How did you get started in the IT industry?
It all started actually when I was still a kid and my dad bought himself a PC for his technical designs. As a computer back then was at a price of average new car, he didn't really want anyone else to be even close to it. At some point he showed me couple of games, which I got absolutely excited about, so I had to learn how to start them myself when my father was out. That's how I learned Microsoft DOS and got my fascination for PCs & world of IT. Later on computer games lead me to 3D graphics & animations, then network rendering slowly got me back into command-line operating systems like Linux. Couple of years later my systems administration skills got me a job at IBM Global Services and that gave me occasion to learn IBM's technologies, gain hardcore experience in production support and basically has shaped my current career.
How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks on daily basis at my work. I definitely love the forums
: when you have a technical problem you can't solve yourself, someone already had similar issue or someone else on the other side of the world will post a solution for your problem while you're sleeping :) I absolutely (ab)use the AIX
Wikis as well, I just really like to have everything important I need under one roof: links to documentation, manuals, tutorials, product presentations, Redbooks, forums, etc. I noticed that developerWorks is changing recently and there are new tools & features available (like blogging), so I have to check those as well.Are there any new technologies you want to learn more about in the next year?
Yes, the job market is constantly pushing us to learn new technologies, isn't it? I'm currently learning IBM BladeCenter products family, which leads me back to Linux. I'm also interested in multiple aspects of virtualization and its implementation by different vendors. I think the future of IT computing is server consolidation & smarter energy management, so I'm watching current trends on the market. As IBM is winning this competition so far in my opinion, I'm focusing on those technologies for now.What publications or websites do you like to follow?
In terms of professional sources I like to follow IBM Redbooks
as well as keeping in touch with professional social networking like LinkedIn
. My free time is mostly consumed by social networking on Facebook
social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us
.Are you a gadget person? What gadget is on your wish list - what gadget would you love to buy?
Sure I am, like every guy! We're all just boys with toys, but the older we get the more expensive toys we have :) My latest gadget is Blackberry Curve 8900 with built-in GPS,which is really cool especially when you're in new town and don't know its landscape.
Besides I've been traveling lately and GPS might be useful for my next trips, although I'm a fan of "getting lost & ask for directions" type of traveling rather than being totally dependent on some battery-run device. I'm also an addicted Sony PSP user, I love that thing, I can play games almost anywhere! Generally I love mobile gadgets which I can carry with me, but it has to be extremely light, otherwise it stays home. One of the major things for me when buying a new gadget (phone, etc) is its weight, then its features.In your free time what hobbies or activities interest you?
I usually kill my free time playing video games, but that's mostly during fall/winter time. In terms of sports I just love capoeira! It's a brazilian martial art with elements of dance, music & acrobatics. I don't practice it on regular basis, rather wherever I have occasion to as I relocate quite often recently due to character of my work. And my latest addiction is surfing! Not really a popular sport in Europe, but I always wanted to try that and when I had a chance in Thailand, I fell in love instantly. I'm still learning, but
it's just amazing! My next holiday destination will be probably some good newbie surfing spot in Mexico, Vietnam or Indonesia. And of course Brazil, especially Salvador de Bahia, but that's because of capoeira :) Maybe I'll go there in February for a carnival! We'll see how the project in Warsaw will run.
- Thanks Jakub!
I'm excited to be back and bring you another interview with a member of My developerWorks
. Amit Surana
is a software engineer hailing from Bangalore, India. He's written several articles on developerWorks and he's recently begun blogging on My developerWorks and sharing his technical tips. Learn more about Amit in this interview below and visit his profile on My developerWorks
to add him to your colleagues.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am yet another software engineer from India with different views and outlook towards the technology. I am currently with IBM Software Group working on LotusLive
, an IBM initiative to provide collaboration across boundaries on cloud. What do you most enjoy working as a software engineer? What's the biggest challenge?
It's been almost 2 years working as a Software Engineer. I have enjoyed every hour working on the cool buzzing technologies like web2.0, cloud computing, Eclipse, and so on. The level of expectation from peers and senior managers increases with every milestone. So its really tough and a challenge to maintain that expectation which in turn brings out most of oneself. Its been exciting journey so far.Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Oh yes. I do have many people here whom I look upon as a hero. Here most of the folks whom I meet are brilliant in their field. I think 24 hours wouldn't be enough time to follow all my heroes !!! :)How do you keep up with the latest technologies and what's new in IT?
I extensively use Feed readers and social networking sites to be in market. If I miss a single day of updates then it's like world has moved so far. So very critical to be up to date with all latest technologies especially related to the field I am working in.You've written two articles about LotusLive on developerWorks already... Are you planning to write more in the future?
Absolutely. We have a series of articles planned for LotusLive. So in near future you will find more of them.
What inspired you to start blogging on My developerWorks?developerWorks
has always helped me get started with their brilliant tutorials, how-to's, etc. So I really wanted to write on developerWorks and share my insights and knowledge. With My developerWorks blogs it's becoming reality. I am sure someone, somewhere will definitely benefit from the information provided in the blogs too. That's the motive behind me writing blogs. How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to communicate with my friends and since I work on same path, there is constant thought on how to make things even better !!! What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I am not big fan of Twitter. As for websites I read reddit, cnet news, infoQ, KDE related news, Indian news sites, and some fun-reading blogs.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Well, one piece of news that excited me was VMWare acquiring SpringSource
. It will interesting to see how this hybrid collaboration matures.In your free time what hobbies or activities interest you?
In free time, I just go around places here in Bangalore with my friends. I enjoy watching movies, reading and of course blogging. - Thanks Amit!
I've always been a little curious about what a developerWorks zone editor does all day. I've imagined they must have some secret knowledge about the world of developers and what makes them tick. So I was looking forward to hearing from Barbara Wetmore
, the editor for the developerWorks Open Source zone
, to find out how she cranks out new content and what kinds of hot topics to expect from the Open Source zone in the future.
Learn more about Barbara Wetmore in this interview below and go add her to your colleagues on her My developerWorks profile
. As the zone editor for the developerWorks Open Source zone, what's a normal day like for you?
Think circus act. Specifically, juggler. At any given time, I have content coming and going and hovering in between.
I receive about 30 proposals for new articles each month. I can accept and publish at most only 8 to 10 of those. So I am constantly evaluating proposals, researching the subjects of the proposals, determining whether the proposals map to our content priority topics, conferring with experts, and making decisions. Once I've made a decision, I get authors started with instructions, article templates, and graphics and sample code guidelines. As those authors are composing, I support and nurture them by answering any questions they have and reviewing interim drafts. And then when authors complete and deliver their final material to me, I transform their material to XML and HTML, fix formatting errors, and edit the content of their article. I work with other editors on the developerWorks team to accomplish the final content and production editing. Once an article is published, I make sure it is promoted in venues such as the developerWorks newsletter, relevant groups on My developerWorks, and Twitter.
My days are unpredictable. I never know when a proposal is going to come in. Some days, I get none. Other days, I get five in one day! On any given day, I can be reviewing a proposal from an author, getting another author started on an article, and receiving and editing an article from yet another author. Hence, the juggling act.What future technology would make your life easier?
Molecular transport. Definitely. Will somebody please hurry up and invent/perfect this technology? I have some implementation ideas. Let's use the cell phone to accomplish the transport, make it our personal portal. Feel like going to Paris for lunch? Punch in the destination code for Paris and voila', your molecules are disassembled, sucked in through a special adapter on your cell phone, sent at the speed of light through the air, and reassembled on a sidewalk cafe in Paris with a baguette and a glass of wine and some fruit and cheese. Got a meeting back in the States at 1:00? No problem. Dab the corners of your mouth with your napkin at 12:55, punch in the destination code on your personal portal, be at the conference table in time for the opening remarks.
Think of the possibilities. No more highways. They can be turned into bike trails. No more carbon emissions. No more rushing around or waiting in traffic jams. No more separation from family. Or instant separation, if desired!
Internet technology transformed the world. We're accustomed to that world now. It's time for a new transformative technology. Let's get going with molecular transport! I want to go to Paris for lunch! Do you know your Myers-Briggs or Kiersey personality type? Care to share?
ISFJ (see http://typelogic.com/isfj.html
). My husband is the exact opposite. ENTP. Turns out that's supposed to be a good match. Indeed. We've been married for 30 years.What kind of topics and technologies can we expect the Open Source zone to focus on in the future?
I've been the editor of the Open Source zone
for less than a year now, and one thing I've learned is that there are more open source projects out there than I could ever possibly investigate! We're always going to cover the biggies, the projects within the communities for which IBM is a major contributor: Eclipse, Apache, PHP. But there's room for other projects as well. And I like to let my audience define what they want to see us cover. I used our developerWorks Twitter account earlier this year to solicit topics from open source developers and users and as result, we published articles on Android, CouchDB, Django, and others. Cloud computing is going to continue to be a hot topic, as well as mobile technologies. What else? Readers, you tell me! Use the Comment field below to let me know what you think the hot topics are in open source and what you want to see us cover in 2010.
Do you have any "lessons learned" about personality on the job?
If you're obnoxious and competent, you can get away with being obnoxious. If you're obnoxious, but inept, you're a goner. Nice, but inept? You'll eventually be gone too. Being nice and being competent is always the better way to go.How are you using social networking today?
You know, I started at IBM 30 years ago with a typewriter in my office. I moved onto to a "dumb" 3277 terminal attached directly to a mainframe (oh, those were the days!), and then stared blankly at the machine that replaced that in the mid-1980s. "PC? What's that?" Now I'm banging away on portable computing equipment 14 hours a day, and yes, despite initial resistance, I am participating in social networking. I tweet on Twitter, both personally and as the developerWorks Open Source zone editor. I share my life with family and friends old and new on Facebook (my kids don't approve, but too bad; they don't own Facebook). I connect with professionals on LinkedIn. Right now I am participating in a Smart Work Jam sponsored by IBM. And of course, I am a member of My developerWorks! I just can't get into virtual worlds. Too old, I guess. The last video game I played was Pac Man on some huge console-like machine in a bar on the Carolina coast. And I'm still not convinced anyone would want to pay attention to my drivel on a blog, so I've never blogged either.
I confess, I do like social networking. Sometimes it is too overwhelming, though. Too many people coming at me all the time. My favorite thing to do still is to walk alone in the woods in the morning. And then to meet with a few good friends for coffee. At the coffee shop! The real coffee shop! With real coffee and real conversation, accompanied by big, broad smiles and twinkles in eyes. - Thanks Barbara!
This week I'm happy to interview David Salinas
, the project and technical lead at developerWorks. Get to know him better in this interview and visit his profile to invite him to be your colleague in My developerWorks
.Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you're currently working on?
Well, I am a long time reader and first time interviewee of your blog. I have been working at developerWorks for 5 years. I joined developerWorks from a small group called Toolbox that was shutdown a few years ago. Since being with developerWorks, I have been a web application engineer that has worked on a variety of topics including search, metrics, usability, UI and numerous web applications. Lately, I have taken more of a project lead role to help drive fulfillment of our requirements from a technical perspective. What specifically drew your interest to the IT field?
To be honest, I was drawn to the IT field by my interest in technology and communication. I was a political science guy who fell into technology due a curiosity of getting people to connect and improve our collective governance. Once I got into the classes, it completely satisfied my intellect curiosity to understand the details of how these complex systems worked and my innate desire to solve puzzles. In fact, the best in the IT industry tend to have strong desires to solve problems and pull all the pieces together. Interestingly, there is more and more convergence between political science and computer science as the IT industry has evolved. In fact, in many ways, the internet is the culmination of the tenants first laid out by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty.What advice would you give to IT students just starting out in the IT industry?
Well, I would strongly advise individuals to study relational databases and understand them very well. This was one area that my academic background did not fully prepare me. In working with others, I have found that this skill is essential in the enterprise space. Just to be clear, I would say that studying relational databases is beyond just understanding SQL though knowing SQL is a must too. You should know how to use a database, how to create one and how to update it as well. Its especially useful to be able to know how to start with a list of requirements and build a database that satisfies those requirements while being an optimal technological solution that can be easily extended and improved for future needs. To that end, you should understand database normalization.
The other advice I would offer is to invest in your future by putting aside money. When I started off, I worked for small companies. Based on those experiences, I can tell you that having a savings for immediate emergency and long term retirement needs is a good thing. So, be wise, put aside 10% post taxed income for your future especially if your employer offers matching contributions.
Finally, I would strongly encourage individuals to increase their competency on communication for the mediums of visual, oral and written. Strong leaders require the ability to clearly communicate a vision and direction to the team and for the project. Good communication is not strictly limited to being informative but also being concise, precise and persuasive. What project are you most proud of ?
Well, I am most proud of two projects at developerWorks. First, I am very proud of the success and achievements for our Rational RFE Community
. I was involved in this project from the ground breaking and have seen it blossom to a successful offering which went public in April 2008. If you are not familiar with it, the RFE Community allows users to submit feature enhancement requests for Rational products. Once submitted, Rational commits to providing a response within 90 days to that request. More importantly, users can search, comment and vote on feature requests that are in the community. Effectively, Rational is fostering a community to build a collaborative relationship for improving and influencing their products. Second, I am proud of the My developerWorks
project. We have learned quite a bit about our users and the ourselves in deploying an integrated and fully featured community offering platform built on Lotus Connections. The adventure continues since we are continuously dropping fixes and features on a regular basis. More importantly, we are in process using the latest product release of Lotus Connections. As such, we are feverishly ramping up to make this a reality for all My developerWorks users.If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
Telephone (or VoIP). I know... sounds pathetic that I did not mention email or text messaging, etc. I have found that most of the complicated technical and business issues of our day really require for people to talk to each other. Quite frankly, email and instant messaging are just not the ideal mediums for most of those situations. As such, I would need to have phone capabilities Besides, with a phone, I could call 911 since my three hour tour went awry to get me stuck on this technology challenged island. Who has time for being on a hand woven hammock that resides between two lush palm trees and cast a cooling shade while looking onto a view of pristine beaches with the soothing melody of gentling lapping crystal clear water anyway?Besides what you do at work, what other interests or passions keep you going?
Oh man, I do not think I want to bore your readers. : ) I am a big SciFi guy, RTS gamer and avid reader. On the SciFi front, I am waiting for the next season of Dr. Who. I just recently learned about the Firefly series thanks to a friend. On the gaming side, I have been playing Supreme Commander for a while. I have a Nintendo Wii for which I spend hours playing Metroid, Mario Galaxy and Mario cart. The latter of which my friends and I have fun beating each other up on weekends. As far as reading, I currently have 3 books going.... Death by Black Hole (Neil deGrasse Tyson), Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) and Robot Dreams (Issac Asimov). I just finished Negotiate to Win (Jim Thomas) for which I would recommend if you want to increase your negotiating skills. Star Wars or Star Trek?
No contest.... Star Trek. Its equivalent to the modernity of Aesop's fables in a future setting. It illuminates our ideals of a better tomorrow where we do not self destruct due to our tendencies for conflict, malice and division. Instead, we collectively grow to understand each other, uphold the categorical imperatives of equality, justice and leverage the opportunities that our diversity offers to conquer problems that limit a better future for us and our progeny.Thanks David!
This week, get to know Antony Satyadas
, an active blogger on My developerWorks
, sharing smarter collaboration insights. Learn more about Antony in the interview below, follow his blog
, and visit his profile
to ask him to be your colleague in My developerWorks. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you're currently working on?
I have been in the IT industry for 25 years with a blend of experience in solution consulting/architecture, applied research, teaching, marketing, and intelligent systems modeling. I co-founded a couple of startups in healthcare and intelligent systems, spent 5 years in design office automation in India, architected solutions for BellSouth, Perot Systems, and IBM and been doing a variety of worldwide business leadership and marketing roles in IBM for the past 9 years. I live with my wife and two kids in Lexington, MA. My current focus is on bridging the business-IT gap by leveraging situation aware smart clients on the cloud, identify collaboration patterns and drive global competitive initiatives. What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
Figuring out how I can work smarter by having the right work life balance... Just kidding, half kidding i guess :-) I have been working with several customers and business partners helping them figure out how to leverage smarter collaboration as a strategic asset to lower cost, and establish cultures of innovation. So how can a clinician work smarter by collaborating with a researcher? Teachers and students in academia. Government leaders and constituents in federal and state government organizations. Tellers and advisors in banks, contact center agents with their customers, subject matter experts, marketers and sellers in this globally integrated enterprise 2.0 type firms. Recently I was with bunch of CIOs from the ASEAN countries, in Singapore doing a smarter collaboration jam using virtual linux desktops. Lots of fun. One of my pet projects is how we can bring sanity to Smarter Cities by helping villages get smarter, using IT as the catalyst, as a cottage industry in emerging growth markets. Another one is on cost reduction strategies that can lower TCO and drive rapid ROI. I care a lot about us mere mortals, people in this smarter planet, duh :-)
Now we are getting ready for the Smart Work Mandate videocast and Jam Sept 16th thru 18th . This is going to be lots of fun. I would like every one of you to sign up for this here: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/solutions/smartwork/virtual/?cm_sp=CTA08-_-EV100-_-8340How did you get started in the IT industry? What advice would you give to students or new graduates just starting out?
I got started in 1984, with Hindustan Computers Ltd in India, offering design office automation solutions using CAD/CAM/ Micrographic systems in India. Those days, our focus was on design office automation for organizations who had design and manufacturing shops – from shipyards and defense establishments to electronic, energy, and automotive industries. I would encourage students to pursue their passion, think out of the box and take risks - be an entrepreneur, and be ready to explore emerging growth markets. IT has revolutionized our world and it will continue to do so with more leaps and bounds in the years to come.Since you've been a part of the IT industry, what has surprised you the most?
Kind of a paradox. On one hand, the ability of IT to drive productivity and transform us from the Industrial mindset to a knowledge driven economy that has leveled the global playing field. On the other hand the fact that we often solve part of a business problem, create new problems, and continue that cycle again and again.. But hey that is life i guess.How do you use developerWorks?
Its a destination, a place i visit every day to find out new things, share my thoughts and more recently meet new people and communities.What is your favorite thing about blogging? What's your biggest challenge?
Ability to express your thoughts and share widely right away. It is fascinating. One interesting Challenge is to be able to type once and repurpose in multiple ways across social media networks. We are getting better at this, but we have ways to go i guessWhat are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Given my competitive pursuits, I frequent eweeks, blogs and other sites where there are conversations about our competitors. Recently we set up a community model to create alerts based on feeds and pings from a variety of sources. One of my favorite tweets is by Mr Shashi Tharoor
, the current Indian Union Minister of state for External Affairs. He was once lined up to become the Secretary General of the United Nations. Shashi is a great role model for every government leader in terms of how they should use social software to know the pulse of their constituents. This is also about participatory policy making, becoming a smarter government.Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time?
Big fan of smart clients on the cloud – the ability to have choice of access and interaction devices, anytime, anywhere. I would place big bets on gaming and cognition oriented architectures and how they can lead the new wave of innovation in this smarter planet. I believe we need the right balance of automation and self-service to make this happen.What future technology would make your life easier?
Virtual Smart agents who can do my work, who have situation awareness capabilities, and the ability to mashup multiple communication media and channels.Besides work, what other interests or passions do you enjoy?
Couple of years back, few of us formed the Kerala Information Technology Alliance (http://www.kita.in
). We have been executing a 12 point programme. I enjoy bringing entrepreneurs together, mentoring the Gen Ys, exploring the edges of my social networks, and tackling challenges in public sector... And of course having fun with my family.Thanks Antony!
Every place on the map has its own local culture, its own feel, its own color, its own expected social behavior. Whether you notice it or not, whether it's eccentric or conservative, it's still there.
I'm a native Texan. Where I'm from we have our own quirks that some folks find charming and others find annoying. For example, we have certain gestures we make in traffic. When someone lets us cut in or change lanes, we give a casual little wave in front of the rear view mirror. This is customary. And it makes me feel good every time I do it and every time someone waves at me. It's a little sign that says "Hey, it's all good. No rush. Happy to let you in my friend." Or at least it says that to me, because "I'm from around here". People not from around here might be annoyed at our laissez faire driving style, or surprised at our selection of gestures - or so I'm told.
These ingrained social behaviors color our world. And while destinations on a map have their own unique culture, destinations on the web do too. On Facebook, for instance, people are very casual and open, but only within their own circle of approved friends. On Twitter, things are different - most people are open with everyone. Anyone can follow anyone. It creates a culture that's less intimate, but more egalitarian.
I've been thinking about the kind of culture I'd like to see grow in My developerWorks. I'd like to see an open, friendly, helpful culture, kind of the way I think of my home state :-)
What I hope My developerWorks
A place where people take IT seriously, but also have some fun
A place where people are real, transparent, and open - not artificial, corporate or closed
A place where learners and experts cross paths, mix, and mingle
A place where people who don't consider themselves to be experts feel just as welcome in the community as the so-called experts
A place where people ask someone to be their colleague if that person shares similar interests or wrote a useful forum post or leads a group they're part of or writes a blog they like
A place where people feel free to comment, join groups, and message each other
A place where information and relationships aren't limited by geography,time zone, industry, or company
A place where knowledge and questions are shared freely and ideas and projects are born
Come join in...