I’m still a little green when it comes to social media. I’m still learning and I’d be crazy to call myself an expert. But isn’t that what makes it fun? While I haven’t been writing one myself, I’ve been an avid reader of blogs for several years. I have an RSS reader full of ‘em. And I’m completely amazed at the number of people blogging, the wide range of topics, and the vast difference in quality. When I find a blog I love, it’s like finding gold.
But mining for gold, can be tedious. Not that I know about gold mining personally, but those little tourist operations where people pan for gold in a stream have always looked kinda fun. It can be fun on the web too--spending hours browsing, jumping from link to link, seeing what’s out there. But sometimes I need something specific and I need it fast, and it’s annoying not to be able to find it.
So on that topic, I want to share some tips on how to find people on My developerWorks. That's one of the things I think My developerWorks has to offer – the ability to connect with real people who have real-world know-how and technical expertise. My developerWorks is designed with that in mind – this isn’t just a place to network with people you already know – it’s meant to help you meet new people you can learn from and network with.
5 ways to find the people you want to know on My developerWorks
1) Use “Find people” on the My developerWorks Connect page.
Okay, this is a killer spot, I really like to use to find new people… Go to the My developerWorks: Connect page and look under “Find people”. You can search by Keyword, Role, Skill, or Interest.
2) Search Profiles in My developerWorks
Go to Profiles. Click on Advanced Search and then you can look by city, country, name and keyword. This is good to use if you're looking for someone in your area.
3) Look for people with similar interests in Groups
Are you already a member of a group? Groups are an ideal place to look for colleagues interested in similar topics. And if you haven’t joined a group, you can easily browse them for topics you’re interested in by using the tags. Interested in Java? Click on the Java tag, find groups tagged with Java, and find new people you may want to get to know in those groups.
4) Get to know your local, friendly blogger!
If you’re reading blogs on My developerWorks, don’t be shy about getting to know the blog’s author. Bloggers blog because they want to share their thoughts and because they want to hear what you think in return! Just click on their virtual business card and send them a request to add them as a colleague!
5) Take a peek over your neighbor's fence at their bookmarks
One way to find someone you have something in common with is look at public bookmarks and browse them by tags. Find bookmarks you like, and you’ve probably found someone new you may want to connect with
Oh, one last thing… Now that you've found someone, how do you make contact with them on My developerWorks?
On their profile page, or from their virtual business card request to add them as a colleague. Once they’ve accepted your colleague invitation, it’s easy. Just go to their profile page and how you’ll see “Message this colleague” available as an option. Click on that link, type in your message and it will reach their email inbox.
Happy Holidays to all of my fellow high tech workers! A High Tech Worker's Holiday Gift Guide:
- "On Air" sign - So those of you who work from home can let your spouse, child, dog, electrician or door to door salesman know when you don't wish to be disturbed. Or for those science fiction fans, perhaps a force field would be even better!
- Ergotron Triple Monitor - for those of us who multi-task too much. Why fight it? Feed the beast.
- Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction - an ebook for those of us who multi-task too much and want to fight it.
- Dilbert calendar - for those of us who need a laugh! And this provides a laugh a day with a dark sense of humor.
- Karlson multiple time zone clock - for those of us whose daily life is by definition cross-cultural.
- Adopt a dog from a shelter who needs daily walks - for those of us who sit too much and need a little puppy love.
- Panasonic phone - for those of us who talk too much. Hands down the best phone I've ever had, because it lets me put my hands down with a great speaker phone and easy mute functionality. Get the one with several handsets, providing you with more battery power for those days when you're on the phone all day.
- Desk Set on DVD - for a reminder of how far technology has come in 50 years, wrapped up in a classic 1950s comedy that happens to include a Christmas office party scene, a computer meltdown and a reminder that for some things, technology will never replace humans.
- A sardonic social media venn diagram t-shirt - for those of us who tweet too much or blog too much and can laugh at ourselves.
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones - for those of us who travel too much or need good tunes to fuel inspiration.
Happy Holidays! And tell me... What's on your "high tech worker" wish list this year?
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...
The holidays are approaching... I'm getting ready to play Santa and in the mood for a little fun! I'm hoping my friends at My developerWorks can help... I want to compile a fun list of the best gifts for geeks.
Leave a comment to add your ideas!
Here are my gift ideas for geeks this holiday season: Voltaic System's Solar Powered Backpack
(and check out this cool developerWorks podcast interview
with Voltaic System's Jeff Crystal)Battlestar Galactica - the complete series in Blu-ray
(most geeks I know, including myself, love this show!) Your own remote telescope Web Geek's Guide to the Android-Enabled Phone The Social Media t-shirt that says it all
(after all if we can't laugh at ourselves, what's the point?) Map your DNA with the Genographic Project KitChocolate covered coffee beans
(for deadlines & late nights)
Have ever done a Google search on your own name?
If you have, then you’re already familiar with the concept of having an “online persona”, even if you don’t think of it in those words. I also think of it like an online reputation or online resume. Your online persona is your representation of who you are in the “online” world, and to a large degree you control it!
Your online persona can be personal, like your Facebook page or Flickr with your latest vacation pics. Or it could be professional, you might be on LinkedIn or have a blog about topics related to your area of expertise. And it's also all the blurry areas where your personal and professional life overlap. When you approach social networking from a professional perspective (which is what I'm focusing on here), building your online persona is like building your online resume.
Your online persona can be negative, neutral or positive. No one wants a negative online persona. So don't go there! Be conservative about what you share and post, what you meant to be private or personal can also get noticed in the professional arena. Social Networking mistakes that can break your career Tips on cleaning up your online reputation
You may start out just wanting to keep your online persona neutral. Maybe you don't want to see anything come up when you do your Google search. It's your choice to stay "off the grid" but consider whether you're missing out on an opportunity. If you choose to, building your online persona can give you an edge in a competitive job market.
How do you start building a positive online professional persona?Find the right sites to participate in
There are general networking sites that don't focus on a specific industry, such as LinkedIn. But you may be better served by seeking out an active site focused on your industry. Vertical social networks target a specific set of users who connect around a specific set of interests. If you’re a developer, IT pro or student, I'd recommend My developerWorks
as the place to start.Set up a "rock star" profile on the sites you participate in
Connect with other people on the sites you participate in
- Add a picture - consider how the picture represents you. Think about the community you're a part of and the impression you want to leave. You may just want to "be yourself". You may want it to be more formal or casual. Think about what you're wearing, your facial expression, etc. There's nothing wrong with a fun, casual picture, as long as it fits with how you want to represent yourself.
- Include as much information as you can about yourself - specifically your professional self. What are you good at? What projects have you worked on? What company do you work at? What's your current role? What are you interested in learning?
- Spend a little extra time on your profile. Someone may be reading this like they read your resume. Edit until you're happy with how it represents you (and don't forget spell check).
- Simple steps to a great profile on My developerWorks
Share what you know (and what you think, and what you care about)
- Look for people you know, people you work with now or in the past, and look for people with similar interests to yours.
- Invite them to be part of your network.
- Join groups based on your projects and skills, and interests to expand your network.
One step at a time
- Find ways to speak out in your community, such as group discussions, comments, and blogs.
- If you're not ready to start posting videos or writing a blog, start out by commenting, rating and bookmarking.
- Sharing your experience and opinions helps demonstrate your knowledge and experience and show off your innovative thinking.
It may seem overwhelming, but you don't have to craft your online professional persona overnight! Take it one step at a time, slowly. Get to know the communities you are a part of before jumping in. Think about what you want to accomplish. Do a little research and learn before you take each next step.Now, I'd love to hear from you... Are you actively trying to build your online professional persona? If not, why not? If yes, what are your challenges or obstacles? What's working for you?
Share YOUR predictions and ideas about the future of developerWorks, developers, and technologyIBM developerWorks is celebrating 10 years of IT leadership on September 28, 2009. It’s fun looking back, but what about forward? What does the future holds for developers and IT professionals?What technologies do you predict will hit it big in the next 10 years?What do you want IBM developerWorks to do in the next decade?Post YOUR predictions and ideas about the future of developerWorks, developers, and technology here by adding a comment!
Very cool! developerWorks
has entered the Forrester Groundswell Awards competition in the Business to Consumer "Supporting" category, for web sites that help customers support each other to solve problems. The Forrester Groundswell Awards are all about examples of excellent and effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or corporate goal.
As a My developerWorks
fan and someone trying to learn more every day about social technologies, I'm proud to see developerWorks in the running.
Check out the IBM developerWorks submission here: http://groundswelldiscussion.com/groundswell/awards2009/landing.php?sc=4
And don't forget to add your review or vote on your favorite entries for the Groundswell awards!
So it's time to get back to my "Personality on the job" series of blog posts
. I'm afraid I've gotten stuck on this particular one, since it is more challenging for me. Why? well...
Are you a feeler or a thinker? Just writing that sentence feels too black and white, too pigeon-holing. To label someone as a "thinker" or a "feeler" seems to imply that thinkers don't feel and feelers don't think. So before I even look at this from a Myers-Briggs perspective, just know that's not the case! We all think. We all feel. And I'll say it again, these personality elements are not either/or - it's a continuum. Before I dive in, I have to give this caveat: I'm a feeler. So some of this comes from my POV, naturally!What about you? Are you a feeler or a thinker? You might be a feeler if...
You might be a thinker if...
- You want everyone to like you, be happy, and feel good.
- You value camaraderie and goodwill.
- You don't feel there is a single right answer, since everyone has a different perspective.
- You're sensitive to the emotional vibes and political undercurrents in the workplace.
- You're not comfortable with confrontation and carefully arrange your communications with people to avoid upsetting anyone.
- You explain yourself alot.
- You use alot of emoticons ;-)
- Motto: Don't be mean.
Now, what about the people you work with? Are they feelers or thinkers? Signs to look for:
- You want to do what's right and what's logical.
- "Logical" is one of your favorite words.
- Facts and data combined with reason lead you to clear conclusions - there is a right answer if you can find it.
- You view work as all about getting things done - getting the right things done.
- You love solving problems and puzzles, learning and challenging your intellect.
- Your communication style is direct, precise, and succinct.
- You're not afraid to argue for what you think makes sense - you're not worried about hurting feelings.
- You say what you mean the first time.
- Motto: Don't be stupid.
Feelers may come across as warm and touchy-feely - they're not afraid to dole out hugs. Feelers may spend alot of time on how to present things to people or how to deal with a situation to assuage other's feelings. It's not that they don't want to do the right thing - they just want to do it in a way that makes people feel good. Feelers are often concerned with dealing with other's feelings and not upsetting the apple cart. They don't just look at the facts, they look at the human dynamics.
Thinkers focus on facts, logic, what's "right". Thinkers may not be as apt to talk about what they did that weekend and like to get down to business. They want to do what's right and don't generally worry about how it will make anyone feel. They speak their mind and often seem to be very confident of their position - after all, it's the only "logical" conclusion. Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?Working with feelers:
Be patient with them. When you're in a meeting understand that social niceties must be exchanged before starting work. Think about your tone when communicating with them - even if you know you are right, try not to be intimidating or harsh. Speak their language, think about things from their perspective and you'll find you get things done more quickly because there is no distraction of ruffled feathers. Know that they will spend energy on how to present something, how to communicate something, and how to work with all the different players of the team to get something done - even if you view this as a waste of time, expect it and be patient with it. Don't forget to publicly acknowledge and thank feelers - this builds the kind of feel good culture they crave. A feeler may have a warm, casual, perhaps too friendly persona - don't take it personally or assume they're not serious about their job.Working with thinkers:
Use facts, data, and logic to make your case with thinkers. Only after you've won them over to your way of thinking, can you talk about the best way to accomplish something with the people involved. Focus on why something needs to be done and what needs to be done - "feel good fluff" and "team spirit" may seem like filler to a thinker. Give thinkers room and time to analyze. Don't ask them to guesstimate. When you're working on a project, let them consider things and come up with a rational answer - they want to decide based on facts and reason and not their gut. A thinker may have a somewhat cool, distant persona - if you're a feeler, don't take it personally or assume it means anything about the way they feel about you. Realize it may take a little bit longer to get to know a thinker on a personal level. My personal experiences...
I'm a strong feeler, but hey, I think too! I believe feelers and thinkers can form wonderful partnerships at work if they learn to play off each others strengths. If feelers can put their "feelings" aside to listen to facts and logic provided by thinkers, together, they can build an air tight case. Then, feelers can help package and sell the story with their intuitive understanding of interpersonal dynamics and office politics.
As a feeler, I'm still learning to push past my natural weaknesses. Sometimes I force myself to ask for things and say things, even when it's uncomfortable, even when it might cause stress, because it's the best thing for the business. I'm also trying to develop a thicker skin when I'm dealing with someone that might seem a little gruff and realize that it's probably not because they don't like me personally - they're also just trying to do what's best for the business. All in all, examining and understanding myself in this area has done nothing but help me out!
What about you? Are you a thinker or feeler? How does it affect your style at work?
In another blog post I shared tips on finding other people on My developerWorks.But that's only half the story what if someone is looking for you?
Get discovered - You can make it easier for people to find you:
- Edit your profile and share your role, skills, and interests in About me section of your profile
- Join My developerWorks groups related to your interests and abilities - this is a natural place to find people with common interests.
- Add tags to your profile this lets someone find you when they do a Keyword search of profiles.How do I add tags to my profile?
Consider what they'll find on your My developerWorks profile when they get there.Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn?Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks? Let me know in the comments!
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks?Let me know in the comments!
- Share what's relevant about yourself in this community.Do you have certain skills, talents, passions, or achievements other developers or IT pros would want to know about?Don't leave them out!
- Share your bio and professional expertise in your profile.The more people know about who you are, projects you've worked on and what makes you tick, the more they'll be interested in connecting with you.
- Your profile is also a key place to promote other social media you're involved in and related work that you've done.Just by linking to my Twitter page on My developerWorks, I've gotten new followers! How do I add favorite links to my profile?
Have you written articles on developerWorks?Have you written a book? Do you have a web site? Include the title and the link in your professional expertise section!
- Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn? Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?/a>
In this week's interview, get to know Byron Kidd
, an Australian born software engineer working in Japan since 1996. Initially employed as a web applications developer he branched out into mobile development as it was taking off in Japan with the release of i-mode in 1999. He is currently employed by Acoustic. Inc.
as a Senior Software Engineer, primarily developing video streaming solutions for Japans many mobile devices. He's keen to assist foreign developers and businesses who want to understand and enter the Japanese mobile market.
Learn more about Byron in the interview below, invite him to be your colleague on Byron's My developerWorks profile page
and check out his blog, The Gaijin Coder
.What project are you most proud of ?
I take pride in all my projects and don't like to ship anything till I'm 100% satisfied that its the best it can be, much to the frustration of those around me. Rather than the big achievements I'm most proud of little utilities, applications and hacks I've developed over the years for myself and my team to improve the speed and quality of our work. Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved?
How to balance an advancing career with being a husband and father of two. Once you've solved that you've done it all.What are you currently working on?
Having immersed myself in the development of mobile Java applications for Japanese mobile phones from NTT Docomo and Softbank over the past few years I'm currently taking a break to investigate Apples iPhone SDK. While the iPhone still has a tiny market share in Japan its not a platform to be ignored.
Google's first Android phone made its debut in Japan in July and at times when I'm butting heads with Objective-C I think I should have made the decision to roll over my Java skills into Android development instead of tackling a new and foreign way of doing things.
I'm a firm believer of getting on board while the technology is young as the learning curve is a lot less steep when a technology is in its infancy than after it has become established and matured. There is less to learn in the beginning and once you've mastered that you can grow along with the technology. A newcomer to development today faces a wide array of established technologies, languages and frameworks so that simply knowing where to start is a challenge in itself. Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Japan has some of the coolest gadgets in the world and I love those gadgets but rarely purchase them for myself. Once I get over the wow factor of a new gadget I step back and realize my "want" for he gadget is much greater than my "need" for it. When I first settled in Japan I had a thing for electronic dictionaries but, as my knowledge of the language increased, and I didn't feel the need to carry dictionary everywhere, I went back to a printed as its so much more comfortable to use. (Japanese gadgets aren't renown for their intuitive user interfaces.)
I've owned a stack of bicycling computers (cyclometers) over the years, but have outgrown the need to know every last statistic about my ride. Preferring now to enjoy the ride and listen to my body instead. Recently I've taken up running but have resisted the urge to purchase running related gadgets.
I think as many of the functions various gadgets provided in the past move online all you really needs is a single simple gadget that can access the internet and we all already have this gadget, its your mobile phone.How do you use developerWorks?
I began using, and continue to use, developerWorks
for the tutorial articles. I had found myself a comfortable job utilizing the skill set I had developed over the years, never having to step outside my comfort zone, but around me technology continued to advance at an astonishing rate. I was slowly turning into the modern day version of the gray bearded mainframe jockey. "These kids and their Ruby on Rails, in my day we coded CRUD by hand, in the snow, the way God intended, and we enjoyed it." When I finally came to that realization and snapped out of it I discovered IBM developerWorks. The introductory articles on various topics were a perfect size and written to a level of detail that allowed me to sift through the details of a lot of technologies very quickly before determining which ones to focus upon more deeply. As I devoured the content I realized that I should have been setting time aside to read one or two articles per week to keep my finger on the pulse of new and advancing technologies. I still try and peruse a few articles per week often, on topics removed from my specialty to build a well rounded view.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
When it comes to websites I show very little loyalty. My RSS reader is full of feeds all grouped into individual topics to the point that I've forgotten the names of most of the sites providing me with information. I now have a much more article based, rather than site based, view of the web.
I use delicious for my online bookmarking, tumblr for simple hassle free blogging, Google reader for my RSS reader, and of course developerWorks to keep up with technology outside of my specific field. As for Twitter .. I still don't get it .. but automatically duplicate my blog posts there for those who do get it.Email or text messaging?
Japanese mobiles have used email since the introduction of i-mode in 1999 and as such I've never been a fan of SMS. When I returned to Australia for a short period I could not get my head around SMS nor the need for SMS to email gateways. I was unable to fathom why you couldn't attach photos to your messages, or why sending an SMS to certain services cost an arm and a leg. The concept of not using email was totally alien to me.
As for the state of the mobile web outside of Japan at the time I was astonished by the sad state it was in, but what has been even more astonishing is the rate at which the west has been catching up over the last 2 years.
I blog about the state of the Japanese mobile internet from a foreign developers point of view on my blog The Gaijin Coder
.Star Wars or Star Trek?
Dr. Who! Thanks Byron!
I'll admit, in spite of working for IBM, and being exposed to many Smarter Planet
ideas, messages, and examples, there are times I struggle to "get it". And then sometimes a light pops on in my mind... This time it was inspired by FlashForward
, a tv show... yes, a tv show.
A little background here... I'm a Lost nut. I've watched it religiously since epi 1. In fact, I now feel compelled to check out anything springing from the creative loins of JJ Abrams. So yes, I went to see Star Trek this summer. And thus, I'm now a Fringe nut too (if you liked X-Files once upon a time, give it a try.) When I saw previews for FlashForward, I wasn't dazzled or intrigued. But I watched and lo and behold I'm now hooked despite the totally bizarre premise - that a "global event" occurs where everyone goes unconscious and has a vision of the future for 2 minutes and 17 seconds - they refer to it as a flash forward. So, ummm... what does FlashForward the tv show have to do with IT and Smarter Planet?
Naturally, the FBI rushes in to investigate and they build a web site called Mosaic to allow anyone in the world to voluntarily describe what they saw during their individual "flash forward". Millions of people respond and now with everyone entering their experiences into Mosaic, the data is now searchable and available to create a big picture view of the event around the world. As a side note, ABC has actually created a fictional Mosaic web site
to help promote the show...
I didn't consider the Mosaic web site concept until several episodes in, where it struck me that this REALLY is the future, and is an amazing, if fictional, example of Web 2.0 (or is it Web 3.0, I'm never sure where that line is crossed) and how IT can create a smarter planet. Crowd-sourcing, collective wisdom, whatever you call it... It's real people coming together, voluntarily sharing information in a single repository, for a united purpose.
I have a friend with a chronic disease that is complicated and in desperate need of years of scientific research to even begin to understand - the story of many diseases and not enough research dollars to go around. It inspired me to think, what if you could set up a web site like Mosaic where everyone with that disease went in and entered info like their symptoms, related diseases, what treatments they've tried, what worked, what didn't, etc. They could update it over a period of years with their ongoing information. You could have a running giant database of info, instead of a tiny selected scientific study group.
The way this COULD change science, research, and medicine is incredible if you could combine researchers + technology + willing participants.
The way research is done today is very controlled, and of course you'd have to give up some of that control. It would require you to trust people to tell the truth - but why wouldn't they if they have a disease and want to find a cure? And then there is the issue of who owns the data (is it a university, a pharmaceutical company, a government?). But what if instead of controlling this data, it was open - like an open source health project? If you could get past pre-conceived establishment notions of medical research you could have data on a million people over 10 years,instead of a hundred people over 3 months! Wouldn't that completely change the game?
Does anyone know of real-life examples of Mosaic-like projects going on out there?
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!
This week get to know Allen Montejo
as he shares what he's been working on as a J2EE application developer and what the IT industry is like in the Philippines. He's definitely inspiring as he looks at ways that technology can improve the world!Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a software engineer with almost 8 years of rigid software development experience using different technology as required for the project, building software from scratch to maintenance and to its evolution. I am new to IBM and was hired as IT specialist and am currently assigned to a project as a J2EE Application Developer. Currently I am working on the web application project that is used for smart and fast information research in many different field. The project was built using IBM enterprise development tools which is the Rational Application Developer (RAD 7). I never used this tools before I came to IBM and I was amazed how easy it was to use and how fast to learn the tools for development. I am quite fan of J2EE open source tools and technology such as Eclipse, Netbeans, and Oracle JDeveloper but with RAD it has many cool features that can boost development productivity. IT Firms should try using this tool for their business since it helps productivity. Aside from being a software developer in our team, I was also given a chance to get involved with project management which gave me good benefits in the end. I learned about IBM's software development processes from enhancement, maintenance to full release. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How did you end up choosing a career as an IT professional?
Actually in the Philippines, we have this custom that our parents are the ones who decide what course to take in college. Though I was interested and had a great desire in computers and computing, they decided for me to take Accountancy since at that time the course was in high demand. But then accidentally when I was trying to inquire and enroll to different Universities, I was always getting denied because the course was already full in capacity. I was determined to go to college and hopefully to land a better job someday because life in our country is very difficult when you don't have a degree finished. And so I enrolled to Computer Science without asking permission first to my parents, and this is also the profession I always wanted.
I chose this career because I believe that technology will always evolve and human beings will always find ways for a better life through the help of technology. And also I am very curious about how computers work and how it will change or help our lives in the near future.What's happening in the Philippines related to technology? What's the high tech climate like there?
Currently there are a lot of foreign IT Firms starting to establish business in our country and also local companies starting to embrace software development type of business. Our new government is starting to automate their processes for fast and accurate results to the selected agency services that have a critical function, like what we had in the last May 2010 election, it is the first automated voting system to be successfully implemented.
Regarding our climate, Philippines is one of the country in Asia which is most visited by typhoons, we even have up to 4 different typhoons in a month. We have PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) a government agency that monitors our weather and typhoons. Unfortunately, currently the agency still uses old technology and approaches for monitoring change in weather. But I think our current government administration is planning to upgrade the technology on PAGASA. Actually when I heard the news I posted a suggestion to our new elected President on Facebook to use the IBM supercomputer which can perform 34 trillion calculation a second
, which I believe is the perfect solution to our unpredictable weather change. Hopefully they will consider my suggestion. ;-)
What's the most challenging aspect of being a Software Engineer (and how do you handle it)?
Aside from technical and logic formulation which I find challenging and interesting in my daily work, I think the most challenging situation I'd experience as a software engineer is negotiating and communicating with a client that has no good background in software development. I find it very hard and time consuming for us to make them understood the process development must undergo. Explanation and solution recommendation is a bit tricky since they do not understand technical terms we use. The only solution I implement when I encounter such situation is patience and transformation of technical terminology to layman's terms or to their perspective to better understand things and to synchronize with development team.What's your approach to keeping your skills current? What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
Reading tech news is one of my hobbies and becoming part of my daily routine. I also get myself involved and participate actively on tech forums and group mails which I am interested in. Collaboration and sharing ideas with the group of people that have the same interests as I have is the key for keeping the skills updated and concurrent. And of course reading tech books to achieve new skills because in our profession we cannot afford to be left behind, it is a constant learning process.
Currently I am quite interested on the declarative languages such as Python and Ruby, I'm playing with it in my free time. I'm also exploring new web frameworks and design patterns. And for IBM, I am learning how to manage and handle the software life cycle and processes.How do you use developerWorks?
Well, developerWorks is one of my resources to keep my skills updated, keep in touch with people with the same interest as mine and to keep me informed what is concurrent news at IBM. I also use developerWorks to update my working status online. What I like is that it has a feature to automatically update to my other networking accounts such Facebook. I hope soon it will cater auto update to other networking sites too.How are you using social networking today?
I'm using social networking to keep in touch w/ my distance friends and relatives. I also use it as a resource in my profession, to gather different information and data, collaborate and share my thoughts and experience in certain topics.Can you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I think my principles and beliefs in doing things in life - my work may be futuristic but I'd still prefer to live and implement life in ancient ways. :-)- Thanks Allen!
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 don't get to travel as much as I want to, so I enjoy the opportunity to meet someone from another part of the world and see what life's like in their corner of the globe. This week my interview with Andres Hojman
gives a glimpse into the life of this infrastructure analyst, java and Web 2.0 enthusiast and student from Cordoba, Argentina.
Learn more about Andres in the interview below and visit his profile on My developerWorks to ask him to be your colleague
Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you're currently working on?
My name is Andres Javier Hojman, I'm 23 years old, I live in Cordoba city, which is located in Argentina , I'm studying Systems Engineering at "Universidad Tecnologica Nacional". On the professional side of my life, I'm spending my days working as an "Infrastructure Analyst", at the software center that EDS (an HP company ;-) has in my city (about 850 employees working here).How did you get started in the IT industry?
Since we have several big globally-known IT companies (Intel, Motorola, EDS, Indra, Globant, IBM, etc.. ) locating their software centers or service offices in our city, it's been quite easy to quickly find a position to start my career due to the day-by-day increasing need to fill different positions. I took my first career steps when I decided to join Motorola as a " Software Engineer ". After that, I had the opportunity to jump to my current employer; so I can say that I'm focused on my career growing and improvement in the IT field.What's a typical day like for you working on UNIX Security administration?
Our "routine" consists mainly of delivering "Access Management" services, meaning that we take requests for access or permissions (creating or modifying existing user accounts), on different servers or systems, based on several platforms (Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux or Windows) ,from our customer's users (..my team work scope is the US EAST coast, meaning that most of the requesters are located there). I think that the best part of my job, is the chance to do my work following a "objective based" routine, meaning that I can control how many things I have to do daily and the way I do them, allowing me to use my time freely when I'm at the office. Also, I have the chance to do some "work@home" time, saving me traffic delays on the freeway road to the office, and I can attend university classes when I need to.What kind of IBM Telelogic DOORS projects have you worked on?
When I was at Motorola, I was part of a team that supported and managed DOORS along with its databases and servers, and also a feature of it called RMSE . The company used DOORS to keep control of every requisite document (functional or non-functional) that they had for every product project located on America or EMEA regions. I was in charge of the user management side, and we performed several test case phase activities, making sure it was functioning properly, before any version release or change could be applied on the running DOORS environment.How do you use developerWorks?
Actually, I'm using the site like a tool to be in touch with another Java developers, or people with the same interests that I have. Besides that, I really enjoy joining groups or participating in different forums, in order to learn more about different technologies or ways to work, because I have the upcoming idea to start being a freelancer at some point of my career. I guess that this site can help me on that.What publications / websites do you read / visit?
I like to visit any kind of technological web pages or blogs(.. speaking of programming languages, X-Box 360 games, social media, design, freelance, etc..) , also I like to be aware of upcoming releases of products, or read their reviews before buying them.
I consider myself a " web 2.0 enthusiast "; since I like any kind of web page that can make my browsing experience more complete. Most of my entire bookmark collection is tagged online on delicious.com; and a few interesting tagged web pages I'd to share are the ones under these four categories:BlogsFreelanceDesignBusinessHow are you using social networking today?
I'm handling social networking in three main ways..
First of all, I use Facebook
to keep in touch with friends, family, ex classmates, coworkers, or just to know new people from my city.
Second, I like to use LinkedIn
to be connected with my company colleagues, or just to make business contacts for the future.
And three, I'm using these days a new tool called Popego.com
, which is like a " social portal " that takes your likes and dislikes around different web pages or web services, and it automatically builds site recommendations based on the information you've dropped.
Also, I enjoy GrooveShark.com
to listen to music on-demand while I'm online, and also I can recommend songs or play list to my friends, as well as learn about new artists.What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
I think I can not be without my cell phone (..like everybody I guess :-P), and it's getting more addictive, since they are coming out with new features every day (..GPS, Wi-Fi connection, great graphics engines for games, music player..)
What future technology would make your life easier?
I guess that the idea of "technological integration" will be the next step ahead to develop, meaning, smarter devices which will allow you to interact freely with another tech devices around your house or office, simplifying your daily routine, and keeping you focused on what's important, saving time to carry a lot of things with you, and avoiding to miss important appointments.
I'm also thinking about the growth of the Wireless protocols or services (WiMAX for example), that will allow you to be connected from any place.
I don't want to leave out the "Cloud Computing" idea, which is becoming more famous (..and efficient) every day.In your spare time, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Actually, I'm currently defining my academic objectives (reach my MCSA certification and finish my grade and CCNA studies as well), so, that's keeping me busy. And of course, I like to spend my free time surrounded by friends (going to parties, playing video games or poker matches - it's incredible the money you can win from your friends :-P -, and also, I really enjoy going to the cinema, listening to punk rock music, swimming, the gym, etc.- Thanks Andres!
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 was intrigued when I first heard the concept of SmartCamp
together entrepreneurs, investors and mentors in a fast paced bootcamp
and competition. Hear what Angela Bates
has to share about the
SmartCamp in London and more opportunities for startups to build a
Smarter Planet with IBM. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm the UK and Ireland Marketing team leader for IBM ISV and Developer Relations. I've worked in the IT space for more than 20 years both with major global corporations - including IBM and Hewlett-Packard - and with business partner organisations. My team and I are currently working on leading the marketing campaign for IBM Global Entrepreneur, building co-marketing campaigns with ISVs, delivering more that 100 ecosystem events and building Smarter Planet client references with UK and Irish business partners, developers, students and academicsTell me about the recent SmartCamp in London. What was the most interesting or exciting thing about SmartCamp?
IBM SmartCamp London took place on 21st July at Imperial College London. SmartCamp is an exclusive event that brings together entrepreneurs, investors and experienced mentors who want to help us build a Smarter Planet. SmartCamp provides startups access to world-class advisors, plus a direct route to seed and venture capital.
SmartCamp London attracted more than 70 registrations from the startup community. It was a tough job to filter this down to 23 shortlisted candidates which were interviewed at our IBM Innovation Centre, South Bank in Central London. After some tough discussions, we chose 5 fantastic finalists which stood out from the rest: 3Strata Technologies
, Ark Mobile Finance
, and WorldSensing
. The overall winner was WorldSensing, with a classic Smarter Planet/Smarter Cities solution.
The most exciting aspect of the event was the amazing ecosystem that gathered at the event and their incredibly positive feedback from attending the event... their comments included:
"Congratulations to the whole team on SmartCamp London - it was a fascinating day for me, and an impressive lineup of potential partners for IBM for the future." - Caroline Taylor, VP Marketing and Communications, IBM UK & Ireland
Audience Feedback included:
“No other company comes even close to IBM in its outreach and support of entrepreneurs"
" I love the IBM smarter planet strategy, it seems like the company really cares, I am deeply impressed."
"Beautifully Organised. Great central London Location"
"Outstanding Companies, well chosen"
"Thought it would be more formal, it was a nice surprise"
"Brilliant event and excellent smarter planet campaign"
"Great event that helped bring together the large businesses and the fresh new startups"
"Doug Richards was a great addition to this event, I learnt a lot and broadened my network significantly"
"Was excellent to be able to receive feedback from such a range of people.
"Great networking event, good keynote speakers as well"I read on your blog that there is actually going to be an international SmartCamp finals on November 15, where one business will be named “The World’s Smartest Start-up”. Tell me more about that!
WorldSensing will now go forward to the global final of "SmartCamp", which will be held in Dublin from 15-17 November. Winners from each one of the IBM SmartCamp events from around the world - from Silicon Valley, Boston and Waltham in the US, to Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Dublin and Tel Aviv in Europe - will gather with leading mentors from around the world in Dublin to name the 'World's Smartest Startup.If someone missed out on the chance to be part of SmartCamp, are there still opportunities they can seek out with IBM?
There are more SmartCamp events planned around the world, so keep checking our web site for dates and locations: http://www-05.ibm.com/ie/smarterplanet/smartcamp/index.html
I'd encourage all startups less than 3 years old, to join IBM Global Entrepreneur. This programme - announced in March this year - has the products, people, and promotion that can help technology startups extend the size and reach of their company. The initiative provides support and resources in the areas these startups need most:
* No charge access to IBM’s software portfolio on-site or through the cloud to accelerate software development
* Dedicated technical enablement support to help startups develop their product and get to the marketplace faster.
* Mentors at IBM SmartCamps around the world who can help them grow their business.
* Industry market intelligence from our top industry experts that can help them understand the enterprise customer and the market opportunity.
* Visibility as part of the IBM Smarter Planet agenda to set themselves apart from the competition.
* Recognition and additional benefits to partners with the most innovative solutions
* Opportunity to showcase their company in the IBM Global Entrepreneur directory.
Startups who meet the eligibility criteria can register at http://www.ibm.com/isv/startup
. On our application form we ask a few simple questions to help us understand a little about their companies, and once accepted they will be contacted by one of our Project Resource Managers (PRM). The assigned PRM will make a personal call to welcome them, and will guide them through how they can make best us of the resources we provide on a one-to-one basis.What are the challenges that entrepreneurs face & how does IBM help? How can entrepreneurs benefit from IBM's leadership with Smarter Planet?
Today, the world’s physical systems are being infused with intelligence, and this opportunity to apply information technology to physical infrastructure opens up vast new markets for the IT industry. With disruptive, new technologies, this is the perfect scenario for innovative entrepreneurs to play a major role. With IBM’s unique vision of a Smarter Planet
, we are looking to partner with technology entrepreneurs who share this vision and want to work together to address this new market opportunity. Technology Startups, together with IBM, can drive change to build a Smarter Planet,
What future technology would make your life easier?
The Battery Operated Butler / Maid - for all those boring laundry and housework chores. What can I say - housework sucks.
- Thanks Angela!
This week I'm bringing you a fun interview with Ankita Nanwani
, an ambitious software developer at the IBM India Software Labs.
Learn more about Ankita and invite her to your network on her My developerWorks profile
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I will very soon be tagged a "2 year old IBMer". Just trying to carve my niche in this "Big Blue".
When I used to read about IBM in my text books related to various innovations, I always aspired to work here. I completed my graduation in Information Technology in the year 2008 and it was just 10 days later after my final semester exams, that I joined IBM India Software Labs(ISL). I started my career with IBM Tivoli Directory Server(TDS). By the time, I could actually deep dive into that legacy product, I moved to Virtual Member Manager(also known as Federated Repository) which is a component of WebSphere Application Server(WAS). So, putting my feet into a developer's shoes, I am trying to gain expertise in various Java technologies mainly J2EE.
I am also pursuing MS in Software Systems from Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani which I will completing in Dec 2011.What's it like working in the IBM Software Lab in India?
IBM India Software Labs is,indeed, a great place to work.The aura here, created by geeks around, inspires me to excel not only in my assignments but, also to turn my vague techy ideas into working solutions That eventually helps me to groom my technical skills and also learn innumerable technologies around. You name it and you can find a peer, just next door, to guide you. So, on whole, its a "just-cannot-be-missed" opportunity to be part of this lab.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
Well, as I am into very early years of my career in IT, my main role as a developer helps me to gain insights into "Why the architect designed this feature so?" I guess, "Why" is something which always bombards my mind and hence, I try to analyze the existing designs of my product and understand the various hidden design patterns.So, I feel, understanding the complex design and then actually turning that design into working code, is what I like the most.Because, sooner than later, I aspire to be a Product Architect.Is there anything unique about working as a developer because you are a woman?
As we all know, IBM has been acknowledged as a world leader in its commitment to women. And I have personally experienced it. If I take work into account, I have always had an equal share with the male
colleagues. But, when it came to staying back late for work or things like that, I was always ensured safety. So, I think, I did not realize any unique thing just because I am a woman working as developer.What was the transition like from school to work as a developer?
In school, I had counted number of hours to spend on the ideas which I had in my mind which was main the reason I always wanted to have a be as a full time developer soon.Here in IBM, I got ample amount time to work on varied technologies of my interest which fascinates me the most.How do you use developerWorks?
For professionals like me who have just stepped into this technology world, developerWorks is a valuable knowledge repository which helps us to learn almost any technology under the sun and that too, from IBMers,who have worked extensively on them. So, most of the time I try to gain as much knowledge as I can from developerWorks but I also promise to give back to developerWorks community, once I have gained enough expertise in my area of work. I have recently started blogging on My developerWorks
and will surely shoot up the number of my blogs soon.What new products or technologies do you want to learn about next?
Well, the list is endless here and I am sure it will grow by leaps and bounds as time passes because every minute we have some new upcoming technology. But, to be specific, I want to be an expert in J2EE and web technologies. I also want to learn Web2.0, SOA and Cloud Computing.Do you have any big dreams for your career?
I always dream of things which seem unrealistic to me because that motivates me to achieve very near to those big goals. Being in IBM, I want to increase the count of IBM Fellows by one :) I am aware that this will take years together but the journey towards it is surely going to teach me abundantly.When you're not working, is there anything special that you enjoy doing?
I am a voracious reader, whether its technical or non-technical. I also enjoy blogging. Apart from that,I play guitar and like experimenting with varied food.- Thanks Ankita!
I'm excited to share this interview with Anthony English
! Anthony is an AIX expert from Australia who writes a popular blog on My developerWorks called AIX Down Under
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a Sydney father of (only) six children, and my wife and I home school them.
I've been working primarily on AIX systems since 1991, and in the last couple of years have been doing contract work in the finance, retail and manufacturing industries. It's a chance to work with lots of good people and learn to take advantage of virtualisation on IBM Power Systems. My most recent project was building two Power6 570s (one for DR) from the ground up without ever seeing them. They're hosting some 24 X 7 public-facing web sites with WebSphere, DB2 and Informix on the back end.
What first drew your interest to technology?
I used to take clocks apart as a boy, and put them together again, with intermittent success. When I started working, "computerisation" was the buzz word. What I worked on was producing mailing lists using real letters and envelopes using CTOS. These days I'm used to taking on new technologies and I'm quite excited when I have to troubleshoot problems. I have nightmares about workarounds. Can't stand 'em. There's nothing so permanent as a temporary solution.How did you end up being an AIX expert?
My colleagues and clients might have an opinion about calling me that! I'm no expert, but I am keen. I've learned a lot from my mistakes and I've developed a strong interest in finding simpler ways of doing things. I think AIX and virtualisation on IBM Power Systems can help build environments which are flexible, consistent and stable.
I'd say laziness is my big motivation. In a way my goal is to do myself out of a job. I like to set things up so that people are not fighting fires all day. Maybe I should write a blog post: "From firefighter to autopilot."So you started a blog called AIX Down Under - what inspired you to start blogging on My developerWorks?
It was really by popular demand. A few colleagues found they were getting lots of free and unsolicited advice from me on how to set up their systems. They gently suggested to me that there might be someone out there in cyberworld who really was interested in what I had to say.
After some years of working with all different kinds of people - some great people with wonderful abilities - it's a good thing to share around what they have passed onto me. It's also a chance to help out people who have lots of enthusiasm but not so much experience to show how they can make their systems work better. I'd also like to believe that some people appreciate my Aussie sense of humour. I do, anyway.What's been the most interesting or surprising thing about blogging so far?
I wrote a post on the most famous of all Unix commands - the one which will wipe out your system. I called it "rm -r and your career". Five minutes after I put it on my shiny new blog I managed to wipe out the entire post and had to reconstruct it using Google searches, one and a half sentences at a time. See what I mean about people being able to learn from my mistakes?How do you use developerWorks?
Primarily reading the excellent articles. It's a great source for hands-on examples of doing things which the official man pages simply can't cover. I've got some articles in the wings myself. I think it's a great way for people to see how things work and hang together in the real (virtual) world. Even a task which you're told is very simple can be daunting until you see someone step through it.Are you a gadget guy? Any new gadgets that you are adding to your wish list?
The i-don't. Gadgets? No, not really. I actually grow veges, coach cricket and read books, (you know, printed on real paper) especially the classics. I was catching the bus to one company in Sydney recently and that gave me the chance to read the whole of Dickens' and Jane Austen's novels and a good dose of Shakespeare (the bus driver took the long route that day). I also have a strong interest in mediaeval philosophy and theology, and have written the odd article in that field, which is perhaps not so common among geekdom.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow? https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/AIXDownUnder/?lang=en
(of course! I'm its most frequent visitor.)https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/InsideSystemStorage/?lang=en
In the AIX spacehttp://ibmsystemsmag.blogs.com/aixchange/http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/wikis/display/WikiPtype/AIX+Virtual+User+Group+-+USAhttp://twitter.com/aixmaghttp://twitter.com/cgibbo
(and every word written by my compatriot, Chris Gibson)
Anything produced by Nigel Griffiths, especially his Wiki movies: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/wikis/display/wikiptype/movies
And, to prove I have a life outside of AIX:http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/onbiz.cfmhttp://www.cts.org.au/articles.htmhttp://www.newadvent.org/summa/http://www.chesterton.org/Do you have a motto or a philosophy that guides you?
I'm not much of a doomsdayer. I have a great deal of hope for the future, and I think that's important in a world where the emphasis is sometimes more negative. True hope gives joy and peace, whatever is going on around you. I also find people face things best when they know the truth, spoken with clarity and charity.
Now if only I could condense all that to a bumper sticker.
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!
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 pleased to bring you a look into the mind of one of IBM's Master Inventors, Barry Whyte, who's been driving innovation in the area of Storage and shares his insights in a blog on My developerWorks.
Connect with Barry: Barry Whyte's profile on My developerWorks Barry Whyte's blog Barry Whyte on Twitter Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on
I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and studied Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. I joined IBM the year I graduated and have been working in the now Systems and Technology Group (under many different names) since 1996. During my 14 years I have worked solely in the area of Storage, having various development, test and field support roles on the Serial Storage Architecture (SSA) products, the IBM DS8000 range and since 2000 on the industry leading Storage Virtualization appliance, the SAN Volume Controller (SVC)
. I am currently a product architect for SVC, specialising in performance. Day to day this can mean tuning code, writing new code, of course benchmarking the product and guiding storage strategy.What projects have you worked on that were exceptionally exciting for you?
SVC itself is a great product, as it allows us to sell our vision to customers using other vendors products, and keep them... 18 months ago I proposed and developed a backroom project to demonstrate the ability of a scale-out architecture like SVC when it comes to very high performance Solid State Disks.What do you think is the next revolution in storage?
In the Storage domain we've always had a battle with application administrators, especially database admins. Going back 15 years DB admins would ask for their volumes to be placed on the inner, or outer edge of the disk - i.e. they wanted the best performance and had to know how the storage was laid out. As we moved to RAID technologies this became less important, and with virtualized storage there is a whole new abstraction layer between application and spindle. This is going to change again, as storage adds smart tiering functions - basically analyse the data workload for given "chunks" of storage, and then move that to the correct tier. This becomes more important with the performance (and price) differential between SSD and traditional HDD. This is coming in 2010, but looking further out, maybe 5-10 years, the next revolution will be whatever fundamental technology replaced NAND as a storage block. Todays SSDs are NAND flash based, but this is far from ideal as a low level storage technology. I see a few things coming through research that are going to displace NAND as the SSD technology of choice.How do you think innovations in storage will change life for an everyday person?
It's difficult to relate enterprise Storage innovation back to everyday people. You could say SSD innovation has already come to everyday users with our Blackberry's, iPhones, MP3 players and digital video recording - all to NAND based SSD. But storage at an enterprise level is just "assumed" - i.e. you wouldn't be happy if your bank forgot your account details - 24x7 reliable storage is just taken for granted. I guess inovations in storage, such as SVC and smart tiering will free up money within enterprises, so they can spend it on innovation elsewhere?Do you have any particular methods or approaches you like to use when trying to come up with creative solutions to problems?
I read a great book "The Medici Effect" by Frans Johansson
- the basic idea is that the most innovative solutions come from combining ideas from very different disciplines. For example IT and say Biology.How do you use developerWorks?
My main uses of developerWorks are for my blog, and other blogs, but we are working on a new Group for SVC users, so its likely I'll be spending more time in the Groups and discussion boards.How are you using social networking today?My blogging
is obviously trying to provide a "voice from inside development" out to our end users. Not a typical marketing or sales person, but someone who works with and uses the products day to day. Someone they can hopefully connect with on the same level. I've been using Twitter
for a couple of years, mainly storage related, but its a great information source, and to find new people with similar interests and new views. Facebook is great for keeping touch with old friends.What inspired you to start blogging? And what is it about blogging that you find rewarding enough to keep doing it?
Other vendor FUD slinging. (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) I found I was replying to other peoples blogs, correcting their mistakes and basically standing up for IBM and SVC. One of them suggested I get my own blog, and that was that. I also found it frustrating when other people moderated your reply - presumably they didn't like what I was saying, so somewhere I could get my voice heard seemed a great idea. I've kept blogging as I've been amazed at how many people are interested in what I want to say - almost 1000 people a day visit one or other of my blog posts, which I find amazing. I must be saying something interesting, and I've found it a great way to solicit feedback about our products - both bad and good.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Sad to say, but the power of the next generation of Intel Xeons (yet to be released).What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Other than the storage bloggers, in my regular read list are various Formula 1 websites (I know its not a huge sport in the US, but oval racing doesn't do it for me!) Magazine wise I have a subscription to Custom PC.When you're not working, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
The family takes up most of my time these days (7 and 5 year olds) and when I can I get out with my son to play golf. I used to play a lot and got down to a handicap of 10, but these days its creeping back up. My son is obsessed with Lego, and we spend a lot of time building things. My home PC is always getting some tuning work too.- Thanks Barry!
This week, get to know Ben Lieberman
, principal architect of BioLogic Software Consulting. Ben is a long-time author of developerWorks articles too numerous to mention, with the majority focused on UML and software modeling. He's also started blogging on My developerWorks. Learn more about Ben in the interview below and you can also find out more about him here: Profile
- Search for articles by Ben Lieberman
Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved...
To date the biggest problem I have solved was the ability to automatically program cellular mobile units in the field. The problem involved integration between three separate systems (billing, over-the-air signaling, and mobile equipment database), and making sure the transaction to the mobile unit worked correctly 99+% of the time!What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on multiple projects for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), putting your tax dollars to work. Of interest to me is the current project to integrate a rule-driven engine for the management of mine health samples with the existing centralized data management system.What inspires you in your work?
Primarily the ability to work with motivated teams, on interesting and challenging projects.
Describe your favorite IT project
My current favorite is the mobile workforce support application (Source-Forge: Maestro) I am in the process of designing and coding; I think this project will totally rock ... as soon as I can really devote myself :-) Learn more about this project in this developerWorks articleHow are you using social networking today?
Not much, I have a partially complete Facebook page, and I am registered in LinkedIn. Otherwise, I'm not a big fan of texting, IMing or other interruptions to my day. On the other hand, I do participate in Blogs, online journals, and discussions!What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I am registered for several Podcasts (try out "This Week In Science"
, very cool), and I like to follow the NASA space shuttle RSS feed
. I am an occasional visitor/contributor to various Java websites (Java Ranch
is one of the best for new Java coders - and even old hands!) Do you know your Myers-Briggs or Kiersey personality type? Care to share?ENTJ (although I have INFJ tendencies).
Of course, if you check out my personality type it reads as "Field Marshal" - so toe the line sailor!
What type of gadgets do you use?
iPod Touch (when my teenage boy lets me use it), MacBook Pro, and your basic cell phone; I am "small electronic gadget" impaired. I am the target of much derision from my more tech-headed friends.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
The launch of My developerWorks
of course! Well, that and the Hubble space telescope repair.Thanks Ben!
This week get to know Chandra Bhushan Kumar
, training coordinator at an IBM Center of Excellence in India. IBM has just announced the launch of 75 new Centers of Excellence in India
, so I thought it would be interesting to take an inside look at one. Learn more about Chandra and connect with him on his My developerWorks profile
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a Training coordinator in Centurion Group of Institutes(CGI), Orissa where we give the quality training on various technologies based on IBM, SUN and CISCO technologies.How did you get started in technology?
I started my IT career in year 2001. I have always been keen to learn about new technologies and wanted to learn computer programming languages. I used to spend more time on various new technology of
computer and now I want to give knowledge to the students.Describe your favorite IT project
My favorite IT projects are based on Java Technology. I also like to architect and design software on various platforms. My favorite IT project was the Thief Detector project, when I guided final year students based on .net technology. I also like my one operating system project - MOS2k6 , which is small operating system developed using C/C++. This provides the facility of Linux to Microsoft Windows.Tell me about the IBM Center of Excellence (CoE). What kinds of things do you do?
Yes! This is a very interesting area, where I have applied my experience to add more knowledge in my existing experience. I used to train the students on various IBM products like DB2,RAD,RFT,TIVOLI etc. this the most interesting area where IBM provides a better career path to achieve knowledge . I used to mold the student on various IBM technology in IBM CoE.
My target is to guide the student globally on IBM My developerWorks, which is the best place to communicate with the students as well as with world class developers of Technology .What IBM products are you seeing the most demand to develop skills in right now?
Yes! This is a very good question. According to my observation DB2, Lotus and RFT are the most in demand technology. DB2 is very good for the industry for maintaining the database and testing
technology and RFT is also very useful technology for developers.What is your favorite aspect of working with students at the Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management?
Yes! You have asked very good question. I used to spend myself with the students at JITM is that students are devoting their time and follow the best practice. I used to involve my more time to give
better to the students and they follow. one thing more that JITM management people are very supportive to the students towards their career growth and development. and this one of the favorite aspect of
working with students at Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management?If you were advising your students on three things they need to be successful in an IT career, what would you tell them?
The first thing I would like to suggest to students is that they should acquire basic knowledge of their career properly, because that is the base of the IT career. Second thing, students should choose
their area and specialization where they will exist. And third thing I would like to suggest them that they should always be ready to Imagine, invent, and share their knowledge across the world.How do you think the IT industry is evolving in India?
As I have seen in 10 years, Information Technology has grown too much in india. There was a larger growth of the IT during the previous 5 years. Where every sectors of Government as well as private sectors
has been computerized and every one has become very familiar to use Information Technology. In future also india is very large market for IT in the world.
How do you use developerWorks?
First I am very thankful to the IBM and IBM developers who have provided the great resources for the students as well as for the developers. I always use it to share the information among the developers
and students. I also assist the students to use developerWorks. What interests or activities do you like to do when you get free time?
Usually I don’t have free time. I am always busy creating and developing some new thing. When I feel, I am free I use the time to write programs, developing/updating websites, searching new
articles and working for my PhD Research.
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!