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?
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 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!
This week get to know Wade Williams
, development manager of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service team. Connect with him in the new C^3 community for Cognos developers
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I live in Ottawa, and have been enjoying the nicest summer weather in several years. I am the development manager of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service team, and we have been busy working on the next product release. We've heard some feedback from customers, as well as working on some ideas of our own.What project are you most proud of ? Have you ever invented something?
I am proud of the release of the IBM Cognos Mashup Service in the 8.4.1 release to our customers in December of 2009. It has been gratifying to see the customer response to CMS, and confirm the power of being able to apply their IBM Cognos BI applications where ever they are needed. Me and some of my team mates filed a patent for some of the ideas embodied in CMS, back in May, 2008.How do you grow your technical skills?
I like to read about technical topics (internet and books), and in many cases try things out using samples provided with articles. I have to admit, I get a lot of help from my team who are a smart group of people and are reading a lot about the evolution of web services. I ask a lot of questions. What's the coolest thing about Cognos Mashup Service - what do you wish more people knew about it?
It's hard to pick just one, I like the fact that the web services are available automatically as soon as a BI object is created. With simple web service calls (REST or SOAP), BI objects can be fetched and integrated into any application, business process, or portal. CMS is a complete report consumer API, that offers all useful operations (get report output, prompts, authentication, etc.) and all of the value of the BI application (drill, formatted data, unformatted data, etc.)What are some of the unique things that developers can do with Cognos?
I'll answer this with a Cognos Mashup Service scenario :-). IBM Cognos has a ton of great features building Business Intelligence (BI) applications for analyzing and understanding your data. The IBM Cognos Connection portal and Cognos Viewer UI provide an attractive and highly functional consumer web UI for consuming that BI.
IBM Cognos Mashup Service serves up those same BI assets for integration with other applications, such as mashing up with other data sources or plugging BI data into visualization tools that are unique and important to a specific application.
Also, not all applications are HTML web applications, so CMS provides a way to get BI assets and present them with other UI technologies. One example of this is what IBM Cognos has done to render IBM Cognos BI in Microsoft Office or on mobile devices. The XML representation of reports gives a lot of flexibility.
I know that IBM Cognos customers have way more ideas about how to apply their data than I can imagine. CMS makes a lot of things possible.Tell me about the new C^3 community for developers.
C to the power of 3, is our new IBM Cognos developer community site. A group of bloggers have been contributing to a growing list of posts that help customers build applications using IBM Cognos. The bloggers are members of development teams (including me - pointyhair) and others with a lot of experience building applications using IBM Cognos. Together, we have a lot of experience and we want to help customers be successful using IBM Cognos. It's possible to build some really good applications that use IBM Cognos, and our customers certainly have.
C^3 provides a place to discuss the "art of the possible". Blog posts typically explain how to use some part of the product API's, and provide an example, including code if appropriate. If you're just starting out, or even if you have something to share, C^3 is a great place share and learn. What are some of your go-to web sites?
Mostly, it starts at www.google.comIf you could write a book on anything, what would you write about?
Well, I can't think of something that I have enough to say about to fill a book. Perhaps it would be about how NOT to do something. I think I could write a book about how NOT to do woodworking. I would call it Fine Woodwrecking. It could be one of a series.- Thanks Wade!
This week, get to know Lee Ackerman
. He talks about his passion for Patterns Based Engineering that resulted in co-authoring a book, plus what he's working on now with pureXML. What drew you to a career in technology?
Personal computers were becoming prominent as I was growing up. Between trying to write some code on TI99/4a's, Vic20's, Commodore 64's and playing video games – I've always been drawn to computers and technology. I still have fond memories of getting issues of Compute magazine and trying to use some of the code for the games they published each month. So it was a natural progression to go from these interests into taking technical courses at elementary school, high school and university and then finding related career opportunities. Congratulations on the publication of your new book on Patterns Based Engineering! What is Patterns Based Engineering all about and what sparked your interest in it?
Thanks! Myself and my co-author, Celso Gonzalez, are quite excited to have the book completed and shipping. The idea behind Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE) is that we need to be systematic, disciplined and look to quantify our efforts in using patterns to create software solutions. Where a pattern is a proven, best practice solution to a known, recurring problem – within a specific context. The patterns that we look to use can either be a specification – a formal, written document that describes the pattern. Or, we can look to use a pattern implementation – where we have an automated version of the pattern. As part of the PBE effort, we look to bring together an optimal mix of pattern implementations and pattern specifications – while incorporating a combination of patterns that we find available in the community along with those patterns that are unique to our organization.
I had been using patterns in my development efforts for many years – and had seen some of the struggles that existed in getting an entire organization to learn about and then successfully use patterns. Along the way, I began to work with the Rational modeling tools – and spent a great deal of time in helping others to use these tools. A key aspect of working with these tools was the ability to automate patterns – both in terms of impacting the design in UML, but also in generating solution artifacts such as code, scripts, and other text-based materials.What tools do you think are essential for Patterns Based Engineering?
A good place to start is recognizing that having the right mindset is the most essential aspect to success with Patterns-Based Engineering (PBE). We need to be on the lookout for opportunities to use patterns and to capture new patterns. And it needs to be a mindset that goes beyond just an individual – we need teams and organizations thinking about what patterns are available, which need to be captured and where it makes sense to invest in capturing/using patterns.
With such a mindset in place, we can then look at how we use patterns. At its simplest, we can look to use pattern specifications – written, formal descriptions of patterns. In terms of tools – we can get by with tools as simple as an editor and some shared online space.
As we look to automate and grow out our efforts, we can look to use tools such as Rational Software Architect and Rational Asset Manager to help us in creating, using and managing our patterns.
In addition to the PBE book, we've also written a development practice that details the roles, tasks, work products and key concepts associated with PBE. To read the content in the practice, all that's needed is a standard web browser. However, we can take things much further if we use products such as Eclipse Process Framework Composer or Rational Method Composer. These tools allow us to customize the practice – AND – we can integrate the practice with other practices (such as Scrum, XP, etc). This enables us to create a process that is unique and specific to our organization.
What was the experience of writing a book like - what were the biggest surprises?
Writing a book was a great experience. It helps to have a great partner to work with – I'd expect that it would be a much more difficult project to try and handle the writing on your own. Going into this effort, myself and Celso had collaborated on a number of projects in the past – so we had a very good working relationship already in place. This provided us with a good foundation to build upon.
Some of the things that stand out from this experience include:
- Willingness of others to help out. We had many people along the way take time to provide us with their thoughts and input.
- Find tools that can help. We used a number of products to help us. This was especially important as this was a distributed effort – we don't live in the same city. So it was critical to have tools that supported us in communicating, sharing artifacts, and versioning our content.
- And the last item – which was the biggest surprise – was just the length of time and amount of effort that went into the process. Overall we took over a couple of years to go from initial writing of the book proposal to having the book completed and shipping. In addition, during this timeframe we would spend many a night and weekend moving the project forward. How do you use developerWorks?
I'm a big fan of developerWorks. In writing the book, we used developerWorks for some of our research – accessing articles, tutorials, blogs and RedBooks. In working for IBM, one way I use developerWorks is for staying up-to-date and performing research. I also use developerWorks to help connect with the audience that I'm helping with the IBM software products. For many years – that meant writing articles and tutorials in support of Rational Software Architect and Rational Application Developer. More recently, I've been focused on the pureXML capabilities of DB2. For pureXML, we've also been taking advantage of some of the newer aspects that developerWorks provides such as Wikis and Forums.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
I've recently joined a team within our Information Management group that focuses on helping customers and partners in using XML within their solution. In particular we look to help in using the pureXML capabilities of DB2. XML is pervasive in today's solutions – so I'm looking at how we can construct end to end solutions that best take advantage of XML. So in addition to diving into the details of DB2, OLTP, XQuery, SQL/XML, XPath and XSLT – I'm also looking at how this best works with application servers, SOA, Web 2.0 and industry standards.
And in bringing these full circle, I'm also working on a project focused on the patterns that surface in creating solutions that incorporate XML. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some articles on dW that discuss the results of this effort.How are you using social networking today?
I'm trying to find the aspects of social networking that work best for me. Right now, I'm using Twitter (@lmackerman
), LinkedIn, and have a couple of blogs (http://patternsbasedengineering.net/
). With these tools – the focus has been on connecting with others and finding/sharing information. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Here's a few of my favorites:
1. Grady Booch's blog
- Grady typically touches upon a range of items related to software architecture.
2. Native XML Database
- Matthias Nicola, author of the pureXML Cookbook, posts to this site – adding details on working with XML and the pureXML capabilities of DB2
– news, opinion and analysis of the tech news
4. WebSphere Community blog
- in particular, they have some excellent coverage of the WebSphere XML Feature Pack – for working with XML in the middle tier.
- Thanks Lee!
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 get to know Yakura Coffee
in this interview where he talks about new things happening around WebSphere emerging technology and the online community he's working to build.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have been been with IBM for 11 years with a B.S in Industrial Engineering from PennState and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill. My current role is Technical Evangelist and Community Manager for the WebSphere Foundation suite of products WebSphere eXtreme Scale , WebSphere Cloudburst, and WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack OSGi and JPA. My responsibilities include businesses development of our online communities, allowing satisfied customers to congregate and extol the virtues of a IBM WebSphere's Emerging Technology while leveraging mechanisms such as blogs, podcasts, message boards, product reviews, conferences, and technical articles.What cool new things are happening in WebSphere that you think alot of people aren't aware of (but should be!)?
When people think WebSphere, they natural think software, but we have introduced 2 products WebSphere Cloudburst and WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliances that are hardware-based solution that customers can drop into their existing infrastructure to manage and scale their cloud-based images and software with ease. I'm really intrigued to see the new WebSphere Emerge group that you're building. Can you tell me more about your vision and your plans for WebSphere Emerge?
We are trying to build synergies with this community between developers, business partners, and university relations to build high-touch relationships that will provide transparent content and drive customer-driven requirements into our products. WebSphere Emerge is just starting out but we have some great content and contributions to come.
How did you end up leading the development of an online community?
I was recruited to join the www.projectzero.org
Community 2-years ago based on my Web development and PHP scripting experience. My experience on helping launch and manage the www.projectzero.org Community and my early dive in to social media technologies made it a natural fit. My MBA comes into play as we leverage marketing techniques to spreading our mission and business analytics in measuring our ROI.What social networking tools do you use the most and why?
: Great at organizing twitter streams and managing multiple accounts via a browser.
: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows me to push url shortened tweets fast...and then track the click-thrus for additional metrics.
: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows my team to categorize our content/links and share it with customers very efficiently. Our elaborate tagging allows users to follow specific feeds based on their interest.
If you just won a contest and won a shiny new gadget, what would make you most excited?
I am a home theater movie fanatic. Therefore the item that would get me the most excited would be the Panasonic AE4000 Projector. Projecting my favorite Sci-Fi movies on a 120+ screen try to mimic the IMAX experience would be totally awesome!- Thanks Yakura!
I'm glad to be back this week featuring a new interview with Kelley Anders
, a Senior Software Engineer focused on IBM eSupport Client Strategy. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I've been with IBM for 15 years performing a variety of roles from consultant to client support representative to manager and most recently, becoming a certified Project Management Professional (r). I'm currently working on promoting IBM Electronic Support Tools via the social media avenues of our developerWorks Blog
, Twitter account, Facebook account and YouTubeChannelWhat's your favorite aspect of your work?
It's the constant opportunity to learn. One of the most exciting things about taking on a new project is the learning process and related material. For me, it's a great opportunity to draw on the experience of others. For the folks with whom I'm interacting, they get to revisit what it was like when they were first learning or perhaps view things in a different way when I ask questions - and I ask a lot of questions ;-)When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how do you end up picking a career in technology?
I actually still don't know what I want to be when I grow up - maybe a musician or yoga instructor? However, I actually got into technology via cartography and geographic information systems. In college, I was scribing maps and began creating computerized maps. Then figured if I could write programs that made maps, what else could I program?Tell me about the IBM Electronic Support Community group and blog... What's your vision for it?
Ideally, I'd like to use it as a multi-dimensional communication vehicle. Not only to use it to communicate outward on all the Electronic Support Tools and options, but also to receive input. What problems are are clients, external and internal, facing that Electronic Support Tools could help solve? Additionally, get the community sharing best practices and ideas as well. Tell me about IBM Fix Central- what makes it unique?
Fix Central is just one of the tools in the IBM Electronic Support Portfolio of options available to our clients. It's the front end to IBM's Electronic Fix Distribution Infrastructure. It performs a specific role in the Electronic Support family of tools and options - delivering maintenance for software , firmware, etc... in one place.How do you use developerWorks?
Currently I'm using it to communicate outward with the Electronic Support blog posts. In the past, I've used developerWorks for everything from research to downloading software.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
The underpinnings of Social media infrastructure are quite interesting to me. I'm learning about the algorithms used to count direct clicks and why you want one algorithm over another. For example, I want to count person clicks as opposed to an automated machine / bot click. Which algorithm do I use to distinguish between the two, and then, how do I best present and use that data to make future decisions on what content to deliver to my on-line communities?The most underrated technology is:
IBM mainframes. In this age of mobile computing where smaller and portable is considered leading edge, I think folks sometimes forget about Big Iron and how it has continuously transformed to meet an ever-changing marketplace. What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
As I stated in the July 1st post in the IBM Electronic Support Community blog
, "We want to build a "Smarter Planet" by enabling our clients to help themselves." - Thanks Kelley!
This week get to know Matt Holitza
and hear about exciting new things happening around Jazz
and Application Lifecycle Management.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm Matt Holitza, I live in Broomfield, Colorado, where I live with my wife Leanne and my two sons Mason (9) and Jack (5). I'm a solution marketing manager for the Rational brand. Specifically, I evangelize the practice and associated tooling related to Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). I'm currently working on the Jazz million seat march, an initiative to share the power of the Jazz
platform with the world by offering a free community edition
of our flagship product, Rational Team Concert, for a team of up to 10 developers.How do you stay in touch with the real life challenges customers are facing?
Well in many ways, before joining IBM I was a Rational customer for about 10 years, so I can draw from my own experiences in that regard. But nothing is more valuable than talking with customers. I frequently attend and speak at the local Rational User Group meeting and also a member of the global Rational User Group. I stay linked in to the popular ALM community sites like developerWorks
and CM Crossroads
. I also frequently attend trade shows, which provides me with a great opportunity to hear from practitioners and managers about the challenges they are face on a day-to-day basis. In addition, for the past 2 years I have planned the change and configuration management track for Rational's annual conference, Innovate. This provides me with an opportunity to work directly with our customer presenters as they prepare for the conference. Before working at IBM, you were a QA manager, how does that give you a unique perspective?
I was a QA Manager in my last role, and I've served in many different roles in my career including a COBOL developer, a test automation lead and a Rational ClearQuest administrator, to name a few. As I mentioned earlier, I frequently draw on my own experiences as a sanity check when I'm working on new assets or campaigns. In the software development world, probably more than any other software discipline, the decisions to purchase new tooling is very heavily influenced by practitioners, team leads and first line managers, so my broad background keeps me grounded and more pragmatic. I do often think about how much easier my job as a QA Manager would have been if the Jazz products were available 5 years ago.
How do you think software development will be different in 5 years?
Wow, that's a great question. I think the trend toward distributed development will continue, and at the same time the current concept of outsourcing will dissipate in favor of an expert sourcing model where organizations will onboard and leverage experts wherever they may be located. I also think that Agile practices and tools will be the predominant method of delivering software. To support a distributed Agile paradigm, the application lifecycle management tools will have to evolve so organizations will be able to more effectively collaborate from remote locations. I know that IBM Research is working on a project named Olympus
which is intended to take development collaboration to the next level.Tell me a little bit about Rational Team Concert - what's the coolest thing about it? What is the best-kept secret about it that you wish more people knew?
Well, I've talked a bit about Team Concert
already. I've been around Rational for a long time, either as a customer, or now as a member of the marketing team, and I have to say that Rational Team Concert is, by far, the best product we've ever created. Rational Team Concert(RTC) is a lean ALM solution. It has integrated change management, source code control, build automation, interactive planning, real-time dashboards and out-of-the-box Agile process templates.
The coolest thing about Team Concert is that it's free for 10 developers and that it can be adopted as either a full solution or as a collaboration hub for products that a customer may have already invested in. It comes with an out-of-the-box integration to Subversion and Git, which are both popular open source version control tools.
My favorite feature is the interactive release planning
. It allows distributed teams to plan, estimate and monitor their releases and iterations as if they were co-located. This planning component comes with a schedule risk assessment feature which allows release managers to predict whether they will be able to deliver on-time using Monte Carlo analysis based on bottoms-up estimates provided by the developers.
Something else I should mention is that Team Concert isn't just for Java shops, it is truly technology agnostic. Team Concert can be used for teams developing Visual Studio.Net, System z or Power (aka System i).What advice would you give a software development team considering moving to Rational Team Concert?
Team Concert is built using open standards, and as such allows organizations to gradually adopt it as their central change and collaboration hub for development, while still leveraging the investments they've made in their existing tools. So teams don't have to rip and replace, they can adopt Team Concert incrementally.How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to connect with our customer communities and other ALM communities. Social networking helps me keep apprised of noteworthy happenings in the ALM world. I also maintain several communities on Facebook - We have a very active Team Concert Facebook fan page
. I also leverage Twitter
to share new offers, videos and promotions with the ALM community.Are you a gadget junkie? What type of gadgets do you use?
To my wife's angst I'd consider myself an early adopter and so yes I am a bit of a gadget junkie. My favorite gadget is my iTouch, I can now use it as a remote control for my home laptop to watch my favorite TV shows on hulu.com and have since eliminated cable. I also like to hike, for that I use my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch to tell me how far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed, average slope, but most importantly now I can also give my boys an exact answer when they ask me “How much further daddy?”- Thanks Matt!
This week get to know Darrel Rader
and learn about the new Rational Community of Practice group he's pioneering on My developerWorks.Describe a "normal" day for you...
In the 18 years that I've been with Rational, I don't think I've had a "normal" day. That's one of the things that I love about my job ... the variety of opportunities to learn and work with great people. Lately, one of my focus areas has been to find ways to better connect with our clients by establishing these sponsored communities of practice on My developerWorks. Since social networking in a business environment is not well understood, I spend a lot of my time helping people see the value of this new paradigm of learning ... using social and informal learning to leverage expertise without the geographic and time constraints. How did you come up with the idea to start the new Rational Application Security Community of Practice group on My developerWorks?
We've been looking for ways to connect with our clients in communities for the last 5 or 6 years. Rational and IBM have been using communities of practice as a foundational component of our own internal learning practices. In the last 2 years, social networking technology (like Lotus Connections) has allowed us to build smarter communities that use technology and best practices to break down some of the collaboration challenges.Can you tell me more about your vision and your plans for the Rational Application Security Community of Practice?
Our vision is to establish an environment where people interested in a specific domain can come together to establish and cultivate learning relationships ... that allow them to learn from each other. This applies to both experts that thrive from connecting with other experts ... and people that are looking to learn from the experts. In a way, it would be like having a user conference like Innovate 2010 all year long. How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to stay connected with people that I want and need to connect with ... whether that's for my personal relationships or for my business relationships. I'm really excited about how online groups, blogs, shared bookmarks, feeds, tags, etc allow people to connect with people and build learning relationships in ways that were extremely difficult 5 years ago. What's your biggest inspiration lately?
Great question. I've read some great books lately that inspire me ... like Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe
and Drive by Daniel Pink
. The latest inspiration that I had was while attending Innovate ... Dean Kamen's keynote on how our technical community can make a real difference in the world. He is founder for FIRST
( For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).- Thanks Darrel!
This week, get to know Erwan Paccard a product manager for IBM ILOG visualization products.
Connect with Erwan on:His My developerWorks profileIBM ILOG Elixir blogTwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I’m Erwan Paccard, a product manager within the IBM ILOG visualization group which was acquired by IBM in 2009. My day-to-day job is to plan out the future of our user interface products: we develop and sell software components used by developers to expedite their application development. To get a better idea of what we do, you can look at some live samples
.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
The sum of it all in fact. From feeling where the technology is going, to market needs evolutions, to business cases creation and talks with as many customers and prospects as possible, to close interactions with R&D to see concepts and ideas come to life, to interactions with sales and customers to see how a large team efforts lead to great revenue for us and achievements for our customers.Tell me a little bit about ILOG Elixir - what's the coolest thing about it? What is the best-kept secret about ILOG that you wish more people knew?
The end user reactions, hearing end users saying "that's what I've been waiting for so long" is truly rewarding. That comes from a complex set of steps: from focusing on people's need (both from a feature and user experience standpoints, to having the right implementation to deliver features and performance) to having the right price and go to market. Fail one step and the whole value chain is broken.Tell me about one of the most creative or interesting uses of ILOG that you've seen?
Eye catching and fun to use energy consumption dashboards. An engaging experience help people use it so it helps achieve the goal of having less energy consumed. I also came across some developers who made some mobile applications: can't say in how many pockets we are now :-)You blog on the IBM ILOG Elixir blog - what do you think about blogging so far?
Overall it's good experience and rewarding to see that you have hundreds of readers a few hours after you did a new post.How do you use developerWorks?
We use it as an essential ingredient for the sales process. We have demos
, a blog
and a forum
and all of that adds up to convey as much information as needed to our customers. When they come to contact us, it's usually only to know the price, that means a better experience for our customers. What publications / websites do you read / visit?
I follow 50 accounts or so on Twitter
for the "real time aspect of it". I also track blogs in the market segments we're in.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?Google TV
caught my attention lately, I would definitely like to have those features in my next TV.When you're not working, do you have any special interests you like to spend time on?
It will sound like a French cliche but good friends at home with a nice meal and fine wine is one of my favorite occupations. Having said that, having two young kids will help keep you busy after work hours.- Thanks Erwan!
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.
This week get to know Mike Watson, a blogger who writes about ILOG and Supply Chain Management. Learn more about Michael and connect with him on his My developerWorks profile
and his blog
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm Mike Watson. Our group joined IBM when IBM acquired ILOG in 2009. Our group within IBM focuses on optimization and supply chain solutions. For example, we help companies determine the correct inventory levels, determine the best number and location of their warehouses, figure out the best place to make a product, figure out how to schedule the factory, determine what should be stocked on the shelves at your local retailer, optimally route trucks, and get empty shipping containers back to where they are needed. The IBM community has been very welcoming and right now, we are working with these various groups in IBM so they can bring these solutions to their clients.What is one of the most interesting or creative projects you've seen use ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain management solutions?
We've worked on a lot of interesting problems over the years. What I'm always impressed with is how our projects help companies perform better and how much visibility these projects bring in an organization. For example, we recently helped with a large merger and our results were taken past the Board of Directors and on to the US Dept of Justice. A large retailer recently redesigned their warehouse network and the project was mentioned in the Letter to Shareholders. We've helped several national banks figure out how to move their trucks full of cash around most efficiently (lots of people would like to know where those trucks were going!!), A commodity gas producer had to figure out how to best swap customers with their competitors. Our ILOG optimization was featured on a NBC news piece when it was used to better figure out how to allocate kidney's to patients. Are you noticing any new developments or trends in Supply Chain Management?
It is interesting how the field of Supply Chain Management keeps moving. Over the last several years, we've seen more emphasis on measuring and optimizing the carbon footprint of the supply chain and better incorporating tax rates into strategic decisions. Technically, we are seeing firms apply more advanced analytics on a more regular basis. For example firms used to do advanced analytics on their supply chain every couple of years. Now, they are able to apply this technology on an on-going basis.
But, most recently, we see supply chain managers thinking about flexibility in their supply chain. The founder of our group, David Simchi-Levi, has a book coming out this summer
where he talks to this issue. Specifically, flexibility is a key concept that lets firms link the value they provide to their customers with their supply chain strategy. The products we offer help customers better understand flexibility in their supply chain. Tell me about your blog on developerWorks - the IBM ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain Solutions blog...
With a worldwide set of customers and clients, partners, and IBMers wanting to know what is going on with ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain, we have found that the blog is good way of keeping everyone up-to-date. We get a lot of feedback on the blog and a lot of ideas on what people want to hear about. - Thanks Michael!
This week get to know Jonas Martinsson, a product manager at Mainsoft creating integration with software platforms from IBM, Microsoft and Google. Connect with Jonas at:His profile on My developerWorksTwitterHis blogTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a product manager at Mainsoft
, where we create products integrating various software platforms from IBM, Microsoft and Google. We focus on making collaboration easy and ubiquitous for end-users. What first sparked your interest in technology?
My parents got me a Commodore 64 in the eighties, on which I spent endless hours developing programs around my ideas. Ever since those days, my fascination for technology has fueled innovative product ideas. I frequently update a huge document named "Projects for a Rainy Day". I hope to eventually get a chance to work on a couple of them.Tell me about one of your favorite Mainsoft integrations with IBM products that you've worked on...
Having to choose one, I'd say the integration between Lotus Notes and SharePoint.
If you're like the majority of knowledge workers, you send and receive document attachments on a daily basis. You probably never reflect on alternative approaches, but with this solution you put the documents on the collaboration server, and send document links to your colleagues instead. This makes a lot of sense on many different levels; for example, you will avoid parallel conflicts when many editors are collaboration on a document, while simplifying your Inbox.As a former software developer, what do you think about Jazz and the movement towards collaborative development?
I am excited to see how Jazz
changes the landscape for developers. For Java developers, I see Jazz as the natural choice for development environment. What I love most about Jazz is its great balance between getting up to speed quickly and assisting you to use a proven development process.You have a long-standing interest in agile, with a master's thesis on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). What's happening in agile these days that you're keeping an eye on?
In its early days, agile had a bad reputation in the higher echelon of organizations. It was a grassroots movement back then. I am thrilled to see agile becoming ubiquitous in the IT sector. Actually, the situation has changed so much now that we have an opposite problem; organizations claim agility, even if they just adopt a subset of the agile values. That's why I think the next logical step for the agile community should be to clearly communicate what agile is. The agile manifesto is a good start, but we need more.
The biggest challenge for a truly agile adoption is, and has always been, that it requires a shift in the organization's culture. I don't believe that there is a uniform approach to successfully tackling this critical challenge.
I am also happy to see ideas from my thesis on integrating agile and the CMM finally being resonated, with initiatives such as Scott Ambler's Agile Scaling Model.You worked as a software developer before becoming a product manager - How are these two roles different? Is there anything you miss about being a software developer?
I couldn't have been a successful software product manager without a developer background. This knowledge helps me to understand the possibilities, challenges and limitations of the development teams. What I love most about being a product manager is that I have a full picture of the organizational goals and efforts, and an important role to play for any future success. And, I have natural contact points with everyone in the organization.
I confess that I miss working with code from time to time. When I do, I spend time on my personal, award-winning project FeedJournal
, where anyone can generate a personal newspaper from a set of favorite feeds. Running a micro-ISV like this is an amazing opportunity to get practice performing a bunch of different roles, from marketing to QA. How do you use developerWorks?
Beside following interesting bloggers, such as Scott Ambler
, our company uses My developerWorks internally to dogfood our integration product between Rational Jazz and Lotus Connections
. I also enjoy listening to the developerWorks podcasts
while commuting. How do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I am writing for several blogs, and I am active on Twitter
. I am also consuming over a hundred news feeds. I use Google Reader for shorter news alerts type feeds, and FeedJournal for really digesting longer articles. With the large amount of information that hits me daily, this is the only approach that works for me.I've had a chance to interview a few people working in IT in Israel, and I've been very fascinated by the hotbed of high tech entrepreneurship happening there. What's it like working at a software company in Israel?
I spent the first ten years of my career in the Swedish IT industry. When I moved to Israel, I was in a good position to learn the differences between Swedish and Israel approaches to software development and organizational structure. Generally speaking, Israelis are entrepreneurially strong and amazing at working hard to reach early success. This is why we're seeing so many Israeli startups scoring risk capital and gaining exposure on the TechCrunch scene.
One of the strengths of the Swedish software organization is process awareness. The Swedish mindset is focused, organized and methodological, a recipe which earns rewards as companies grow and become more mature.One of the things you are interested in is existential risk - now that would keep me up at night! Has the topic of existential risk changed the way you view your work in IT or vice versa?
Existential risk is an area I became interested in a couple of years ago. It is obviously difficult to underestimate the importance of this subject, if we do, it is game over. So far, I haven't had the opportunity to combine this interest with my software development background, but a lofty dream is to in any way contribute to our survival as a species.
I have to say, checking out your blog, you're a very interesting guy, with such a wide range of interests, from writing to chess to agile to piano to existential risk. How do these other pursuits help keep you sharp?
Thank you. I feel I am always obsessing over something. I guess that doing this, diving deep into interests, helps me to stay sharp.- Thanks Jonas!
This week get to know Joseph Amrith Raj, a WebSphere specialist at Wipro Technologies in India. Connect with Joseph on his My developerWorks profile
and on Twitter
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm currently working as a WebSphere specialist with one of the India's Top3 MNC, Wipro Technologies. This role deals with WebSphere products such as WAS, WMQ, WMB and WPS. I've had good exposure to SOA and Clould Computing and I'm slowly making steps into the latter technologies. I'm pretty fortunate to work on different middleware and WebSphere products like web, application servers, mq, brokers, process server, LDAP etc. over the last five years. I'm presently working on an SOA and Websphere related project and some migration work.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
You don't just upgrade the software products you are working on but you also upgrade yourself as well. Isn't that a challenge to keep you up and running? At this point in my career, I try to analyze the presently implemented architecture designs and those provided by architects to see how I can put my knowledge in it and how it’s going to be with the future technologies and products, because one day I'm going to be in the architect's shoes.What advice would you share with students or IT professionals just starting out in their career?
What's your approach to keeping your skills current?
- If you are starting your career, please come with a goal. Dream big...work hard...start believing. Everyone is just you, when they started their careers.
- If you want to enhance your skill, don't wait for someone to give training or teach you.
I always choose a new skill that is related to my present skill. I have a simple 4 step approach to gain a new skill:
You have quite a few certifications - what kind of benefits have you seen from being certified?
- Get a book which teaches you concepts
- Get a trial version and test your conceptual understanding
- Get the next level of the book/documentation and try it
- We are very lucky to have discussion boards and social media where you can ask and get help, in case you face any issue. Use them and help others.
In my view certifications are not only to show our skill but also it gives confidence to your employer or clients, that this person is capable of doing my job and i can bank on him. You work hard for months and months and reach a level, and then you need to face competition from a person who is as motivated as you. Certifications can provide you an edge. How do you use developerWorks?
I come here for articles and to see what people have been discussing in the forums about different products and the issues they have faced. I can say 40% of my knowledge is from developerWorks articles and tutorials. I follow developerWorks on Twitter
as well.What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
Presently I am reading about Cloud Computing and SOA convergence in the enterprise. It's Interesting to see how a technology and skills I have can extend and take me into future technologies.
Another area I'm learning about is how business approaches IT, with present developments in BPM technologies.Do you have any big plans for the future? Where would you like to be in ten years?
Yeah!, I'd love to see myself as CTO before I retire. Next ten years? I want to be an Architect in middleware technologies. Also, if possible I want to move to Europe. What are a few of your favorite publications, websites or blogs?
I'm not a big fan of reading but have few site/blogs which I follow. I use Google reader to subscribe and get updates from the sites, I like. A Google bookmarks list of sites: http://goo.gl/lists/GOKBWhen you're not working, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
I love playing soccer so obviously I watch the matches on weekend and Manchester United is my favorite. Also I watch Tennis and Formula1. While not working I'll spend some time on updating and interacting with my blog network and listening to music.
- Thanks Joseph!
This week get to know Roland Barcia
, the lead Web 2.0 Architect for IBM Software Services for WebSphere - he's up to his elbows in technology, working with customers to build end to end Web 2.0 style architecture.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
My name is Roland Barcia and I am the lead Web 2.0 Architect for IBM Software Services for WebSphere. My main job is to help enable our WebSphere customers with Web 2.0 Based technologies. I also focus on enabling our ISSW consultants and other parts of IBM on these technologies as well. In addition, I focus on application development programming models. I also take many of the requirements from customers and help drive future enhancements to our WebSphere products to help serve our customers. I am currently focusing on technologies such as the Dojo Toolkit, JAX-RS, EJB 3, JPA, OSGi, and various other programming models. I am currently working with multiple customers helping build end to end Web 2.0 style architecture. So you presented over 10 labs and sessions at Impact 2010! I'm really impressed. What were the most interesting developments at Impact this year from your point of view?
So with so many presentations, I was really busy and had less time to attend sessions myself. That said, my favorite part of Impact were the round table meet the experts sessions. Specifically, talking to the customers and learning what they liked and what they didn't like. From my point of view, seeing Web 2.0 based technologies become really mainstream with our customers was very important. It has moved beyond "future" stage and people are actually building rich internet applications, adopting REST, and making the middleware lean and mean. This adoption is not just with plain web applications, but even in the BPM realm. Your applications are so much better positioned for scalability, social networks and cloud computing when you use Web 2.0 architectures.What new technologies are you most intrigued by?
There are many areas that I am most intrigued by. I am following HTML 5/CSS 3 closely and seeing what affect it has on the open web. I am intrigued by the success of native mobile app models. Focusing on good REST API's at this phase is key because it will opening you up to various UI channels. Do you think it's more important to go broad or deep with your IT skills?
Ultimately, you need people who can do both. I think a person should have a set of technologies they go deep on and enough breadth to know how it all works together. Tell me about your favorite IT project...
I am not really sure I have a favorite project. I like projects where my coworkers become friends and we work together. I have been fortunate to have some really fun engagements with fun people. Since 2004 you've written numerous articles for developerWorks... What first inspired you to start writing?
My first developerWorks article
was actually published in 2002. Before IBM, I never thought of publishing. One of my mentors, Kyle Brown, suggested it and I really liked it. I found I could reach more and more people this way than I could dong pure consulting. How do you use developerWorks?
I read and write articles and comment lines, I read several blogs, I have my own blog on developerWorks called Web 2.0 and Middleware
. I like to use my blog when I can to get thoughts out in a less structured way.How would you say social networking has changed the way you work?
So I would say I use Twitter
as a pointer to content I have written or want to point people to. I think this is the biggest value of Twitter, that it provides a live stream of headlines that I can push to the masses. Facebook, on the other hand I tend to use much less for work, and more for connecting with friends. However, the fact that content is now available in the form of feeds provides an easy way for me to duplicate content. For example, my Blog Feed is fed into my Notes section of Facebook and allows other readers to access my content. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?http://www.ajaxian.comhttp://www.infoq.comhttp://www.ibm.com/developerworkshttp://www.dojotoolkit.org/blog/http://www.fairviewgospelchurch.orghttp://twitter.com/gracetoyouhttp://twitter.com/RayComfort
Follow many of my colleagues twitter accounts.http://www.yankees.comCan you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I did not try chocolate for the first time till well into my late 20's. - Thanks Roland!
This week get to know Joey Bernal
, author of multiple books and developerWorks articles related to WebSphere Portal. Learn more about Joey Bernal:His profile on My developerWorksHis books on Amazon.comJoey Bernal on TwitterHis blogTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hmm, that is always a hard question to answer without sounding like a TV commercial. Within IBM I am an Executive Consultant with IBM Software Services for Lotus. I focus on delivery of WebSphere Portal
and related products making sure that our customers are successful implementing solutions with Lotus products. Unofficially I am married and a father of 4 living in Houston, TX.
I am currently working on a large content migration project moving a customer set of web sites from Vignette to IBM Web Content Management. This is slightly more exciting then it sounds as we are moving literally massive amounts of content that represent over a hundred web sites for this customer. For me this is a year long effort of which I am currently about half way through.What first sparked your interest in technology?
Interestingly enough I was kind of a late bloomer when it comes to technology. I was never really good at math or science in high school. I was more apt to be in detention. It was while I was in the Army that I bought a used Commodore 64 from a buddy in the late 80's. Initially I started off with the games like everyone else, but eventually I found my way to programming. I would copy basic programs from magazines, run them, and then watch them disappear when the computer was turned off, *sigh*. Sometime later my friend got me a tape backup attachment. This was literally a cassette tape player that connected with a cable. Eventually I moved to a PC. I splurged for my first one and got one with the dual floppy drives. Later I purchased a refurbished 10GB hard drive that was really cool. This made life much more interesting and I started messing more with networking and the internal guts of PC's. I was actually really good at that stuff, but I knew that to really grow I needed to go to school, so that was the obvious next step, to get my degree in CS.
Sadly, I rarely play games anymore. It just seems like such a waste of time to me, even though we probably have every game machine available in my house currently. I know this makes me sound like a serious person, which is absolutely not the case. With so much going on, I just try and manage my time.
What developing technologies or innovations are you obsessed with lately?
I'm actually on a break from obsession at the moment. This sounds a little funny, but it's true. When I get going on a new book or topic I tend to immerse myself wholly and focus on that topic. To the point that I feel guilty when I do something else. For example I won't really read anything unless it's related to the topic at hand. As you can imagine this can go on for 6 months or more, so between projects I really like to clear my head.
That being said, I don't ignore things that are of interest to me. I am constantly reading new books or developerWorks articles. Two books that I am carrying around with me now are one on Spring Enterprise Integration, and another on Cloud Computing.
How do you stay in touch with the real-world problems that customers are facing?
This is actually pretty easy for me. Since I work in a customer facing arm of IBM Software Group I get to work with customers all the time, helping to try and solve real world problems as they adapt and customize our software. What is not so easy is trying to address the challenges that are different with every customer situation.
We have a pretty good network of consultants and we try to talk to each other and bounce ideas and questions. It helps to hear what other folks are doing and continuing to learn from each others situations. Some of us also tend to focus in certain areas so we get called in when questions in our general area of expertise are required. For example I tend to get called when questions arise around application architecture or development topics are asked. Others in our group focus on performance, infrastructure, or product specific topics such as Web Content Management.
One interesting side effect, is that because of my focus on the hear and now, I often shy away from new and shiny objects unless I think they can offer real value. This keeps me from chasing every new change in technology until it starts to break through and become something more mainstream.You're the author of five books as well as many articles on developerWorks over the years. What inspires you to write? What are the surprise benefits you've discovered from writing about technology?
Writing is actually something that I enjoy, and have enjoyed for many years. I think this is an important point to explain that writing is not a chore for me as it can be for other technical people. Even in college I was taking writing and journalism courses, knowing that I would eventually do some technical writing at some point in my career. I think that is the only way that someone can survive or even thrive when working on a project like a book.
I actually started writing within IBM as a way to reach more customers. For years I was actually measured on the number of customers that I affected each year. So I figured what better way to reach more customers then to write? Initially it was through articles in developerWorks and other journals, and then later through my blog. Books came more recently, but for me have turned into my favorite medium.
As for benefits, writing allows me to share a more complete solution with my customers. For example my book, Application Architecture for WebSphere, came about because it seemed like I was repeating a lot of the same advice to many customers over the years. It was one thing to offer them advice, but after the book came out I could actually hand them a copy and say, "here, this is a lot of the things you should know".Do you have any new books or articles in the works? If you do, tell me about it...
I just met with the IBM Press manager at Impact in Las Vegas last week. We kicked around a few topics and ideas. One idea is to do a third edition of our co-author book, "Programming Portlets". I think we may kick this off later this year and it may be a good next project for me, since I don't have to write the whole thing, rather just a few chapters. A lot has changed since our last edition, so this is really a necessary upgrade that I think people will benefit from.
I am also kicking around an idea for a book on code quality. This is another topic that is being driven by my customer interactions. Way too often am I seeing organizations that farm out the development of their projects and then have no understanding of the code being sent back. If it compiles then it gets deployed right into production. Often they leave the idea of measuring the quality of the code to the developers themselves, who obviously have their own priorities and bias. I think there are steps that organizations can put into place to ensure that what they get back is not only functional, but also robust and secure. This is another area where I tend to do a lot of talking, but need to take the concepts and processes to the next level. I honestly don't think I will start on this until next year, but I am excited about the topic.How do you use developerWorks?
Sorry, I'm not that interesting when it comes to this. Mostly I read the articles. Obviously I write some articles, but nowadays it is all about keeping up with technology. Every few weeks I go and download or print the latest set of articles about whatever technology, topic, or product that interests me and then I carry them with me in my computer case. When I am stuck on an airplane or somewhere I pull them out and read them. It is one of the best ways to see what other folks are doing, or learn a new technique. How are you using social networking today?
Externally Facebook is sometimes a big part of my life. I probably check at least my friends status once a day, although I don't post as often. The thing it, with my line of work it allows me to keep in touch with everyone in my life. My family, friends, customers, and co-workers who are often on the road as much as I am. I have two children away at college so Facebook and Twitter keeps me updated on any happenings with them, as well as seeing any interesting updates from my other two kids and my wife. All of us post or update often so it closes the gap that travel can sometimes build.
Interestingly enough I keep up with many of my co-workers on Facebook. Knowing the travel adventures of other consultants let's me know if anyone is in my area. I call it the "Virtual Water Cooler", and more then once I have been able to coordinate dinner with someone who I would normally never be able to see. It's also fun to hear of adventures my co-workers might be having at their customer site, or on the road. Obviously we have to abide by IBM guidelines for external social networking and not disclose anything incorrectly, but this is generally not a problem.
We also have a lot of social networking capability within IBM which I use. Most of this I have written about in my latest book, "Web 2.0 and Social Networking for the Enterprise"
, I use Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections extensively for projects and collaboration. Do you have any favorite technical blogs? What makes them a must-read for you?
OK, I'm going to sound crazy, but I don't follow a lot of these things. I do read some from time to time, but mostly when I am looking for some information on a particular topic. I try and limit my information overload and one way I do that is to not try and read and follow every latest idea that someone is talking about. I figure that if something has some legs I'll hear about it eventually. Usually before most people cause I then have to figure it out and how to adapt it for my customers.- Thanks Joey!
This week, get to know Paul Ionescu, who's working on making applications more secure every day. Learn more about Paul in the interview below and find him at:Paul Ionescu's profile on My developerWorks
- add him to your networkBlog: Rational Security StoriesTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have been working in the Rational Security Practice for 3 years now, coming from Watchfire in 2007 together with the AppScan security products.
In my primary role I help IBM customers resolve security issues and improve their development processes but I am also responsible for enabling our practitioners in the application security space, create training material, participate in the management of our internal community site and in general take part in any activity that can make IBMers and IBM customers successful with our products.
Part of my mission is to influence our product direction based on our customers' needs so I work a lot with our product development teams and our security research team. I have participated in several research projects and have created several product tools and integrations that help us in our day to day work.
For example last year I have created an AppScan extension called Login Expert which was intended to make the configuration of our product an easier process. You can read more about the extension here
The extension achieved its goal and as a result was integrated with AppScan in the 7.9 release.What first attracted you to working in Information Technology?
Well it might be a bit cheesy but I was fascinated by the fact that you can inspire thought process into a machine. Even today nothing makes me happier than the opportunity to write a computer program.Are there any reasons the topic of security is especially interesting to you?
Security is a very exciting field. There's a lot of intelligence that goes into hacks, there's always something happening, there's always new challenges, hackers are getting smarter. Knowing that, imagine that working with an automated tool that is intended to act like a hacker is even more interesting. What's the biggest misconception about security?
There are many misconceptions and is hard to say which is the biggest one but one that comes to mind is that the network layer is the main target of attackers and that as long as you are protecting that layer well, you are secure: we are behind a firewall, nothing can touch us...Well guess what? That firewall has to be opened on ports 80/443 so you can have an internet presence. The web site is in fact the main target of hackers nowadays, not the network.What are the biggest security challenges related to software development?
The adoption of security practices is the biggest challenge. Without a proper process and management buy-in security bugs will continue to come in. There's always communication challenges & animosity between security auditors and developers, the security team cannot scale becomes a bottleneck often delaying the release of the product. Development organizations need to adopt secure coding practices and security testing tools allowing less security issues to reach the security team, thus improving the release process and the overall security posture of the organization.How do you use developerWorks?
I use it as an avenue to express my thoughts in the application security space but also to see what other people have to say in many other different domains of application development.Do you use social networking related to your work?
I use our internal Lotus Connections website heavily but also use LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch with work contacts.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
One of the blogs that I read more often is the IBM Rational Application Security Insider
.What other passions or interests do you enjoy in your off hours?
I play classical guitar. Look me up on YouTube
- Thanks Paul!
Sometimes I get lucky... recently Susan Visser connected me with Sam Lightstone, author of Making it Big in Software, and luckily, he agreed to an interview. Sam has a unique perspective to share on developing your career in software, so I hope you enjoy it! (And if anyone else has suggestions for people to interview on my blog in the future, pass them along!)
Learn more about Sam Lightstone:His profile on My developerWorks - add him to your networkSee book reviews from: Dr. Dobb’s, JavaRanch, i-ProgrammerJoin the Facebook Fan ClubJoin the LinkedIn GroupFollow the blogBook overview and reader reviews on Amazon.com
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a Senior Technical Staff Member in the DB2 development team. Over the past decade I've been fortunate to have some pretty varied positions, including senior management roles, code design and development and some research collaboration. I've enjoyed them all. I'm currently working on several of projects to increase DB2's processing efficiency, working with the DB2 team, but also with folks in our research and storage divisions.
What first sparked your interest in technology?
It was all around me growing up. During the Great Depression my father dropped out of high school to get a job and help support his family. When WWII started he enlisted in the Canadian army and used his time there to develop skills in electronics and photography. After the war he started a television repair business. He couldn't afford to buy the equipment he needed, so he bought a few "build it yourself" kits and constructed his own vacuum tube tester, frequency generator, multimeter and oscilloscope. The television repair business didn't last long, and my father pursued his passion in photography (more specifically 'lithography'). So we had all this electronics and photographic equipment in the house, and my dad wanted us to understand it. Every know and then, at breakfast or supper, he would pull a pen out of his pocket and start drawing a schematic on the back of a napkin to explain a concept. These were simple ideas about electronics and circuits, or how a camera works, but as a child I felt these were the most interesting things in life. My father started a "family tradition" that every child would get a science kit for their 10th birthday. Being the youngest of 6 kids not only did I grow up playing with my father's gadgets, but all the science kits my older siblings had received were still lying around! Electronics kits, chemistry sets, microscopes - you name it. I was soldering circuits and developing my own film by the time I was 10 or 11. When I was about 13 I started programming BASIC on my brother-in-law's hand made computer that used a cassette tape storage device and a teletype for input and output. Personal computers were very new then. By 1982 I was 14 and studying programming at school on a Commodore Pet. I still remember how happy I was to use a floppy disk instead of a cassette tape!
How did the idea for your new book, Making it Big in Software, originate?
It was really about giving something back to the community. When I was in 4th year Electrical Engineering in 1991, the department held professional seminars on Friday afternoons. These were usually on technical topics like VLSI design. One day a speaker came from Newbridge Systems in Ottawa and gave us a talk about professional life after graduation. It really made a huge impression on me, and I decided that if I ever could I would return the professional courtesy and volunteer to speak to students about professional life after school. The problem is that school teaches us technical skills, but there's really no place that people are taught how to thrive professionally so they can maximize their impact, and optimize their careers. Once you know how to do it, a small deliberate effort over time can propel you to significantly higher positions of influence, higher salary and most importantly a more satisfying career. That's what Making it Big in Software is all about. In the late 1990's and early 2000's I began a series of talks at universities. The material I compiled for those talks became the basis for the book.
You have a list of 17 big names that you interviewed for your book. I'm sure that was fascinating. Was there anything they shared that really took you by surprise?
There were lots of surprises both in the personal histories and in the career strategies that these people use, and of course some great personal stories. I'll share four things that made an impression on me. First, it's true that most of the people I interviewed rose to fame and fortune. However, the person who may have made the biggest impact was Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email. Ray invented in email in 1971, but her wasn't credited with it until a journalist tracked the invention back to him in 1994. For over 20 years he got no recognition, and his massive contribution really didn't impact his career in a positive way. Even so, Ray is one of the happiest and most content people I spoke with. He's still working at BBN and programming. I found that very inspirational. Secondly, I think a lot of people have a feeling that the great days of computer science are behind us. The big killer apps have been coded, the great technologies are now commodities. But several of the people I interviewed expressed the contrary feeling that we're actually on the cusp of a profound transition in software, driven by mobile computing, cloud computing, social networking and increasing computing power and bandwidth. That means that software as a profession is going to keep accelerating. Third, I have come to believe that effective time management is a cornerstone to effective careers. So it was pretty amazing to me to see how messed up some of these very successful people are in managing their time! What they've lacked in time management they've compensated for by surrounding themselves with good people and being goal oriented. Finally, fourth, I was pretty floored when Steve Wozniak told me he programmed the BASIC interpreter for the Apple computer in binary! He had no money, no tools, not even a compiler. He couldn't even afford an Intel processor. With just 1's and 0's he changed the world.
What are some of the unique challenges of working in the software industry? What are a few significant changes happening?
You've asked two questions but in fact there is one answer to both. What makes software careers so unique is change! Change is our challenge. We work in an industry that redefines itself every few years. There's no other profession like that - even in the engineering disciplines. Think about other professions, like accounting, law, nursing, medicine, dentistry, education. Their skills and tools evolve over time, but fundamentally what they do at the end of their career will look pretty similar to what they did at the beginning. Not so with software! New languages, new platforms, new paradigms emerge all the time. A few years ago nobody was talking about social networking, cloud computing or multi core programming for dozens or hundreds of CPU threads. These are today's sea changes. That constant change will continue, and it's what makes software so dynamic. But it means all of us in the profession need to ride those waves and stay current.
I'll add another point to my answer which I think is really important for software programmers and engineers to internalize for career advancement. A unique quality in the software business is that a lot of the great innovative ideas come from the engineering teams rather than the business and marketing executives. That's what has, to a large degree, elevated programmers from their early status in the 1960's and 1970's as skilled technologists to our modern conception of software programmers as rock stars. Driving software innovation elevates your rock star status and can be a major impetus in fueling your career.
Have you had any memorable situations where you learned from failure?
I've had many. Bill Gates once said "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” On the software side, my early attempts to estimate how long work would take were pretty disastrous! It caused me a lot of late nights at the keyboard during my early years as I tried to make up for overly aggressive estimates. After that I spent a fair bit of time studying the best practices and software engineering literature on project scheduling and management. I dedicated an entire chapter of Making it Big in Software to avoiding software overruns. There are few things that can mess up your career worse than being consistently late. Conversely, teams that consistently on time and on quality, are golden. On the management side, my early attempts at recruiting were painful. I hired people based on their academic results in combination with feedback from past managers. It turns out that academic results are too loose an indicator and previous managers may not be that reliable either! I had to fire someone I recruited, and it was really upsetting for me. After that I became maniacal in recruiting only the best people I could find, and I grill candidates pretty thoroughly to get a sense of what they know, how they think and whether they will jive professionally with the rest of the team. My goal now is to always be the stupidest person in my group! I'm immodest enough to think I'm a reasonably sharp software engineer, and if everyone I recruit is smarter than me then I know I have a really strong team.
What role do you think social networking can play in developing a software career?
I don't think we've seen the full force of what social networking can achieve. Facebook for example, only started in 2005, and although it has grown to 400 million members, it's still evolving rapidly. These are early days. I see three main ways social networking is directly impacting software careers today. First and foremost these technologies allow people to maintain relationships in a more profound way than they could previously with email and telephone. Successful software careers are heavily biased by maintaining relationships. Who you know not what you know is a big part of that. Second, but equally profound, what you know is driven by who you know! In an industry where knowledge is king, it's critical to have efficient ways to get and filter information. One of the best filter factors on finding the most important pieces of knowledge is through your social network. During my interviews with successful personalities in Making it Big in Software, many of the interviewees, like James Gosling (Java), John Schwarz (CEO Business Objects), Grady Booch (IBM Fellow), Bjarne Stroustrup (C++), David Vaskevitch (then Microsoft CTO), Robert Kahn (Coinventor of the Internet), Mark Russinovich (Microsoft Fellow and Windows architect) and others, told me they depend heavily (but not exclusively) on their social network to figure out and filter what tech trends are the important ones. Third, I think that social networking is blurring with social marketing, and we are already well down the path of using this kind of infrastructure to market and float new ideas. The people who leverage that dynamic successfully will be able to advance their careers and their companies the most successfully.
How do you use social networking?
I use it for all three of the ideas I mentioned above. I use Facebook and LinkedIn pretty heavily, as well as my own blog on software careers, and there are a few bloggers I follow on both technology and technology marketing.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I've configured a Google search feed to feed me an anthology of relevant articles every few days. I subscribe the eWeek's email news, and I follow activity in the database community by subscribing to DBWORLD. I enjoy Seth Godin's blog, and was a fan of Joel on Software, though he recently stopped blogging.
Are you a gadget junkie? Any new gadgets you'd love to get your hands on?
I'm a gadget junkie wannabee! I love gadgets but I just can't find time to learn them. My kids make fun of me because I can barely figure out how to use my cell phone. I'm still amazed by my GPS watch that tells me how far I've jogged or cycled and draws a map of the route I've covered. I'm also pretty fond of my 1TB wireless backup disk that backs up the data for every computer in my house over our wireless network. I bought it for less than the cost of dinner for two. Some cliches are a little too accurate - boys love toys!
- Thanks Sam!
Keith McDonald is a great example of a developer taking his area of expertise - DB2 - and finding a creative way to share it. Get to know Keith in the interview below and add him to your colleagues on his My developerWorks profile. You can also follow him on his blog and Twitter.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a software developer at IBM Canada and have been so since 1997, when I was an intern. I was born and raised in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, but I've been living in Toronto for the past thirteen years. I care about good design (both internal and external) and the transformation of research into real products that make customer's lives easier. I believe in keeping up with the state of the art in my field and applying what I learn from doing so.
I have worked on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows since version 5. I have spent the last ten years developing workload management technology for DB2, starting with Query Patroller in DB2 version 8.1 followed by Workload Manager in DB2 9.5. I am currently working on some of the next generation workload management technologies for use with a future release of DB2 for LUW.
Describe a normal day for you.
Lately, a typical day consists mostly of writing and testing code for a future release of DB2, participating in team Scrum meetings, answering emails, taking in education sessions on new technologies like ISAS and DB2 pureScale, and writing specifications for new features. Every day after work, I will typically spend four or five hours studying some aspect of db2top (the interactive snapshot monitoring tool that comes free with every copy of DB2 for LUW, even the free Express-C edition) and writing a blog post about it. It usually takes two nights to craft a single post and I publish a new post three times a week. Eventually, I will have covered every feature and will start blogging about a new topic.
What's your favorite aspect of your work?
My favorite aspect of my work is the group of people with whom I get to work. They are not only extremely smart and professional, but also free of the arrogance that sometimes comes with such intelligence. People at work share what they know and communication is open and honest. At work, I know I can ask questions and get answers that help me solve problems more quickly than I ever could trying to do everything on my own.
Do you have any advice you'd share with students or new IT professionals who are just starting out?
Work-life balance is extremely important, especially if you enjoy your job so much that you could happily spend all your time doing it. Make time for your health and have a hobby that gets you out of the house regularly. Find a way to share what you learn in your job with your fellow employees and perhaps a broader audience if the information is not proprietary. Find a way to get in contact with the users of the products you make and listen to them. Do not let your skills stagnate.
How are you using social networking today? How is it changing the way you live your personal or professional life?
I have had an awareness of social networking technologies for a while now (I used to get blank stares years ago when I would talk about Twitter), but I was not really a participant until recently. At first, like many people who complained about not wanting to hear about the minutiae of other people's lives, I didn't see the full potential of social networking. I liked using Facebook to catch up with people I hadn't seen in years and I liked reading tweets from the small set of people I followed, but I contributed very little to the conversation myself. My view changed when I started posting to Twitter last month. All of a sudden I was having conversations with complete strangers who shared an interest in the technologies I write about. I finally figured out that to get the most out of social networking, the conversation has to go both ways - you get out of it what you put into it.
As a blogger you focus on DB2. Can you share what inspired you to start blogging?
I had wanted to start a blog for a while, but could not think of a topic I could blog regularly about. When I started using db2top, I noticed that it had dozens of "hidden" features and only a few pages of documentation. I knew it was a popular product among DB2 for LUW users, but I couldn't imagine that such users were getting the full value out of it given its limited documentation. I personally don't like to read mountains of documentation at one time, but I figured a regularly-occurring blog post explaining one feature at a time might be able to sustain someone's interest and get more people to realize just how useful and powerful this little tool is. According to a recent blog post by Susan Visser, the free ebook Getting Started With DB2 Express-C has been downloaded over 83,000 times. Every one of those DB2 Express-C users has a powerful monitoring tool at their fingertips but I imagine many are not aware of it or at least not aware of all that it can do and I hope to change that.
Do you have any bloggers you look up to in particular?
I have always liked the writing that Joel Spolsky does in his blog Joel on Software. His original essays from ten years ago when I first started reading his blog made me rethink everything I knew about developing software. Unfortunately, he quit blogging not too long ago, but his old material is still relevant today.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Derek Sivers, Clay Shirky, Seth Godin, Paul Graham, Planet DB2, Explain Extended, DB2 Express-C team blog, and Zen and the Art of Programming.
How do you use developerWorks?
I read a lot of technical content and find out about much of it through Google searches or on social news aggregators like Hacker News. Much of the time, the content originates on developerWorks. Now that I have a developerWorks blog, I find myself on the site more often, discovering new technical articles directly. I am still learning the new social networking aspects of My developerWorks.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Being a child of the 80's with an obsession with space and technology, I will always associate Star Wars with fond memories of my childhood. I was not exposed to Star Trek in any significant way until the mid-90's when I was in university and the first movie with the ST:TNG cast came out. It has become a tradition for me and the friends I made at university to see every new Star Trek movie together even though we no longer live in the same cities or even the same provinces. So I can't really choose one over the other because I treasure them both.
I was excited to get my Amazon box this week with fresh books to read!!! First up is Social Networking for Business
by Rawn Shah who happens to blog here at My developerWorks
. I've been looking forward to checking this book out and picking up useful ideas. And then I've got Crochet Adorned
by Linda Permann, an indulgence in a newly acquired hobby of mine.
These will keep me busy for awhile... I like to mix a little business with pleasure. Not that business isn't often a pleasure too.
Why tell you about my crochet book? Not because I expect many of the geeks here in My developerWorks to be into crochet. Although, who knows, maybe some of you are crocheting up the entire cast of Star Wars
in your free time:
The reason I share this is because I find these little things I enjoy that are not directly work-related help energize my creativity, giving me fresh perspective when I return to work the next day. I was motivated to share this by a post by Behind the Pixels on My developerWorks. I think brain power and creativity grows with stimulation from many different places.
This is why I ask the people I interview on my blog about their passions outside of work. I like discovering interesting things about people that I never would've guessed. I've gotten to meet people like Andrew Larmour, who wants to build his own car; Rawn Shah, who teaches Japanese swordfighting; Jakub Gaj who loves surfing and capoeira; Alan Harris whose interests range from Krav Maga to bowling; and Chris Walden who channels his open source passion into volunteer work.
All of these people are passionate about technology, but they have whole other sides of their lives too - and it all works together. It's inspiring to me!
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!
This week I'm bringing you an interview with Jason Clark
, a software engineer at IBM developerWorks. Jason's passionate about many topics in technology and I was excited when I saw him start a new blog recently because I know he's got a lot to bring to the table.
Find out more about Jason Clark: My developerWorks profile
- Geek and Penguin Blog
- @geekandpenguin Twitter
- Jason T Clark Blog
- @jasontclarknet on TwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I'm a software engineer for the IBM developerWorks Advanced Design team, and currently I'm working on improving the My developerWorks experience for international users. Since My developerWorks is a community for developers across the globe, we want to make sure that our site is accessible by developers worldwide. I'm also a strong player in the developerWorks Twitter
strategy, and have offered thought leadership on how we leverage social tools like Twitter to convey what we have to offer.Describe a normal day for you.
At developerWorks, I wear several hats- a jack of all trades in a sense. I'm a software engineer, but my systems engineering and network engineering skills play a significant role here at dW. My typical day starts with a morning meeting, followed by bugs to squash (code bugs that is), keeping our development systems safe and secure from a security stand point, and making sure that our team's daily development processes flow smoothly.What led you to pursuing a career in technology?
Video Games. I'm a HUGE video gamer, and the technology behind them has always fascinated me. My father is a private pilot, and uses flight simulator software on his PC. When I was younger, it was my job to make sure that his computer was adequate to run the software, and to fix any problems that came up. That's really how this whole thing began for me.Do you have any strategies for keeping up with what's new in technology?
I read RSS feeds, a lot. I use a RSS reader to give me the news in technology across a number of industries, and typically I blog or write about those that are most interesting to me. These two tips typically give me plenty to talk about on my blog, and discuss those findings with others.How do you use developerWorks?
Articles and Blogs are what I use the most. They say that people come to developerWorks looking for an aspirin on a vitamin. For me, there are lots of 'vitamins' on LINUX technology at IBM developerWorks. The blogs are always nice to read up on as well.Tell me about your new blog that you've started called The Geek and Penguin... What inspired you to start it?
Well, I've used LINUX and opensource tech for years. Many of those in my circle always cringe at the idea of using LINUX. I thought that starting a blog about the coolness of LINUX, and all of the really 'geeky' things that you can do with it would give people a different idea about it.
As a connoisseur of LINUX and opensource, I thought that starting a blog that speaks to those like me- The Geek is the user and The Penguin is the product; similar to auto enthusiasts magazine Car and Driver. How are you using social networking today?
Social networking is important for me. I use social networking tools to interact, collaborate, and syndicate things around the Internet. I like having those 'at the water cooler' discussions over the web where you discover news and interesting ideas, then share them with other people. Not only that, but it's great to also share what you're up to with those who are interested. My social tool of the moment is Twitter. There has been plenty of times where I've heard things on Twitter before anywhere else- I think it's a great way of keeping your ears to the ground.The biggest problem with social networking is...
The signal to noise ratio. Many times you have to filter out a lot of noise just to get to the real content that you are looking for. However, things like hashtags have helped the situation.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
As far as twitter goes, I like to follow @guykawasaki
. I also keep up with the gaming industry by following @gamasutra
and the Industry Gamer RSS feed.When you're not working, what interests or activities do you enjoy?
I play lots of video games, and I make music. I DJ, play piano, and make dance tracks in my spare time.Email or text messaging?
Email. More words, less finger soreness.
- Thanks Jason!
That sassy looking girl over to the left with the strange hairdo looks like she thinks she's pretty cool, eh?
That little 11 year old girl actually happens to be me. A friend posted this photo in Facebook and looking at my past self triggered memories that inspired this blog post.
When I was eleven, I actually didn't think I was that cool. But I desperately wanted to be cool and popular, like many grade school kids. Unfortunately I was painfully shy, always waiting for others to come to me. My perception of the cool, popular kids was that they were popular because they were prettier than me, wore nicer clothes, were on the cheerleading team, etc.
It was only a few years out of high school that I realized that wasn't the case at all. For the most part, the popular people were the most friendly, fun, outgoing, confident people. They were the people that welcomed others, invited them out to lunch, and said hi in the hallway. It mattered not what their socio-economic status was, or how genetically gifted they were in sports or attractiveness. What mattered is that they made other people feel comfortable and wanted.
I've often wished I could go back in time and whisper this secret to my 11 year old self.
But I can benefit from it now, and I often do in the world of social networking, which isn't much different than grade school. Many people sit and wait for others to reach out to them, to be discovered, to be found. But the people who reach out to others, welcoming, sharing info, connecting groups of people, and championing people, miraculously find themselves in a world of friendly faces.
If you're willing to make the first move, to say hello, to make contacts, friends and allies, it's a world of opportunity. So... don't be shy!
This week's interview with Naveen Balani
- a software architect and developerWorks Master Author
- is especially timely, given the start of the 2010 Devolothon, a 14 city tour in India
. developerWorks India is often on the cutting edge, trying unique things - connect with fellow IT professionals in India by joining the developerWorks India group
And now, onto my interview with Naveen Balani. You can learn more about him in his My developerWorks profile
. And in Naveen's blogs
on My developerWorks. And in his many articles on developerWorks
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I work as a Software Architect with India Software Labs, Mumbai. I am part of WebSphere Business Services product development team and currently working towards our next release of the product.What has your IT career journey been like? How did you get started? Did you choose a specialty or did it evolve?
I started my IT career in year 2000. I have always been keen to learn about new technologies and wanted to specialize on software design and architecture. Early in my career, I used to spend most of my time researching on various technologies and contributing articles, white papers on it.
I started off with a services organization where I was involved in designing and developing solutions for banking and insurance firms primarily on Java and J2EE stack. I was always looking out for opportunities where I could work on challenging assignments and get to design and architect solutions and products. Over these years, I have played various roles right from a developer to an architect and have worked on product development as well as designing and architecting solutions. What IT project are you most proud of?
I would say all projects that I have worked on have helped me in my career in some way or the other. Early in the career, I worked on various services engagement projects where I was implementing solutions for US Banking an Insurance firms. One particular implementation of a security algorithm that I did seem to be still being used in there various banking solution.
Next, I would like to mention about a BPM workflow implementation project, where I was involved in architecting and realizing an end to end BPM work flow solution, where we wanted to replace customer’s exiting process and fully automate it. Being in startup firm, you handle lot of responsibilities and I owned the entire business process solution and database design. There were various design challenges, integration challenges and various strategies that were required in terms of planning and execution to make it successful. An interesting thing about this project was this was the first BPM work flow implementation for a particular environment and stack which had it own challenges.
The other project that would always remain special is Business Service Fabric, which I have been working on since its inception, which got acquired by IBM in 2006. Product development is completely different from software services engagements and working with this product has immensely helped me to increase my technical knowledge over these years.
I love your blog post where you share about your philosophy of "Just go for it", as a technical author of over 50 articles. Do you have any personal techniques you use like goal setting that help you succeed?
I always try to keep myself updated on new ongoing trends and technology. I usually try to learn something new every year and then come up with a blog, white paper, book or an article or some medium which I can share with the community.
When I started, I never had set any personal goals about the number of articles I need to publish. I simply have a passion for writing and I feel publishing your work in some medium is best form of sharing your technical work and giving back to the community and collaborating with them. Obviously you need technical acumen, but what are the other important skills to be a good technical author?
I feel you should have a deep understanding about the subject you want to write about. When you write about topics, you must know your target audience and target it to the right audience level, beginners, intermediate or advance levels. A good technical author should aim at simplifying existing technology information or write about topics in simplified terms. What new technologies or products are you learning about this year?
I am planning to get myself updated on Spring framework 3.0 release and update my article on Spring series which was widely appreciated by the readers. Last year, I wrote a book on Apache CXF
, this year. I am planning to write a book on advance web services development. I also plan to write learn about Apache Incubation projects - Apache Shiro framework and Apache Aries.How do you use developerWorks?
I think, this is best answered on my blog
. Apart from publishing articles and tutorials, I use developerWorks to read blogs and articles, look for the resolution of issues in forums or respond to forums whenever I can. I haven’t utilized much of the My developerWorks capabilities as I intended, but have created blogs on dynamic BPM and semantic web, created groups on BPM to form a community group around BPM to share their experiences and knowledge and to stay connected with the developerWorks community. What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Apart from developerWorks, I visit Infoq.com
, The Server side
and read community blogs on various technologies.When you're not working, what interests or passions do you enjoy?
When I am not working, I like to read about any topics that interest me, watching movies, listening to music, catching up with friends. At some point, I would like to write a movie script and direct it. :)
Martin Packer's got an interesting job as an IBM Mainframe Performance Consultant. Luckily he shares his insights on his blog and with us here in this interview.
Discover more about Martin in his My developerWorks profile
, his Mainframe Performance Topics blog
, and Twitter
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm a mainframe performance guy who's been building skill over the past 25 years to the point where this year I've "gone global". That is, I work with customers around the world, dealing with the thorniest performance issues. It's interesting and varied work: encompassing conference presentations, customer troubleshooting, supporting the implementation of new applications on System z, developing analysis tools, and writing Redbooks.
I'm also interested, as it happens, in web infrastructure (as well, of course, as Social Networking).How did you get started working in the IT industry?
I think it was inevitable I'd do SOMETHING with IT: My Father spent most of his career working at various levels with computers - so there were always technical computer books around the house. And so I got a master's degree in Information Technology and joined IBM in a Technical Marketing role. (I was a Systems Engineer in the 1980's, for anyone who remembers SE's.) And, while lots of IBMers were "upmarketing" themselves I took a turn for the technical... :-)Would you have any advice to share with students or IT professionals just starting out?
I'd say the same to them as to anyone starting their career: Follow your heart in what you choose to do. It's probably more sustainable in the long term, you'll sleep better at night, and have a lot more fun doing it! The standard careers advice, I gather, is to think and act in business terms. I'd put it a little differently: While technology is important and fun you have to think of people (and what technology enables people to do) as well.
What do you think is the most under-appreciated aspect of Mainframe?
Because mainframes have been around for a long time, in one form or another, I think people have a "set in concrete" view of what a mainframe is and what it can do. (By the way I like to use the "throw back" term "mainframe" instead of something more modern sounding because I'm actually very proud of our heritage.) So, it's evolved an awful lot, and keeps evolving. Now I'm closer to where the Development action is I can tell you it's going to keep evolving and fast: There's no chance of getting bored of it. So, the most under-appreciated aspect is its continuing evolution, relevance and modernity.How do you see Mainframe changing - either right now or in the future?
I obviously can't talk about unannounced products but mainframe folks would have to have been living under a rock not to know about some of the stuff on the horizon, to do with enabling hybrid applications to be run more effectively, with the mainframe as the centrepiece.
I also think we're going to see more emphasis on demonstrating all the modern technologies that run on the mainframe (and run well).
In my neck of the woods I'm going to be working on making the instrumentation (the entrails performance people like to pore over) even better. I seem to have an "unofficial evangelist" role for this, and I'm constantly in discussions with Development on how we can improve things. And I'll be sure to blog
about it on developerWorks, too. :-)How do you use developerWorks?
I started a few years ago with developerWorks as the host for my blog
: I wanted an external blog, hosted by IBM, having blogged internally a while before that. I'll admit I've not been a heavy user of the social aspects of developerWorks, but that's really because I've been so active elsewhere - for example on Twitter. And, if I was going to have an external blog I really wanted it to be an IBM-hosted one: Most of what I want to talk about at length is work related so I think that's the right venue.What are you planning on learning about next?
I'm looking forward to learning more about the shape of mainframes to come, and also about the next version of DB2 on z/OS. And, from what I already know, there's tons of it to learn about.
Away from the day job I'm doing a lot of "learning by doing" with web technologies: I have a "personal automation" webserver or two on my (now Linux) laptop so I'm starting to get competent with things like PHP, Dojo and jQuery. Up next is Python (thanks to one of my mentees, Stephane Rodet, who suggested I might like it) :-) and some stuff with SVG that I hope will lead to some nice visualisation tooling.
But I'm easily distracted by new technology, so who knows? :-)What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Well you'd expect me to say something mainframe-related, wouldn't you? But, while the news I've heard IS very cool, it's not sharable. But actually I think the DB2 for z/OS and Smart Analytics Optimizer Previews are pretty cool.Why did you decide to start a blog? Does blogging have any hidden benefits for you that you didn't expect?
As anyone who's ever come across me will agree, I like to talk. They might not spot I also like to listen. :-) So, for me, I can reach many more people by blogging (actually by tweeting now) than I could if I had to meet them in person or pick up the phone to them. And I hear all sorts of interesting stuff, too. Actually the decision to blog was a natural evolution (as is my use of Twitter): I'd been using the IBM Internal VM-based FORUMs since 1986, and the Social Networking stuff is just a natural extension of that, for me.You have a pretty large, active Twitter following - what role does Twitter play for you in work and personal life?
Yes, it seems like a lot of people - around 900 at the time of writing - and the question of what the relationship with each and every one of these is. At one end of the spectrum some of my family now use Twitter. At the other end are almost total strangers. But there are lots of people in between whom I'm really glad to know (and judging by the discourse some of them seem glad to know me). :-)
Working remotely a lot of the time it's a great channel for chatting with people - albeit in a "broadcast" sense. It keeps me thinking - sometimes about aspects of work, sometimes other technical stuff, and sometimes about the human condition. :-) There's stuff I plain need to believe I have an audience for - most notably the bad jokes. :-) And the "distraction" aspect adds A LITTLE :-) seasoning to my day.
I'm also finding Twitter is a great Instant Messaging medium for staying touch, using Direct Messages (or DM'ing for short). As I have twitter clients on almost everything with an (electronic) pulse it has the pervasiveness for staying in touch (especially when travelling) that I want. This IM aspect has surprised me recently - as I was tweeting for almost 3 years before I really got to use DM'ing this much.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
This week get to know John Pape
, a member of the IBM WebSphere Application Server SWAT team, blogging on My developerWorks and using social networking to connect and share his experience. Learn more about John in the interview below and connect with him on: My developerWorks ProfileJohn's Random Musings blogFollow John on TwitterTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a member of the IBM WebSphere Application Server SWAT team. My team focuses on acute product defect support, mainly focusing on crit-sits. My job entails me traveling to customer locations as helping them get through the tough times they are having with WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Virtual Enterprise, and WebSphere eXtreme Scale. We also do remote engagements as well. What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?
I'd like to think that I've always had a talent for working with computers. Technology has always fascinated me, whether it's a new smartphone, operating system, or browser. New technology is a bright and shiny toy for me!What are you doing to make the planet smarter? How do you personally relate to IBM's Smarter Planet story?
My personal efforts to make a smarter plant are two-fold: 1. I'm working with other IBMers to help make more technical content available to our customers via social media like Twitter
and My developerWorks
and 2. I am part of an internal effort at IBM called BlueIQ which aims to promote social software adoption inside IBM. I see the effective use of social software as a means to work smarter and thus produce a smarter planet. You seem to be a pretty prolific author, not only are you blogging, but you've also written articles and Redbooks. What inspires you to write so much, and how do you make find the time or make it a priority?
Writing is a big thing for me. I see authoring as a great way to give back to the technical community that brought me up, so to speak. In my job at IBM, I see lots of different types of problems and to be able to take these experiences and share them with other colleagues and customers to help them avoid them seems like such a small thing to do but, the benefit can be enormous!From your perspective, what's the most exciting thing happening related to WebSphere software right now?
Personally, I'm excited about grid computing and distributed caching. I think more and more customers and perspective customers are realizing the value of using a product like WebSphere eXtreme Scale to help save their company money. Since grid computing can be done complementary to cloud computer technologies like CloudBurst, I think it's a very relevant topic in the enterprise today. Besides WebSphere, what other technologies are you fanatical about and why?
As I mentioned before, grid computing concepts like distributed caching and data grid applications are my current interest. There are lots of new innovations in this area right now. Additionally, I've taken a great interest in the use of social networking in the enterprise. I think there are many lessons to be learned around the concept of Enterprise 2.0 and business collaboration technology. Your article about how to get an answer in forums is great! Do you spend a lot of time in developerWorks forums?
Less than I'd like to but, yes. I try to regularly contribute to the forums on developerWorks. I hate to see a question go unanswered!How are you using social networking today?
Internally, I make _HUGE_ use of our Lotus Connections deployment. I also use an internal Twitter-like clone called BlueTwit. Externally, I break up my work and personal life by using Twitter
for technology and IBM-related stuff and Facebook for my family and friends. I also use LinkedIn to keep track of my professional network. Lastly, I try to blog regularly on the My developerWorks site. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I keep track of the WebSphere support RSS feeds
so I can stay on top of current fix availability. I also watch the developerWorks RSS feeds
for new content. On Twitter
, I follow various IBMers related to WebSphere and Lotus products, Blackberry tech blogs, and my favorite NHL team - the Carolina Hurricanes!
Do you have a must-have gadget - something you can't live without?
My Blackberry. It's always glued to me. When you're not working, what hobbies or activities grab your attention?
Outside of work I enjoy watching hockey, coaching soccer, and inline skating. - Thanks John!
It might not surprise you that developerWorks
has an active team of developers too! This week I'm turning the spotlight onto Roosevelt Bynum
, who manages a team responsible for infrastructure web applications supporting developerWorks.
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm the west coast development manager for developerWorks. My team is responsible for the infrastructure web applications that support developerWorks and My developerWorks.What's your favorite aspect of your work?
I really like the ever evolving web technology and how we impact the software developers of the world. What tips do you have for leading a team of software engineers?
I have a BS and MS in Computer Science 32 years of experience in software development experience. As a former developer myself, I suggest these tips:
1) Software Engineers are creative and use different approaches to solve problems, as a manager I believe developers are more productive if you give them the freedom to use that creativity to solve problems.
2) I believe development processes are necessary and valuable, but should be only used as a tool to enhance quality, while not inhibiting progress.
3) Since we use object technology in our development, the use of established design patterns and code reuse libraries make our software engineers more concise and productive.
4) Utilize the efficiencies of the tools in our software stack, like DB2
.How do you deal with the challenges of working with a remote team?
Regular communication and building strong relationships are the key to solving the challenges of a remote team. Tools like IBM Lotus Sametime
are key in the success of managing remote teams, but sometimes nothing beats a simple phone call.What's your approach to keeping your skills current?
I'm very curious and I love technology. I read lots of articles, talk to people and sometimes I take classes.Do you think it's more important to go broad or deep with your IT skills?
There are advantages of both. One needs a certain amount of depth to become a effective developer, while the broad skills give you flexibility to do different things.What challenges are ahead for you in 2010?
We need to continue to drive growth in the local sites around the world. Additionally, we need to enhance our site security to prevent malicious attacks, SPAM, and denial of service.What new ground do you think developerWorks should break next?
I think the next phase of developerWorks growth is an interactive community experience which makes our site security most important.How do you use developerWorks?
I mostly use developerWorks to test and validate our new applications and I read blogs and articles. I plan to start my own blog as well.Can you share something about yourself that most people don't know about you?
I am #2 of six kids and I have 5 sisters.
- Thanks Roosevelt!
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, take a peek into a day in the life of Sebastian Fratini
, an IT specialist in Argentina working with IBM DB2 and IBM Lotus Domino. Learn more about Sebastian in the interview below and visit his profile
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well I currently live in Argentina and I am 24 years old. I started working with IBM products four and a half years ago in a Business Partner. I started in the Development and Research area and that gave me a lot of knowledge from different software, technologies and solutions. I didn't spend too much time with one product. I just documented what it was needed and then, move to another project, which gave me a great base. I have most of my experience with Domino and WebSphere Portal and WCM but I used almost every Lotus Software, plus Java, TDI, DB2, SQL Server, etc. Personally, I like music. A lot. I enjoy playing guitar and going to the movies, series like House MD and Friends, travel.
Currently I am working in several projects. Two of them are Domino migrations. One from a different version. The other from a different mail solution. I am also integrating DB2 with Domino and migrating some applications. There is another project involving TDI and Domino 8.5.1 to make MSAD the center of the user deployment and administration (This one is quite fun) and also a couple of WebSphere Portal Demos for some projects around the year. So yes, I am somehow busy. It could be worse. Describe a normal day for you.
A normal day would be a work day! I get up and travel in a Mercedes-Benz with a driver. I call it 'The Bus'. Then I usually need to check that all the servers are working. If the day was bad, I like to go to Burger King. The flavor of the onion rings makes my day better. After I came home I feed my hamster and then watch movies or series. And the whole day connected to the Internet of course. Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Mmm I don't think I have a hero like that. I just like to take the good things of each one of the people around me. I think I would like to follow Kevin Spacey. I think that is a great actor. If you were talking about the IT world, that would be Steve Jobs. Is there anything you think is unique or interesting about working in IT in Argentina?
The more I speak with people around the globe, the more I realized that in Latin America we usually work on the edge. Normally people don't try new technologies until it's settled and tested. Or don't go outside what's out of the box. Here most of the projects require you to dig, integrate, modify, develop, etc. And they are usually very fun projects. At least for me. I believe it has to be that all the canned solutions are out of reach for most LA companies so we need to rely on our creativity and skills. You have an impressive number of certifications in IBM software - how do certifications help you with your career and skills?
Definitely. I had many projects where the customer specifically asked for a IT guy with certifications. One that could prove that he knew the solution. And I watched the same customers turned down providers for lack of skills. But besides that it gives you a lot of confidence. What do you plan on learning next?
At this moment I am learning a lot of Tivoli Directory Integrator
(TDI) which I've never used before. I always like to keep updated on each solution and the new versions that come out. Whenever that happens, I have to install it and test it. I need to use it. I can't just read the 'What's new in..' but I also like to learn Java, Open Source Solutions, Linux, etc. How do you use developerWorks?
It would be easier to ask me how I DON'T use developerWorks =). Let's see. I use the Knowledge Base of course because I can't possible know everything. Although sometimes I just read technotes I don't need to be prepared for those crazy errors you might some day encounter. I use the forums
. Each day. I am usually around the Domino 6/7/8/.8.5/Sametime/Portal forums. The last two, I only enter when I have spare time. The first 4, I dedicate some time to answer because when I started the guys from those forums helped me a lot, so I am returning the favor. You can actually see me answering each day. I even recognize the name of several 'casual posters'. I also managed a Space which sadly I cannot no longer maintain the way I'd like, but as you saw, I am quite busy at this time. But I keep my developerWorks profile
and I found several interesting people from around the globe. It's nice to be part of a network of IT guys which are willing to share their knowledge and help. How are you using social networking today?Facebook
. All of them on my cell phone. Facebook every time I open the browser. Most of my friends are there and with those three sites I can be connected to all of them. It's hard to keep in touch after you move or graduate so that helped me to keep talking to several friends. I am one of those guys that say "Oh, that's is going into facebook" when something interesting happens. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I always open the next sites: Facebook, developerWorks Forums, Gmail, ItMadeMyDay.com, Clarin.com (Local newspaper) and Google. After that, I can go anywhere I need. But that's how I start my day. Are you a gadget junkie? Any new gadget you'd love to try?
I love gadgets. And I started hating the cell phones when I first got one. Now I cannot live without it. I have the cell phone, the iTouch, the WD Live, PSP and I love many more that I don't have because I want to control myself. I think I would like to test the Kindle. I am just not sure yet. Star Wars or Star Trek?
- Thanks Sebastian!
This week I'm bringing you an interview with Eitan Gal
, the manager of the IBM Innovation Center
in Israel. IBM Innovation Centers help ISVs, developers and students learn about new technology, as well as helping IBM Business Partners build and integrate solutions, close deals and grow business. I wanted to interview Eitan because he can share what happens at an IBM Innovation Center, as well as giving the scoop on a lot of exciting activity happening with ISVs in Israel. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have 25 years experience in the IT industry, started as an IT programmer at Intel IT here in Israel. I am with IBM for the last 11 years, in the first three years I was part of Lotus Sametime development team and since 2001 I am proud to be part of the Israeli IBM Innovation Center
(IIC) team. In my first three years at the IIC, I have worked with IT architects from local ISVs in the Telecommunication area such as Amdocs and Comverse. In 2004, I became the IIC team manager. Today we are a team of eleven professionals, IT Architect and Technical consultants, covering the Israeli ISV market, which is one of the largest ISV communities in the world, with about 3,500 local high tech ISV companies. The Israeli IIC is part of the Global Technology Unit (GTU). The GTU's mission is to evaluate and develop partnership for IBM with local ISVs, whose innovative solutions are incorporated in IBM products and services, ensuring a strong value proposition for both IBM and the ISV in joint sales initiatives. What aspect of software and solution architecture do you most enjoy?
As the IIC leader, I enjoy being part of the GTU team which assesses new ISVs for partnership with IBM. In addition to looking at business aspects, we explore the full technology potential of IBM Hardware and Software, which can be adopted by the ISVs in their solutions. The process requires deep understanding in the ISV solution architecture, and in IBM products which can potentially bring high value as part of the ISV solution. One of the end results of the assessment process is a technology road map, which we build jointly with the ISV. This road map outlines the IBM technologies that the ISVs will adopt according to a time line plan. In 2009 we evaluated 160 new ISVs, and performed around 200 Technology enablement projects, most of them took place with new ISVs. From your perspective, how is the software industry unique in Israel?
In two aspects:
1. Israel has a concentration of more than 3500 local ISVs, in a country smaller then New Jersey :-). In the last 15 years over 250 companies were involved in M&A transactions. More than 90% of ISVs influence is outside of Israel as the local market is very small. Most local ISVs are looking for partnership with IBM, and see IBM as a partner which can bring global reach.
2. I think that part of our culture is risk taking, and local ISVs are early adopters that are willing to try new technologies and new product releases. This can be useful for these ISVs, but can sometimes put them in a problematic situation. It is important to understand that the Israeli high tech landscape is rich in entrepreneurial activity and early stage companies that are facing the decision about which platform to support. So we have a unique opportunity to work with these entrepreneurs at very early stages and in 2009 we increased significantly our activities with them through IIC events dedicated for this community.What is the most interesting thing about IBM Innovation Centers that you think more people should know about?
We are one-stop-shop for ISV's IBM hardware and software needs for the local ISV market. We cover products in all IBM brands, with our primary focus on WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, System X and P. In addition to our IIC experts, we have Technical Business Partners which expand our support capabilities in areas where we are not experts. We also engage other IBM organizations and the IBM Lab whenever needed. In addition to product support we provide assistance for ISVs in the different certification processes available, such as "Ready for....." programs and the IBM Industry framework programs.Do you have any plans coming up at the IBM Innovation Center in Israel soon that you're excited about?
We are excited to enter the Cloud space, In 2010 we plan to have some new exciting Cloud Products such as CloudBurst, and iDataFlex. We also evaluate the Cloud for Developers offering for our ISVs.
Which technologies or products does your IBM Innovation Center have the most expertise in?
Websphere and Information Management are the software brands we're strongest in. On Websphere in addition to the WebSphere Application Server we also support the Business Process Modeleing products such as Websphere Modeler, Process Server and Websphere ESB. In the Information Management area, in addition to the mainstream products such as DB2 and Data Stage, we have started in 2009 to support Cognos, and we see very high potential in the ISV market for Cognos.Are there new technologies or products you want to learn or expand for 2010?
We are going to expand our support capabilities in two areas: Cloud related technologies on both the HW and SW side. With products such as CloudBurst and Cloud offering for developers. In addition, we plan to enhance our "vertical" Skills, which are Industry related skills. One of our main missions is to increase our ISVs presence in the different Industry Frameworks offered by IBM. How do you use developerWorks?developerWorks
and My developerWorks
demonstrate our technology strength. I see developerWorks as our face to IT professionals....in many occasions people that were introduced to the developerWorks site were amazed by the content they could find there and IBM's involvement in Open Source. We actively promote developerWorks and My developerWorks to our ISV community; it is our team's main resource for technical information, and often IIC technical consultants refer ISVs to developerWorks for technical information they need.In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Reading..... .Swimming and Jogging.......outdoor activities...... jogging in a beautiful park near Jerusalem, near where I leave. Woodworking and Iron works, I have a small nice workshop, and have my works album in Facebook.- Thanks Eitan!
Cloud computing is only getting hotter, so I wanted to bring you an interview with Dustin Amrhein
, a technical evangelist for WebSphere emerging technologies and an active member of My developerWorks
contributing to the dialogue around Cloud computing.
Learn more about Dustin: Profile on My developerWorks
- Blog on My developerWorks
Follow the latest news and join in group discussion about Cloud, at Cloud Computing Central
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I've been at IBM for nearly four years now. The first three years of my career I was a software engineer on the WebSphere Application Server product. Now I'm a technical evangelist for emerging technologies in WebSphere with a specific focus in our cloud computing technologies. My job is to make sure that our cloud computing technologies are well-known and from a technical standpoint are well-understood.How do you see cloud computing changing the middleware landscape for developers and IT professionals?
When we talk to our customers it is truly eye opening how much time and resource they invest in configuring, deploying, and managing middleware infrastructure. The truth is that this infrastructure is just a means to the end of making their applications available for their users. Cloud computing can help to easily and efficiently manage the lifecycle of this middleware, thus allowing users to concentrate on the business value they provide in their applications.
What are some of the most common challenges that you're seeing involved with getting cloud technologies up and running in client environments?
There's always odds and ends from a technical sense that can present challenges to those implementing new solutions. However, our clients understand this and more importantly they understand that they can overcome these technical issues. The single biggest and most consistent challenge I have observed with respect to embracing cloud computing is the cultural change that is sometimes required in an organization. Cloud computing is a significantly different way at looking at the problems IT
organizations deal with, and many solutions require buy-in and participation from numerous technical factions within the enterprise. Sometimes this means teams that are not used to working together have to do just that, and sometimes it may mean redefining a group's job responsibilities. In my experience so far, these cultural challenges seem more difficult to embrace than any technical issues.Specifically with WebSphere CloudBurst, are there any tips/hints you would offer users getting started with the appliance?
I would tell any new user of the appliance to make sure to involve the right teams very early on in the adoption process. First of all, WebSphere CloudBurst
works on a "bring your own cloud" model. This allows users to leverage their existing investment in hardware, network, and storage infrastructure, but it also means that users need to define a pool of this infrastructure to the appliance. The process of defining this in the appliance is very simple, but users will probably need to work with their physical infrastructure team to determine which resources are eligible for use in the WebSphere CloudBurst cloud. Another thing to consider is that WebSphere CloudBurst gives you the opportunity to customize the operating system that will be used by the WebSphere application environments dispensed by the appliance. Users will want to involve the team responsible for operating systems to ensure that any environments dispensed by the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance adhere to all organizational policies and procedures.
[Learn more about customizing with WebSphere Cloudburst in this article series
]What has been your most memorable demo/project that you've worked on for CloudBurst?
Any time I get a chance to go and speak to our clients it is memorable because each and every time I learn quite a bit about their wants and needs and how our solutions can address some of them. That being said, there are two stories that really stick out in my mind.
The first is the story of how our own WebSphere Application Server test team has seen marked improvement in their operational environment as a result of using the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance. This team adopted the appliance before it was even made public and has been using it for nearly a year now. WebSphere CloudBurst has given them many tangible benefits including decreased time spent managing operating systems, decreased deployment times, and increased hardware utilization rates. In addition, they were able to leverage existing hardware assets by simply installing VMware ESX hosts on top of existing machines, and existing software assets because when all is said and done their applications were still running in the same WebSphere Application Server container, that container just happened to be running in a virtual machine. It is also interesting to hear about how this team has been able to introduce the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance to their environment in a gradual manner. They did not rip and replace, but instead they have augmented their existing provisioning and management approach with WebSphere CloudBurst. This is a usage story that I think would be of interest to anyone thinking of adopting the appliance, and the good news is that you can hear more about it at IBM Impact 2010
In addition to this story, there is the story of a very large insurance company that was really impressed with the maintenance capabilities of WebSphere CloudBurst. This company was not satisfied with their process for applying fixes to their WebSphere Application Server installations. The process was human-driven, had to occur in the middle of the night, and simply took too long. Using the appliance they were able to schedule and automate the application of fixes to their WebSphere Application Server environments, and they reduced the time to install these fixes from approximately 30 minutes down to about 4 minutes. Needless to say, they were very happy with the results.You keep up many sources for WebSphere - blog, space, group, twitter, and youtube channel to name a few.... what's your secret in keeping so many many sources of information going?
Our team works hard at sharing as much information as we can about what's going on in WebSphere. I think the reason we have been able to keep our drumbeat going with so many sources is simple. We are all genuinely excited about the technical and business value that the WebSphere portfolio has to offer, and we are eager to share this information with as many people as possible. We all want to make users understand why to choose WebSphere offerings, and once they have chosen one of our offerings, we want to arm them with as much technical information as possible so the time-to-value is significantly accelerated.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
From a website perspective, besides the ones our team maintains, I follow some other IBM sites like the Cloud Computing space on developerWorks
. I also follow The Server Side
, and technology sections on Digg
. I read lots of blogs, and I have found the easiest place to find a wide collection of blogs from many different authors is Ulitzer
. I like just about all of the Twitter accounts I follow because I appreciate the wide variety of ideas and opinions that are ever present.Are you a gadget person? Any gadget that you currently own that you can't live without?
Actually, I'm not too much of a gadget person. I will say though that I've slowly become addicted to my iPhone, and I would have a hard time getting by without it, especially when traveling!How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks to spread technical information about WebSphere's cloud offerings through both my blog and articles. Lately, I've been using the new community features of developerWorks to expand my community network and interact even more directly with our users.- Thanks Dustin!
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!
Every Monday I publish an interview with a member of My developerWorks
on my blog. This is the highlight of my week! It's so much fun getting to know interesting people from around the world and find out what they're working on, what they read online, their career tips, and what they do for fun.
Check this out, if you want to catch up on past interviews
But I would love some suggestions for questions to ask in my interviews. What do you want to know? What would you ask if you could? What have you secretly always wanted to know about your fellow IT professionals and developers?Give me some ideas for interview questions - anything from silly to serious to sublime. Lay it on me.
I'm not at Lotusphere 2010
this week, but the excitement is contagious! If you want to follow along, check out #ls10 on Twitter
and My developerWorks blog posts and podcasts tagged with Lotusphere
In honor of Lotusphere, I'm bringing you an interview with Rawn Shah, IBM social software practices lead. Rawn's moved on to new frontiers, but he was once part of the IBM developerWorks team and without Rawn's visionary ideas about social computing, My developerWorks
wouldn't be where it is today. He is the author of a new book about to be published, Social Networking for Business
, that I'm looking forward to reading and I hope you enjoy these insights from Rawn.
Connect with Rawn: My developerWorks profile
- BlogYou've worked in many different roles: network admin, systems programmer and author to name a few and you've gone from dotcom startup to Big Blue at IBM. What have been the most interesting transitions during your IT career?
It's hard for me to remember the feeling from the earlier ones years ago, and some roles I worked in parallel so there weren’t as many major changes. The last large software application I wrote was a TCP/IP network router in 2007, but I don’t program much anymore. I'd say the most interesting ones was either moving from being a startup to working for IBM, and another transition from being an technology editor to an online community program manager. These were very different job roles: from managing various independent writers to leading teams of folks working on social software. It truly helps you learn the differences between motivating individuals and teams. In the move to IBM, it took a few years just to appreciate the scale of difference in knowing people well, across the company, even more than trying to meet people across the industry. There was also a steep learning curve with social computing just starting to rev up in the 2000s. Congratulations on your new book, Social Networking for Business! There's a lot of info out about social networking right now - what perspective does your book offer that makes it unique?
Thank you. The book focuses on how people work socially, the collaborative methods they use, how they experience it, how they subdivide or build up tasks, how they decide on governance and proper etiquette to working together, and how culture emerges in social groups. Unlike many other books which tend to focus on social media marketing and issues around using tools around the Web, this book reaches across both external scenarios, as well as within the enterprise. The focus is on understanding the dynamics of the social systems that these tools support. That is much more a study of human behavior, social collaboration, and business productivity, than trying to understand the technical aspects of the software.
Each chapter focuses on a different dynamic, for example various leadership models in social computing, different ways of accomplishing tasks socially, understanding elements of culture and behavior, encouraging members and participation, and more. Beyond theory, it provides examples of each of these dynamics in action. Like an architect, I hope this book helps people to look beyond the technical or physical structure and into the artistic design, human factors, social impact and practicalities of social computing ideas. What did you learn in the process of writing Social Networking for Business?
This is the first book project I have taken on entirely by myself. My other books (a variety of other subjects) have all be co-authored with several folks. It really tested my resolve to work on a singular project several times a week for two years—this, on top of my day job of course. It was also very much a subject in constant motion, with new ideas and approaches to social computing emerging every few months. I’ve probably revised the book a dozen times. The final book itself, I trimmed down from about 400 pages to its current version of about 200 or so.
Writing for business readers rather than technical was also another big shift. My last work as co-author is intended for a deeply technical audience: SOA Compass
(IBM Press 2005, and now in six languages worldwide). What’s more writing for Wharton School Press was also a little intimidating; the Wharton professor and the editorial staff were very pleasant and accommodating, but there is a different kind of rigor that goes into explaining in simple detail without expounding at length on a topic.
The topic itself is constantly reshaping itself, but I have found that adoption tends to be a top concern, once people get beyond the “What is it?” question. Companies want to know how to apply social computing across their employees, customers and partners, but they also want to know what the payback or gain of taking part may be. So far, there are many different scenarios where the rewards are real, but I have yet to find anyone who can claim a common set of methods, metrics and value that applies in every scenario. For CIOs and IT departments used to delivering very specific ROI measurements for their application installations, this lack of a systematic means of measuring ROI can make it difficult to justify the cost. On the other hand, as many will tell you, there is no question of “do you need a phone system for your business?” as a means of communication. My prediction is that social software and collaboration will eventually become a standard cost of doing any kind of business. Your favorite and your least favorite thing about social networking?
Pros: It’s a brand new frontier of ideas especially when you become involved in trying to take this from an artistic to a scientific approach. There are lots of opportunities on an intellectual level which really drives me.
Cons: It’s a brand new frontier of ideas especially when you become involved in trying to take this from an artistic to a scientific approach. :)
It’s true both ways. On the con side, I end up talking with folks ingrained with the subject and those just entering it, and often find people rediscovering some of the same ideas over and again. There are still so many new things to be learned, but having to go in reverse sometimes can also readjust your perspective on what people need. How has being a father changed how you use social networking?
I went dormant for a while, not posting online too often. This book writing project started when my first child was about a year old, and ended about two years later just before my second one was born. On a daily basis it was a flip-flop between deep intellectual discussions with many experts on the dynamics of social interactions, and then watching Curious George and Yo Gabba Gabba—“Don’t… bite your friends… Don’t… bite your friends”—with my son, and then back to work after he went to bed. Let me tell you, it changes the way you think. Both have their ups and downs. Since this book was dedicated to my son Ryhan, I will eventually have to write another one to dedicate to my daughter Zoe. What advice would you give on being an active social networker but balancing it with the rest of your job and the rest of your life?
What I think many folks new to the subject find hardest is that it takes time (years, not weeks) to become involved in a social group. Much of it involves if you can, on a personal level, form and maintain relationships with people you don’t see or talk to except in brief bursts. Most folks don’t get to spend hours at a time working closely with other individuals in an online social environment. That’s okay. However, frequency and authenticity of interaction does matter. You need to connect with others just as you would with your in-person relationships.
But don’t lose your life to it. Talk about the subject in a relevant and useful manner. But, there is also nothing wrong with occasionally talking about what you do in your off-time, if that’s okay with the social environment you are in. What that does is bring up other concepts that perhaps the other members may be interested in and want to talk to you about. Therein lays serendipity.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
What I read regularly has changed quite a bit over the years. It used to be fairly heavily technical and developer oriented, but these days, they are more around social systems, economics, employee behavior, and enterprise technology
Online, I read blogs like Crave.cnet.com
(for my gadget news fix), CNN Money
, BBC news
, the Enteprise 2.0 Adoption Council
(private community for enterprise social software). Most Web sites I tend to find per recommendation from others on Twitter or on internal social sites. There are a lot of IBM internal sites and communities I read too.
I tend to read a lot offline as much as online. Having been a writer and editor, I still regularly follow a number of publications like the Economist, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Strategy+Business and Harvard Business Review.
I see Twitter as a stream of info to dip into occasionally rather than to soak in for hours. I tend to be specific on who I follow and which followers I accept. I only track several hundred folks but will read posts by rhappe (Rachel Happe), jowyang (Jeremy Owyang), kdpaine (KD Paine), rotkapchen (Paula Thornton), turbotodd (Todd Watson), briansolis (Brian Solis), ITInsider (Susan Scrupski), horizonwatching (Bill Chamberlin), and eric_andersen (Eric Andersen). Are there any technical experts or blogs you follow on My developerWorks?
I read Luis Benitez’s
and Todd Watson’s
blogs often because they are both in my field and interesting writers. I was reading the Extremeblue Internship Experience blog
over the summer—I was mentoring an intern team working on social computing activity metrics. I’m starting to discover new folks on there too. What do you think about My developerWorks so far?
It’s interesting and a third home online so I visit it occasionally. I like the fact that its open to allowing any developerWorks member to get involved in. There’s a lot to growing a new ecosystem like this; and it is new because the users have not been working in such an environment for very long, even if developerWorks itself has been around for over a decade. I’m really glad to see that content from My developerWorks now appears on the main developerWorks page. Outside of the social networking universe, what hobbies or interests keep your flame burning?
My other passion is practicing and teaching Japanese swordfighting. It’s exhausting physically but nice and relaxing mentally from work. On http://battodo.ning.com
, you’ll find photos and videos of my students and me over the years. I teach mostly middle-school and high-school now. That audience requires a whole other approach to trying to explain ideas and practices. For example, “Let’s not try to get anyone hurt in class by swinging your wooden sword wildly. Now, line up so you can practice how to cut in half this target about the density of a person.”- Thanks Rawn!
This week get to know Loiane Groner, a member of My developerWorks
from Brazil who is sharing what she knows about Java and reaching out through the IBM Academic Initiative. (And if you haven't already heard, developerWorks is now in Brazilian Portuguese - check out the new site
!) Learn more about Loiane in the interview below and find her in these places: My developerWorks profilePortuguese-Brazilian blog
, English blog
, and My developerworks blog Twitter
Java User Groups where Loiane is coordinator/leader: ESJUG
and CampinasJUGTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Well, I'm Brazilian, 23 years old; I have bachelor degree in Computer Science, 4 years of experience in design and development of Java applications. Currently, I'm working at IBM Brazil as Systems Analyst/Java Developer in an international project (health care customer). I'm an IBM Academic Initiative
Ambassador. It is a voluntary work and this project provides to universities IBM tools, courses, lectures and a relation with IBM that help universities to graduate students with better qualification and ready to the market. I’m also JUG (Java Users Group) coordinator/leader of the following jugs: ESJUG (Espirito Santo Java Users Group) and CampinasJUG (Campinas Java Users Group) Why did you decide to go for an IT career? How did you get started?
This is a funny story. When I was in High School, I decided I wanted to go to Law school. But I did not like to memorize all the dates and facts about History to pass in SAT tests. I always liked Math and Physics a lot, and in senior year, I resolved I'd like to go to a computer/math school. I always liked computers (my parents gave me my first one when I was 10 years old), so my final decision was to do a major in Computer Science. I did not know anything about algorithms, and my first class about it in college was not so good. Some classmates have already heard anything about it, and everything was new to me. I studied a lot, and I learned it, and I fell in love with computer logic and algorithms in my first semester. In my college senior year, I won a merit award (Senior Year Computer Science Student - 2008), and I did make my parents very proud. I'm glad about the decision I did made some years ago, and I can say I love my job. What inspires you in your work?
I'm very fortunate. I have/had the opportunity to work with brilliant minds. These amazing professionals are my inspirations. So I study and work hard to be like them in the future. What do you want to learn about next?
There are many Java
frameworks I want to learn. I know a little bit about Hibernate, Spring, Struts, JSF, iBatis, and I want to learn more about these frameworks. I also want to learn about some programming languages, such as Phyton and Ruby, and study more about C and C++ languages. And I want to learn about UNIX OS. You blog in both Brazilian Portuguese and English! Is that tough? What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I started to blog in Portuguese, which is my first language. I write the tutorials for myself, my blog is a log of everything I've learned. My job requires some English knowledge, so I decided to start to blog in English to improve my English skills and vocabulary. I know I have a lot to learn about it, and some readers are helping me. This may sound a little awkward: recently, I tried to first write a post in Portuguese and then, translate it to English, but it is very hard to do this way. It is easier to write in English first and then translated it to Portuguese. It is interesting how our brain works! I think the best way to learn a foreign language is to learn how to think in it; forget you know your mother language and try to communicate only in the language you are learning. This method has been helping me a lot.
The coolest thing about blogging is the networking. You meet a lot of people from all over the world. And some of them you can meet in person - and maybe become real friends. It is very nice when you go to a conference and someone tells you they read and like your blog. It is an amazing feeling when you write a post and someone leaves a comment that it helped to solve a problem. It is a great reward! How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks as a source of knowledge. If you google about Java (or any related technology), you will find an entry in developerWorks website. It is great for students and professionals. (developerWorks is now in Brazilian Portuguese - check out the new site
!) What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Some interesting twitter accounts: ibmacademicbr
(IBM Academic Initiative - Brazil), KathySierra
(coauthor of Head First Java and Head First EJB), martinfowler
(author of Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code), developerWorks
(that is a lot of interesting links), jduchess
(a java users group for female developers). There is a lot more (I follow many interesting people, it is hard to list all of them). When you have free time, what hobbies or activities do you like to do?
I love computers! So I spend a lot of my free time in front of it: blogging, programming contests, playing games. I also like to spend some time with my family and my dog (pomeranian puppy), and I love to travel.- Thanks Loiane!
Happy New Year! I'm hoping 2010 is going to be even better than 2009 on My developerWorks! And since I want to start the year out with a bang, I'm bringing you an interesting interview with Alan Harris
, whose blog "The Strange Tales of a Polyglot developer", never fails to suck me in with its honest POV.
Learn more about Alan in the interview below, visit his profile on My developerWorks
, visit his blog
, and follow him on Twitter
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am a senior web developer at the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, VA. I've been developing software for about 10 years, migrating from desktop to firmware and finally arriving at web development. At
the moment, I'm working on a new offering for them based on Ruby on Rails that will dovetail nicely with the existing in-house CMS.How did you get started as a developer?
I got my start working at a Naval subcontractor in Virginia, although I spent the first year or so working directly on PCBs (printed circuit boards). I had been programming in a hobbyist capacity for quite a few years prior to this, and when I saw a need within the company for someone to step up and offer some programming assistance, I jumped on it. I worked with them as a developer for several years and the things I learned at that company have stayed with me throughout my career.How do you keep your technical skills sharp and growing?
Community involvement and a healthy dose of curiosity. This is part of the reason I started a blog here on the developerWorks site: it seemed to be a vibrant community where a lot of people were discussing interesting (and relevant) topics. I wanted to be a part of it. Beyond that, I can't help but play with new technology; I'm trying to move away from saying "I'm a C# developer" or "I'm a Rails developer"...that would be like a mechanic saying "I'm a socket wrench." The tool you're using doesn't define you, what you accomplish with it does.How do you use developerWorks?
Personally, I've been tied to the Microsoft platforms for a long time, mainly because the organizations I worked at were themselves tied to them and one goes where the work is. I've read a lot of entries on this site to learn more about IBM's offerings, as well as how people are using them. In between, I occasionally write a post about whatever might have piqued my curiosity or set me off on a Dennis Miller-esque tangent. What's on your list to learn about next?
Next up on my list is Erlang. I spent about 12 months working on the side with Erlang to develop proof-of-concepts and experiment with the "Erlang way", but had to set it aside in favor of other priorities. I see a lot of value in the "shared nothing, massively scalable" message-passing style that Erlang functions in so well and I need to devote the time to seeing what I can create with it.So, you're blogging on My developerWorks, and I have to say although I'm not a developer, I'm a big fan of your blog. Tell me about your experience as a blogger so far.
A big pet peeve of mine are blogs that talk down to you in a technical sense. I'm not out to impress anyone (nor be impressed), only to converse with other developers (and non-developers) about the state of the union with regard to web development as I see it today. I started the blog just as a way to get out thoughts I had that would randomly pop up during a day's work; I write the entries the same way I would discuss with a colleague across the table. Luckily, from what I've seen so far people seem to enjoy the discussion, so I will happily keep writing in the hopes that we can all keep up the dialogue.Your blog has an interesting name: The Strange Tales of a Polyglot Developer. From your perspective, what's unique about being a polyglot developer?
I've heard it argued that a polyglot developer is a jack of all trades and master of none. What I have found from my observations of others is that they often have an excellent grasp of how best to solve a problem with the least amount of code possible. In the end, code you develop is code that you or someone else has to maintain. If I can write something functional in 10 lines of Erlang, I won't use 20 lines of C# or 15 lines of Ruby. Knowing that these tools are out there as well as how best to apply them is a recipe for a valuable team member in my opinion.
Are you a gadget person? Have any gadgets you're a fanatic about? Or new ones you'd like to get your hands on?
Actually, I'm not much of a gadget person! Now if a new programming language comes down the line, I'll try it out, no question. I even tried LOLcode
. The shelf life of gadgets tends to be woefully short, but C++ is still alive and kicking. Hell, so is COBOL. I'd rather invest my time in code.What are your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?
For a good pick me up, the "S--t My Dad Says" tweets are always a good time; same with "The Real Shaq". For web development I love following the Smashing Magazine guys as their tweets are 90% links to really informative and unique stuff that people are experimenting with. I also follow the 37signals guys as I have a real appreciation for "opinionated software."
What do you like to do when you're away from a computer screen?
Away from a computer screen I like to spend my time practicing Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I'm a huge billiards fanatic and I'm growing to appreciate bowling, although I'm less likely to embarrass myself with the former. I've also been a drummer for more than 20 years, so I try to devote a little time to making music when I can. - Thanks Alan!
Into Java? You won't want to miss this interview with Chris Bailey
, an IBM Java Client Support Architect. He's been helping out developers in the Java Runtimes and SDKs forum
for many years and just recently began blogging on My developerWorks
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hi. My name is Chris Bailey, and I'm part of the Java Technology Center (JTC) team in IBM. The JTC is based in locations over five countries, from Ottawa in Canada through to Shanghai in China. I'm based at the Hursley Park Development Lab in the UK. I'm very lucky in that I have a fairly broad remit, so I get to work on a range of things. My "day job"is as the technical architect for the IBM Java service and support organisation, which is primarily responsible for fixing bugs in the IBM Java deliverables but also has a wider scope to enable IBM Java users to delivery successful application deployments. That second part means I'm also involved in our work to deliver new debugging capabilities and tools, improve the documentation, handle requirements, and look at the wider quality of IBM Java.What Java resources does IBM offer that you think more people should know about?
There's a few things that have been around for a while that I'm not sure are widely known about, in particular the IBM Development Package for Eclipse
and the IBM Java Runtimes and SDKs forum
. The development package gives you a version of Eclipse that uses the IBM Java SDK, which means you can develop with the same Java that you deploy with, and you can use the debugging capabilities during development. The forum provides a a great way to ask questions about IBM Java and provide feedback in to problems your seeing and changes you think should be made. There's also a lot of relatively new stuff. In the last year or so we've delivered a whole set of new tooling: Garbage Collection and Memory Visualizer (GCMV), Memory Analyzer, Health Center and Diagnostic Collector, and we've also released new how-to style documentation in the Java Troubleshooting Guide.Is there anything new the IBM Java Technology Centre (JTC) is working on?
There's lots going on at the moment in a whole range of areas. There's a big focus on usability, so we're working on improving the documentation. expanding the tooling and debugging capabilities, and leading JSR 326 / the Apache Kato project to provide a diagnostics API for writing tools. We're doing a lot of work on garbage collection and performance, providing deterministic Java in WebSphere Real Time and looking at scalability. There's continuing work with the open source community through the Apache Harmony
projects and we're also working on other languages on Java, particularly PHP which is available as part of WebSphere sMash
. Oh, and of course there's the work to deliver Java 7.0 which is in full swing.
Add to that the impending acquisition on Sun by Oracle and you can see that its an interesting place to be at the moment!Tell me about your blog on My developerWorks...
The Java service and support organisation spends a lot of time debugging and troubleshooting Java applications and deployments. The "IBM on troubleshooting Java applications" blog
is aimed at taking some of the knowledge we've built up on best practices and debugging techniques and sharing that with the wider Java user community. Hopefully some of the information covered will help developers to troubleshoot bugs more easily, and allow them to provide us with valuable feedback on some of the tools and debug capabilities!How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks both as a way of communicating what's going on with IBM Java: developerWorks hosts the formal downloads and documentation, I moderate the "IBM Java Runtimes and SDKs" forum
, and I've written a couple of articles in IBM Java in the past; and as a way of keeping up with what else is going on with Java technology: I follow a number of the article feeds, including Java technology, WebSphere and Open source. Hopefully with My developerWorks
it will get much easier to communicate with users of IBM Java.How did you get started in the IT industry?
It's pretty boring I'm afraid. I did a degree in Electronic Engineering at Southampton University and joined IBM through the graduate recruitment program. I've been working with Java ever since.
Who was your first service provider? When did you first access the internet?
Er, probably Demon Internet using an 18K modem, probably around 1993.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I use both Facebook and LinkedIn, and I follow a number of sites through feeds: BBC News
, The Register
, UK Climbing
, a few forums and some blogs. I've not progressed as far as using Twitter yet.What future technology would make your life easier?
I'm finding time management to be a bigger and bigger problem. It used to be a case of just dealing with your work items and meetings whilst trying to stop the the daily deluge of email getting in the way. With all the new productivity and collaboration tools, the downside is that there's many more sources of incoming work and time pressure, so anything that can organise and prioritise work load better would be great.So you love rock climbing - what's the most adventurous or challenging climb you've done so far?
For the last 3 years or so, yeah. One of the great things about climbing is that it takes you to countries (or
parts of countries) that you wouldn't normally visit - it takes you off the
tourist trail. So far, outside of the UK, I've climbed in Spain, Portugal,
France and Sardinia and whilst those aren't off the beaten track in themselves, the bits that I've
been to probably are.Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars. The special effects in the original Star Wars films were ground breaking, yet they were used to improve the story rather than the story being there to showcase the technology. More technology should be used that way!Thanks Chris!
I've always found Carl Jung's archetypes
to be fascinating. As I've been trolling around lately in the social networking universe, I've observed some archetypes myself and thought I'd share! Let me know what you think! Do you identify with any of these?Social Networking Archetypes
You're like a sponge soaking up information all the time and you like to share that information with other people! You blog and tweet often. It may be short and to the point but you keep it coming because you like to keep up with current events and strike while the iron is hot.Make the most of your archetype
: Embrace your strength and do what you love. Other people are looking for that timely information you provide. But consider learning from the Friend and the Personality archetypes to add a little warmth and color to your social networking.The Personality
You might be fun, sarcastic, witty, or brainy. But whatever you are let's face it... you've got Personality with a capital 'P'. You have a way of expressing yourself that's unique, and you're not afraid to put yourself out there. People like to follow you not just because of information you provide but the spin you put on it. It helps if you are passionate about a topic or share lots of information but what makes you shine is the personality factor.Make the most of your archetype:
Whatever medium you choose post regularly, be colorful and be yourself. But if you're in a corporate environment - don't forget you may need to censor yourself! Be sure to know your company's social media policy so your "Personality" doesn't get carried away.The Philosopher
You think deep. You might see a news story or have a small moment in every day life and it presents itself to you as a deeper revelation. You like to share these insights and your blog posts are lengthy and carefully crafted. You have wise perspective that others admire and enjoy. Make the most of your archetype:
Cultivate your philosophical musings and don't be afraid to share. Jot down ideas for blog posts as soon as they come to you. Find a topic you're passionate about so you can focus your philosophical musings on a consistent topic.The Lover
There's something that you really love - maybe it's guitars or programming or horses or french cooking or astronomy. Whatever it is, you LOVE it, and that's what's drawn you out into social networking where you can share your love with others like you.Make the most of your archetype:
Choose a niche community with shared interests to make your social networking home - this is where you can find others who get fired up about the same things!The Teacher
One day you woke up and realized you possessed some expert knowledge. You might have cut your teeth and learned something the hard way. And you get a big thrill out of sharing what you know with other people. You like to help. You share instructions, tips, tutorials and helpful resources and you're always happy to answer a question.Make the most of your archetype:
Choose a niche community with shared interests to make your social networking home - this is where you can share your know-how with people who need it!The Friend
You're good at making people feel welcome. You love to read what other people write and share and then comment back. You probably have your own blog or Twitter account. And there's no doubt you love Facebook. But what you really enjoy is getting to know people via whatever medium you use.Make the most of your archetype:
Decide whether you want a wide social network or a deep one. If you want a deep one, pick a site or tool that you really love and connect with people in that environment. Consider choosing a niche - a certain topic you're passionate about - to build your relationships around.
This week, I'm bringing you an interview with Chris Walden, the new developerWorks Open Source zone
editor who is doing quite a bit of interesting work around open source software on My developerWorks. Learn more about Chris and join in on the open source software collaboration by visiting: his profile
, his blog
, the Real World Open Source wiki
, and the Real World Open Source group
Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I've been into technology all of my life. My father spent his life in the electronic manufacturing end so I had access to things like calculators (when the were driven by red LED displays) and other gadgets as they came along. I tinkered with programming starting in High School because a friend of mine had an Apple IIe. I had an idea early on that computers were about problem-solving.
My technical career began on the support queue at CompuAdd where I quickly developed the skill of cutting away possibilities and zeroing in on the source of the problem. This was back when memory was $10 a meg and you actually tried to fix them rather than always throwing them away. From there I moved to a value-added reseller doing field support, which was invaluable. I spent time as a sysadmin for a couple of small companies, running mostly Novell and Windows NT. I spent time with the Texas Lottery Commission and then finally at IBM, starting as an architect and then moving into the editorial staff of developerWorks.
The editorial work has been a huge surprise for me. It was an opportunity that I had not expected and I've been enjoying the change of pace immensely. I've spent the last year plus working as the content acquisition editor of the Web Development zone. My role is essentially to determine what content will be useful for people who are interested in working with Internet-based technologies and causing articles on those topics to be written. I work with the author to help them refine their ideas into something that I feel will resonate with our audience and then help get the article into shape for publishing. At that point I hand it off to our talented production editors to get into final shape for posting on the web. It's very much like editing a section of a paper-based technical magazine; it simply happens to be delivered electronically.
However, this month I have moved from being editor of Web Development to editor of Open Source. I'm actually swapping with the other editor. We realized that our backgrounds and interests complimented each others' areas and so we arranged a switch. I've actually had my eye on Open Source since I moved into developerWorks so I couldn't be more excited!
Tell me about your favorite (or most interesting or challenging) IT project...
Gosh! There's been so much. I think, though, that the work project that I still think back on from time to time was the Y2K change-out at the Texas Lottery Commission. I was placed in charge of the workstations. There were several challenges. First, our biggest issue was that the stations in most need of replacement belonged to the people in the lowest strata. There was a little political fall-out about those people getting new machines while the directors had to make do with what they had. Secondly, there was no uniformity to our software. The machines were a hodgepodge of software which had been installed and managed one at a time.
My answer was that everyone would get their machine swapped. We'd start with the people at the top, then roll their machines down to the next level, and so on until the final machines fell off of the bottom. This was popular, because everyone got an upgrade. I also used the opportunity to move to an image-based approach to the operating environment. We divided the drives into operating space and personal space. People kept the data in their personal space and the operating space could be re-imaged at any time. It really cleaned up our environment and made it a lot easier to work on people's machines.When did you first start using open source software?
I discovered open source about ten to fifteen years ago. I always struggled with the cost of keeping my home computer system going. I had access to great software in the places that I worked, but I couldn't afford to keep my home system quite so shiny. In addition, my own curiosity takes me in a lot of different places technologically. So I had a rather insatiable appetite for software, which cannot be legally satisfied commercially.
I had tinkered with Linux, but hadn't quite gotten it to work. However, I had discovered things like Pegasus email and the Netscape browser which I'd begun using. Finally, about Redhat 4, I got Linux to run and started trying to use it to do work. When I was at the Texas Lottery Commission I actually switched at some point to a Linux desktop, because we were a Novell shop and Novell was already supportive of Linux at the time. I haven't run another desktop since.What makes you so passionate about open source?
I struggled to learn about some kinds of technology because of cost. As I said, I was curious about everything from programming to system security to graphic design and media editing. I was uncomfortable with stealing software to learn about it. However, when the software is free, you can have as much as you want. I don't have to choose a particular area of software to specialize in so I can afford it. I can get into anything and everything as my whim dictates. It's actually given me a bit of a reputation in some areas of my life outside of work as a Jack of All Trades.
To give you an idea, I've used open source projects to:
create business documents
surf the web
edit complex audio
run live sound for theatrical events
do 3D modeling and animation
touch up photos, adjusting skin, red-eye and even removing major objects from a photo
write theatrical scripts and screenplays
remotely support a network and workstations
create a full-color magazine
build and manage complex web sites
broadcast an online radio show
That's quite a list... and it's incomplete. I just love the fact that anyone who is willing to apply their mind and their time to learning something new can be rewarded. Technology is no longer just for the wealthy. It's for everyone. Anything becomes possible.
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time?
I think that Cloud computing is going to be a big game changer, more than people appreciate. We are just scratching the surface on the power of virtualization. As we all become more interconnected with mobile devices and advancements in the Web 2.0 approach to doing things the resources that Cloud can provide are going to make a huge difference. Anyone will have access to the kind of technological power that was once reserved for the government and large corporations.
There are areas of encryption and identity protections that I think should be making huge strides, but are so under-appreciated except for geeks like me that they haven't really broken through. Imagine if you had near complete control of your personal information by only allowing what you wanted read by whom you wanted. Wouldn't that change the game? What's on your list to learn about next?
That's a tough one. I'd really like to get further into multimedia production. I've gotten a little into video production, but haven't really had the time to develop any real skill there. I'd like to be able to be able to express myself better there. I'm trying to learn more about social networking, especially OpenSocial, and how this can be applied to connect people who should be connected.Do you have any advice to share with students or new IT professionals just starting out?
Do more than just your job. If you go in and do what you're told and draw the paycheck, that's fine, but no one is going to come up and beg you to be more than you are. You may become the living example of “rising to your level of incompetence.” Be curious! Dig into the documentation and experiment with different ways of doing things. Innovate!
I progressed in my career because I was always able to reach a little further. A large part of that was the fact that I would just RTFM (read the fine material). Learn just a little more than you have to and enjoy the chances to play with technology. It's those extra discoveries which make it fun and the fun builds your passion and skill.What do you think is something that is not commonly known about developerWorks that would benefit others?
That's a tough one. It's hard to know what people don't know. I'm going to change that around to what I think is underutilized. I think our audience doesn't take advantage of the opportunities to interact with developerWorks. They tend to quietly read the material but not jump in with a lot of comments and letters to the editor. I know that I would welcome more interaction with my audience. I think that My developerWorks falls into that category as well. It's all well and good to be a consumer, but when you actually spend a few minutes expressing yourself and sharing your wish list you help to shape what you get. It's a very open-source concept. You give a little here and there to get what you want. If you do nothing, you get what you get.How are you using social networking today? Do you see it changing in the future?
I have mostly used social networking for personal things outside of IBM. It's only as I stepped into the editorial realm that I've appreciated the value of what social networking can provide for me professionally.
I've been on MySpace, though it was really hard for me to keep up with it. I got onto FaceBook and find myself being much more active there. It think it's because FaceBook does more to get in my face and remind me of opportunities to interact. When I see an email about a comment that someone left I'm a lot more driven to quickly give a comment back.
I'm really intrigued by the new tools in My developerWorks. I've started a Wiki
and a group
called Real World Open Source to help accumulate people and ideas about how to use open source solutions in our daily life.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?Slashdot
is great, of course. There's a lot of noise there sometimes, but you definitely find a core of people who are passionate about their technology. I also like to get on different lists with various kinds of news. One that I've been enjoying lately is Fast Company
. It has bits of tech news with marketing analysis and other diverse business views of the world. I've had several things that I've explored as a result of one of their articles.
Most of my exploration is less driven by specific sites and more by my own searching. Google provides. I punch in what I'm curious about and it always seems to find things that are useful. What I search for is driven by whatever is happening to me today or the problems that people have to challenge me.
This week, I'm bringing you an interview with Susan Visser,
a seasoned blogger and social networker with unique insights on DB2 , certification, and publishing. Learn more about Susan in the interview below. And don't forget to visit her profile
on My developerWorks and catch the latest on her blog
.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on:
I'm working on expanding the collection of books that are available to help train people on any of our information management products! These books include the retail books that you can purchase on amazon.com (including kindle versions) as well as the custom books that IBM gives away for free at events. One of the more recent books that published is IBM Press' DB2 pureXML Cookbook
.What inspires you in your work?
I'm inspired by people! I find something truly amazing about every person I interact with. I'm blessed to be sitting in the Toronto Lab, surrounded by 2500 brilliant IBMers. I like to help people realize their dreams of becoming authors and try to help promote the work that others do.How do you think the publishing world is changing with new developments in technology like online publishing, ebooks, blogs, kindle, etc?
I don't think the publishing world has quite figured out what to do with all the change that is happening in the world right now. Actually, I'm not sure readers have figured out what they should do with all this change either! The one thing that hasn't happened is a slowdown in published materials. In fact, I'm constantly overwhelmed at the amount of content that is available on every topic. One thing for certain is that literacy skills are more important now than ever before!How are you using social networking today?
Social networking has always been important in my life... but now I'm able to connect with more people than I could just face to face. I use my blog to tell readers about something that has come to my attention that they may wish to know about. I use Facebook to connect with my family, friends, and work colleagues on a variety of topics. I use LinkedIn for my professional network. I've been using ChannelDB2 and PlanetDB2 for years now but I am fully embracing the rich features available in My developerWorks! There is a thing as too much, so there are a few social sites that I'm not using.Tell me about your blog on My developerWorks...
I started my blog in 2005! Does that make me an early adopter? I like to write and connect to people, so blogging was a natural progression in my career. I'm on the education team and was constantly being told that there were a lack of skills resources available to our customers. I knew that this wasn't true, so my intention was to use my blog to broadcast about the vast collection of resources that we have available. I like knowing that I help people find what they need to keep their skills current. My only complaint about blogging is that the tools are not always stable or flexible enough for me to be really creative in my posts.So far, what do you think about the update of the My developerWorks environment to Lotus Connections 2.5?
I've been actively using and teaching people about the amazing features that exist on My developerWorks now that it is on Lotus Connections 2.5. The only thing that could improve the environment is by having more people registered and using the site! The more the merrier!What publications or websites do you regularly visit?
The first website that I visit most regularly is PlanetDB2.com
which is a collection of blog entries from the IM community. Nearly instantly I'm aware of what is on the mind of all my fellow bloggers. I use the ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs
site for the same reason, but this community is much broader than what I get on PlanetDB2.com. The second site that I visit most often is amazon.com. I like to monitor the books that we've published and the reader comments that the books receive. I like to stay on top of what the competition is publishing and promoting.What gadget that you currently own, can you not live without?
It isn't really a gadget, but I don't think I could live long without the internet! Sure, I go on vacations where I don't use the internet for an entire week... but I'm wishing I could! A gadget like the Blackberry would be perfect for me... but alas, the price is too high for Canadians, so I connect to the internet via laptops at work or home.- Thanks Susan!
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)
This week, I'm privileged to share an interview with John Swanson
, the managing editor of the English language developerWorks newsletter. John's been part of the developerWorks team for nine years, and as the newsletter editor, he has a bird's eye view of what's going on in the developerWorks universe. The free developerWorks newsletter is a great way to stay posted on what's new in developerWorks each week - subscribe here
Learn more about John in the interview below and visit his My developerWorks profile
to add him to your network. So what's the most interesting thing about being the editor of the developerWorks newsletter?
The free candy! Just kidding. Every week, there's something new and cool on developerWorks and I get to tell the world about it -- and I like coming up with new ways of showing developers how they can benefit from the resources on our site. And after 10 years, we've accumulated a colossal amount of material -- tutorials, articles, demos, podcasts, and more (not to mention My developerWorks). Plus, subscribers can customize the newsletter so it focuses on information that's relevant to their interests and location.From your perspective, what topics are the developerWorks audience most interested in lately?
The Linux stuff always draws a crowd -- the "Lazy Linux" piece was the top draw so far this year, and the "Learn Linux, 101" series has been popular lately. Other hot topics included "Speed up your Web pages," "Introducing Apache Mahout," and "10 great tools for any UNIX system." Our readers LOVE top-10 lists. What's next for the developerWorks newsletter?
Well, my goal with the newsletter is to make the developer community aware of all the great resources on developerWorks, so as new stuff comes online I'll be showcasing it for everyone to see. If I'm doing my job right, readers are focusing on the content and not on me. (I'm sort of a digital carnival barker.) That's a longwinded way of saying what's new with the newsletter is what's new with developerWorks -- so subscribe
already! :o)Each week, you write such a creative editorial introduction for the newsletter - how do you keep your creativity sharp?
Thanks! Again, I have a lot of great material to work with. There are so many facets to developerWorks -- different topics, presentation formats, skill levels, etc. -- that there's always a new angle we can take with the newsletter. It's fun to find new ways to help developers overcome the challenges they're facing. What do you think is something that is not commonly known about developerWorks that would benefit others?
Well, I'd like to believe that everyone in the IT community has set up their profiles on My developerWorks
with robust data about themselves -- but I don't think we're quite there yet. It really is a one-of-a-kind resource that can help people connect and get exposure. (I mean, it costs nothing -- what can it hurt?)
It's funny: I'm really not a person who's prone to hyperbole -- but having worked with developerWorks for nine years now, I really do mean it when I say there's no other place quite like it on the Web. If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
Hmm. Does a fishing pole count? If you're talking about computing, well, I'd go with a good cell phone with a decent signal -- we're quickly moving into a time when most, if not all, information-related tasks can be done with a phone. I mean, I'd have developerWorks -- what more could I possibly need?What future technology would make your life easier?
I think speech recognition software has yet to hit its stride. Yeah, it's out there, but it certainly isn't part of our daily lives the way I think it will be one day (think household appliances). I see a future where people do far less typing.How are you using social networking today?
I love to connect with friends and colleagues on My developerWorks and Facebook. When you work at home like I do, it's important to find ways to connect with others, and social networking has enabled me to connect with a wide range of folks who have enhanced my life an many ways -- people from all of the chapters of my life, including the current one. My developerWorks is great because there's an emphasis on the future -- solving problems, building careers, finding ways to move forward (and less on who sat next to you in Calculus class).Do you know your Myers-Briggs or Kiersey personality type? Care to share?
I've taken both tests, but it's been years. I seem to recall that I'm officially an introvert -- but I do, in fact, get charge out of being around others. My personality makes taking those tests a little like nailing Jell-o to the wall.
- Thanks John!
This week, I bring you an interview with Hazem Saleh
, a developerWorks author and blogger, who has carved out a reputation for
himself in the world of open source technologies. Learn more about Hazem in the interview below and visit his profile
on My developerWorks to add him to your colleagues.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
My name is Hazem Saleh. I have five years of experience in JEE and open source technologies. I am an Apache MyFaces committer. I created and contributed in many components in the MyFaces projects such as Tomahawk CAPTCHA, Commons ExportActionListener, Media, PasswordStrength and others. I am the founder of GMaps4JSF (an integration project that integrates both Google Maps with Java ServerFaces). I am the author of the "The Definitive Guide to Apache MyFaces and Facelets (Apress)" book. I am a technical articles writer. I am a JSF public speaker. I am now working for IBM Egypt as a staff engineer in an E-Gov project in Qatar.How did you get started in the IT industry?
I started working in the IT industry once I graduated from the Faculty of computers and information System (Computer science department). I worked in free lancing and in a Canadian company in Egypt called (NTG) before joining IBM Egypt (TDC - TCG).Describe your favorite IT project
I like working in frameworks architecture, design and implementation.What has your experience been like working with the Apache MyFaces Project?
I contributed in the Apache MyFaces project with many patches, and I was the creator of many components like (the Tomahawk CAPTCHA, the media, the passwordStrength). I also contributed in many other components such as the MyFaces Commons ExportActionListener. I had the chance to be an author of the definitive guide to Apache MyFaces and Facelets book
Working with the Apache MyFaces team makes me learn a lot of best practices, design strategies and problem solving techniques. I was really honored to be selected as a project committer.
The real benefit of working in an open source project is that your ideas are always validated and enhanced by other people from the open source community. Every day, you hear a lot of ideas and learn a lot from different experiences of a very talented technical people.
In the Apache MyFaces project, there are many subprojects under the MyFaces core (Trinidad, Tomahawk, Tobago, ExtVal, Orchestra) and all of them offer many cool features to the JavaServer Faces community.You wrote an article on developerWorks recently: GMaps4JSF in the JSF 2.0 Ajax world. What inspired you to work on this project and write this article?
JavaServer Faces offers a clean web programming model. It gives the web developers a higher level of abstraction that allows them to build powerful web applications by just using a set of components without even knowing their implementation details.
GMaps4JSF gives the JSF developers a level of abstraction that they need when using the Google Maps APIs inside their JavaServer Faces web applications.
I have the pleasure to be the founder of this project. I wrote an article about it on developerworks to let the people know about the library and how to use it inside their JSF 2.0 applications.What new technologies do you want to learn about next?
Flex and GWT.How do you use developerWorks?
developerworks is my first class technical reference. It contains a lot of good materials in all technical aspects. developerworks articles, tutorials, forums and blogs help me learn new stuff. I usually use developerworks forums for finding solutions to the issues I usually face in my daily job.What inspired you to start blogging on My developerWorks?
The main thing that inspired me to start blogging on developerworks is sharing and exchanging the knowledge with the developerworks technical community. [Visit Hazem's blog on My developerWorks
]What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Jim Driscoll's blog: http://www.java.net/blogs/driscoll/
Ryan Lubke's blog: http://blogs.sun.com/rlubke/
Roger Kitain's blog: http://www.java.net/blogs/rogerk/
Ed Burns on Twitter: http://twitter.com/edburns
Martin Fowler on Twitter: http://twitter.com/martinfowlerIn your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Working for open source projects, playing computer games, and playing a little gym :).- Thanks Hazem!
Continuing my vicarious travels around the world, this week I bring you an interview with Jakub Gaj
, an IT consultant working in Poland. Jakub is an avid user of the developerWorks AIX and UNIX forums and wikis, as well as a gadget junkie and surfer. Learn more about Jakub in the interview below and visit his profile
on My developerWorks to add him to your colleagues.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hello, my name is Jakub Gaj, I'm 31 years old and I work as IT consultant/freelancer. I'm currently in Poland working on data center migration project at one of the major international banks. I used to work on the same project last year in London, now I'm living in Warsaw because of my lovely girlfriend :)Do you have an area you specialize in?
Yes, I specialize in IBM Power Systems, my domain is IBM System p (pSeries) platform with AIX, PowerVM, HACMP, etc. Generally speaking, I build Unix servers & clusters using IBM virtualization technologies in mostly financial/banking environment.How did you get started in the IT industry?
It all started actually when I was still a kid and my dad bought himself a PC for his technical designs. As a computer back then was at a price of average new car, he didn't really want anyone else to be even close to it. At some point he showed me couple of games, which I got absolutely excited about, so I had to learn how to start them myself when my father was out. That's how I learned Microsoft DOS and got my fascination for PCs & world of IT. Later on computer games lead me to 3D graphics & animations, then network rendering slowly got me back into command-line operating systems like Linux. Couple of years later my systems administration skills got me a job at IBM Global Services and that gave me occasion to learn IBM's technologies, gain hardcore experience in production support and basically has shaped my current career.
How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks on daily basis at my work. I definitely love the forums
: when you have a technical problem you can't solve yourself, someone already had similar issue or someone else on the other side of the world will post a solution for your problem while you're sleeping :) I absolutely (ab)use the AIX
Wikis as well, I just really like to have everything important I need under one roof: links to documentation, manuals, tutorials, product presentations, Redbooks, forums, etc. I noticed that developerWorks is changing recently and there are new tools & features available (like blogging), so I have to check those as well.Are there any new technologies you want to learn more about in the next year?
Yes, the job market is constantly pushing us to learn new technologies, isn't it? I'm currently learning IBM BladeCenter products family, which leads me back to Linux. I'm also interested in multiple aspects of virtualization and its implementation by different vendors. I think the future of IT computing is server consolidation & smarter energy management, so I'm watching current trends on the market. As IBM is winning this competition so far in my opinion, I'm focusing on those technologies for now.What publications or websites do you like to follow?
In terms of professional sources I like to follow IBM Redbooks
as well as keeping in touch with professional social networking like LinkedIn
. My free time is mostly consumed by social networking on Facebook
social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us
.Are you a gadget person? What gadget is on your wish list - what gadget would you love to buy?
Sure I am, like every guy! We're all just boys with toys, but the older we get the more expensive toys we have :) My latest gadget is Blackberry Curve 8900 with built-in GPS,which is really cool especially when you're in new town and don't know its landscape.
Besides I've been traveling lately and GPS might be useful for my next trips, although I'm a fan of "getting lost & ask for directions" type of traveling rather than being totally dependent on some battery-run device. I'm also an addicted Sony PSP user, I love that thing, I can play games almost anywhere! Generally I love mobile gadgets which I can carry with me, but it has to be extremely light, otherwise it stays home. One of the major things for me when buying a new gadget (phone, etc) is its weight, then its features.In your free time what hobbies or activities interest you?
I usually kill my free time playing video games, but that's mostly during fall/winter time. In terms of sports I just love capoeira! It's a brazilian martial art with elements of dance, music & acrobatics. I don't practice it on regular basis, rather wherever I have occasion to as I relocate quite often recently due to character of my work. And my latest addiction is surfing! Not really a popular sport in Europe, but I always wanted to try that and when I had a chance in Thailand, I fell in love instantly. I'm still learning, but
it's just amazing! My next holiday destination will be probably some good newbie surfing spot in Mexico, Vietnam or Indonesia. And of course Brazil, especially Salvador de Bahia, but that's because of capoeira :) Maybe I'll go there in February for a carnival! We'll see how the project in Warsaw will run.
- Thanks Jakub!
I'm excited to be back and bring you another interview with a member of My developerWorks
. Amit Surana
is a software engineer hailing from Bangalore, India. He's written several articles on developerWorks and he's recently begun blogging on My developerWorks and sharing his technical tips. Learn more about Amit in this interview below and visit his profile on My developerWorks
to add him to your colleagues.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I am yet another software engineer from India with different views and outlook towards the technology. I am currently with IBM Software Group working on LotusLive
, an IBM initiative to provide collaboration across boundaries on cloud. What do you most enjoy working as a software engineer? What's the biggest challenge?
It's been almost 2 years working as a Software Engineer. I have enjoyed every hour working on the cool buzzing technologies like web2.0, cloud computing, Eclipse, and so on. The level of expectation from peers and senior managers increases with every milestone. So its really tough and a challenge to maintain that expectation which in turn brings out most of oneself. Its been exciting journey so far.Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
Oh yes. I do have many people here whom I look upon as a hero. Here most of the folks whom I meet are brilliant in their field. I think 24 hours wouldn't be enough time to follow all my heroes !!! :)How do you keep up with the latest technologies and what's new in IT?
I extensively use Feed readers and social networking sites to be in market. If I miss a single day of updates then it's like world has moved so far. So very critical to be up to date with all latest technologies especially related to the field I am working in.You've written two articles about LotusLive on developerWorks already... Are you planning to write more in the future?
Absolutely. We have a series of articles planned for LotusLive. So in near future you will find more of them.
What inspired you to start blogging on My developerWorks?developerWorks
has always helped me get started with their brilliant tutorials, how-to's, etc. So I really wanted to write on developerWorks and share my insights and knowledge. With My developerWorks blogs it's becoming reality. I am sure someone, somewhere will definitely benefit from the information provided in the blogs too. That's the motive behind me writing blogs. How are you using social networking today?
I use social networking to communicate with my friends and since I work on same path, there is constant thought on how to make things even better !!! What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I am not big fan of Twitter. As for websites I read reddit, cnet news, infoQ, KDE related news, Indian news sites, and some fun-reading blogs.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
Well, one piece of news that excited me was VMWare acquiring SpringSource
. It will interesting to see how this hybrid collaboration matures.In your free time what hobbies or activities interest you?
In free time, I just go around places here in Bangalore with my friends. I enjoy watching movies, reading and of course blogging. - Thanks Amit!
I'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?
For the past few years, I've been thinking of myself as a "knowledge worker" in the "knowledge economy". All workers have their blessings and their discontents whether in the agricultural or industrial age or now - the knowledge economy. I'm glad that I get to use my mind, while I'm also sometimes grumpy about sitting at a computer while my hands and brain do all the work. (Btw, I think someone needs to invent a way of working with computers that involves a variety of movements - some fusion of ideas behind Nintendo wii and work that people do on computers, so that instead of it being natural to sit still while we work, it feels more natural and it's more possible, to move.)
But recently it struck me that I'm not so much a "knowledge worker" as I am a "creativity worker". What I do everyday isn't so much about what I know - it's about what I do with what I know - and what I don't know and finding the answers. What questions do I have? What ideas do I have? What instincts? What problems? What could be done better? What experiments might I try? And then talking with fellow "creativity workers" to get the idea soup boiling before we decide on something new to try. Then we go off and try it and analyze, measure, and revise along the way, over and over.
To be a successful creativity worker I must do things well, on time, and as committed. This is all fine and good, but it's not good enough if I don't come up with new things to do and new ways to do old things. So creativity is one of my greatest assets. But I often find myself jammed up with tasks and trivia - lines and lines of email, hours of meetings, at the end of which my brain is mush and my creativity drained. My greatest challenge is to protect, nurture and harness my creativity. How? It's still a struggle and I'm learning, but these are my ideas:
How important is creativity to what you do? How do you charge up your creative self?
- Set aside creative time during the week. Shake things up during that time - don't do things the usual way. Don't check email, turn off instant messaging. Listen to music that gets you psyched (this works for me!). Sit down with a notepad or whiteboard and markers and make drawings or diagrams or word maps. Or make collages and let images speak.
- Reserve creative time with fellow creativity workers to dream things up or tackle problems from a fresh angle.
- Take care of yourself, old school style: proper rest, nutrition and exercise. The creative self operates best when it has energy reserves to draw on.
- Creativity by its nature is slippery and unpredictable - it's not on tap 24-7. So go with the flow - when creativity strikes, drop everything if possible and follow its lead.
- Get to know your creative self. Explore what makes you tick. Is there a time of day or week when you are most in touch with it? Do you come up with your best ideas by yourself or in a group? Experiment with creativity tools like mind-mapping or free association and find out which ones you really like.
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!
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!
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!
Send your birthday wishes to developerWorks... add your birthday message here
IBM developerWorks is celebrating 10 years of IT leadership on September 28, 2009.
Do you have a birthday message for IBM developerWorks?
How do you use developerWorks?
How does developerWorks help you get your job done?
What's your favorite thing on the developerWorks web site?
Post your birthday messages for developerWorks here by adding a comment!
When I first moved from academia (as a college student) to a cubicle it was a jarring leap. At times I felt my nights working in restaurants, juggling trays, cooks and customers, had been better preparation than my days skimming textbooks (although one spectacular writing professor stands out as an exception). I regret that I didn't take advantage of things like web sites, professional associations, and mentors to better prepare me for a transition to the professional world.
That's why I am excited to put the spotlight on new resources for technology students in this interview with Laura Niemi
. Laura's focused on the developerWorks outreach to students, and so I wanted to hear, straight from the horse's mouth, what's new for students this year.So, the fall semester's officially kicked off... What's IBM doing for students this year that's new?
We put a renewed focus on students as an audience we want to reach out to - they are the developers of the future that we, our customers and our business partners need. Last spring we conducted a survey asking students what they want from an IT portal, what technologies they need skills in, what formats they prefer their skill-building materials in - all sorts of information that helps us meet their wants and needs. Over 1500 students from 46 countries replied - a terrific response.
We want to make sure that students can find the resources they need from IBM, on developerWorks and elsewhere, so we enhanced our Student Portal
and added news items, more beginner learning resources, a community page with a number of social networking links, and information on Professional Certifications geared towards beginners. We're now working on additional enhancements and would love to hear from students via our Student Group on My developerWorks
or by email to email@example.com.What kinds of things do technology students need?
Technology students today need a broader set of skills than ever before. Businesses are looking for people with an interdisciplinary focus, not just a detailed technical background. Communications, business, economics, social sciences - all these fields deepen a person's background and make them more valuable in the workplace. Creativity, problem-solving capabilities, collaboration - you need all of the above since the world is so interactive. You can't work in a vacuum.How can developerWorks help?My developerWorks
is a great place to get started - set up a profile and use the community to network with IT industry professionals, fellow students and professors around the world. What are the top three things you would advise a student to do this year to take advantage of what IBM offers?
First, understand the job market that exists today, with all its challenges. Get experience - from your classes, projects and work experiences - that focus on technologies the market needs.
Second, focus on networking, both to learn about the IT industry and make contacts in the field.
Third, take advantage of the developerWorks skill-building resources through the Student Portal
. Encourage your professors to join the IBM Academic Initiative and take advantage of our no charge offerings designed to prepare you for the IT marketplace.
I'd like to add a postscript to Laura's responses... If you want a glimpse into the everyday world of IT professionals, what kinds of jobs are out there, what people are working on, and where they get inspiration, subscribe to my blog's RSS feed
. Each week I enjoy interviewing a new member of the My developerWorks community. These are multi-faceted people, with a variety of skills, experiences, and passions working on all sorts of projects, giving you a peek into what's happening in the IT professional world. You can also add them to your colleagues in My developerWorks and contact them with questions.
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?
This week I'm happy to interview David Salinas
, the project and technical lead at developerWorks. Get to know him better in this interview and visit his profile to invite him to be your colleague in My developerWorks
.Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you're currently working on?
Well, I am a long time reader and first time interviewee of your blog. I have been working at developerWorks for 5 years. I joined developerWorks from a small group called Toolbox that was shutdown a few years ago. Since being with developerWorks, I have been a web application engineer that has worked on a variety of topics including search, metrics, usability, UI and numerous web applications. Lately, I have taken more of a project lead role to help drive fulfillment of our requirements from a technical perspective. What specifically drew your interest to the IT field?
To be honest, I was drawn to the IT field by my interest in technology and communication. I was a political science guy who fell into technology due a curiosity of getting people to connect and improve our collective governance. Once I got into the classes, it completely satisfied my intellect curiosity to understand the details of how these complex systems worked and my innate desire to solve puzzles. In fact, the best in the IT industry tend to have strong desires to solve problems and pull all the pieces together. Interestingly, there is more and more convergence between political science and computer science as the IT industry has evolved. In fact, in many ways, the internet is the culmination of the tenants first laid out by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty.What advice would you give to IT students just starting out in the IT industry?
Well, I would strongly advise individuals to study relational databases and understand them very well. This was one area that my academic background did not fully prepare me. In working with others, I have found that this skill is essential in the enterprise space. Just to be clear, I would say that studying relational databases is beyond just understanding SQL though knowing SQL is a must too. You should know how to use a database, how to create one and how to update it as well. Its especially useful to be able to know how to start with a list of requirements and build a database that satisfies those requirements while being an optimal technological solution that can be easily extended and improved for future needs. To that end, you should understand database normalization.
The other advice I would offer is to invest in your future by putting aside money. When I started off, I worked for small companies. Based on those experiences, I can tell you that having a savings for immediate emergency and long term retirement needs is a good thing. So, be wise, put aside 10% post taxed income for your future especially if your employer offers matching contributions.
Finally, I would strongly encourage individuals to increase their competency on communication for the mediums of visual, oral and written. Strong leaders require the ability to clearly communicate a vision and direction to the team and for the project. Good communication is not strictly limited to being informative but also being concise, precise and persuasive. What project are you most proud of ?
Well, I am most proud of two projects at developerWorks. First, I am very proud of the success and achievements for our Rational RFE Community
. I was involved in this project from the ground breaking and have seen it blossom to a successful offering which went public in April 2008. If you are not familiar with it, the RFE Community allows users to submit feature enhancement requests for Rational products. Once submitted, Rational commits to providing a response within 90 days to that request. More importantly, users can search, comment and vote on feature requests that are in the community. Effectively, Rational is fostering a community to build a collaborative relationship for improving and influencing their products. Second, I am proud of the My developerWorks
project. We have learned quite a bit about our users and the ourselves in deploying an integrated and fully featured community offering platform built on Lotus Connections. The adventure continues since we are continuously dropping fixes and features on a regular basis. More importantly, we are in process using the latest product release of Lotus Connections. As such, we are feverishly ramping up to make this a reality for all My developerWorks users.If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
Telephone (or VoIP). I know... sounds pathetic that I did not mention email or text messaging, etc. I have found that most of the complicated technical and business issues of our day really require for people to talk to each other. Quite frankly, email and instant messaging are just not the ideal mediums for most of those situations. As such, I would need to have phone capabilities Besides, with a phone, I could call 911 since my three hour tour went awry to get me stuck on this technology challenged island. Who has time for being on a hand woven hammock that resides between two lush palm trees and cast a cooling shade while looking onto a view of pristine beaches with the soothing melody of gentling lapping crystal clear water anyway?Besides what you do at work, what other interests or passions keep you going?
Oh man, I do not think I want to bore your readers. : ) I am a big SciFi guy, RTS gamer and avid reader. On the SciFi front, I am waiting for the next season of Dr. Who. I just recently learned about the Firefly series thanks to a friend. On the gaming side, I have been playing Supreme Commander for a while. I have a Nintendo Wii for which I spend hours playing Metroid, Mario Galaxy and Mario cart. The latter of which my friends and I have fun beating each other up on weekends. As far as reading, I currently have 3 books going.... Death by Black Hole (Neil deGrasse Tyson), Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) and Robot Dreams (Issac Asimov). I just finished Negotiate to Win (Jim Thomas) for which I would recommend if you want to increase your negotiating skills. Star Wars or Star Trek?
No contest.... Star Trek. Its equivalent to the modernity of Aesop's fables in a future setting. It illuminates our ideals of a better tomorrow where we do not self destruct due to our tendencies for conflict, malice and division. Instead, we collectively grow to understand each other, uphold the categorical imperatives of equality, justice and leverage the opportunities that our diversity offers to conquer problems that limit a better future for us and our progeny.Thanks David!
This week, get to know Antony Satyadas
, an active blogger on My developerWorks
, sharing smarter collaboration insights. Learn more about Antony in the interview below, follow his blog
, and visit his profile
to ask him to be your colleague in My developerWorks. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you're currently working on?
I have been in the IT industry for 25 years with a blend of experience in solution consulting/architecture, applied research, teaching, marketing, and intelligent systems modeling. I co-founded a couple of startups in healthcare and intelligent systems, spent 5 years in design office automation in India, architected solutions for BellSouth, Perot Systems, and IBM and been doing a variety of worldwide business leadership and marketing roles in IBM for the past 9 years. I live with my wife and two kids in Lexington, MA. My current focus is on bridging the business-IT gap by leveraging situation aware smart clients on the cloud, identify collaboration patterns and drive global competitive initiatives. What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
Figuring out how I can work smarter by having the right work life balance... Just kidding, half kidding i guess :-) I have been working with several customers and business partners helping them figure out how to leverage smarter collaboration as a strategic asset to lower cost, and establish cultures of innovation. So how can a clinician work smarter by collaborating with a researcher? Teachers and students in academia. Government leaders and constituents in federal and state government organizations. Tellers and advisors in banks, contact center agents with their customers, subject matter experts, marketers and sellers in this globally integrated enterprise 2.0 type firms. Recently I was with bunch of CIOs from the ASEAN countries, in Singapore doing a smarter collaboration jam using virtual linux desktops. Lots of fun. One of my pet projects is how we can bring sanity to Smarter Cities by helping villages get smarter, using IT as the catalyst, as a cottage industry in emerging growth markets. Another one is on cost reduction strategies that can lower TCO and drive rapid ROI. I care a lot about us mere mortals, people in this smarter planet, duh :-)
Now we are getting ready for the Smart Work Mandate videocast and Jam Sept 16th thru 18th . This is going to be lots of fun. I would like every one of you to sign up for this here: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/solutions/smartwork/virtual/?cm_sp=CTA08-_-EV100-_-8340How did you get started in the IT industry? What advice would you give to students or new graduates just starting out?
I got started in 1984, with Hindustan Computers Ltd in India, offering design office automation solutions using CAD/CAM/ Micrographic systems in India. Those days, our focus was on design office automation for organizations who had design and manufacturing shops – from shipyards and defense establishments to electronic, energy, and automotive industries. I would encourage students to pursue their passion, think out of the box and take risks - be an entrepreneur, and be ready to explore emerging growth markets. IT has revolutionized our world and it will continue to do so with more leaps and bounds in the years to come.Since you've been a part of the IT industry, what has surprised you the most?
Kind of a paradox. On one hand, the ability of IT to drive productivity and transform us from the Industrial mindset to a knowledge driven economy that has leveled the global playing field. On the other hand the fact that we often solve part of a business problem, create new problems, and continue that cycle again and again.. But hey that is life i guess.How do you use developerWorks?
Its a destination, a place i visit every day to find out new things, share my thoughts and more recently meet new people and communities.What is your favorite thing about blogging? What's your biggest challenge?
Ability to express your thoughts and share widely right away. It is fascinating. One interesting Challenge is to be able to type once and repurpose in multiple ways across social media networks. We are getting better at this, but we have ways to go i guessWhat are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Given my competitive pursuits, I frequent eweeks, blogs and other sites where there are conversations about our competitors. Recently we set up a community model to create alerts based on feeds and pings from a variety of sources. One of my favorite tweets is by Mr Shashi Tharoor
, the current Indian Union Minister of state for External Affairs. He was once lined up to become the Secretary General of the United Nations. Shashi is a great role model for every government leader in terms of how they should use social software to know the pulse of their constituents. This is also about participatory policy making, becoming a smarter government.Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time?
Big fan of smart clients on the cloud – the ability to have choice of access and interaction devices, anytime, anywhere. I would place big bets on gaming and cognition oriented architectures and how they can lead the new wave of innovation in this smarter planet. I believe we need the right balance of automation and self-service to make this happen.What future technology would make your life easier?
Virtual Smart agents who can do my work, who have situation awareness capabilities, and the ability to mashup multiple communication media and channels.Besides work, what other interests or passions do you enjoy?
Couple of years back, few of us formed the Kerala Information Technology Alliance (http://www.kita.in
). We have been executing a 12 point programme. I enjoy bringing entrepreneurs together, mentoring the Gen Ys, exploring the edges of my social networks, and tackling challenges in public sector... And of course having fun with my family.Thanks Antony!
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!
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...
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!
This week, get to know Kelly Smith
, a blogger on My developerWorks
. With over 20 years of experience with the software development lifecycle, plus a wide variety of social networking activity, Kelly has a unique perspective to share. Learn more about Kelly in the interview below, plus: Kelly's profile on My developerWorks Kelly's blog on My developerWorks: Notes from Rational Support Kelly on Twitter
What project are you most proud of ?
IBM's Hack Day, without a doubt! IBM's Hack Day was started in June 2006, inspired by a blog post I wrote on Blog Central about Yahoo's Hack Day program. Completely grass-roots and unfunded, the rocking bloggers on BlogCentral took the idea and ran with it, taking it global with participation from IBMers all over the world. Hack Day 7 is scheduled for this October, and we are always looking for folks to help run the event or to participate! (HackDay is a one-day competition challenging you to come up with the
most interesting "Hack". "Hack", in this case refers to ability to come
up with a solution to a problem or an interesting idea you've been
thinking about. If you're an IBMer and want to participate, contact Kelly.)What are you currently working on?
Currently, I and my team are working on several initiatives to help our clients help themselves be successful using our products. Rational Client Support is continuing its adoption of Knowledge-Centered Support best practices, and is exploring new venues like Twitter (@RationalSupport
) and blogs (Notes from Rational Support
) to connect with our clients proactively, and share knowledge.Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
I am a sucker for anything with LEDs ... color-changing LEDs, preferably. :-) I'm also fascinated with the home automation work Andy Stanford-Clark and others are doing. I'm an Apple fan-girl, and I totally puffy heart my macbook, and my iPhone.
How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks
to connect and share with colleagues and clients ... the power of collaboration, community and knowledge-sharing. Tell me about your experience blogging so far...
I've been blogging for several years now. I have a personal blog over at http://kellypuffs.wordpress.com/
. I love blogging and connecting with others. I have to say, though, that since the advent of Twitter, I'm having trouble writing anything longer than 140 characters at a shot! The coolest thing about social networking is...
I love how social software has enabled me to widen my personal and professional networks. I have met so many wonderful people both inside and outside of IBM and all over the world through social networking. I can be plugged in to all the latest news and trends in areas I'm interested in. I'm a life-long learner, and I love learning from all the wicked smart folks out there. For me, it's all about the people.The biggest problem with social networking is...
I'm frustrated with the transformation of “social networking” to “social media” to “social media marketing”. The value of social networking goes SO far beyond selling folks products or services. Also, I'm tired of reading about social media and from social media experts on twitter and blogs. It's all too meta. Let's go back to genuine conversations and high-value content. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
- Tim Siedell of Fusebox Studios. Very funny. @freshmarketNH
– food and kitchen tips
Favorite blogs/websites:Notcot.orgZen Habits Code SimplicityWhoopeeDinosaurs & RobotsEmail or text messaging?
I HATE email! I'm longing to attempt the Luis Suarez patent-pending No-Email system, but haven't convinced my boss yet. Thanks Kelly!
This week get to know a new member of My developerWorks in this interview with Brian Benz
. He's an XML enthusiast who's also a blogger, author, and entrepreneur. Learn more about Brian in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: Brian's My developerWorks profile
- TwitterWhat was your first job?
I started work quite young - my first job was at 14 working in a ski shop installing bindings and lots of maintenance work that ski shops don’t do anymore due to product improvements. Is that far enough off topic? How did you get started in the IT industry?
I always had an interest in computers. My first computer was a commodore 64 with a cassette drive. In 1980/81 I developed a few functions on an Apple II using Applesoft basic, but that was just a hobby. My first real paid tech job was in London, UK, in the early 80’s programming and maintaining business functions on IBM System 32, 34 and 38. In my spare time I started automating some tedious manual tasks on what was an unused novelty in the office at the time - an original IBM PC using Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase. The more I worked on the PC, the faster I could do my job, and the more spare time I had to figure out how to automate more tasks – I was hooked! What are you currently working on?
Several client projects, building some XML, Lotus Notes and Data Analytics products, setting up 2 new companies and Web sites (http://www.benztech.com
), creating a new XML format for sharing unstructured data (http://www.udml.org
), and working on an update to the XML Programming Bible. What's the most fun project you've worked on?
Definitely creating UDML. It’s nice to work with a clean slate and do something that you think could make life easier for a lot of people. What are a few of your favorite development tools and why?
The absolute best tools I’ve ever worked with are the Altova suite of tools, especially XMLSpy (http://www.altova.com
) . Anyone who works with XML, SOA, or even standards-compliant Web content development should try these tools and see why for themselves. Other than that, Eclipse tools are what I work with the most, plus Microsoft Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, InfoPath, and IBM Lotus Domino Designer. Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Not a gadget person per se, but I love my iPhone. The apps and music functions let me connect to my music library, friends, social networks, and the Web in ways that I haven’t with other phones. It’s actually changed my life in a few ways, all for the positive. How do you use developerWorks?
Mostly to connect with my fellow developers and share tips and advice. Like most geeks these days, I don’t know everything, but I know where I can find everything quickly. developerWorks is definitely one of the resources I use to learn quickly when I need to. Are you a blogger? Author? On Twitter?
My blog is Software Soapbox at http://ww.softwaresoapbox.com
I’ve published three books - one for IBM and two for Wiley. Also many magazine articles and presentations. My full list of publications can be found at my personal Web site at http://brianbenz.com
I’m also on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/brianbenz
, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bbenz
, FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Benz/1412015686
, and FriendFeed at http://friendfeed.com/bbenz
. What are some of your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?
It’s a mix of tech, local news, and fun. Aside from @developerworks, I also follow @craignewmark, @davewiner, @forkflylasvegas, @edbrill, @cnnbrk, @WholeFoods, @jowyang, @dsearls, @TechCrunch, @CaesarsPalace, @happn_in_vegas, @xbrlblog Thanks Brian!
This week, I'm happy to turn the My developerWorks
community spotlight onto Tamir Gefen
. He's both a technical innovator and entrepreneur as the founder of GoMidjets
, offering end-to-end solutions in the CM and ALM field with add-on products for Rational ClearCase
Learn more about Tamir in the interview below and you can also find more about him here: My developerWorks profile
- TwitterWhat are you currently working on?
Since founding GoMidjets
a year ago I have been totally involved in developing the product and the business. Right now we are adding new features to our three Rational ClearCase add-on products. We've also been busy, updating our service offering to customers using IBM Rational products so we can give them best support and service possible. We're also active in opening up new markets, not to mention looking after and deepening our relationship with our customers and business partners.What inspires you in your work?
First and foremost is the excited feedback I receive from customers and particularly in hearing how we've solved their problems. Just knowing we have simplified and automated processes to make other people work faster and more efficiently, gives me a real kick. I think that giving my clients a better working environment is my main inspiration.How do you define success?
For me, success is making your dream come true and enjoying every minute of it!What project are you most proud of ?
That would be my largest project to date- the building a large and complex CM \ ALM system, from scratch for a major international customer. I led the project from planning to implementation. This system has been up and running for two years, serving a sizeable population of users.Have you ever invented something?
To date, I've invented five add-on products for configuration and change management systems. That's where I started out. Only after I initiated the concepts did I establish Gomidjets, which I' now certain is going to be a leading provider of such add-ons.How do you use developerWorks?
I use developerWorks
as a focused network to communicate with professionals from the Gurus to the users. Though developerWorks, I get to hear what people have to say, learn new ideas, get technical information and more. I like to think I don't just gain from it but also contribute. More than anything, I use it to answer questions in Rational ClearCase and ClearQuest forums
. I enjoy solving users' problems. Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
I've been a blogger
for the last year and a half. It demands lots of effort, but I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and I find it very enriching. The feedback and comments I receive give me insight into the state of mind of others. I now tweet too - for the last few months. It enables me to write micro-blogging insights, share ideas and help others. What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?www.techcrunch.com
(Reviewing new Internet products and companies)www.techpitch.com
(Business Technology Showcase)http://twitter.com/dzone
(Fresh links for developers)
I also like to follow funny people like http://twitter.com/sockingtonWhat type of gadgets do you use?
Well, to be honest, I'm not your typical gadget kind of guy. I only use my mobile cell phone and laptop for working!What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
That would be Modu
, which is claimed to be the world's lightest mobile phone, with a vision of bringing a fundamental change to the dynamics of the personal communication world. For me, that's really cool!Thanks Tamir!
What makes you an expert?
It's a tricky question we've been thinking about as we consider definitions for what "expert" means in the My developerWorks
community. It's one of the things I think makes My developerWorks so cool - you can find developers who know things, who've already done things, and you can learn from them. But one of the questions that comes up is what it means if we say someone is an "expert".
It's possible to be too vague about it. For example, I could declare myself to be an expert at making desserts (because this is something I know too much about!) But what does this self-declaration actually mean? Without definition it could mean anything. Does it mean I've made a certain quantity of desserts? Does it mean I've mastered certain techniques? Does it mean I have a broad scope of dessert expertise - that I've made a wide variety of international desserts? Does it mean I've graduated from a culinary school?
But it's also possible to be too specific about defining an "expert". I could say I can't declare myself to be an expert at desserts unless I meet a complicated set of criteria. There could be various levels and subcategories of expertise and specific criteria and tests for each one that have to be tested and judged by an impartial third party.
As we think about defining the word "expert" in My developerWorks, we struggle between these two extremes. Should we leave the definition of "expert" loose and undefined risking it being meaningless? Or should we define it within an inch of it's life and make it near impossible to achieve? We don't have the answer yet, but in the meantime, this got me to thinking about expertise itself. Having talked to some (very humble, in my opinion) members of My developerWorks, they have said "Well, I'm not an expert... I don't have anything to share with the community... I'm not that advanced... I like to watch and learn from other people who know more than me." I understand and can relate to this feeling at times!
But what happens if you start to think of expertise as a continuum, instead of a definitive label? You might be reluctant to declare yourself an "expert", but if you think about it as a continuum you may have more to share than you realize.
For example, I've spent countless hours over many years working on Lotus Notes, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. If you asked me if I was an expert, I might cringe and say no. But I've actually picked up many tips and my own personal ways of working with these applications to make things faster and simpler in the work I do every day. I might not be a textbook or manual on these applications, but when it all comes down to it, I have alot of simple things I can share with other people using them. After all, that's how I learned many of them - from another user who was willing to share what they knew! When I think about it, I've learned alot more about technology from people than from reading manuals.
Maybe what you know is more important than attaching a label to it. Maybe if you think of expertise as a continuum, you have more to share than you think. So I'm happy to declare, I may not be an expert, but I have a lot to share!What do you think? What does "expertise" mean to you? If you're looking for an "expert" in My developerWorks to help you with something, what kind of expertise are you expecting?
This week I'm highlighting a new member of My developerWorks, Suma Shastry
. Suma has authored several articles on developerWorks
related to DB2 and she's been an enthusiastic presence in My developerWorks
with her new blog.
Learn more about Suma in the interview below and you can also find out more about her on her Profile
and her Blog.
Articles authored by Suma Shastry: IBM DB2 Content Manager security model essentialsHow to go hand-in-hand with DB2 and InformixDB2 performance tuning using the DB2 Configuration AdvisorWhat was your first job?
I joined IBM right after my graduation. I had to design DB2 Database tables and write stored procedures for an internal project.Describe your favorite IT project.
First one was test automation of DB2 Control Center testing. During this project, I got a chance to lead a team and hence learning all the leading activities including scheduling tracking was fun. 2nd favorite project was IDM 4.0.2 release work. Knowledge transition was still going on, when we were asked if we could take up the challenge of releasing the product before the transition end date! We took the challenge and we did release the product successfully.
Describe a normal day for you.
For the past 6 months I have been working out of home. It's kind of difficult to spell out a "Normal Day" for a working mother with 2 kids:-). Every day is different. I am mainly occupied with the following but not limited to - cooking food, getting my first daughter ready for school, testing the product, planning for future releases of product, reviews of plans or test cases, taking care of my 9 month old daughter, couple of meetings, lots of sametime chat with team mates, catching up my friends and recently exploring My developerWorks which has kind of become an addiction :-)How do you use developerWorks?
Since I have been part of projects which used IBM products, I've been associated with developerWorks (dW) for very long now. Be it articles, redbooks or downloading fix packs for the products that we use, dW is the place that I visit most often.What's your experience with social networking so far?
I haven't been using social networking sites until last year I guess. Its been good so far. I mainly use FaceBook on the personal front to catch up with friends and now My developerWorks to catch up with technical stuff. The coolest thing about social networking is...
I can be in touch with as many people as possible sitting in one place. It's like a get together party where every one can pour in at one place, rather me having to go and visit one by one.The biggest problem with social networking is...
Spam friend requests and at times the public image that you may carry.
What publications or websites do you read often?
Mostly, developerWorks. At times, I Google to get what I am looking for and read the resulted web pages.What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
My developerWorks launchThanks Suma!
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!
Welcome to my new, and I admit it, FIRST blog!
The truth and nothing but the truth... I'm not a developer and I'm not a techie, so don't expect any geeky posts from me. But I love geeks! I've een working with all kinds of technical geniuses at IBM for the last ten years, from web developers to ISVs to our brilliant team of people here who made My developerWorks possible. And I find that us marketing professional types (I fall in that bucket btw) have a nice yin-yang relationship with technical types. We appreciate each others' strengths and complement each others' weaknesses. Opposites attract and that's why I've named my blog "Yin meets yang".
This year I've had the privilege of working on the launch of My developerWorks - working with a multi-faceted crew, collaborating on everything. So while I'm no techie, I can't resist blogging out here on My developerWorks, because I want to get to know the technical community up close and personal, plus I want to share ideas about how to get the most out of My developerWorks because that's a topic I'm passionate about!
So what can you expect from my blog?
Tips, hints, and tricks on how to use My developerWorks -- things like how to find people who "know stuff", how to amp up blog readership, and how to build your inner circle.
My explorations, discoveries and thoughts about social media, social networking, and Web 2.0.
What I'm learning about playing nice with others and getting things done in a 21st century, fast-paced, highly-matrixed virtual team workplace.
My thoughts about personality in the workplace (I am a geek about Myers-Briggs testing, okay?).
Discussions about working OTTO (that's what we at IBM call "Other than traditional office) - I'm starting to work from home and still learning how to make it work for me.
I'd love to get to know you better! So please, come get to know me on my profile and add me to your colleagues. And on my blog, please leave comments, and let me know if there's anything you want to hear more about!
Do you like things open or closed? This is the essence of "Perceiving" vs. "Judging", one of the dimensions in understanding personality in Keirsey or Myers-Briggs types. This preference can have a powerful effect on your working relationships. I should know - I'm a judger, and my husband a perceiver, and it makes for an interesting dynamic, but it certainly helps to recognize our differences. If you don't know what your preference is or you can't spot it in the people you work with, it can lead to misunderstanding.What about you? Are you a perceiver or a judger?
You might be an perceiver if...
- You feel more comfortable keeping your options open.
- You like to gather lots of information and look at things from every possible angle before you're comfortable making a decision, and even then you're not quite sure.
- You like to keep things loose, you don't like definite plans, and you like to decide at the last possible minute.
- Sometimes it takes a deadline or an outside force to make you commit to a path.
- You like to do things on your own time schedule, without lots of rules and regulation.
- You often "lose time" when you get into the flow of something in the moment, and thus you might often be late.
You might be an judger if...
Now, what about the people you work with? Are they perceivers or judgers?
- You feel more comfortable when things are decided.
- You quickly come to conclusions.
- You don't like to sit around and ponder or debate, you like to figure out what the action plan is.
- You like to have a plan and a schedule!
- To-do lists are your specialty and you might be an organization freak who prizes your label maker.
- You may be a little ritualistic and rigid and like things done "a certain way".
- You know exactly what time it is, what you're doing when, and you hate being late so you build extra time in your schedule for unforeseen delays.
Perceivers often seem easygoing and casual and they may have a distaste for anything resembling structure, bureaucracy, processes and deadlines. Perceivers often think about long-range implications and imagine possible pitfalls. A perceiver might bring up every possibility in meetings - "What if this happened? Have you thought about this? Have we looked into this? Isn't so and so doing something just like this- we should check with them?". In their exploration of possibilities, they may overlook critical actions. Perceivers often work well when spontaneously rolling with the punches, jumping from one task to the next without a clear plan.
Judgers are often naturals when it comes to project management because they prefer to have clear plans and deadlines. Judgers often think about short-term actions and defining next steps. A judger often pushes for closure in meetings - they want to know "What's the goal? What's the measurement? What's our time line? Who's going to do what?" In their push for closure, they may miss broader implications. Judgers need everything mapped out before they begin working on it. Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?
Working with perceivers:
- They may want to gather a lot of data and look at things from every angle before reaching a conclusion. If you're a judger, don't try to force them to come to a conclusion prematurely, instead, use their natural tendency as a strength so your team can gather as much information as possible and have a better plan.
- They may feel uncomfortable having deadlines and tasks assigned to them without their agreement. For instance, they may want to figure out how long they think something will take before agreeing to a deadline. Respect this desire and don't force them to commit to something if they are not comfortable.
- You may need to push for clear ownership, commitment and deadlines, but do so respectfully and give them a chance to be part of the decision.
- You may also need to check in and provide reminders of deadlines, realizing that perceivers can lose track of time.
- Give perceivers tasks that play to their strengths and allow them to shine - you might intentionally ask them to look at broader implications or do competitive research and give them a chance to explore these areas before trying to define an execution plan.
Working with judgers:
My personal experiences...
- They may want to plan everything out in annoying and confounding detail - or at least it seems that way to perceivers! Relax and let them do the hard work - it's what they're good at, and enjoy the fact that you don't have to manage the giant spreadsheet.
- If you're being pressed by a judger to give an answer or commitment you're not ready to give, there is an easy solution. Don't argue, just give them a date by when you'll be ready and ask them if that's okay. Remember - they are looking for closure - so if you can't close it today, give them a date that you will be ready and they will be satisfied.
- If you feel a judger is reaching a premature conclusion, again, don't argue with them. Try to briefly and specifically state your concerns, then ask if you can do more research and come back with more information by a specific date before making a decision.
- If they're over-engineering or making plans or processes too regimented or complicated, don't just show general disgust or frustration, but instead ask them to make specific changes and see if you can reach a mutual solution.
- Give judger's tasks that play to their strengths - you might ask them to manage a project, define a new process, or lead weekly meetings.
I am a judger. I don't have a label maker, but I make a to-do list at least once a day, even on weekends. I hate being late and I know what time it is even without a watch. I like to know exactly where I'm aiming. I get frustrated when things are confusing. Here are some of the things on the job I've discovered that help me out. Because I have such a strong drive for closure and definition, I've learned I have to temper it and balance it. If I'm working on a project with other people, my first inclination may be to define the actions and the owners and move on, and I might get frustrated when a perceiver in the group starts bringing up all the exceptions and problems and what ifs. But I'm learning that if I don't stop and listen, not only am I riding rough shod over a valuable team member, I'm also missing out on valuable information! So I'm learning to allow time in my schedule for this kind of open discussion and debate before getting down to brass tacks.
For me, again, my goal is to make the most of my strengths and other people's as well and try not to impose my personal style and preferences on everyone else! While judgers help move things forward, they can often move things forward in the wrong direction just to keep things moving! Perceivers provide the counterweight and they are always there to keep watching, commenting and critiquing to make sure the direction is right. Sometimes that means a new observation or concern raised by a perceiver completely up-ends a plan already defined by a judger, but if you keep your perspective, you can see how we complement each other.
What about you? Are you a judger or perceiver? How does it affect your style at work?
I'm excited to unveil the first of what I hope are many interviews with members of My developerWorks. Let me know what you think about it...
This week, we're putting the spotlight on Gary Barnett.
Gary is the technology analyst and CTO at the Bathwick Group
and he's recently started a blog on My developerWorks
. Learn more about Gary in the interview below and you can also find out more about him here: Visit his profile and add him to your colleagues
-Visit his blog
- Follow on Twitter What project are you most proud of ?
I was once put in charge of a post-prod support team of 60 developers, with an 8 month backlog of work-items.
In 6 months we'd managed to reduce the backlog to 1 day for Severity ones, and two weeks for all others.
It was the toughest job I've ever had - the team I joined was demoralised, undervalued and generally unhappy but we got it done with a combination of pizza and coke, reducing the team to 20 people and returning the others to development, weekly prizes (one for the biggest effort, one for the best fix and one for the biggest screw-up) and a really really strict rule about bouncing proper bugs back to the people who'd had the temerity to put them into production in the first place...
Regarding the prizes - As it happens, HR stopped me from taping a giant inflatable banana to the monitor of the person who made the biggest screw-up in the preceding week, because they were worried I was creating a "hostile working environment" - despite the fact that I'd had it taped to my monitor more times than anyone else!Have you ever invented something?
Not quite "invented" But I've just finished the prototype for a circuit board with an on-board microcontroller and GPS chip that can control up to 6 servos either via "autopilot" or radio-modem. A project that began when my son got a radio controlled boat for
his birthday and asked if he could turn the lights on and off and operate the crane remotely.
I often wonder how many projects begin with the words"Sure! How hard can that be?"Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Not normally a gadget person, but I am a crazed iPhone addict and evangelist. There's very little in the iPhone that RIM or Nokia couldn't have done before - But Apple just out-designed them.... now the best that RIM can do is create an "imitation iPhone" (and IMHO the Storm blows when compared to the iPhone). A very important lesson in innovation - you can't do it once and then stop, you have to keep on doing it.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
Too many to list! I have nearly 100 blogs in my RSS feeder, I follow 50 people on twitter. I do have to mention, though, James Governor's "Monkchips" (http://www.redmonk.com/jgovernor/) very smart, interesting guy who I admire a lot (Of course I don't agree with him all the time... but he's worth a read).
I'm on twitter as "thinkovation"Who was your first service provider
In 1988 I snaffled my girlfriend's university dial-up account, then joined Compuserve.When did you first access the internet?
1989 - Don't remember calling it "the internet" back then!Email or text messaging?
Oh lots of both! Love texting tho.Star Wars or Star Trek?
When introverts and extroverts meet strange things can happen. They may end up completely misunderstanding each other. Or they may end up a powerful pair - after all, one talks a lot and one listens a lot - if that's not a match made in heaven, what is? But if you're not aware of the dynamics in play you may find yourself irritated by others differences or misunderstanding them.
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?You might be an extrovert if...
- So first, you need to be able to recognize yourself. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
- Second, you need to be able to make some observations about the people you work with. Are they introverts or extroverts?
- Third, you need to be able to apply this knowledge at work to have the best possible relationship and outcome.
You might be an introvert if...
- You're the life of the party
- You like to talk (a lot)
- You get bored being alone
- You're energized from interacting with people
- You sometimes feel wiped out after spending time with people
- You need to retreat to solitude to recharge your batteries
- You think about what you say before saying it
- You're energized from time alone
These are polarities, but you can fit anywhere in the spectrum. You may not be one or the other - you could be right in the middle, not really a clear introvert or extrovert. That's okay! Just try to get a feel for where you fit. Now, what about the people you work with? Are they introverts or extroverts?
You can't necessarily know just by looking whether someone is introverted or extroverted, because it's not about their external social interactions, but about how they get their energy - whether they get energy from within, being by themselves or from without, being with others. But you often have clues...
In the extreme, extroverts often seem chatty, talkative, energetic, open, outgoing, uninhibited. They may like to work in a group and meet face to face to talk things through. Introverts may appear to be shy, reserved, quiet, thoughtful and serious. They may like to work alone and meet with others only when necessary.Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?Working with extroverts:
Working with introverts:
- They like to talk things out and this is part of their process for solving a problem.
- They work things out as they speak, versus working things out before they speak.
- Don't expect them to come up with a fully formed plan right away, but to be working it out as they talk through it.
- White-boarding style brainstorming sessions are a good forum for this.
- Be prepared to spend extra time listening.
- Be prepared to spend time listening about non-work related personal topics, but set boundaries if you need to, if extroverted socializing starts to intrude on getting your work done.
My personal experiences...
- They like to think things out before they speak. This can lead to long pauses and blank looks as they are considering what to say.
- If you ask them a question, they may not be ready to answer right away, but may want to go off and consider it first.
- Realize that just because they're not talking, doesn't mean they're not paying attention or trying to solve the problem.
- Extroverts may dominate group discussions, so don't miss out on the good things an introvert might share. If they're not speaking up, you might ask "What do you think about this, ______?"
- Help them mentally prepare for a meeting by sending out an agenda and meeting materials ahead of time.
- If you need them to share something specific in a meeting, give them forewarning.
- Don't be put off by their reserved nature - go out of your way to get to know them better.
I am an introvert. Others have had the impression that I am shy or stuck up and as a child I was nicknamed "bookworm". Here are some of the things on the job I've discovered that help me out. My work is often full of interpersonal interaction. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and need to regroup. I try to include downtime to think things through. I also try to balance out my workload during the day and the week - so if I have many meetings I also spend time doing solitary work that involves things like writing or number-crunching. I'm learning to be more comfortable not forcing myself to come up with an answer when I'm put on the spot, but instead to say "Let me think about that and get back to you". I find I do better in meetings when I'm prepared for them ahead of time, so if I'm leading a meeting, I put together an agenda, so I can stay focused. I enjoy working with extroverts I've encountered, but it helps to recognize and accept their unique differences. I'm prepared when I'm talking with certain people, for the conversation to be a little longer and range a little further afield, but knowing that in advance makes it easier for me.What about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? How does it affect your style at work?
I like to bake.
In my family, when there is a gathering, I get called upon to bring dessert. And I’m glad to do it every time. All this baking got me to thinking about what a cake has in common with social networking, social media, online communities, creating a following for yourself, etc.Making it is a messy job
In the beginning a cake just some flour, sugar, eggs and butter thrown together. It’s raw dough. It doesn’t look like a master creation, but that’s where you start. Starting out with social networking is no different. In the beginning.
You have some raw ingredients to work with:
- Who are you? What makes you special, unique? What do you want to share with the world – or keep private?
- What are you passionate about? Let’s face it, social media and networking can take a lot of your time. If you’re not passionate about something, why bother?
- What are you good at? What do you know a lot about?
- What social networking sites, tools, and applications do you want to use?
- How much time do you want to spend?
- What kind of outcome are you hoping for?
Take these raw ingredients and decide what flavor of cake you want to “bake up” in the world of social networking. You’re not always sure how it’s going to turn out (and sometimes it flops)
If you’ve spent any time at all baking, you know, that sometimes a cake just flops. No rhyme or reason. It just does. Forays into social networking are no different. Making a name for yourself, gaining a readership, and forming connections are things that come over time, with many repeated consistent ongoing efforts. Some of those efforts will flop. Not every blog posting will hit it big, not everyone will answer a question you pose in forum, or join in your group. It’s a process of experimentation – try to learn what works and what doesn’t. Then keep trying. When a cake flops, I don’t swear off baking, I just grab a fork and dig in, then try a new recipe next time. Same thing with social networking – don’t sweat it, just keep trying new things.There are lots of layers
Putting together a fancy cake sometimes involves layers of cake, fillings, frosting and glazes. Social networking isn’t as simple as creating a user id and password. It takes several steps, at least, to start to your social networking foundation. Start by building a solid profile – that’s your first layer. Then visit regularly and see what other people are doing. Start to get active yourself by making connections and joining groups and activities. And top it all off by coming back regularly to see what’s new and interact with your new network.Presentation is crucial
A well-presented cake has that little
extra something like toasted coconut or white chocolate curls. It's not
only pleasing to the taste, but to the eye as well. Successful social
networkers take similar pride in how they present themselves online.
Consider what you’d like your image to look like and whether it’s
inviting. Does your profile represent you well? Do you like your
photograph? How can you use graphics and words to bring extra polish to
your online activities?If you find the right place for it, it’ll get gobbled up fast
Take your cake to a gluten-free convention and you may not have many takers. But leave that same cake in a breakroom at my office building, and it will be gone fast. Same thing applies in social networking. You want to pick the right “virtual place” for your venture. If you want to make professional connections, My Space is probably not the best place for you! But social networking opportunities like My developerWorks
offer you the ability to connect with professionals interested in similar topics, in a learning and sharing environment. Who doesn’t like cake, but you can only eat so much in one sitting
When you bake a delicious cake, it can be tempting to go back for second helpings (and thirds, too). But eat too much cake at once and the enjoyment fades into a sugar hangover. When you’re first discovering social networking, it can be such a buzz that you overdo it and burn yourself out. I've spent many happy, addictive hours exploring new social networking sites (uh, Twitter, anyone?). But you don’t have to eat the cake all at once! There will be more tomorrow. Pace yourself, and plan to spend some time social networking each week. Wishing you all a slice of social networking heaven here on My developerWorks!
p.s. The cake above is an Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Swirl Icing from one of my favorites - The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather
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?
In my first post on "Personality on the job"
, I talked about the first principle - Accepting that people are different! The second principle is "Know yourself".
A relationship is a two-way interaction, and you are one half of that interaction. It does no good to merely observe and understand others, if you don't understand the role you are playing too. One way to get to know yourself is to take a personality test. There are many out there, and I'll include a list at the bottom of my post. But taking a personality test isn't required - start by looking in the mirror!
Here are some questions to help you explore who you are on the job:
- What do you enjoy working on? What activities make you "lose time", looking up and realizing hours have gone by?
- What makes you energized? What are you most passionate about?
- What drags you down, sucks your energy, bums you out?
- What makes you see red?
- Do you like to work in quiet solitude? Or frenetic activity with lots of people around?
- Do you jump in and solve a problem on the fly, or think about it first?
- Do you feel compelled to work through every detail? Or do you prefer to look at the big picture?
- Do you tend to plan things out in advance? Or go with the flow?
- Is it natural for you to lead a team effort? Or do you like to join in and follow someone else?
- Do you like a defined roadmap? Or do you like to blaze your own trail?
Cut yourself some slack
Remember the first principle was accepting that people are different? Now, accept that you are different. You can change some things about yourself, and probably should, but many things are just the way you're hardwired. Don't fight it - work with it.
For example... I work with people alot, but I'm an introvert and I can get worn out. As much as I wish this wasn't the case - but it is, so I have to work with it and schedule in down time when I'm not in meetings. Make the most of what you've got
Once you understand basic things about yourself, you can start to put those to use. If you enjoy working on the start of a project, conceiving it in the brainstorming phase - try to find areas where you can apply that. If you're passionate about perfecting things with testing and trouble-shooting, look for opportunities to do that. If working on detailed reports drives you nuts and slows you down, see if you can pass that on to another team member who eats spreadsheets for lunch.
For example... I've discovered, I enjoy analyzing data. That might sound dry to you, but as a kid, I loved Nancy Drew books, and I think something about putting together puzzles and playing the detective gets me going! So I volunteer to do a little data analysis when the need comes up. Know your hot buttons - then cool down
We all have hot buttons that short circuit logic and go straight to our gut. They might make us feel frustrated, angry, or deflated. Many times, these hot buttons aren't serious, just the kind of thing that irks you because of your particular personality! Unfortunately, the instant emotions hot buttons evoke can cause a meltdown over something minor. Pinpoint your hot buttons, so that when they get triggered, you can remind yourself that this isn't worth arguing about - it's just a personality quirk.
For example... Years ago, I received a flaming ALL CAPS email that was very pushy and critical and it seemed the entire universe was copied on it. I felt like I was being run over with a bulldozer. I received wise advice to just pick up the phone and talk to the person, instead of trying to defend myself in email. Looking back, I can see that this is just the way this person dealt with everyone - it wasn't directed especially at me. And since I now recognize I can be thin-skinned, when things like this happen again, I don't take a forceful style personally and get upset - just focus on solving the problem.
Want to get to know yourself better? Here are three free online personality tests:4 question personality test
(for those of you short on time...)Keirsey Temperament SorterHumanMetrics Jung Typology Test
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.
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>
If you know me for any length of time, the question is bound to come up. Out of the blue, I’ll ask you, “So, do you know what your Myers-Briggs personality type is?”. It’s kind of nosy when you think about it, but I’m a little Myers-Briggs obsessed. I find people fascinating – I’m always trying to understand them – and me – a little better. Just so you know, if I ask you your type, I’ve probably already been trying to figure out what type you are anyway. I’m just looking for confirmation.
That fits right into my personality by the way. I’m an INFJ
- which has been nicknamed “The Contemplator.” Truer words have never been said. That’s me for sure. And that’s what has been so surprising for me about Myers-Briggs typing - how well my type describes me – and my friends and family too.
You may be one of those people who says “Don’t put me in a box” and I sympathize! No personality test can capture all the facets of a unique human being and sometimes you don’t fit exactly into one bucket or another, but with sixteen separate Myers-Briggs types, they can capture quite a bit of nuance.
So what does personality have to do with work? How can understanding personality help you on the job? As much as I’m a fan of Myers-Briggs in particular, I think understanding personality and improving the way you work with people isn’t about sticking a label on each other. Whether you ever take a personality test or not, you can still benefit from some basic ideas
The first and most critical principle: Accept that people are different. They see things and approach things differently. And accept that it’s okay that everyone’s not like you and they don’t all have to be like you. Stop trying to change them to be like you and meet them where they’re at.If you apply nothing else, this one thing can improve your interactions with people you work with, your kids, your spouse, your friends, and random strangers.
At work, for instance, some people are chatty, some withdrawn. Some people like to meet in person, face to face, some like to talk on the phone, others email, or instant message. Some people like to draw things out on a white board, or talk out a problem, others like to think things through by themselves. Some people like processes, routines and definitions, others hate them and like to keep things loose. Some people like shiny, pretty presentations, others think only the value of the content matters and see packaging as artifice.
I could go on describing the ways we’re different, but you get the idea. The evidence is clear – people are different. If you don’t accept that people are different than you, they’ll be driving you crazy – because they’re not doing things the way you would. This can be a recipe for stress – at least if you’re the sensitive “Feeling” type like me.
But, if you accept that people are different, you can expect it, learn from it and use it to your advantage. You can start to improve outcomes by adjusting the way you work with different people. And you can even start to see it as an asset – a good thing. All our strengths and weaknesses can complement each other.
I’ll be talking more about applying personality in the workplace in future blog posts so, if you haven't done so already, subscribe to my RSS feed. I’ll talk about:
Know thyself – understanding what makes you tickAnd more!
Know the people you work with – observe, understand, adjust
Innies meet Outies – no, not belly buttons - Introverts vs. Extroverts
Fire meets Ice – Feelers vs Thinkers
Spontaneity meets Schedule - Perceivers vs. Feelers
Understanding the executive mind
Learn more about me and make me one of your colleagues on My developerWorks profile
Follow me on Twitter