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Biography

said a bit about myself on my home-page, but apparently you want more information. So OK, here’s more information.

I am once again on the hunt for the next great thing to do!

The Recent Past

Not that I haven’t been busy or anything. I’ve been a one-man-band for awhile now building demos, doing development, writing documentation, you name it for a bunch of companies. I’ve done stuff for Samsung Research America (their ARTIK line of IoT devices), the Apache MyNewt Project (a new embedded RTOS for the IoT), an IBM Company, etc.

For a while I was the Chief Technology Evangelist at PsiKick, a small startup doing ultra low-power chips for the Internet of Things (IoT). It was a fancy title but in reality it was I have been doing for years — thought leadership and innovation in the IoT market. They decided to pivot on their business plan and it was no longer a good fit between us, so that’s that!

As you may already know, I’m passionate about IoT and have been since my days at Sun Labs — a moment of silence, please. Keep an eye on my blog for what I’m up to on a daily basis!

I worked as a Technology Evangelist for Riverbed Technology for a little over 2 years, and I still think the company’s amazing. Their kit is pretty remarkable, too. If you have networks, especially WANs, and you don’t know about Riverbed, you’re seriously missing something. It’s also a great group of folks I worked with. I conducted about 30 User Groups a year all over North America, so I got to meet a lot of really interesting customers and go to cool places like Akron, OH, Omaha, NE, etc.

The More Distant Past

I worked at Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) for over 15 years — and I have a couple of  fancy watches and a telescope to show for it. I was a Java coder and researcher in wireless sensor networks. If you don’t know what Wireless Sensor Networks and embedded sensor devices are, you will. They will take over the world soon enough. Yes, I was building SkyNet. And yes, I designed and built the entire website for the Sun SPOT Project, and managed it, including the developer support forums, for 7 years. I also wrote the entire installer that installs all the Sun SPOT SDK software for developers. That installer is written entirely in Java and is designed to have any end user up and writing sensor applications for our platform in under 15 minutes on any platform including Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X. All of that is now called the Internet of Things (IoT) and we at Sun Labs, while we didn’t invent the concept, or the term, did invent the first widely available development platform for the IoT. We made lots of predictions and assumptions about where the IoT would be in 10 years (back in 2004) and lo and behold, most, if not all of them have come true. Sadly, in their great wisdom, Oracle wiped out the user forums and effectively destroyed the entire developer community we had built.

Before that I worked on a massive storage system project. We were going to do several deployments of over 1 Petabyte of storage each, but I moved over to the Sun SPOTs project before we got there.

I’ve also been a Technology Manager and evangelist for Sun. I helped bring the SunRay Thin-client desktop out of Sun Labs and to market; I did the same thing with the JavaStation (don’t hold that against me), and I was one of the 10 original Java Field Technologists back in 1996 responsible for bringing the wonders of Java Technology to a marketplace that didn’t know it wanted Java but desperately needed it. I travelled the world presenting to developers, management, and CxO level executives on the benefits of all of these technologies, developing proof-of-concept projects, and helping early-adopter customers do deployments of them. I have a particular talent for making deeply technical concepts accessible to the non-technical folks, while still being able to “speak tech” to those that want a deeper understanding of the technology.

Somewhere in there I also spent a year or so being the personal on-stage demo-presenter for the Executive Management Group (EMG) at Sun. EMG at the time consisted of Scott McNeally (CEO), Bill Joy (Chief Scientist) and Greg Papadopolous (CTO), among others. My unofficial job title was “Demo Monkey.” I worked closely with the executive communications group and the speech writers to understand what the executives would be speaking about, and then I developed demos for their keynote speeches.  I travelled with the executives and then got up on stage and ran those demos for them. Everything from new product launches to keynotes at JavaOne in front of 20,000 people. I can hold my own in front of a crowd, and I can make the technology shine and sing. Even when that technology is not fully baked. Taking a demo of some new technology under development on stage with a company officer and ‘flying without a net’ is a daunting task. Pulling it off is a remarkable one. I’m not easily intimidated by standing next to true giants in the industry like Bill Joy or Scott McNeally and I can easily develop a rapport with such intellectual giants. I didn’t mind flying around with them on private jets either.

Ancient Times

Before coming to Sun back in 1995 I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Computing Division (C-Division) developing network monitoring and intrusion detection software. They had some assets they wanted to keep safe, you could say. I could tell you what I was protecting, but then I’d have to kill you. And yes, I had a high level security clearance from the DOE at the time.  I wrote in C back then, doing low-level TCP/IP code development including a fully kerberos-encrypted version of UDP — and yes, that’s as hard to do as it sounds. I also found and fixed (and gave back to the world) several important security fixes to syslog. I should check if they are still in there some time. The system was called the Network Event Recording Device, or NERD, and at the time, my e-mail signature read “I am The NERD!” I’m still a nerd, just not the nerd. I presented a paper (PDF) to the IEEE Symposium on Network and Distributed System Security back in 1995.

Pre-Historic Times

Do I need to go even further back? OK, last thing. At one point I wrote an entire ERP application (in 1991, before there were ERP applications, really) on a Mac, in HyperCard. No, really. It was a thing of beauty. I still miss HyperCard. The company I wrote that for used it for over 10 years before finally succumbing to a real ERP system.

Last one I’m going to do … While I was in college I organized and ran the Newport Jazz Festival, the New York Jazz festival, and a 9 city US Tour of Jazz Concerts for JVC, the sponsors. I got to hang out with the likes of Wilton Felder, Dizzy Gillepsie and some other Jazz greats. Sadly, I was also forced to associate with Kenny G. and listen to him far too many times. I still have nightmares about that.

That’s as far back as I’m willing to go. The FBI went a lot farther back when they investigated me for my Top Secret Security Clearance at Los Alamos, so if you’re really interested, go ask them. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to share.