Innovation, Technology & Science

Invitation: Take the Knowledge Connection for a spin

05.22.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on Invitation: Take the Knowledge Connection for a spin

How many times have you been looking to solve a problem and been forced to poke around looking for the answer on Sun’s myriad web properties? Have you given up? Used a third party search engine? Well, we’re hoping to give you a better experience than that. Something that makes it fast, easy, and convenient to get not only the answer to your question, but also to aggregate ALL of Sun’s resources related to that topic presented with the answer, in context.

When you access the Knowledge Connection (select “Fresh Tools” tab, select Knowledge Base Pilot,) you can use it like a regular search engine by typing in terms or you can simply ask a question like “how do i configure Solaris zones?”

You can see from the results that some useful content has been returned. The document titled “How-to create Solaris zones” in the first position is absolutely relevant to the question that has been asked. Indeed, if we open that document:

You see that it is a step by step guide demonstrating how to create a zone. Rather than taking a SunSolve approach where volume is king in placing content into this system, we’ve done the opposite; looking for the high value, high relevance information that results in answered questions vs. simply stocking a pond for fishing (so to speak.)

This is the first step. Next, more product segments will be loaded into the Knowledge Connection. Next, more features will be enabled, chatbots, links to expert marketplaces, and links to live help. We hope you find this useful and will come back often to use this facility. Tell us what you think, all feedback welcome, positive or improvement suggestions.

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Innovation, Technology & Science

Sneak peak: Sun Knowledge Connection

05.19.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on Sneak peak: Sun Knowledge Connection

Watch this space Monday for an in-depth entry on Knowledge Base Pilot available from our Fresh Tools tab of My Sun Connection portal.

If any of you have ever used SunSolve and felt a little frustrated about finding real-time, relevant content. Sun Knowledge Connection will help ease your pain. In trial mode at the moment, Solaris 10 content is the current content base.

More to follow Monday…..


Network Enabled Fabrication

05.17.06 | Permalink | Comments Off on Network Enabled Fabrication

Those of you who know me at all, know I’m something of a tinkerer. I like to dream things up and make them, for example, all terrain rollerblades in 1994. I’ve picked up a few wood and metal working skills through the years, but I’m by no means a professional.

So what do you do when you find you’d like to create a 1mm diameter stainless steel fan for a micro-turbine you’ve been dreaming up? I could try to fabricate a component like this forever and never quite get it right.

Tada! comes to the rescue. The first network enabled fabrication shop. Simply download their software. From there, you design your widget and submit it to them over the net for pricing. If you accept their bid, they’ll fabricate the widget and ship it to you. Way cool. And a very clever business model using the power of the network and sharing software to bring in customers world-wide.

Widget from

If there’s one thing I’d change about this service, I’d make the software run on any platfom, perhaps we can convince them to release the next version in Java. Right now it’s limited to various Windows versions. Other than that, it’s a simple and nifty little CAD program.

Commentary, Energy, Innovation

Let’s grow our own fuel: Biodiesel

05.15.06 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Agriculture is one thing this country has done well historically. It turns out, without a huge amount of hassle, we can use that agricultural prowess to “grow” our own fuel. Sound crazy? Perhaps, but something that’s happening today. In 1999, 500,000 gallons of biodiesel was produced in the US. In 2005, the volume was around 75 million gallons.

So what is biodiesel (mono alkyl esters) anyway? It’s a product of vegetable oil, methanol, and lye put through a process called transesterification. This yields usable fuel and a glycerin by-product. Turns out, it’s pretty trivial to produce on your own, there are many step by step guides, but this one is the clearest and most complete in my opinion.

Biodiesel works in any standard diesel engine and can be (and is) mixed with petrodiesel to get different properites. For instance, biodiesel is more viscous than standard petrodiesel and is more temperature sensitive (if you’re in the cold, you want a bio-petro mix most likely.) This fuel is for sale in retail locations with ratings like B20 (20% bio) to B100 (100% bio.)

With the crunch on fossil fuels, wouldn’t it be great if we could simply grow our way out of this mess? Here’s a great FAQ on the fuel.


Trade: liberty or safety

05.12.06 | Permalink | 1 Comment

A recent Washington Post-ABC poll indicated that 63% of Americans found the NSA telephone monitoring program to be an acceptable way to investigate terror. I fear we may be forgetting about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in our rush to feel “safe.”

OK, here are some facts about safety:

  • Number of Americans killed by terror 2001-03: 2,927
  • Number of Americans killed by gun 2001-03: 89,951
  • Number of Americans killed by car 2001-03: 134,495
  • Estimated number of Americans killed by tobacco 2001-03: 1,200,000

Note: The Centers for Disease Control maintain a comprehensive mortality database.

Are we really safer? Or are we simply buying into a corrupt and erosive process that damages our democracy? In my opinion, it’s time to dust off this quote and put it to use:

They who would give up an essential liberty for safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety – Benjamin Franklin

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