Five Years

Volume 8, Issue 62; 24 Apr 2005; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Today is officially my fifth anniversary at Sun Microsystems.

I officially started working at Sun Microsystems five years ago today on 24 Apr 2000. I make a point of saying “officially” because my new manager actually asked me to start working a few days early. The first thing I was asked to do was see if I could figure out why the xml-dev mailing list was running so slowly and occasionally wedging completely.

In retrospect, it was a slightly odd assignment. There must be dozens of sysadmin types at Sun that could run circles around my meager skills. But I was the new guy, with no other responsibilities, and it was the XML folks taking most of the flack so I got the job. Eventually, I made some progress and eventually OASIS outsourced the whole business to a company that really knew what they were doing.

Most of the other things I've been asked to do fit into my job description a little better. I've served on I think seven working groups at the W3C, including three successful elections to the TAG, four technical committees at OASIS, and one expert group in the JCP. I've edited more than a dozen specifications of various sorts and I've occasionally written some code.

I've given tutorials, presented technical papers, put together half a dozen ad hoc presentations, and chaired several "town hall" meetings at more than 10 conferences. I was even the keynote speaker once. I've also written more than a dozen articles and essays for publication in various print and online journals.

On the lighter side, I've had six managers. I estimate that I've spent 1,750 hours on the phone participating in working groups and travelled to five other countries for conferences and working group meetings (Canada, England and Scotland, France, Japan, and Thailand). I have sent approximately 18,000 email messages and received on the order of a million (I refuse to contemplate how many of those were spam). I have had three mobile phones, four PDAs, and three laptops. I have never run Windows on any of them.

Sun gives you a gift after five years, ten years, and some other milestones. I chose the telescope. I enjoy what I do, I'm surrounded by bright, energetic people genuinely trying to do the right thing, and I have every expectation of getting another gift in 2010.


Mazel tov!

—Posted by Dorothea Salo on 25 Apr 2005 @ 04:54 UTC #

Congratulations on your 5th anniversary at Sun.

I have enjoyed working with you for all of that time. I wonder how many of your phone conference hours I have shared?

I think our friendship and collegial efforts are best described in:

Best of luck in all of your future endeavours.


PS: You are definitely going to have to increase that country count!

—Posted by Paul Cotton on 03 May 2005 @ 05:47 UTC #

Thanks, Paul

And yes, I do, and I'm looking forward to getting another later this month.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 03 May 2005 @ 08:15 UTC #