29 October 2008

Talk to me about SRX and why everyone "hearts" JUNOS

On September 19th Rob Cameron, Technical Marketing Engineer at Juniper Networks, and I sat down to discuss his involvement with SRX Services Gateway. The SRX is a pretty phenomenal product because it is a combination of multiple services. It started from Juniper's involvement with Netscreen firewall products and integrate. It allows users to scale a firewall up to120 Gbps throughput (something formerly "unheard of") and to deploy it in specific cases where scale is needed.

Rob relates this to the iPhone and how phone companies need to be able to send services like web browsing, email, YouTube videos, etc. but still make sure that all that information is secure.

I was recently at an Ixia event (look for a future post) regarding a new Energy Consumption Rating (ECR) where Luc Ceupens from Juniper Networks shared the statistic that the amount of bandwidth an iPhone needs is equivalent to 5,000 regular cell phones. We are at a point in our tech-history where more and more people are ditching there standard cell phones and trading in for smart phones, much like Apple's iPhone.

Rob puts the SRX into perspective by illustrating typical day-to-day uses that SRX is behind.

Afterwards, I asked Rob a few questions about his "I Heart JUNOS" bumper sticker he created. A while ago, these stickers started showing up all over the place. They started being passed around to friends and were quickly seen all over the place. We all have them around our cubes, some have them on their cars (I do!), and we have even seen them in random places around town.

Rob and I have often talked about how amazing and simple it was to get people to join together about JUNOS. Rob works closely with JUNOS, our operating system here at Juniper, and understands what makes JUNOS so wonderful. Much like JAVA, people who use JUNOS become dedicated fans. Rob wanted to create something that would act as a way to unify those who love it. He talks to me about his motive behind creating the sticker and reflects on the process that eventually led to a positive and remarkable outcome.

28 October 2008

Energy Consumption Rating (ECR): Creating a new standard for networking equipment

Juniper Networks T1600 Core Router, the first piece of equipment to be tested on the new ECR standard.
visit Juniper Networks forum, J-Net for more information.
Ixia is located in Santa Clara. They are the leaders in IP testing. This is a view of their lab called "iSimCity" due to it's ability to emulate the amount of data and information one city would typically consume. Go read my blog on social media for more information.

24 October 2008

Pulling off brown paper packaging

It's Friday at 6:50pm and I think that means it's technically Friday night. I also think that means it's technically too late to be working on a Friday. I love being at work after hours. The lights start to dim unless you walk by and activate them; the air-conditioner stops blasting sub-zero streams of air into my cube--an effort to conserve energy since no one is typically here. Something about this place feels right to me. My cube walls are heavy with posters, decorations, and mementos. Somehow, I feel comfortable here. I feel at home. I think the reason I'm so taken with late hours has to do with my nostalgia for a few particular weeks spent on international conference calls until the wee hours of the morning.

Juniper started developing personas in June of 2007. I was fresh to Juniper, having been here for only 4 months. I had graduated from UC Berkeley a month earlier and was faced with the typical post-graduate crisis of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I spent two whole days in a large meeting room with a significant amount of people from Juniper as well as Tamara Adlin and Ariel VanSpronsen from Adlin, Inc.. Juniper hired Adlin, Inc. in hopes of eradicating a typical problem in large businesses: identifying our audience. There is a tendency to refer to one's audience as just that, vague terms like "audience", "customers", and "users". personas help to describe real people and real needs. Alan Cooper is seen as one of the founding fathers of personas. If you haven't read The Inmates Are Running The Asylum I would highly recommend you check it out.

Think of personas like this: (by the way, the example I am about to present you with was conveyed to me verbally. It is not my own.)

I'm going to ask you all to imagine a bird. Do you have the image in mind? Ok good, hang on to that.

What are the chances that the bird you are imagining is the same bird I am imagining? My bird is small, has black feathers caping his back with a bright yellow under belly. His head is boasting a read mohawk and his beak is short and thick like a caligraphy pen. Chances are your bird could have varied drastically from my version.

This metaphor represents what happens all too often in business. We become so focused on what our pre-conceived notions are about our customers that we ignore the people we are trying to connect with. We oversee their true needs, frustrations, and motivations.

Juniper did extensive research all over the globe interviewing employees, external customers, consultants, and research firms throughout Asia, Europe and the North Americas. And not just once, we did round after round of in-person and over-the-phone interviews. We asked each person to tell us what they did during the day, starting from what they thought about as soon as they got into the office. We asked where they sought out information, whether it be word of mouth, over the internet or via newspapers, magazines and other periodicals. We wanted to hear what frustrations they have and what gets them most excited about their job. We wanted to know how they got to their current job title and what their next steps are for future positions.

When we started doing research and relaying the information internally, we described how personas were intended to work. Initially, it was just a concept. But now, a little over a year later, we have fully formed personas. People are talking about them and using them for their planning.

I have to admit, I feel like these personas are part of my family. The project has become something I am endeared to, protective of even, as if it was a child. As I hinted to earlier, there were a few weeks in October and November that my colleague was conducting interviews in Japan, Germany, and England. I basically spent a few nights in my cube so I could listen in to the workshops that were happening half way around the world. I have always been dedicated to this project, it is something I whole-heartedly threw myself into. I felt entirely blessed to walk out of college and into this creative project. It's creative because it takes a lot, especially in business, to go against the grain and admit that something is off. I think it's incredibly exciting to be a part of this change in Juniper. It is a part of my nature to want to understand people, to hear all about what makes them tick. I was a brand new employee and this project introduced me to Juniper; it familiarized me with the most important aspect of the company--the people who make up the business.

The reason for this post is because the research part is over and now we can actually have start to implement the personas into our conversations and understanding. I have been working with one of our design agencies to come up with different print collateral to pass out to the company. When I got back from lunch today I had a huge stack of posters filling the floor of my cube. Oh man--I was, I am, so elated. Opening up that package and pulling the first poster out was better than any Christmas. It feels good to know that we are finally here.

22 October 2008

You won't know what you're missing until you lock your keys in your car and you can't access your electronics

I had a bit of an adventure yesterday which I am going to tell you about because it just re-enforces my point of how reliant we are on technology.

My work at Juniper has been fast paced and hectic lately--just the way I like it--but the pace of yesterday didn't warrant me a bad day. In fact, it was just the opposite. I was feeling strong and confident, enjoying my new hair cut and slick threads. After clocking out at Juniper around 5, I jumped in my beautiful car (I just bought her in Feb) and headed to my second job. I work for a place called SD Forum, which is an organization that puts on seminars revolving around tech-topics. You might be wondering why I would work a second job when I already have a steady job as it is. Well, for one thing, I don't do well when I am idle. Secondly, the job is
right up my alley. Not only do all the topics revolve around things that I find interesting and relevant to my job, but it allows me the opportunity to do some social-networking face-to-face. Plus, extra money never hurt a girl trying to pay off student loans.

I had to stop by the bank in order to break some 20's into smaller bills. The events are $15 dollars and I was running low on 5's and 1's. I was doing great on time, popped into the bank and was out the door in a matter of minutes. When I got back to my car, I started to back up. Apparently Parissa and I were on the same wavelength because she backed her Toyota SUV out of her parking space at the same rate and angle as I backed my Honda Accord up. We were perfectly synchronized and had it not been for the crunch of our bumpers, we may have marveled at how perfectly synchronized we were.

I got out of the car to check the damage and it was not much. We both have minor scrapes on our bumpers, not enough to call the insurance agencies over, just enough to be sad about.

The exchange went like this:

Parissa: Didn't you see me back up?
Tawnee: No, didn't you see me back up?
Parissa: No-- but I was backing up before you.
Tawnee: ... (not sure if this means she needs to back up more effectively, aka faster so it doesn't look like she is hovering in her parking spot, or if she is implying I was more at fault)
Parissa: Get your license

I return to my car to dig out my insurance and license. When I go back to her with my papers and say "Sorry for my curt tone, that wasn't right of me. I'm Tawnee."
"Parissa" she says drawing out the SS's so I can mentally note the pronunciation.
Parissa: Do yoy want to call the insurance companies?
Tawnee: (thinking Of Course Not. Are you mad?) "No, we were both doing the exact same thing. It's equally our faults and there's hardly any damage"
Parissa: Have a good day.

I was off the hook! Unfortunately, my keys, my phone, my wallet - sans drivers license, and the rest of all my belongings were locked up tight inside my car. I tried to open the door again, then again. I think I aggressively tried to pry the door open with my fingers about 6 times. And, although I can't remember perfectly, I think I loudly roared "NOOOoooOooOOOO freaking crap!"

This got the attention of Parissa who was getting back into her car. I told her what had happened and she lent me her cell phone. The problem is, I only know my parents number by heart. I think I mentioned this in my first blog entry. I had to call my parents to ask them for numbers to AAA and also had to have them hunt down the number of my boss at SD Forum.

My parents were online within minutes, searching out numbers for me to write down on a piece of paper Parissa had torn off for me. I could hear them searching the SD Forum for a number. At the end of it all, my car was unlocked and I got to work-- albeit a little late, I still got there and accomplished the job.

In the space of time that I sat waiting for the guy to come and rescue me, I realized how lost I am without my cell phone and all the information it contains. I had thought about asking
the bank if I could surf their web so I could get in touch with my friend on Facebook who used to work at SD Forum. She would still have my boss' number and I could let my boss know that I was late. I kept running through options in my mind of ways to solve this problem that I was in. I knew my parents would be worried about me--as they always are. I ached to be able to call them and let them know I was waiting, but I was safe. I wanted to twitter about my absurd absentmindedness. I wanted to text my friends, check my email, do anything that involved every bit of technology that I didn't have access to.

Yesterday, I proposed that we all do a social experiment where we spend 24 hours not communicating with our partners, friends, parents, or whoever via only telephone or face-to-face. Well, I spent an hour and a half without one--granted it wasn't an emergency, but it was a yellow "Elevated" level if we were relating this to a Homeland Security chart. I had access to a phone-- but it wasn't my phone. And left to my own devices, my memory couldn't pull out anything but a number I have locked in long term memory.

Now I am trying to figure out how to solve this problem of mine. I am so reliant on technology, I can't even make myself remember numbers I call every day. Instead, I scroll down my menu and highlight who I am calling. Or I press down the number to activate speed dial. I adore the fact that doing this saves me .32 seconds of my precious time. But I wonder if I had spent more time dialing those numbers myself, I may have been a lot better off yesterday. I wonder if I should go back to those hokey accordion style magnetic phone books that I remember seeing my momma carry in her hand bag.

YES! All my pondering on the advancement of technology and the implementation of social media is answered in one simple nic-nac.

I can sleep easy tonight.

20 October 2008

Night Slasher

We went around slashing up the night, Claire and me.

I asked Claire to do some acrobatics.

It's like pixie dust
I always felt this way for you
My old home.

05 October 2008

Hardly Strictly Fooling

Celebrated my birthday by going to see a free bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park. Bliss.

This photo is made infinitely better by the crying child in the bottom left hand corner.

Dancing to Gogol Bordello.

I should have asked her name.

He grimaced at me when he saw me aim. I love him for that.

We celebrated the end of the day with beers and laughter in a local "tropical" themed dive bar.