Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Team, New Beginnings, New Goodies

I am delighted to announce that I have joined a new company: Creative Labs, the company who brings you Zen, Sound Blaster, and Vado HD Pocket Cams (to name a few).

And speaking of Vado HD-- I went to SF Outside Lands this past weekend, something I am convinced has become an annual tradition, and filmed all three days with my new toy. You might be thinking that any opinion I give you will be a skewed and biased one, and perhaps that is true. Yes, that is true. BUT, I am also a beginner. I am familiar with the name Creative, I know their products through what I have seen in advertising. When it comes to experiencing Creative products, I previously drew the line at speakers. I was genuinely stoked to get started using my Vado HD.

I'll start off by saying, I love the extra contents they throw in: a silicon skin, carabineer clip for the padded carrying case, and HDMI cable. Plus, there is an option for an additional battery for the camera which is perfect for me because I am always filming exorbitant amounts of things and then forgetting to turn things off. The camera has an auto standby/sleep phase that it goes into when you stop using it for a while. When it's in this phase you can revive it by hitting any button and the screen will flash back up, otherwise it shuts off after prolonged non-use.

I filmed Day One with the thought, "well, here goes" in the back of my head the whole time. I knew eventually I would get home, upload the videos and there would be the proof- either the product is great, or it isn't. When I got home and started listening/watching the clips from the day, I was impressed. I mean jaw-drop impressed. I have used small video recording devices before and they are complete poop when you take them to concerts. Their mics can't handle the blast from the speakers. You know when you are walking somewhere and a car drives past you blasting music inside? The doors rattle, the trunk rattles, your ribcage rattles? I am sure it sounds just peachy inside the car- but outside it sounds like a death rattle. Well, that is what other cams recordings sound like. The Vado HD was sort of a miracle--a Godsend to me, the concert addict. The recording was crystal clear. I could hear a variety of crowd noise that didn't over-power the sound of the song. (Except for the one time that the guy next to me insisted on clapping to the beat--not in time--right into the microphone. That time, I couldn't hear the music. Frankly, I was a bit mad at him- not the Vado.)

Below are all five videos I have created from the three days. I have kept them all short, each is under a minute and a half, so that you can stay entertained and don't have to sacrifice half of your day watching. ;) Let me know what you think, ask me questions, show me your videos, make requests on what you want to see next. I am happy to listen, answer, watch and oblige.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lithium announces our community, J-Net, as one of the cool kids!

Lithium just announced companies who are using their communities platform successfully and Juniper's J-Net happens to be on there (slide 11 on the deck posted below), and we are all so very proud. (Applause Applause)

We've been running Lithium for almost two years now, and every bit of it has been a gratifying experience. Lithium is full of innovative and clever individuals; they are always delivering great solutions to the undying questions like, "How can we make our community more successful? How can we reduce costs by utilizing our online community? How can we make sure our customers are getting the right information and a high-quality experience that they need?"

Not too long ago, J-Net was a feeble community. It was an under-utilized, under-developed space. Today, we pride ourselves in a thriving community. I am thrilled that I have had the pleasure of getting to know and interact with so many of our J-net users. It is an amazing thing, watching a community grow. We constantly receive feedback from our users thanking us for giving them a space where they can efficiently gather information, get their questions answered, and have fun participating in promotions where they can win prizes-- you are all most welcome. We are elated we can provide you with such a positive experience.

It's a rewarding feeling, being acknowledged by Lithium as one of their Customer Success stories, but it's even more rewarding knowing we are doing something right for our community. Thanks to all our users and Lithium for allowing us to make such great strides with J-Net these past 19 months.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Transformers: This rant has been a long time coming.

I've been mentally revisiting my UC Berkeley days a lot lately. 

In class, we were encouraged to question everything, even our own perceptions and beliefs. If I believed something to be true, that perceived truth was challenged by my professors. I was asked to disassemble my belief, to champion for the other side, to rearrange, reconstruct, pull apart--you get the point. There were times when the process was tedious and seemed like the professors were flexing their power, but at the end of it all- it helped me to form a concrete understanding of an issue and the way I felt about it. 

This process of deconstructing and evaluating information has become a favorite skill of mine. I am grateful that I (perhaps one of very few) left the theatre feeling insulted that Michael Bay didn't attempt to hide his "Buy American Cars" message in the Transformers film. Instead he flew the GM flag so brightly, it was like a night time road crew telling me to switch lanes. And really now--how quickly we forget Transformer's Japanese origin. It was not all that long ago that Tranformers was being syndicated on American TV from Japan, complete with dubbed English. This is not immediate point though, the point is this:  we are so accustomed to receiving media, that we wait for it to be given, we receive it without really looking and without questioning what we are given. 

For many of my friends, they saw an action film, they saw the typical poor CG that showed up in today's action films, they saw great looking cars and a sexy leading young man and lady (Is Shia Labeouf sexy? Jury is still out on that one). And to an extent, yes- those were all there. But they were all catalysts for throwing this message of "buy American cars" at all of us. Maybe it's not Michael Bay's fault that his motion picture has been turned into an hour and a half GM commercial. Perhaps it's Universal Studios, or NBC, or one of those Big Wig champs up in their sky rise buildings making all the decisions.

We, as a consuming public-desperate for media and entertainment at such a rapid pace-are easily distracted. Like kids with keys jingling in front of our eyes, we are. Jingle the pretty Megan Fox before me and sure, I'll let you tell me to trade in my Honda Accord for a Ford Edge. (I said, "I'll let you tell me" not, "convince me.")

To me, social media is the great exception to mass media consumption. Even though we consume social media in astounding quantities, we exercise choice. We search for people who deliver insightful commentary, we subscribe to comically smart podcasts, we befriend authors for NY Times on Twitter or Facebook. Sure, there are the mindless YouTube videos and celebrity trash sites--and who doesn't love a sophomoric distraction once in a while? But that is exactly the point- we consume what we want when we feel we want it. 

Last example to prove my point: If I want to watch an indie film, I have to go to an indie theatre. Thank goodness I live in a metropolitan area where I can watch most any film on the indie market from the dilapidated comfort of a semi-shoddy San Francisco picture house. But not everyone has that opportunity. They are stuck to the mainstream box office hits- they are stuck to the blatant "Buy Chevy!" messaging. Social media has no mainstream- there is no discrimination on individuals based on happenstance of one's geography. In a way, all websites are created equal.

I realize this post, like most of my posts, has been long. And if you are here-- thanks for sticking it out. This is a much larger topic, one that would be best discussed in a group, in a cafe, late at night. But for now-- feel free to comment back. Tell me if that movie convinced you to purchase a Camaro, and if it did... can I borrow it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Familiarize yourself with Juniper - Part 2: Facebook and LinkedIn

I left off discussing Juniper's involvement with Twitter and pointed you towards Juniper's three blogs for the strategic, technical, and bridge audiences. Hopefully you have already had time to peruse the links on past blogs and get acquainted with these topics.

How many of you have explored all of what LinkedIn can offer? They recently broadened their capabilities and offerings. Now, it functions not only as a way for you to remain connected to your friends and colleagues, but as a networking option for people you have yet to meet who share similar interests. In this case, your common bond is Juniper and all the many juniper-focused categories.
If you search LinkedIn today, you will find 27 groups you can join. The topics range from JUNOS Certification, to being a Juniper Engineer, to location based user groups. There is even a group called "Juniper Networks - A dream company to work with" with many starry-eyed members. LinkedIn has been known as a great networking tool, especially if you are searching 
for a new job or recommendation to boost your credibility as a good hire. Groups allow you to have access to people from all over the globe who are importing information that is relevant to you. Since you already talk shop with your friends, why not join a few Juniper groups? You'll get connected to the information you may otherwise be missing out on. I highly recommend you do your own search and examine what possibilities await you.

Though Facebook was not initially designed as an online industry mixer,  it has slowly become a major resource for professional networking. Mind you, Facebook
 remains a relaxed atmosphere and doesn't typically conjure an impression of polished interactions. I am of the mindset that upholding the corporate personality at all times can be exhausting--people need a place to relax a bit. Facebook feels like a casual Friday to me. Just because I work at Juniper for the 9-5pm (well, realistically, 7pm) doesn't mean I stop being  an advocate when I am out of the office. Facebook functions similarly to LinkedIn by allowing you to join fan pages and groups. There is even a use who touts themself as the living personification of Juniper Networks itself! Join one of these groups and start to add pictures to the pile of fan photos, connect with peers, and keep up-to-date on Juniper news. While you're at it, feel free to add my Facebook profile to your list of friends. It's always nice to hear from fans of Juniper.

This isnt the end. Next post, I'll let you know how to keep track of Juniper on social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Digg as well as highlight all the many ways to stream Juniper to your RSS.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whats the good word? Network World recommends Juniper Twitter Stream

Media mentions Twitter over 8,000 times per week, so says Twitter. On Friday the 3rd of March, one of those media mentions mentioned Juniper's Twitter. You're following me, right? Bob Brown of Network World suggested @JNetTawnee twitter stream as one of the "IT Security Vendors worth following on Twitter." 

Brown writes that "The most dedicated security Tweeters seem to come from the labs, though others such as...Juniper...are also quite active." He also points to a much larger list of enterprise IT and network companies on Twitter. Juniper's three twitter streams, @JuniperNetworks@JNetTawnee, and @JUNOSJeff are all on there. Although, for some reason Jeff's and my twitter stream are listed under "Intel"--two above Juniper's listing. A mistake, I'm most certain.

It's wonderful to have a bit of recognition and promotion surrounding our social media efforts. I encourage all of you to contact me, either via Twitter or comment on this post here to let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback. Let me know what type of content you want to see more of, or how we can improve your twitter-experience. Are we giving you everything you want? Let me know.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Familiarize yourself with Juniper

Here we are in the throws of Social Media, networking, and online everything and it seems a lot of you are unaware of Juniper's online presence. I want to take a minute to outline all the ways you can keep connected to our fabulous establishment< /my bias >.

First things first. We have three categories of blogs for all your reading enjoyment. We spent a great deal of time researching personas and the archetype groups that they fit into (more on that later). Most people are aware of strategic and technical archetypes since these are terms that are often thrown around in corporate conversation. Through our research, we discovered another archetype--bridge--that was frequently overlooked. This is the group that bridges the gap between strategic and technical. Fancy that, I know. Bridge personalities have any combination of strategic and technical tasks. The difference is, blogs that are too technical or too 
strategic tend to be too saturated with certain content that acts to ostracize the group that 
doesn’t fit entirely in one group or the other.

Juniper executives on topics from cloud computing to economics and green IT.

Business perspectives on the trends, solutions and driving networking innovation.

Technical: Networking Now
Technologists on network security, routing and switching products and solutions.

Next, we have our infallible J-Net community. J-Net was originally designed purely to support post-sales technical support and to help customers with product support issues. Today the 
community still serves that purpose, but also allows members to get news about what is going on or about to happen, a place to receive media, like videos with engineers, executives, and members of our community. J-Net is always free, and doesn’t require a user name or password to view content. Signing up for J-Net will allow individuals to participate in the conversation, be entered for monthly drawings and events, and receive community recognition as industry experts.

Twitter is the topic of many conversations I have been a part of or have overheard around the office and on random elevators. We have a few twitters to make sure you have the information you are searching for.

@JuniperNetworks is the official news feed for Juniper. Here you will find the press releases, updates about new blogs posted, as well as links to what is being said about Juniper.

@JNetTawnee is my twitter. I post a lot of what @JuniperNetworks does, but this twitter is infused with my personality and the ability for you to ask questions and get answers. Here you will also get updates about J-Net, what new videos are available for viewing, and banter about what's going on with Juniper from my perspective.

@JUNOSJeff is Jeff Mattan's twitter stream. He is your go-to guy for all things concerning JUNOS. He will be able to keep you current with JUNOS information, as well as answer any questions you may have. Jeff is an excellent person to know in real life, but if you're not lucky enough to be in the office-- you may as well connect with him via Twitter.

Next post I'll shed light on our endeavors with Linked In and Facebook. Hopefully I'll see you on the forums and connect with you via twitter. Send me a tweet to say hello.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Take on Twitter: Useful or Addictive?

I came across this video about a young man struggling "against the pressure to Twitter his life away" thanks to Jeremiah Owyang. It is hilarious, to say the least.

I was recently asked by my friend Charlie how I felt about Twitter. He has his own dance company in SF and was curious how he could use social media to promote his company. I am a believer that Twitter can do many a good thing when used for business purposes.

First of all, it's a great way for me to connect with people who use Juniper, love Juniper or have yet to figure out how much they love Juniper. Twitter allows me to be a quick reference point for everyone. By finding people who are interested in Juniper specifically, or just want to talk about expanding their network, find information about the data center, or switch technology, I am able to get information to them that they wouldn't ordinarily know to seek out for themselves. I may not know the answers for their questions, but I have access to the people inside the company. I know where to ask, and it's a great way to connect to someone who actually has a personality rather than filling out a support form or sending an email without knowing if you'll ever get an answer.

This video is hilarious because of the parody it makes of our social reliance on Twitter. I laughed at the desperate screaming of the people when the twitter whale came and shut them out. I remember the first time Twitter went down on me-- wondering what I was going to do with this thought I wanted to import. Apparently, "waiting" is not an option. My thoughts stream through my head at an alarming rate. How can I be expected to hang on to a thought for longer than the moment I am thinking it? What absurdity! Not to mention, by the time Twitter does come back up-- my thought will already be irrelevant. I NEED IMMEDIACY! 

I have the benefit of having two Twitters: one for personal and one for work [@JNetTawnee]. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that my personal twitter serves no purpose, and more than likely does not better the world in any way. It does serve to be a way for me to track my silly train of thoughts, pictures, and responses to friends. Being someone who has journaled from the ripe age of 10, micro-blogging is near and dear to my heart. When I was 10, I had the time to write pages describing what I did that day-- but for my fast paced life, Twitter is a great substitute until I can actually sit down on LiveJournal or--who knows--maybe even an actual journal and transcribe my thoughts on the day, the world, and what's to come.

So what do you think? Is Twitter as mindless and nonsensical when used in moderation and for appropriate uses? Or are we just insane addicts who take too much and freak out when we can't get our next fix?

By the way, when I finish this post, I will be twittering about it. Perhaps that's how you got here. If so, I guess it served me well. Thanks Twitter, and thanks to you for clicking.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sometimes the best connection is a real connection

I recently interviewed Dave Hawley, Director of Product Management for the EX 8208 at Juniper Networks. We talked about what the EX8208 is and what makes it so remarkable and relevant to the market. Dave and the whole EX8208 crew worked incredibly hard for the past 2 years (you can read his blog about it) so it was a great pleasure to sit down and discuss the final result.
I also talked to another member of the EX 8208 crew, Bobby Guhasarkar, Senior Manager for Product Marketing in the Ethernet Platforms Business Group. He and I discussed how the project evolved from a start-up in 2006. After the start-up was picked up by Juniper, their group of merely 4 people blossomed into 300 throughout Sunnyvale, California and Bangalore, India. 

Rather than work to re-do existing platforms, the EX 8208 team started from scratch. Bobby said this was "easier to do," and the fact that they had big-company funding while functioning like a small company definitely helped. 

Of course, being a social-media minded girl in a high tech industry, I am always looking to find the human elements in all the so-called "techs and specs". A big part of the job for Bobby is talking to customers. He is frequently on the road--about one week per month. These travels allow Bobby to give presentation to channel partners and act as a human barometer. Product marketing pivots on customer feedback and interaction.

When I asked Bobby if he used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Linked-In (these three are becoming the professional holy trinity for most of us these days), he promptly shrugged off the platforms as being helpful aids for his job. Outside of work, Bobby uses Facebook to stay connected to past and current friends, but professionally Facebook and Twitter are of no use to him. 

When talking to Bobby, it became clearer how social media might "connect" us to an endless amount of people, but it has yet to master how to make those connections natural and 'human'. Intonation, emphasis and tone are impossible to convey on Facebook and Twitter. We must rely on those we have befriended to assume what our tone of voice is. 

I enjoyed the fact that social media was irrelevant for Bobby's job. It proved to me that although social media is 'all the rage' and 'on the rise'--nothing beats having a conversation face to face, developing a rapport, and being able to read a person's reactions.

I greatly enjoyed speaking with Dave and Bobby and, although I don't understand the depth of the technology 100% of the time, it is easy to see how impressive and powerful this technology is. I give a very enthusiastic congratulations to Dave, Bobby and the entire EX 8208 team. And if you have been living only online for too long, let me translate that: I digg them, I clicked "KUDOS" or "thumbs up" and I rated their work 5 stars.

If you would like to see my video interview with Dave Hawley, head over to JuniperMediaCenter's YouTube Channel.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Sea of Screens

I was just sent a link to a Gizmodo article written by Adam Frucci where he brought up the notion of "obsessive documentation." As the photo (taken by Kate Heffernan) clearly shows, we are obsessed with digital documentation. Adam closes his writing by stating, "And in the end, what will help you remember an experience better: taking a not-great picture that's 80% crowd, or giving that experience 100% of your attention? You can always find photos online later, but you'll never be able to go back to that moment again and, well, pay attention to it."

In some respects, I agree with Adam's point of view. We should be able to be more zen, be in the moment, experience the experience and all that goodness. On the other hand, I think that the only way the current 'digital generation' actually feels they have experienced something, is if they have a digital account of it. This premise is what makes microblogging sites so prominent. The amount of information that we consume on a daily basis is vast and abundant. I read so many articles every day that it becomes hard to remember what the messages of each piece was or where to find it again. And so, I twitter it, I forward it and create a digital log of it.

In the case of the Inaugural address or the Youth Ball, there is no chance I could forget attending something like that, with or without having a camera attached to my hand. It's a bit of a double-edged sword because taking pictures means we don't have to remember since we have the pictures, yet at the same time, taking a picture solidifies that we have the memory. We are currently living in an age where digital proof is just as important as actual experience. Even if I attended the Youth Ball with a group of friends, I would still want to take my own pictures despite the fact that all my friends would be doing the same. My camera, my pictures, my memories. There is a degree of identity that is embedded in each digital account. Even if the pictures are seemly all the same, as Adam points out, and there may be 100 photos on flickr that are technically better than the ones you took... you still took it. You were there, you saw, you snapped.

Adam reflects on when he saw Radiohead play live and everyone had their phones out. He says, "people are more interested in taking photos of something they're witnessing than actually, you know, witnessing it." And sure, that might be the case, I understand that he might feel he missed the show if he watched it through a 2x3 inch screen rather than just looking up. If I watched an entire Radiohead show like that, I would feel a bit cheated as well. I saw Radiohead play at Outsidelands in SF this past August, and took a photo of it with my phone. There is NO way anyone would have any idea what they are looking at by viewing the photo posted to above. Me on the other hand, I do. I remember everything about that night, taking that picture, getting trampled by thousands of people. I remember where I was, trying to heave myself out of a wild crowd while 'Talk Show Host' played. That entire night was significant to me. My digital accounts and microblogging from that night are equally important to me. Rather, they were shoddy attempts at microblogging seeing as how 60,000 people were tyring to text, call, twitter, etc. all at the same time which basically arrested the network.

So yes, I wholeheartedly agree with you Adam. We are obsessed with digital documentation. Frankly I wish the other 59,999 people at Outsidelands weren't as obsessed with digital documentation as I am so that my twitter updates would be sent directly after I pressed "send" and I wouldn't have to "miss the show" trying to find a signal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"I believe in introducing people to people."

I just listened to this story about Jim Haynes, a Louisiana born real-life networker. He currently lives in Paris and offers up his home as a place for people to come and dine on Sundays. He welcomes his home to absolutely anyone, they only need call or write to let him know they will be there. Over the past 30 years has had anywhere from 50 to over 100 people come for dinner each Sunday.

Jim has a talent for connecting people, but his talent extends far beyond the scope of adding Myspace friends and sending out bulletins. Jim is a master at real-social networking.

Much like fashion or music trends, I wonder if social media will have it's own cyclical nature. Now, social media is bearing the burden of why people are becoming more reclusive, out of touch with society, or socially awkward. A recent Vallywag article attributed the Internet's "dehumanizing effects" to the reason why we are currently so fixated on autism. Author Owen Thomas says that we connect with the concept of autism because we, as a society of Internet obsessed people, can relate to the symptoms. He notes that, "Instant messaging famously suppresses social cues. Needing to type ":-)" to communicate our pleasure may give the tiniest hint of what the disease may be like." Perhaps social media will one day come full swing; rather than pushing us away from eachother, it will bring us together, not only through the internet but in real time and space.

If all this is true, that we are gradually retreating into a world of entirely electronic emotional connections, then Jim Hayes gives us hope for how to translate social networking from pixels to people.

One of the reasons why social media strikes my fancy, aside from loving all the new gadgets and technology that come with the territory, is the opportunity to connect with people on a much larger scale than I could do face-to-face. Jim, somehow, has managed to interact with more people face-to-face than I think I could manage online. He knows people's names, stories, and personalities. He has the added benefit of interacting with them, truly understanding their idiosyncrasies. He doesn't need to emphasize each joke with ":))".

Yesterday, Jeremiah Owyang suggested people take a step back from such deep interconnectivity in order to gain a bit of perspective. I agree, it's nice to "get back to our roots" of interacting the way it was intended. Odd how normal human interaction is somewhat a thing of the past.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back in the game for the New Year

I have been out of comission for the past few weeks. I caught a nasty version of the common cold, much like the majority of folks out there. I had the benefit of having my momma take care of me for a few days, she said the stores were nearly all out of chicken noodle soup. Really? We are all that sick right now? I am shocked...but also fairly impressed at our unity. ;)

I had many hours to sit on the couch and suck in a bit of mindless entertainment. I am now all caught up on shows and movies I have been wanting to see. I discovered a new show, "The Big Bang Theory." Have you heard of it? I geeked out a bit over it because in one episode they happend to mention "noob" and the non-Newtonian corn starch experiment.

Watch this funny clip about how Sheldon is trying to get his neighbor to leave him alone after he introduces her to online gaming and she becomes hooked.

He told her to leave him alone, then texted her, sent out an emphatic twitter, even changed his facebook status to "Sheldon Cooper wishes Penny would leave him alone."

I love how social media is sneaking it's way into TV sitcoms. Because yes, how connected we all are is somewhat absurd and definitely works in a sitcom script.

Also, the show is good. I thought I was going to be unimpressed, but they have a lot of solid nerdy references. 

I'm Tawnee and I approve this message.