Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NetApp Tech Rocks (Found) in Sunnyvale CA

This week in Silicon Valley ... south of Moffett Field, in Sunnyvale, CA

NetApp Technology rocks!

No, I am not talking about rockstars, although NetApp is consistent with earnings, growth, and open employee culture.

I walked around their campus and actually found these huge NetApp Technology rocks on each side of a walking path close to Building 1.  Look closely at the design stamped on the inside of the rocks. 

NetApp Technology Rocks in Sunnyvale, CA 

Sometimes I think people may become obsessed with two or three key technology companies that are always in the news ~ please remember these stories of several other companies - ones not in the headlines everyday, yet contribute to worldwide business everyday.

NetApp Technology

Of course , there are the other stories of the suppliers - pipeline to each of these companies - selling their goods and services to all of these key companies ~ this is the heartbeat of Silicon Valley.

NetApp in Sinnyvale CA

This company:  NetApp Technology
  • Founder: Dave Hitz
  • NetApp Technology, a public corporation, has an open employee culture and with solid revenues the past 7/8 years.  And they celebrated #6 Best Company to Work For 2012.  
  • In 1992, founder Dave Hitz writes the first storage operating system with WAFL® (Write Anywhere File Layout), improving storage performance and efficiency.

NetApp Technology - Walking through the rocks

What do they do?  They sell data management systems - I found a fun, non-techical description written on Dave Hitz's blog about what they really do. NetApp helps large organizations manage all of the data - information flowing around.  

Keep it simple for everyone in Silicon Valley ~ The Fun Tour Guru 

Images - Courtesy of DW, click and enlarge to see details.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spot the Shuttle: Endeavor Sunnyvale/Mountain View CA

I played the spot the shuttle game today ....

The historic flight of Endeavor Shuttle flying on NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier left this morning from Edwards Air Force Base flying over Sacramento, San Francisco and Silicon Valley (near Moffett Field). 

Although I was not quite positioned to catch the best view and my pictures show as a "dot" in the sky ~~ it was fun to gather with everyone to see the Endeavor on its finale voyage.  I saw people pull their cars off on the side of the road in order to get a glimpse of this. 

I was playing the live stream from NASA Ames Research website showing the crowd gathering at Moffett Field while I snapped this series simultaneously.

Spot the Shuttle: Endeavor in Sunnyvale & Mountain View CA

Picture A - this is interesting as it captures Endeavor with a bird flying in the top third of the picture.

Spot the Shuttle: Endeavor A with bird

Spot the Shuttle: Endeavor B

Spot the Shuttle: Endeavor C

You may read more information on Endeavors historic flight in this Mashable article.

And a recorded copy of the live stream from Ames Research Center at Moffet Field.  You will find the shuttle at 8 minutes into the video.

Spotting the Endeavor flying over Silicon Valley ~ The Fun Tour Guru

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Santa Clara CA Art & Wine Festival: Behind the Scenes

My find ... the behind-the-scenes preparation is a lot of work.

Every year I set aside one weekend in September to go to this local festival on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, I am somewhat biased, as I reside in Santa Clara, I find this festival is a bit different because it takes place in our Central Park and not on Main Street, downtown.

Up goes my fave winery sign at the festival -DW
I really love this particular park because Central Park is 50 acres - with a creek running through the middle, a lake with fountains. two ball parks, tennis courts, bocce  ball, picnic areas, stage areas, and of course our world famous International Swim Center gains much attention. And, our fabulous main library is adjacent to the park.  Fun!

Artists set up at Festival - DW

This year I stumbled on the set up activities before the festival. I realize that I take this huge festival for granted. 

I forget about the preparation to bring festivals like this together.  All through the year, it is efforts from people like our city park and recreation officials, city organizers, local volunteers, and even the artists creating their goods for this - I am sure there are many more I need to include.

Stage ready for rockin bands - DW

The preparation of events like these is story in itself - our community coming together to ensure we have two days of this fun local gathering. I am glad I was able to view a small part of this preparation this year. Festivals like this - not just in Santa Clara, happen all through local communities across the world.

Volunteers patrol on bikes - DW

Hats off to all people, and especially the unidentified people who help, behind the scenes every year creating these experiences for us!

See you at this local festival ~~ The Fun Tour Guru

Yes, you may follow more of these set up festival pictures on Instragram, at meetdonnaw.  Please excuse the picture quality as they were taken from an iPhone at dusk. 

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Local Art Gems in Santa Cruz, CA

With my frequent trips to the town of Santa Cruz, I  always find some real gems which catch my eye in this fun town. Last year I wrote about their new round-a-bout intersection

Yes, I admit I usually look at surfers and sea otters - on this trip I kept seeing beautiful murals, sculptures, and traffic art throughout the streets.  

After some research, I discovered that we may even take a self-guided "SculpTOUR" through these Santa Cruz streets. You may even download a map and follow this walking tour. This has been made available because of a small organized program developed by the locals in 1998 to display local artists creations - which brings a fresh look at everyday scenes we walk and drive through.  And, yes there are sand sculptures on the beach by the boardwalk too.

I was particularly drawn to the Graphic Traffic project - art on the traffic signal cabinets throughout the city. A neat way to disguise these cabinets on the streets!

Graphic Traffic in Santa Cruz, CA Image by DW

Graphic Traffic - Santa Cruz, CA Image by DW

About this Santa Cruz Arts Program

The murals and sculptures are created by local artists through a city program of the City of Santa Cruz Department of Economic Develpment and Redevelopment, Santa Cruz City Arts works with the Arts Commission, partners and stakeholders to guide and manage this public art program. Staffing is one person, part time.

This program is "dedicated to bring creativity to the streetscape through diversity of placemaking projects, including temporary, permanent, temporal, small-scale and large scale installations". 

Tribute to Santa Cruz Surfers Image DW
I continue to see more and more of these fun scenes made by local artists - of all ages. These people are the ones who actually live in and enjoy our small communities everyday.  

What an innovating idea to inspire the locals who live in our communities! And they camouflage the progress we sometimes find ourselves complaining of.  Big city projects fighting with funds?  Take note of how Santa Cruz came together to beautify. 

What ideas do you have to beautify your town? 

Just think, what a small bit of organization from our locals artists and city working together will do for our communities ~  

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This week in Santa Cruz, CA ~ The Fun Tour Guru

This Art Program was started in 1998 by a group of local residents, Public Art in Santa Cruz.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Art of Finding Hidden Gems While Traveling

Thousands of miles away...

I am very excited to share Beverly Hill's personal account of her hiking and kayaking trip  and how she connected and found some hidden gems in the local communities on the east coast of Florida! 

Beverly Hill works in the judicial system by day, and after hours is a feature writer devoted to Northwest Florida Outdoor Adventure. She writes original, quality content, is available for assignments and is the recipient of 4 Editor's Choice Awards from online publications. Beverly is a writer, webmaster, and owner of Northwest Florida Outdoor Adventure website.


The Art of Finding Hidden Gems While Traveling

For years whenever I would plan a trip to a new destination, my go-to source for finding adventure was to spend hours scouring the internet for state park websites, reading up on popular hiking or kayaking destinations and even reading reviews on popular travel websites, but recently I discovered a new angle – the art of listening.

On a recent trip to the east coast of Florida, I decided to do away with the written-in-stone itinerary and “wing it.” That's not to say that I didn't already have reservations at a local state park, but beyond that my days were free to explore. So on the first day of my trip as I checked into the park I asked for a local trail map and then asked “Where's the best place to eat around here?” The park ranger cheerfully gave me several options and then pointed me in the direction of the one he preferred and I thanked him and headed off to set up camp.

Arriving at Camp

I set up camp just before a threatening rain storm was about to blow in. With everything safely secured I hopped into the car and drove seven miles to a small town the ranger had told me about. I decided to grab a few things from the grocery store, and while checking out I struck up a conversation with the cashier. I asked her what her big plans for the weekend were and she told me about a parade in a town just up the road. Well, add that to my list of things to check out.

Back at camp the storm had passed so I grabbed a fishing pole and headed down to the dock to drown some worms. A fellow fisherman joined me and we chatted pleasantly about fishing and as the conversation grew I learned he was in town for a kayak fishing tournament. He cheerfully told me where he was planning to take his kayak out to the next day and where he'd fished over the past several days. He was so caught up in his upcoming adventure that he even showed me some fishing techniques I didn't know. As evening fell I wished him luck and headed back to camp to ponder where I'd go next.

Little Talbot Island State Park after the rain storm Florida Courtesy of Beverly Hill

Hiking Adventures

The next morning I headed down to the ranger station to register as a hiker on one of the more popular trails. While filling out the sign in sheet I asked more questions like where was the best place to get pictures of wildlife, where could I rent a bike and where was the best place to fish? The ranger answered all of my questions and also gave me tips about the tides as it pertained to my hike: If I started on the east end of the trail I'd still have time to hike the beach trail back before the tide swallowed it.

Driftwood beach at Big Talbot Island Florida Courtesy of Beverly Hill

I had an awesome hike except for a few bothersome mosquitoes, but the view was incredible and well worth it. I finished up and headed back to camp for lunch, a nap and to wait out the next tide change. After that I decided to tackle another nearby park and beach hike that can only be achieved during low tide. Good thing I'd picked up that little tidbit about the tides because the pictures were awesome!

On the second night I decided to pull up stakes and head inland away from the coast. I found myself at a hotel in a satellite city near the capitol. I got a good night's sleep and come morning I was off again to tackle yet another state park. There I met hikers and kayakers who were friendly and eager to give me a more leads for exploring the local area.

Okaloosa Island Florda Courtesy of Beverly Hill

Tune into the Locals in Regions

I started to wonder to myself why I hadn't tried to strike up conversations with people more often. At the beach, if someone noticed my camera they would tell me where the best places were to get some great shots. If I remarked out loud that I was starting to get hungry someone would tell me about a “great little restaurant” that I should try. If I expressed interest in an activity like fishing or kayaking someone would always volunteer information as to the best places to go.

Now when I go somewhere, I'll hang out in the lobby of a hotel or maybe on the boardwalk overlooking the beach and strike up small conversations with people that pause near me. I'm learning a lot more about the “locals” and where their favorite places are. What a novel idea this “listening” stuff is!

Thank you Beverly for sharing - this fun outdoor adventure you went on and how you found these local areas!  You may read additional stories, get the latest Northwest Florida information, and find Beverly Hill’s current activities at Northwest Florida Outdoor Adventures .

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Sharing conversations with locals in our communities, who will you stop and talk to? ~ The Fun Tour Guru

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