The 2005 List

I accidentally started a tradition last year by making a list so I’m compelled to do one this year as well.

Best Parenting Moment. Watching my daughter read from the Torah outside of Robinson’s Arch at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and my son blow the shofar in the same spot where it’s been used to signal the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years. No better way to learn tradition than to be part of one.

Best Sports Moment. Bronze Medal game, Can/Am hockey tournament, Lake Placid New York. A year after losing in double overtime, our youth team came up big with a 4-1 win over a cross-county rival to bring home the bronze medal. Every player took the ice in the game, every player contributed, and everyone celebrated. Sometimes miracles happen through hard work and good coaching.

Best Work Moment. CEC05, our Customer Engineering Conference, in which we brought together about 1/3 of the customer-facing sales and services engineers in the company for training, sharing, executive pitches and some fun. Our success is tied to our ability to amplify and apply our messages, and the attendees at CEC05 demonstrated a tremendous ability to do both, all the more impressive after an amped up AC/D She show at the final party.

Best E-Mail. After starting my own baseball blog this year, borrowing the number of my all-time favorite Buc Willie Stargell, I got an email from Stargell’s niece thanking me for the tribute to her late uncle.

Best New Toy. Linksys Wireless Range Expander. Plugged it into the wall 2 floors above my main wireless access point, hit “autoconfigure” and fifteen seconds later the bedroom area of our new house had a 5-bar signal. No wires, no conduits, no punchdowns, no electricians.

Best Reading Accomplishment. Finished the trilogy of Simon Singh’s books: Fermat’s Enigma, Code and The Big Bang. Singh is a gifted writer who makes math and science entertaining. Tim O’Reilly told me that the way to make technology books interesting is to write as if you’re teaching someone a game by having them watch you play. Singh captures that same feeling as he peels back modular forms, crypto systems, Copernican astronomy and quantum gravity for the untrained reader.

Best Shopping Experience.I remember the months before my daughter was born, back in 1991, having no clue how to shop for my own children. I was definitely worried about buying appropriately interesting toys, and not just things I remembered wanting as a kid. During our move, we managed to lose one knight from a hand-carved stone chess set of my son’s; we bought it in Mexico a few years ago and there was no way to replace the missing piece. After a few days of poking around on eBay, Google, and some online game stores, I found a King Arthur-themed resin set that matched the stone board we have set up in the family room. It was greeted with “King Arthur and chess! Two of my favorite things!” There is no better feeling in gift giving than finding a gift that synthesizes (current) interests.

Best Poker Hand. Hit a straight flush playing video poker in Atlantic City, and three hands later my friend Joel (sitting next to me) hit his first ever royal flush. A chorus of shouts and high-fives rose over the ringing of the jackpot buzzer, and the buzzer beat us as it rang up 8,000 credits. Even at nickel stakes, it was a nice win.

To all Sun employees, customers, friends, family, readers, browsers, Googlers, and occasional passer-by: Happy New Year.

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