Thursday Apr 16, 2009

A Real Student Bargain for JavaONe


This year, JavaOne let's students get in free!

Plus, they can sign up for CommunityOne at the same time.

Both passes are full conference passes with access to everything!

Educators can also get in free when they bring 10 students with them to the conference. If they aren't able to do this, they still get a fantastic deal of $895 for a full conference pass.

This is an unprecedented bargain and discount!

What is a Full Pass?

All the benefits of a FULL conference attendee, which includes: JavaOne general and technical sessions, panel discussions, HOLs (Hands-on-labs), BOFs (Birds-of-a-feather), the Pavilion and the After Dark Bash / Networking Mixer! Not to mention a "hang space" (which includes video games, movies & more!), plus you will be able to check email any time at one of our many hacker stations.


Admission to the CommunityOne Deep-Dives. What does this mean? FREE training by our very own SLS on some really great topics, plus hugely discounted certification (vouchers will be handed out at the event)- certification can even be done on-site! There will also be numerous parties and chances for you to network with the best and brightest in the industry, from community leaders to "Rockstars" and everyone in between.

Sunday Feb 08, 2009

Interoperability and Innovation

Most software professionals already know about the important role interoperability plays in fostering innovation. In a recent commentary in Financial Times ("Interoperability: the great enabler"), Michael Schrage, a researcher with the MIT's Sloan School of Management notes

Barriers to interdisciplinary innovation tumble. Favourable economics of interoperable innovation will tempt ambitious "inter-preneurs" to test their ideas.

How might interoperability between Siemens cochlear implants, Apple iPhones, Nike running shoes accelerometers, LG microwave ovens, Nintendo Wiis and BMW Series 3 Sedans create bold entrepreneurial, or diversification, opportunities? Who knows? But the fact that the question piques curiosity reveals fundamental changes in the global innovation climate.

A new innovator's dilemma begins to attend the extent of interoperability in products. 

Thursday Oct 09, 2008

Reminiscing on Micro-Kernels and Group Communications

Yes, I have to admit that, in my opinion, JGroups is probably the best early example of the "micro-kernel" concept in Java, aesthetically speaking.

The Group Communications stack can simply be specified by literally stacking micro-protocols into a group communications stack—each micro-protocol can be considered a micro-kernel with its own "up" and "down" threading system.

Stacking can be specified like this: "A:B:C:D" or "A:C:B:D" or "A:C:D:B" or .....

Not all stacks are semantically valid or useful.

The final, beautiful touch in Bela Ban's design was to provision a fusing concept ("fusing" is my word for it), where all the micro-protocol/micro-kernel pieces can be fused so that they will be one "kernel," using a single thread system for "up" throughout the stack and a single thread system for "down" throughout the stack.

Or course, some of the design elements for all this was probably, mostly, and already present in the Ensemble Communications System, the group with which Bela did his post-doc work, near the turn of the millennium.

Also, see Mark Hayden's PhD dissertation on Ensemble, which was written in the 1990s, and supported by DARPA funds.

And a bit about my own role in all this—

I should mention that we used Ensemble (and its Java binding, whose deficiencies led to reimplementation of the protocol stack concept, in Java by Bela) in the DARPA projects I led before joining Sun.

This is how I got to learn about Mark and Ensemble, and later, about Bela and JGroups. It was an honor to meet both of them in the course of my work with group communications systems. By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if we find out, when historians of software look back at our work some years from now, that Bela has played a role in re-architecting of JBoss's microkernel system. I may be wrong but I believe he decided to join JBoss sometime in 2004, during the same year when I was trying to bring him to Sun. We almost got him to join SunLabs. It wasn't meant to be, like many other things that go awry. Perhaps, with my managerial skills now, I could have made a better difference in that realm. At least, I'm happy to say I was able to convince Bela to change the name from JavaGroups to JGroups, which protected him from some copyright violations.

Monday Sep 29, 2008

Student Central -- A Sun for Students

If you are a student and want to learn more about Sun, the place to go is Student Central. According to marketing program manager, Colin Cupp,

This is the perfect starting point to find out just what Sun, as a company, has to offer students today.  Covering everything from technology to Eco-responsibility, jobs to social media, this is the first student page that tells the Sun story from a student perspective.  Come by and check it out, but be sure to come back as this page will evolve along with Sun's student offerings!

I took a peek and I agree with him. 

Years ago, when I first joined Sun, I had advocated for audience-based web pages, and now we are seeing that happen more often.

It is truly wonderful!

Sunday Sep 21, 2008

Social Networks and Security

Social networks pose interesting new problems for security experts. Erica Naone's article ("Turning Social Networks Against Users") explores some of these problems. Naone includes a brief discussion of some research involving a malicious third party application for Facebook.

The problem rests in open access to the computing platform of the social networking web sites. Furthermore, "social factors also play an important role...because social networks foster an atmosphere of trust that is easy to exploit."

Attacks could be more complex than those already used for secruity research focused on social networks. "An attacker could build a legitimate application, wait until a large number of users have installed it, then make the application 'go bad' by updating it with malicious code."

Perhaps, some social networking sites will make it a requirement that all third party applications implemented for their network be made available openly (open, buildable source).

Friday May 30, 2008

The tortuous path to Internet research

Oddly, tonight, when I try to find and browse (on my iMac w/ OS-X Leopard) Pew Internet and American Life Project, one of the most credible Internet watchers, using Google Search, I may end up in a place containing a warning that "visiting this web site may harm your computer" or what Google calls a "Malware Warning"—apparently "Google has found that some portion of contains or links to badware or otherwise violates Google's software guidelines."

Now, I used to visit Pew Internet and American Life Project, often, because it has absolutely wonderful papers and research on the use of the Internet.

So, what's all of Google's malware warning about, and what are "Google's software guidelines" which need to be imposed on web sites before Google search would direct the search user to the object of their search, directly and simply?

Thursday May 22, 2008

PGCon 2008

After two days of PostgreSQL tutorials, several evenings of gatherings and a hackers' meeting, PGCon 2008 sessions began today.

Yesterday, Yahoo did make an important announcement having to do with their leveraging of PostgreSQL source base to build a system to run the largest database in the world. Reports of Yahoo's work can be found at InformationWeek ("Yahoo Claims Record with Petabyte Database") and ComputerWorld ("Size Matters: Yahoo Claims 2-Petabyte Database is the World's Biggest").

I wrote this while sitting in Andrew Sullivan's session on PostgreSQL project management. During Q&A, people discussed how to manage various feature proposals.

I should probably note here that a couple of weeks before the PGCon, we heard about a major US research institution looking into 64 bit PostgreSQL on Solaris for a large astronomy project.


(Note: Sun Microsystems already sells PostgreSQL support for Solaris. You can also learn more about OpenSolaris and databases for OpenSolaris, here.) 

Wednesday May 07, 2008

The Self-Ordering Chaos of Communities

 In the chaos of their buzz and movement, bees build amazingly ordered nests for their young. 

So do many communities of practice.

Friday Feb 08, 2008

What is Open Source?

Open Source is not just about code that can be viewed and tinkered with freely. It is also about products, people, participation, communities, institutions, cultures, economics, business models and complex property rights. It is also about developing very complex products according to property rules and in organizations that make rapid development and progress possible. With their existence, open-source communities have anticipated a new, general model for collaborative creativity.

Sunday Nov 11, 2007

Same Desktop Everywhere -- From the San Francisco Bay Area to Bangalore

I'm working on the same desktop I used last week in the Bay Area, now on a "SunRay 170" here in Sun's Bangalore drop-in center. (Later models of Sun Ray client are also available—a great tool for all global corporations.)

Now, I should wonder why I lugged my laptop across the globe?

Tuesday Oct 24, 2006

Municipal Wireless Service

When Philadelphia decided to go wireless, there was much controversy with some carriers questioning the move. (See also this New York Times article.) Now, AT&T is involved in helping bring municipal wireless to Springfield, Ill and Riverside, Calif. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article on municipal wireless, contracts are taking about six months to negotiate with cities and about six to twelve months to roll out in cities the size of Tempe, Ariz. (If you have an online subscription, you might also want to view this WSJ report on wireless technologies.)

As municipal wireless systems are rolled out, ideas about how to use such networks at the urban level will multiply. It is anybody's guess whether any useful ideas will be harvested. Most probably, without citizen involvement, such harvests may bear less tasty fruit. In a sense, as the municipal wireless network becomes part of our urban fabric, the form and texture will depend on citizen involvement. (How much more effective would such networks have been if we actually had a good public transaportation system broadly available everywhere in California!)

The WSJ article also notes that, in Tempe, "[t]he police department now loves the system, which also has become a surprise hit with the town's traffic engineers." The cities are interested in bringing free or cheap wireless service to the citizens and in new urban applications while the companies involved need a business model that leaves them something to sustain and justify their business.

(Here, I should also thank the Silicon Valley-China Wireless Technology Association's president and my friend, Wen Pai Lu, who invited me to the 2006 Annual SVCWireless Conference: "Mobile Life: The Road to Freedom." This gave me an opportunity to hear representatives from a group of companies and city officials involved in municipal wireless roll-outs discuss their first-hand experience in defining the relevant business models.)

Thursday Oct 12, 2006

OpenSolaris Starter Kit

I hear if you register for the Open Solaris community, you can get a "Starter Kit" sent to you for free!
Addendum: I think I should have said "from the web site" rathar than "sent to you for free"! Things might change, though. You never know. The OpenSolaris Starter Kit website says: "Coming Soon….links to ISO images for the current Starter Kit…." If I find out more, I'll let you know.

Friday Sep 01, 2006

Academic Paper on BitTorrent

A well-written academic paper from Delft University of Technology provides some valuable measurements on performance and other characteristics of the BitTorrent P2P file-sharing protocol.

Tuesday Jul 25, 2006

Net Neutrality

Victoria Shannon of International Herald Tribune has written a pretty good technology column concerning net neutrality, sharing an European perspective.

Saturday May 20, 2006

A Torrent Client

Peer-to-Peer networking continues as an effective means for content sharing and distribution.[Read More]

Thursday Apr 06, 2006

Strength and Velocity of Networks

Thus writes Scott Burken:

No project- or bug-tracking sytem completely replaces the need for people to talk to each other about what's going on because social networks are always stronger (and sometimes faster) than technological ones. The big challenges like project vision, feature lists, and schedules always come down to lots of little challenges that are positively influenced by how easily good knowledge and information flow through a team.

Tuesday Oct 04, 2005

Session Initiation Protocol APIs

If you are interested in Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) in the Open Solaris environment, I highly recommend reading and commenting on the SIP API design document posted on Open Solaris. The document is strucured in parallel with the SIP stack layer and gives several very good examples of the use of the APIs.

Sunday Sep 25, 2005

P2P, Skype, Supernodes and Regulatory Moves

A commentator on one of my previous entries on Skype's P2P architecture made a very good point observation.

Given that an increasing number of people using broadband services are behind firewalls, or otherwise in some form of NAT environment, how long will the supernodes last? The entire system relies upon enough supernodes being available (in an honour system) to support the indexing.

I thought about that, too, but then again, if not enough supernodes remain (which is not an entirely unlikely situation) and all live behind NATs and Firewals, we will no longer be having an "Internet" quite as we have come to know it.

While others might differ, I find regulatory moves to shut down P2P systems to be extreme and damaging to innovation on the Internet. As long as there are no legal boundaries for hosting the supernode, a company like Skype, with its financial and technical resources, could fund enough supernodes around the globe to continue making this service a possibility

Thursday Aug 18, 2005

How Not to Get Hooked by a Phishing Scam

From a letter sent by The Wall Street Journal to its online subscribers:

Phishing, simply, is a scam in which fraudsters "fish" for personal information by pretending to be a legitimate company. Typically, a phisher sends an email or pop-up message that appears to be from a company or brand that you trust, such as a bank or credit card issuer, or even Dow Jones or The Wall Street Journal, in an attempt to obtain sensitive information from you. A phish attempt often threatens that your account is in jeopardy and asks you to validate, confirm or update information, such as your subscriber or credit card information. Phishers usually disguise the "from" address of their emails and present you with links to Web sites that appear to be legitimate, but when you reply to that email or click on those links, you are directed to the phisher.

"How Not to Get Hooked by a Phishing Scam"

Tuesday Aug 02, 2005

"Circuits Are Busy"

For my long-distance calling destinations, Skype's IP telephony actually has far less "circuits are busy" incidences than some traditional long-distance carriers. Using its interface also proves to be a much quicker way of establishing a voice connection. So, I begin to wonder about what has happened to provisioning.




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