London Tech Days

London Eye and Plane Sun Tech days London was held in Methodist central hall, Westminster. The venue was only a stone's throw from Westminster Abbey and a short walk from Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and other famous London sights. Tech days was reasonably well attended, you might be able to see from the photo below that much of the lower section and a good part of the balcony of this enormous hall was full for James Gosling's keynote. James Gosling's somewhat understated traditional techie talk reminded me of a college friend Electron Ron. It was interesting to see some of the spinoff projects from Java3D and project looking glass.

It was encouraging to meet people from within and outside of Sun who were on the same wavelength regarding many issues. There was much agreement on the mistakes Sun made a few years back but it really feels like we're getting back on the right track. I already knew about dtrace, ZFS, containers and other major recent improvements in Opensolaris but I was also impressed with the enhancements in Java and NetBeans. The changes are very welcome for those of us who weren't happy with previous versions of NetBeans or J2EE. I was especially interested in the NetBeans profiler, C/C++ packs and mobility packs. It's no wonder there are so many cool applications becoming available for mobile phones. Embedded development is a far cry from what it was only 7 years ago when I was working with electron Ron, using assembly language to try to pack a CRC algorithm and associated ADC data acquisition software into a transistor sized 64k embedded microcontroller. Projects which I came to describe as "just this side of impossible" and which Ron admitted were occasionally just the other side of possible.

I finally met long time Solaris and opensolaris enthusiast, Peter Tribble but it was too late to talk him into running for OpenSolaris board during this election cycle.

The top photo of the London Eye was a lucky coincidence. When my (broken) Casio QV-4000 went through it's long boot sequence, the camera, clouds and London eye were in a good position in relation to one another. The missing front lens element in my camera gave it a surreal, almost fisheye effect.

Gosling Java keynote OpenSolaris tech days 2007

The distorted images from my broken camera make it difficult to align panoramic frames from my interior shots of James Gosling's keynote. I followed these instructions for installing the pandora GIMP plugin. The plug-in instructions are for linux but, as is the case for many well-written \*nix applications, it works just as well on Solaris Nevada and other opensolaris distributions. This GIMP panorama plugin made rough alignment of the image panels relatively easy. Now I should learn how to use Java3D to make an interactive stitched panoramas. But I can't yet simulate one of these conferences in your browser so if you'd like to find out more about Sun's technical solutions to real world business problems, I'd suggest attending one of Sun's Tech days conferences.

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