Random CeBIT Thoughts

Today is the last day of CeBIT 2006, world's largest IT tradeshow. Time for a few random thoughts:

CeBIT Random Thought #1: Pushing Project Looking Glass (Quite Literally)

This year, we have a special appearance of Project Looking Glass at the Sun CeBIT 2006 booth, powered by an innovative company from Austria called GoMonkey. The basic idea is simple: Place a user in front of a big screen, use two cameras to capture the user in 3D, then detect simple gestures from the user so she can navigate through a 3D world of multimedia content. Check out their website to see what I mean.

When I saw what they're doing for the first time, it became clear to me that Looking Glass 3D is just the right engine to base this idea on. Thanks to the great team at GoMonkey and the fine people from the Project Looking Glass team, we had the system up and running, based on Looking Glass and Solaris 10 in just a couple of weeks. Here at CeBIT, the whole thing runs on a Sun Ultra 40 Workstation for the presentation part and a Sun Ultra 20 Workstation for the image capturing and gesture detection part. We're still working on a Solaris version of the libdc1394 image capture library, any help is welcome. It definitely is the eyecatcher of the year for us and we're already working on more appearances of "Looking GoMonkey Glass 3D" this year!

CeBIT Random Thought #2: Linking the Virtual World with the Real One

The other coolest thing about this CeBIT's Sun booth comes from Austria as well. Go check out Semapedia.org. Again, the concept is simple, but powerful: Find a Wikipedia article about an interesting topic. Enter its URL into Semapedia and print out the Datamatrix that it will generate for you. Stick the tag to a place that is relevant for the article. Now, everybody can point their camera-enabled phone to the tag and instantly get connected to the Wikipedia article. Of course, this requires your mobile phone to have a datamatrix reader application, but there are already many applications for many supported phones.

Seeing is believing, just go check it out 'cause it's easier to try this out with your phone than to explain it in this blog :). But Semapedia is about more, it creates a tagging community: Stick your tags to interesting objects, help hyperlink the real world (be nice and ask for permission first), then take a picture and tell others about it. Check out where people have already placed such tags and the places on earth that are already tagged.

Needless to say, that this is a perfect application for Sun's new Coolthreads servers with the brand new UltraSPARC T1 processor, the third biggest magnet in our booth. That's why we're right now donating a Sun Fire T2000 Server to the Semapedia community. Thanks, Mat!

CeBIT Random Thought #3: OpenSolaris Everywhere

Customer interest in OpenSolaris is big and it is growing: The current edition of the german Unix magazine "iX features a copy of the OpenSolaris XXL DVD, a DVD that contains Nevada build 33 including source, Sun Studio 11 and a number of other tools that go well with them. Check out our group blog Solarium for more details (in German) about this CD and what you can do with it.

Sunday saw the first German OpenSolaris User Group (GOSUG) meeting and we had a full conference room with presentations on different topics plus a beerbust in the lounge.

Since a couple of days ago, there's a book on OpenSolaris in Gerrman! More than 1000 pages of pure Solaris knowhow from the basics (like the boot mechanism) to advanced features such as ZFS. This is only the beginning, we already met with another editor today that wants to write more books on OpenSolaris and other Sun open source projects, including OpenSPARC.

So, I guess, CeBIT 2006 has been a great success for Sun on all fronts, and the above just covers a very small subset of all the cool things we have been seeing over the last 7 days...

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