Thursday Jan 10, 2008

JavaOne 2008 - cool gadgets possible?

    Well, it's that time of year again. Winter is in full force, plenty of time to code, and thoughts turn to .... JavaOne. OK, for some folks. I've never actually been, but being an employee of Sun, I pay attention to the notices. I also like to do my best to stay on top of what I think are important technologies, and even some technologies that other's think are important, even if I don't. I think Java is important, but it hasn't been a significant part of my job to get me a ticket to JavaOne.

    A close friend and fellow co-worker goes pretty regularly, and I have been jealous of him at times. Why, since it's not directly related to my job and I prefer to minimize travel, at least without my family? Because they usually have cool give-aways, and sometimes really cool ones. For example, several years back they had a super special price for a Sharp Zaurus Linux PDA. OK sure, now I've bought 1 or 2 on eBay for far less, but it was new and interesting then. If I recall correctly some years before that they gave away Palm Pilots. I have no idea what may be in store for this year, but I've got to remember to tell my friend to pick one up for me if he can. :-) For those who are interested, here are the details :

\*Registration Is Now Open for the 2008 JavaOne(SM) Conference!\*

Join us for the 13th annual JavaOne(SM) conference May 6 – 9, 2008, at The Moscone Center in San Francisco. You won’t want to miss this year’s expanded program. Register today and save $200. Use priority code J8ROIC

Visit http://java.sun.com/javaone for more information.

Tuesday Oct 30, 2007

Lotsa Loss Lately

    I seem to be going through a phase of loosing stuff lately. Not to say that I couldn't use a little loss of stuff, as I have way too much. But I've been loosing stuff I use somewhat regularly and really didn't want to loose. Maybe I'm getting old and not paying as much attention, but that doesn't explain all of it.

    A little over a month ago I went to Charlotte, NC for a 2 day business trip, which went fine. But somewhere on the way back, I lost a farbic glasses case. It had 3 slots for pens, and I had at least 2 of my favorite pens in there, as well as a pair of reading glasses with clip-on sun glasses on them. I carried it hanging off my fanny back by a small carabiner, and I know I lost it after leaving Charlotte, as it fell off when I got out of the rental car and I put it back on. I'm pretty sure I remember it being in the way while driving home from the airport, but the most likely place for me to loose it was in the crowded airplane. Bummer.

    Next up, the major loss, and not really my fault, although the lesson is hopefully learned. Although I am getting better, partly due to the fact that I have been doing more travel the past year, I still bring too much stuff with me when I travel. I get this idea that I'll have free time while in transit or after hours to play with my 'toys', etc. and it never turns out that way. But with the CEC 2007 being more of a geek fest than most of my travels, I loaded a few more toys in my checked bag. Sadly, this list of 'toys', see below, was no longer in my checked bag when I opened it at the hotel in Lost Vegas,.. er Las Vegas. Most, if not all, of this can be replaced from eBay, but that requires the 'justification' exercise all over again. \^_\^ I have had the TSA inspect my checked bags before, but they usually don't take anything, and usually leave a nice note saying they took a peak. I immediately called Delta and reported, but don't expect much of a result. Yup, I'm already trolling eBay for some replacements. >Rant Alert< And I blame the GOP Administration for the fear mongering TSA restrictions, that remove the ability of ordinary citizens to fight back like they did on the 911 flight over Pennsylvania against the terrorists who will get weapons on board anyway, >End Rant Alert< for the loss of my Swiss Army Knife, which I have had for 25+ years. Interestingly enough, the Swiss Army Knife was in a separate compartment from the rest, so whomever took the stuff went through several compartments.

  • Power-to-Go battery in green fleece glasses case
  • T3 w/aluminum case
  • Sharp Zaurus SL-5000 w/power cord
  • Nikon binoculars in case
  • T3 charger w/AA batteries
  • Victorinox Swiss Army knife - Red Swiss Champ model
  • Dlink WAP
  • USB mini hub
    And most recently, I lent a Fisher Bullet pen with PDA Stylus tip to my youngest at a restaurant, so he could amuse himself with drawing on the paper placemat. This is a lesson I should have learned before, but taking hungry, energetic boys to a restaurant can be distracting. Needless to say, I no longer have the pen, and don't remember getting it back at the restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant is an hours drive away, and probably wouldn't have it anyway, which is what happened 2 months ago with a different pen I lent my son at a different restaurant. Well, it was still a Fisher bullet pen, but with out the stylus tip, and this one was a purple one I got for my birthday. I called that restaurant, but they hadn't seen it. :-(

    I'm trying to stem the flow at this level, by paying more attention, and not bringing so much stuff with me. And then there is that one time when I needed the such and such from my fanny pack...... :-)

Saturday Aug 04, 2007

Plucking the Public Domain

    I've been a fan of the concept of ebooks for several years, but I've been very disappointed by most of the implementations I've encountered. I have read ebooks on my various Palm platforms, using about every reader and format I could find, including Peanut Press (now eReader), Palm DOC (via a wide selection of reading and writing apps), iSolo, TomeRaider, MobiPocket Reader and Plucker. I got sucked into a long series, 'The Survivalist' by Jerry Ahern, which I read a lot of on long sleepless nights pacing with one son or the other in my arms trying to get them back to sleep, and bought most of the ebooks from eReader.

    I have gotten books and stories from Fictionwise, but mostly the free ones they give away of award nominees. One of the things I like about Fictionwise, is that I can get short stories and small items for a more reasonable price. They have a micropay system for supporting purchases in cents vs dollars. They also support a variety of formats, including several DRMed/secure formats. For the time being, MobiReader is my preferred secure format, with eReader second. Unfortunately, our local public library network doesn't loan out many books in my preferred formats, as they seem to be focused on PC readable formats like MS Reader and Adobe Secure PDF. I'll admit that despite the limited selection, I am impressed with the fact that I can even borrow ebooks from the library.

    One format I have really taken to is the Plucker format. Plucker is an Open Source reader, designed with web pages in mind. There are a variety of tools out there for converting web pages and sites into Plucker format, and it makes it pretty easy to access web pages offline on my Palm. It even supports the virtual graffiti srea on my T3, for a larger readable area. For creating my own Plucker files, I mostly use JPluck, a Java-based Plucker tool for creating Plucker files, and use it for grabbing reference type sites, like documentation or quick reference stuff. While getting the URL, it looks like it is no longer being maintained, and the sourceforge link for JPluck points to Sunrise. I kinda liked JPluck, because I could use it regardless of the OS I was booted in at the time, but it looks like those days are over, as sunrise has OS specific binaries.

    Another favorite source of ebooks for me is Project Gutenberg, and a recent visit there to restock some reading material gave me the opportunity to discover that they appear to have adopted Plucker as one of their primary formats. Cool. Now I can enjoy public domain books etc. in my favorite portable format. And I've been putting it through it's paces. I found a 1950s-esque young adults in space series, 'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet', which I have been reading to the boys for their bedtime story, at least until the recent Harry Potter book forced a hiatus. I've also found several classic Sci-Fi writers with works on Gutenberg, including Andre Norton and her various nom-de-plumes, Lester Del Rey, and others.

    A few years back, I availed myself of Project Gutenberg to actually read some classic Sci-Fi I had only seen the movies of or known as the 'well-known' stories their popularity made them, including Frankenstein, and Dracula. They were both quite interesting, particularly when compared with modern incarnations, but I particularly liked Frankenstein. This book seemed to me to be much more of a study of human nature and the relationship between man and his creator, than a standard horror story. I don't often read books more than once, besides comic/cartoon books, but this one I expect I will read again. And yet there is so much to read out there, if only all of it were as easily accessible. :-) So, if you see me with my nose stuck in my T3, I may be reading some more classics. :-)

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A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.

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