Wednesday Oct 31, 2012

Why Ultra-Low Power Computing Will Change Everything

The ARM TechCon keynote "Why Ultra-Low Power Computing Will Change Everything" was anything but low-powered. The speaker, Dr. Johnathan Koomey, knows his subject: he is a Consulting Professor at Stanford University, worked for more than two decades at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, Yale University, and UC Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group. His current focus is creating a standard (computations per kilowatt hour) and measuring computer energy consumption over time. The trends are impressive: energy consumption has halved every 1.5 years for the last 60 years. Battery life has made roughly a 10x improvement each decade since 1960. It's these improvements that have made laptops and cell phones possible. What does the future hold?

Dr. Koomey said that in the past, the race by chip manufacturers was to create the fastest computer, but the priorities have now changed. New computers are tiny, smart, connected and cheap. "You can't underestimate the importance of a shift in industry focus from raw performance to power efficiency for mobile devices," he said. There is also a confluence of trends in computing, communications, sensors, and controls. The challenge is how to reduce the power requirements for these tiny devices. Alternate sources of power that are being explored are light, heat, motion, and even blood sugar. The University of Michigan has produced a miniature sensor that harnesses solar energy and could last for years without needing to be replaced. Also, the University of Washington has created a sensor that scavenges power from existing radio and TV signals.

Specific devices designed for a purpose are much more efficient than general purpose computers. With all these sensors, instead of big data, developers should focus on nano-data, personalized information that will adjust the lights in a room, a machine, a variable sign, etc.

Dr. Koomey showed some examples:

The Proteus Digital Health Feedback System, an ingestible sensor that transmits when a patient has taken their medicine and is powered by their stomach juices. (Gives "powered by you" a whole new meaning!)

Streetline Parking Systems, that provide real-time data about available parking spaces. The information can be sent to your phone or update parking signs around the city to point to areas with available spaces. Less driving around looking for parking spaces!

The BigBelly trash system that uses solar power, compacts trash, and sends a text message when it is full. This dramatically reduces the number of times a truck has to come to pick up trash, freeing up resources and slashing fuel costs. This is a classic example of the efficiency of moving "bits not atoms."

But researchers are approaching the physical limits of sensors, Dr. Kommey explained. With the current rate of technology improvement, they'll reach the three-atom transistor by 2041. Once they hit that wall, it will force a revolution they way we do computing. But wait, researchers at Purdue University and the University of New South Wales are both working on a reliable one-atom transistors! Other researchers are working on "approximate computing" that will reduce computing requirements drastically. So it's unclear where the wall actually is. In the meantime, as Dr. Koomey promised, ultra-low power computing will change everything.

Monday Oct 29, 2012

NightHacking Tour Continues - Don't Miss It!

Java Evangelist Steven Chin (@steveonjava) has been motorcycling across Europe, dropping in on developers and Java User Groups to do some hacking. The visits he has already made are up on the Youtube/Java channel (including James Gosling, Ben Evans, Stephen Colebourne and Trisha Gee). 

Steve will be at J-Fall in the Netherlands all day Wednesday, Oct 31. You can watch streaming live and join in on the conversation. (You mean you missed the discussion about long variable names?) Watch for #nighthacking on Twitter.

Some upcoming stops on the tour include:

  • Adam Bien (Java Champion and Author) - Friday Nov 2 at 11AM CEST (2AM PST)
  • Andres Almiray (Griffon Founder and Author) - Sunday Nov 4 at 8PM CEST (11AM PST)

In total, there will be over 20 different interviews, several JUG visits, and special coverage of J-Fall and Devoxx conferences.You can view the full schedule and watch streaming video at nighthacking.com.

Thursday Oct 25, 2012

Oracle at ARM TechCon

ARM TechCon is a technical conference for hardware and software engineers, Oct. 30-Nov 1 in Santa Clara, California. Days two and three of the conference will be geared towards systems designers and software developers, those interested in building ARM processor-based modules, boards, and systems. It will cover all of the hardware and software, tools, ranging from low-power design, networking and connectivity, open source software, and security.

Oracle is a sponsor of ARM TechCon, and will present three Java sessions and a hands-on-lab:

 "Do You Like Coffee with Your Dessert? Java and the Raspberry Pi" - The Raspberry Pi, an ARM-powered single board computer running a full Linux distro off an SD card has caused a huge wave of interest among developers. This session looks at how Java can be used on a device such as this. Using Java SE for embedded devices and a port of JavaFX, the presentation includes a variety of demonstrations of what the Raspberry Pi is capable of. The Raspberry Pi also provides GPIO line access, and the session covers how this can be used from Java applications. Prepare to be amazed at what this tiny board can do. (Angela Caicedo, Java Evangelist)

"Modernizing the Explosion of Advanced Microcontrollers with Embedded Java" - This session explains why Oracle Java ME Embedded is the right choice for building small, connected, and intelligent embedded solutions, such as industrial control applications, smart sensing, wireless connectivity, e-health, or general machine-to-machine (M2M) functionality---extending your business to new areas, driving efficiency, and reducing cost. The new Oracle Java ME Embedded product brings the benefits of Java technology to microcontroller platforms. It is a full-featured, complete, compliant software runtime with value-add features targeted to the embedded space and has the ability to interface with additional hardware components, remote manageability, and over-the-air software updates. It is accompanied by a feature-rich set of tools free of charge. (Fareed Suliman, Java Product Manager)

"Embedded Java in Smart Energy and Healthcare" - This session covers embedded Java products and technologies that enable smart and connect devices in the Smart Energy and Healthcare/Medical industries. (speaker Kevin Lee)

"Java SE Embedded Development on ARM Made Easy" - This Hands-on Lab aims to show that developers already familiar with the Java develop/debug/deploy lifecycle can apply those same skills to develop Java applications, using Java SE Embedded, on embedded devices. (speaker Jim Connors)

In the Oracle booth #603, you can see the following demos:

Industry Solutions with Java
This exhibit consists of a number of industry solutions and how they can be powered by Java technology deployed on embedded systems.  Examples in consumer devices, home gateways, mobile health, smart energy, industrial control, and tablets all powered by applications running on the Java platform are shown.  Some of the solutions demonstrate the ability of Java to connect intelligent devices at the edge of the network to the datacenter or the cloud as a total end-to-end platform.

Java in M2M with Qualcomm

This station will exhibit a new M2M solutions platform co-developed by Oracle and Qualcomm that enables wireless communications for embedded smart devices powered by Java, and share the types of industry solutions that are possible.  In addition, a new platform for wearable devices based on the ARM Cortex M3 platform is exhibited.

Why Java for Embedded?
Demonstration platforms will show how traditional development environments, tools, and Java programming skills can be used to create applications for embedded devices.  The advantages that Java provides because of  the runtime's abstraction of software from hardware, modularity and scalability, security, and application portability and manageability are shared with attendees.

Drop by and see why Java is an optimal applications platform for embedded systems.

Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

Four New Java Champions

Four luminaries in the Java community have been selected as new Java Champions. The are Agnes Crepet, Lars Vogel, Yara Senger and Martijn Verburg. They were selected for their technical knowledge, leadership, inspiration, and tireless work for the community. Here is how they rock the Java world:

Agnes Crepet

Agnes Crepet (France) is a passionate technologist with over 11 years of software engineering experience, especially in the Java technologies, as a Developer, Architect, Consultant and Trainer. She has been using Java since 1999, implementing multiple kinds of applications (from 20 days to 10000 men days) for different business fields (banking, retail, and pharmacy). Currently she is a Java EE Architect for a French pharmaceutical company, the homeopathy world leader. She is also the co-founder, with other passionate Java developers, of a software company named Ninja Squad, dedicated to Software Craftsmanship. Agnes is the leader of two Java User Groups (JUG), the Lyon JUG Duchess France and the founder of the Mix-IT Conferenceand theCast-IT Podcast, two projects about Java and Agile Development. She speaks at Java and JUG conferences around the world and regularly writes articles about the Java Ecosystem for the French print Developer magazine Programmez! and for the Duchess Blog. Follow Agnes @agnes_crepet.

Lars Vogel

Lars Vogel (Germany) is the founder and CEO of the vogella GmbH and works as Java, Eclipse and Android consultant, trainer and book author. He is a regular speaker at international conferences, such as EclipseCon, Devoxx, Droidcon and O'Reilly's Android Open. With more than one million visitors per month, his website vogella.com is one of the central sources for Java, Eclipse and Android programming information. Lars is committer in the Eclipse project and received in 2010 the "Eclipse Top Contributor Award" and 2012 the "Eclipse Top Newcomer Evangelist Award." Follow Lars on Twitter @vogella.

Yara Senger

Yara Senger (Brazil) has been a tireless Java activist in Brazil for many years. She is President of SouJava and she is an alternate representative of the group on the JCP Executive Committee. Yara has led SouJava in many initiatives, from technical events to social activities. She is co-founder and director of GlobalCode, which trains developers throughout Brazil.  Last year, she was recipient of the Duke Choice's Award, for the JHome embedded environment.  Yara is also an active speaker, giving presentations in many countries, including JavaOne SF, JavaOne Latin Ameria, JavaOne India, JFokus, and JUGs throughout Brazil. Yara is editor of InfoQ Brasil and also frequently posts at http://blog.globalcode.com.br/search/label/Yara. Follow Yara @YaraSenger.

Martijn Verburg

Martijn Verburg (UK) is the CTO of jClarity (a Java/JVM performance cloud tooling start-up) and has over 12 years experience as a Java/JVM technology professional and OSS mentor in a variety of organisations from start-ups to large enterprises. He is the co-leader of the London Java Community (~2800 developers) and leads the global effort for the Java User Group "Adopt a JSR" and "Adopt OpenJDK" programmes. These programmes encourage day to day Java developer involvement with OpenJDK, Java standards (JSRs), an important relationship for keeping the Java ecosystem relevant to the 9 million Java developers out there today. As a leading expert on technical team optimisation, his talks and presentations are in high demand by major conferences (JavaOne, Devoxx, OSCON, QCon) where you'll often find him challenging the industry status quo via his alter ego "The Diabolical Developer." You can read more in the OTN ariticle "Challenging the Diabolical Developer: A Conversation with JavaOne Rock Star Martijn Verburg." Follow Martijn @karianna.

The Java Champions are an exclusive group of passionate Java technology and community leaders who are community-nominated and selected under a project sponsored by Oracle. Java Champions get the opportunity to provide feedback, ideas, and direction that will help Oracle grow the Java Platform.

Congratulations to these new Java Champions!

Tuesday Oct 23, 2012

NightHacking Tour Across Europe

Java Evangelist Stephen Chin (@steveonjava) is motorcycling across Europe, and dropping in on developers and Java User Groups to talk about Java and do some hacking. What's cool is you'll be able to be a part of it too: watch via live streaming, and interact using #nighthacking on Twitter.

The tour will kickoff stateside with a visit to James Gosling (Father of the Java Language) - Wednesday Oct 24 at 11AM  PST.

 Some noteworthy stops on the tour include:

  • Ben Evans (LJC Leader and Author) - Saturday Oct 27 at 8PM BST (12PM PST)
  • Adam Bien (Java Champion and Author) - Friday Nov 2 at 11AM CEST (2AM PST)
  • Andres Almiray (Griffon Founder and Author) - Sunday Nov 4 at 8PM CEST (11AM PST)

In total, there will be over 20 different interviews, several JUG visits, and special coverage of J-Fall and Devoxx conference.You can view the full schedule and watch streaming video at nighthacking.com.


Monday Oct 22, 2012

Book: DevOps for Developers

We all know development and operations often act like silos, with "Just throw it over the wall!" being the battle cry. Many organizations unwittingly contribute to gaps between teams, with management by (competing) objectives; a clash of Agile practices vs. more conservative approaches; and teams using different sets of tools, such as Nginx, OpenEJB, and Windows on developers' machines and Apache, Glassfish, and Linux on production machines. At best, you've got sub-optimal collaboration, at worst, you've got the Hatfields and the McCoys

The book DevOps for Developers helps bridge the gap between development and operations by aligning incentives and sharing approaches for processes and tools. It introduces DevOps as a modern way of bringing development and operations together. It also means to broaden the usage of Agile practices to operations to foster collaboration and streamline the entire software delivery process in a holistic way.

Some single aspects of DevOps may not be new, for example, you may have used the tool Puppet for years already, but with a new mindset ("my job is not just to code, it's to serve the customer in the best way possible") and a complete set of recipes, you'll be well on your way to success. DevOps for Developers also by provides real-world use cases (e.g., how to use Kanban or how to release software). It provides a way to be successful in the real development/operations world.

DevOps for Developers is written my Michael Hutterman, Java Champion, and founder of the Cologne Java User Group. "With DevOps for Developers, developers can learn to apply patterns to improve collaboration between development and operations as well as recipes for processes and tools to streamline the delivery process," Hutterman explains.

Friday Oct 19, 2012

An Interview with JavaOne Rock Star Martijn Verburg

An interview with JavaOne Rock Star Martijn Verburg, by yours truly, titled “Challenging the Diabolical Developer: A Conversation with JavaOne Rock Star Martijn Verburg,” is now up on otn/java. Verburg, one of the leading movers and shakers in the Java community, is well known for his ‘diabolical developer” talks at JavaOne where he uncovers some of the worst practices that Java developers are prone to.

He mentions a few in the interview:

* “A lack of communication: Software development is far more a social activity than a technical one; most projects fail because of communication issues and social dynamics, not because of a bad technical decision. Sadly, many developers never learn this lesson.
* No source control: Some developers simply store code in local file systems and e-mail the code in order to integrate their changes; yes, this still happens.
* Design-driven design: Some developers are inclined to cram every design pattern from the Gang of Four (GoF) book into their projects. Of course, by that stage, they've actually forgotten why they're building the software in the first place.”

He points to a couple of core assumptions and confusions that lead to trouble:

“One is that developers think that the JVM is a magic box that will clean up their memory and make their code run fast, as well as make them cups of coffee. The JVM does help in a lot of cases, but bad code can and will still lead to terrible results!

The other trend is to try to force Java (the language) to do something it's not very good at, such as rapid Web development. So you get a proliferation of overly complex frameworks, libraries, and techniques trying to get around the fact that Java is a monolithic, statically typed, compiled, OO environment. It's not a Golden Hammer!”

Verburg has many insightful things to say about how to keep a Java User Group (JUG) going, about the “Adopt a JSR” program, bugathons, and much more.

Check out the article here.

Wednesday Oct 17, 2012

JCP Elections, JUG Candidates

The JCP elections for the JCP Executive Committee (EC) have started today.

The ratified candidates are:  Cinterion, Credit Suisse, Fujitsu and HP.

The elected candidates are (9 candidates, 2 open seats):  Cisco Systems, CloudBees, Giuseppe Dell'Abate, Liferay, London Java Community, MoroccoJUG, North Sixty-One, Software AG, and Zero Turnaround.

For community representation, the London Java Community is running for re-election. They have helped with JUGs participation on the JCP, and they need community votes to stay there doing great work! Also, the Morroco JUG is running for election for the first time. 

Learn more about the JCP Elections, read the JCP Program Office blog "2012 EC Election Ballot open; Meet the Candidates Call Tomorrow."

So, please, if you are a registered JCP member, don't forget to cast your vote!

Tuesday Oct 16, 2012

Two Java Update Releases

Oracle has released two updates of Java, and strongly recommends that all users update.

Java SE 7 Update 9

This releases address security concerns. Oracle strongly recommends that all Java SE 7 users upgrade to this release. JavaFX 2.2.3 is now bundled with the JDK on Windows, Mac and Linux x86/x64.

Download

Release Notes

Java SE 6 Update 37

This releases address security concerns. Oracle strongly recommends that all Java SE 6 users upgrade to this release.

Download

Release Notes

Friday Oct 12, 2012

JavaOne 2012 in Review

Noted freelance writer Steve Meloan has a new article up on otn/java, titled, “JavaOne 2012 Review: Make the Future Java” in which he summarizes the happenings at JavaOne 2012.

Along the way, he reminds us that if the future turns out to be anything like the past, Java will do fine:

The repeated theme for this year's conference was ‘Make the Future Java,’ and according to recent stats, the groundwork is already firmly in place:

    There are 9 million Java developers worldwide.
    Three billion devices run Java.
    Five billion Java Cards are in use.
    One hundred percent of Blu-ray Disc players ship with Java.
    Ninety-seven percent of enterprise desktops run Java.
    Eighty-nine percent of PC desktops run Java.

This year's content curriculum program was organized under seven technical tracks:

    Core Java Platform
    Development Tools and Techniques
    Emerging Languages on the JVM
    Enterprise Service Architectures and the Cloud
    Java EE Web Profile and Platform Technologies
    Java ME, Java Card, Embedded, and Devices
    JavaFX and Rich User Experiences”

Meloan artfully reminds us of how JavaOne makes learning fun.

Have a look at the article here.

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