Friday Oct 18, 2013

Nighthacking with James Gosling

Java Evangelist Stephen Chin is back on the road for a new NightHacking Tour. He is meeting with James Gosling at Kona, Hawaii, the launch base of the Wave Glider. The Glider is an aquatic robot which communicates real-time data from the surface of the ocean. It runs on an ARM chip using Java SE Embedded. 

"During this broadcast we will show some of the footage of his aquatic robots, talk through the technologies he is hacking on daily, and do Q&A with folks on the live chat" explains Stephen Chin. 

Sign up for the live stream on Wednesday, October 23rd at: 

8AM Hawaii Time
11AM PST
2PM EST
20:00 CET

Follow @nighthackingtv for the next Nighthacking events

Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

Session Report: Is It a Car? Is It a Computer? No, It’s a Raspberry Pi JavaFX Informatics System

by Timothy Beneke

On Tuesday, Oracle Technology Evangelist Simon Ritter presented a session that demonstrated how a simple Raspberry Pi computer could be connected to an Audi to access far more information about the inner workings of the Audi than is currently available. Ritter, a great showman who has entertained thousands of JavaOne attendees over the years with his Java tricks, communicated his contagious passion for gadgets – and for sharing them with others.


“I love computers and all things electronic, and I also love cars – I’m a petrolhead -- so I’ve combined these 2 passions into one thing,” said Ritter. 

His talk was divided into several sections. He began by talking about the reliance of cars upon computers and moved to a discussion of the Raspberry Pi and why it’s a good choice for the kinds of systems he built into his car. He went on to briefly provide some background about embedded Java and JavaFX, and why they are good choices for the Raspberry Pi. He then spent much of the session describing the software system he built in his car, its functionality, how it works, and so on. He speculated on possible future enhancements to his “carputer,” and, finally, showed a video that provided a sense of what it is like to ride in the car with the new data accessible.

He initially made the point that computers and cars are now inexorably tied together. His first car, a 1971 Mini Clubman 1000 had, aside from a radio, no electronics. In contrast, his most recent car, a 2011 Audi S3, has lots of electronic devices, like all modern cars: an engine control unit, fuel injection/electronic timing, “Fly-by-wire” throttle, an anti-lock braking system, Satellite navigation, auto-sensing wipers and lights, and much more, some of which are mandated by law. The key point is that cars are already heavily computerized.

He described how the bus architecture works in the Audi, a communication system that transfers data between components inside a computer, and presented basic information about embedded Java, Java ME and JavaFX.

The Advantages of the Raspberry Pi for Car Computing
Ritter described the history of the remarkable Raspberry Pi, a project begun in 2006 that was initially created to inspire children to learn about computers. It was officially launched on Feb 29th, 2012 and currently, nearly 2 million have been shipped at a cost of around $25. It is ideal for children because of its cost and ease of use.

Its core features are:

* CPU: ARM 11 (v6) core running at 700MHz
– Broadcom SoC package
– Can now be overclocked to 1GHz (without breaking the warranty!)
* Memory: 512Mb
* I/O:
– HDMI and composite video
– Audio out (3.5mm plug)
– 2 x USB ports
– Ethernet
– Header pins for GPIO, UART, SPI and I2C

Ritter pointed out that adult computer geeks have been playing with the Raspberry Pi in countless ways. He then summarized why it is ideal for car computing:
* It has plenty of computing power with low electrical power consumption (< 1 Amp at 5V).
* Persistent storage is provided by the SD card.
– Disk drives are not ideal in hot places with lots of vibration.
– It’s a supported device for embedded Java.
– It is configured for floating point acceleration.
– It works with Java SE Embedded and Java ME Embedded.
                  --   A JavaFX Prism graphics engine is ported.

His goal was to gain new information from his car in real-time and have it available for analysis to ultimately improve his driving style:
* Display realtime data
– Engine performance (Power, Torque, Load)
– Driver data (Throttle position, steering angle, braking force, etc)
– G-Forces on car
* Record data for later analysis
– Produce graphs to display changes over time
– Play at Formula 1
– Improve driving style

He went on to describe the creation of the accelerometer, touch screen, measures of torque, among other things, and closed with a 3-minute video showing the box in action in the car from the perspective of someone riding in the car with various measures visible. Then he played back the information recorded on the drive.

All in all, a super entertaining, informative session.

Ritter will be posting more info about his session here: blogs.oracle.com/speakjava

Audi
The Raspberry Pi
Check out Parleys.com where you can listen to the session in early October.

Monday Jul 08, 2013

Java Embedded Keynote at Jfokus 2014 now Available!

Senior Director of Product Management Henrik Stahl presented the keynote titled "Taking Development to the Edge."

"There is no cap in the number of devices you can have. You can have a device in every light bulb in your house. In your car, you might have 200 devices. They all will have to be programmed, secured and updated remotely" he commented. 

According to ARM, there are some 2,000 developers who program on embedded systems today. Java developers can easily build a career programming embedded systems because Java has technical and business advantages in the space. 

Henrik gives an update Java releases and presents use cases in smart grid, healthcare, traffic management, transportation, telemetry and more. 

Jfokus is an annual developer conference focusing on JVM languages and Java technologies. International rock-star speakers present the latest innovations and trends in the Java ecosystems.  Jfokus 2014 will be from February 3rd to 5th, 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

Java Experts on the State of Java

In a new article by yours truly, now up on otn/java, titled “Java Experts on the State of Java,” four Java experts, Adam Bien, Charles Nutter, Kirk Pepperdine and Simon Ritter, share their unique perspectives on what’s happening in the world of Java.

Consultant Adam Bien, winner of many awards and an expert in Java EE, remarks that, “Only a few years ago, Java EE was used mostly by larger companies—now it becomes interesting even for one-person shows.” He is also excited about Project Nashorn, which is coming in Java SE 8.

Charles Nutter, co-creator of JRuby and a Java Champion, observes that “JRuby seems to have hit a tipping point this past year, moving from ‘just another Ruby implementation’ to ‘the best Ruby implementation for X,’ where X may be performance, scaling, big data, stability, reliability, security, or one of several other features important for today’s applications.”

Java Champion Kirk Pepperdine, an expert in Java performance tuning, comments that, “The volume of data we’re dealing with just seems to be getting bigger and bigger all the time. A couple of years ago, you’d never think of needing a heap that was 64 GB, but today there are deployments in which the heap has grown to 256 GB, and there are plans for heaps that are even larger. Dealing with all that data simply requires more horsepower and some very specialized techniques. In some cases, teams are simply trying to push hardware to the breaking point. Under those conditions, you need to be very clever just to get things to work—let alone to get them to be fast. We are very quickly moving from a world where everything happens in a transaction to one in which you’ve lost if you even consider using a transaction.”

Finally, Oracle’s Java Rock Star Simon Ritter celebrates the Raspberry Pi: “I don’t think there is one definitive thing that makes the Raspberry Pi significant, but a combination of things really makes it stand out. First, it’s the cost: $35 for what is effectively a completely usable computer. OK, so you have to add a power supply; an SD card for storage; and maybe a screen, keyboard, and mouse, but this is still way cheaper than a typical PC. The choice of an ARM processor is also significant, because it avoids problems such as cooling (no heat sink or fan) and can use a USB power brick.”

Check out the article here.

Tuesday Dec 18, 2012

Early Access of Java SE 8 for ARM Now Available

An Early Access of JDK 8 including JavaFX on Linux for ARM processors is now available for immediate download from Java.net. As Java Evangelist Stephen Chin says, "This is a great platform for doing small embedded projects, a low cost computing system for teaching, and great fun for hobbyists."

This Early Access is provided to the community so that you can provide us with valuable feedback on the ongoing progress of the project. We wanted to get this release out to you as quickly as we can so you can start using this build of JDK 8 on an ARM device, such as the Raspberry Pi (http://raspberrypi.org/).

Let Us Know What You Think!
Use the Forums to share your stories, comments and questions.

We are interested in both problems and success stories. If something does not work or behaves differently than what you expect, please check the list of known issues and if yours is not listed there, then report a bug at JIRA Bug Tracking System.

More Resources
JavaFX on Raspberry Pi – 3 Easy Steps by Stephen Chin

OTN Tech Article: Getting Started with Java SE Embedded on the Raspberry Pi by Bill Courington and Gary Collins

Java Magazine Article: Getting Started with Java SE for Embedded Devices on Raspberry Pi (Free subscription required)

Video: Quickie Guide Getting Java Embedded Running on Raspberry Pi by Hinkmond Wong 

Sunday Nov 18, 2012

Videos: Getting Started with Java Embedded

Are you a Java developer? That means you can write applications for embedded processors! There are new six new videos up on the YouTube/Java channel that you can watch to get more information. To get an overview, watch James Allen of Oracle Global Business Development give OTN a tour of the Oracle booth at ARM Techcon. He also explains the huge opportunity for Java in the embedded space.

These videos from Oracle Engineering show you how to leverage your knowledge to seamlessly develop in a space that is really taking off.

Java SE Embedded Development Made Easy, Part 1

This video demonstrates how developers already familiar with the Java SE development paradigm can leverage their knowledge to seamlessly develop on very capable embedded processors. Part one of a two-part series.

Java SE Embedded Development Made Easy, Part 2

This video demonstrates how developers already familiar with the Java SE development paradigm can leverage their knowledge to seamlessly develop on very capable embedded processors. Part two of a two-part series.

Mobile Database Synchronization - Healthcare Demonstration

This video demonstrates how a good portion of Oracle's embedded technologies (Java SE-Embedded, Berkeley DB, Database Mobile Server) can be applied to a medical application.

Tomcat Micro Cluster

See how multiple embedded devices installed with Java Standard Edition HotSpot for Armv5/Linux and Apache Tomcat can be configured as a micro cluster.

Java Embedded Partnerships

Kevin Smith of Oracle Technical Business Development explains what's new for partners and Java developers in the embedded space. Learn how you can start prototyping for Qualcomm's new Orion board before it's available. (Sorry about the video quality, the booth lights were weird.)  

Visit the YouTube/Java channel for other great Java videos. <fade to black>

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.

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