Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

Happy Wednesday everyone! With the release of the JavaFX SDK last week, I would like to say I have slowed down a bit here at work, but alas, that is not so much the case...I think I have gotten even more busy! But, I like it that way..makes the days go by fast and I am working on some very cool things!  I am excited to see my whole team tomorrow as we are diving into a brain storming session offsite. That should be fun! :)  

Since I have been so heads down with planning, making videos and presentations, I did want to introduce you to my artist of the week that will make your ears happy. This week, I want to introduce you to a Los Angeles musician by the name of Greg Laswell.  Jonathan Zwickel, who works for Rhapsody, had this to say about Laswell: " Greg Laswell is already a critic's darling, and with the right marketing his second album will give him a proper shove into mainstream. 'Through Toledo' is an impressive collection of densely lyrical, deeply melodic indie pop that refuses to settle into the predictability. Laswell -- on guitar, piano, drums and production -- is clearly more than just another singer-songwriter." 

The first time I heard Greg, I  heard his remake of the Cyndi Lauper hit 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.' (you can find it on iTunes!) It is not the same upbeat tune you would think it would be...its more melancholic and his voice just drew me in with how sad he sounded as he sang it. Once I heard that, I quickly rushed out and bought up all his albums. In July, he released a new album called 'Three Flights From Alto Nido'. I highly suggest going out and getting the album as soon as possible. He is everything I love about new music... original and fresh sounding. 

As I leave you with some great new music, please check out Greg's video for the song "How the Day Sounds". It is beautiful and the sound he has is truly amazing. Also, note Elijah Wood in the video. ;) Enjoy the day! :-D 

 

  

Thursday Jul 31, 2008

JavaFX SDK Preview Available Today!

Happy Thursday everyone! Today is an exciting day in Java land. I'm thrilled to announce that we officially launched the JavaFX Preview SDK this morning!  This is a very exciting milestone for us as it marks our first official release and includes tools to enable web scripters to begin prototyping JavaFX content for use in desktop or browsers.

The JavaFX Preview release is designed to help early adopters become familiar with JavaFX and is not yet being offered for commercial applications. The JavaFX Preview release consists of the following components:

  • JavaFX Preview SDK: Provides the JavaFX compiler and runtime tools, 2D graphics and media libraries to create highly interactive applications for desktop and browser, as well as tutorials, API documentation and sample code.
  • NetBeans 6.1 IDE with integrated JavaFX plug-in: Provides a sophisticated development environment to build, preview, and debug JavaFX applications.
  • Project Nile: An easy to use tool that exports creative assets from Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to JavaFX applications.
  • Java Runtime Environment 6 Update 10 Beta: Delivers a high performance runtime with a new browser plug-in that provides the ability to drag a live running applet out of a web browser and dynamically transform it into an application running on the desktop.

So now its your turn... go to download the preview SDK here and get started playing around with JavaFX today!

Think Creative - Be Creative

 Enjoy the day! :-)

Tuesday Jul 29, 2008

Ch-Ch-Check It Out!

Check it out everyone! 

 Want some new duds to impress all your friends with? Tell us what you think about the new SDN channel redesign on the SDN Channel Blog and get a limited edition t-shirt from JavaOne 2008. They are pretty sweet! Enjoy the day! :-D

 

 

 

Wednesday Jul 23, 2008

♪ What I'm Listening To This Week. ♪

Happy Wednesday everyone! I feel like this week is zooming by... I am heads down on our upcoming JavaFX launch, so I have been listening to lots of music to keep me going while I plug away on a never ending to do list.  Instead of featuring an artist this week, I thought of I would share with you a list of songs, albums and artists that have been making my ears happy as I am working on that list: 

1. Pete Yorn - Last Summer  (it was a new song on his myspace page for a few weeks and its one of those songs that speaks to the soul)

2. Minibar - Road Movies (this album just makes me tap my feet and sing along to all the songs...I love Minibar!)

3. Romantica - America (enough said...I featured them last week and I can't stop listening to this album)

4. Ryan Adams and The Cardinals - Cold Roses ( a beautifully sad album that I can listen to on repeat)

5. Doves - Some Cities (I can listen to the Doves over and over again...) 

6. Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (for when I need to rock out... I love the Foos! This album is amazing!!!)

7. Sloan - Parallel Play  (I love these guys!! They really know how to rock! So stoked for their show in September!)

8.  The Damwells - Air Stereo (I think that Alex Dezen is one of the most articulate artists out there)

9. The Twilight Singers - Twilight as Played By The Twilight Singers (came out in 2000 and it still sounds fresh and new.. this album is always in constant rotation)  

10. Pixies - Wave of Mutilation - Best of Pixies (I recently saw someone's facebook status that they were listening to the Pixies and I was like, I need to bust them out again..so I have been listening to them a lot this week). 

So there is my very short list of what I am listening to...this week. ;)  I highly suggest going through it and listening to all of these amazing artists. Your ears will thank you and so will they. :) Also, if you are hungry for something good and tasty, head over to my fabulous friend Heidi's aka SDNGal's blog and see her featured recipe of the week. It sounds super yummy! Enjoy the day! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Jul 18, 2008

This Ain't Your Dad's Java...

Yesterday I sat down with Eric Klein, VP of Java Marketing and David Bryant, Sr. Director of Java Marketing and recorded our first Java podcast in our new series "This Ain't Your Dad's Java". I think we all had way too much fun doing it and make sure to look for it to be up on iTunes, sun.com, java.sun.com, our blogs, etc. in the next week. This will be a weekly podcast where Eric and David will have guests on and will be answering questions that you all have for them. Ask them anything...they are willing to answer it all. ;-) Oh, and if you want to email us your questions, send us an email to aintyourdadsjava@sun.com and we will get your questions, suggestions in the queue for one of our next shows. Their first show really gives everyone a great glimpse into who these two rockstars are and what is on their mind. We talk everything from Blu-ray, JavaFX and Java SE to the Livescribe pen to Coldplay and Remember the Milk. We go all over, but you will learn a lot. I know I did. And you will definitely laugh along the way. Once we have it uploaded everywhere, I will let you know. I hope everyone has a great weekend! :-) 

 

 

 

Wednesday Jul 16, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have been on the quest to find some new music to listen to and have currently become quite intrigued with a band called Romantica. This band has blown me away with the first song I listened to. I literally stopped what I was doing and rushed to my iTunes store and quickly purchased all of their albums. 

With an album on Paste Magazine's top of 2007 and comparisons popping up all over the place between lead singer/songwriter Ben Kyle and both Jeff Tweedy and Ryan Adams it probably won't be too soon before you will be able to catch them at a venue near you. 

I was reading up on the band and I read an interview that S.J. Barlament had with Ben Kyle on how the band started that I thought was interesting:  

"We were a group of friends in school. Luke and I first played together nearly 10 years ago, but the band didn't form until 2002. I essentially gave up music for a few years to study painting. I figured I couldn't do both seriously. I sort of told myself that once I finished my degree I could start playing music again... And that's when the band formed. We were signed really early (within a few months) to a local indie label. Our violinist quit during the first recording, so we asked Jessy Greene to come in and play the string parts and she's been with us ever since (although she's not touring with us because she's touring with a slightly bigger band called the Foo Fighters at the moment)."

"The philosophy of the band is changing, and the more we tour the more it's becoming about the 4 guys on the road (Luke Jacobs, Tony Zacccardi, James Orvis and myself), as we develop new material and arrangements during our live shows. But until now it's really been about a fluid group of musicians collaborating around the songs that I write."

This band is full of such heart and soul and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have. And please make sure to check them out if they are ever in your neck of the woods. I am eagerly awaiting them to come to San Francisco! Enjoy the music and as always, enjoy your day! :-)

 

Monday Jul 14, 2008

All I want is your photograph...

 

Hello everyone! I figured if I started out with a music lyric reference, I would catch your attention. Any idea what song and group I paid homage to? SDNGal and I have officially launched our Sun Total Access Network on Flickr and we want you to join us! Its pretty easy...all you have to do is become a contact and upload your Sun/Sun Developer Network related photos (old or new..we welcome all!) to our page. Whether its a picture snapped at JavaOne, Tech Days, or a a group of you out and about together, we would love them to be part of our set. :) And, to make things fun for you, we will be giving away a Prize Pack to one of our new contacts. Simply upload your photos between July 14, 2008 and July 28, 2008 and tag them with SunTAN/Sun Developer Network/Event title/Event date/Persons/products shown and you will be entered into a drawing for our Prize Pack which includes a Sun SPOT Development kit, Sun t-shirt, SMI press book, and Java ipod carrier. It's pretty sweet package...but we expect your photos to be even sweeter. Become a contact and start uploading today!

Thursday Jul 10, 2008

NetBeans to support Python- Join the NBPython project today!

Happy Thursday everyone! I just got an email from one of my favorite people and co-workers, Tabitha Scatena, about an exciting NetBeans event that is taking place next week.

On Tuesday at EuroPython 2008, Ted Leung (Dynamic Languages & Tools Architect, Sun Microsystems) and Frank Wierzbicki (Jython Project Lead, Sun Microsystems) announced that the NetBeans IDE will be supporting Python and Jython in future releases. At the core of bringing Python/Jython support to the NetBeans IDE, is the formation of the NBPython Project, led by community member Allan Davis.

For more information, visit the NBPython Project page 
and request membership to the project. For developers wishing to contribute, sign up for the development mailing list.

In addition, the Sun Developer Network (SDN) is also launching the Python Developer Center and is planning to feature Python/Jython technologies in future Sun Tech Days events, a 15-city world tour designed to educate developers in local markets on various technologies. Python runtime support is already available in OpenSolaris 2008.05, via the pkg.opensolaris.org repository, as well as with Cool Stack on Solaris 10-based systems.

Sounds like a lot of fun and interesting things are coming for NetBeans! 

 

Tuesday Jul 08, 2008

This was too cool not to share...

Good morning! I saw this yesterday and I thought it was too cool not to share being that it combined two things I think are neat (Bob Dylan and typography).  Turn up the volume and enjoy! :-)  



Monday Jul 07, 2008

Java + MUSIC

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all had a good weekend. Mine was spent in beautiful Lake Tahoe and I had a lovely time. I am back in full swing with lots happening in the JavaFX world that I am excited to share with all of you soon. I was browsing around this morning looking for a bit of inspiration to blog about and I stumbled upon aTunes.org. aTunes is a full-featured audio player and organizer AND it's developed in the Java programming language. How sweet is that? aTunes supports mp3s, ogg, wma, wav, flack and mp4 files and allows users to edit tags, organize music, rip audio cds and as an added bonus it also offers radio streaming. And..what's even cooler is that it is all built on open source software. For a full list of features and benefits, go here. I will definitely be playing around with this new player this week, so look for me to review more about it soon. I love new toys that involve music. Off to check it out now. Enjoy your day! :-D

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Jul 02, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

Hello everyone! I am heading off to Lake Tahoe for the holiday weekend later tonight, but I wanted to quickly leave you with my artist of the week. This will probably come as no surprise that I am going to feature the likes of the boys of Minibar. After being blessed with seeing them live and performing all my favorite songs last week, I figured I needed give them props once again and get all of you listening to them as soon as possible. I am actually going to feature one of Simon Petty's side projects, Solomon's Seal in this post because I think the song, "Sleeping In the Car" is gorgeous. Simon's voice can get you lost in a sea of beautiful lyrics, gorgeous vocals and musical prose. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do and I am working on getting the boys up to San Francisco as soon as possible. Until they come to your neck and my neck of the woods again, enjoy the song and of course enjoy your day! :-D 

 

Tuesday Jul 01, 2008

Shift Radio

Last week while I was on my mini-vacation for my birthday, Chris Melissinos, our Chief Gaming Officer and one of the greatest people I know, launched his new radio show called "SHIFT Radio". The show is all about things that I find way cool like entertainment and the electronic lifestyle. His first show was last week and featured Hal Halpin, President of the Entertainment Consumers Association. You can check out the replay here. I can't wait to see what else and who else Chris brings on his show. I might have to give him my wish list of guests I would like him to talk with... my brain is already going. ;)  

 

 


Monday Jun 23, 2008

Mobile Use Cases Statistics

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you had a great weekend and your week is starting off well. I got some interesting statistics about mobile use cases that I thought I would share with you. I found some of the stats very interesting! I am in the process of uploading the video I shot with Heidi, aka sdngal on Friday to Sun Total Access Network, so stay tuned and enjoy your day!! :) 

 

Mobile Usage Beyond Voice
Compared to 800 million cars, 850 million personal computers, 1.3 billion fixed landline phones, 1.4 billion credit cards, and 1.5 billion TV sets there are now 2.7 billion mobile phones in use. Between January 2001 and December 2010, our global society will have transformed from one where 13% carried a mobile phone, to one where 70% carry one. By the first quarter of 2006, thirty countries had already exceeded 100% per capita cell phone usage (over 100% penetration rate means that some individuals in the population have more than one phone). In that same year, there were about 241 million mobile phone users in the US (roughly 80% per capita mobile phone penetration). The U.S. market is not expected to top 100% per capita penetration until the year 2013, though usage has risen rapidly, according to the Simmons New Media Study.

While 59% of people who have used a cell phone in the past 30 days have text messaged, and 49% have taken photos, less than 2% have shopped by mobile and less than 5% have used mobile GPS – indicating the relative nascency of both mobile shopping and mobile GPS in terms of becoming ingrained consumer habits.

Text Messaging 
Globally, about two thirds of mobile phone users are active users of SMS text messaging which means roughly 1.8 billion people are actively texting today. Globally, there are twice as many active users of SMS as are active users of email. Interesting to note, out of the 10 bestselling books in Japan in 2007, five were "cellphone novels" -- books that were written on the mobile phone, with the authors tapping out sentence by sentence via text message. In the U.S., roughly 300 billion text messages were sent in 2007. SMS is typically read within an average of 15 minutes after receipt and responded to within 60 minutes. Whereas 65% of e-mail is spam, less than 10% of SMS is spam. 
The Finnish Prime Minister, for example, has a voicemail greeting saying he doesn't listen to voicemail, and to please send him a text message instead. With increasing usage of SMS in both public and private sectors, text mess! aging seems to be rapidly becoming an integral part of daily life. As text messaging becomes increasingly common, different usage drivers are emerging, according to the recent Simmons New Media Study. Whereas only about 19% of text messagers say they use text messaging as a means of communication between themselves and colleagues, 62% say they use text messaging to communicate with friends, and 55% say they use it to communicate with their significant others. Consumers are also starting to differentiate how they view text messaging. On a 5-point scale, 28% of consumers who use text messaging view text messaging as a very important source of information. 37%view it as a very important source of communication and 21% view it as an important source of entertainment. 

Mobile Banking 
A whole range of new services could become widely available in key markets as early as 2009. The rise of contactless payments made from cell phones are predicted to be commonplace by 2012. The potential for low-income consumers in the U.S. to use mobile banking has already been demonstrated in countries like the Philippines and South Africa, where mobile banking has been successfully commercialized. Interfaces can be made simpler for faster access and ease of use for this consumer segment. The age group most likely to engage in mobile banking are 25-34 year-olds (amongst those consumers who have cell phones and have used them in the past 30 days). U.S. mobile phone users seem to be increasingly comfortable making banking and purchase transactions while on-the-go. Already, 16 percent of mobile phone subscribers use mobile banking services with 60% of those people using this service at least once a week. An additional 35% of non-users described them! selves as being open to checking bank account balances and transferring funds via their mobile devices. A third of those surveyed (33%) said they would like to receive text message alerts from their financial institutions. The survey also found that the biggest barrier affecting consumer acceptance of mobile banking and commerce is security concerns over personal data.

Mobile Search 
Mobile Search is an evolving branch of information retrieval services that is centered around the convergence of mobile platforms and mobile handsets or other mobile devices. The previous difficulty of operating across mobile handset brands and models, not to mention limited applications, add-ons, software and graphic interface are starting to be addressed in the marketplace. The smartphone market is expected to grow at a 30%+ compound annual growth rate for the next five years globally, exceeding unit sales for laptops. The main driver of this growth has been an improved overall user experience and ease of use with mobile web, fueled by the technological breakthroughs allowing mobile web access to begin to approach the ease and speed of use of computer web access. Amidst a flurry of new mobile web capabilities – the jury is out on who is in the lead. What is clear is the increasing number of players offering an open source mobile OS which s! eems most likely to boost innovation to enable mobile interoperability. Coat-tailing the increased speed and usability of mobile web, mobile video blogging tools are proliferating for early adopters including: Kyte.tv mobile, Floobs, KaZiVu, YouTube Mobile.

Mobile Social Networks 
Mobile social networking is social networking where one or more individuals of similar interests or commonalities, converse and connect with one another using the mobile phone. About 50 million people, or about 2.3% of the global population of mobile users, use their mobile for social networking (including chat services and multimedia sharing). Penetration rates are forecast to grow by 12.5% over the next five years. Big social media networks all went mobile in 2007 (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Bebo), supported by more flat rate introductions on different markets.

GPS 
Location-specific mobile services and applications (cell-ID and/or GPS) driven by the open Google Maps API and flickr’s geotagged photo function have potential to increase significantly as new technology makes this easier to use and offers more applications for mobile users to choose from. Geo-tagging is when a picture is taken, the location of the photographer is saved and overlaid onto services like Google Maps to produce a map of where the photographer has been. Mobile GPS usage among mobile phone owners skews decidedly younger, although the 35-44 age group indexes slightly above the market average. There is a severe drop-off for the older groups.

Given the public's growing appetite for connective technology, it's not surprising that mobile phone penetration is on par with Internet access. Approximately 80% of respondents reported owning a mobile phone, while 78% of Americans have Internet access, according to a new study by InsightExpress. Mobile phone penetration is actually spread equally across the generations. Although Gen Y (18-24) leads the pack at 85%, it is followed closely by Gen X (25-44) at 82%, younger Baby Boomers (45-54) at 80% and older Baby Boomers (55-64) at 79%. 


Friday Jun 20, 2008

Let's Go to the Movies!

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been busy getting in gear for a lot of COOL and exciting things in the software world at Sun. Earlier this week, Mary Smaragdis, sent around a very cool email to all of us bloggers here at Sun and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to let all of my readers know the news! Get Smart featuring the extremely funny Steve Carrell and actress Anne Hathaway hits theaters today and Sun has some pretty prominent product placement in it. This movie is sure to be a big summer blockbuster, so I look forward to seeing it on the big screen sometime this weekend. What a better way to beat this heat that we're having here in Northern California then going to the movies and laughing for a few hours? Oh, and if you are wondering what Sun products are starring in the movie (and in the still below) it is none other than our Sun StorageTek SL8500 Modular Library System. Pretty sweet, huh? Also, Heidi aka SDNGal (and my partner in all things social media) and I shot a new video for Sun Total Access Network that I will be putting up shortly. Don't forget to stop by and check it out! Alright, I am off to enjoy the weekend...I hope you have a great one too! ;-)

 

Thursday Jun 19, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

Happy Thursday everyone! Its that time of the week again.  I have a long list of artists that I am going to be introducing you to, but I figured I would stay on tradition from last week and introduce you to a band that I will be seeing this weekend. On Saturday, I am hitting up the Greek Theater in Berkeley (such a great outdoor venue..smaller, intimate, perfect) and we are going to see Death Cab For Cutie. Its been a few years since I have been able to catch them live and while they were at the Fillmore back in April on their way to Coachella, the show sold out in 2 minutes and people were asking for a ridiculous amount of money per ticket, so I sadly, couldn't make it. But I knew they would be back soon as they were releasing their latest studio album this year and before I knew it, I got the ticketmaster alert that they were coming back in June. 

I am sure you are wondering how the band figured out what to name themselves. I know I asked myself that when I first heard their name so to end any confusion any of you may have, the boys picked the name "Death Cab For Cutie" from a British band named The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band who had a song by the very same name on their 1967 album, 'Gorilla'. Ben Gibbard, lead singer for DCFC, took the name from The Beatles 1967 TV movie and album, "The Magical Mystery Tour", where the song was prominently featured. 

Death Cab For Cutie is comprised of lead singer Ben Gibbard, lead guitarist Chris Walla, bassist Nick Harmer and Nathan Good on drums. Death Cab for Cutie's music has been described as "a literate, whispery style, the kind of stuff that normall sounds better in headphones thank in large venues" and Ben's high tenor voice has been described as "remarkable, vunerable and Zen-like."  I remember the first time I heard DCFC and I wondered, who is this band, because it was a sound I hadn't heard before. Shortly after that, I got my RollingStone in the mail and while flipping through the pages, saw their review of 'Transatlanticism'. They commented that the album was "melodic, melancholy songs about feeling both smart and confused, hopelessly romantic but wary of love." Having read the description and already heard a few of the songs, I quickly went down to the local record store (ahhhh...remember those days?) and picked up a copy.  A few years later, 'Plans' would grace our ears with such amazing songs as "Brothers on a Hotel Bed", "Soul Meets Body" and "Crooked Teeth". Entertainment Weekly commented on the music on 'Plans' say "The lush arrangements are long on hothouse organs and pianos, but short on the squirmy guitars and squirrelly beats that, on Gibbard's best work, offset his sweet voice and boarderline maudlin poetics with a sense of emotional danger."

Their latest studio release, 'Narrow Stairs' has been described by Chris Walla as "weird, spectacular and creepy". It was released on May 13, 2008 and has been met with plaudits from new and old fans. In an album review, MTV writer, James Montegomery said that he believes that this album could make "an early contender for the best album of 2008." The new album is their first to reach #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Below you will find the official video from their first single off of 'Narrow Stairs' called "I Will Possess Your Heart". The intro is a bit long, but the song soars once it gets going. Enjoy the music and as always, enjoy your day! :-D 


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Maybe I'm Right: One girl's thoughts on life, work, music, and the latest hot technology.

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