Wednesday Jul 02, 2008

Yes, I am a winner


My review of Open Solaris wins me a prize at OpenSolaris and NetBeans Student Reviews Contest. Details is here.

Thursday May 22, 2008

Sun SPOT Certificate

I got a Sun SPOT Certificate by attending an online Sun SPOTs Course. :) It's a great experience because this course synthesizes many good information about Sun SPOT.

Thursday May 08, 2008

5th Tech Demo @ UNIMELB: Solaris ZFS -- The Best File System on the planet

On 8th May 2008 I hosted the fifth Sun Campus Ambassador demo titled "Solaris ZFS: The Best File System on the planet" at University of Melbourne. I was honored to have Sun System Engineer Nathan Kroenert and Sun Victoria Education & Research Industry Manager Nicholas (Nick) Griffith to join me in this seminar. The whole demo lasted about 60 minutes. 22 students and staff sent me their RSVP and 69 people eventually attended seminar. It was a great timing of having Solaris ZFS talk as OpenSolaris 200805 was released only two days ago. I manually burned 20 copies of OpenSolaris LiveCD and brought to the seminar. So the audience could take one to try out ZFS right after this seminar. Appearently many people found ZFS a very attractive topic. The theater was nearly full when the seminar began.

Firstly Nathan and I jointly presented ZFS tech talk.

We mostly reused Bill Moore's ZFS presentation at Sun ZFS learning center. We focused on the explanation of why ZFS was designed from scratch and brought revolution into storage industry. We retrospected the last 20 years development of IT industry and review what had changed. It turned out that, CPU was 1000 times faster, memory about 100 times and disks about 10 times. So relatively speaking, nowadays CPU is 100 times faster than relative to disks. As a result, what was considered completely intunable in 20 years ago became an obsolete assumption. We could spend a very percentage of CPU time to ensure the whole data integrity in a storage pool. We were also able to have more advanced pool storage mechanism than traditional volume management, which significantly ease administration effort. More detail explanation could be found at Bill's recorded talks.


I must applause Nathan for his exceptional knowledge and extensive experience in Solaris and ZFS. While I mostly repeated what I learned from previous Campus Ambassador training, Nathan added much insightful explanation and interesting examples. As the seminar went on, I learned a lot from Nathan's talk. Many "uh-huh" kept popping up from my mind.

Because we were delayed by setting up projector, we were behind our schedule. So we were a bit short of time after we passed along half of the slides. In order to cover the seminar content, which I personally thought it would be beneficial to audience, I asked Nathan to completely take over. It was amazing to see how he could address these technical points in such a concise manner. 

In demo section we used several USB flash drives to create a storage pool. I connected four USB flash drives to a laptop via a USB hub.

Somehow I could see two USBs from "rmformat" result. While I was scratching my head and trying to figure out what went wrong, Nathan used this opportunity to demonstrate how to narrow down and debug the issue in LIVE. It was so cool!!! It turned out that, two USB ports went bad at this VERY moment. We then moved along and demonstrated a number of ZFS administration tasks with rest of USB devices. Although we were not able to show a CSI:Munich clone as I planned, the audience and I had a much more practical lesson. It was such a great pleasure to have a master here.

Lastly we had the long expected IPod draw as the closure of today's seminar. Nick picked the luck audience from the lotter box. Look, how happy the lucky student is.

The discussion continued after we ended the seminar. Many audience just could not miss the opportunity to consult Sun expert.

Thanks for Peng Deng's help! He recorded several short videos in today's seminar.

My opening talks


Nathan added insightful input to my talks.


Nathan passionate talk on his favoriate slide: End-to-End Checksums



Presentation slides:

Lessons learn:

1. Although I did many research on how to connect projector on an OpenSolaris laptop and was able to connect my OpenSolaris box with my LCD screen (Project is fundamentally another external screen, isn't it?), I was not able to have my OpenSolaris windows displayed nicely on the theatre projector today. The resolution of the projector was surprisingly low, only 640x480. I should have tried it before seminar. As Nathan suggested, VESA could automatically cope with many different projectors. I will put together a detail instruction in later blog.

2. Although I practiced live demo for many times, I only assumed that everything would go as I expected and failed to consider "raining" scenario. Fortunately I have Nathan to save my day. I should have considered more thoroughly.

Thursday May 01, 2008

4th Tech Demo @ UNIMELB: Visual Mobile Game with Netbeans 6.0

On 1st May 2008 I made my fourth Campus Ambassador demo titled "Visual Mobile Game with Netbeans 6.0" at University of Melbourne. The whole demo lasted about 55 minutes. 17 students and staff sent me their RSVP and 46 people eventually attended seminar. The turn up rate is a bit higher than my previous tech demo, which is fantastic!

As my view of Campus Ambassador role is to grow Sun technologies communities among students and staffs in universities, I always encouraged attendees to participate, not just listen to my lecture. Previously Peng Deng, a talented student who is using Sun SPOT on his final master project, co-presented Sun Spot with me in Feb. In today's talk I have Zheng Huang, a Master Student in Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, joined me. Zheng has a lot of experience and passion on developing Java mobile games.

I firstly introduced Java Micro Edition in the context of Java Family and pointed out that, although Java ME is small in terms of its software size, it is actually the most ubiquitous application platform among Java family. For example, the devices includes PDA, Smart Electronic appliances, point of sale (POS) terminal, TV-set box and, of course, cell phone.

I explained Java ME's two main components, CLDC & MIDP in detail and introduce Sun Wireless toolkits which is a great development platform for J2ME applications.

Zheng Huang talked about his development experience and presented a comprehensive comparison of developing mobile on J2ME platform and .Net compact framework.


 His handdrawn slides are very amusing and brought audience a lot of mirth.

He also presented his works, a Java Mobile game which brought him a high scores in Mobile computing course. It is a very interesting game and could be launched in either single player mode or multiple player mode via Blue tooth connection. When he brought two emulators and demonstrated multiple player mode, everyone is amazed by the great features of Sun Wireless toolkits.


Then, I started Netbeans and demonstrated how to design Mobile game scene, tiled layers and movement of sprites in Netbeans. All of these tedious tasks are very straightforward because of the rich features of Mobile Visual Game builders. Thanks for Peng Deng's help! He recorded a short video during my demo.

In the end I finished my talk with standard promotion about Sun Academic Initiative program and then took a number of questions.

Presentation slides:

Demo script at Netbeans Wiki: Creating JavaME Games With Game Builder 

Friday Apr 25, 2008

3rd Tech Demo @ UNIMELB: Visual Web & AJAX with Netbeans 6.0

On 24th April 2008 I made my third Campus Ambassador demo titled "Visual Web & AJAX with Netbeans 6.0" at University of Melbourne. The whole demo lasted about 50 minutes. 21 students and staff sent me their RSVP and 37 people eventually attended seminar.

I mostly reused Sang Shin's great AXAJ online course slides. The focus of my talk is the demonstration of Netbeans' excellent drag and drop features. Netbeans Visual Web pack, which has been built into Netbeans 6.0, hides many implementation detail and allows users to concentrate the actual application.

I started my talk with introduction of Sun Campus Ambassador program and the upcoming tech demos.


To introduce AJAX technology, I compared rich user experience applications and conventional web applications. After reviewing all sort of drawbacks, I introduced the concept of rich internet application (RIA) and a number of rich internet application technologies, e.g. Java applet, Micromedia Flash, Java Web start, Dynamic HTML and AJAX. For each of these RIA technology, I demonstrated a real life example.


I thoroughly explained how, the most viable RIA technology, AJAX works through anatomy of an AJAX Interaction example, Data Validation.

Then I started Netbeans 6.1 and demonstrate how to implement a simple AJAX application, "auto completion" in live. I reused Dmitry Kushner's code, which is fantastic.

After I finished live demo, I pointed out rich resources in and briefly compared Netbeans with other development tools.

In the end I finished my talk with standard promotion about Sun Academic Initiative program and then took a number of questions. 

Thanks for Peng Deng's help! He recorded a short video during my demo.

Presentation slides:

Demo Code: Creating autocomplete entry field with Woodstock

Saturday Mar 22, 2008

Sun MySQL Meetup Mashup Meeting in Melbourne on 20th March

At Thursday night I went to attend Sun MySQL Meetup Mashup meeting at RMIT. I got to meet Colin Charles (MySQL Community Relations Manager APAC), Gary Pendergast (Support Engineer with MySQL AB) and a few MySQL Melbourne community members.

Meeting starts with Colin's talk. He talked through what would change and what wouldn't after Sun acquired MySQL. It seems that MySQL will basically operate the same way as before and dolphin will appear at various location under

Gary then followed with some updates about MySQL support. There is little changes on support process and method. Sun will add a number of engineers to support MySQL.

In the end I introduced Sun Campus Ambassador program to MySQL community members and talked about my evangelistic works of Sun technologies. As I have received some inquiries about Sun's purchasing MySQL, it would be nice to organize a MySQL seminar in the University of Melbourne in coming months.

After meeting, we continued mash up at Oxford Scholar. During dinner and drinks we even swapped seats to have a nice and thorough talks to each other.

Thanks for Sun's budget! This mashup certainly brings us closer. :)

  The Stragglers who enjoyed the meeting until the end: (left to right) Colin Charles, Tristan Penman (MySQL Melbourne User Group coordinator), Gary Pendergast, Zhiqi Tao

Also Colin has one blog entry about Melbourne's Mashup.

Sunday Mar 16, 2008


If you are from an educational institutions and are looking for industry recognized training that can fast-track your career and increase your finance, you will not want to miss benefit from Sun Academic Initiative (SAI) program.

According to a Certification Magazine Salary Survey, Sun Certification increases earning power:

  • Sun Certified Programmers earn on average 8.3% more than the average programmer
  • Sun Certified Developers earn on average 14.3% more than the average developer
  • Sun Certified System Administrators earn on average 31% more than system administrators certified on other operating systems


So, how many Sun technologies related jobs are in demand? I did simple searches on a Australian leading job seeking website,,on key words, Java or Solaris. On 16th March 2008 the results are 3107 Java developer jobs and 692 Solaris administrator jobs.

As a Sun Academic Initiative (SAI) Program participant, Sun offers students, staff and faculty in the University of Melbourne the following special benefits:

If you find these offers interesting, here is an elaborate instruction for you to get access to SAI resources.

\*\*\* Please note that this instruction was written with the intention of helping students, staff and faculty in the University of Melbourne to take advantage of SAI offers. \*\*\*

I. Register yourself at Sun Learning Connection:

  1. Direct your browser to: . Please note: you must enable pop ups in your browser for this application.
  2. Click on "Register"
  3. Create your own Username and Password
  4. Company Name and Company I.D. are available on request. Please refer to the following figure.
  5. Click "Submit" at the bottom of the page and a NEWS (pop up) page will appear where you may select from the icons at the top of the page.

Congratulations and Welcome to the Sun Learning Connection!
When you select COURSES you will be presented with My Courses which lists all of the courses in the Sun Academic Initiative that are available to you at no cost. You may review them by Groups or use the Search function to locate a course.To enroll in a course, simply click on the name of the course and agree to the Click Through License Agreement and your module will begin.

If you are a first time user of an LMS you may want to download the Learner User Guide. When selecting the REFERENCE icon you may select the Learner User Guide which will download the PDF document to your system. Discount certification coupons and other offers may also be viewed by selecting REFERENCE and then SAI Member Offers.

You can retake each module, course or practice exam as often as you like. Upon completion of a course you can download a certificate of completion available through the Sun Learning Connection tool.

Please note, there is a 365 day expiration on each course starting when you enroll in the course. If you exceed the 365 day expiration time, simply click on the "help" button and ask for an extension and it will be granted.

II. Get Voucher number for discount certificate exam

Here's what you need to access the SAI-participant Certification test

  1. Log into the Sun Learning Connection
  2. Click on the "Reference" Tab located at the top menu selections
  3. Click on "SAI Member Offers"
  4. When you Click on "View| Certification test vouchers   Username: sun  Password: equals java" a new window will pop up with a new Login page.
  5. Enter Username: sun
  6. Enter Password: equals java
  7. This will allow you to enter the Certification test voucher tool/site
  8. Enter your name
  9. Select your geo location. For Australia, please select "Asia Pacific (Except Japan)"
  10. Select PROMETRIC to take the exam (VUE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)
III. Contact Prometric test center

  1. Register yourself at Prometric
  2. Go to Prometric website
  3. Select  "Client" --> "Sun MicroSystems";
  4. Select "Program" --> "Sun Academic Initiative (212)" and click "Next"
  5. Click "Next"
  6. Select Exam you like to take. For example, "212-055 Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform, SE 5.0".
  7. Select a test center you like and click "Schedule Appointment".
  8. Select available exam dates and time
  9. Payment Information page.  You will see a small table like this.

     Click "yes" and enter your voucher number there.

     10. You will see something like this.

     11. Now you have discounted price. Complete your booking and take exam.

     Please feel free to circulate among your friends/classmates. If any questions, please feel free to contact me. 

Thursday Mar 06, 2008

What I still remember two days after Sun Tech Day in Australia

Two days after Sun Tech Day in Australia, most of tech talks become blur and only a few points addressed by Matt Thompson still hover in my mind. 

1. Three month turnover.

Nowadays in Silcon Valley Venture Capitalists invest project on three months basis. This means that, if a project/idea is attractive enough to get venture capital, the first investment will be three months ongoing cost. After that, venture capitalist will review the progress and decide if it is worthy of another three months' funding.

World is changing so fast. Novel, interesting, attractive... idea will quickly lose its luster. Therefore, it is important to select advanced tools/languages to quickly develop the first generation product.

2. Participate open source project

Sun recently hired two Python pros. How were they identified? Through open source community. So open source community provides an excellent platform for both recruiter and job hunter. Start to build up reputation today!

3. Open source software development helps Sun grow.

Sun has made most of products/softwares open sourced. Apart from selling service contract, what else does Sun benefit from open source? Open source gives more and more people to develop software; some of these software projects will eventually become so successful that they will host in mission critical data center; Sun will supply the most cutting edge, energy-economic and high reliable data centers.

Thursday Feb 28, 2008

SPOT demo @ University of Melbourne

Today, 28th Feb 2008, I made my first Campus Ambassador tech demo in the University of Melbourne. 

35 people, mainly faculty members and research students in Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE) , attended this demo. Several of them are from other universities and research institutions. It's amazing to see how many people are eager to see Sun SPOT in live.

Deng Peng, a research student from Sensing, Ubiquity and Mobility (SUM) Lab in CSSE, joined me in this talk. He has developed a few applications with Sun SPOT. (I was surprised to learn that they have been using Sun SPOT in mobile computing class for quite a while.)

We used a modified version of Sun SPOT presentation material. We spent about 1/4 time on technical slides, 2/4 time on demos and 1/4 time on discussion. This proved to be a very successful arrangement. Few people asked questions while we are talking about Sun SPOT tech specs and Squawk VM. But, after demos, they are harmed up and start to ask all kinds of questions.

We had four demos:

1. Bouncing ball.

Not only did we demonstrate the standard bouncing ball on one standalone Sun SPOT and between two Sun SPOTs, we also demonstrate that the "ball" can actually bounce between real Sun SPOT and Sun SPOT simulator.

2. Air Text

We turned down the light and shook really hard in order to show text.

3. Sun SPOT Game Panel

This demo was developed by Peng. We use SUN SPOT to simulate a Game Panel and use it to play Neverball. This demo was the most eye-catching one. Many audience asked Peng some detail questions about implementation. Peng is very kind to make this demo code available to everyone.

4. Sun SPOT Sensing

This demo was developed by Peng too. We demonstrate how to use Sun SPOT as sensor to monitor movement, light and temperature and direct the collected data to a Java graph program, Live Graph, so that we can get the real time illustration.

Many audience was interested in knowing how to get Sun SPOT for their research. Some of them mentioned that they were having many problems with application development on other type of wireless sensors and they really wanted to try out Sun SPOT. Some of them asked what exactly the educational discount of Sun SPOT will be. We have forward these questions to Sun local sales managers.

Lessons learned:

Although I asked a friend to help with taking photo, however, he was not able to make it for an urgent reason. So next time I will at least ask to photographers. It's a pity not to take photos for such a great event.

Demo Slides can be found here.

Monday Feb 25, 2008

Sun Tech Day in Melbourne on 4th March 2008

Check out you should come to Sun Tech Day in Melbourne on 4th March 2008

- Ask questions to James Gosling, the Father of Java (also have chance to Win an iPod Touch 8GB, check the link for detail)
- Learn the latest in web scripting
- Learn how to participate in open source communities
- Learn what's new in Mobile Java Development
- Learn how to get paid a 14% higher starting salary through Sun certification
- Learn how to get a Job @ Sun

According to Sun Tech Day organizer, over 1300 attendees from over 320 companies have registered for the conference so far. It would be a great opportunity to socialize and build up network as well.


Occasionally I like to share some ideas or interesting news here.


« July 2016