Smart Phones, Dumb Commercials

Posted in: Customer Service

The current round of Blackberry and Android tablet commercials almost universally and prominently call attention to the fact they are able to render Flash based content. Using terms like “Flash Enabled” or “Flash Compatible”. Obviously this is a less than subtle swipe at iOS based devices (iPhone, IPads etc) which do not deal with Flash content.

If the best product differentiator these companies can muster is the fact that their device/OS can run bloated Flash based advertising banners across the top of web pages that I am viewing on a slow mobile connection, then I think Apple will hardly be rushing in to “support” Flash.

Even Adobe, the creator of Flash, has begun to quietly waive the proverbial white flag in defeat when it comes to the Apple Vs Flash battle. Just in the last few days, on their Labs website, Adobe announced the first availability of Project Wallaby (great name IMHO), which is a tool to convert Flash applications to the HTML 5 standard that many browsers already have support for, and surprise, surprise so do iOS based devices.

Bottom line: if the main reason you pick one smart phone over another is that one runs Flash and one doesn’t, then it is possible you are not qualified to own a smart phone just yet.

JavaOne 2010 – Monday Keynote

Posted in: Enterprise Java

After the debacle on Sunday afternoon where all of the JavaOne conference attendees were turned back by the conference thugs at the doors to the Oracle Welcome Keynote, my expectations for Monday’s opening JavaOne Keynote were not high. The magnitude of the irony of calling the Sunday event the “Welcome” Keynote, but not allowing JavaOne attendees to watch it live makes my head spin. I have it on good authority though (I was actually allowed in because of my Press credentials), that once the JavaOne attendees had trudged back up the hill to the Hilton to “enjoy” the video feed, alcohol was found to be available and so it turned out to be one of the better Keynotes in spite of Oracle’s lack of hospitality.
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Barnes & Noble Enters Apple Vs Flash Debate

Posted in: Customer Service

Saw this at the local Barnes & Noble tonight.

Notice the interesting juxtaposition of the “Apple & Everyday Computing” signage, with the books about Flash and Flex development immediately under them.

If you were the kind of person who loves a good conspiracy, you might think that Barnes & Noble is attempting to suggest that Flash is part of the everyday computing experience and Apple needs to support it, possibly because the Nook (B&N’s e-book reader) will support Flash going forward.

If you are not one of those kinds of people, you might just think it is a benign coincidence. :)

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How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Posted in: Consulting & Entrepreneurship, Software Development Team Leadership

One of the best TED talks I have seen in a long time. Simon Sinek talks about how companies like Apple can be so successful when compared to their competitors.

Good riddance Lotus Notes

Posted in: System Administration

As of today I no longer need to have Lotus Notes installed on my Macbook Pro! Woo hoo!

I was very excited at the prospect of uninstalling it (yes, uninstalling bad software is all it takes to get me excited). Lotus Notes is far and away the largest installation on my laptop. It weighs in at an incredible 792 MB! The next largest application I have installed is iPhoto at 430 MB and then follows Gimp at 263 MB. There would be very few people that would argue that Lotus Notes provides more functionality per megabyte than Gimp does. In my experience IBM is especially good at producing bloatware, but even this is beyond any rational (pun intended) explanation.

What makes it worse is that Lotus Notes is a just plain awful tool to use. So its a one-two punch, first it takes up ridiculously unjustified amounts of disk space, then it rubs salt in that wound by just being horrible to use. Nothing has ever made me long for Microsoft Outlook like Lotus Notes does, and that is saying something since I am a self-confessed Apple fan-boy.

I am pretty sure my laptop sighed in relief when I deleted Lotus Notes, like a giant burden had been lifted from its shoulders.

The only upside to Lotus Notes, is that it does have an Apple version at all, although this is more due to the fact that the recent versions are based on Eclipse (ie. Java), not so much that IBM really loves Apple users in any way.

Farewell Lotus Notes, it was depressing and frustrating to know you, and I hope we never cross paths again.

Apple MacBook Pro Hard Drive Upgrade

Posted in: System Administration

In a previous post (Apple MacBook Pro Memory Upgrade) I detailed the reasoning behind choosing to perform some upgrades on the MacBook Pros in my family instead of buying new ones. In this post I will go over the process needed to upgrade the hard drives to give us a little more room to move for the next couple of years and hopefully some performance improvements as well.
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Apple MacBook Pro Memory Upgrade

Posted in: System Administration

When I buy a tech gadget, whether it be a cell phone or a laptop for example, it always costs me twice as much as everyone else. No matter how good a deal I try to find, it always ends up costing me exactly twice as much as everyone else. Does this happen to you?

It is caused by Geek Wife Gadget Purchasing Syndrome, wherein I cannot buy any cool technology without also getting the same thing for my wife because she also covets cool gadgets.

We had planned to update to the latest MacBook Pro this coming January, as that would mark 3 years since we purchased our current identical in every way MacBook Pros. However, in these turbulent economic times and because of the syndrome mentioned previously, we decided to explore alternatives.

In the end we decided the laptops were not too bad and we could probably squeeze another couple of years out of them, but we had to do something about hard drive space and RAM. So this post details the RAM upgrade and I will detail the hard drive upgrade in another post.
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JavaOne 2009 – (Mostly) Important Questions (Mostly) Answered

Posted in: Enterprise Java

A few days before JavaOne I posted some questions that I was looking forward to finding out the answers too. Here is what I found out.

Has Hudson Killed CruiseControl?
I saw a couple of presentations on Hudson. I also saw Kohsuke Kawaguchi at the Thirsty Bear and he was drinking the good beer, so clearly Hudson is verging on world domination under his guidance.

I never saw Cruisecontrol mentioned anywhere. Not in the conference catalog and not in the pavilion.

I am now even more convinced that Hudson is the way forward for open source Java Continuous Integration.

What Will Be The Volume Of The Twitter Noise Coming From Inside The Conference?
There was definitely a strong stream of Tweets around the #javaone keyword all week. I was able to get a different perspective during the General Sessions by watching the Twitter stream go by as people Tweeted about what was being said on stage.

But what I will say is that I was able to keep up with the volume of Tweets. I mention this because I started to try and follow the #wwdc keyword this week as the Apple conference was going on and I simply could not keep up, not even close. Every time my TweetDeck was refreshing, I was getting more than 100 Tweets during the opening keynote. I gave up in the end and turned the live search off.

Also, while I saw some people Tweet about “is there a Tweetup?“, I never actually saw anyone take the bold step to be the organizer of one.

So definitely more Twittering going on, but nothing earth shattering. I was also hoping to see a vendor try and use Twitter as a medium for some kind of viral promotion during the conference, but I didn’t see anything that creative unfortunately.

Will AJAX Presentations Be THE Place To Be Seen For A 3rd Year Running?
So there were definitely a lot of AJAX based presentations. There were also a lot of REST presentations, which (at least in my experience) seem to always stray over into the AJAX world.

But there were also probably an equal number of JavaFX presentations. Although I would take the amount of JavaFX presentations and other buzz with a grain of salt as it is Sun’s pet project and it was their conference.

There was even an AJAX vs JavaFX presentation to round things out on that front.

But I do think my prediction of all topics related to the cloud as being the hot topics of the conference was probably correct – probably only outnumbered by speculation related to the whole Sun/Oracle situation. There was a track on the Monday morning related to the cloud, there was an unconference on the Monday afternoon called “Cloud Camp”, Sun showed off cloud related provisioning in the Tuesday morning keynote and there were a whole pile of regular sessions either related to new cloud topics, or just repositioning old topics to add the buzzword cloud to their repertoire.

What Will The Oracle Presence Be?
So a bit of a mixed bag on this front.

As most people who care already know, Larry Ellison made an appearance at the keynote on Tuesday morning. I was actually rooting for him to not show up at all – I think that would have been the best play for Oracle. I think McNealy played it well, but it was obvious that both men were a little uncomfortable and they stumbled on some awkward topics during the time they shared the stage. I don’t actually think Larry really cleared any of the FUD related to the situation even though he tried to reassure people that Oracle “likes” Java.

Beyond Larry’s appearance though, Oracle’s presence was actually less than previous years. Most notably, Oracle had absolutely zero presence in the pavilion this year. You can speculate to heart’s content as to why that was. I believe there was at least one session from Oracle personnel, but I did not make it to that one.

I didn’t see any Oracle signage around the conference, it pretty much was business as usual from that standpoint.

What Will The Reaction To The Microsoft Keynote Be?
This turned out to be a dud when compared to the chatter leading up to it.

There was little reaction from the crowd, although from my quick eyeballing of the room, it seemed to be the smallest attendance for keynote during the week.

Basically Microsoft told us that integration is import – wow, thanks for that, welcome to the party. The rest of it was a thinly veiled marketing pitch, which never goes over well at a technical conference.

Will Jonathon Schwartz Look As Uncomfortable And Awkward As Usual?
Believe it or not, I actually think Schwartz did a reasonable job on the Tuesday morning. It didn’t feel quite as stiff as usual. His interaction with partners etc. was still a little cumbersome but nothing worse than I have seen elsewhere.

I was super happy to see Scott McNealy make an appearance – it was clearly the highlight of the keynote. I also think Sun made the right call to have McNealy be the one to address the elephant in the room. The standing ovation he received when he left the stage I think was evidence of that and was also the highpoint of the whole keynote.

Will James Gosling’s Toy Show Seem Overly Long And Desperate Again?
The toy show was the same old story as expected. I sat through it and there are some interesting niche type Java things going on, but I still left the session with overwhelming sense of “meh”.

I think the most interesting part of the Friday morning keynote was the fact that there was absolutely no acknowledgment of the Oracle/Sun situation at all, nor was there any acknowledgment that this was probably the end of JavaOne, at least as we know it today. I had predicted the Friday morning keynote to be somewhat emotional with a bunch of farewells and look-backs, but as it turns out, the Tuesday morning keynote was the one that had the emotion in it.

Will The Lunch Lines Be Under Control?
Nope, lunch lines were ridiculous as usual.

I am always impressed at how megalomaniacal the event staff get at Moscone during these big conferences.

Will It Be Crazy Cold in Yerba Buena Gardens on Thursday Night Again?
I was way off on this one.

The weather was forecast to be horrible on Thursday and so the event staff moved the party to the ballroom at the Marriott on 4th street. As it turns out it was perfectly dry on Thursday and it could have easily been held outside, but it was certainly cold.

The party was actually pretty good and the band was excellent for the setting IMHO and the food was significantly better than last year’s corn dogs and popcorn.

Will The Bookstore Be Given More Space?
Nope, exactly the same space, exactly the same pushy-shovey experience trying to browse the books.

Will Enough People Use me As A Reference So I Can Get The Better Swag?
Unfortunately no. :(

Why are the A’s and Giants both playing away all week?
The MLB has declined to comment on this obvious conspiracy.

Twitter Recap for Week Ending 2009-06-08

Posted in: Social Networking
  • Bad sign for attendence @ #javaone. Keynote hall set up much smaller than previous years, definitely fewer seats #
  • Sitting in #communityone keynote session #
  • Wondering if physical disaster recover sites should now be replaced with cloud services #
  • First technical session of the week – Taking Advantage Of Subversion’s New Features #
  • Family Blog Update: insert witty fork pun here… http://bit.ly/b28K3 #
  • 2nd session of the day “Test Your Product On Multiple Machines in Parallel with Hudson” #communityone #
  • @chungsean welcome to #javaone sir #
  • Sitting in “Community Equity: Social Value System for Social Network” #communityone #
  • Just arrived @ pavillion reception for #communityone #
  • @alicia_s is it really small? Stupid fat hobbit #
  • Following semi-naked marching band to next party @ #communityone #
  • @alicia_s we’re talking about whatever you want to talk about #
  • Frankie says relax at #communityone party #
  • @srabon having an OK time. I am carrying some flu symptoms, so taking it easy to make sure I last the whole week. in reply to srabon #
  • Need one more person to use me as a refererence for #javaone registration to get the Flip. Earn yourself some good karma points – W1302019 #
  • In #javaone opening keynote, waiting for it to start, same DJ as last year #
  • Grey foggy morning in SF, will only get worse if Ellison shows up at the #javaone keynote #
  • Some McNealy and no Elison so far. Oh and I caught on on t-shirt. Good so far, #javaone #
  • I spoke too soon, Elison on stage now. ;( #javaone #
  • Elison was doing ok until he dissed AJAX – wrong room for that statement. #javaone #
  • In 2nd tech session of the day already at #javaone. This one on Amazon EC2. Also saw the one on OpenESB and BPEL. #
  • Is #OpenSolaris the product with the most swag and the least number of users at #javaone? Seriously, I do not get it. #
  • Watching JBoss mini-talk on there new ESB in the pavillion #
  • Thanks to @abridgwater for inviting me to the Press/Analyst Reception tonight. Cheers mate. #javaone #
  • Heading to the Java Community Process party at the Intercontinental for more #javaone fun #
  • Family Blog Update: cute of the day… http://bit.ly/PxdvC #
  • Mashed Potato Martinis at the JCP party! #javaone #
  • In a lab at #javaone about building social apps. using Zembly – same tool that @briankous demoed to the Behr team last Friday. #
  • In Joshua Bloch’s Effective Java talk for about the 5th year straight. #javaone #
  • In HtmlUnit session w/ @briankous at #javaone #
  • @briankous the jboss party is tomorrow night @ jillian’s, not tonight. how about a team dinner instead? in reply to briankous #
  • Netflix just sent me Weeds: Season 4: Disc 1 #
  • team dinner @ Magnolia, 1398 Haight St (Haight @ Masonic) 7:45pm – meet in lobby of my hotel 7:30pm to share taxi, or see you there #
  • Having dinner w/ @briankous @chungsean @michaelpallas and @tshumaker @godfather #
  • BTW, what kind of douche uses @godfather as their Twitter handle? Freakin’ Vito #
  • Sitting in a restaurant on Haight St in San Francisco and they are playing The Grateful Dead – is that just gratuitous? #
  • #JavaOne After Dark moved to the Marriott (4th & MIssion) because of probable bad weather tomorrow (actually later today really) #
  • RT @ABridgwater: Adrian on ZDNet.co.uk “The view from the floor at #JavaOne” http://bit.ly/3gb6d #
  • Urgh, the OpenSSO lab I am in is full of problems. #javaone #
  • FYI, if your English is not so good, strapping on a mic. and yelling and speaking really fast is not going to help the situation. #javaone #
  • #JBoss Party is starting. Free beer and a front row seat to watch the Lakers on a 20ft screen. I love Java. #javaone #
  • Damn, @briankous just broke a beer glass. Half a beer and we are going to have to cut him off already. #javaone the corruptor of innocents #
  • @gorkeyv are you high? #
  • @chungsean and I have moved on to the After Dark Party @ the Marriott #
  • I am watching the original lead singer of Toto sing Africa. i think I have slipped into a totally awesome alternate dimension @ #javaone #
  • @gorkeyv since when do you get so sticky over the Lakers? #
  • If there is any actual original member of Skynyrd on stage, is it OK to scream for Free Bird? #
  • I just saw any original member of Skynyrd play a 10:30 version of Free Bird – all bets are off for the rest of the night. Fuck yeah! #
  • Last keynote at possibly the last #JavaOne has just started – probably a few teary eyes in the room by the end I expect #
  • Today’s #javaone keynote, no emotion expressed, no acknowledgment of the end of JavaOne in this form, and also no “see you next year”. #
  • 2nd to last #javaone session about to start. Hopefully Mr Galbraith will be as interesting as usual and will keep me awake #
  • #javaone we are off to on on good start – Ben just slammed SAP user interface :) #
  • @jazzlifejunkie and if that all goes well, red eyes in the morning #
  • Beer Log: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA #
  • #Beer Log: Rogue – St Rogue Dry Hopped Red Ale #
  • @jazzlifejunkie touche sir #
  • #Beer Log: Rogue – Hazelnut Brown #
  • #Beer Log: Rogue – Anniversary Charlie – Dry Hopped American Strong Ale #
  • #Beer Log: Moylan’s – Hopsickle Imperial Ale – Triple IPA #
  • Family Blog Update: He’s coming home today… http://bit.ly/Dnuoo #
  • @gorkeyv thanks for the balanced well thought out reviews. you realize that it is #apple that has cult like followers , not #palm right? in reply to gorkeyv #
  • Maybe that should be the #pre tag line “Guaranteed to be really a lot like an #iIPhone since we used the same people” #
  • Adelaide Crows def. Essendon Bombers, 130 to 114 #
  • Family Blog Update: Back From San Francsico http://bit.ly/bZJhT #
  • Family Blog Update: Birthday Present http://bit.ly/Om85e #
  • Family Blog Update: Certified : Totally Nerdy http://bit.ly/sc7nF #
  • Family Blog Update: Are You Going To San Francisco? http://bit.ly/rAjbc #
  • Family Blog Update: Fog In San Francsico? http://bit.ly/2A6nBL #
  • Forgot my camera cable. Finally able to post my #javaone photos. http://bit.ly/KjZTE #
  • Everyone expects the new #iPhone to be announced tomorrow at WWDC, but will it also be available in stores tomorrow? http://bit.ly/t1U6e #
  • Family Blog Update: Stayin’ In Touch http://bit.ly/gyyGb #

JavaFX – Too Little Too Late?

Posted in: Enterprise Java

Java was born out of a want to develop rich client side applications in the form of Applets originally. But, the horrendousness of the AWT and the poor user experience when it comes to the JRE plugin pretty much killed off that idea. Even today with Swing being available to help create nicer looking UIs, the JRE plugin nightmare remains. I can vouch for this as recently finished an Applet project that took 4 months to get through QA because of all of the issues related to the JRE installation process on different platforms and browsers.

So Sun blew it the first time around when they tried to take on the consumer facing domain and retreated back to the server-side which they seem to be doing pretty well on.

So now in the age of AJAX, Flex, Flash, Silverlight and Laszlo, Sun appears to want to take another shot at it with JavaFX. They are positioning it as a tool for not only coders, but also designers. Nothing I have seen looks anything like a Flash editor, so maybe I have missed something there. The designers I know are not going to be too interested in writing code, no matter how “script-y” or “dynamic-y” it might be.

I had given up on Sun ever trying to fix the plugin issue. It seemed clear to me that they had written off the client side and had put all of their eggs on the server side. I had resorted to hoping the open sourcing of the JDK might provide an opportunity for a project to spring up that aimed to write a better JRE plugin that would work as seamlessly as the Flash Player Plugin. There is some glimmer of hope on this from Sun with update 10 of JDK 6, but only time will tell if they have done enough.

The latest bump in the road is the Oracle acquisition of Sun, and there seems no clear indication what Oracle’s intention for Java on the client might be.