Wednesday, December 19, 2007

XO Activities

Ok, I found some more software or in XO lingo activities. A catalog of the installed and available activities are at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Activities. The nice thing is they are very easy to install by clicking on a link to an xo file. In the background the activity will be downloaded. When complete just click on the Ok button to complete the install.

Many of the activities are still under development and I had some bizarre behavior with some of them but I do see lot of promise. I am definitely looking forward to playing SimCity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My XO Laptop

I just received my XO laptop (one laptop per child). These are my first impressions. I am even writing it on my new laptop, In case you are not aware, this is the $100 laptop intended for children in countries that could not afford typical computers. In order to reduce the price, the OLPC foundation made the laptops available to American citizens. I bought because I thought it sounded like an interesting device and provided easy programming access. So I thought it might make I a great leaning tool for my young son. I was right. It is a great piece of hardware. I also think it will be a great learning tool since it is Linux (it even provides terminal access) and it has educational software.

While I love the hardware, I am a little disappointed that the keyboard is almost unusable for an adult male. I am also a little disappointed in the software too. But no worries there. That can always be updated. I think one of the most likely means of disseminating applications might actually be Adobe Flash applications since it does come with a branded Firefox browser and WiFi access. This will enable rich educational applications to improve the otherwise boring desktop and gray theme of the XO laptop. In addition the plethora that all ready exist on kid sites like Sesame Street will be available. Unfortunately thought, the preinstalled open source Flash plug-in has some problems. For example, I could not hear sound and when the Flash application I was using tried to load another Flash application, I just got a gray box. The good news is I think there is a way to install the Adobe version and hopefully it fixes the problems.

Over all I am really impressed and look forward to spending lots of time playing with it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Are "Driveway Moments" dying

NPR (National Public Radio) has a catchy phrase, Driveway Moments, for times when you arrive at a destination and the story you are listening to is so compelling you have to stay in the driveway/car until the conclusion of the story. I know, this has happened to me many times. But I realized this week, that is changing. This week when I arrived at the gym, I caught myself sitting in the parking lot listening to the end of an NPR story when I realized I could just pause it and pickup with the story after my workout. That is because I now get my fix of NPR and tech news via my iPod as I think many people are doing more and more. The iPod/TiVo generation desires much more content on demand. Content they can listen to when they desire it not when a program manager decides it will get the most listeners or sponsors. I think for the next generation this is even more true. My young son prefers watching videos from DVDs or on the web. He may grow up knowing nothing but content on demand and expecting to watch what he wants when he wants it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Comparative Study of Commercial Eclipse-based IDEs feedback

I just finished reading the whitepaper, Improving Java Development: A Comparative Study of Commercial Eclipse-based IDEs. It is an interesting read and compares base Eclipse against Code Gear JBuilder, IBM's Rational Application Developer and Genuitec's MyEclipse. The overall results were very favorable to JBuilder which does not surprise me because I was a big fan, user and certified trainer of JBuilder until Eclipse was open sourced. So, I am sure the new JBuilder product built on Eclipse is great too. Unfortunately, I have just not had the time to check it out.

I am a little surprised/disappointed in the white paper though. What it fails to do is make a fair comparison with Eclipse and the commercial tools. It compares base Eclipse with the commercial tools rather than a bundled version such as Europa JEE or Callisto. So, if you are doing Java EE or J2EE development and are still using the base Eclipse, upgrade to Europa JEE. It will provide more of the tools you need for doing enterprise Java development. Even if you are not doing enterprise development, the Web Tools Platform included with Europa JEE includes helpful tools like XML tools that make even standard Java development easier.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eclipse World 2007 Slides

I just returned from Eclipse World 2007. It was a great conference again this year and it was nice to see so many familiar faces from previous Eclipse World and EclipseCon conferences. Lots of interesting sessions about Eclipse and the Eclipse Ecosystem. I especially enjoyed David "I" Intersimone and Robert Martin's keynotes. Unfortunately
I did not get to attend as many sessions as I would like since I presented a tutorial and 4 regular sessions all covering different aspects of the Web Tools Platform and Data Tools Platform such as EJB 3.0, JSF, Web Services and Facets. You can find my slides and sample code at http://www.juddsolutions.com/ew2007/.

Enterprise Java Development on a Budget Free eBook

Apress is now offering the first book I co-authored with Brian Sam-Bodden, Enterprise Java Development on a Budget, as a free eBook. You can download it from http://www.apress.com/resource/freeebook/9781590591253.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Never Eat Alone's Conference Commando

If you have not read "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi, it is a must read for any business person. It is definitely not your ordinary networking book. It is very entertaining and practical. It also produces real results. My favorite chapter was Conference Commando. It has really changed the way I think about conferences or any gathering of like minded people for that matter. I now take advantages of any gathering of technology folks I can. So, I was excited that I noticed that Keith is offering a free download of his 15 Conference Commando tips at http://keithferrazzi.com/.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Central Ohio Java User Group (COJUG) Podcasts

Listening to podcasts are a great way to pass the time or keep up to date especially with technology. That's why I started the COJUG Podcast. For years people have been asking me to record the monthly COJUG meetings as video or audio. Unfortunately with the challenges of equipment, costs, production time and other logistics it just is not feasible. So, instead, I have decided to interview the monthly speaker after the meeting so those who can not attend can still have an opportunity to hear some thoughts from the speaker on the topic. You can check out COJUG Podcast for more information.

The M&M car in an upcoming Disney Cars movie?

Curious what the M&M car might look like in an upcoming Disney Cars sequel? I think he would make a nice addition to the already popular cast.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"It Is You" song is a hit

BJ Allmon, a good friend, gifted musician and song writer, recently released a great Christian track entitled "It Is You". I have listened to the song nonstop since I got it. If you want to hear this great worship song, you can go to http://www.vineyardmusicusa.com/usa/ and hear a sample of "It Is You" found on the Fascinated Club Vineyard #61. The rest of the CD is good to. I especially like "Not Of Our Hands" too.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Does it make sense to write a technical book?

I have been blessed to have co-author and published two technical books, Enterprise Java Development on a Budget and Pro Eclipse JST as well as author a children’s book, Bearable Moments. So, I am often asked by others interested in writing a technical book if it is a good idea to pursue. The answer is it depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to make a lot of money, it is not likely you will unless your book is a runaway bestseller and with all the competition in the market it is tough. In addition, compare to writing articles or tutorials for some web magazines the hourly rate break down just does not make writing a book worth it. The other advantages of writing web magazine articles are they take less time to write so you are not stuck with a single topic for 6 months to a year while technology keeps progressing and you feel like you fall behind, your work is searchable via Google and web magazines typically do not charge readers so it is likely to be read by more people.

However, if your goal is a personal challenge or instant credibility than maybe the grueling late nights could be worth it. Authoring a book can open many new doors and provide access to new clients and interesting people.

Ultimately, I am glad I have had the experience and I really enjoyed working with Apress, my publisher. I wish you good luck if you are planning on writing a computer book.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Poor Bluetooth support in J2ME Wireless Toolkit

I am current developing a couple of J2ME applications that use Bluetooth. My disappointment in the current support for what the wireless toolkit refers to as simulated Bluetooth is that it only works between two J2ME application running in the toolkit (ktoolbar). It is critical for Sun and/or the community to add support for connecting to external Bluetooth devices or at least other Java SE applications to make testing easier.