Thursday, December 31, 2009

Android 2.0 Running on Sun's VirtualBox - Very Nice

I put opensolaris 0906 on three different systems during this holiday break (upgrading from previous versions of opensolaris).  opensolaris has an amazing list of systems that are supported.

Something I installed yesterday and very impressed with is Google's 
Android 2.0 running on VirtualBox.

Above is a screenshot of VirtualBox running Android 2.0 on my Toshiba notebook that is running opensolaris 0906.

It is brain dead easy to install both:

  1. Download VirtualBox.
  2. Goto to download a VMI that has Google's Android 2.0
The advantage of doing it the above way is that you completely eliminate downloading then installing an iso image since you are downloading an appliance.  The short instructions are at the links - it could not be any easier.

As you work with Android on VirtualBox it is important to remember the control key that toggles between your host OS and your guest OS (it is typically the RIGHT_CONTROL_KEY) as well as the ESC key inside Android which will switch back to the main screen.

Android has a real opportunity to take significant market share from the iPhone because it is Developer Friendly and an open system.  It will be interesting to watch this market play itself out in the next few months and years to come.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great Example of Poor Maintenance Design

I  have been a huge fan of Honda.  I have owned a 1986 Accord an a 1987 Civic Si - both very nice cars.   My oldest son owns a 2001 Accord Coupe.  His headlight was out, no problem, replacing a headlight bulb is not a big deal.  Taking a closer look at the manual, I found it interesting that replacing the headlight assembly should be basically a straightforward job?  Not, with a 2001 Accord.  Why would you need to remove or replace the headlight assembly?  Headlight assemblies get cracked or damaged over time and sometimes replacement is the only option.

What do you have to do?  You have to remove the entire front bumper to replace the headlight assembly.  When I read this in Honda's Official Service Manual, I was so surprised that I called the repair shop that works on my cars to make sure that there was not some workaround that I was simply not aware of.  What did the repair shop tell me?  "Yes, it's a nightmare, you have to take the entire front bumper off.  That is why people who have done it once, never want to do it again."  

This design philosophy goes along with what you have to do in order to replace the Accord's in cabin air filter which is a pain as well.

This is headlight assembly replacement is one of the worst designs that I have ever seen.   The only thought I have is that it is true that Honda Accords are one of the top stolen cars.  Unless Honda designed it this way to make it more difficult to steal headlight assemblies (I seriously doubt it) then this design was not well thought out.

It has prompted me to include a new list of basic maintenance questions that I will ask before I buy another car. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

MTAG and MTConnect Institute Meeting in Charlotte

We held our quarterly MTAG and MTConnect Institute Meeting in Charlotte, NC last week.  I think MTConnect can best be summarized by the great article in Modern Machine Shop that is titled:  "MTConnect is For Real".

There are many fantastic real life examples in the above article. 

The article also references the two talks that Dave Patterson and I did in October 2006 at AMT's Members Meeting in Lake Las Vegas.

 "MTConnect has its roots at AMT. The members and administrators of this organization, which represents machine tool builders and other manufacturing technology suppliers, became aware of the need for interoperability when experts from the computer industry were invited to discuss the needs of manufacturing at its fall 2006 annual meeting for members. The message from these experts was blunt: Unless machine tools and other types of computerized manufacturing equipment can readily communicate critical data in a standard format, the industry cannot automate rapidly enough to keep up with global demands. Integration on the shop floor would be difficult or impossible. Progress in productivity gains and cost reductions would be stymied.

The response to this wake-up call was the MTConnect project, for which AMT put up more than a $1 million in seed money in January 2007. The committee formed to pursue this initiative brought together computer science researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, the Georgia Institute of Technology and other institutions to conceive, design and develop a draft communications standard. Paul Warndorf, AMT’s vice president of technology and liaison to the MTConnect development committee, recalls highlights of that development effort. "Early on we knew that the standard would have to be open and extensible; use existing standards such as XML or HTTP borrowed from the Internet; be easy to understand and implement; and not conflict with proprietary communications technology already in place. So that’s how we made it."
MTConnect has been officially out for just one year and it is amazing how much industry and customer success we have seen in such an incredibly short amount of time.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Thanks George Michael Sports Legend

Merry Christmas and thanks to George Michael, Washington DC's Sports Announcer at the local NBC affiliate for a lifetime of providing the best sports shows in memory.  As Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon said, "George was ESPN before there was an ESPN."   George was a legend and an institution in the DC area.  George passed away yesterday after a two year fight with cancer.  Michael Wilbon wrote a great article on George Michael.

After Glenn Brenner passed away in 1992, there was only one sports announcer in the DC area and that was George Michael.  Glenn Brenner had one of my favorite lines of all time when talking about Mookie Wilson, Brenner looked at his new anchor and said, "Mookie Wilson?, Does anyone really believe Wilson is is real last name?"

There will never be another George Michael....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

IntraCoastal Waterway - My Bucket List Trip :-)

A couple of weeks ago I went on one of the trips of my life thanks to Mike O'Dell.  I was able to cross some of my bucket list items off my list.  I can not thank Mike O'Dell enough for inviting me along on an incredible yacht for a fantastic week.  This was like the mother of all Geek Cruises - with long time friends and Internet legends.

Mike O'Dell asked Neil Groundwater (npg) if I would be interested in going on a week long trip down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).   When Neil asked me, I did not have to think a single yoctosecond about before I said yes.

Above is a picture that npg took of the front of Mike's 57' mega super yacht Bebop Tango.  Mike hates it when I call it a mega super yacht :-)  Since I do not know the difference, it certainly seems like a mega super yacht to me.  There is more technology on Bebop Tango than I could possibly even start to list here.

Above is a great photo that npg took of Mike's yacht called Bebop Tango.  Bebop Tango was designed by Capt. Ivar Franzen, Naval Architect.  Bebop Tango is described as a "Franzen 57" because she's 57' on-deck with the LOA (Length-Over-All) at 60'.   It was built by Walter Schurtenberger of Constellation Yachts and Multihull Technologies Inc. 

  • Kevlar
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Foam core
  • Honeycomb Core
  • Epoxy resins
  • 2 500hp Diesel engines
  • 1,200 gallons of fuel
  • ability to make fresh water on board
  • washer and a dryer, full kitchen 
  • easily sleeps 8
  • I am leaving out tons of innovative features, this is truly a one of a kind vessel

Above is a sign showing the distances on the Intracoastal Waterway.  We would travel about 150 nautical miles a day, usually at around 15 to 20 knots.  We started in Annapolis.  We would get going around 7:00 every day and try to be in the next port prior to sundown.  As soon as we were docked and tied up - the digital bar would be officially open :-)   On the morning of December 10th, npg and I rented a car in Savannah and drove back to DC in 10 hours.

Not every day was picture perfect :-)  Above was some rough water we had on Saturday.

One of the great quotes that Mike told me, that I had never heard before, is a popular line at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs in Berkeley, California which is, "Why use lead, when gold will do?"

Above is a great photo npg took while we were in Savannah.  That is me up top on Bebop Tango.  When I was asking Mike one of my many questions on the design of Bebop Tango, Mike said, "A boat is simply a series of horrendous choices."

From left going clockwise is Neil Groundwater, me, Mike O'Dell and Captain Fred Denniston.  This was a German restaurant that was the best meal we had the entire trip.  Thanks to Fred, Mike and Neil I did learn some things during the trip:
  • Right on Red Return or going south if it is not clear you are returning or leaving a waterway
  • Green Port Entering or going south if it is not clear
  • Clove Hitch, bowline and sheet bend are key knots to know
  • it is not a rope, but a line when you get on a boat
  • four lines are needed to secure a boat to a dock
    • bow line
    • stern line
    • two spring lines that criss cross between stern and aft
      • pads are used to protect boat from dock

Above was our favorite dessert of the entire trip at a German restaurant we went to where they specialized in fried Oreos.  Yes, it sounds nasty, but it was to die for...   This was a HUGE improvement over Captain Fred's choice one night at a Holiday Inn where the two main selling points of this restaurant was:
  1. As the waitress said, "This is a great restaurant, we get all of our food from Sysco."
  2. When we asked her was the carrot cake any good, her reply was, "Well, it is not as good as a HoHo."  She was correct on both accounts above :-)
Eating at Holiday Inn violates the Dave Edstrom Rule #42 Of Domestic Travel, which is NEVER eat at the hotel's restaurant unless it is the free breakfast, cold/hot cereal or you have ZERO choices and getting ready to pass out from lack of nutrition :-)

Above is just one example of the amazing technology on Mike's boat - a digital liquor bar.  I am not a liquor person, but I still like the idea of digital bar.  While Neil, Mike and Captain Fred would get a digital drink, I would get an old fashioned cold beer.

Above is an early morning sunrise on the intracoastal waterway in South Carolina.

Above is part of the main helm on the Bebop Tango.  Here is a video of me at the helm of Bebop Tango that shows the instrument panels off well.

Below was our itinerary:
  • December 4th Friday left from Annapolis
  • 4th Friday night in Deltaville
  • 5th Saturday night in Great Bridge, VA
  • 6th Sunday night in Oriental, NC
  • 7th Monday night in Little River, NC
  • 8th Tuesday night in Seabrook Island, SC
  • 9th Wednesday night in Savannah, Georgia
  • 10th npg and I drove back to DC

Above is the kitchen or galley as I guess it should be properly called.

Finally, above is a fantastic sunset on the Chesapeake Bay during an incredible week on the Bebop Tango with Mike O'Dell, Neil Groundwater, and Captain Fred Denniston traveling down the IntraCoastal Waterway from Annapolis to Savannah.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Java EE 6

Sun released Java EE 6 and I think it is a very important statement just how important Java is that Sun continues to invest even in these very tough economic times.  Check it out:

   * Learn more about Java EE
   * Download Java EE 6 SDK
   * Learn more about GlassFish Enterprise Server v3
   * Download GlassFish Enterprise Server v3
   *  Register for the virtual conference

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NetBeans 6.8 IDE Release

NetBeans just keeps getting better and better - it was already GREAT.  Checkout NetBeans 6.8 here.

Below is from the NetBeans homepage to provide a high level view of NetBeans IDE 6.8

The NetBeans IDE is an award-winning integrated development environment available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris. The NetBeans project consists of an open-source IDE and an application platform that enable developers to rapidly create web, enterprise, desktop, and mobile applications using the Java platform, as well as JavaFX, PHP, JavaScript and Ajax, Ruby and Ruby on Rails, Groovy and Grails, and C/C++.
The NetBeans project is supported by a vibrant developer community and offers extensive documentation and training resources as well as a diverse selection of third-party plugins.

Release Overview

NetBeans IDE 6.8 is the first IDE to offer complete support for the entire Java EE 6 spec with improved support for JSF 2.0/Facelets, Java Persistence 2.0, EJB 3.1 including using EJBs in web applications, RESTful web services, and GlassFish v3. We also recommend it for developing with the latest JavaFX SDK 1.2.1, and for creating PHP web applications with the new PHP 5.3 release or with the Symfony Framework.

Our unique integration of Project Kenai, a collaborative environment for hosting open-source projects, now comes with full JIRA support, and improved instant messenger and issue tracker integration. We also added features to the IDE's Maven and database integration, and improved the editor and tools integration of Ruby, Groovy, and C/C++ projects.

Get the NetBeans IDE 6.8

Download NetBeans IDE 6.8

Friday, December 11, 2009

Great I/ITSEC Conference in Orlando, Florida

I attended the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) which (as the site states) promotes cooperation among the Armed Services, Industry, Academia and various Government agencies in pursuit of improved training and education programs, identification of common training issues and development of multiservice programs.  It was held November 30th to December 3rd.

Chris Melissinos, Sun's Chief Gaming Officer, and I presented Sun's software story including  Project Dark Star, Sun's Cloud Computing Story, Sun's Development environment, Solaris, GlassFish, Identity Management, Security and of course, open source.  We made lots of inroads and are following up with partners and customers.