Monthly Archives: August 2006

Sun Commits To Real Dates For Open Source Java

Why it isn’t the biggest boldest headline on every major tech website is beyond me, but Sun has apparently commited to open sourcing the Java compiler (the part that takes Java source code and spits out Java byte code for VMs to run) and the HotSpot VM (an excellent virtual machine with really nice optimization) by the end of the year. They will also be open sourcing the Java Micro Edition (popular on cell phones and other small devices) and almost all the rest of the Java Standard Edition stuff by the first half of next year.
Oh, there’s been talk about doing something for ages, but real action?!? Real dates with real pieces of software attached to the dates? Real dates that are in the near future?!? Wow! Simply WOW!
I’ve long argued that Sun was a company that did not get open source. Even though they had projects like NetBeans and OpenOffice, they frequently showed off a real ignorance of what we as Java users and they as Java owners stood to gain by making it all one big group effort. But when Jonathan Schwartz was put in as CEO there was a lot of talk about the fact that he did get it. Clearly the people who said that were right.
Expect Java’s already huge lead on .NET to become insurmountable, this will likely be the final nail in the coffin for that particular mistake. Also expect to see releases of Java come much more frequently as we get group effort from corporations with a vested interest in Java throwing resources at it (i.e. IBM, BEA, Google, etc.).
More details are available in this article: Sun expands open-source Java plan | Tech News on ZDNet

I Heart The Nintendo DS Lite

The Nintendo DS Lite is an incredible piece of hardware. Though, as always with console and handheld games it all comes down to the games. Fortunately the games seem to be excellent so far. Super Mario DS is the one I’ve been playing the most and it’s lots of fun. My son got his DS Lite first as a very late birthday present. His birthday was actually the second of June but the DS Lite wasn’t going to be available until the 11th. At first he wanted to just get a regular DS but I convinced him to hold out and wait for what seemed like it was going to be better based on the descriptions I had read.
Neither of us was prepared for just how much better it was than a regular DS. It’s smaller, much better looking (in fact, with it’s translucent white plastic it looks more like Apple designed it than Nintendo), it has better battery life (but I haven’t got an old one to compare it to), and the screen is much brighter than the old DS they had in the store.
That’s on top of an already excellent feature set of the DS itself. You’ve got a microphone for input (used in Nintendogs and WarioWare Touched!), wireless gameplay between units and for many games like Animal Crossing, Super Mariocart, etc. you can even play through your wireless router against other players on the Internet, two easy to view screens (did I mention they are bright), one of the screens doubles as a touch screen and that gets used in lots of games like Animal Crossing, WarioWare Touched!, and BrainAge.
But all of those features as cool as they are still would not have sold me on buying a DS Lite. I just don’t have as much time to play games as I did when I was much younger and it prevents me from picking up a game and putting hours into it the way I once did. But on the DS I can simply close the lid and it’ll hibernate.
It may not sound like much for those of you used to a laptop computer but handheld games and console games don’t normally do that. Most of the games for them seem to require that you reach a special save-point before you can save your game. When those save points are dozens of minutes or even hours apart it can be darn near impossible to game much in little 10 and 15 minute increments when they are available as they are for most adults. But close and hibernate? I can defintely do that, and it means that I can really enjoy gaming again as I haven’t been able to for a long time.
Game recommendations: Super Mario DS, Animal Crossing, there are lots of other fun ones but start with those and you won’t be disappointed.
P.S. There are rumors that you’ll be able to use your DS Lite as a controller for some Nintendo Wii games as well, giving you a touch screen interface to the game and two extra screens to display information that could be secret to each player. If so, that makes me just that much more enthused about the release of the Wii console.