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Removing my home directory, JavaOne, and Minority Report

Posted by davidvc on May 16, 2006 at 4:53 PM PDT

Well, it was a long night for me last night. I couldn't believe
what I did. I thought I was removing the database directory on my
machine but instead I blew away my entire home directory!
Luckily I had it backed up, but I had to redo all my changes for the
demo I'm doing tomorrow in my talk and was up until midnight. Then
my daughter, bless her heart, was up like clockwork at 6am saying
“read to me Daddy, read to me!”

The demo is working great, running at
our pod, and we'll see how it does at this afternoon's session on
Apache Derby (5:45, Hall
E134, for those of you who are here at JavaOne). I had planned to do
this demo on my laptop, but I had also published it to my web site at
my ISP. When I went to my technical rehearsal this afternoon, I saw
a nice Solaris workstation sitting there with Internet access, and I
realized I just had to type in my URL and there it was. I could then
copy my database to my USB stick and hand it to Dan, totally
seamless. Sometimes as an engineer you forget what you're building –
hey, this is a web app!

Losing my entire home directory
and recovering from backup reminded me of the value of backups and
durability. I am demoing how you can take the database stored on
your local machine (through a browser-based app that embeds Derby)
and move it to another device (e.g a USB stick). I was demonstrating
this for mobility of your data, but it's also a very nice quick way
to do a database backup.

It was great to hear about Sun's
plans to open source Java
(“not if but how” is the
famous phrase). I also was quite impressed by the demonstration of
building BPEL business process in NetBeans and the ability to build
and navigate complex XML schemas. It looks like more and more
contributions and collaborations are going into NetBeans. I've been
using NetBeans over the past year, since I started working on Derby,
and I continue to be impressed with it. I'm glad to see the kind of
support it's getting, for selfish reasons: it means the tool I
develop with will continue to improve. I remember in the early days
of Java, the only tools usable at all were expensive and proprietary;
I was resigned to “vi” and “System.out.println.”
Now I have a completely free tool that is fast, helpful, and
significantly outdistances the old proprietary tools. What a great

A last note, about an amazingly cool
thing I saw on the floor show today. I don't know if you saw
Minority Report, with Mr.
Tom Cruise navigating through a windowing system by standing in front
of it and making gestures with his arms. Well, I actually saw this
in action today at the GoMonkey
booth. I didn't know such a thing existed. They use the Project
Looking Glass
3D windowing system from Sun and have it running on
a full screen projector with two cameras and two Sun x64
workstations. It was astonishing. I can't imagine having one of
these in my living room, but it doesn't matter, it's way cool.