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Everything I Try to Do, Nothing Seems To Turn Out Right

Posted by editor on October 7, 2008 at 8:57 AM PDT

Surprising hazards for Swing and BD-J

I should be in an excellent mood, as the DSL at my home office has finally been set up and I'm enjoying 3 Mbps of connectivity -- for those keeping score, yesterday's tally of clue points is one for DSL Extreme, zero for AT&T -- which means I'm not researching and posting the front page and writing the blog from the free wifi zone of Panera Bread over on Knapp at Beltline. I've even managed to dig through the first 40 or 50 e-mails that piled up while I was connectivity-challenged.

Still, today should be a pretty important day for one segment of our community, the Blu-Ray Disc Java developers. You might remember back in July when we pointed out a New York Times article about Disney's intention to aggressively use Blu-Ray's most advanced interactivity features -- features provided by Java -- starting with an elaborate Sleeping Beauty 2-disc set that is being released today. At the time, the Times wrote:

Viewers can watch the movie in tandem with friends in other locations and chat using a laptop, P.D.A. or cellphone. (Comments appear on the screen.) Parents who are not able to watch the film with their children can record a video message that will pop up during a designated scene as the child watches. Viewers will also be able to compete against others around the world at trivia.

So what's the catch? There's a question about how many end-users will be able to use these features. Jim Hill Media, a Disney-oriented fan site, asks Will the Credit Crunch & tech troubles trip up Disney's new Blu-ray push? After describing some of the other cool features of the Sleeping Beauty disc, Jim points out the catch:

The only problem is ... The Blu-ray players that will actually allow you to take advantage of BD-Live technology tend to be the newer, more expensive models. Which typically run $300 - $700 apiece. And given that the coming holiday shopping season is supposed to be the weakest in 17 years ... One wonders who's going to purchase these pricey players. Especially since rumors abound that -- come Black Friday -- the Big Boxes will be selling Blu-ray units for $149 or less.

"So people will still be buying Blu-ray players at those post-Thanksgiving sales," you say. "How is that supposed to hurt the Mouse?" Well, those lower priced machines will most likely not be BD-Live compatible. Which means that many consumers won't be able to take advantage of this highly touted WDSHE Blu-ray feature. Which will most likely have some sort of negative impact on the sales of these Hi-Def discs.

Still, the true Blu-Ray fans know the best Blu-Ray player is actually the PlayStation 3 (which is what most of the JavaOne demos were run on), and it's highly capable of running all the BD-J/BD-Live stuff, provided you're on recent firmware. And that's a big enough install base unto itself. In fact, Jim goes on to report that Disney is pushing ahead with Blu-Ray releases of more of its classics, including Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, and Fantasia 2000.

All new Blu-Ray players have to at least include BD-J at this point, but you have to be careful to ensure the player has BD-Live if you want to hook it up to the internet for additional content. Something for movie-loving Java fans to keep in mind this holiday season.

One other quick note about something that's getting my nit. As pointed out by Kirill Grouchnikov, Jonas Bandi notes one heck of a self-slam on the Sun Certfied Enterprise Architect preparation exam. In Certification to become braindead?, he quotes the question

You are architecting a real-time system with high usage and high volumes of transactions. You need an MVC application with quick presentation times resembling a thin client and will have several pre-populated views that can carry across several pages. The users must be able to quickly navigate between different sections of the system.

Jonas notes that the solution says option B, "Swing GUI controls", is wrong "because swing components are notoriously slow." Sun's words, not his. Jonas goes on to say:

"Swing is notoriously slow" as the reason to create a web application??? C'mon ... is that the well-grounded professionalism you are expecting from an architect?

To say nothing of the premise that a Swing repaint is slower than network activity plus JavaScript execution time. Still, like I said in the beginning, seems like us user-facing Java developers are getting beat up a little bit today.

In Java Today,
the OpenJDK Compiler Grammar project has announced an initial ANTLR grammar for javac, as detailed in the blog post javac, meet ANTLR; ANTLR, meet javac. "The grammar currently supports Java version 1.5, although the goal is to fully support the -source option and support older (and newer) versions of the language as well. Right now, the performance is slower than that of standard javac, so this will not be the default lexer and parser for javac for a while, but even so, it should prove an interesting code base for anyone wishing to experiment with potential new language features. And, it does mean that the grammar files being used have been fully tested in the context of a complete Java compiler."

The cqme project, the home for Java ME platform compatibility and quality testing, has announced the Second ME Framework 1.2 Development Release. "We have been busy working on new features this past month.
Check out our new development release which has been posted
to the download page. This release includes the latest performance and debugging improvements
as well as the pluggable communication infrastructure and the new Netbeans IDE project."

Javalobby has posted a three-part JVM Language Summit 2008 Report by DZone blogger Ola Bini. "The JVM Summit is a three day event organized by Sun Microsystems, bringing together some of the brightest minds from the Java community -- language designers, compiler writers, tool builders, runtime engineers, and VM architects." We've previously noted JVM Language Summit reports from The Java Posse and Dalibor Topic.

Today's Weblogs begin with James Gosling hacking on Solaris, NFS & OS X. "At home I use ZFS+NFS on a Solaris box to make a file server that provides disk space to all the other machines at home, which are mostly Macs. I use NFS to access the files instead of AFS because it's so much faster. A friend and I were talking about this over the weekend and he was surprised: OS X is notoriously tricky to configure to use NFS."

Terrence Barr says phoneME's agenda is up for public input, in Poll: Which GTK device should we port phoneME Advanced to? "One topic that has been under discussion for a while is GTK support in phoneME - and which particular GTK platform should be chosen. Hinkmond Wong, project owner of phoneME Advanced, has just posted a poll question to solicit the community opinion on the subject."

Finally, in Cargo support for GlassFish v2, Kohsuke Kawaguchi writes, "I'm happy to announce the Cargo module for GlassFish v2. Now you can drive GlassFish v2 from Cargo."

In today's Forums, faureb asks
Is it possible to use JNLP service from a standard java application ?
"I'd like to launch a JNLP application from a standard desktop application not started by the Java Web Start engine. Is it possible or does the launcher application must necessary be instantiated by JWS? I get "javax.jnlp.UnavailableServiceException: uninitialized" when calling "ServiceManager.lookup("javax.jnlp.BasicService");" Can I "initialize" the ServiceManager by myself or is it definitively forbidden?"

jldominguez wants to get out of the box, in
pMEA, Access to serial ports. "Hello, we need to communicate with a serial port to get access to a GPS device. I think we have the same problem described in this message. But we are running Windows Mobile, not Linux. If I understood it well, they have recompiled the VM with a small change to let applications access serial ports. Is that correct? Do Davy's CAB installers give access to serial ports? How? We always get an exception when we try. Do we have to recompile the VM as the person in that forum did?"

Finally, LWUIT user kawaiimomo is interested in
Manually set clipping for the icon in a Label "I'm implementing a Loading bar which shows the real percentage sent of total data. My first idea was to recreate the image everytime (it's just two vertical gradients forming a progress bar). Then I thought why recreating the image over and over if I could set the full bar and modify the clipping area for the Label icon? It's this possible? It's worth it?"

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