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Java imaging software reveals the Energizer Bunny on Mars!!!

Posted by sfharris on July 1, 2004 at 9:47 PM PDT

The last technical session I attended was about the role of Java in the Mars Exploration Rover mission. Java played a big part in the processing and display of images sent back to earth by Rover's cameras and sensors. One picture was shown of an object sitting in the middle of a Martian crater that looked suspiciously like a bunny rabbit. For some time the scientists puzzled over what it could it be. They brought the Rover around again to take another photo and the object was gone! The mystery was finally solved when it was found elsewhere and determined to be a piece of material that had ripped off from the air bags that are used to break the fall of the Rover on landing.

Orbitz gave a terrific presentation on their use of Jini and J2EE in the implementation of their travel services. It's an example of how these two technologies can play together to great advantage. One does not often hear the words J2EE and Jini uttered in the same breath, but I am sure there are many synergies between the two technologies that have yet to be discovered by enterprise architects. The room was nearly full. Hopefully Orbitz's pioneering work will inspire others to think in a similar direction.

And of course there was the "Can't miss" general session with James Gosling. Always interesting and entertaining. A demonstration of Real-time Java involving an inverted pendulum and a tram car that kept the pendulum balanced was the hit of the show receiving wild applause. PsiNaptics showcased their Bluetooth technology which leverages Jini services. And then there was the panel discussion concerning the question of open-sourcing Java. Let's not go there. It's likely the same panel discussion will take place again at JavaOne 2005 (but hopefully not).

Well JavaOne 2004 has been a real hoot. I reconnected with some old friends, made a couple of new ones, learned about some new technologies, learned about Java communities and, in general, basked in the warm glow of the latest Java buzz. It just doesn't get any better than that.

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