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The NetBeansMobile - coming to a city near you?

Posted by timboudreau on August 29, 2007 at 4:34 AM PDT

I'm going to doing a road trip - part me moving to the east coast of the U.S., part NetBeans World Tour. So I'm loading up this truck with NetBeans books and t-shirts (along with my earthly posessions). And it will have a web cam and gps tracking installed, and will regularly upload photos out the windshield and its location to a web site... Yes, this is truly geeky... I'd love to get together with folks interested in NetBeans or Java in places I will be the northern route, I80 from San Francisco to Chicago, I90 from there. I'll be starting off on the trip Friday or Saturday...

I'll also have a video camera along, if I can cajole anyone into being interviewed - hopefully we'll end up with some content for, which is looking quite slick.

How did this weirdness come to be? Well, I never planned to live in California forever, and I'm originally from Western Massachusetts. So with a let-up in the travel schedule for work, now was the time. So I bought this giant 1984 GMC truck for $1000, and spent the last two weeks fixing it up (I will never sand and paint a big truck by hand again!).

I told my colleagues about it, and David Botterill suggested that I should put NetBeans signs on it, load it up with a GPS. And the rest was history, or is becoming history...


A mockup of the graphics - I pick up the real signs tomorrow

Getting all of this stuff to work together has been interesting. I'm using my tired old PowerBook to run everything (having just sent off my MacBook for a new screen - don't swat flies on your keyboard with a baseball cap. Bad things can happen.). So what all it does is:

  • A Garmin G18 gps (basically a wart with a USB cable - no built in UI, it just talks to the computer) is used to record tracking data
  • gpsbabel talks to it and writes the data out to a GoogleMaps compatible .kml file.
  • A little Logitech webcam takes pictures
  • isightcapture is the command-line utility that takes the pictures
  • The computer is online via the internet connection from my BlackBerry Pearl phone
  • . Actually this part is currently the weak link, as getting the laptop online again via bluetooth after it has disconnected once is still eluding me

  • Every so many pictures, it will rsync the photos and kml file up to the server
  • On the server, a one-page wicket app is running, which periodically notices if new files have appeared, and serves them in what will hopefully be a usable ui

Places I could use some help

If anybody out there has experience with gpsbabel, I'd love to find a way to get it to spit out a single kml file and exit - I've only gotten this working in tracking mode, where it polls once every second and generates files too big for GoogleMaps (but not for GoogleEarth). Any pointers appreciated.

There seem to be a number of hacks, commercial products, etc. out there for hooking up a BlackBerry to a mac. Bluetooth is preferable, as if it's via USB, well, that's probably more reliable, but then I can't use it as a phone :-(

I'll post more info and pics when the graphics are on it tomorrow. As I said, if I'm going to be passing near you, let me know - just post something right here. Maybe we can set up a NetBeans demo or you can do something fun on camera or we can just have lunch.

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