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Lego Mindstorms Controlled by Pilot Via JINI

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the stupid-pda-tricks dept.

Handhelds 135

Nobody writes "JavaSoft has a cool article on how they've used their JINI technology to allow a Palm Pilot to control a Lego Mindstorms brick. " The scary thing is that this is one of the more useful applications of Java I've seen...

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Sun does it again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684636)

Leave it to Sun to take two relatively inexpensive technologies which could be easily networked together with their own existing interfaces (rs-232 and Infra-red) and attach their hideously expensive workstations and a terminal concentrator (all of which are easily 10's of times more expensive than the Lego's and Palm Pilots) all to prove that it works with Jini and Java.

Is it me, or does anyone fail to see the reason for doing this? The Mindstorms unit by itself doesn't have the memory or processing power to be able to run either Java or Jini, so why fake it by running it on the workstations and claiming that you're interfacing to small devices with Jini? If Sun truely wanted to show how cool their Jini technology is, they should have picked something with a little more intelligence than the Lego Minstorms brick.

Also, isn't KVM the xterm for the KDE project?

Re:Usefulness (1)

GnrcMan (53534) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684637)

Tell me about it. I had to scrap my plans to create a fleet of killer Lego robots controlled by my Palm. It violated the licence agreement and they threatened to sue.

Are you kidding (1)

ffatTony (63354) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684638)

... Legos were so much better when I was a child. There was rarely a moment of my childhood when I was not gnawing on those delicious and colorful blocks. They don't taste the same anymore. Did they change the recipe?

Re:The most useful java application you've seen? (1)

Nabuchodonosor (65294) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684642)

I was talking about the comments in general lines, and the feeling you get from slashdot when you come from a place like javalobby. Not about the CmdrTaco particular comment. :). (sorry for my pathetic english btw).

Cellphone printing to Bangkok (4)

Neville (88610) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684643)

It's fine to be cynical of Sun's marketing of java, but it's silly to by cynical of the enterprise changes it's undergone over the past year. When will people talk about the actual apps, and not just lump all java stuff together because they're written in the same tongue?

Anyway, java is highly useful for things like quickly developing complex object and service distribution. For example, encapsulating a service (like a printer in Bangkok, say, wrapped in a java object referenced as an interface), sticking it in a naming directory (could be iiop-based, could be rmi-based, could be something similar to ldap -- java can do it all in a very similar way), and then obtaining a reference to that object and calling its methods from ANY client (an embedded applet on a cellphone, for example) -- this is very cool stuff, and lumping it into the same category as tickertape applets just because they're both java is annoying and ignorant. Should we lump all C stuff together just because it's done in the same language?

The primary advantage of doing all this in java is not platform independence as much as extremely rapid (thus less costly) development.

All this is not to say that any of this will run across linux -- based on Gosling's comments here last week, java will run with these legos and on Palm Pilots better than any linux port for the foreseeable future.

Re:Versatility of the Universe (1)

drachen (49779) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684644)

Hallelujah!@

We can herd the electrons this way and that. Use electromagnetism in so many ways. Yes those are versatile. Hell, to do anything usually that's how it's done. But back to my original point is that it's the device (the PalmPilot) that's special... versatile... extraodinary... and not the language (Java) it was programmed in.

---------
James Crawford
drachen@thepcmaster.com

Lego Haiku (2)

sidesh0w (32371) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684645)





Palm Pilot powered
Tiny plastic bricks of joy
The song of Lego





.................

C was hardly revolutionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684646)

It was more evolutionary, hence the name. Do some research before spouting off.

Re:PalmPilot infra-red control (2)

Ribo99 (71160) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684648)

Why didn't they control the tanks directly from the PalmPilot infra-red ports?

Because they needed a place to put the Jini Look-Up Service. Mindstorms don't have a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) on them and the Palm Pilot only has the KJVM on it which only has socket support, and not RMI (Remote Method Invocation) which Jini Requires. They were using Jini so that a single Palm could connect to a singe tank with no problems and no hassle; no worries that two people are trying to use the same tank at the same time.

Were these PalmPilots the ones w/o infra-red ports, or did the infra-red ports not have enough range for the tanks to pick up?

They were just regular Palm Vs (I think). The range on the Palm Pilots IR *is* really pitiful (something under 2 feet) but that wasn't the point of the demonstration.

Actually, what was the point of having the Palmpilots in there in the first place, if the workstations were there anyway?

This was the JavaOne conference! They wanted to show of as much cool tech as they could. The KJVM was the BIG this this year, after all, they were selling Palm Vs for $199 with the KJVM already on it for people to play with. Jini was also a hot item and a really good idea for this particular problem. I believe people used their own Palm Vs to control the Tanks. WAY TOO COOL... :) I get giddy every time I think about it.

Re:Saw these at JavaONE (1)

jakd (28476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684649)

yep, the palms are running through a Jini proxy as well. all of the source can be found at the link supplied.

jakd

beowulf cluster! (0)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684650)

okay had to say it...;)

Re:Sun does it again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684651)

"Konsole" is the xterm for KDE.

I didn't really ever think... (1)

DanJose52 (55815) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684652)

That java would make the *coolest* toys ever made that much cooler...I may have to sell a kidney and pick up as many Mindstorms systems and a Palm Pilot as I can...


Dan "Don't step on the legos" Turk

Pilot + Mindstorms = fun! (1)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684653)

Well, it doesn't sound that hard to do, but it sure sounds like fun. Turns your pilot into a small remote control!

Now, just develop a similar app for a Firecracker unit, and freak the girlfriend and the cats by going around the house and not only controlling a robotic Lego set, but turning the lights on and off at will.

Remote control: man's ultimate fantasy!

"There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

java (1)

hquin (63629) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684654)

In defense of java, I happen to find it very useful. In fact I'm researching a java telephony solution right now using JTAPI that seems pretty slick. Just because it isn't perl doesn't mean its' evil. :-]

The most useful java application you've seen? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684655)

Obviously not all the slashdot writers are up on the technology they report about.

Re:The most useful java application you've seen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684656)

Geeze...ya got that right. I've been programming Java for the last four years and I've seen all kinds of interesting things.

Marketing (1)

_damnit_ (1143) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684657)

I guess this is a useful technology if I can control my legos!
Sorry, but I just don't get it and I work at Sun. Why the hell should anyone care about Jini? I hear all the propaganda at work but I just don't see a compeklling reason for the world to start using Jini. Of course, I may just be daft. This may be like Novell's NDS: really cool, useful and important but hard to explain until someone actually sees it or reaps its benefits.


_damnit_

A good excuse .... (1)

Jon_H (74112) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684658)

Well I needed an excuse for myself to go out and by some of these Legos, look's like I might have found one ...

How come Legos weren't this good when I was a child ?

This is awesome! (1)

dlc (41988) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684659)

This is great. Two of the neatest technologies to come out in the last few years brought together. Quick, give them a prize, before Microsoft steals the idea, incorporates it into Win2K, and ruins it!

The Java Language and Usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684660)

It strikes me that to judge this technology demo as a "more" useful demonstration of Java strikes me that CT has no real clue of the uses of Java. When it comes to new development of information systems its either C++, Java, Perl or VB. Sure there are other examples but these are the main languages. Java is currently being used with great effect on both client and server side in all of my recent contracting gigs. Java and CORBA are a potent combination for n-tier systems. The fact that Java is entering college syllabi as computer language of instruction is further corroboration. Admittedly, Java is not for system development, but that still leaves the other 90% (anecdotal). Easy Brothers, Bruce.

Give me a BREAK... (2)

Moe Yerca (14391) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684661)

"The scary thing is that this is one of the more useful applications of Java I've seen..."

That's really pathetic. We've written a robust distributed monitoring system completely in Java and integrated it into our website with Servlets. Creating a distributed system and controlling it via a servlet through RMI is insanely simple and performs suprising quickly...

I'll grant you that this is one of coolest applications of Java... but useful? You people must not get out much... heck... I don't get out much either so that's not really an excuse. If someone would just get a stable, reliable, and fast Java 2 VM running on Linux some of you people will see what Java is capable of. It's really a shame. Sun's released HotSpot on NT and Solaris, mix the two together and you have x86 on UNIX, what's the problem here?

Moe

Java has no use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684662)

What planet are you from anyway? *You* may not use it for anything, that doesn't mean it is useless for everyone else too. I'm a developer of an application server written in Java. I think our customers would disagree with you about the usefulness of Java.

Re:PalmPilot infra-red control (2)

JavaNPerl (70318) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684663)

This was a contrived example to showcase the Jini technology of Sun.

IR was irrelevant to the example. You could have Palm VIIs controlling the tanks over the web through a wireless connection w/ out much more code.

Also, the IR port on the Palm doesn't have a lot of range and is very directional, so you don't beam your app or business card to everyone with a Palm in the room, only the intended receiver.

In a real world app you would want a small/cheap client, like a Palm V as opposed to buying a bunch of workstations.

The idea of Jini is to put intelligence in smaller devices like a VCR, you would just plug it into a net and it would automatically be able to communicate with your camcorder, TV, satellite receiver, etc. Noble idea for the future but right now all I really just want is to be able to set one damn clock in my house and have them all sync.

I think I'm in love with you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684664)

I didn't want it to happen, but it did. I don't know, I guess it's just your joyful, happy nature. Can we get together and talk? I want to start my life with you.

Re:Marketing (2)

Moe Yerca (14391) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684665)

You left out a step... it's my understanding that any code needed for the device to communicate (ie printer drivers) can be moved over the network and executed on the local VM. No more printer drivers. No more "wow that's a nice peripheral, when can I get drivers for BSD running on my fridge's StrongARM?"

Discovery, connection, and mobile code that runs on any device.

What's there not to see?

Lego, not Legos (1)

Indomitus (578) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684666)

I'm really surprised that the rabid Lego fans who read Slashdot haven't gone nuts over everybody saying 'Legos' instead of 'Lego bricks'. It seems every time there is a Lego story, at least a hundred people get all freaked out over saying 'Legos' or 'Lego bricks' or some such thing. It's almost as bad as the Java people in this story complaining about the 'best use of Java' comment in the story post. Lighten up.

And in case of oncoming flame, this was a joke. :)

A rigged demo is indistinguishable from magic (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684667)

OK, so this is a cool demo. But look under the covers, and you see problems with Sun's Java and JINI implementations. Palms have IR transceievers, so do the tanks - why do I need some workstation to mediate simple communication - wouldn't it be cooler to have the Palms speak directly to the tanks? The Palms are running KVM, which is nifty at first glance, but then you realize that it isn't really running Java(tm) - JINI is too big to fit in the multi-megabyte Palms. So, given that we have three computer systems in the demo (Palms, Tanks & workstations), and JINI is only running on one of them, how is this a good demo of JINI's networking prowess?

Re:Marketing (2)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684668)

the other thing about jini that's cool that no one seems to realize is that it's a free distributed object platform. its not like it ONLY is useful for mobile devices, pretty much it implements the LINDA principles using java code and provide a nice starting point for people who want to use a nice simple distributed object framework for any number of applications.

Re:Versatility of the Palm (2)

MidKnight (19766) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684669)

I think you're underestimating the usefulness of Java network programming. I'd be interested in seeing someone get this same application up & running (with Jini-like useability) coded in C/C++.

As someone who writes networked code in both, I can testify to the ease of Java's networking API. Also, the advantage of the Jini network (i.e. just plug the damn thing in to start it, unplug it to stop it -- no configuration on either side) is a huge plus....

I'm not disagreeing with you though; my Palm V is one of the most useful things I own -- I just think you're missing the overall usefulness of Jini and Java.

--Mid

Turn the comment around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684670)

Red Hat has demonstrated an Linux-powered Intel Celeron controlling up to 10 Lego Mindstorms tanks simultaneously. The sad thing is that this is the best application of Linux I've seen so far.

Not so funny now, is it?

Of course, I write Java on FreeBSD. The only way I would be less welcome around here would be if I was writing Visual Basic on NT. We all know that solving problems and writing useful software is not nearly as important as the language and platform you choose.

Re:java (1)

avdp (22065) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684671)

  • An unstable C program only reflects on the skills (or lack of them) of the programmer, not the language. Same thing about how fast you can write it. I don't think that your poor C language skills (I am guessing they are poor based on what you said) means that C is a bad language or crash prone.

  • As far as reusability of C code, I frequently reuse large sections of codes (entire procedures, etc...). You can make your code quite modular if you apply yourself - yes, even in C. (Hmmm... what did I say about poor skills?)

  • Don't like perl? Don't use it! But for those that know how to use it (more people than you think), it is a great language, extremely powerful, and guess what? Definetely for you if you try to cut down on development time. By the way, slashdot is mostly written in perl as I understand it. Slashdot must be evil...

  • Now, let's talk about jaaaaaaavaaaaaaaa... I am not a performance freak, believe me! I do believe getting a better box (better CPU, etc) is often better than spending days obtimizing thousands of lines of C code. But I have yet to use a single java application or applet that wasn't desperately sluggish - even on the fastest CPUs, even just a "hello world" type of application. And believe me, I have (reluctantly) used many of them, some of them written by the masters at javasoft. So maybe it took less time to write it. Does Mr Joe-Shmoe-End-User care? nope. He doesn't care if it took you 9 hours or 30 mins, he is the one that has to put up with those crappy applications. I guess yor argument is only valid if the end user is only second in the list of the developer's priorities. You wouldn't be the first person/company to think that way. Not the last either, but that doesn't make you right.

and i called him HAL (1)

miahrogers (34176) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684672)

yeah these mindstorm thingys are super cool. We got to use like 500 bucks worth of em to make a robot for a competiton. We won of coarse!! However it was because we had the most simplistic design, and that prevented us from getting strangled by automation. I would like to get this up and running, i would like to remote control a mindstorm via my palm. As i understand it they were un controlable before this, you just had to program them and hope it worked. A friend of mine rigged a setup in which one mindstorm IRed the other and told it where to move, but that was unsucessfull as we were only allowed to use one, and his method was superduper slow in a 2 minute competiton.. With this we could build our robot as complex as possible and not worry so much about that pesky postage stamp programming, which gets to be a real pain in the arsky after like 50 stamps. If only they'd give me a compiler and some libraries (like motorA(forward 5seconds) maybe??) that would be cool. The postage stamp coding may work for dummies but it gets really annoying if you're a lego dominatrix like me. Or we could just go hemo's route and make a perl script to do it. Would that get us the award for "first robot controlled via internet"?
char *stupidsig = "this is my dumb sig";

Slashdot perception of Java has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684673)

Is is just me, or is /. maturing real fast.

Just a few months ago, anything about java would stir up a storm of complaints from the script kiddies going "not perl, not C, not cool".

I believe this was due to the *incredible* amount of PR surrounding java, and that tends to put off many sw guys (me included). Now that java has matured a lot, has proved a success in many projects and is turning into the best ally Linux has in the corporate world (yes!) the talks have matured.

I see a lot professionals here discussing their successes, frustations, experiences and more importantly their perception of this web technology. Also you must hand it to the moderators, a few days ago they got flamed for their handling and moderation of the java posts but have turned 360 degrees, better than Mr Gates himself, Kudos kiddies, kudos. It probably comes from the fact that java and linux are natural allies and java IS VERY WELL entrenched in the corporate world and will open MANY doors for linux to sneak in. As a side note, my own company is now replacing NT boxes in production with Linux boxes running Oracle and Java. getit?

Keep posting on java, it is the biggest technological maverick and a defining force in the landscape of the industry. It will greatly help linux. A win-win.

ejboss@ejboss.org

Re:Turn the comment around (1)

Indomitus (578) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684674)

The difference is that I know that's not the best application of Linux around so I feel little need to "defend" it.

Re:PalmPilot & Infrared Port & MP3 & 486 DX2 66 (1)

Zurk (37028) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684675)

largest drive = 500 megs probly. cheap.
extra software for pilot = no. a simple serial port program will do it..available free.
optimal model = a palm pro with an upgrade card. the upgrade has a more powerful LED than the standard palm iii or iv or whatever.
MP3..look on freshmeat.lots available.
yep. ive done something similar..i actually mounted a palmpilot as a linux drive off the irda port. IR comm issues = range..its not too far.

Re:java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684676)

But I have yet to use a single java application or applet that wasn't desperately sluggish - even on the fastest CPUs, even just a "hello world" type of application.

Which goes to prove how little you know about the market.
check out togetherJ (UML round trip eng tool) entirely swing, needs power but you can't tell it's not native. Also most functionality was developed really fast and some of it *they could not do in COM* but was a blast in the swing env.

Ok sure they've got Coad (peter) behind the whole thing, but this is more than a proof of concept this is a tool I use day in day out without really noticing.

tom

Re:Versatility of the Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684677)

Yes, it is true that there is no such API for C/C++. Does that mean that it couldn't be done? Nope. (and I am in no way volunteering to do it :)

I think that the jini concept (and related items) are cool despite of the language it's written for/in.

Other small, mobile objects controllable via Jini (2)

bgarrett (6193) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684678)

Somebody mentioned the X-10 system, but I didn't see anyone mention another relatively small, mobile device: AIBO. While undoubtedly pricier than the Mindstorm kits ^_^;;, this would be an interesting thing to see.

I could see a lot of potential in an X-10/Jini/Palm crossover. Forget about a universal/learning remote, how about a context-sensitive remote? You just point your Palm at the TV and it automatically changes its controls to those of the television remote; point at the lamp and you get a switch, which sends a signal to your X-10 unit via the Jini proxy.

Re:A rigged demo is indistinguishable from magic (1)

Zurk (37028) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684679)

This could be fixed by making the tanks irda compliant with the palm and having a simple serial port i/o prog to do the control..but then it would loose its kewlness factor.

Java neat? Wrong! It's made by Sun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684680)

>Two of the neatest technologies...
How dare you describe anything made by Sun on /. in a positive light! Don't you know that the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy when you are a maniac linux advocate?

Re:Versatility of the Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684681)

C was revolutionary. Java is not.

Java AND C were hardly revolutionnary, all they did was a "bestOf" features of language and ideas of their time. Java did not invent anything just repackaged the web ideas in the coolest way, just like C packaged the "system" ideas of the time and provided an elegant way to adress hw architecture is a portable way. Java does the same at a higher layer, the web layer.

That being said there is something revolutionary about the distributed handling of java, it is truly net oriented. Ever looked at EJB?

matt

-- C++ guys, don't be so negative, there is nothing to fear but a bright future for net based OO technology--

Re:Cellphone printing to Bangkok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684682)

Hmmm... I think your approach towards this is just as wrong as the people that are discounting anything java just based on those four letters. You are looking at it in the wrong way. You are seeing this very very neat application that gets you drooling, and you ask the salesperson "i want one! what is it written in?". The salesperson then say, "well, it's java, sir!" and you automatically assume that java is the greatest thing in the world.

I know that there is no such jini-like API in C/C++/etc (at least that I know of). Does that mean that it couldn't be done in those languages? No. Would a C/C++ version run faster/better than the java version? Maybe not, but probably yes - based on the zillion apps I have seen and used in java (not to mantion that lower level language usually equate to better performance, therefore the use of C).

One more thing, as a end user I REALLY do NOT care about how fast you wrote the application! Would you java freaks just put that in your mind once and for all! I care about speed and reliability. Maybe java has that (I have seen otherwise, but I love to be proved wrong) - if you think so, make your argument based on that.

Re:Java has no use? (1)

EmilEifrem (11066) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684683)

Just out of curiousity, what application server is that? I use a whole bunch of them at work and some are good, some are better and quite a few suck pretty bad. As a side note, even the sucky ones generally provide a more productive environment than anything else we've tried that was written in Perl or C. Kinda puts things in perspective, especially seeing Mr Malda's offhand and ignorant comment about the usefulness of Java. But anyways, care to share what application server you're talking about?

News Flash: Geek Hands Crushed! (1)

Wah (30840) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684684)

Seems there was too much time on them. :-)


another example here [icepick.com]

Re:PalmPilot & Infrared Port & MP3 & 486 DX2 66 (1)

bloosqr (33593) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684685)

I had a 486/66 w/ a 6.4 gig drive.. You can buy a $30 bios ISA card (I forgot where I got mine.. but off of the net) to allow you to do this.. Watch how you add up all these numbers tho if you are buying everything separately i.e. ird controller, cheap harddrive etc etc.. computers are so dirt cheap it is much better to just buy the cheapest new computer you can find (which will be a million times faster) than start plugging things into your old machine.. (which unfortunately at the time was how I went about it)

Re:Turn the comment around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684686)

Of course, I write Java on FreeBSD

Interesting, I want to do the same, what VM do you use? did you recompile the blackdown stuff? can you tell us how you did it I am very interested in running a server on FreeBSD but still have the VM (actually JDK) I use under Linux. TIA

bruce

Re:Moderators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684687)

You are sick. Sick, sick, sick. Who would ever think of making something so disgusting with Legos?

And where can I get one?

:)

Re:java (1)

avdp (22065) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684688)

I am not obtuse, I love to be proved wrong! Do give me the link where I can get this wondrous application, and I will try it.

Once again, I can only tell what I have experienced, and I have experienced *lots* of java apps. I have also coded in java for quite some time, it is a fairly easy language no doubt about that, but aside from that I found very little redeeming values about it.

Once again, just my opinion, no need to take it too personally, the java world will not end based on it.

Re:Versatility of the Palm (1)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684689)

theoretically anything can be done if enough time/effort goes into it. point is, the java.net package is available TODAY.

Et tu Taco?? (2)

jabber (13196) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684690)

The scary thing is that this is one of the more useful applications of Java I've seen...

Man, that one stung! Really.

I don't know how much exposure there has been to Java applications that are actually useful, but damn!

I'm currently working in a small group, in a large company, that is developing (the group) a DB (Oracle 8) centered, distributed (web) application for designing industrial and utility-scale boilers for electricity production. We're talking 1.21 GigaWatts here, Marty! It's my first project with this new group, and it's slick as snot.

Some other notable Java apps: NetBeans and FreeBuilder (granted, they're devtools themselves, but they're java and they nifty), Lotus domino is available as a Java app.

And then there's always Applixware Office Anywhere [applix.com] that is written purely in Java.

Really, I'm surprised at the off-the-cuff derission against Java, Rob (old bean). :)

Re:java (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684691)

www.togetherj.com
get the webbased whiteboard edition, don't get the 2.0 version get the 3.0 version (you got 2 days left for the trial version;-).
if you have NT and a 400Mhz I can guarantee you you won't think about the fact that it is in java anymore (i don't, and believe me I have been a swing doubter for the longest time, this app turned me around when I realized "holl* S*** I forgot it was swing"). You do have to be versed in the art of UML to truly appreciate the round trip engineering and the listener structure they have build in there. Check out the latest Dr Dobbs where they delve into the layering of GUIs in swing, a good high level introduction into the power of generalized event models and layering of listeners.

Do let me know if you like it (btw it's much slower on Linux, due to the quality of the VM, but I expect that will change soon)

ejboss@ejboss.org

C to last for decades. Look at OSS projects. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684692)

The linux world is virtually all C. Even the kernel is in (mostly) C (/me grumbles about "objective c" that is neither C nor C++). And I see little drive to change this. Linux and GNU and Open Source will be C based for at least the next 20 years. Yes I said 20 years. C++ is a excellent tool if used properly, and is top notch for well organized, large, huge manpower team projects, but is even more dangerous for making spagetti code than C, and is severe overkill for smaller projects and plain ol' tinkering around. Meanwhile Java will continue to be held back so long as Sun maintains it's "We are the Gods of Java, kneel before us" attitude. Now, besides C++ and Java, what else is out there to chisel away at the primarily C universe? Not all that much. Lots of specialized languages suited to specific tasks (Perl, VB). No one will write an OS or a large application in these. K&R were visionaries; and the fact that C has scaled with technology over the last 3 decades is a monument to just how well designed this incredibly simple yet powerful language really is.

-linley@megami.org, too lazy to log in.

Re:PalmPilot & Infrared Port & MP3 & 486 DX2 66 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684693)

Hmm. I'm not sure how a 486 dx2 66 would handle playing 128+kbps mp3's back at full speed. I seem to remember my 486-100 could just barely play them back at full speed and I couldn't do anything else on my system while it did, or the mp3 would 'skip'.

This show's Jini's flaw - it requires JVM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684694)

This illustrates the flaw in the entire Jini concept -- it's based on passing serialized Java objects around. If the protocol used XML or some other more open and simple format, then it's conceivable that a Lego RCX running LegOS could participate more directly.

Strangely enough, the XML-RPC specification announced by Microsoft today is more likely to run on the Lego RCX directly.

Most usefull Java application (1)

E29 (32830) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684695)

How about the very powerfull sets of cross-platform software I helped write for my company to preform yeild analysis on the semiconductors we manufacture. It's ALL written in Java. Why? Because it greatly cut developement time. It had to work on Win, Solaris, HP-UX, VAX, and several other systems. The web deployment of the end-user clients allowed anybody to use it anywhere, including our customers, without any intervention by us. Plus distributing new versions is as easy as uploading a file. And speaking of customers, our main customer is HP. We happen to be the top manufaturer of HP inkjet heads (the small semiconductor on the head of the cartiage that spits the ink out). So next time you buy ink for your HP printer remeber that if it wasn't for supposedly worthless Java you would be paying much much more for it.

And I would love to see someone try and implement a system like this in ANY other language in the same time/cost frame with the same flexability. I tell you it can't be done.

Re:Cellphone printing to Bangkok (1)

choo (14599) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684699)

One more thing, as a end user I REALLY do NOT care about how fast you wrote the application

You will care if it means that you can get the application delivered to you faster. This is especially important for in-house applications where people really care about getting the application they want quickly. Cross platform compatibility is a big plus as well.

Useful Java Applications (2)

zipwow (1695) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684700)

Funny, the online registration system that I used Java servlets to write seems pretty darn useful.
And because I wrote it in Java and used the Servlets specification, we'll one day be able to move it (not port it) to Linux.

Yeah, we could do it in C++, but why? Speed? Hm, working fine, says we can scale to thousands more folks. Development time? Nope, came together quite quickly.

Yeah, yeah, you can do OO in Perl if you try really hard. And you can write objects in Visual Basic too (or so they claim). Java makes it easy for you, and makes it harder (though not impossible) to do it the wrong way.

Or was Rob bashing java servlets? What exactly do you want people to do? HTML "applications" aren't the way to do things. We want thin clients that run across many platforms, don't we? So to break up the MS stranglehold? But we bash people experimenting with the fledgling version of this technology? What is it that we want, anyway?

I see servlets on webpages for data retrieval, traffic views, heck, even clothes shopping. It seems to work very, very well.

Zipwow

legos running NQC and not Java (1)

luge (4808) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684701)

You are correct- the lego side of things is not running Java. There is currently an attempt to write a JVM for the lego, but it has not (as far as I can tell) made any progress for months.
~luge

Re:Give me a BREAK... (1)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684702)

how stable is blackdown 1.2 jvm???

Re:Versatility of the Palm (1)

S_hane (86976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684703)

OK - this is just my (read: JUST MY) opinion on the whole Java vs C++/C issue.

I'm a comp-eng student, and have learnt a decent amount of Java. I've also played around with it a fair bit (as an aside, does _anybody_ know a decent amount about the ImageProducer/ImageConsumer framework???). I'm also trying to teach myself C++ at home, with a decent amount of success.

In NEITHER area am I ANYTHING close to expert - so please feel free to correct me about any of the details that follow.

Java - the idea - is very cool. This is what most people tout when they say JINI is blahblah, or this does that, etc etc. The whole point of Java and all it's peripheral technologies is hugely distributable code. That's really cool.

Java - the implementation - is very good in SOME ways, but fairly bad in others (AGAIN - MY OPINION ONLY! CALM YOURSELF!). For instance - a genetic algorithm program that I've written gets quite nice speeds running under the BlackDown port of JDK1.1.7 in Linux (haven't tested it anywhere else :-). There's no native methods in it, either.

On the other hand - any AWT stuff that I've tried to do is almost pathetically slow, especially compared to the X-Windows stuff that I've tried to do. I also suspect (but aren't sure) that the Swing components are add-ons to the whole AWT idea, and not a fundamental re-organisation of the AWT event model (am I right???). The reason that I say this is because there's lots of things about the AWT event model that suck - for instance, only one thread for the entire AWT system (how do you implement sprites easily? You can't - you have to manually write code that updates each one in turn. With new AWT threads being spawned at will, you could just "spawn" a new sprite with internal timing signals, and everything would be fine and dandy).

Look - XWindows was ALREADY a platform-independant and fast windowing toolkit (with networking capabilities too :-). Why didn't the Java guys just provide a set of wrappers for that??? Or at least provide a set of methods to interface with it?

Also - C++ (ANSI) is extremely fast and fairly standard. Java is basically a subset of the C++ methods, along with a whole bunch of new code ("libraries") and some kewl new ideas about method/class organisation, all organised in such a fashion as to make it platform independant.

So _WHY_ is it so slow? Sure, it's interpreted virtual machine code, not precompiled actualy machine codes (hence bytecodes and JVM, etc), but (for instance) VMWare runs an extremely tight virtual Intel processor that gets about 50-75% actual speed (by this I mean that if I run VMWare on my Intel processor I get about 50-75% of the actual processor speed as the speed of my virtaul processor)!

So my opinion is that Java is an extremely good idea that was moderately badly implemented. Again, just my opinion.

As a corollary, by the way, that means there's a market for good implementations of similar ideas. Because lets face it - the Java idea has so much to offer computing/programming.

One final time, Just mY oPinIon

-Shane Stephens

Re:Useful Java Applications (1)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684704)

html seems to work very very well also.

Actually... (2)

luge (4808) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684706)

I know this sounds pathetic, but there is a page in the www.lego.com domain where Lego specifically explains that it is company policy to refer to them only as Lego bricks. They specifically condemn the use of the phrase "legos" and, IIRC, directly exhort parents to correct their children when the kids use the plural and not the "proper" phrasing. That was one of the sicker examples of management-speak I've ever seen...
~luge

Re:and i called him HAL (2)

luge (4808) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684708)

If you want a real programming language for the legos, check out legOS [www.noga.de] . Full C and C++ support for your legos.
~luge

Re:Cellphone printing to Bangkok (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684710)

You are seeing this very very neat application that gets you drooling, and you ask the salesperson "i want one! what is it written in?". The salesperson then say, "well, it's java, sir!" and you automatically assume that java is the greatest thing in the world.

I think you've read to far into his post. No where did he say that just because the software is done in Java that it's the greatest thing. All he was saying is that Java -can- do some really cool stuff.

I know that there is no such jini-like API in C/C++/etc (at least that I know of).

And wanna know what? You don't need one in C++! The great thing about Jini is that it doesn't require Java. You can use other languages and still enable your device for Jini by using proxies. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, you can even write the lookup and other services in another language such as C++!

One more thing, as a end user I REALLY do NOT care about how fast you wrote the application!

Then don't complain when software's release is delayed or due to insufficient amount of time the feature you really wanted was kept out. Those are just the tip of the iceberg - Development time does matter.

I care about speed and reliability. Maybe java has that (I have seen otherwise, but I love to be proved wrong)

The problem with all you Java nay-sayers is that your main exposure to Java is through the dinky applets spewn across the Web. Most of you are not seeing what is actually being done inside the Fortune 500 companies or some of the various academic / research projects. Nor in many cases have people who discount Java tried it themselves.. and I don't mean a little applet.

Most "real" Java users have learned that Java can be quite reliable while cutting development costs and time spent. As for the speed issue, yeah, it's not as fast C or C++ (or asm for that matter), but it's not dog slow as people make out to be. Furthermore, Java has actually exceeded C/C++ speeds in some cases using Hot Spot.

Hotspot vaporware? Nope!

JavaTM 2 Software Development Kit, Standard Edition, v.1.3 Beta [sun.com]

(Obviously, only available for Windows and Solaris at the moment..)

Re:Cellphone printing to Bangkok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684711)

I suppose that's what all those java programmers tell themselves :) Good for them :) For the most part I dissagree with you, although I have seen your theory become true for "in house" applications. These applications that have been rushed to production often get replaced in the short term by better, more stable applications. At least that is what I have seen done "in house" in one of the largest corporation in the US...

Mindstorms via palm? (2)

technos (73414) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684719)

Mindstorms are great! I no longer need a degree in electronics or mechanical engineering! Now not only can I built a Mindstorms case that will dissassemble itself whenever I need to swap out hardware, I can built my next garage door with them, too. Perhaps a Mindstorms controlled tractor-mower? Sit in the shade and steer the mower around like a video game! An army of Mindstorm-enhanced appliances, from the ashtray that empties itself to the 'Fridge-buddy' that retrieves me another cool Guinness on demand; All controlled from the comfort of the Mindstorm chair.( complete with 21 inch monitor, self adjusting keyboard and autovariable cushion firmness!! )


Saw these at JavaONE (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684720)

Hardly a new toy, they had this up and running months ago. I even got to drive one. The coolest bit was when I was watching the monitor, and somebody placed a new tank into the battlefield and it was auto-recognized. Highly cool.

Miko gave his "courage under fire" award to the Lego team because, before their demo, they found out that the overhead lights screwed up the IR towers, and they figured out how to splice two towers together to get redundant coverage. Or sometihng like that. Pretty neat.

And apparently it's not pure Java (I didn't read the entire article) - the mindstorms are merely running a jini proxy, which is presumably written in NQC. At least, when I asked the guy at JavaONE, that's what he said they used.

Learn to take a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684721)

Well, no wonder we have problems with flamewars here.

That was supposed to be a wry aside, or that's how I took it, and see how much happier I am?

Re:java (0)

Exanter (2171) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684722)

Uhh, Perl is evil. But, unlike Java, it has it's uses. This whole thing would be better if it were written in C (straght ANSI C, none of this object bullshit)

Already There (2)

Sixty4Bit (6131) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684723)

There is already a technology that does just that. It is called X-10. I have a friend that has it installed in his house and can control his entire house from a computer. The technology speaks to different items through power cables in the house. You can find the FAQ Here [scruz.net] .

Versatility of the Palm (2)

drachen (49779) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684724)

Even though the software was in Java, it's really the fact that the Palms can be used in such varying ways that is the coolest fact. I mean here we can control our TV's, print to IR printers, transfer files through air, unlock cars that use IR remotes, etc. This little device can do it all. The fact that the software was written in Java, IMO is of no consequence. The program to control the legos I'm sure could have just been written in another language. You've got to love how these companies tout their software by making is seem like something so revolutionary when it's not. C was revolutionary. Java is not.

I sure love my PalmIIIx. Never leave home without it.

---------
James Crawford
drachen@thepcmaster.com

What I want to see... (2)

Cironian (9526) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684725)

Cant wait for the first Java-controlled coffee machine. *rips the pun-alert siren off the wall*

Re:The most useful java application you've seen? (0)

Nabuchodonosor (65294) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684726)

oh..you shouldnt be surprised. If it was something about mindstorms AND linux, they would be saying "ohh..linux rulzzzzzz..this thing is sooo coool". But no. It is Jini. It is not Linux or Perl or C. So, for them, it must be wrong. It cant be cool. It must be slow.

tsk.

Moderators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684727)

This is not off topic! He said it's made out of legos! Maybe if he said that he uses the IR remote on his Palm III to control the erection level and the jizz pump on his lego wang, then it would've been on topic?

Re:Versatility of the Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684728)

If I had to use it TODAY, I would (reluctantly) do so. This admission still does not say *anything* at all about the quality of the product.

Re:Versatility of the Palm (1)

mistabobdobalina (29109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684729)

hm...i wonder if all the app servers, distributed object systems etc. written in java might provide some proof that java's networking support is good

Re:Turn the comment around (1)

S_hane (86976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684730)

It's funny that you get so worked up over it!

And, yes - that is kind of funny - in a sort of satirical way. The difference is that we don't need to defend Linux, nor do we feel the need to defend Linux.

The fact that people get so worked up over Java makes me worry a little, though - what are you guys trying to hide???

-Shane Stephens

Don't be a dork all your life! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684731)

That is a pre-release! And yes, I have tried it, and continue to use it together with Apache, JServ, JConnect and Sybase to run a fairly high volume website. One line snappy come-backs only work in sitcoms, bub.

Re:PalmPilot & Infrared Port & MP3 & 486 DX2 66 (1)

187 (86855) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684732)

I've tried to do a similar thing (w/out the Palm Pilot) and the 486dx4/100 was choking on the mp3. Now, this may have been caused by any # of things: low memory (20MB), slow HD. Of course, that was just my situation...

Re:java (2)

Ender_the_Xenocide (71196) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684733)

>But I have yet to use a single java application or applet that wasn't desperately sluggish - even on the fastest CPUs, even just a "hello world" type of application.

On my dual-Celeron, running the latest Blackdown JDK, HotJava and Netscape seem to be about even. Mind you, Netscape is pretty sluggish itself. (Stability's about the same too, which is pretty sad.)

Regarding AIBO & Mindstorms... (2)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684735)

Look on the LEGO Mindstorms page, one of the recent new contributors is this one Japanese guy who created his own AIBO from a few Mindstorms kits - called it MIBO. Uses a couple of RCX units, and is pretty complex. He goes by (may even be his name) Jinsato.

Here is a link to his page:

http://www.mi-ra-i.com/JinSato/MindStorms/index. html

There is also stuff on the LEGO site...

Re:Versatility of the Palm (1)

bloosqr (33593) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684737)

I think in fact that is what they are trying to do. I have this discussion w/ friends all the time (I was using opengl/gtk he was using java) and the speed differences were embarrassing (I was doing full real time rendering). Since you can compile gtk and get Mesa for every machine under the sun, I would ask him what the point was.. i.e. why not pull a alpha type trick and recompile native or connect to native libraries... well anyway apparantly that is what some of the java things are going to do i.e check for quicktime then connect to that natively, check for opengl and connect to that natively.. I don't use Java at all personally so I am not sure if this is true.. but thats what he claimed..

Re:java (1)

bloosqr (33593) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684738)

The only thing I dont like about C is that it is difficult to get cross-platform memory debuggers.. (i.e. like efence etc..) I switched most of my C code to C++ basically still written C like and wrote templates for malloc() type routines. The bounds checking and memory leak code is #ifdeffed and shows *no* performance hit w/out the flags. (Actually the I did have to manually add all the inlines as well).. But anyway being able to do cool things w/ templates like this converted me over.. Actually the other vaguely cheesy nice thing about c++ is if you write 10 million subroutines you start losing track of their names.. but c++ cuts down on the number
of gratuitous subroutine names which is nice when your code becomes too monstrous. Really you can use c++ to be c code w/ cpp on steroids tho :)

Most useful Java application? Not by a long shot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684746)

More and more large server-side applications are being written in Java--applications where Perl and VB lack the support for formal, large-scale OOD and where C/C++ simply are too cumbersome and lack the runtime security.

Java is far from perfect, but it's still the best thing going when it comes to widely supported languages and libraries.

Re Firecracker == X-10 (1)

ffatTony (63354) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684747)

Firecracker and X-10 are one in the same (as I understand) I think that is what he was speaking of.. As far as I've seen the X-10 products do not as of yet have a univeral remote, which the original poster would like tosee implimented.



Usefulness (1)

flamingdog (16938) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684748)

Maybe they could use it to control MIR?

---------------------------
"I'm not gonna say anything inspirational, I'm just gonna fucking swear a lot"

Steal Cars (2)

GnrcMan (53534) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684749)

Hmmm, if you combine this with the palm's ability to steal auto security codes [slashdot.org] , maybe you could make a robot that goes around stealing cars! >:>

Generic Man

Re:Mindstorms via palm? (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684750)

Well, one of your visions seems to have found life:

http://www.friendlymachines.com/

D

----

Re:java (2)

jilles (20976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684751)

Sure it would be faster but it would have taken three times as long to develop it, four times as long to debug it. It would randomly crash for no reason at all and you could forget about reusing any of the code.

I'm exagerating a little (but only a little). I think the whole thing would be pretty limited if written in C.

I'm glad you recognize perl is evil because it is. It's syntax is a nightmare and I have feeling all these nerdy scripts currently running many websites will cause a lot of maintenance problems in the future.

Java may not be the most optimal language performance wise but Java code is highly maintainable. If you want performance, hack away in C. If you want to cut your development cost in half go for Java.

Re:Re Firecracker == X-10 (1)

Steve X (11964) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684752)

X-10 has, quite possibly, the most connected universal remote for something that doesn't kill your wallet. It does x-10 (requires a RF reciever like the Firecracker), has quite a lot of pre-programmed devs (up to 6 devices) in it. Best yet, some of the remotes (not the one I have) are learning remotes. I can walk around my house with one and pretty much control anything. And I've three of them :-)
(thank goodness for X-10 freebies)

what I'd like to do, though, is get a Firecracker rigged up w/ my palm pilot. I could do all sorts of neat scheduling things (yeah, there's the Comp Module, but that means you need access to your comp), from my pilot, or control things w/out carying a remote w/ me everywhere. hrm... there's a project...

PalmPilot infra-red control (2)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684753)

Why did they have to go through the cradle/workstation/infrared-tower setup?

Why didn't they control the tanks directly from the PalmPilot infra-red ports?

Were these PalmPilots the ones w/o infra-red ports, or did the infra-red ports not have enough range for the tanks to pick up?

Actually, what was the point of having the Palmpilots in there in the first place, if the workstations were there anyway?

Re:The most useful java application you've seen? (1)

JordanH (75307) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684764)

Oh, lighten up. He said it was cool and he featured it, didn't he? I don't remember him saying anything about it being slow.

Re:Versatility of the Universe (1)

FigWig (10981) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684765)

Even though it was implemented on a PalmPilot, I think it's the fact that the force of electro-magnetism can be used in so many ways that is the coolest fact. I mean you can microwave food, herd electrons into doing our work, see, etc. This force of nature can do it all. ENIAC was revolutionary, the PalmPilot is not. I sure love my electro-weak force. Never leave home without it. ;)

PalmPilot & Infrared Port & MP3 & 486 DX2 66 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684766)

I have a 486 DX2 66 machine which I don't use anymore. I was thinking about what to do with it and then I realized that I could use it as an MP3 server connected to my stereo. There is nothing fancy about this but I would like to control it with a Palm Pilot via Infrared (IR). So I will be running Linux (no X stuff just CLI), attach an IR port to the PC. Run MP3 player. Control it with the Palm Pilot. Here are the questions that I have (I do not own a Palm Pilot yet so I am pretty ignorant about them): What is the largest harddrive 486 can handle and cost? Do I need extra software for the Palm Pilot? What is the optimal Palm Pilot model for this? What is the best MP3 software for CLI? What are the issues with the IR communication? And the most important one: Has anybody done this already?

Re:Usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684767)

Actually I believe the java license doesn't allow control of aircraft or nuclear stuff. ohwell...

PalmPilot & Infrared Port & MP3 & 486 DX2 66 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684768)

I have a 486 DX2 66 machine which I don't use anymore. I was thinking about what to do with it and then I realized that I could use it as an MP3 server connected to my stereo. There is nothing fancy about this but I would like to control it with a Palm Pilot via Infrared (IR). So I will be running Linux (no X stuff just CLI), attach an IR port to the PC. Run MP3 player. Control it with the Palm Pilot. Here are the questions that I have (I do not own a Palm Pilot yet so I am pretty ignorant about them):

What is the largest harddrive 486 can handle and cost?

Do I need extra software for the Palm Pilot?

What is the optimal Palm Pilot model for this?

What is the best MP3 software for CLI?

What are the issues with the IR communication?

And the most important one:

Has anybody done this already?

Re:The most useful java application you've seen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1684769)

but is it Open Source (tm) ?

Re:Marketing (2)

jilles (20976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1684770)

You have to look through the propaganda (basic skill of a software engineer these days, if you can't your lost).

Jini is something really simple. The concept goes like this you have a lot of devices all able to their particular thing. In order to do so they need other devices to their particular thing. Jini is all about providing a dynamic way to let these devices help each other.
The process is really simple:
- device registers itself at the lookup service upon connection
- device asks for services it needs
- the lookup service gives back a ref to a suitable device
- two devices previously unknown to each other are now communicating

There are plenty applications for this really simple technology (I'm abit tired so I won't bother listing them, I suppose you know the way to SUN's propaganda pages).

So this is what you can do with Jini now to why should want to do it at all:

Computers are becoming smarter smaller and cheaper. Computing power and networking is becoming dirtcheap. So cheap it can be put in any device. If it can be done it will be done. So there is a need for these devices to communicate. What would normally happen is that companies start making incompatible propietary protocols for the devices communication.
But industry has learned that propietary protocols have their limitations so they want something more standard. So they sit together and try to come up with a protocol. At this point Jini comes in as an easy to use solution.

It is now only a bit more than a year rumours about Jini started spreading (I recall an article on JavaSoft June/July '98) so it has come a long way in only a year. Of course there are not many products around at this time but a lot of companies are really interested in this stuff so I expect to see some products the coming years.
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