Fun and Functional 'Toys' from JavaOne Conference

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The 2007 JavaOne Conference ended May 11 with its annual Toy Show. It goes without saying that all the toys and technologies presented use Java in innovative ways.


Sun is putting the whole conference online, starting with the general session webcasts and PDFs from the conference. Within four weeks, the audio and transcripts for all sessions will be online for free.


Fortunately, the complete broadcast of the Toy Show is online already. It's broken into five parts, with Sun's James Gosling, vice president and a Sun Fellow, introducing each new technology.


Don't be mislead by the title. Most of the technologies introduced during the Toy Show are real, working innovations, designed for enterprise developers, industrial use or even the military.


Here's a run-down of what you'll find in each part: Part One: Focuses on development tools and applications, starting with Project D-Light, a performance analysis and observability tool, and ending with the Sun Grid Compute Utility, which, instead of making content available, makes computing power available to everyone. If you'd like to fast-forward to the talk about Sun Grid Compute Utility, it starts at 17:43.


Part Two: A mashup demonstrates Net Beans 6 as a development tool. VDMS Mobility Pack, which uses Java to transform digital office equipment, including printers and cameras, (11:51). Representatives from the movie and entertainment industry demonstrate how Java enhances the Blu-Ray disk experience, (22:11).


Part Three: Cinegistics shows Java-based tools for controlling cameras, with a focus on how you make this kind of technology, followed by a discussion of Project Wonderland - a virtual world that allows people to collaborate, (7:32). IBM plans to do a similar virtual world with Second Life.


Parts Four and Five are all about devices, and for my money, they're the most fun. Part Four shares a Java-based Automated Teller Machine, Hobart's Meat Scale, three mini-robots that can be customed with from your computer using a Java developers kit, and the first Java-powered industrial robot. This is the most fun of all the Toy Show parts, largely due to the mini-robots, who perform a short dance to "I Will Survive." They're not quite ready for the Disco, but they're still a thrill to watch.


Part Five delves into the military technology, including a self-driving submarine and an unmanned helicopter that creates a 3-D map of the terrain. It's also high on the cool factor.