Monthly Archives: June 2008

Amazon EC2 topic for AACS meeting in July

Late breaking news … once again the deep network of Ann Arbor Computer Society members has come through with an interesting talk.

The AACS program chair (Jay Wren) has just let me know that Chris Sellers will speak on Amazon EC2 at the AACS meeting on Wednesday, July 2.  The meeting will start at 6 pm, and as always, is free and open to everyone.   AACS meets at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is a web service that allows you to run your application on Amazon's servers, where you pay for the capacity of the computing resources that you use.

I'll post an abstract as soon as I receive it, or watch for details.

Events this week in Ann Arbor and Lansing

Thursday night, June 19, SRT's very own Darrell Hawley will be speaking on IronPython at the Greater Lansing Area .NET User Group.  If you read his blog, you will know that he's been working hard on this talk, refining the content as well as his speaking technique.  That's not to say that it was bad before (it wasn't).  I think it shows how much emphasis people are putting on delivering high quality talks these days.

On Friday, June 20, SRT will hold lightning talks, which are free and open to all for speaking and/or listening.  We love it when people come to speak from other companies because we enjoy learning about what others are doing.  The 5 minute talks are a great way to get your confidence up, if you're not a regular speaker, and a great way to distill a topic into its essential components if you are.  There's usually something for everyone. I always compare lightning talks to the "short films" at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. If the film (or talk) isn't of interest to you, you haven't made a big investment and another film (or talk) that may be more to your liking will soon follow.  Lightning talks will start at 3:30 and go until about 5.  If you can't get there right at 3:30, no worries. Show up when you can.  We're a casual bunch.

Saturday, June 21, is the Lansing Area Day of .NET.  You have probably heard about these free 1-day immersions into .NET technology.  The first one was in Ann Arbor a few years ago.  The events usually sell out quickly, so register soon if you would like to attend.

And I wanted to add a quick reminder in case you missed my blog earlier this week about Startup Weekend Ann Arbor, that's going on this weekend as well!

Women in Technology Blog Series by Jennifer Marsman

Jennifer Marsman, developer evangelist at Microsoft, is in the process of producing a series of blogs about women in technology.  Motivated by the unsettling experience of realizing that was still available in 2007, Jenn seeks out women to interview for her blog, telling their stories.  In addition to being an accomplished developer herself, Jenn has a great knack for making the stories relevant and interesting.

This week, I'm honored to be the "woman" that she chose to interview. I'm thrilled to be in good company with such women as Lidiane Souza, Amity Blinkert, Karen Djoury, Carey Payette, Janet Galore, Toi B. Wright, and Katy Kneale. I look forward to reading Jenn's Women in Technology blog each Friday, and I know that there are some interesting interviews to come.  I hope that all of you will send your suggestions to Jenn as well.  It's a great series and I've learned a lot from reading about these women and their accomplishments.  I'm sure that Jennifer will easily fill up the year (and then some) with a new woman to profile each week.  I'm looking forward to the continuing series!

Startup Weekend Ann Arbor … and RIA Tools Tutorial

On Tuesday, June 17, Microsoft is presenting a free one day RIA Tools Tutorial day at SRT Solutions.  Spend the day with Microsoft developer evangelist Jennifer Marsman and RIA evangelist Josh Holmes to learn how to effectively use Visual Studio and Expression Suite to build Silverlight applications.  The event will be heavily hands-on, and space is limited to 15 participants. Register soon.

Next weekend, Ann Arbor is hosting a Startup Weekend. These have been held all over the country and now it's our turn!  Here's a quick blurb about what that means, from

Startup Weekend is a intense 54 hour event bringing together brilliant tech minds (developers, designers, marketers, ect.) together to create a company (or as many as the community wants) from concept to launch!

The event will start on Friday June 20 at 6 pm, when teams will be chosen.  By Sunday June 22,  COMPANIES will be launched.  On June 23, some people may begin hiring to move foward if they're ready. Others will probably wait.  SPARK is offering its "Starting your own Business" program to startup weekend participants, for free.  

If you want to attend Startup weekend, sign up soon!


Tail recursion in Scala and Annotations for Software Defect Detection

The Java Posse interview with Brian Goetz and Bill Pugh cleared up how Scala supports tail recursion in spite of the JVM's lack of support.  Brian Goetz did a great job of explaining that currently compiler writers have to build in the support (which Scala does) because the language doesn't support it directly.  He went on to explain that while there is support in the CLR for tail recursion, the F# compiler writers chose not to use it in some cases because they found that they could write a more optimal version by converting to iteration.  

The conversation was about changes that can be expected in Java 7, including JSR 292 ("Enhancements for Other Languages", aka "Invoke Dynamic"), JSR 305 (Annotations for Software Defect Detection), and JSR 308 (Annotations on Java Types).  

The discussion of JSR 305 (and @NonNull) reminded me of the discussion of contracts in a podcast on Microsoft Spec# that I listened to a few weeks ago. Scott Hanselman did an accompanying blog post as well. The FindBugs (static analysis) tool that Bill Pugh did is definitely a "must-have", and can already support annotions such as described above.  The JSR would simply provide a naming convention so that all tool makers and programmers could agree.  I had to look up Bill's annotation to see if it was "NotNull" or "NonNull", for example!

Note: JSRs (Java Specification Requests) are formal requests through the JCP (Java Community Process) for changes or enhancements to Java and the Java Virtual Machine.  This is an open process and participation is encouraged. 


Tech events in Ann Arbor this week

It's the first week of the month again … so there are user group meetings galore.

Wednesday, June 4 at 6:00 pm is the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting.  The topic is PostgreSQL 8.3 and Beyond.  PostgreSQL is a free and open source database.   The meeting will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI.  AACS meetings are free and open to the public.  Supporting memberships of $20/year are available, which help to support the pizza and soft drinks served at meetings as well as the door prizes.  

On Thursday, June 5, the Michigan Python User Group will meet at SRT Solutions at 7:00 pm.  The topic is TBD but some ideas that have been thrown around include: Google App Engine, non-relational databases, and Jython.  I'm sure it will be an enjoyable meeting, as always.  It's a great group, very casual and welcoming (and the meeting is free).  Please join us.

And Friday is the "on" Friday for Lightning Talks at SRT. Head over to SRT at around 3:30 pm for 5 minute talks on any tech topic of your choosing.  We'll go until about 5 so stop by whenever you are free on Friday afternoon.  SRT's lightning talks are free and open to everyone in the community, both for speaking and listening.  We think that the entire community benefits when we all know what others are doing.

Android to be 100% open-sourced

I read an interesting blog post on Ed Burnette's Dev Connection this morning.  Google says that Android (the libraries, the core platform components) will be open-sourced 100%.  Ed talked to several Google employees last week at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.  You can read Ed's entire article at his blog (linked above).

I think that an open sourced Android is great news, not only for the Android community but for the Java community as a whole.  Android is Google's flavor of Java, customized for what developers really need on a phone.  So, my understanding is that it's a subset that has some other essentials added in.  It doesn't run on the Java VM, but rather its own virtual machine: Dalvik

JavaFX Mobile, on the other hand, is Sun's revamped platform for mobile devices. JavaFX Mobile runs on the Java VM, not Dalvik.  It will be interesting to see if any of the work that Google has done on the mobile platform will make its way into JavaFX Mobile.  Already, the communities are working together. In fact, at JavaOne a few weeks ago, a JavaFX Mobile app was demonstrated on Android.  Nice!