10 years of Java

JavaWorld have a great article on their site by Max Goff, outlining what he considers are 10 key points of Java during it’s 10 years in existance.

There’s probably a few other points that I would have included in this list. Having used Java since 1996, and started using it as my main development language since 1998, I can remember quite a few changes over the past few years. I think one of the most interesting was the fanfare arrival of the EJB1.0 spec and it’s evolution since. Over time as people realized the Entity Bean part of the spec is just plain broken and poor conceived, it has been very interesting recently to work with new ORM tools in the same space, such as Hibernate, and then see Gavin King’s involvement with the EJB3.0 spec, and how it has evolved to something ‘Hibernate-like’: the way it should have been from day one. Makes you wonder what things would have been like today if the content of EJB3.0 was initially released as the initial EJB1.0…

History of the PDA

This is a great article tracing back PDA and handheld computers back to the 1970s, when the first programmable pocket calculators started appearing on the market.

I remember seeing many of these gadgets and thinking “I’ve got to have one of those!”, especially when the first Psion came out (not sure what I was going to use it for at the time), and then later when Atari released their Portfolio, and IBM XT compatible that was (almost) pocket sized. Very cool.

Sony reveal the Playstation 3

In a pre-conference media and press session at the E3 conference, Sony unveiled the long awaited Playstation 3, based on the new Cell processor jointly developed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba.

From the information available in various blogs and game sites, the information released seems to be a confirmation of the hardware specs that have been known since earlier this year, plus a couple of glipses at some promo videos for upcoming games. If the photos on this site are to believed, the ingame graphics are going to be absolutely incredible. A video of an offroad car/bike racing game called Motor Storm was previewed, and the graphics look close to a real movie.

IGN.com have videos of the tech demos from Sony’s press session, and the real time rendering of fluids, motion and acurate physics look pretty stunning. I’m not sure if a demo of a bath full of plastic ducks was the best suited material to demonstrate the capabilities of a new gaming platform, but when he kept adding more and more ducks until the bath was overflowing with hundereds of ducks, and each was still being rendered in realtime and bobbing along each doing their own thing, I think it did make the point that the Cell processor really does have some power behind it.

IGN.com also have a video of a London street scene demo that is absolutely jawdropping in its level of shading and detail. As the camera pans around, people are walking (rather robotic looking, mind you) in the street and cars are driving by. The camera pans over the buildings on the street, and what I think really makes it amazing is the level of detail in the light shading – the shadows and light levels are realistically rendered according to the location of the sun, and different angles and locations are all lit very realistically according to the light source. This must be seen to be believed… it is pretty incredible.

One of the big surprises this week is the fact that Microsoft have taken a departure from the ‘cheap PC in a black box running a cutdown version of Windows’ approach for their new XBox360 console, and have also based their new console on IBM PowerPC CPU technology with multiple cores. The Cell/PowerPC chip in the Playstation 3 however has 8 processor cores, while the version PowerPC chip in the new XBox only has 3, and runs at a comparable 3.2GHz. The PS3 however is capable or performing over 2 terraFLOPS/sec, while the XBox performs jsut 1 terraFLOP/sec.

How much difference in reality will this make? Time will tell I guess. The XBox360 is due to be on the shelves in time for Christmas 2005, while we’ll still have to wait until Spring 2006 for the Playstation 3.

E3 this week: Sony Playstation 3 announcement eagerly awaited…

The E3 conference in LA starts this week (Tuesday May 16), and the most eagerly awaited announcement is surely going to be from Sony, and hopefully the unveiling of the new Playstation 3.

At this point no-one knows what exactly they are going to unveil, but it is expected they will have a working demo version of the Playstation 3.

Microsoft have already beaten Sony to it and annouced their new XBox 360 last week, with a media glitzy MTV TV special, but it seemed high on the glitz and low on any substantive information.

Lets hope Sony are able to give us a good look at the machine that we’ve been waiting for for the past couple of years since the hype started about their new ‘Cell’ processor.