Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mule From a Crane

I’ve been traveling all week hitting London, Bergen, Olso and Munich before landing back in Malta last night. One of the highlights of this trip was delivering a “Mule Unplugged” session in Bergen to a group of customer and users. While I always find the Norwegians to a good bunch to be around, the notable part of the day was the location of our meeting. It was a meeting room housed in a disused dock crane, it even has the drivers cockpit preserved. I guess photo’s are the only way to describe it:



One of the more exotic conversions I've seen.



The crane cockpit. Unfortunately none of the controls worked (I tried).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Twitter or Twit?

I am not convinced about twitter, actually I think it's pointless. However, some people I respect rave about it. It seems to be one of those things you need to try for yourself, so I've decided to give it a two week trial to see what I get out of it (yep, it's all about me). If you are using twitter, look me up, my ID is 'rossmason'. It would be great to hear comments from other people about what they think about it. In the meantime I'll be posting my progress here.

Mule Updates

Oops, it’s been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. I have a lot of stuff going on but not enough time to gather my thoughts. In the mean time there has been some stuff happening in the Mule community since my last post so here are the highlights.


  • We released Mule Community 2.0.1 and 1.4.4. For those waiting for 1.4.4 was a long time coming, but we had to focus our efforts on Mule 2.0.

  • My “Mule 2 and Beyond” video went up on Parleys. This is a talk I did late last year but is still very relevant. What I can say is you learn a lot about how to improve your presentation skills by watching yourself!

  • Eugene published a great article on TheServerSide about how to implement a scalable, Map Reduce architecture using Mule. Nice work!

  • For those that missed MuleCon in San Francisco this year, there is a short re-cap video available (the actual session talks will be available shortly). Make sure you come next year ☺

  • There have bean a boatload of Mule 2.0 documentation changes over the past 2 weeks too. The team is putting a lot of effort into making the documentation more complete and easier to navigate.

Friday, May 16, 2008

OSGi: Deployment Nightmare Unfolding

There is quite a bit of buzz around OSGi at the moment with every vendor and his dog announcing support for it in one way or another. When it comes to deployment, right now everyone is doing their own thing with OSGi. On the one hand this is good since OSGi bundles are compatible with each other so the more vendors support it the more we can do around bundling components. On the other hand, every vendor is coming up with their own mechanism for deploying to an OSGi runtime. This is because there is no standard way to package up bundles of bundles. In JEE we have WARs, RARs and EARs for deploying applications but in OSGi world we’re going to have many vendor-specific ways of deploying applications. It’s like we’re taking a giant leap backwards. I should point out that we at MuleSource are guilty of doing the same thing because there is no standard right now that anyone can align with.

Ideally, what we need is a JSR (or similar) that defines a standard deployment format to deploy to OSGi containers. Essentially this would mean a small kernel that understood how to unpack and deploy bundles of bundles to an OSGi runtime. There is no value in vendors owning this stuff or coming up with proprietary implementations.

Ultimately, a standard deployment mechanism should be part of the JDK. I just don't know if I trust the JCP to produce a simple elegant solution by committee...

Bio Car: 0-100km/h in 3.1 seconds!



I'm a big fan of super cars in that I dream of buying something outrageously expensive one day that will cripple me every time it needs a service.

I stumbled upon a company today called Koenigsegg - a small, low volume super car manufacturer - who recently announced a version of their flagship CCX car, called CCXR. Apart from being a beautiful beast it's being touted as the first green super car. It runs on Biofuel and actually has better performance than the CCX hitting 100 km/h in 3.1 seconds!

While a small company such as Koenigsegg will not have a huge impact on global C02 emissions it goes to show you don't need to sacrifice performance to go green and the large car manufacturers could be doing a lot more to reduce the C02 footprints of the cars they produce.

You can be sure this beats hell out driving a Prius on a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

FaceBook Chat uses Erlang

Facebook is one of the fastest growing community in the world. So much so that they can report their numbers in terms of percentages of population. They announced Chat for FaceBook about a month ago, and now Eugene Letuchy, a FaceBook engineer posted this very informative post about the technologies used and how they released the service. Their real challenge was how do you go from zero to 70 million clients with a flick of a switch?

Bored of your Asus eee PC? Give it a touch screen!

I love the guys at LShift, they're always doing something interesting. If you are board of your wee Asus eee PC and not afraid to dust off your soldering iron then here is a great guide on how to give your Asus a touch screen. There is even a video of the result!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fring me twice, shame on me

Even though I got Fringed the first time round, I find the idea of a universal chat client on my iPhone so appealing that I couldn’t resist trying it again. For Simpsons fans I felt like Bart when he repeatedly reaches for the electrified cupcake when Lisa devises the “is my brother dumber than a hamster” test.

Anyway, Fring did delete my SMS messages again. Contrary to my last post, SMS messages do get backed up by iTunes but Fring manages to work its way around that. But what’s worse (and maybe coincidence) was that my battery started draining at an alarming rate. Even when I uninstalled Fring my battery was hosed. So bad in fact I had to get another phone because it wouldn't even last half of the day and I couldn’t schedule my JavaOne appointments.

I really have learned my lesson this time. Stay away from Fring.

No, I will not join your JSR

Atlassian should be known for their T-shirts. They always have some good ones at JavaOne and this year was no exception. I love the irony of Hani wearing this since he is on the JCP committee (unfortunately his is obscured by a feather boa).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Java + One = Mucho Drinking

By far the best part of JavaOne is the drinking. This is where all the Java kids converge and proceed to decimate their precious brain cells with copious amounts of booze. The only way to describe a good night out is with photos. My wife came out on the last night (though reluctant to join a group a guys “geeking out”) She was diligent enough to take some photos from the the Tangosol / SolarMetric founders party:



The Atlassian crew, Mike, Scott, Nick, Mary Ann and I. If there is beer drinking going on you can bet there will be some Aussies there!



I asked Patrick Linskey if he'll be cashing out after the BEA acquisition (who acquired his company, SolarMetric) he said nothing but held this pose for a good 5 minutes.



I had one of those sinking moments when I introduced my wife to Hani Suleiman of the BileBlog fame. He proceeded to describe what a "rusty trumpet" was to my wife and I made an obvious attempt to shield her delicate ears with a feather boa.



In open source community spirit Bruce Snyder initiates an Irish car bomb competition. Thankfully, I dodged this bullet and was able to function the next day.



When vendors collide; We have Glen Daniels from WSo2, Debbie Moynihan from IONA and me, pulling my unexpected paparazzi face.



Two of our hosts Cameron Purdy, Patrick Linskey and Matt Raible doing what they always do at JavaOne.



MuleSource out in force. Dan Diephouse is obscured by my beer but check out the cuff-links!

JavaOne Verdict: Pretty good, need better speakers

Walking away from JavaOne this year I don’t feel I learned about much new but there was definitely some good stuff around.


  • JavaFX was high on the agenda, but since this was the hot topic of last year it didn’t create the buzz they had hoped for. Still the had some nice demos even if the sessions themselves were awful.

  • There was some focus on cross language support in JDK 1.7, which is good new for everyone, but since JSR-233 it’s less of a scoop.

  • I was really impressed with SUN’s gaming server, DarkStar, mostly because it showed off cool 3D games that I can swoon at trying to remember the last time I had time to play games.

  • Livescribe was pretty good too. It’s a pen with an embedded Java run-time that can record what you say, write, perform translations and play games... yep, that’s right it’s a pen. For those of you who are familiar with Leapfrog (a toy manufacture and customer of ours) may have seen their FLY Fusion pentop computer before, which has all the features of Livescribe and more (I got my niece and nephew one of these for Christmas, they’re awesome), the only difference is it’s not Java.



On the desktop/middleware side there was quite a bit of buzz around OSGi, with every vendor and his dog announcing support for it in one way or another. Equinox even had a booth. I was staggered by the amount of software SUN was showcasing; everything from Open Solaris (nice new logo), GlassFish, SUN SIP server, Network.com (yes it’s still alive, apparently) and NetBeans to name a few. What was missing for me was the story that brought all these things together. It looks like they may be consolidating under the GlassFish brand, which is probably a good thing. I actually thought NetBeans looked good from a distance, but does anyone use it?

From my own experience and what others told me the sessions really weren't up to par. The content schedule was ok, though very biased towards SUN projects (their prerogative I suppose) but the speakers were universally bad it seems. SUN should probably run a day workshop before the event to train people on public speaking. Better still they might want to broaden the net to allow more non-SUN employee speakers. I think SUN really has to be careful here in order to bring new Java talent to the conference, otherwise JavaOne will just be for networking, vendor hype and swag baggers.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Java + Mule

I just got back from JavaOne and I had a great time (post to follow). A big part of that enjoyment was meeting an array of folks using or looking to use Mule and Galaxy for projects large and small. Of course we had our fair share of swag-baggers who were particularly enamoured by our squeezy Mules and "Don't be a dumb-ass" T-shirts. Though one of our visitors went one step further and made his own Mule T-shirt. Nice!



Note squeezy Mules in hand :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

JavaOne: Come and see us

I wanted to send a quick note to those of you who will be in the San Francisco Bay Area next week, that MuleSource Architect Dan Diephouse and I will both be at JavaOne for the duration of the conference, from May 6 to May 9. If you are in the area, please come by and see us at the MuleSource booth, located in the SOA Pavilion.

We all know the best part of JavaOne is the drinking (I still have blurred memories of Irish car bombs, guys in chinos wrestling and 3am burgers at Denny's. All seems like a good idea at the time). Shoot me an email if you are around, it would be great to grab some beers.

If you are looking for good content Dan will also be speaking at a Birds-of-a-Feather Session on building services with the Atom Publishing Protocol. That session will take place at Thursday at 19:30.

If you have not yet registered for JavaOne, Mule community members can receive a $100 discount with the following code: ECXH28. Register here.

Hope to see some of you there!