Club Rides 2011

Mar 08, 2011 in Cycling, Technology

wpid-clubrides-iPad1-2011-03-8-10-18.pngThe new version of my bike ride scheduling iPhone app, Club Rides, is up in the iTunes App Store.

It has native support for both iPhone and iPad. In addition to the new schedule for 2011 there are several other enhancements:
– Faster launch time
– Displays the club’s RSS feed for club news
– Share your favorite rides via email (facebook and twitter to come in an update)
– Send the rides you plan to do directly to your calendar
– Tap the ride leader’s phone number to call

To enable posting your rides to the calendar on your device, tap the Settings icon in the top right corner of the screen and select which calendar you want to use.

On iPhone to show a map with the starting location of the ride, tap the starting location in the ride view.

Club Rides comes preloaded with Rochester Bicycling Club’s schedule. It supports other clubs, like Northern California’s Western Wheelers, as well. And it can support your club by using the customization guide. If you like to make Club Rides applicable to your cycling or hiking club then I would be happy to assist you.

(this post is a little late – couldn’t log in for days – called in my host’s customer support and lunarpages came through with flying colors – thanks guys!)

Taking apart a hard drive

Dec 28, 2009 in Life

TheDrive1.jpgEver wanted to know where all those bytes go that manage to fill up your drive?

A few weeks ago I replaced the hard drive in my MacBook. Since then the old one had been sitting on my desk waiting for me to erase the data on it. This afternoon that gave me an idea: destroy the data on the drive by taking it apart and do some still photography.

Armed with various screw drivers, a tripod, a flash and a camera I set up shop on and around the dining room table to perform the operation (*). The hard drive plates themselves are of a very reflective metallic material so photographing them required putting them off center so that the camera didn’t show in the image.

As you can see this 320 GB drive consists of two double-sided plates and thus the arm has multiple heads to read and write data from and to the plates. Removing the metal case from the back side of the drive in order to get at the internals required some force so this drive this definitely dead and its data securely erased.


The 2.5" laptop drive


The processor plate


Back side


This drive has two plates


The reading arm


The plates removed

It is amazing that two of these thin 2.5 inch disks can hold 320 GB of data. Of course, the MacBook now has a 500GB drive of the same dimensions – the manufacturers continue to squeeze more and more in.

(*) One hard drive was harmed in the photographing of this blog entry…

JavaOne & WWDC: A tale of two conferences

Jun 09, 2009 in Technology

Sun gathered the faithful last week in San Francisco and Apple is doing so this week.

I attended and participated in both conferences many times but am not at either this year for the first time in many years. “Withdrawal symptoms?”, a friend asked. No, surprisingly not. I didn’t miss the internal mayhem that is Sun’s preparation leading up to JavaOne. But now that WWDC is underway I do have the temptation to reflect a bit and share with you.

I attended WWDC the first time in 1989. I worked for KPMG Peat Marwick and so put on the business suit that Monday morning to register for the conference. I looked about the long line snaking to San Jose’s Convention Center seeing only jeans, shorts and t-shirts. I turned around, walked back to the hotel and changed. My ego has the fondest memories of the 1996 conference when the OpenDoc team included an OpenDoc component that I had written in their on-stage demo.

My first JavaOne conference was in 1997, just before joining Sun, watching Graham and Larry present JavaBeans. The next year I was on stage together with Graham doing JavaBeans demos. That was pretty cool too.

But I want to talk about this year’s conferences rather that those close to ancient past.

When you’re part of something it seems that the world at large evolves around it, pays rapt attention. Only when you’re on the outside do you see that the larger world may not be paying so much attention. Last week I did not see any mention of the JavaOne conference on On my Yahoo page where I track JAVA stock news a few Sun announcements came by but nothing that seemed very major. Larry Ellison was on stage but Yahoo only appeared to report that Oracle is (still) interested in netbooks. From arguably the industry’s most important software developer conference only a few years back JavaOne seems to have descended to the common ranks of all the many conferences that take place during the year.

Such a pity. As my neighbor Cort who works for IBM and I were chatting last week: such a missed opportunity. Such a shame that at Sun we never really figured out how to capitalize on having invented the most significant software technology of the last decade. We Javasofters should have Ferrari’s on our drive ways. I’ll take mine yellow, thank you. We were probably a little too nice to the industry and Sun competitors rather than focus on our own commercial success. From that perspective JavaFX is interesting but is there enough time left? It will be intriguing to watch what Oracle can do.

Leading up to WWDC’s opening keynote yesterday, had various articles speculating about the conference and possible Apple announcements. blogged live during the keynote as did several other news outlets. CNN HeadLineNews made brief mention of the conference. And Apple had a fair amount of news: updated laptops, Mac OS X news, new iPhone apps, new iPhone OS, new iPhone. Oh and the conference was sold out. It sold out in late April already. Looking at the breadth of the news, the size of the conference, this appears to be a company that’s ticking very well. And so it appears WWDC is inheriting JavaOne’s crown as the significant yearly developer conference.

The saying goes “execution is everything.” I do think that’s one of things that plagued Sun since 1995: picking and choosing from all the opportunities before it and sticking with any one of them long enough.

Which leads me back to JavaFX and Android for just a moment. The iPhone adoption numbers (eg its share of mobile web usage) that Phil Schiller released during the keynote were just very impressive. In contrast Sun announced its JavaFX app store last week but without the financial component, JavaFX is not pre-installed on phones by any carrier as far as I know. On the Android side, there still seems to be only the one T-Mobile G1 phone. Certainly I had expected Google with its market muscle to have had a much great impact on the market by now.


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