Apple finally said something about Java in leopard..Its upto 10% faster, has a lot of under the hood improvements and 64 bit support . Way to go apple. I had remarked about how apples silence on staying up with the Joneses on java support was the only thing making me rethink my switch to the mac . But its announcements like these that convince me I did make the right choice after all.
As a lot of you may know. Leopard does not include Java 6. While Apple going slow on Java comes as no surprise , Apples slowness on this front has prompted at least James Gosling to abandon the Apple Mac as a Java development platform.
I came across this internet campaign to cast a vote for Java 6 on leopard.
So here goes.. I feel that apple should continue to support Java fully and in a timely manner. What better way to get developers onto their preferred cocoa frameworks than making sure they use macs to do all their other non cocoa development. So apple please add back Java to the develop on leopard pages and hire all the engineers required to get Java 6 on the mac in a timely manner. I am 13949712720901FOROSX
As you probably saw from my post on processing, ignite-boston II was a blast. I was there talking about opening up science and bioscreencast.com. The talks at this Ignite were really interesting .
I especially liked the one by Ned Gulley from Mathworks who spoke of “Tweaking” a wiki-like matlab based programming contest. Tweaking is a great concept that effectively mixes collaboration with competition. In traditional code-jams and programing contests groups usually work in relative isolation to submit their best code for any given task which is then ranked at the very end and a winning group declared. In Tweaking all user entries are publicly displayed throughout the week that the contest runs. All entrants can modify and adapt each others code to move up the ladder. As each tweaked entry is submitted a secret test routine dynamically ranks the entry and it moves in the ranking. In Tweaking even single tweaks which result in a leap in functionality can move an entrant up the rankings and this opens up a whole trajectory for code improvement for all participants.To mix the wiki like collaborative element with code competitions seems to be a great way to enrich the coding experience for everyone.
Ned spoke of a series of projects , including one on SARS phylogeny and a lattice model protein folding simulation which tingled my structural biology neurons. Neds paper on tweaking talks about how tweaking is not only a fun learning experience for all participants, but also an interesting study into the nature of collaboration and the interplay of motivation , reward , collaboration and competition. If only all science projects worked like Tweaking.
Image Credit: Mathworks Tweaking protein folding competition
Ned blogs at the Starchamber, a blog whose Resident buzzwords are : synthetic biology, ambient displays, swarm robotics, wise crowds.
I caught this on Natures Nascent blog. Like re-CAPTCHA which I had blogged about before. This project uses the human brain to classify galaxies. You know the types , spiral , elliptical , merging etc etc.
The way it works is fun , you sign up, go through the tutorial , take the test ..If you get 8 out of 15 correct, you can start classifying galaxies. No worries, if you dont pass the test..you can just take it again , till you earn your stars .
Once you do , you can start classifying galaxies
A few things about the project capture my interest.
As as far as the codeitch, itch goes ..its amazing how much better the human brain is ,at recognizing patterns like the ones in the spiral galaxy above and telling it apart from an elliptical one. I know image processing algorithms are getting better and better as the days go ( I had my beginings in structural biology with 3d reconstruction of viruses from projection images and some single particle reconstruction)..but the human brain it seems still takes the prize…
The second amazing thing is , the galaxy zoo in just two days , classified a million images with community participation. And their servers are struggling to meet the load.
A big hurrah for public participation and open science indeed.
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Image link from the Sloan Digital survey
As a a graduate student I had worked on a project where I used single particle imaging techniques to image the structure of a small viral protein. The protein particle fortunately has some symmetry, and using single particle image reconstruction techniques I could obtain a three-dimensional model of the particle from two dimensional projection images taken on an electron microscope.
After deepak got me hooked on to the TED talks , I caught a talk by Blaise Aguera Y Arcas on Microsofts new application called photosynth.
In the talk Blaise Arcas describes how they were able to put together a very high resolution almost three dimensional composite of the Notre Dame Cathedral assembled from tagged images on flickr.
Their software was able to accurately find the register for thousands of images from this tagged set and assemble it into the final composite. Check out the video above to get an appreciation of the complexity of the application. While I am hardly an expert in image processing, the algorithmic complexity of the application boggles my mind. Particularly impressive are the sections in the video where he talks about photosynth finding the register of images in the actual assembled composite despite them having people , hands and other obstacles obscuring the view of the cathedral.
I also caught some of the discussion on microsofts channel 9 on the technology. I sure would like to know the concepts they used to put-together such an amazing app. I also wonder of any of these concepts can help improve image reconstruction techniques in use in the single particle bio-imaging field.
Trolling through the google search results for javafx the new “flash competitor” from sun , I came across this cool screencast centric code blog.
Its called thescreencast.com. The blog uses the wink tool to create audio-less screencasts which are in flash and show at a very good resolution on the browser page. The topics covered are java and eclipse centric.
Though I am a convert to netbeans , I like the overall style of the blog and the content featured. I have been playing around with wink and really like its feature-set. Maybe codeitch will feature some wink based screencasts while I attempt to converge on a platform to deliver my screencast centric code content . The only problem is that since I don’t use my own hosting provider , its hard to embed my screencasts the way thescreencast.com has. But maybe there just might be a way to have my cake and eat it too.
I am a strong proponent of screencast based teaching and learning. For the most part I have been using youtube to host screencasts. Typically these were recorded using ISHOWU on my mac using the H.264 codec/format and then uploaded onto youtube either directly or after converting to ( ipod capable) m4v . The results of these you probably see on my early screencasts on codeitch and at The Omics world.
I was introduced to a brightcove via a webcast forwarded to me by Deepak, which talked of their enhanced flash codec ( from on2 technologies) and decided to give it a try.
I uploaded the same screencast onto brightcove and youtube. In the past , youtube tended sometimes to garble the first few seconds of my video if I went directly from H.264 to youtube-flash and so I also uploaded a version where I went from H.264 to m4v (ipod) and then uploaded that file to youtube.
Brightcoves transcoding did an excellent job and you can almost read the text on my deliberately high resolutio screen capture. I will definitely use brightcove for all my future screencasts both here and at The Omics world. Hopefully the folks at wordpress.com will start supporting the brightcove plugin soon which will allow it to play within this blog page , till then just click on this link or see it in action on my tumblrlog. Feel free to right mouse click on the video and explore the options the brightcove player gives you from right inside the player window. No more looking for information on crowded youtube pages.