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Computing Thoughts
The Java Posse
by Bruce Eckel
February 9, 2006
On previous road trips, I've been able to fill my driving time by listening to ITConversations, but I ran out. So I started looking, via iTunes, for other podcasts that were IT based. There are plenty, and some are quite good.


Others seem to have been done by people who never actually listened to the results before broadcasting them -- the sound quality can be quite bad in some cases. Fortunately, if you download enough of them, you can just bump forward to the next cast.

I'm not sure that iTunes is the greatest way to find the best of these (maybe someone else has suggestions for better resources), but I could get it to work.

The most useful shows for me are on topics that I don't follow very closely. For example, one show that I found very helpful is Security Now! with Steve Gibson (the guy who has been tinkering with the innards of computers for decades) and Leo Laporte (who, weirdly enough, I met at a small gathering where we were trying out a new game, and I had no clue he was going to become mr. popular podcast guy). Steve is full of authoritative advice on what to do and explanations of how things work; very valuable.

I also discovered the Java Posse, which is a great way to keep track of what's going on in the Java world and get perspectives. Well, perhaps "perspective" isn't the right word -- the general concensus among the group is that Java is the greatest thing, etc., but it does give you insights about things that you may not have been able to keep track of (if you get tired, for example, of trying to figure out endless JSR announcements, they try to summarize them for you). I also noticed that my pal Joe Nuxoll has resurfaced as a member of the Posse; he and Blake Stone were the geniuses behind making the original version of JBuilder work fast (despite the issues that Java had back then), so he knows the nuts and bolts of the language.

One interesting discussion was around Java gaming, which one might dismiss as impossible because of speed -- they talk about several high-twitch first-person-shooter games that apparently look great and feel like any other game of the genre. Sort of makes you think a little differently about the possibilities. Another discussion that stuck with me was the way that Java 6 will be able to detect whether an object is used outside of its scope, and if not the object will be placed on the stack for faster access and to reduce the load on the garbage collector. Pretty neat.

The nice thing about being able to listen to this kind of stuff while you're driving is that (at least for me) it tends to keep me more awake, but also it allows you to keep up in your field by using drive time. A number of topics came up while listening to these discussions, so I will make some short (subsequent) blog entries to see if readers have more thoughts on the subjects.

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About the Blogger

Bruce Eckel ( provides development assistance in Python with user interfaces in Flex. He is the author of Thinking in Java (Prentice-Hall, 1998, 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd Edition, 2003, 4th Edition, 2005), the Hands-On Java Seminar CD ROM (available on the Web site), Thinking in C++ (PH 1995; 2nd edition 2000, Volume 2 with Chuck Allison, 2003), C++ Inside & Out (Osborne/McGraw-Hill 1993), among others. He's given hundreds of presentations throughout the world, published over 150 articles in numerous magazines, was a founding member of the ANSI/ISO C++ committee and speaks regularly at conferences.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2006 Bruce Eckel. All rights reserved.

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