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Whew, four days, three nights, and not a lot of sleep. If you haven't read any of my columns in JavaWorld, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Chuck McManis, a writer, a programmer, and all-around Java kinda guy. And since I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have a particular fondness for Java -- seeing as I was working in the group at Sun that created it -- I try to get to the JavaOne conference every year, if possible. That gets more difficult as the price goes up, but the experience keeps justifying the effort needed to get there. This year, the conference, quite frankly, exceeded my expectations.
1999's JavaOne started, as all of the others have, with a very long line outside the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. This line, depressingly enough, extended outside even though it was for people like myself, who already had our badges and were just waiting to pick up the various knickknacks that come along with attendance at a JavaOne conference. Last year we got an iButton with Java from Dallas Semiconductor (see the April 1998 JavaWorld article "Ring fever" for details); this year there was no such luck.
After picking up my badge holder, I noticed that the line to pick up materials stretched out the door and down the street, but that there was a line marked with a sign that read "Materials and Purchase Palm V" that didn't even leave the building. So, like any good engineer, I wandered over to that line and asked, "How much are they selling the Palm Pilots for?" The answer was more than low enough to convince me to join the shorter queue.
Yes, my friends, we chose to stand in that line not just because the Palm V was cool (it was, of course) but because we knew we could get through it faster than we could get through the one outside. Most of us really did want to hear the keynote that morning, and it had become clear that even those of us who had arrived an hour early hadn't allowed enough time to navigate this conference's lines! While we waited, we discussed ways in which we could add the cost of the Palm V to our expense reports and get it past the eagle eyes of accounting. We patiently, and when we got to the front of the line, we opened up our wallets, picked up our stuff, and hurried off to the opening keynote address.
At the keynote address, the crowd was treated to the standard Sun production -- lots of lights and flash, and of course plenty of gizmos and cool things. One of the announcements was that Java had packaged up the KVM (the K virtual machine) and some classes and was calling the whole thing the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition, or J2ME. (This would have been a much more clever name if we were on version 4 of Java.)