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The mind whirls and disbelief sets in. "You mean it stores code that can be run by another program, right?" No, I mean it actually executes its own form of Java bytecode, right there on the ring. I'll pause for a moment and let that sink in...
OK, welcome back. Yes, it's a nerd's holiest-of-holy toys. It's a secret decoder ring that actually decodes. And then the second bombshell hits: It does world-class encryption. Not that letter-substitution stuff that the ring you got out of yesterday's Cheerios box did. It can do 1024-bit RSA public key encryption. Whoa, the head spins. (No, not like the infamous spinning-heads applet. I feel the spinning.)
I live in the "south bay," that part of the San Francisco Bay Area that really isn't on the peninsula but still wants to seem more upscale than San Jose. We call it the south bay, and its only 45 miles or so from the Moscone Center, the site of JavaOne. Of course, most tourists tend to think San Francisco is the Bay Area -- but Silicon Valley is the true heart of the Bay Area, and north of here is the City.
Java Ring with ring reader
What that means for me is that JavaOne is close enough that I can't get my company to put me up in a hotel, and far enough that it takes some planning to get there on time. For that, we've got the Caltrain. A commuter rail service that runs up through the southern part of the Bay Area to a train station that's just far enough away from the Moscone Center to make for an annoying walk or an overpriced cab ride. I walked on Tuesday morning and got to Moscone on time, only to realize that the line out the door was for pre-registered folks such as myself: So much for making the beginning of the keynote speech. So I stand in line, get my badge and finally rush into the "overflow" room to watch the keynote on TV. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of paying ,200 to go to a conference just to watch the keynote address on TV. All the same, halfway through James Gosling's talk (voted Best Keynote by yours truly), he asked who among the audience had their ring.
"What ring?" I said.
"The one that runs Java," said James.
Well, out the door in a flash, and back to the materials center. "Have you heard about the ring?!?" I present my badge and ticket and voilà!, I'm looking at my new Java Ring. Back to the big TV room just in time to catch James explaining how the ring can hold your business card information and we'll all soon be running the Fractal game on it.