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Abstract This is the first of a two-part series presenting a Java implementation of a real-time multi-user blackjack game based on a collaborative, active object framework. In this article, we will walk through the design of an active object framework for developing collaborative client/server applications. Important concepts, such as synchronous collaboration, active objects, multicasting, sessions and events are defined and discussed. Introduction In the world of collaborative multi-user software, or groupware, there are two main collaboration models: synchronous and asynchronous. The asynchronous model allows multiple users to exchange and share information through asynchronous messages, sent at different times to a central location. Plain e-mail, bulletin boards and Lotus Notes are examples of asynchronous groupware. The synchronous model, on the other hand, allo... (more)

Cloud Computing - IBM Creates Cloud Box

IBM claims to have created new species of custom-built, industry-standard, Linux-based rack server for Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing companies with massive data centers and tens of thousands of servers, like online gaming, social networks, search and Internet firms. A relatively limited marketplace of maybe a thousand companies with fat wallets capable of shelling out tens of millions for such system. IBM means to replace the white boxes they use now or build themselves like Google does. It says it’s got a few hundred early adopters and potential customers in China, Germany, Japan, the UK and America, including Yahoo and Texas Tech, which is thinking of using it for a HPC center. WinterGreen Research puts the market at $10 billion. IBM calls the thing iDataPlex and leverages its blade server widgetry to build what it calls a “completely new design point.&rdq... (more)

The Cloud Wars - Is Guitar Hero a Cloud?

John Willis's Blog I was reading a recent post about the Merrill Lynch’s research note titled “The Cloud Wars: $100+ billion at stake” and it started me thinking about the cloud vs. IT infrastructure question again. As the cloud-o-sphere tries to define this “cloud” thing, myself included, it seems like the list of who is a cloud just keeps getting longer and longer. I originally thought the Forrester 11 list was a little to long when it included SalesForce.com and Akamai as cloud providers. The general consensus seems to be, if you are a SaaS, PaaS, or a IaaS you are probably a cloud and this makes the list even longer. Is Guitar Hero a Cloud? So, today when I read that Merrill Lynch added Activision and Digital Reality to the cloud, it becomes clearer to me we may have met the “All’s Fair” saturation point. If you want to be a cloud just say you are a cloud. In fa... (more)

The Hybrid Cloud Multiverse (IPv6 VLANS)

Christofer Hoff has proposed an interesting idea earlier today. He asked, "How many of the cloud providers (IaaS, PaaS) support IPv6 natively or support tunneling without breaking things like NAT and firewalls? As part of all this Infrastructure 2.0 chewy goodness, from a networking (and security) perspective, it's pretty important." His post actual was a kind of epiphany which lead me to think that one of the great things about cloud computing is in its ability to virtualize everything. The cloud is a kind of "multiverse" where the rules of nature can continually be rewritten using quarantined virtual worlds within other virtual worlds (aka virtualization). The need for a traditional physical piece of hardware is no longer a requirement or necessary. For example VLANs don't need to differentiate between IPv4 and IPv6; the deployment is just dual-stack, as Ethernet i... (more)

HiPiHi World, A Visit to Virtual China: The Seventh Sun - News From the Virtual World, December 2007 Edition

SECOND OASIS, Second Life, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Beijing-based HiPiHi released a partially translated English beta version of its strikingly beautiful HiPiHi world in November. Surfdaddy Orca grabs his virtual surfboard and spends a week as an "overseas visitor" looking for the perfect wave inside this foreign, yet friendly virtual world. Find out what it's like to be a newborn, make friends, buy land, and build things in virtual China. Meanwhile Pollywog Gardenvale provides a sneak preview of her upcoming book for OnRez merchants in Second Life, while she and her alter ego appear on the cover of the San Diego Reader. Read about it in The Seventh Sun -- News from the Virtual World, December edition, at: http://www.theseventhsun.com/ Chronicling the growing electronic frontier of virtual worlds, the Seventh Sun's virtual offices are currently located inside Second ... (more)

IBM, Forterra Using Unified Communications in Virtual Worlds to Solve "Tower of Babel" for Intelligence Agencies

ORLANDO, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 03/20/08 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Forterra Systems are working to solve an age-old problem that challenges U.S. security and costs taxpayers millions. Forterra plans to develop a futuristic unified communications solution code-named "Babel Bridge" that could allow U.S. intelligence agencies to use a common graphical collaboration system to instantly communicate within a virtual world. To meet this challenge, IBM and Forterra have entered into a teaming agreement under which Forterra will integrate its On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment (OLIVE(TM)) 3D platform with the IBM Lotus® Sametime® software and the IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC2(TM)) platform. The new system would give online collaborators instant insight through the display and discussion of multiple data forms in parallel including documents, graphic di... (more)

AJAX3D - The Open Platform For Rich 3D Web Applications

Real-time 3D is emerging as a first-class media type for the Web. Network bandwidth and graphics hardware processing power are now sufficiently advanced to enable compelling Web-based 3D experiences, including games, online virtual worlds, simulations, education, and training. Commercial developers are expressing increasing interest in exploiting real-time 3D in Web applications to enhance production values, create engaging immersive experiences, and deliver information in a more meaningful way. Much of the infrastructure is in place to enable professional Web 3D deployment in a cross-platform, open, royalty-free environment. Interoperability standards such as ISO-standard Extensible 3D Graphics (X3D) are now mature, fully functional, and robust and supported by multiple open source implementations and affordable production pipelines. However, those technologies on... (more)

Capture File Filtering with Wireshark

Intrusion detection tools that use the libpcap C/ C++ library [1] for network traffic capture (such as Snort [2] and Tcpdump [1]) can output packet capture information to a file for later reference. The format of this capture file is known as pcap. By capturing packet data to a file, an investigator can return later to study the history of an intrusion attempt – or to turn up other important clues about clandestine activity on the network. Of course, the traffic history data stored in a pcap file is much too vast to study by just viewing the file manually. Security experts use specialized filtering tools to search through the file for pertinent information. One way to look for clues in a pcap file is to use the Wireshark protocol analysis tool [3] and its accompanying command-line utility tshark. Wireshark is included by default on many Linux distros, and if not, it i... (more)

E-mail - Problem Solved or Created?

At the annual Alan Turing memorial lecture given by Grady Booch in London last month, he chose as his subject, The promise, the limits, and the beauty of software. It was an excellent address in which one of the themes was that for each of the incredible advances that software has brought to our lives, there is an almost Newtonian opposite effect that is negative and destructive. One such example given was e-mail: while making us able to communicate instantly with our peers, allowing effective and immediate information sharing, it brings its own set of problems. Issues with information theft, virus attachments, phishing, worms, and privacy are well documented and are very real threats although, to a certain extent, these are merely mirrors of real-world phenomena that e-mail merely amplifies and concentrates. The question that interests me the most is whether e-mail... (more)

Cover Story: The Division that Puts Director to Work

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and the Information Technology Department where I teach, has long been a user of Macromedia products, from Dreamweaver to Director and most things in between. Recently, there has been some debate as to the future of Director's role, considering the increasing use of Flash in the marketplace for Web graphics and interactive displays. While we have moved some of our efforts to Flash technologies, RIT and the IT Department remain committed to the use of Director, because currently no other product on the market can meet our specific needs for an easy-to-script, but performance-aware 3D system capable of delivery on the Web and via downloadable executable. The shift to ECMAScript syntax represents a major advance in the Director product, and is important to us for a number of reasons. The primary reason for the inclusion of ... (more)

Extending VRML 2 with Java

There is no doubt that Java holds tremendous potential in bringing sophisticated behaviors and networking to VRML 2 worlds. The debate is over how to add the Java and how much control the Java should have over the VRML. There are two approaches to using Java to extend VRML 2 worlds which have been popularized by VRML technologists. A third approach, which will allow programmers to load a VRML 2 file directly into a Java 3D API and manipulate worlds completely in Java, is just on the horizon. This article looks at the potential of the External Authoring Interface (EAI), reviews when best to use the EAI, shows how to use the EAI and provides a complete example of virtual kaleidoscope application which is appropriate for the EAI. To me, VRML has two distinct purposes: To provide a pleasing architecture to 3D cyberspace and to provide educational and entertaining things ... (more)