Friday, January 25, 2008

Getting started with Java

Ever since our Rajabazar Science College campus has got a Sun Campus Unit, people have started to ask me questions about Java. The most common query seems to be "how to get started with java?". The main problem is with the Campus Unit, which is talking a lot about Java, but failed to provide this very basic information. So I decided to write a "getting started" guide here and refer people to it.

To get started with development in Java in the Windows platform one needs the following programs. All the 3 programs are free for use. You do not need to pay anyone anything for them. Any standard Windows XP PC with more than 256 MB RAM can support all these softwares.

Java Development Kit (JDK)

This kit comprises of the Java compiler "javac" and numerous other tools which are required for Java development. The current version is jdk v1.6 update 4. You can download it directly from here (71.2 MB exe).

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

While it is possible to write java programs in any text editor, it is advisable to use an IDE as it provides an one stop solution for most of the development tasks. There are many IDEs for Java, but I would recommend :

BlueJ : It is a very simple IDE, suitable for first time java programmers, who would like to try out java programs, rather than write a full length software. This is a very lightweight application and offers the support to compile single .java programs without having to create a project. However, some of the advanced features needed for a software development project are missing. The current version is BlueJ v2.2.1 (3.6 MB exe).

NetBeans : This is a professional quality IDE with all the advanced features that are needed for a large scale software project. However, I feel that for beginners this can be quite a complicated piece of software. You can download the NetBeans 6 basic version (21.5 MB exe).

Installation instructions

  1. Install the JDK first.
  2. Reboot your computer.
  3. Install one or both the IDEs as per your requirement.
  4. Start programming in Java. :)

If you need any further help, post a query here, I will try to answer it to the best of my capabilities.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Mobile Phone : An Experience

The Plan

I have been planning to buy a mobile phone for a really long time now. More than six months have gone in deciding which model to buy and which connection to take. In the process, all of my friends have got quite irritated with lots of questions. I have this habit of asking a lot of questions about any new thing that I am interested in. With so many models to choose from (even with my meager budget) and so many types of connections, I was quite confused.

Handsets & Service Providers

Finally I zeroed to Motorola w180 which was the most featured phone in my budget. Then came the problem of choosing the connection. I found out that most of my friends used Vodafone, so it was a natural choice for me as well, as the call rates would be cheaper (although it did not turn out to be that at the end).

Payment Options

I found out that even after I have decided on the service provider, there were plenty more things to decide upon. First was the payment type : prepaid or postpaid. Upon seeing the plans I decided upon a postpaid connection as it was cheaper and with more features than the prepaid ones. Moreover I do not want to be in a situation of having "no balance" on my phone and having to make an urgent call. This "no balance" thing seems to be typical with all my friends with prepaid connection.

Phone Plans

As if all these complications were not enough, I had to choose the "plan" that I would like to subscribe to. This proved to be a bad experience. The service provider that I chose was formerly known as "Hutch" and now it has been acquired by mobile giant Vodafone. This takeover was not that seamless and the new owners forgot update the web site with their latest plans. Thankfully the customer care staff were very friendly and replied to my long list of queries about the various plans and other options.

Finally I took a Connection

I must have troubled the fellows a lot for they were visibly relieved when I finally told them what I had decided. Then a lot a form-filling took place. Thankfully the customer care staff did most of the things and I had to only answer their question and sign my name about five times.

So I got myself a mobile phone at last. I never thought that owning a mobile phone would be so much of a complication. The whole process was quite lengthy and involved a lot of decision making. I was flabbergasted with the sheer number of options that we have on each stage of the whole process. I have not thrown away the papers that contained the plan details of prepaid and postpaid connections of Vodafone alone and I intend to write about them one of these days.


I thank

Baba, whom I convinced that a mobile was necessary for me in the long run. My friends : Prasenjit, Soumitra and Riya for advising me on the handset and connection types and patiently answering my queries; Sananda and Rini for advising on connection providers. Lastly, but not the least, I thank Anirban Bhowmik, the Vodafone customer care personnel who helped me through the whole process and answered my never-ending queries.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

This flash video says it all.