Friday, March 28, 2008

Phonautograph recording of the oldest sound

Most gadgets that I write about are at the fore-front of technology. This Phonautograph, arguably, doesn't look like such a device at first glance:

But in 1860, when Parisian inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville used his device to record Au Claire de la Lune, it was definitely cutting-edge technology, as his device predates Thomas Edison's work by 17 years. One recording from the above device has now been recovered and can be downloaded as an MP3 file almost 150 years later, and subsequently be played on your computer, or even your iPod or iPhone.

See the related press release and also the First Sounds website and this article on MSNBC for more details...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

LANSA middle-ware integration builds on MapForce

Here is a cool story about an Altova partner, who recently integrated the MapForce mapping and data transformation user interface into their product.

LANSA is a development environment and suite of eBusiness solutions that organizations use to rapidly implement business systems that make effective use of new technologies. From its beginnings as a 4th generation language and repository-based development environment, LANSA has evolved to a family of products and solutions that support IBM iSeries (AS/400), Windows, UNIX and Linux platforms.

LANSA Composer is built on top of LANSA Integrator, the company’s integration toolkit that offers bi-directional data integration through XML, SOAP, and Java services, on IBM System i and other middle-ware platforms.

At its core, LANSA Composer utilizes the MapForce application as its transformation component:

LANSA Composer showing a MapForce transformation

For more details, see the LANSA Case Study on the Altova website for further information. Also, this integration is getting great reviews in the press. For an example, read this article in Database Trends and Applications.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Whitepaper on using Altova Tools with IBM DB2

Altova and IBM jointly published a whitepaper that shows how the integration of Altova tools with DB2 allows users to:

The solutions to the business problems presented in the whitepaper show how DBAs and developers working with real-world XML applications can benefit from the integration of Altova tools with IBM DB2.

Click here to download the whitepaper (PDF).

Monday, March 24, 2008

New York International Autoshow

I spent a day at the NY Autoshow this weekend with my son to take a look at the latest concept cars and the newest production cars from the world's largest and most exclusive automobile brands, and to check in on the progress of UIMA, an XML standard that has the potential to one day be used by cars to communicate with the road and with other cars around them.

Being a technology aficionado, I was very impressed to find more evidence of a move to carbon-fiber and aluminum construction evident with many manufacturers this year. Similarly there was are a lot of new developments with respect to electric and hybrid vehicles that could be seen in New York.

Here is a quick gallery of some of my favorite cars at the show:

Mazda Furai Concept Car

Mazda Furai Concept Car

Saleen Raptor

Saleen Raptor

Audi R8

Audi R8

BMW Concept Car

BMW Concept Car

And my favorite of the entire show - and a great example of the use of carbon-fiber and aluminum in a high-end production vehicle - is the Aston Martin DBS:

Aston Martin DB2

Aston Martin DBS

Sadly, a few revolutionary cars that I would have liked to see were absent from the show, such as the Tesla or the Gibbs Aquada. And a few other high-end car manufacturers were also missing, for example the Koenigsegg or the Pagani Zonda.

But there was a flying car on display. Well, at least a prototype of one. You just can't have a car show without a flying car:

I was also looking in vain for evidence of any production applications of UIMA or other similar software approaches that would allow XML to be used by cars to communicate with the road and other cars around them. But that technology still seems to be a few years in the future before it reaches production vehicles, as UIMA is presently being standardized by and OASIS TC.

The exciting thing about UIMA is, of course, that it is not only based on XML, but being described by a specific domain model in XMI (which can be used in the UModel UML Modeling Tool), and contains specific Web Services descriptions in WSDL (which can be viewed in the XMLSpy XML Editor and utilized in our MapForce data integration tool). Last, but not least, there are semantic web implications with respect to knowledge integration in UIMA (which result in RDF and OWL information that can be viewed and processed in our SemanticWorks RDF and OWL editor). I will be following UIMA closely and will report on any progress in this XML Aficionado blog.

More photos can be found in this gallery on my photo website. And for more news from the New York Autoshow, please refer to the various in-depth reviews on Popular Mechanics...

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Altova web site design

We just launched a cool new web site design for today:

Altova Web Site

It provides easier access to the most requested pages, cleaner navigation, and a more pleasing visual appearance. Go check it out at and let me know if you like it...