Fun in Brazil

This week I'm in Brazil, visiting with developers. We're doing a couple of days of technical seminars today and tomorrow in Sao Paulo, then a couple more in Brasilia. The Brazilian developer community is large, talented and enthusiastic. At the end of the day today we had a little 10th birthday party for Java that got a little out of control and turned into a version of Carnival, complete with serious dancing, music, costumes and confetti. They take their technology very seriously; Ray da Costa even had the Java Logo tattooed onto his arm.

I got to spend some time with the folks responsible for software for their national medical system. They're deploying the second generation of their system in Sao Paulo. It has some great new features. One is a realtime surveilance system which allows them to have diagnosis cause realtime triggers. For example, if a doctor enters a diagnosis of menigitis, she is automatically prompted for extra information and it all appears in realtime on maps in their contageous disease center. They've got a great extended integrated scheduling system that allows them to do non-local scheduling: for example, if a patient needs to have a particular procedure or test done, and the clinic they're at can't handle it right away, they can schedule it in some nearby clinic. Very cool stuff.

Just saw a demo from the Brazilian tax service. Normally tax agencies are pretty boring, but these folks have been doing very cool stuff. For the last couple of years they've been using a Java tax submission system and are running almost entirely paperless. Their new thing for this year is that they've got a J2ME application that runs on all the cell phones in Brazil (and they have twice as many cellphones in the country as they have households). This app allows folks to submit their tax forms from their cell phone - no computer required. Quite a sophisticated piece of cellphone hacking.

June 17, 2005