The "Outbox" section describes a course presented by myself and Andrea Ames. The "Inbox" section describes the courses I attended durring the conference.
The lecturer showed 5 slides in an hour and exclusively talked about a very high level wish list of what would be nice to do with agents. He covered NO solutions, NO specific agent technologies, and did not mention ANY existing example applications. This talk was content free and clearly a waste of time.
The lecture covered the two main SQL interfaces for Java - ODBC and JDBC. JDBC is a higher-level interface implemented on top of the platform-independent ODBC (for which many OS vendors supply run-time driver libraries). Both interfaces enable the creation of Java "front-ends" to existing SQL-compliant database servers. Possible database operations with such front-ends include Create, Insert, Update, Alter, and Delete. So, this capability provides a powerful way to create custom portable database interfaces.
JDBC is an easy to use subset of ODBC. Most major database vendors
now ship a Java/JDBC client interface (eg: Informix, Oracle, Sybase).
To enable JDBC you must configure the ODBC client's SQL "data sources"
(name bindings for network databases). This configuration is, however,
often done using an OS-level ODBC driver configuration tool.
ie: JDBC -> ODBC -> OS-Level-ODBC-Driver -> Network-Database
Remote database manipulation capabilities vary from one spec version of ODBC to another. In particular, ODBC 2.0 defines 19 SQL data types, whereas ODBC 3.0 defines the additional SQL-92 datatypes. So, buyer beware - make sure the OS vendor AND database vendor provide drivers for the latest or at least matching ODBC specification levels.
More information (including sample JDBC code) can be found at: http://splash.javasoft.com/jdbc/