Google gives us a graphing tool that plots mathmatical functions. Happy Festivus!
Google gives us a graphing tool that plots mathmatical functions. Happy Festivus!
Taking a cue from Motorola's Atrix, this phone can dock as a laptop, tablet, or gaming console (PSP style).
None of these docks extend processing or ram capacity... yet.
Yup. And stop asking me for my Mother's maiden name. SO not secure.
“If I had to go out and buy a phone today, this is probably the one I would get. For 1 penny, it's practically free (you will need a two year contract with Verizon of course).
Here is a link to the deal on Amazon: http://wireless.amazon.com/Samsung-DROID-Android-Verizon-Wireless/dp/B004XD1S4M/ref=tsm_1_bl_aw
And this is a pretty in-depth review: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/05/05/verizon-droid-charge-review-video/
I would also recommend going into a Verizon store and getting them to demo one for you, so you can compare it side by side with the iPhone and see how it feels.
One big difference between these phones is the camera is much better on the Charge. Otherwise they are about the same size, and should be just as easy to use. And don't listen to anyone who flaps on about 'apps'. All the important apps are made for both Android and Apple, trust me, you won't be missing anything in the app department.
If you can wait, the iPhone 5 will be coming out soon (looks like early October) and so if you MUST get an iPhone, you will probably be able to get an iPhone 4 for around $100.
My First (not so) Smartphone
A couple of years ago, I bought the Blackberry Storm 9530 (the first one). It was ok, even snappy... until I downloaded more than 2 apps on it. Apparently it wasn’t designed to hold very many apps (like 3, boo).
Let’s Go Shopping!
I’ll spare you the laundry list of problems with my Blackberry. The point is, I have been making due with this neglected stepchild of RIM’s for over 2 years. I have been uncharacteristically restrained and fiscally responsible. And now I am due for a phone upgrade! Lucky for me, the Droid Bionic, and possibly the Samsung Galaxy S2 will be out shortly (rumor has it, August/September).
But If You Don’t Have An iPhone...
But some would say I should wait for the iPhone 5. After all, Apple’s “App Store” has over 500,000 apps in it. But what does that mean? Am I going to download 500,000 apps? Probably not.
What’s In An App?
So what is important about these apps then? 500k is an impressive number, but less impressive without context. How many USEFUL apps are available? I don’t have need for 300 apps that make fart noises. How many of these apps are “I gotta have this, can’t live without it” good?
And if I went with an Android device, how many of these apps would I have to do without? So far, my experience has been that all the best app developers publish for Android at the same time, or very near at the same time as iOS. Rare indeed are apps I would call truly useful that exist only on one of these platforms.
So another thing to consider is integration. I download apps to extend my the abilities of my device. One thing I have enjoyed, and use on a regular basis on my poor old Blackberry is the send/share feature: when I take a photo I can upload it directly to Facebook. This is a feature I love, and would miss. Unfortunately, in iOS you need to be in the Facebook app to do the same thing. It’s not as integrated an experience. When I take a photo on an Android device, just like my BB, I have the option of sharing via multiple services (depending on what I have installed). Each new app I install has the ability to extend my experience in a way that is just not available on iOS.
But The Walled Garden Keeps Out The Bums!
All iOS apps go through a stringent approval process. It doesn’t necessarily make them good apps, and is certainly no guarantee they are going to be useful. In addition, development in the iOS environment is subject to certain restrictions that actually REDUCE the quality of my experience. Amazon, Google, and Rhapsody (amongst others) have all recently removed buttons that would make purchasing content easier. The reason? If the button is going to stay, Apple requires a 30% cut of sales. The result? My experience is less integrated, less seamless.
The iOS development and submission process is a minefield of restrictions, many of which are strictly geared towards Apple protecting their share of my disposable income. Yes, there are more apps on iOS. Does that really matter?
Big Numbers Are Impressive!
Android is claiming over 550,000 new activations per day. iOS is claiming just over 300,000 new activations per day. Analysts predict iOS will hold between 18% and 16% by the end of 2011, while Android is expected to have captured easily double that.
Developers tend to go where the audience is. I am not saying iOS is in danger of becoming obsolete... but as a Developer I might look at where I can get the widest adoption and develop for that platform first.
The Next Two Years
2 years is an eternity in mobile tech. That said, I am hoping to live happily with my next phone for 2 years. During that time, I think the App landscape will change radically. Mainly, general focus and favor will shift from iOS to Android. My next phone will be a Bionic. Or Samsung Galaxy S2...
I have run into this interesting 'edge case' which is actually a lot more common than you might think. I have this code:
<iframe width="640" height="480" src="http://www.croczilla.com/bits_and_pieces/svg/samples/butterfly/butterfly.svg"></iframe>
Which should look something like this:
And for most modern browsers, and Typepad (as you can see for yourself, check this page on IE9) this isn't a problem.
But check this out: http://icarusinflightmagazine.blogspot.com/2011/07/and-ladybugs.html
It's the same code, but if you visit it in IE9... the butterfly never shows! The odd thing is, if you use the developer tools (hit F12 key) and check out the Network, you will see the SVG loaded. Not only that, but if you dig into the object details you can see the actual contents of the SVG. It just never appears on the screen.
I suspect this is a Blogger.com only issue, so I am filing a bug report with them. I will also check out a few other blogging platforms to see if they exhibit this strange behavior. I would love to hear from anyone else out there who has a blogging account on another service and is willing to try this out.
WHY does this matter so much? Design Review QuickShare depends on this for 2D document viewing! For example:
UPDATE: AHA! I found Blogger sets the document mode to IE7, like so:
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7"/>
Oh, if there were only a way to override this... or get blogger to include support for IE9 in it's doc compatibility...
UPDATE 2: There is a way to fix this!
in Blogger.com you can modify your template. See: http://feedback.autodesk.com/cloudservices/topics/embed_fails_for_ie9_on_blogger
While building a web based viewer that uses the SVG format to display 2D documents, we have run into some interesting issues. There are many ways of getting an SVG into your HTML, and each comes with it’s own set of features and problems.
We needed access to individual elements within the SVG document. That pretty much narrowed our choices down to injecting the SVG inline (this has x-domain issues), placing the SVG in an iframe, or using the <object> tag.
We also needed to be able to Pan the document... this means we need drag and drop functionality. Unfortunately the default click event handlers didn't function properly in iframes in our initial tests. This left us with the <object> method.
The <object> tag is generally the preferred method of displaying SVG files. It has wide browser compatibility and allows access to the inner DOM, important when you want to manipulate sub items like layer visibility.
So we’ve been using <object>, and it works fine in our development and testing... right up until we put it on an external server. And then came the problems with IE9 (oh IE, you wily minx!).
We started to see that (only in IE9, and only from behind our corporate firewall) the initial header request for would stall for 2-3 minutes. That’s a long time to wait for an SVG to start to download!
It’s gotta be the firewall, right? Then we thought, maybe something else in our viewing application might be effecting it. Maybe it was a mis-configuration server-side?
In the meantime, we started to see the same issue pop up in another project that was getting ready to launch. It started to appear right after we introduced CloudFront for content delivery.
We made a reduced reproduction of the case, a basic html page with a SVG in an <object> tag. This time the problem was evident everywhere, even outside our corporate network... as long as the SVG was requested from CloudFront.
As it turns out, when there is a caching layer such as a packet-shaper/firewall/CDN, the <object> method for SVG embedding kinda sucks on IE9. I am going to say this is a bug in IE... it doesn’t seem to effect the other browsers that support SVG.
If IE9 support is important to you, then my recommendation would be to use an iframe to embed your SVGs. We have since conquered the event handler issues we were having with iframes initially, and iframes seem to have consistent compatibility and still allow us DOM access.
Who’s Afraid Of WebGL?
If you have been paying attention to WebGL news, you will no doubt have heard that Microsoft is officially really concerned about the security of WebGL. Of course there are differing views, even within Microsoft. The topic has been done to death, so I won’t re-hash it here. If you have missed the hubbub, LearningWebGL covers it pretty extensively.
What is interesting is, WebGL in the way we are using it for Project Nitrous in Autodesk Labs is definitely NOT a security risk.
Consider this scenario:
At no point is the pipeline subject to malicious code injection.
WebGL has direct access to your GPU, and graphics drivers are not known for their focus on security. A WebGL application with evil intent could potentially DOS your machine, or worse. A question to ask yourself is: “do you trust the author of the app you are using”.
It seems to me that the whole WebGL security issue will likely be resolved by browsers asking users this question (Much like Microsoft does now for ActiveX). In this way, WebGL is no more of a security risk than ActiveX or any other code you download from the internet.
So go check out Nitrous, it’s from a trusted source... your friends here at Autodesk.
Project Nitrous features online storage, sharing, and viewing. The viewer is able to take 3D and 2D content from Autodesks DWF format and display it in the browser, rendered via SVG or WebGL. It's best viewed in Chrome, but Firefox works too!
Grab a DWF and check it out! http://nitrous.labs.autodesk.com
When you are working on software with developers who are geo-located in different timezones, communication is key. Our team has tried a variety of approaches to bridge the distance. Some of the challenges are technical, others are social or habitual.
We have been talking for a while about what technology we could put into place to improve the quality, consistency, and presence of our communications.
Here are some of the features team members have requested:
Here are some tools we currently use:
Pros Email is awesome for threaded conversations, especially when an immediate response is not necessary.
Cons Unfortunately, email tends to have a high noise to signal ratio, and the tenor of messages is sometimes lost. Threads can grow to ridiculous size when new Subject fields are not properly used.
(Skype, Live Communicator, AIM, GTalk, etc)
Pros IM can be a great way to get or send information ASAP.
Cons Communication is very dependent on availability. When team members are not online, IM is rendered useless, and can even cause frustration. Working with multiple IM systems at the same time can be painful. It is possible those 10 messages you sent over IM will be lost completely because the target went offline, and you will be closing your client soon too. No IRC-like Room
Pros Video is real-time and communicates subtleties and nuance better than text or voice only.
Cons Video conferencing can be expensive to do right, quality can vary greatly, and it can present a host of technical challenges. Conversation is real time only. Notes can be manually taken and transposed to text, otherwise conversation is not logged or searchable.
Pros Like video, inflection and meaning is communicated via audio that does not always come through in text.
Cons Calls, like Video are real time only. When participants don’t speak clearly or loudly, it’s easy for a part of the conversation that happens in one room to be missed by the other room entirely.
Pros IRC provides the ability for the team to have instant chat in a Room, or one to one. Conversations can be logged, and therefore searchable. Bots are fun.
Cons IRC takes a bit of getting used to, and user interface for non-tech team members is not very friendly or familiar. Depending on your company’s policies, running an IRC room on an outside server may not be an option, and you may not want or be able to set up your own IRC Server.
Last week we tested the use of a mashup of GTalk and Yammer to see how many of the needs listed above could be satisfied.
Here are my findings so far:
· Instant: Yammer has a great notification system which includes support for notification and response via IM, SMS and Email amongst other methods.
· Versatile Client Options: I have tested it with Digsby via GTalk notification. I get messages instantly and can respond from whatever IM client I choose and am not limited to 150px wide conversations (like one is in Skype). Clients exist for Mac, Windows and Linux.
· Privacy: A Yammer group can serve as a private room where messages are only shared amongst members.
· Video: Integration with GTalk means we could have easy access to Google’s Video Chat: http://www.google.com/talk/ I it’s not group video capable, but we can probably continue to use Skype for that.
· Saved and Searchable: Yammer conversations are logged and searchable.
· Simulated Remote Presence: Real Time availability and presence notification could be accomplished if we all agree to use Gtalk as the IM client. (another one might work too)
· Notification Options: Activity Digest (never, daily, or weekly), granular email notification control, granular real-time (email, IM, SMS) notification control.
· API and Integration: Yammer has an API and has a lot of plugins and integrations including SharePoint
· Extra Features: Polls, Events, Questions, Ideas, Praise and ‘like’
· Mobile: iPhone, Blackberry, SMS, Windows Mobile, and Android native apps are all also available
I have found the Gtalk/Yammer combo to be very interesting. It ticks all the boxes for the desired features stated at the start. An additional feature that is not offered by the other methods is the ability to get a daily digest notification of the Group communications via email. This allows for a casual scan of the conversations of the day that you may have missed if your IM client was off or you were otherwise unavailable.
It does not come without issue though. If I want to post to my group on Yammer via a GTalk client I need to prepend the message with: “to:mygroupname”
That’s a pain. Also, the initial setup of notification preferences and linking them to your GTalk account involves more set-up than other chat methods.
All that said, I think this combo has potential as a killer communications solution. Yammer and GTalk both have great APIs and I think an Open Source GTalk client could be tweaked easily to fix the biggest issues.
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