Sunday, November 23, 2014 Reaches 500 Bent iPhones Documented is a web site that is documenting bent iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus phones with pictures, video and the stories about how easily they were bent.

If you consider it's likely their only catching a small percentage of the stories, Apple is in real trouble here.

The growth in data is astounding:

The site documents pro-Apple bloggers having bent phones as well as Apple attempting to suppress information about the problem.
The site also has a map showing which stores are giving replacements and which are not. Apple has a very uneven response to this problem.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Google Search Has Serious Problems

Recently, the TIOBE index rated Dart as it's #17th ranked programming language.

Dart is still not available in any production browser and its JavaScript output is still hideously large. How can a programming language that has no production environment to run in, be "popular"?

I'm not the only one to be asking about this:
Dart still far from hitting the JavaScript bullseye | ITworld

Even Dart "evangelist" Seth Ladd seem to be scratching his head about it when he announced the TIOBE findings on Google Plus.

I went searching (literally) for an answer and found that Google has amazingly skewed results for the Go, C#, R and Dart programming languages. The numbers for C and Java simply cannot be that (relatively) small.

I used four general purpose search engines and looked for the phrase "_PLName_ programming language" (in quotes) in each of the search engines and recorded the number of results returned. The number of results is listed, rounded, in thousands. The measurements were taken on 11/16/2014 between 2 and 6 pm MST.

Note that the method I am using is unfair to languages like JavaScript and CoffeeScript as their name makes people suffix with "programming language" less frequently.

Looking at the top 10 for the 4 search engines:

Bing, Baidu and Yandex return results that are believable. Google, on the other hand, is off in a fantasy world. Imagine not listing C and Java in the top 10! Dart #2, R #3, Go #4; seriously?

Something is very wrong here. Lots of people use search engine's number of results to get a gauge on popularity... Google needs to fix this as soon as possible.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apple iPad/Mac Event

The event was largely a rehash of WWDC with some standard incremental-enhancement product announcements with no surprises.
I killed my live blog notes... just too boring.

There were only two items of note:

1) They've only sold 225 million iPads -- ever -- (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and part of 2014).
To put that in perspective. The PC Industry in 2013, a truly down year, shipped 315 million units.
Android shipped 120 million tablets in just 2013.

Forget all about #2 below... see final update.
2) The Mac mini price dropped to $499 and appears to have SSDs... this needs closer examination... but might be worth a look. They are supposed to be available later today. Web site still not switched over, so I'm still waiting for other shoe to drop as it usually does with Apple pricing.

UPDATE: 1:30 Web site now up. The Mac mini SSDs were too good to be true. But it's still an OK upgrade. Probably the only Mac Desktop worth the money. Will need to wait for an iFixit tear down to see if I can upgrade it easily on my own.

UPDATE: 1:39 Apple scandalously is putting 5400 RPM disk drives in default configurations of iMacs. Steer away from these! I thought they would surely stop doing that this time. With the prices they charge, that's just insane. ALL HARDWARE UPGRADES ARE RIDICULOUSLY PRICED!

UPDATE 10/17 19:18 Forget all about #2 above, The Mac mini's memory is not even upgradable.
Apple just doesn't get that systems are getting cheaper and they were already over-priced.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why Smartwatch Development Should be in a Dynamic Language

I just ran across this article, talking about LG hedging their Android Wear bets:
WebOS is interesting in that it is a JavaScript front-end to C code.

This got me thinking about Android Wear and what I view as it's greatest mistake... the use of Java.
Virtual Machine people kind of go on and on about efficiency but in the end, VM's are just not as efficient as C. One of the major problems is garbage collection and the usage of cache. Not only does GC cause pauses, but the nature of how data storage is created and moved around means that their is no programmer control over data location. Essentially data is in random locations and this causes caches to be less effective.

I'll leave aside the problems of JITing as Android L is abandoning it because of battery life issues and switching to Ahead of Time compilation instead, which has its own set of issues.

My point is that Java has proven sub-optimal on a phone... why in the world, did they put it on a watch?

Watches are very resource-constrained. Small RAM, small storage, small caches and tiny, tiny batteries. This will hold true for several years. How does one make significantly sized apps in that environment? Most of the Googlers are too young to remember this, but Microsoft solved this problem many years ago. You see Office was becoming too fat for the amount of memory that was affordable at the time. Microsoft was actually rather competent back then and came up with an interesting solution. You see, for macro programming capabilities, Office already had a BASIC engine. They modified their C compiler to produce the byte code used by the BASIC engine. They used this feature on code that was not speed critical. Because the byte code had much more powerful instructions than machine code, the overall size of Ofiice was greatly reduced. Eventually they released the compiler technology to third parties. Properly used, it was quite effective.

This is why I find the LG watch so potentially interesting. Smartwatch apps simply should not be CPU intensive... there is little enough battery life there to do minimal things and still make it through the day. A watch app should really only be gluing together watch APIs (written in C) and data to and from the outside world (likely through a cellphone). A dynamic language is perfect for this. The OS itself should of course be written in C.

Some implementation ideas. The programs can be translated to byte code before being stored on the watch. The language should use an interpreter loop, not an AOT. While the interpreter loop is slower, that's not the point here... it's just glue. The interpret loop interacts well with cache.  Byte code (as Microsoft has shown) is much more compact than real machine instructions. One will need to be very careful about Garbage Collection, with reference counting, not being out of the question. (Reference counting, while it has flaws, doesn't have the annoying pauses one sees on Android, or really any interactive usage of Java or .Net languages. There are very good reasons why Python still uses reference counting.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Why Microsoft Called the Next Version Windows 10

  1. Apple's been at version 10 for 15 years now... perhaps it's a good place to be.
  2. Ten is the count of new features in Windows 10.
  3. They spent so much time talking about Windows 9, they thought they'd already shipped it.
  4. Apple had already used all of the big cat names.
  5. They wanted a name like MacOS X Mavricks, but Washington state just doesn't have many well know landmarks.
  6. (Related to the last) Windows 10 Space Needle just sounds wrong.
  7. So does Windows 10 Puget Sound.
  8. Because they think it will be lousy and they've reserved even numbered versions for that.
  9. Used Windows Calculator to add 1.


  10. Realized that Android, MacOS, ChromeOS and Linux have already taken Windows 9's spot.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wearables Seem to be Flopping

In June, NPD reported that less than 500,000 smartwatches have been sold since October 2013.
They also reported that only 20% of consumers had any interest in smartwatches at all.

The Google Android Wear app (necessary for anyone with an AW smartwatch) is only showing 100,000 - 500,000 installs on the Play Store.

Today, I ran across this TechEye post featuring a report from Tata Communications saying that only 15% of the British are interested in wearables. The corresponding number for the US is only 12%!

Fitness band maker, Jawbone, just made it possible to use their app without having a band, prompting Adriana Lee of ReadWrite to comment:
With the new app, Jawbone’s step-tracking features work using the phone alone, no rubber shackle necessary.  [Emphasis added.]
Numerous publications enthusiastically covered the Jawbone announcement, especially the part about lack of "wristband" or "wearable". Google news currently has 75 stories about the release.

Here's a selection of headlines that give you the flavor:

It seems pretty clear that people are not thrilled about having something on their wrists.

Android Wear and Apple Watch smartwatches are not good bets at this point.

While Google Glass is achieving some specialized acceptance in places like surgery, it is largely regarded as either a joke or as offensive, with a surprising number of places outright banning the technology. I don't really find it offensive or funny myself, but I do think of it as both unnecessary and as under-powered/over-priced (even if it were $300) for the value it delivers.

I believe a big factor in adoption of wearables is battery life -- numerous others have commented on this. People don't want another electronic gadget that needs charging every day.

Another big factor is that people seem to want less notification, not more.
I wrote earlier about Android Wear reviewers universally condemning AW's notification model:
I've seen similar complaints about Samsung Gear, Google Glass and Pebble.

I'm fond of my FitBit flex... it needs charging only about once a week and sends me email when it needs charging. It syncs automatically when I get back to the house. It then automatically notifies MyFitnessPal so that I can an updated calorie target. It is almost invisible to me.

I'm potentially interested in Intel's new version of a fitness tracker:
It want one because it adds heart monitoring and time to what I get from the FitBit Flex... BUT... I only want it if it has decent battery life. It must easily last 24 hours or I won't even consider it. Really, I don't want to have to charge it more than twice a week. I'm am interested because the diet I'm on requires careful monitoring of activity and this is hard to do without technology. The Intel device would allow me to replace two devices (a FitBit Flex and a Polar heart monitor) with one.

The important points about my desire for the Intel devices is:

  • It meets a real need.
  • It makes that need more easily satisfied.
  • The cost matches my perception of value.

In the end, I find it interesting that the most popular wearables out there are specialty devices. FitBit Flex, Jawbone and others easily outsell all smartwatches. I strongly suspect that the average person has no interest in a general platform on their watch (e.g. Android Wear, Apple Watch).

Looking at Google Glass, again what one sees is that it is only being used in places with a special need.

I think smartwatch and other wearables makers need to rethink their offerings from the ground up. Simple, inexpensive and filling real needs are what is going to win the day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review of Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T1UU

I just got a new Chromebook. It's the new ARM-based one from Acer:
  • Processor: NVIDIA Tegra K1 Quad Core 2.1 GHz Processor
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • SSD: 32 GB
  • Screen: 13.3" @1920 x 1080 Matte Finish
  • GPU: NVIDIA Kepler GPU with 192 NVIDIA CUDA cores
  • Battery Life: 11 hours
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs (only 0.34 lbs more than a 13" Macbook air)
  • Cost (now): $379.99

It replaces my old (ordered July 14, 2012) Samsung XE550C22:
  • Processor: Celeron 867
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • SSD: 16 GB
  • Screen: 12.1" @ 1280 x 800 Matte Finish
  • GPU: Intel built-in
  • Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Weight: 3.1 lbs
  • Cost (then): $482.97
The new Acer Chromebook seems to be superior in every way to the Samsung 550 which I used very heavily and found quite satisfactory. (I used it so often I've worn out the battery.) I also have a Samsung ARM-based Chromebook (XE303C12), which I use for personal use. It is fine, but I find it a bit slow, especially with a lot of tabs open.

The first issue I'll deal with is the processor. In my old Samsung 550, the Celeron 867 chip Geekbench 3 scores are:

  • Single Processor: 1030
  • Multiple Processors: 1767
As it is a quad-core, the K1 in the Acer wins easily:
  • Single Processor: 1036
  • Multiple Processors: 3236

I didn't run Graphics benchmarks, but the Acer easily wins here... the K1's graphics are competitive with Haswell (Intel 4th gen) chips. The Sandy Bridge (Intel 2nd gen) 867 chips are much, much slower at graphics.

I haven't had a chance to really test the battery, but many other reviewers say the 11 hours is real. I got about 4-5 hours of heavy usage with the Samsung 550. I'll be quite pleased if the Acer gives me 9 hours of heavy usage - so far that seems likely.

The display... you may see other reviewers complain about this. It is a matte display. Apparently these other reviewers are Mac users and just don't know what a matte display is. In case you don't know... a matte display looks a bit "blurry" relative to the glossy displays which are the only ones available on a Mac. In the PC and Chromebook world, you have both kinds of displays. Glossy displays are great for viewing pictures, with crisper colors... BUT they are very bad about glare. Light from behind you will often get reflected into your eyes. A matte display overcomes the glare problem, but at the cost that things are not as crisp. I find it amazing how many of the authors reviewing the Acer Chromebook don't seem to understand what a matte display is. It's one thing to prefer a glossy display, it's another to say that a matte display is "inferior". The truth is the display on the Acer Chromebook is the best matte display I've every seen.

I've seen some reviewers talk about the Acer Chromebook lacking in performance. They were using the model with less memory... perhaps that is an issue... otherwise, I'd have to say they're nuts.
Sure, a Chromebook Pixel, with it's Core i5 processors will outperform the Acer -- ON CPU INTENSIVE TASKS... but, graphics-wise, the Acer is competitive. CPU intensive tasks are simply very rare on Chromebooks.

To give you an idea of how well the Acer works, I tested it as follows:
I started 3 tabs, with Pandora and two YouTube videos running. I then opened 15-20 tabs.
I then did various tasks like reading news via RSS, recording information in MyFitnessPal, and some developer related tasks that used significant CPU. I worked like this for about an hour (rather annoying with 3 audio streams going simultaneously). I encountered 3 very brief hiccups of one of the three audio streams... and I'm pretty sure it was a network bandwidth issue, not a CPU issue. In short, I am extremely pleased with the performance. It's much more capable than the Exynos 5250-based Samsung and HP Chromebooks. I also have the new Asus Chromebox and the LG Chromebase that are Intel Celeron 2955U Haswell based... I find the performance of the Acer Chromebook to be competitive with those systems. The 2955U is supposed to be 20% faster than the K1, but I believe its graphics is slower, and also ARM's chips have coprocessors for things like video decoding. The overall effect is that it feels similar.

In the end I have to say that this is the Chromebook I've been waiting for.
No fan, long battery life and a decent-resolution display. All for $379.
I'd take this any day over even a Chromebook Pixel.

The battery life seems to exceed 10 hours with my usual heavy usage. I'll update again in a month or so when I have more data points.

The Duolingo Android app works great on this machine. I had a great deal of difficulty on the Samsung 550 with it's ability to do voice recognition... it works great on the Acer... perhaps a better microphone?

Its keyboard and trackpad are very nice.

The lack of fan is wonderful.

Its webcam is quite good.

I keep looking for something negative... but so far I just cannot find anything.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Alternatives for iPhone Users that Prefer Smaller Phones

The trade press is finally waking up to the fact that Apple's insistence on a tiny number of products means that people that prefer small phones are being left out in the cold.

This post is a list of various high-end non-Apple phones that are relatively small -- it has a US bias as many good Android phones simply are not for carriers here (Xiaomi for example). To be on the list, the phone had to have a 720p or better resolution, a smaller size than the iPhone 6 and LTE.

As an iPhone user, you may not realize just how much better the web browsing experience is on a wider phone, so be sure and check that out.

(Sizes below are Height x Width x Thickness in inches)
For comparison:
Apple iPhone 4s:  4.5 x 2.31 x 0.37
Apple iPhone 5s:  4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30
Apple iPhone 6:   5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27

Android Phones

Sony Experia Z1 Compact:  5.0 x 2.56 x 0.37

Sony Experia Z3 Compact: 5.01 x 2.56 x 0.34

LG Optimus G E975:  5.19 x 2.71 x 0.33

Samsung Galaxy Alpha 5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 in

Windows Phones

Nokia Lumia 928:  5.24 x 2.71 x 0.40

MidRange Phones

If you are willing to not have not quite as fancy a screen or as fast a processor, there are many more options available.

Some examples include:
Moto G LTE (Android):  5.11 x 2.59 x 0.46
Nokia Lumia 635 (Windows):  5.1 x 2.63 x 0.36

These phones tend to have better battery life than higher end phones. They are also cheaper. Despite what Apple and Samsung might have you to believe... phones really don't have to have high-end displays and processors to get what you want done. I'm seriously considering the new Moto G (see below) for my next phone.

GSM Arena has an interesting phone finder that will help you quickly sort through all the options.

Apple's Ridiculous Pricing

Consider the soon to be released, Moto G LTE 2014 (a good mid-range Android phone) vs the very high end iPhone 6:
               |    Moto G LTE 2014    |      iPhone 6
Size           |  5.57 x 2.78 x 0.43   |  5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27
Screen DPI     |         294           |        326
Storage        |        16Gb           |       16Gb
RAM            |         1Gb           |        1Gb
Cost (unlocked,|                       |
no contract)   |        $199           |       $649

Battery life tests are not yet available, but numbers from the two company's numbers suggest that the Moto G will have a better battery life than the iPhone 6. (Certainly the earlier Moto G had a better battery life than the iPhone 5s.) Finally a word about the two phone's operating systems: Android and iOS. The previous version of Android needed less CPU/GPU resources than the the current version. Likewise the next version of Android (likely releasing in October) will use even less resources. Apple has used more resources with every release of iOS... eventually forcing you to upgrade your phone because it becomes too slow.

Now there is no question that the iPhone 6 has a faster processor and GPU, but do you really need that? Is it worth the price difference? If what you use your phone for is to browse the internet, run a few apps like Facebook, maybe a fitness program, text and the occasional phone call... probably the answer to both questions is, "No".

Friday, September 12, 2014

Apple Manages to Convince Customers That Beige is Gold

The release of the iPhone 6 this week (which have the same colors as the iPhone 5s) got me shaking my ahead again at the "gold" phone... quite simply it is not gold... it's not even close to gold. It is quite simply beige.... a sparkly beige perhaps, but unquestionably beige.

Consider the following pictures:

Beige PC case (Corsair)"Gold" iPhoneActual Real Gold

Originally the color was called Champagne Gold... but it's nothing like the color of Champagne either:

UPDATE: It turns out, there is a color called "champagne" that is sort of like the iPhone color.
See Wikipedia for all the details, but here's a brief quote:
The color champagne is a name given for various very pale tints of yellowish-orange that are close to beige. The color's name is derived from the typical color of the beverage Champagne.
The color is shown as:                                        
But still, there is nothing to warrant the use of the word "gold" in describing the color of the iPhone.

It is beige (sparkly with a red-ish cast if you like).
And the other two phones are just two different shades of grey.

Be careful if you try showing this to an owner of a beige iPhone... they tend to resent it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple Has Most Boring Event in its History

As expected, it released two awkwardly shaped the #iPhone 6 and 6 plus. The phones maintain the aspect ratio of the newer iPhones... except they get even bigger!

Here's a chart comparing the sizes with popular Android devices:
PhoneHeight  Width
iPhone 4, 4s4.52.31
iPhone 5, 5C, 5S4.872.31
iPhone 65.42.64
iPhone 6 plus6.223.06
Nexus 55.432.72
Moto X5.092.57
Samsung Galaxy S4  5.382.75
Samsung Galaxy S5  5.592.85

For those unhappy that the new iPhones are so large, the Android world has a number of phones sized like the Moto X.

Apple also pre-announced the "Apple Watch" it's a lot like an Android Wear watch.
When Microsoft used to do things like this they were called "vaporware".
The Apple Watch is surprisingly ugly. Basically a square with 3 different metal casings an a variety of watchbands. It has an ugly wartish knob on the size that is reminiscent of a winding stem on a mechanical watch. Hey Jony Ive, I thought you said skeuomorphism was bad?

It comes in two sizes... even the larger one is likely to have very bad battery life.
It has wireless charging -- which is good, cause you'll need to do that a lot... think of it as an iClock.
They did have an interesting way of launching apps.
The cheapest is $350 and as the high-end ones have 18K gold-plated casing, one expects they will be truly expensive.
They tried to make it out as a great fitness device, but as it's functionality requires the presence of an iPhone, I doubt they'll succeed that much outside of the truly Apple faithful.

They made a vague announcement of something called Apple Pay. I'll wait to see what that really entails before commenting. (It was actually a very long vague announcement.)

The rest was rehash of what was said at the WWDC.

Seriously, that's all there was. Even the colors of the iPhone remained the same: beige and two shades of grey... you do know Tim Cook was at IBM for quite some time?

[This post originally started out as a "live" blog of the Apple Event today... but so little happened at the event, I didn't want to bore you, so I made this synopsis.]

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Samsung 12-inch Android Tablet vs Chromebook

I just got a Samsung Note Pro 12.2" (SNP12) tablet for my birthday. It has a Logitech keyboard, with no track pad. I wanted this because I want to understand the pros and cons of the form factor and also because a 10" tablet cannot easily have a full sized keyboard. Most of my previous tablet usage is playing games on a Nexus 7" tablet. The Nexus 7 is also excellent as a single page at a time reading tablet.

As I used the SNP12, it became clear that my Chromebook did many things better. I wanted to write about the respective strengths and weaknesses. In writing this post I tried using the SNP12, but lack of spell checking, and really many other things made me switch over to my Chromebook to finish it. Much to my amusement (as I am using a Samsung ARM-based Chromebook), the Chromebook has about 2/3s the CPU power, much less graphics power and 2/3s the memory of the SNP12.

First I'll start with a review of the SNP12 as a tablet. It is incredibly light weight, weighing similarly to an iPad Air, if the Air came with the bigger screen size (the Air is 9.7"). With the keyboard it weighs slightly less than Acer's Touch Screen Chromebook. The SNP12 is 0.45mm thicker than an iPad Air. It has a respectable 2560 x 1600 resolution which is a good match for the screen size. It is much clearer to read than most laptops.

The size of the screen makes it impractical to use in a "portrait" fashion. Some Android apps (intended for phones) will work awkwardly here. But for anything "landscape" it is great. Games, are one possible exception. Many games are written used fixed-sized resources -- these might appear overly large when run on the SNP12.

Google Earth is fantastic on the SNP12 (turn on high def imagery in the settings).
Movies had great picture and sound quality.
Viewing pictures obviously is great.

It has the best ability to read dual page e-books I've seen. It is very close to reading a real book; t's high-end processor (both CPU and Graphics) giving it the ability to animate page turns like you were really using a book. Likewise, the large resolution allows you to see a full book page of text. It is my new place to read technical books as pictures and syntax-colored text is sharp and clear.

The S-pen is a really nice feature, but there just are not all that many apps that I can find. Things like SketchPad are good enough to justify it by itself for some people.
For casual web browsing, casual email and things like Flipboard or social apps, the tablet is a generally superior solution to anything I've seen... especially given it only costs about $100 more than 10" tablets of a similar level. The screen simply gives you a better experience than even on a high-density display laptop.
It is obviously harder to lug around than a 10" or 7" tablet, so keep that in mind. It would make a great "coffee table" tablet.

The only drawback I see at all to the SNP12 is that Samsung insists on making gratuitous changes to Android. Their physical "home" button. Position of buttons opposite of stock Android and their not bad, but not better, Application Launcher are a nuisance. They also preload various crapware (such as NYT and Bloomberg)... which you cannot fully delete and are constantly trying to update. Given Samsung's premium pricing, I find the presence of crapware insulting. (Note, in fairness to Samsung, they don't add just any crapware... these were likely a part of their building built-in news sources... but I don't want or need these and they don't let me delete them.)

Now moving on to the comparison with Chromebooks...

While Chromebooks can play movies, music and view pictures, their lesser quality hardware makes this less nice than on the SNP12. However, Acer has just announced Tegra K1-based Chromebooks which will greatly change this (and at half the price of an SNP12+keyboard). Still, it is much easier to curl up on the front porch swing and read a book with a tablet (sans keyboard) than with a Chromebook. Something like Google Earth just works better with touch. Tablets are in general better at media consumption, and the SNP12 has it's place there.

Where Chromebooks shine is in productivity. With the exception of video editing, the Chromebooks is far easier to use for standard productivity. The culprit here is Android apps. Oddly, one of the biggest sinners here is Google Chrome... it's is far weaker than the version available for Chromebooks and other desktop/laptop systems. For example there are no extensions available. The tabs are hard to use (I often accidentally close one I'm trying to bring forward) and it is harder to undo this -- you cannot just Ctrl-Shift-T like you can on a Chromebook). Keyboard selection and tabbing often don't work in Android Chrome. Google won't even let you touch Docs from Android Chrome. Much of Microsoft's online things don't work either. These all work on Chromebooks. Worse, many sites insist on giving you their "mobile" version... which generally means their "dumb" version... Chrome will let you "request" the desktop site, but what you really need is an option that lets you say this is a desktop browser... I mean you generally use an SNP12 on wifi and you have a 12.2" screen how isn't this "desktop"? Even though Android itself has great support for keyboards (and mice)... Android apps often don't. Surprisingly, Google is one of the worst offenders here. Google+ for example refuses to entertain my "request" for the desktop site and I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to post to one of my G+ "pages" and never did succeed. I tried responding to a comment on one of these pages from Android and lost 15 minutes of responding because G+ got confused. And it's not just G+, most Google properties work poorly from Android Chrome.

There is one bright spot here, the Google Google+, Docs, Sheets and Slides Android apps (with the new material design) seem to work fine and have good keyboard support. They are however underpowered vs their online counterparts... this is of course likely to change with time.

The long and short here is if you expect to do "productivity" (even blogging), then buy a Chromebook, not an Android tablet with a keyboard. BTW, the same holds true for iPads as well. More sites support them better... but they still tend to have dumbed-down versions of productivity apps and websites. Worse, iPads have no mouse support at all.

Oh... one other thing... I'm convinced more than ever that touch-screens on laptops and desktops are a bad idea. Sure, it might be fine for the occasional button press, but selection and movement of text is a real pain. Drawing is hideous. Trackpads and Mice are not in danger of going away anytime soon.

I am not the only one to believe that Chromebooks are better at productivity than tablets:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Collection of Android Wear Reviews

I went through the current 300 or so current smartwatch articles on Google News and tried to pick out all of the Android Wear review articles. I excluded articles that were simply a review of a specific smartwatch or feature comparisons between the two new Android Wear watches -- the article had to be at least partially reviewing Android Wear. These days, articles are reprinted in many publications, I am trying to provide only one link for each article.

The tone of the vast bulk of these articles indicates that smartwatches are unlikely to catch on any time soon.

With each article, I provide a quote that I believe summarizes the article's feeling about how ready Android Wear smartwatches are.

Not yet time for Android Wear smart watches
"While it's surely helpful to glance at notifications that pop up on your wrist for incoming e-mails, Facebook feeds and sports scores, it's typically not that much more helpful than reaching for your phone. Too many notifications risk bordering on distraction."

Samsung Gear Live Review: That's a Pretty Big Baby Step | Gizmodo India
"Whether you believe that smartwatches are the inevitable future or that they're the Devil's own handcuffs, almost everyone can agree that they've been pretty weak so far. Android Wear is here to fix that. And it just might! Eventually. Samsung's Gear Live is the first attempt, and while it's got some issues, it's a great first shot."

Android Wear review: Google Inc software is primitive, but could help developers make smartwatches smarter | Financial Post
"Android Wear isn’t quite there yet as a must-have product, but I can only imagine what it will evolve into in the months and years ahead. It helps that there’s now a unified system that software developers can focus on improving."

Android Wearable Tech Is About Simplifying Our Future (Associated Press Story)
"We've been talking about wearable tech for several years, but there's still a long way to go before wearable computing really catches on. For its part, Android Wear is still rather limited in what it can do, but new software may now encourage app developers to extend smartwatch functionality, the way they have made smartphones even smarter."

LG G Watch review | Re/code
"The LG G Watch and Android Wear provide a promising glimpse at what’s to come in smartwatches. But with more models and software improvements on the horizon, you’d be wise to wait and see before strapping one of these early devices on your wrist."

Google's New Smartwatches Can Do Everything, And That's Their Biggest Problem
"Android phones already do a great job at managing the massive number of notifications we get by putting them in a handy drop-down menu. But on the watch, you're forced to swipe through everything before you get to what you want to see." ...
"Android Wear is an impressive system that pushes us closer to what a smartwatch should be, but we're not there yet."

Google smartwatch review roundup: Android Wear put through its paces | Technology |
(This article is also a collection of reviews)
"First impressions of Google's smartwatches are positive, but their software still needs work"
(I removed an extraneous "is" before the word still above.)

Android simplifies smart-watch technology - Toledo Blade
"Available in two smart watches out within the next week, Android Wear is rather limited in what it can do. Even last year’s smart watches do some things that Android Wear can’t."

Review: One week with Android Wear
"Gizmag recommends Android Wear watches right now to early adopters and smartwatch enthusiasts wanting a glimpse of the most badass wearable platform to date. But everyone else might want to wait until the devices running Android Wear get a little smaller, thinner and prettier ... more like Rolexes and less like tiny smartphones."

Android Wear smart watch gets a bit of a mixed response from reviewers : PERSONAL TECH : Tech Times
"But, again, the new devices are the first of their kind, so why not wait? More devices will be coming into the market, and reports suggest other accessory manufaturers like Fossil. Apple's device will release its own wearable tech with similar features. It might just be worth it to wait for the market to produce more options."

Android Wear review: Taking smartwatches in the right direction
"For now, Wear is the best OS for Android users who are in the market for a smartwatch, but since these devices aren't necessities, they'll need to be more stylish and add more convenience to your life if they're going to attract the average consumer. Unfortunately, the Gear Live and G Watch just don't have what it takes for Wear to go mainstream, although I'm holding out hope for the Moto 360."

Why Android Wear faces a tougher fight than you think - CNET
"It's not impossible by any means, and I'd love to see one manufacturer or one app developer make it, in one elegant swoop, abundantly clear why the smartwatch is the new must-have gadget. But if you think back to Microsoft's poor old SPOT watch, it's clear that without this lightning bolt of brilliance, the battle to make the smartwatch popular may be a tougher fight than Google -- or anyone -- had anticipated."

Samsung Gear Live review: Finally a smartwatch you could wear every day
(This article is the only Android Wear review I found that comes anywhere close to actually recommending you buy something. Even here it's full of caveats.)
"If you’re desperate to get your hands on a decent smartwatch right now, however, the Gear Live is the choice to make."

Samsung Gear Live Review - Android Wear Smartwatch
"VERDICT : Samsung's Gear Live offers a built-in heart-rate monitor and easy access to your latest notifications, but Android Wear doesn't feel fully baked."

LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live review: Android Weary |
"A Work in Progress"

UPDATED - This review came in after my original post:
Android Wear Is Here, and It’s Ready to Rule Your Wrist | Gadget Lab | WIRED
"These are the first truly useful smartwatches to hit the market. They aren’t for everyone, they can be annoying, and both have lots of rough edges to the interface. But if you find them intriguing, and have $200 to spend, go for it. And really, we can’t wait for more."

UPDATED 7/8/2014 - Two more reviews:

Google’s Android Wear Smartwatch Software: An Interesting, Unfinished Idea
"A more fully-fleshed out version of the software running on second-generation software, with more third-party apps, could fix all that. And with more wearables on the way–including, apparently, ones from Apple and Microsoft–Android Wear will likely have to get better quickly to stay competitive. Which means that even if you find the basic concept intriguing, as I do, there’s no need to rush one of these first devices onto your wrist."

Google's Android Wear: 13 things you should know - CNET
"So, should you buy one?
No. Not yet, anyway. Wait, for Android Wear software to evolve and for other watches to arrive, to see if one is better. Right now, the options are slim and compromised...but there are some slim advantages to each. Wait for the Moto 360 to be unveiled later this summer, see what software changes and possible firmware updates hit these early watches, and be patient. These aren't worth it yet."

UPDATED 7/10/2014 - Numerous additional reviews:

Google smartwatch review: should you Wear Android? - Telegraph
"For early adopters who like to be Google’s guinea pigs, they’re well worth the £169 price tag. For everyone else, there are years to wait for cheaper, effortlessly useable products."

Google Android Wear first look: Gadget Watch
"With Apple heavily rumoured to be working on a smartwatch of its own, it might be worth taking a wait-and-see approach to devices powered by Android Wear at this point."

Samsung Gear Live First Impressions and Photos
"The central question, of course, is whether a smart watch or other wearable will ever become a truly indispensable smart phone companion, or whether this is just technology for technology's sake. I'm leaning to the latter, but I won't prejudge. We'll see how it goes out in the real world."

Samsung Gear Live: Hands-on with Android Wear
"The entire Android Wear platform is still in its infancy, to say the least, but after just a few minutes of usage you can obvious see the direction Google is headed."

Android Wear Needs To Be More Thoughtful About Bugging You | TechCrunch
"If we’re going to all have smartwatches tied to our phones, they should be designed with that paradigm in mind. They should expect us to already have a constant stream of interactive data coming in at all times — which means that when we look at our wrists, it should only show what’s really important in a particular moment."

I Bought a Google Wear Smartwatch with My Own Money. Here’s Why.
(This story may say that it is "ready"... but read it... it's really only ready for him.)
"And beyond the “cool toy” part, I do see a greater potential. The place where I part from my skeptical colleagues is that, instead of waiting for some arbitrary time in the future when the smartwatch idea is “ready,” I think it’s ready enough now."

Ok Google, No Google, Help Google: The first few hours with Android Wear - Pocket-lint
"But it's only halfway through the day. There's a reminiscence of the night before, getting messages from the other half telling us to go home. Android Wear has started nagging, already. We shoot a joke about having a Wrist Wife to a friend."

Android Wear Review: The Watch That Wants to Save You From Your Phone | TIME
"Until the hardware and software are further along, saving yourself from your phone should probably wait."

3 great and terrible things about Android Wear | Android |
"As a first public version of the platform Android Wear shows a lot of promise, but there’s more than a couple of kinks that need to be worked out."

Review: Smartwatches don't live up to all of the hype -
"  'It's definitely going to take time'
When a digital device is new to the market, it evolves over years and new versions. Think back to when cell phones were the size of an Arizona iced tea can, and the only way to store a song on them was to duct tape a cassette to the back."

Android Wear preview: this is how Google makes a smartwatch | The Verge
"But at the end of the day, the most important thing to remember about Android Wear is that it's essentially Google Now on your wrist. That has upsides and downsides. The upside is that when Google Now can nail the exact context of what you need and when you need it, it's ridiculously convenient. Walking into the airport and having your flight information waiting for you on your watch is incredible.

The downside is that Google Now isn't perfectly aware of what you need. You can't reorder notifications and you can't really be sure when some of them will reappear. So if you accidentally dismiss the weather, you're out of luck unless you want to do a voice search to check it again. Basically with Android Wear you are putting yourself at the mercy of Google Now and its algorithms."

Android Wear review: the everything inbox | The Verge
"All of which means Wear won’t save you from the Everything Inbox, it just makes it a little easier to keep tabs on your notifications. Beyond that, there’s no substitute for pulling your phone out and getting down to business."

[I won't be updating this further... surely 30 reviews is enough.]

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What I watched and noted from Google I/O 2014

My App Progress blog's take on Google I/O 2014.

My "live" blog of #io14.

Here's a document that gives a summary of what was announced. This results from
not only my own viewing, but compiling what was talked about across many sources.

Below are the videos I actually watched with ratings and notes.

Must See:


Polymer and the Web Components revolution

Polymer and Web Components change everything you know about Web development

Unlock the next era of UI development with Polymer

Polymer: Creating responsive UIs

Developing across Devices - Chrome DevTools in 2014
Very important information, so-so presentation.

What's new in Android

Material witness: How Android material applications work
This is MD for Android.
(I'm sure there are many more Android must see's but I'm not really interested.)


Maps Made Easier: GeoJSON in the Maps API


Fabulous Forms for the multi-device web
This one really ought to be in the Must See/Good category, but the puppet is more than annoying and makes it difficult to understand the material. Worse, it refers to users as "monsters". As a long time Unix/Linux systems admin/programmer... I abhorred the community referring to users as "lusers" (pronounced "losers"). "Monster" is perhaps even more abhorrent - even though here I'm sure it was meant in fun.

The ART runtime

Casting to the future

Didn't Like:

Building node.js applications with App Engine and Custom Runtimes
Why? Not much information about an App Engine feature that barely exists.
Containerizing the Cloud with Docker on Google Cloud Platform
This one is more detailed. But why do I want to complicate Docker with Google? Why would I run node.js on Google, when Joyent specializes in it?

How we built Chrome Dev Editor with the Chrome platform

  1. They make it look like they are developing that quickly... it's easy to hook up components that you've already created.
  2. Actually use the Chrome Dev Editor to create a hello world Dart app... it is hideous. Slow and bloated. The truth is that CDE is the clearest example I've seen that Dart is not ready for building real world applications.
Why? I find the arm twisting of users to use apps in the search results to be one the most obnoxious things Google has done. Android apps have far more access to your information than web pages do... this will only lead to abuse. One also has to wonder what's in this for Google.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Google I/O 2014 - "Live" blogging.

Google I/O 2014

Beginning a bit late due to technical problems.
10:10 Intro video finishes.
Sundar Pichai
VP Android Chrome and Apps.
597 extended events. (I'm at the Denver one - about 60 people present.)
20% female participation up from 8% last year. (3 females at Denver event -- 5% or so.)
Global Smartphone Shipments
315 Million 2013.
Android 1 billion 30-day active users.
Various usage stats.
Android tablet 62% of global market. (Doesn't include Kindle.)
YouTube usage: 28% from Android. 42% from Android.
Android One - qualify vendors.. reference platforms. Stock Android, Play Auto-installs, Automatic Updates. Will be updated like Nexus.
Pichai is intentionally using a sub-$100 phone.

Platform Evolution

How Android and Chrome will be changing.
L preview.
500 new APIs.
Form factors beyond mobile.
Android, Chrome, across all of Google - one consistent UX.
Material Design.
Drew inspiration from Paper and Ink.
Elevation built-in to Android API.
Baseline Grids built-in to API design.
Roboto font available everywhere.
Rich touch animated feedback.
New transition animations.
Incremental, yet "bold" changes in UX.
Material Design used via Polymer. (Is Polymer ready?) -- a common design style guide.

Highlights of L release

New Material theme
New animation capibilites
3d views with realtime shadows
Shared transitions with "Hero".
Enhanced notifications.
Personal unlocking ... determine if it is in a trusted environment. For example unlock in presence of a watch.

Chrome for Mobile

Mobile Web Experience
Material Design fully integrated.
Chrome being integrated with Apps... am a bit confused about how.
Search results can link directly into Apps.


Will run on ART.
Truly cross-platform.
2x faster than Dalvik... no need to recompile.
Much better GC -- faster and less often.
64-bit - no Java code modifications needed.
Support for more sophisticated graphics - Android Extension Pack.
Battery Life improvements.
Project Volta
Battery Historian - to help understand where the issues are.
JobScheduler API
Battery Server - I think it gives users control over performance vs battery life.

Principles behind user experiences

Contextually Aware
Voice Enabled
Seamless -- pick up where you left off
Mobile First


Demo of AW.
Mentions "Chrome Call".
I find the constant picture changes in Material Design rather annoying. (Essentially every screen has it's own image backing it.)

Developer capabilities in AW

Notifications automatically from phone to wrist.
Voice replies
Notification pages.
Stack multiple notifications.
Google Maps support.
Full AW SDK available today.
Custom UI
Sensors API
Voice Actions
Send Data
Payment via Watch
Showing a recipe app on phone/wrist.
All watches shown today are water resistant (safe for cooking).
"Ok, Google call me a car"... uses "Lift" app.
LG "G" watch available later today on the Play Store.
Samsung has an AW watch.
Moto 360 later this summer.

Android for the car

Open Automotive Alliance
Announcing Android Auto
Navigation Communication Music
Contextually Aware
Completely voice enabled
It is phone based much like Android Wear
Google Play Music, Maps
Android Auto SDK
Overview of Android Auto SDK
Will come out with the L release later this year

Android Living Room (TV)

Announcing Android TV (wouldn't that be reintroducing?)
Adds voice input
Android TV app on phone -- Demo
Will be a part of L release.
Has Games app support. Ouch Apple!
Android Wear supported as a remote
Games work over all Android platforms (Phone, Tablet and TV). Ouch again Apple.
Android TV works as Chromecast as well.
Gaming consoles as well.
Sony, Sharp and one other are adopting Android TV.
Others including Asus.
TV SDK available now.

Google Cast and ChromeCast

Google cast ready devices.
Google cast SDK
Can now share without being on same Wifi... how?
Can cast G+ photos to TV screen.
Backdrop will roll out to all Chromecast users later this summer.
Mirroring from any Android device. Has great performance... tinniest lag I've ever seen.
The Android Authority folks will probably collapse from exhaustion today.


Speed, Simplicity, Security. 6x growth from last year.
Unlock capabilities from Android L will be on Chromebooks too.
Notification from phones on CB's too.
Android apps on CBs!
Preview today... showing Demo.
Not clear how much Developer intervention is needed.
Connecting work and home phones/laptops/tablets?
Data separation and security.
No developer modification needed.
Bulk deployment of apps by businesses.
Business guaranteed updates for Android.
Docs/Sheets/Slides separate apps for Android.
Native Office Editing built into Google Docs.
Seemless, saves back to MS format.
Google Docs colaborative features work in the MS files too.
Drive for Work
Encryption in transit and on-server
Enhanced Admin Controls.
Audit and Activity APIs
$10 per month per user unlimited.
May be winding up.

Google Cloud Platform

I just have trouble getting excited about Google Cloud... much prefer Joyent (NodeJS), OpenStack or AWS.
Four new tools:
CloudSave ... a new easy to use API with no server side coding. Prefs, other. It is in Cloud DataStore.
Cloud Debugging
Cloud Tracing
Cloud Monitor

Moving from Code to Data

Data and Analytics Challenges...
Don't use Map Reduce any more (doesn't work for hexabytes of data).
Cloud Dataflow - Analytics for Hexabytes of Data.
They've really made this keynote too long.
Appurify seems to have been bought by Google
Google Fit APIs -- very brief overview.
Play store improvements - Saved Games
Carrier-billed payments.

Monday, June 2, 2014

WWDC 2014 -- "Live" Blogging

    This is a "live" blog, I made of the WWDC keynote, watching it remotely.
    Well, Apple is more innovative than last year. But that's not really saying much.
    Their new "Swift" programming language is interesting. From what they showed, it appears to similar to         Google Dart, but not at all web-oriented. Also, it appears to be compiled and strongly typed, but with
    type inference. Perhaps a cross between Google Go and Google Dart?
    Most iOS things were Android catchup.

Tim Cook:

Here today to talk to talk about MacOS X and iOS.

Huge Dev Release?

Mac installed base is 80 million. 40 million installed copies of Mavericks.

OS X Yosemite (I was rooting for Death Valley.)

Lead feature: Translucent side bars and your title bar uses translucency to see scrolling...
If this is the lead, I'm concerned.
They appear to be doing an iOS 7-like revamp... this time it's not so radical... perhaps they have actually
thought it through.
Yet another attempt at desktop widgets... this time aping Google Now.

Search now integrated with Internet as well.. they may be the last to do this... Google, Windows, Linux all did this some time ago.

If he shows me the translucent sidebar again, I'll scream. It's a stupid feature... makes the sidebar harder to read.

They've added a calculator to notifications. Seriously?

Search is aping Google.

It doesn't look like the fiasco that iOS 7's revamp was.

iCloud Drive
It's what you think it is. Apparently they have Windows support as well.

Mail.. can use iCloud Drive for attachments.
Can doodle on images and PDFs.

Safari is overriding Google Search auto-completion features... this is likely a bad thing.
They finally added decent HTML5 support... IndexedDB, movies, SPDY. They were way behind there.
They are claiming major JavaScript speed ups..  6x faster than everybody else? We'll need to see third party benchmarks before I believe this. Really, this is extremely unlikely to be true. They did say a lot of qualifiers, like "most commonly used JavaScript"... I suspect they're just cooking numbers.

Turning to MacOS X and iOS "continuity". Finally made AirDrop work between them (what took so long?).
Looks like some apps use proximity awareness to let you transfer between Mac and iOS devices. Macs will auto-hotspot via your iPhone. This is actually one of the first innovations I've seen from Apple in a while.

Macs can get/use SMS and calls from you iPhone. It's strictly iPhone dependent. It's fine, but no new.

Makes a phone call to Dr. Dre. Sigh!

Done with Yosemite.

Not shipping yet... public beta (a REAL change for Apple there).

Turning to iOS.
Poking at Android... he's being embarrassing really...

End user features of iOS 8

Interactive notifications. Largely imitation of Android features.
Some integration of UIs between Yosemite and iOS 8.
Overloaded double tap of home button... it now does many different things on that same tiny screen.

Attempting to emulate Android menus with gestures and buttons. Amusing. Yet another "winning" feature from the one-button mouse people.

Adding Android swift-key like keyboards and predictive typing.

iPad <-> iPhone "continuity" as in Yosemite.

Finally getting speech to text support in chat (again aping Android). Oops, not even that... they send "audio" messages. You have to listen to them. Lame...

Enterprise... might be some nice things... the presentation is moving too fast -- hard to understand what is really there.

Healthkit -- for those that want to lock their health information into a dying platform. They missed an opportunity here... if they made it an open platform, it might stand a chance and they would have a lead.

Family sharing... Both in the App Store and in iCloud. This is a good feature, mildly innovative. You can do this with Google, but it is not as well integrated and doesn't work at all in Play Store. Basically Apple just gave away developer sales here. You now get to sell only one copy per family.

They have redone iPhoto again... I'm concerned for my Dad... he doesn't like these continual (often gratuitous) changes.

Turning to developer features in iOS 8.
Can make things you could not make before.

Apple finally catching up to Android in offering developer options in App Store (in the Fall).

Biggest SDK release since launch of the App Store.

4000 new developer APIs.

Extensibility... can extend the system and offer services to other apps (Android catchup).
It's a direct rip off really.
Mentioned Bing... how long before they drop Google Search?
Mentioned Yahoo.

For some odd reason Apple seems to think it's a good idea to put the notion of Android's home screen widgets inside of the notification center. Why do they think this?

iOS can now have 3rd party keyboards... Android Catchup from oh, 4 years ago?

Touch ID... strangely, they are only just now letting developers at this.

Camera API... catchup with Android.

HomeKit.... again... why do they not make this an open API?

CloudKit... Finally Web APIs... but are they open? He doesn't really say.

Metal -- gaming-console level graphics on iOS. Apple likely to keep their lead in gaming for a bit longer.
This is really A7-chip (latest iPhone 5S and latest iPads) only. They really are doing some impressive stuff here.

SpriteKit - casual gaming enhancements.

XCode... Objective C without C?
New programming language... Swift.
Closures, Generics, Name Spaces, Multiple return types. Type Inference.
Can work alongside Objective C and C code.
First impression: a strongly-typed, compiled Dart.

All of this available in the "Fall".

Monday, April 7, 2014

Big Apple News

I put this on this site's Google+ page, basically the email is Steve Jobs preparing to meet with Apple's top 100. It gives great insight into how little was going on in Apple in 2011. It contains enough of interest, I decide to put a link here as well.

Important email from Steve Jobs in court proceedings.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Microsoft Clearly Believes Office is Dying

Microsoft is clearly admitting that Office is in trouble. They released the iPad touch version (probably long) before their version for Windows is ready. On phones, the apps are not only free, but they have even dropped the Office 365 requirement for editing.

With new Office, Microsoft plays defense - Business - The Boston Globe

Office for iPhone and Android phones is now completely free! | PC Tech Magazine

My advice is stick with QuickOffice/LibreOffice for legacy compatibility and move away from Microsoft Office as quickly as you can. Don't think that Microsoft has learned its lesson... it is just trying to keep you trapped.

See my Alternatives to Microsoft Office for a list of ways out of the trap.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Added MediaTek MT6592 benchmark

This is MediaTek's new 8 core Big.Little chip. Should make a really good mid-range phone chip.

ARM vs. Intel Benchmarks

Friday, February 28, 2014

Developers: Time to look at Tizen

Tizen is an open-source mobile-oriented operating system, supported by Samsung (as well as many others) as a part of the Linux Foundation.
Here's a quote from
Tizen provides a robust and flexible environment for application developers, based on HTML5. With HTML5's robust capabilities and cross platform flexibility, it is rapidly becoming the preferred development environment for mobile apps and services. The Tizen SDK and API allow developers to use HTML5 and related web technologies to write applications that run across multiple device segments.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Apple Fixes its Inexcusable Security Flaw -- But only for some of its users.

First and foremost, there is no excuse for Apple's recently revealed SSL security flaw.
Even the most trivial of SSL testing would have caught this.
You can see the bug here:
The iPhone bug: Is Apple getting too rich and too lazy? -

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

MWC 2014 - Smartphones

There were of course a number of smartphone announcements (for example the Samsung S5), but they really were not that interesting.

There were three that were interesting for very different reasons:

First the Lenovo S860. This $349 phone has amazing battery life: up to 40 days in standby and 43 hours of talk time.
Lenovo S850 and S860 smartphones bring ultra-long battery life, quad-core processors - SlashGear

Then, Mozilla announced yet more Firefox OS progress on low-end phones:
Firefox aiming to power entry-level smartphone - Taipei Times

And finally, the Nokia X series (actually 3 different phones):
Nokia fails all on all fronts with Nokia X. Basically it is an Android phone with no Google -- has Microsoft infrastructure instead, and a front-end designed to look like Windows Phone. Ugh! Who would want this?

Nokia Launches Android-Based Phone; Google Giggles - Nokia (NYSE:NOK) - 24/7 Wall St.

This is Nokia X: Android and Windows Phone collide | The Verge

Will the Nokia X be useful without Google's services?

Nokia X Software Platform: An Android-Windows Phone mess (hands-on) - CNET Reviews

How Developers And Consumers Can Get Android Apps On The Nokia X – ReadWrite

Really, this Nokia phone will flop so big!!!

Nokia seems to be having the corporate equivalent of a nervous breakdown.

MWC 2014 - Chips

It's strange the MWC was most interesting in its chip news this year:

Well Qualcomm should continue it's leadership for a bit:
Qualcomm launches 64-bit chips for high-end phones at MWC 2014 | Mobile World Congress - CNET Reviews
A quote from the article:
Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 610 and 615 contain the same essential software, hardware, and radio-frequency technology as the Snapdragon 410, allowing handset vendors to quickly develop a global portfolio of devices at different price levels. It also speeds up the time it takes to get carrier certification for the devices since the phones use the same wireless technology.
Wow... these guys really know how to do things!
Also there was:
Qualcomm overtakes Apple with eight-core, 64-bit mobile processor | PCWorld

The Chinese manufacturers are showing off interesting chips:

MediaTek unveils its 64-bit, LTE integrated MT6732 SoC

Meet the Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor - Liliputing

Turning to Intel:

This is from ARM, you know, Intel's chip of choice for demos at CES! :-)
Intel Quark is just too hot for wearable technology, says ARM

Intel unveils its next gen and next gen after that and next gen after the next gen after that... claiming as usual they have better performance/power usage than ARM.  Given Intel's delivery on promises to date, I'm not believing any of it until third parties run benchmarks on shipping hardware. Remember, these are the people that did several of "their" demos at CES using ARM chips.  This really isn't news... its the same separate chip LTE we've know about before... and only Cherry Trail is really competitive with any of the new ARM stuff. And there is every reason to believe that won't be here until 2015. At this point, I'm believing too little, too late, AGAIN.

Intel Unveils XIntel Unveils XMM 7260 LTE Modem, Next-Gen Atom SoCs | News & Opinion | 

Here's a more in depth article:
AnandTech | Intel Talks Atom Z3460/Z3480 (Merrifield), Z3560/Z3580 (Moorefield) and LTE at MWC 2014

MWC 2014 - Wearables

I wish I had something interesting to say here, but MWC just wasn't that interesting this year...

Mobile World Congress: Samsung Leads Wearables Charge - InformationWeek

Samsung introduces Gear Fit activity tracker - Liliputing

Samsung Fit hands on (MWC 2014) | Android Authority

Samsung Gear 2 Hands-on (MWC 2014)

Sony shows off its SmartEyeglass concept at MWC 2014

Strange. Possibly Humorous News

First they made a women's skirt out of cell phones, now:
Nokia's Treasure Tag helps you find lost items with your Lumia | PCWorld
It's a bluetooth-enabled (rather large) tag you attach to things you think you might want to find. It's the most impractical device I've ever seen. Sure, they claim a 6-month battery life, but what person that actually needs the device, will get around to charging it?
Just to make sure only 10 people world-wide ever use it, the tags are $30 apiece and only work with Lumia phones. For some reason they believe third-parties will make apps that support the tags for iOS and Android. Even stranger, you can only have 4 devices with the tags per phone -- why?
What next, a cell phone that is an Android/Windows Phone hybrid?
No, wait, they've done that too:
Nokia X Software Platform: An Android-Windows Phone mess (hands-on) - CNET Reviews
Will the Nokia strangeness/humor never end?

Speaking of strangeness/humor never ending:
'Flappy Bird' Is Dead, Long Live 'Splashy Fish' - Forbes
But this is even weirder... it features Miley Cyrus's head flying by flapping her tongue:
Flappy Bird clone Flying Cyrus takes a wrecking ball to App Store chart

And for that matter, will people ever tire of finding Google Glass odd?
We Now Have a Report of a Google Glass Hate Crime | WebProNews

I'm not sure why Steve Jobs should be "honored" at all. I guess it is just a blatant attempt by the USPS to get iCritter users to like them. It certainly is strange. There is some synergy... the USPS often has long lines and iCritter users seem to like standing in them! Do you suppose there will be a line stretching around the local post office the night before the stamp releases?
Steve Jobs approved for a 2015 U.S. postage stamp

This is humorous, and certainly Amazon trying to deliver via a drone is strange:
Netflix Mocks Amazon With Video for DVD Delivery Drone | Wired Business |

This next is an incredibly strange product. It is a bluetooth-enabled shell, that makes a AAA battery the size of an AA battery. The idea is you can use you smartphone to turn off your kid's toy. To me, that's just mean. Also, a AAA used as a AA is likely to cause issues in some devices.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Strange, Possibly Humorous News -- NO FLAPPY BIRDS

I should include a link here that points back to this post... after all, having to say NO FLAPPY BIRDS is strange and possibly humorous!

Ah, TechEye!
Apple copies glorious North Korean operating system - Communist engineering inspires the west | TechEye

This guy writes Onion-esque spoofs for the New Yorker:
Gates Spends Entire First Day Back in Office Trying to Install Windows 8.1 : The New Yorker
Many don't understand it's just a joke: [Apple blogs for example]
Bill Gates fails to install update for Windows 8.1 - The Voice of Russia

I think he was serious...
Steve Wozniak suggests Apple to make Android phones

Not even I'm willing to blame Apple for this problem:
Snowboarder's iPhone crashes after fans swamp him with nude pics | Technically Incorrect - CNET News

Definitely strange.
This goat simulator looks like maybe the best video game ever | Grist

Strange, and just interesting...
Tunnel vision: how an obsessed explorer found and lost the world's oldest subway | The Verge

They used to be the largest cellphone manufacturer.... what happened?
Nokia makes a skirt from 80 Lumia smartphones | Tech Culture - CNET News

Wow, its not even announced yet!
A Crazy Man Dressed as an iPhone Has Begun the iPhone 6 Queuing Madness | Gizmodo UK

Strange, Possibly Humorous News -- Flappy Birds Edition

This doesn't begin to cover all the articles written about Flappy Bird.
Words fail me here... this is weirder than the "Hello Kitty" rifle.

Here Are Your 'Flappy Bird' Cheats, Ya Slackers

7 Tips for High Scores on Flappy Bird |

Why You Can't Quit Flappy Bird: It's The Ultimate Hardcore Game In Sheep's Clothing – ReadWrite

LA Times - 'Flappy Bird' to be removed from app stores, developer tweets

Flappy Bird is going down, but the developer is still going strong

Flappy Bird creator says he took it down because it was too addictive

Proof 'Flappy Bird' Will Be The End Of Humanity

Man Offers to Rent Flappy Bird iPhone on Craigslist |

How can I play Flappy Bird? Second-hand iPhone with Flappy Bird installed on eBay | Metro News

iPhone 5 with Flappy Bird 'sells for $94,000 on eBay' before listing mysteriously disappears | Metro News

Play Flappy Bird on Chrome – Chrome Story

Tiny Bird brings Flappy Bird to the Pebble | Android Authority

These Flappy Bird Alternatives May Help With Your Flappy Withdrawal – ReadWrite

Flappy Bird is gone, but 174 indie developers won't let it be forgotten

Google Begins Rejecting 'Flappy' Games From The Play Store As Clones Continue To March In

Monday, February 10, 2014

Announcing a New Blog

My new blog is about the future of application development. For the moment, this means HTML 5 and related technologies. To be clear, I'm not talking about making "web pages" or a "web app" that runs insider your browser, but rather a whole new class of applications created using web technologies and having the capabilities of "native" apps.

The new blog is called App Progress.

Here is its manifesto.

It will cover topics about the changing world of application development, including:

The Dart programming language

HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3 [and how to learn to live with them :-)]
and how these standards are evolving: Polymer and Brick

Cordova/Phone Gap

ChromeOS and Chrome Apps

Firefox OS and Open Web Apps

Server-side programming: Dart, Node.js, and Go