File Zen: Consistent Data Folders Synchronized Between Desktop & Laptop Windows Machines

visualizing my drive usage in windirstat

My goal was to have as close to identical as possible environments on both my desktop and laptop machines, and to have them back eachother up in case of loss of either one of them.  The idea is that I should be able to work from either machine without having to alter where the files I am working with exist. Continue reading File Zen: Consistent Data Folders Synchronized Between Desktop & Laptop Windows Machines

Tablet madness has officially arrived

Tablet week is upon us…  Behold the iPod, EVO 4G, Nook Color & iPad.

iPod, EVO 4G, Nook Color, iPad

Why the tablets madness?  I’m going to be starting an interactive children’s e-Book Application publisher called Third Chicken.  Isn’t it a great name?  We’ll be targeting the iPad and Android tablets  It’s going to be a lot of fun.  A huge thanks to Tracy De Cicco and FounderMatch for bringing together the the key players who are founding this new company.  Wish us cluck!

How To Be More Productive With Google Mail

Here are some tips to hopefully improve the efficiency of peoples use of e-mail. If you take the time to go through this, I promise that it will substantially improve the quality of your life, at least with respect to e-mail.

Labels
Labels are tags that can be assigned to messages.  These replace what was known as “folders” inside Microsoft outlook and many other mail clients.  The difference with Labels is that one can assign any number of labels to a particular message. Continue reading How To Be More Productive With Google Mail

Finally I have the God phone: the Sprint HTC EVO 4G

It has been a long time in coming, but the first Android device I will keep is in my hands.  It was November 2007 when I first heard about, and became excited about the prospects of Android.  Despite my investment in learning how to program Android while competing in the first Android Developers Challenge,  it has taken me this long to actually end up with one that I wanted to actually have.

In October 2008, I briefly had a T-mobile G1, and I would have gotten a Nexus one but I found T-mobiles network to be unusable compared to Sprint.  I was not willing to go from the capability of streaming audio and video indoors over Edge, to having to go outdoors or frantically try to find some point which was exposed to enough of the very weak signal.  The prospect of paying $1800 over the next 2 years for T-mobile’s impotent network made me cringe. So I sent it back.

Wireless tree-mounted solar powered remotely operated camera

Here is a computing hobby project I am considering putting together.  The objective is to clamp the device to the top of a tree somewhere with good exposure to sunlight, and to establish a line of sight network connection to the device to view and/or control its camera.  Think of it as a mini ground-mounted spy satellite. Continue reading Wireless tree-mounted solar powered remotely operated camera

Flash sites: You’ve been beaten by the anticompetitive stick

I’m no fan of Apple’s exclusion of Flash content from the iPhone OS.   But I acknowledge and accept that it exists, and that Apple customers represent an important and growing market share.  There are some valid technical merits to the exclusion of Flash.    You do use up more CPU power to play a video that is being resized from one resolution to another.  The video controls of most flash video players are designed with mice in mind, not fingertips.

At the same time I’m amazed by the entirely broken state of the internet at this moment when using an Apple iPhone OS device.

These are sites of companies who put 100% of their eggs into the Flash basket, and because of their overdependence on this single dependency, they now ignorantly extend their middle fingers to the entire market of affluent iPhone OS users.   There are hundreds, probably thousands of web sites that resemble these.  The incompetent developers responsible for these epic fails deserve to get “The axe”; along with the executives that authorized all of their development resources to go into a 3rd party plug-in that is banned on the most popular mobile platform.

I feel sorry for all these companies.  The amount of customers they are losing out on is accelerating rapidly.  This provides consultants who are highly skilled in the realms of Web-standards based programming to rescue these poor slobs from the mess that they have landed themselves in.  As a open standards focused developer, I have been lucky never to invest any of my time into learning to develop Flash content, and because of Apples move to destroy its competition, that decision is now paying dividends.

While I’ve experienced some amazing Safari-based web applications, you can be certain that they will always be at a disadvantage compared to native iPhone apps.  So forget about trying to access the accelerometer or the digital camera with an HTML5 app.  So anything that might want to access these hardware capabilities  is going to need a native iPhone OS client.   So the only legitimate way you’re going to be using chat roulette on your iPhone 4g with forward facing camera is going to be by getting the app through Apple’s approval process and into the App store, which is NEVER going to happen.

So maybe Chat Roulette is a bad example.  How about Skype.  Will Apple allow 3rd party videoconferencing apps on their new iPhone when it will almost certainly compete directly with “iVideoChat” or whatever videoconferencing product Apple rolls out with their new phone?  Probably not, unless perhaps a crowd of angry iPhone 4G customers shows up on 1 Infinte loop in Cupertino with torches and pitch forks.

Apple is reshaping the internet in its own image and as a independent developer, I can’t do anything to stop that.  If Steve Jobs could get away with it, I have no doubt that he would axe Javascript support on his devices too.  But until that day comes I’ll be taking the spoils I reap from helping people fix their broken Flash sites, and use it to by something other than a Macbook, iPad, and iPhone OS developers license.   If I can’t beat them, I’ll take any means I can to circumvent being forced into joining them.