Monday, November 22, 2010

Palm Dev Day NYC - Day #2

Day 2 was awesome.  The day started off with Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer talking about how far the web has come, and how HTML5 and mobile are changing things.  Followed by an Oprah moment, we all got Palm Pre 2s!  Phil McKinney spoke next giving HP's position on the mobile field and webOS.  He seemed really excited about the possibilities.  This only encouraged the crowd.  He gave a bunch of good ideas.  I really enjoyed his ideas about education and how we are currently raising test takers and not creative minds.  There are plenty of opportunities for apps out there.

Next i went to talks on the PDK and how I can leverage my C/C++ abilities within the webOS framework.  I also learned about the apps currently out there that utilize both JavaScript and the PDK.  The PDK presents a unique opportunity.  After that I attended Greg Simon's talk about optimizing performance of webOS.  He had a few tips on things not to do, but mostly he was talking about the webkit browser and JavaScript engine.

Lunch was after and it was awesome.  There were shrimp po boi sliders, jambalya rice, corn and bean salad, and cornbread with jalapenos.  They also served sweet tea of the mint, raspberry, and lemon varieties.  For desert there was ice cream and bourbon bread pudding.  Everything tasted so great.

Following lunch there were lightning talks.  In these talks webOS developers gave 5 minute presentations on how they overcame a problem they had with webOS.  It was a good lessons learned teaching experience.  There was a Cross-Platform Apps panel, developers of different frameworks talked about how they came about and how they are used to develop web apps across multiple platforms.  Really cool stuff, especially since you can develop a single app that works on webOS, IOS, Android, Symbian devices and more.  This gives developers a wider market to spread their app to.

The last couple talks I attended were about using HTML5 to spruce up your apps and the different JavaScript frameworks out there for us to take advantage of.  The last talk of the day, focused on the next generation webOS framework, Enyo.  Enyo take a lot from Ares to build a webapp.  They are trying to abstract some of the JavaScript setup work from building a webapp.  They are also working to make the process more stream lined and object oriented.  They demo'd an email app that was really slick.  It adjusted to different size windows very well, and looks promising.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Palm Dev Day NYC - PreConf Activities

I enjoyed the first day of the HP Palm WebOSDevDay.  It was enjoyable and a learning experience.  The food was good, the wifi not so much, but the people made the day awesome.  The facilities are nice too.

I spent time in talks about the webOS architecture, the PDK, webOS Internals, and managing Metrics for your application.   Since I do some C/C++ development already I'm looking forward to working with the PDK to see what I can leverage from it.  I started the day hoping to do some development, to work on an app or something of the like.  Sadly this was not the case.  This did not ruin the day at all though.

My favorite talk of the day was the webOS Internals talk by Rod Whitby.  I had heard of how  awesome the webOS community was, but today I learned to the extent.  I got to learn about how it came a long, how things were developed, and how Palm has embraced the community and its users instead of shutting them down like other companies would.  Since I use Preware, it was pretty kool to hear the history and meet Rob.

The best part of the day was the networking experience at the end.  Not only did I get to have free beer, in a mug I get to take home, but I got to meet a bunch of really cool people.  The webOS developers are all really cool and fun.  Everyone was nice, I got to spend time with the Precentral team as well as the infamous Geoff (@zhephree).  I was totally geeked out to be in the same building with them, let alone conversing with them.

The first day was great.  I look forward to tomorrow, as well as to meeting more developers and getting my first webOS app into the catalog.  I'm also hoping for a extra special treat tomorrow...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On my way to Palm Dev Day

I'm on my way to the Palm WebOS dev conference.  I'm a little excited and a little nervous.  I'm nervous because I've been reading about and playing with webOS since last spring, but I don't have anything to show for it.  I'm a C/C++ and Ruby developer by trade so I haven't fully grasped the framework and Javascript.  I know Javascript isn't a hard language to learn and work with, but it's different.  Event handling isn't something I'm used to working with.  My natural application space is not web apps, so this is all new to me.  It doesn't help also that I'm in grad school either.

I'm hoping going to this conference will help me put it all together so that I can get my mobile/web dev game going. It's something I've wanted to do for some time now,  My goals for the conference are to meet 10 people, and learn enough so that I can put something together in the following two weeks, so that I complete my goal of putting something our before the end of November.  I really enjoy webOS and I hope that I can help contribute to it's success and this conference is a good motivation point to start and grow from.

Monday, November 15, 2010

ESPN3 and my Xbox Experience

I tried.  For almost 2 months I had cable.  It wasn't worth it.  Verizon FIOS is pretty cool, but for someone like me who doesn't watch a lot of TV it wasn't the best deal.  I mainly wanted to watch the soccer channels (Goal TV and Fox Soccer Channel) which used to be part of the basic package.  Not any more.

Lucky for me the Monday after I canceled my cable, Xbox released their fall update.  This added ESPN3 to the Xbox Live experience.  This channel alone makes Xbox Live worth it.  ESPN3 just about satisfies my sports viewing wishes.  I don't get NFL football, but I can get it over the air.  I do get most college football, English Primer League, La Liga, and Serie A football matches which just gives me the warm fuzzies.  The viewing experience is awesome.   I really like it and I look forward to what will be coming with it in the future.

I'm sure one day most if not all of ESPN's programming will be available through ESPN3, right now I get more than enough.  Every day since the update, I've come home to watch something.  The MLS playoffs, the Manchester and Milan derbys, NBA basketball.  It's simply great.

When the Xbox 360 was first released, Microsoft had hopes for it to be the ultimate home media center.  For me with ESPN3 it's become just that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My No Cable Experiement

When I got my own place, I vowed myself to never get cable.   I noticed I was much more productive without it.  I did a lot more reading and surfing the internet.  I was outside exercising more and discovering new things.  I spent way more time practicing my hobbies like photography and soccer.  I even did a very little bit of coding on the side.  Not having television forced me to spend my time more actively  I no longer had a reason to sit down and just veg out.  It also saved me some money. 

As I spent more time surfing the web, I discovered that I could watch most of my favorite television shows online.  Thanks to sites like Hulu, Youtube, CBS, and ABC I had access to my favorite shows.  Hulu, when it first came out, was the greatest thing since sliced bread to me. Not only could I watch my shows whenever I wanted to, with limited commercials, but I could go back and watch previous seasons.  More recently Hulu has begun to offer just about every show I watch plus some sports highlights.  It's great.

Once I discovered I could watch stuff online, I looked for ways to stream this to my television.  I purchased a Slingmedia SlingCatcher, and when I finally became available, 25mbps FIOS connection.  The SlingCatcher streams pretty much all flash based web video to your tv.  It works pretty well, I don't have too many complaints about it.  For my movie watching I use Orb to stream stuff to my Xbox360 and finally to my television. 

For sports I discovered, soon to be  Espn360 gives you access to a lot of the sports Espn shows.  In addition to NBA, MLB, and a few college sports, Espn360 gives you access to European soccer leagues.  This was a big bonus to me, since if I had cable I would purchase the extra soccer channels.  Espn360 is the closest thing I found to being able to watch live sports on the internet for free. 

Here's the downer.  I think I watch more TV now than when I did have access to cable.  On Hulu alone I went from watching 3 Shows Regularly (House, 24, Grey's Anatomy) to watching 10 Shows.  With that said there are shows like Glee or Modern Family that weren't on when I first started using Hulu.  So now instead of browsing the television for interesting things to watch, I browse the internet and Hulu.  I watch old episodes and search for new things of random interest.  It feels different, but I'm doing the same thing as I was doing with cable.

In essence the internet only moved this problem to a new medium.  I am saving money by not having cable though, so that could be a plus.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cockpit-Like Focus

Yesterday I went out to get some new games for my 360 since I haven't gotten anything new in quite a while now. I picked up Need for Speed Shift, Gears of War 2, and Afro Samurai. Yes none of these games are really new, but they are new to me.

Trying out NFS:Shift a thought came to me. In the game you start off racing in the cockpit view. My older brother always preferred this view. I tend to rotate between it and one of the over the top views. The cockpit view is a little constraining and with all the gauges and dials it can be distracting.

Photo from NFS Website

The thing is when my brother talks about it, it allows him to focus. In the cockpit view you focus on what's in front of you and not what's behind or next to you. You pay more attention to your race and how you are racing and not everyone else. After giving it a try this morning for a couple races, I found this to be true. I occasionally glance over to the side or rear view mirror to check out what's going on, but for the most part I'm focused straight ahead.

This got me thinking. How could I apply this concept to my life? How do I restrict my focus to my goals and tasks ahead of me and not those behind and next to me.

I don't know the answer to this right now, but I'm going to actively try to find one for it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Windows 7 on a Netbook

I enjoy my netbook. I have an Acer Aspire One D150 model. It is very convinient for me to use. It comes in handy on plane rides, trips to class, and any other small computing task that I may have for it.

Recently, Lifehacker had a poll on the top 5 netbook operation systems(see here). So far I've used Windows XP and Windows 7rc. I plan on giving Ubuntu's Netbook Remix a try next. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Windows 7.

If I had to describe my time with Windows 7 on my netbook in one word it would be SMOOTH. I installed Windows 7 on my netbook to give it a test drive as an OS, not just for the netbook experience. It surprised me with how good it was. I expected it to be good, but slow on the netbook. I never had an issues with speed or memory usage. Granted, I did mostly web browsing and writing, but I never got the feeling that the OS was bogged down by underpowered hardware. Even when waking up from sleep, it always seemed snappy.

Once the OS was installed, everything worked, with the exception of multitouch. I had to go to the Acer website to get drivers for it, but once installed I had no problems. Connecting to wireless networks or printers was a snap. I always got over 5 hours battery life, which is perfect for cross country flights. Windows 7 has a lot of new features that I didn't really take advantage of because I didn't do much heavy lifting on the Netbook. I'm sure they can be useful, but most of my time was spent in the browser.

The main programs I used with it were Chrome, Darkroom, Firefox, Notepad++, Putty and Skype. I've never tried to do any coding on it, but I'd rather code in a Linux environment anyway. None of these programs really stressed the computer, but my intentions were never to do that.

Sometimes I'd notice programs would crash after coming back up from sleep mode. Also sometimes the ATI driver would fail, causing me to lost my custom colored theme, but those were both minor issues.

Windows 7 as a netbook operating system is a great choice. I'd recommend it to anyone who has a netbook and doesn't want to use Linux or XP. I'm giving Ubuntu's Netbook Remix a try once my RC begins its decline on March 1, and it will be my first crack at a "Netbook Oriented OS", but that will be a post for a later time.