The Impending Flash Crisis?

An interesting article about this impending crisis. Although it’s impending, I had never heard about before, despite the claim that “This impending “flash crisis” is well known in system circles. It’s almost like a mini Y2K.” Ok, tell me more…

The core does make a great point:

“What happens when you blow up the “slow disk” assumption is that your entire software stack begins to crumble. When the cushion provided by those 10 ms of seek time goes away, CPU becomes your bottleneck. You have to start rethinking a lot of design choices.” (from Impending Flash Crisis)


[GEEKY] Mac Sound Converter Utility

Apparently (not sure why yet) on Android, sound effects files using the OGG format work better than those using wav or mp3. It might be an AndEngine thing, I am not sure. Anyway, here’s my result of half hour googling and experimenting for a reliable way to convert the files. I tried a bunch of things, and I finally settled on MediaHuman AudioConverter. Use it. It really works and is nice and simple.

Quirky for Mobile Products?

I read about in the paper the other day. From my perusal it’s a site where people (you and me) can submit ideas for manufactured products.

For example, let’s say I have an idea for a dog leash with a built in flashlight. Clever eh? Well, you can describe it to the best of your ability and submit it to the site.

Ideas are socially curated (translation: visitors to the site can vote on how much they like the product.) Once they reach a certain threshold then the Quirky staff analyzes the idea from a design, marketing, manufacturing perspective, and decides whether it’s worth pursuing. If it is, they actually design or mock it up and put it up for “pre-sale” in their catalog. If enough people buy it then the product is actually created and you (the inventor) gets a small cut of the profits. Here’s their diagram of the process.

What if we created a similar service, but focused exclusively on products for app phones (e.g. iPhone and Android.) What do you think?


[GEEKY] Connecting Web Apps with Web Intents

Check this post Connecting Web Apps with Web Intents

"Android OS addresses this problem with Intents, a facility for late run-time binding between components in the same or different applications. In the Intents system, the client application requests a generic action, e.g. share, and specifies the data to pass to the selected service application. The user is given a list of applications which have registered that they can handle the requested intent. The user-selected application is created in a new context and passed the data sent from the client, the format of which is predefined for each specific intent type." (from Chromium Blog)

This is a really cool idea! If you are familiar with Android Intents it will make sense to you. Read the article if not. I wonder whether W3C will embrace this as a ‘good idea’. I think they should!

[GEEKY] Why I am not yet developing for iOS

Check this post A strong argument for why iOS development is winning

"IOS platform competitors take note: Fledgling indie iOS dev Chris Eidhof has posted a smart list of the main reasons why a new developer finds Apple’s mobile operating system such an attractive prospect. Eidhof, who is in the process of developing his first software for Apple devices, broke down the appeal of iOS using six main points." (from TheAppleBlog — Apple and iOS News, Tips and Reviews)

For me the biggest resistance, as a developer, to iOS is that I have to learn a new programming language (Objective C) and it’s tools, traditions, and bugs. And no one on the planet other than Apple uses Objective C.

Boston Postmortem

We just got back from the monthly meeting of “Boston Postmortem“.

Huh, what is that? Well as a result of my teaching at Brandeis this summer – Mobile and Game Software Development – I have developed a greater appreciation for the gaming world. When we had Ed Baraf of Blue Fang games speak to our class, among the many things he taught us was that there’s this great meetup in Waltham called the Boston Postmortem.

It was very well attended and the crowd sounded and felt like a community that knew each other and was pretty tight which made for a very interesting and enjoyable meeting.

The term postmortem comes from the fact that apparently this is where speakers come to explain how a project or company went off the rails or actually died. We can all learn from each others’ mistakes, right?

Last night it was Scott Macmilan’s turn to tell his story:

Last December, Boston area indie studio Macguffin Games closed its doors. In three years, Scott Macmillan took the studio from a one-man shop to a 4-person startup with paid employees, launched two games (one of them for Facebook), and then finally shut the whole thing down with no regrets. At this talk, he’ll discuss the big lessons he learned, what worked and what didn’t, and take lots of questions from the audience.

Here’s the link to his presentation: Death of an Indie Game Studio

I also learned that there’s a gaming unconference in Boston this august, called the Boston Game Loop. I will be there!

p.s. to my word spelling circle, I learned today that postmortem is one word not two 🙂

p.p.s “indie” seems to mean simply, not corporate, small, often bootstrapped and “game studio” seems to mean simply, company that develops games. For example, are there “indie software development shops” or “indie programmers”?





I wonder when this will come to iPhone!

This is a very unusual Android app that I came across. It looks like they are just starting so it’s a bit crude, but highly intriguing…

HappyTrack is an Android Application that gives you the chance to express how are you feeling and why. Every time you update your status this app will keep track of the time, place and reasons about your feelings. But that’s not all!” (from HappyTrack)

What do you think?

[GEEKY] Full Applications that run in the browser

Sproutcore is a JavaScript framework for writing powerful web applications with less code. It looks to me as a way to write a lot more of your application in JavaScript running in the browser. And this involves moving the logic of the application’s own logic there.

Sproutcore is a big complicated system that I have not fully investigated. It comes with a good pedigree though and is very nicely documented and designed. Worth a look if you want to have a super responsive browser based app that will continue to work even when the network connection is gone.

Here is their own blurb: “SproutCore applications move business logic to the browser so they can respond to your users’ taps and clicks immediately, avoiding an agonizing roundtrip across often intermittent network connections.

As web application users go increasingly mobile, applications can no longer depend on reliable connections to a remote server to do the heavy lifting.

At the same time, web browsers continue to radically improve their ability to quickly process data and deliver polished user interfaces—a perfect opportunity to rethink the architecture of modern web applications.”


Interesting approach to teaching computer science

Fun article about Ben Hescott who has some unique – and impressive – approaches to teaching an abstract topic:

Q. Did you experience an “aha’’ teaching moment?

A. My first time teaching, I was using PowerPoint slides. One student kept saying, “I don’t see it.’’ So I turned off the computer, grabbed a piece of chalk, and went through the material slowly on the blackboard, without notes. Afterward, the kid said, “You’re a really good teacher when you’re not using PowerPoint.’’ That changed everything.” (from The Boston Globe)

You have to read the whole interview!