He might not be happy about the upcoming movie about Wikileaks but at least he go to the States to watch it. Microsoft continues to only make themselves look bad by using smear campaigns. Google will soon be printing modular devices. Oh yeah and some guy threw millions in the trash can.
US Government caught pirating military software, settles for $50 million
“Piracy is theft, clean and simple,” Vice President Joe Biden once said. Well, in a case that showed the US military to be the proverbial black kettle, having (as Joe would have put it) stolen a minimum of US$224 543 420.80 in licence fees to a software company called Apptricity which built a program that manages troop and supply movements.
Julian Assange unlikely to be charged in US
Wow finally — the man who gives the whistleblowers a voice, and has started a new trend where corporates and governments are held accountable in the public eye for their actions, is no longer hunted by them (at least not legally). US government lawyers came to the conclusion that they could not sue him without also prosecuting nearly every US news organisation and journalist that printed/televised what he found out from the classified documents. The same documents that were handed to him by the whistleblowers who risked their lives and careers so that the public knew various acts of dark deeds done in the organisation or government they worked for.
Missing: hard drive containing Bitcoins worth £4m in Newport landfill site
After hearing Bitcoin hit US$1 000 for the first time, the unluckiest man on the planet went to look for his old digital wallet which had 7500 bitcoins stored on it from back in 2009 when the were cheap… only to realise he had thrown it out in the trash earlier this year. That mistake just cost him £4-million. Ouch.
Eric Schmidt’s iPhone-to-Android Guide
Moving from an Apple iPhone to one of the Android devices? The ex-CEO and current chairperson of Google Eric Schmidt is here to help you out. “Eric’s Guide: Converting to Android from iPhone” states that they are a great gift for Christmas to help those iPhone users see the light along with apparently “80% of the world”.
Microsoft continues trend of trying to insult Google
This is getting embarrassing now. Microsoft used to be a giant and in many ways still is, but these incredibly obvious attempts to make the competition look bad rather than actually trying to improve their own products (which are woefully behind the curve and are piling up in warehouses due to not being sold). These lowbrow tactics just make the Redmond company look like those cheap politicians who use smear campaigns to get ahead instead of actually pushing their own issues.
Google enters 3D printing arena
Soon your Android phone will be printed. This industry of 3D printing is just going in leaps and bounds. Google via Motorola Mobility (you’ll remember Google bought the company earlier this year) will be working in conjunction with 3D Systems to print modular devices. For those that are not aware of this potential technology, the modular concept is that you will only need to buy and use the parts of the device you want, (ie the camera, speakers, microphone, touch screen etc). The picture below will give you a better idea of the underlying concept:
Google+ iOS app gets full resolution photo and video backups in iOS 7, new notification tray
You can now back up all photos and videos on your iPhone automatically to the cloud assuming you have the WiFi and low bandwidth costs (I wouldn’t recommend this feature for South African users). Well, technically you always could via the iCloud interface but that sucked and barely anyone uses it, at least with Google+ you can share the pics of the party straight away while it’s going on. Or better yet, take sneaky photos of something you shouldn’t right up till the security guy takes it away.
Embeds return to new Google Maps, will soon include ads
Soon the maps you see on the website will be catered to you, showing your favourite locations and be able to show the directions from your home to that point without having to jump over to Google Maps. You can see your personal profile pic in the top right when the system knows to cater for you.
Ditch the wristbands: for next generation of wearables, dumb clothes get smart
The wearable tech wave is starting to well up, and the main players right now only sense movement in one area — usually the wrist, such as the Nike Fuelband or an Up band. They don’t really see the whole body. For instance, if you do a 30 minute spin class, your Fuelband won’t notice you did much since your arms barely moved from the handle bars. So you need to have the sensors in multiple points much like the Notch conceptwhich allows you to put the small devices wherever you will have movement.
Tongue piercing lets disabled drive wheelchairs
This is where technology really helps those who need it. This new system allows quadraplegics to have more mobility. The patient has their tongue pierced with a magnetic stud that resembles jewellery and acts like a joystick for the wheelchair that has the system in place. The system is incredibly intuitive, says Jason DiSanto, one of the first patients to try it. He says “the first time I did it, people thought I was driving for, like, years.” This new system works up to three times better than the current leading system called sip-and-puff that users operate by breathing into a straw.
Pills of the future: nanoparticles
Nah… this isn’t creepy at all. Soon your Panado will have tiny custom designed nanoparticles that are coated with antibodies that act as a key to letting the nanoparticles break through the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream.
New X-Men: Days of future past viral video links Magneto to the JFK assassination
Apparently in the new Xmen movie, 50 years ago Magneto was implicated in the mutant plot to assassinate President John F Kennedy. This is the furthest out-there conspiracy theory I’ve heard about that fateful day.
This is awesome, best coin ever spent
A beautiful surprise for a little girl who puts down a coin for a cellist in a town square. The expressions of the viewers — especially those with kids — are just awesome.
Glass pool table
This is just plain cool. I know, first thought after you clean the drool from the side of your mouth is that it’s glass, how are the balls not flying all over the place due to what would be near zero resistance? The glass has a special transparent coating called Vitrik which allows the playing surface to replicate the rolling resistance of an average speed cloth. It is hard-wearing and even allows spin.
Let me know if I missed anything this week in the comments… they’re also a good place to leave any big things I should mention next week.
Julian Assange image: Mark Chew
A promise of cloud storage is the customer’s ability to access data from everywhere, anytime, on any device. As such, mobile device support is a critical component of a successful cloud storage service.
Given the current mobile device market, customers need high-quality apps on the top three platforms: Android, iOS and Windows Phone. However, designing and building apps across these platforms can lead to a myriad of challenges, among them the need to reconcile the unique native languages of each platform while creating an elegant, consistent user experience.
Outlined below are some key lessons learned from working on mobile clients for SkyDrive, Microsoft’s personal cloud storage service, and best practices for anyone looking to build high-performing mobile apps across platforms.
One of the biggest challenges in developing cross-platform mobile apps is that each mobile platform has a native language and SDK, or software development kit. Windows Phone has C# with .Net, iOS has Objective C with Cocoa and Android has Java with the ADK. There are also solutions that allow code sharing; HTML5 can be run on all three platforms, as can code written in C++.
We found that using the native language and SDK on each platform had significant advantages in supporting the full functionality of the platform, ease of development and high performance. It also provides the quickest access to the new features of new operating system versions and SDKs. For the best experience, the advantages of the native platform are paramount.
HTML5 provides the ability to update application functionality by updating a web server from which the HTML is downloaded, which could be a good solution for some applications. C++ could also be a good solution for some common cross-platform modules.
However, access to the platform functionality and writing the user interface would be more difficult in both of these cases. You may still have to combine these options with native SDKs to utilize some platform unique functionality.
In some cases, the desired application functionality may be the same for each platform. But customers of each platform expect the style to be similar to the other applications that they use. A good motto here is “application personality, platform look and feel.”
With application personality, customers can feel the unique values provided by your applications. The applications on different platforms can have many things in common to identify themselves, such as similar color themes, features and flows for user actions. Even if a customer switches platforms, he or she should still be able to use the application with little or no ramp-up time.
With platform look and feel, the customer interactions will be similar to other applications on the platform, and customers can immediately use the application. For example, the command icons will be in the same place on the screen as other applications on the same device.
To illustrate the concept of “application personality, platform look and feel,” here are screenshots of the same screen for iOS, Android and Windows Phone:
In the mobile space, the competition is fierce and customers expect updates on a regular basis. Traditional product development processes with long planning, development and test phases can take months, or even years.
A better approach is to adopt a rapid release cycle process. Each release cycle should contain a set of smaller features which can be developed in a few weeks or less. Each release cycle can be a logically complete set of features which could be released if desired.
While stabilizing the code, some team members can start planning the next release cycle. In this way, release cycles can keep rolling, and customers can enjoy the updates they’ve come to expect.
For ease of development and maintenance, applications should have similar designs for the non-platform specific logic, such as the business logic and the common infrastructure to handle user actions. Developer expertise can be leveraged if the same developer owns a feature across platforms.
A key to providing quality in this environment is early customer feedback. Real customers will use the applications in ways that cannot be easily recreated in the lab. They’ll experience a wide variety of network characteristics, and use their own data. In addition, they’ll use the application on a wide variety of devices.
The best way to achieve quality in these situations is to get the applications into the hands of as many people as possible prior to release. A dog food program reaching a business group, social group, friends or potential customers adds a lot of value and also helps build enthusiasm for the application. The application should provide an easy mechanism for those early users to report issues; a single tap to report issues greatly improves the chance of getting more feedback.
If the aforementioned steps are followed, you’re in a great position to offer a high-quality cross-platform app. Below are some additional considerations that will greatly increase your chances of success.
Provide a great customer experience
With the small screen sizes, it can be hard for a customer to see all of the data and find the all of the needed commands; the application needs to make navigation easy. Most of the screen space should be devoted to showing the data the customer wants to see, and the most important commands, status, etc. should be on the screen.
Any less commonly used items can be moved to menus or other dialogs. Always ask the question, “How may taps does a customer need to finish an operation?” Fewer taps make customers more likely to use a feature.
Tune the application for high performance
This is critical in an environment where the customer is typically watching the application while it runs, and the hardware and network may be slow. Response time and CPU-Memory-Network consumption are the key areas that should be examined.
To improve the response time, move all of the time-consuming operations to the background to free up the UI thread for user interactions. When showing a large list, load the data one page at a time from the network to reduce waiting time for users. Caching the resources downloaded from your servers can save considerable network consumption and reduce the response time dramatically.
When the underlying data changes, you should update only those UI elements affected by the changes. Keeping the memory footprint small reduces the chances that the operation system will remove the application from memory when it’s in the background. When users come back to the app, it starts more quickly.
It’s best to run monitoring tools against the app frequently to find and fix CPU, memory and network consumption issues.
Interact with other applications
With hundreds of thousands of applications in the app store, mobile customers can do many different things on mobile devices: texting, receiving/sending emails, social networking, browsing content and even editing documents. They expect their applications to work together, and enabling interaction will drive usage of your application.
Monitor customer feedback
One of the great things about mobile applications is how quickly feedback becomes available in product reviews and blogs. This feedback enables developers to quickly address urgent issues and is a source of ideas for future improvements.
By Michael Thomas
He is the Principal Development Lead for SkyDrive, Microsoft’s personal cloud storage service. In his role, Michael is responsible for many facets of product development, including planning, technical investigations, quality assurance and execution.
Getting the most out of your graphic designer is often reliant on being a great communicator. If you want a brilliant end product, one-line briefs simply won’t do.
With over 140,000 designers ready to offer their talents on DesignCrowd.com, we’ve had our fair share of design briefs for all sorts of projects. The most effective projects doesn’t necessarily require multiple emails a day – just concise, clear messages that truly convey your needs.
Here’s how you can get your ideas across and ensure you end up with an incredibly successful and savvy design.
Every graphic designer begins with a blank canvas. To create a design that you envisage, the graphic designer needs as much insight from you to capture it. Confusing briefs, outlines or instructions will inevitably result in a mark-missing design. If you don’t tell designers what you want, you won’t get it!
A design brief is a stepping stone for a graphic designer, but to achieve the final product, there is a lot of back and forth required to build up to it. You need to be present when your designer needs you.
Visualisation is a huge part of the design industry and you can visualise your ideas by creating a ‘mood board.’
You probably have a good idea about what you want out of your design, but do you know what you don’t want?
Many of your crowdsourcing questions will relate to technical specifications, so it’s in your best interests to communicate these details upfront.
If you need help, don’t be shy in asking for assistance from your designers. Leverage their knowledge and expertise whenever you need it.
Whether you’re a graphic designer or an entrepreneur, these tips can help you achieve the result both sides will be happy with. Working together is key, get communicating and get creative!
Josephine Sabin is the Marketing Manager for DesignCrowd.
If any of you netizens have not heard of this apparently catastrophic news, YouTube comments are now handled by Google+. Yes I know, the horror, now catch your breath… settle down… it’s fine… really.
Here is the official post from the almighty Google (who own YouTube by the way — for some weird reason some people don’t know this).
The main jist of the update is:
- Comments you care about move to the top: You’ll see posts at the top of the list from the video’s creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in your Google+ Circles. You can still see the most recent comments by switching from “Top Comments” to “Newest First.”
- Join the conversation publicly or privately: You can choose to start a conversation so that it is seen by everyone, only people in your Circles, or just your bestie. Like Gmail, replies are threaded so you can easily follow conversations.
- Easily moderate comments: If you also post videos on your channel, you’ll have new tools to review comments before they’re posted, block certain words or save time by auto-approving comments from certain fans.
There is a video too:
You wouldn’t believe how upset users are about this. More than 90 000 people are petitioning YouTube to bring back the old comments system. The petition, hosted on Change.org, says Google is forcing users into creating accounts for a social network they don’t want to use with the new comments section.
Is it just me or is there a petition every time a major social network makes a change? Facebook gets these things by the bucket load when they so much as consider moving a pixel. How have none of these people noticed the social network company does not care about your petition. They thought these changes out, consulted experts, and invested time, money and resources to do it. They are not going to turn around and say: “Oh look, a fraction of our uses don’t like change. Oh well, worth a shot.”
I digress, back to the issue at hand. These Google+ comments, they are actually a truly good change to the notoriously venomous environment that is the YouTube comments space. I remember I read a joke once where if aliens ever saw YouTube comments as first contact, they would have more than enough reason to think we were a bunch of parasites and not to touch down on this blue planet or they might catch something.
So the move to Google+ is awesome for so many reasons, and here are just a few of them:
1. Less profanity! (I’m not being a prude here, it is really getting out of hand)
2. Meaningful discussion, not spam all over the place.
3. The comments that really matter to me are top, as in those I know (as within my circles) and the person who made the video.
4. I can comment publicly or privately (share my comments only with some of my Circles).
5. I can see who I’m talking to, I just hover over their name and up pops their Google+ profile card.
6. Mentioning people directly by their Google+ profiles and use hashtags which means they get a mail when I talk about them.
7. New comments left on my videos go directly to Google+ notification system — all in one place.
8. The video poster can easily moderate comments by block certain words and save time by auto-approving comments from certain people (read: trolls).
9. Nice big comments, no character limit (500 characters can be constricting in a rant).
10. Google Translate support for YouTube comments (overdue in my opinion).
(Disclosure: list inspired by Aygul Zagidullina)
This fine lady known on YouTube as iJustine gets it. She has 1.7-million people subscribed to her channel, so is a good representative of those who actually give a lot of their time and effort to their channel and followers.
Our comments are handled by Disqus so feel free to use any social media account you like to leave a comment about this.
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