Learn iOS Development. I’ve had a chance to dabble in the past, but am itching to go deeper and build an app or two this year.
Teach my 6-year-old son the basic of electronic circuits…or rather, learn the basics of electronic circuits together. We picked up some Snap Circuits last year, and got another kit this Christmas. My son is showing an interest, and I’m happy to learn with him. I also have a breadboard, a bunch of circuits and an Arduino that we will eventually explore together.
Today Netflix announced that they would be splitting their streaming and DVD services into two companies. The streaming service will retain the name “Netflix” and the DVD service will get the new name “Quikster”. It’s also worth noting that Quikster will also offer video games.
One victim of this change is the current user ratings feature. Moving forward Netflix and Quikster ratings will not be shared across the two services. This data is being overlooked and could be the basis of an area of growth for both companies. Ratings and reviews are a driving force behind the success of websites like Amazon. Here’s my idea for how to leverage that data into something not entirely unique, but possibly revenue generating and fun…
Create a separate website called “Reviewster” (terrible name added for reference purposes only). Reviewster will contain a database of all movies (ala IMDB) and videogames. This ad-supported component is free for both members and non-members to use. Unreleased games and movies that are in theaters or pending theatrical release should also be added. Game and movie studios can also add trailers and other promotional crap to the relevant Reviewster entry for their game and movie…possibly in exchange for their games and movies being offered on Reviewster and Netflix (which is having problems getting content at the moment).
The second piece of Reviewster is personalization. Reviewster will also store each Quikster and Netflix user’s reviews and ratings. This allows users to access their ratings across all three services, as well as share them with Reviewster/Netflix/Quikster friends (via a simple, one-click “Recommend” button), the general public (via a “share my ratings and reviews with the public” user account setting) and to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Reviewster will also act as a supplemental method for adding movies to each queue, as well as requesting that movies be added to each service. For example, each movie and game that is on Quikster will have an “Add to Quikster Queue” button. Movies and games that are not on Quikster will have an “I Want This On Quikster” button. Same thing for Netflix…add “Add to queue and “I want this on” buttons for that service as well. This will allow both services to anticipate demand for movies and games on a per-movie/per-game basis.
Other features like purchasing tickets and buying movies and games could easily be added to Reviewster. They could also partner up with respected movie and game reviewers in the industry to generate exclusive content.
If Reed Hastings and the folks at Netflix and Quikster do happen to stumble across and hopefully use this idea I hope that they do me the courtesy of a free lifetime membership to both services
I’ve been enjoying reading the “How I got Started in ColdFusion” posts that have been popping up on the interwebs over the last few days. Here’s my story…
10 PRINT “YOU SMELL” 20 GOTO 10 RUN
By the age of ten I had written my first bit of code on a Timex Sinclair. I copied the basic code for a clock out of the book and from that moment on I was hooked. By 7th grade I was fortunate enough to get a Commodore 128. I wrote a few games (again in basic), and played a LOT of games on that machine. I took basic programming and computer animation classes in high school and enjoyed working with the Commodore Amiga.
Webcrawler and Pentiums
A few years after graduating high school and slacking about I landed a job in the shipping/receiving department at a local computer reseller. At that job I was exposed to x86 and Sun platforms. I also built my first pc…a totlly bad-ass 133mhz Pentium with 24mb of ram and a 14.4kb modem. I was the first one in the shop running Windows 95 (no more irq headaches!) and distinctly remember the day that I first saw Netscape 2 in action.
I took to HTML programming and spent countless hours/days/weeks of my free time working on my personal site as well as a site for my band.
Fast forward a few years 1998…the dawn of broadband. I got a job as an field technician at a nationwide DSL provider and spent my free time developing Flash-based interactive training modules for my team. During this time I met quite a few software developers, most of which were having DSL installed in their homes so they could work from home. the very thought of working from home was a new concept…and one that appealed to me.
As luck would have it I had fixed a dsl circuit at a software development firm about a month before the bottom dropped out of the telecom market. They were impressed with my ability to fix the circuit where others had failed, as well as by the cheesy Flash-based resume that I stayed up all night to code. I was lucky to change careers at the exact moment when many of my friends and co-workers were losing their jobs.
As a software developer, Apple enthusiast, and owner of both an iPhone and an iPad user I’ve toyed with the idea of building apps for the iOS platform for some time. I’m also a fan of working with whatever language is needed to get the job done, and as luck would have it I have an opportunity to develop an an app for my second favorite mobile platform. That’s right folks, I’m building an Android app. I’ll be posting my experience with configuring my development environment and building a sample app in the coming days/weeks, so stay tuned!
6/8 UPDATE I’ve been pulled in another direction at work and will not be doing Android development at this time. I do look forward to revisiting the Android platform at some point in the future.
I signed up for Google’s Cr48 ChromeOS Netbook Pilot Program and as luck would have it I was selected as one of the initial 60,000 lucky folks to receive one.
After opening the box like a crazed kid at Christmas I snapped in the already partially charged battery and was up and running. It’s worth noting that the start-up time was somewhere between 2 and 5 seconds, and after logging in with my Google Account I was in.
Black Ops iBook
I love the hardware design. The keys feel great, the rubberized matte black iBook-like case is hella cool, and the keyboard feels good. A closer look at the keyboard reveals a host of changes from the normal layout. The Caps Lock key is replaced with a Quick Search key, which when pressed will open a new tab and focus the cursor on the address/search bar. There are only two keys to the left of the spacebar (ctrl and alt), as the normal Option or Windows keys are not needed here.
Also absent are a row of function keys, which are replaced by back, forward, reload, fullscreen, brightness and volume control keys. There is also a key that makes the screen ‘twitch’ for a second…I’m not sure if this is the intended behavior, but it’s pretty much useless.
It’s true…the operating system is the browser. With a few exceptions this behaves exactly like Chrome on my Windows and Mac machines. There are a few OS-specific sections in the Settings, an “Apps” section on the new tab page.
The Store Is A Lie
and last but not least is the Chrome Web “Store”. After going through the process of installing a few free apps in the Chrome Store I noticed that I wasn’t really installing anything, just creating bookmarks. When attempting to access an app while I was offline I received the following message…
Your device is offline. The app at http://chrome.plantsvszombies.com/ cannot be reached because your network connection is down. The page will be loaded when the network connection is restored. Try reconnecting, connecting to another network or proceeding with loading anyway.
As if the Cr48 wasn’t enough of a gift, they’ve thrown in two years of Verizon 3G service! The free plan is limited to 100mb per month, and I have the option of purchasing day passes for $9.99 or upgrading to plans with a higher cap. I call this plan the “Your First Taste Is Free” plan, and it is working well for my train ride from Brunswick Maryland to Washington DC. Page load times, and screen refresh rate are way better than my iPhone 3g.
Cr48 vs iPad
Here’s how the Cr48 stacks up against the iPad. Considering that the Cr48 is a pre-production unit I did not expect it to win out in any category…
Flash Support: Chrome OS can run Flash, but it’s slow and buggy to the point of being unusable. Luckily Flash can be disabled. Winner: iPad
User Input: Although I do like the iPad’s keyboard, I prefer the Cr48′s real keyboard. Having said that, the iPad’s touch screen interface is a great way to navigate and interact with the OS and it’s apps. Winner: iPad
Apple’s User Interface is superior, but I like Chrome over Safari. The thing I dislike about Safari on the iPad is tab switching, which takes two clicks. Tie
Screen: iPad’s screen is brighter and crisper. Winner: iPad
Battery: 10 hours on the iPad, 6-8 hours on the Cr48. Winner: iPad
Offline Mode: Being offline renders the Cr48 useless. Winner iPad
File System Browser: Both the iPad and the Cr48 lack a file system browser of any kind. Tie
Throughout my career as a software developer I’ve worked at shops that use revision control software. I’ve worked with systems that implement file locking (Visual Source Safe) as well as systems that implement branching and merging (CVS and Subversion). In my view using any system is better than using none at all.
If your organization isn’t using some sort of system for managing / storing your code then you are working in a state of unnecessary risk. For example, if you are working on a shared development environment, and the server that your code resides on is only backed up every 24 hours, you are one failed hard drive away from losing one day’s worth of work. Now imagine that your server’s backup is corrupted and you are a few months into development you could be looking at losing several months worth of work.
I’ll also be pimping out this (or possibly another) WordPress theme as time allows.