Monday, April 18, 2011

All The Cooks is Live!

I picked up a few months back but haven't had time to put up any content... until today :)

I had some fun with the design, quickly grabbing pieces from our portfolio of sites. Colors can be a pain to nail down into a good clean palette, but i think I've stumbled onto something nice; kind of a tomato soup/turn of the century feel.

Over the next few weeks in my spare time I'll add a few more bits and pieces. Let me know if there's anything you want.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

How to safely use your cell phone

I just ran across this reader comment to a Chicago Tribune article. At first I couldn't stop laughing from the recommendations, and then I quietly rethought my analysis, and then I kind of started laughing again. From what I remember the kinds of radiation emitted from a cell phone have not been shown to be dangerous, but maybe some new research has come up... anybody know? Ok, now onto the list, and pay attention as there will be a test at the end!

Gregor Sosnowski wrote:

I found your advertisement/ article for the iPhone curious. It is ironic that the Tribune chose to print that beautiful color image of the “AT&T iPhone” displaying a medical illustration of the human skull. It doesn’t take a medical expert to figure out that it might not be a great idea to place a device that emits radiation up to the “temporal bone” or press it to any part of the body for that matter. I feel like the mainstream American press should, at least, urge people to take precautions.

These measures are also likely to be important for people who are already suffering from cancer and who must avoid any external influence that may contribute to disease progression.

  1. Do not allow children to use a cell phone except for emergencies. The developing organs of a fetus or child are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

  2. While communicating using your cell phone, try to keep the cell phone away from the body as much as possible. The amplitude of the electromagnetic field is one fourth the strength at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower at three feet.

  3. Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset, which has less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone. Use of a hands-free ear piece attachment may also reduce exposures.

  4. Avoid using your cell phone in places, like a bus, where you can passively expose others to your phone’s electromagnetic fields.

  5. Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body at all times. Do not keep it near your body at night such as under the pillow or on a bedside table, particularly if pregnant. You can also put it on “flight” or “off-line” mode, which stops electromagnetic emissions.

  6. If you must carry your cell phone on you, make sure that the keypad is positioned toward your body and the back is positioned toward the outside so that the transmitted electromagnetic fields move away from your rather than through you.

  7. Only use your cell phone to establish contact or for conversations lasting a few minutes as the biological effects are directly related to the duration of exposure. For longer conversations, use a land line with a corded phone, not a cordless phone, which uses electromagnetic emitting technology similar to that of cell phones.

  8. Switch sides regularly while communicating on your cell phone to spread out your exposure. Before putting your cell phone to the ear, wait until your correspondent has picked up. This limits the power of the electromagnetic field emitted near your ear and the duration of your exposure.

  9. Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in a car or train, as this automatically increases power to a maximum as the phone repeatedly attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.

  10. When possible, communicate via text messaging rather than making a call, limiting the duration of exposure and the proximity to the body.

  11. Choose a device with the lowest SAR possible (SAR = Specific Absorption Rate, which is a measure of the strength of the magnetic field absorbed by the body). SAR ratings of contemporary phones by different manufacturers are available by searching for “sar ratings cell phones” on the internet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tap Caption is live

I just released Tap Caption this afternoon. It's a fun way to add captions to pictures or images from the web. It currently is a web only service that runs on desktop browsers, iPhones, and Android. In the next few weeks we'll have client apps for Android and iPhone as well.

It's very early in product life-cycle, but I'm a big fan of release early/release often, so here it is :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sorry Google-Login, but you're out

I really like Google's App-Engine with Java. I'm using it with two side projects, Mobido and Ad Hacker, and it has removed a large set of scalability and maintenance concerns which lets me focus on the core of the product.

But there has been a backlash I didn't expect: People really don't feel secure if Google is involved in their privacy. And privacy is the core proposition of Ad Hacker. After receiving many complaints about this I have re-written the login and account maintenance of Ad Hacker too use its own system. Yes, I know some will say I should have adopted openId and perhaps that will come on another rainy day :)

Next up is likely Mobido. I have not received any back-lash there, but the mobile interface for creating Google accounts is pretty bad. So unless that problem is fixed very soon I'll likely paste my Ad Hacker account management into Mobido as well.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Android vs IPhone Development

Recently I've jumped head-first back into the mobile scene and need to spin up on Android and iPhone development. I'll admit a Java bias going in, but I'll try to remain objective.

Here are some initial thoughts:

- Google makes it very easy...

App-engine relieves many of the burdens of developing scaled web apps. I was up and running in less than an hour with a sample app. And in under a week I wrote Mobido, of which the sizeable portion of that week was learning how to fit my data models into Big Table. Otherwise is was very straight forward Java web app development in my familiar Eclipse IDE.

Android is also very quick to spin up on. I had my first app running in less than an hour, and at the end of a long evening I had deployed the first mobile version of Mobido to my actual phone for testing. Super easy. At first glance, the Android Market also seems easy to jump into (10 minutes and I was signed up and prompted to upload my app). Compare this to Apple which took me several days just to get approved into the Apple Developer Connection due to a glitch in their sign-up process with authentication.

- Apple has market share

This is hard to argue against. No matter how good Google's dev environment is, when a business makes a business decision they will usually shoot for the sooner/safer bet, than a hope Android will catch up. Apple has certainly earned their share by creating a truly innovative product and pounding the carriers (as only Steve Jobs can do) into a semi-reasonable customer offer. Of course the Apple UI is very nice and I've heard many great stories about neophytes and technology averse people being able to use the iPhone in short order.

- Apple locks out developers

I have a Thinkpad, so unless I can fire up OS X in an emulator or am willing to buy a Mac I'm out of luck. Google is wide open to development on all the major platforms.

- Apple is earning the distrust of developers

There has been lots of banter recently about the arbitrary nature of the App Store approval process. Perhaps (and I hope) these are simply growing pains and will be fixed soon, but in the mean time this is tarnishing a good reputation.

Now it's onto the fun stuff for me... finishing up an Android port of Mobido, and trying to find the right mix to create an iPhone version.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mobido is back!

I finally found some spare hours to bang out the Mobido redux. It's a quick hack but I think some people will find it pretty useful.

In short, it's an experiment in social networking which makes a break from traditional username based systems: Mobido is a username-less social network that I feel more closely mirrors the real world. And it's designed to be used on mobile phones to provide an additional virtual layer on top of physical locations and social events. People enter "gatherings" with any name they choose and any picture they want, just like the real world where you introduce yourself by your first name and are seen in the clothes you picked for that night. And just like in the real world there is no connection made between these different personalities you try on for different gatherings. This may encourage a new level of freedom and I'm very interested in how it will be used.

Of course, there are many tweaks still ahead and I'll post as I get a chance to add them in.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ad Hacker is public on AMO!

After patiently waiting for the last month as the overworked AMO team worked through the new add-on queue, Ad Hacker has been reviewed and made public... WooHoo!

Thanks go to Mike Bellwick for the giving us the thumbs up :)