Thanksgiving Day Activity this week

With this week being Thanks Giving time in the US once again, it comes time to figure out what to do during this holiday time. ¬†Converse with family members, compare notes, find something to do and eventually make some kind of plan. This year has been different on many fronts from years past and this Thanks Giving seems to be shaping up to be different as well. I’m going to the Macy’s Parade with the family! Now I know what you’re thinking, how is that going to be really awesome or anything given how cold, crowded, and noisy it’s going to be? Well, if I were outside watching it I would agree, but instead I’ll be at Ebay’s office on 34th St in Manhattan watching it form the third floor. Otherwise known as Balloon level! Totally exciting and I hope it’s worth it. I’ll post pics after!

What are you all doing for the holiday? Post a comment and let me know!

Netflix device based outage?

Sometime yesterday my iPhone 4 was having intermittent troubles with Netflix, and later that evening my iPad started having playback issues with Netflix streaming only service as well. Finally, today, every device in the house, capable of streaming Netflix videos has stopped working almost all together. This includes my Sony BluRay player, ATV2, ipad1 and 2, and iPhones.

This leads me to believe there is a particular issue with Netflix, yet when trying to stream via a web browser, all seems fine. I also get an error that my user credentials are messed up, but again, I was able to stream via firefox and safari. Has anyone else seen this?

Please repost or leave a comment to discuss this odd outage. So far, no word from Netflix on the issue.

Anti-fragmentation of Android can be good for Android

In a recent article posted in electronista.com Google VP of Engineering and Android leadership front-man Andy Rubin has been stating that Google is not trying to clamp down on creativity or remove ability for developers to take Android in a direction that makes sense for them.

In principal, I believe this is the best course of action for Google and anyone in the android community. My issue though, if you can call it that, is that the amount of fragmentation by companies like Motorola, Verizon, HP, DELL, IBM, to name a few, is something that can come back to bite Google as unforeseen consequences. This is by no means to say that Google doesn’t know what they are doing, but there are some basic facts that come with any degree of fragmentation. At it’s heart, Android is just Linux. This is important to understand because Linux in it’s own right had to face and deal with this idea of fragmentation a while ago. Overall, the sub-trees and coincident branches that have sprung from the original source maintain and persist in someway today, but when RedHat, Novell/SuSe, Gentoo, Debian and others started cooperating on a set of standards, based on the original Linux kernel and community that supported it. Those companies were able to create another, higher level of maintenance within the OpenSource ecosystem that is sustained by the “core” community who began Linux, supported by an amount of corporate interest, required to support their branches and resultant kernels, but derived from a single pristine source, the “vanilla” Linux kernel source.

By deciding on a hierarchy like this, companies and the Linux community supported by hobbyists, scholars, etc, the community has grown fairly well to enable room for everyone but with a clear set of usability rules. I would like to see a similar set of rules for Android, but with a twist. In general Linux, and most operating systems, have no concept of an “app store.” so here’s the twist Google, you are “the” one source, “vanilla” if you will, for how everyone should treat this OS, develop apps, create new versions, etc, and rather than say “we’re not saying let’s not fragment Android” I think Google should be saying “we don’t want to see deep fragmentation, but if you have to, here are some guidelines. And, by the way, there are quality controls available to ‘every’ version out there to ensure portability, minimum performance characteristics, and minimum graphics quality, interface characteristics, etc, to make it easier to curate and reduce the “effect” felt due to fragmentation.”

One primary example of how this benefits end users is the KDE project on Linux. I could talk about iOS but that defeats the point. KDE is fairly portable, has visual and performance standards, and CPU and memory requirements to boot. This all helps ensure the users, regardless of which Linux distribution used, are satisfies, happy, and content and can easily use any version that runs KDE. No re-learning, etc, and programmers can easily write once and just recompile for any version with a high degree of confidence the applications written for KDE will look and run as expected. The missing component though is a quality standard at should apply to consumer devices, even if there is open source at the heart of those consumer devices, the application requirements should be allowed to meet some minimum performance capabilities of the OS on which those apps run.

Couple this with the idea of “cleaning” the store in which this applications are bought and sold only serves to help consumers who want “really good” applications regardless of who’s device they bought with whichever fragmented version of Android. This means that keeping fragmentation to a minimum is in everyone’s best interest, and it is still more open an anything that Apple has ever tried to approach. But because the Android store is technically wholly owned and operated by Google, doesn’t it mean that like any retailer a certain level of quality in e merchandise should be stocked and a feedback mechanism should be in place to prevent poor quality from seeping into that store, and if it does, to be quickly and prejudicially removed. After all, if you’re not a good coder, provide poor support, unresponsive to complaints and bugs, and all around don’t provide apps enough people want, it really doesn’t matter how much you like. androids open-ness. Either put up, or get out of the game until you get better at it. Since a lot of folks probably won’t do that on their own, then they should just be removed until their applications go through some sort of review process to prevent that possible consumer abuse in the future.

And all of this can be dine by also being “open” about how much fragmentation Android at large can handle and still survive. What I truly dread is some of the previously mentioned companies fragmenting Android, and then the application store that supposed to be “the” trusted source masquerading as Googles application store, but with very different and possibly conflicting rules than what Android and Google’s core principles are. From that perspective, I say that limiting fragmentation is a good thing for Android. Thanks for reading and I look forward to what the future holds for Google and Android.

Look Here: Implementing the cloud – what not to do.

Over the course of the last couple of years I have been looking into finding the right way to use “The Cloud” and have had the pleasure to be entertained in a small way at least, to watch everyone approach an idea as broad, dynamic, and vaporous (pun intended) as “the cloud.”
For example, Microsoft wants you to ink that the cloud is this *place* you go to do things with stuff, much like one commercial depicting a more trying to get a good picture of her semi-dystopian family by taking lots of them, going to the cloud, and in a few clicks, the image looks as she had envisioned. This is something that someone any tech savvy could accomplish with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Another ad shows a stressed couple whose flight is delayed and by accessing ‘the cloud’ again, they are able to watch recorded tv. Something that Time Warner Cable customers can do today on their iPads, but even better, they can stream some content live. So again, the concept of the ‘cloud’ is being overloaded in these contexts.

So why is any of this “not” the cloud? Well, I for one believe a true cloud must have the following elements:
1. Always on, resilient, uninterruptible and virtually unlimited storage capacity which allows the capability to share, retrieve, backup and access stored data anywhere on ANY device that has an internet connection.
2. Capacity to interface any application, on any device to multiple storage paradigms. ( block level, object based, file based, etc) with the seamless ability to share/unshare with unlimited specificity to any device, anywhere, so long as it is Internet connected.
3. Capacity to not only interface said applications, but to move and run applications into and out of e cloud as needed depending on user feeling, requirement, or automated profile preference.
4. The ability to automatically and manually create profiles which help determine the intelligent storage processors how applications should be treated as far as streaming, run from the cloud, mounted like a filesystem, added to like a directory, treated as a bulk file to be downloaded and decompressed then run, and by whom, on which device, etc.

#4 is crucial because this type of automated profile will seamlessly enable preferences that users of devices will be allowed to take for granted, and thus, do not have to posses specific knowledge aside from perhaps a password. Grouping of these profiles to like devices between family members (grand parents, etc) would extend the ease and simplicity with which this data is accessed.

5. No one should have to know *how* to access the ‘cloud’ or specific ‘services’ to be useful, as much as smart devices, mobile devices, etc are “always on” the cloud is accessible in the same way. Likewise all current operating systems would have to be enabled with this functionality to extend their usefulness, or be alloed to use new smart cloud enabled devices as a gateway. Remember, accessible all the time.

Failing to meet any of these paradigms in some form will just fracture the fragile cloud model and the ultimate usefulness of what the cloud “could” be is immediately undermined.

Discussion: Keep Exercise High Priority to Stay Motivated on the Job Hunt

We all know that to relieve stress or keep it from building up, it’s very important to get proper sleep, eat well, and exercise. Ive found searching for a job requires similar tactics. Eating, in this case is ingesting lots of useful information, sleeping is time to rest between interviews, and exercise is finding ways to reach out communicate to people about what it is you wNt to do and trying to make use of the information you’ve ingested. Along with this set of ideals, actual exercise, sleep, and eating right will help you keep the energy level needed to find the right job.

Looking for a job, filling out resumes, taking interviews, all those things can make you pretty tired and being well exercised will help a lot in keeping you fit mentally and physically in more than just a stress relief sort of way. I try to keep these things in mind and so far, it’s kept me off edge, on my toes, and moving in as positive direction as I can. Good luck to us all.
Austin

Discussion: Keep Exercise High Priority to Stay Motivated on the Job Hunt

We all know that to relieve stress or keep it from building up, it’s very important to get proper sleep, eat well, and exercise. Ive found searching for a job requires similar tactics. Eating, in this case is ingesting lots of useful information, sleeping is time to rest between interviews, and exercise is finding ways to reach out communicate to people about what it is you wNt to do and trying to make use of the information you’ve ingested. Along with this set of ideals, actual exercise, sleep, and eating right will help you keep the energy level needed to find the right job.

Looking for a job, filling out resumes, taking interviews, all those things can make you pretty tired and being well exercised will help a lot in keeping you fit mentally and physically in more than just a stress relief sort of way. I try to keep these things in mind and so far, it’s kept me off edge, on my toes, and moving in as positive direction as I can. Good luck to us all.
Austin

Look Here: Dear HDR Apps, You’re still as useful as ever.

This is just a quick update for all those folks out there that have gone on to say things like “HDR Apps soon to be obsolete … Thanks to Apple.” Or how about one like “Pro HDR app could be history thanks to Apple” from the good folks over at AppAdvice.com. Yes, Apple’s latest software update for iOS4 (4.1) allows users of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS to take HDR photos automatically using their phones. I personally think it’s awesome but the bigger question is why didn’t anyone do this with all the numbers of DSLR’s out there before?

So if Apple’s responsible for the intelligence that goes into *other* manufacturer’s products, then sure, its their fault. But the reality is that any manufacturer could add the HDR capability into the cameras at any time but have been leaving the capability up to the photographer or whoever processes the photos and I think, maybe I’m wrong, that most photographers will *still* want it that way, and having an option of using HDR will be just that. Just like in the iPhone, an option that not everyone will use, or want to.