Saturday, May 30, 2015

Apple History: More on the GUI

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More on the GUI

Several years ago, Bruce Horn, one of the original team of engineers that worked on the Macintosh, had this article published in Guy Kawasaki's Evangelist. Jef Raskin, who started development of the Macintosh before Steve Jobs took the project over, had this to say in response. Horn's rebuttal can be read here, and Raskin's second response can be read here.

For those interested in the history of the Macintosh and GUI design in general, the linked articles are incredibly interesting.

Friday, May 22, 2015

nexpaq: the first truly modular smartphone case

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nexpaq: the first truly modular smartphone case

nexpaq allows you to easily customize, enhance, and add features to your smartphone through the case. To put it simply: You can add and remove physical "modules" (think Lego bricks with special powers) directly from the back of your case without powering down!

If Project Ara doesn't start shipping product soon, they may find themselves playing catch-up to this group, that is providing many of the same capabilities via a USB-attached case for already-shipping smart phones

The Verge: Building blocks: how Project Ara is reinventing the smartphone

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Building blocks: how Project Ara is reinventing the smartphone

Project Ara is not, technically, a phone. It's not even that accurate to call it a project. It's more like a mission. The end goal for ATAP is to hand off a viable product and stewardship of a hardware ecosystem to Google — Eremenko and his small team aren't just building a series of proof-of-concept prototypes; they're attempting to build an industry within an industry.

For those who haven't heard of this before, Project Ara is an R&D project for a modular cell phone.

What this means is that instead of getting one large "brick" with all the features, you get an "endoskeleton" frame into which you can attach various modules. For example, a screen (clearly necessary to have one of these), battery, camera, speaker, microphone, processor, memory, NFC transceiver, cellular transceiver, Wi-Fi, etc.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sugru: Anybody here actually used this?

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Sugru is mouldable glue

Sugru is mouldable glue. Stick it, shape it and it will turn into rubber. We invented it to make fixing and making easy and fun. And now it comes in 10 handy colours!

I saw a link to this stuff today, but I've never heard of it before. Looks pretty interesting. Looks like it has the potential to be the next great repair goop, along with duct tape and superglue.

If you've had personal experience with this, let me know. I'd be really curious to read something more than the manufacturer's own ads.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MacRumors: Apple Watch Stands Up to 1,200m Swim Workout and 10m High Dive Test

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Apple Watch Stands Up to 1,200m Swim Workout and 10m High Dive Test

The Apple Watch has been put through a variety of waterproofing tests since its public launch in April, but over the weekend endurance sports and tech blogger Ray Maker posted a few Apple Watch-related waterproof videos, including the first lap swimming test with Apple's new wearable.

As Maker notes in his blog post, many people have uploaded videos detailing simple waterproof tests in smaller backyard pools, but there has until now been little information on the Watch's ability to withstand higher-intensity swimming activities. As he notes, "It’s the wrist hitting the water that’s so difficult for watch waterproofing due to the impact forces," so that's what he decides to focus on in the test. After about 25 minutes in the water and a 1200 meter swim, Maker found results similar to most other waterproofing tests over the past few weeks - the Apple Watch remains seemingly unharmed by even the most daunting submerged water tests.

This is pretty impressive. I don't think I'm going to want to put my own to the test (if and when I decide to buy one), but this does show that there should be absolutely no problem wearing it in the rain, or at a water park.

The beach may be problematic, but due to possibility of salt and sand getting under the crown, not due to water.

Still, it is worth noting that when Consumer Reports tested the Apple Watch, that one out of 4 samples failed a 24-hour submersion test:

We set our depth-test chamber to match the water-resistance specification claimed by each smartwatch manufacturer. We submerge the watches, then check them for proper functionality immediately upon removal from the chamber, then again 24 hours later. The stainless-steel Apple Watch passed the test on the first try. The first aluminum Apple Watch Sport we put through our immersion test seemed fine when we took it out of the tank, but we experienced problems with it 24 hours later. We then tried two more samples, which showed no problems, so the Apple Watch Sport passed our water-resistance test.
The failure may have been a manufacturing defect, but defect or not, you probably won't get a Warranty replacement if it fails after being submerged in water, because the water-resistance rating Apple is publishing only promises 30 minutes at 1m depth. I'll be interested to read the reports when, in the future, some people try for warranty replacement after submersion in water for longer than 30 minutes or at a depth greater than 1m.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hanzi Smatter: Bing Mi! restaurant

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Bing Mi! restaurant

劍兵 (sword soldier) on the sign is not associated with the delicious wrap in terms of context, rather it is the homophone of 煎餅 (Chinese pancake wrap).

Click through to the full article.

I don't personally have a problem with a Chinese restaurant that is not owned and operated by a Chinese person, but their (or their marketing consultant's) decision to generate a Chinese logo using the wrong text is just unforgivable. Google Translate is not a suitable source for things like this, and nobody who actually reads/writes Chinese would make a mistake like this.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Yet another reason I don't like consumer networking gear

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As those who know me in real life (and those who have been reading between the lines on this blog) know, I am a network professional. I develop software for commercial networking equipment. The really good stuff that phone companies use to make their networks work. So, in addition to having a healthy respect for how complicated a networking problem can get, I've also come to expect a certain level of quality in the equipment I use. Unfortunately, I can't afford to install commercial routing gear in my home. It costs too much, uses too much electricity, generates too much heat, etc.

So, for my home LAN, I use consumer gear like everybody else. Right now, this consists of a Zoom cable-modem/router, two Linksys routers in bridge mode (acting as Wi-Fi access points), and three powerline network adapters to connect them all.