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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Remember Your Audience…and Your Administrators

Posted by Jeremy Paris on January 4, 2011

There are many solutions for creating a website.  For quite some time now I’ve been going back and forth between SharePoint,  Drupal, and iWeb for sites that I’ve created.  Although I like Drupal, I’ve noticed that when I hand that site over to the person that I’ve made it for, sometimes what seems simple to me is scary to the non-geeks of the world.

When I write, I am always aware of who my audience is.  When I create a site, I am also aware of my audience…but until now it has been limited only to the viewers of the site and not the administrator of the site.  If it is confusing to update or even add content to a site, then there is a good chance that it won’t happen.  Stale content was fine five or ten years ago, but not today.  Fresh content keeps people coming back to your site.

This brings me to WordPress.  I have been using it for years to do simple sites like this just to give me a very quick outlet to blog about something, but I never thought of it as anything more than that.  A lot has changed apparently.  Like Drupal, it is open source, AND has a large community behind it that create, maintain, and update plugins and widgets constantly.  So much has changed since I dove into it last.  You can do e-commerce, galleries, ads, have user-roles, etc.  I wouldn’t say that it is as powerful as Drupal…but I will say that it is a heck of a lot easier.  Not only easier to build, but a lot easier to administer.  Heck, you can even post to your blog directly from Microsoft Word 2007.  Even a non-geek can keep their content fresh using that method.

Now, what will I be creating next with WordPress?  Subscribe to this blog and you will find out.

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Presentations that keep you awake – Possible?

Posted by Jeremy Paris on December 17, 2010

Decide for yourself.  Click to watch.

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Nexus S – The real news is in the software

Posted by Jeremy Paris on December 7, 2010

Nexus SIt wasn’t too long ago that the tech news was filled with stories about Google’s phone failure in the form of the Nexus One.  Most of the fault was put on Google’s marketing and distribution, and to tell you the truth I didn’t see many bad reports on the phone itself, just the phone’s sales.  But it was still clear that “Google will be stepping out of the hardware arena and will focus instead on the software side of the house”.

Well, apparently that is not the case with the new buzz about Google’s Nexus S.  It will be the first phone to have Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which on the surface is not much of a jump from 2.2.  However, looking at the official Android Developers Site you can pull out a very important paragraph from the rest of the mundane upgrades.

Android 2.3 adds API support for several new sensor types, including gyroscope, rotation vector, linear acceleration, gravity, and barometer sensors. Applications can use the new sensors in combination with any other sensors available on the device, to track three-dimensional device motion and orientation change with high precision and accuracy. For example, a game application could use readings from a gyroscope and accelerometer on the device to recognize complex user gestures and motions, such as tilt, spin, thrust, and slice.

Adding the capability of these new sensors could be another “game-changer” in the tech world.  It allows outside-the-box developers to come up with incredible new apps that haven’t even been imagined before now.  I am a card-carrying iPhone user, but I do have dreams of developing apps for all mobile platforms in the future (read: iOS, Android, and WinPhone7…sorry RIM, you’re dead to me).  And when the new android apps that use these sensors start to get some serious press I’m sure that Apple and Microsoft will start adding them into their next build as well.

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Windows Phone 7 – First Review

Posted by Jeremy Paris on November 15, 2010

While enjoying some down-time with my family at the mall this weekend, I had the opportunity to check out the new Windows Phone 7 platform for both T mobile, and AT&T.  Although Windows Phone 7 looks promising, my experience was underwhelming.  I went into Best Buy Mobile, which specializes in mobile devices…that’s ALL they sell.  They only had one Windows Phone 7 device, and it was AT&T’s HTC Surround.  The device felt cheap, and I didn’t like the slide-out speaker at all.  How did it function?  I HAVE NO IDEA!  The only phone they had there was not functional, and just had a picture of what it should look like on the screen.  The teenager working there told me that they were hardly selling any of the windows phones, and then promptly tried to show me a Dell Android phone that was the size of my shoe.  Really…the windows phones aren’t selling?!?  Maybe it’s because people want to see how it functions before they buy it.

Next, I went into the T Mobile shop where they had a functioning HTC HD7 phone.  Although the phone didn’t seem much bigger than my iPhone, the screen was a good inch or so larger, and a bit wider as well.  This not only improved the browsing experience, but it also improved the typing.  I was easily able to navigate within the UI without getting lost (something I feared from the first time I saw a demo of the operating system), and the tiles didn’t annoy me as much as I thought they would.  My app experience was very limited since it wasn’t connected to the Marketplace, but the things I did play with seemed to work quickly and effortlessly.  The two problems that I have with this phone are 1) battery life would probably have me plugging in before the end of the day.  2) it’s T Mobile.  There is very little chance that I would give up my iPhone, and even less chance that I would sign with T Mobile for 2 years to do it.

Last, I happened by a kiosk that had fake windows phone 7’s out and overheard the salesman telling a customer that they can’t put the real ones out there because there are too many thefts.  Two salesmen are sitting in a 6ft x 6ft square, and they can’t keep an eye on the handful of phones that are tethered to the counter.  Amazing.

It is being reported that only 40,000 Windows Phone 7’s sold on the day of release.  I think part of that problem was not having the full line of functioning phones at every store and every kiosk at the time the phones were released.  Microsoft might have missed out on the WOW-factor, and now that the negative news has broke all over the net about the poor sales, people who would have given it a chance may look to the other two players (no, I don’t consider RIM a player in the iPhone game).

I will hold out on any further reviews until I have a chance to play with someone’s actual phone and can test out the app and game experience.  I am also holding my breath to see if any HD7-like devices come available for AT&T in the next year or so.  As of this post I am not impressed with any of the other phones available for this platform.

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Facebook “integrated” with Windows Phone 7

Posted by Jeremy Paris on November 3, 2010

Facebook on WP7

Facebook on WP7

When Apple announced “Ping”, there was some talk around the water cooler (read: co-workers desk) that Ping was not too impressive, but that it’s possible that it’s just the beginning.  What if, for instance, Apple bought Facebook and integrated it into Ping.

Well, as I read this morning, it is Microsoft that is integrating with Facebook and owns part of the company.  They worked directly with Zuckerberg to rework the way FB will look and work on a mobile device.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my iPhone and am satisfied with how facebook works on the iPhone.  But having the ability to take a picture and have that picture post to facebook instantly without having to open the app is a nice feature that will be available on WP7.  And I’m sure that this is just the beginning.  I can see many many apps that can be developed for WP7 that could make use of the new “integrated” Facebook.  Time will only tell if this is a “big step” in social networking, or just “big hype”.

Side Note: Watching the PDC10 event and realized that Steve Ballmer looks like a slightly thinner Tommy Boy.

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Apple: Apps on a Desktop

Posted by Jeremy Paris on October 28, 2010

meowOk, what’s going on here.  One week ago I watched the “Back to Mac” keynote and was so excited I almost needed to breathe into a paper bag.  Yesterday I took back my Apple TV, decided that iLife ’11 wasn’t a “need” for me right now, and denounced the new MacBook Air.  Crazy.
Why is iLife ’11 not a “need”?  Well, I don’t have time to use Garage Band, don’t have time or ambition to mess with my 5000+ pictures, and still think that making the trailers in iMovie will be really really cool…the first few times I do it and that’s it.  So I figure I can wait awhile before upgrading.
The MacBook Air, while looking just as sturdy as the MacBook Pro, is not what I thought it would be.  It looks like a netbook, and there’s a reason for that.  It is meant to be a “better” netbook (as the apple chick at the store told me).  It doesn’t even have a CD drive, and although it uses flash memory which is faster, she said “don’t even thinking about using this thing for something like Final Cut Pro”.  It’s basically meant for the average Joe who will spend 95% of his time surfing, checking email, or creating documents and stuff.
I did have one positive thing that I thought about Apple this morning though.  Apps on the desktop.  What makes an app on a desktop different from an application?  The answer is Touch.  If you took the same apps from your phone and put them on the desktop but then had to use a standard mouse to use them, they would absolutely suck.  So in order for apps on a desktop to work, Apple would have to change the way people used a desktop….and they freaking did that.  First they started implementing the trackpad in their laptops that made use of multi-touch.  Then they came out with the magic mouse.  Then they came out with the stand-alone multi-touch track pad.  Those were all baby steps that were needed before they ever could announce apps on a desktop.  Otherwise, everyone would have said “Apps on a desktop is stupid…it’s no different than an application”.

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Will Google TV be a blessing or a curse?

Posted by Jeremy Paris on October 22, 2010

As most of you know Apple came out with their new version of Apple TV a few weeks ago and at first I wanted it. Then after a few weeks of reading articles about it I found that the networks weren’t jumping aboard the Apple ship like a lot of people (myself included) thought they would. For people like me that only watch about three shows on TV it would be perfect. I could rent the new episodes on my schedule for only $0.99 each and get rid of my Direct TV. But now that it is looking like the shows that I want won’t be available Apple TV doesn’t look as hot anymore.

Enter Google TV. What?!? What the hell is Google TV. Yeah, I only found out about it yesterday myself. Basically, you connect some hardware to your TV (just like Apple TV) and now you are mixing internet with your TV experience. But on top of that you will soon be able to use Android Apps (which I never really loved on my Droid), and be able to use Google’s search technology to find what you want to watch even if that might be a YouTube video. But I’m not sold yet.

A year from now will GoogleTV and/or Apple TV be threatening to take over cable? And if so, what is Google’s model going to be? Free cable but maybe you will be blasted with targeted ads while you watch? And for those opting not to get the ads they can go the Apple TV route and pay to rent?

Or…the most likely possibility…the networks will come together to kill both Apple and Google TV by not dealing with them at all.

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