Sunday, September 30, 2012

Google "Now" vs Apple "Siri"

Google's Answer to Siri Thinks Ahead - Technology Review

@ MIT Technology Review

Apparently Google's "Assistant" solution is not just answering questions: it anticipates questions before you even ask them, and gives answers!

Google Now

The Power of Surprise

This could be a very interesting book...

TechNation podcast interview with author of book

"Leapfrogging: Harness the Power of Surprise for Business Breakthroughs"

Soren Kaplan | The Power of Surprise


Business Model Canvas

Business Model Generation - Canvas

The Business Model Canvas, is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model.

@ Wikipedia

Large image @ Wikipedia

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy III S vs Lumia 920 vs Nexus (specs)

Apple iPhone 5 Specs Versus the Competition's: Which Will You Buy? | Gadget Lab |

Saturday, September 29, 2012

C11 / C++11

A good brief summary of changes in C and C++ languages, in their latest versions: 11

C11/C++11: Building blocks for the future - SD Times: Software Development News:

With Visual Studio 2012 (codename VS11), most of latest C++11 is also available
to developers on Microsoft platform. This may in particular be useful for Windows 8
"Modern" / Store applications development, where C++ is one of 3 "equals" for apps development.
This is important, since for mobile devices (phones, tablets), battery efficiency and performance
are important, if nothing else to be competitive with iPhone/iPad.

A Few Billion Lines of Code Later: Using Static Analysis to Find Bugs in the Real World

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Canvas Drawing @ Khan Academy

Khan Academy is now teaching web programming with interactive web drawing tools...

Computer Science | Khan Academy

Here is the program, a snippet of JavaScript for drawing on canvas

// Winston's handsome features don't need outlines

// face
fill(255, 255, 0);
ellipse(202, 208, 300, 300);

// eyes
fill(46, 46, 41);
ellipse(157, 151, 40, 40);
ellipse(304, 142, 40, 40);

// mouth
fill(252, 65, 65);
ellipse(257, 240, 120, 136);

They are not the only one with interactive canvas tool. also has similar, but much less "fun" tool:

Your browser does not support the HTML5 canvas tag.

this is the script that does the job:

var c=document.getElementById("myCanvas");
var ctx=c.getContext("2d");

Adobe PhoneGap Build

PhoneGap Build tools is "out of beta", and it is official service
from Adobe for building mobile apps on the "cloud", based on web files.

Adobe PhoneGap Build

Apps for Office and SharePoint 2013

Home | Apps for Office and SharePoint | 2013, apps, cloud services | MSDN

Microsoft has completely embraced web technologies for building apps platform
in next version of Office and SharePoint (both 2013), as well as Office 365 (online).

As usual, this is a reaction to competition, in this case from Google Documents.

One of features of this (set of) platforms is ability to create such app directly
from web browser, on Microsoft cloud, with "Napa", that is almost as mini-VisualStudio in web browser...

Introducing “Napa” - Office 365 Development Tools

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ten-Frame Math

To help children learn basic math, a simple "framework" is introduced
with 10 (5+5) boxes with dots. This is related to "Singapore Math Method",
that is now being adopted across USA also.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stanford "Class2Go"

Another online education system from Stanford...

Stanford Class2Go - Coming Soon:
"Videos from Stanford professors with interactive in-video quizzes give you a chance to learn from Stanford professors and then practice what you've learned.

Formative and summative exercises built on the Khan Academy's exercise framework provide new formats for taking your learning to the next level.

Innovation: image index of videos (snapshots for faster locating content).
Udacity has very short video segments, but no image index.
That is, not by default. With my own "Explorer" for it has it :)

Browse an image index to find specific topics and quizzes within videos

7 Google Maps API Alternatives

The top seven alternatives to the Google Maps API | Feature | .net magazine

"Google's Map API is one of the most popular JavaScript libraries on the web, used by more than 350,000 websites. And with good reason – it's powerful and for six years was absolutely free.
in October 2011 when its announced it would start charging the heaviest users of Google Maps
Google's price was quite high – $4 per thousand map views
By June, Google realised it had priced its maps too high and was in danger of losing most of its potential paying customers, so it dropped the price by 88% to 50 cents per thousand views. But the damage had been done. Other vendors and open-source solutions had already attracted attention as reasonable alternatives."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

CSS3 rotate (transform property)

CSS3 transform property @ w3schools
div {
   -ms-transform:rotate(7deg); /* IE 9 */
   -moz-transform:rotate(7deg); /* Firefox */
   -webkit-transform:rotate(7deg); /* Safari and Chrome */
   -o-transform:rotate(7deg); /* Opera */

Android SDK | Android Developers

Android SDK | Android Developers

Java SE download

Eclipse download (Classic is recommended)

Eclipse plugin

Creating an Android Project

iOS 6 vs. Android 4.1 vs. Windows Phone 8

Coming soon: iOS 6, Jelly Bean and Windows 8 - SD Times: Software Development News

Windows 8: Designing UX for apps

UX = User eXperience (it used to be UniX :)

Microsoft is very serious about "re-imagining" Windows. The Windows 8 ("Metro", "Modern", "Store") apps have strict guidelines how they should look and behave. Current design is result of long and deliberate process... possibly even some inspiration...

Anyway, when apps are submitted to Windows Store they are evaluated to make sure the intent of Windows designers is preserved. The "Wild West" attitude that was a hallmark of Windows for long time is left to Android to struggle or prosper with...

Designing Windows 8, or how to redesign a religion

Developer downloads for programming Windows Store apps

Designing UX for apps:

Windows 8 Product Guide for Developers

Microsoft design principles:

The Microsoft design style puts content before chrome and helps you build attractive, easy-to-use apps that will delight your customers with their intuitive and common interaction model. Some principles common to great Windows Store apps include:
  • Content before chrome. Content is at the heart of Windows Store apps, and putting content before chrome is fundamental to the design of Windows Store apps.
  • Fast and fluid. User interactions and transitions are quick and intuitive, and animations are deliberate and purposeful.
  • Support for multiple states. Windows Store apps support a full-screen, immersive state, and a minimal, snapped view that runs while a second app takes up the majority of screen space.
  • Support for the right contracts. App contracts provide a way for apps to work together that lets users search across apps or choose to share content from one app to another. Their experience improves as users add more apps that support contracts to their PC.
  • Live tiles. Useful information appears on the app’s tile on the Start screen even when the app isn’t running.
  • Settings and user context roam via the cloud. Users get a great, continuous experience, regardless of where they sign in.

Some more marketing speak...

Embracing these principles makes your app more usable, increases its visual appeal, and helps you deliver an experience that’s consistent and familiar to your users.

Windows 8 represents the single biggest platform opportunity available, and business terms of the Windows Store represent a developer-first point of view. The registration fee for individuals is $49 USD, with a $99 USD fee for companies. The revenue share is 70%, but when an app achieves $25,000 USD in revenue—aggregated across all sales in every market—that changes to 80% revenue share for the rest of the lifetime of the app.

SketchUp left Google

Popular (3D) drawing tools is not part of Google anymore.

Official SketchUp Blog: A new home for SketchUp

April 26, 2012:
"SketchUp team and technology will be leaving Google to join Trimble."

Examples of 3D models and created physical objects

Mobile Mapping: Nokia, Google, Apple

Nokia Touts Its Mapping Services Amidst iOS 6 Maps Backlash | News & Opinion |

iPhone 5 A6 chip appears to show 3 GPUs, 2 CPUs

First look inside Apple's new iPhone 5 A6 chip appears to show 3 GPUs, 2 CPUs

Preliminary benchmarks show roughly twice the performance of Apple's A5.

Don’t Count Samsung Out -

IPhone Fever? Don’t Count Samsung Out -

Its handset profits, fueled by the introduction of its high-end Galaxy S III model in May, leapt 75 percent over the previous year. Samsung’s stock has gained over 65 percent in the last year

Samsung had 24.1 percent of the global handset market compared with Apple’s 6.4 percent at the end of the last quarter. Samsung also had a commanding lead in the lucrative smartphone market: 32.6 percent compared with Apple’s 16.9 percent, although the gap is likely to narrow because of the iPhone 5’s introduction.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Erlang, pros and cons

Erlang programming language was controversial since it was created in Ericsson,
as super-reliable platform for telephone exchange devices.
With syntax of Prolog, and unique semantics similar to Lisp,
it was a puzzle for everybody. Yet, it has proven to be so reliable,
that they could not even measure downtime. No downtime for years.

There is another side-effect of Erlang's simple functional design: it is very optimal
for parallel processing. So, the language is recently re-discovered, and used in some
prominent projects, including CouchDB.

For example, a "process" in Erlang takes about KB of memory,
and a "thread" in .NET takes about MB of memory. And Erlang process provides insulation of data,
and .NET (or Java) thread does not. Huge difference.

After initial success, the other side of Erlang become evident: it is not very efficient
for common tasks such as processing text. For document-oriented database that could be a problem.
In particular when competition tools, usually written in C/C++ are more efficient.

So, CouchDB creator is on his new quest, to port portions of the system to C/C++,
and keep Erlang for what is it good for.

This presentation provides nice overview of pluses and minuses of Erlang.
The conclusion is that "strange syntax" is main reason for relatively small adoption,
and consequently lack of investment (and results) in performance optimization.

Erlang, the Language from the Future?
Presented by Damien Katz on Aug 28, 2012

Damien Katz Abandons Apache CouchDB, Continues with Couchbase Server

What Sucks About Erlang by DAMIEN KATZ

On the other side, some people try to take "right tool for the job", and are attempting to use
Erlang for coordination and monitoring other tools.

podcast: Alex Robson about polyglot programming @ .NET rocks

In Erlang, "failure" is "normal" and planned for. Each process is designed to detect and handle
failure of monitored processes, and "tree" of processes is self-healing, where failed processes are detected and replaced automatically. Since there is no shared state, only messaging, it is not hard to scale system, and make it reliable...

.NET 4.5 Versioning and Multi-Targeting

.NET Versioning and Multi-Targeting - .NET 4.5 is an in-place upgrade to .NET 4.0 - Scott Hanselman

Making sure that correct version of .NET is installed on Windows is a constant struggle...
Even on Windows 8 (Desktop) this is not easy for .NET apps...

Installing the .NET Framework 4.5

.NET 4.5 is an in-place replacement for .NET 4.0
When you install .NET 4.5 your .NET 4.0 assemblies in the \Windows\.NET Framework\V4.0.30319 are overwritten with a new set of assemblies. You end up with overwritten assemblies as well as a bunch of new ones

Windows Azure Web Sites - ScottGu's Blog

Announcing: Great Improvements to Windows Azure Web Sites - ScottGu's Blog

Thursday, September 20, 2012

MakerBot New 3D Printer

MakerBot Unveils New Desktop 3D Printer, Physical Store | TPM Idea Lab

Replicator 2 — available for $2,199 for the lower-end model


Altogether, MakerBot, founded in 2009, has in just three yeas sold over 13,000 of its four generations of printer models and as of 2011 had over 20 percent of the entire market share of the nascent industry, according to company documentation.

Market size: Windows, Android, iOS, Mac

Windows 8–Who Cares? | Jesse Liberty

Google 2-step account verification

2-step verification

Whenever you sign into Google you'll enter your username and password as usual.

Next, you'll be asked for a code that will be sent to you via text, voice call, or our mobile app.

*You can choose when we ask for a code, either every time you sign in or only when you sign in from a new device."

iOS 6 Maps Trouble

Apple Mapocalypse Sends iOS 6 Users Into a Tizzy, Riverbank | Gadget Lab |

How Bad Is Apple’s iOS6 Maps Disaster?

Monday, September 17, 2012

SOLID software design principles

SOLID (object-oriented design) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"In computer programming, SOLID (Single responsibility, Open-closed, Liskov substitution, Interface segregation and Dependency inversion) is a mnemonic acronym introduced by Michael Feathers for the "first five principles" identified by Robert C. Martin[1][2] in the early 2000s[3] that stands for five basic principles of object-oriented programming and design"

S.O.L.I.D introduced: Design Principles and Design Patterns, by Robert C. Martin, (known as "Uncle Bob")

InfoQ presentation: SOLID Software and Design Patterns for Mere Mortals

Single responsibility principle
an object should have only a single responsibility.
Open/closed principle
“software entities … should be open for extension, but closed for modification”.
Liskov substitution principle
“objects in a program should be replaceable with instances of their subtypes without altering the correctness of that program”. See also design by contract.
Interface segregation principle
“many client specific interfaces are better than one general purpose interface.”[5]
Dependency inversion principle
one should “Depend upon Abstractions. Do not depend upon concretions.”[5]
Dependency injection is one method of following this principle.

SharePoint 2013

podcast @ .NET Rocks! Sahil Malik Digs Into SharePoint 2013

Carl and Richard talk to Sahil Malik about the upcoming 2013 edition of SharePoint. Sahil digs into the new features in 2013, including better workflows, content management and performance - document updates send only the deltas to SQL Server! The conversation turns to the new app model in SharePoint 2013, its power and potential for exploitation. Sahil finishes up talking about the cloud, search and mobile features. Sharepoint 2013 is a great step forward!

Origins of the Universe of the Human Race

podcast Exploration - Origins - 09/14/12 at Exploration (by Dr. Michio Kaku)

"Dr. Simon Singh on The Origin of the Universe and
Dr. Spencer Wells on the Origin of the Human Race."

book: The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

Genetic Legacy of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan, the fearsome Mongolian warrior of the 13th century, may have done more than rule the largest empire in the world; according to a recently published genetic study, he may have helped populate it too.

An international group of geneticists studying Y-chromosome data have found that nearly 8 percent of the men living in the region of the former Mongol empire carry y-chromosomes that are nearly identical. That translates to 0.5 percent of the male population in the world, or roughly 16 million descendants living today.

SQL Server 2012 Hardware

podcast RunAs Radio:

"Microsoft changed the licensing of SQL Server in 2012 to per-core rather than per-socket, suddenly making SQL Server much more expensive if you've gone to lots of cores. Glenn talks about how to assess your workload to know if you need as many cores as you currently have, why you shouldn't upgrade in place and use old hardware for SQL Server 2012 and the differences between Intel and AMD CPUs in this new world."

3-D Printing with the Ultra-bot 3D Printer

Hanselminutes Technology Podcast - Bill Steele on 3-D Printing with the Ultra-bot 3D Printer Kikstarter project

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Free Courses HTML5, ASP.NET Web API, Knockout.js, jQuery

Great Free Courses on Building HTML5 apps using ASP.NET Web API, Knockout.js and jQuery - ScottGu's Blog:

promotion through Sept 18th
credit card number not required to sign

Supercomputer from Legos and Raspberry Pi's

Supercomputer clicked together from Legos and Raspberry Pi's | Crave - CNET

"How do you turn a 700MHz mini system into a supercomputer?
You use 64 of them and mount them in a rack made out of Legos.

It took a team of computer scientists from the University of Southampton in the U.K., led by Professor Simon Cox, to build the supercomputer. Named Iridis-Pi, the system cost just over $4,000 to put together."

Hadoop: Scalable Infrastructure for Big Data

Excellent presentation @ InfoQ, an overview of Hadoop.

Hadoop: Scalable Infrastructure for Big Data:
"Parand Tony Darugar overviews Hadoop, its processing model, the associated ecosystem and tools, discussing some real-life uses of Hadoop for analyzing and processing large amounts of data. "

Friday, September 14, 2012

Microsoft employees to get Surface, Windows 8 phones and PCs

Microsoft gifts full-time employees with Surface tablets, Windows 8 phones and PCs -- Engadget

Microsoft is going all in with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

Apple: more Profits, less R&D

Will Apple's Focus on Profits Let Its Rivals Jump Ahead? - Technology Review:

"Apple spends far less than its rivals on research and development? Despite all its bluster about "innovation," Apple devotes a paltry 2 percent of revenue to R&D, versus 14 percent at Google and Microsoft and 6 percent at Samsung. In terms of absolute dollars, Google spends twice as much as Apple on R&D, though it has one-third the revenues. Microsoft spends three times as much as Apple, but has half as much revenues. Samsung's revenues are about the same as Apple, but the Korean company spends 3.5 times as much on R&D.

No wonder Apple makes such an amazing profit. The overall net margin may be 28 percent, but on phones, Apple makes 38 to 42 percent,"

SDK and sample apps for Windows 8 development

Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows 8:

Windows 8 Metro style app samples

Windows 8 App Samples (C#, JavaScript, C++, VB)

Charles Petzold: Programming Windows 8

podcast: Yet Another Podcast #77–Charles Petzold on Windows 8 | Jesse Liberty

book: Programming Windows, 6th edition (for Windows 8)
Charles Petzold


Building Windows 8 Metro style casual games using HTML 5 @ Channel 9

Building Windows 8 Metro style casual games using HTML 5 | MSDN Webcast Series - Building Windows 8 Metro Style Apps | Channel 9 by David Isbitski

Hands On: Windows 8 HTML5 Platform

Hands On: Windows 8 HTML5 Platform

Bing It On - Bing vs. Google Challenge

Bing It On - Take the Bing versus Google Challenge. Would you bet against Bing?

Windows 8 App Development | Generation App

Windows 8 App Development | Generation App

Windows 8 Camp in a Box

Download: Windows 8 Camp in a Box - Microsoft Download Center - Download Details

Windows Camps Schedule

Dave Dev

"Modern Style" Apps, "fast and fluid", "content before chrome"...

Win-C, Win-Tab


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Entity Framework Code First Migrations

Entity Framework Code First Migrations

Code First Migrations has two primary commands.

  • Add-Migration will scaffold the next migration based on changes you have made to your model since the last migration was created
  • Update-Database will apply any pending migrations to the database"

Tools –> Library Package Manager –> Package Manager Console

Essentially, every change in Model needs to be manually registered by a (tool generated) code,
and that code is then run as needed when app is started.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

iPhone 5: Boring and Amazing

The iPhone 5 is Boring and Amazing | Gadget Lab |

"The iPhone 5 is the greatest phone in the world. 
And yet it is also so, so cruelly boring."

Same as every new generation of Mercedes, favorite car of late Steve Jobs,
is great, improved, and boring, so is every new iPhone now...
Dependable, safe choice, exact opposite of "rebel" image that made Apple famous.

Not to mention totally closed, controlled, system, that would make old IBM proud,
the one that Apple was so firstly fighting in its early days...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: $35 Raspberry Pi - MIT Technology Review

Review: Raspberry Pi - MIT Technology Review

You can get a lot for $35 these days. It bought me what looks like a credit card-sized James Bond gadget prototype, but is actually a fully functional computer. It has an ARM processor like those in many cell phones, 256 megabytes of RAM, a wired network connection, two USB ports, an HDMI video connection, and a graphics coprocessor able to decode a Blu-ray DVD. It's powered by a cell-phone charger and is intended to revolutionize technology education by helping to create a new generation of hackers and makers

purchase @

Building Windows Store App, with Cloud Services

A good tutorial, from Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Developers Division

Building an End-to-End Windows Store App - Part 2: Integrating Cloud Services - Somasegar's blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

Part 1

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Single Page (Web) Apps

Single Page Applications @ Wikipedia

In an SPA, either all necessary code – HTMLJavaScript, and CSS – is retrieved with a single page load,[1] or partial changes are performed loading new code on demand from the web server, usually driven by user actions. The page does not automatically reload during user interaction with the application, nor does control transfer to another page. Updates to the displayed page may or may not involve interaction with a server.

Building Single Page Apps with Knockout, jQuery, and Web API - Part 1 - The Story Begins - John Papa

Rich Hickey (Clojure) Datomic: Database as a Value

Rich Hickey - The Database as a Value | Channel 9

Rich Hickey is the creator of the Clojure programming language.
Recently, he also created a new type of database, Datomic.
Datomic is a database of flexible, time-based facts, supporting queries and joins, with elastic scalability, and ACID transactions. It is implemented in Clojure.

This talk happened at GOTO Chicago Functional Programming Night, sponsored by Dave Thomas.

Rich and Erik Meijer discussing Clojure and Datomic.
Read the "Out of the tar pit" paper Rich mentions at the beginning of the talk.

Rich Hickey - The Database as a Value


Proponents of functional programming tout its many benefits, most of which are available only within a particular process, or afforded by a particular programming language feature. Anything outside of that is considered I/O, dangerous and difficult to reason about. But real systems almost always cross process and language boundaries, and most require, crucially, a very gnarly bit of shared state - a database. In this talk we will examine how Datomic renders the database into that most prized and easy-to-reason-about construct, a value, and makes it available to multiple processes in multiple languages, functional and not.

Along the way, we'll discuss the importance of immutability and time in representing information, the reification of process, and the mechanisms of durable persistent data structures. No knowledge of functional programming is required.
Datomic overview

Brian Eno - Microsoft Windows 95 Theme - YouTube

Brian Eno - Microsoft Windows Theme - YouTube

made on Mac

Brian Eno "... received a brief from Microsoft with “about 150 adjectives” to desribe the desired noise. “The piece of music should be inspirational, sexy, driving, provocative, nostalgic, sentimental…” said Eno.
…And then at the bottom it said ‘and not more than 3.8 seconds long.’”

Intel Ivy Bridge Ultrabook

Ivy Bridge Ultrabook PRE-RELEASE Hardware unboxing and impr - YouTube 

Intel to sell Laptops (Ultrabook)!
MacBook Air - lite (3lb), touch-screen, i7 CPU, Intel SSD...

Intel is making most of components of modern computers, why not sell them assembled.
They have also created "Ultrabook" marketing category, so this will be a reference machine.

Scott Hanselman, as well as Jesse Liberty have received pre-release machines for testing,
and they are sharing their experiences as (very much respected by community) developers.

I think this is great. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Intel, now all making end-to-end
machines and solutions... with focus on UX (User Experience).
Good job, Steve Jobs... Apple has fundamentally changed IT industry.

Now we just need to figure out how to create a universal Web Apps platform
that runs on anything: mobile, laptops, TVs, enterprise and cloud servers...

10 Insanely Essential Utilities That Made It To My Windows 8 Slate by Jesse Liberty.