Who says American politics is...
Hi Sport fans of Basketball!
March Madness is a wonderful American sports tradition where over 800 college basketball teams...
“Our biggest problems over the next ten years are not deficits,” the President told House Republicans...
Over the course of this year there has been several science events that have garnered attention and are held as genuine achievements.
The First one was at the end of May with Space X when on May 25th their Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to attach to the International Space Station (ISS). This event was probably the most captivating of them all because there was a livestream of the countdown and the actual launch. This mission was a test run for their official cargo run, which happened earlier this month and was successful.
The next major event came as an announcement from the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN (originally Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire),that they had found a new particle consistent with the Higgs Boson particle. They can’t confirm it is the Higgs Boson particle though, as they say it could perhaps be “something more exotic.” This news, coming from two years of data and over ten years of experimenting, echoed all over the internet and even made its way to television. Better yet people were talking about it and were watching the live stream of the announcement.
The landing of Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity was the most recent. This story also got picked up everywhere and had people talking about it before and after. You were not able to get a livestream of the event because of many technical limitations, but it was supplemented by news conferences by NASA before the event and livestream of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where they provided commentary of what was happening.
With many shows about science coming the excitement should continue, and that is a fantastic thing. Out of the three shows two of them are reboots sequels of once popular shows, able to return because of this resurgence of interest in science.
Next we have a followup to Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” a show that covered many broad science topics, called “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey” presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth Macfarlane and Ann Duryan, widow of Carl Sagan. This documentary television series will be broadcasted on fox and Neil deGrasse Tyson indicates it will be premiering in the Spring of 2014 as a thirteen-part series.
Lastly we have Neil deGrasse Tyson will also be appearing on “Startalk” on Nerdist a port of his fantastic radio show, a talk show with guests talking about their relation to science. Startalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson will premiere tomorrow.
But why these shows? Sure there are many other science shows around on science specific channels (or as Neil deGrasse likes to call them, the “science ghetto”). But these shows are on Fox and YouTube so they will be able to reach mass, and hopefully they will be able to get many new people educated, and the mass interested in science—again.
Previously computers were the only the products to get updates. Now we are seeing all sorts of products from phones to televisions getting them. We are seeing the demise of the static product.
The technology website The Verge is the latest to jump on. Other sites do push “updates” but usually they come in a site refresh every year or so not steady updates. The Verge even has a version history page just like you would get with apps.
Speaking of apps, you are now getting easy application update by the way of app stores. You are not having to go out and buy another copy and install it over your old copy, you just have to press an update button. There is also an advantage for the App developers, because it makes it more likely for the user to see that their is an update and this might make the user pick up an app that they had not used in a while. With app stores you get the convenience of all updates in one place. The mac is getting the new convenience of being able to update your operating system via the Mac Appstore.
If you have a modern smartphone you will get updates to your phone. The prefered way of updating a smart phone is over the air (OTA) updates, which allow you to update your phone without having to hook it up to a computer. The iPhone and Android phones both have OTA updates, but the Windows Phone does not. Android has OTA updates but isn’t perfect, it has the issue in not pushing updates often and not getting to all phones.
It is not just the computer like devices and the apps that run on them that are getting updates. With the Nest Learning Thermostat your thermostat can get updates.
Updates allow developers to give their users a better user experience as time progresses. The developer can quickly fix a bug with an update, no need for the product to be sent in. It allows the product to stay up to its quality indefinitely. There will be products that do not have updates, but they will be in the minority and will have less of chance to be picked up by customers. It is best to give your users updates and make them easy.
Back in June at WWDC 2011, Steve Jobs said when he unveiled iCloud, “we’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device.” He then showed how the Mac, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad were all on the same level and iCloud was above all of them.
But there should be something else on the level of the devices, and that is The iCloud website. This is not just because it to is being pushed data from iCloud, but it is treated with with the same level of importance. When poking around with some settings I found out that the settings in the iCloud’s web apps control just the apps themselves, just like the native apps on iOS devices and on the Mac. It will take a little bit to get used to, but I think it is for the better.
This is very unique. See most other web services have a web app and a native app. The web app is thought of as the control panel to them and because of this the native app is crippled. They are treated differently because the developers think their users will perceive the web app as being closer, or is, the cloud because it is on the web. Something that is not true, so the developers are underestimating their users. In Apple’s view all of their apps should be granted the same power. It might be difficult at first not have a main settings that controls all the apps, but it is for the better, because in reality each of those apps have a different use case so they should have their own settings.
Today Google released Google Music, but the product is very uninteresting. The Google Music store has brought nothing new to the table, it is basically iTunes except with sharing to Google Plus instead of Ping. It is pay-to-play instead of the on-demand, which is where the music market is heading.
Just read this article about how Spotify, the leading streaming on-demand music service, and Facebook are scaring iTunes. If iTunes is in for trouble, Google Music should feel just as scared. Spotify already had an estimated 13 million in August and added over 4 million after their intergration with Facebook. People clearly want on-demand not pay-to-play.
Cell phones have become a computer that you can carry with you anywhere. One of the most popular uses is social networking. It is so big that Facebook, the biggest social network, is reporting that more than 350 million people are using it through their mobile device that is more than 43% of their active users. Mobile is not only playing a major part in social networks but has become the de facto way to update your social network if you have a smartphone.
Sounds are not just for games or notifications or games. Many apps will just have sounds used for their notifications, and even then they often just use Apple’s built in sounds. People might think original in app sounds are just for games. Well this is not true, they can be used for many types of apps.
Normally boring apps become more enjoyable with in-app sounds. Instacast calls them interface sounds, and I think that is an apt name for them. Some of the apps that take advantage of them are the Tapbots apps (Tweetbot is one of the apps, here is a demo video). Instacast is another great app that uses them, you can hear them when you refresh the feeds, there is a new episode, or an episode has finished downloading. Spotify gives you a sound when you pause and resume a song. Apps use them for actions or in-app notifications.
Apple uses interface sounds. Most of them are operating system interface sounds like when you unlock the phone, typing and putting the phone to sleep. They also put them in their apps, when you take a picture with the camera app, dialing in the phone app, sending a message and sending an email.
More developers can make their apps less bland and more delightful by adding interface sounds.
How was Twitter used in its early days? How did people converse without all the syntax that is established now?
Earlier this year on Twitter’s fifth anniversary, people were retweeting old tweets, and there was one I saw that wasn’t retweeted that much. By not having many retweets I was able to see it was retweeted from the account @wetreet. I didn’t know who it was so I checked it out. On its bio it says “retweet up from status_id = 1,” and it does just that, retweeting tweets from the very beginning and then progressing through more recent tweets. The account was really interesting, so I went through them and found some really interesting tweets that answered the questions I had at the beginning, below are those tweets.
When I saw that Apple was doing a phone I rejoiced in the advantage of a phone being produced by the same people that make my computer. Knowing Apple makes both my computer and cellphone I thought there was going a lot of interoperability between the two, but I was saddened when I learned that it didn’t go that far. Sure you can sync stuff like your media and contacts between them, but would about the interactions that you do with them, wouldn’t you like to be able to mirror them at some points.
Paul Miller of This is My Next wrote something along the lines of this (which was a follow-up of Joshua Topolsky’s article over at Engadget), however I would like to make a comment more on the local use, the computer’s awareness of your phone.
There are are some instances where I would like my computer to just translate a feature. One instance is notifications, many notifications I get on my phone can be interpreted on my computer because they have a web or desktop counterpart. It becomes irritating to be alerted for the same event twice. These notifications include mail, Twitter, and Facebook. Sometimes my computer can use its applications to tell the phone it’s taking over by it’s applications doing the notifications. Other times when it doesn’t have the corresponding application the phone can push the notification it displays over to the computer if there is a web application that it corresponds to, or if there is nothing at all the phone can tell the computer that it will do notifications for these applications. Thomas Houston did a great write-up over at This is My Next on an API for notifications and I can see this system taking advantage of something like this.
Sometimes I place-shift content. This comes into play with things like music and videos, which oddly Apple has implemented something like this for the TV with the Apple TV and Airplay, so it would be nice to have something like that for the computer. Another case is webpages, which I have found a third party service to do this but would really think that this is a feature that Apple should implement, because I may be reading an article while I am out and want to finish it when I get home on my computer.
Some applications on the phone can have a counterpart on the computer. The most likely case for this is text messages, it feels ridiculous typing out text messages on my phone’s miniature keyboard when I have a full size keyboard right in front of me. I should have an application on my computer that can make and recieve text messages (ironically they did have a feature like this).
There needs to be a way for the computer to recognize the phone and it should be Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC allows the exchange of data wirelessly over close proximity to reader device. Apple could implement this in the next iPhone and Macs and then with this technology implement these features.