Mobile – A New Era of Computing – How has it turned out for you?

As part of my day job, I read a lot of Analyst reports and they all seem to be talking about Mobile being the new Era of Computing. I’ve been trying to understand what that really means. Yes, I can recognize that we’ve had shifts between the centralized days of Main Frames, to the Client-Server Days of the PC, to the Server based days of the Web, and now we have this Mobile era. Is Mobile, Client-Server Web? Some companies do this, as they use HTML5 and Mobile Web apps, but I don’t think this is what we mean. So I am asking for your help, if Mobile is a truly a new era of computing, we should be able to address the following questions:

  1. How have you changed your computing habits?
  2. Has this changed how you and your customers interact? 
  3. Has this changed your development practices?
  4. What do you see as the longest lasting change?
  5. What change were you expecting that has not occurred?

Final Day – Future visions

It is always amazing to me how fast this week goes. Saturday came and went, and I am flying home today. I went to two sessions and then spent the rest of the day on the show floor, deciding to skip my last planned session. This ultimately was the right decision, as I got time to see people and booths in more detail.

The first session I went to was on creating eBooks without pulling your hair out.

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My simplistic expectation was that this session was going to focus on Apple’s iBooks, I am so glad that I was wrong. Serenity Caldwell, an associate editor at MacWorld Magazine, and the editor of many of their Super Guides, went thru the workflow of creating three types of eBooks (text only, text and pictures, and text, pictures, animation and video) and how to target the three major platforms – ePub (non-DRM), Mobi (Kindel DRM), and iBooks (Apple’s proprietary format). She explained the tools you need to pick up (both OSS -Open Source Software, and for pay), and even included some of her own code snippets to help you get started… I learned a lot.

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The second session, was a follow-up to a session I went to last year – Student Projects from the Hawaii Prep Academy boarding school on the big island of Hawaii. I have really enjoyed these student presentations, as they show all the passion of science that I had at that age, and they come up with some really innovative ideas. I hope to post a video montage, since I shot a bunch of video on my iPhone. The one and only complaint I had was that their teacher spent too much time telling you about what you were about to see, as well as what they learned, what they used, etc. that the students didn’t have much time to show off their work, nor did they say anything much more than the teacher. I think next year they should let the students talk more. The first student was working with HDR (High Dynamic Range) pictures to build VR (Virtual reality) maps of their campus and the Keck observatory. The second student showcased work she was doing using the Emotiv Epoc headset to research how we react to music. I’ve had one of these at home for a few years, and the technology and API is amazing! The third student utilized the headset to control a AR Drone quadrocopter. The Fourth student was doing research on recognizing patterns in electrical usage within hotels, with the goal of reducing the extreme cost of energy. At the current time, electricity on the Islands is 4 times the cost of the most expensive mainland costs. She got this idea after doing research on DNA. She can now look at a set of waves and tell you what is a Laptop verses a refrigerator. They are also working on identifying GMO in food. Another student showcased how she build a radio telescope and can pick up the Doppler shift of Jupiter. And the final presentation was a student who is from Italy and is studying the three types of waves caused by earth quakes. This is important because the third type, can predict Tsunami’s and since Hawaii is receives no other warnings based on Latin American earthquakes this is critical information. The interesting aspect was that school can get three free sensors from Quake Cather Network, this is a crowdsourcing effort sponsored by Standford. I am going to see if I can order a set for myself.

The rest of the day I hung out on the show floor, and got to see the iPad based robot from Double Robot that allows you to be at the office and interact with people from anywhere in the world. I talked to the guys from AgileBits, Smile, CrashPlan, BlueMicrophones, Ecamm Networks, and many many more. I will try and post some more detailed reviews of some of the other people I talked to and whose software I recently picked up.

Looking forward to going back next year!

Traders vs Trinars – Intro

Welcome to “Trinars Vs. Traders”, the space-based turn-based strategy game where you try to take over the entire solar system.  

Traders Vs. Trinars

Traders Vs. Trinars

After a bloody civil war that engulfed the entire solar system an uneasy peace has begun.  It is now up to you to decide how this peace will progress.  But it won’t be easy, on the fringe of known space there is a race of aliens which seem hellbent on destroying everything in the solar system.  They have recently been increasing their attacks, becoming more and more brazen as they work their way to the capital planet.  They don’t steal, they don’t run away, they just kill.

You are either a merchant or a military captain, and only you can stop this onslaught…Good Luck!

Game Blog

Decided to create a separate section to the blog which will hold all future updates on Traders vs. Trinars.  Just a quick notice on where we stand on the game.

After our successful game test last year, the coding began.  We quickly made some incredible progress, and leveraged the game art from the game test.  We then ran into a few snags.  One, our artist seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Two, after upgrading to the latest version of the game engine, we started having multiple problems with the initial work.  This is requiring significant refactoring to the code.  We are also having to work on getting a new artist.

So in the mean time, we are working on restructuring the game play and start thinking thru how to start with a smaller game.  Perhaps even just a demo which allows you to learn how to navigate the world we have in mind.  We’d love to hear from you!

Day three – MacWorld/iWorld – It’s all about the podcasters

Well today started with a blast! Fred Armisen from SNL and Portlandio!
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He was interviewed by Chris Breen, who was probably geeking out as much as I was. I had the perfect question ready for Q&A, but they ran out of time. Here it goes, for those of you who know a bit about Fred, Question – How do you think punk music would be if it just came about today, given all the technology available to make music? Fred was a drummer in a punk band, so it was the prefect question. Of course Chris asked him about the famous iPhone 5 skit that was done on Saturday Night Live. If you’ve not seen it, immediately click on the previous link, or watch the embed here.

I was surprised to hear that he didn’t write it, especially after you watch this videos from Portlandia.
I was looking for the other video they showed, which was even funnier, as Fred went nuts over dosing on email, web videos, Facebook and twitter. It was amazing.
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After Fred, I actually went and started walking the show floor. I got to meet up with my buddy John Martin from Reallusion and the rest of the gang.

East Coast Dev's Represent!

East Coast Dev’s Represent!


They actually won best of show for their new CrazyTalk for Mac! I had to pick it up and I quickly pulled together something freaky here: CTdemo. I had done one with my own head, but it was even freakier. So you get the cool kitty.

I also stopped by a bunch of app developers for things that I use every day: Smile and ECamm Network. I also picked up a new microphone from Blue Microphones, they have incredible technology and this is my third microphone from them.

I also sat in on part of the future of Apple talk, but to be honest, there was nothing new in the discussions, and I was much more interested in the session on networking trouble shooting by Dave Hamilton from the Mac Observer. The most informative aspects of his talk was around using DD-WRT to setup your own VPN. I’ve been putting that off for some time, but it certainly seems doable now.

The next section I went to was Tom Negrino’s trouble shooting iCloud. The session prior to him ran long, and the one after him was not as forgiving as he was, so he was a bit rushed. He did a great job of explaining all the feature / functions of iCloud, but was rushed to cover most of the good content on actually trouble shooting. I am hoping that the presentations will be posted soon. The one thing that I shared with him was that you can also get to the raw iCloud files on your Mac by going to ~user/Library/Mobile Documents ( I can’t find the article where I learned this, and you can really screw things up here… but if you need to access a file directly this is where they are kept).

The final section was Don McAllister from Screencasts Online going thru AirPlay. A great tip was AirServer and Reflector, I have been using Reflector for some videos on this site. I think I now need to check out AriServer. The rest of the section was a live demo, explaining the ins and outs. He was fantastic! I really need to check out his Screencasts.

Finally I grabbed a quick beer with some of the podcasters I’ve been listening to over the years.

Day Two – A day of Entertainment and Innovation

Wow! Today was pretty cool … and I am pretty exhausted. It started off with an interview of the stars of the upcoming Jobs movie – Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad. They did a great job of addressing the recent controversy based on Woz’s comments. The next section was a quick review of Mountain Lion tips from one of the writers at MacWorld. While I learned a few new tricks, to be honest it seemed a bit disjointed, and like an un-prepared presentation. It wasn’t bad, but it shouldn’t have been on the main stage.

Next we were treated to Future Hunting with Brian -the futurist at Intel, and will.i.am. I really enjoyed this session. Will.i.am was very entertaining, and it reminded me of the discussions I have with my friends around how to change the world using cool upcoming technology.
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They are both supports and creators of the Transform conference. The great thing about this conference is they try to help change the world using new and future technology. The first one was designed to the transform a specific gehetto neighborhood that will.i.am grew up in. The new one, next week, is about transforming America. Lofty goals from a pop star.
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Speaking of pop stars, I spent the afternoon learning about cool software to change drum loops, but the real existing part was going to the indie innovation finals. This was the finals of a year long battle of about 400 indie bands, and we got to hear the final two. The judges were in the room and had to judge them based on the use of apple products in their music. To me this was a bit unfair. Both bands were good, but Mister Loveless were real rockers, with a love of punk (a love of mine) and a pure rock and roll sound. They used a MacBook Pro to play an audio file of a BART train. The band Exists Elsewhere were a well polished band from LA. They had the look and sound of a well produced band. They used iPads for their amps and mixers, but in my opinion there music wasn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong, I love sythnesiser music, etc. but a good rock and roll band is much more fun live. The band Exists Elsewhere won the competition and got to open up for Little Feat tonight, however, the band Mister Loveless got to do a full set of music at MacWorld right after the compeition. I recorded it on my iPhone and picked up their CD and a few Ep’s on iTunes. Go check them out: