Wednesday, April 30, 2008

CodeBlocks: Cross Platform C++ IDE

This is late, but you know what they say... better than never, right?

CodeBlocks has finally released a new version. For ages they weren't doing releases, just nightly builds. When I was working with Shlomi Peleg at SparkThing this app was a staple of our work environment. I haven't used the new release yet, but Peleg says that it's great.

So, if you write C++ and want an excellent open source IDE to work in, check it out.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cool iPhone Thingy

We had a training at work today all about how the GSM phone system works. At the end, the speaker showed us how to find out all sorts of information about your GSM connection on an iPhone. You can see information about a call in progress, network information, which cell phone towers your phone can see, information about your GPRS (internet) connection, and what firmware version you are running.

One of the cool things about this is that you can see how walking around in a room, say, makes your connection to any given tower stronger or weaker.

If you have an iPhone, check it out. Dial *3001#12345#* then hit call.

And no, I don't have an iPhone. The company has a few for testing our apps, so we got to play with those. My current phone is a Nokia N80.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Computing Everywhere?

A friend of mine hates the state of computing today. He points out that it's developed by geeks for geeks, and the rest of the world has to bend to our twisted way of thinking. Really, computers should be more than just ubiquitous, they should be invisible. They should bend to the needs of humans, not the other way around.

One of the areas where this is actually making strides forward is in the area of always accessible data. As my friend would say, "Why should I have to manage three or four address books? I shouldn't! The computer, my home phone, my cell phone, and all of the apps on them should be able to get what I need from one central place where I keep that data." So true.

APIs for cross-application development and mashups are getting us closer to that kind of thing, and tools like OpenID and OAuth are also moving us in the right direction. But, what about that data thing? How can I have my data in one place?

One possibility is the advent of serious online storage solutions and wifi based file sharing through applications like *Fring. There's a blog article about just that at the Fring site called "Is Fring the missing link for mobile online storage services?". Yeah, I think that it can be.

We're still a long way from where my friend dreams, but I truly believe that we are in the midst of an evolution that is heading in that direction. One side of me says that we shouldn't be too impatient because all of these things are moving forward one step at a time, but on the other hand, it's precisely the impatience of developers and entrepreneurs that is pushing us forward in this evolution so quickly.

The next time you look at the design of an application you are working on, ask yourself: "How is this going to tie in with the computing needs of the user at home, on their smart phone, in the car... and everywhere else they are computing?" And "Can we make it work together with a single data source and invisible syncing?" Because if you can deal with those two issues now, you are going to put your app ahead of the curve and make it that much more invaluable to your end user. Which might just be yourself. (or me!) ;)

*Just so you know: I work for Fring now. :)