Monday, April 14, 2008

Tetris the movie

Finally! What took them so long?

btw: before you get overly excited - it's fake.
btw2: where did I leave that Gameboy?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The future of mobile computing smells of fruity devices

Ever since WAP came around in 1999 or so I was very interested in mobile (networked) computing. From my perspective the basic ideas around WAP were not so bad - it was an open network, really. But unfortunately, the devices and the networks at the time made the user experience absolutely horrifying. Still, I would call this period the first era in mobile computing (for me, the image that symbolizes this period best is the Nokia 7110, which was Nokia's first real WAP phone, see left). So along came the next era which is best symbolized by Vodafone Life. It is all about operators' walled gardens. Obviously, that approach improved the user experience, especially because content and menus were partly stored on the device. But the big drawback was the closed nature of this approach. It resembled AOL on phones.

Since two weeks I do own a shiny new iPhone and I am convinced that this device marks the beginning of a new age in mobile computing. It combines access to the open Internet and a really good user experience. For the first time IMO the whole Internet is really in my hands wherever I go. Point in case: I switched my morning news browsing at home over to my iPhone (instead of my laptop).

Sure, there were other Internet capable devices before but they were way too cumbersome to use (smartphones) or too narrow in scope (Blackberry, Nokia 770).

I am sure that the iPhone is only the start and that other manufacturers will come up with similar devices (yesterday news broke of Nokia working on an iPhone clone). In this new age of mobile computing a power shift will take place, I believe. In the last era the operators ruled - you could not start a service or do anything useful, really, without their blessing. The next era will be ruled by the device manufacturers. It will be all about devices. That is why Android's potential success or failure is completely undetermined, yet. The software stack might be OK, but we have to see the devices, first.

Camtasia rocks

I cannot remember the last time where I advocated a PC program, but I simply have to say: Tech Smith's Camtasia, the screencast recording and editing program, is incredibly good. It does everything I could think of in a screencast recorder, yet the UI is very easy to use. It's clearly the best desktop application I looked at in a while.

The killer feature, of course, is "smart focus". In post recording phase Camtasia automatically figures out what is of interest on the screen and zooms in. See here for a cast I created with Camtasia.

It should also be said that it comes at a price (300USD), but there is also a 30 day trial version that does not cripple the produced screencasts in any way (btw: I bought it). Kudos to the Tech Smith.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Cool stuff: Day's JCR Cup 2008

Mate, looking for a new MacBook Pro? Well, just hack a little JCR-based web app. Day has just announced the JCR Cup 2008, a JCR development competition. I will not be able to enter (I'm on the jury), but I reckon I'll write some examples just for the fun of it. Subscribe to if you're interested.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

TheServerSide symposium

One take-away message from the TheServerSide symposium for me was(*): multi-language development is considered to be an important change in the future. In particular, DSL are hip at the moment, but some people think that in the future there will be many languages that we develop in at the same time.

I only partly agree with that. Looking back in history there always was a dominant programming language in each of the computing decades we saw so far: Mainframes had Cobol, Client-Server had C/C++, the Internet had Java. Right now, there is all this talk about Ruby, Python, ActionScript, Javascript, Scala, you name it. I think that we are in a post-Java language confusion that exists mainly because the next big decade in computing has not started, yet. Once it starts some new computing language will become the dominant player again. It will dominate because it will be the most versatile language for that computing environment. Probably, it will also have a big company behind it (see history above: IBM, Microsoft, Sun/IBM plus Google in a way).

If I knew what the next big thing was I had better things to do than writing blog posts. But my guess is that it will be something around small connected devices. We might look back and say that the Blackberry and the iPhone were early signs. If that turns out to be true than this new language will have a portable runtime, be small in size and extensible. I also guess that it will be open source from the start.

(*) the others were: Spring is as fat as J2EE and SOAP is so dead that even its proponents stopped defending it.

Update: just saw that TSS has an April's Fool post along these lines