Harshdeep 2.0

December 31, 2006

Textonyms

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 4:12 pm

Can you figure out what’s common in the following sets of words?

On, no
Me, of
Good, home
Kiss, lips

You have most probably used the predictive text feature on your mobile phone to reduce the number of keystrokes as you type a long SMS. But one sequence of keys may correspond to multiple words, and these words are called Textonyms.That’s +1 for your vocabulary. Have a wonderful new year! May you be showered with more useful information 🙂

December 23, 2006

Fauxto – online image editor with Photoshop-like UI

Filed under: Web 2.0 — harshdeep @ 8:40 pm

Online image editors are a good case study of how Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are evolving. It started with pxn8 that lets you do some basic operations on your images, including some filters. Then came pixoh, now called snipshot, that has even more limited functionality but you can move the image around on your screen as you can do in a desktop application.

And now comes Fauxto, with a UI unabashedly similar to Photoshop. It is built in Flex.

The functionality is ofcourse nowhere close to Photoshop. But one big advancement over other online image editors is the concept of layers

I frequently felt the need of Undo/redo while playing around with it. It seems to be the highest priority feature in their list. Number of filters is still limited.

It would be very interesting if they can come up with an API of sorts to let other developers write filters for them. They have a good platform and involving developers is always a good idea – they form a community around your platform and add extensions that you would’ve never thought of, or would’ve never found the time to implement.

Fauxto is still “way in beta” and sure there are bugs. Like if you apply Free Transform on a layer and move it, the layer goes blank. I’m sure they are working on it.
Among other things, it’s a proof-of-concept of the possibility for an RIA to have a UI similar to a desktop application.

December 19, 2006

Tech Comics

Filed under: Cartoons, Comics — harshdeep @ 8:56 am

The popularity of a comics depends more on how people can relate to it than on just the humor part. I think that explains why, for example, Dilbert is so popular.

I discovered a couple of tech-themed comics recently. They are pretty good. Here is a sampler –

 OK/Cancel

xkcd

December 12, 2006

Integrated GPS on Nokia phones

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 7:27 pm

I officially stopped programming for mobile devices, Symbian in particular, over an year ago. Since Nokia is the strongest proponent of Symbian, the single biggest factor for Symbian’s popularity, I used to keep an eye on everything that it was doing at that time.

But recently, I think I’ve started losing touch. I missed an important announcement by Nokia. It’s next N-Series phone, N95, will have integrated GPS. This is a big step. I strongly believe that GPS is going to be as ubiquitous on phones as cameras are today.

Now, I know this is not a first. HP iPaqs have had GPS for ages, not to mention phones from Mitac, Garmin, Motorola and a whole lot of bluetooth-based standalone GPS receivers. But the number of such phones sold is still limited. Nokia, being the biggest phone company, has the potential to push GPS phones to a much larger set of consumers. And since it’s going to be on Symbian, developers will have a platform with large enough user base to develop location aware applications for.

A lot of location-based services need a critical mass of consumers owning such devices for them to catch on, for example, location-based blogging. I think this is the right step forward from Nokia, and should actually have been taken much earlier. But all is not rosy. N95 is priced at $799. For GPS to catch on for purposes other than navigation, it has to be available on lower range cell phones. I’m sure Nokia is at it.

December 1, 2006

Line Rider

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 2:28 pm

Recently I discovered the Line Rider. It’s a flash toy (not a game, as the author says, as there is nothing to achieve). It is deceptively simple – you just draw some lines with a pencil and hit play. The Line Rider then sets off on this path on his bicycle. However, he is not a good cyclist and falls off his bike at the slightest unnatural bump in the terrain.

Lots of people have taken the Line Rider’s driving skills as a challenge, painstakingly creating more and more complex terrains that he can drive on. After killing him a few dozen times in as many different ways, I can imagine how hard it is.

Here is one example:

A search on Youtube shows a lot of other results.

Line Rider has all ready been downloaded over a million times. It is amazing how one person can capture the imagination of so many people with a simple idea.

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