November 5, 2014

It's Been A While

It's been about 2 years since I last published on this blog. Blogging is hard, I found that out when I started a tech blog and only published twice––lesson learned :) This is an attempt to make a comeback to blogging––every now and then. I've recently had a resurgence of getting knee deep in the tech scene again, and there have been a lot of thoughts roaming through my mind that I'd like to get out and convey through a medium like this. 

I hope this will last this time around.

October 15, 2012

Wisdom from Kobe

Leadership is responsibility.
There comes a point when one must make a decision. Are YOU willing to do what it takes to push the right buttons to elevate those around you? If the answer is YES, are you willing to push the right buttons even if it means being perceived as the villain? Here's where the true responsibility of being a leader lies. Sometimes you must prioritize the success of the team ahead of how your own image is perceived. The ability to elevate those around you is more than simply sharing the ball or making teammates feel a certain level of comfort. It's pushing them to find their inner beast, even if they end up resenting you for it at the time.

I'd rather be perceived as a winner than a good teammate. I wish they both went hand in hand all the time but that's just not reality. I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.

This is my way. It might not be right for YOU but all I can do is share my thoughts. It’s on YOU to figure out which leadership style suits you best.

Will check back in with you soon.. Till then
Mamba out

I couldn't resist publishing this gem on here from the mamba himself. There's so much one can learn from this post.

October 3, 2012

Safari, It lasted

I published this post last month and I outlined some reasons why I felt Safari would not remain my browser of choice going forward. Well, I was wrong––It's been my preferred browser ever since I wrote that post, and I've surprised myself on just how dependent I've become on Safari.

One of the reasons I provided for thinking I would not stick with Safari was due to the large chunks of system memory it was eating away, inexplicably. But I upgraded my RAM to that of an 8GB, so the GB of memory Safari is consuming is not too bad now.
I do occasionally use Chrome when I'm hacking something on one of my websites and prefer to see how the end results look in another browser besides Safari. It still sits in my dock, albeit, I've decided to use the Chrome Canary (development build) as my default to take advantage of the beta features Google decides to preview before it's released on the stable build. The peace of mind Safari has given me has been unmatched by Google's Chrome browser. Most notably, I don't get the persistent and annoying, shockwave flash has crashed error. One of the main reasons I held back on switching from Chrome to Safari was because of Google's gigantic library of browser extensions and apps. My main ones being: Google's Dictionary, Adblock, Evernote web clipper, Clearly, GMail checker and Google Voice. 

Chrome also has this extension where you just double-click on a word and it's definition shows up, without having to select "lookup"like you would do in Safari. I presume there's an Automator task to get this done, I just haven't found the time to research. Any help? The Evernote web clipper and Adblock extensions are available for Apple's Safari, and I'd say I use those two extensions about 70% of my time browsing the web. Adblock is a very cool extension that blocks any ad on a webpage. Facebook hasn't looked cleaner! The Reader button in Safari performs the same (but better) function as the Clearly browser extension, which is used to strip down webpages so only the needed content is seen--void of any ads or sidebar plugins. I really could not live without this feature since I do lot of reading on the web. Yes, I know Instapaper solves this problem, but sometimes saving a webpage and opening up another app to read is just a long process. Hitting the Reader option in Safari to transform the page to just text is a WIN.

Mountain Lion also came with iCloud tabs, and it engulfs Chrome's tabbed syncing from my point of view. iCloud tabs just seems to work better for me since I use Safari as my default browser on the Mac, iPad and iPhone. It gives me that unified symbiotic experience across all my devices, and that works well for me.

Sent from Ed's iPhone

September 29, 2012

How Google Made a god King Bleed

By now most of you have all heard about the inaccuracies in Apple's new iOS Maps it released last week. After spending sometime searching for locations and using the much requested turn-by-turn navigation, I thought I'd share my thoughts and experiences on Apple's flagship feature in iOS 6--Maps.
The following events occurred about a week ago after I had been using iOS 6 for a little over 24 hours. I was on the phone with a friend having a conversation, and during which I asked her to get me some KFC from wherever she was. She said she was driving around Springfield, VA. And that if I could look up the nearest KFC around there she'd be happy to deliver it to me. So I grabbed my iPad and launched the new Maps. Woo-hoo! This would be my first test of putting the new Maps through real world scenarios--I was psyched. After entering the search phrase: "KFC near Springfield, VA" it returned the below image.

The nearest KFC was on Kingstowne Ctr according to the app, but when I relayed that information to her she said she was nowhere near that location, and that couldn't I find something around Backlick Rd––which was the street she happened to be on. I re-did the search thinking it would return a different result––same image as above. So I told her to forget it.

September 8, 2012

"The Best Tablet at Any Price"

With Amazon releasing it's new line of Kindle tablets this week, the comparisons with the market leader iPad have emerged once again. Spec-for-spec, price-for-price, etc. Let's undress The Kindle Fire HD for a bit and see what it's packing. The Kindle Fire HD comes in two models: The 7" & 8.9" versions. Since the 8.9" is the closest to the iPad in terms of size I'll use that in my analysis.

Coming right off the bat the 16 GB Kindle Fire HD comes in at $299, whereas the 16 GB iPad starts at $499––That's a significant $200 price difference. But is it really about price? I'm not going to compare feature for feature with the iPad because I believe it all comes down to the overall experience of the device (and that includes software). But here are the standouts anyway, the Kindle Fire HD comes with a 1920x1200 HD display, a 1.5Ghz dual core processor, a dual band Wi-Fi antenna (faster speeds), and an HD front-facing camera. Shockingly, it doesn't come with a rear-end camera. Say what you want about people looking stupid when taking photos with their iPads, or not using their iPad as the primary photo/video capturing tool. But watching the Olympics, I could count a decent amount of folks using their iPads to shoot Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt breaking records. And what if you have to capture that special moment for example, of your baby taking her first steps, and all your have is your iPad? I think a rear facing camera on a tablet is good to have, just-in-case. 

August 22, 2012

Breaking Things, But Moving Slow

Nick Bilton has published a good read about how Facebook's actions--or in actions, have gone against some of the things Mark Zuckerberg's famous "Hacker Way" letter said when  Facebook filed for it's IPO. Bilton gives a great gist what it entails so I'm not going to rehash. I am rather going to focus on Facebook's pathetic iPhone app as going against all things in the hacker way.
The article also echoed some thoughts I've had, and been having about Facebook recently. 
One of the hacker ways Mark talked about was, "move fast and break things".
Well, they've surely been breaking things but not as a result of moving fast. (And moving fast here means iterating and shipping new releases).

First and foremost Facebook sucks at mobile. Period. There's no sugarcoating that. It's hard to think that with all the talk about them focusing on mobile, the desktop Facebook experience still trumps and annihilates that of the mobile app experience--Five years into the iPhone's existence. Sad.

August 20, 2012

The New iPhone Should Not Look like This

The imminent release of the iPhone 5 (New iPhone) has caused the usual over-the-radar hype of what Apple's new flagship device might look like. Some sites have even gone the length of drawing mockups, based of videos of parts of the iPhone that have been floating around the web. Unfortunately, looking at the mockups and watching the videos didn't really exude that wow factor I've become accustomed to with Apple products. If this is what the new iPhone will look 3 weeks from now, then I'm afraid saying that I'm disappointed would be an understatement. The "new" iPhone more or less looks the same compared to the iPhone 4/4S, the big difference between it's predecessor is the new 4" inch display which makes it taller and would allow for a 5th row of app icons, a smaller dock connector which would really screw up any existing dock connectors and peripherals you have, a headphone jack relocated from the top to the bottom of the phone. And most notably, the aluminum back which gives the phone a two-tone feel which I'm not totally fond of.

In terms of hardware design that's pretty much it. Similar designs from 4, 4S and now 5.

This year marks the 5th anniversary since the iPhone was released, and the change from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 4 offered the most radical of design changes. It set the standard for phone designs on the market. I know a phone can only come in a rectangular-shaped form, but I would expect the New iPhone to set the same standard as the original iPhone did--in terms of both design and functionality. Maintaining the same look of the device to propel it into the next five years doesn't really spell standard-setting, and it's somewhat disappointing from a passionate iPhone user such as myself. 

I showed this mockup to a female friend, and she quickly said she didn't want a larger size screen or taller iPhone--I agree with her. I feel the 3.5" diagonal is perfect for a mobile device. Anything bigger and i can use my iPad. Not to mention the rumors of an iPad mini which will reportedly have a 7.85 display. Is it really necessary for Apple to fill up every screen size criteria on the market? I'm not sure whether it's users are complaining, but I'm totally fine with the screen real-estate across all my iOS devices. 

I'm not too bothered about the relocation of headphone jack, albeit it may take a while to break the habit.

I for one am really excited for iOS6 to be released. I feel the software experience takes precedence over the hardware design--even though it enhances it. I love my iPhone 4S. It's a sexy device that couldn't be designed any better. It feels right in the hand and I have no trouble reaching the icons on my screen with just one one hand. If indeed the new iPhone will look like this, I would be scared to think that Apple had lost it's innovative design touch.
Again this is all speculation and conjecture. I honestly believe Apple just threw these websites a fake bone so they could help build up the hype for the next iPhone. I remember seeing images like this when Apple was set to release the iPhone 4S. The same hype emerged last year from the blogosphere, each website claiming to have reliable resources of released parts, and each releasing mockups (and sometimes blurry images) of what the new device might look like. When Phil Schiller finally released the the image of the iPhone 4S, all the websites and bloggers were embarrassingly wrong. This may be history repeating itself, and I've learned not to go by what the blogosphere predicts when it comes to iPhone designs. September 12th is just 3 weeks away, and I prefer to hold me breath until then.

Sent with Writer, from Ed's iPad