Over 40 years, has Software Gotten Better or Worse?
July 13th, 2015
Is software getting better or worse? Some say we are making software ever more bloated. Some say we don’t care about quality anymore; that worse is better. Some say we haven’t changed how we write software in 40 years. It's still ASCII text on disk. (Yes that would be me, saying that). Certainly our programming languages haven’t improved. We still write billions of lines in glorified C code!
Samsung Should be Broken Up, I Have the Evidence
April 1st, 2015
As part of my research at Nokia I often test and analyze products from other companies. This gives us an awareness of the state of the industry, and helps us to focus our efforts. This week my target was the Samsung Gear S smartwatch. As of yet I have been unable to actually test it. This is my story. And the story of why Samsung should be broken up into smaller companies that can actually make good products.
Why You *Can* Build a Smartphone.
January 21st, 2015
In what was by far my most popular post of 2013, Why You Can’t Build A Smartphone, I explained why building a new smartphone platform was futile. Today, like any good author, I’m going completely contradict myself. Yes, it is possible to create a new smartphone platform. You just have to follow a few constraints.
Ideal OS Part III: User Attention Is Sacred
January 14th, 2015
In the first two (1, 2 ) installments of this essay I covered overall system design, the window manager, and applications. I talked about how the user will communicate with the system, but I haven’t discussed much about how the system communicates back to the user. This brings us to the next big problem of today’s operating systems: notifications and concentration.
How Microsoft can fix Windows. They have the Technology.
September 30th, 2014
Note: I’m a research at Nokia but this blog does not represent my employer. I didn’t move to Microsoft and I’ve never been on the Windows Phone team. These ill considered opinions are my own.
Where's The Data?
April 29th, 2014
The Web is amazing for answering questions. Suppose you want to answer a question like, "what does the .JPG file extension mean", then the answer is just an internet search away. Millions of answers. However, if you stray from the common path just a tiny bit things get hairy. What if you want to get a list of all file extensions? This is harder to find. Occasionally you might find a PDF listing them, but if you are asking for all file extensions then you probably want to do something with that list. This means you want the list in some computable form. A database or at least a JSON file. Now you are in the world of ‘public’ data. You are in a world of pain.
Why You Can't Build a Smartphone
December 2nd, 2013
Every day or so I read another blog post (or ranting comments) about how BlackBerry could be rehabilitated, or how Nokia could restart Maemo and build the ultimate smartphone again. Things came to a head after Jolla announced their first phone for sale. Surely this phone with an amazing user interface will vindicate the N9?! Amazing technology plus a killer UI? Marketshare is theirs for the taking!
Improved Easing Functions
March 1st, 2013
Animation is just moving something over time. The rate at which the something moves is defined by a function called an easing equation or interpolation function. It is these equations which make something move slowly at the start and speed up, or slow down near the end. These equations give animation a more life like feel. The most common set of easing equations come from Robert Penner's book and webpage.
webOS, the OS built from the web
April 15th, 2010
There's been a ton of talk lately about several mobile operating systems and their problems, such as language restrictions, fragmentation, and anti-competitive practices. It's never a good idea to talk bad about your competition, so I'll take this opportunity to simply say a few things about the webOS (the OS that powers Palm's Pre and Pixi phones) that you might not know.
Why do Alarm Clocks Suck?
March 8th, 2010
It's been a month since I posted so I'd say it's time for a rant. I've been traveling a lot lately so the object of my wrath this week is alarm clocks. Most specifically the alarm clocks in hotel rooms, but home use clocks don't get off easy either.
The Success of MultiTouch is a Lie
November 27th, 2009
Listening to some podcasts about mobile devices I heard over and over statements like "iPhone changed the world with multi-touch" and "Android could compete with Apple if it had multi-touch." This simply isn't true. Okay, while perhaps not a lie, the success and value of of multitouch is extremely overrated. In fact, the iPhone barely uses multi-touch!
In Defense of Wires
October 19th, 2009
An essay in which I expound upon the benefits of the lowly wire and resist the temptation to wireless-ize the world of personal gadetry.