Unbuffering the Buffered
May 14th, 2015
I've been writing unix-ish code for more than two decades (crap, I'm old!) but last week I discovered something I'd never used before, the stdbuf command. It solves (well, works around) one of my longstanding problems working with command line programs: buffering.
The Wiring of Humanity
May 5th, 2015
Today I received my Apple Watch. Compared to the three Android Wear watches and a few fitness sensors, I can safely say it’s the first smart watch that merely sucks instead of being truly horrible. All of these devices will continue to get better and better, longer battery life, simplified UI, etc. Soon we won’t know how we lived without them. But that’s not important right now. What’s important is when we look back in history we will say 2015 is the day we started to wire up humanity.
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.
Predicting the future is hard
March 21st, 2015
Smartwatches are coming. By Christmas they will be everywhere. And we won't know how we ever lived without them. Or so we are told to believe. But if you were a company making a smartwatch, how would you know what features to build? How would you know which features will fit the "something people didn't know they wanted" category? You have to predict the future. Turns out, that's hard.
Smart Watches: The Best Interaction is No Interaction
March 13th, 2015
Note: The first half of this post was written before the Apple Watch event and the second half after. I wanted to capture my thoughts before they were polluted by endless "reviewers" proclaiming the genius/delusion of Tim Cook. I almost didn’t want to write this because I knew my conclusion would be that you can’t review any technology this personal without using it for a while, and here I am reviewing a device I haven’t personally used. That said, I think this represents more of my thoughts on the category rather than Apple Watch in particular, a category that is going to bigger than we expect. So... here goes.
ThreeJS Cookbook Review
February 28th, 2015
Among the too many things I’ve done recently, I was a tech reviewer for a new WebGL book from Packt author Jos Dirksen called the Three.js Cookbook.
February 27th, 2015
I've done a major refactoring which will make Amino easier to install, easier to maintain and, eventually, better performance and portability. Part of this work involved moving the platform specific parts to their own node modules. This means you should no longer install aminogfx directly. Instead, install the appropriate platform specific module. Currently there is one for GL and one for Canvas. I've also added stage transparency support to Raspberry Pi!
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.
Ideal OS Part II: The User Interface
January 10th, 2015
In the future touch interfaces will take over most computing tasks but 10% of people will still need ‘full general purpose computers’. We can’t let the interface stagnate. This white paper represents a decade of my thinking on what is wrong with desktop style operating systems (WIMP) style and proposed solutions. PCs are not obsolete. They just need improvements to become ‘workstations’ again.
Ideal OS: An Epic Tale of Irrationality
January 8th, 2015
Note: Parts II and III are up now.
Getting Started with NodeJS and Thrust
December 16th, 2014
Beautiful Lego 2: Dark
December 13th, 2014
The follow up to last year’s Beautiful Lego, Mike Doyle brings us back for more of the best Lego models from around the world. This time the theme is Dark. As the book explains it: “destructive objects, like warships and mecha, and dangerous and creepy animals… dark fantasies of dragons and zombies and spooks” I like the concept of a theme as it helps focus the book. The theme of Dark was stretched a bit to include banks and cigarettes, and vocaloids (mechanical japanese pop-stars), but it’s still 300+ gorgeous pages of the world’s best Lego art. Beautiful Lego 2 is filled to the brim with Zerg like insect hordes, a lot of Krakens, and some of the cutest mechs you’ve ever seen.
Amino: Now with 33% less C++
November 18th, 2014
My hatred of C and C++ is world renown, or at least it should be. It's not that I hate the languages themselves, but the ancient build chain. A hack of compilers and #defines that have to be modified for every platform. Oh, and segfaults and memory leaks. The usual. Unfortunately, if you want to write fast graphics code you're pretty much going to be stuck with C or C++, and that's where Amino comes in.
Thoughts on APL and Program Notation
October 23rd, 2014
A post about Arthur Whitney and kOS made the rounds a few days ago. It concerns a text editor Arthur made with four lines of K code, and a complete operating system he’s working on. These were all built in K, a vector oriented programming language derived from APL. This reminded me that I really need to look at APL after all of the language ranting I’ve done recently.
Electron 0.4 beta 3
October 20th, 2014
I am unhappy to announce the release of Electron 0.4 beta 3.
October 15th, 2014
I have a problem. Sometimes I get something into my head and it sticks there, taunting me, until I do something about it. Much like the stupid song stuck in your brain, you must play the song to be released from it's grasp. So it is with software.
Typographic Programming Wrapup
October 6th, 2014
I need to move on to other projects so I’m wrapping up the rest of my ideas in this blog. Gotta get it outta my brainz first.
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.