The main attraction of the smartphone systems available in the market is the ability of users to install applications. The ability of users to install applications on their phones is essentially what makes smarphones “smart”. The range of applications available is quite wide and they number in the tens of thousands to the millions. Continue reading
Three months ago, I was at the end of a two-year contract with my service provider, Vodafone. I took the opportunity to immediately look at available phones in the market and the kinds of deals network providers were promoting. Continue reading
Since its 2.5 update, Blender has been the go to 3D software for a lot of people. Its updated interface has brought it closer to being user-friendly, especially compared to the version I began learning on, 2.49. Even though there are still some rough edges, it is now a lot more palatable for people beginning their 3D modelling and animation journey. Continue reading
A recent article from Ars Technica points to a situation in which a developer contracted by an agency developed an IOS app for a commercial client using the Titanium tool. It seems that the sales team from Appcelerator contacted not only the agency concerned, but also the client, demanding a payment of £ 5,000 or the app will be taken down for intelectual property infringement. Continue reading
I have just recently noticed that some folders in Snow Leopard just refuse to be compressed using the “compress [folder name]” command (available under the right-click menu). For the life of me, I could not get the folders to finish compressing, with the symptoms including the famous “5 seconds remaining” progress bar status and the progress bar quickly jumping to about 90% and then just hanging there forever. I once left my Macbook Pro to compress a folder overnight (around 8 hours) and it was just stuck on “5 seconds remaining” status.
Initially I managed to avoid this issue by using utilities based on the 7zip compression, although it is less than ideal, since most of them want you to pay before they let you create archives other than the 7zip format or .7z. After a while I was getting fed up with having to skirt around the issue and decided to investigate and guess what, the culprit is the usual dot files. If you have taken the folder to a Windows machine, say from a USB stick, then brought the folder back to OS X, then you are likely to encounter this issue.
The fix is quite simple. Just bring up the terminal.app (applications > utilities > terminal.app) and type “dot_clean” then drag the errant folder into the terminal window and terminal should display “dot_clean” followed by the path to your folder. Press enter and voila! You should now be able to compress your folder from the option click menu and it will finish. I have not yet encountered this bug in Lion, but who knows, it might be lurking in there somewhere.
Although it’s not my main occupation, I have dabbled in front-end development for sometime. I have enjoyed working with new front-end techniques, such as those provided by features included in the HTML5 and CSS3 specification. Compared to the way things were 10 years ago, these features look like designers’ dreams. They greatly simplify the development of front-end interfaces that are not only easy on the eyes, they are also more mobile-friendly with some great features added for accessibility.
However, I am beginning to see a trend with front-end designers trying to apply too rigid a control on their designs, resulting in the loss of accessibility for the end users. While it might be fine for twenty-something designers to use 8pt text to render a whole article in a web page and then disable zooming so that their layout can “look good”, it is not fine for everyone, especially those over the age of 40.
When smartphone browsers (starting with mobile Safari) implemented a “pinch to zoom” feature to allow people to view web pages with larger text (which is then reflowed), I thought that this was the beginning of an accessibility trend which would allow people to view hard to read text a little bit closer. However, it seems that a lot of designers responded to this by disabling the end users’ ability to zoom the viewport, supposedly to maintain the layout. While I understand that need to maintain a layout, I don’t think that sacrificing usability is the answer, In the end, the content that is supposed to be delivered to the end user does not get the message through, because the layout might “break” if the user zooms the page in. This is why I have enabled the “force zoom” feature in my Chrome for Android browser, so that at least I might have a chance to read what’s on the page, rather than looking at a pretty layout and not being able to read the article.
There have been lots of talks in the media about the recent Flashback infection affecting Macs. At the last read, there were reportedly over 600,000 OS X machines infected with this malware. While it maybe useful to wait for a fix from Apple (they only said something about this malware the other day, weeks after it has been known to infect machines in the wild), Apple is not known to be very open about security issues, especially concerning IOS or Mac OS X.
Fortunately, there is one easy way this malware can be stopped, and that is by disabling Java in all your browsers. This should not affect your browsing experience, unless you specifically have to run Java Applets in your browser for some strange reason. I recommend you disable Java in Safari, Chrome and Firefox. Don’t hesitate.
While you’re at it, you should also update Flash Player. To be safe, go to adobe.com to download it.
Despite all the hype about the breaching of Mac OS X security in the media, it pays to remember that this is not the first time it has happened. There have been many Flash Player and Java bugs in the past.
What is new here is that the bugs in Java has been exploited to carry out a silent install of the malware. This exploit has been so successful that it is estimated that up to 500,000 Apple machines have been infected so far.
When I first tried Linux, it was back quite a few years ago and at that time, most people who were developing software was running Windows. I was testing a Red Hat distro on a spare box which was a Pentium II 400Mhz machine with 128MB of RAM, just to find out what the fuss with Linux was about.
Since the server was a headless box, I needed a terminal client on Windows and the best one at that time and I believe it still is now, is Putty by Simon Tatham. It is really a Swiss-army knife for managing a Linux/Unix server box since it supports quite a lot of very handy functionalities.
Twitter’s latest addition to its feature list is its ability to censor tweets that run afoul of a country’s restrictions on speech. Why is this being touted as a feature? To answer this question, one must look at the wider implication this new feature might bring.
This is certainly a great news for so-called “regulators” in countries that are still controlled by military regimes and those who are opposed to free speech. Although Twitter only mentioned countries such as Germany and France, featuring laws prohibiting pro-nazi speech, the feature will be warmly welcomed by many other regimes around the world. While stopping pro-nazi hate speech might be a worthwile feature in the social network, the feature certainly has other uses, just like anti hate speech laws could be used against people advocating social change.
The changes in Twitter is clearly a move to appease speech regulators around the world, which once again poses the question of public needs vs private ownership of networks such as Twitter.