The new way to go cross-country

Relocating to California is something I look forward to doing again. A lot has changed since the last time I did this. Services like airbnb for short-term housing and LinkedIn for job hunting did not exist in 1999. Craigslist did, however, and it’s worth noting that is one of the few things that hasn’t changed, and I’m using it again to get rid of stuff.

This time I will be piloting alone and not having anything shipped. I’m liquidating everything that won’t fit in the car and basically restarting once I get west. A better car helps, this time it’s a 2004 Saab 9-3, vs the old ’99 VW bug. The Saab is screaming to going on a road trip and has tons of features for just that purpose.

Laptop to tablet to HD widescreen twitter feed

I try to combine the services and capabilities that my multitude of portable devices are willing to support. Here is an example:

  • install air display on Mac book Pro
  • login to twitter app w/chrome w/plugin for auto -refresh
  • use air display app to extend desktop to iPad (or iPhone or any iOS device)
  • move chrome window (slow) to iPad
  • broadcast iPad screen mirroring to Apple TV
  • Resize browser window dimensions (from laptop)
  • Watch real-time feed of twitter activity large on HD TV
  • use TV remote control to zoom in on screen
  • and some other quick settings
  • 20130806-161151.jpg

    This is what the post-pc era looks like


    This post wast created on an ipad, but it just as easily could have been created on an iPhone. Including everything from taking the photo, resizing it, and typing out the post in WordPress. All pretty easy and very portable. This is so mobile.

    Multi-tasking is Multi-taxing

    This has got to be one of the more interesting and insightful articles I’ve read concerning the emerging field of wearable computing systems. It will be very interesting to find out how these new technologies will either hamper or enhance our experiences. I can imagine already that driving with Google Glasses on might be dangerous and become illegal at some point. Don Norman, a former Apple employee, talks about this kind of thing in general, and the taxing effects of multitasking specifically. Don’t believe the hype: doing 3 things at once makes you more distracted, not more aware.

    The Paradox of Wearable Technologies
    Can wearable devices augment our activities without distracting us from the real world?

    Sundrum Arts is Moving

    After a 10 year hiatus in the Midwest, Sundrum Arts is moving West (for the second time). This journey will be swift and expensive. And fun.

    I hope to be diligent about documenting the experience here as it occurs.


    The Internet of Things is coming alive

    This is a WordPress blogpost that has triggered a LinkedIn status update of it’s contents. Basically, whenever I publish a post to, my LinkedIn is updated at the same time. This being accomplished by a new web service called If THIS, then THAT (IFTTT), which is incredibly easy to use and configure. There are literally thousands of possible uses, depending upon which services you use already (Facebook, Blogger, Instagram, DropBox, etc).

    The interaction model revolves around “recipes” which consists of “channels” and “triggers”. IF some web service does something, THEN some other web service does something too. That’s the bare bones description, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The channels are not just web services, but include email and SMS or even phone calling. It even connects to the WeMo Switch app-enabled accessory for household electronics. The Internet of Things is coming alive.

    Boot to Gecko = Firefox OS

    20120911-174844.jpgMozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox browser, has steadily been woking on it’s own mobile operating system for about a year. Things are ramping up, and I am particularly excited to know that the first devices running the new mobile OS should be arriving next year. I’m sure I’ll have the new iPhone 5 well before then, but as a champion of open web standards and protocols, I’m happy to hear about the development. One small step for Mozilla, one giant leap for the mobile web. Mozilla’s efforts on this front will go a long way to help put mobile web sites and web-apps on feature parity with natively written apps for either iOS or Android, help spur innovation in the space, and allow more entrepreneurs to begin developing app without being limited to either Google or Apple. I am all for that.

    Here’s a brief article from WSJ on an event Mozilla hosted recently regarding the newly named “Firefox OS” (which used to be “Boot to Gecko” or B2G”).

    And here’s the word from the horse’s mouth on the subject at the Mozilla blog.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how this develops, and can’t wait for mobile web sites to get access to all the same hardware features native apps do (I believe the camera API is already available. One down, many to go…)

    New technology


    This is cool shit I’ve been messing around with lately:

    • Using the iPad for designing and building websites (code & graphics)
    • Using the iPad for the above with an external keyboard case – it rocks!
    • Mirroring the ipad on the widescreen via HDMI (Google earth is so cool) – and shooting video of it
    • Digital wifi feedback by calling an iPad from iPhone via facetime

    Things I’m looking into:

    • Trying to find a way for my mom to use an old iPhone 3G – pay as you go
    • Looking into the rasperry pi (a hobby computer the size of a credit card for $25)
    • Home-made tornado (miniature version first, then scale up)
    • Lasers (with tornado)
    • Lego Robots (with tornado and lasers)

    Laptop battery part II


    Something that has occurred to me is that my battery is doing fine, but it is simply a by-product of me running everything to the hilt that is causing the decrease in capacity. I find it hard to get my work done without WiFi, Bluetooth, a bright screen, music or news playing, etc. The features that use up the most power are also those I want the most. I did perform a rudimentary test, turning off everything, and letting the machine just sit there and eventually go into sleep mode. I hadn’t started at 100% charge – but from around 80% down, it lasted for a good three hours. But the Apple website says I should get “up to seven hours of wireless web.” I think it is both true that my usage sucks up battery power, and that the battery is bad. I’ll know soon.

    The new iOS Facebook app and the “native vs. mobile web” debate

    I’ve been watching and been involved in the whole “native vs. mobile web” debate for awhile now. New developments around new APIs that will allow mobile websites to access various hardware functions of mobile devices shows great promise for the future of HTML5 and mobile websites in general (see this link from Mozilla for more information on this front).

    The announcement from Facebook that they have re-written their flagship iOS app in Objective-C appears to be re-kindling the debate about what is better: HTML5 or native apps? I think this news from Facebook will do nothing to resolve the issue for most developers, but shed more light on the where, why and when one chooses a particular technology over another.

    The speed of the app was obviously a main concern, and I can confirm that the newly-written app is much more responsive. This is good news. I don’t think, however, that their decision to back-track on HTML5 is in any way a condemnation of the language, but a realization that it still does have it’s own time and place in the development cycle. As I’m sure all developers are aware, one great advantage to building for the mobile web is to incrementally test out new ideas without the overhead of a long and complicated app submission process with Apple.

    So, it appears to me that although the move to a native app was in the best interest of both developers and users of Facebook’s mobile app, HTML5 still has it’s place in the product development cycle, and that the issue of wether one should “go native’ or “go open source” is not really relevant. The bigger issue is: can we, as developers, leverage the best technology for the most appropriate need, without having to look at it as a “one or the other” battle which somehow can only have a single, decisive victor. This isn’t boxing.

    I feel certain that many other app developers and designers will take a cue from Facebook in this regard. Some may re-prioritize their native iOS efforts, whereas others may still find that an HTML5 or mobile web solution is still in their best interest. Still, others will find that a thoughtfully executed combination of the two approaches will also yield the best results. I don’t think the issue is one, two, or three sided, but multi-faceted, and that although the debate will continue to rage, it is far from being resloved (if it ever could be).

    I am holding out somewhat for a day when mobile web-apps are on feature parity with natively written applications, and although we aren’t quite there yet, I don’t think that future is far off. That said, recent developments from Facebook point to another, more nuanced future wherein both native and mobile web practices can share responsibility for great user experiences.