Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Acrobat 9 will revolutionalize PDFs

I've always opted for Acrobat 7 to Acrobat 8 because of the latter's heaviness, until recently when I became more comfortable with it. I stumbled on a write-up recently on what Acrobat 9 is bringing our way and I became very excited. Here's an extract from the writeup

'Acrobat 9 Pro Extended has all the capabilities of Acrobat 3D version 8, but also so much more… There’s a Video-to-Flash transcoder which allows drag-and-drop of any type of multimedia format onto Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, and it’s converted to Flash video automatically. And, Adobe Presenter – a powerful add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint, is included! This technology is so cool. It allows you to add audio, video, and SWF in a PowerPoint presentation and then save it to PDF for viewing offline'

Click here for more information

Monday, June 23, 2008

del.icio.us plugin for FF3 is simply great!

I downloaded del.icio.us plugin for Firefox 3 yesterday and all I can say about it is that it's simply awesome. Why not give it a shot?
  • No more round trips to the server whenever you try to bookmark a new site
  • All your web bookmarks are imported into the browser and you have the option of exporting your browser bookmarks to the web
I haven't gone through their list of new features, but I've just stated my experience so far with the plugin.

Another great Illustrator!

Need inspiration? Neil Duerden is another great illustrator to watch out for. His designs are greatly inspiring.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sony Ericsson dazzles us with their 8.1Mega-Pixel camera

On June 17, Sony Ericsson announced the new C905 Cyber-shot phone, a slider-style mobile phone with 8.1 mega pixel camera. What really got me interested was knowing that it had 'Face Detection'. I've only seen this feature on the high-end digital cameras and not yet on a mobile phone; but it's good to know that better times are here. It's also supports the Capuchin API, enabling flash lite applications to communicate with JavaME, creating infinite possiblities. JavaME has some cool features like Bluetooth communication, access to Contacts, 3D, Web services, File Connection API and a host of other features that Flash Lite doesn't currently have and since you can create spell-bounding apps with Flash-lite, the duo are going to be a crazy combination. can't wait to lay my hands on the phone and do some development on it. Click the screenshot above to find out more or click here

FF3 Happy Birthday to you - from IE7

Firefox 3 got another cake from it's fellow friend/foe, Internet Explorer, when it was released a few days ago. Funny, don't you think? The one they got during the FF2 release is still in the refrigerator, but anyway, M$ft will keep being themselves. Click on the image above to read the full gist.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Firefox 3 finally out!

Firefox 3 was scheduled to be finally ready for download on the 17th of June, 2008. That day when I got to work, I logged on to www.mozilla.com/firefox to go and download my copy of the great browser; only to get there and find out that the Release Candidate 3 (RC 3) was still there while the full version 3 wasn't available for download then. It was until later that a colleague of mine told me that due to time differences there will be some lag in the availability of the download link on their site. But I'm happy to announce to you now that Firefox 3 is now available for download with a lot of features

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nokia N95 8GB outguns Apple iPhone 3G

Nokia has done it again with their N95 8GB outgunning the soon to be out (July 11th) Apple iPhone 3G. Though similarly capable, the iPhone was found to be less capable though it stood head-to-head with the N95 8GB, but N95 nevertheless came out victorious. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is very high-tech but has more limitations than N95. (Should soon pickup one.) Some of the restrictive features of iPhone 3G are:
  • non-removable battery, 1400mAh, replacement is via sending away to Apple
  • Very limited RAM (N95 has around 90MB of RAM after booting)
  • Limited multitasking (all apps can be runat once,if necessary;but I don't see why I'd want to do this)
  • No Flash support
  • No option for Bluetooth keyboard, at present
  • 2MP camera- no flash, no recording,fixed focus (N95 has a 5MP camera with professional lens)
  • In use, requires two hands to use most of the time, proving a little restrictive
  • No MMS support (Emailed photos are all downsampled to VGA)

Though it sure has some features that you can't find on N95,like:
  • Pouched/cased by necessity, to protect the touch-screen from damage.(N95's camera is not mechanically protected and picks up small day-to-day scratches which slightly impact photo quality)
  • Better form factor
and some other ones, but the N95 still outshines it, but lets give it to Apple to have been able come-up with a device that can stand head-to-head with one of the highest-tech devices from a phone leader (Nokia). Come to think of it, this is Apple's first time coming up with a mobile phone. What Apple has always been known for is their excellent sense of aesthetics - I hope we all agree?

You can get to read the full comparison by Steve Litchfield here

Google I/O Session Videos & Slides now available!

Google is a driver of the future, take it or leave it. In furtherance of this, to be a participant in this future that we're talking about, there's the need to be abreast with what's happening in that cloud. Google I/O Session was held recently, late last month and a number of key technologies were touched which you might be interested in checking out to see which would interest you. You can get them here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

All work and some play!

It's being quite some time since I've really taken the time out to relax with friends. The last time I did was on Dabar's birthday and he played some dirty pranks on us that day at Wonderland (Abuja). He cajoled us into riding the MOUSE and the PIRATES. God, it was such an unexplanable experience(more gist on this later). Anyway, I went out with a friend last evening to go and try out some peppered cow meat and it was great fun. Ladies are not as dulling as most guys. She adviced me to try to take some time out every now and then to unwind, rather than being on the PC all day. I'm working on that anyway. She's gonna start blogging too, soon. I'd post her URL when she does. The peppered meat kinda helped relieve me off the catarrh I was having. Thanks to you sis, you kinda made my night.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Khulsey Rocks!

This is one of the best illustrators I've ever come across in my whole life. He pays so much attention to detail. See it here. Here's a screenshot to have an idea of what I'm saying:

If Veerle could say that she feels very small, then what should people like me be saying?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Impressed with java.com

I was impressed with www.java.com's new look. That's what we've been expecting from Sun Microsystems since. We've been seeing it with the recent Java installers, displaying on screen while installing, what Java can do, so seeing it now on the Java homepage is really great. Anybody who hasn't heard of Java before (which I think is absurd) will have an idea of what people have been doing with Java or what he or she can do with it. Check out the site to see what I'm saying.

Opportunity for Female Nigerian Students

While going through Gbenga Sesan's blog today, I somehow found my way to Ore's blog and I came across an opportunity for Nigerian female students to become IT -able. You can find out more here

My take on JavaFX @ dzone.com

I came across a write-up on DZone today that asked if Java was dying, of which I just felt prompted into sharing my view about the whole issue, though I'm feeling compelled to start doing some JavaFX scripting myself. You could either go to DZone to read the write-up first here or just read my comment below:

"Java isn't dying. But we're all confused as to where Sun is taking us to with JavaFX. We hope Java wouldn't become another VB that was dumped for .NET. What I think Sun should have done is to create good tools - I mean very good tools, not built on the Netbeans of course; or extend existing tools. I'm not saying Netbeans is not good, though it's now fast, it's still not as fast as we want it to be, though it's on its way. Right now, we need tools can that accelerate the adoption of Java, so whatever it will take to get the job done would be cool. Or better still, I believe Sun has taken a good initiative, in making designers continue with the tool that they are good at and are productive in, like Photoshop and Illustrator and leave the coding side of things to developers. The demo that was showcased in the recent JavaOne conference where a designer used Photoshop to pimp up a design and then export as JavaFX Script was really cool. Sun needs to put a force behind this to ensure that almost everything you create within this tools is exported in the JavaFX script created. What I really think Sun should have done was to just make creating RIAs easier with Java probably by using the same tools - Photoshop , Illustrator and the likes - that export JavaFX script to export Java or XML that can be consumed by helper classes incorporated into the JDK. Flash is doing great stuffs in creating beautiful and stunning 3D interfaces and movies today with ActionScipt, not by creating another new language, but by building on what they have. They didn't have to create a new language that is declarative or something to be able to do 3D which it wasn't built for in the first place, but they innovated and the community created libraries like Papervision3D, FlashSandy, Away3D, WOWEngine, Tweener and a host of all others to make this possible.

Well to cut the long story short, Sun has come this far with the JavaFX publicity and can just do away with it now even if they aren't on the right path. What we need know now as Java developers is where we are headed with JavaFX, what are the stakes of we developers in this, because, a lot of Java developers are not being carried along with whats really happening and who JavaFX is for. What I don't understand is why Sun is creating a wrapper around the existing API (around Swing of course) to create RIAs, when there are still lots of improvements we are expecting in the base API provided for our use. We should take things as they appear to be and not confuse people with technology. Like someone said and I quote, most of this JavaFX craze as been seen more on Powerpoint slides than in implementation. I once tried playing around with JavaFX awhile back, say like 6 months ago or so, and wasn't impressed with it's performance at all then, though coding declaratively is great with JavaFX, but performance was really an issue then. I'd also like to make a special note of the Census benchmark carried out by James Ward (an Adobe Flex Evengelist), and also Joshua Marinacci of Sun, where Josh said the JavaFX implementation of the Bubbles demo was faster than that of Flash. I find that hard to believe becuase even when Flash is being used to fake 3D, it performs excellently well beyond what can be accomplished with JavaFX. We should be able to copy good concepts from others and build on it to move forward (sort of the Microsoft way), rather than refusing to accept the fact that some things are currently not the way they ought to be. See FlashSandy for instance, it borrowed it's Scenegraph concepts and has been doing excellently well with it.

So my suggestion to Sun, please let us know what the plans really are as regards the future direction of Swing, Java and JavaFX. Are you leaving everything you've stood for in the Java world for JavaFX or what, we'd like to know?

Then on a final note, I'm still curious as to why Hans Muller, Scott Violet and Chet Haase left Sun within a period of a year. Isn't something wrong somewhere? I'm still pondering on this. Then I'd also like to ask Amy Fowler if she actually tried disposing off the copy of the Flex Book Chet gave her. We shouldn't ignore the fact that some technologies are doing well, even if we have our own competing products. let's just accept the fact of life and improve what we have. Also, we'd love to see more real world examples of JavaFX, than we have been seeing. Most of the demos I saw in the presentation slides of the recently concluded JavaOne conference appear silly and stupid to me. We want more real world uses. The best one I've seen so far was that of the video site, - is it JavaPolis, or something - all other are just crappy demos. Also of note was the JavaFX version of Motorola's website that Chris Oliver spoke about awhile back on his blog, which performed excellently well when I ran it on my desktop back then. Flex Showcase houses more real world uses of Flex, than what we've been seeing with JavaFX. Thats my take for now on Java & JavaFX. "

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bill Gates last speech as Microsoft employee

Bill Gates delivered his final publicly scheduled speech as a full-time Microsoft employee on tuesday after 33 years of active service and oppression(Sorry to say this). But like someone said either we like it or not, he has made his mark in the software industry and has laid the initial foundation of what is happening on the desktop today. You can read more here. Learnt he also spoke about the upcoming Internet Explorer version 8 beta 2 that is due to be out in August and the next operating system after Vista (Windows 7) which will spot a touchscreen technology. What a graceful step-down.

JavaOne Online Technical Sessions now available for download

If you were unable to attend JavaOne Conference 2008, like me, and you would like to have access to the slides of the presentations given at the conference, I'm happy to tell you that you can get them here. You can navigate to the category you are interested in, from JavaME, JavaSE, JavaEE, Consumer Technologies and a host of all others. So just pick your choice or go for everything. The presentations could be used to increase your development skills by taking the plunge and getting something done after reading through the slides. You also have access to those of the previous years.

Everybody seems to be breaking out of the browser

Adobe seems to be the first to introduce this concept with Adobe AIR, then Sun Microsystems also said that very soon applets will have the capability to be pulled out of the browser and run independently without the browser, Yahoo is also doing the same with BrowserPlus. Applications are ready going to be fun to use in the next few months-years. Google also introduced Google Gears for storing data on the client system and interacting with it from the browser. So take the plunge and start thinking in the real world way - where network connections could be unavailable at some points in time, and people still have to work.

PDF Redefined

Awhile back, say some months ago (between 12-15 months I think), I came across Acrobat 3D and actually downloaded a sample just to see it work and was really impressed to see 3D models being interacted with in Acrobat. I also read about being able to embed flash movies in PDFs and have been waiting to see that happen since. It seems it's about to become a reality with Acrobat 9. I came across this write-up yesterday about it on Ajaxian. What I'm really looking forward to now is the day when I'd be able to embed flash movies and probably manipulate them in PDFs using iText, - by Bruno Iowagie - the Java library for creating and manipulating PDFs.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Good to know Adobe CS4 is almost out

I’m glad to hear that because I only have positive things to say Adobe CS3, and now that we are about to have a new version out for our use, I can barely wait. Here are some of the features we’re expecting:

For Fireworks:

  • New user interface
  • CSS-based layouts
  • PDF export
  • Live Style improvements
  • Adobe type engine
  • AIR authoring

The new Dreamweaver touts these features:

  • Live View
  • Related Files
  • Code Navigator
  • CSS best practices
  • Code hinting for Ajax and JavaScript frameworks
  • HTML data sets
  • Photoshop Smart Objects
  • Subversion integration
  • Adobe® AIR™ authoring support
  • New user interface

Very nice list of features indeed. A little more on this is available at Scott Fegette’s blog You can get to try out the beta versions by downloading them at Adobe Labs

The beta versions of Dreamweaver CS4 can be obtained here, and that of Fireworks CS4 can be obtained here. Reading through Adobe Labs today, the features that intrigued me most about Fireworks CS4 are:

  • Output your Fireworks designs to the application platform of your choice: Adobe AIR™, Flash®, Flex®, or HTML. In addition, export web standards–compliant, CSS-based layouts — complete with external style sheets — to Adobe Dreamweaver®.
  • Switch from Adobe Photoshop®, Illustrator®, and Flash — with the ease and familiarity of universal user interface design.
  • Generate high-fidelity, interactive, secure PDF documents from your Fireworks design comps for enhanced client communication.
  • Create your AIR interactive prototype directly within Fireworks, ready to be deployed to HTML and CSS, Flex, or Flash.
As regards Dreamweaver CS4, I’m excited to know that the following features are available:

  • Create multiplatform desktop applications from your Dreamweaver HTML and JavaScript sites with new Adobe AIR™ authoring support.
  • Drag and drop an Adobe Photoshop® PSD file into a Dreamweaver page to create an image Smart Object.
  • Work with popular JavaScript frameworks including jQuery, Prototype, and Spry.Hover over any property to view a tool tip with jargon-free English explanations of CSS principles. New CSS rules can be created and applied in the Property inspector panel and stored in the same document or an external style sheet.
  • View your web pages under real-world browser conditions with the new Live View in Dreamweaver — while still retaining direct access to the code. This simply means that we can now have the Aptana like functionality in Dreamweaver instead of viewing pages in an editable-like mode, we get to experience it fully as we would in the browser. This is one of the main reasons why I use Aptana, which is a great developer’s tool.