Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to import phone contacts in Nokia Emulator for use with Java ME

Got stuck today while trying to load phone contacts in the Nokia emulator while testing out some new apps I'm working on.

For JavaME SDK 3.0, you can simply save various contacts in *.vcf format in the directory /runtimes/cldc-hi-javafx/appdb/PIM/contacts/Contacts and have it work as expected when loading contacts with PIM, but in the case of Nokia SDKs, it's a different story entirely. I tried writing to PIM, then load the contacts thereafter, but on each relaunch of the app, the contacts previously written have to be rewritten before they can be used again besides the nagging permission prompts for each write.

After taking some much needed break from testing and debugging, I eventually found the way out. To make contacts persistent in the Nokia Emulator, simply start the emulator, and wait for it to be fully loaded; then go to the menu File -> Open, select Save after loading the contact and then load the *.vcf file(s). Once you've done that, you can proceed to loading the previously saved contact(s) with JSR-75.

Here's a sample VCARD you can test with or edit to taste:

fn:David Baldacci
n:Baldacci; David;; 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Infographic: The Rise of the New Economy

VisionMobile has just published a new Infographic that presents the most popular mobile platforms for developers (and how they’ve gained or lost mindshare in the past year) among other insights.

Android and iOS continue to be the most popular platforms, with a Mindshare Index of 76% and 66% respectively, while mobile web takes third place. You’ll also find the most popular screens that developers are currently targeting. Some 85% of developers today are targeting smartphones and 51% are targeting tablets – but, despite the hype, just around 8% of them target the TV screen.

The infographic also presents some sad truths about developer monetization – and how 1 in 3 developers are living below the “app poverty line”, uncovers which are the most cost-heavy platforms to develop on on and takes a look at the supply vs. demand of apps at a regional level.

Developer Economics 2012 - The Rise of the New App Economy

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Infographic on Code Wars: PHP vs Ruby vs Python - Who Reigns Supreme?

Udemy just released an infographic on the war between the world's most popular programming languages: PHP, Ruby & Python. What’s easier and faster to use is not always the best option. But really, who do you think reigns supreme? You may be surprised.

Source: Udemy Blog

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Most Sought-After Silicon Valley Startups for Engineers

On LinkedIn's blog today is a post about the top 10 most sought-after engineering startups in Silicon Valley. And no, Facebook and Google didn't make the cut because this was a list of companies with fewer than 500 employees. (Pinterest was number 6.) To compile the list, the company looked at nearly a quarter million engineer profiles on its service and tracked where they were searching for jobs.

Four of the top 10 spots go to companies that are heavily involved in Big Data: ClouderaPalantir TechnologiesHortonworks and Splunk. Two others, Arista Networks and Nicira, are doing new things with networking and virtualization infrastructure. And then there are Box.netPinterest andSquare, the mobile payment processor. Most of the companies are clustered in the Santa Clara area, with a few located in San Francisco.

LinkedIn did its analysis by tracking people "visiting profiles of employees looking for common connections, checking out LinkedIn Company Pages, and following companies using the LinkedIn Company Follow button." There aren't many surprises here; these are some of the hottest, best-known new companies in the Valley.

Source: Read Write Web

Samsung Smart App Challenge 2012

The contest offers $4.08 million in cash prizes and mega marketing support for app promotion to the top 80 apps including 60 Samsung Apps Super Apps and 20 Best S Pen Apps featuring the most creative GALAXY Note Stylus Pen (S Pen) functions.

Track Winners Judging Criteria SDK & Tools
Samsung Apps
Super Apps
GALAXY Tab/Note App
Game 30
Non-Game 30
Highest download counts
(Consumer Judging)
Highest download counts on Samsung Apps

Downloads counts per device group, OS version for Single App will be added up. (Identification criteria : App ID = ‘Package Name’)
Application should be built using Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) or a higher version.

No language restriction on application
Best S Pen Apps
with S Pen functionality
20 Basis of Review(Panel Judging)
Entries will be scored on the creativity and originality among the apps featuring S Pen functionality enabled by Samsung S Pen SDK
Application should be built using Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or a higher version.

Developers must use the Samsung S Pen SDK library to integrates S Pen functionality.

The application language must be English.
(Application can support multiple languages including English.)
You can find out more about the challenge here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nigerian Dailies now available

Nigerian Dailies has just been published in Ovi/Nokia Store right now. Nigerian Dailies brings fresh news from your favorite Nigerian newspapers to your mobile devices daily. The current release is only for Series 40 Nokia devices. Watch out for a release for other devices in the next few weeks.

Meet Anontune: The New Social Music Platform From Anonymous

In a move sure to attract attention from the music industry, a small group of coders claiming to be part of Anonymous is putting together a social music platform. The rather ambitious goal: Create a service that seamlessly pulls up songs streaming from all around the internet.

The project, called Anontune and still in its infancy, is designed to pull songs from third-party sources like YouTube and let anonymous users put them into playlists and share them — while keeping the service from being shut down by music industry lawsuits.

via Wired

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Infographic: The Timeline - From Zero to a Billion in 17 months of exposure

Here is an infographic that shows the rise and eventual acquisition of Instagram through photos similar to Instagrams, such that the photos speaks for itself. You like?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Infographic: How the App Stores "Really" Stack Up

The infographic below breaks down the "reality" of the native app stores. But I still wonder why the infographic seems to be selling Blackberry to the viewers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bluestacks’ beta lets you run almost any of the over 450,000 Android app on Windows

Bluestack was the recipient of the prestigious Best Software award at CES 2012. BlueStacks allows Android apps and games to be enjoyed full-screen on a desktop PC. The company today has released a free beta version of its software, which now supports most of Android’s 450,000 apps.

The new release is a major upgrade over Bluestacks’ alpha version, which initially launched last October, and was downloaded over a million times was made available for three months last year to early testers and was only able to run nine preselected Android apps. The new beta version, which supports Windows 7, Vista, and XP, gives you access to pretty much any Android app — though not all of them run very well.

The beta version launched today uses the company’s Layercake technology, allowing Android apps to run on x86-based PCs.This is a  big step for the startup, which made waves last year when it first announced its emulation technology. Dubbed Layercake, the software emulates Android apps written for ARM processors on x86 processor-based Windows PCs. Without such emulation technology, software between the two different chip platforms is fundamentally incompatible (without being recompiled). Emulation is nothing new, but Bluestacks is the first company devoted to bringing the rich variety of Android apps to PCs.

While the Bluestacks software won’t appeal to everyone, it could be useful for those who want to test out Android apps, or users who want access to apps that don’t yet have desktop versions.

Games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds were playable (though the latter had choppy graphics and sound at times), and productivity apps like Evernote worked without much issue. Strangely, the new Angry Birds Space performed almost flawlessly (see the video below). 3D-heavy apps, like Google Earth, didn’t fair as well, and brought Bluestacks to a crawl.

The company is currently working on making the application faster & also working on a Mac version as gleamed from viewing the source of their website.

So far, California-based BlueStacks has raised $10.6 million so far in a single round of funding.

Monday, March 12, 2012

If you bank with Access Bank, formerly Intercontinental Bank, now is the time to take your money and run before it's too late

Nigerian Banks have never been anything to write home about with the exception of banks like GTB who though aren't perfect give you a plethora of options to carry out or manage your accounts/transactions effectively on their platform making life easy for you in the process. The part I hate about GTB is having to go to the bank to carry out any activity as there's always the case of having to wait on endless queues and the customer care people being unhelpful on some occasions.

Ever since Intercontinental Bank's erstwhile MD/CEO, ran the bank to the ground awhile back, I've been cautious of banking with them and have been warned on several occasions by friends and family to stop banking with them and move on but I've been positive about them thinking they'd get their acts together and not fail us, their customers, but that wasn't to be as they were recently bought over by Access Bank. Was initially skeptical at first about Access Bank because I've only heard about Access Bank in the papers; never knew of anyone that banked there before now, and even shortly after they displaced some of their staffs recently, I discovered that most of the faces we've been so used to at Intercontinental for years have been let go and replaced by new unfriendly faces.

Things came to a halt last week when we were sent text messages on the 1st of March, 2012 informing us of the upgrade they were about to carry out on their system from the 2nd to the 5th. The message goes thus:
Dear Customer, As we finalize our IT System integration from Friday March 2 to Monday March 5, service disruptions may occur. We regret all inconveniences.
I wasn't in any way bothered about that as I knew I had nothing to do with them during that period, but their first big mistake happened immediately after their system integration. On the 5th of March, they sent us another message informing of us new set of account numbers after the new ones issued out by the former bank, and the message goes thus:
Dear Customer, Your account number, previously 10xxxxxxxx in IBPlc, has been changed to 00xxxxxxxxxx. Both numbers remain valid. Thank you. For enqr 01-2712005.
After reading the message, I had a feeling that something was wrong somewhere. The previous account number they quoted was totally wrong. Though I hadn't memorized any of my account numbers, I knew the first four numbers at heart and it was completely different from that which I had in the text message they sent to me. I planned to confirm what the exact account number was anytime I went to the bank as I thought the mistake was just with me. The following day, I was meant to fund a friend's account to facilitate flight booking from Abuja to Lagos, but I wasn't cautious enough as the account number which he sent to me to pay into was also wrong courtesy the text message being sent to customers by Access Bank. Eventually, the money could not be used for the purpose for which it was meant, and I was quite lucky enough to still be in Abuja the following day to make my complains and get back my money as the recipient never received the money, neither did Access Bank contact me that the money paid in didn't match the receiver's name.

When I called the account owner to get to the bank to make a complaint and find out what we need to do to rectify the problem, he called me back to tell me he met some serious crowd in the bank with a similar issue and was asked to tell me to go back to the branch where I paid to have it sorted out. On getting to the branch where I lodged in the money, I thought I was the only customer with the problem, but that was not to be after about 10 mins when we increased in number. A lady customer of theirs was screaming and bringing down hell at the bank, having sent her sister money in Lagos since Thursday the 2nd, and yet on the 6th, the money was yet to be delivered to her. The bank wasn't in any way apologetic to us, as the head of security in the bank was even trying to ward people of from seeing the person who was to attend to them as regards the problem. I stopped playing cool when I realized she had been coming to the bank everyday since then, up till the moment at which she was speaking and yet nothing had been done about the issue. I had to let our attendant know that I'd be out of town for awhile and wouldn't be coming there everyday so he should ensure he sorts out the problem right there and then. Probably because the lady spitted more fire than I did, she was being asked to go to the counter where they'd reimburse her, but told me they wouldn't be able to give me cash, and asked me to visit the branch where the account owner was meant to receive the cash to sort out the issue, having written some names & numbers at the back of the teller. The fellow attending to me also wrote his number asking me to tell them to call him in case there were any issues.

On the third day, I was yet to get any message nor call from the bank informing me that the money I paid in was not delivered. I went to the bank with the account owner to go get my money and be done with once and for all, only to meet the kind of traffic usually prevalent at GTB at Access Bank. People rarely queued up outside the security door of Access bank, Ring Road like they almost always do at GTB Ring Road, but on this day, we all came with similar problems. When it was my turn to be attended to, the bank was non-apologetic about the problem, never accepted it as their problem and feigned ignorance as if the messages sent themselves to us, and to even make it worse, the people attending to me instructed me to call the numbers written on the teller myself to talk to them since I was the one who brought it to them. I was about lambasting them when some customers came to my defense saying that was silly of them and rarely happened in other banks, so they eventually made the call to confirm my claim and know how to proceed. The only thing I had them repeatedly say was that their link has been down for some days and they have been having issues. They never accepted the fault as theirs nor did they address the issue of misinforming customers on their new account numbers. I wasn't eventually sorted out that day as they took my number and promise to give me a call but they haven't yet called me and I'm waiting for the new week to begin before I unleash my fury on them.

At the close of day on the 9th, four days after their mistake, they deemed it fit to message us to apologize, after four full days:
Dear Customer, Pls ignore the acct number sent to you between March 4 & 5. You will be advised of your new acct number soon. We regret any inconvenience - 012712005.
In closing, for a bank that is insensitive, irresponsible, unfriendly and inefficient, would you rather bank with them? So if you are like me, and you've been getting advice from friends and family to move ship and sever your relationship with Intercontinental/Access Bank, now is the time to do so before it becomes a nigbati issue. I was being told to report them to CPC, but mehn, this is naija, it's not about CPC joor, but it's about you reading this who banks with Access Bank/Intercontinental to give it a thought and decide if it's worth taking the risk with your money.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Top Smartphone Facts and Figures in 2011

VisionMobile just released an infographic on the top smartphone facts and figures of 2011.
Android is the undisputed king of smartphone platforms, at least in terms of shipments. While this was true even at the end of 2010, Android grew even further in 2011, grabbing a highly impressive 49% share in the smartphone market – this can easily be translated as follows: 1 in 2 smartphones sold in 2011 was an Android device.

Moreover, Android’s share keeps growing, rising from 42% share in the first half of 2011 to a crushing 54% share in H2 2011. This level of pervasiveness has not been seen since Symbian’s heyday, but let’s not forget that Symbian didn’t have to face such stifling competition back then.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 10.1 with Android 4.0, dual-core chipset and S Pen

Samsung on Monday took the wraps off another new addition to its Android tablet lineup, the Galaxy Note 10.1. Like the supersized “phablet” it joins in the Galaxy Note family, the Note 10.1 includes Samsung’s S Pen stylus for drawing, note-taking, highlighting and much more. Sadly, this still isn’t the high-definition slate we’ve been waiting for so it looks like Samsung is shooting to launch its Retina-like tablet later this year. The 10-inch Galaxy Note runs Samsung’s TouchWiz UI atop Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and includes a 1.4GHz dual-core processor along with the same cameras found in the original Galaxy Tab 10.1. In fact, the Note 10.1 essentially seems like a redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1 with an S Pen and a new processor, which is peculiar since the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is pretty much a Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well. Announced alongside the Galaxy Note 10.1 is the Galaxy S WiFi 4.2, a Wi-Fi-only device aimed at gaming.

Huawei unveils world’s fastest quad-core smartphone

Huawei on Sunday announced the new Ascend D quad smartphone at Mobile World Congress. The company bills the handset as “the world’s fastest quad-core smartphone,” with its 4.5-inch 720p HD display and Huawei’s own K3V2 quad-core 1.5GHz processor. The smartphone features an 8-megapixel rear-camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Huawei also introduced the Ascend D quad XL and the Ascend D1 smartphones. The Ascend D quad XL boasts a massive 2,500 mAh battery, but otherwise it’s the sames exact smartphone as the Ascend D quad. The Ascend D1 runs a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and has a 1,670 mAh battery. The Ascend D quad series will be available in China, Australia, Europe, Asia-Pacific, North and South America, and the Middle East in the second quarter of 2012, with the Ascend D1 to be made available in April.

Pricing and more specific information surrounding launches aren’t yet available.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

APK Downloader Chrome extension saves Android apps to your desktop

Developer redphx has released a Chrome extension that lets you download Android app files (.apk) directly onto your desktop. It hasn't been impossible for Android users to get the files onto their computers before, but the new extension, called APK Downloader, makes it simple.

Why would you want to have the installation files for an Android app on your desktop and not your phone? Well, as seasoned Android users know, not all apps are available on all devices: you can't find and download tablet apps for your phone, for example, and some apps are region locked. However, all apps are visible on the Android Market website, so with this extension you can easily download any app and then sideload it — something that's especially helpful for Android devices that don't have the Android Market, like the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire.

The extension is compatibile with Windows, OS X, and Linux.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Meet Auraslate, an Open Source Android Tablet for Developers. Mischief Encouraged. Hackers Welcomed.

Auraslate is a tablet designed for developers for only $199 and is made with Gorilla Corning Glass, and comes with the hardware source code included.

If you’re sick of firmware lockdowns and failed reflashings on your other Android tablets, the Auraslate may be for you. It’s basically an Ice Cream Sandwich-compatible tablet built from the ground up for hax0rz and programmers alike.

There are two models – the 7-inch 726B and the 10-inch 1026 – and the 1026 can run the latest version of Android. You can upload any version you want, however, and even the hardware is open source in that you receive a hardware source disk for about $20 extra.

For about $130, you get a standard Android CORTEX A9 tablet from a Chinese OEM that you could get for about $95 if you really dug around. However, Auraslate is promising open source software updates for their hardware and you also get a support community and the source code. This sort of package is ideal if you’re working on an Android hardware project, for example, as you will be able to talk with a community of hackers dealing with the same hardware and software rather than picking up a fly-by-night tablet from China and hoping it works.

The tablet was designed by Aura Design, an Android Tablet Design Start-Up that helps other companies or start-ups develop their own unique tablet for consumer , commercial, or industrial uses. They encourage mischievous and curious individuals to see what comes naturally for them to dig in and see what possibilities this tablet may become.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MIT Level Introductory Physics Free Online Course

Prof. Pritchard’s education group, RELATE, has developed a highly successful problem-solving pedagogy and an online learning environment where instruction, assessment, and interactions with other students are blended together and where students control their instructional path. RELATE education group at MIT is offering a free online course in Mechanics called Mechanics Online. The course places greater emphasis on solving challenging problems involving several concepts at once.

Registration for the course is open until the course starts on March 1st 2012.

Register for Mechanics Online here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meet Hackershelf - A community curated collection of legally free books

Hackershelf is a book-sharing/discovery website that brings a plethora of technically oriented free books your way. It was inspired by the tradition of sharing links to free books on Hackernews and Reddit. They have some very beautiful technical books already listed that you can get busy with. Some of which are:
Check out Hackershelf for an exhaustive list. Happy reading.

Colour theory with LESS

Steve Rydz wrote a beautiful post on "Colour Theory with Less" which covers how to find complementary and triad colours using LESS, and then make colour palettes from the results. Read the post here

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hashing for privacy in social apps

Following Path's contact fiasco, Matt Gemmell said he discovered that many developers aren't familiar with hashing, so he decided to put up a post about it. The article aims to introduce the concept of hashing in a clear, straightforward, and no-degree-required way, suitable for journalists and casual readers as well as programmers and software engineers.

His final thoughts on it is summarised below and is a recommended resource for developers implementing social networks:

  1. Educate yourself about hashing; it’s real, and very useful. Use hashing for personal info. Do the hashing client-side, and only upload hashed data for comparison on the server.
  2. Delete the hashed data after you’ve done your fancy friend-matching stuff, because your users value their privacy, and you probably don’t even need to keep the data anyway.

As for journalists or other non-developers writing about social media and privacy:

  1. Know pretty much what hashing is, at least in terms of the Incredible Magic it lets you do.
  2. Realize and understand that privacy and social features are not mutually exclusive. Don’t pull that ignorant false dichotomy bullshit; it’s factually incorrect and laughable.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Perils on VC Funding by David Richards

Spot on

Taking venture capital too early can ruin you, because rather than creating a business plan for a marketplace, you are creating a business plan for a VC. It's just not good for business. Don't get me wrong, venture has a part to play in growth for businesses that require bringing a chip to market, something that can cost a minimum of $100m. However, venture capital doesn't always have to have a place in early start-up business.
Read more 

Hackers release Symantec source code after extortion attempt fails

Hackers that claim to have stolen the source code of Symantec's pcAnywhere software have attempted to extort $50,000 from the anti-virus firm, in exchange for keeping the code offline.

However, after negotiations broke down, the group uploaded the source code to The Pirate Bay. It has also released a log of the email exchange with Symantec -- but the virus-hunting firm has said that the emails were a sting operation, with law enforcement officials posing as a Symantec employee.

The email exchange is from January 2012 and kicks off with a hacker called YamaTough -- spokesperson of Indian hacker group Lords of Dharmaraja, which is affiliated with Anonymous' Op AntiSec. He's talking to a Symantec "employee" named Sam Thomas -- actually a law official, says Symantec.

At first, Thomas wants assurances that the hackers actually have their code. Thomas suggests uploading it using FTP. Yama thinks this is a trick -- "If you are trying to trace with the FTP trick it's just worthless," he says. "If we detect any malevolent tracing action we cancel the deal."

Yama threatens the anti-virus firm. "We have many people who are willing to get your code. Don't fuck with us."

The hacker asks Symantec to name a price. "How much do you consider enough to pay us in order to work all the issues out?" Stalling, Symantec asks how the money transfer will be made. Yama suggests payment processor Liberty Reserve, though "wire transfer to a bank account in Lithuania or Latvia is also an option."

"What assurances can you provide that once we pay, you will actually destroy the code and not ask for more money?," Thomas asks. "None of course," Yama bites back. "If we were really bad guys we would have already released or sold your code."

Symantec tries to make a smaller payment of $1,000 through PayPal to keep the hacker happy. Yama says no: "we can wait till we agree on final amount." So Thomas comes back with his final offer: "We will pay you $50,000.00 USD total." That's about £32,000.

The security software outfit suggests paying $2,500 a month for the first three months. If Symantec is convinced that the hackers have destroyed the code, and make a public statement to say that the hack was all a lie, the firm will pay over the rest.

Not good enough, says Yama. "I am afraid we have to cancel the whole deal because our offshore people wont let us securely get the money because they wont process amounts less than 50k a shot."

Yama has noticed that Mr. Symantec has stopped using his "" email address, and has adopted a Google Mail address. "Say hi to FBI agents," Yama says, perhaps twigging that this is a sting operation. "We are not in contact with the FBI," Thomas assures the hacker.

With negotiations breaking down, Yama says "we give you 10 minutes to decide which way you go or the two of your codes fly to the moon -- pcAnywhere and Norton Antivirus."

"We can't make a decision in ten minutes," says Thomas. "We need more time." The hacker group then proceeded to release a 1.27GB file as a torrent.

Symantec has said the version of the source code in the hacker's possession was from 2006, and no longer posed a threat to its customers even if the source code was released. After the hack was made public in January, the firm instructed its pcAnywhere users to disable the product but it later declared it safe to use after offering free upgrades.

As for the hacker, YamaTough said he never intended to take the money. "We tricked them into offering us a bribe so we could humiliate them," the plucky young hacker told Reuters.


The Cardiopad: an African invention to save lives

A young Cameroonian engineer has built the first fully touch screen medical tablet that could soon save many African lives. He first has to find the necessary funding to mass-produce the device.

Read more

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Double Fine Adventure shatters Kickstarter record with $750,000 raised in first 24 hours

We recently just blogged about Elevation Dock which has just broken the record of being the very first million dollar Kickstarter project, but another project is in the offing and is set to shatter Kickstarter's record, having raised $750,000 in the first 24 hours. The project in question is Double Fine Adventure, a classic point-and-click adventure game.

Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert are legendary game makers from the golden age of PC gaming, having created classic LucasArts adventures such as Maniac Mansion, Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, and Grim Fandando. But in the era of Angry Birds, publishers weren’t willing to take a risk on a new project from the duo. As Schafer put it in the Kickstarter video, publishers would laugh in his face if he asked for the fund to do an old school adventure game. But legions of fans are always asking for it, and offering to pay. So they turned to Kickstarter, hoping to raise $400,000 and offer fans a chance to watch the creative process, pitch in ideas and even star as characters in the game.

The project still has 33 days to go, and so far it has raised more than double of what was pledged. “Additional money means it can appear on more platforms, be translated into more languages, have more music and voice, and an original soundtrack for the documentary, and more!” the team wrote in an update after passing their goal by a wide margin.

Full draft of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial, 2nd Edition, is now available

A full draft of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial, 2nd Edition, is now available. This draft includes previously unreleased versions of Chapter 10, "User microposts", and Chapter 11, "Following users".

The new edition has eleven chapters, whereas the first edition had twelve, with a bonus Chapter 13 on Rails 3.1. Since the new edition is based on Rails 3.2, the bonus chapter is superfluous, and the new has_secure_password method allowed further consolidation from twelve chapters down to eleven.


Rice Uiversity Announces Open Source Textbooks

According to Inside Higher Ed:

Using Rice’s Connexions platform, OpenStax will offer free course materials for five common introductory classes. The textbooks are open to classes anywhere and organizers believe the programs could save students $90 million in the next five years if the books capture 10 percent of the national market. OpenStax is funded by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation and the Maxfield Foundation. 
While open-source materials are nothing new, a series of free self-contained textbooks designed to compete head-to-head with major publishers is. Instructors building a class with open-source materials now must assemble modules from several different places and verify each lesson’s usefulness and accuracy. 
The new textbooks eliminate much of that work, which Baraniuk thinks will be make the free materials more palatable to professors who have been reluctant to adopt open-source lessons. In the next five years, OpenStax hopes to have free books for 20 of the most common college courses.
OpenStax used its grant money to hire experts to develop each textbook and then had their work peer reviewed. The process has taken more than 18 months and will go live next month with sociology and physics books. The only cost to users comes if an instructor decides to use supplementary material from a for-profit company OpenStax partners with, such as Sapling Learning. 
Two introductory biology texts, one for majors and another for nonmajors, are slated to go online in the fall along with an anatomy and physiology book. Students and professors will be able to download PDF versions on their computers or access the information on a mobile device. Paper editions will be sold for the cost of printing. The 600-page, full-color sociology book is expected to sell for $30 for those who want a print version -- those content with digital will pay nothing. Leading introductory sociology texts routinely cost between $60 and $120 new. 
For students struggling to buy books that sometimes cost more than their tuition, OpenStax editor-in-chief David Harris said it’s hard to overstate those savings. Community colleges catering to lower-income students have been among those most enthusiastic about the new materials, suggesting to Harris that the open-source books could help increase access to higher education.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Elevation Dock Breaks Kickstarter's Fundraising Record

Elevation Dock is a simple to use, quick undocking dock for your iPhone made from beautifully precision-machined solid aluminum and it comes in a gorgeous set of surface finishes, setting a new bar for quality and something that looks really good on your desk.

Not only is it expertly crafted, but it is also a record-breaking product — record-breaking before it has even shipped. That is because the Elevation Dock has broken the all-time Kickstarter fundraising record. The design firm behind the iPhone dock is called Elevation Lab, and was started four years ago by a fresh-out-of-college guy named Casey Hopkins. For the past four years, Hopkins has been working with a number of startups, helping them with the designs of their products. Although this paid the bills and was rewarding – Hopkins described it as “a feeling like no other to see something you made sitting on a shelf somewhere” – Hopkins decided that contracting out wasn’t enough.

The Elevation Dock started out with the plan of only creating one for personal use, that would sit on Hopkins’ desk but that was not to be, as his friends and family all wanted the dock, so off to market he went. The problem with bringing a hardware product to market is one many startups face. To normally bring a product to market, it would cost at least $100,000 up front, and that is only for the first run of the product prototype.

After seeing the LunaTik project take off on Kickstarter, Hopkins realized that the fundraising site would be perfect. Not only would it be an excellent marketing channel for a virtually unknown design firm, but it would also negate all of the risks associated with an untested product.

So far with Kickstarter, Hopkins has seen success that he didn’t expect. While his original funding goal was $75,000, he has now gone far beyond that. Just north of $964,000 as at the time of writing this post and it still has 61 hours to go, making the Elevation Dock to surpass the LunaTik record of $940,000.

Hopkins mentioned that he has thousands of messages to go through, with hundreds of companies contacting him to help them with their designs. However, Hopkins currently has plans on shipping 10,000 Elevation Docks before moving on to his next project which he declined to elaborate on what they are.

With the success so far, the one thing he is waiting patiently for is a call from Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, Jony Ive telling him well done.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Java Magazine - January/February 2012 is out.

The January/February 2012 issue of Java Magazine is out and you can read or download a copy here.

For Java to remain relevant in the age of cloud computing, the standards need to evolve to meet new deployment and management requirements. This issue takes you inside that process to learn how Java EE 7 will accomplish this goal.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Free course on developing iPad applications from CMU's HCI institute

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is offering free lectures on 'Developing iPad Applications' on iTunes U — bringing the top-notch instruction of CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) to learners far and wide.

The course is co-taught by CMU Assistant Professor Niki Kittur and a team of top industry developers, this project-based course will focus on the design and implementation of iPad applications that help users visualize and make sense of large data sets.

Bridging theory and practice, the course will give students:

  • a basic background in visualization;
  • understanding of the cognitive processes involved in transforming visual representations into mental representations, insight and discovery; and
  • instruction on implementing these techniques in real applications for the iPad.

The software engineering topics taught will focus on the latest technologies available in the newly released iOS 5.

For those interested in following along, object-oriented programming experience is recommended.

Watch the course on iTunes U or on any iOS device with the free iTunes U app.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ruby on Rails Tutorial, 2nd edition (updated for Rails 3.2)

Michael Hartl’s free has helped a lot of people to learn the voodoo that is Rails and Michael is currently updating his ebook for Ruby 1.9 and Rails 3.2, and of course, the update is still available online for free. This initial release consists of the first five chapters, and each week he plans to release 1–2 additional chapters until the full book is out. You can sign up for the Rails Tutorial News Feed to be notified when new chapters are ready.

The second edition includes many new features:

  • Fully updated for Rails 3.2 and Ruby 1.9
  • Coverage of the new asset pipeline
  • Behavior-driven development (BDD) with Capybara and RSpec
  • An introduction to Cucumber for writing client-friendly tests
  • Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets with Sass
  • Better automated testing with Guard and Spork
  • Rolling your own authentication with has_secure_password

GTBank is becoming more innovative

One of the newest solutions from GTBank is the 'SKS Teen Mastercard', which enables you to send money to your teenager anywhere in the world. With this, GTBank is trying to create compelling solutions for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 which will enable them to also have their own Mastercard which can be used worldwide.

Good one on that GTBank.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Free “Starling” book from O’Reilly

O’Reilly has just released a free book on the Starling Framework written by Thibault Imbert. This is essentially an updated and enhanced version of the getting started PDF that he wrote around the time of the release. Here is the abstract:

Starling is an ActionScript 3 2D framework developed on top of the Stage3D APIs (available on desktop in Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3). Starling is mainly designed for game development, but could be used for many other use cases. Starling makes it possible to write fast GPU accelerated applications without having to touch the low-level Stage3D APIs. 
Most Flash developers want to be able to leverage GPU acceleration (through Stage3D) without the need to write such higher-level frameworks and dig into the low-level Stage3D APIs. Starling is completely designed after the Flash Player APIs and abstracts the complexity of Stage3D (Molehill) and allows easy and intuitive programming for everyone.

Thanks to Thibault for creating a great beginner resource for Starling. You can also check out Lee Brimelow's video tutorial on Starling at gotoAndLearn.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is Femi Fani-Kayode any Different?

A fellow encountered this with Femi Fani-Kayode yesterday on Facebook:

Adegbesan Adekoyejo:
Very well said, i want to begin to look at you as the new because u still look young and you are very intelligent, however i am odds with that reasoning, perhaps because you served under another wasteful government where the vice and the president exposed their dirty linen in public. I am not one taken to sycophancy sir, i also suspect we might see you in 2015, or maybe not. Are you able to tell us using the luxury of your facebook page what you achieved as Minister of the Federal Republic during your tenure and why the allegations against you are not true. I am sure we have so many like me who will like to know sir. That said, excellent piece as always!
Femi Fani-Kayode:
@Adegbesan, young man, this posting is not about me but about our country and in any case who appointed you as the judge over me or anyone else? If you want to know about my achievements when I was in public office four years ago please go and ask your father (if he is still alive) or go to my website and read up on it. Meanwhile I have nothing to prove to you and neither do I care what u think of me or the government that I served. Do yourself a favour and think about what is happening in your country today and where it is heading rather than obsessing about me and what I may or may not do in 2015. Even though you are still very young make your own contribution to national affairs and try to focus on the message of others rather than being fixated on the messanger. I assure you that your problems in Nigeria are much bigger and greater than FFK or OBJ. We have had our time...let's see what you will do with yours.
Adegbesan Adekoyejo:
@FFK, thanks for sending me to my Father and that was such a good way to answer an innocent question. Did i strike a wrong nerve? I do not judge people but allow them to serve to us their achievement in service, i have not accused you of any ills, but the questions i asked will still come up in the future. Nigeria is boiling at the moment and we all know and should work towards ensuring it does not disintegrate for which i see you clearly do, that said, tough questions await you in 2015, regardless you are such an intelligent man and i enjoy your write-ups but was that reply intelligent? 
At this point, another fellow, Ajayi Sunday Joseph commented:
@FKK, well scripted sir. I love you so much. but you are too hard on Adegbesan. 
Two minutes later, Femi Fani-Kayode deleted the post.

Five minutes later, he deleted me as a friend on Facebook. - Alhaji Oshine Oyedeji 

What do you think of Femi Fani-Kayode before now, and right now?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Neurotechnology Develops Biometric Technologies for Low-Power Android Devices

A software development and algorithms developer for biometric, voice and object recognition technologies, Neurotechnology has expanded its biometric technologies offering to include the VeriFinger Embedded SDK, the VeriLook Embedded SDK and the MegaMatcher Embedded SDK (software development kit) for finger biometrics, facial biometrics and multi-biometric systems, respectively.

The latest embedded biometric technologies developed by Neurotechnology have been designed specifically for mobile platforms such as compact, low-power devices like handheld computers, smartphones and tablets. These advanced products incorporate the same algorithms as the PC counterparts of MegaMatcher, VeriLook and VeriFinger, thus ensuring AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System)-level accuracy in terms of recognition quality and usage.

With a 1 GHz processing speed, it hardly takes a second for VeriLook Embedded or VeriFinger Embedded to process and identify face images or fingerprints. The initial release version of MegaMatcher Embedded includes both VeriLook and VeriFinger biometric algorithms. Subsequent versions of the MegaMatcher will include voice and iris biometrics as well. The embedded technologies require the same biometric templates and API as their PC counterpart, thus enabling easier and faster migration to embedded applications. They support Android operating system version 2.2 or higher. Neurotechnology will also enable support for WinCE and ARM Linux operating systems.

The software development manager, Pavel Cuchriajev stated that since mobile platform support is crucial to biometric applications, the new embedded product line has been developed to support the Android platform. Cuchriajev added that this new feature opens several opportunities for development of end-user biometric solutions.

VeriLook Embedded, VeriFinger Embedded and MegaMatcher Embedded are available as a software development kit that can support web-based or stand-alone biometric solutions for devices running on the Android OS.

Huawei Unveils the World’s Slimmest Android Smartphone

Huawei unveiled the Ascend P1 S, which it claims is the world’s slimmest smartphone.

Running on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, the Ascend P1 S is only 6.68mm thin; in comparison, the Motorola RAZR is 7.1mm thick and the Samsung Galaxy S II is 8.49mm thick. In addition to its super slim form factor, the Ascend P1 S is also the fastest and most compact smartphone in its class, with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 1GB of RAM.

The Ascend P1 S boasts a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display with HD resolution of 960×540, toughened with Corning’s Gorilla Glass for extra durability. For imaging it comes with a back-lit 8MP camera and a front facing 1.3MP camera.

Read more

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Amazing Newsletters to Subscribe to for Web Designers/Developers

Listed below are newsletters you can subscribe to get once-weekly top stories of the week for Javascript, Web Design & HTML5:

The US Says Goodbye to IE6

Time to pop open the champagne because, based on the latest data from Net Applications, IE6 usage in the US has now officially dropped below 1%!

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Web browser, Frontend and Standards Feeds to Follow by Paul Irish

Paul Irish recently created some feed bundles that you can follow in Google Reader. While a lot of conversation has moved to Twitter and G+, hugely useful information is still published regularly to blogs.

It's easy to click through and subscribe in Google Reader. There is also OPML files if you want to take them elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

JavaOne 2011 Videos Now Available for Viewing/Downloading.

Oracle and Parleys are working together to bring a lot of JavaOne 2011 content online for you to watch/download.

A total of 48 sessions are currently publicly available on, and have been viewed over 75,000 times already.

You can find all the content in the Java > JavaOne 2011 space on

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Inside Story Of Tech's Hottest Startup

Here’s that rare Steve Jobs story that has never been told, about the company that got away.

Jobs had been tracking a young software developer named Drew Houston, who blasted his way onto Apple’s radar screen when he reverse-engineered Apple’s file system so that his startup’s logo, an unfolding box, appeared elegantly tucked inside. Not even an Apple SWAT team had been able to do that.

That company is Dropbox. You can read the full post at Forbes.