Meditations on programming, startups, and technology
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Google+, the Best Social Network I Never Use

Google+, Facebook, and Twitter are seemingly similar social networks. You share updates, links, and photos with people you know in some capacity. You follow their updates. You like stuff and reply to various things that you see posted there. In practice however, I’ve found the three communities to be quite different. Facebook is family and friends, and people I used to know in a previous chapter of my life. A...

An In-depth Review of Fitbit One, Fitbit Aria, and Fitbit Premium

According to Wikipedia, the Quantified Self is “a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person’s daily life in terms of inputs, states, and performance (mental and physical)”. I find data to be a catalyst towards improving my behavior and habits, so I decided to quantify an area of my life that I have often neglected in favor of others: my fitness level (or lack...

The Good Enough

A couple of weeks ago Dustin Curtis published an article called The Best. Within it he argues the merit and freedom that one can obtain by spending the time and money required to purchase the best products. The idea is that if you can trust things you buy, these items become invisible to you in way because you don’t have to worry about them failing to do their job. This article became popular on Hacker News...

The Strange Case of John Dillinger and the Fraudulent Apple ID

I suspect someone, somewhere has managed to find a way to create Apple IDs from email IDs they don’t have access to. The following is what leads me to believe this may be the case. This morning I received the following email starting with “Dear John Dillinger, Welcome to the Apple Online Store”. Four odd facts about this email: My name is not the same as that of an infamous 1930s criminal (John...

Requiem for a Dreamer

Steve Jobs passed away a week ago. When I first learned about it, I cried. That was an odd reaction on my part. I never met or interacted with Steve Jobs and I’m not what most would define as an Apple fanboy. I reflected upon what led me to shed tears for someone who was, technically, a stranger to me and came to realize that Steve Jobs affected and inspired my life far more that I cared to admit. My deep...

Mobile Development Marketshare Among Hacker News’ Participants

Yesterday I ran a poll amongst Hacker News participants in which I asked them to indicate which mobile platforms they develop for. Here are the results for the first 24 hours, in chart format, of that poll. Keep in mind that participants were allowed to select more than one platform if they develop for more than one. I’m very much impressed by the number of people developing for Android. Not far off from...

An Update On My Technical Blogging Book

Today I wanted to let those of you who don’t follow my adventures on twitter know that I have a few updates in regards to my upcoming technical blogging book, which I announced a while ago. The most important update is that the book is not going to be self-published. Instead, after receiving offers from a couple of major publishers earlier this year, I decided to publish the book with The Pragmatic Bookshelf....

My First Impressions of Android

Last weekend I finally took the plunge and bought myself a smartphone. I didn’t want to sign for an expensive three year contract, so I opted for Wind Mobile and paid up front for an Optimus LG 2X. I’m no stranger to mobile operating systems (you know the rules, and so do I). I own an iPod Touch and an iPad, and have a history with pocket sized devices that goes all the way back to primitive PDAs from a...

Results of the Technical Blogging survey

A couple of weeks ago I published a survey in which I asked you a few questions about a book on technical blogging I intended to write. The response has been very positive, so today I’m officially announcing that I’ve started writing this book. I also created a pre-launch landing page where you can signup to receive occasional updates about the progress of the project, and learn of when the book becomes...

Getting Stuff Done With the Pomodoro Technique

The problem with many productivity techniques is that they introduce undue bureaucracy into one’s workflow. I do not need to be coerced into getting my tasks done, and appreciate simple aids that don’t get in the way of actually accomplishing the goals I’ve set (in other words, tools that grant me the ability to get and stay more organized, on track, and focused). This is why I use a simple technique for...

An In-Depth Comparison of the Kindle DX Vs. iPad as Reading Devices

These days ebook devices are becoming increasingly common thanks to the convenience they afford readers and the affordable prices. As much as I love holding an actual printed copy in my hands, I’ve experienced several benefits from owning an ebook reader that make me thoroughly glad I decided to try them out. Why buy an ebook reader? One of the benefits that most appeals to me about having an ebook reader is...

Follow up to my Gmail third-party access post

My previous post about a possible intrusion by non-authorized parties on my Gmail account has received a lot of attention on Hacker News, and was even linked to from LifeHacker. There were a lot of questions, concerns, and critics that quickly surfaced, and in this post I’ll address most of them. Given the volume of heterogeneous points at hand, I will present this post in an informal FAQ manner. Image ©...

Who is accessing your Gmail account?

The Gmail team recently introduced a new feature (in the footer) that enables account holders to verify the latest login activities on their account. I routinely check mine and the results are usually boring, reminding me I check my email way too often (and I do so mostly via browser, through my Canadian IP). An unwelcome surprise If you don’t check yours regularly, you should (my version of Google Apps...

The world according to Android

Apple is receiving copious amounts of bad press due to their somewhat arbitrary and restrictive App Store policies. This isn’t going to change a thing at Apple, but the complaints are warranted. Android on the other hand is touted as being “the open platform”, and developers are invited to develop and sell their apps on the Android Market, rather than investing in a proprietary platform like the...

Web or iPhone OS applications to make money?

If you are a developer who’s interested in starting a new business or even just earning extra cash on the side, you have a few options that can lead to scalable profits and passive income. The most popular choices these days are SaaS (Software as a Service) and iPhone/iPad development. Choosing web application or iPhone OS development is a matter of personal taste, skills, goals, technical requirements, and...

On the iPhone, iPad and Android Market Share

There has been quite a bit of discussion over the market share of mobile devices today (arguably, for the past few years). It all started with a link on TechCrunch, claiming that Android overtook the iPhone in terms of US traffic (according to AdMob). This being a clear case of selection bias, I set about to figure out the mobile devices used by the visitors of some of my sites during the past month. As these...

A tale of two search engines

Remember when Altavista seemed good enough? Then along came Google and seemingly overnight everything changed. We didn’t even know that it was possible to receive such good link suggestions from a search engine. Yet there, right before our very eyes, it happened. These days, highly popular search engines are worth billions of dollars, mainly thanks to the massive advertisement businesses that can be built on...

My kingdom for an iPad

Tomorrow the iPad goes on sale in the States. Announced in January, the iPad sits squarely between a laptop and an iPod Touch. Large lines are expected to form in front of Apple Stores across America; ants scurrying to grab their crumbs. What is uncertain is whether this release is going to be much ado about nothing or more an event that will revolutionize the computer market. Among the iPad shortcomings are the...

The CRTC tries to eliminate ISP competition in Canada

The CRTC is at it again. This time they want to allow Canadian phone companies to cut off their wholesale offering, essentially killing ISP competition in Canada. Please express your concerns here, where you can quickly email Industry Minister Tony Clement, Prime Minister Harper, the Opposition Leader (Michael Ignatieff) and your local MP. Let them know that you care about this important issue. For more details,...

Cell Phone Cost Calculator Killed In Canada. Enough Is Enough!

Having been born and raised in Europe, I find the Canadian Telco sector appalling. In what is an otherwise outstanding country, the monopolistic tendencies and de facto cartels of the phone companies are screwing over Canadian residents, and there is very little being done to counteract this. Recently Bell got its way again, and UBB (Usage Based Billing) was introduced regardless of what thousands upon thousands of...

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