This is what Android programming feels like

android programming

In addition to taking iOS development with Swift for a test ride, I’ve been doing some exploratory Android development as well. I find myself agreeing with this assessment of iOS vs. Android development on TechCrunch:

Android has its advantages, but overall, it remains significantly easier to write good iOS apps than good Android apps.”

There are some great ideas in Android, and some areas where its APIs have an advantage over iOS’ (networking, notably — but as the TechCrunch article points out, third-party libraries have stepped up), but working with Java and Eclipse really tarnish the development experience. I know some people love that combo, but it ain’t my thing.

As for the photo above (it’s of a training simulator for prostate exams), I initially used it to describe my recent experience trying to cancel a mobile subscription and my feelings about telco customer service in general. I thought it applied equally to my feelings about Android development, and hey, I’m not letting a good pic go to waste!

Hardware Humor

Kirk and Spock travel to 2014; get laughed at for their pitiful mobile devices

kirk and spock in 2014

Click the image to see the full comic on its original page.

Dan Piraro, on his comic strip Bizarro, shows exactly what would happen if the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise time-traveled to 2014 and people saw their communicators.

Oddly enough, it was Star Trek that inspired Motorola’s Martin Cooper in his work on the first truly mobile phones:

this article also appears in the GSG blog


Traveling by air? Make sure your mobile devices are charged!

portland airport security gate

Creative Commons photo by M.O. Stevens. Click to see the source.

Following reports of increased activity by Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is requiring security personnel at undisclosed airports in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to not allow uncharged portable electronics aboard flights. Passengers boarding U.S.-bound aircraft will be required to switch on devices such as laptops, phones, and tablets in order to prove that they are what they appear to be and not disguised explosive devices.

Our recommendation to those of you traveling by air — even you’re flying only within the US — is to make sure that any portable electronics you bring with you are ready to operate at a moment’s notice when you take them through the security check. This means…

"Charge your devices before you fly!": Photo of iPhones charging

Charging your devices before you go to the airport. Ideally, you should do this overnight before leaving. Even plugging a completely drained smartphone or tablet for a half hour should be sufficient for the airport check; we’ve observed that most modern smartphones can be brought up to 50% charge in about an hour.

"Airplane mode doesn't really speed up charging time": Screen shot of iPhone's settings page with Airplane Mode on.

In spite of what some popular reports say, putting your phone or tablet in “Airplane Mode” won’t speed up the charging time very much. You may have seen articles that tell you that devices in Airplane Mode (which turns off their cellular and wifi radio units) charge twice as quickly, but test have shown that the speed boost you get is closer to 2%. You might as well keep your device out of Airplane Mode and not miss any important emails or calls.

"Charge on the way to the airport": Photo of USB cigarette lighter power adapter

Get a USB cigarette lighter power adapter. If you’re driving (or being driven) to the airport and haven’t yet had a chance to charge your mobile device, take advantage of the in-car cigarette lighter (nowadays called the “power socket”) and use it to charge your phone or tablet. These USB chargers are cheap and available just about everywhere — even in gas stations and convenience stores. They’ve saved me a lot of trouble more than once.

"Power mobile users should consider external battery packs": Photo of RAVPower external battery pack

If you’re a heavy mobile user, you should consider getting an external battery pack. It’ll ensure that your device can get through airport security as well as a day of long conversations or heavy mobile computing. This recent Cnet article covers the highest-capacity battery packs available, including the beast pictured above: the RAVPower Element, which gives you 10,400 mAH (milliamp-Hours) of power — “enough juice to charge an iPhone from empty more than five times”. For a mere $30 at Amazon, that’s a lot of bang for the buck.

Keep your devices charged, and have a safe trip!

this article also appears in the GSG blog