Tuesday, June 9, 2009

IPhone 3GS is coming June 19

I've been strategizing how and when I will get an IPhone ever since I bought one for my wife back in February. Now that the latest hardware is due out June 19, I expect to be taking action soon.

Rogers seems to be missing any mention of the launch on its homepage. Who ever is in charge of marketing there appears to be missing the boat. Fido at least has one banner ad, although it just points to the apple home page. Curious...and typical Canadian...

Watch the Keynote.

If you haven't checked out the WWDC Keynote mentioning all the latest Apple goodies, I recommend it.

Fido at least now has a FAQ. Good news is the prices appear to be the same as the US prices.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ebooks on the IPhone

My previous solution to reading documents on the IPod Touch was emailing myself the document as an attachment and opening it up in the email reader on the device. Inspired by the many ebooks offered at Pragmatic Bookshelf, I tried to find a better way today.

It seems I have just found a pretty good solution thanks to this post. The parts are:
  1. Calibre -"a complete e-library solution and thus includes library management, format conversion, news feeds to ebook conversion, as well as e-book reader sync features and an integrated e-book viewer."
  2. Stanza for IPhone - The most popular IPhone ereader.
There are limitations with converting a pdf for example and displaying that on the device. For example, I took an Apple developer library PDF file, converted it to epub format with Calibre and synced it too my touch. Opened it in Stanza and most of the text was missing. The same book opened in Stanza desktop opened and showed words just fine, however lacked the images.
I also tried the Stanza desktop app for converting the pdf and syncing it to my device. It couldn't open the PDF file and display it correctly for some reason.

I guess converting pdfs is still a fine art. It appears that for books targetted as ebooks, the Stanza reader will work out just fine and Calibre will do its job helping to keep it all organized.

Learning Objective-C Begins

So I've primarily been a Java and Web Application Developer for the past ten years. Seeing how it was always easy to find new technologies/strategies/methodologies to learn in the Java world, I never gave serious thoughts on trying to focus on other languages. I still think I could work in Java for the next 10 years and still not get bored or run out of things to learn.

However the realities of my situation have motivated me to at least explore learning Objective-C and developing something for the Apple platforms.
  1. I own a very powerful Mac Pro and an IPod Touch. I love them both and don't see me switching to a Windows or any other OS ever again. Aside from my day to day hacking, I seem to be squandering an opportunity to really make use of this hardware at my disposal.
  2. I am currently not employed. Most likely I have the entire summer to try anything else other than what an employer needs from me.
So I've waded into the shallow end and it is not bad at all. First up were the Coding in Objective-C screencasts by Bill Dudney over at Pragmatic Bookshelf. Bill does a good job with these and I breezed through without any problem. Next I picked up Programming in Objective-C 2.0 by Stephan Kochan. It's always nice to have a reference like this on hand in hard copy. I've gone through the first couple chapters and the book is showing me exactly what I need to know.

First impressions are Objective-C is not that difficult to get started in. I am really impressed with the power of Apple's XCode IDE as well. I regret not making the time to start playing with it sooner. This looks like it is going to be fun.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Latest Greatest Google Invention: Google Wave

Despite what one may think of Google, I think it is nice that there are companies that can afford to have very smart people dream up new technologies for the rest of us. I took 1h 20m to watch and listen to the Google Wave presentation at Google I/O and was glad I did.

I can't help admit the demos were pretty cool. The real time translation at the end was a showstopper. What do you think?

Sorting Account List in Thunderbird

It has always annoyed me that sorting the account list in the left pane of Thunderbird was not a built in option. I finally broke down and did something about it - I found a great Thunderbird add-on called Folderpane Tools that does just this and now I can put all my old email accounts at the bottom of the list.

Problem solved. Thanks to the author.