My Chrome for Android beta

Today Google released a beta of Chrome For Android and since I’ve got a Samsung Nexus I qualify. You can read up on all the gory details in the official blog post.  I installed it simply for the sync with desktop feature. I’ve tested it out too and it works fine. There are a couple gotchas with it though:

  1. If you opened a tab and you weren’t signed into Chrome to share, then that tab will not get synced when you do sign in.  Probably should be expected, but it did throw me at first. If you wanted it synced, go to your desktop Chrome and refresh, it will then get synced.
  2. I’ve found the Last synced: status to be suspect. Mine shows either “Now” or ‘5 mins ago’. I’ve never any other status.

Remember folks, it is a beta.

Here’s the official video.


Google solves for x

Today Google launched a new conference, who’s stated goal is where the “curious can go to hear and discuss radical technology ideas for solving global problems”. If you watch the video, it is about finding a huge problem – one that affects the world – and then reframing the problem as  a challenge. A challenge which can be addressed rather than accepted, through technology and radical ideas, and I would presume, collaborative efforts.
Techcrunch compared it to TED, which I can understand, however I would argue that this conference is more focused on ‘doing’ rather than ‘contemplating and observing’. This is about finding solutions to complex problems, which involves the ‘heavy lifting’. I must say, Google has me intrigued.

Video below


Call it arrogance or inexperience or just plain crazy, but innovation is about having a healthily disregard for the impossible.
It’s only crazy when you refuse to change your approach or view based on new facts.

I like my Cosmic Panda

Today I enabled the experimental Cosmic Panda interface on YouTube.  In general the aesthetic of the video player interface is greatly improved. I never did cared for the old color scheme (the stark white background) and so Google had me with the default grey background and the off white contrast. The grey also works well with the muted red in the process bar.

But by far my favorite feature is video size selector. It makes quick work of finding a preferred size and it is miles better than the old default/full screen option. I could never get the size I liked before – now I had it on the second click.

Google also increased the size of the suggested videos which always seemed too small for taste anyway. I never did understand why the old version had such small views – doesn’t Google want me to click on the suggestion?  – so why make it hard to see.

So far I’m sticking with Cosmic Panda. It’s just better and I hope I get to keep it.
To enable your own go here. BTW, if you don’t like you can always switch back – though I doubt you will.

You can click on the image below to super size my Cosmic Panda look in Chrome.

Cosmic Panda

Cosmic Panda

Windows gets some XAML

This morning Scott has posted word of some re-organization at Microsoft.

The major point -obviously- is that the XAML team will be joining Windows. Which in my opinion is wonderful because it starts to validate what people are seeing in the Windows 8 M3 builds. (See here)
Since it seems that the .NET runtime is already merging into Windows, this is a natural and logical re-org.  Basically it answers that .NET as a separate entity is gone and so, it is absorbed into core Windows.

WPF/SL – it was nice to know you.

If you have been keeping up the drama, then you know that WPF is dead (unofficially) and SL is on life support. And as Scott suggests, SL5 is basically an adrenaline needle to keep things kosher until the Windows 8 bomb drops. But that’s ok, we are developers we move forward and adapt. At one point we all wrote in C/C++ – and wanted to kill ourselves.

BTW, as a developer, I only know a VERY small group (like 1 or 2) that use Blend. It seems that most LOB’s apps don’t care/don’t have the budget for pretty things anyway. So if it dies/changes, that too is ok with me since I don’t have much vested in it anyway.  I’d much rather see VS 2010 get official HTML5 support.

The real question is can MS execute on this dream? – that’s the part that makes me nervous.  (After reading some the Windows 8 changes I’ve contemplated that exact question and I just may have to share that opinion.)


UPDATE: Mary has a good take on this too.

Windows 8 + SkyDrive = The Beginnings of Microsoft’s AppStore

Yes it’s true, Microsoft has an app store (not to be confused with WP7 Marketplace). Well ok, it’s not official yet – or done- but the framework is starting to falling into place. Microsoft just updated their SkyDrive “cloud storage” offering. The update has made it more web friendly by replacing the Silverlight interface with a HTML5 version. The initial “away for the browser” test of SkyDrive will come from the upcoming Mango release for WP7 which will allow users to upload photos, videos and Office docs to SkyDrive. To me this seems like only the first step.

I believe that Microsoft has bigger plans for SkyDrive than a just narrow phone integration because Microsoft needs a response to Apple’s iCloud and Mac App Store offerings and what better way to respond, than to build a full integration into the next version of Windows. This is also exactly what people are digging up in the early access release of the Windows 8 Milestone Build 3 – hooks to a Windows Store. Since this is only Milestone 3 it is clearly unfinished, however I expect a better picture to emerge as we start seeing Release Candidates. And as we near release of Windows 8 I also expect to see a whole host of integration code to allow developers to easily write code that interacts with variety of Microsoft cloud services. This is key point – Microsoft has to engage the development community otherwise the store will become another ‘also ran’ offering. Microsoft may be late to this party too (as they were with WP7), but I can’t imagine them not responding to a changing competitive landscape and thus, it is only logical that would attempt to leverage their desktop dominance to facilitate growth by extending the platform into the cloud.


A weakness in your competitor is an area of opportunity for your business.
A weakness in your business is an area of opportunity for your competitor. 

A weakness in your business that you find, correct, and leverage, before your competitor does, is the sign of leadership.

Innovation is not a clone

I came across an article which calls for Reforming the PhD system throughout higher education. The article contains many interesting points however one comment stood out:

… education is a process of cloning that trains students to do what their mentors do. The clones now vastly outnumber their mentors.

Clones are a wonderful thing in a mass production environment, in fact, they are quite possibly the only goal. The trouble is that clones are not remarkable, are not unique, and are not game changers. Innovation can be defined by what is it not: a clone.

Google takes on GIS

Today Google announced it’s Google Earth Builder service which will allow enterprises to upload, store, and share their geospatial data with their end users and partners.

Looking at their blog post I’ll address some of benefits that Google is touting.

  • Anytime, Anywhere Access

This is critical for any organization but it is surprising how often the only customer that is considered the internal customer. Last year I spoke with an executive of a highway supplier that expressed how terrific it would be if the geospatial data that the cities had was shared with their partners. Now it can be.

  • Speed & Scale

This is the Achilles heel for any geospatial implementation – it’s never fast enough.

  • Lower Cost

This is the primary reason for not having/providing spatial data. In general the costs are out of line with the value.

  • Secure Storage & Recovery

Yep, seen this before. Now you finally you don’t have to worry about upgrading your Oracle anymore.