ComputingNo Comments
Jan 13

Touchscreen vs. Touchpad?

Day two of using the Apple Magic Trackpad.

For content producers, those who generate content, code, create – this seems more effective an answer to touch screens.

A touch screen is useful when you consume. When you play, when you read, when you interact passively, more or less. Yes, drawing on a touchscreen looks cool, but resolution is probably an issue.

ANYWAY, the main problem with touch screens when you actually work, is simply lifting your arms. Reaching out. It takes time, removes you from the keyboard (yup, no voice controls yet). That slows you down. 

What Apple did with the trackpad is to put that touch capability right next to where your hands are. So yes, it is not that cool or innovative. And unlike touch screens you will have the learning curve of getting all the gestures right. It's worth it. For now, it appears pretty darn practical. 

Aug 12

HTML5 Date Element: Mobile Browser Support Snapshot

The HTML5 date element is an especially great addition in the mobile world. It triggers native controls, built for mobile devices, instead of forcing the developer to come up with a normally-complex solution. Support was not there for a while but apparently things are improving as of late.

For example:

iOS 5.1 Safari

Screen shot of HTML5 date field on iOS 5.1 Safari browser

Android 4.x Chrome:

HTML5 date element in Android 4.x Chrome Browser

But sadly, the native Android 4.x browser is not compatible.

Android 4.x Browser's rendering of the HTML5 date element

I say, use it!

Posted from Westborough, Massachusetts, United States.

Jun 12

Is Apple’s updated Game Center about to nibble at the heels of the XBOX?

One the items that caught my eyes in Apple's WWDC demos was the gaming extension that was layered onto the Apple TV box. Games enabled with Airplay can now mirror and even display separate content on the TV. Think of it as your iPhone and iPad as the controller but also as the gaming machine beaming the game onto your HD TV screen. Demos also showed four iPhone users playing concurrently on the same TV screen, competing with each other. Apple is not making a lot of noise about this yet – as iOS 6 is not out. But the implications can be huge. Graphics and computing power on the iPad and iPhone are respectable to say the least. Kids and adults alike are moving off of Nintendos and Playstation Portables (ok, fewer of those) onto iPod Touch, iPhones, iPads because the games are there and can do more than what they do on the platforms. The Kindle Fire and other Android devices are successful in this domain. But the Android horde lacks the bridge to the big screen that Apple TV brings to the fore with a $100 entry fee (beyond Samsung TV's built-in connectivity). Apple TV Airplay-enabled Game Center will use the iOS device as controller with the accelerometer and also as a second 'private' screen for the player using it. This is like having a Nintendo Dual Screen device where the game screen is 40", 50", 60" big. The local screen, on the iOS device, acts as the private control view. XBOX is built into the Windows Phone platform. But Microsoft did nothing to make it interesting beyond messaging for gamers. There are no mobile, GPS or context-enabled extensions for the XBOX games you love. You cannot use the phone as controller either. Who knows, maybe now the creativity will strike and this will happen. And nobody knows how the next iPhone or Apple TV will take this even further. Fun stuff.

Posted from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.