29 May 2008 - 1:03pmFirefox’s World Record

The Firefox team is going for a world record number of downloads of the latest release of Firefox (Firefox 3, release date TBA) within the first 24 hours of its release. Visit the site (which I saw on Digg) and pledge to download Firefox. They’ll send you an e-mail notification when the release date is set and then some reminders to go online and download it.

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20 May 2008 - 10:49amWedding Website

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So yesterday I took some time to create a website for Joelle and I to use for our wedding plans. Right now all that’s been posted are the locations of the ceremony and reception but as we progress through the different planning stages we’re going to post all the relevant information. Take a look and be sure to let us know if you have any questions or comments.

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14 May 2008 - 10:34amAndroid Winners

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A list of the 50 winners of the first portion of the Android Challenge has been posted on the Android blog.  After reading through the titles, I found a link at the bottom to the Phandriod site where links to many of the winner’s websites or videos have been aggregated.  Take a look at them.  These people developed some pretty outstanding applications.  I looked at several of the 50 that sounded interesting based on the description and I’ve picked a few favorites.

  1. Commandro – A new take on social networking, Commandro utilizes the Android platform’s location-based services to show you where your friends are and what they’re doing at all times.  It makes good use of the Google Maps functionality available on the device and the interface looks very intuitive.
  2. AndroidScan – This application is really cool.  Using the phone’s camera, AndroidScan allows you to take a picture of a barcode that it will then process, giving you a list of places where you can buy it and the price it’s being sold for there.  In addition to websites carrying that item (which you can view by clicking a link), the application also searches for nearby stores with that product and, in the case of a book, nearby libraries.  One thing I thought was particularly cool is that if the barcode you scanned belongs to a CD, the phone will access the Amazon MP3 store and give you the option to listen to the 30 second previews for each track on the album.  The AndroidScan website has a 3 minute video that shows it off pretty well.
  3. ShapeWriter WritingPad – This application is truly phenomenal.  Developed by ShapeWriter Inc., this application facilitates entering text into your touchscreen phone in a way I’ve never even imagined.  The best way for you to see what I mean is to just watch the video.  This application is really cool.

Now I can see more clearly why our application was not among the top 50.  The applications that won had truly innovative ideas that were almost flawlessly implemented.  Though I thought (and still think) that our idea was innovative, taking the whole social networking thing from a different angle, we didn’t have the skills or the time to implement it in such a complete way.

Edit (3/9/09): Thought I’d add in some information about our entry to the Contest.  Our team consisted of 6 students from Clarkson University (all undergraduates of various class levels) and one professor.  We developed an application we call “Digital Lifelines.”  Basically, it allows the user to custom create timelines of any type by choosing what fields to include for each entry.  These are created by following a simple XML format and then pulling that XML file from the internet for loading into the program.  Users add entries at will and then have the ability to browse through all their entries in a timeline-like fashion.  Our goal was to develop a web component where users could log on and see their timelines presented in a more visually appealling format, but that feature has yet to come.  We do, however, have a website you can visit where the source code will hopefully be posted sometime in the near future (we’ve been neglectful in attending to that).

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13 May 2008 - 4:05pmColors

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I finally took some time to modify the colors on the page a bit. I replaced all the blues with greens and I need feedback. I’m not really that good at choosing what colors go together, so let me know how I did.

Also, you’ll notice that the search box is gone. The box and its button were custom made by the original author of this theme and I don’t know enough about that to do it myself so I just took them off.

The dotted background on the left and right of the screen is currently the original background. It’s basically a gray gradient that has alternating pixels removed to create the checkerboard look. I started attempting to make a greenish version of it yesterday but didn’t get very far. I may continue trying to work on that.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the colors.

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12 May 2008 - 4:04pmGoogle sucks

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As may be evident by the title of this post, our team of 7 was not one of the 50 winners of the Android Developer Challenge. We were informed by email Friday afternoon that, regrettably, we would not be receiving one of the $25,000 prizes.

In all reality I knew we didn’t have much of a chance. I saw a few of the other entries that people had posted on the internet and our application just doesn’t even compare. I’m proud of what we did and I had a lot of fun doing it… I wish we’d had more time and energy to come up with a submission that could have competed better with the top entries.

There’s another Android Challenge starting later this year, perhaps we’ll continue work on our application in preparation for another submission then. At some point in the future the write-up we submitted (and possibly the source code) will be posted on our website.

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6 May 2008 - 1:02pmWork

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Well, I’ve been home for a few days now, had a good weekend spending time with Joelle and my family. Joelle and I went shopping on Friday night and I spent entirely way too much money on clothes for work (some of which was funded by generous donations from my parents… thanks for that $0.63 gift card :) ). Joelle’s birthday extravaganza took place on Saturday. We had spaghetti for dinner and cookie cake and ice cream for dessert.

Then Monday came and I started my job. As I understand it, I’m going to be doing some web development using Java Server Pages for possibly two different applications. At this point I’m trying to wrap my head around the structure of the application and the way the different pieces of hardware and software interact. I think I’m going to enjoy what I’m doing, but that remains to be seen.

As far as I know, I’m going to be working Monday – Thursday all through the summer and fall, hopefully maxing out my hours right before Christmas. My intentions are to save the majority of what I make so that Joelle and I will have some money to work with when we get married.

Completely off-topic: Android winners were not announced yesterday, as was originally stated. Word on the street (if by street you mean internet) is that the judges final scores for the top 100 applications are due tomorrow (the 7th). Hopefully they’ll all be on time and we’ll find out by Thursday who the 50 winners are.

I guess that’s all for now. I should probably try to find something to do that justifies my hourly pay rate.

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