Ajax

ET GPhone Home? - What to Expect from 'Google Phones'

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Alexander Wolfe at Information Week has written an article titled Inside The GPhone: What To Expect From Google's Android Alliance in which he deduces the eight key technologies that will play major roles in the Google Android Platform and subsequent GPhones.

Here's a quick rundown:

1) Less is More, especially when it comes to UI
Google has partnered with a Swedish operated called TAT(short for The Astonishing Tribe) who has worked for SonyEricsson, Samsung, TeliaSonera and Orange.

2) GPS - Can live with it, can't travel without it.
Google has partnered with SiRF Technology Inc.(a San Jose, CA based specialist in "location-awareness" technology. SiRF offers chips which enable GPS to be hard-wired into the handset without compromising the size of the overall device. Battery consumption may be an issue, but it doesn't sound like it will be any worse than the iPhone.

3) Web Browser - Surf like a butterfly, browse like a bee
Will it be WebKit(ala Safari and the iPhone) or will it be Opera Mini? Information week has a sneaking suspicion Opera might be joining the Open Handset Alliance soon and will partner with Google to get it's browser in Android.

4) Multimedia Razzle Dazzle
Texas Instruments is a member of the Open Handset Alliance, but so is Marvell Technology Group(who specializes in RF chips). What does have to do with multimedia you ask? Well TI developed OMAP, a proprietary multimedia platform, architecture, and processer family. What does OMAP offer? It offers "pretty much everything a handset maker needs to field a full range of models from bargain-basement GPhones to feature-stuffed, single-chip cellphones on steroids." For example, TI's OMAPV1035 chip is referred to as "the first fully-integrated digital baseband, RF, and applications processor." It handles audio and video playback, allowing record and streaming at 30 frames per second and has a built-in digital camera up to 3 Megapixels with shot-to-shot delay of less than a second , and onboard 2D and 3D graphics! 

OMAPV1035

5) Real Speech Recognition - remember KIT from Knight Rider?
Open Handset Alliance member Nuance Communications Incsays it's VoCon Mobile speech-interface solution handles standard voice dialing as well has menu navigation in response to verbal commands. VoCon is currently used by Motorola, NEC, LG, and Samsung. Nuance is also focused on simplifying text messaging through new text-input software, like its main product called T9.

6) iPhone Hustle - You can look, but you can touch to.
Open Handset Alliance member Synapticsand its clear capacitive technology will most likely be contributing to the GPhone hardware display. If you don't think they have what it takes to play ball with Apple, check out this photo from Synaptics for the Onyx concept (which can play music and video)
Onyx Concept
7) What's a Google Product without Targeted Content?
Alliance partner PacketVideo Corp, who created the multimedia software behind the Verizon VCAST video and music service, could be contributing MediaFusion - a single portal for music, ringtones, and video targeted to the user based on their purchase history. 

8) Gaming - and no, we're not talking about Snake (Nokia reference)
Look out, because Open Handset Alliance member NVidia is expected to contribute its chips to Gphones, which means we could have a Google handheld gaming system! Nvidia chips are also in LG, Samsung, and Kyocera phones.

Click here to read the full article at Information Week

Javascript Diff Algorithm

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Another tool for your javascript toolbelt!

John Resig implemented a diff algorithm in javascript that includes two functions, one of which is recommended for use:

diffString( String oldFile, String newFile ) This method takes two strings and calculates the differences in each. The final result is the 'newFile' marked up with HTML (to signify both deletions from the oldFile and additions to the newFile).

Sample Code

document.body.innerHTML = diffString(
"The red brown fox jumped over the rolling log.",
"The brown spotted fox leaped over the rolling log"
);

Sample Output

The red brown spotted fox jumped leaped over the rolling log.

Click here to visit the site and download the code!

Google Misses the Mark?

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In a recent article titled "Father of web 2.0 slams Google OpenSocial", Tim O'Reilly - the father of the term 'web 2.0', calls Google's Open Social API "boring" and a "full blown disappointment".

Google OpenSocial

OpenSocial provides a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple websites. Those sites include Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.

O'Reilly described the lack of data sharing as a "fundamental failure " to understand two key principles of web 2.0: open data and loosely coupled applications or services.

"If all OpenSocial does is allow developers to port their applications more easily from one social network to another, that's a big win for the developer as they get to shop their application to users of every participating social network," wrote O'Reilly.

"But it provides little incremental value to the user [who is] the real target. We do not want to have the same application on multiple social networks. We want applications that can use data from multiple social networks."

If Google had taken the OpenSocial approach with Google Maps, it would have created a service that allowed developers to create mapping applications across Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. O'Reilly summarised such a service as "boring".

Read the full article here

Post your comments! We'd love to hear what you think of Google OpenSocial, whether or not you agree with Tim O'Reilly.

Mr. Data from Star Trek?

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No! Not that Android! This is Google Android- the first complete, open, and free mobile platform! Rumors have been circulating that Google would be developing a GPhone, but that rumor turned out to be false. What Google is doing, is trying to revolutionize the mobile device platform by rolling out an open-source, reusable, extensible, customizable, "integratable" operating system for mobile phones.

Why this platform is automatic
It's systematic
It's hydromatic
Why it's grease lightning!

Watch this quick intro to Android and its SDK from the Sergey Brin:

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=1FJHYqE0RDg]

Here's some specs on Android in-case you're interested:

Kernel
Android is based on the Linux 2.6 Kernel as its Hardware Abstraction Layer. Its Native Libraries are written in C/C++.

Graphics
It uses OpenGL/ES as its 3D Library and SGL for 2D graphics. However, Android allows you to use both 3D and 2D in harmony within your application.

Media
Android's Media Framework includes codecs for MPEG4, h.264, MP3, AAC

Data Storage
SQLite for Data Storage

Web Browser
WebKit - Open Source browser engine, same browser that powers Safari.

Java Runtime / Virtual Machine
Android Runtime - Dalvik Virtual Machine (DEX Files - Bytecode generated by compiling .class and .jar files)

Core Libraries - written in JAVA (collections, utilities, I/O, etc...)

Application Building Blocks
Activity - UI component typically corresponding to one screen
IntentReceiver - Responds to notifications or status changes. Can wake up your process.
Service - Faceless task that runs in the background (like how you'd expect a music player to work)
ContentProvider - Enable applications to share data

For more information, here's a three part series from Google explaining:

1) Android System Architecture
[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Mm6Ju0xhUW8]

2) Application Lifecycle
[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=ITfRuRkf2TM]

3) APIs
[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=iiD4fGjjXcc]

And here's a first hand look at building an Android application:

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=I6ObTqIiYfE]

Now that you're ready to start building Android Apps, here's a link to the SDK to get you going!
(Did I mention Google is holding an Android Developer Challenge, which will provide $10 million in awards -- no strings attached -- for great mobile apps built on the Android platform? What are you waiting for? Start coding.)

Ajax Chat & IM Libraries

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Ever wanted to add a chatroom or instant messenger to your site, but just couldn't find one that did just what you needed? Unwieldy Studios has built a few ajax tools that might do the trick.

First, they have developed an ajax based instant messager  named "ajax im" that is compatible with all major browsers. Installing the script is fairly straight-forward and once setup, it will display a buddy list style messenger in a floating div on your page. The messenger is movable, resizable, as well as minimizable. Most of what you would expect is included, but no over-the-top bells & whistles. If you're interested take a look at the Ajax IM project homepage.

Second is their ajax chatroom, which I think is very useful in a variety of applications. The chatroom has most of the core features provided in Ajax IM, like the fluid and flexible UI. But the major advantage of the chatroom is that you can include it on multiple pages of your site and it will follow your users from page to page, retaining their information and chats. Here's a demo to see Ajax Chat in action.

Deezer.com - Music on-demand

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I happened to stumble across Deezer while searching for an alternative to Pandora Radio (http://www.pandora.com/). Don't get me wrong, Pandora is great - especially when you want to find other songs/artists that are similiar to ones you already like, but there are times you want to listen to a certain song or specific album from one of your favorite artists.

Cue Deezer. Deezer is a free on-demand music service that allows you to listen to specific songs & artists and lets you build and save custom playlists. Music is user contributed (uploaded by each user) and then analyzed and cataloged in Deezer's database.  After building your playlist, you can embed a custom player on your site using Deezer's Blog/Share tool that auto generates the code for you.

Here's a link to Deezer's site: http://www.deezer.com/

And here's a link to their press release explaining how this is legal (for now): http://www.deezer.com/press/cp_deezer_220807_en.pdf

The W3C Strives for Progress

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The W3C has been working on a project titled "Progress Events 1.0" that concerns data transfer in Ajax web applications. Progress Events are events that occur when additional data is downloaded on-demand. It refers to scripts which can monitor progress, construct loading bars, and take various kinds of action once data has been transferred.

The 5 progress events are loadstart, progress, error, aboart, and load.

loadstart = the operation has begun.

progress = the operation is in progress.

error = the operation failed to complete.

aboart = the operation was cancelled.

load = the operation sucessfully completed.

Read the full article here.

View the W3C whitepaper here.

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