Tag Archives: developer

Twitter for Android

A few weeks ago, the Twitter team announced that we would be seeing a Twitter client coming soon to Android devices. The app has become available sooner than we thought, as announced on the official Twitter blog today. “When apps work well with each other, sharing becomes as second nature on machines as it does in person. The Android platform is really good at that, and we’ve worked with the Android team to make it super easy to share what’s happening.”

The app makes it easy to stay connected. You can access your timeline by using the home screen widget. Check out a friend’s location on a map in seconds. Or, you can see your contacts’ latest messages in your address book, GoogleTalk list or any other app that uses the Android QuickContact bar. You don’t have to click through twelve different screens to find out what’s happening at any given moment.

Likely the best part of this news is the fact that the entire code will be open-sourced in the near future: “We had a great time working with the Android team and are thrilled that Google will be open sourcing the code used in this app in the near future. We look forward to the amazing experiences developers will create using Twitter APIs in their upcoming Android apps.”

This could bring some seriously cool apps from many talented developers. I know we have a few of you in our community already working on creating Android apps. What are your thoughts about the Twitter app? What do you think can be done to make it even better than it already appears to be out of the gate?

Do Computer Majors Mean Anything Anymore?

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The job market is always changing. Computer program majors often find themselves having a tough time after graduation. It may sound insane due to the number of computer-related fields that are are there. Much of it depends on where you live, and what your exact area of focus is.

You cannot possibly try to get a “general” computer degree anymore. Pick a specific area that you are good at or interested and focus on that. If you’re a developer, go develop! If you’re more of a networking whiz, you know what you need to do. There are SO MANY hundreds of possibilities. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face by choosing too broad of a major.

A consulting route isn’t a bad idea, but you honestly have to be REALLY good at what you’re trying to do. However, becoming a developer is where it’s at right now in MY mind. The other areas won’t disappear any time soon, no. But look at all of the dev opportunities out there right now. That’s the hottest and most in-demand area.

Network like crazy every chance you get. I say that about pretty much any type of career, but it holds even more true of us Geeks. Social connections enable you to find the path before the path is eliminated.

Most importantly, love what you do. Don’t choose an area of study just because you think you’ll make good money. Sure, that’s an important consideration. You have to support yourself. But if you hate what you do, you’re not going to do it for long. Know where your passions lie, and choose your path based off of them.

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iMockups for the iPad

Developers are going to want this app for their iPad. If you weren’t planning to buy an iPad, this app alone could very well change your mind. You already carry around some type of notebook to sketch out your ideas for the next must-have iPhone or iPad app, right? Using this app on your shiny new iPad will make your life easier, methinks.

iMockups is going to make it much easier for you to create wireframes and layouts for the iPad or iPhone – and for web apps. Any project can have multiple sketchbook pages associated with it, and developers can quickly add elements from a pad at the side of the screen. If arms hurt from carrying around a clunky machine, this app (combined with the iPad itself) could be exactly what your chiropractor ordered.

Credit to TUAW for discovering this app first.

What is GameSalad?

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Kevoc recently attended MacWorld, and was kind enough to record a few videos for us, since I wasn’t able to attend myself. GameSalad is the world’s most advanced game creation tool for non-programmers. With GameSalad, game makers of all levels can bring their ideas to life without programming a single line of code. Build games visually using a drag-and-drop interface along with a robust behavior system. Publish your games quickly and easy to the iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac Desktop, and the Web.

Upon joining the GameSalad Membership Program, a member will be given access to GameSalad Viewer for iPhone, an app that allows testing of their game on the device. Once satisfied with the game, the developer will need to submit it through the GameSalad Membership Program online submission form. After a game is ready for the creator to retrieve, they will receive a link to the Xcode project file to submit according to Apple’s submission process.

You do not need to know how to program, but you may need to know a little logic to be able to make elements of the game interact with the user and each other. GameSalad Creator comes with a variety of templates that you can use to start making your game.

If you have an idea for a new game, there’s nothing standing in your way. You don’t have to be a hard-core programmer in order to make your dream a reality!

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How to Make an iPhone App

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Anthony saw my call for screencasters, and stepped up to the plate. He has created an amazing tutorial for all of you would-be iPhone devs out there! In this screencast, he will show you how to get started, and walk you through creating a simple iPhone App of your very own! It’s not too late for you to submit a screencast to be uploaded to our channels. Click on the link at the beginning of this description for more information.

First, you’ll need to head over to Apple’s Dev Center and download the SDK. This includes the Xcode IDE, iPhone simulator, and a suite of additional tools for developing applications for iPhone and iPod touch. You do not need to buy a developer account – you can use a free one to start with. If you are interested in submitting something to the App Store at some point, you can then look at the membership options.

To create a new iPhone application, you start by creating a new project in Xcode. A project manages all of the information associated with your application, including the source files, build settings, and rules needed to put all of the pieces together. The Groups and Files list is where you manage the files in your project, including your source files and the build targets that are created from those source files. The toolbar gives you access to commonly used tools and commands while the details pane provides a configurable space for working on your project.

The Interface Builder is the next component you will need. It’s the tool that you’ll use to make your App user interface. Using this tool, you’ll assemble your App’s window by dragging and dropping preconfigured components into it. These include standard things like switches, text fields and buttons. Once you put them on the window’s surface, you can move them around, configure them and establish how these interact with your code.

The iPhone Simulator is used to test your App, so that you don’t have to use an actual iPhone. This will save you a load of time, and is very easy to use.

It’s not as difficult to create an iPhone App as you may have thought. With patience and time, anyone can learn how to do these. Once you create something unique that others may want to have, you’ll be able to start earning money on the App Store.

Thanks to Anthony for the excellent tutorial… and good luck to all of you budding iPhone developers!

[awsbullet:iphone app sdk]

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Will Code for Green

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Have you thought about Green Computing? Do you have what it takes to make the next great Green Computing application?

Gnomedex and the Microsoft Live Search have teamed up to sponsor a developer contest called Will Code for Green. The hope is to make a difference in the economy (Green = Money) and the Earths ecology (Green = Environment) that lasts long after the contest is over. For more details, you can read my earlier blog post.

All Semi-Finalists will present their creations at the Gnomedex conference August 20-22, 2009. Attendees at the Gnomedex conference will be invited to vote to determine a Grand Prize winner in each Category – and three runner-up winners from both Categories combined. Each Grand Prize winner will receive $10,000.00 to further their ideas and projects, and each runner-up will receive $3000.00.

Do you have a passion for the environment or economy? Do you have the mad skills to put that passion to work to help others? If so, get busy! The deadline for entry is on August 12th. You just never know… you could be our winner.

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Social Views of Email on the Desktop

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Incoming information via RSS feeds can be completely overwhelming. More people every day are using social networks and other forms of communication. Microsoft developers are working hard to make this much easier on all of us.

The team has come up with a tool that will automatically analyze your communication and organize it into groups. Depending on when and who you’re talking to, a different stream of information can be presented.

The goal of automatic group discovery is not only to detect the initial grouping, but also to discover slow changes to groups over time. This will keep you from having to manage everything manually.

There are also different ways to look at an incoming stream of information. You can choose from a condensed view for small screens, or a gorgeous immersive experience. You can zoom into additional pages to get to your older messages, or do a search by a timeline-based presentation.

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What Cross-Platform Software do you Need?

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You guys know that I’m a cross-platform Gnomie. I became addicted to software at a very young age, like many of you. I found myself floating between operating systems more often, and looking for developers who created software that was workable no matter what environment I was in at the time.

I recently found a need for a renaming utility for Mac OS X, because the batch renaming utility is pretty lacking, especially in comparison to Vista. I happened to come across PublicSpace online. On their site, I found A Better File Rename. Better yet, there’s a Windows equivalent! They have a few other utilities as well.

One that I’m really excited to talk to you about is called MacBreakZ. This is only available for Mac OS X, so no luck for Windows folks at this point. What this will do is run and remind you that you need to get up from your computer and stretch or take a break. It even gives you examples of different stretches you can do. Their tag line is “Making Healthy Computing Fun”.

Computer-related health problems ranging from eyestrain, headaches, neck, wrist, elbow and back pain to more serious Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), including carpal tunnel syndrome, writer’s cramp, tendonitis, etc. are the result of inappropriate computer use.

MacBreakZ offers a unique way of acquiring ergonomic skills that can save you a lot of discomfort and shield you from serious health and career-threatening injury.

I’m always looking for new software I can test out, especially if there’s equivalents for more than one operating system. Feel free to pass along anything you think I might be interested in checking out.

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Game Developer Programming Suggestions

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Are you interested in become a gaming Programmer? Scott called in the other night when the phone lines were open. He wants to get into game development, and isn’t sure what Programming language he should begin to learn at first.

I feel he should start simple, and download Visual Studio. I know some in the chat room are suggesting different variations of C… but I recommend Visual Studio for a reason. That reason is that it’s designed to help make games for the Xbox. You can learn that way. If you want to really dive into this field, that is one way to go. If you want to learn to walk before you run… Visual Studio is the way to go.

I have never been a programmer myself. I just go off the recommendations of others who are in that field. Find the tool that works for you. Talk to other game devs, and see what they say. Find what’s going to be comfortable for you, in an environment where you aren’t just using Notepad.


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Users vs. Developers

In prepping for my talk at BloggerCon tomorrow, I thought I’d incite a riot tonight. Most of the world won’t be there, but you can tune into the live stream at some point right after lunch (when I’ll be leading the discussion). I put all of this in tonight’s Lockergnome report for the Windows Fanatics channel, but I figured it was worth repeating here… where I’m likely to get flamed out of existence.

What would the world of software be like if the inmates were running the asylum? I’d argue a lot more useful, and a lot more beautiful. But users are usually in the back seat when it comes to the evolution of a utility – from beginning to end. We have all the control in the world, but few of us ever choose to exercise that power. We are expected to treat developers like they’re gods – but they’re no more important in this cycle than the average user. Let me put it to you this way: software is useless if there isn’t anybody using it. There are certainly users who are content to take whatever programmers hand to them, but I don’t believe that this Utopian level of interaction will exist for too much longer. The world of software is getting larger by the day, and more people are finding new and different ways to improve lives with digital code. I got sick and tired of meeting programmers and developers with attitude, so I decided to get an attitude myself – as a power user. I expect better, I expect faster, I expect smarter, I expect more.

Base functionality is crucial – but I would argue that software should look twice as good as it runs (which should be fast to begin with). I’ve been labeled a “nitpicker” for pointing out font inconsistencies and pixel discrepancies. But if you don’t complain about the things you’d like to see change, how do you ever expect them to change? Developers develop, users use – but it’s up to both parties to communicate with one another. When I see a new piece of software that holds promise, I call out its shortcomings in the hopes it will be closer to perfection with the next revision. Programmers believe that they’re in charge – but I believe the true power lies within the user. Years ago, when I started Lockergnome, there were few people writing publicly about good (or bad) digital tools on the desktop or the Web. The blogosphere has since exploded with a flood of positive and negative opinions – and if you’re not a part of that revolution, then you’re missing out on an important part of history. I’ve seen countless developers struggle to get their apps recognized – but most of those same programmers suffer from an overinflated ego and miscalculation of a uesr’s wants, needs, and desires. Users don’t talk – but I’m asking you to start flappin’ your electronic gums for the sake of making the software landscape better for all of us.

FWIW, I love developers – couldn’t live without ’em. Can’t live with ’em, either. 🙂