From the early days of multi-user computer systems in the 1960′s we (well, not me, but computer users) have been sending each other private messages. Sure we can send email. Chat is real time and we know how to use it.
Instant messages (IM), or chat, is a parallel of talking with someone in real life. You can liken this to meeting someone at a coffee shop or a restaurant. In the real world, only those people immediately around you (unless one of you is carrying a listening device) can hear the conversation. You and those you are speaking with can rely on your memory or notes to refer to things that were said or not said. In an electronic medium, these conversations are stored forever, searchable, and can be used for or against you.
Spring 2013 has been a great semester. I had the privilege to teach two fantastic courses: Intro to Digital Media and Intro to Digital Audio.
Intro to Digital Media was a course that introduced students to digital audio, video, and the web. Intro to Digital Audio started with the foundations of sound and carried through the entire recording process.
I tried a few things out this semester and I wanted to write myself a note (to be shared of course) of what I thought worked and didn't work.
BlackBerry has just announced that its hugely popular BBM messaging service is going multi-platform: it will be released for Android and iOS as a free app this summer.
This is great news for messaging. I was an avid BBM user before the iPhone and Android and BBM was the best thing on the device. BBM was reliable and secure. No cross platform has stolen the market yet either.
I've used WhatsApp (love it), iMessages, Viber, Kik, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Line, and Voxer over the past couple of years. They are each good in one way or another – except that everyone isn't on them. Maybe BBM will be the "one messenger to rule them all".
Personally, I think SMS has been shown to be overpriced and unreliable and I refuse to pay for it. I really want everyone to use a messaging service that is secure and uses data.
ClippingMagic is a neat service that helps you with that pesky chore of removing the background from your images.
You are greeted with a large drag and drop file window. Drag your image file there.
Use the Red minus sine to highlight over the areas you want to go away. The preview window will show you what to expect. Just like in MS PowerPoint, use the Green Plus sign to tell ClippingMagic which parts you want to keep. Keep using the minus and plus until the preview is what you are expecting.
I chose a simple image with a fairly consistent blue background to try this on.
I heard about Draft on the Systematic podcast this week.
Draft is an online text editor with built-in version control. Cool! Draft allows you to collaborate in a nice way that is different than simply "tracking changes". I never liked emailing word docs around anyways.
Draft lets you open your documents from Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs too.
Drafts is able to publish work to a few places including twitter (tested here) and hopefully WordPress (if you are reading this).
I wanted to play in the mobile dev space a bit and made a fun little project. I’m still working on the flow, transitions, and some graphic elements. Using jQuery Mobile made the form elements work well on a touch device so I thought I would share it now.
Enter the amount of the bill and use the slider (or enter in the field) the percent tip that you would like to give. Tippy defaults to 20% which is customary for restaurants where I live. If the service is great, slide up (to the right), poor service, slide down (to the left).
Then you Tip Big!
Tippy will round your bill up to the nearest dollar. I find it convenient when paying in cash. That’s the top number.
If you are splitting the bill you can use the slider to select the number of people and the total per person will appear below.
Private, secure, and fast sharing of documents. No limits to the amount of data or the number of shared folders. No limits with whom you share to. It is fast and free. Bit Torrent Sync.
I can be a fan of technology when it’s still too early to tell whether something will be around or not. Bit Torrent Sync hits the high points for file sharing that I have been trying to solve for the last ten years.