Archive for the 'IT' Category

Windows Phone 7, Euromess, Google Buzz & TED2010

Viimeisen viikon aikana tapahtunut maailmalla taas paljon. Lyhyesti muutama artikkeli ja video jotka ovat jääneet mieleen seuraavista tapahtumista:

Windows Phone 7 oli ehkä yksi suurimmista positiivisista yllätyksistä; kokonaan uusi käyttöjärjestelmä ja lähestymistapa (datakeskeinen eikä toiminnalisuuskeskeinen kuten Android ja iPhone OS). Samalla Nokia julkaisi Intel-yhteistyönsä: Maemo + Moblin = MeeGo (miksi Intel lähtee kehittämään softaa ARMille?), mutta enpä oikein taas tiedä tuostakaan vedosta. Matt Buchan tiivistää Gizmodon artikkelissaan:

The mobile picture is now officially a three-way dance: Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The same people who dominate desktop computing. Everybody else is screwed. Former Palm CEO Ed Colligan famously said a few years ago: “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” That’s precisely what’s just happened. Phones are the new PCs. PC guys are the new phone guys.

Kreikan talouskriisiin en ole kovin syvälle porautunut, mutta Krugerin kolumni The Making of a Euromess New York Timesissa oli hyvä taustoitus ja herätys euroalueen ongelmiin (vaikkakaan en usein täysin jaa Krugerin näkemyksiä – toisaalta ehkä hän tietää paremmin).

Google Buzz oli vähintäänkin yhtä yllätys. Jaikun toinen perustaja Jyri Engeström kirjoittaa blogissaan kuinka “Jaikusta kehkeytyi Buzz” ja mainitsee, että Tim O’Reillyn artikkeli on lukemisen arvoinen. Olen samaa mieltä, vaikken ole vielä konseptille täysin lämmennyt. Paljon kiintoisia ajatuksia siitä, mitä Google ajaa Buzzilla takaa:

There are real benefits to using email as a social media platform. Just about everyone knows how to use it. — It has a global address space that allows you to find almost anyone, an address space that links people to content. It’s multi-platform, and accessible from anywhere.

TED2010 tietää taas paljon podcasteja keväälle. Niistä varmaan lisää myöhemmin. Kaksi asiaa kuitenkin jäi mieleen. Toinen oli Nokian tutkimusjohtaja Henry Tirrin haastattelu mobiilin trendeistä 5-10 vuoden säteellä. Monia ajatuksia herättäviä vastauksia ja spekulaatiota; yhtenä

Sending information bits takes more energy than computing them, which means local computing consumes less energy.

Ja sitten tietenkin Apple, jonka iPadia ei otettu mediassa kovin hyvin vastaan osin ylisuuren hypen takia. Mashablen mukaan Wired Magazinen demo pyörii iPadin päällä. Kiintoisaksi asian tekee se, että AIR on web-teknologioita ja Flashiä hyväkseen käyttävä ajoympäristö, eli AIR tulee, muttei Flashiä selaimeen?

iPad / iSlate / iBook / iTablet / iGuide ?

Steve Jobs pitää Applen lehdistötilaisuuden kahdeksantoista tunnin kuluttua (tänään ti 27.1.2010 klo 20 Suomen aikaa). McGraw-Hillin toimitusjohtaja varmisti juuri huomisen Applen Tabletin julkistuksen. Nimeä ei tälle tuotteelle vielä ole, vaikkakin otsikossa olevia nimiä on spekulaatioissa esiintynyt, joista osa onkin Applen rekisteröimiä.

(from Mashable)

Apple Tablet Mockup

Tabletit
Tabletit eivät itsessään ole uusi keksintö. Alan Kayn Dynabook -konsepti vuodelta 1970 on ensimmäisiä kuvauksia dynaamisista kirjoista. Apple Insiderin artikkeli tarjoaa loistavan katsauksen tablettien historiaan lukuisine graafeineen: The inside track on Apple’s tablet: a history of tablet computing. Lukemisen arvoinen on myös Gruberin artikkeli Daring Fireballissa: The Tablet.

Nykyisen PC:n tuominen pieneen kosketusnäytölliseen laitteeseen sellaisenaan ei ole osoittautunut toimivaksi ratkaisuksi. Applen lisäksi muutkin valmistajat yrittävät markkinoille uuden sukupolven laitteilla (elektronisista kirjoista kirjoitukseni lopussa). Näistä esimerkkinä Dellin konsepti sekä huhuttu Google/HTC -tabletti. Olisiko Applen iPhonen päälle rakentama käyttöliittymä ja ekosysteemi kuitenkin ensimmäinen varsinainen askel?

Konseptit
En muista artikkelia, mutta joku mainitsi julkaisijoiden vieneen kirjailijoiden ja toimittajien vapauden. Tämä lienee verrattavissa siihen, mitä levy-yhtiöt tekivät musiikille. Olisiko nyt webin aikakautena mahdollista siirtyä eteenpäin? Itse odotan julkaisuliiketoiminnan murrosta. Pienenä aamurutiineihini kuului aina Hesarin lukeminen (sekä tietenkin kuukausittainen Tieteen Kuvalehti). Viimeisten vuosien aikana suurin osa uutisten ja artikkeleiden lukemisesta on kohdallani siirtynyt webiin. Tämä on johtanut lähes pakonomaiseen tarpeeseen kahlata läpi satoja päivittäisiä artikkeleita joita Google Readeriin ilmestyy. Lisäksi kaipaan toimituksellista sisältöä ja taustoitusta artikkeleihin, joita vain harvoissa uutisissa on. Osa aikakauslehdistä tätä tarjoaisi, mutten ole löytänyt pahemmin aikaa näille. Mieluummin luen ns. rauhallisina hetkinä kaunokirjallisuutta.

Hyvä tapa tutustua mahdollisiin käyttöliittymiin on lukaista läpi New York Timesin artikkeli joulukuun lopulta ja katsoa alla olevat konseptivideot elektronisesta aikakauslehdestä (Time Inc.:in Sports Illustrated sekä Bonnier).

Elektroniset kirjat
Vuosi 2009 kului lukuisten elektronisten kirjojen ilmestyessä markkinoille: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sonyn Reader ja viimeisimpänä Skiff Reader ovat esimerkkejä laitteista, jotka perustuvat elektroniseen paperiin (tabletit taasen käyttävät tavallisia nestekidenäyttöjä). En usko, että näistä on massamarkkinoille, vaikkakin USAssa Kindle ja Nook ovat myyneet ilmeisen hyvin. Asetelmaa saattaa muuttaa joustava paperi, jollaisia on tulossa markkinoille mahdollisesti vielä tämän vuoden kuluessa:

(from Inhabitat)

LG:n joustava elektroninen paperi

Aikeenani oli kirjoittaa laajempi katsaus julkaisuliiketoimintaan, mutta jotenkin Applen julkistus ehti väliin. Ehkä onkin parempi punnita markkina uudestaan huomisen jälkeen ja palata aiheeseen myöhemmin.

Applications for Snow Leopard

As Snow Leopard is finally out, it is time for me to perform a clean install and get rid of the junk that had gathered during the years. In addition to the web services and applications already installed with Mac OS X 10.6, there are some programs I utilize during my extensive use of Mac and the Interwibble.

I made a similar list back in 2007 when Leopard was released. As Apple has added features, some add-ons are not needed anymore, like the once handy Facebook Exporter for iPhoto). Also a nice development is that the majority of the apps include an auto update feature – there is no need for manually reinstalling yuor apps.

Online:

  • Skype – make calls from your computer.
  • Adium – instant messaging application connecting to AIM, MSN, Facebook chat, and more.
  • Transmission is a BitTorrent client for Mac OS X.
  • Cyberduck is an open source FTP and SFTP browser.
  • Firefox web browser (solely for testing purposes as I prefer Safari).
  • Acquisition – search and download files.
  • Dropbox – sync your files online and across computers.
  • TweetDeck – a simple and fast way to experience Twitter.

Audio and video:

  • VLC – media player supporting a large number of multimedia formats.
  • HandBrake – convert DVDs to MPEG-4.
  • Last.fm scrobbles your tracks to Last.fm.
  • Livestation delivers a range of live radio and television channels to your computer over a broadband network.
  • Spotify (free with an invite) is a music streaming service.
  • Airfoil ($25) – Send any audio to AirPort Express units, all in sync!
  • Senuti ($18) is a simple application that allows you to transfer songs from your iPod to your computer (for a feature you don’t likely need that often it is not worth the price, but in some situations the 30-day free trial might help).
  • XimpleMOD plays your ancient music files (IT, S3M, XM, MTM, MOD, UMX and MO3). Back in the 90′s LCIII’s Motorola 68030 was too slow to handle .mp3 format…

Other:

  • AddressBookSync – download profile pictures and other Facebook data to Address Book.
  • GoogleEarth – zoom from outer space to street level in seconds.
  • Cooliris – browse Google Images, Flickr etc. with a 3D wall.
  • Soikko on suomen kielen oikoluku- ja tavutusohjelma (ehdoton asennus, kaikessa mitä koneella kirjoitat on tämän jälkeen oikoluku).
  • Combine PDFs is an application to combine several PDF files easily.
  • Carbon Copy Cloner – make complete, bootable backups (not necessary as Time Machine handle the same task, but for some situations CCC is better).
  • Onyx allows you to run misc tasks of system maintenances and more (not yet Snow Leopard compatible).
  • LCDtest is a simple application that helps you test your liquid crystal display.
  • Saft and Safari Stand add many useful features to Safari like URL shortcuts (not yet Snow Leopard compatible).
  • YummySoup! ($20) – recipe management app for cooking, shopping, sharing, and organizing recipes.

Widgets:

  • Sol – tells you what time sunrise (dawn) and sunset (dusk) are.
  • iStat Pro – the ultimate system monitoring widget.
  • TunesTEXT – search and save lyrics in music files automatically while using iTunes.
  • Currency Converter – 170 world currencies; great for online shopping.
  • Dashalytics – quick access to Google Analytics statistics.
  • Symbol Caddy keeps a bunch of common special characters at fingertips.

In addition to these freeware/shareware programs, must have applications include:

  • EyeTV software, together with compatible hardware, turns your Mac into both a TV and a Digital Video Recorder (DVR).
  • Coda for web development
  • Microsoft Office – documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
  • iWork ’09 – Office in Mac way. Keynote is great!
  • Adobe CreativeSuite 4 for all creative professionals.

New Layout for kuusanmaki.com

It is done. There are still some minor bugs to iron out (like the status error) and I’ll update this post with some background as soon as I’m finished.

Blow Up for Flickr

Back again. Major revamp to this weblog is still to be implemented. One important aspect is to add social media parts and I did minor testing with K2 using three columns, but I was not satisfied with the result. As I’m not willing to put too much effort on the theme itself, I searched for other solutions and found a good candidate. But more of that later.

For the last few days I have been migrating my photos to Flickr. The work is still in progress, but I found a wonderful small program called Blow Up. It uses Flickr public API and some flash to present Flickr photosets in a great-looking, fullscreen display.


View albums by typing a valid flickr username here.

You can try with my flicker feed at photos.kuusanmaki.com. This address works also for me as a quick link if there is a need to present my photos. The gallery might take a while to load, but it is great and intuitive!

Jobs: Don’t Settle

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, gave this speech at the Stanford University’s 114th Commencement in 2005. This is an old speech but somehow I have missed watching it. It’s well spent 13 minutes if you haven’t either:

Jobs at Stanford University in 2005.

Jobs amazes once again with his fascinating performance. He also summarize quite well a few points I have been thinking about lately. Well, I’m in the stage of graduating (unlike Jobs back then) from HSE and believe I have a great future ahead. We will see. The Whole Earth Catalog “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” back cover can be found from here and the text of the speech is also available. Below is another quote; one which I’m definitely trying to pursue.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Nokia Morph – a nanotechnology device concept

Nokia unveiled Morph, joint nanotechnology concept developed by Nokia Research Center and the University of Cambridge, on Monday 25th. From Nokia’s press release:

“Morph is a concept that demonstrates how future mobile devices might be stretchable and flexible, allowing the user to transform their mobile device into radically different shapes. It demonstrates the ultimate functionality that nanotechnology might be capable of delivering: flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.”

I find these kinds of releases stirring; they push us to think a few moments outside the box. It is also amazing to see what is the human capable of creating.

Morph Wrist
Morph in wrist mode. (image from Nokia)

Morph Open
The same device in open mode. (image from Nokia)

We have some of these technologies already in use like self-cleaning windows (wiper-free windshields are on their way) and researchers are reporting about further advancements like clothes that clean themselves. What is the next big thing?

Possibilities with design and user interfaces with Morph are endless. Devices become context aware and part of us. These are steps to some stage of transhumanism, which is actually one topic I’m going to cover before summer. Let’s finish with a video demonstrating the Morph concept:

Best Handsets from 95 € to 390 €

Welcome to year 2008. Starting today, I’m trying to catch up and be back to the normal once a week pace. First posts will cover some gadget recommendations and software tips.

Let’s start with handsets. Below you’ll find four great phones from which the last three qualifies as smartphones. All the devices are stylish and perfect for everyday use – depending on one’s needs. I have personally tested all the four and can recommend them. Click on phone model for technical specifications and prices are for unlocked devices in Finland including VAT (22 %).

Nokia 2630 – 95 €

  • Very nice and thin (9.9 mm, only 66 g) dual-band phone with GPRS
  • Bluetooth for syncing (address book and calendar works seamlessly with OS X)
  • Email with IMAP (Google Mail is the only you need)
  • VGA camera (640 x 480 pixel) and FM radio

Nokia 6120 Classic – 220 €

  • One of the smallest S60 devices (15 mm, 89 g) with 3G
  • QVGA display (320 x 240 pixel)
  • 2 megapixel camera (1600 x 1200 pixel)

Nokia E51 – 290 €

  • As the 6120 Classic but adds Wi-Fi and some features (12 mm, 100 g)
  • Nokia’s 6120 Classic and E51 both prove how diminutive S60 smartphones can be, including a decent keypad and a decent battery

Apple iPhone – 390 €

  • Surprisingly well sized (11.6 mm, 135 g), fits perfectly in pocket
  • Gorgeous 3.5-inch Multi-Touch display (480 x 320 pixel)
  • 2 megapixel camera (1600 x 1200 pixel)
  • 8 Gb of internal memory and all the basic stuff like EDGE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Easy to jailbrake and unlock (with the latest firmware 1.1.3 there are still some issues)

Handsets
Heights: 105 mm for 2630 & 6120 and 115 mm for E51 & iPhone (images are courtesy of Nokia and Apple).

Must Have Applications for Mac

As Mac market share is rising and Leopard released, I decided to write a comprehensive list of all the apps I’m using (in addition to the ones which came installed).

Moving to a new operating system comes always with some broken apps (like Onyx, Carbon Copy Cloner) and some hacks are not needed anymore. Also using old file formats might become impossible or do you have any idea with which software to play MODs and other old music files? PlayerPro used to be the one, but it isn’t distributed anymore (fortunately I have a version installed).

Back to the topic. New Macs have almost all the software a basic user needs (like iLife) so the above list is not long, but it helps making your Mac even more compatible and connected. And what’s best, all the software mentioned below is free expect the Shareware part.

Instant messaging:

  • Skype – make calls from your computer.
  • Adium, instant messaging application for Mac OS X that can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more.
  • Microsoft Messenger runs now on Intel Macs and includes new collaboration features.

Audio and video:

  • VLC, media player supporting a large number of multimedia formats, without the need for additional codecs.
  • Joost is internet TV/video.
  • HandBrake, convert DVD to MPEG-4.
  • Last.fm scrobbles your tracks to Last.fm.

Plug-ins, codecs and other add-ons:

  • Soikko on suomen kielen oikoluku- ja tavutusohjelma (aivan ehdoton asennus, kaikessa mitä koneella kirjoitat on tämän jälkeen oikoluku).
  • Windows Media Components for QuickTime – you can play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) directly in QuickTime Player and view Windows Media content on the Internet using a Web browser.
  • Perian adds native support for many popular video formats for QuickTime.
  • Xiph QuickTime Components is a set of QuickTime plug-ins that allow iTunes, and other QuickTime-based applications, to play ogg vorbis files.
  • Senuti is simple application that allows you to transfer songs from your iPod to your computer.
  • Facebook Exporter for iPhoto is a free plugin for iPhoto that enables you to export photos directly to your Facebook account.
  • Safari Stand adds many useful features to Safari.

Web clients:

  • Transmission is a BitTorrent client for Mac OS X.
  • Cyberduck is FTP and SFTP (SSH Secure File Transfer) browser.
  • Firefox web browser.
  • Acquisition, search and download files (there might be better clients, but I rarely use p2p).

Other:

  • GoogleEarth – zoom from outer space to street level in seconds.
  • MoodBlast – update simultaneously your web presence to multiple chat clients and web services like Facebook, Jaiku, MSN.
  • Serial Box – collection of serial-numbers for the Macintosh Platform.

Widgets:

  • Sol – tells you what time sunrise (dawn) and sunset (dusk) are.
  • iStat Pro – the ultimate system monitoring widget.
  • TunesTEXT – search and save lyrics in music files automatically while using iTunes.
  • Currency Converter – 170 world currencies; great when doing online shopping.
  • FMI widget – fetches a 5 day weather forecast from Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Shareware:

  • Equinox, a powerful planetarium program that has many features for both the beginner and advanced astronomer.
  • Barcody is a barcode creator.
  • WireTap you can record the discrete audio output of any application, as well as all system audio, or record audio input from any microphone, line-in, or audio input hardware.
  • EyeTV software, together with compatible hardware, turns your Mac into both a TV and a Digital Video Recorder (DVR).

In addition to these freeware/shareware programs, must have applications include Microsoft Office or iWork ’08 and Adobe CreativeSuite 3 for all creative professionals.

IMAP in GMAil

Just read at Mashable that Google is planning to add IMAP support to GMail and some accounts might have it already enabled. Well, I decided to give it a shot, and wow, the result was:

GMail IMAP
GMail gets IMAP integration meaning better features especially with email clients. Finally I can delete mails from client and read status get synced.

Update: In order to ensure Trashed, Sent, Drafts, and Junk mail messages are sorted properly between Apple Mail and Gmail’s webmail interface, a few more steps are needed: “How-to: Proper Gmail IMAP for iPhone & Apple Mail”. Basically you should “merge” Google Labels with corresponding Apple Mail folders:

Once your Gmail IMAP account is added to Mail, you’ll notice your [Gmail account] in the left sidebar.
1. Highlight “[Gmail] Sent Mail” in the sidebar and select “Mailbox” (menu bar) > “Use This Mailbox For” > “Sent”.
2. Highlight “[Gmail] Drafts” in the sidebar and select “Mailbox” (menu bar) > “Use This Mailbox For” > “Drafts”
3. Highlight “[Gmail] Trash” in the sidebar and select “Mailbox” (menu bar) > “Use This Mailbox For” > “Trash”
4. Highlight “[Gmail] Spam” in the sidebar and select “Mailbox” (menu bar) > “Use This Mailbox For” > “Junk”

However, deleting messages are not so straightforward as you would think: “What happens when I delete a message?“.