Monthly Archives: July 2012

O’Reilly Everywhere: Safari to Go for Android

My dream of cloud-based reading came a step closer today when availability of the Safari To Go Android app was announced on Safari Books Online’s Official Blog.  The Android app was noticeably absent on the July 18th launch date quoted in their July 2012 newsletter (the online version of which appears to have changed to “Later this month”!); Safari Books Online CEO, Andrew Savikas explained the delay in a comment on our earlier post, saying “we uncovered some nasty regression bugs and just couldn’t put it out without fixing them.”  But the bugs appear to have been fixed, since the app is now available for download!

Safari to go for Android is pleasant to use on both phone and tablet form factors; in each case the amount of data being transmitted and displayed seems appropriate, resulting in a snappy, uncluttered UI.  The reading experience on the phone is vastly improved as compared to the mobile version of the site; movement between pages is fluid, with no scrolling required, though a rather disruptive “Retrieving Content…” message pops up on a regular basis – seemingly between sections – which seems like it could be obviated with a logical pre-fetch given the linear nature of reading…i.e. chances are I’m going to be needing that page soon…especially if progress Read More…

Safari Books Online (and off!): Safari to Go for Android, iPhone and iPad

I know that this is not the first post that I have opened with a reference to my O’Reilly addiction.  Yet for some reason, I can’t seem to love Safari like it seems that I should – and I’ve tried numerous times.  First I tried reading a book on my phone with the mobile site – because the content was not constrained by browser height, I found myself scrolling down the page, then advancing to the next page, then having to scroll back up – and given how few words can fit on a phone’s diminutive screen, this action had to be repeated so frequently that it took over focus from the book’s content (oh, and if you get your login wrong, it bounces you to the full site to retry, and doesn’t bounce back after, I just discovered).  I downloaded Safari To Go for iPad the moment it was released – I do not think the iPad makes a very good eReader, but it’s easier to lug around than my desktop, so I gave it a shot.  The videos I tried to watch got stuck, and the book I tried to read worked to a certain point, and then caused the app to crash every time I opened it, at which point I gave up and went back to my ePubs on my Nook Color.  Despite owning most titles that I am interested in as eBooks, I still maintain a Safari subscription – mostly as a way to search across titles that are likely also in my own private collection, and maintain wishlists and to-read lists which the main O’Reilly shop Read More…

July the 19th

TED: July the nineteenth … why does that strike me as important?

DOUGAL: Yes! (To Ted.)  Ah, July the nineteenth … I wouldn’t know Ted, y’big bollocks.

TED: Anyway … any idea why July the nineteenth should be so important?

DOUGAL: Would that be the day the Ice Age ended?

TED: No Dougal – you can’t be that precise about the Ice Age!

DOUGAL: I’ll look it up in the diary.

DOUGAL: July nineteenth…’On This Day’… ‘Galway liberated from Indians’ … ‘Marathon becomes Snickers‘ … Aha! Ted. ‘Ice Age ends’!

-Father Ted “Hell” (TV Episode)

OUYA: the $99 Open-Source Android Video Game Console

I’m not sure that any explanation of what OUYA is is necessary – on its first day on Kickstarter, it has already exceeded its goal of $950,000 handily, and broken all sorts of records.  It is being hyped for its potential to disrupt the console space, which is an exciting notion, but while millions of dollars may sound like a lot of money, we’re still only talking tens of thousands of units.  The Nintendo Wii, by comparison, sold 370,000 units in its first two days on sale in Japan.  As much as I look forward to playing whatever games are available for the system at launch, what I’m far more excited about is the notion of a hackable Android device that connects to my TV – as well as the opportunity to create and experience homebrew-style games without voiding any warranties! ( ̄ Д)=3

ThingM blink(1) Open-Source USB RGB LED

I’m a big fan of ThingMtodbot‘s Hacking Roomba was one of my first forays into hardware hacking, and his taking the time to personally reply to my questions when I ran into problems had a huge impact; in addition, I own a fair number of ThingM products, including BlinkM, MinM, MaxM, and LinkM.  So, frankly they could put a blinking LED on Kickstarter and I’d probably back it just to support them!  And…they kind of just did!  The blink(1) is sort of a LinkM and BlinkM smooshed together in a smaller form factor, and made easier to use.  The original *M products were intended for prototypers and designers, but the blink(1) opens up this kind of functionality to just about anyone thanks to its cross-platform compatibility and software.  And since it can be used with IFTTT, you could for example set up your blink(1) to flash green when your friends check into the coffee shop down the street on foursquare (or red when your enemies do!?), or range from green to red as pollen levels rise in your area.  The blink(1) allows color, brightness and pattern to be set, so the possibilities are virtually endless (OK, so realistically it’s probably something like 16,777,216 colors x 256 levels x 48 steps, but…)!  I never thought it would come to this, but I am now an Early Bird backer of a blinking LED on Kickstarter! (o_O)

Review: MintDuino: Building an Arduino-Compatible Breadboard Microcontroller

O’Reilly seems to be publishing a fair number of shorter publications recently, which I really like since it allows you to gain expertise in a specific topic in an evening or weekend vs. the broader-subject books which span many hundreds of pages. I’m pretty comfortable with a number of prototyping platforms, but was curious to learn a little bit more about the guts of Arduino’s hardware instead of it all being nicely abstracted for me. With this in mind, I purchased the Mintronics Bundle from Maker Shed, comprising a Mintronics: MintDuino and Mintronics: Survival Pack, plus picked up an FTDI Friend to handle USB to serial duties in a breadboard-friendly form factor. This blog post, however, Read More…

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