Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Innovention" Is Alive And Well

"Innovention" is alive and well, thank you very much. No, I'm not talking about the make-over of the old Disneyland "Carousel of Progress" - but I'm talking about innovation + invention = "innovention."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mining Your 1,984 Digital Streams [UPDATED!]

Now, I'm no conspiracy theory lunatic (although I did enjoy Oliver Stone's 1991 movie JFK), and I'm not one of those hyper-paranoid-the-government-is-out-to-get-you types - but with more and more of our data being stored and shared "on the web", "in the cloud"... (insert your favorite phrase here) things are slowly lining up for a 1984-esqe senario. You know 1984... as in "Nineteen Eighty Four", the novel written in 1948 by George Orwell.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Business Cards In A Social Media World

For years, I've always had business cards. Some of them cool, some of them bland, some of them nicely printed on thick stock, some of them over sized, some of them 2 color, some full color. I've also received thousands of other people's business cards over the years. Some of them I kept, most of them I didn't.

Monday, June 27, 2011

FileMaker TIP: Copy Current/Found Record(s)

What if you're looking at a record (or foundset of records) and you want to get that data into a spreadsheet - or copy it into an email?

Servoy TIP: Referencing A Relation In Code

OK - here's the first Servoy QuickTip - and it has to do with relations. When you're using relations in a conditional statement - and especially when you're using them in calculations - make sure you test for the existence of the relation first.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Firefox 4 End Of Life = Pissed Off Enterprise

Well - THAT was a short release cycle, indeed! The Mozilla developers who write/maintain Firefox has said that it will not patch or add any security enhancements for Firefox 4... which was released three months ago.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New TIP Postings - Coming Next Week!

I talk to a fair number of people who either work with Servoy or FileMaker Pro (or both!). I was recently talking to a person who was evaluating Servoy and because I've worked with both tools for so long, I find myself doing things "automatically" - that are often a revelation to the less experienced.

In that vain, I'm going to be posting some Tips for both Servoy users and FileMaker users - and probably some generic Tips as well.

What kind of tips would you like to see?

Swiping While Wiping

There's been a ton of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching in the publishing industry - and the blog universe about the "death of printed media." Everyone from media moguls to tech industry pundits to radio talk show hosts (yes, I know - radio is dead too - but that's for another post) - have been complaining about how the printed page is doomed - only to be replaced by (gasp!) electronic versions.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Credit, Debit or Smartphone?

Lately there's been a lot of noise about NFC - better known as "Near Field Communications" coming to smartphones here in the US. "What is NFC" you ask? It's basically a "contact-less" way to pay for things. There's a little transmitter that will transmit your payment information to a reader so that you don't need to swipe a plastic credit/debit card.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Talking, Less Typing

Lately I've been trying out a couple of these "dictation" type of applications (Lord knows I do enough typing every day!) - and I have to say, that overall, I'm not very impressed. There is the Google Voice Recognition - that works OK for simple things you're searching for - but a complete mess when you're trying to dictate, let's say an email to someone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Well, the governing body for Internet top level domains (also called TLD's) like .com, .org, etc. took a historic vote yesterday that will allow anyone with $185,000 (and $25,000 annually after that) come up with their own TLD.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Short Rant: Let The (Adobe) Air Crashing Begin!

Adobe announced today that they are releasing Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 - that, according to Adobe, will allow developers to write Android, Blackberry Tablet and iOS applications using their proprietary ActionScript scripting language.

Of course Flex is free (and open source) - but there's always a catch. From Adobe's site:
While Flex applications can be built using only the free Flex SDK, Adobe® Flash® Builder™ software can accelerate development through features like intelligent code editing, step-through debugging, memory and performance profilers, and visual design.
So... if you want to use Flex to code a mobile application and if you want a code editor, a debugger, or if you want to use a GUI interface for it... and ummmm... actually USE it, you'll need Flash Builder 4.5 ($699).

Yippee! Now I can expose ALL my data, both desktop AND mobile to the super-secure Adobe Swiss cheese platform!

Ummmm.... yeah - and what happens when Adobe issues massive patchalooza (like they did last week) for all the 13 zero day flaws that were in there for who-knows-how-long? Will those exploits show up in the mobile version(s)?

Can you just patch Flash Builder... and then do you have to re-build all the executables on all platforms? Then re-release a new version in Apple App Store, Android Store, and RIM Store?

Perhaps a few good books on HTML5 and CSS would be a better investment.... I'm just sayin'...

Portable Media - The Beginning of Apple Domination?

Last Friday I blogged about Chrome OS and the pontificated on life using only browser-based applications. I was thinking over the weekend about the impending release of iOS 5 and Lion for the Mac - and I came up with an interesting theory. Could Apple being trying its own hand at an instant-on, lightweight OS "experience"... ummmm... "for the rest of us?"

Friday, June 17, 2011

Could You Live Your (Computing) Life Only In The Cloud?

So the first batch of Chrome OS computers started shipping this week - one by Samsung and one by Acer. They're basically like a standard laptop, albeit an under-powered one - think netbook specs. They both have about a 12 inch screen, weigh under 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg), have a couple of gigs of RAM, a solid state 15-20GB hard drive, a SD card reader, couple of USB ports (no ethernet), built-in WiFi (no ethernet - but Samsung has a 3G radio option) and a built-in webcam/microphone. They both retail for about $350 (WiFi only) to $500 (WiFi + 3G).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Cost Of Free

I recently setup a website for my wife's new business (Avocado Diva) - and, being
the family geek, I had free reign to use whatever technology I wanted to. I also
needed to do all the "normal" stuff - get the domain, set up the hosting, set up email accounts, ftp accounts, etc., etc.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Short Rant: Adobe - Patch THIS! (UPDATED)

Holy crap. Really? ANOTHER set of patches for Flash? This is the second time in 9 days that Adobe has issued a "zero-day" patch that affect Flash (and also, Google's Chrome browser that includes Flash). Oh yeah, and it also updated Adobe Reader and Acrobat fixing 13 MORE vulnerabilities at the same time.

If you use Gmail - you REALLY, REALLY need to make sure that you've got the latest patch - because on June 5th Adobe issued an "emergency" patch to fix a vulnerability that would allow nefarious baddies to steal your Gmail login credentials.

I don't know about you - but I have more than one device that uses Flash. I use Google's Chrome browser at work (3 Windows machines), at home (2 Macs + 6 virtual OS instances) - and I'm just getting pretty damn tired of updating all this stuff - all the time. But yet, if Adobe comes out with a "critical" patch - and you ignore it - your machine might get hacked - or your identity stolen.

Really? Identity theft from a browser plug-in used to play media or display a PDF document?

I'm especially worried about those "less technically savvy" people in my life - since I'm the "family IT guy." If they don't patch, it means I'm going to have to do all kinds of stuff to un-gunk their computers - because (technically inclined brethren) you KNOW they DO click on every single "pretty picture" on every single site they visit on the inter-web.

Now, I love PDFs - don't get me wrong - and because reader is now installed on 95%+ of all computers in the world - getting away from using it will be a challenge.

For those of you who are really smart out there - why don't you come up with a PDF to HTML5 converter that would just bundle up the PDF into a double-clickable HTML document? At least then we could be free from the eternal Adobe Patch Cycle...

... until someone hacks HTML5 readers... sigh.

UPDATE June 17, 2011 - Well, it seems as though the good folks over at Mozilla are SICK of the buggy Adobe Reader as well - and are going to build an extension (and eventually put into the codebase)... wait for it... a 100% HTML5/JavaScript PDF rendering engine! Hot off the wire from ComputerWorld:
Mozilla is working on a project that will add PDF rendering to Firefox using HTML5 and JavaScript, eliminating the need for users to run Adobe's own plug-in.
We can only HOPE the other browser folks get behind the open-source pdf.js project as well! God speed Mozilla folks!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back To The Future

Yeah, I know it's June... and yeah, I know I've been slacking in blogging lately. In honor of half of the year being gone (already!) - I've decided to make a new Half Year's resolution to be more consistent in my blogging. So... here goes:
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