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February 2, 2010

Filed under: random»linky

Spring Linking

Oh, man. Budget season. What a drag.

  • I committed a new version of Underground to its Google Code repository the other day, adding support for Home app replacements like OpenHome, as well as Android 2.1 devices with new launchers like the Nexus One. I'll push a new version out to market as soon as I've tested it a bit. This is long overdue--hardcoding the launcher Intent was always a hack, but it was relatively low-priority until the Nexus broke it.
  • Speaking of Android, remember how it's supposed to be fragmenting all over the place? Turns out that even for game developers, who are relatively "down to the metal," that's not true at all. I look forward to retractions.
  • Jo Walton discusses reading science fiction as a skillset. Interesting meta-commentary, which should ring bells for anyone who's tried to get a friend or relative into the genre.
  • It turns out that GPS proves the Theory of Relativity in interesting ways. Take that, Newton!
  • As a tinkerer, I found Mark Pilgrim's post on the 'Tinkerer's Sunset' to be really interesting, moving stuff.
  • Some Foursquare badges I'd like to see. Personally, instead of joining Foursquare, I'm just going to constantly post snarky commentary about my location on Twitter. Pretty much the same thing I do now, in other words.
  • The Berkman Center hosted a lunch to discuss piracy research from the perspective of developing nations. They'll probably have a video and audio soon, but David Weinberger has a good liveblog summary. The most interesting note was that piracy is bad for open software advocates: it lets closed, for-pay software propagate as long as the software developers turn a blind eye. To what degree are grey markets (here and elsewhere) becoming a legitimate business strategy?
  • Microsoft is making their own 2D data tag, in competition with QR codes and datagrid codes. You may have seen these already without knowing it: they use these on some XBox games, largely for cross-promotional and inventory purposes. I believe them when they say that these are better than QR codes, but they'll never take off for the same reason that Ogg Vorbis hasn't beat out MP3: a good-enough de-facto standard can practically live forever, and the other 2D barcode formats have all the momentum.

A little story to go with that last item: last time I ordered business cards for myself, a couple of years ago, I integrated a QR code into the graphic design of the front, and stuck one containing my v-card on the back. I thought of it as a demonstration for potential employers: who's got two thumbs (the card symbolically asks) and can navigate between the world of print and online journalism in innovative ways? This guy. But I never really thought that it'd be usable, since this was before I had a smartphone, much less anyone else I knew. I made it with a chunk of badly-translated Taiwanese freeware, and tested it with a webcam at work.

The other day after a breaking class, someone asked for my contact information, and I noticed that they had an Android phone. So I showed them how it worked, told them to grab Barcode Scanner from the market ("But I've got a different phone." "Doesn't matter, it's all Android."), and passed them a spare card. Pretty much instantly, they were able to import my card to their contact list. It was pretty cool for me, but it was even better to see the enormous grin on their face when my friend realized they had basically just pulled information out of thin air, like magic. Sometimes, technology's okay.

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