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Google Gears: Upgrading from a 1950 s Chevy in Cuba

For obvious reasons, people are often assuming that Google Gears Offline. To me this isn t the case. Gears happens to have three initial APIs LocalServer, Database, WorkerPool that can lend themselves to offline work. However, some people are grokking that WorkerPool and even Database are very useful even if your application never goes offline.

Segue: I am really excited to have Brad Neuberg of Dojo, Rojo, and other non-ojo projects fame, working with me at Google. It is a real pleasure to see the group growing, with great new hires such as Joe Gregorio, and others that haven t made it official yet

I was having a chat about Gears with Brad, and he was talking about how he saw it as a way to update the Web in place. He got it.


Transforming Paper and Plastic into a 3D Interactive Experience

The Google Earth API was used as a foundation for StrataLogica to make use of its sophisticated image rendering logic, satellite imagery and access to built-in tools and navigation controls. As an enterprise scale application, we faced some interesting challenges and gained many insights along the way that we d like to share.

Our first task was to prove we could wrap Nystrom s existing educationally focused maps and globes onto Google Earth while retaining the same high quality resolution delivered in their print products.

Achieving acceptable image resolution resulted in file sizes which were much too large. In addition, we needed to deliver an increased level of map content and granularity of images as the user zoomed into the earth. To address these two issues, we created a custom process that takes an Adobe Illustrator file and outputs Superoverlays in accordance with KML 2.1 standards. Using open source Python frameworks, we created a customized solution that outputs Superoverlays with various levels of content.

Our next challenge was to provide support for authoring and maintaining content, in the browser using the Google Earth plugin. All content is authored and maintained in a content management system CMS in much the same way as any dynamic website. One unique difference is that some of the content elements are geo-referenced coordinates that specify the location of content on earth. In the case of placemark balloons, the geo-referenced coordinates identify hotspots on the Nystrom maps which become clickable when the user turns on a setting. The placemark balloons provide supplementary audio, image, video and descriptive content such as the example shown above for the Appalachian Mountains.

Second Will Ferrell s CASA DE MI PADRE Trailer and Poster.

Diego Luna is one of the most exciting actors working today. He gained the attention of American audiences in Alfonso Cuar

Go Mobile with Master Accuracy

Given the rise of Mobile Internet users in past few years it has become quite important to have mobile or lite version of your blog. Mobile users generally do not like to download relatively heavy blog that are made for normal internet connections and web browsers.

There are number of solutions for bloggers for both WordPress & Blogger platforms and I have personally tried a few of them, but I have not been too satisfied Either they are too complex to setup or they are not exactly mobile-friendly.Here at, we had been using custom mobile blogger solution for past couple of months from Mobstac and were quite satisfied with what they had to offer. However, now Mobstac has gone ahead and launched a platform which allows bloggers to create mobile version of their blog. I got s mobile version up and running on the new platform in under 5 minutes.

Eric Allam on Code School

Code School runs courses that teach you how to code directly in the browser. We talked to Eric Allam, the brain behind the project and ruby developer at Envy Labs net What s the idea behind Code School
Eric Allan: Most people know how to open up their browser and type into a text field. We think learning to program should be that easy. Most programmers think it s a right of passage to learn the command line and the underlying architecture of computing before ever writing a lick of code

Create Monstrous Characters with illustrator CS5 s Bristle Brush

Unlike the dramatic interface overhaul that accompanied its predecessor, there s so little new to the look and feel of Photoshop CS5 that it s barely worth mentioning.

The Workspace switcher has been modified so that you can drag it out of the drop-down menu across the menubar. Doing so can push the menubar itself down to a second level, which might take up too much screen space for some people. Pre-existing workspaces can be deleted, custom ones added, and generally the workspace concept has gotten a bit more user-friendly.

Toolbox icons have been redrawn with a softer touch. This has the unfortunate effect of making them look mushy and out-of-focus against their gray background. At least the iconography is the same, so the spot healing brush tool still looks like a band-aid, but this was not a welcome change.

Photoshop CS5 greatly expands the toolset that Adobe offers in its flagship product, charting new ways to make image manipulation easier while making older tools work better than before. Don t worry about the lack of a new interface; the new ways to get your project done make this version a must.

Photoshop has been in the English lexicon as a term to edit images for a long time, but the latest version of Adobe s flagship program stretches the canvas of manipulation much further than ever before. The look of the program has changed so little from Photoshop CS4 that users of that version should be instantly comfortable with this major update, but Photoshop Creative Suite 5 Extended gives photographers, artists, designers, and LOLcats obsessives a stunning array of new tools. Among the new features in Adobe s flagship image-editing software are automatic lens corrections, High Dynamic Range toning automated editing tools and significant improvements to creating 3D images.

Develop for as Many users as Possible

John Allsopp, developer and organiser of the Web Directions conferences, responds to Aral Balkan s one version manifesto and argues we should embrace the web s universality and aim to make our sites available for everybody

The fine folks at .net magazine very graciously asked me to comment on Aral s piece, because of a response I recently wrote to the tweet that started the whole conversation, outlining Aral s oneversion manifesto oneversion #manifesto My websites will only support the latest versions of browsers. It s the browser makers duty to get users to upgrade.

There s much I could say in reply to his piece. In fact I ve written a number of detailed responses, but I think it s particularly important to get to the essence of why I expressed, and continue to have, reservations about this.

My Websites will only support the latest browser versions

Hopefully you ve found this report helpful, but let us give you some final advice. It s something you are hopefully already doing if you

Apple to announce e-book creation tools

Ars Technica is reporting that Apple s media event in New York on Thursday won t just be about education partnerships to release textbooks, but that we might also see new tools that are described as GarageBand for e-books.
The new tools are said to make e-book creation much easier than currently available software tools so that writers can more easily write and distribute their books.
In addition to the new tools, the Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple will also unveil new textbooks that are specifically optimized for the iPad. There are also rumors that Apple will announce partnerships with textbook publishers McGraw and Pearson PLC.
If these reports are true, then Apple may intend to revolutionize the e-book market like they did the mobile app market. By including writer-friendly tools and giving those writers a store to distribute and sell their work, Apple could help cut out much of the work and marketing currently necessary to get a book to the masses. Of course, none of this is official, so we ll have to wait until Thursday to find out.

Mobile Social Learning

Study Hall is a new website and iOS app for sharing and studying with friends. Even though the service is still in a beta phase it seems promising. The basic idea behind Study Hall is to enable teachers and students to upload content to a common place and access it through an iPad, an iPhone, or an iPod Touch. When using the free iPad app students can communicate in real-time about the content that they are sharing. When using the free iPhone app students can post comments about the content but cannot see each other s comments in real-time.
Applications for Education Study Hall is a promising application for moving course content into a collaborative mobile platform. Once Study Hall publishes their Android app I think there is very real potential for it to be the preferred place for teachers to upload content and for students to study together remotely Math Practice Flash Cards is a free Android App from The app designed for elementary school students. As the name implies, Math Practice Flash Cards is a set of flashcards for practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The app allows you to use pre-made sets of flashcards or create your own set of flashcards. To create your own set of flashcards just choose the parameters of largest numbers and smallest numbers in the flashcard set. You also have the option to choose from fun mode which is not timed or the timed mode.
I gave Math Practice Flash Cards a try on both my Samsung Galaxy Tablet and my Motorola Photon. The app does not appear to be optimized for tablets yet, but it does work very well on my phone.