WeightLE


WeightLE (\ˈwāt-lē\) is a concept Bluetooth Smart utility, not unlike a beverage coaster or beermat, that learns from the weight placed over it, and notifies you when it’s too low. You get to decide what low means.

WeightLE.jpg

It can be used with bottles, cups, jars, and even water coolers. Anything that isn’t smart yet can be made smarter, so you are not left without that something when you need it the most. An accompanying Smartphone or Smartwatch app is required with WeightLE.

Monthly news review


This post reviews news in the month that has passed.

Everything Google announced at Google I/O 2014 in one handy list

Google announced a lot in one long keynote at I/O. Android One, Android Auto, Android Wear, and Android TV, are probably the big announcements this year. Looks like Google is prefixing all mobile-oriented hardware with Android, web-oriented hardware with Chrome, and services with Google. Unless it is something coming out of Nest, who’ve just launched a developer program for the programmable home.

Aereo Lost. What Now?

TV broadcasters are celebrating while the tech industry is up in arms. Are customers the real losers? Why should we need airwaves to transmit TV in the era of mobile internet? Why hasn’t the TV business adopted on-demand programming more actively? It isn’t as if their business isn’t being slowly driven to the ground.

This is Microsoft’s first Android smartphone, the Nokia X2

Nokia could have hedged its bets with Android a long while back. So why now? It is a cheap but attractive Android Smartphone full of Microsoft software and services.

Amazon’s Fire phone launch: Hits, misses, and takeaways

From inexpensive tablets to a fairly expensive phone, Amazon as come a long way. Lack of Bluetooth 4.0 (especially Smart) is annoying. It does seem to sport universal LTE, like the Moto G 4G. Will the Fire Phone truly delight users?

Google Donates Mod_Spdy To The Apache Foundation

HTTP 2.0 is around the corner and changes one crucial aspect of HTTP 1.x. It will no longer be a text-based protocol. An important feature is that data will be multiplexed over a single connection a browser maintains with a server.

Docker hopes its container platform will ease the lives of developers

Will an open container help big companies and other providers overcome the dependency on and momentum of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft?

Turing Test breakthrough as super-computer becomes first to convince us it’s human

Not everybody is convinced though, but the implications are important nevertheless. How do you know an e-mail message wasn’t sent by a real person? Are we at the cusp of having to deal with endless amount of believable spam? Looking at the positive aspects, customer support, distance education, and other areas that depend on personal interaction, may benefit.

Skype Translator Will Change the World

Real-time voice translation is a hard problem. You have to translate speech to text. The text then needs to be translated to the target language. The translated text then needs to be converted to speech. Imagine doing all of that in real time. Imagine doing that wrong in a UN session discussing climate change.

Google’s secretive 3D-mapping project now has a tablet

Google is keen to map the indoors. I see huge potential for indoor mapping. Imagine your interior designer mapping your house so that she can show you exactly how your renovated indoors will look? A robot that can go about your house tidying it? Are we heading towards becoming Wall-E lazy?

Apple announces iOS 8 at WWDC 2014

Easily one of Apple’s best WWDC considering all the news. A new programming language called Swift, Mac OS X Yosemite, Metal, HomeKit, CloudKit, and extensions in iOS 8. For those eager to learn Swift, Apple has provided an iBook for it already. A good news for all Netflix viewers, Safari on Mac OS X Yosemite now allows streaming using HTML5, no Silverlight required.

Smartphones on busses in Recife


Those who can afford cars in Recife love to hate busses. They’ll tell you busses are noisy, over-crowded, infrequent, uncomfortably hot inside… you get the picture. I’ve been using busses for the past couple of years for several reasons. I don’t like driving, busses are cheaper, and the congested streets have one less car due to me.

Getting back on topic, I have observed that almost everybody has at least a low-end Smartphone. Samsung manufactured phones look to be the majority, but it is not uncommon to see phones from LG and Motorola. Apple and Nokia built phones are less commonly seen.

Phones stay mostly invisible, tucked in pant or shirt pockets, and handbags, as they are attractive targets for the opportunistic robber. Most people run a headphone from the phone to their ears, which leads me to conclude that they are actively listening to music or FM radio. I also see an increasing number of people using Facebook. The fact that they can do it for free on some carriers probably helps.

Fewer people actively talk into their phones. That the bus environment is noisy probably discourages more of that. Young, college going adults, seem to message more often than talk.

I don’t see anyone gaming that much, although an occasional person does appear playing casual games akin to Candy Crush Saga, maybe because these don’t require high-end phone specs.

Tips for Portuguese speakers writing English


I have seen Portuguese speakers repeat the same mistakes very often when writing English. This post tries to document these mistakes with links to worthwhile references.

Different of / Different from / Different than

This mistake usually happens when you literally translate diferente deDifferent of is wrong, use different from or different than.

Once / Since

This mistake usually happens when you literally translate uma vez in a phrase. If you mean because, use since. If you mean after, use once.

Must to / Have to

This mistake usually happens when you literally translate tem que in a phrase. Must to is incorrect, use have to or just must.

What orientation do you read in?


I have made a strange observation after extensive reading on an iPhone and then an iPad. I am most comfortable reading on an iPhone in portrait orientation, with night theme, and turning pages instead of scrolling. With the iPad, on the other hand, I like to read books with lots of text in landscape mode, with the day theme (i.e. white background), and using scrolling instead of page turning.

I have yet to figure out why that is so. I think the iPad resembles the PC form factor where reading is done on a wider screen. Then there is the kind of reading that is very iPad specific, such as reading a magazine. That is when I usually read in the portrait mode.

Dealing with technology changes


I forget the number of times I have written the same code in a different language. Technology changes all the time. If you are a professional developer, it may change from one project or task to another. How can we learn, use, and unlearn stuff so rapidly? I present a few points to ponder in no particular order.

Think in abstractions and patterns

The better your capacity to abstract and think in patterns, the more reusable your knowledge. Apply what you know works. Technology itself is an abstraction, think community and tools.

Read on the topic

Prepare. Go deep. Read a book. Read what the internet has to offer. The more prepared you are, the better you perform. Time is ticking.

Write a blog or book

Share your knowledge with the future you. A better you. Others may find it useful too. Improve over time.

Learn emotional detachment

Don’t reinvent. Don’t be too attached to your work. Appreciate feedback. Change. Move on. Unlearn. Relearn. Collaborate.

Get creative

Experience is never going to substitute the fact that you need to be creative. Think originally. Have the courage to implement your ideas. If you don’t act, you’re getting nowhere. Practise.

Employ tools

Good tools are essential to doing a great job. Tools don’t have to be expensive, some of the best tools may even be free. Automate repetitive chores. Don’t hammer a screw, aka use the right tool for the right job. Methods and practices are also tools.

Be alert

Listen. Watch. Observe. Every feedback you receive is an opportunity waiting to be explored.

Enjoy and wind down

Enjoy your work. Enjoy your life. Wind down. Difficult problems take time to solve. They may be easier for others who have already solved similar problems before. Socialize with them.

Use EA Origin to download games you own


If you have a scratched EA game media, you can use the serial number to download the game from Origin. You’ll need to download and install Origin. When done, run the Origin client. From the Origin menu select “Redeem Product Code…”. Provide the serial number that accompanies the media, and your game should be available for download. Pretty useful!