Blog redesign is done

So the new look for the is up. There were some teething pains (categories disappeared there for half a day or so), but it all seems to be working out now. Biggest addition, other than the new design, is the Syntax Highlighter script, to make all those code chunks look nice.

There are still a few features missing but I’ll be adding those in the upcoming weeks. Anyway, it’s back to our regular scheduled programming now.

Blog changes

Well, it’s been a while since my last post but I’m back and I’ll make sure to start posting more often.

Right now I’m finalizing an all new (and original) design for the blog; it’s gonna be minimalistic and dark. In the meantime I’m also redoing categories, cleaning up the tags and modifying small things here and there, as part of the preparations for the new design.

Simple jQuery placeholder script for input fields

Update: I have created a better version of this script that, among other improvements, supports password fields, unlike the code below.

Placeholder is a very useful attribute of the <input> tag that is specified in the HTML5 spec. It provides a text that goes into the field, by default, and is used as a kind of a quick tip for the user about what they should type into the field, such as “type to search”, or “type in username”. The nice thing about “placeholder”, as oppose to, for example, simply setting some value for the field, is that it automatically disappears when the user starts typing something in, but it reappears if the user ends up leaving the field empty. Unfortunately this attribute, and its functionality, is actually not supported by most browsers, including Firefox 3.6 and IE8, it is however supported by Chrome 4, and possibly Safari 4 though I can’t vouch for the latter.

I recently had a few projects that needed this functionality, and while some of them had email, password and other fields that required validation, one needed just very simple text fields with placeholder text. So I wrote this very simple javascript function, using jQuery, to do just that (I’m using jQuery 1.4.2 here). Read more »

Apple removing “sexy” apps from app store, what’s next?

If you’ve been following apple related news you’ve heard that they recently started coming really hard after any applications that could be considered “sexy” or “suggestive” – whether its by virtue of having girls in bikinis in their screenshots, or suggestive text in the description – and removing them from the app store. You can read about it in more detail on this techcrunch and ars technica posts.

I’m not going to argue about fairness to developers who have invested time and money into, in many cases, perfectly legitimate apps, only to see them pulled down without any warning despite being approved in the first place. I’m not going to discuss the fact that there seems to be no clear guidelines or rules as to what constitutes an “offending” app, meaning that these can change at any moment to accommodate apple’s every whim. I’m not even going to mention that not a few months ago apple introduced the 17+ rating which is used to prevent the purchase of “adult” apps by kids, and which could be easily used to also filter out those apps from even showing up on the store pages unless age was verified. (Why Apple would not do that in the first place is beyond me, you’d think they have amateurs working there.) Read more »

Safari gets WebGL in WebKit Nightlies

Well, those folks on webkit dev team sure are moving fast. WebGL (OpenGL for web, i.e. fancy 3d graphics in your browser) spec hasn’t even been finished yet, as far as I know, and they already have the stuff working in the latest webkit builds. The good news about this is of course that as WebGL becomes more widely adopted, we’re going to see some interesting uses of 3D graphics for interfaces on the web. Of course the flip side there’s a good chance that suddenly dozens of sites will spring up with cheesy cubes or spheres rotating with blinking colours or something.

Hopefully most uses of WebGL will be more sophisticated than that

Hopefully most uses of WebGL will be more sophisticated than that

WebGL itself is actually pretty hardcore in comparison to stuff like HTML and JavaScript. It’s a true, honest-to-god programming language. Which means that even simple things take a substantial amount of code. Heck, even initializing the damn thing takes a whole function. On the other hand, it’s also a very well established API (more specifically the OpenGL ES 2.0 API on which WebGL is based on) with plenty of resources, tutorials and websites that cover it from A to Z. So if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and dig into it you’ll be making spinning cubes with blinking colours in no time.

For all the details and some example check out the WebKit blog.

Dell Adamo XPS details on October 22

Dell is about to reveal the skinny on its newest laptop, Adamo XPS, next Thursday, Oct. 22. Adamo is Dell’s top of the line, trying to compete with Apple, sexy line of laptops. Well actually, so far it’s been only one laptop, but now it’s gonna be a line. Apparently the XPS version is going to be thinner than Apple’s Air. 0.39 inch to be precise, which is about 9.9 millimeters, that’s less than a centimeter – just think about it. It totally blows my mind.

Adamo XPS

So far the exact specs are unknown but it seems that the price is going to be $2,000, at least according to Business Week, via Engadget.

That’s not to say I have any illusions about rushing out and buying it the day it’s up on the shelves. But it’s interesting to see what kinda specs this baby will have (for that price they better be really good), and hopefully they’ll show Apple that you don’t have to gimp your laptop to make it thin and sleek.

10-GUI Concept multi-touch desktop interface

If you haven’t noticed, multi-touch is all the rage these days. From iPhone’s slick interface and gestures, to all the laptops and netbooks that are trying to get in on the game, not to mention Microsoft’s “subtle” approach to the issue with their Surface idea. Then there’s also multi-touch for desktops, and as always the case with any sort of rush to adopt new technology, most do it the wrong way – by adding multi-touch to the desktop monitor. Sure, it’s easy to slap a capacitive panel on an LCD and call it a day, but that’s not gonna work in the long run. How long do you think you can sit with your arm stretched all the way to the monitor (if you can even reach it comfortably), not to mention your hand obstructing the screen?

That’s why I’m glad to see that at least some people are still trying to think outside the box. Like take R. Clayton Miller for example, who came up with the 10/GUI concept multi-touch interface for a desktop. The idea in a nutshell is to separate the multi-touch surface from the screen and put it on the table in front of the user, like a keyboard or a mouse.

Multi-touch control surface

Multi-touch control surface

Right away this is smart in two ways: 1) it uses a familiar control metaphor – controlling the UI on screen through controllers on the table, instead of directly on the screen; 2) it puts the control surface in a comfortable location and without obstructing the screen. Read more »

Multitouch support demoed in Firefox

The never-tiring folks at Mozilla are already hard at work on implementing multitouch events in Firefox. Felipe Gomes has posted a short demonstration of very cool multitouch capabilities via a few simple use cases. Here is the clip and a few words from the man himself.

We’re working on exposing the multitouch data from the system to regular web pages through DOM Events, and all of these demos are built on top of that. … We have three new DOM events (MozTouchDown, MozTouchMove and MozTouchRelease), which are similar to mouse events, except that they have a new attribute called streamId that can uniquely identify the same finger being tracked in a series of MozTouch events.

Read more »

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