Apple applications google interface iOS iPhone mobile mobile phones QizBox smartphone web apps web2.0: Android applications apps bgsu design ifmine iOS iphone qizbox quizagent web app youtube
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Check out my new apps page and all the apps I’ve been working on this year:
applications best of communication education facebook google interface iPad iPhone mobile phones movies music QizBox social social networking textbooks Twitter web apps wiki: #ows 2011 4s apple art best best and worst cars chat facebook fire gamification google googledocs hangouts iPad ipad2 ipad3 iphone iphone4 iphone4s iphone5 kfp kindle kindle fire kinect kung fu panda new year play pooh qizbox siri social sony spotify Tv twitter voice vox work worst xbox
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Best of 2011
Device: iPad 2
It’s hard to believe that this device isn’t even a year old! Released last March, iPad 2 brought a quicker processor, front and rear facing cameras, and a thinner and lighter look to an already amazing device. I’ve talked to a few folks who bought an iPad and yet still can’t figure out how to work it into their lives?! I use mine for everything from work to play, making art to storing recipes. Thanks to Google Docs, I also used it while writing this post. It even inspired me to build a web app called QizBox (read more here). Also, this is my favorite smart cover.
All Around App: Vox
This little known gem is the most used app on my iPhone. It touts itself as a walkie-talkie app but it’s real function is asynchronous voice messaging – something sorely lacking from every phone OS. With the touch (and hold) of a button, I can send/record a voice message sent directly to another user. If the other user is available, we can talk in real-time (like a walkie-talkie), and if not… they can listen to the message when they are ready! This beats texting and driving. The app is free on iOS and Android.
Biggest Surprise: Siri
The iPhone 4S seems like a dud to me. Sure, it’s faster and… uhm, I think that’s all. Except for Siri. While there have been a ton of awesome jokes about Siri, it marks the third wave of computer interface milestones in the last several years (the touch interface that kicked off a revolution of phones/tablets AND the kinetic/body interface of the Xbox Kinect). It will be exciting to watch how voice interfacing competes and integrates with the others.
The best game of the year isn’t Skyrim or the new Star Wars MMO, it’s the gamification of everything. Its hard to throw a stick in any direction and not see how gamification, or the idea of adding game mechanics (badges & awards, levels, co-op or competitive play, and something social), is affecting many different fields. From waiting tables to the classroom, making our lives more playful and engaging is gamification’s goal. Check out Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal and her TED talk that influenced the inclusion of gamification in the design of my web app QizBox. Or these articles about Will Wright’s idea to turn life itself into a game called “HiveMind”.
While Google itself is not an operating system, I use more Google apps on my devices. With a fresh new design and a billion functions, the search giant gets me where I’m going, answers all of my questions, stores my life and work, and connects me to friends. Not a day goes by that i don’t use something Google Although they aren’t perfect (Gooogle+ = meh) I’m positive that Google will continue to surprise us big in 2012. And I truely can’t wait until it literally gets me where I’m going!
Music: Spotify Desktop
All the music I could ever want. Streaming. Free. Nuff said.
Movie: Winnie the Pooh
Personally, I’ve never liked Pooh, but this movie was hilarious! My kids and I laughter harder and quote more lines from this movie than any other of the year! This movie is another sign of what John Lasseter is doing for Disney. Yes, Cars 2 & Kung Fu Panda 2 were both awesome as well (Ska-doosh), and the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo was crazy suspenseful, but if you haven’t seen Pooh, try it.
Social: Google Hangouts
Apple’s FaceTime & Microsoft’s Skype should be shivering in their boots. Beyond just conferencing Google Hangouts is an amazing collaboration tool. And with an open API, I’m sure we’ll see more and more integration of Hangouts in 2012.
Worst of 2011:
Device: Kindle Fire
I bought a Kindle Fire, not with expectations that it would measure up to an iPad, but with hopes that this device could be the perfect low-cost solution to those entering the tablet world. I was sorely disappointed! My long list of complaints (uncontrollable carousel, poor Amazon Prime movie selection, a sluggish OS, and super small text) were recently featured front and center in a Mashable.com article. Luckily, the majority of those complaints can (and likely will!) be fixed with a software update. I look forward to an even better and cheaper Fire next year.
All Around App: Facebook
I’m not sure if it’s just me… But I receive dozens of Notifications in my on Facebook for Friends I’m not even subscribed to! It extremely annoying. What was once an easy website/app to use, notifying me when someone interacted with me, is now a cluttered mess that looks more like a Twitter feed. Beyond that, on some posts I can “Like” other users comments and on others I can’t. Also, the settings I have on my computer for whose updates I receive don’t seem to translate to my mobile device. WTF? With other options (Twitter & Google+) in the social network realm, Facebook is giving me many frustrating reasons to leave. – Side note: I was sad to see my favorite location based check-in app, Gowalla, first ruin itself, then shut down altogether to join the Facebook team. This has to be my runner up for Worst app of 2011.
Music: Spotify Mobile
I had 48 free hours of all the music I could love on the Spotify mobile app… Then it asked me to pay. Dear Spotify, I’ve spent a total of $9.99 on music in the last two years! I would never ever think of spending that PER MONTH for music! Your business plan is wack. Serve me more ads and give it to me for free. OR make your service free with the purchase of one 99 cent song per month. Also, as much a I love the desktop app, I de-coupled it from my Facebook account. The idea that I want to a) share what I’m listening to with friends or b) learn about music by hearing what my friends listen to are both false assumptions. I’d much rather rely on a computer algorithm to make recommendations – Thank you Pandora!
My particular gripe with Xbox isn’t it’s new interface (that’s ok), it’s the $9.99 a month they are requesting from me to use other services like Netflix, HBO, or Pandora that I’m already paying for! This attempt at Microsoft is nothing more than a cheap money grab. My friends who play games together online obviously have a reason to pay. However, if Microsoft is going to tout their new “apps” as a real competitor to Google TV or the upcoming Apple TV they’d better drop the Xbox Gold Live price tag altogether. Google doesn’t have one and I’m pretty sure Apple won’t either.
Biggest Surprise: No iPhone 5
While this shouldn’t have been a big surprise given Apples usual development cycle, the hype and media leaks surrounding an iPhone 5 were at a new peak last August. Rumors of a bigger screen and thinner profile are likely to be true when we finally see this model next year. I will definitely be getting one.
The Occupy movement stands for one thing more than any other- Get big business out of government. This message was seemingly lost among the protests and ensuing social media blitz. Furthermore, many smart people I know could not separate the message from the messengers. Yet, I could hardly find a person on either side of the party lines that didn’t agree that our government and politics have been overrun by big business money and lobbyists. It’s time we act like the 99% in a peaceful and cooperative way; without the craziness.
What to look for in 2012:
Devices: iPad 3 (5”x7”) – Sony Gaming TV – iPhone 5
iPad 3: I’m hopeful there will be a 5″x7″ iPad 3 announce in the first quarter of 2012. The 5″x7″ size of the Kindle Fire was one of its best features! Plus, it would make this amazing device more affordable.
Sony Gaming TV: Pushed to 2012, this TV allows two users wearing 3d glasses to see different images when looking at the same screen. I think this tech will quickly move beyond gaming as many families will use the glasses, combined with headphones, to watch different content while looking at the same screen.
iPhone 5 - I think I’ve covered this.
Finally, as information overload continues to grow, curatorial and creative story telling tools, like Storify, will too! Even smaller social networks, like Path, might help to cut down on the increased information stream on Facebook and Twitter.
creativity gaming: angry birds creativity economy games gaming iPad iphone ipod itouch rovio video games
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Wouldn’t it be great if Rovio, the makers of the popular game Angry Birds, came out with a version of the game in which you could design your own levels?
Imagine a nice touch interface where the building blocks – wood, stones, ice, etc. – were available to drag and drop into a set of your choice. You could place the pigs where ever you wanted, assign which birds could be used, and test to see how hard your puzzle would be.
Then, let’s say you were able to post the puzzles you created for others to play? You could be awarded “designer” points for how many times they were played. They could rate also them for more points. Points could be turned in for rewards, badges, new games, etc.
This is how games establish creative economies. Now that the playability is beginning to wear off on Angry Birds, it’d be great to play with it as a creative tool and have as much fun as the devs have.
applications communication google hardware interface iTablet live broadcasting mobile phones multitasking secondlife virtual worlds web2.0: apple augmented reality iphone iTablet mac pc tablet pc touch screen
In reaction to the growing rumors and daily posts such as: Apple Tablet Coming in 2010?, Will an Apple Tablet Run on Verizon’s Network?, and Apple iTablet: Will You Buy One?, I feel the need to express my ultimate desire for a computer such as the rumored iTablet, how it will help to change the landscape of computing, how it will replace all of my other devices, and make dreams of augmented realities come one day sooner.
First, tablet PCs have been around for quite a while. I remember trying one out several years ago. It was kind of heavy; not something you’d carry around all day. It also ran Windows XP, which may be the best OS ever made for PCs, it wasn’t designed for a tablet or touch computing. I’m an artist who loves to draw, so the first thing I played with was a sketchpad program that was installed. This was long before I had ever seen or heard of a Wacom Cintiq monitor.
What am I so excited about? Here’s my list:
- Any iTablet OS will have been based off of years of touch research done by Apple for the iPhone (unlike previous tablet PCs)
- It will run iPhone Apps and feed the already existing market
- It will promote cloud computing applications that take less memory and power to run on your computer (the future of application software)
- It will surely prompt clones from other hardware manufacturers (a catalyst for innovation- look at what iPhone did for touch screen phones)
- And hopefully a tablet equivalent running a Google Android OS (Google already ahead of the game in the cloud apps area, i.e. Google Docs)… Android being quite possibly the best OS for touchscreen devices
Furthermore, here’s what else will be remedied by an iTablet
- Laptotps: Have you actually tried to use a laptop on your lap lately? I’ve got a MacBook Pro and a Dell XPS (my work computers) and neither of them can be set on your actual legs for longer than 2 minutes. I’ve had to buy laptop fans every few months just to keep them cool. In other words, LAPTOPS aren’t for LAPS!
- Desktops: I like the memory and power of a desktop, but it can’t take it with me. I have two offices on campus, I commute 25 minutes to work, and I work (and teach online) from home during the summer. I need portability.
- Smartphones: are great, but I still get dirty looks in meetings when I use it to take notes, pull up stored Google Docs, emails, or search for info on the web. I’m a hardcore multi-tasker and if one thing iTablet could do for me… take away the impression I’m txt’ing WHEN I’m really working!
- Netbooks: They’re small, they’re cute, they’re cheap! Did I say they were too small? Watching a netbook user is like watching an ad made by the Alliance of Chiropractors and Optometrists Everywhere. The thing sits chained to a table or someones lap while their back folds in two and they squint to see what’s on screen. The keyboards aren’t comfortable either. I thought the Pepper handheld computer got it right when the split the keyboard up on both sides. Most people text on their phones with their thumbs… evolution at its best: opposable thumbs. I think this is the way typing should be designed on the iTablet, which if they don’t design it that way I’m sure an App will be made for that! (The images included in this post taken from PC World show a keyboard across the bottom. That’s just not going to work).
So I’m trying to say that… An iTablet Mac product would BE a computer built for me. Highly portable, highly functional.
- I’m thinking I’ll be able to plug it into an play MP3s while I drive to work… No more MP3 player needed.
- I’m hoping I will be able to use it with Skype (and maybe Google Voice?!), a Bluetooth headset, and mobile carrier dataplan (tuff chance with Apple denying the GVoice app from their store. It’s the first time I’ve ever said this… “Go FCC!”). In other words, goodbye smartphone.
- And since the only hardcore applications I still need (Photoshop, video editing software, and Second Life) are almost better run on a desktop anyway… Can I say goodbye laptop? Photoshop is moving to cloud computing or being replaced by online competitors like Pixlr.com. Advanced video editing done in the cloud is only a few more years away, but simple video editing can already be done on sites like JayCut. Second Life and other virtual worlds or mmorpgs are not quite on smartphones yet and an iTablet may be just the thing needed close the gap to mobile virtual worlds and hardcore online games.
What will suck? I mean it can’t all be glorious right?
- Apple: Control and politics. I don’t own an iPhone but I know how tightly Apple controls what works and doesn’t work on the iPhone. I only hope that an iTablet would have as much open development and free products as OSX.
- $$: It’s not going to be easy on my pocketbook to personally get one of these. Even at the rumored $600-800 pricetag, that’s more than I was planning to spend on anything else this year. For someone who has never bought an iPod or iPhone but loves the idea of a device like this, I wonder if I’ll be able to afford the extras (Apps! Car charger, mobile re-charger, etc.) I’m sure the first extra I buy will be a string to carry the thing around my neck at all times, lol! But I’m serious, I’ll never put the thing down.
- Mobile Carrier: The worst thing about the iPhone is AT&T right? Whoever Apple partners with to carry data plans for this thing had better be prepared! They made a mistake picking AT&T as their phone carrier and have had poor coverage and customer service ever since. Will they make the same mistake twice?
- First Generation iTablet: It seems the smartest people in tech (on a budget like me) are always saying, hold off and get the second generation… It works better, faster, with less bugs. I’m so geeked about getting an iTablet, there’s no way I’m waiting. So bring on the bugs.
- We haven’t seen or heard any of specs yet. Memory? Speed? Camera? Video? Heck we don’t even know what size the thing will be. If there’s one thing I would expect, it’s that it has every bell and whistle of the latest generation iPhone. The one thing I would request: A video/camera on BOTH sides of the display. Hold it up and shoot a picture of what’s in front of me while also broadcasting webcam video of my ugly mug to a site like Ustream.tv at the same time. Dreamy.
Finally, until they develop a set of glasses that augment reality (and eventually nanites), an iTablet would again close the gap between what is the ideal future of computing and what is capable right now on mobile platforms; giving more power to the augmented reality devloper… A current hot topic. I think apps like the one in the video below are just the beginning, an iTablet would make augmented reality a reality sooner.
communication google im mobile phones: facebook google google voice iphone texting webcam
Google Voice has added an embeddable widget so that you can now call a user directly from a website or blog. I just added mine on the right side of my blog here, just below the Meebo widget. If you care to call, you’ll get my voice mail where you can leave a message that will be transcribed to email and sent to me immediately. What does this all mean?
This is just one more step Google taking dominant control of communications in all modes. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook has openly stated that he’d like to see Facebook be the #1 form of communications on the planet. While Facebook may be one of the best (and easiest) ways to share words, links, and pictures… a few areas they are not so strong in is voice, SMS text, and even webcam (Facebook applications aside). GTalk and Gmail have had webcam abilities for a while. Goolge Voice brings Google one step closer than Facebook in the are of SMS texts, which are completely free and unlimited, and Voice in the form of phone services that are way ahead of what your mobile carriers are giving. They also work right on top of your carrier’s services in the form of Mobile Apps and more… hence the reason Apple denied the Google Voice app from the iPhone store and the reason the FCC is currently looking into thier actions.
I was speaking with a friend the other day who has an iPhone, a limited texting plan, and an unlimited data plan. He was very interested in getting the Google Voice app for his iPhone so that he could send unlimited SMS text messages through the app and under his unlimited data plan. Obviously, this is something AT&T anticipated and a reason they presumably pushed Apple to block the app.