“It’s a well known fact that people tend to overestimate the impact technology will have in the short term, but underestimate its significance in the longer term,” Page said. “Many users coming online today may never use a desktop machine, and the impact of that transition will be profound–as will the ability to just tap and pay with your phone.”
Along with the handset giant, Google gets more than 17,000 patents, not a small reason for the lofty purchase price. Despite Motorola‘s prominence, handsets by themselves have turned into commodities with all of the Android players fighting to get a small chunk of the puzzle. This will instantly position Motorola as a preference for many Android fans despite Google’s assurance that the mobile OS will remain available and fully upgradeable to their new competitors.
Play Angry Birds with chop sticks. Browse web pages without a mouse or touchscreen. Sign a document within 1 centimeter with pinpoint accuracy. These are just the tip of the possibilities iceberg for Leap Motion, the gesture-control technology unveiled today in the video below.
The San Francisco startup says you can “Say goodbye to your mouse and keyboard.” The accuracy of the device may make that claim a reality for some considering that it’s reportedly 200 times more accurate than anything on the market today and can track the movements of all ten fingers inside a 4-cubic-foot space down to 1/100th of a millimeter.
All of these specs sound like something that is expensive, large, and not available for a couple of years. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Pre-orders of the device that’s not much larger than a pack of gum are starting now for $69.99 and will be available this winter.
If you’re going to build a startup, you have a better chance of success if you have a proven track record. Uberconference CEO Craig Walker has such a history as the founder of GrandCentral (which became Google Voice) and Dialpad before that (which became Yahoo Voice).
Unlike most conference call services, there is no pin required from Uberconference which uses the dialing number as the authentication. Anyone who has tried to join a conference call while switching back to email on their phone to get the PIN can appreciate this feature.
Another nice feature is the rude background noise attendee deterrent; if someone is making noise, they are easy to identify and get muted by the organizer.
The service is free with optional premium services.
This entertaining promotional video shows times when this particular service might come in handy.
So many screens, so few images (testing responsive sites with Adobe Shadow). Photo: Adobe
The web design community continues to debate the merits and drawbacks of the WHATWG’s proposed adaptive images solution.
As we reported last week, a new srcset attribute has been added to the <img> element in the WHATWG’s HTML specification. The new attribute will allow developers to specify different sized images based on the user’s screen size.
The idea is to find a way to serve smaller images to devices that don’t need large images — saving precious bandwidth — while serving high-resolution images to screens that warrant them. And the WHATWG’s srcset attribute does solve some of the problems surrounding adaptive images, but it’s far from ideal.
Adaptive images are at odds with how browsers handle images thanks to what’s known as a “lookahead pre-parser.” Browsers use lookahead pre-parsers to start downloading images as soon as possible (to speed page-load times), which means images are parsed and downloads started before the browser has determined the full page layout.
However, a truly useful adaptive image solution needs the browser to first determine the page layout and then determine which images to use.
Grigsby rightly calls it a chicken and egg dilemma. “How do we reconcile a pre-parser that wants to know which size image to download ahead of time with an image technique that wants to respond to its environment once the page layout has been calculated?”
Grigsby argues that the smart thing to do might be for browsers to eliminate pre-fetching:
For existing web content, the lookahead pre-parser is undoubtedly the fastest way to render the page. But if web development moves towards responsive images as standard practice, then delaying the download of images until the proper size of the image in the layout can be determined may actually be faster than using the lookahead pre-parser. The difference in size between a retina image for iPad and an image used on a low resolution mobile phone is significant.
That’s going to be a tough sell to browser makers right now. Browser makers are understandably loath to do anything that might slow down page-load times — even if that slow-down is temporary.
Other possible solutions Grigsby covers include progressive image formats (which suffer from similar chicken-and-egg dilemmas) and of course the <picture> element. The whole article is well worth a read since it gets into more details about why all of these solutions are ultimately less than ideal.
Students, start your coding engines. Google’s annual Summer of Code program, which helps college students write open source software during their summer vacations, starts today.
Past participants have helped improve everything from popular web frameworks to browser add-ons and even operating systems. Summer of Code is also not a half bad way to get yourself on Google’s radar — the company looks at the results of the program to help it “identify potential recruits.”
Summer of Code has served as a launchpad for quite a few new open source software projects as well as helping to jumpstart work on existing favorites. This year’s roster includes some 1,208 students who will spend the next 12 weeks writing code for 180 different open source organizations.
With 208 proposed projects, there’s a pretty good chance that some Summer of Code improvements will be rolled into your favorite open source projects later this year. Among the things we’ll be keeping an eye on are Metalink’s various efforts to improve the download capabilities in Firefox and Chrome. Eventually Metalink wants to bring error recovery/repair for large downloads to everything from Chrome to wget.
The Eephus League Magazine: showing publishing pros how it's done.
Baseball season is already well under way, but it’s never too late for another site about America’s favorite pastime — especially when it’s as awesome as the beautiful Eephus League Magazine.
Even if you have no idea what the name means — and fear not, even some baseball fans aren’t familiar with the Eephus pitch since it isn’t throw much (though current Red Sox reliever Vicente Padilla has something like an Eephus pitch) — the site is well worth a visit for its gorgeous layout and design.
The Eephus League Magazine is written and produced by web designer Bethany Heck, but if the interface and navigation looks slightly familiar it’s probably because the underlying code is the work of Ian Coyle, creator of Nike’s Better World site, which we featured last year.
Since then Coyle has also released Edits Quarterly, an online magazine of photography and short films. Edits is what inspired Heck to put together The Eephus League Magazine. And it’s not hard to see why, with Edits Coyle managed to create something even the so-called pros of the magazine publishing world can’t seem to make — a digital magazine that doesn’t suck.
In the end the experience of both magazines is different enough to catch your eye, but not so much so that it overwhelms the content. But don’t take our word for it, head over to Eephus and be sure to check out Edits Quarterly as well.
The tech world is full of flops. This ain’t them; some of these companies and their products were monstrously successful for a time; others never even had the high expectations and hype required for something to earn the title “flop”. More »