Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Bing will become Google's main competitor in search, with a market share of about 28% in the US (comScore, June 2009) and about 11% worldwide (StatCounter). After a successful relaunch in May, Microsoft's search engine didn't convince many people to switch from Google. Bing's ranking algorithms have been improved and Microsoft has a lot of interesting specialized search engines (a great interface for image search, an excellent travel site), but the overall experience doesn't offer too many reasons to use Bing as your main search engine.
"Through this agreement with Yahoo!, we will create more innovation in search, better value for advertisers and real consumer choice in a market currently dominated by a single company. Success in search requires both innovation and scale. With our new Bing search platform, we've created breakthrough innovation and features. This agreement with Yahoo! will provide the scale we need to deliver even more rapid advances in relevancy and usefulness," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO.
"As a result of the deal, Microsoft, which has great technologists and deep pockets, will have the scale to bring users faster, more useful and more personally relevant search. Competition equals innovation. But with one player dominating 70% of search, that field has been pretty lopsided. This transaction will create a healthy competitor that’ll keep everyone on their toes," said Carol Bartz, Yahoo's CEO.
I don't think scale is the missing ingredient from Bing's recipe: Google managed to create a search engine that offered great results even when it was just a small project. "Google ended 1999 averaging about 7 million searches each day, a roughly 70,000% increase over the 10,000 searches per day that were performed on the Google site in December 1998," announced a newsletter from 2000. Microsoft should focus on innovation, on finding new ways to improve search quality and to make the results more useful, instead of trying to better compete with Google.
Firefox 3.7 Design Mockups:
The design mockups of Firefox 3.7 look like they are making use of Aero Glass in Windows Vista and Windows 7. The RSS and bookmark icons have been moved out of the Firefox address bar and the two new entries Page and Tools have been added to the header. Page apparently contains functions and options that are directly related to the active page while Tools will be used for changing the UI of the web browser. Tabs are now rounded as well.
The design for Windows XP is basically the same as for Windows Vista sans the Aero Glass effects.
Firefox 4.0 Design Mockups:
Two different design mockups have been posted for Firefox 4. The main difference lies in the location of the tabbar. Firefox 4 version a comes with the tabbar in the usual place while version b moves the tabs to the top of the web browser similar to the tabs in Google Chrome.
Some of the most obvious changes include the absence of the status bar, the unifcation of the address bar with the search bar and a big new bookmarks button. Version b seems to have drawn several design inspirations from the Google browser. It does not come with a title bar anymore which could be a problem for long page titles. The bookmarks button is gone in this release and the page and tools buttons are placed in the tabbar next to each other.
The Mozilla team added a pro and con list to the second design mockup which is addressing all these concerns.
Verdict: Many of the changes proposed can already be done with add-ons which is probably a better way of handling changes. Add-ons allow users to remove the status or title bar, move the tabs on top or combine the address field with the search field. The biggest risk will be design changes that most Firefox users do not like or do not want to cope with. It is possible that the Firefox community will create add-ons that address these problems. It could also be that Firefox users decided to look at alternative browsers instead.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
"The number of cash machines blown up with explosives has risen from 54 in 2006 to 387 in 2007 and nearly 500 last year."
In an effort to deter ATM fraud, the bank Absa, the largest retail bank in South Africa, is piloting an ATM that will spray you with pepper spray if you tries to tamper with it in some way or it's camera detects someone trying to plant explosives, as well as automatically notify the authorities the Guardian story also says. So far, 11 ATMs have been outfitted with pepper spray there.
There are still a few kinks needed to be worked out, however.
Three technicians performing routine maintenance on the ATM got accidentally sprayed and required medical help a few weeks back. No customers got hurt, but the spray drifted throughout the shopping mall where the ATMS were situated.
Absa says that if the pilots are successful, it will be rolling out the technology across South Africa. Not surprisingly, the bank is refusing to give out many more details about its pepper-spraying ATMs, especially how one detects would-be bombers, citing security reasons.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Do you want to win a free trip to Los Angeles and a free ticket to PDC 2009? Do you think you have what it takes to win $17,777? Do you think you can write an amazing Windows 7 application?
Well, if your answer to any of the above question is "Yes!" then say hello to the Code7 Contest. The Code7 contest is where your application design ingenuity gives you the opportunity to get millions of eyes on your work, plus a trip to LA for PDC09, and up to $17,777 in cash!
Code7 is a special coding contest for developers. It is a great opportunity to show the world your creativity and coding powers. It is a way for you to cash in on your knowledge and skills.
This is not just another standard code contest; this contest gives the finalists the opportunity to present their application at PDC 2009 in LA. The first prize is a real gem: $17,777 in cash, the opportunity to present the application to Microsoft executives at PDC 2009, plus worldwide interest in your application including a massive “marketing bump” for your application.
To enter, you must:
Build an original, consumer-oriented client application prototype that runs natively on Windows 7 (for example Win32, WPF, MFC or WinForms – not an Air application or just a gadget) and addresses one or more of the following topic categories:
- Simplify My Life
- More Media, More Places
- Work From Anywhere
- Safeguard Your Work
- Applications for a Better Tomorrow
The application must use at least one of the following Windows 7 technology features; however, judging will give more weight to entries that take advantage of more than one of these features:
- Windows Touch
- Shell Integration
- DX11 (DirectX 11)
- Sensor and Location Platform
So if you have being following my blog you have some advantage.
The contest has several stages and few rules you need to be aware of:
- To enter this contest you must create and submit a video in which you describe and demonstrate your application.
- The first qualifying round starts at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on July 13, 2009, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on October 10, 2009 (“Entry Period”). You will be able to able to submit your video until midnight October 10, 2009. Your entry will be included in a pool with all eligible entries based on your geographical region.
- Entries received by 11:59 p.m. PT on August 15, 2009, will be eligible to win an “Early Bird” prize described in the Winner Determination section below.
- Following the close of the first qualifications, a panel of judges will select two runner-up winners and one Finalist from each Region.
- Following judging, Microsoft will notify all winners and finalists and provide instructions for submitting their applications for evaluation.
- Finalists will be invited to present their applications to a panel of judges at the Microsoft Partner Developer Conference 2009 (PDC09) in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
So, what are you waiting for? Get going and start working on your Windows 7 application!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Small note: The shortcuts in this article work on Windows. On Mac, substitute the Ctrl with Command (the Apple key) unless stated otherwise.
The Eclipse Platform
Mac Cocoa Support
For me, that was one of the most substantial change, since I am a Mac user. Read more about the new Cocoa flavor of Eclipse in my previous article.
Plugin installation was completely redesigned in Galileo. While writing this article I found I had just too much to say about it, so I wrote this article which is dedicated to the plugin installation.
Open Resource: "Open With" Options
The Open Resource dialog (Ctrl-R) is one of the most useful tools in Eclipse. Simply start typing a name of a file and find it in seconds. There's an important improvement in Galileo: the ability to right-click a file in the list and ask to open it with a different editor.
I hope the next feature added will be to reveal the file in the package explorer.
Better Toolbar & Menu Customization
UI Customization received A major improvement in Galileo: you can finally select which buttons/commands will appear in the toolbar/menu. In previous versions, it was possible to disable or enable groups of commands. Now, buttons and menu options are controlled individually.
To customize your toolbar, right-click on the toolbar and select Customize Perspective. There are two new tabs here: Tool Bar Visibility and Menu Visibility. These allow controlling individual items in the toolbar and menu.
Galileo introduces Block Selection (sometime called discontinuous selection): the ability to select a box of text regardless of the line breaks or any other white-spaces. I think the implementation leaves room for improvements, but it is nice to see it anyway.
To use it, one must toggle Block Selection Mode (Alt+Shift+A / Option+Command+A). The cursor changes and you may now select any block of text. Copy/Paste works pretty much as expected. However, if you paste a couple of lines and wish to undo the paste, you will need to hit Undo for each line pasted (although it was one action). Typing and deleting characters works nicely, enabling you to instantly add text at the same position for a number of characters.
The Block Selection Mode can also be used from a toolbar button. If you do not have it, go to the Customize Perspective dialog and enable the Command Group called Editor Presentation (you may hide the other buttons, see previous section).
Java Development Tools (JDT)
It seems like the JDT is reaching a saturation point. It is a very good tool as it is and, perhaps, not much can be added. I am biased here, since I do offer a tool which greatly enhances the productivity of JDT called nWire.
Debug View as Breadcrumbs
For me, this is the most noticeable UI change in JDT. It revolutionized the organization of my Debug Perspective. The idea is that the Debug view, which shows the running processes and threads, can be shown as a collapsible Breadcrumbs rather than a full tree. This means it could be minimized and the space may be utilized for other views.
- Switch to the Debug Perspective.
- In the Debug View, click on the toolbar menu (a small triangle at the right side).
- Select Layout -> Breadcrumb.
- Move the view on top of the files, and reduce its' height.
- If you still need to see the entire tree, just click on the breadcrumbs.
We've been waiting for that for some time now. Actually, I was using a 3rd party plugin to generate my toString methods. Nevertheless, the implementation of the toString generator in Galileo is highly customizable and I find it very useful.
To use it, From the Source menu select Generate toString()... You can controls the template, select methods to be included and more. A great little tool.
Outline in Compare Editor
The Compare Editor, which opens when comparing files (e.g. a file to a previous revision), was revamped in Galileo, adding all kinds of abilities which were only available in the regular Java editor. From all the features, I found the Quick Outline (Ctrl+O) to be the most useful. It makes browsing the file a lot quicker.
Plug-in Development Environment (PDE)
In PDE, the Target Platform is the Runtime which will be used when launching your plugins from PDE (for testing and debugging). By default, it is your currently running Eclipse. However, you may change it to other installed Eclipse instances, which allows you to develop on one Eclipse version and test on another.
There are 2 new tools in Galileo which makes managing your platform a relatively simple task. First, there's the Target Platform State view. It is a bit like the Plugin Registry, however, instead of showing your current platform state, it shows the details of your target platform. You can easily see which plugins will be included and where they are installed.
The second addition is the Target Platform Preferences Page which allows adding and changing platforms. In the previous Eclipse versions, Target Platforms were determined by a target file. This is still possible in Galileo, but you may also define targets using the preferences. The creation of platforms has also been improved.
Plug-in Spy for Menu Items
I mentioned the Plug-in Spy (Alt+Shift+F1) last year: it is a great little feature which quickly reveals which class and plug-in stands behind each UI element. It is very useful for finding the right example to learn from when developing Eclipse Plug-ins and RCP applications.
The Plug-in Spy just got better, enabling inspecting menu items. Click Alt+Shift+F2 (Option+Shift+F2 on OS X) and then select a menu option to see its' implementation details.
In this example, I selected Navigate -> Open Type. There are active links to the source code and plugin.xml file. Using the item identifier you can find the item definition. It is very useful in case you want to add another after an existing item.
The P2 Publisher
This is a very well hidden treasure. The P2 Publisher is being used behind the scenes for building plugins, features, P2 repository metadata and update sites. For me, it has one important goal: enable headless PDE builds.
The build process in PDE was very complex up until now. Creating a script that will automate it end-to-end required quite a bit of research and too much work. The P2 Publisher solves this and becomes the one stop shop for automated PDE builds. My experiments with this tool are limited, but it does show a lot of potential. You can start reading about it here.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
They use social community and technology to develop an organic , fuzzy,and inexpensive system that solves the air pollution by reducing the CO2 emissions in developing countries
They are one of the best 60 team on the world.
Software Development Team
The project is simply a new solution for hospitals that targets several problems that are faced eveyday at hospitals as a result of unexpected mistakes from staff members, malfunctioning medical equipments and also late alarm systems.
They are one of the best 12 team on the world.
Embedded Development Team
Finally we have to know and say that they make all of us so proud of their achievement
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.
Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.
Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.
Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.
We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.
We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision. We're excited for what's to come and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for more updates in the fall and have a great summer.