Posts Tagged: computer

DIY Programming: Should HTML be Required for Literacy in the 21st Century?

After I wrote last night’s post on “DIY Mobile Programming: Get Started with HTML, CSS, and Javascript“, I realized that I assumed that all of my readers who want to learn to create | develop their own mobile apps are already familiar with and design | develop in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
This is after I shut off my computer and was on my way to bed, when I realized that maybe those of us in the web & mobile industries need to give more than lipservice to the idea of web education but is it time for all of us to consider that HTML should be apart of the canon of literacy.
Should HTML, in a basic form, be taught in primary school along with reading, writing, and arithmetic?
Yes, I do think it should. The internet, in all of its permutations, is in every aspect of our lives regardless if one lives in the developed or developing world(s). If we don’t teach the basics of the markup language of how to develop | create for the internet, then we are leaving literacy half-baked at best for the 21st Century, because if one does not understand the basic underpinnings of the internet, then one is illiterate to a major facet of 21st Century life.
The drive to increase literacy over the last 200 years has been more than making sure the most folks possible can read and write but it has also been the drive to give everyone the skills to participate on a more level playing field in society, as well as to open the opportunity for all of society to rise to the level of the educated. In every country where literacy has risen above 80%, poverty has decreased, self-sufficiency has increased, and the economy grows in proportion to the increase in literacy.
If you can learn to count to ten in another language, you can learn the 10 most used tags in HTML. If you can string to together a sentence or two in your native language, you can learn the semantics and grammar of HTML. With HTML, you are more than partially capable of creating simple pages and apps for the internet, be it mobile or desktop.
When one can create a page or alter a page in their care, then they are no longer audience, but a participant. No longer just a consumer, but a creator.
Ms. Jen’s DIY Programming Series:
DIY Dev: Program or be Programmed
DIY Mobile Programming: Get Started with HTML, CSS, and Javascript
DIY Programming: Should HTML be Required for Literacy in the 21st Century?

Good News: Chick-a-Poo Turned On

This morning around 11am, after a day plus of drying out with the battery out and a morning of desiccating Santa Anna winds, I put the battery back into Chick-a-Poo and turned her on.
She works. The keyboard has no sticky keys – thanks to Q-tip & rubbing alcohol, and the touchpad is working just fine.
Yay! No need for expensive repairs or to buy a new computer! Yay!
Moral of the Story: When your computer gets wet, immediately unplug it from the power source and pull out the battery, then let it dry for 1-3 days depending on the humidity or lack there of in your area, use rubbing alcohol to help speed the evaporation process.

Nokia, GPS, Mobile Browsers, and Elephanta Island

Tues 02.19.08 – Photo of colorful lanterns taken by Ms. Jen on the walk up to the Elephanta Island caves with a Nokia N82.
Due to the lack of reliable internet connection, I am once again using the Lifeblog on the Nokia N82 to post this photo and text to my blog. Go Lifeblog Go. And get GPS embedding capacity while you are out there.
Now on to the subject at hand… If you were to go to the Nokia Urbanista Diaries website and look for my photos from today’s expedition to the Elephanta Island caves, you would see my photos going out and coming back, but no photos for while I was there.
Why you ask? Well, if Sports Tracker does not have a data connection it will not map photos. No data connection means that Sports Tracker will think that there is no photos associated with the “workout activity” (yucky sports language again).
From one developer to another, this is silly. I had the GPS positionsing on at the same time, ShoZu was able to map all the photos even on Elephanta Island where there is no data connection to the main land cell towers. [Update from later: I realize that it is good to use the cell tower / data connection for when one does not have satellite, so I would like to propose here that Sports Tracker use both or one when the other is not available, but not to make it so that if there is no data connection that the photos are not uploaded.]
Why is Sports Tracker relying on triangulating one’s position from the data connection to the cell tower rather than the far superior native GPS positioning that is already on the N82? I rechecked my settings, with live sharing off I should have the ability for Sports Tracker to rely on satellite data rather than triangulation from cell towers.
Thus, when I went to upload my “workout” to the server, no photos were found. In terms of our photo work flow for posting mapped photos to the Urbanista site, this means that I needed to find a computer with an internet connection that also has a usb port so that I could upload the cave photos manually to the Sports Tracker “workout”.
This is when the trouble started: where to find an internet cafe: found; do the computers have a usb port to use: no, too old or already taken with mouse & keyboard; does the ancient computer at internet cafe have flash 8 or 9 installed and/or the latest browser that will support AJAX: no, no, no; does the computer at the internet cafe have connection faster than molasses during a blizzard: no, the frozen molasses is faster. Epic Sports Tracker upload in India Fail.
Being the determined little taurus turtle that I am, I went back to my hotel room and started to see if I could access my Sports Tracker account from the N82. You can, kind of. The site mostly loads, which is more than the site does, due to the fixed width layout there is some amusing overlapping. (Did the dev team at Sports Tracker test the site on the mobile device, the N82, that they are co-promoting with their own product?)
Once I was logged into my account the list of workout activities did populate on my profiles page, a grey box with a whirling circle sat down to the right a bit loading loading loading, never to load. Whether that grey box was the flash obect for the photos, map or workout list, I did not know as none of the three ever loaded on the N82’s browser.
Now, supposedly the N82 comes with FlashLite. Supposedly.
Ok. Let’s talk folks. If Nokia or Apple or any other mobile device maker wants to market their high end devices beyond the US & European markets, then they need to acknowledge that not everyone has access to a internet enabled computer and if they do, it may only be of glacially slow speeds. And in some markets, the mobile is preferred over the computer.
A friend of mine in LA who hates computers recently bought a iPhone and after a month or two of using it realized that she wanted to purchase some music on iTunes and needed to update her iPhone. Only one problem, she couldn’t do either, as she does not and chooses not to own a computer and the iPhone requires a computer (Mac or PC) to interface with the Mothership. I have previously blogged here about my repeated frustration with Nokia’s PC only focus. Nokia and Apple, what about the millions and billions out there with no computer and whose only connection to the internet is your mobile device? Time to make all activities be functional purely from the mobile device with out having to access a computer.
Given that Nokia has a huge market presence in India and I have seen by far more Series 60 Nokia devices out and about in India than I ever do back in LA, should not all Nokia websites and software / web applications be fully functional on the phones produced by Nokia?
Flash may tell a lovely story to computers on a fast broadband, but what about the rest of the world?
The website does have feeble mobile version, but as soon as you click on the links one will either get an error code or a very minimal functioned and designed site. Please look at or for great examples of fully funcitoning and well designed mobile versions of the Twitter and Flickr web apps.
It is possible to break out of our preconceived notions that our main work flow occurs on a computer and that the mobile is an additional device. The mobile is the main device for more people around the world than not. Let’s move into the present with the devices and the applications.

End of the Year Tech Confessions or how one Machine can Make all the Difference…

After a stressful and full last half of 2007, I decided to go semi-offline in the last week. I have blissfully caught up on novel reading, walking, cooking, cleaning the house, blog reading, going out to see Royal Crown Revue on Friday and the Irish Brothers on Thursday, and otherwise vegging out. I had only one client meeting and I have completed very little of any “GTD” on my computer.
This has been good. But odd.
Before my little love – The Silver Princess – died an untimely death at the Philadelphia airport in late April, it was hard to pry me away from my 12″ Powerbook G4 computer. Then when the June Death of my Nokia N80, I found myself a bit soured on technology and machines as tools to create. Yes, I now have *supposedly* superior replacements in the 15″ MacBook Pro and the Nokia N95, but I have found my joy in using my machines has dissipated rapidly, esp. with the MacBook, as the months have worn on.
I don’t know why, but I don’t enjoy using the MacBook Pro as much as my beloved Powerbook. As a result, I don’t enjoy designing or coding as much as before. Odd how a tool can effect ones work and passion.
I am not the only one who loved their PowerBook, as Ian Lloyd has Tweeted about it and told me in person that he still loves his 12″ PowerBook even with the MacBook as his primary machine.
I don’t know what it was. Maybe the 12″ PowerBook was smaller yet chubbier and easier to fetishize. Or maybe the small toy-ness of the laptop fooled me into thinking that every activity was a game and fun. Maybe the small screen and heavy size were comforting, I don’t know what it was, but I have taken the dead Silver Princess to two different repair places this fall to see if someone can resurrect her, to no avail. And both times I was very upset to find out that nothing could be done. And then spent time on eBay wondering how I could justify the expense of a PowerBook logic board…
I don’t have any such affection towards my Chick-a-Poo the MacBook Pro. I wish I did, but I don’t. I don’t find each day to be a new adventure in computing with MacBook Pro, and thus, I have a hard time getting excited about working on a machine that leaves me relatively cold. This effects my output, trust me.
I love web design and development, but my love for the tool that helps me create and code is lacking. Lately, I have wished for a direct brain to server link, as I have been thinking up code and designs in my head, but have not wanted to open the MacBook to make it happen. When I do open the machine, I don’t want to work on it.
In 2003 and 2004, when I was having issues and productivity problems with my digital photography never making it online and my computer’s hard drive as a black hole, the introduction of a Nokia “smart” camera phone with an unlimited data plan made all the difference in my life. Instead of frustration at the process of getting my digital photos to the web, the lovely Nokia 7610 allowed me to snap a photo and send it directly to Flickr or a blog with no permanent stop at the black hole of my hard drive.
I am yearning for such a leap in my web design and dev life. A device that so entrances me with its design and its leap in process that I am once again in love with what I do, rather than in frustration and self-condemnation.
Apple, please make a lovely work / life machine that is delightful, possibly another 12″ laptop with all of the power and guts of the MacBook Pro but with the cute factor of the PowerBook G4. Add a revolutionary fully working voice recognition system so that I can move about hands free and talk my code to my machine. Help me to fall in love with my computer again. Thank you.