Speeding up the learning process, one video at a time

Nerd tip: Want to watch all those <developer conference of your choice> videos but don’t have 45 minutes or an hour at a time to spend on one of them, let alone dozens of them? Read on…

There are dozens of videos I always want to watch from Apple’s WWDC each year, but depending on the presenter, they can be painful to sit through. Lynda.com has a customized video player in their website that has ability to speed up the video while you are watching is without distorting the presenter’s voice too much, so I was hoping that I could find a way to watch Apple’s videos in the same manner.

If the videos you want to watch are available to download, (i.e. WWDC 2015 videos are as HD or SD .mp4’s) pull them down locally and play them in the QuickTime Player app. Once they start playing, hold down the option key (on a Mac anyways) and tap the fast forward button. It will speed up the video in increments of .1, all the way up to 2.0. The cool part is that it maintains the pitch of the audio, so you aren’t listening to chipmunks.

Screenshot 2016-01-07 22.01.05

I find my ability to absorb what they are saying is pretty stable at 1.7. If they get into new material that requires some deep listening and processing, I’ll kick it back down to 1.4.

You’ll cover a lot more videos this way. Enjoy!

All Websites Look The Same via NoVolume, Web Design Blog

I guess the first question is why, why has one style swept across the web design world and been implemented across so many websites? I’ve thought and thought about this and never really come up with a single answer.Source: All Websites Look The Same via NoVolume, Web Design Blog

My website included, what this article points out about web design is very true. Most sites today look the same with simple variations in images and fonts.

The thing is though, despite the prevalence and pervasiveness of a common website design, it usually gets the message across and folks are familiar with how to get around these simple sites. You either scroll down to reveal content in visually defined sections or click on one of the main links in the header or the footer. Very rarely do you see content buried down at a nested level. Search boxes are usually very prevalent too. Either scroll, click once or search and you usually find the information you are after. Isn’t that the point?

While Flash websites were unique, it was too easy to get lost in the content and unique and “creative” animated experiences. “That’s really cool. What was I looking for?…”

Brillo and Weave, IoT operating systems, and Android M, Is Google is taking over IoT?, in Internet of Things via element14.com

Details on Weave and Brillo are still rather sparse since the projects are still in their infancy, but Google certainly seems to have the resources and gusto to make these the new standard for all IoT devices. Their new plan seems to involve getting manufacturers of IoT devices, including everything from smart home gadgets to farming equipment, to have Brillo and Weave pre-installed and ready to integrate with your mobile device and computer.Source: Blog Post: Brillo and Weave, IoT operating systems, and Android M, Is Google is taking over IoT?, in Internet of Things via element14.com

If you own any “smart home” devices and have gone through the process of installing and using them, you know that the experience can really be hit or miss. Once you do have them working, actually using them is the next hurdle.

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Taking The Mystery Out Of SDKs With Open Source via TechCrunch

Without extensive investigation, you won’t be able to know exactly what the precompiled SDKs are up to in your app. It’s exceedingly easy to wire a binary black box SDK in such a way that you, as the developer, would never know what’s going on inside.

Source: Taking The Mystery Out Of SDKs With Open Source via TechCrunch

I’ve often wondered if I am a little to trusting with some SDKs I’ve used over the years in iOS apps. I’ve never had an issue, but in the case of precompiled SDKs, without monitoring all my network communications, I really wouldn’t know if there was anything questionable going on.

More and more though, using CocoaPods for instance, I have noticed that the code is not always compiled, allowing for easier introspection into what is going on in code you are trusting inside your app.

This article has me thinking about what I am using with a bit more scrutiny going forward.

Apple To Release New Apple TV In September, Report Says via TechCrunch

Finally, Apple should release an SDK as well as a dedicated App Store for the TV. It would bring the Apple TV up to par with Android TV and make the device much more powerful. Even if Apple doesn’t launch its streaming service at the same time, third-party developers could start developing for the new device right away before the Apple TV becomes a must-have.

Source: Apple To Release New Apple TV In September, Report Says via TechCrunch

I’ve been hoping and waiting for the Apple TV ecosystem to expand and allow custom application development to take place. I really believe that a new Apple TV SDK opens the next door of innovation for blurring the lines between computers and televisions.

Granted, there are a lot of products and companies who have already been working on this type of crossover for some time, but since I’m all-in on the whole Apple ecosystem, this is the one I’ve been waiting for.

At the moment, I’m not really concerned with what the rumors and specifications are said to be. Just opening the door to integration between television and computing leads to a whole new generation of apps.

I’m particularly interested in what opportunities will arise for educational and training apps. So much of the tech training I go through these days is video-based, or at least has a video element to it, that being able to watch training on a TV would grab my attention. Being able to go through training, away from my desk, with my iPad as a companion to work in conjunction with an Apple TV app (note taking, scheduling, building personal lesson plans) is very appealing. If nothing else, it’s a potential app idea…

How App Design Can Hurt App Development via TechCrunch

…During the prototyping process, designers tend to cherry pick numbers, names and images that best illustrate how the final app will respond to user inputs. In the process, they often forget just how widely varied and frankly messy user inputs can actually be — some of which can cause an app to “look off” or render it completely useless…

Source: How App Design Can Hurt App Development via TechCrunch

I just ran into this on a recent work project. This isn’t on knock on designers, rather, it is a recurring issue I’ve come across that can cause some heavy code refactoring when you are working on localizing apps for other languages. A single word used for a button action in English, for instance, may end up being a sentence in French.