Headed to SF

So I’m going to be in SF for WWDC. But oddly not for WWDC. I have an other business I’ve not been as involved in of late but I’m helping out with some meetings. So I’ll be there but probably won’t be doing anything computer-like. Rather I’ll be dealing with manufacturers and restaurants. Still in honor of WWDC I figured I’ll do my predictions before all the main podcasts do.

Honestly this year I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Last year we knew there was going to be a revamp of iOS and new it was going to be flat looking. But most of my other predictions were way off. This year we know Ive is going to redesign OSX the way he did iOS. We suspect it’ll probably adopt a lot of iOS style, the way the whole “back to the Mac” move of the last two years has done. It makes switching between a MacBook Air and an iPad Air more easy and natural. How much will come over isn’t clear. More interesting is the long predicted inter-application communication. I was sure that was going to make an appearance last year. I suspect the rumors of a two app view in iOS are more related to this than really running two apps together. But I could be completely wrong. 

In any case here are my predictions:

Continue reading Headed to SF

Lego EV3

Lego Ev3

We’re going to be doing home schooling with our son this fall due to a few issues I won’t get into. (It definitely wasn’t our first choice but seems to be the best one) One thing I wanted to do was get him into programming. Since he loves Lego I broke down and bought the latest Lego Mindstorm. Unfortunately while the previous generation (NXC) had some great programming languages, like C, for it the current one doesn’t. (Yet)

There’s a version of C called RobotC is in beta. Unfortunately it’s PC only. I’ll almost certainly snag it once it becomes available. I’ve not tried the beta yet though but it sounds like it’s still fairly rough. Some people have got it running in a virtual machine. I may try that later this week. There’s a version of C++ as well called BricxCC which I plan to install as well. Again sadly (and surprisingly) it too is PC only. 

Continue reading Lego EV3

Nissan Leaf

LeafThe transmission on my beloved Pathfinder went out two weeks ago. One of my favorite things to do was go driving on the jeep roads Sunday afternoon. Alas we’d purchased a Sienna a year ago so there’s no way to justify an expensive new SUV. I ended up leasing a Nissan Leaf. With all the tax breaks, which apply at purchase and not when you file, you actually get a pretty good deal. I figured that after the downpayment the price of gas for a month with my old Pathfinder was about what I’d pay with monthly payments on the Leaf. Not quite, but pretty close.

While the purchase was done pretty much from an economic bias rather than one of enjoyment, I’ve really come to love it. It’s just a commuter car so the limited range (80 – 90 miles) really doesn’t matter much. I have the slow charger but since it’s parked in my garage that doesn’t matter too much. It accelerates very fast. Which makes sense as an electric motor generally has better torque than a gasoline one. Still I’m surprised how much acceleration it has! If you put it in econ mode then the computer artificially limits the acceleration to lengthen battery life. Still this doesn’t drive at all like a cheap car!

I’ve driven it longer distances just to see if I could. I’ve done about 100 miles doing very conservative driving and putting all the battery saving features on. While it’s doable I typically just assume a 75 mile range with enjoyable driving. The weird thing about it is that its capabilities are the inverse of a typical car. Normal cars get their best milage on a freeway and very poor milage around town. This does best around town while driving on the freeway really hits the battery hard. (I’ve got it up to 90 mph on the freeway but you’re probably only going to get around 40 mile range at that speed.)

One big question is whether it’s worth paying $1000 to get the high voltage charger install. I know an electrician I use with my business and I’m sure I could get a good deal. Plus my laundry room is right beside by garage so there’s not a whole lot of installation to do. (Had I more time I’d probably just buy the parts and do it myself – but it’s good to make sure you’re up to code)

ADN and the Social Network Problem.

So it sounds like App.Net is not doing too well. Nearly everyone has commented on this story so I won’t say much. I’ll stay on the service until it actually disappears. Most of the people I talk with on ADN are staying too. I think there’s a lot one could do with their technology. We’ll see what happens. If it goes away I’ll definitely miss it. I’ve had lots of great conversations there. It really has its own niche quite different from Facebook or Twitter. 

Continue reading ADN and the Social Network Problem.

Rebirth

Clark’s Tech Blog is back from the dead. I’ll be doing a mix of new stories along with reposting some of the best tips from my old blog. Sorry for the delay getting it back. What was supposed to have been done over the Christmas vacation took much longer than anticipated.