Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Privacy

I was at my wife’s holiday dinner about a month ago and a conversation came up about Google Home and Amazon “Alexa” (a.k.a “Echo”). Mind you, the rest of the people there are not as technically savvy as my wife and me. Just about everybody had an aversion to these devices. One person at the table said “Dan, they’re always listening right?” I said Google isn’t always listening. The device is listening for the “Okay Google” key phrase inside of the device, then sends what it hears after the key phrase to Google. [Read More]

Google Android Market Licensing Service

I was enthused about the announcement of the Android Market Licensing Service. This is a step in the right direction to fight rampant piracy. You can actually now use a pirated version as an opportunity to sell your app. If someone downloads a pirated version, you can use the licensing service to detect it and direct them to buy the paid version. However, there are a couple of problems. First of all, the generic version of the licensing code has been cracked. [Read More]

Another IP Follow-up

Here’s another Intellectual Property follow-up. This time it’s a very interesting TED video. It’s well worth watching.

Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion’s free culture:

Dell Studio 15Z Waking Up at Night

My Dell Studio 15z (Windows 7) has been waking up by itself at night for some reason which I haven’t determined yet. It’s not waking for virus scans. The bad part is it doesn’t shut itself back down. The other night I had it hibernated and it was not plugged in. When I got up in the morning, the battery was dead. After some searching, I found that it’s a Windows 7 thing. [Read More]

The Light Side of the Moon

I’ve always been greatly inspired by the U.S. mission to the moon. The moon mission drove my passion for electronics, computers, and science; as it did for many others. I’ve read quite a bit on the moon mission and watched quite a few documentaries on it. I recently watched a couple of episodes of “Moon Machines.” This series caused me to connect some thoughts I’ve had lately - none of which have anything to do with actually being on the moon. [Read More]

AlphaMixr Reviewed - Demo Downloads Hit 10,000

AlphaMixr, my game for Google Android (T-Mobile G1, et. al.), was reviewed the other day and got 4 out of 5 “droids.” You can read the review at Android Tapp. You can also read AlphaMixr user reviews on Cyrket (an online Android Market browser). In other news, AlphaMixr Demo hit the 10,000 download mark today at Android Market. I think this will pick up even more as additional Android-based devices are released globally this year. [Read More]

AlphaMixr for T-Mobile G1/Android Released

Google released paid apps today on the Android Market today (2/20/09) and so my game, AlphaMixr (now Syrious Scramble®) was released into the wild. AlphaMixr is a scrambled word game in the spirit of Text Twist and Jumble. It adds another dimension of Global High Scores so you can compete with other players around the world. You can read a glowing review from a friend of mine who’s been a beta tester at This and That Visit SyriousGames. [Read More]

Fun With Generics

I was trying to declare a array variable this morning: Map<String, String>[] mapArray = new Map<String, String>[2]; However, the compiler reports an error with the above statement: “Cannot create a generic array of Map”. I had to replace the statement with: @SuppressWarnings("unchecked") ... Map<String, String>[] mapArray = (Map<String, String>[]) new Map[2]; !?! If one of the goals of generics was to eliminate casts, it certainly failed here. [Read More]

Bad Smells

We were working on some refactored code today that wasn’t refactored properly. The tests had been changed to make the refactored code pass. My colleague said that I should write-up my “profound” comment on the situation:

If you’re performing a refactoring and you find yourself changing asserts in existing unit tests, something should smell bad. You’ve probably done something more than refactor the code.