Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Google Docs gets more awesome

One awesome thing about web apps is that they seem to constantly update.  And one of the best companies at doing this is Google.  They've updated Google Docs Spreadsheet app today, adding a bunch more functionality to the Charts Editor.

Two big things I noticed.  One, you can now add interaction to some of your charts.  I haven't played around with it yet, but in the video he could move through a timeline similar to a youtube video and the graph changed based on what time he was at.  The second awesome thing was embedding charts.  Obviously this wouldn't have been a huge deal in the past since you could just make a picture out of it, but with these new interactive charts, embedding them in a blog or something would be pretty sweet.

I found a sample chart that shows how useful these charts can be (If your on Google Reader you need to click on the title to go to the actual blog to see the chart).  You can check out the data at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pCQbetd-CptE1ZQeQk8LoNw

For those of you unfamiliar with Google Docs, it's essentially the internet's version of Microsoft Office.  It has features such as access from anything with an internet connection and real-time multi-user editing.  It has enough features that I would use it exclusively if it weren't for compatibility issues due to school only using Microsoft Office.

EDIT:  It appears that the chart embed isn't working right in all browsers.  It's working for me on Firefox and Safari, but it got locked up in Chrome.  I don't have time to see what the issue is, but I'm sure Google will get it figured out soon.

Also noticed that the chart doesn't show up at all in Google reader.  If you want to see the chart you have to go to the actual blog post.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Apple is holding "Back to Mac" event October 20th

This Wednesday (October 20th) Apple is holding an event they're calling "Back to the Mac."  This event will, obviously, be focused on the Mac operating system, and, according to some rumors, the announcement of a new Macbook Air.

Although it's starting to look more and more likely that a new Macbook Air will be announced, I'm still thinking that the new OS will be announced as well.  The lion peeking around the Apple logo points to the new version being called lion?  Some people are thinking it may be called Simba.  I personally prefer the latter, but hopefully we'll find out on Wednesday.

Snow Leopard was announced a full year before it was actually released, so we still have a wait ahead of us, but I'm hoping for some interesting improvements in the non-mobile department of Apple everybody seems to have forgotten about.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Future According to IBM

I've often thought of what the future will be like in terms of everyday life. People always say things like "20 years ago, we wouldn't even be able to imagine [insert technology here]."  Could people 20 years ago even fathom what normal people can do today with a $200 phone?

When I actually sit and think about it though, I don't think I would be in that much disbelief.  The only major invention that has happened in last few decades is the internet.  Everything else has mainly been improvements and combinations of what already exists.

I think that we can probably predict what our world will look like in the next couple decades.  Sure some insane new invention could come along and change everything, but aside from that I think we can look at the way technology is moving and make a pretty strong prediction on where it will go.  IBM put this video out explaining where they see the internet (and all technology for that matter) going in future.  I think that this could all easily happen within the next decade or so.

To put this in perspective, here's an advertisement from 1993 that AT&T put out talking about the future.  Aside from some obvious design differences, they were surprisingly accurate.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Post

Alright, so I've been talked into starting a blog by my roommate.  I've toiled over what I should write about, and eventually settled on writing about what's happening in the technical world.  I know this is really broad, but I think that's going to be necessary for someone like me to keep this going.  I'll go through a phase where I'm really interested one thing, and a couple months later I'll be obsessed with something else.

Right now it's phones.  Smartphones to be more specific.  I find the industry to be captivating.  I've been following the market basically since the original iPhone came out.  I think it's one of the few topics that I can somewhat predict based on market trends I've witnessed myself.

Another phase I'll probably go through again is video.  I love video editing, and I'll go through phases where I'll watch a ridiculous amount of video, trying to teach myself new tricks.  If I'm still doing this at that time, I'll probably post a bunch of video's showcasing some random technology or video trick.

I don't know how much I'll actually post here.  I could see myself getting addicted to it and posting a lot one week, and then getting bogged down and hardly posting anything on another week.  We'll just have to see.

I'll end this first post with some big news in the tech world.  Microsoft announced the new Windows Phone 7 mobile OS today.  It looks like it's actually going to be a different mobile experience than what Apple, Google, and RIM are currently offering.  At first glance though, it doesn't really look like there is very much in terms of new features.  In fact, it's missing quite a bit of features that should be standard on any mobile OS nowadays, such as copy and paste and multitasking.

Microsoft is coming in on an extremely competitive, saturated market, and they're late in the game.  If they can't differentiate themselves from the more mature OS's out there, they are going to have a difficult time surviving.  One thing Microsoft does have is the money to back a massive marketing campaign, and business partners already set up from the old Windows Mobile days.  With companies like HTC and Samsung making hardware, they will have some highly competitive phones out in time for this Christmas season.

Alright, well I'll try to keep my posts shorter in the future.  It already looks like I can bore people with writing just as easily as I can with talking.  Thanks for reading, and comments are definitely encouraged (for both of you reading this).