yakk0.org a blog on technology in the real world

23Sep/120

Panoramas with iOS6

One of the more interesting iOS6 features for me is the panorama mode of the Camera app. It allows you to pan the camera across a scene and the app will stitch together a large panoramic image for you. I have used Photosynth and AutoStitch to make panoramas on my iPhone 4 before I got my new iPhone 5 and I decided to see in how the built-in feature stacked up.

23May/120

2 things I’d like to see in iOS 6

notifications per e-mail account
The thing I'd like most is the ability to have notifications enabled for a single email account. I leave email notifications off because my phone would constantly be vibrating or dinging throughout the day. I would like to control the notification per account and also via time. It would be great to have my work account notify me during the day but not in the middle of the night. This also applies to the Notification Center. I'd like to be able to schedule windows for each e-mail account to be able to display notices on my lock screen.

default app selection
One thing I've noticed over the last few years is that I've been using the built-in apps less and less. I use apps like Camera+ or various third party browsers instead of their Apple equivalents. As part of the maturation of iOS I would love to see Apple introduce a "default apps" option that will give users the choice of their default mail, calendar, camera, browser, and IM clients.

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29Mar/120

Android Apps on Windows

I’ve recently been playing with the beta of BlueStacks, which bills itself as an “Android App Player.” It is a Windows-only application that provides an Android emulator with some hardware acceleration built in and wraps it in a GUI that searches the major app stores as well as its own library of Apps.

Bluestacks has the ability to sync apps with existing Android devices, but I don’t have an android device on hand. My wife has an ASUS Transformer tablet that I play with from time to time and I might try that feature on it tonight. I did load up Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds Space from the Bluestacks store and Audible and Amazon MP3 from the Amazon store.

20Feb/120

Rescuing 5.25″ Floppy Disks

I found this via Reddit and am sharing this both because it's cool and also because I want to be able to find it again if I ever decide to try and salvage the boxes of floppy disks in my closet. It's a good writeup on how the author was able to recover some documents off some of his old 5.25" floppies.

Rescuing 5.25″ Floppy Disks from Oblivion - Spellbound Blog

He also links to the Archive Team's wiki as another resource. Very cool find.

4Jan/120

The tribulations of an out-of-town fan.

So often these days it feels like we're living in the future. We've got access to pretty much anything anywhere we want thanks to the Internet. This is why I'm so upset sitting here listening to a University of Memphis basketball game on my iPhone like it was the 1950s (If the 1950s had streaming radio).

These are the days of sites like ESPN3.com. On that site you can watch pretty much any game that ESPN has on their numerous channels and many that aren't on TV at all. The caviat is that your cable provider must subscribe to the service. If you do get the service, it works amazingly well. These are also the days where every NCAA basketball game is streamed online for free. NBC put every Sunday Night Football game online this season and announced they would be streaming the Super Bowl as well. You can subscribe to online packages for the NBA, MLB, an NHL. Hell, I watched Wrestlemania by paying for an excellent quality stream from wwe.com. Why am I sitting on my couch listening to a radio stream on my iPhone?

Normally I would be listening to the radio broadcast and watching the same video that's displayed on the jumbotron in the arena using the school's "All-Access" service. It's not the perfect solution, but as an out of town fan, it's all we have for most games. It's also not cheap. I pay the school $15/month for the ability to watch this.

I understand why every game is not streamed. Most of the current media contracts were probably written before it was a feasible option. I asked the University of Memphis's Sports Information department's Twitter account about tonight's game and was told "The game is televised on Fox Sports Tennessee. Fox media rights do not allow us to stream the game online."

This is the crux of my problem with online media rights. Streaming rights, like everything with contracts, can be re-negotiated. I don't see why I can't give money to the university to get the ability to watch the television broadcast of the game online. They should be responsible for giving the proper rights holder their appropriate fees.

The same should go for the networks themselves. Tonight's game is on Fox Sports South. Why can't I pay for streaming access to their network, or other regional cable networks? Thanks to the Internet I can watch live streams from across the world. There is no technical reason preventing the networks from offering live streams of sporting events. The legal side needs to get worked out. I know this, but it needs to happen. I don't know what level it needs to happen at, but the experience for out of town fans is horrible compared to what it could be in this day and age.

Postscript:
As I was finishing this post up, the Memphis game was joined "in progress" as the local Fox Sports affiliate's game ended. Just because I can now see my game doesn't make me any less upset at the options that out of town fans have to watch their favorite team play.