Thursday, December 30, 2010

Youtube Chrome Extension - Improving YouTube Experience

Time ago I posted about how to keep full screen mode in chrome when you have a second monitor. It is a nice trick, it is always good to have something built in though.

A couple of Chrome plugins I found which can help are:

Window Expander for YouTube
This extension resizes the YouTube window to size of the Chrome window. It is not the same as full screen since it only increases it to the window's size. It is really good if you have more than one monitor and you use both of them. The new version let's you set which resolution want once it re-sizes it. The options include small, medium, large, 720p, and 1080p.

Here is a video explaining how to use this extension.

Turn off the Lights
This extension makes what it says once you enable it it will fade the entire page to dark and automatic focus to the video. It also works works on Google Docs and a lot more like YouTube.

So enjoy your YouTube experience :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Google Chrome Channels

Probably most users don't know but Chrome has different 3 channels or versions all the time. Most users have the stable version which comes by default when you download the web installer. You can updates every time a beta version has been heavily tested. If you don't want the latest features, and want something stable this channel is for you.

The second version is the beta channel. You can subscribe to this channel if you want to help finding bugs or test new functionality that is going to be in the next stable version. You can get updates almost every month which is good enough.

The third version and the last one is the dev channel or developer preview. This channel is totally the opposite of the stable channel. It has the latest functionality and also new ideas to be tested and approved so it is easily to find a lot of things not working properly and some sporadic crashes. So if you are a developer who wants to test the latest source code this is the channel for you. You should get an update almost every week.

Right now I am using the dev channel and yeah sometimes it can be buggy but I like trying new things and my curiosity is bigger than my patience :)

Also extra configurations can be found typing: about:flags in the navigation bar (it used to be about:flags before); just be careful some of them can make your browser more unstable and even you can see the warning message there.

So pick the best Chrome channel for your needs and happy browsing :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dual Monitor Full Screen in Chrome

Time ago I got a brand new monitor, a 23' Samsung high definition really sweet!! :) I believe that having 2 monitors increase productivity although if it is in the wrong hands increases procrastination so it depends the use you give it.

Anyways the big problem I had was that when watching YouTube I couldn't retain the full screen in the second monitor because as soon as it losses focus it will go back to the standard mode. It was annoying so I decided to research a little bit on how make this work.

A little bit of background; I am using Chrome dev channel so it is a little bit different since chrome embeds flash player in every build well if you chose to or if you want, you can download and install it by yourself. I am also using windows xp sp3 32bits. I also have the latest flash player which

Look for the file gcswf32.dll inside :
C:\Documents and Settings\<<Username>>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\<<Chrome version>>\

Open the file using any Hex Editor and look for the hex: 74 39 83 E8
Highlight 74 and change it to 90
Highlight 39 and change it to 90
Save the file and lunch Chrome again.

This technique can be also applied to IE, FF and others you just need to look for the right dll

This is the final result :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The day Skype was down

Today Skype was down most of the day for most users and it made me realize how much I use it. I basically use it for everything that is work related, meetings, video conference, screen sharing, IM with my colleagues and a mot more.

Luckily the outage was right after one of my meetings but what would have happened if it was not? Well that is what happens when you use and trust on free tools. The fact is that you can't blame anyone. I love open source, free tools and services that make our lives and work simpler but sometimes we can't trust them completely and this is one of those cases. I am sure they are doing everything to fix it but I wonder how many people were affected, really affected because of this.

Anyways, for more information, you can check the updates on this issue on their twitter account.

Rube Goldberg Machine

A Rube Goldberg Machine is an on purposely designed complicated machine to perform a simple task. This american expression comes from the american cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg.

You can hear this expression a lot here in united states specially to refer persons or things that over complicate solutions for simple problems. In the computers world specially developers we tend to do this a lot! We can have a solution for a problem but sometimes it is not the best solution and as as long as it accomplishes the objective we are happy.

Sometimes we need to stop being a Rube Goldberg Machine and try to find a better solution sometimes it can help to understand the problem but we shouldn't stop there we should go deeper and look for better answers.

As a plus you can watch this great!!! video showing a great example of this. I think it took one year to finish it

So are you a Rube Goldberg Machine or not?

Monday, December 20, 2010

CR-48 Massacre

I am dying to get one CR-48 and these guys killed 25 of them by doing this add :(
I know Zero data was lost but at what cost?

I know the data is really important but you also care about your Gadgets, at least I do.

Friday, December 17, 2010

20 Things I learned about browsers and the Web

"20 Things I Learned about Browser and The Web" is an guide online book built using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. The purpose of this book is to teach the basics of how Browsers and the Web work, and how their evolution has changed the way we work.

Basically this book was developed by some members of the Chrome team in order to commemorate  the 20 anniversary of the proposal for the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee. 20 Years ago I barely knew about computers and I wouldn't image something about The Web and Internet but since then a lot of things have changed, new technologies have emerged and web programming has evolved a lot.

This book takes advantage of these new features like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. Some of the highlights  are:

  • After the app has been visited once, you can also take the experience with you offline, thanks to the Application Cache API.
  • You can resume reading where you had left off as the book remembers your progress using the Local Storage API. We also mark the chapters that have previously been read by folding the top right corner of the page in the navigation.
  • The app utilizes the History API to provide a clutter-free URL structure that can be indexed by search engines.
  • The HTML5 canvas element is used to enhance the experience with transitions between the hard cover and soft pages of the book. The page flips, including all shadows and highlights, are generated procedurally through JavaScript and drawn on canvas.
  • The canvas element is also used to animate some of the illustrations in the book.
  • CSS3 features such as web fonts, animations, gradients and shadows are used to enhance the visual appeal of the app.

As time goes by we need to keep ourselves updated on all these technologies this is something I knew when I decided to study Computer Science it is not like any other degree. Technology moves fast and we need to keep track of it otherwise we become a dinosaur that keeps using tools that nobody uses anymore ( some of my old professors from university are good example ).

It is a good lecture you should try it at least to check the capabilities of these new tools.

source [Google code blog]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

App Inventor for everyone

Like six months ago Google announced this labs project called App Inventor. This Google labs experiment  makes it easier to develop android applications so people with out too much knowledge  about programming could build android applications easy and fast that would feed their needs.

Until yesterday it was just a private beta but finally today they have announced that is free to download for everyone with a Google account. So go to App Inventor and grab a copy to start playing with this awesome tool :)

Here is the first video they uploaded showing the capabilities of it. Enjoy it!

Happy coding :)

iPhone vs. Android vs. BlackBerry

The never ending battle between phones. Every person has an answer, its favorite and its reasons. At the end the phone that makes you happy and suits you, that is the one you would think is the best. Although I do now the pos and cons of my Nexus One, I still love it!

Most would say "as long as it makes calls and send/receive messages, I am ok", Let's admit it though our phone makes our personality :)

Thanks: Csectioncomics

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Google Talk not working on Android

Usually when you get a new phone it is like a new toy for us and that is exactly what happened tome. I got my new N1 and I started installed a lot of apps and updates you know Google maps, GVoice, Pandora, Games, Network tools and a large etc. Obviously I ate almost all my internal memory by the I only had less than 20Mb.

One of the big problems I have with my N1 is storage ( you never have enough ;) ) It only has 512 Mb of internal memory and basically as much as your pocket can get on external memory, usually android devices support 32Gb easily. When you install apps all of them go to your internal memory which is shared with all other things like the Android OS itself so you if you do not move them manually to your SD ( some apps have this new functionality ), you will ending up like me with no internal space available.

When this happens some apps like GTalk won't work anymore. I noticed that every time I tried to signing in, it will try to do it for a while and then give you a black screen and go back to home.  It took me a while to relate the out of space problem I had with apps not working properly. It seems Android needs a certain amount of space vailable in order to run applications properly that is why I always recommend moving huge apps to SD card whenever is possible and also cleaning app's cache.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gmail push not working

Couple of days ago I noticed that I was not getting Email notifications from my Gmail account in my N1. Every time I had to refresh it manually and then I would get my emails. At first I did not care about it but then it started becoming annoying to refresh it manually all the time. After a lot of time trying things to make it work again like re-installing the app, configuring accounts, google and etc etc I found the solution.

The first thing I did was to move most of my apps to the SD card since I only had 20Mb of free space now I have around 50Mb ( still low ). It seems when you run out of space in your main memory some apps start behaving really weird or they stop working at all ( more on this later ). Still I was not getting my GMail notifications :(

The second thing I did was cleaning my cache and clear the app's data; to do this you just go to Settings --> Applications--> Manage Applications --> All --> Gmail and once you are there you click on Clear Data and Clear Cache by doing this you are wiping all the information the application has about you so the next time you try to execute it you might have to enter your credentials again.

Finally I re-started my phone and FINALLY!!!! notifications are back!!!!! :)

Some recommendations: be sure to have at least 50Mb of free memory in your phone's main memory, move as much apps as you can to your SD card and from time to time try cleaning your app's cache and in some extremely situations your app's data

Hope this info helps some one else.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An update on Chrome, the Web Store and Chrome OS

Today the Google Chrome team made some really good announcements.

Chrome Web Store
Finally the Chrome Web Store is finally open. I have waited a lot for this and it has a lot of apps but I do not know why they all seem bookmarks to me. They add a nice icon and the ability to add shortcuts but at the end they just open the same page you would open normally. Anyways It has been just a couple of hours let's give it some more time.

Something that impressed me is that in the last year the amount of users are three times more. They increased from 40 to 120 million users in just one year that is amazing. I must admit the speed is really good and since they added the Google Instant to the Omnibox it is even better ( Well you need really good speed to make it work properly ).  They improved their V8 Java script engine right they said it runs twice as fast as before. All these new functionalities are already in the dev and beta channels although they said they will be rolling them out to stable version pretty soon.

Chrome OS
Finally they gave more information about this topic. Last year they released the first early version of Chrome OS. I have been running it on a virtual Machine and Like it a lot but this year they are finally releasing it. Well not exactly, they are launching a pilot program for US only ( later other countries will be added ) and if you are lucky you can be selected and they will ship you on this Google chrome notebooks aka CR48. I already submitted my application let's hope I am one of the lucky ones :) Here is the video explaining what Chrome OS is

More info about this event can be found in the official Google Chrome Blog.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Android 2.3 Platform and Updated SDK Tools

I think Google knew today was my birthday :) because early today as a gift they finally announced a new version of their Android platform, Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread.

It seems this release is gaming oriented because they made a lot improvements in that area. Native input and sensor events, gyroscope for improved 3D motion processing, Open API for native audio, native graphics management, native access to activity lifecycle and window manager( this is something games developers have asked a lot!! ) a lot more. The complete overview of what is new in the platform you can check the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights.

They also updated the the SDK tools (r8), NDK and the ADT plugin for Eclipse. Basically they improved the debugging tools like the UI builder, hierarchy viewer, simplified debug builds and to obfuscate your code they integrated the ProGuard support inside the SDK Tools which is really nice.

You can check this official video for more info about the new cool features of Android Gingerbread. Hopefully we will see the OTA coming before the year ends.

Thanks for the gift Google :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What if Email were Invented Today Part I

Son las palabras q Lars  Rasmussen, encargado de ingeniería en Google, uso al iniciar la presentación de el nuevo producto de Google llamado Google Wave.

Google Wave, la nueva gran aplicación de Google q promete traer una nueva forma, simple y practica de comunicaciones PC a PC en tiempo real. Facilita increíblemente el trabajo sobre un documento en tiempo real, compartiendo audio, video imágenes y texto. Todo este tipo de conversaciones y colaboración recibe el nombre de “wave” . Como todos dicen es una evolución al correo electrónico q hoy conocemos y como dice Lars, la idea, el concepto q impulso a la creación de Google Wave fue: What would look like email if it were invented today?

Todos sabemos q el correo electrónico nos deja compartir todo tipo de archivos, si los adjuntamos a nuestro correo, pero aun así es un medio de comunicación de una sola vía, tu mandas el mail y esperas la respuesta. Google Wave cambia totalmente este paradigma, todo lo q se hace se puede ver en tiempo real y por varios usuarios al mismo tiempo. Cuando use Google Wave por primera vez lo vi como una mutación de aplicaciones como Email, chat, y project management.

Hablando un poco de la arquitectura detrás de Google Wave podemos decir q esta basado en 3 capas: producto, plataforma y protocolo
Producto, Es el producto actual Wave, una aplicación web q los usuario utilizan para crear, manipular y controlar waves.
Plataforma, Es una serie de APIs abiertos, q los desarrolladores pueden poner waves en varios Web services, crear extensiones, robots, etc.
Protocolo, es el formato en el cual Wave esta basado para poder permitir este tipo de comunicación en tiempo real y q también ayuda a controlar, compartir y almacenar waves.

Mas detalles sobre Google Wave los iré dando en los siguientes post ya q hablar de Wave es un tema muy largo, pueden revisar este tutorial muy completo de como empezar a usarlo. Lamentablemente como todo producto q Google lanza por ahora Google Wave es privado ya q esta en Preview, ni si quiera beta. Pero todos sabemos q es mejor aprender a usar algo utilizándolo, así q por eso daré invitaciones para Wave a los primeros q dejen su correo en los comentarios :)