Toby Loves Tech

Toby's thoughts on technology

TobyKurien

TobyKurien

I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of science and technology.

Nespresso vs Mitaca: an espresso shootout

Posted by TobyKurien
TobyKurien
I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 10 June 2012
in General Blogs

20120608_203112

This is a head-to-head espresso shootout between two affordable capsule-based espresso makers: Nespresso by Nestle (around R1800 for the Essenza), and Mitaca by Illy (around R1500), both available from Dion Wired (http://www.dionwired.co.za) and probably other places.

Samsung Galaxy S3 launched, wows crowd

Posted by TobyKurien
TobyKurien
I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of
User is currently offline
on Friday, 08 June 2012
in Digital Blogs
20120608_085542

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Ubuntu 12.04 on my MacBook Air 11"

Posted by TobyKurien
TobyKurien
I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 28 April 2012
in Digital Blogs
Ubuntu screenshot with Screenlet and VLC running

<...

Haters will hate: Instagram for Android

Posted by TobyKurien
TobyKurien
I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 04 April 2012
in Digital Blogs

Haters will hate. Instagram is seen almost as an Apple product so when it came to Android, iPhone users were disgusted and Android users are like "WTF is this crap? What's all the fuss about? We have Lightbox/PixlrOMatic/etc".

Hating raises red flags for me. It signifies emotional responses based on pre-conceived ideas. I think many Android users decided they will hate Instagram no matter what it's like, before they saw it.

Here's what I think of Instagram for Android. I was really worried that they would get it wrong, that they wouldn't understand "the Android way" and would simply make a clone of the iOS app. For the most part, they did make a clone of the iOS app, but it works! It's one of those apps that doesn't need hectic integration into the OS.

The Good
- Instagram looks great! And no shiny, glassy buttons either! Kudos!
- They used the Action bar pattern (caveats coming up)
- It is dead simple to register and use. I auto-followed all my tweeps in one go.
- It is fast and responsive, unlike other AAA titles like Facebook and Twitter
- It has notifications! It appears to use Google's push notification service, although I can't be sure of this, but I don't see any background processes running and there isn't a SyncAdapter (normally seen under Accounts & Sync) for Instagram
- It supports sharing Intents! You can share a photo to Instagram app.

The Bad
- You can't share a photo out of Instagram. So I can't apply an effect to a photo and then share it to Google+. This is a pity - it would only have taken a few lines of code to implement.
- Menu button does nothing! Arrgh!
- Long-pressing a photo does nothing. C'mon, let me save it or re-share it.
- Wierd 3 dots on the bottom right of an image. I thought this meant I could swipe sideways for more pics. Instead it is some options popup. This should be in the long-press or at least look like a button.
- Back button in the settings screen action bar is not necessary.
- Why no notification settings? Can't I turn it off or change frequency, etc?
- The search does not use Android's search API. This might not seem so bad, however it means I can't add the search to my global desktop search like I can with other apps. It (searching) also looks and behaves differently to most apps.

The Ugly
- While they used the Action Bar pattern, they messed it up completely in the profile section. The 3 vertical dots is an overflow menu button, but they used it as a link to the settings menu.
- The settings menu looks like an iPhone screen - should use Android's PreferenceActivity.

I think that's about it. At least from my hour or so of messing around with the app. I've heard that they left out tilt-shift effect (which some person saw as an opportunity to bandy the fragmentation word about again!) but really, I don't mind 'cos I think they'll bring it in a future update. On the whole, I really like Instagram and will be using it. I think they did a great job bringing it to Android and using Android's capabilities, but as above, there are areas where they can improve for future updates.

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Browse without footprints

Posted by TobyKurien
TobyKurien
I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 26 January 2012
in Digital Blogs

Online privacy is once again in the limelight thanks to Google's new privacy policy, which essentially states that Google will collate all tracking information across all it's products, and you can't opt out. Errr, I thought they'd already be doing this, so what's the big deal? Well since I already assumed this was the case, and I also assume this is the case with other sites like Facebook and Twitter, I developed a browsing system that stops me leaving behind footprints for these companies. I'll tell you how it works, so that you can benefit from it too. Yes, you can opt out!

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Samsung Galaxy Note First Impressions

Posted by TobyKurien
TobyKurien
I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 03 November 2011
in Digital Blogs
Samsung Galaxy Note

&...

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Motorola Defy Bullet Review

Posted by TobyKurien
TobyKurien
I am an electronics engineer, software developer of over 15 years, and lover of
User is currently offline
on Monday, 03 October 2011
in Digital Blogs

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