Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blackberry is going down, way down...

Once a giant, Blackberry, formerly known as RIM, is having a really bad time right now.  It's not that their new BB10 is crap, it's not that they've have crappy devices...

Their public image is not looking good lately...

  • They've drop the ball on the Playbook making many fans really angry
  • 250 jobs were cut
  • Ranking in the market shares is dropping faster than you can read about them
  • Latest update of BB10 is deleting SMS from devices
  • Promises that were discarded
  • Head figures are leaving the company
And the list goes on...  At this rate, the public opinion of the famous Blackberry company has gone from "Mandatory for Business" to "Have Faith!".

Let's face it.  The current market is for smartphones, tablets, TV devices,  car's integration and wearable accessories.  Blackberry is still at the smartphone level, having nothing else.  Yes, the Playbook filled the tablet's niche, for a while...  The keyword here is INTEGRATION.  

Apple did it, Samsung did it, Google did it...  Everybody is putting on market many devices that are meant to create an ecosystem, a way of life.  Blackberry is still pushing BB10 on a few selected devices: Z10, Q10 and A10.  All smartphones...

The list of bad news is growing each week, ranging from issues, lowered figures, lost jobs.  It's almost too late for the company to cope with the actual wishes and dreams of the world, us.

I read the news each days, and across my "Blackberry" feed, I often see articles about recipes.  I'm dead serious.  When cakes, muffins and ice cream are stealing the headlines of your brand, something is wrong.

Patrick Balleux

Hot Coding! News #4 Google false claim, iOS7 Maps, Android fragmentation...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cute CUT video editor 1.5 is amazing!

If often use iMovie on my iPad to create short videos for YouTube. I bought a while ago the app Cute CUT as an alternative to iMovie.

iMovie is great but pretty limited on the features when you want to add effects, texts and animations.

This is where Cute CUT shines. It's. fully featured video editor for iOS. The latest update, version 1.5, just made Cute CUT much better than iMovie.

Here's the link to download the trial version: Cute CUT

My latest video, Hot Coding! News was entirely done using GarageBand for the music and Cute CUT 1.5 for everything else...

Happy editing!

Patrick Balleux

Customer management: LISTEN!

As a developper, you will be asked many things: do some coding, prepare some documentations, debug the old software version and eventually have a chat with the customer.

The major issue with "having-a-chat" with a customer is that many developers are simply not listening. Seriously, that a big issue.

A customer has only one thing in mind: "I am right!"... You know what? He's right most of the time. He (or she) may lack the technical knowledge, may have missed the obvious documentation, may be asking for the impossible. A mad customer often means that something is wrong...

The first thing you should do is listen, don't argue. Even if the request does not make any sense, your customer is simply trying to explain issues that you may have missed. Shut up and listen! Take notes as it will show that you care. Look at him, right in the eyes, not at your laptop. Let him do the talk and keep calm.

After a few minutes (of a few hours...), once he'll feel that you have listened, he'll be prepared to hear you talk. Start by repeating what you have understood of the issues, to make sure that you got it the right way. Propose to investigate and do some analysis before promising to fix it by tomorrow. Never, I mean really never make a statement that could be wrong if something goes bad. False promises are the worst in customer management.

Sometimes a quick hack will give you more time to investigate. Make sure that the customer has understood that this solution is temporary until you find the real source of the issue.

Dates are gold! Plan some dated milestones if solving the issues can take more than a few days. Ensure frequent updates to keep him informed of the situation even if nothing has changed or improved. Your customer won't feel that you've put him on a waiting list, to be forgotten.

When investigating, involve your customer in the process as he may give you critical informations that are not obvious by looking at log files.

On a new feature request, try to see beyond the horizon as your customer may be asking for a workaround, hiding the real issue. Listen to him, let him explain how it should be done in his business. Learn how to do his work his way before trying to improve a process that you may not fully understand.

Never put the blame on somebody else or another team. You are the one representing your company thus you are the company. There is nothing personal in there, it just business. Take any critics as being targeted to the company, not yourself. Sometimes it's not easy, but that how you will look professional.

Remember that all you know is what the customer has shared with you. The more he shares, the more you'll understand. A mad customer is a gold mine of informations. A happy customer will only say: That's cool...

Listen! Just listen! There is a good chance that you'll better understand how it should be done...

Patrick Balleux

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Are tablets overrated?

Let's face it, the tablet has taken over the world. The classic computer sitting on a desk has become somewhat bulky, ugly and outdated.

Are tablets overrated? They have limited space, they lack some features compared to a desktop and they make it a bit more difficult to handle some personal files sometimes.

A classic computer running Windows, OSX or Linux can do all you want. It's a matter of having the right softwares, the knowledge and a bit of time to waste to make your computer the perfect tool. With tablets, you may face some challenges to execute the same tasks.

Tablets are good for casual users, browsing the web, updating Facebook, watching movies and play games. As a media consumption device, they are great. There is no need to stress about security as you do on a computer as apps are centralized in an online store.

Tablets and classic computers are as different as the microwave is to the oven. They are meant for quick access to your data and friends in a more casual way.

Some people are arguing that they won't get a tablet until it has the same versatility as a classic computer. Those people are using as arguments video editing, developing softwares, specialized management tools and so on...

The vast majority of users are not video creators, developers or managers. They are like my mom, my kids or my neighbours. The classic computer is actually too powerful for their needs and they often get into troubles because of their lack of knowledge. That's where tablets are shining. Providing the means that they need and can handle.

Even if you are a power user, a tablet is great as you can do your casual stuff everywhere and anywhere. There is no need to sit at a desk near a power outlet. The tablet is perfect for simple tasks like reading your messages, browsing YouTube or doodling your next design. If you have more advanced requirements, move over to your classic computer and start hacking your ways.

I consider myself a power user. I do code some softwares, I do some video editing, I blog, I design websites. Not everything can be done from my iPad, but I often start from it. I use my tablet to think, to doodle, to create some prototypes. It's a tool that's frees me from my desk, from my office.

There are some tasks that I prefer executing on my tablet as it's more convenient. This blog is managed from my iPad 99% of the time. Videos on my Youtube channel are created using iMovie and CuteCut on my iPad. I manage my website from it. Why? Because it's easy to do and I can do it from my living room, the coffee shop or at a friend's house. When I have advanced stuff to do, I use my laptop running Windows 7, just because I have to.

Tablets are not overrated! Power user requirements are...

Patrick Balleux

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Android as won!

For the first Versus at, iOS VS Android, Android was the winner!

Now it's time for another round betwee Pitbull and Aguilera!

Go ahead and choose your side!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Spec Wars... Again...

This week, Google released the new Nexus7 2 at the same time as Android 4.3.  From the review, the new devices seems like a beast that will make their owner quite happy.

While browsing my news feed, I realized suddenly that a new Spec War is rising again.  Everywhere the new Nexus7 is being compared with the iPad Mini, the iPad 4, the Amazon Kindle HD and some other tablets.

For example:

CPU, GPU and RAM is being discussed all around the world using numbers to prove the quality of the product against other ones.  Are we really in 2013?  Who cares about numbers and stats!  Show us a review about the experience, the features, the good stuff.  It has been proven many times that some devices, even with inferior processing power can provide a better experience.

At the same time, I've seen numerous articles about why iPad user would not switch the the Nexus and vice-versa...  The main reason users are not switching is because they are happy with their purchase.  They've invested some money already and are quite happy about it.  Why change everything when it works as you want?

As a bonus, here's Hot Coding! News #2

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hot Coding! News started today...

You probably already know that my initial interest into WebcamStudio was actually to create my own video podcast, or YouTube channel, 5 years ago.

I always liked the idea of sharing my toughts and creating a community.  The main reason I stopped working on WebcamStudio was to get back to my inital idea, creating a show on the Internet.

I did some short videos earlier this year, but time was missing and I had to find my niche.  Today I've put on YouTube the 1st episode of "Hot Coding! News" where I will talk about what got my attention in the news.  It's meant to be short, sweet and not too serious.

Hope you like it!  Here's the video:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Howto: Manually upgrade your Nexus 7 to Android 4.3

You asked for it, here it is:  How to manually upgrade your Nexus 7 to the latest Android 4.3

Read the documentation first and enjoy!

Booting Nexus 7 in Android 4.3!

As soon as I heard about the release of Android 4.3 this afternoon, I was eager to try it out.  Of course, that meant waiting for the OTA upgrade...

But the binary image was available from Google's website, so I downloaded the image and upgraded my Nexus 7 manually.

The overall process took less than 5 minutes.  It was really quick.  The device was wiped out, but who cares...  My Google Account got restored right after the inital boot-up.

Here's a video of the initial boot of my Nexus 7:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Do not like, do not comment, just click!

In the spirit of Facebook shared posts, has added "Versus" to it's website.  No need to like, no need to comment, just click on your favorite side to cast your vote.

Voting on a subject is sometimes annoying in social network as you are sharing at the same time your account with everybody else.  That's the magic of Versus - Crombz where there is no need to login and share some personal information about you.  Only your clicks are required, that's it.

Each week, a new theme will be put in place.  You'll have til the end of the voting period to add as much votes as you want.  Basically, it's a click-war!

Share with your friend and join the Facebook page to get the latest informations about the current Versus.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Vote for your side! At

If summer time and it's time to have fun. just added a silly game where you can vote for your favorite side.  Visit to cast your vote!

Click as often as you want on either side.  The contest will hold for a specific amount of time and the winner will be declared at the end of the week.

To start things smoothly, you can vote between iOS and Android this week.  As of writing this post, Android was leading after an hour.

This is a clicking war...  So get set, ready, GO!

Sharing perfect moments here, with Crombz!

You're at the beach, watching a perfect sunset? Hearing birds singing early in the morning while taking a walk? Seeing an amazing view at the top of a hill?

Those are perfect moments that you can share with the world using Facebook, Twitter or G+. But what about others who will be at the same location on a different time? Wouldn't it be nice to put a small sign saying "Be here at sunset, it's amazing!"?

Graffitis were the only way to let others know your were there earlier. Let's face it, it's not a good idea to brake this perfect spot with spray paint.

Grab your iPhone/Android device, visit and post your comment as a virtual graffiti for other visitors to read and comment.

With, you can use any place to comment, tag or blog without damaging the view...

You may get some "likes" from people a thousand miles away... Isn't it better to provide useful tips to people visiting your favourite location and have them like their journey?

Instead of sharing with the world, share with people around you!

Share with all your friends and fans! Let's blog on the world, together!

Patrick Balleux

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Love is in the... hands?

Love, a four-letter word expressing a deep emoting in human beings. Actually, it may be a bit more complex if you refer to Wikipedia. Nevertheless, it's cannot be dismissed or ignore. Humans are passionate beings.

When we think about love, the first picture is between two people. Having feelings and deep emotions towards another person is part of our nature and fully accepted as a natural phenomenon.

Young kids also can have the same attachment for their favourite toys as some adults will have a strange devotions to some... Errr, let's say, rubber-like outfit.

Love is everywhere, making whoever experiencing this emotion, do some irrational things.

I've observed in the last few years an intriguing phenomenon around the web and even around me. People are in deep and profound love with their smartphone. Be it the iPhone, the Samsung or the Blackberry, it has become so emotional and so wide spread, nobody can ignore it.

Who's bragging about having a car model? Who's showing off with their new TV set on Facebook? There will always be those showing off about nothing but I'm specifically talking about the phenomenon of smartphones, including tablets at the same time.

We've all seen the Windows/Mac/Linux war raging in forums in the early 2000's. Those were mainly geeks and power users having an emotional and philosophical debate about technologies and how it should be done. Minds were battling about what is better, what is superior. Too often, emotions got in the way, ending in endless bashing over a technical point.

Those technical wars were ignored by the world as nobody really cared as long as their computer would let them play, work or surf the web.

With smartphones, it has become a worldwide phenomenon, sometimes worse than religious belief disagreements. Smartphones are showing the worst of us... Maybe not, but not far...

Basically, Apple users are stating that they have quality. Android users are stating that they have freedom. Blackberry users are stating that they have security and Windows users are stating that they have ... That they have... Hmmm... Tiles! Anyway...

Whatever statements, it looks like each individual is completely blinded by their purchased device and will go publicly on social networks to bash and rant about others... Not the other devices, the users of the other devices.

The word fanatic almost describes these users saying that they are in "love" with their smartphone. Without it, they would be lost. Without it, their life would be miserable. Are we talking about an object made of plastic, metal and glass? Sadly, we are...

Forums are a great place to find the best examples of completely addicted users, shouting and screaming about the "others". People are being mean, rude and most often do not add any constructive arguments in the talk. Is it what we are, trolls?

Here's a few examples:

Jeff (32387)
There is no comparison ... because there is really no comparison. iPhone is yesterdays news and a thing of the past. The only ones who would even consider continuing to use it are iSheep. What's the next iPhone going to have an updated screen and processor? oooohhhh aaaahhhhhhhh
June 7, 2013, 6:41 AM

Matt Braynard
Just because you wear glasses and are a virgin doesn't make you a technology expert.
Incognito, merenptah1 and Matt Braynard like this.
3 Days Ago from

Joe • 5 months ago −
What a useless review. A few minutes of my time I won't get back. Right out of the gate, this reviewer had the Z10 in his sights. Typical, Apple minion.

I just did a quick search on Google to find them, in a few minutes. I've seen far worse comments around the web, making me wonder if humans are meant to be wise in a really, really distant future...

Smartphones are just objects. They actually don't care if we pamper them, shout at them or thrown them on a wall...

How can we consider that calling names is proving a point? How can we consider that insulting is making us smarter? How can we consider that it is mandatory to be the only one to know the Truth?

Look at your smartphone, take a deep breath and say: This is just a thing and it does not deserve my love and my devotion. Humans do...

Patrick Balleux

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are you stuck with Apple?

In the Apple vs Google war, on argument in favour of Android is circulating all the time in comments: Apple locks you in! Often stated is the difficulties to get out of the ecosystem of iOS if you ever switch sides.

Seriously, if you find it hard and complex to move to another platform, you may not have the skills and knowledge to talk about technology.

Fact: Apple has made a mechanism that makes it a bit more complex to manage music and videos outside the iTunes world. Was it Apple or the entertainment industries that created this annoyance? Can we easily make a copy of a DVD/Blue-ray disc? Nope. It's not hard, but hurdles were added to avoid piracy. The piracy protection as always been there, enforced by the entertainment industries, no matter what.

Back to the main subject, are we locked-in by Apple? My answer is no.

Wanna move to Android? Sync your iOS device with iTunes, export your music/videos/photos with some apps to a computer and just import your media files into your Android phone. That's it! The process is not difficult, it will just take your a bit of time depending on how much files you have to transfer.

Of course, Apps bought for iOS will be lost... As Windows apps if you move to OSX, as your 4-track tapes when you moved to CD, as your CD when you forget them on a sunny day in the car.

Nothing is forever, no matter what. The choice is yours! If you rely on Microsoft Office to manage your enterprise, you'll be stuck in some way. But a choice was made and MS Office was the right choice at the time. Same goes for a database engine, a programming language, your oven in the kitchen (gas or electric), your basement at home... At some point, YOU make the decision to rely on a technology, on a solution.

If by locks you are referring to exporting media files with iTunes, this is a not lock at all. It's quite easy to do and does not require any specific knowledge. Everything that the iPhone can manage can be exported to something else without much effort, just a bit of time.

If music and movies could not consumed at all on other devices, then yes, it's a lock. Have I heard DRM? It does exists, for Apple, Google, Sony, etc... Nothing new here, all companies are trying to put in place some anti-piracy mechanism one way or another. If you buy a CD at BestBuy, lose it and go over Walmart to get it back, you'll have to pay for it again! Seriously, even going back at BestBuy, you'll have to pay for it again! Name one store that will provide a brand new CD/DVD/Book because you broke it or lost it...

Apple has an ecosystem that works well, as Google does, as ... Let's not talk about Blackberry or Microsoft... Anyway, the online stores put in place by Apple and Google are a revolution in the market. Basically, you can get your goods back for free, no questions asked.

Considering exporting data and importing data as a lock-in mechanism is simply ridiculous. Remember the time when you switched from a LG cell phone to a Motorola and were struggling just to move your contacts into the new cell phone? That was a major hurdle, almost impossible to overcome without deep knowledge in some cases.

Apple's ecosystem may not be perfect, but it works. Quitting Apple is not that hard. It's actually quite easy. Let's face it, if you have paid apps, it's probably because you are satisfied. Why would you change everything just to prove that your are free to make your own choices.

Those bragging about freedom are those finding that an app for a buck is way too pricy... And providing bread'n butter to a developper is unfair...

Patrick Balleux

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Deus Ex: The Fall - Review

I've downloaded the new game Deus Ex: The Fall on my iPad.  I must say, this is an amazing game.

Visuals are great, sound is great, controls are great.  See my review on Youtube:

A few screencaps

Command, icons, tiles... What's next?

Computers and portable devices are now part of our daily life as a pair of glasses or a car. It's a commodity that we take for granted. Since the beginning of the digital era, we are still struggling with a machine that has to rely on a precise, pre-define user input to be useful. Nevertheless, computers are still pretty limited in what they can achieve for the human race.

At first, users had to learn a set of commands to be typed in a console to communicate with the computer. If you were knowledgable and dedicated, you could make your computer do some pretty neat stuff. It required a lot of time and patience to get a result, but it was the beginning of time...

Then came the graphical user interface, the GUI. Instead of entering commands, the user could simply click on an icon to execute some tasks. It was easier to handle since visual cues were available to the user to help them achieve their goal. With the help of menus and forms, it was now possible to enter all the parameters required with or without a keyboard. Icons and menus were providing a context that the user would understand.

Lately, with mobile devices, we are getting an evolution of these icons. Tiles and cards do provide a more advanced context to the user requiring less user inputs making the tasks easier to handle. Tiles, cards and also widgets let users create their own visual context on the display. Still, we need to provide some parameters and pre-defined configurations to make those machines useful.

Computers, in all their forms, are just machines waiting for user inputs. They got a bit smarter by using GPS information, contact list, calendar events and other personal informations. A smartphone phone can take some "initiatives" by itself and notify you about traffic, your next day schedule or what movie to see. It's a step forward to a smart assistance, but not quite there...

First we need to ask ourselves if we want a really smart device that would be our assistant like Smithers for Mr. Burns. In some ways it could be really useful and invading at the same time. Imagine your own butler in your pocket...

This device would need to know us, listen to our conversation, monitor our activities, check our daily routine to be able to figure out what we need next. This would be pretty intrusive and would lead to personal data leaks at the risk of identity theft. Putting the inherent dangers of such technology, it would change the context decoding process in a drastic way: the device would be the one managing the contexts instead of the user. This is the next big step in computer evolution, reversing the roles...

Such device would be able to manage our bills, plan our schedules, entertain us when required, help us find the best road before being jammed in the traffic. We would not have to ask it, it would propose the best solution. Of course that would mean losing our capacity to evaluate a situation by ourselves, always relying on the machine instead of our brain... A bit scary, isn't it?

Let's hope that if some company can find out go to do that, they won't call it Skynet...

Patrick Balleux

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Crombz is now reporting UFOs!

Do you believe?  In UFOs?

A complete database from has been integrated into to let you see if any sighting has occurred around you.

Just look with your smartphone (iPhone/Android) with your GPS enabled for your browser and look around.  You can get a few hints by looking at the HashTagz.

Each report has the complete link for more detailed description of the event.