Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Update your Pebble!

Today, Pebble has made available the their new firmware (3.8) for the Pebble Time.

The major new feature is the new app Health that can be synced with your smartphone Health Kit.  The Pebble Time smart watch is becoming more and more interesting with each new update and this one is a major one.



You need to update your Pebble Time companion app on your smartphone.  Then you will be able to upgrade your watch in just a few minutes.

At the same time, the original Pebble will also benefit a major revision as it is moving the the new Pebble Time interface.  I just finished installing it on my OP.  Even if the display is monochrome, the new interface is looking great, fast and smooth.  


Sunday, December 6, 2015

More than time!

I got my hand on the Pebble Time last week.  I've been browsing the available apps in the Pebble Store, looking for the really useful one that would provide more functionalities to my watch.

My classic Pebble has been really great for the last year but I was tempted by the Pebble Time for two main reasons:  the colours and the voice input feature.

With some many products available on the market, I do prefer the Pebble Time as it does offer a lot of functionalities for a low price compared to the others.  At the price of 179$ CAD,  other products can only offer limited features like activity tracking and basic notifications while the Pebble (Time) do offer thousands of apps and watch faces to customize your watch to your needs.



Beside supporting colours, the Pebble Time has a microphone for voice input thru text recognition.  At the time of writing this post,  apps supporting voice input are rare.  If you're on Android, you will be able to reply to the notifications received from Twitter, Facebook of an SMS.  This is a really neat feature not available for Apple users.  On iOS, all you can do is dismiss the received notification.




As I wanted to explore the possibilities of my Pebble Time with my iPhone, I've discovered Turquoise, a Twitter client app that lets you reply to private messages, mentions.  Shake your wrist and post publicly.  Turquoise is pushing the boundaries of the Pebble Time by providing a new way to use the device.  Most apps will let you view informations, schedule new reminders or acknowledge something.  For the first time, we have an app that is not related to time but to communication.  A few others have tried to provide such a feature but in my opinion, Turquoise nailed it perfectly on the Pebble Time.



Friday, October 23, 2015

Back to the future with Ubuntu

Finally, after a few months of fiddling with Windows 10, I got back to my good old Ubuntu desktop on my laptop.

It's not that my Windows 10 experience was a disaster, quite the contrary.  The new interface of Windows 10 was appealing and quite fun to use.  The novelty disappeared and today, I saw that Ubuntu 15.10 was out...  I could not resit the temptation.

Nevertheless, Windows 10 is not exactly what I was looking for.  My trackpad on my laptop was not properly supported, the laptop was a bit slow compared to Ubuntu and when trying apply some updates, something went wrong and updates could not be installed.

I don't know if I am plague by Microsoft but something always go wrong with Windows.  This time, they were minor issues but still, they are annoying.

So I downloaded the latest image of Ubuntu 15.10 (5 minutes), created a bootable USB stick (5 minutes) and installed it to replace Windows entirely (15 minutes).   In a matter of less than an hour, I was booting back into Ubuntu, ready to surf the wave again.

I was surprised to re-discover how smooth Ubuntu is.  Seriously, after having spent many weeks with Windows 10 on the laptop (Samsung RV515), I was accustomed to the speed of Windows 10.  Fast enough, not quite smooth on some occasions...

On the initial boot of Ubuntu 15.10,  I was expecting some delays as the operating system needs to finish some indexing of some sort.  No...  It was ready and faster than ever.  On this machine, Ubuntu is way smoother than Windows 10.  It does provide a better experience as apps are starting faster, switching between them is smoother...

Of course, I did the test with my iPhone 6 (iOS 9.1).  Ubuntu still support iOS 9.1, out-of-the-box as before.  If only syncing could work...

Have a nice day!



Sunday, October 4, 2015

Another scam to get your Apple ID

Today, my girlfriend received an email from "Apple" about validating her identity.  The email do look amazingly legit and was referring to a recent change on her Apple account.

We were sceptical and I made this simple check before going any further.  To ensure that the email is coming from Apple, just press and hold the sender address on your iPad/iPhone.  The real email address will show up.

Again, with links contained in the email, just press and hold until the URLs will be shown by your device.  As you can see in this screen capture, the sender is definitely not Apple.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Youtube! Do something!

I am still waiting on Youtube to release the false copyright claim on my Youtube video...  It's been almost a week now.


Technically, the company Avangmusic is claiming a copyright on the audio of my video.  This video was created with iMovie and using the free-of-anything soundtrack provided by Apple.

The current status is that Avangmusic is "reviewing" my dispute over their claim and they have 30 days to reply back.  That means that my video is currently on-hold until Avangmusic releases the claim or that the 30 days period is reached.

Even worse, they could refuse my dispute and I'll have to fight back with another dispute with Youtube.  This has happened to me on another video but I eventually won my case (Twitter is a powerful tool).

For now, my content is hold hostage of that ridiculous process.  The copyright holders should prove that they have a case before Youtube takes any action on blocking contents.  In some cases, it can be obvious that there is a copyright issue but if their is any reasonable doubts, Youtube should wait before taking any actions.

This copyright claiming process is hurting the community of Youtubers and some of us are actually losing real money because of that.

Are you facing the same issue?  Make your voice heard by using #stopstealingmyvideos in your social media networks. It's time to end this madness!

You can follow me on twitter: @patrickballeux and on G+.

I'll post more as soon as I get new information...


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Again, false claim on my Youtube video

Remember last year, I had to fight a few copyright claims on some of my Youtube videos?  It happened again on my ScreenStudio channel...

This time, the claim is from a company called AvangMusic.  They are claiming copyrights on a video I created for ScreenStudio using iMovie for iOS using their Trailer templates.

Here's the video:


Just a simple trailer video for my personal project ScreenStudio (http://screenstudio.crombz.com).  This company claims to hold copyrights on the audio of this video.  The actual owner is Apple (http://apple.com) and their licence clearly states that their audio samples and soundtracks are royalties free.

Again, this video was blocked and cannot be monetized with Youtube ads.  I'm not losing millions of $$$ on this, but it's a loss I do have to endure anyway.  Imagine that you would create a vial video, with thousands of views but your monetization would be suspended under the false assumption that this company, AvangMusic, are the copyright holders.

Youtube needs to do something about this.  It's not hard to identify that this audio track is from Apple and do not infringe any copyrighted materials on the planet.

I did take time to tweet @avangmusic about this issue and also sent them an email.  Still no feedback from them or Youtube.

I'll post more as things will develop in the next days...

Until then, I'll hashtags a few tweets with #stopstealingmyvideos on Twitter.  If you have faced the same issues with @avangmusic or another companies, use the same hashtag so we can join our voices again that crazy problem.

Yes, I'm mad!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

My iPad had lost 5.4 Gigs of free space

In the last few days, I found out that I was missing a lot of free space on my iPad 4.  Something like 2 gigs of free space was missing and I could not figure out why.

One of my kids had tried to download a few hefty games that saturated the available space to a point that I had no free space left at all.  Download were waiting and the AppStore was requesting that I free up some space to complete the downloads.

I rebooted, deleted some apps and everything seemed back to normal.  But after doing some math, it occurred to me that there was still a 2 gigs unaccounted for.


I eventually plugged my iPad 4 on my Ubuntu laptop, to see if the "Downloads" folder could be the stucked with old files in there.  I was surprised to discover that a lot of data was stored in that folder but that the total size was 5.4 gigs!


From Nautilus, I manually deleted those files and got back more than I expected.

So If you suspect that your iOS device is missing some free space, have a look at the download folder...

Monday, September 14, 2015

iPhone overheating: Here's a fix!

A few days ago, I installed the latest iOS 9.1 public beta on my iPhone 6.  It's a bit risky, I admit but I like it.

My iPad 4 and iPhone 6 both got iOS 9.0 (public beta) a few weeks ago and everything worked without any problems.  When iOS 9.1 public beta came out, I was eager to try it out and discover what was new.

Overall, nothing much compared to the prior version 9.0 beside a major issue with my iPhone 6:  Overheating issues!

On the first night, I plugged in my iPhone as usual and in the morning, discovered that it was warm.  Usually, the iPhone is cold as ice, even after having spent the night on its USB charger (the stock one from Apple).  So I rebooted the device, assuming it was a glitch...

Later on that day, I found out that the battery was draining really fast.  Usually, the battery will last easily 2 days on a single charge but I have kept the old habit on charging it when going to bed.  On a normal day, the battery level will drop to 75% at most.  But after iOS 9.1, the battery level was already at 40% only a few hours after disconnecting from its charger.

Again, I rebooted the device, re-check all settings, closed all apps from the app switcher...  I tried everything and I was considering reverting to IOS 8.4 until the official 9.0 comes out.

On the second day, after a second full-night charge, the iPhone was still warm and the battery level was at 45%.  A real nightmare was at the door...

Again, I reviewed everything, all settings, rebooted many times with no luck.  The battery level was dropping fast at a rate of 1%, each 2 minutes...

So I tried something different.

First, I activated the "Low Power Mode" and switch back to the "Normal mode" in the general settings (available on iOS 9.x only).

Then, I deleted the Apple Beta Certificated from the General Settings expecting an "update" reverting me to the official iOS 8.4.  Nothing happened actually so I decided to re-install the Apple Beta Certificate to get the next iOS 9.1.x public beta version just in case.  I was willing to wait another full day, preparing a full recovery to iOS 8.4 if the problem would still show up.

It's been 24 hours since then and the overheating issue seems to be resolved.  I don't know if flipping the "Low Power 'ode" did the trick or simply re-installing the certificate for the public beta did the job but something got fixed along the way.

One thing is sure, rebooting the device did not fix anything as I had already rebooted many times.  For now, I can assume that one of those two operations fixed the overheating problem on my iPhone 6.

As a side note, nothing happened on the iPad 4, still working like a charm with iOS 9.1 public beta.

Did you fix your overheating problem with this tip? Let me know.



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bye bye Nintendo, new AppleTV is coming...

I just watched the latest Apple event about their new products for this year.  There was a lot to see but mostly, the new AppleTV is the one that got my attention.

As I watched the features of the new device, my mind was also on Nintendo.  The new AppleTV will do to Nintendo what the iPhone did to Blackberry.  It's a game changer, it's more than a multimedia device.  It's fantastic!

As usual, the AppleTV will let you watch movies and listen to music as it did in previous incarnations.  But apps will be available, in a full HD display in your living room.  It's not just apps, it's games that are as beautiful as you can have them on your iPhone or your iPad.  

You can also get interactive content while watching tv shows, sport events and more.  It has remote voice control, multiplayer capabilities,  great graphics and a lot of content to offer.

One really cool feature is movies and tv shows are not only available on iTunes from the main screen.  The AppleTV will let you search and browse movies, and offer you to watch them from iTunes, Hulu, Netflix and other services eventually.

The AppleTV is not a PS4 or XBox killer, but surely a Wii U killer...  If Nintendo does do something about it, they will fall into oblivion as Blackberry did a few years ago...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

From Ubuntu to Windows 10

Ubuntu has been my main operating system since 2004.  I've been a big fan and a long time user.  Of course, I had to work with Windows at work, but at home, I've always preferred Ubuntu over Windows.

My laptop came pre-installed with Windows 7 and it didn't take time for me to format everything and put my good old pal, Ubuntu.  It's not that I hate Microsoft, but I always felt that something was missing and I was more into figuring out what was going wrong than simply using the operating system.

Windows 7 was good even if over time, more and more issues were rising on my computer.  Drivers were hard to find for some devices and often, apps would not work or would crash unexpectedly.  Ubuntu was more convenient, had more power tools integrated and gave me access to some amazing apps to develop.

When Windows 8 came out, I didn't even bother trying it.  The new interface was confusing and made me look the other way.

Out of curiosity and because it is free, Windows 10 got my attention.  Since I had a genuine Windows 7 licence on my laptop, I decided to give it a try.  I wiped Ubuntu and reinstalled Windows 7 on my laptop.  Once completed, I downloaded the upgrade for Windows 10 and waited... and waited... and waited...

The upgrade process took several hours and I was getting prepared to wipe everything again to put back Ubuntu.  But everything worked as expected and Windows 10 was ready to run on my old laptop, 12 hours later.

I've been playing with my new toy for the last hours, discovering the Windows Store, the new apps that are now integrated into Windows 10 (Mail, Calendar, etc.).  I've installed Twitter, Facebook and played Candy Crush for a few minutes.

I must say:  Microsoft got it right this time!

It's a bit early to say that everything is perfect.  Sometimes, it feels a bit slow but that could be related to the age of my laptop (a Samsung RV515 with 4 Gigs of ram).  Not the most powerful beast but it does the job.

I am so impressed as I am writing this that I will give it a try for a few weeks.  The new look is gorgeous, apps do feel more integrated and there is surely a lot more to discover.

Even if I am currently quite happy about Windows 10, the infamous keyboard switching that has been plaguing me for ages is still present in Windows 10:  I do set my keyboard to support French Canadian and English (USA) as french is my native tongue.

For some reason that I cannot understand, I eventually end up with a French (France) keyboard appearing out of nowhere from time to time.  This has annoyed me since Windows XP, and I had to reconfigure my keyboard settings, again, just after a few minutes of usage.  

Let's assume that this was just a reminder that this is a Microsoft product and hope that the next few days will worth the upgrade... 

Yes, Windows 10 is a real upgrade this time.  I would not go back to Windows 7...  Maybe Ubuntu... Time will tell.



Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chromecast versus Apple TV

I've been a long time Apple  user.  I do own the iPhone, the iPad and of course, the Apple TV 2.  My girlfriend bought the Apple TV 3 a while ago before we started living together.  In our home, we have mostly Apple products and a few PC with Ubuntu installed.

Even if I do prefer Apple products, I do also have an Android Tablet for development purpose, the Asus Memo FHD 10.  It's a neat device that I like to thinker with.

As I wanted to be able to stream movies on our TV's bedroom, this was a great opportunity to get a new toy: the Google's Chromecast.  One Apple TV is hooked in the living room and the other one is the kid's bedroom.  As my main usage for another streaming device was only to watch a few movies one in a while, the Chromecast was a good choice, considering the low price of 40$.

How does it compare with the Apple TV?  It does the job at streaming movies on the TV and that's about it.

I wasn't expecting much more than that for this price.  The Apple TV is around 100$ and the Roku 3 is selling at 120$ (Canadian).

So how does the Chromecast compare with the Apple TV?

Pros:

  1. It's small, really small
  2. It's can be hooked directly in the USB TV port, thus no need for an external power outlet
  3. It's easy to use
  4. Image quality is good, at least on my bedroom TV
Cons:

  1. There is no remote.  You need your phone/tablet to interact with it
  2. There are not apps.  The device is driven by the apps on your phone/tablet
  3. Not all apps are supporting Chromecast
  4. You cannot play your favorite games like on iOS/AppleTV.  
  5. You need specific apps to stream photos/videos on your TV
  6. Initial setup can take more than 5 minutes... 

Overall, the Chromecast is a great little device.  Having to search for compatible apps is a bit annoying.  Major apps do support it like Youtube, Netflix or Google Movie.  But if you want to show a photo from your Facebook profile on the TV set or mirror a game on the big screen, you'll be facing some issues.

The thing is that iOS/AppleTV are meant to work together.  The support for Airplay and AirPlay Mirroring is native in iOS, making the streaming process so easy, you take it for granted.

On Android, it's not as easy.  It kind of me reming the first days of the Apple TV.  It took a few trials and errors to find the proper app to stream movies from my NAS to the Chromecast.  Sometimes, movies in MP4 format will not work with the Chromecast even if they are compatible with the Apple TV.

If you are on a limited budget, the Chromecast is great.  But if you can manage for a more expensive device, you should get the Apple TV or the Roku 3 as you will get more for your money.

You get what you pay for: 40$, a remote display...

Friday, July 17, 2015

iOS 9 Public beta glitches

I've been testing iOS 9 public beta for the last few days on my iPhone an iPad.  Overall, the latest and greatest from Apple is doing great but some glitches are showing up from time to time.

YouTube 
In the YouTube app, when an ad is displayed, the countdown is showing "ad.skip_in_seconds" instead of the actual time for skipping the ad.

Blogger/Keyboard
Switching keyboard language leads to a strange resided keyboard in the Blogger app.

Mail
In the Mail app, the top of an email is not showing up occasionally.  

Others
Other glitches that cannot be shown visually are:
- keyboard is a bit slow and unresponsive when writing a long text (like this post)
- opening apps is a bit slower 
- wallpaper orientation does not follow the device orientation once in a while
- keyboard sound feedback is dropping randomly

Most issues are happening on the iPad 4th generation.  If you plan to upgrade to iOS 9 public beta on your iPad 4, you wait a bit for next release.  It's not that bad, but annoying nevertheless.

The iPhone 6 is working like charm for now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Should you install iOS 9 public beta?

This week, Apple made is next iOS version available to the general public.  iOS 9 beta can be installed on your iDevice easily by regetering your device at https://beta.apple.com.




Is it worth it?  Remember, this is a beta version and may contain some major issue affecting your daily usage.  I've upgrade my iPhone and my iPad yesterday and I must say, I like it... For now.

There are a few quirks like as I am writing this post, the keyboard is not resizing properly for some odd reason.  Nothing dramatic but a bit annoying.  Other issues I've found is the top of some webpages is not visible from time to time.  Restarting Safari seems to fix the issue.


On my iPad 4, iOS 9 is a bit slower than iOS 8.4.  Animations when switching apps is a bit sluggish and do not feel as snappy as it was.  I've red ducked the animations to avoid the issue.  Probably this will be fixed in a future version so I am not worried.

On my iPhone 6, all is working as expected.  I haven't found any issues for now.

Beside having the latest and greatest features on my devices, there are a few notable features that I do really enjoy.  Mainly, the new keyboard and the new Control Center.

They keyboard has been updated with a few minor feature for copying and pasting or selecting text by using two fingers.  The best new feature is a simple thing:  uppercase and lowercase mode are now showing on the keyboard, making it a lot easier to figure if I will write in uppercase or lowercase.  This was a minor annoyance but it was about time.  I also find that the keyboard is a bit more responsive than before.  It maybe an illusion or just me having visions but as I'm writing this post, I do feel like keys are more responsive than the keyboard in iOS 8.4.

The News app is still not available but the new Notes app is another great improvement over the previous one.  You can now add formatting and doodles into your notes, making them more useful than before without relying on a third party apps.  Again, it was about time...


Since my iPad is a bit old, I cannot test the multitasking features but I hope that Apple would at least provided the picture-in-picture feature as I do enjoy watching a movie while browsing the web at the same time.  Crossing my fingers...

iOS beta 9 is not for everybody.  It's a risk to take.  In my case, I am pleased for now.  I keep my files and important stuff on my NAS so it's not an issue if I have to reset everything.  If you are relying heavily on your iDevice in your daily usage, you should wait for the final version instead.  It's fun to discover the new features but not at the cost of preventing your normal usage.

If you have the urge of testing iOS 9 public beta, make sure to backup everything using iTunes on a computer before upgrading.  The whole process will take about 45 minutes, depending on your bandwidth and device generation.

I'll continue testing out iOS 9 and post as I make discoveries.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sticking with the design...

A software project is like a giant recipe where the slightest modification can alter then end user experience.  Seriously, I'm not joking, it's a big deal.

Any software development will require thousands and thousands of line of codes to create a tool that will automate some kind of process.  It can be as simple as keeping your notes into a database, to implementing a full accounting solution.  There is no easy way out on this, like it or not.

In a team, everybody has to comply by the design put in place by the software engineer.  It's not about a power trip or some kind of magic dream.  A good software design is the foundation of any software solution.  

Some of you may have had the experience of having to comply with proper naming of variables and functions.  A design is more than using the same coding style.  It's a philosophy that all team members need to understand and praise.  This design will ensure many thing when properly defined:

- diminishing the risk of creating bugs by mistake
- ensuring the clarity of the API so that any developper can easily use the framework 
- establishing the limitations of what can be done without having to tweak the code
- avoiding to duplicate code and routines throughout the solution
- making sure that there is only one way to do a process
- keeping the exceptions to a minimum level to ensure homogeneous coding 

I could go on and on with the reasons a design is a good thing.  There are many ways to implement a routine such as saving some data into a database.  Some are better than others but in the end, the best way is the one that all team members are using without exception.

What is a good design?  It's the one that makes coding easier by removing the hassle of figuring out what to do.  There is nothing worse than confusion in a team.  

As Othello said: A bad design is the worst poison...  No?  I you having doubts about your design?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Apple is moving to Open Source!

I just watched the WWDC 2015 from Apple and as usual there was a lot of great stuff and less great stuff.

Everywhere, everyone is talking about the new music service, the multitask feature with apps side by side or the performances improvement that Apple made in in OS X and iOS.

But something major happened today. Something bold and surprising.


Apple is open sourcing its new development language Swift. This is big news, bigger than Microsoft this time. I was surprised when Microsoft released Visual Studio for Macs and Linux a few weeks ago. I wondered if this was the day that "Hell is freezing over".

As soon as saw that Swift was moving into the Open Source World, I understood Microsoft's move. Love it or hate it, when Apple is tackling a new market, they usually get it right and build a strong community.

Is Apple just releasing the specs or will it commit and contribute to the open source community? It's one thing releasing the source code but if Apple is dedicated to developers as they are to the music industry, great things could happen.

The future will tell us more...

Patrick Balleux

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

List Your Minecraft Server

In the last few weeks, I've worked on my latest project, Crombz.com. The main goal is to learn about HTML5, CSS and JavaScript in the real world. I do enjoy coding but most of all, I enjoy finding new features to add on the website.

From the main site, another one was created specifically for Minecraft where videos related to our favourite game are shown: Minecraft.crombz.com.


I was looking to add new features and then it hit me: have a list of online Minecraft servers, submitted by the fans. The code was modified and updated to be able to add new functionalities and Servers was the main new feature added today.

Go check it out and submit your server, it's free!


Patrick Balleux

Thursday, May 21, 2015

More videos with Crombz!

Recently, I've updated the source code of Crombz.com to be more flexible.  This was in the intention of creating sub-sites dedicated at different categories of videos.
With the main site, Crombz.com, two new sites have been put online:

Minecraft.crombz.com: You guess it, videos about your favorite game.
Bestfails.crombz.com: Discovering the best fails videos on YouTube.


The idea is to test my code to validate its flexibility a scalability for other purpose.  I'm not trying to replace YouTube but it's fun to interact with a major data source and use HTML5 and CSS to create a new kind of interface in pure web.  It's not an easy task but I can handle it while enjoying the challenge of making something new and fresh.


If you haven't had a look at my website, go check it out and please, share with your friends.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Will robots ever replace us?

While watching a movie with my girlfriend tonight, about robots becoming sentient, I was wondering if that scenario was plausible.  This is not about the technology or even about the possibility.  It's about motivation, human motivation.



The main story is always about a civilization using robots to do the dirty work.  At least, do the stuff that we, humans, consider as annoying.  They do the dishes, take care of the dog, bring us a beer and answer the door.  You know, really important and annoying stuff.

In reality, they will probably be used...  I mean actually, they are used in dangerous works like bomb disarming or for car manufacturers to assemble auto parts faster than any meat bag.  They are not smart, but they are fast and never get tired.

Could it be possible that one day, they will get smart enough to replace us?  I'm seriously thinking that it won't happen.  Not because it's impossible to create a smart machine or that we will continue to evolve and always be superior to a machine.  

The smart robots will never roam the surface of the earth simply because we won't build those robots.

For the last 10000 years, we have been creating tools to survive.  And you know what?  We're good at it.  We have found out that Information is the most critical piece, after food and water.  Humans are inextricably inclined in gathering information, sometimes to a point where basic survival instinct is put aside for a moment.

First, we created the language, then the writing.  When technology was more advanced, we were able to share information over a long distance with the invention of the telegraph and the telephone.  Today, we don't even need to talk to someone to learn something new. Just grab your smartphone and query the web.  Almost all human knowledge is accessible in just a few seconds.  We are actually at a peek where data can be acquired faster than we can process.

The next step is almost unavoidable:  making the connection directly into our brain to access available information.  

If you don't believe me, consider that 15 years ago, having access to the Internet from home, on a PC, was a revolution in human history.  5 years ago, we were finally able to get access using smartphones.  The whole Internet in our pocket, everywhere and anywhere...  It wasn't close enough, today, we now can browse the web from our wrists with smartwatches.  A step closer to our grey matter.

We won't stop until we reach our synapses.  And then?  It will be about storage.  The major issue will not be accessibility but the persistence of the information aggregated.  Remember Johnny Mnemonic?  That's more likely to happen than "I, Robot" or "Automata".

The race is not about having devices doing the work for us.  It's about gathering more and more information.  The more you know, the more you are, the more you will survive amongst others...

It's already happening.  Corporations are more powerful when they know about their potential customers.  Where they go, what they eat, what they think.  Eventually this hunger for knowledge will be shared by individuals, if not already the case.  Humans will forget about robots and will put energy and money into technology that will enhance their capacity to process more and more data.  Sentient robots may never see the light of day, but the dawn of the human-machine will surely happen one day.  

Hey, Hollywood!  The next block buster movie will be: Dawn of the Cyborgs!   Scarier than anything else as it will probably happen in less time than expected.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rediscover YouTube!

YouTube is great but it's huge.  Rediscover it with Crombz.com to find great vloggers, musicians or gamers.


Crombz is a new community for Youtubers where they can get visibility as only videos with less than 500 views are accepted.  Discover new talents, hidden by the already viral channels.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Webapp for iOS: How to avoid links opening in Safari

If you're a web developer, you may have found out that any website can be added to the home screen of any iOS devices.

It's a feature that is builtin iOS and with the proper meta-tags in your HTML code, you can create a webapp for iPhones and iPads quite easily.

The main issue is when your webpage has links.  The default behaviour in iOS is to open Safari to view the link, meaning that your webapp will open in Safari as soon as the user clicks a link in your webpage.  This is annoying as you may want the link to open inside the webapp and not in Safari.

Do not despair, there is a simply trick that you can use with Javascript to avoid this issue.  Nothing fancy and nothing complicated.  Just a simple line of Javascript will solve this problem...

Here's a common link in a webpage:

<a href="viewer.php">View this link</a>
The problem is that as the user will click this link on his iPhone, Safari will popup to display the content of the link instead displaying the "viewer.php" from inside the webapp.  Instead, create your links as such:
<div onclick="document.location='viewer.php';">View this link</div>
This will load the new webpage and stay inside the webapp instead of opening in Safari.  As a bonus, the "onclick" event is available on almost all elements, meaning that you can transform any element into a clickable link.

The, you just have to use CSS to set the proper look on the element to it looks like it is a link and behaves like a link...

Have fun!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Looking for Youtubers!

One of the greatest place to publish videos is YouTube. You work hard at creating quality content, upload your videos files and then hope for the best.

Actually, you will then share over the social networks about your channel, subscribe to other channels in the hope that someone else will also subscribe to your content. If your starting your channel, there is a good chance that it will take time before getting more than a 100 views on your latest video.


Even if your videos are of great quality and that you promote your show everywhere, you are fighting against the masters of YouTube. Thousands of Youtubers are uploading videos each day. Only a few will be noticed as everybody is hunting for the most popular channels.

That's why I've created Crombz.com. I wanted to create a community of Youtubers and vloggers, dedicated at promoting new channels and less known Youtubers. The mission of the community is to find out the best and give them exposure.

Don't worry, it's free! There is no scam or points to earn. You just need to submit your video (YouTube link) and that's it. To avoid spamming, a few filters have been put in place:

- Video duration must be at least 2 minutes
- View count must be less than 500 when submitting
- Videos are filtered to avoid porn, illegal stuff or copyrighted material
- When submitting, you need to wait 60 seconds to avoid spamming

Crombz is new but already getting many fans after 3 weeks. I am trying to build a community where you can discover the undiscovered.

Randomly, submitted videos are shared over Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Sharing buttons for major social networks are available for each videos to help promote the selected content.

More features will be added as the community will grow. Already, a Trending page has been setup to find out which submitted videos have gain the most views in their first 24 hours (from everywhere, not only from Crombz).

Help is needed to build a great community:

- Dedicated Youtubers that want to create great content
- More visibility is needed for Crombz.com. Please share with your friends.
- Donation are accepted for promotion with Adwords
- Ideas are welcome to improve Crombz. Keep in mind that this is a community, not a spamming site.

As Crombz.com will grow with dedicated Youtubers, automatic feed will be reduced to leave room to the community.

In the first week, Crombz was having around 10-30 visitors a day. On the second week, the number of visitors was around 150-200 and climbing. As writing this post, that number has grown over a 1000 daily.

Yesterday, March 14th 2015, was spectacular as we had reached 2500 visitors at then end of the day. Things got slower today with only 1000 visitors but still happy about the result.

Crombz is getting more traffic each day but needs dedicated Youtubers. Help me out finding them, talk about Crombz, blog about it, tweet about it...

Thanks for your support, I really appreciate.

Patrick Balleux

PHP: Lower the Entry Process for your website

If you have a website that is using PHP on the server side, you may be struggling with the Entry Process reaching the top limit of your web host.

What is an Entry Process?  Basically, it means that a process is launched on your web server host each time a page is requested.  If you have a lot of traffic, this means that at some point, you may reach the Entry Process Limits imposed by your web host and your visitor will get a message that too many resources are being used.

This is really annoying but there is not much that you can do about it if you are hosting static html page.  On the other hand, this issue can be triggered by your dynamic web pages and can be improved by tweaking the rendered code to be faster.


If you are using PHP, as a lot of web developers are doing, you may have a webpage that does look like this:
<?php $title = "Crombz.com - The best website!";?>
<html>
<head>
<title><?php echo $title; ?></title>
</head>
<body>
   Hello, this is my webpage and the title is <?php echo $title; ?>
</body>
</html>
This is a regular case where you will embed in the HTML code some part of PHP code.  It does work nicely but has a major drawback:  The page will be rendered a bit slower than a pure HTML page.

Since a PHP webpage takes a bit more time to be served by your host, you do increase the chance of  reaching the Entry Process Limits if you have a lot of traffic.  Assuming that you are limited to 10 Entry Processes at the same time, if the time to render your PHP page takes 0.2 seconds, you will have a maximum of 5 visitors being able to view your page at the same time.

I have struggled this week with this issue on my website Crombz.com.   After reviewing the code, I realized that PHP had to parse a mix of HTML and PHP to be able to render the page properly.  After some experimenting and tweaking, I modified my code like this:

<?php
    $title = "Crombz.com - The best website!";
?>

<html>
<head>

<?php
    echo '<title>'.$title.'</title>';
?>

</head>
<body>

<?php
   echo 'Hello, this is my webpage and the title is .$title;
?>

</body>
</html>
I made sure that a single line was either a pure HTML code or a pure PHP code...  It has lowered the rendering time so much that even with 30 visitors, I am not reaching the Entry Process Limit of my web host.

Of course, your code will be a bit more complex but the benefits are that you will lower the chance of reaching the Entry Process Limits even with a high traffic.

I haven't tested rendering a webpage in pure PHP, but it would probably be faster than having mixed lines of HTML and PHP.

Happy coding!



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Google Code is shutting down!

Today I received this email from Google. It's a sad one as Google Code will shutdown it's service in the next year.



This means I will have to move my projects to another host. Sadly, all links posted on the web will have to be redirected. I'm thinking at WebcamStudio mainly where everything was built around Google code for packaging the Debian app.

Too bad Google Code is disappearing, it was a great platform.

Patrick Balleux

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Share your website over Twitter with Cards

When sharing a link over Twitter, you may see that a summary is sometime available giving a preview of the website to the viewers.

Did you know that you can have the same result with your website? Twitter has made available metatags that you can integrate into the header of your webpage so the summary will be visible.


Ref: https://dev.twitter.com/cards/overview

Once your tags are in place, you need to validate your website with Twitter:
https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

I did set the tags on Crombz.com and you can see the results when Crombz.com is shared.



And if you can use some PHP, you can even create dynamic content like this:



This will make you website look better in social networks, at least on Twitter. Facebook and Google do also use some kind of metatags to achieve the same results.

Making your website ready for social networks is a must. After only a few days, I can already see Crombz.com getting more visitors and being shared over Twitter more than before.


Patrick Balleux

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Crombz.com is on Kickstarter!

After a week of development on Crombz.com, everything seems to be working as expected.  The only thing missing is more visitors.

Crombz does get around 50 visitors per day which is not that bad for a website that was put online just less than a week a go.

It's now time to move on to the next level by promoting Crombz.com over the web.  As personal funding is quite limited (Being a dad of 5 kids, with 4 more step-kids, you can figure out why ;) ), I've created a Kickstarter project to help me out funding the promotion of Crombz using Google Adwords.

If you wish to support Crombz, you can do it by funding the Kickstarter project (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/patrickballeux/crombzcom).  The money raised will be used to promote and improve Crombz.com.

The idea behind Crombz is to display the newest and unknown Youtube videos and put them in the front row.  Everywhere, already popular and viral videos are listed, leaving out those little gems at the bottom of their list.  Crombz is thinking the other way around.

I hope that my latest project will take off and will help new Youtubers to be discovered.

Thanks for your support!

Patrick

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crombz is for new Youtubers!

I have put online a new website called Crombz.com a few days ago.  It's a personal project and I wanted to find a way to promote new videos without getting into the spamming market.

Today, I've updated Crombz.com with some new features, keeping in mind that videos should be about those just put on the web.  Videos will be accepted only if they have a duration of at least 2 minutes and have less than 500 views.


You may find this harsh but I wanted to avoid hosting bad quality videos and concentrate on those putting time and effort to create great content.  Time will tell if those two limitations are enough.

More features will be added in the next few weeks as I want to make baby steps to avoid major issues when updating.

Share Crombz.com with your friends and add your newest videos at the same time.

Thank your for your support!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Crombz.com: Share your Youtube videos

I've put online a new website for sharing your Youtube videos: http://crombz.com

As a Youtube myself, I do share my own videos on Twitter, G+ and Facebook.  Since there are a lot of people posting on this social networks, you post will be literally buried by others in a matter of minutes.

This is where Crombz.com can help you out with your Youtube content.  When submitting your Youtube URL video, it is added to the Crombz database and will be available for 2 months.  Each time a Youtuber is submitting his own URL, he will have to watch a randomly selected videos submitted in the last two months.


No account is needed, no points to earn, unlimited URLS and free!

How it works?
  • Visit http://crombz.com
  • Enter your Youtube video link at the bottom
  • Watch a randomly selected video for 60 seconds
  • Your submission will then be added (or updated if found)
And that's it!

The next submitters will eventually see your video, thus increasing your views and helping you out to be discovered by more people.

Videos are randomly selected from all videos submitted in the last 2 months.  Each video can only be listed once so it is (almost) impossible for a user to flood the database with only one video.

Just try it, it's easy!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Vampires: Things to consider...

There is a huge fascination with supernatural dead people in the last few years. We can all relate to the Twilight saga where vampires were shown as romantic beings...

Assuming that they would be real in our universe, I am still confused about the fact that girls are so attracted to them. Of course, this happened with the Twilight saga and has nothing in common with previous incarnations of vampires we've seen.

There are some things to consider with vampires, even if they are romantic, cute and shine in the sun:

  • A vampire is dead, thus cold to the touch
  • It only gets out at night, meaning that no family picnic, no holidays at the beach, no fun at the pool...
  • Some girls are complaining about their boyfriend asking for sex... Imagine if their boyfriend would have to fight the urge to kill for blood
  • A french kiss can be dangerous with those fangs
  • Your house would always be in the dark... Depressing...
  • Always the same meal: blood! No fancy dinner, no eggs and bacon, no fruits and veggies...
  • They must have a really bad breath at the end of the day, drinking all that blood
  • No selfies to put on the web as camera cannot see them
  • "Sorry honey, I was drunk" while looking at the dead body in your basement...
  • Cuddling would always be dangerous. You never know...
  • "When I was young..." would always refer to something that happened before your grandpa was born.

    The list can go on and on. Living with a vampire must be really boring and disgusting.


    Worst would be a vampire smoking weed... Can you imagine them with munchies? I wouldn't want to be around...

    Anyway, glad they do not exist...

    Patrick Balleux
  • Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    Turning many songs into Blues

    I do enjoy playing guitar.  I'm not a professional, far from that but I'm good enough to play around a camp fire with friends and have a good time.

    Once you master the art of making chords with your left hand while you right hand is picking on the strings, you are good to learn the songs you like.

    Chords are easy to learn.  The main issue is learning them to your left hand.  That's the hard part.  When I started playing guitar, 25 years ago, there was no internet to show me how to handle them properly.  I had to buy books and learn with 20-30 songs I had in them.  It was quite limiting...

    Chords are available everywhere on the web these days.  It's so easy to find them and learn just about anything.  More than that, you can scale down or scale up the songs to match your voice or find an easier chords set the the original.

    I often scale the song in E as I do enjoy playing blues with my guitar.  If you did not know, blues songs are often played with these chords: E, A and B7.   So any songs can be scaled to the blues chords, giving them a new sound and a new rift.  It won't work will all songs but a lot of them.


    For fun, I was trying out Born This Way by Lady Gaga.  By scaling the chords to E flat, I ended up with E,D,A and E.  If basically just that.  Play, repeat.

    I changed the D for a B7, thus having now a fine blues rift.  From there, it was just a matter of transposing the original lyrics tune to a blues style.  Just go ahead and try it out.

    Oh yes, have a look a my cover on YouTube.  You will see what I mean.




    Monday, February 16, 2015

    Quebec: Coldest place on earth?

    I live in Quebec, Canada where we have 4 distinct seasons. In summer time, we can easily reach 32 degrees Celsius and drop to a cold -32 degrees Celsius in the winter season.


    You guessed it, we need a lot of clothing all year long to adapt the the different temperatures. If you ever come visit us, you will find that one of our favourite subject is weather.

    I was wondering, with my girlfriend, if there were any other places in the world where they had such large temperature amplitude in a year. I did a bit of research on the web and came out with these results...


    On average, Quebec has a thermal amplitude of 32 degrees Celsius. That means that the difference between the lowest and the highest temperature recorded in a year is around 32C. I doubt that number as as far as I can remember, it's more about 40-50 degrees Celsius but it may depend on how results were summarized. Anyway, comparing with other cities in the world was not really comforting...

  • Mexico, Mexico: 5,6 Celsius
  • Lima, Peru: 6.5 Celsius
  • Los Angeles, USA: 7.6 Celsius
  • Keflavik, Iceland: 10.7 Celsius
  • San Tiago, Chilli: 12 Celsius
  • Hong Kong, China: 12.6 Celsius
  • Paris, France: 15.6 Celsius
  • Zurich, Swiss: 18.3 Celsius
  • Stockholm, Sweden: 20.5 Celsius
  • Tokyo, Japan: 21.6 Celsius
  • New York, USA: 24.5 Celsius
  • Kiev, Ukraine: 25.2 Celsius
  • Moscow, Russia: 27.6 Celsius
  • Vologda, Russia: 30.2 Celsius
  • Quebec, Canada: 32 Celsius
  • Chita, Russia: 43.3 Celsius

    From the major cites around the world, Quebec is one of the hottest and coldest place in the world. We need to compare with Russia to find worst than us.


    To my fellow Québécois: C'est maintenant prouvé! Y fait frette au Québec!
    (It's a fact! It's damn cold in Quebec!)

    Patrick Balleux
  • Saturday, February 14, 2015

    Radiation Island: Surviving zombies!

    I really am not a gamer but I do enjoy playing some games from time to time. I've discovered a new game in the Apple AppStore last week called Radiation Island.




    The story is quite simple: you get stranded on a deserted island after some experiment gone bad during the Philadelphia Experiment. Deserted is not quite true as zombies, bears and wolves are keeping you company and looking out for you.




    It's a survival game where your goal is to find a way out of this apocalyptic island while trying to stay alive. You'll need to find resources, craft tools, find food and build all kinds of stuff to help you complete your journey.

    Radiation Island is a mashup between Minecraft, Myst and GTA. Graphics are good looking and the environment is huge. There is a lot of details in the gameplay that makes the experience enjoyable. For example, the more you move, the hungrier you'll get. At night, when it's cold, you can warm yourself a bit by moving or jumping up and down.




    The is a lot to explore and craft. How you manage your resources will have a big impact on your faith on this island.

    Luckily, when you start your game, you can select 3 levels of difficulties. The easiest will let you explore and learn about the game's complexity without being concerned about hunger and being attacked.

    From the description, it looks like when you complete the adventure, you'll unlock a multiplayer feature, letting you play with other players online.







    Currently prices at 3.49$ in the Canadian AppStore, Radiation Island is worth every penny. A recent iOS device is preferable as the game has a lot of graphic details.

    I am using an iPad 4 with Radiation Island and it's running smoothly. I will try it on my iPhone 6 to see if the rendering looks better.




    Have fun surviving!

    Patrick Balleux

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    How to write good code

    A lot of people are asking how to write good code when creating a software. There are not magic formula. It's a matter of think first, write it and test everything.




    Think First!
    Before writing any line of code, you have to ask the right questions. Assuming you need to write a new function, make sure you understand the purpose of it. How will it be used by other parts of your software. Should it be only available for some classes or from everywhere? Is it a shortcut for a repetitive task or is it specific to some process?

    Make sure that you fully understand how this function should be used and what is its main purpose. That is called designing your architecture and you'd better spend more time designing than refactoring everything a few months later.

    Write It!
    It may sound easy but writing a good source code is not about implementing the latest and greatest technologies. It's about stability, clarity and efficiency.

    Your code must be bug-free but more than that it must be able to handle all scenarios. Bulletproof your code so that nothing can go wrong. If something can be at 0 (zero), null or empty, make sure that you've handled the case.

    Keep in mind that someday, someone else will read your code. Make sure that it's easy to read and understand. Comments will help but if comments are mandatory to explain the logic behind your code, you got it wrong in the first place. A good code is when any developer can have a look at it and understand the whole right away.

    Speed is another factor to consider. Be careful, do not over-optimize everything. Time is limited and you should put your effort on critical processes like when loading a million rows. Optimizing the press of a button just to save a few milliseconds is not worth it.

    Identify what can be re-used, put in a cache or save locally to improve speed and avoid repetitive processes that can take a lot of time. For example, establishing a new TCP/IP connection for each element may end up with a major delay for the user. Reuse the same connection for each element. It may not sound much but a simple connection process can take 10 milliseconds to be established. For a thousand element, you will loose easily over 10 seconds to complete everything.

    Test, test, test!
    Everything is working, everything is fast... Wait a second! Testing is required. You have to validate that is does work with everything, with every input possible and in the worst conditions. Never assume that user will input the right data, he won't. Never assume that no one will have more items than you have expected. Never assume that the computer will have enough memory or storage space.

    You have to validate the good data, the bad data and the ugly data as well. Any experienced developer will tell you that a user can enter a wrong date format, a text instead of a numeric value or close the dialog before saving a document on the had drive. It happens all the time.

    Once you have tested everything, pass it on to someone else. Preferably a user that has no technical knowledge. Just provide basic instructions and let the user do whatever he or she can think of. This will be the ultimate test and you'll know if your code is stable, clean and fast.

    "Make it work, make it clean, make it fast!"

    Patrick Balleux

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Making money online, part 3...

    A few months ago, I registered myself with PaidViewPoint.com to answer online surveys in exchange for some cash.




    The way it works is that you get a few cents for each survey answered. When you have accumulated over 15$, you can withdraw the money.

    At first, I had easily a survey each week to fill in. It was easy, taking just a few minutes each time. It was an easy way to make some profit and could be used to pay for my online services and web hosting.

    After a few weeks, new surveys became scarce. I had reached around 8$ and was hoping that I would be lucky enough to reach the 15$ threshold to get my hands on some money.

    As of today, I have accumulated around 13$ and still waiting for another survey to complete the first withdraw. Overall, I've been registered for 11 months, filled many surveys and still got nothing in my pocket.

    If I ever reach the magical 15$ limit, my yearly income is so low that it does not worth the effort. In that time, PaidViewPoint.com surely made something with my surveys...




    My girlfriend did the same experiment with another survey provider that I can't remember the name. In her case, many surveys kind of crashed after providing information for around 20-30 minutes. Most surveys never got completed and she could never retrieve was was done. As me, she will probably never put her hands to the promised profits.

    Lesson learned: Online surveys do not pay. Not even a dime.

    I had my suspicions from the start that there was a trick in the hat. If it was so easy to make some money, everybody would do it. My experiment was more about sharing the experience with you than actually becoming rich over night by filling online surveys.

    Mission accomplished! Now I know, now you know!

    See my initial post when I started this experiment: Making money online, does it work?


    Patrick Balleux

    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    Alien abductions: things to consider

    The other night, I was having a discussion with my girlfriend about alien abductions.  We had watched the movie Dark Skies (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2387433), thus the source of our discussion.


    As we were talking about the plot of the movie, it came to my mind that many "facts" surrounding alien abductions simply do not make any sense.  As a software developer, I see things logically in their simplest forms.  This is quite mandatory when designing a new software architecture that will mimic a real life process...  But let's get back to our little friends.

    From my point of view, aliens coming from another world, located at 65 light-years away, making experiments on some innocent people doesn't work.  I may be wrong, I may be right.

    If they are more advanced than us, how do they lack the same progress in morality and ethics?   Even our savage human race has come to realized that experimenting on animals is cruel and immoral.  There is still a long way to go on this subject but things have changed for the better in the last 50 years.  Why would they lack at this level while outperforming us on everything else?

    Assuming that any resources is limited (fuel, minerals, raw material) anywhere in the universe, what is the benefit of traveling 65 light-years, abduct a few people, and travel back.  Even worse, some do get back to earth after a few days...  Do researchers go in the woods, find a few rats, experiments on them and bring them back to their natural habitat?  The cost (in resources) would be astronomical just to do a few experiments...  

    Another thing... The alien abductors would be far more advanced than us AND relying on a physical examination with knives and scissors?  Ever heard of X-ray, MRI?  It simply does not make any sense.  

    And the morphology of the aliens...  They have big black eyes suggesting that they live somewhere in the shadows where light is scarce.  I wonder how big their eyes are... They must be huge!  If what is depicted as "black" is the iris of their eyes, how do they adjust to different level of lights?  They must be easily blinded by any source of light like the sun, a lightbulb or even a candle.  


    Also, their head is so huge, how can they stand up at all?  They are described as being small in height. That would mean that the mass of their head could be half the mass of their entire body.  They would have to constantly struggle to keep their balance.  Let's not forget the impact of gravity.  A higher gravity force would prevent them from just waking around and a lower gravity force would have them swinging around like drunk aliens.  Their morphology would simply prevent them to wander around on our home planet, at least, easily.

    Some will argue that they are the result of living in deep space without gravity.  That would explain part of the problem.  If their body has adapted to living in space, without gravity, there would be other visible adaptations.  Their head should be round like a ball.  Their legs would have transformed into arms loosing their primary function to walk.  Their eyes would have moved to the top of their heads as moving in 3D space, instead of just moving in a 2D space, would be more efficient.

    Maybe something is going on, I don't know...  But the story of aliens, traveling back and forth to earth just to put some probe into our butt, doesn't fit.  

    The universe is build around the same idea:  take simple stuff, put them together to create a more complex one.  The alien abductions stories are doing it wrong: making a simple story from a series of complex theories.

    I feel better, now! ;)

    Saturday, February 7, 2015

    Ubuntu Phone: Try it!

    Did you know that you can try the new Ubuntu Phone on your Ubuntu computer?

    Install the package "ubuntu-emulator" and you should be able to have a preview of the new kid in town.  In this video, I am showing how to install the emulator and where to follow the instructions.



    I was able to make it run on my laptop, but had a few issues, probably related to my hardware.  Overall, I still could get a good idea of what to expect from the Ubuntu Phone.  I'm really looking forward for this new device when it comes to North America.

    Have you tried it?  How was your experience?

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Create workflows on your iPhone!

    I've discovered a new app called Workflow in the Apple AppStore.  This is an amazing app that lets you automate all kind of workflows like posting to Twitter or Facebook, convert a web page into a PDF file or add a shortcut to your home screen to order a pizza.



    Have a look at their website: https://workflow.is

    If you want to see in action, have a look at my review of Workflow on my Youtube channel:


    Have fun!

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    Record your iPhone with Android

    Here's a short tutorial on how to record the display of your iPhone (or any iOS devices) using your Android device.


    It works best with an Android tablet as you can easily display the content and also the webcam.  Yes, rooting is needed...

    How to record your iOS/Android display

    There are many ways to record the screen of your desktop or device to create amazing screencasts.  On a computer, it's easy as there are many solutions available.  For mobile devices, it maybe a bit more complex...

    It all depends on what you have.  Most of the time, you'll need to record the mobile display with the help of a PC/Mac.  Creating screencasts can be expensive but there are many solutions that are free or will cost you just a few dollars.

    To create a screencast, you'll need a good microphone, a fast computer and a few trials to get it right. If you want to improve the quality of your videos by adding overlays, titles and transitions, a good movie editor is mandatory.  Once you're set, all you need to do is to upload your video files on the web such as Youtube (www.youtube.com).

    Now, let's start with the good stuff...

    For the iOS devices (iPhone, iPod and iPad), you can capture the display easily if you have a Mac.  Just launch QuickTime, and from the File menu, record a new movie.  By default, the webcam will be selected.

    Connect your iOS 8 device via the USB cable to your Mac OS X (Yosemite) and in the available sources, you should see your device listed.  

    If you are running Windows, you'll need to use AirServer that acts as an AirPlay receiver.  This app also supports Mac OS X.  Launch AirServer then from your iOS device, mirror your display to your

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

    How to root Asus Memo FHD 10

    If you have the Asus Memo FHD 10 tablet with the latest firmware 5.0.21.x, you may be looking on how to root your device.

    I've recorded a short tutorial how to do it without a computer.


    The video was recorded from the tablet itself using SCR Pro.

    Be sure to look at the description of the video for the download link...


    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Plague, a new network

    While reading my news, I've stumbled on a new app called Plague. No, this is not the game about viruses but a new social network where you can share posts like Twitter or Google+.


    What's so great about it? Each post will be shared automatically to 4 other users near your area. If those users do like your post, they can share it to 4 others also...



    The basic idea of Plague is creating viral post. The interface is simple and nice. You can see stats about your own posts, where they were seen and how far they have spread. From what I could understand, each post can survive 7 days.




    You can get it on the Apple Store:
    https://appsto.re/ca/sj4P3.i

    Or on the Google Play Store:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.plague

    Be viral, get Plague!

    Patrick Balleux

    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Always the same chords...

    If you're a musician, you probably already know that many songs often use the same chords.  This will lead to some tune sounding a lot like others.

    Mathematically, it is expected.  With only 7 basic chords (C,D,E,F,G,A,B) to create a song, you will eventually reach all the possibilities even if you have variations, a different tempo and different words.

    Almost all pop songs have a 4/4 tempo.  This will translate into 4 chords at most for each lyric sentence.  Of course you can have more or less but for a basic pop song, the number of chords for each sentence will vary between 1 and 4 chords.

    Look around on the web for guitar chords and you'll be surprise how simple it is.  For each lyric sentence, with 4 chords, you get a possibility of 2401 variations.  But you can't just put random chords together to create a nice melody.  Realistically, you may end up will only a hundred variation if you feel adventurous.


    Last weekend, I was learning "All About That Bass" from Meghan Trainor on my guitar.  Not really my kind of song but it's catchy and my daughters are crazy about it.  I usually play classic rock and blues.  Seeing me trying one of their favourite songs was a family event.  :)

    As I was learning the tune, I was having a hard time singing as I was always confusing with "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes.  Both songs do use the same basic chords (A, Bm, D/G).  When you listen to both of them, you can clearly hear that they sound alike, "What's Up" being a bit slower.

    We finally decided to create a mashup of both songs, just for fun.


    Next time you hear the new hit on the pop chart and have a feeling of "Deja Vu", you now know why!

    Patrick