Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Lifehack to Replace Google Bookmarks

I used to love Google Bookmarks and greatly lament its disappearance from existence. Whilst there are some very full-featured bookmarking tools out there (Delicious or Diigo), I find they are too heavy. I just want to quickly drop a link and move on.

To elaborate on that, quite often when I am working/researching stuff, I’ll come across a really cool/helpful page which is not relevant to the immediate task at hand; the sort of thing I’ll want to come back to and read at a later time. As I’m focused, I really need to just drop that link somewhere and move on. At first I used to use Sticky Notes on Windows. But that is confined to a single PC and not in the Cloud.

The little hack I came up with is using documents in Google drive. I find that I have a window of Chrome open all day. Always. So, I have a Google document in my Google Drive called Transitory Bookmarks:

Transitory Bookmarks
Transitory Bookmarks

This is a place I can quickly cut and paste a URL. No need to save, as it is auto-saved. Then, when I have time, I can return to it and if I gauge it as worthy, I’ll use one of the formal bookmarking sites referred to above to create my cloud bookmark.

It’s a hack. But a nice, handy hack which fits into my workflow just nicely. And now fewer things slip between the cracks.

Windows 8 is Just Not a Go’er

For me, if there ever was a poignant moment for Windows 8/WinRT, it was when Josh Smith chucked his toys out of the cot and became an iOS developer. This was the guy who taught me the MVC architectural pattern.

So, I waited and I watched. I’ve used Windows 8 now for well over a year and I still completely loath it. Now, 1 year is plenty of time for a sophisticated user to become accustomed to a new operating system. Take Linux: I’m completely in love with the latest version of Ubuntu (Unity is an awesome desktop). But Windows 8 still sux. And alas, 8.1 has not saved it.

What am I, a .NET junky to do?

In the tablet development space, I have 3 viable options. The fruit, the tiles and the robot:

the 3 options

This decision is one which I have agonized over for a good 6 months. Finally something changed. Something happened. Something big enough to make the decision clear.

Google released Android Studio!

Other Decision Factors

I want to go over a few other points which influenced my decision.
Firstly, Apple was out almost straight away. I don’t enjoy using their devices at all. I’ve relegated my 1st generation iPad to be merely an eBook reader and something which my girlfriend/partner can use to Google, while she watches TV.
Secondly, I love Android. I love the platform. I love the freedom that it brings. I love the fact that it is not confined to a small number of device-types/form-factors. The weird and wonderful devices that run Android are not confined to phones and tablets. My multi-media server runs Android, and it plays a zillion different file-types which Apple TV cannot (and will not) play. I love the interesting UX patterns which have emerged in the Android space. This is a fecund place which is outclassing Microsoft at every turn.
Thirdly, I have NO confidence in Windows 8 as a platform, either desktop or tablet. None at all.

The people who defend Windows 8 fall into the following 3 categories:

  1. their jobs/livelihood depend on it
  2. they are simply trying to wind me up (I’m looking at you Han-Guang)
  3. they are Microsoft fan-boys

Otherwise, every person who mentions Windows 8 to me does it with hate in their heart. Honestly, I have people in my life who come to me and tell me how much they hate it; unsolicited. In fact, they believe that I will defend it, owing to the fact that I am a .NET junky. No defense will be mounted by me.

I’ve seen Microsoft abandon awesome technologies before (e.g. Silverlight). So, I’m pretty confident that when it comes to Windows 8/tiles/the Windows Store, it is only a matter of time before they throw both the baby and the bath-water out. And if they don’t? Well Google is hovering and it is becoming stronger in its enterprise offerings.

I also note this excellent post written by another WPF evangelist about the stupid decision by Microsoft regarding Windows 8.1 sideloading. ***sigh*** Those dumb men in suits are just hammering the final nails into the coffin themselves.

It seems to me that MS are further behind in the Tablet space than they ever have been. Even further than when they didn’t have a tablet OS at all! I believe that WPF will still be relevant for desktop application development for a while to come yet. You’ll never guess what, but the lion’s share of enterprises and government departments still use desktop computers.

Similar in the vein of Josh Smith’s jump to iOS, I have made my own jump to Android development. The biggest barrier to entry there was the lack of a good, free IDE (Eclipse is appalling). Enter Android Studio. All I can say at this stage is that I’m learning heaps and I am loving it!

Go the robot!!!Android