• Surface Computing

    Videos of the first surface computing prototypes aimed at consumers have been popping up on the web today, and I'm absolutely amazed at what they're doing already. This site has a video that shows off some impressive interaction with a digital camera.

  • Web 2.0 Simplified

    Found this wandering around the web and it is a very entertaining explanation of what Web 2.0 is all about. We are very quickly moving towards the future where the internet is more and more interactive. We are no longer just passive observers of the information, but are now active participants modifying, using, and accessing the data real time. Spider Strategies has been on the forefront of Web 2.0 technologies because we realized at the very beginning, that Web 2.0 was the future for both the internet and web applications.

    Our customers don't want to just look at their data, they want to use it. They want to be able to modify, manipulate, and manage their data. The process for doing so shouldn't be an entirely new process to learn and manage. Working with the data should be as seamless as any other administrative task. That is what CMS is all about. Designed to work just like any other web page, it requires no special training, and users can quickly find, edit, and share data as quickly as doing a Google search.

  • Ever since I first got started programming and was exposed to different computer languages I've been annoyed at how difficult it is to convert information from one type to another. Not only does every language have its own way of doing this, often even within the same language there are multiple different methods that need to be learned to do conversions properly. I can't offer a solution for every programming language, but I can offer a solution for Java: the Morph framework. The main goal of Morph is to make it really easy to take information in one format and make it available in another format. I am including some examples along with this article to show how easy it is to do all sorts of conversions with Morph. You can get a full list of the conversions that come out of the box here.

    Morph.convert allows you to convert an object from one type to another. Here are some examples:

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  • Let Development Inform Design

    For the past few weeks we’ve been working on implementing the Meetings module in CMS. One of our goals was to make it easy to switch between different occurrences of a meeting on different days. This is similar to changing calendar periods in other parts of the application, so we put a date selector in the upper right corner of the screen. After doing some work on this, Tom suggested we also make it possible to change meetings using this same selector because it would be easier to implement. Below is a screenshot of Tom’s final design:

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  • Staying Productive

    I ran across an interesting article last month in the NY Times about people's inability to multitask well, the impact of disruptions during the work day (such as email) and techniques for improving productivity. The beginning of the article addresses the fact that people aren't very good multitaskers. This is old news to me because I learned about this a decade ago in psychology class. The article starts to get interesting by the third paragraph on the first page:

    "In a recent study, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming e-mail or instant messages."

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