Review of Learning Android | By Marko Gargenta

Learning Android is my first foray into learning native Android development. I was really taken aback by the style and structure of the book, as the author based each of the modules/chapters around a major project application, Twitter that you would create. He would then iteratively create a more improved version of the app, as you learn more and more things. I found this method to be a stellar way of learning, and something others should be doing, for other books and languages.

My Java side isn’t really as strong, and for me, I felt I may have needed to put my head into a Java book or two prior, but overall, I found the book to be concise enough that you won’t get sidetracked by concepts you won’t really use or need, yet you get enough detail to point you in the right direction to get the right API to further develop a specific area. I haven’t read any other non-Flex android development book to compare this to, but as a newby, I can tell you this book provides a solid foundation for you to evolve your android learning experience.

I still consider myself an iOS developer, but with a keen interest in having auxiliary knowledge in other mobile technologies. This book definitely provides that, and if you have a solid Java background, you would appreciate the level of this book as well, but applying general OOP knowledge does suffice in most instances.

[box type=”bio”]

Concise: [rating=3]

Level: [rating=3.5]

PriorKnowledge: Basic Java development skills

Myrating :[rating=4]

[/box]

Author: Marko Gargenta
Title
Learning Android 1st Edition
Publisher: O’Reilly MediaYear: May 2011

Stream from your iPhone/iPad to your Mac Mini via airplay, with #AirServer

Image

AirServer

Finally, something Apple should have released by now, but AirServer has gone ahead and pre-empt everyone, by completing the AirPlay circle that Apple has set out for iOS/Mac interactivity.

With AirServer, a small app that runs on your mac, which for me is basically my mac mini hooked up to an HDMI television, you can seamlessly use your iPhone or iPad and send across anything from videos, podcasts, music, youtube to other third-party applications, and stream from your device to your television. 

Unlike what currently exists, where you need an Apple TV to stream to, this basically allows you to do this with your normal mac mini (or any mac computer), which is fantastic, because I would not want to compromise giving up my Mac Mini for an Apple TV, when I have things like Plex working on it, for my main media centre.

So there you go, this fantastic thing is only $3, and definitely well worth it. 

Internal emails reveal Google’s desperation over Skyhook’s Android deal with Motorola

While Skyhook's lawsuit against Google has been ongoing since September, we've yet to hear the latter's side of the story to fight back anti-competition claims. That's all changed now that a Massachusetts state court has published a collection of internal emails from Mountain View, shedding some light on the reasons behind Motorola's — and apparently Samsung's as well — abandonment of Skyhook's XPS location service on its Android phones. In particular, soon after the deal was announced in April 2010, an Android product manager became worried that such a deal would pull more manufacturers away from Google's Location Service, thus jeopardizing the company's ability to maintain and improve its location database through continued data collection. "That would be awful for Google," wrote the manager.

Fair enough, but here comes the juicy part of the story: in the following month, Google informed Motorola that it wasn't happy with the way Skyhook blends location data from WiFi, GPS, and cellular signal. Or in Google's words: this is data "contamination." Despite Motorola refuting such concern, a week later it informed Skyhook that Google had told Moto that its choice for a third-party location service "renders the device [Droid X] no longer Android Compatible." It's not exactly clear what this compatibility issue is, but it's believed to be the ultimate reason that forced Motorola — being a close pal of Google — to drop Skyhook's XPS in favor of Google's Location Service. If you're still not feeling sorry for Skyhook, then note that last month Google called this "a baseless complaint" and a "thinly veiled fishing expedition" for internal Google documents and emails. Funnily enough, one email quotes an Android manager saying it was obvious to phone manufacturers that "we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want." Question is: which direction will the club swing now that the two companies are battling it out in court?

Internal emails reveal Google's desperation over Skyhook's Android deal with Motorola originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 10 May 2011 05:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Android anticompetition anticompetitive droid droid x DroidX email Google GPS internal email InternalEmail lawsuit legal location location service LocationService motorola Samsung skyhook skyhook XPS SkyhookXps with google WithGoogle XPS

Review of Developing Android Applications with Adobe AIR | Véronique Brossier

The first android book that I am going to review, but this book in particular is on how to develop Android applications with Flex, more specifically. The book, titled Developing Android Applications with Adobe Air by Véronique Brossier is the book I have been waiting for a while. While there are tons of resources on developing droid applications natively with Java and the Android SDK, a book for Flex developers on how to leverage their existing skills has been quite scarce, or at least non-centralised.
This book aims to achieve this centralisation, and covers a wide range of features, accessing device-hardware components such as camera, to gestures and saving data on the device with SQLite. And even though this book states android, you may also be able with Flash Builder 4.5 to target Blackberry and iOS devices as well, with some caveats.

I found the book to be easily understood, as a Flex developer but for non Actionscript developers, I think they may find this book quite hard to follow, without the fundamentals of AS, in which case they would need to read some Flex development books.

I am not sure when I will start developing android apps, but having this handy book with me, on my iPad, I can look at extending my iOS applications into having sister Android apps at a later stage, and this book will give me that guide.

[box type=”bio”]

Concise: [rating=4]

Level: [rating=4.5]

Prior Knowledge: Actionscript 3/Flex 3.5-4

My rating :[rating=3]

[/box]

Author: Véronique Brossier
Title
Developing Android Applications with Adobe AIR, 1st Edition
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Year: April 2011

 

 

Review of Graphics and Animation on iOS | Vandad Nahavandipoor

A subset topic in Objective-C/Cocoa, Graphics and Animation guides the reader on one of the most daunting subjects for a beginner, CoreAnimation, Core Graphics and UIKit Drawing.
Vandad Nahavandipoor dedicates his book to the UI aspect, focusing on parts which are just touched upon in the more general iOS books, such as working with UIFonts, Gradient Drawing, as well as the more complex 3D Transformation and moving of objects along paths.

While you can get the general concepts from a more general O’Reilly book, I think focusing a book on this topic allows the reader, including myself, to devote enough attention rather than just skimming a chapter, by providing an entire book, although I must be a bit disappointed with the amount of animation versus the time the author spends on graphics. But on the other hand, I should probably take a CoreAnimation book, which should be a book in itself, so it’s probably appropriate to focus on the Graphics aspect and this book is ideal for novice iOS developers.

I would recommend this book as part of a suite of books that are essential, without the illusion that this book will cover all you need with animation, but sufficient depth in Graphics/UIKit to give you a good solid background.
[box type=”bio”]

Concise: [rating=5]

Level: [rating=4]

PriorKnowledge: General Objective-C skills

Myrating :[rating=4.5]

[/box]

Author: Vandad Nahavandipoor
Title
Graphics and Animation on iOS, 1st Edition
Publisher: O’Reilly MediaYear: April 2011

How to Install Action Menu on iOS 4.3.2

I have seen a lot of people post one or another way of getting Action Menu on a Jailbroken iOS to work, for 4.3.2. This is a really amazing piece of software that adds extra cut and paste stuff and in-context stuff to your phone. In addition, allows you to use Celeste Bluetooth as well. 

Well, the hack way of getting this to work until we get an update from the Action Menu people, is to do the following: 

  1. Download actionmenu_1.1.1-x.for4.3.deb via http://www.boxca.com/bgw825sneej6/actionmenu_1.1.1-x.for4.3.deb.html
  2. Put it somewhere on the cloud, i.e on your Dropbox account.
  3. Rather than use terminal, a quick way would be to open dropbox via your iOS device, find the file, open it, and then send to iFile.
  4. From iFile, open it using installer option  (select the file and a context menu appears). 
  5. That’s it, you now have action menu installed.