Thursday, June 25, 2009

Android Native Development Kit Released

Today Android announced official support for native development via the Android Native Development Kit. This is a huge step forward for the platform.

Yea, I love my Java but not having a native C / C++ option makes it impossible for developers to port many popular desktop applications & console games. Without C / C++ you could never see apps like Firefox, Google Earth or a halfway decent version of John Madden Football running.

Currently the NDK doesn't support a native UI so for the time being developers will need to use Java as the front end and interface to C / C++ via JNI.

Lack of a native interface remains a huge weakness of the BlackBerry platform. BlackBerry has no real Operating System per say. In fact they don't even refer to it as an Operating System but rather as "Device Software". The lowest level software RIM has is essentially the JVM. I've heard RIM describe the architecture as "Java on the metal".

Luckily the entire BlackBerry platform should be fairly straightforward to port to a full Operating System such as Linux. In this way they could add support for native development while maintaining full backwards compatibility with existing applications. And in fact they have essentially done this already! The BlackBerry Application Suite runs atop Windows Mobile and runs most of the platform.

BlackBerry and Microsoft continue to look like a perfect match for each other. If it doesn't happen I sure hope RIM is busy at work porting the platform to Linux.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#IranElection

Events in Iran are are occurring in such a drastically new way and at such speed that I'm not sure I have a good grip on what yet to think of it all. Below are some miscellaneous thoughts.

  • With text, images, and video coming directly from the people involved this is the closest I've ever felt to war (if you can call this a war). Sad when my own country has been at war for several years.
  • Everyone should be watching and reading at least some of these accounts.
  • The Neda videos (here and here) are terrible but not watching is either not fully understanding, ignoring or denying.
  • Should the U.S. get involved?
  • A great quote going around: "In retrospect, all revolutions seem inevitable. Beforehand, all revolutions seem impossible." - Michael McFaul, National Security Council
  • Twitter is a very effective communication tool but it is very noisy and it is impossible to verify the accuracy, truthfulness, or the real source behind the messages.
  • Twitter is a great propaganda tool.
  • Has the U.S already been involved?
  • Will this fizzle out in a few days or are we seeing a true revolution?
As it relates to us
  • All countries are far more fragile than we think.
  • Suggestions of election fraud with or without basis threaten the stability of a country.
  • Should suggestions of election fraud without basis be considered a criminal act (like saying "fire" in a crowded theater)? Should it be considered a treasonous act?

Thoughts are with the Iranians protesting for and dying for free speech and free elections.

Congressmen Ask Fannie and Freddie to do What?

Congressmen Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner have written a letter to the CEO's of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac asking them to lower their lending standards. Many people (myself included) believe this is a big part of how we got into the housing crisis in the first place. Amazing.

Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Jobs of Famous CEOs

Check out this interesting slideshow from businessinsider.com showing the first jobs of a few famous CEOs.

My favorite part was the slide on Steve Ballmer that includes a video of him selling Windows 1.0:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

GM vs California Pizza Kitchen

There is a good Op-Ed in the Washington Post by George Will criticizing the government bailout of GM. In it he points out that today the the market cap of GM is roughly equivalent to that of California Pizza Kitchen.

Washington's "rescue" of GM began because GM is "too big to fail," and bankruptcy is (well, was) "unthinkable." Big? GM's market capitalization, $375.8 million on Wednesday, is about the size of California Pizza Kitchen's ($340 million) -- is it too big to fail? -- and one-eleventh that of Harley-Davidson ($4.3 billion). Fail? If GM has not already failed, New Coke was a success.


Extreme Sheep LED Art

We all have our hobbies I guess. Check out this "Extreme Sheep LED Art" video:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Java Store In Private Beta

Java One kicked off today and the big announcement, as expected, was the Java Store. They are further along than I expected. They have a private beta site up and running and are accepting applications for testers now.

Verizon to Support Java ME

Verizon announced today at Java One that it will begin supporting Java ME. Wish they did this 4 years ago!

A quote from the press release:

Lowell McAdam, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, who will outline his company's strategic decision to deploy Java Platform Micro Edition (Java ME) -based services in its network and offer Java-based services and applications to its subscribers.
Obviously short on details but we will certainly learn more soon.

It is unclear how widely the support will span (most devices or just a few) nor is it clear what will happen to BREW now.

I suspect they will move to the Sprint model where by which:
  • A KVM is developed atop BREW
  • System applications and preload applications can be written in BREW or Java ME
  • All 3rd party applications must be written in Java ME