Friday, October 5, 2012

Roll Your Own File/Folder Sync Solution the Easy Way

Well, easy is a relative term but I find RSync on Windows to be painful at best and Unison is better but no UI for those who aren't terminal-crazy. I'm somewhere in the middle.

So anyway, here are the links you need (and to give credit where it's due):

  To actually be able to sync files/folders in various way and have a UI to configure the rules.
  To fire off sync operations when files or folders are changed.
  To hide any command windows that might popup.

I'm in a hurry so I won't give you a step-by-step, but basically use the 1st link to install and configure SyncToy then go Google the syntax to execute a command-line sync of a "folder pair".

Once you have that syntax, use the 2nd link to create a .cmd (or .bat) file and .vbs file that will call the .cmd so that you can sync without a window popping up to annoy you.

Finally, use the 3rd link to download and configure TFS (TheFolderSpy) to monitor the folder your're syncing (the "Left" folder in SyncToy terms) and then use wscript to execute the vbs script and pass the .cmd file path so the sync won't popup.

Now anytime you change anything in the source ("left") folder or sub-folders, the sync will occur. Pretty much the same concept as Google Drive Sync, Drop Box, etc... except it doesn't require your data to go over the Internet, it can be used even locally on multiple drives, etc...  Complete control!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

3D Vision Support for YouTube Requires Firefox?!

This COULD be my shortest entry ever because I'm next to speechless. YOUTUBE (owned and managed by Google) doesn't provide HTML5 3D support for Chrome (or the other way around if you want to look at it that way) but DOES for FireFox?!

Are you serious Google?

Don't believe me?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thoughts about the Oculus Rift and other display tech 1.0

Today I made my $335 pledge toward the Oculus Rift KickStarter project and that's led to some interesting conversations on Google+. The following was originally intended as a reply to ? on the posts comments, but it got a bit long-winded so I'm blogging instead.

I've been searching for more tech details (about the Rift) like mad and so far I can't find a damn thing! :)  Someone on here said something that did get me thinking though and I have an idea of what they may have done to use such a low-res screen (relatively speaking) to get an amazing picture. I just put in my $335 pledge and I'm going to try and reach someone to confirm (with an NDA in place) because if I'm right, then I'd be happy to explain the approach if they'll let me. If I'm wrong, then I have another idea that they might be able to use to take this up another notch still :)  What I will say right now is that the reason 720p / 2 per eye doesn't sound like much, is because 720p (and every other display out there that sits on a table/desk/wall/etc... is built so that no matter where you look ON THE DISPLAY, you get an equally high-quality image and that's necessary because the display doesn't actually take up much of your entire FOV and it's not tired to head-tracking (unless you're using TrackIR or similar tech). If a system knows exactly where you're looking and the display takes up most of your FOV, then it only needs a lot of detail in a fairly small area and the remainder of the display can actually be quite low-res/low-quality. Eye tracking is one way of doing this that's been experimented with, but that's very complicated and expensive. You can follow me here on G+ to see what I find in the way of tech and I may even share my own ideas independently, but my G+ shares will just be links to my blogger site ( ) so I have more presentation control so you may want to just go subscribe there so you can get more immediate alerts you're less likely to miss. I don't blog often so you won't get spammed by alerts :)

Another cool display tech you might want to check out is a home-brew project using an approach that's well known in the $1m+ flight sim industry called collimated light displays. These guys seem to have figured out an approach that allows for the use of an off-the-shelf projector and less than $100 in materials to create one hell of a wide FOV display appropriate for flight/racing sims on the PC. Walk around of the DIY collimated display.They have quite a few other videos showing the setup and theory but what makes this display so amazing is that as you move around, the image appears to remain effectively the same just as it would if you were looking "out the window" of a vehicle. That's what makes these especially useful for simulators. Their build could EASILY use a DLP display with active-shutter glasses and you'd not only have that OTW effect, but stereoscopy as well and it would be mind blowing without an HMD. Depending on what I can do with the Rift SDK, this might be my next major project for use to replace my primary desktop monitors (24" 1200p, 30" 1600p, 24" 1200p).

It could also be a nice enhancement to a multi-mon desktop setup if you can afford a projector with seriously wide-res OR matrox display adapters that do edge blending and some cheaper projectors (could even use a bunch of really cheap ones turned vertical if you have the Matrox hardware). Example HERE (this isn't collimated though so if you move your head too much, you'll see distortion).

My hope for the Rift though is to see someone get a 3D desktop work space going for Windows (like Compiz-Fusion) and then add cameras to make AR possible then my "work-space" will be my entire environment. A project I've been evolving for no less than 10 years in my head. Basically, using compositing technology, imagine being able to place your windows anywhere in 3D space (though most likely perpendicular to virtual walls you setup which are aligned to the real walls in your space, or as normals to a virtual cylinder that exists around you. Then when you "focus" a window, it snaps to a position that will allow for the best possible 1:1 pixel mapping of the physical display so that text can be as sharp as possible. Anyway, that's just the tip of a VERY involved idea I have and should be another post (or 10) and by now many others have come up with very similar ideas.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My thoughts on the "AllDroid" issue as of 20120711

This was a reply to someone on Google+ which I recently left and since this was a very public issue and this reply represents my current feelings and perspective, it just makes sense to throw it out there for the few who might want to hear it (or those who don't but can't resist).

I don't fault bird much if any in what I'm talking about. He was a hard-working, low-key dev that I pushed to make noise if anything. Steven is another story. When he came on "the scene", he "wanted to learn how to code", was a nobody on the Android scene, and was gung-ho to be an admin for AllDroid so long as I agreed with his ideas. He and I fundamentally differ though and he just said it clear as day, "it's a business". He was always out for money and/or attention. "I" was out to support developers by providing any resources I could manage through AllDroid. This including borrowing $5,000 to buy the rights from Brent Fishman. Every dime the site earned went to developers or into improving the site itself even though I should have been paying back that loan. *One* admitted exception was a phone upgrade for myself. Another fundamental difference between Steve and I is that I didn't play games (read "politics") unless it was absolutely critical and this meant that I had no problem calling out people when I saw fit (like when they sold code that wasn't theirs to sell, or store ideas from devs and claimed it as their own). So of course Steve "seems" nice to most people. That doesn't mean he wasn't sincere with you. I'm not trying to speak to the nature of your relationship with him. I'm just saying that it often wasn't sincere.

Anyway, I don't even have a problem with how RW is run. It's how it came to be that demonstrates his true nature. He stabbed me in the back once and I forgave him only for it to happen again and the second time, he and his buddies used outright lies (under the guise of ignorance that was more like naivety at best) to drag my name and AllDroid through the mud, killing the site. If it wasn't for my willingness to make him an admin, give him the freedom and control I did, then the humanity to forgive him the first time, I have no reason to believe anyone would even know his name today. I gave him AllDroid as a platform to stand on thinking he was interested in bettering the Android community and instead he used it to make a name, gain a cult following, then burn me at the stake and to this day he's always got some excuse, reason, or hollow words to try and make it seems like something other than what it is. I can't tell you how many months ago he and Bird told me that they'd be throwing some money my way to help out in light of what went down and I haven't heard from them since.

I'm sure that there are few people out there who both believe me and care what I say, but I've accepted that and as bitter as I am about what went down, the fact is that I (my better nature) made it possible and I had many chances to prevent it. In the end, I'm likely better off for it anyway because AllDroid was consuming WAY too much of my time and since it's gone, I've been able to go back to school, advance my business, and now I'm about to have another child (literally any day) and I couldn't have managed AllDroid along with any of those things. What I am sad about is how much the Android community had to pay because of the way AllDroid played out. When Brent shut the site down, he severely fractured the community (as if he hadn't done enough harm before-hand with the way he was playing politics). When Steve and friends (led by Tom Spear) executed the final blow, they saw to it that the Android community would forever be split even more ways and dominated by commercial sites who will always appear to have an interest in Android, but in my experience, are more concerned with their pocket-books.

A wise woman by the name of Maya Angelou once said something that I wish I'd heard and taken to heart before encountering the likes of Tom and Steve (along a few others), "When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time."

Now tell me, who is looking to help Android more; they guy who spent hundreds of hours for the community, borrowed thousands of dollars, trusted others claiming to do the same then getting stabbed in the back, or the guy who did the stabbing and turned around to launch a site built off ideas he received from his victim, and did so for "a business"?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but shouldn't it be based on obvious facts?

I'm going to end on that note because the other thing I learned through this experience is not to get sucked into the drama. Speaking my mind once in a while is one thing, but engaging in an on-going dialog is another and I have much more important things to spend my time and passion on. Android is clearly taking very good care of itself thanks (ironically since they are the reason AllDroid came to be) to XDA. I'm sure RW does its part somewhere too, but I use XDA exclusively these days and virtually never hear about RW which suits me just fine. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Go GOOGLE! Way to respect the developers for Google I/O 2012

The new prices might be tough to swallow, but the restrictions on being able to buy 1 ticket and NOT being able to sell them should severely limit the abuse that occurred in years past where people basically hocked tickets which seriously limited the number of REAL developers that could attend I/O.

Input/Output ExperimentCreate your own machine 
in our Chrome Experiment.
Start Building

Google I/O 2012 registration terms and conditions:

  • An individual can only purchase one ticket.
  • Tickets may only be used by original purchaser. Tickets may not be resold. The resale of a ticket will render the ticket null and void without any responsibility to Google.
  • Tickets may be transferred at Google’s sole discretion. Google reserves the right to reject any transfer requests.
  • Persons who are:
    1. residents of embargoed countries,
    2. ordinarily resident in embargoed countries, or
    3. otherwise prohibited by applicable export controls and sanctions programs may not attend the conference.
  • In order to register, users must have a Google Account and access to Google+.
  • Photographs and/or video taken at Google I/O by Google, or others on behalf of Google, may include your image, voice, or likeness. You agree that Google may use such photographs and/or video recordings for any purpose without compensation to you.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

AR Glasses - A followup to "smartphone revolution is dead"

As far as AR (Augmented Reality, or the use of computer generated content to enhance our view of the real world) is concerned in this context. I think we are a LONG way from seeing AR Glasses replacing smartphones in the literal sense for a couple of major reasons. 1) Until we have a battery tech revolution, there's just NO way glasses will provide the housing and support needed to power the radios for high-speed, wireless communication (forget everything else even). 2) Fashion is a fact of life and I'm willing to be quoted as saying "the majority of people not already having a need to wear glasses are not going to adopt the fashion or hassle unless the glasses are as or more light and unobtrusive as a decent pair are not (without all the tech)." 3) There is SOO much more flexibility in the combination of a smartphone/tablet/belt-computer/etc.. AND AR glasses because you could work without the glasses, minimize battery weight in the glasses, reduce cost by minimizing the need to micro-scale EVERY aspect of the technology, etc..

More than 10 years ago I saw the future of computing and tablets were the first call I made that came to be. A form of AR will be my 2nd and I've kept quite on the public front while I sought out investors for patents and/or a product, but I think the technology as a whole has gone far enough for me to begin to share my vision publicly and it's really not far from what's already come to be in many places, but I'm yet to see the complete picture that I envision, come to be anywhere else and in the end, I DO see AR glasses becoming a standard at the desktop. I think I'll just have to write a paper here soon to go in depth, but that said, I just don't see it becoming the defacto-standard for mobile displays. I think we're more likely to see some sort of viable live-holography come to life and be implemented before that happens (and that is also an idea that a ways off).

Friday, February 24, 2012

The smartphone revolution is dead! So says "Think with Google" anyway.

In reply to:

The Smartphone Revolution Is Over (For Now)

BY KIT EATONThu Feb 23, 2012

<sarcasm>I agree that the "revolution is dead" because we've gone a few months without a major upgrade.</sarcasm>

Seriously people, do you realize how freakishly rapid progress has been with these mobile computers? Your expectations (+Think with Google) have been blown WAY out of proportion and you need to give the market a bit to catch up. The reason we're not seeing major innovations (like built-in laser projectors, dual-screens, etc..) more is because there's no incentive for the OEMs to provide these things when everyone is gladly sucking up every minor change that requires almost NO investment in R&D or manufacturing processes. When there's a significant reduction is purchasing of the incrementally improved devices rolling out, THEN we will once again see major change.

Android for example (as we've seen) is geared to do some very significant things in terms of hardware support and UI changes. Imagine for example a built in projector that could provide a 12" screen from a device less than 5" tall that used 1/2 front-camera(s) to provide minority-reports (can we say Kinect) like interactions. The tech is there.

The financial incentive to move forward just isn't yet. It's the EXACT same market behavior we see with Hard-disk storage capacities. What we see on the shelves is always 1+ years behind what the manufactures COULD do at a profit, but as long as they're cashing in on the current capacities knowing they can then sell you a larger drive 3-6 months later (doubling profit), why would they release the larger drives? Get it?