CBS Chicago article about Chicago App contest

CBS Chicago mentions two of applications in the finals of Chicago App contest.

Lack of Android updates

More and more people are feeling short-changed after spending hundreds of dollars on device when there are no updates available after few months of their purchase.

In short that is simply a bad (existing) customer service on part of companies like Samsung, HTC, or Motorola and it will have to change in the near future as market will revolt against their products. 

I use my DROID2 with Android 2.3.x on it and I did not feel that Ice Cream Sandwich is a must have for me at this time. All my app are written for backwards compatibility and after testing them positively on the newest Galaxy Nexus I decided not to buy it.

If Manufacturers start upgrading their devices I might start thinking about writing for the new features.

~ Uki

Android Iris is the answer to..

.. nothing, absolutely nothing. I have read the article "Android Iris: Google's Answer to Apple Siri!" and gave Iris a try.

Me: "Harley Davidson"
Iris writes: "Harley Davidson"
Iris thinks and answers: "What color are my eyes?"

I have been using voice recognition successfully in the past, most of the time to set up my task reminders while driving and I can see some value in doing so.

Very often the text was right on if I used common words but good luck asking e.g. "What is XL1200S?" Which being a model of Harley-Davidson produced, um, forever, I would expect to recognize it.

In the past, I have used COPY, PASTE, CUT, SAVE, UNDO, BUILD voice recognized commands while coding and that works well if YOU ARE ALONE in the room. It can really save you a lot of wrist strain if you do a lot of it, since these particular commands require 2 finger key presses.    

I don't see myself using voice commands around humans until the computer can really pick up MY OWN voice out of regular conversation e.g. "Iris, what is my 3PM looking like?"

For all of you ladies named Iris out there, well I would not be afraid you what to change your names.. yet.

Apple is to use Samsung to produce A5 mobile CPU.

Relationships between corporations are difficult to understand and very unlike these between individuals.

Apple has lawsuits against Samsung that prevents selling Galaxy line devices in Europe yet they are building a $3.6 billion factory in Texas to produce Apple's flagship mobile processor A5.

Samsung is also a leader in cutting-edge mobile display manufacturing and almost all other aspects of technology which begs the question: if they really wanted they could always have a better Android mobile devices out before Apples iPhone and iPad updates. Of course they would have to put some originality in their design and not just copy Apple as they did with Galaxy Tab.

Overall the $8 billion dealings between these to giants remind me of fast forwarded clash between tectonics plates with a lot of tremors, I just don't know on which side the beautiful mountains will raise. I think it is up to Samsumg's product team, they need to infuse some creativity and sense of design in them. Looking at the latest and greatest Galaxy Nexus I was very disappointed and I would actually consider Motorola Bionic instead.
This reminds me of Apple and Microsoft love-hate relationship that allowed Microsoft to get of the ground, then dominate the world and then to give up the title of biggest and most profitable corporation to Apple in recent years.

~ Uki

Apps For Metro Chicago

The votes are in for "Apps For Metro Chicago" final challenge of over 70 entries and CyberWalkAbout team scores in top 5 with it's "Chicago Local Guide" and wins award for "Taxi Share Chicago" app! #A4MC #CyberWalkAbout 

Daniel Fedor (far left), our partner, has represented "Taxi Share" team and Natalia Cantemir (far right, in red) represented "Chciago Local Guide". Congratulations the whole CyberWalkAbout team!

Natalia is saluting to our development team for a great job they did and to fellow participants, especially @SpotHero who won a 1st place!

Daniel and Natalia with their awards, double score for!

It is worth mentioning that Taxi Share Chicago was Public Vote Winner leading to the final challenge.

Here is a complete listing of the winners:

1st SpotHero- $10,000
  • Spothero efficiently connects parking demand and parking supply.  We allow parking spot owners to earn income by renting their spot when it's unoccupied
2nd TrailBlaze- $5,000
  • TrailBlaze Chicago records and anonymously reports your bicycle tracks, allowing you to vote for new paths simply by carrying your phone while you bike.
3rd OwtSee $3,500
  • OwtSee is an Android based and a web based application that presents information about the Chicago parks and community events in one convenient place.
4th Chicago Local Guide $2,000
  • Chicago Local Guide is an android app is meant to help local people as well as tourists find:  interesting places and points-of-interest near them; locate specials and promotions from local businesses; updates on cultural, social, and technology events around Chicago; and breaking local news.
5th Mi Parque $1,500
  • Mi Parque is a bilingual participatory placemaking web and smartphone application that helps residents of the community contribute and share their vision for the future of Little Village's new parks.
6th FasPark $500
  • FasPark helps drivers find street parking in real time.
7th allSchedules $500
  • AllSchedules gives you access to a huge collection of transit schedules, for different transport modes (bus, metro, train, tram ferry, etc.), in multiple cities around the world.
8th OkCopay $500
  • OkCopay is comparison search engine for medical care that allows users to search for the procedure they need, compare local providers, and view their actual prices.
9th IfindIt $500
  • IFindit Chicago is an android app that is designed to help low income and homeless residents connect with critical resources such as medical clinics, food pantries, shelters etc.
10th Taxi Share $500
  • Taxi Share is an application designed to increase efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and cut down on already congested streets and highways.  The app allows users to find each other and share a cab to popular destinations around the city and to the major airports.

New era of powerful single purpose machines?

Android is shown running on x86 dual core 64 bit 1.2GHz Via EITX3002 board.

New era of powerful graphical  & computational machines running Android is starting.

Let me know what application you think will be running on this in the future? I think a huge interactive displays that will process a lot of external data and user's large screen touch-displays.

- Think retail stores.
- Think architectural studios.
- Think education.

Cost of buying hardware that is expensive because it is small will be less of an issue, the storage sizes could be in Tera bytes and graphical cards could be liquid cooled if you really need to run such single purpose systems.

DailyDealMedia - Dec 14, 2011

Thank you Kara Kamenec from DailyDealMedia for taking time to give us coverage, we appreciate it!

Crain's Chicago Business Dec 13, 2011

"Local app-development firm announced last week it received an undisclosed amount of funding from an angel fund owned by Scott Kluth, founder and CEO of"

Jay Yearly Dec. 11, 2011

Daniel Fedor

"When I first met with Uki to tell him about my app idea he could not have been more supportive and full of energy to see it come to life.  His creative input and the graphic design work of Natalia were amazing!  Uki's most valuable insight to me was his philosophy not to wait, but to get the app into the market place as soon as possible and then improve upon it based upon actual user experience and feedback.  To date, the app has been the subject of multiple radio, television and internet news stories and continues to grow new users every day!  It has been wonderful to meet and work with the team at CyberWalkAbout!"

~ Daniel Fedor, Taxi Share co-founder,  December 12, 2011

WebOS will become open source

HP has announced that they will "open source" WebOS to let the community of developers continue improving it. This is the only sensible thing that the company could have done after failing to market and stopping the production of tablets earlier this year. HP said they will continue investment in this open source project. However, without a strong leadership, vision and centralized user interface design, as it is case with almost all open source products, I am not expecting miracles.

In the future, if WebOS can avoid legal complications, because of its open source nature and therefore free price tag, it could become the OS for masses, especially I see it as OS for EDUCATION, something that Android might be able to achieve if Microsoft and Apple will not raise the cost too far by litigation and fees per unit sold.

I think a new, celebrity-backed venture might be able able to pick up WebOS and do miracles if they:
1) are small and nimble with a strong visionary at the helm
2) have a brilliant graphical user design person leading the way
3) develop relationships with major educational text-book publishers
4) have relationship with at least one manufacturer to develop 7 inch tablet for education industry.

The tablet would have to be bullet proof and inexpensive very much like Amazon Fire and Barnes or Noble Nook Tablet. I have been using two 7 inch tablets for a year now and I am convinced that it is the best form factor. Motorola is making such tablet for retail and medical industries, I have seen a pre-production prototype, but it felt a little too bulky to imagine students liking it. The tablet could be limited to WiFi only and skip on GPS and gyroscope, however it would have to feature gorilla glass and very solid casing not unlike Moto Android Razr or iPhone 4. The 7 inch screen with 1024x600 resolution would be plenty. I also believe that bluetooth for HID keyboard and other periferials would be a must. On software side in addition to great textbook reading and "margin" note-taking and quick highlighter marking applications I believe the apps should be residing on the device so the need for WiFi would be necessary only at the beginning of the semester and to submit the papers. The could be solved with as little as one hot spot per school. The security of student-server-teacher exchanges and DRM of materials would have to be considered as it is a case with any test-taking solution today, I have been part of such Houghton Mifflin project in the past.

While I am not quite there rounding up celebrities, investors, manufacturers and textbook publishers, I am however sure that  the tablet revolution is coming to the educational institution near you.

Please post, or send me your comments.

Apps For Metro Chicago finalists!

Chicago Local Guide made it to the finals as one of the TOP 5 Community Winners.

Overwhelmed with events in your city?

If you are living in Chicago, San Francisco / Silicon Valley or any major city there is a good chance that there are multiple events happening every nigh and you have no good way to keep track of them all.

Here is an actual screenshot from my own event calendar.

At CyberWalkAbout we are making a great effort to keep track of all that is happening in major cities and provide it to you in easy to consume way, allow you to make your favorites, share with friends, see what people tweet about and get notifications when is time to go.

MacOX: Bring back the color icons to Finder sidebar

The latest versions of the Finder side bar lost a lot from usability by removing the colored icons. Hopefully Apple will realize the mistake and fix it. Meanwhile here is a solution of how to bring color back:

1. Download and install SIMBL for OS version Snow Leopard and Leopard or Tiger
2. Download the ColorfulSidebar SIMBL plugin and mount the DMG file
3.  Move the ColorfulSidebar.bundle into the following SIMBL plugin folder:
~/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/

4. Restart the computer
5. Kill the Finder through the Terminal: killall Finder

UPDATE: Interestingly, on two different Macs the tip applies differently. On the BookPro it works perfectly, on my Air I have to repeat the  killall Finder
   every time I restart the laptop to get colored icons back.

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Uki's Google Java Technology blog