How to fly Business Class for Coach prices:
1) Buy a bulkhead or emergency aisle seat.
2) Order juice or pop and spike it with duty free liquor.
3) Tip your flight attendant and tell them to keep the mix coming.
The Ritot smartwatch is an interesting product that looks like something right out of the movie In Time with Justin Timberlake. It seems a lot of people also love the idea, as the Ritot has raised over $300,000, well in excess its initial goal of $50,000.
But can the Ritot do everything it claims? Judging from the information on the Indiegogo, there’s some major technical challenges the company claims to have solved, but won’t actually show how or demonstrate they’ve solved them. In fact, they make some bold claims while showing blatant Photoshops of stock photography.
The innovation laced through the National Capital Region is impressive, and this third edition of the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire is a chance to connect creative people from all over our region in a celebration of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) spirit.
A Mini Maker Faire brings together families and individuals who celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, sustainability, and science and those who embrace the DIY spirit. At Mini Maker Faire, the focus is on the process of making – not just the finished product.
If you’re in Ottawa, Canada, come out and enjoy the fourth annual Ottawa Mini Maker Faire on August 16th and 17th.
— Douglas Tr0n Soltys (@tron) July 16, 2014
Doug Soltys is the former Editor in Chief of BlackBerryCool as well as a former employee of BlackBerry as its Blog Manager. Today, he spoke on CBC’s The National to discuss the partnership between Apple and IBM.
It’s an interesting discussion as everyone wants to know how this partnership will affect BlackBerry. While Apple doesn’t have the ultra-high security needed for government and defense, those clients may pale in significance to the clients that IBM may lure to Apple with its enterprise app offerings. Also, it’s worth noting that IBM has 100,000 employees and Apple shipped 50x what BlackBerry shipped in Q4 2013. It’s an uphill battle for sure.
Here’s a fun deal: Blokus is now available for the Mac App Store and if you buy it (just $3), you can have your game, portfolio or resume reviewed by myself. Buy a fun game and get your resume reviewed by someone in the industry that hires. It’s a win-win!
Send me a screenshot of the purchase confirmation and attach your resume. I’ll have the feedback to you by the end of the week.
Note: This offer is only available for today and tomorrow (July 15th). Feel free to forward to friends looking for a job!
Spark Labs has an interesting story that begins the way all great startups do: solving a personal problem. Zach Supalla’s father is deaf and he wanted a way to integrate the home lighting system with his father’s smartphone, so he would know when his wife was texting him. The project put Spark Labs into the connected lighting products market and the company launched their first product Spark Socket on Kickstarter.
Matthias Marquardt of the famed Emacberry has released a classic BlackBerry app, GPSLogger II, for BlackBerry 10 by first porting it to Android. It’s great to see the Android app play work out as some developers from the legacy OS would otherwise have been left out.
GPSLogger II is a straightforward app that tracks your physical movement over time. The app records information including your location, elevation and speed, as well as some other data. GPSLogger II is great because it’s vague enough that it can serve a myriad of purposes. If you’re an avid skier, athlete or someone into the Quantified Self, you’re bound to appreciate the simplicity and data that the app provides.
This week, the White House hosted its first Maker Faire and announced that Americans need “to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.” While we have always had engineers, hobbyists and tinkers, the maker movement is taking off. Reasons for the recent maker community growth is likely due to economies of scale reducing hardware costs, software becoming more versatile, and recent innovations like 3D printers.
GymTrack is an Internet of Things company that is targeting a B2B market rather than the typical B2C market that Internet of Things (IoT) companies are known for. It’s an interesting take on IoT and fitness that you don’t see too much of, and if the company can handle all of the headaches around scaling, it could be a hugely successful idea.
The question I’ve had a lot is “when do you have a laptop but not a micro-USB?”. It’s a totally valid question and the simplest answer is “You will. Trust me.” The Nomad ChargeKey and ChargeCard are the smallest, simplest ways to carry about a micro USB. In fact, I’m traveling as I write this and my charger broke, leaving me with the ChargeCard and a laptop as my only lifeline to charge my phone. Considering these USB cables just sit in your wallet or on your keychain, it’s worth the cost of the device as a backup.
If you’re in Ottawa, Canada or the surrounding region, you should definitely check out the Ottawa BlackBerry Developer Group. The meetup will talk about some of the changes at BlackBerry, mostly that the company is largely enterprise focused. This change is very visible at the developer group level. BlackBerry has been using a Developer Group Hub, powered by Influitive, in order to connect Group Managers as well as send the company message to those groups. So far, the message is clear: develop enterprise apps.
Leonard MacEachern is a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His company, GestureLogic, is showing off a new wearable that is soon to arrive on Indiegogo.
The wearable, called LEO, is a band of silver-woven fabric that wraps around the user’s thigh and measures hamstring movement, hydration and heart rate. The device is not named after Leonard MacEachern, but rather Leonardo da Vinci, as the man embodies the science behind the product.
The architecture of LEO is very similar to other wearables on the market. The device collects data from the user’s exercise, then syncs that data with a smartphone and the cloud. Where LEO differentiates itself is that the cloud is used to gather data and send recommendations back to the user to help them train more effectively.
When I first saw Thalmic Labs’ Myo armband, I thought “that’s a cool device, but why?”. It’s a problem that a lot of wearables and IoT products are experiencing. Sure, it’s cool to track your heartbeat, brain patterns, or watch your dog while you’re away, but is that a solution to a real consumer problem?
We’re doing something fun this year: the OIGC Passport. At select locations around Ottawa, we have passports to encourage attendees to visit local businesses and discover the awesome game culture we have going on in the city.
The Passport works by picking up your passport, preferably at Mercury Lounge where most are stored (locations will all have some on hand), and visiting each location in the Passport. Each location will give you a stamp which gives you one ballot to win an Xbox One.
OIGC is expecting around 500 attendees and 50 companies which makes this the best game industry networking event in Ontario. We’re excited to see companies both big and small, as well as a wide range of developers from mobile to console and even new emerging hardware.
The Ottawa International Game Conference, House of TARG, and the Dirty Rectangles are stoked to announce a joint venture to create a standup arcade cabinet called The Ottawa Wizard Box that plays local, indie games. Developers will have until May 27th to come up with a game idea which they will pitch at the conference. The game will be pitched to a panel of judges from TARG, OIGC and the industry, and the best games for each challenge will be selected to be the launch games for The Ottawa Wizard Box. To be clear, you must have an OIGC pass to be eligible.
Recently, AT&T, in partnership with RIT, Digital Rochester, High Tech Rochester and Hack Upstate, held the Rochester Civic App Challenge. The two month virtual hackathon challenged developers to build and deliver mobile apps that serve community needs and demonstrate how mobile technologies can lead to the next generation of tech jobs and investment. It’s an interesting concept which is often done through Open Data initiatives. At least one app, the Erie Canal app, is available on BlackBerry 10.
If you’re from the Rochester area, check out the app. It’s designed for those looking to travel along the canal by showing the Boat Launches, Locks, Lift Bridges, and Guard Gates along the canal’s path.
PhoneGap Bootcamp is a project by Demian Borba (and I’m sure other collaborators) who is a Developer Envangelist at BlackBerry. PhoneGap Bootcamp is 2 days of intense training converting mobile apps using Cordova for iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10, focusing on single page apps and performance. It sounds like an awesome event and if you want it in your area, you can apply on their site.
Here’s the short about PhoneGap: the performance is adequate for most apps, but the integration needs to be tighter and the performance isn’t good enough for games. In the end, the web will win because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to build a business with manufacturers taking a 30% cut from your app revenues. That’s the TL;DR of it all.
Check out the snazzy website PhoneGapBootcamp.io from your mobile device. It’s very pretty.
— Demian Borba (@demianborba) April 20, 2014
The above image shows that the Caller ID API is a feature logged in JIRA but it still isn’t coming.
Almost all of the “call management” apps on BlackBerry 10 are apps that completely block all incoming calls. Why would anyone want that as a feature? Just turn your phone on silent. The whole Call Management category is broken on BlackBerry 10. Some apps, like Call Manager by CSL Limited, have terrible ratings and seem to be lying about the feature set. Doesn’t BlackBerry test feature claims to some extent?
What’s really needed, is a solid call management app that allows you to create block lists as well as lists of contacts that are accepted. It would be great if the call app cross-referenced your contacts and only allowed calls from numbers you recognize. This will of course have to be a headless app, so it can run in the background and not need to be always open.
There used to be some really solid call management apps for BlackBerry back in the legacy days. PrivacyStar was a great app on BlackBerry and the company has completely dropped support for the platform. There doesn’t seem to be anybody in the call management space on BlackBerry 10 anymore.
In the end, it comes down to whether BlackBerry 10 developers can access the phone numbers. Going through the native BlackBerry 10 APIs available to developers, it doesn’t seem like it’s possible. You would have to somehow get the Caller ID, and that doesn’t seem to be a feature. So it looks like this entire app category is killed until the API is available. Considering BlackBerry is going full enterprise, this seems like a good API to make available.
When you look at BlackBerryCool.com’s traffic over the years, there’s been a major shift in the readership’s location that has shifted in direct proportion to where the majority of BlackBerry users come from. Back in 2009, traffic was mostly the US, UK and Canada. Now, Indonesia, India and Latin America, represent the lion’s share of traffic. One place you can see this demographic shift is in the BlackBerry World reviews.
When you open BlackBerry World, many of the apps have reviews in several languages. Other app stores, such as Apple’s iTunes, took the stance that reviews should only be in the language that the user understands, and they figured this out by making regional app stores. This means that the Italian App Store contains Italian reviews and the US App Store reviews are in English (for the most part). Either BlackBerry doesn’t believe that reviews should be separated based on language, or there’s a technical decision behind keeping all the reviews in one place.
The downside is that reviews become increasingly unhelpful. When you see an app that has a 3 star review, but the description is in Mandarin, there’s no way to tell why it was given that review. There’s no translation available either. In the end, BlackBerry should probably stop displaying reviews in languages that the user is clearly not going to understand.