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Android UI: sigh

In July I got an update to Android on my phone (an otherwise wonderful Galaxy Note 3).  It’s not awful, but the choices it has made are very annoying. In particular:

* email – I cannot now just have my email update when I click the refresh icon because I need to have auto sync data enabled.  So to have manual syncing of data I need to go into settings ->connections->data usage, press the menu button, select “auto sync data”, then go to my email app and click its refresh icon (then, technically, go back again to turn off auto sync again)

* wifi – everything is now dependent upon whether or not I’m connected to wifi, because, if I’m connected to wifi everything must be ok right? Well, you genii, who put wifi hotspot functionality into my phone? Now, I can’t actually use my wifi hotspot without worrying whether my tablet is going to auto-download a ton of stuff and blow my cap when I least expect it.  Thanks, thanks a lot.

* internet – I used to be able to have a number of windows open, and scroll through the open ones.  Now only my last _four_ are visible.  What the hay?  Sort of undermines the point of being able to have a number of windows open much? (Internet in general has a heap of odd design choices – forcing new tabs to open in the foreground being a pet hate)

* background data – if I want to have background data restriction on it puts a permanent notification in the notification bar.  Get that junk out of there. I’m a responsible adult for heaven’s sake.

* wifi direct (not actually from the update): why can’t I use wifi to transfer files directly between my phone and tablet without without going via a third router?  My phone can act as a wifi hotspot, why do I have to connect both devices to a third device?

These mind boggling UI choices make me wonder what’s going on with Android and whether it’s turned a corner – the wrong corner.





UK Govt Adopts PDF, ODF

The Cabinet Office has announced the adoption of its open standards:

“The selected standards, which are compatible with commonly used document applications, are:

PDF/A or HTML for viewing government documents

Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents

The move supports the government’s policy to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes, with its digital by default agenda on track to make cumulative savings of £1.2 billion in this Parliament for citizens, businesses and taxpayers.”

Imagine a world in which there is the possibility of competition for office suites.  One day Australia might join that world too.

Why takedown procedures are such abysmal policy

Getup alleges that someone has copied one of Getup’s videos, then issuing a takedown over the same video in respect of Getup.  With copyright enforcement rhetoric running hysterical for years now it comes as no surprise that the provider of the video site would remove Getup’s video.  Takedown procedures are specifically designed to be swift and effective against allegations, regardless of the justice of the matter.  Given such a lopsided approach to rights, it is surprising that it has taken until now for people to start abusing the system.  It will get worse in the future.

ACIP Report on Innovation Patents Released

They say there is no evidence one way or the other about the usefulness of the innovation patent system.  Seem a little annoyed that so many people said to remove software patents.

Details here.

Pygame Subset For Android FTW!

Pygame Subset For Android FTW!

I was looking to port some things I’ve written over to run on Android – in particular, I decided to migrate this yesterday. I have done it as of today, albeit as a working prototype, using the Pygame Subset for Android. The only thing I had to modify was to rename the main script as and rewrite a little of the main game loop. Total time from learning that PGS4A existed (about 11am this morning) to having a working prototype on my Android Tablet is 7 hours. That includes about 6 hours of being away from my desk doing other things and maybe 30 minutes of downloading, installing PGS4A and its dependencies. Actual coding changes took maybe 5 minutes for roughly 1200 lines of code (excluding blank lines, comments etc). That said, now I have to hook up the multitouch interface and it has some unexplained (and critical) pauses when played.

PGS4A is a really quick and cheap way of getting an existing pygame based application onto Android.

Why is wrapping paper so expensive?

Why is wrapping paper so expensive?

Quick comparison of wrapping paper pricing:

width length price price per m^2
John Sands 0.7 2 $6.00 $4.29 Incredible rip off
Wrapco 0.5 60 $44.00 $1.47 used for store wrapping. Presumably good weight
$2 shop 0.7 2 $2.00 $1.43 Thin paper
White paper A4 0.21 0.297 $0.01 $0.16 5 reams = $24.45
Coloured paper A4 0.21 0.297 $0.02 $0.35 1 ream = $10.98
Coloured paper A3 0.297 0.42 $0.06 $0.50 1 ream = $31.14

Maybe I’ll just buy coloured A3 paper from now on and forego the gloss finish?

UK Govt to ditch MS Office?

UK Govt to ditch MS Office

Apparently so, according to the Guardian:

‘Maude will add: “Technical standards for document formats may not sound like the first shot in a revolution.

“But be in no doubt: the adoption of compulsory standards in government threatens to break open Whitehall’s lock-in to proprietary formats. In turn we will open the door for a host of other software providers.”‘

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