Archive for November, 2010

HTML5 is looking good

Posted on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Google’s created a great demo, 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web, which shows off a lot of great new features, if your browser supports them.

I don’t care much about backwards compatibility or rubbish browsers, so I didn’t look to see how it degrades in IE or anything.

Everybody knows about HTML5 features like video and canvas and so on, but I think that the coolest feature on show here is a little known feature which really helps make web apps viable for me – being able to push history states. Before, ugly hacks had to be used like using a hash symbol to be able to change parts of the URL, but that still didn’t work with the back button and created ugly URLs. Now, using the history.pushState function lets you change the entire URL (apart from the domain name, of course), and each state shows up in the history. You can then catch the event triggered when the user hits the back and forward button, and act accordingly. Now you can have proper history, proper back/forward action, and nice URLs, all without any page reloads! It may seem like a pretty minor feature, but it’s the little things like this that are actually making web apps viable.

Upcoming NXP ARM based microcontrollers

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

I posted previously about my experiments with NXP Semiconductor’s LPC17xx series of microcontrollers. I’m still very excited to finally have some time in the next two weeks to get a board designed to use the one I currently have (an NXP LPC1764 – I hope to make some tutorials on getting the gcc toolchain for the AMR Cortex-M3 set up and perhaps publish the board design, so watch this space!), but even more exciting is the new models that were announced recently.

The micro I have has features like USB, 10/100 ethernet, and so on, but the new ones add in features like an external memory controller, an memory protection unit, an SD/MMC card interface, and most exciting, a display controller that can output true-colour graphics at a resolution of up to 1024×768. For a cheap, tiny microcontroller, they will be extremely powerful.

Take a look at the new models on NXP’s LPC17xx Series page.

Gnome 3.0 Looking Good

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

ยป Gnome Summit 2010

Especially pleased with the new Gnome Shell work. It was really lacking in the previous versions. There’s a lot of awesome work that’s going into Gtk+ 3.0 and Glib as well – heaps of old depreciated stuff is gone, now all drawing is done with Cairo, there are some useful new layout widgets and the paint system is going to be redesigned to make it work better for animations (taking inspiration from Clutter).

No longer accepting comments

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

I tend to get spam a lot more than actual comments, and even when you do get comments, it’s difficult to have a productive discussion on a blog… Therefore, no more comments, but if you want you can send me an email, or tweet a message @stephengentle if you want to respond.

The reason Apple stands out in the computer industry

Posted on Monday, November 15th, 2010

It’s all about the attention to the little details. Even from the development of the original Macintosh:

Another goal of ours was to make the back of the computer (which we realized could, in fact, be facing a visitor to user’s office) as aesthetically pleasing as the front.

From Folklore.org – Invasion of Texaco Towers