Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Phone Phlip Phlop

The decision was made. I was counting down.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first Ice Cream Sandwich phone ohmygodawesome!
With an NFC chip!
720p screen! 32GB of storage! Wowser wowsy wow!

The other announced phone, the Droid Razr, has some significant advantages.
It's billed as being damn durable.
Kevlar construction.
Gorilla Glass (officially confirmed to NOT be on the Nexus)
"Splashguard" coating.
I've got a 3-year-old, and I'm not exactly the most graceful person myself. My next phone will get dropped and scratched.
Some other advantages too, like a removable SDcard.
Sure, it has a smaller screen, and no NFC chip (sorry Google Wallet!). Will be running Motorola-branded (not "Google Pure") Gingerbread out of the box, and will have to wait a few months for ICS (also probably not "Google Pure"). Non-removable battery (which could cause trouble in emergency situations).
But it is looking better for my actual use cases.

And then there is the HTC Rezound, formerly known as Vigor.
It's supposed to be in the same class as these two phones, but nothing has been announced about it officially yet. I don't know what that means.

It's a good thing I have some time to weigh the options and read the blogs.
I still don't think I will be waiting for the Galaxy S 3 (which could come in 6 months and might not be on Verizon), but the Nexus is not looking as shiny or obvious-choicey as it did. :/

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A post about phones

I've been venting about phones on social networks for months, so I might as well make it into a full blog post, now that the Signpost has opened up to more subjects.

"Feature Phone" (non-smartphone) users have an advantage: the advantage of ignorance. You get a phone, possibly for free-with-contract. You can use it as long as it lasts; literally until the battery will no longer hold a charge, or until you run over it with your car, or the carrier pries it away from your cold dead hands. When it's time for a new phone, you go into the store, get the cheapest one, they transfer your contacts, and you have another phone. You don't really explore the full extent of what your phone can do; or if you do that, it's about "the phone I have now", and not about the platform it's running on.

iPhone users have an advantage: the advantage of consistency. "The next iPhone" comes out, and you either get it or you don't. iPhone features are predictable and build on each other, and the experience is consistent. (Please note: I'm not trying to start a platform war in this post.)

Android users have an advantage: the advantage of diversity. Each phone has its own hardware advantages/disadvantages, its own take on the operating system, and its own little quirks. But sometimes, diversity is frustrating. And here is the motivation for my post.

I've got my original Motorola Droid, the flagship Android phone for Verizon from early 2010 (ed note: the Droid actually came out in late 2009, but I got mine in Mar '10). I love it, but it is like an elderly grandparent. It's showing its age, it can't keep up with the times.
I've put it on life support (rooted it and installed some helpful apps) to compensate for its weaknesses, but there's only so much you can do.
As luck would have it, my Upgrade Eligibility date is up in a few weeks.
And there are some really exciting phones being announced. The Motorola Droid Razr, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and the HTC Rezound right around the corner.
Watching the Razr and Nexus announcement events, it's really difficult to choose between them. The Razr has more physical durability and some cool Motorola-specific features; the Nexus has a bigger screen, an NFC chip, and ships with the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich). The Razr has a removable SDcard, the Nexus (probably?) doesn't. Etc etc.
I'm leaning toward the Nexus, and it will be a HUGE step up for me, but it is not my "perfect" phone.
For one thing, no physical keyboard; this seems to be an unloved feature in newer Android phones, but something I'd actually use.
There are other ways that I'm sure the Nexus isn't "perfect", but I can't verbalize all of them.

But my goal is to get a phone as soon as possible after my Upgrade Eligibility date, so that I have the best phone I can possibly have for the next 18 months. Right?

Well, maybe not.

There are rumors of "the NEXT NEXT BIG THING" coming out later next year.
Of course these rumors are always there. Of course the longer you wait, the better product you'll get. It is the way of tech.

But maybe, just maybe, the NEXT NEXT BIG THING (Quad-core processors, even-HighDefier screens, more gigabytes, whatever) is super-duper enough that it could actually -- *gasp* -- last me more than one Upgrade Cycle, without me feeling left behind in a year and a half.

In the meantime, though, I'd need to continue to limp along with my old Droid, for up to another year, and maybe even fix it up more so I don't keep treating it as low-class. And there's no guarantee of when the next advance in Android Technology will come.

Sigh, this is the dilemma of a gadget geek.

Friday, October 14, 2011

And more about CSS

CSS was the one thing that really wasn't focused on at jquerycon weekend (I took an entire day overview of HTML5, but CSS was just incidentally spoken about in talks).
So this stuff is particularly new to me.

I really wish there were a way to have semantics in CSS for "next to"

Something along the lines of:

#div1 {
nextTo: #div2 side(right) top(30px);

to say "div1 is on the right side of div1, 30 pixels down." and have them stick together. At least for use with IDs. Obviously it can be worked around in javascript, or the math can be done in advance, but that's a pain.

Anyway, this brings me to programmatically-created CSS.
This basically gives me 3 options: LESS, SASS, or PHP/roll-my-own script.
I have to explore these options to see which one is worthwhile, if any.
They all basically do the same thing; allow for variables and less repetition when writing, but outputting standard CSS to the browser.
None of them seem to have the "next-to" functionality that I desire, except in making it easier to do the math.. But that doesn't make them bad.
I will try some stuff out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

So, I should start doing that..

Today's magical discovery: media queries

I haven't even done stylesheets for the standard different media before (screen/print/etc) but this looks super neat.
You can change the style by how big the screen is; that opens up a whole lot of possibilities, especially for a webgame where the interactive parts of the game really need to stay on the screen.
For example, deciding not to use images when the screen is too small.

It's simple stuff. And probably not new to you. But cool.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A little something different..

I've recently gotten really excited about some client-side web programming stuff --- mainly jquery, HTML5, and CSS3 (and even some older stuff I never bothered to learn), including Ajax and all those goodies.

This blog doesn't get a lot of gaming content, and I need a place to discuss the neat stuff I've been picking up.

So don't be surprised if you see some webstuff babbling around here for at least awhile. Maybe even some demos and examples.

I will start by digging through my notes from jquery Con 2011 and some other recent stuff..

Don't worry, this does all tie together to gaming, somehow.
I have several ideas for game-related web programming to do; I just need a little bit more motivation and possibly some outside help.

Keep reading... but don't leave me if you want to hear BSG Session Reports; those will still come in, too :)