Archive for April, 2011

April 21, 2011

Android has happy wee robots

Happy Android smiley faces via Twitpic

Happy Android smiley robots

An Android mobile phone owner says:

Android replacing smiley faces in texts with happy wee robots still delights me every time!

Wish I had an Android of my own. But that doesn’t really matter, because the happy wee robots will always make me feel happy.

Tags: ,
April 20, 2011

Do Not Anger the Alpha Android

Google changes opensource strategy for Android

Playtime is over in Android land

Google cracks down on the chaos of Android land, and some mobile partners are NOT happy!

Read more: Via Business Week Do Not Anger the Alpha Android!

April 14, 2011

Quality-of-Life in the Chrome O/S Cloud

Google Web Toolkit (“GWT”) is a productivity tool for developers. It is a

development toolkit for building and optimizing complex browser-based applications. GWT is used by many products at Google, including Google AdWords and Orkut. It’s open source, completely free, and used by thousands of developers [worldwide].

What programming language would be the most accessible for Google Chrome O/S apps development?

These are the existing constraints:

  1. Android apps are coded in Java.
  2. Chrome browser apps are JavaScript.
  3. A Java programmer can use a web toolkit to “translate” Java into JavaScript.

However, it will be more difficult to go in the other direction. That is, a PHP programmer can create JavaScript apps for Chrome browser. But Android apps require knowledge of Java. This is the reverse of item 3 (above), and is much more challenging.
Perhaps there is a unified language for both scripting as well as programming the core functionality of the app?

Google Web Toolkit

GWT Logo

Google Web Toolkit does that!

GWT certainly lets you write Java apps, then compile them into JavaScript. And it might get even better!

How? With a consolidated toolkit, based on GWT. Such a consolidated toolkit could be used to write an Android app that also works on Chrome O/S as a web app, without the need for coding in Java, only in JavaScript

April 5, 2011

Chrome Developer Tutorial

UPDATE: 4 April 2011

For web developers

Developer Toolbar console from the Google Chromium Project

This is an excellent tutorial for learning how to use the Developer Tools in the Google Chrome Browser. Hyper-link is to the Official Google Groups Site for the Open Source Chromium Project, not to a third-party provider!

Check your webpage! Find errors! Reduce Page Load Times!

Learn how to use EVERYTHING: Elements, resources, scripts,timelines, profiles, storage and the console. Once you learn the how to use the developer tools, you own the keys to the kingdom.

There are some salient points, for which I selected four articles to more completely explain. Note that the article order does not reflect on Zemanta, as the choices were not based on priority of relevance to web development. They were idly selected in this order according to my own idiosyncratic whims.

Click to Play

Initially, I thought this might be a fun game. I was wrong. It refers to in-line advertising links and videos in general.

Sand boxing

This is important!  Recall that Google Chrome browser has Adobe’s Flash application as a built-in feature. These features are called Chrome Extensions. Chrome and Adobe offer a “sandbox” for Chrome’s Flash component. A sandbox is a circumscribed “safe” area where a developer can do testing, without mishap e.g. crashing the browser. This is also useful for non-developers who might want to “contain” their Flash usage due to a temporary concern about security.

Web Design

This provides more information about the Chrome Extensions* which is the subject of sand boxes, see above.

Browser Cache

This will reveal the location of the elusive browser cache on your computer. It is found easily for other web browsers, in the Options menu for Internet Explorer is the first example that comes to mind. The cache location is not nearly as obvious for Chrome. I need to read the article in fact, as I have no idea where Chrome is storing my browser cache.

Chrome browser extensions

Google Chrome browser extensions

* There are many Chrome Extensions available. Each adds to the memory usage by the browser. If you load up too many, you can definitely hamper Chrome’s delightful responsiveness. That requires a certain effort.

Extensions will be a topic for a separate post.

April 3, 2011

reCAPTCHA definition and history

reCAPTCHA example

reCAPTCHA and OCR for digitization projects

What does a CAPTCHA do?

Humans can read the distorted text in CAPTCHA challenges* but current computer programs cannot.

A CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot.

What does CAPTCHA mean?

CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It was coined in 2000 by Carnegie Mellon University computer science research staff who invented CAPTCHA originally.

What is the difference between CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA?

This is how the reCAPTCHA Project explains the difference:

ReCAPTCHA helps prevent automated abuse of your site (such as comment spam or bogus registrations) by using a CAPTCHA to ensure that only humans perform certain actions.

Generally a CAPTCHA is a single word, whereas a ReCAPTCHA is two words. The reCAPTCHA project page explains this in greater detail. There are research papers, in *.pdf format available for download on the Google ReCAPTCHA website.

Google purchased CAPTCHA in 2009 and describes usage and further background on reCAPTCHA FAQs:

ReCAPTCHA is a free CAPTCHA service that helps to digitize books, newspapers and old-time radio shows.

ReCAPTCHA is free

While free to use, including the API, be aware that ReCAPTCHA is not open source software.

Other uses

ReCAPTCHA is best known for historic text digitization and spam filtering, which is an information security measure.

Answers to reCAPTCHA challenges are used to digitize textual documents… a combination of multiple OCR programs, probabilistic language models, and the answers from millions of humans on the internet, reCAPTCHA is able to achieve over 99.5% transcription accuracy at the word level….

OCR is an acronym. It means Optical Character Recognition. Compare the accuracy of standard OCR versus reCAPTCHA transcriptions of a medium quality scanned document on the reCAPTCHA digitization accuracy website. See some humorous reCAPTCHA examples from the official Google reCAPTCHA blog. Google announced an audio version of reCAPTCHA in 2009.

MailHide is another application, where potential for spam is reduced by requiring a reCAPTCHA challenge in order to disclose an otherwise partially obscured email address. More details are available in my post about MailHide from last month.

Recent developments

Recent research in the area of computer security led to some surprising discoveries about CAPTCHA and spam. Initially, it appeared that the CAPTCHA challenge had been defeated on a large scale, but localized very regionally. That was not true though. Human interaction of an unanticipated sort was still required to evade the CAPTCHA, on each and every spam comment and email that got through.

*Work continues on the original CAPTCHA project.

April 2, 2011

Blogger now supports dynamic views

Blogger became dynamic! Sort of. Blogger introduced five new views for Blogger  *.blogspot blogs yesterday. I was pleased to see the Tumblresque mosaic style was one of them.

Blogger website screen shot

Blogger sign in page

There are two separate versions documenting this new functionality, for blog readers and blog authors.

How to use dynamic views

The basic idea is to access the dynamic view through an extended URL. For example, I have a Blogger blog with URL

To view my blog so that I can choose any of the five dynamic views, visit

If you already know which view you want, and wish to see it directly e.g. the mosaic view, visit this URL instead

*Blogger is a Google product. Google acquired it about four years ago, and is now making some much-needed upgrades like this. Dynamic views are supported in modern browsers only. They will not work without HTML5 support, which is included in Chrome and Safari browsers, as well as Internet Explorer version 9.0 and the latest version of Firefox (probably 4.0).