Steffest Digitale Pulptuur

There's no such thing as the best phone

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Congratulations to MG Siegler for writing absolutely the worst phone review ever.
What's makes it so bad is that's on Techcrunch, the worlds most read tech blog and honestly, one can expect a bit more insight from writers of this blog ...
MG rants on how it's such a good move HTC killed the physical Keyboard of this supposedly next "iPhone killer"
*sigh*
maybe tech-writers should replace the word "phone" with 'car' in their minds ...
Do you ever see an article boosting the new Mercedes as the "BMW-killer" ?
Of course not: all car brands have their place, it's up to the buyer to pick the right one, depending on his needs, budget and personal preferences.
There's no such thing as "the best car" as everybody will agree to.
Phones are no different.
There's no such thing as the best phone, it's just depends on your needs, personal preferences and budget.
Some might find it hard to believe but the iPhone is not the device that everybody reflects there phone-needs to.
so MG doesn't like physical keyboards? For gods sake, let him buy a phone without one and stop whining.
In contrary, I find a physical full qwerty keyboard a must have feature and will never buy a phone without one.
It's quite simple actually

  • If you mainly want to use your phone to read and write emails, manage your contacts and manage your calendar, get yourselves a Blackberry
  • If you want a decent and easy phone which main function is a .. erm .. phone, get yourselves a Nokia
  • if you want the top in user experience and ease of use, and if you don't mind spending to much money, and if you don't care about things like "open platform", "freedom of choice" or "vendor lock-in", get yourself an iPhone
  • if you want an internet device, get yourselves a Nokia N900 or other internet tablet
  • if you want a device that does it all, and you can get used to  the resulting added complexity, get yourself a windows mobile device.
  • if you're a true geek, go Android


Or if you have some other criteria like low price, or insanely large buttons, or being compatible with your car-kit or whatever ... pick another: you have gazillion of equally good choices.

The term "iPhone killer" was stale 2 years ago, if anybody still cares to use it present day, in my book they will loose all journalistic credibility in a flash ...

Tags: Apple-bashing, Gadgets, in English, MobileGeef je reactie (1)
 

TWIIST

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Friday I attendend a brand new belgium conference for webdesigners and webdevelopers called TWIIST.be : The Way Internet Is Supposed To Be.

The goal was an affordable one day conference for like-minded web creatives, and boy, did they succeed!
I've been to my fair share of conferences but I must say this was about the best one: the topics where spot on and the speakers were top notch.

It started a bit slow though. The first session by Serge Jespers was OK, but misplaced: an audience of mostly professional webbuilders don't want to sit through a generic talk about Adobe Flash and AIR. I though it somewhat a missed opportunity that Serge didn't dive deep into a place for flash/flex in an open architecture sementic web, but oh well ... it was early and people still had to wake up :-)

Things started to get going with excellent talks about "Transient Semantics and Microformats" by Brian Suda and "Cost Effective Web Development" by Drew McLellan. I didn't fully agree with Drew, but still it was an interesting reminder to keep your common sense in everything you do.

After a HUGE Twunch, the star of the day took the stage: Aral Balkan about "Remember the Magic"
In one word: He was BRILLIANT. Allthough his talk was rehearsed up to the small details and he clearly is a very professional speaker who knows how to play an audience, it absolutely worked: It was the best session i've ever seen.
Honestly, if you ever have the chance to attend one of his talks, don't hesitate, you won't regret it. (apart from that, at the afterparty it turned out he's also an extremely nice guy and fun to hang out with ... man, what are the odds? :-) )

Elliot Jay Stocks had a bit of an ungrateful task to speak after the magical sparks of Aral, but his talk about the imporantce of beauty in absolutely everything was more than OK.
"Experiments in data portability" by Glenn Jones was a bit dry but right into my alley and the awesome Chris Messina did a nice wrap-up of the "The open, social web"

It really was a nice mix between webdesign and webdevelopment and the scale of the event was small enough so that at the very nice afterevent (yeah, free beer by Netlog !) you actually had a chance to talk to all of the speakers.
Apart from the great speakers, it was really nice to meet so many old and new contacts, the after event with DJ boskabout really was the cherry on the pie

I don't think I was the only one who liked it: I've seldomly read such raving comments on twitter about a conference!

All in all Filip Bunkens and Simon Schoeters did a GREAT job organising the event, I think absolutely everybody had a great day and absolutely everybody also is hoping they can pull a version 2 out of their hats sometime in the future.

TWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIST !!!!

Tags: in English, Web 2.0Geef je reactie (2)
 

Lo-tech

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lo-tech twittering by @sasvangent #twiistbe

 


(Posted by mobile phone)

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And the winner is ... Twoddler !

I didn't win any prizes today at the Inca award ceremony, but that's OK: the 10 finalists are all very fine projects and totally deserve the spotlight.
After much suspense in the final moments, the winner turned out to be Twoddler : an series of Arduino powered twittering Fisher Price toys to keep track of and communicate with your toddlers.
Of course, the combination of Twitter and Arduino is a proven recepy for succes :-)

My personal favorite, Hupskadee, won Silver, as did startcomputer, Tableau and Ikkanhet

Congratulations to all!

I'm very sure my own projects will incarnate in another form one day: the game engine behind Inca - the game will find a place as online emerald mine engine, to play the gazzilion of levels made in the 80's and early 90's at emeraldmines.net.
The technology behind Lopend Vuur has found it's place in a bigger backend framework and turned out to be commercially interesting.
Wamm.be will stay at wamm.be. I'm sure this idea will get picked up sooner or later.

The inca-ceremony was hosted at the iminds event.
iminds was OK, but I kind of expected a bit more: it felt a bit like one giant IBBT commercial - which is understandable and perfectly fine as they organised (and paid for) everything. The interaction with the enterpreneur-centered  audience and the (sometimes) politic speakers was euhm ... interesting by moments :-)
Anyway, it was nice to meet new and old contacts, saw lots of  interesting projects and .... got inspired.

Kudos again to the Inca-team for a very wonderful initiative.
I hope they come up with a second run in some form in the future.

Tags: in English, TinkeringGeef je reactie (0)
 

Inca award

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WOW - that where some insane last few hours monday night, but big fun!
monday at midnight was the deadline for the Inca award

The INCA (Innovative and Creative Application) Award is an open competition for developers, encouraging them to build applications which are both “cool and useful”.

 

I first heard about it at barcamp and immediately thought "Hey! that's my cup of tea"!
After all, creating small(-ish) fun web apps is something I do to ease my mind :-)
The competition was open for about a month and you had to build a new application.

I entered 3 apps (yes THREE - that's a bit insane ...)

  • Inca - the game (that was just for fun - not very useful in a social way but VERY cool :-) )
  • Lopend Vuur: an application to quickly reach the relevant group of people in case of a logistic emergency with your kids (together with Beate from e-zen who came up with the idea)
  • Wamm: which was an idea of Pieter Theuns. it's a fun way of nailing an "agreement" between two people for small favours (like borrowing a book etc...)

More on that later, I'm especially fond of my solution to handle the SMS traffic of both Lopend Vuur and Wamm: instead of setting up an expensive external 2-way sms gateway, everything is running from a small GSM modem that's sitting at my home: just plug in a SIM card with heaps of cheap (or even free) SMS credits and you're good to go.
The only drawback is that the throughput is rather small - it can only send 1 SMS each 4 seconds or something - but for most projects that's more then fast enough.

I really liked the Inca contest. Not for the contest itself, but it really created some vibes in the Belgian developers "scene" with lot's of people building stuff just for the fun of it - or to show of - or to build something useful ... but mainly, because they WANTED so, not because a big paying customer (or a big nasty boss) wanted them to.
That "bottom up" approach is exactly the type of thinking Inca was designed to stimulate, and I think they succeeded very nicely: 35 applications where submitted and amongst them some real gems.

My favorites (apart from my own of course):

  • Twoddler (cool!)
  • Verdwaald vuil (looks absolutely gorgeous)
  • TVtweets (good idea)
  • Mijn lucht (brilliant in its simplicity)
  • Hupskadee (excels in about everything: both design and technical implementation is fabulous: /me jealous!  I think they are heading for the number one spot in the competition)

Again - it's notable how ubiquitous Twitter is ... 7 applications have something to do with twitter in some way, that's 20% !

Anyway ... I'm also glad it's over :-) (back to more sane working hours)
I'm hoping to meet some of the teams at the iMinds conference, 12th of may 

 

Tags: in English, Programming, Tinkering, Web 2.0Geef je reactie (1)
 

Inca09 - The Game


My first submission to the inca-award contest is about ready.
Old scool gameplay for the win!

Woo the jury and collect als much good ideas as you can.
Show your clever tricks by solving the puzzles.

Create your own levels using the online leveleditor, So if you ever wanted to create a game starring Bnox, Dries Buytaert, Robin Wauters, Bart Becks or Luc Tayart, here's your change.
More info at http://www.stef.be/projects/inca

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Talking about the future of applications

At Barcamp Antwerp I was interviewed by the nice people of the IBBT in the light of their Inca Awards.
They asked me what my vision was on the future of application developement.
A though question but my 2 main points seemed to be

  1. Make sure you can inject your passion into your project and don't forget to have fun
  2. Keep it simple but don't forget the WOW-effect and build something people can relate to

Hmmm, only 10 days left for the Inca-awards deadline ...
Am I going to participate?
Why offcourse !!!
The first project is almost finished and should be released next monday.
Then on the the next one! :-)

Tags: in English, Programming, TinkeringGeef je reactie (1)
 

E-textile LED matrix - part 1

I finished the first segment of the tweetshirt 2.0 today.

It's a 8x8 matrix of superflux RGB leds stitched to a piece of textile.
Darn! It took me me 4 evenings to sew the 64 leds on the cloth with conductive thread I got from sparkfun.com.

Deze afbeelding in een nieuw scherm openen
This is the backside - 256 connection points.
The worst part is that the thread frays like mad so you really have to be very careful with the amount of stitches you can make.

Deze afbeelding in een nieuw scherm openen
This is the front side

Deze afbeelding in een nieuw scherm openen
It's hyperflexible and very wearable, allthough I'll have to add some insulating layers to keep the thread from short-circuiting (which is harmless with such low voltages and leds)

Next step is to figure out a decent way to hook it up to the Arduino. I could use a Lilypad of course, which is designed for these things, but I want to keep it more modular and simple.
The goal is to have more then one of these patches connected  together to form a bigger display, so I have to figure out some protocol to control multiple matrixes with 1 controller.
Probably I'll attach a shiftregister to each matrix and connect those to the arduino.
It would be really cool if I could manage to make each matrix a bit standalone so I could just chain the next patch with 4 metal push-buttons ... well, that may be one bridge too far - we'll see.

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Barcamp Antwerpen - Video

Mijn Arduino presentatie op Barcamp Antwerpen is blijkbaar ook op video opgenomen.

Dikke merci aan Wannes voor de opname!
Op www.barcampantwerpen.org vind je een volledig overzicht. 

Voor @sasvangent: De visuele tool om Arduino code te schrijven waarnaar ik refereerde als antwoord op je vraag heet Amici en is van Eduwear: Children Designing Tangible and Wearable Computing for Playful Educational Purposes Tags: in 't Nederlands, Lifelog, VideoGeef je reactie (1)
 

Barcamp Antwerpen - Arduino slides

En dan was ik de slides nog vergeten: bij deze

Klikken om verder te gaan, in de linkeronderhoek klikken om terug te gaan.
Voor de Barcamp site: de embed code is
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Barcamp Antwerpen

Dit weekend was het Barcamp Antwerpen.
Een grote groep enthousiaste geeks komen er samen om hun kennis en passie te delen.
Ook dit keer zinderde de lucht van creativiteit,
Toffe mensen allemaal die de meest uitlopende onderwerpen kwamen voorstellen gaande van zeer technische sessies rond webservices tot ontspannende dans-initiatie.
Je hoofd gaat een beetje zoemen op den duur van zoveel input op korte tijd maar je komt er steeds stuiterend van motivatie van terug.
Teveel indrukken om op te noemen maar ik pik er toch een paar uit.
De sessie rond Google-adSense tips van Beate vond ik zeer interessant, geweldig hoeveel expertise zij op dat gebied in huis heeft. Bert Goethals heeft mij kunnen overtuigen met zijn charmante uitleg om toch eens een projectje in Ruby on rails te doen - lijkt me wel een framework waarin ik mij thuis voel.
Kodel kwam vertellen over zijn RC Airplane autopilot project - WAUW - erg knap - ik ben stiekem stikjaloers op de kennis die daar allemaal rondspookt in zijn hoofd.
Doordat er meerdere presentaties tegelijkertijd doorgaan is het altijd een hartverscheurend kiezen.
Ik vond het vooral jammer dat ik @emich zijn uitleg over zijn mobiele GPS toepassing moest missen. Zijn D.I.Y-attitude is volledig in lijn met mijn eigen drijfveer en eigenlijk had ik zijn presentatie gewoon MOETEN zien. Stom van mij.
Gelukkig werd er druk getwitterd, gefotografeerd en gevideod, dus ik hoop dat ik achteraf nog wat kan inhalen.

Verfrissend aan deze barcamp was dat er veel nieuwe gezichten waren, leuk om jullie te leren kennen. (Al heb ik zoals steeds achteraf spijt dat ik niet met MEER mensen een babbeltje heb gedaan)

Deze afbeelding in een nieuw scherm openen Ikzelf gaf een presentatie over hoe ik de Arduino ga inschakelen om een volgende versie van mijn tweetshirt te maken.
Fijn om zoveel positieve reacties te krijgen. Ik zou liegen als ik zou zeggen dat het niet enorm leuk is om tweets zoals deze te lezen.
De slides van mijn presentatie vind je alvast hieronder (sorry, niet op slideshare omdat de presentatie in Flash is gemaakt en slideshare daar niets mee kan aanvangen)
De slides op zich zeggen niet veel. In de komende dagen/weken zal ik ook de broncode en de filmpjes van de Arduino demo's publiceren. (De foto is gemaakt door m'ken)

Een dikke merci aan alle mensen die dit weer mogelijk hebben gemaakt, ook aan de sponsors, Nucleus, Nespresso (wat werkelijk echt lekkere koffie is), The parkinglot, Devia, 10to1, Chocolateque. Een speciale dank aan @jakkepoes voor de overheerlijke brownies waarvan ik er onfatsoenlijk veel naar binnen heb gewerkt en uiteraard een SUPER dikke merci aan de onvermoeibare wervelwind die Barcamp Antwerpen dit keer uit de grond heeft gestampt: Topanga oftwel Anne Verberckmoes.

 

Tags: Arduino, Blogging, in 't Nederlands, LifelogGeef je reactie (2)
 

soon in a Twunch near you

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Hoara!
Vandaag wordt @twunch 1 jaar, en om dat te vieren was er vandaag een SUPERtwunch op de locatie waar het allemaal begon: De Quick in Berchem
Voor diegene zie iets hebben van euh ... Twunch? .... zie hierzo.

Om het twunchen nog laagdrempeliger te maken is er nu ook de oplossing voor een netelig probleem.
Je kent dat wel: je bent nog nooit naar een twunch geweest en kent die twittermensen enkel van naam.
Schoorvoetend kom je dan aan de twunch-locatie en kijkt wat onwennig rond.
Hoe herken je nu je mede-twunchers? Je hebt ze immers nog nooit in levende lijve mogen aanschouwen ...
Als je iemand op zijn smartphone ziet prutsen is de kans al groot dat je beet hebt, maar soms is het niet zo simpel.
Maar wat zie je daar op zijn "manbag" gespeld? Jawel! het is de overal-te-herkennen twunch-badge.
Aha! probleem opgelost.

de twunch-badges zijn vanaf vandaag gratis verkrijgbaar "at your local twunch"
Iedereen die vandaag op de Twunch was heeft er alvast een paar om uit te delen.

Ook op Barcamp Antwerpen zaterdag zullen ze verspreid worden. (zolang de voorraad strekt, de oplage is momenteel nog lichtjes beperkt - klamp me gerust aan mocht je er 1 willen)

Update:
and look how WRRAORRrr those badges look! (on Sasvangent that is ...)

Maxvoltar also took some pictures. Thanks!

Tags: Gadgets, in 't Nederlands, Lifelog, Web 2.0Geef je reactie (0)