Cloud storage is here! (version 0.1)

Among many minor (and major) fixes, I’ve added cloud storage.
This means you can now login on any computer, tablet or smartphone and keep working on the same data, no matter you are.
For me this is the first version that is actually usable and useful.

The software is still full of bugs, but the basics should work. Note that is was developed on Chrome, but not tested on other browsers. More platforms will be supported in a future version.
Keep in mind that it is possible that your data will get deleted or messed up in the beta stage.

The next version 0.2 will be mainly cosmetic. It will change from 1 panel to a 3-panel responsive view. The basic idea is that the left panel will be the list navigation, the center panel is the current list that is viewed, and the right panel becomes the edit form.

Go ahead, test drive the app here.

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Drag and drop sorting

A new version 0.077 is available on http://www.innersky.com/todo.

I added drag and drop reordering. This should work on desktops as well as on touch devices like a phone or tablet.
Note: tap and hold (for about 0.5 second) is needed to preserve scrolling functionality on touch devices.

I wonder if this works on Windows 8 devices, both desktop and mobile…

Next feature to implement: cloud storage.

 

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First Little Demo

You can find version 0.008 on http://www.innersky.com/todo a little demo of the todo app, so you can get a first look and feel of the program. I just added inline editing.

It only does a few basic functions for now:

CRUD (Create Read Update and Delete)
Should work in any browser/device
Import/export your data
Works only with local data, so if you switch browser or device you will not get the same data back.

Please do not that this is a very early demo version. It will get incremental functions, and become more useful as I work on it.

Adding cloud storage will make this program actually usable.

But more on that part later. For now I focus on something that is easy to use and just works.

Next feature thing to implement: drag and drop reordering.

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Building a Todo App

A while ago I started thinking about using something better then the todo.txt file I’ve been using for many years. While it more or less gets the job done, it does have several issues:

  • it’s bound to a single computer (no cloud sync)
  • it’s ugly
  • no advanced features

So I looked at existing solutions. And I found and tested many many web apps, smartphone apps, desktop apps… There aren’t many that run on any device, easy to use and at the same time powerful and feature-rich. In fact, none of them did fall in my basic requirements. These requirements should be at least: a universal todo app with GTD features that runs on any platform (desktop and mobile), is easy to use, fast and has cloud sync.
So what do you do if want you need or want does not exist? Right, you build it yourself.
As I soon found out, that’s easier said then done. But I’m getting there slowly.

Current status

I’ve looked at many technologies, but html5/CSS3/js clearly is the way to go. If you want to make an app, and have it work on several different devices, you do not want to use several different programming languages to make it happen, that is too much work and almost impossible to maintain.
So I’ve been building some prototypes. I’m at a point where I almost have somtehing to show you. A basic crud todo list that runs in the browser.

The process

Every time I add a new feature or fix a bug, I’ll make the changes and post about it so you can test it.
On that post you can comment about it.
So once I have done this change, I’ll think about the next most important thing that should change, and at the end of this post, I will include it.

This process will repeat until I’m happy with the final result.

At this time no program to show yet, but it’s almost ready.
I’m currently working on inline editing, and when that part is ready I’ll post the link to the program.

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Nieuwsbox kan je vinden op http://www.nieuwsbox.be

Wat?

Deze website is de snelste manier om het nieuws te lezen op het internet. Deze is uitermate geschikt voor smartphone, tablet en desktop.

 

Het is een snelle, eenvoudige mobiele website, maar gedraagt zich als een mobiele app, welke werkt op eender welk toestel en browser

De nieuwsfeeds worden binnengehaald op de achtergrond, waardoor de website zeer snel werkt
De items die in het vet staan zijn diegene die je nog niet hebt gezien.

En het is gratis. Veel plezier!

 

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Arduino Starter Kit

There are lots of Arduino starter kits available, but none of them cover my specific starter needs. So I decided to pick one that more or less has the basic component set, and I filled it up with a few other components that I plan on using in the very near future.

First the obvious, I’ll need an Arduino board. For this sake I’ve chosen the Arduino Uno Rev 3 as that is the most popular board available. This way it will be compatible with most of the projects one can find on the internet. Recently the newer Leonardo has become available, and I’m pretty sure that this new board is better than the Uno, but it would also complicate things for a beginner like me.

The kit I chose was just one that was in stock :-) It had already an Uno R3 in it, a breadboard and assorted jumpwires, some resistors, some extra LEDs, switches and a bunch of other commonly used components in electronics.

For my personal needs, I added some extra LEDs (you can never have enough LEDs), some 7-segment LED numeric diplays, a LDR, an IRDA LED, a temperature sensor. That should get me started. Now why does it always take so much time for delivery? I’m already waiting a whole day ;-)

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Arduino resources page.

A resources page has been added that contains every website/project/guide/whatever I find interesting about the Arduino platform. Every time I find a new interesting resouce I’ll add it there, so the page will be updated regulary. If you know a link that’s interesting, feel free to let me know in the comments.
This page can be found here.

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Using Arduino to build a cellphone.

This must be the coolest electronics project I’ve seen so far. This dude built a working cellphone using Arduino.

An exploration into the possibilities for individual construction and customization of the most ubiquitous of electronic devices, the cellphone. By creating and sharing open-source designs for the phone’s circuit board and case, we hope to encourage a proliferation of personalized and diverse mobile phones. Freed from the constraints of mass production, we plan to explore diverse materials, shapes, and functions. We hope that the project will help us explore and expand the limits of do-it-yourself (DIY) practice. How close can a homemade project come to the design of a cutting edge device? What are the economics of building a high-tech device in small quantities? Which parts are even available to individual consumers? What’s required for people to customize and build their own devices?

The source code, circuit design files (Eagle), and case design files (Inkscape) are hosted in thedamellis/cellphone repository on GitHub.

More on his Website

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I just discovered something previously totally out of my reach. Single-board microcontroller programming/hardware building. In fact, originally I wanted to study electronics, but along the way ended up in software development.
Arduino is an open source hardware/software platform with a huge following. Their most popular microcontroller board is the Arduino Uno. Other platforms do exist, but arduino is the biggest one. Really, there are thousands of resources to be found on the interwebs about this little critter.
Basically it does this: you plug it in your computer, you write a program for it, upload it to the board and the board will take it from there. It will (when powered) execute your program automnomously. Of course, you’ll need to add some hardware to it in order to do something useful, like LEDs, motors, sensors, …

 

Open source hardware?
This means that you can look at the hardware design and build something similar based on it. There are many other boards based on the Arduino implementation.

 

What is so cool about the Arduino platform?

It’s open source, easy to start with, extremely cheap, versatile, has numerous of interfaces (you can connect anything electronic to it), expandable with shields, fast, easy to prototype, ….
One thing one cannot do (yet) is streaming video and the likes, however an arm-based version is in the works.
As a software developer, I think I may have a different point of view on this stuff than others do.
I already wanted to order one, but still waiting for the new ones that should be coming out soon.

 

Why Arduino?

I’ve looked at other platforms, but I chose this platform mainly because of the very big following (I think it’s the most poplular platform available today), and it’s relatively cheap. The only drawdown in my opion is the less powerfull platform. For example it will not do video streaming, doesn’t play high quality music. Actually it can play high quality music, or stream internet radio, but only using a mp3 shield. Because of this huge following, you can find many examples how to interface with other hardware.
This being said, I firmly belief that the current version packs plenty power for the most electronics projects. Plus, the new Arduino Due is around the corner (besides the cheaper less complex Leonardo) that is believed to have much more punch (ARM processor 32bit Cortex-M3 ARM running at 96MHz) than it’s predecessors.

 

Connectivity.
There are numerous electronic devices that can be connected to this board. Some directly, others via so-called shields. A shield is a specific function board that can easily be plugged on top of the main board. Some examples: wireless connections (wifi/bluetooth/RF/xBee/irDa…), (touch)screens, FM radio’s, ethernet, relays, … you can find an extensive list of shields here: http://shieldlist.org/
Note: multiple shields can be used together, if their connected pins are different.
Besides these shields, lots of simple devices can be connected almost directly to the main board : LED’s (using a resistor), a shipload of sensors, motors, …

 

Programming.
Programming happens in C++. Don’t let that scare you, it’s easier than you think. Plus there are a lot of libraries available that do the hard stuff for you. You write the program on your computer (Windows, Linux or OS/X) using the Arduino IDE, and when done transfer it via a standard usb cable to the board.

 

What’s next?
I will do some (hopefully a lot) small projects, beginning with some proof of concept projects, going to more useful projects, to finally end up in some bigger projects. (I plan to do my home automation project with this platform, eventually, but more on that later)
Imagine for a moment what awesome things one could create:
-domotics
-gps tracking/geofencing/…
-sensory networks
-robots
-monitoring
-remote control
-digital clocks
-thermometers
-funky led cubes
-controls stuff from the web
and whatever else your creative mind can come up with.

 

Some useful links.
Arduino.cc : the official home of arduino hardware and software
Freeduino : A lot of links to projects and examples
The wikipedia page
The biggest list of shields
Instructables projects
Makezine
Makezine projects
Tronixstuff

 

I hope this gives a first impression of the platform.

 

More later…

 

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The new iPad

That’s right, it’s not iPad 3 but Apple calls it The new iPad. It has 2048 by 1536 pixels retina display, which is very very sharp, 4G connectivity, an A5X processor dual core CPU, quad core graphics GPU, 5mp back camera. All with the same battery life of 10 hours, same price as the iPad 2.

All in all a very nice upgrade if you’re in the market for a new tablet.

Pricing for The new iPad remains the same as when the iPad 2 launched. Expect to pay $499, $599 and $699 for a 16GB, 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi only model, respectively. Wi-Fi + 4G variants will set you back $629, $729 and $829 for the same capacities. Pre-orders are being accepted now with availability starting March 16. A huge international rollout will take place on March 23.

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