Wednesday, June 4, 2008


It's an ever-continuing debate: what is better, a graphical user interface, or a command-line interface? Graphical user interfaces may be easier to learn, but complicated operations may require a lot more user input than with a command line interface, which can perform several complicated operations by using a short sequence of words and characters. However, a CLI has a much steeper learning curve than a GUI. Google has always had a certain CLI-quality to it, and Stefan Grothkopp decided to take this a few steps further: say hello to Goosh.

Goosh, the Google Shell, is a command-line interface of the many functions Google provides, allowing you to do all sorts of cool things. For instance, translate nl en "lang leve de CLI!" will translate said sentence from Dutch (Netherlandic, "nl") to English. See the image below to get an idea.

Type 'help' to get a list of some commands you could use

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Google Earth can now be used from a browser, without having to install the full application. Instead of the application, you need to install a plug-in that only works in Firefox and Internet Explorer 6/7 on Windows.

Google also launched an JavaScript API that lets you interact with the globe, draw markers, add layers or integrate with Google Maps. "The Google Earth Plug-in and its APIs let you embed the full power of Google Earth and its 3D rendering capabilities into your web pages." Google LatLong blog announced that each Google Maps mashup can take advantage of the new 3D view by adding a single line of code. "Our goal is to open up the entire core of Google Earth to developers in the hopes that you'll build the next great geo-based 3D application, and change how we view the world."

The samples look pretty promising, but I find it hard to understand why Google didn't use the API to create a better experience and bring more features from Google Earth (the search box, the list of overlays, the navigation controls) in a single interface.

Before downloading the plugin, please note that Google installs it in Firefox and Internet Explorer, along with a system service called "Google Update Service". The plug-in uses a lot of memory (around 100 MB just for loading the initial view and 300 MB for the Monster Milktruck demo) and, for each embedded object, you're running an instance of the Google Earth application.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Google Android application challenge winners

The Google Android team recently launched a challenge to encourage development for their new cellphone based platform. Part of the first phase was to narrow down the 1,788 submissions to the best 50 application ideas. They've posted the complete list of winners on their website and put together a little slide show(PDF) as well. As part of the challenge some $10,000,000 is up for grabs from Google.

I browsed through the list and found a lot of social this and family that; nothing overly exciting honestly. There were a few interesting application ideas in there though:
  1. BioWallet - Biometric authentication system that uses iris identification.
  2. Talkplay - Video and voice message system, see and talk to your friends while on the go.
  3. Writing Pad - A unique way to enter text into your phone where common words are replaced by simple strokes.
The Android platform will probably cause the largest adoption of Linux based cellphones yet. C't wait to see what the homebrew community does with the platform and so much development for an unlaunched phone is amazing. Apple seems to go out of their way to lock us out, where this platform couldn't be more open. With 3G support, WiFi, SQlite, Virtual Machines, GPS and much more what's not to like.

Have any of you experimented with the Android SDK?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AU Optronics to Demo World's First Curved LCD

AU Optronics said Monday that it had developed the world's first LCD display.

The display, to be shown this week at the SID (Society for Information Display) Display Week 2008, uses a conventional TFT-LCD process. According to the company, the glass curves 100 mm.

AUO said the new technology could be used for artistic representations of LCD screens, such as clocks or watches, or automobile dashboards. Technically, however, it provides a uniform representation, losing neither color fidelity or brightness, at least according to AUO.

AUO also said it would be demonstrating an ultra thin 1.9-inch TFT-LCD with a thickness of merely 0.63mm, as well as a 1.8-inch LCD multitouch touchscreen with the touch capability integrated into the glass, instead of via an additional layer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ubuntu Cheat Sheet

You can trust the wealth of commands listed here. I found them very useful when I installed Ubuntu and used it for the first time. One of the very important commands every Linux user has to know is the man command. It's the short form of manual and it gives you all you need to know about other commands on your box. All you have to do is type the man command and the name of the command you want to read about. And Voila!

For Example:

ewurah# man gedit
will give you the manual of gedit.

Click here to download.