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Introduction to Wearables (part 1)

Wearable devices are definitely one of the most exciting and coolest technologies of 2014 along with drones and smart cars. Hardware producers, software companies and even start-ups are pushing the boundaries beyond what is just being on a handheld device, struggling to open new challenges and attract new customers. Something similar has been already seen when smartphones were just at the beginning of their appearance, but this time the purposes and targets of this technology are a little bit different. It is not just a matter of keeping the user connected with the World outside but it’s more about offering him new services, getting more from/into his life. Sensors can collect data about user activities (heart rate, pedometer, burn calories, sleep hours…) allowing to know more from the user’s context and his behaviors. Embedding them on wearable devices(smartwatches, rings, betls,…) can grant almost a 24 hours coverage, attracting the user to use something that he is already used to wear but with more functionalities and fancier. Read the rest of this entry

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First time at #droidconuk :)

Hi all,
at the end of last week, after the Apps World conference, I went to the Droidcon conference here in London. It has been an event full of Android rock stars and full of good speeches like the one of Facebook, ProGuard and Gradle.

This time I don’t want to spend many words but only give some pics from that experience.

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“Just #Google it!”

I have started this post almost one month ago but I’m finding now the time to write something about one of the coolest companies in the World. I have never had the opportunity to work there but, as user and mobile developer, I have certainly noticed that in the last 15 years Google has changed the Web and in particular the life of billions of people.

Through products like its famous search engine, the Android OS, Google Plus, Chrome and dozens of other projects Google is gaining day by day more success and people that trust in its goals. If you think about that, every company tries to earn more money and to acquire more users but Google has something more: the desire to grow not only as a supremacy but as a vector of evolution for the entire World.

That’s not obvious because most of the people, especially in the IT world, tend to be more closed than opened to resources and tools sharing. Google thinks different and that’s the power and one of the aspects those have make it great!
I’m not saying that every product, every library and everything produced by this company is perfect or something that only a bunch of genius can produce but I would like to highlight the main purpose behind their business: make the life of everyone better.

Sometimes it quite difficult to maintain those kind of standards because if the other companies and competitors think in the opposite way, offering them a lot of useful tools can be quite painful. But if you consider the purpose of make the World better, that can be used to maintain alive the competition and the desire of discover new things.

As Android Developer, I’m really grateful to a company of this caliber because I have got the big opportunity to work in a world that without Google wouldn’t be so great and close at the same time. Working everyday on the mobile OS that is on the top of the edge makes me really proud and happy because, using a set of tools that’s offered for free, is giving me the possibility to do my own business but at the same time the possibility to work for something that goes beyond that.

There are a lot of big and good company all around the World but I’ll definitely continue to support Big G if they’ll continue in this way 🙂

Taking pics easily with #WeddingSnap

On 17th September I have taken part into WeddingSnap project as Android consultant and developer. At first, I was so confused and astonished by the idea that a guest takes pictures with his phone at a wedding. But after a few days I have noticed that this is a great idea! Far from Italian traditions, catching pics socially is a great thing because it increases and amplifies the sense of friendship and closeness between people. In fact, if you consider that we are talking about unforgettable and precious moments you’ll certain understand that the bride and groom want all best things in their precious day.

15 years ago we were used to take pictures through simple cameras but now, in an era governed by most famous social networks and technologies, we are using smartphones more and more. WeddingSnap tries to collect these special moments merging wedding’s pictures into shared album, avoiding  useless tricks to share pics between guests. Through this idea all people involved in a wedding can take and share a lot of photo shoots without caring of number limits and distribuition of them.

In just one month the Android app is grown quickly, giving to this project a great contribuition. In particular, if you decide to take a look on GooglePlay, you’ll find these new features:

  • Off-line mode: you can collect pictures without connection and upload them in another moment
  • Share: you were so marvellous at your friend wedding! Why not share that shoot on Facebook or Twitter?
  • Get it! now you can download on your phone pictures shared by other guests!
  • Fastness and responsiveness: old version of WS were too slow… and now it looks very fast!
  • Delete it! Don’t worry if you have upload the worst picture of the Wedding!
  • Several improvements on errors! have you noticed that now app is more stable?

If you aren’t ready for your first, second,….. wedding, give a look at ForeverSnap! You aren’t forced to use a wedding app if you only want to collect other events pics 😉

The fall of Facebook: the rebirth of social.

FB on Nasdaq

FB on NASDAQ

The title is just a provocation because it’s not only referred to Facebook but to all those kinds of social networks which are similar to it. In particular I’m referring to all social networks which are based on the concepts of groups and closures. If you think just a few moments to the reasons that have led you to join them you’ll find a strange need to spy people which live near you. Maybe I’m exaggerating but how many times have you looked at some pictures of your neighbour or your classmate or your workmate without knowing him/her? I really don’t believe that at least one time you don’t have done it. Features like people tagging, friends tips,… have helped you to perform these kind of actions in a simply way without thinking of it. Sometimes it’s very easy to hide ourself behind a screen to view many different contents but unfortunately you end up to use these social networks only to inspect contents and other lives without contributing to the real sense of Social.

In my opinion social networks like Facebook, Google+,… will not have much future because they only move the concept of friendship circles into them without offering features related to real needs of people. They work only as people’s boxes leaving them the possibility to choose what kind of box to create into them: and this is the failure of the system. In this way they split two times their user base loosing great opportunities.

I think that we can consider some important notices/considerations of the recent moments to prove that this kind of social manner will be a complete failure:

  • Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 billion
  • Facebook on NASDAQ: is glorious as everyone expected?
  • Google+: is it different from Facebook or just same box with different presentation-logic layer?
  • What are the difference in Twitter, Instagram or Foursquare?

In the last month Facebook has acquired the “new” social platform Instagram. Someone have said “this is a moved to bring the Mark Zuckerberg creation to the Chinese world” but in my opinion it’s is an investment in a network that can really bring the concept of social to the extreme level. On Instagram you receive many good feedbacks on your photos without reducing your perspectives only to small boxes and increasing your sense of satisfaction. If you think to the American NASDAQ, Facebook is entered with a great value for every stock quote but loosing many points in just some days. Actually its value is increased (3.22%) but I think that in the next month it will decrease again. The Instagram purchase will be a good choice to improve Facebook service and at the same time the interst of many user. On the other hand if you consider Big G with its social network you’ll find a service similar to Facebook but that force you to migrate to another platform. This is boring and I don’t believe that it’ll be massively used. I have to admit that Google+ is very well integrated with other Google services but it’s not enough to be innovative. So if you consider other social platform like Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare, Grooveshark… you have to understand that their power states into a single great box, not in just many small realities, and that they work in a single field that involves thousand and thousand of people. I hope this not seems cynical but this is what I am seeing in this Wide World Web.

As developer I think that all kind of applications and systems (except for low level ones) have to include and support social features, the most used of the moment, because in this way they can interact with an immense user base, granting themself more visibility and popularity.

What do you think? Am I a black dolly that thinks only strange things? 😛

How was the ICT Trade in Ferrara?

In the last two days (8th-9th May) I have participated with father as C.L.T Computers to ICT Trade in Ferrara. In this particular event organized by Sirmi we have seen the most important brands on the Italian scenario like Oracle, HP, Tech Data, Ingram Micro, Telecom,… and many other ones!

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On May 8, Maurizio Cuzari opened the show presenting all that sponsors and talking with them and our about new strategies and solutions against the crisis that is pervading all the world and Italy. So I have learned the real mean of many terms like Channel and Cloud and how this means interact with these companies and their partners. Many of them believe that the idea of Cloud will open in the near feature many new possibilities and opportunities to build new business. In my opinion this is a great possibility but it has to be completed and surrounded by other useful services: money saving and data persistence are primary goals but without services, apps and programs that can solve users problems are useless.

On May 9, we have started our trip visiting stands and having a look to some workshops: in particular we have seen the services offered by Telecom and by Ingram Micro. In the afternoon we had a very interesting meeting with Asus and I had the opportunity to touch and use the most wonderful products of the moment: the Zenbook and the android PadFone. I think that they are nice and cool devices that in a contained price (especially for the PadFone: 2 fast devices in 699€  is a good compromise) offers a good user experience.

Finally the idea that I have stolen from this experience is that it’s a strange and sad period for our peninsula and Europe but there are basic signals from the IT world those make to hope in a better feature.

ICT Days: from Hackathon with love

ICT Days 2012

ICT Days 2012

In the last three days I have participated with some university friends to ICT Days: in particular to Hackathon.

The Hackathon is a challenge in which some teams have  a funny experience in android development and in which a jury choose the best and the most innovative idea.
In our team we have developed a sort of music player that allows user to search song by artist or title in the giant and confused web, playing them like streams.

Based on the idea of Andrea Martinelli (one member of our hackathon team), we have developed, all togheter, an android version base on the original’s core, but with features like a real media player, in which the application does the things for you after your choice.

 

Songr

Songr

Considering that the application involves features like REST, MediaPlayer, Services and android IPC, I think that it’s a great goal in two days.

Now I really want to thank all the people those have participated, supported and helped in these marvellous days.
In particular thank to:

  • my patient girlfriend Erika Baldo
  • Andrea Martinelli, Paolo Sottovia, Roberto Faresin and Simone Casagranda (app developers)
  • Alessandro Tomasi, Aaron Ciaghi and Pietro Molini