Thursday Feb 12, 2009

The Most Pervasive and Powerful Mobile Platform is Now the Most Expressive



Today has been a big day over in JavaFX land.  JavaFX 1.1 has just been released with full mobile support and the halls around SCA22 couldn't be buzzing more with excitement. We have had several partners announce their support for JavaFX. Want to learn more? Head over to JavaFX.COM and read all about it. While you're there, play around with some of the samples and download the newest version.  Remember, the most pervasive mobile platform is now the most expressive. Enjoy your day! :-)

Friday Aug 15, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

Hello everyone! I have been a quiet blogger this week as it has literally gotten away from me! I am knee deep in a bunch of very cool things that I can't talk about quite yet, but when I can, you will be stoked! This week was hectic, as I mentioned before, but we recorded two new podcasts for "This Ain't Your Dad's Java" and those will be up on iTunes and on our RSS Feed early next week. These two episodes are called "The One About the Twins" and "The One About Media Elitists".  In any case, I wanted to introduce you to my artist of the week before the week was officially over. This week I am bringing you one of my top 10 bands of all time, if not in my top 3... from the moment I heard them in the late 90s I knew I was going to be in love with them from that point forward. This week I am featuring none other than the band Travis.

  Travis was one of the most prominent British traditional rock bands in the mid- to late '90s. Following Oasis' lead of crafting down-to-earth, heartfelt songs in the vein of classic British bands from the '60s, Travis was more successful and enduring than some of their peers due to their lively, impassioned songwriting and performances. The group formed in Glasgow around 1990 as something of a lark for its members, singer/songwriter Francis Healy, guitarist Andy Dunlop, drummer Neil Primrose, and bassist Dougie Payne. After finishing their studies at art school a few years later, the foursome became more serious about Travis' potential and moved to London in 1996. Their self-released debut EP, All I Wanna Do Is Rock, came out in the fall of that year; with its earnest vocals and soaring guitars, it captured the spirit of British rock at the time, which was retreating from some of Britpop's artiness to a back-to-basics sound. Their second single, 1997's "U16 Girls," was released by Independiente Records, the new label headed by former Go! Discs director Andy MacDonald; a few months later, their critically acclaimed full-length debut, "Good Feeling", arrived. Recorded in a matter of days with top producer Steve Lillywhite, the album included hit singles like "Happy" and "Tied to the '90s" and immediately entered the Top Ten of the U.K. charts. The following year, Travis began sessions with star producer Nigel Godrich for the follow-up to Good Feeling, recording in six studios in as many months. Though it was a slower, darker affair, when "The Man Who" appeared in 1999 it eclipsed Travis' previous successes, going platinum six times in the U.K. and spawning more hit singles such as "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" and "Writing to Reach You." Nominated Select Magazine's Album of the Year (and finishing in the Top Ten of many other publication's year-end lists), The Man Who appeared on U.S. shores in early 2000, just in time for a tour with their musical big brothers, Oasis. Debuting at the number one spot on the U.K. album chart, "The Invisible Band" was issued in June 2001 just prior to stateside summer gigs with Dido. Two years later, the band issued "12 Memories", which was followed in late 2004 with the singles collection "Singles". Travis finally returned with an album of all-new material in the spring of 2007 entitled "The Boy with No Name", whose arrival was announced by the release of the single "Closer." Chris Martin from Coldplay has said on more than one occasion that Coldplay is "the poor man's Travis" and were known to cover Travis songs early on in their career.  

I was fortunate to be able to catch Travis twice last year at The Fillmore (once on their way to Coachella and once in support of their new album) and I have seen them many times before. During their last show (in November) Fran mentioned that they would be going right back into the studio to work on a new album.  "Ode to J. Smith" is deemed to be their loudest, edgiest and most arresting record since their debut. Written in 5 weeks and recorded in just 14 days, its the sound of a band re-born, re-inspired and re-energized. Yesterday, Fran wrote a blog about their first single from the new album titled "Something Anything" . As promised, its rockier, its edgier and it's making me super, super excited for the album. I have already pre-ordered it and I can't wait until the single hits! Lucky for us, the boys have already made the video and I am leaving it with you hear for you viewing and hearing pleasure. Go out and invest in all of Travis' albums; I can promise you that your ears (and the boys themselves!) will thank you. Happy weekend! Enjoy your day! :-D




Wednesday Jun 04, 2008

Mobile Devices: Let the Games Begin

Happy Wednesday everyone! I was reading an article by Jonathan Erickson on Dr. Dobbs that I thought I would share with all of you regarding gaming and mobile devices... enjoy: 

So if our (technological) future is to be a mobile one, why not throw games into the mix?

"Why not, indeed?" asks Xavier Carrillo-Costa, CEO of Digital Legends, a developer of 3D games for mobile platforms. After all, says Carrillo-Costa, with 1 GB (or larger) hard disks, 200-MHz (or more) CPUs, hardware acceleration, and the capabilities for instantly generating 300,000 polygons, a typical cell phone sounds like a better gaming platform than, say, the much less powerful Nintendo DS.

Moreover, based on installed base numbers, the market opportunities seem to favor "converged" mobile devices (like mobile phones). For instance, according to Carrillo-Costa, the worldwide installed base of the PlayStation 3 is 12.8 M, the Xbox 360 is 19 M, PlayStation Portable (PSP) at 23.4 M, the Wii at 24 M, and the Nintendo DS at 70 M, while converged mobile devices are at 118 M. In short, there's a huge space opening for games that run on mobile devices. And already, the nascent generation of 3D mobile games support features that gamers expect--sight, voice, touch, location, and the like.

Okay, I really don't think for a minute that a hard-core gamer is going to be playing Grand Theft Auto on a mobile phone nonstop for 16 straight hours. That said, it is surprising to learn that most video games on mobile devices are played at home, instead of on a park bench or in Algebra class.

But there's still some cool stuff happening. For instance, widget implementations of some console games are becoming available for mobile phones, letting gamers score points that are then synchronized/combined with the console version for a continuous gaming experience.

But what needs to happen for mobile games to evolve from a good idea to an idea whose time has come, says Carrillo-Costa, are two things:

  • Better controls. This might mean design and accommodation for wireless controls, like those gamers are familiar with. After all, wireless keyboards are already available for converged mobile devices (like cell phones). Or, more importantly, it might mean cell phone keypads designed with games in mind, with dual-meaning keys and the like.
  • Open APIs that link to consoles.

All in all, this seems reasonable--unless, I suppose, you happen to be a console vendor. However, ignoring these suggestions/requests, which really doesn't require effort or expense, is simply treading water on the part of console vendors because, in the long run, console quality games for mobile devices will be commonplace.

Monday Apr 28, 2008

Social Networking Your Music with Java ME.

Happy Monday everyone. In between recording webinars with my partner in all things social media, Heidi, having to re-shoot videos because we were laughing too hard and planning for all things JavaOne, I was able to catch up a bit on some cool technology news. Strands, the team behind the social music site, MyStrands, have updated their Social Media Player for Symbian S60 and Java equipped phones. Picking up all the music on your device, Strands can recommend similar artists and songs, match you up with users that have similar musical tastes, and helps you navigate your musical neighborhood.  The cool news about this update is the inclusion of support for Last.fmand the sending of your track information to that service too. I think that is pretty sweet and will have to test it out on my Java enabled mobile phone...stay tuned on how it works for me...its not like I need any other excuse to get more music on my phone. ;-) 


Maybe I'm Right: One girl's thoughts on life, work, music, and the latest hot technology.


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