Monday, June 22, 2015

Photoshop gets an open source, HTML5-based interface for app design [feedly]

Sounds cool

// Ars Technica

Adobe has announced "Photoshop Design Space," a new interface for Photoshop geared toward professional app and Web designers. The company calls the new interface "a companion experience" to the normal Photoshop UI, which is a streamlined interface consisting of the most-needed tools for app and Web design. The most interesting thing, though? Adobe designed this new interface in HTML5, and it's open source.

On the Design Space page, Adobe describes its reasoning: "Built with HTML5, Design Space enables our team to rapidly prototype, test, and iterate, while still remaining deeply integrated with the speed and reliability of Photoshop." Adobe maintains a GitHub page for the project where anyone can fork the Photoshop interface and make their own.

Design Space features art boards with presets for the most common screen sizes, with sizes like "iPhone 6," "Android 1080p," and "Microsoft Surface 3." Selection is much easier; just double-clicking on an item on the canvas will drill down into the layers. Double-clicking on text will switch to the text tool, and double-clicking on a path will switch to the path tool. Two items can be selected and have their positions swapped with a button press, so it's easy to quickly rearrange a UI mockup. Text input for attributes is smarter, too. Color values can take RGB, Hex, or CSS-defined colors, and all the numeric fields can understand math operators.

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Apple to iOS devs: IPv6-only cell service is coming soon, get your apps ready [feedly]

Apple to iOS devs: IPv6-only cell service is coming soon, get your apps ready
// Ars Technica

On the first day of its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple presents its keynote, where it mostly unveils its consumer-facing plans. Later, when the pundits are taking their first jab at explaining what it all means, there's the Platforms State of the Union session. At 35 minutes in, Sebastien Marineau, Apple’s VP of Core OS, dropped the following bomb: "Because IPv6 support is so critical to ensuring your applications work across the world for every customer, we are making it an App Store submission requirement, starting with iOS 9."

However, on the last day of WWDC, there was a session that put the above statement in a somewhat different light. We'll get back to that because, in the mean time, I spent a larger part of the week than I'd like to admit testing whether various applications work over IPv6.

The current state of IPv6

My first reaction was "this means no more Skype under iOS 9." Which led to some back-and-forth about whether Skype works over an IPv6-only network. The easiest way to test this is to get rid of that old, rickety version 4 of the Internet Protocol—it only has four billion addresses!—simply by turning it off in the Network pane of the System Preferences on your Mac. If there's an IPv6 router present on your Ethernet or Wi-Fi network, your Mac will then configure an IPv6 address for itself—well, two, actually—and connect to the IPv6 Internet. If there's no IPv6 router present, at least your Mac will talk to other devices on the local network over IPv6, using "link local" addresses.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Good news for game devs: Android Studio 1.3 supports Android’s C/C++ NDK [feedly]

Good news for game devs: Android Studio 1.3 supports Android’s C/C++ NDK
// Ars Technica

It was two years ago at Google I/O 2013 that the company originally announced Android Studio, a new integrated development environment (IDE) for Android apps. Six months ago, Google announced that the product was ready to move out of beta, but Android Studio 1.0 still couldn't do all of the things that the old Eclipse ADT could do. Most notably, developers that used Google's Native Development Kit (NDK) to use C and C++ code in their apps were left out in the cold.

Today, Google has announced Android Studio 1.3, a new version of the IDE with built-in support for the NDK. Google says the plugin is based on the JetBrains CLion platform and that it will be available free of charge to all Android developers.

Writing Android apps in Java has obvious advantages, portability among Android devices chief among them. The Dalvik and ART runtime environments can compile that Java bytecode to run on any one of several processor architectures, so developers can write code once that will run on Android devices using 32-bit and 64-bit ARM, x86, and MIPS CPU architectures. That said, the NDK has its own advantages—certain types of CPU-bound tasks run faster as native code, and developers with apps on more than one platform can reuse portions of C and C++ code in their Android apps (the NDK allows C and C++ code to coexist with Java code).

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Google announces the “Cloud Test Lab,” a free, automated testing service [feedly]

Google announces the “Cloud Test Lab,” a free, automated testing service
// Ars Technica

SAN FRANCISCO—Making sure an Android app works correctly on the thousands of different Android devices out there can be daunting for developers. Any given device can have a different Android version, screen resolution, aspect ratio, and performance envelope when compared to another. There are lots of Android testing services out there that aim to help with this problem, but Google is finally going to offer a first-party option to developers though the Play Store developer console.

Today at Google I/O, Google announced the "Cloud Test Lab," an in-house Android app testing service. Submit your app to the developer console staging channel and Google will perform automated testing on the Top 20 Android devices from around the world. The "Top 20" tier is free, though Google plans to eventually expand the service to more than the top 20 devices through a paid service.

The service will allow developers to "walk through" their apps on the selected devices, and if they run into any crashes, they'll get a video of the app before the crash and a crash log to help them debug things. Google says the service will help catch layout issues and show-stopping bugs and allow developers to spot bugs with low-RAM devices.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Find: Nvidia throws in the towel on its smartphone modem business

Pretty big deal. No Tegra smartphones. 


Nvidia throws in the towel on its smartphone modem business
// Ars Technica

Nvidia is getting out of the smartphone business. The company announced plans this week to "wind down" its Icera modem segment by the second quarter of fiscal 2016, and it's open to selling Icera's technology and operations, which Nvidia purchased for $367 million back in 2011.

Icera is known primarily for its software modem technology—while companies like Qualcomm and Intel design specific modem hardware to work with specific wireless bands and technologies, Icera used low-power generic hardware that could be configured in software to support multiple wireless standards. In theory, one could create a single chip that supported CDMA or GSM networks depending on the software running on the phone, or one that initially supported 3G but could be upgraded to use LTE at a later date (remember, this was 2011).

In practice, Nvidia has always been something of a nonentity in the smartphone business. It had a handful of victories with its Tegra 3 SoC, though that chip predated the inclusion of Icera technology in its processors. The Icera-equipped Tegra 4i, on the other hand, has ended up in just a bare handful of devices since it was unveiled in early 2013, including the niche Blackphone.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Find: Smartphone shipments in China decline for the first time in six years

Smartphone shipments in China decline for the first time in six years
// The Verge - All Posts

For years now China has been one of the main drivers of growth in the global smartphone market, but it looks like demand in the country is beginning to slow down. For the first time in six years, smartphone shipments in China declined year-on-year, contracting by 4 percent to 98.8 million units in the first quarter of 2015. This represents a fall of 8 percent compared to the previous quarter, reports US market researcher IDC, although the firm notes that this is partly due to large amounts of unsold inventory left over from the end of 2014.

Despite the perception of China as an emerging market for smartphones, the country is now broadly comparable to nations such as the US and UK, says IDC China's managing director Kitty Fok. "Just like...

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Friday, May 8, 2015


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