Sunday, October 31, 2010

Archos tablets running Android 2.2

The recent announcment of Archos and their five new Android tablets has really gotten me excited about the handheld category again. Check out a video of the Archos 43 and the Archos 70 running Android 2.2 (Froyo):

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sencha Touch - Cross Platform Handheld Development

As time goes on, handheld development seems to be taking a bigger and bigger share of the computing world. That being said, finding ways to reach as many of the different handheld systems as possible can be a challenge. One contender for the solution: Sencha Touch.

Check it out, courtesy of Ed Spencer:

There is also an accompanying video explaining these slides here, available courtesy of Pivotal Labs. I couldn't find an embeddable link, but the video is available for download in MP4 format here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sony Playstation Phone?

Recently, rumors started swirling about Sony Ericsson having plans to produce an Android phone with game controls.
Well, apparently, MobileCrunch, Engadget, Joystiq, and Gizmodo feel there might be some reality to this rumor.

This is the first Sony product that I've been excited about in a while.  Bravo, Sony.

Check out some pics, courtesy of Engadget!

Ext JS Screencast- Data Stores and GridPanels

I'm in the process of learning how to develop and maintain web apps, and I found this tutorial very useful. It's about Data Stores and GridPanels in Ext JS. If you are looking into making web apps, ExtJS from Sencha is a very interesting choice. Check it out:

Ext JS Screencast - data Stores and GridPanels from Jay Garcia on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Turn off auto-numbering in Open Office

I like Open Office.

I HATE auto-numbering.

Here is how to turn it off (courtesy of the Wiki):

How do I turn off automatic correction and formatting? is configured by default to perform certain automatic formatting and correction as you type. This can be very useful, but can also lead to unexpected results.
You can learn to use this feature, or if you prefer you can turn all or some of the automatic formatting off. You can either:
  • Turn ALL off/on: under Format > AutoFormat > While Typing. (On recent versions it's Format > AutoCorrect > While Typing.)
  • Turn some off/on: under Tools > AutoCorrect.
The table below describes some of the default behaviours and which AutoCorrect setting controls them.
When I type
I get
caused by
the replacement table

Capitalize first letter of every sentence
It was excl. on this day
The lowercase 'o' is not capitalized even though it is preceded by a full stop and the option "Capitalize first letter of every sentence" is selected in AutoFormat.
the exceptions table
Writer only
*Hello* _world_
Hello world
Automatic bold and underline
The URL recognition
1st, 2nd, 4th
1st, 2nd, 4th
The AutoFormat of the cardinal numbers
1/2 1/4 3/4
½ ¼ ¾
The AutoFormat of
The man -- yes, him!
The man--yes, him!
The man – yes, him!
The man—yes, him!
Replace dashes
The second space doesn't appear
Ignore double spaces
1 bottle of milk
1. bottle of milk
Apply numbering
Writer only
horizontal lines created
Apply border
Writer only
a table
Create table
Writer only
My title

My title
Use styles
Writer only
*one> *test
Replace bullets
Writer only
« or an other typographical quote
Custom quotes
Writer only
(the word is completed)
Word completion

in a table
(a date)
Number recognition
Writer only
  1.   Menu Tools-AutoCorrect/AutoFormat, tabpage [Replace]
  2.   Menu Tools-AutoCorrect/AutoFormat, tabpage [Exceptions]
  3.   Menu Tools-AutoCorrect/AutoFormat, tabpage [Options]
  4.   Menu Tools-AutoCorrect/AutoFormat, tabpage [Custom quotes]
  5.   Menu Tools-AutoCorrect/AutoFormat, tabpage [Word completion]
  6.   Menu Tools-Options-Text document-Table-Input in table-Number recognitionFile:Turn-off-autocorrect-in-writer-tables.gif

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stack Overflow - forums done right.

Recently, I happened upon a website called Stack Overflow, a free programming forum that is run by its users.  It is collaboratively edited, using a karma system that allows you to perform more tasks as your reputation score increases.

Why should you care about yet another forum?  Good question.

From the StackOverflow FAQ:

So What? Who cares? Isn't this just like a dozen other websites?
What's so special about this? Well, nothing, really. The only unusual thing we do is synthesize aspects of Wikis, Blogs, Forums, and Digg/Reddit in a way that we think is original.
Venn diagram: Wiki, Digg/Reddit, Blog, Forum
Super User is that tiny asterisk in the middle, there.
But hopefully you'll see what we mean when you participate and experience it for yourself.

Why should you care about yet another forum?  Good question. I've tried it out, and I have very positive opinions, overall.  One of the reasons that it works so well is that it rewards people for being helpful.  Most forums only keep track of the number of posts.  Stack Overflow (and the sites in the StackExchange family of sites) employ a rather clever reputation system.
From the FAQ:
To gain reputation, post good questions and useful answers. Your peers will vote on your posts, and those votes will cause you to gain (or, in rare cases, lose) reputation:
answer is voted up+10
question is voted up+5
answer is accepted+15(+2 to acceptor)
post is voted down-2(-1 to voter)
A maximum of 30 votes can be cast per user per day, and you can earn a maximum of 200 reputation per day (although accepted answers and bounty awards are immune to this limit). Also, please note that votes for any posts marked "community wiki" do not generate reputation.
Amass enough reputation points and Super User will allow you to go beyond simply asking and answering questions:

15Vote up
15Flag offensive
50Leave comments
100Vote down (costs 1 rep)
100Edit community wiki posts
200Reduced advertising
200Create new tags
250Vote to close, reopen, or migrate your questions
500Retag questions
1000Show total up and down vote counts
2000Edit other people's posts
3000Vote to close, reopen, or migrate any questions
10000Delete closed questions, access to moderation tools
 you can always comment on your questions and answers, and any answers to questions you've asked, even with 1 rep.

Another reason that this site is great is that it doesn't try to be everything to everybody.  Stack Overflow only aims to answer questions relating to programming.  What kind of questions, you ask?  Yet again, the FAQ comes to the rescue:

What kind of questions can I ask here?
Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers, people who write code because they love it. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • a specific programming problem

  • a software algorithm

  • software tools commonly used by programmers

  • matters that are unique to the programming profession
… then you're in the right place to ask your question!
Please look around to see if your question has already been asked (and maybe even answered!) before you ask. It's also perfectly fine to ask and answer your own question, as long as you pretend you're on Jeopardy: phrase it in the form of a question.
What kind of questions should I not ask here? 
Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion.  This is not a discussion board, this is a place for questions that can be answered!
What if you have a different type of question, or a question about the site itself?  Well, they've thought about that, as well.  There are actually a whole family of inter-related sites, each serving a very specific purpose.  Quoting the FAQ again:

If your question is about …

  • Networking, servers, or maintaining other people's PCs and contains no source code, ask on Server Fault.

  • General computer software or hardware troubleshooting, ask on Super User.

  • Web design and HTML/CSS layout, and your job title is "designer", ask on Doctype.
If you have a question or comment about the site itself, each of the sites has a "meta" section that is separate from the actual questions and answers.  This allows people that are only interested in the questions and answers to avoid site-related questions, complaints, and discussions.  This doesn't seem like a big thing, but as a former forum admin, it's refreshing to know what to expect when you browse the site.

In addition to Stack OverFlow, Server Fault, Super User, and Doctype, there are quite a few subject specific sites available in the StackExchange Network, such as and .

I am not on every StackExchange site, but if you're looking for me, look for Zoot.  I recently started up an account, so my scores are pretty low, but in time, that may change.

profile for Zoot at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers