Introduction

Welcome to my blog.

A while back I decided to spend 20 per cent of my time on speculative research, not directly related to the PhD. Rather than let all that research effort go to waste, I though I’d make it available through a blog. There’s a bit of a backlog, but I’ll try to get it written up over the next few weeks.

Nearly all the research involves the development of Android smart phone applications. There are a few reasons for that …

  • Smart phones are the fastest-moving technology at the moment, so there are lots of things still to invent.
  • Smart phones are the fastest-moving technology at the moment, so it’s the area where your skills become obsolete fastest.
  • I needed to write some Android apps for the thesis, and programming for Android is something that you learn by doing.

But above all, I’m really inspired by the potential of smart phones. I started writing software for a living back in the early 90’s, and for the first several years it was great. Learning new techniques and making a computer bend to your will. But then it started getting repetitive.

After all, there’s only so much you can do with a stand-alone personal computer, and after nearly a decade I’d exhausted most of the possibilities. Luckily, along came the internet, and a whole new world of possibilities opened up. You could write applications that communicated with other machines, and it became trivial to build cross-platform user interfaces thanks to HTML and browsers. But toward the end of the naughties even that started to wear thin.

Smart phones make things interesting again. They’re mobile and aware of their environment in real-time. They have cameras, microphones, touch screens, accelerometers, magnetic compasses, and GPS, as well as all the computing power and network connectivity of a regular computer. In short, if you can think of an application, you can probably get it working on a smart phone.



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