• What can my watch do for me?

    As the launch of Apple watch looms, a question comes to mind. What exactly does a user expect from a device that is worn from morning to evening. For e.g. if you compare iPhones or Samsung Phones or Nokia Lumia devices to phones of yesteryear, they do a lot.

    So if I am demanding, I want my watch to do the following:
    1. Measure my fitness.
    2. Show my reminders.
    3. Let me take phone calls (Since by the time one takes the phone out of the pocket, the call has usually gone to voicemail).
    4. Play music.
    5. Unlock my front door.
    6. Arm or disarm my security system.
    7. Replace my universal remote (after all when there is a watch on my hand, why do I need to get up and grab the remote?).
    8. Open my soda bottle (Oops I forgot that bottle opener!).
    9. Show me a small projected screen (Since I don’t want to miss that touchdown of course!) to watch news or sports.
    10. Be able to withstand water and impacts without damage (After all I don’t want to take it off while playing tennis and swimming).
    11. Last forever (10 days is good for starters) or use solar charging.
    Thats good for starters for the v1 version of course.
    Oh and it also needs to tell time!!
    Now, if it does all that, do I need a phone? Hmm..
    This list looks like a watch more seen in a 007 film. Will it be a reality down the road? It’s possible. After all, if it can be envisioned, it can be done.
    Paying with your watch is a nice feature. Much more convenient than taking out the wallet, then taking that card out of the wallet, paying and then keeping the receipt! All of that, without dropping anything else like maybe that lottery ticket (that by the way was picked up by someone else who won a million dollars)!
    Pebble announced their competitor, the Pebble Time just a few days ago. While I was definitely disappointed that it does not include a heart rate sensor, nevertheless it will be successful. Forget the success of the Kickstarter or the fact that they have sold a lot of watches to date. Seven days charge with a color display is phenomenal. We will have to wait and see if that seven day promise holds good (I have seen three to four days without using a watch face that monitors weather etc on my Pebble Steel). Regardless three days is much much better than having to charge daily.
    Without a doubt, the display on the Pebble is not going to match the Apple Watch or the Moto 360 or the LG Watch or the Microsoft Band. Still it is going to be an extremely popular watch. Because at the end of the day, what do people expect from their watch? Lets speculate realistically:
    a) The watch needs to tell time first.
    b) I would like to receive notifications of important text messages (Work, Family). Others can wait.
    c) For these messages it would be easier if I could respond from my watch but I know I need my phone if I need to converse. Imagine trying to respond by voice for every incoming text! Background noises, data plans and just about everything else including privacy prevents us from using this method of response as a primary response. Which means… I need to take out the phone!
    d) I would like to control music and select playlists etc without having to take my phone out of my pocket.
    e) I want a decent battery life (seven to 10 days would be ideal but three to four days works too).
    f) I definitely want it to be water proof as there is no way I am going to be able to keep water from touching the watch.
    g) Color would be nice to have but not at the expense of battery life.
    h) Health and fitness features (like heart rate monitor) would be nice but not a deciding factor.
    The pebble watch comes close to meeting the list. Not all of it but quite close. Given time, the Apple watch will do the same as will the Moto and the LG watches.
    So if I am choosing a wearable today, its good to close your eyes and think of the things that you desire the most in a watch or a watch and fitness device, rather than going with marketing buzz and “Control your world with you watch :)” plans. Who knows, the answer might not be a smart watch at all!
  • Lets XNA Online Group Meeting

    Wohoo!! The first online meeting for developing a fun game using XNA is scheduled for this sunday 4/11 at 4:00 p.m. This is an online meeting. Instructions will be posted on the Linked In group Lets XNA!!

    Anyone who wants to use XNA to develop games or apps on windows mobile, windows live or xbox 360 will love this group effort. We are going to have fun, solve issues together and produce a game in the process.

    Come and join the linked in group and lets build a game together!!

  • XNA codeplex project

    There is a new project being created on CodePlex for members of the linked in group Lets XNA!! to contribute to and create a fun game in the process!!

    The goal is to build a nice cool game and have fun in the process.

  • Windows 7 upgrade

    It was like waiting for that donatos chicken mariachi pizza to come out of the oven!! As soon as Windows 7 was released i was downloading my copy on technet. After all i had this extremely powerfull hp laptop that had a fast processor, 4 gig ram ,nvidia 8600GS , hdmi out, I mean it was powerful!! that was running on an extremely slow (you guessed it) Vista home premium!!

    To give some credit here, i was quite pleased with vista and i still think it was a great operating system. Sure there were performance problems, sure half the programs did not run or ran with problems but it was a landmark operating system. I have never seen the kind of visual effects that vista showed before in any microsoft operating system (maybe mac users disagree but hey i am not a mac owner). If only microsoft would have added high definition playback i would have been a vista fan from day one. All in all i liked vista for its enhanced user experience but preferred windows xp for its usability. Windows 7 seems like a Vista XP OS.

    I was really looking forward to windows 7 release given the fact that it was supposed to be quite better than vista. My vpc did not do justice in evaluating windows 7 beta.

    So, i downloaded windows vista ultimate 32 bit( cannot do 64 without reinstalling – Key point to note-> When you buy laptops buy 64 bit OS preinstalled). I cracked open my dv9700t, popped the dvd in and started to upgrade.

    Some people have had problems upgrading their hp laptops from vista home premium to vista ultimate. I had this problem too so was wondering how the upgrade will go. Turns out the problem upgrading had to do with the version of vista ultimate i was using to upgrade. It did not have Sp1 bundled and that was the reason the upgrade was failing. I found this post just as i was downloading windows 7:
    Wish i would have found it earlier.

    Ofcourse windows 7 upgrade was not without its issues. As soon as i started to upgrade, i got a message that windows live one care had to be uninstalled. Turns out its incompatible with windows 7. Ofcourse you cannot not have an antivirus installed. So i had to download norton beta. I am a little surprised that microsoft decided to can windows live one care. I for one thought it was a good piece of software. I am also surprised microsoft is withdrawing support. I understand product lifecycle but i am surprised at how quickly microsoft is pulling out one care. it makes it a little harder to adopt microsoft products.

    So one care was uninstalled and upgrade proceeded. Overall the upgrade was smooth. Some of the inbuilt ricoh card readers had to have upgraded drivers applied. But no worries. A key thing before upgrade is to run the windows 7 upgrade advisor(beta currently). The beta failed to scan my programs to detect incompatiblities but it did point out the card reader and few other things.

    As any early adopter or geek would certify, a few program incompatibilities are not going to stop us from upgrading to the next best thing!! I still dont know if all my programs work. In time i will find out!!

    As soon as upgrade was done i put it through the test
    1) boot up time – A lot was said that windows 7 was faster in booting that vista. My intel core 2 duo 7200 laptop with 4 gig ram and 320gb hadd took the same time to boot up under windows 7 as it did on vista.

    2) Performance – I ran a quick test to see if windows 7 was truly a good upgrade. I had bought a 20$ cars pc game (my son loves the disney movie) and tried to run it on vista with no luck at all. Video froze, controls would not respond and in general it was unplayable.
    At that time i thought the game was designed too much for the high end gaming laptops but decided to wait till i had a chance to try it on xp before laying the blame.

    So as soon as upgrade was done, the first thing i did was launch the cars game. It ran flawlessly, response time (tested by my five year old) was fast, no video issues, sound was good. Yehaa!! Upgrade was a success.

    So i dont know if a single game is enough to determine the success of an operating system but i think i can now finally put all the laptop’s horsepower to use!!

    Stay tuned for more windows 7 updates..

  • XNA – A few months later

    Things have been quiet on the blog front lately as i am diving deeper and deeper into XNA. My goal is to release a game later in 2009.

    I have read and read and read on XNA and am forming my conclusions on what is and is not possible on XNA. So far XNA offers a lot of possibilities.

  • Microsoft XNA Unleashed

    When i started to get serious about XNA i started looking for a good book to begin learning. Like most people (IMHO) i learn better through books and then self training than reading everything online.

    The Microsoft XNA Unleashed by Chad Carter is a great book as it is not merely a skim through from the top for XNA but is very detailed. I have just started and i dont think i will be done with the book very soon.

    I like his presentation style as well as the detail. It looks like I am going to take some time to learn XNA (not a bad idea). I hope to release my first XNA game sometime in December 2008 to the live community.

    But like all other things if you need to understand something in its entirety (See Grok on wiki)you need to give it the time it needs.

    I will post an update on the book as i near completion. Stay tuned!!

  • XNA and Robotics studio

    We had a wonderful presentation on XNA and Robotics studio by William Steele from Microsoft at our CINNUG user group. As always he presented all the concepts nicely and we had a lot of fun. Its amazing to see where robotics studio is today and even more amazing to realize that Robotics studio depends on XNA.

    Bill recommended a good tool to create 3D models for games: Anim8or (http://www.anim8or.com). Its free, its been developed by an employee of NVidia and is widely used. I also looked at Maya. I like Maya for the feature set but not for the price.

    I have a decision to make regarding the tool of choice to create models. Blender was recommended also. RenderMan is another.

    I believe the approach i am going to take is
    a) Use Anim8or to see if it meets my needs. If it does, no further action required.
    b) Look at RenderMan next
    c) Look at Maya last.

    By the time i get to C i need to have 5-6K ready.

    Robotics studio looks cool but if u XNA like me then one can only do so much. I gotta XNA.

  • Getting Started

    The best way to get started (IMHO) is to go through the tutorial at http://creators.xna.com/beginnersguide/index.html . While many folks who have gone through the tutorial have pointed out that it is outdated and not applicable to XNA 2.0 it is an excellent starting point for people who are just entering game development.

    I will post more findings as i go through the tutorial. I wish that Microsoft update this tutorial to work with game studio 2.0 and 3.0 which is due soon.

  • XNA

    Hiya All
    I am going to be blogging a lot about XNA. XNA is just the best thing that has happened to game developers since it brings the world of game development to those game developers who felt game development was too complex to venture into.

    I am awaiting the release of XNA studio 3.0 and to experience game development on Zune!!
    Stay tuned to this blog for more and more exciting XNA blogs as i begin my first game development on XBOX