On Saturday, I wrote about my experience the First night.

Here’s the rest of the story from the keyboards of the participants themselves. Enjoy!


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I was a mentor and project lead today the Women Techmakers + LadyHacks hackathon this weekend. LadyHacks follows the model of a civic hackathon, which emphasizes creating projects for the greater good. This event is a partnership between the Philadelphia GDG (I’m the organizer [grew out of the Android Alliance]) and LadyHacks for International Women’s Day!

LadyHacks is a community event for women of all skill levels to work collaboratively on projects using technology to provide solutions. Beginners, tech-curious, and experienced developers all attended and shared their knowledge and skills while working on projects that they are passionate about.

LadyHacks Room

LadyHacks Room

This year’s theme is A “Room()” of One’s Own, inspired from Virginia Woolf’s 1929 essay, A Room of One’s Own, which argued that women’s lack of access to education, financial independence and a room of their own held them back from achieving equality with men in the sphere of publishing. We encourage teams to consider what Room() should return today in order to achieve gender equity in STEM fields, and to build projects aiming to do just that.

I’m leading a Google Glass team. The first night was full of brainstorming and we came up with a lot of great ideas around the theme as well as general ideas. Today we will flesh out one of the ideas more fully and storyboard the application. Depending on skill levels and interest, we will start implementing! Look for an update at the end of the day!

Whiteboard Ideas

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I just started Project Basho’s six month Inspiration and Vision photography course. I’m very excited to see where it will take my photography and self-expression!

I took their Foundations of Digital Photography course last year just after starting my sabbatical. It was a dedicated 6 weeks, but unfortunately it was during the winter (minus snow), so I wasn’t as happy with how my photos turned out. However, it made a huge difference when I set out for South America last February and  has increased my technical and photo processing abilities.

Assignment 1

  1. Take or convert to black and white. This helps remove distractions and focus more on construction, form, shape, and story.
  2. Focus on structure. Take time composing the image, really study and experiment with your subject.
  3. View your photos upside down. This makes you focus on the abstract and see other shapes and forms in your photos.
  4. Shoot more than one photo. Don’t choose one subject after another (snapshots), take about 30 photos of each subject you choose.

Photos!

Here’s a selection of my favorites, check out the full photoset on Flickr!

 

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Now that the GDK is out and I have my pair of Google Glass, I’m getting more serious about Glassware!

I made a stencil for OmniGraffle (my favorite mock up tool). Grab it for free here or download from Graffletopia (when it is approved).

Stencil Preview 1

Stencil Preview 2

Stencil Preview 3

Glass Icons

Happy designing!

Note: You may need to install the Roboto font for this stencil to appear correctly.

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Although I am grateful for many things, I’m also sad to spend a second Thanksgiving without my dad (who passed the Sunday before Thanksgiving last year).

I’m thankful he passed on the cooking gene, that I spent many long hours in the kitchen with him, that many of his food traditions live on through me, and that cooking is a passion that Jason and I share.

We built our menu from supplies from the Rittenhouse Farmer’s Market from our favorite vendors, Rambling Roots Farms and Otolith Sustainable Seafood:

What are your Thanksgiving food traditions?

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I’m back at the Android Developers Conference this week and learning about all things Android and networking with some of the best Android developers in this half of the world.

As I did in Boston, I’m giving a different spin on my fragments talk. I’ve designed a half-day workshop that walks you through two code examples, to give you a better sense for the how much easier it is to begin your project with fragments instead of retrofitting them later.

Audience

This workshop is geared for:

  • New developers to the Android platform who haven’t been heard of or experimented with fragments.
  • Established Android developers who haven’t yet taken the plunge to rework their app(s) with fragments.
  • Business decision makers who want a high level introduction to fragments, why they are important, and what is required to implement them in your app.If you are not interested in the coding exercises, you are more than welcome to stay through the first half.

The workshop will not delve deeply into the many gotchas you will find when fragmentizing your apps. This workshop is meant as a starting point, not to solve specific problems encountered in the wild.

Materials

Further Reading

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I dreamed this up this evening with the items I had on hand. It’s rather tasty, let me know if you try it out!

Ingredients

  • 1 part whiskey
  • 1-2 parts simple syrup
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries

Instructions

  • Make simple syrup (instructions below), if necessary.
  • Muddle (aka. smash) berries in glass
  • Combine syrup and whiskey in a shaker with ice.
  • Shake drink and strain into glass with berries.

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 sugar (mmmmmm, turbanado)
  • Vanilla, cloves, cinnamon to taste

Heat water and mix until sugar is dissolved.

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I’ve been working out my motivators and sources of inspiration lately because I’m thinking about what’s next in my career (more on that to come). I followed my creativity today to make this:

Reputation Poster

I’ve been collecting quotes and font/calligraphy ideas on Pinterest as inspiration for original posters. I started in Pages by typing out the quote. I decided which words or phrases I wanted to emphasize. I put much thought and experimentation into determining which fonts would convey my message while playing nicely together.

I highlighted the word “build” because I love creating things that people use and it’s the main action/verb. I was searching for a font that emphasized engineering, drafting, and/or architecture. I landed on the Urban Jungle font for not only the aesthetic, but because I’m a happy city living convert. I’m a huge fan of Philadelphia and feel that I’m building toward something here!

“Reputation” is what the whole quote is about. I wanted a font that was bold to make it a prominent part of the piece. Here I used label as a metaphor for one’s reputation (Font: Impact Label).

Since somedays, failures, or could have beens are suggested by ”are going to,” I wanted to find a font that was an outline. Although these hopes and dreams aren’t yet substantial, they ain’t nothing neither. Archistico is great because it’s an outline, but not has some substance and weight. Finally, I didn’t want the rest of the text to clash with the three fancy fonts, so I went with Jacques Francois.

I was happy with the font selection, but felt the first iteration was a little flat:

Poster v1

The next step was breaking out each text chunk into individual text boxes. That allowed me to use different configurations, colors, and angles to make the piece more interesting. I wanted to emphasize the “are going to” section and make it look like an afterthought. What better way to do that than with arrows (used PWNewArrows font)? Finally, I tweaked the colors and voilà!

What do you think?

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I’ve been at the Android Developers Conference this week learning about embedded Android development, the best way to handle HTTP requests, concurrency strategies, and performance enhancements. The talks have been great and I’ve enjoyed networking with Android developers from around the world.

This morning I’m giving a different spin on my fragments talk. This will be a workshop to walk through code examples instead of lecture style. As we work through two examples, it will give you a sense for the how much easier it is to begin your project with fragments instead of retro fitting them later.

Materials

Project Setup Eclipse

  1. File -> Import
  2. Android -> Existing Code Into Workspace
  3. Navigate to dir of one or root of the projects
  4. Ok!

Further Reading

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Philly Tech Week is a week-long celebration that unites technologist across varied disciplines. The events range from playing pong on the side of skyscraper to hacking space apps to the future of music and everything in-between. The events typically bring together a cross section of the local tech scene.

On Friday, I spoke on the panel “Native Apps, Responsive Web Development and the New Mobile Ecosystem” at the sold-out Mobile, Marketing and Ecommerce Trends event. In a two part series, I will share the questions asked and my thoughts on each. I’d love to hear your feedback and hope to see you at a future event.

[Q] Native applications and responsive design have become wildly popular in a short amount of time, but for those uninitiated let’s do a quick definition. Corey, tell us what a native app is and why it’s a go-to.

At its core, native applications are written in a language specified by the platform. For example, in iOS-land, you use Objective-C and in Android-land you use Java. You use the widgets, paradigms, and everything else that is platform-specific to build a user interface. When you’re done, you package the application for distribution in the Google Play or Apple or stores.

The application is complied, or fine-tuned, to run on a specific platform. Since the platform knows how to “speak” this language “natively,” it can quickly render the screens of your application.

This is in contrast to responsive/mobile web, which runs in a browser [external or embedded]. Since the platform doesn’t know how to speak this “language” directly, it needs to “interpret.”

It’s a go to because users of these platforms expect a certain user interface and that’s easier to give when using native controls. You can provide a more reliable, performant, and natural user experience as well as a better offline experience. If you have a complex feature set, such as video, music, or animations, it’s a no brainer to go native.

[Q] Is native vs. responsive only a conversation about performance?

I think it is a very important part of the discussion, but it really boils down to user experience. When you are using non-native controls, it’s a little bit slower to render screens. Typically this is on the order of milliseconds, but these micro-delays add up to give your users a less than ideal impression of your application. Like they say, you only get once change to make a first impression!

Also, when you design for the lowest common denominator, e.g. hybrid or mobile web, to reach a wider audience, you end up using conventions that feel out of place on an Android or iDevice.

The dearth of debugging tools for mobile is an important part of this discussion. Tooling on native platforms is rich and allow rapid root cause analysis. Also market dashboards provide error tracking and analytics information that isn’t available for mobile web platforms.

[Q] You’ve focused a lot of your work on Android—tell that story for us, as Android proliferation has caught up with iOS from sheer handset sales. What is demand like for Android?

Android started out as the underdog. No one took it seriously because the user base and number of applications just weren’t there. The user interface, quite frankly, left a lot to desired. It was clunky and a lot of developers weren’t putting the same amount of polish on the applications as iOS developers were.

This has changed dramatically over the last few years. Android sales have skyrocketed and Android is available on many different types of devices. Jelly Bean, the latest user interface, it beautiful to behold and is a very fluid experience. The user interface is now a true rival to iOS!

The demand for Android is high. A lot of companies started out with an iOS application and now their users are demanding an Android version. The excitement of Google Glass and other new form factors are exciting developers. Another interesting area for growth is solving social problems in the developing world since their citizens can better afford Android devices.

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