personal experiences and code :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

adobe reader for mac

for copying text from pdf, preview just doesn't seem to cut it; for instance if you want to copy text in one column, from a two-column text presentation, you are forced to copy text in the adjacent column as well... it does not maintain formatting; generally just a pain; on the other hand, out of the box, it provides the ability to annotate documents, which seems to be a feature in adobe reader pro or s'thing like that.

anyway, i downloaded and installed adobe reader 8 finally last week (which is software i really didn't like for various reasons when I had a windows box), and i was actually quite surprised what a good user experience firing it up was. it starts in a breeze, looks cleaner and copying and such are better implemented. i think search is better implemented in preview though, and i still miss being able to annotate documents; as much as i like that, it's a feature i expect in a base package.

-- eokyere :)


Adobe Reader for Mac --

clientside persistence and such

i threw a what was more of a curveball than anything else on ryan stewart's blog earlier this morning on his thoughts on the upcoming firefox offline mode feature being a bad idea; any water ryan's 2 posts hold on the subject seem very little water to me though, and it looks like i've lost my rights to post on his blog ;)

reposting comment here, in the hope that i can get those rights back ;P

ryan, i got your email; take that last post very lightly though :)

i think there's a breed of application out there where clientside persistence increases their utility vastly. the work being done in this space did not just get started; rather than ramble on, i can point to a few resources:

java db embedded in a browser
dojo offline toolkit
user data behavior
moz/dom storage

the general whatwg stuff

i am as excited about apollo and the other web techs coming out just as you are, and i've seen the demo use cases and can think of a few where it will fill in brilliantly.

what is apollo? a runtime. the thick clients you build will run on it.
what is a browser? a thick client. some of them (like firefox) are extensible.

who is apollo aimed at? i think initially you, the developer not the 'customer'.
who is firefox aimed at? users. but developers can dive into it too.

those applications i mentioned earlier, however, are currently built to be run in a browser, and it will be ludicrous to think their owners will port them to a product that isn't even a public beta right away. maybe they will eventually; maybe they'll never do it.

if the browser allowed us to persist data easily, clientside, gmail will exploit those capabilities right away; so too the vast other gmail-like applications out there. will those applications be re-written in apollo; maybe. maybe not. but they'll still be available on firefox/ie. and based on their utility for people, they'll still enjoy a broad userbase.

do we miss offline mode in current webapps; maybe. will it be rendered useless if it's provided, because some other technology provides that and some other useful features? that's ludicrous.

-- eokyere :)


Ryan's blog post --

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ghana: state of our nation at 50

There are a ton of Ghanaians (and well wishers) who will be joining friends and family to celebrate Ghana at 50 on 6 March (at home and around the world). There's quite a bit to be thankful for after 50 years of independence, as anyone who listened to/read the president's State of the Nation address will attest to.

There were particular sections I was very interested in (from the president's address), and will like to draw attention to:

(i) on Economic Performance:
government has implemented various policies and programmes which have enabled it to transform the macro economy from years of stagnation to the current growth rate of 6.2%. From 40.5% in 2000, inflation now stands at 10.2%; while the commercial banks’ lending rate which stood at over 50% five years ago is now around 20% and is still falling.

Even if you are no student of Economics, those numbers should tell you that the results from programs the government has embarked on over the brief period they have been in power have been a net positive. There are other tidbits worth noting in the address; for instance, remittances from Ghanaians abroad amounted to over 4 billion US dollars last year; read that again!

(ii) on ICT (and this is one dear to my heart):
today the revolution of Information Communication Technology is fundamentally changing the way the world works and decreasing the marginal cost of production and raising productivity across all industries. The Government will continue to place emphasis on the potential of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to provide the foundation for transforming the nation’s economy.
To ensure that every District has access to high speed internet connection and promote a wider penetration of ICT services throughout the country, including distance education and tele-medicine, the Government has secured from the Government of China, a concessionary loan facility of $30 million to construct a national Fibre Optic Communication Backbone
Notably missing from this section is the rollout of mobile WiMAX in Ghana, which is expected to be the first ever nationwide deployment. Less than 10 years ago, I had to travel from Kumasi to Accra (about a 3-4 hour bus drive) to get to a decent (28k ;P) internet connection. Having experienced the possibilities on the network abroad, it is easy to see how vertical solutions can be eked out of what is currently available and targeted for the marketplace that these infrastructural upgrades are going to open up. India became a technology hub when policies at the highest level were enacted with those goals in mind, so Ghana is certainly following the right model here.

On a somewhat-related note, the Google Foundation's Believe Begin Become project in Ghana--a collaboration with the local private sector for entrepreneurship development and business networking--for this year has been launched.

We have come a long way in 50 years; what technology and sound policies have done for India, let it do for us too.

Ghana, ayekoo!

-- eokyere :)


Ghana @ 50 --
Ghana: State of the Nation Address, 2007 --
First Nationwide Mobile WiMAX Is Targeted For Ghana --
Ghana: Believe Begin Become 2007 Launched --