Friday, October 7, 2011

Question about Android Market Graphics

Google has just posted some "Android Market Featured-Image Guidelines". I've got a question about them. They say the featured image should be 1024x500 pixels. This image gets scaled down to 705x344 for the website version of the Android market and they say it will be scaled down smaller for handsets.

My question is, what is the 180x120 "Promotional Graphic" for?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RadioShack to the Rescue?

The other day I bought a new SATA DVD-burner. As I installed it I noticed that I didn’t have any free SATA power connectors. I did, however, have some IDE power connections that weren’t being used so I started looking for an IDE to SATA power adapter. (“MOLEX to SATA power adapter.”)

My first thought was the local computer store. But they specialize in Macs and even if they did have it, it’d probably be expensive. So I checked They had one for $6.00 ($4.00 + $2.00 shipping & handling.) But I really didn’t want to wait for it to be shipped. So I checked They had them, but not in local stores.

Then, for some reason, I was reminded of RadioShack. I checked their web site and to my surprise not only did they carry them, they were available in my local store! When I worked at “The Shack” a decade ago, they had begun de-emphasizing their parts business. They were pushing high profit things like cell phones and satellite dishes.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to get an adapter from RadioShack for $5.50 – including taxes! They also seemed to have some other computer parts too. I actually want to go back and check it out. RadioShack may be able to get back some of the parts customers that they’ve lost. But I think their main problem is that most people wrote them off years ago because they didn’t seem to want our business. If they can advertise that they have these things in stock at local stores, they might be able to get us back.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why I Shop Online Instead of Local Stores (Even When I Don't Want To)

I recently had a need for a 6' HDMI to Micro HDMI Cable. I wanted to buy it locally. After checking the websites of several brick and mortar stores I discovered only a couple of them carried the cable. And they wanted $35 for it. That seemed a little steep, so I checked Their price (including shipping) was $7. Now I would often prefer to get something locally -- and I'm even okay paying more to do so. But FIVE times as much?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pull Quotes Without Closing Quote Marks

Like most programmers, I’m not great at design. I try to improve my skills in this area by reading books and websites about design (like Smashing Magazine).

But there’s something I’ve been seeing on design websites that bothers me. It’s the way they do pull quotes. Typically they look something like this:

There’s a big opening quote mark to indicate it’s a quote – but no closing quote mark. Now I know its suppose to be stylish – but it really annoys me. When I write code there is always a symmetry. Every ( has a matching ), every { has a } – and every open quote has a close quote. I think my brain sees pull quotes like the one above and hollers out “syntax error.”

Friday, June 3, 2011

Programming History

I’ve been reading a book about the development of early programming languages. I was surprised to learn how many features of modern languages where first developed in Algol (circa 1960).

It was also a little weird seeing a forerunner of C#’s using statement (“imports” in VB.NET) in Ada.

It’s eye-opening to realize that features you take for granite where new ideas at one point. They’ve been refined over the years to the state that we know them now.