Friday, December 30, 2011

Android nears 50% in the U.S.

Android is nearing the 50% market share in the United States. Apple also on the way up but still on the distant second place. All the others are on the way down. The period compared is from August to November 2011.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Google URLs

Some Google services, like Tasks and Contacts have initially been integrated with other services like Gmail but now can be accessed directly. URLs are sometimes not so obvious, so I'm listing some of them here.

  • Tasks -
  • Contacts -

Saturday, December 17, 2011


A huge number of people is using Internet for voice communication, to talk about business or catch up with their dearest. And it sucks when the connection quality is not top-notch because cut-offs in conversation appear, distortions in voice, etc., missing on parts of conversation and so on.

Lately I experienced these problems when talking to multiple parties and it is really annoying. I monitored the network connection while the conversation was taking place and noticed that download was going OK for a few seconds and then dropped for a few. Most popular voice chat programs, like Skype or GoogleTalk, stream the voice continuously while connected. This is probably OK when the connection is good. The amount of data transmitted is pretty good. But the problem is that the channel between the two parties needs to be uninterrupted. 

This led me to look for a solution in line with my childhood experiences with radio-amateurs, where you need to push a button to talk. It made sense that, in conditions of poor connectivity, a better quality of voice communication would happen if we could control when to transmit. That way only the actual speech would get sent, rather than the silence periods, which take quite some time. Burst transfer versus continuous transfer. 

So I found Loudtalks ( They have application for Windows and Android. The first test went quite well. It seemed a bit annoying to have to push the talk button every time but the fact that no parts of the dialogue got lost was more important. Then I thought how good it would be to have the transmission voice-activated and looked through the options. And it was right there - voice activated transmission with threshold settings was built in but not activated by default. Now this seems like a decent chat solution. Will have to test this in the coming period and in the longer conversations.

A really good thing about LoudTalks is that it keeps a history of voice messages, something like text chat, so you can listen to previous messages sent or received.

If you decide to use LoudTalks, the shortcuts (easy to find in Options dialogue) are: F7 = speak, Ctrl+F7 = hands-free (voice activation), Shift+F7 = repeat last message.

Internet Explorer Starts with Automatic Updates

Finally, Microsoft is moving the route other browsers adopted earlier and will start to automatically update Internet Explorer web browser on client machines. The main "excuse" mentioned for the decision was security but I find it more important being able to roll out new features and compatibility support for upcoming HTML 5.

This was the missing link as there are throngs of people still using old versions of Internet Explorer, making a huge barrier to adoption of HTML 5 as a platform. Fortunately, the share of old IE browsers on the web is dropping continuously, as seen on StatCounter's global stats.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Proxy Switcher

Nice and simple two-clicks proxy switcher for Windows. Freeware.
Note: Free version is now called Lite.

As, with the later versions, this program is reducing the free options, I found an even better one:
This proxy switcher can automatically apply network settings depending on your location or other conditions on the network. Plus you can change manually with two clicks on the tray icon.

A Cool Date Library in JavaScript

After learning in a funny way that in Javascript

Date.parse(DateToValue) <= Date.parse(DateFromValue)

does not behave the way it was expected, using American date format in the DateXXValue parameters and having no ability to specify that, I looked into solutions for comparing the dates in the input fields.

There is a date.js library that is very useful in solving the above issue. I posted the links here.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Few Selenium-related Links

Here's a few interesting links related to the new Selenium 2.0, WebDriver, and running Selenium tests in a CI build (as a service / headless).

Official blog, lots of interesting links and announcements:

Documentation on 2.0 features and WebDriver:

Non-Sucking Service Manager:, used to install apps as services.