Showing posts from May, 2012

The one computer to rule them all

No I am not talking about a super computer, at least not in the conventional sense. I saw a blurb in this month's Technology Review magazine about the Padfone: a cellphone that slips inside a Pad device when you want a larger screen. Good idea as far as it goes but why not add instant connectivity to any compatible keyboard, monitor, and trackpad in the area. I find a slight hassle switching between my MacBook Air Air, iPad, and Droid during the day. Having one tiny device with a copy of everything is a possible alternative to Apple's iCloud, Dropbox, and other distributed "store all of my stuff" ideas.

I am adjusting to a mobile digital life: the acceleration of convenience

The first time I used a computer was in 1962 when I was 11 years old. It was not convenient: my Dad had to take me to his office to use one of the early timesharing systems using a local teletype machine with punched tape for saving and reloading stuff. A few years later I took an extension course at a local UC campus, FORTRAN with punched cards with nice keypunch facilities: definitely a large improvement! In the 1980s life really got good: my own Xerox 1108 Lisp Machine and an Internet connection. In the decades starting in 1990 and 2000 there were continual improvements but progress was gradual: better Internet connections, the development of the Web, improvements in software tools like code repositories, IDEs, etc. Skipping ahead to the present time, I am trying to adjust my digital life, including my work and writing flows, to a more mobile lifestyle. Probably the biggest change for me is that I used to keep just about everything that I worked with and touched in a reposit

Since Bing search and spelling APIs are no longer free, I did a quick survey of other services and signed up for Yahoo BOSS search.

I signed up for Google's APIs around 2002 and used it until they stopped the service. I later switched to Microsoft's Bing APIs: the cost was great, free! Bing's new entry level cost of $40/month for 20,000 queries does not match my use case. I wish they had a $5/month for 2000 queries. I do a low volume of search for personal research projects and prototypes. Yahoo BOSS's service has an attractive price but I worry about the service being terminated with the deal with Microsoft. Google offers custom site search, but I didn't see any options for a general paid-for web search API. So, I signed up with Yahoo BOSS for search and if the service is ever terminated, I will look elsewhere. The price is good, $0.80 per 1000 queries. 2012-05-19 edit: Bing search now has a free tier for up to 5000 search requests per month. Cool! For research purposes, this is good enough.