Category Archives: General

"The Android Workshop" – introduction to native Android development

Last Thursday and Friday I attended “The Android Workshop” at TechHub in London, lead by none other than Richard Leggett.

I’ve experimented with native Android development before but was amazed at how many topics we managed to cover and in just a short period of time. It didn’t take long for me to start picking up some great new tips and tricks.


There were quite a few people with a Flash development background attending and Rich did a great job explaining Android concepts in reference to ActionScript and Flex. Its quite surprising to see how similar a lot of it is and that certainly helped get us up and running quickly.

The first day we covered a lot of theory and deconstructed various sample files, each explaining a particular topic or use of an API.

We talked about layouts, click handlers, using 9-patch images, resource handling, ViewAnimator with ViewFlipper and TextSwitcher, the intents mechanism, triggering multiple activities, using a Spinner widget and the ArrayAdapter, Toast messages, alert dialogs and status bar notifications.

The second day we did some more advanced styling, talked about threading (both low level as using AsyncTask), covered saving state of your application with SharedPreferences, learned how to work with SQLite databases as well as XML and code-based animation and working with sensors (compass and GPS).

After all that we still had half a day to work on a hands-on project. Most of us added additional features to a Pub Quiz starter project we were handed – adding score keeping, sound and vibrate functions, styling the app, adding animations,…

There is possibly an advanced workshop coming up next year, which I certainly hope to make it out for. If you get a chance to attend “The Android Workshop“, I can highly recommend it!


Advertisements relaunched

If you’ve been using over the last month or so, you will probably have run into a number of issues. I have finally been able to get round to getting those sorted and am happy to say a new and improved version of the site is now online!

Among other things, one of the new features is the ability to decide whether you want to have people apply through the site or directly to you. We’re still going with the simple model, requiring no user registration whatsoever. That does mean you need to confirm your email address the first time you post something.

Unfortunately the donation model we had in place since 2008 didn’t work out very well, and with Project Cocoon now committed to maintaining and updating the site we have switched to paid job ads. Not to worry though, the price for posting a job is a very democratic 10 USD — this should hopefully also ensure that only genuine jobs get posted on the site.

If you have donated to the site in the past, we are happy to activate your job posts free of charge based on the amount you sent – just drop us a note!

We are actively working on some mobile apps for iPhone/iPad and Android that should be out before the end of the year (and a beta release before that) that will allow you to set up alerts for jobs with certain keywords etc.

There is much more to come, including a launch of in early 2011 – but more about that later. Enjoy using the site and look forward to your feedback!


Project Cocoon has a new office

Earlier today we went to sign the agreement and left a deposit on the new Project Cocoon Multimedia apartments/office space in Colas Nagar, Pondicherry.

We’ve now got ourselves a nice three story building that gives us enough space to have client meetings, organize training events and even have freelance developers over to work on projects as needed.

We’ll be moving in next month but we’re already open for business! If you have any projects going, we’ve got in house expertise for Flash Platform development (ActionScript, Flash, Flex, AIR), mobile application development for iPhone and other platforms as well as graphic and print design.

Additionally, starting from June we will start to provide offshore development services and can be your central point of contact for quality assurance on off site teams.

Feel free to get in touch!


I'm auctioning שָׁלוֹם.com for Haiti disaster relief

When Internationalized Domain Names became available last year, I jumped on the bandwagon and registered a couple. One of these is שָׁלוֹם.com (Shalom as written in Hebrew).

I’ve not done anything with it since and thought it would be a good way to raise money for Haiti disaster relief. I’m holding a blind auction, if you are interested in acquiring the domain name please drop me an email with your bid and contact details.

The auction closes on Thursday, January 28th at 8pm CET. I will contact the highest bidder and transfer the domain name ownership on receipt of payment.

Feel free to spread the word!


Google search suggestions

This is what Google suggested to me as search queries earlier today.

Google search suggestions

Opera Unite – a first look

[update] I got some unite services working now from any browser, must have been a glitch earlier — feel free to leave a comment on my fridge 🙂

Opera announced that they would “reinvent the Web” today — having spent some time going through what was announced I’m not sure they managed to reinvent a whole lot.

So what happened? They announced a beta of Opera Unite, with what they call a “Web server on the Web browser”. Trying to make my way through the marketing speak the best description I found was in the FAQ: “share the content directly from your computer rather than loading it and sharing it through a third-party server”.

This is essentially P2P technology, a term many companies now seem to avoid like the plague for its association with illegal filesharing through bittorrent (which is a whole different issue). Opera has some services that you can install in their browser that run over a unite:// protocol (file sharing, a fridge message app, media player, photo sharing etc.). According to what I’ve read this is supposed to be accessible from any browser, though haven’t been able to get that to work — partly because the service seems to be overwhelmed.

That might sound a bit strange a P2P service getting overwhelmed, isn’t the whole point that it goes directly from one computer to the other? Well when you run a service like this it need to go through a server to resolve the connected clients so they can continue further data interaction directly between themselves rather than passing through the server. This is I assume also why you’re required to have an Opera account and sign in to that to run any of these services.

I really like the idea of what they’re doing, and P2P, client-to-client, UDP or a host of other names it gets advertised as is definitely the way forward. Not necessarily for services like they currently demo on Opera Unite but certainly for live audio/video streaming and other situations where bandwidth throughput is still a real issue.

Continue reading relaunched

This is a post for my Dutch speaking readers about the new and improved community site.

Wat betreft nederlandstalige Flash community websites is er weinig twijfel dat aan de absolute top staat. In 2003 was Flashtival, een evenement van FlashFocus, trouwens een van de allereerste conferenties waar ik een lezing gaf.

Of je nu een beginnende of reeds gevorderde gebruiker bent van Adobe Flash Platform technologie is dit de plek om vragen te stellen en ideeën uit te wisselen. Ik ben echt onder de indruk over de inzet van de vrijwilligers van de vereniging FlashFocus om deze community site al zo lang actief te houden.

Dit weekend hebben ze hun nieuwe website gelanceerd met een vernieuwde design en een aantal nieuwe features. Ga zeker een kijkje nemen!