Monday, December 6, 2010

Meetup on Google TV in Google Campus.

Agenda. Photo by Paul Masquelier.

This meetup on December 1 was with an agenda shown in the picture to the left. Unfortunately, as happens to the best of us, it was not possible to set up the demo in time, and this paved the way for a substantially longer, and livelier, Q & A session after the presentation.

Before the main presentation, there were several announcements:
  1. A Winter 2011 course at Foothill College on Application Software Development with AJAX by Elaine Haight
  2. A Winter 2011 course at Foothill College on Using Cascading Style Sheets for Design by Newton Chan
  3. Job openings at Logitech by Pat Ransil
  4. Job openings at Appirio by Iein Valdez
Andres Ferrate and Daniels Lee, Developer Advocates in Google, discussed salient features of Google TV by showing several Google TV applications, built using the Android SDK, scheduled to be released in 1Q 2011:

Andres Ferrate
Andres Ferrate. Photo by Paul Masquelier.
Daniels Lee
Daniels Lee. Photo by Paul Masquelier.
  1. YouTube
  2. Chrome
  3. Flixster
  4. Chow
  5. Cartoon Network
  6. MeeGenius
  7. Net-a-porter
  8. Vimeo
In these days, where several HTML5 enthusiasts advocate the use of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript combination for creating rich Internet applications, why Android SDK for Google TV applications? It must be that the HTML5-CSS3-JavaScript combination comes up short somehow - ? - in creating Google TV applications.

Several interesting aspects of man-machine interface design were also mentioned:
  1. Leanback experience, where the TV viewer would have no reason to lean forward, and can operate the contents on the TV screen by leaning back on a couch.
  2. 10% minimum padding is recommended in the use of the TV screen real estate
  3. An aspect ratio of 16:9 is recommended for effective viewing.
A final interesting part of the evening was the use of software called JUG Spinner Wheel to select winners of raffle of 4 Logitech Revue devices from among the attendees of the meetup. After all, what is a technology meetup if technology is not made use of to the hilt? The attendees' list must have been automatically captured by the JUG Spinner Wheel!

Overall, a very satisfactory introduction to Google TV and its applications.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

GTUG Meetup on Google Apps Script: A Review.

Cross-posted from The Browser Platform, Clouds & Computing

This meeting on 6 October 2010 was primarily about Google Apps Script by Martin Omander, Developer Advocate at Google.

After a greeting by Van Riper, lead organizer of the Silicon Valley GTUG Meetup Group, the following initial announcements were made.
  1. Bess Ho gave out the discount code for Paypal X Innovate conference; also mentioned games design, Oct 12.
  2. Kevin Nilson talked about the upcoming Silicon Valley Code Camp, October 9-10
  3. Wesley Chun, the chief organizer of the Google tracks in the camp, briefed the audience on what is to come in those tracks.
The main talk began by showing the home page of Google Apps Script:
Subsequently, Martin went through examples of different functions created by Google and others in the Script Gallery, e.g., =weather(), =getTweets(). He also went through a simple mail merge example.

The message was that, basically, if you were familiar with JavaScript and related concepts of HTML, CSS, etc., you could create an application that made use of information from across several Google products such as Calendar, Doc List, etc. and 3rd party services. You could create scripts that made use of SOAP and REST services within the script.

When asked what kinds of debugging facilities existed, he showed the debug icon in the script editor window, but it wouldn't work for some reason.

If you submitted your own application or scripts to the gallery, then others could make use of your submitted functionality through an URL.

Fusion table support is not yet available.
Is there a published roadmap? No. Martin hoped they will get to it some day.
Can you access spreadsheet visualization application? Martin didn't know.
Google Apps Script T-shirt were given away to those that had done subatantial Google Apps Script implementations. Recipients:
  1., creating a project management application
  2. Karl Pohl, an independent software engineer, who has created stock portfolio analysis application using Google Apps Script. At the moment, he wants to keep the application for himself, thank you very much, as he has been able to extract 'good' money from the stock market using his Google Apps Script implementation.
Paul Masquelier has uploaded the photographs that were taken at the event. 

Overall, a very good introduction to the subject matter of Google Apps Script.