Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest: Jennifer Capps of NCSU's Entrepreneurship Initiative visits


Jennifer Capps of NCSU's Entrepreneurship Initiative will visit us on November 8 to give a short talk about the Initiative and its Garage.



Guest: Tom Miller of NCSU's Entrepreneurship Initiative will be at final presentations on December 13


Tom Miller of NCSU's Entrepreneurship Initiative and Garage will visit with us during final presentations on December 13.



Guest: Ravi Devarajan will be back for final presentations on December 13


Ravi Devarajan of SAS will be back with us for December 13 final presentations.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest: David Millsaps visits Thursday November 1


David Millsaps of NewRaleigh will visit us on Thursday November 1 to give a short talk on the design of websites.



Find: Why choose Git? (compared to SVN)


Below is a link explaining why you should choose Git over SVN as your version control system, and why Git is so useful, in general (as compared to traditional version control systems which are not distributed VC systems).

James Beavers

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Competition: Chancellor's Innovation Fund


Consider this competition, deadline end November. They pay special attention to students.



Benjamin Watson
Director, Design Graphics Lab | Associate Professor, Computer Science, NC State Univ.
919-513-0325 | | @dgllab

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Billy Houghteling <>
Date: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM
Subject: Chancellor's Innovation Fund
To: Benjamin Watson <>

Dear Benjamin Watson:

If you are interested in submitting a proposal to the Chancellor's Innovation Fund, the disclosure deadline is quickly approaching. Disclosures should be submitted using our electronic invention disclosure submission tool ( Inventions/ideas previously disclosed to the Office of Technology Transfer are also eligible. Please review the full solicitation for specific instructions related to proposal content, submission, and review criteria at A total of $450,000 is available during the FY 2014 cycle. I encourage you to consider those projects and/or ideas that could benefit from proof-of-concept funding and make sure your invention disclosure is submitted no later than November 30, 2012. The Chancellor's Innovation Fund program is highly competitive and aimed at funding technology development projects that can be translated into partnerships with industry or result in the launch of a new company. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Billy Houghteling
Executive Director
Springboard Innovation Center
North Carolina State University
Ph: (919) 515-7199
Fax: (919) 515-3773

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Announcement: critiques so far online


Your critiques so far are online and will continue to appear here (the in class only link on the main page).



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Find: Mozilla focusing on mobile

Update on Firefox Marketplace

Modern browsers based on open standards (like Firefox) enable developers to create amazing Web applications and websites. Mozilla is rapidly increasing the capabilities of the browser platform, which means developers can build more and more of their applications using Web technologies and we’ve been working hard to add more capabilities to the Web as a platform.

We first started working on building these capabilities into the Web and developing our own Firefox Marketplace last year. And, we have seen on the Web and particularly in mobile – Apps, those focused experiences are gaining massive adoption by consumers.

The future is mobile and we’ve made amazing progress with exposing Web APIs across platforms. We’re working to unlock the power of the Web on mobile, just as we did on desktop.

To this end, and based on what we have learned through our efforts to date, we’re now focusing our Marketplace offering. While we previously believed that desktop was the right initial first step to building out an HTML5 app ecosystem, we now believe that we need to pivot further and lead the way with mobile.

We’re not in any way changing our commitment to add features to Desktop as we still feel that Apps are as relevant on desktop as any other environment, but we do need to focus on mobile for the next few releases and as such you won’t see any changes in Desktop for a short period. As soon as mobile has caught up to desktop in features related to Apps we will refocus.

This means:

1) Mobile platforms will be the first target for our HTML5 apps, with desktop to follow providing the means for users to discover and manage their experience;

2) Initial platform targets are Firefox OS and Firefox for Android, with others to follow from our successes there.

We’re happy with the progress we’ve made and excited to share more soon about the next steps for the Web apps ecosystem and Firefox Marketplace. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Find: web platform docs video

Spreading the News

Since we launched on Monday, we’ve seen a number of different ways people are getting the message out about WPD: blogs, news articles, tweets, press releases, and more. Alex Komoroske, Peter Lubbers, and Scott Rowe—all with Google—have put together a 30 minute video that’s a tour of our effort. This includes an overview of the site, a history of the content, instructions about getting started, possible future features, answers to viewers’ questions and much more. Take a look:

Have you used any unusual methods of telling friends and colleagues about WPD? Keep it legal, and keep it friendly, and let us know what weird ways you’re delivering the news about our site.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Find: Google's bid to fix Javascript, Dart, is ready for the real world

Google's bid to fix Javascript, Dart, is ready for the real world

A year ago, Google unveiled a programming language called Dart in an attempt to fix what’s wrong with JavaScript. The hope was to eventually “replace JavaScript as the lingua franca of Web development."

At the time, it was just a technology preview, more useful for people interested in developing Dart itself than for those interested in developing applications with Dart. That’s not to say developers couldn’t build with Dart, but the language needed a complete set of development tools to get a sniff of the mainstream. And that’s exactly what Google delivered today, with what it calls the “first developer-oriented version of the Dart SDK.”

The key improvements and features, according to Google software engineer Lars Bak, are as follows:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Find: Security breach briefly hijacks connections to and

Security breach briefly hijacks connections to and

The outfit that manages Internet addresses for Ireland’s national .ie domain has temporarily taken some of its systems offline while officials investigate a security breach that temporarily hijacked the Irish websites for Google and Yahoo.

A short note on the homepage of the IE Domain Registry said the move followed a "security incident on Tuesday 9th October, involving two high profile .ie domains that has warranted further investigation and some precautionary actions on the part of the IEDR." Several independent Web posts, including those on Twitter and the site of a .ie domain registrar (Google cache here) identified the sites as and People trying to visit those addresses were briefly redirected to a fraudulent server as a result of "unauthorised access to one Registrar's account which resulted in the change to the DNS nameserver records for the two .ie domains," the latter blog post reported, citing IEDR CEO David Curtin.

Both of the affected sites, according to whois records, are managed by MarkMonitor, a company that protects the online brands of its customers. Sophos security expert Graham Cluley reported that the breach caused the IEDR to incorrectly point users to domain name system name servers at, which appear to be located in Indonesia.

Announcement: two day extension on turning in your project plan

It's now due Thursday 10/17.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Find: Firefox 16 adds more developer muscle, but Mac OS features lag

Firefox 16 adds more developer muscle, but Mac OS features lag

The default homepage of the latest edition of Firefox.

Mozilla has announced the public availability of Firefox 16, the latest version of its open-source web browser. While this version is light on new features that most users will notice—and missing some features many faithful users have been expecting—there are some major additions under the hood that will make Firefox 16 a better platform for developing apps for both the desktop browser and mobile web.

As we've reported, Firefox 15 included a whole host of user experience features, including some impressive support for web-based gaming. Firefox 16 is focused more on pushing forward the browser's support for advanced Cascading Style Sheets features and HTML 5 programming interfaces, as well as a pair of web APIs suited specifically to tablets and mobile devices. There's also a new feature of the browser that will appeal to both developers and power users: a command line that drives many of the browser's internal tools.

Underneath, there's a performance tweak to the garbage collection in Firefox's JavaScript engine. There's also a new security feature rolled out in Firefox 16, called "opt-in activation," that will allow Mozilla to reach out and configure users' browsers to prompt them to allow out-of-date or known vulnerable browser plug-ins from running.

Event: Crowd of 2,000 likely to pack Internet Summit in Raleigh

Looks interesting. Can't find student rates though. 

Crowd of 2,000 likely to pack Internet Summit in Raleigh

Internet SummitThe fifth annual Internet Summit is set for Nov. 6-8 in Raleigh. The agenda includes a Startup Summit and a closing "IS Rocks" set of concerts across three venues to wrap up the event.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Find: Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others team up to support standards site Web Platform Docs

Looks useful!

Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others team up to support standards site Web Platform Docs Logo

Web development has become increasingly complex in recent years, and now a new website has launched — with the backing of several major industry players — in an effort to become the definitive resource for developers looking to explore web standards. Web Platform Docs, which launched today in a self-described "alpha" form, wants to become "the place to come for answers to your trickiest (and simplest) development and design questions about the Open Web Platform." The project is backed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards body, as well as the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Mozilla, Nokia, and others.

The site currently consists of a wiki, forums, a chat channel, and a blog, but the ambitions run much...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Assignment: project plans due next Thursday 10/17 (updated)

Hey folks,

You should be talking with your clients and formulating an initial project plan by Thursday next week (10/17) (updated: two day extension).

You can find a description of good project plans here.

Email these to your Google group; Tao and I will dialogue with you to adjust it, usually in your favor.

It looks like you cannot create a new post to your Google Group if your personal gmail ID isn't a member (though you can receive and reply). We are adding those IDs we have, but if you find you cannot post, make sure to email Tao your personal gmail ID along with a request to add it.

Keep in mind that these are working documents, we will be improving them, so don't strive for perfection at this point.



Announcment: on project critiques

Hope you all had a good break!

As most of you know, last Tue we made project assignments. Starting tomorrow, we'll begin our first "critiques" of your projects. On most critique days (in 75 minutes) we won't be able to discuss more than four of your projects.

You can find guidance on making good project presentations here.

Tomorrow, I know many of you will have just begun. Don't be afraid to present incomplete work. This is in fact the best time to present your work, because it is the time when your direction is still flexible. In recognition of this, we will give a bit of extra credit to those who present tomorrow. And in general during studio, we will not be grading quality of the work, only the effort you have put into the presentation and the work. (Of course the quality will be very important in your final project mark).

As an audience watching/critiquing, we also have the following rules:
  • Be positive, especially early on during projects
  • Don't tell people what's wrong, tell them how to make it better
  • Don't be afraid to speak up: there are many right answers, not just one
  • Do what you can to create a fun, creative, receptive atmosphere
Remember, you can earn credit by speaking up, either in class or on the corresponding posts project teams make.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Find: The New York Times launches HTML5 web app for iPad, dodges Apple's in-app subscription fees

Apple is incentivizing the development of html5 as an alternative to the app store's 30% cut. 

The New York Times launches HTML5 web app for iPad, dodges Apple's in-app subscription fees

The New York Times iPad web app

Today, The New York Times announced a new HTML5 web app for the iPad, likely introduced in an attempt to avoid Apple's 30 percent cut of in-app purchases. The Times did state that "subscribers have told us they are interested in trying new ways of reading The Times across a variety of platforms" which may indicate intent to extend the new web app to Android and Windows 8. We've reached out to The New York Times for more information on future development plans. The web app for iPad is currently available to digital subscribers, and can be accessed using Safari.

Update: New York Times corporate communications manager Linda Zebian responded with the following statement:

We developed the app as part of our NYT Everywhere Strategy—which...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Find: Microsoft TypeScript - the JavaScript we need, or a solution looking for a problem?

Nice review of js variants and competitors. 

Microsoft TypeScript: the JavaScript we need, or a solution looking for a problem?

For all JavaScript's prominence as the lingua franca of Web development, there are an awful lot of developers who don't like it a whole lot, and as a result, a great many efforts to produce something better.

As is typical among programmers, nobody can quite agree on which bits of JavaScript are the problem. For some, JavaScript is mostly good enough, just a little awkward and ugly to write, so we have, for example, the popular CoffeeScript language. CoffeeScript makes a lot of changes to JavaScript's syntax, and uses JavaScript's object-oriented capabilities in a particular way, but doesn't fundamentally alter the way the language works.

Others think that the semantics of the language (the rules governing its behavior) are a problem too, so we have projects like Google's Dart, which offer both new syntax and behavior. And then there are the things like Google Web Toolkit (GWT) and Script#, which adopt wholesale the language and behavior of, respectively, Java and C#, merely compiling to JavaScript for actual execution.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Find: A behind-the-scenes look at LinkedIn’s mobile engineering

A behind-the-scenes look at LinkedIn’s mobile engineering

Aurich Lawson

LinkedIn is the career-oriented social network that prides itself on professional excellence. But the company's original mobile offering was anything but—it left much to be desired. There was an iPhone application, but no support for Android or tablets. The backend was a rickety Ruby on Rails contraption; afflicted with seemingly insurmountable scalability problems. And despite serving only seven or eight percent of the LinkedIn population, the company's original mobile build required approximately 30 servers in order to operate. This was clearly not made to sustain a growing mobile user base.

Now, a little over a year has passed since LinkedIn relaunched its mobile applications and website. And the company recently marked the anniversary by debuting a number of new mobile features, including real-time notifications and support for accessing company pages from mobile apps.

Mobile is gradually becoming a central part of the LinkedIn landscape. The company says roughly 23 percent of its users access the site through one of its mobile applications, up from ten percent last year. As our friends at Wired reported last month, the underlying design language and development philosophy behind the company’s mobile experience is playing an influential role as the company works to revamp its website.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Find: Indystate - Peak Chrome? Google's browser falls as Firefox, Internet Explorer stay flat

Peak Chrome? Google's browser falls as Firefox, Internet Explorer stay flat

Once again, Firefox has maintained its grip on second place, behind Internet Explorer. And as Chrome falls away, there's now a gap of more than one percentage point between the browsers.

During 2011, Chrome's rise was unstoppable, and it looked as if taking second place was an inevitability. In 2012, Google's browser has come close, but never quite managed to close the gap even with Google's extensive advertising and promotion.

Internet Explorer and Firefox are essentially unchanged, each gaining 0.03 points to 53.63 and 20.08 percent respectively. Chrome has dropped 0.27 points to 18.86 percent, Safari picked up 0.16 points for a total of 5.26 points, and Opera edged up slightly, by 0.04 points to 1.62 percent.

Annoucement: Rob Buhler and Simon Brown rescheduled


We're a bit behind in assigning our projects, so we've reschedule our first two visits, from Simon Brown and Robert Buhler, to October 16 and October 25, respectively.