Apple is not a company that makes mistakes. They release a limited number of products each year, and that might seem like less. But to Apple, the concept of ‘less is more’ seems to be working really well. 2020 saw the release of Apple’s most popular product, the iPhone, come to its 12th edition releasing 4 variants: the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max and the iPhone 12 Max Pro, in increasing order of price.
iPhone 12 Mini
The iPhone 12 Mini is all the rage now, because it is basically a flagship smartphone in a compact package. It features the top of the line A14 bionic chip that is present in all the 4 variants. It has a 5.4 inch 1080p OLED display which seems extremely small when compared to all the other smartphones today: which can be a good thing, because there are not a lot of smartphones out there which can come out and say they make the best smartphone with the smallest screen. Compared to the tiny 4.7 inch screen of the iPhone SE from last year however, the iPhone 12 Mini is a significant improvement. The camera is the best ever in the 700 dollar price segment, and so are the other classic features of iPhones that make them iPhones. However the major drawback of the iPhone 12 Mini is the battery life. In 2020, the iPhone 12 Mini has a regular day battery life of 4 hours, which is really not that impressive considering that there are phones that can last 2 days with no issue. However, the phone is comparatively smaller and so this was expected. The speakers too are a bit small, but they aren’t exactly noticeably different in terms of audio quality.
iPhone 12 Pro Max
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the largest hardware jump that Apple has made in years. The phone features a 47 percent larger main camera, an ultrawide camera and a 2.5x telephoto camera instead of the 2.0x on the other iPhones. It also boasts a sensor shift stabilization system instead of lens stabilization, which should mean that the iPhone 12 Pro Max should be exceptional at low light photography, much more so than the other iPhones. But as it turns out, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Iphone 12 Mini are actually quite comparable in terms of photography. So it seems like the iPhone has reached saturation with their 12 MP camera sensor and focus more on their hardware than their computational photography algorithms. But if you are looking for the biggest screen and battery life, the iPhone Pro Max is definitely the phone for you, because it has a whopping 6.7 inch OLED display, and even with that, the screen on-time can be anything between 6-7 hours depending on type of usage.
In this post I’ll show you how to add animations when trying to switch between screens. Usually when you switch between screens it’s a direct “poof” and the new screen appears in a very un-graceful way. The SDK offers a bunch of easy-to-use animations, and I’ll show you how to use them here.
I tried doing animations on the opening and closing of activities, but I haven’t figured that out yet fully. So instead, I will show you how to use animations when switching on objects/layers inside the same activity. It will still look like you are switching screens, but all the layout data will be in one single XML. If we were to switch between activities, each activity would have had (usually) its own layout XML.
And in the post coming after this one, I’ll show you how to start this animation and switch the screen while dragging your fingers on the touch screen. Let me be a little more precise: while dragging one finger on the touch screen. I’m not sure if the OS handles multi-touch right now – or if that’s something the device has to enable – or both.
Back to the topic: how to switch between layers using animations to make it look like you are changing screens… we will be using a ViewFlipper widget in the layout XML.
Android Samsung Nexus S
I bought the HTC Magic 2 years ago when it first came out in Canada. That’s why most of my blog posts about Android development are from 2 years ago :).
I decided it was time to get the latest and greatest Android phone in Canada: the NEXUS S. A friend currently working at Google on Android highly recommended the device. And the fact that the phone is unlocked, Rogers will not put its apps on it, and Google will push updates directly to the phone without Rogers mandating when, made it even easier to pay the $300. In Canada the phone currently sells for $99 on a brand new contract, but you know how North America works: if you already have a contract you are not as enticing to the carriers as a brand new client with no contract. So, I had to pay a few fees to get the phone for $300 instead of $100.
I won’t go into a full review of the phone. There are plenty of sites that review the phone and have been doing it since the beginning of the year. I will only review a couple of items that I was worried about and you might be too if you are looking at getting this phone (or just got it).
The official release date for Windows Phone 7 is October 11th (in the US). Word around the internet is that it will be released in Canada around the end of October / beginning of November. LG, Samsung, HTC, and Dell have all developed handsets that will be available in Canada. One of the services we offer at my place of employment is mobile development and since we are a Microsoft Gold Partner, developing on Windows Phone 7 is our forte (actually it’s the only mobile development we do). I assume as this platform gets bigger more people will jump to learn how to program on it, so this is a quick-and-dirty list of resources that will help you to learn about programming on Windows Phone 7.
Apparently Samsung is going to stop using Windows Mobile on its cellphones and will concentrate on Android!! I have been a supporter of Android since its inception and stories like these bring tears of joy to my eyes.
Oh, and there’s something about Samsung rolling out their own open source OS called “Bada”. Good for them.
The previous blog post spoke about a great tool called EZAutoScaling which offers a web-based interface for AWS Auto Scaling. Amazon currently makes AWS Auto Scaling available only as command line tools or APIs and EZAutoScaling offers an online tool to make managing Auto Scaling easier. There are other companies that offer a web-based interface for AWS Auto Scaling, but EZAutoScaling is definitely the cheapest ($1/month).
To follow up on that blog post, EZAutoScaling has put up a great guide for using the command line tools for setting up AWS Auto Scaling. The steps detail the pre-requisites, how to set up the command line tools (with many screenshots), and what commands to use in order to set up your auto scaled environment.
By posting this guide they are showing two things:
That setting up AWS Auto Scaling is not straight-forward – though it is not super hard either.
If you don’t feel like paying for EZAutoScaling then you can use the guide to set up and use the command line tools for free.