Sunday, February 23, 2014

Telegram Messaging Protocol

This morning I saw a number of tweets mentioning Telegram (a messaging service, like WhatsApp) and their sudden success post Facebook acquiring WhatsApp

They are doing some interesting things here which are different than WhatsApp
  1. They are building out a protocol for encrypted messaging and are making it open source. They offer self destructing messages and multi device access.
  2. Clients are available for major platforms and developers are being encouraged to develop alternate clients that can use the protocol
  3. They are non-commercial
At the same time there are some things that make me concerned
  1. Right now they are a non-profit and are being financed by a grant. They plan to never charge or have ads and if the need for money arises then they will set up donations or have premium features
  2. They have no limits ( or near no limit) file transfers, which Im sure costs quite a bit. So unless the grant is huge need for money will approach faster with rising popularity
  3. There are some concerns around the encryption method chosen by Telegram 

It should be interesting to see how they progress their stated goals and maintain their new found success. At the very least its getting people to start talking and thinking about encryption of their communications.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

View Source on Android

I use my Android tablet a lot especially for web browsing and often find myself wanting to view the source of a web site. A little searching around I found that adding "view-source" in front of the URL will bring up the source like so in Chrome for Android and Mozilla complete with syntax highlights. It did not work in Opera or Dolphin.

Now why this isn't part of a long press option or under settings so far is beyond me ?

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Case Against Smart TVs

I absolutely agree with the Marco Arment that I am fine with my old Sony Bravia, a 50" 1080p LCD TV that has been running fine for close to 7 years.  As it is the case for a lot of people, buying a TV is not a yearly event since they last a long time.

Smart TVs are the trend in the recent years and you will be hard pressed to find a manufacturer that sells one without the "bells and whistles" built in. In fact after browsing some of the top names it seems that you can still buy a dumb TV only from Sony and Panasonic or Runco . The rest like LG, Samsung, Vizio etc all focus on the new smart software that is on the TV , all the content available and you see them front and center with more or less a familiar design

I would rather the manufacturers focus on what they are good at, making damn good displays that make the content you are viewing more enjoyable. TV models are refreshed so frequently that supporting and upgrading software for your current hardware would be quite cumbersome and it wouldnt be surprising to see an end of life quite quickly. So if an API for your favorite video service changes a bit, you could very easily be left hanging with out of date software. 

Leave the smartness to the Rokus, Chromecasts, Apple TVs and XBMCs of the world whose main focus is to manage your media and being it to life on the screen of your choice. They do a far better job of what the TV guys can come up with in terms of UI , the software is updated in a timely manner for the respective hardware and its much cheaper to replace a Chromecast or Roku box than my TV if for some reason the built in Youtube or Netflix app stopped working because the manufacturer wont push new updates for your model.