Working in Tech

Best practices, new technology and products, and tips to help you stay on the cutting edge.

A NoSQL Alternative: Disk Folders

Folder
One of the joys of programming is that there are often many different ways to accomplish the same goal. That comes in handy when you’re not feeling too confident about a given solution. Consider this problem I recently faced. I was choosing between a relational database or NoSQL for a game server I was working on. Whichever I chose would contain a couple dozen tables and would need to support up to 100,000 users. My real-time needs were very modest,… continue…

Are Modular Smartphones the Next Big Thing?

Project Ara
Google’s Project Ara wants to take the smartphone back to basics—literally. With Project Ara, the smartphone is modular: The owner can swap out everything from the battery and screen to the speakers and cameras. The device’s endoskeleton holds those modules in place with magnets, meaning those swaps can take place without the need for a mini-screwdriver or other tools. In theory, you could duck into a store, purchase a replacement module for a camera or battery, and pop it into… continue…

Even If Nike’s FuelBand Is Failing, Wearable Tech Isn’t Dead

Nike FuelBand
Over the weekend, CNET reported that Nike planned to lay off employees working on its FuelBand, a “smart bracelet” that tracks the wearer’s physical activity. “As early as this fall, Nike planned on releasing another iteration of the FuelBand—an even slimmer version—but cancelled the project,” the publication reported. “And it appears to have shelved all future physical product projects under the Digital Sport helm, the person familiar with the matter added.” Click here for wearable tech-related jobs. A few days… continue…

What PlayStation 4 Winning the Console Wars Means for Developers

EA Game Screen Shot
  Sony’s PlayStation 4 is plunging ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox One in total sales, according to reports. The PlayStation 4 has managed to sell 7 million consoles in its first five months of release, along with 20.5 million games. That’s a striking contrast to the Xbox One, which has sold 5 million units since its November debut. Click here for game development jobs. In an attempt to put a positive spin on the numbers, Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi released an… continue…

The Future of Robots: Soft, Flexible, Squeezable

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Otherlab Soft Robots
If someone asks you to picture a robot, the first image that probably comes to mind is the steel exoskeleton from “The Terminator” films, or one of those creepy mechanical “dogs” produced by Boston Robotics. But if teams of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and other institutions succeed in their latest endeavors, the robots of the future could look very different: soft, squiggly, and flexible. Click here to find robotics jobs. “There are only maybe… continue…

Why You Might Want to Hold Off Developing Apps for Windows 8

Windows 8
Microsoft executives have spent the past year and a half promoting Windows 8’s app store, in the hope that third-party developers would create a thriving ecosystem of games and productivity software. What’s the result of all that time and energy? As InfoWorld relates in a new posting, some 150,000 apps currently reside in the Windows Store—not a very impressive number, when you consider the number of Windows devices currently on the market, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of… continue…

Mark Zuckerberg’s Management Tips

Facebook Home App
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat down with The New York Times recently to discuss some of his company’s latest moves, including its high-profile acquisition of WhatsApp. Much of that discussion focused on Creative Labs, which is tasked with building standalone apps—not all of which will feature Facebook’s branding. “In mobile there’s a big premium on creating single-purpose first-class experiences,” Zuckerberg told the Times’ Farhad Manjoo. Click here to find IT manager positions. On that front, Facebook’s Messenger app—which, as the… continue…

How One Apple Employee Survived a Steve Jobs Product Review

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Steve Jobs
In the popular conception, the late Steve Jobs is a megalomaniacal jerk who screamed, bullied, and pushed until he got whatever he wanted. But according to Don Melton, who started the Safari and WebKit projects at Apple, Jobs was a bit misunderstood. “Steve was not some mercurial ogre or cartoon autocrat. He was just very, very busy,” Melton wrote in a recent posting on his personal site. “He didn’t have time for ‘yes men,’ the easily frightened, or those who… continue…

Google Glass on Sale: Who’s Buying?

Google Glass Sunglasses Thumbnail
Google has made its Google Glass augmented-reality headsets available for sale April 15. There’s just one catch: It’s a one-day sale, starting at 9 A.M. EST. “Any adult in the U.S. can become an Explorer by visiting our site and purchasing Glass for $1500 + tax—and it now comes with your favorite shade or frame, thanks to feedback from our current Explorers,” reads Google’s official posting on the matter. “The number of spots available is limited, so mark your calendar… continue…

Amazon’s Fire OS: Worth Your Development Time?

Kindle Fire
If rumors (and The Wall Street Journal) prove correct, Amazon will release a smartphone near the end of 2014. Those rumors have percolated for quite some time; in early 2013, for example, Amazon hired a former manager of Microsoft’s Windows Phone developer experience to work on “something secret,” which sparked a flurry of publications proclaiming that such a device was in the works. Click here to find mobile development jobs. Amazon already has a handful of branded devices on the… continue…