October 17, 2011

Redux: WebGL Random Pixel Toy

Fun: Check out WebGL Sand Toy.

John Robinson, at his storminthecastle blog, posted a 'cloud' version (i.e. a webpage :P) of a toy app I did 5 years ago.  His version is pretty cool, all the more so because it runs in the browser, using WebGL.

Two things strike me about this (other than general fun/goodness):
  1. 5 years(-ish) feels about right on the Moore's law curve, and is probably the target for 'native' smartphones apps making the transition to browser based (if the W3C can get its act together)
  2. On the other hand, "runs like native" still seems like the highest compliment one can pay a browser based thing... so there's that.

By way of example for both points, consider:

Viewpoint Media Player 3D, in a browser, circa 2002 using 'SreeD'
WebGL racer, in a browser, circa 2011 using OpenGL

In any case, enjoy.

October 14, 2011

Kindle Fire: Return of the Desktop?

Much has been written about the Amazon Kindle Fire (Amazon's new Android based touchscreen Kindle e-reader/media player).

Is it a game changer? Maybe. We'll see.

I've certainly ordered one, and though many say its no threat to the iPad, given its media capabilities... I dunno --- people might be surprised. If its reasonably performant (and compatible) for browsing, and given its e-commerce, e-book, and media capabilities... well, we'll see.

Certainly its going to make it tough for other Android tablet vendors; Jeff Bezos is right in asserting that devices alone don't sell (and this is old news) -- it's devices+services, as Apple has amply demonstrated again and again.

All that said, there's another interesting thing about the Kindle Fire that distinguishes its market approach from Apple's.

It's about content.

Apple sells activities -- a lifestyle; Amazon sells content.

Contrast Amazon's pitch with Apple's:

Disagree if you want, but its a philosophy difference that extends to the VERY FIRST SCREEN: Amazon hilights the content, not the application(s) -- go watch the Amazon video at the top of the post again.

Sure, you can by music, movies, and books with your iOS device, and there's no question that's a big part of the appeal -- but Apple's metaphor is about the task (books-->'Winnie the Pooh', videos-->'Inception'), and Amazon's is the reverse.


And here I thought "document-centric" computing, and the desktop metaphor it implies, was dead (I even wrote a eulogy).

Is it going to work? Maybe. We'll see.

But, either way, I have to give props to Amazon, and Bezos, for, well, trying to Think Different... :P