Steve Jobs: More Than Just a CEO

Who knew that an unwanted baby could live to become one of the most influential visionaries of our history? He lived and died as we all do, but he didn’t take his time on earth for granted, instead he used it wisely to mark his place in this world through creating technology that disrupted and created industries we didn’t know we wanted. Think about the tablet industry before the iPad. Remember how we bought music before iTunes? Steve always knew better!

His speech at the Stanford Commencement ceremony is very inspiring and some might even say enlightened. He mentions in his speech that he never graduated from collage and this is the closest he has gotten to a graduation ceremony. But how can a college drop out become the CEO of a billion dollar international company? He had what no collage can teach us. Passion. Passion cannot be toughed or learnt, but rather acquired from people we interact with on the daily basis. Passion is contagious as is the lack of it. surround yourself with passionate, daring people and you’ll become one.

Death is life’s most beautiful invention, it’s nature’s way of clearing the old and replacing it with new, and that’s the cycle of life. Your are the new, and you are the future visionaries and creators that’ll make their mark on this planet. Don’t leave it up to chance, you won’t get too many chances.

If you live everyday as though it was your last, one day you’d most certainly be right. Find your passion, follow through and tread boldly.

App Review: Duolingo

Once upon a time, in order to learn a language we had to either enroll in a language course or buy a whole bunch of books that somehow magically found their way to bookshelf to report for dust collecting duty. Of course there was always the option of moving to the country that you are trying to learn the language of, through one of those exchange student programs. But just like the other two options it’s very time-consuming and will leave your wallet feeling a whole lot lighter. With the introduction of smartphones and apps, developers knew that someone had to step up to the challenge and rethink how we approach learning languages. That’s where the Duolingo guys step in.

Meet Duolingo

Duolingo is a free app that takes on language learning in a very fun and intuitive way. First time glancing at it’s interface it becomes clear that a significant amount of attention is given to the design and user experience. You know how we’re always advised to be in a tidy and clean environment when studying? Same applies to the learning medium. In case of textbooks and other formats, they’re often so cluttered with information and details that we – as beginners in a language – simply don’t need to know about. The smart folks over at Duolingo have realized that and they present us with a beautiful, clean experience unlike any other.

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Instead they have a fresh, gamified approach to the problem. All words are categorized separately based on their difficulty, at end of each level you’ll have a little chart giving you feedback on how you did and what words you need to improve on to. You can also follow people/friends who are learning the same language as you are and start competing with each other. Neat stuff!
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Free? How?

At first, it might take you by surprised to learn that an app of such quality and promise would be free. You might expect there to be some sort of hidden fee, monthly subscription, annoying ads and so on. But this app is completely free. No ads, no fees, nothing. So where does the money come from? Here’s where things get interesting. Duolingo is hoping to translate the web into every possible language, and they are using a very similar system to CAPCHA. A user is able to upload a document to the server, the documents is then given out to the community to be translated for a small fee payable by the uploader. You know how they say “a picture worth a million words”? Just watch the video below and it’ll give you a pretty good idea about the business model.

Final Thought

I have had an interest in learning different languages since mid-school, and believe it’s one of the skills that will not be outdated, not in my life time at least. I appreciate having the possibility of learning different languages at my finger tips, free of charge. While the programs provided by Duolingo wont make you fluent in a language, they will give you an understanding of the fundamentals and a big enough vocabulary to get you started.

At time the smiling owl reminds me of my school bully. At least the owl didn’t jump out screen to take my lunch money. Jump over to either the App Store or the Google Play and download the free app.

I am a girl

Download Google Play Download From App store

 

Welcome

Long gone are the days that a humble 2.0 next to your site logo added instant credibility to your service or product. Nowadays Web 2.0 has become so well known and adopted by creators and consumers that we merely recognise it. It is no longer the amazing technology that enriched our daily digital life, but rather a god given right, and any service not having adopted it shall forever burn in the eternal fires of 404 pages.

But times have changed and so have our expectations as consumers. We no longer want to sit on the computer and read the news and reply to emails. Instead we want to reach into our pockets and pull out a device slightly bigger than the palm of our hand that no only matches but surpasses the said computer in many ways. Friends, say hello to your smartphone.

Ever heard the phrase, good from far, far from good? This is the perfect example. Smartphone is one seemingly simple concept, and while many companies are quite successful in producing great software and hardware, others are still struggling to see the bigger picture. The smartphone market is heavily saturated by different hardwares, softwares and manufacturers who are trying to get a name for themselves in the space, but only a few have gotten it right. Although this makes for a wide variety of selections for the consumer, it makes for a logistical nightmare for us as developers. Think of programming languages, general human interface guidelines, OS conventions, design and so on.

Fortunately though, there are a few solutions out there for cross platform development. Mmmm. Cross platform solution. A mobile developer’s wet dream. While some are well thought out and provide flexibility others are just clunky and counter intuitive, so it’s important to make sure you select the correct environment for your development.

Over the past year I’ve tried most development environments, from Xcode to android IDE to PhonrGap to titanium studio and everything in between. As with everything else in this world, they all have their pros and cons, but that’s a rant worthy of its own post. I’ve personally chosen Titanium Studio for all my development and prototyping purposes and I’ll be sure to post my experiences with Titanium in future posts.

Along the way I’ll be posting articles on design and development, for both web and mobile and sharing tips and tricks that I pick up along the way and share with you some of my personal projects, inspirations and dreams behind them.

Stay tuned for more.

App Review: YourExtraLife

Do you remember the last time you were pushed outside your comfort zone? Remember the satisfying feeling you got after  finishing the project? Remember how you kept talking about your latest accomplishment until all your friends and family were just begging you to shut the hell up already? That’s a wonderful feeling – not the being asked to shut up – but the sense of pride of confidence you have bubbling inside of you when you achieve  something challenging. If you’re anything like me, you’d be scratching your head right about now, trying to remember the previous times  you stepped outside of your comfort zone and carried through with it. No reason to beat your self up if  you can’t recall anything, you’re not alone. This is what the YourExtraLife team is trying to tackle, and so far they have done an amazing job.

YourExtraLife Concept

 YourExtraLife is a real-life game. It consists of 8 interesting challenge categories/trees, each containing over 20 challenges (give or take). Right now the categories include Geek, Gourmet, Nightlife, Culture, Romance, Altruism, Challenge of the week and as of today Photography. The first challenge of each tree is often the easiest and they seem to get harder as you progress through the level. The basic idea is that you complete a challenge, take a picture, throw a beautiful filter on it and submit it to the tribunal, where it can either get verified or declined by the community.

YourExtraLife GeekYourExtraLife Trees

After using the app for a few days, it becomes evident that this  game is not a product of accident or luck, but rather a child of careful planning with meticulous execution and great attention to detail. From its smooth, custom animations and carefully designed graphics to the tongue and cheek language used throughout, every tiny detail of the game works towards enriching the user experience and it does so effortlessly.

YourExtraLife RomanceYourExtraLife Tribunal

In my opinion, YourExtraLife has succeeded in creating an engaging game that acts as a bridge between our real lives and the virtual one we carry inside of our phones. In the short time the app has been available on the iOS platform, it has managed to create a strong sense of community and loyalty within the players. That is a very rare occurrence, given how saturated the App Store is with other clever apps competing for our attention.

Of course the app is at its early days and I have no doubt there are still lots of improvements to be made to make the experience even better. Feel free to jump over to the App store, download the free app and challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone, be it a cooking challenge, writing a computer program or simply leaving your partner a romantic note (Trust me, it goes a long way!!).

LHTML Loving

 

 

 

 

 

Download From App Store