Proctele apps in the App Store

Proctele apps in the App Store
Click the picture to see Proctele apps in Apple's App Store

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What might happen in next 30 years?

Hi technology trenders! On April 29th I blogged about the last 30 years in information technology and I promised to come back and try to predict the next 30 years. Here's my attempt.

Underlying trends
The underlying hardware trends are one of the enablers that push technology forwards. They are the easiest of the enablers to identify. Software will take an increased part in the technology push, but those trends are more difficult to identify. Here are the hardware trends that have been important and will continue to be:
  • Miniaturization continues. 
  • Computing power and memory increases. 
  • Battery capacity improves. 
Current trends extrapolated
Extrapolating current trends is the most common way to make predictions. Linear extrapolations quite often lead to predictions that after a few years look ridiculous. The reason linear extrapolations usually don't work is that people influence each other strongly and different technologies influence each other. That leads to most changes being according to exponential curves, not linear curves. I will try to base my predictions on the underlying drivers listed above instead of extrapolating.

The predictions
Fixed phones will become rare devices. Most of those remaining will be wireless.
Fixed Internet will continue, due to increased bandwidth. It will take more than 30 years to accommodate all the needed bandwidth without wires.

Most powered home devices will be battery driven, but the most power-hungry devices will not.
Power without cords will catch on, because people will find cords increasingly unacceptable.
2D-printing will almost disappear, due to the superiority of electronic screens.
3D-printing will make customization of many things possible. 3D-printing will first be done by professionals and later in the home.
Cashless payments will gain popularity, because it's quicker, more reliable, 
safer and more hygienic. At least 99.9% of payments will be cashless.
Broadcast TV will disappear. Broadcast radio will continue.
Mail services will be mostly for goods and prices will drop. However, mailing a paper document (letter) will cost about the same as mailing, say a bicycle.
Antennas continue to improve. That will contribute to the change in appearance of mobile phones beyond recognition. Necklaces with voice communication capability will become popular. Of course the usual mobile phone capabilities will be included in the necklace, like audio player and camera, and it will be voice controlled.
Batteries can deliver more power than the electric plug, but in short power pulses. This will be put to use somehow. Possible use: cleaning, medical treatment.
Projection displays will become very popular, because they show larger pictures. Projectors will be built into cameras (already done) and devices similar to the iPad. Of course touch control will be included.
Cars will be s
elf-driving. Self-driving cars will be exempted from speed limits on high-capacity roads, because of their superior safety.
All books will be released electronically. For those who insist on paper, there will be E-paper and printing services. Book reading capability will be present in many devices, like clock radios.
Voice command everywhere and it will work as well as human communication. 
Very small loudspeakers will generate good sound quality. Earplugs will be used for privacy reasons and enhanced sound quality.
Electronic navigation within large buildings like trade fairs and hospitals will be common.
Gaming will be even more popular than today. The reason is 3D display technology. The virtual amusement park through immersive game technology will see the day. The border between gaming and film viewing will blur and the division will seem increasingly artificial.
Many people will move to attractive places, because communications technology will enable them to work from anywhere. Some will prefer to live on enormous apartment ships cruising on the oceans. The reason is their superior service and that they tend to cruise in tropical waters and offer the chance to see the world.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The New App is Available

Good morning (CET) all you iPhone gamers!
The new game from Proctele has arrived in the App Store. It has the following names in the localized App Stores:

  • English: Alcohol Check – Skills Test
  • French: Vérifiez l'alcool – Compétences Test
  • German: Alkohol Check – Fähigkeiten Test
  • Dutch: Alcohol Check – Vaardigheden Test
It's for testing whether you're feeling Ok. Do you have a steady hand? Can you see properly etc.
Here's the icon so you can identify it in the App Store:

Easiest way to find all our apps in the store, is to search for proctele.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Internet vs Social Networks

Hi dear Readers!
I've been using the Internet for many years, like many others to say the least. I'm fairly new to Facebook though; I started using it only this year. 
I used to be asked: what is the Internet, and answered that it's a lot of interconnected computer networks with lots of data storage. The question I get nowadays is: what is Facebook and Twitter. The latter is easier. My answer is that Twitting is like sending SMS to everyone with a Twitter account, and that you can follow people, which means you get all their Twits.
What is Facebook then? It's a network of People. Each has a page, which can be a sort of diary. Then come the questions: 

  • Should I join Facebook? If your friends are on Facebook, you definitely should.
  • What is the point of being on Facebook? You can see what your friends are up to. You can share something that you saw or something that happened to you. You can invite people to events. You can play Facebook games. In a very limited way it's like Twitter; instead of sending an SMS to everyone, you put text and pictures on your Facebook page.
  • Can anyone read my page? You can decide who can; your friends can, i.e. your Facebook friends. 
  • But again, what is the point? Well, I guess you have to try it to find out. Explaining it makes it just sound trivial and rather silly. But it isn't.

And now: Internet vs Social Networks. Why this headline? Because the two are very different. Internet is about computers, social networks are about people. To social networks, the Internet is infrastructure. It's plumbing. It's an utter necessity, it doesn't make the heart jump, except when it isn't working.
Internet vs Social Networks is also about companies. The Internet companies know that Internet is plumbing and that social networks is the current and future big thing. So they want to join the social networking business. The problem is how to get in. Can it be done by building something new on top of the Internet, to make it a bit like Facebook, but different? Google is trying this, but they haven't succeeded. Will they ever succeed? Is there room for another Facebook? No one knows the answer. Google's Orkut hasn't been successful enough. MySpace seems to have merged with Facebook.
My guess is that Google has failed in social networks, because they are not the right sort of company to succeed in social networks. Their vocabulary, i.e. their thinking, contains words like "network", "search", "server", "site", "email". To succeed they would have to use terms like "I", "friend", "share", "show", "who", "now". Very different words, which lead to very different thoughts. For an individual it's difficult to change his thinking. For a company it's much more difficult. It can be done, but it takes many years. I'm sure Google will try!

Monday, May 23, 2011

New App has been Uploaded

Hi all you lucky iPhone owners!

A new app by Proctele has been uploaded to the App Store. It is waiting to be reviewed by Apple. If the app gets a fairly quick go-ahead, it should be available for downloading before the end of this month.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

iPhone vs Android

Hi all you nice smartphone enthusiasts!

Two of the most popular smartphone categories currently are iPhone and Android. Deep within, everybody wants an iPhone. It is one of those products that we'll remember with some love when, in the year 2040, we think of the old times. But there are Android phones with similar qualities. They are thin and sleek, handsome devices, that you want to handle, or perhaps even fondle. What are the pros and cons from a buyer's viewpoint?

iPhone pros Android pros
Good looks Good looks
High status High status, but depends on the model
Good build quality
Thin Thin
App Store with some app quality control
Apps will work on all iPhones
Next generation will be even better Next generation will be even better

Cheaper models are available

iPhone cons Android cons
Expensive, with no cheaper iPhone Build quality can differ
Limited availability at times
Too large size for pockets Some devices are too large for pockets
Theft-prone Some devices are theft-prone

For me as a buyer, the Single App Store, managed by Apple is particularly attractive. Android apps can be bought from many sources, and that opens the door to criminals. If this problem can be solved, Android will gain much trust. Trust is alpha and omega!
Compatibility problems need to be fixed in Android, which means all Android apps will run on all Android devices. That can also be solved, but someone must take the driver's seat to solve that. It's uncertain if Google will do that.
Summary: Iphone is playing "catch me if you can" with Android.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What is Enormous Storage Capacity?

Dear blog readers!
Continuing the storage theme, here's a nice article about enormous storage capacity, see
It contains this nice picture:
Wikipedia has an article on Yottabyte:
One Yottabyte = 1 followed by 24 zeros bytes.
The Internet is estimated to contain over 500 Exabytes = 500 followed by 18 zeros, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the Yottabyte.

I would guess that a decade more with an ever expanding YouTube, the Internet will contain a Yottabyte of information.

With this perspective, it becomes clearer that the price of storage can never be low enough.

Yet another perspective reveals the humbleness of even a Yottabyte. What about a Googlebyte? That's 1 followed by 100 zeros!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The iPod touch is a teacher in sleek disguise

You may have read the previous blog about harddisks. I bought one 1,500 GB, as black as Batman's cape. I told my 8-year old son it was military grade and he believed me of course.

I've been considering the computer, in particular the iPod touch and iPad, as a supplementary math teacher for children. What are the advantages of a computer as teacher?

  • You can do more exercises. A math-book has a limited number of exercises. When it's finished, you need another book.
  • One needs not be ashamed of making mistakes. A good computer program only says the answer is wrong, nothing else happens.
  • A computer program is rather like a game. It's fun.
  • A computer program gives immediate and encouraging feedback.
  • A computer program easily adjusts the level of difficulty to fit the child
One can sum up by saying that the computer is much more flexible. It offers endless variations, it's more fun, it all depends on the programs used.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The shrinking Harddisk prices

Hi all you tech-lovers! The price of harddisks keeps going down. The prices are lower than about two years ago, while the capacity keeps increasing and some producers have started making colorful and attractive devices.

To me this is a sure sign that the competing technology, solid state memory (same as in USB memory sticks), is about to win the battle of storage technologies. Another sign of this is the fact that Apple's MacBook Air has only solid state memory. Its storage capacity is much smaller than most laptops, but still sufficient for most buyers. These Macs can get additional storage simply by connecting a USB harddisk, when needed.

The harddisks will lose, and I'm sure proponents of both technologies have made diagrams showing when the technology switch will happen. In the meantime we can enjoy ever more storage at ever lower prices. In one of the electronics stores close to my place, I can get a 2000 GB drive for 675 SEK, which is about 100 USD. 675 SEK / 2000 GB = 0,33 SEK / GB = 0,05$ / GB. That's really cheap. Of course I'll have to pay more should I want a colorful one.

I'm going to buy a harddisk this afternoon. Maybe two.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Proctele App Coming Soon

A new game will be released soon. We hope it will be at the end of this month, but no later than early June. After some extra debugging and fine tuning it will be ready for release.
The new game will be a handful of mini-games merged into one app. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Do I need a Smartphone?

Hi dear readers! In an earlier post on April 6, I gave my definition of smartphones and similar devices. Here's what I wrote then.

Smartphone definition: Small Smart Handheld Device + SMS, MMS, mobile data channel.
Smart Handheld Device:
  • Access to the Internet via WiFi
  • Touch-Screen: about 3 inches - about 10 inches
  • On-screen keyboard or keyboard with buttons
  • Microphone, speaker and headphone outlet
  • Camera for picture and video
  • Tilt- and motion-detector (ie, accelerometer)
  • Standard apps: e.g. app-store, web browser, email, contacts, calendar
  • Downloadable apps
  • Music player
  • Video Player
  • (Extra: Compass, GPS)
In Apple product terms this means: 
iPod touch = Small Smart Handheld Device
iPhone = Smartphone

This means if you need to have Internet access anytime and everywhere, you'll need a smartphone. If you're content with having Internet access in specific places (hotels, McDonald's, Starbucks), no SMS/MMS and no phone calls, a small smart handheld device will be sufficient. If not, you'll need a smartphone.
My personal answer to the question is that my iPod touch + a rather simple phone is enough. It is also a question of economics. An iPhone can cost more than three times the combination of an iPod touch + simple phone, and that's a lot.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring or Not Spring?

Hi all App fans! You may have read the April 27th post, the one about spring in Skåne. Spring optimism must have hit me on that day, because I was totally wrong. I turned the central heating off and went to the driving range. 
It's been incredibly cold here for about a week with sub-zero (sub 32F) night temperatures and day temperatures of about 5 degrees C. Turned the central heating on again, and it toiled like it was mid-winter. But finally it's getting warmer outside.
Possibly due to cold temperatures, the morning paper didn't arrive yesterday. However that doesn't bother a lucky iPad owner like me. A free online subscription is included in the paper subscription, so no problem there. Great device, I keep saying it. 
I've noticed that I do certain web-activities almost exclusively on the iPad or iPod touch, as opposed to doing them on the MacBook.

  • iPad only: handle Google Docs, use Google Reader, read morning paper
  • iPod touch or iPad: mail, browse the App Store, check weather/stocks/calendar, morning paper feed, Proctele games, Facebook, Twitter
  • MacBook: work, mail, Facebook, Twitter
Of course the above is not complete. 

I have not made any conscious decisions about device use. The way I use them is only decided by convenience. A good app on a certain device can definitely drive use towards it, but it's a good app in combination with good and suitable hardware that makes a really good user experience.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pi, the Magic Number of Circles

π (pronounced pi) is the ratio between a circle's circumference and its diameter. The circle is one of the most fundamental shapes, so how come its defining number is so odd? It's irrational and it's transcendental, which means there is no simple way of expressing π, other than giving it a cute name. What do the decimals of this mysterious number look like? Are there repetitive sequences among the decimals? If I look for a sequence in π, will I find it?

I think π is a fascinating number and I'd like people to join me. The app that I wrote and chose to call "Pi, the Magic Number of circles" lets you search for number strings in the first million decimals of π. When I first searched in π, the string I searched for was my birthday 580923 (Swedish date format). The second was my wife's birthday, then those of my children: they were all in π.

Today is May 5 2011, i.e. 110505, which is in π at position 205044 :-). And just before 110505, you have 525850 and just after you have 111853. Incidentally, turning today's date around, writing 050511, you find that it's there too at 205046. It seems today is a special day, Pi-wise !!

That's how I use this app.

Lots of people bought it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Elephant Super Memory Challenge: Recall This!

Have you tried our app "Elephant Super Memory Challenge: Recall This!" ?

The idea behind Elephant Super Memory Challenge is simple: present some objects to remember, then hide them and ask the player to tell what the objects were.

Some things are easier to remember than others. Things we handle every day are easier than those we see for the first time. For a Western European it's easier to remember an alphabetic string than to remember a string of Chinese characters and vice versa. For a German it's easier to remember a string of German words than it is for a Frenchman. People who are good with numbers may find it easier to remember them than those who don't like numbers at all.

Another important factor is the range of values to remember. It's easier to remember long strings of 0's and 1's than it is to remember long strings of colors.

The Elephant Super Memory Challenge game gives you the means to try out some of the above. You can try memorizing alphabetic, numerical, alphanumerical strings or binary strings. You can try memorizing strings of colors or you can try memorizing smileys. The range of objects varies widely. There are 26 alphabetic, 10 numerical, 2 binary, 14 colors and 4 smileys.

It's nice to play it in landscape mode on the iPad too. Great game!

Monday, May 2, 2011

What happened in 30 years, continued

There were lots of things missing in my summary of IT developments in the last 30 years, and I was aware of it when writing.

Typewriters are gone. The last manufacturer of typewriters is closing down. I guess museums around the world are fighting over the last batch.

The Hi-Fi-stereo is gone, at least from marketing speak. Now most audio is Hi-Fi, I suppose, but I'm only guessing.

The Telex network is apparently still in operation, but has been superseded by email and fax, Facebook and Twitter and what have you.

Short-wave radio isn't as fun as it was back then. Now it's internet radio and communications.

FM-radio is still going strong though, because they managed to modernize it with RDS (Radio Data System), which broadcasters can use for station identification and commercials.

The TV has gotten thinner. Surprisingly I forgot this important item in my first try. Shows yet again how quickly good things become part of the furniture. 30 years ago a 26" TV was about 45 cm (1.5 ft) deep. Now it's about 3 cm (1.2"), which means it's lost over 90% of its depth. Wow! On top of that it consumes a lot less power, it doesn't radiate, it doesn't flicker and there's much more detail in the picture. Downside is that broadcasters have had to improve make-up. I can live with that, since it doesn't affect me.

Gaming has changed. Graphics 30 years ago was extremely primitive compared to any of the current platforms and so was the processor. However graphics isn't what games are about. Of course I'm impressed by excellent graphics, but if the intrigue isn't good, the game isn't good. Some of the games running on Atari 2600 had the intrigue to make them great games. My sons still play a few of them, and the reason is that I bought a joystick with built-in Atari games about three years ago, which contains Ms PacMan, Pole Position and four more. The graphics and sound are sufficiently good, but the intrigues are excellent!

Games are approaching films in visual quality, while some films are using games technology. I guess one reason for films to use games tech is cost or perhaps logistics. It's easier to let computers generate an ancient army of thousands, than it is to build an army with walkers-on.

I'm still convinced I've left out important things in IT and consumer electronics.