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[17 Jul 2013 | 6 Comments | ]
Build an MPEG-DASH player from Scratch

This post will show you how to build an MPEG-DASH video player using Javascript.
tl;dr? Skip to the demo (chrome only) http://francisshanahan.com/demos/mpeg-dash.
Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) enables streaming of media content delivered from conventional HTTP web servers. Fragments served are static pieces of media so no server-side component required. This is very similar to HLS but unlike HLS MPEG-DASH is the first adaptive bit-rate HTTP-based streaming solution that is an international standard. Reference [LINK]
The recent Build conference announced Netflix’s plan for Playready DRM+HTML5 in the browser without plugins, …

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[7 May 2013 | No Comment | ]
The Truth about Netflix and HTML5 vs. Silverlight

There has been a lot of hype recently about Netflix “dumping” Silverlight in favour of HTML5.
A quick Google reveals multiple articles rotating the same sound-bytes [LINK], [LINK] or [LINK].
So what’s the truth? Is the sky really falling? In my opinion there are some inaccuracies or rather inflated truths here which are being bounced around the “lite” tech echo chambers of Gizmodo, CNET and the like.
I will offer here my opinion on what is really going on.
Is Netflix moving away from Silverlight? Yes. In fact ALL streaming media providers …

Featured, General Computing, Headline, Technology, Web Development »

[1 May 2013 | No Comment | ]
Essential Job Skills for the Future? Learning!

In a recent article Adam Popescu asks if Coding is the essential job skill of the future? [LINK]. As a technologist I’m always happy to read anything that espouses the virtues of programming but I have a slightly different view. In my opinion Coding is not an essential job skill anymore than Excel or Word. And what is “coding” anyway?
In my opinion the essential job-skill for the future is…Learning. Or rather re-learning. Learning how to learn.
In my parent’s time it was sufficient to learn a skill in your …

Featured, General Computing, Headline, Technology »

[22 Apr 2013 | No Comment | ]
In Response to Vivek Wadhwa – Ageism in the Tech Industry

Entrepreneur, academic and prolific writer Vivek Wadhwa has written an article on LinkedIn as part of the “Influencer” blogs. The Tech Industry’s Darkest Secret: It’s All About Age
I’m a fan of Vivek but this time around I felt he missed the point. There are too many counter-points and corrections to put in a simple comment so here now are my thoughts on his article.
Here’s my tl;dr – If you want job security, be good at what you do.

Vivek (paraphrasing) – “Information Technology is an “up or out” profession”
fs: News …

Featured, Headline, Web Development »

[3 Apr 2013 | No Comment | ]
Document your REST API with Swagger

I was looking for an easy way to document a REST API built in Spring MVC. I came across two options – Swagger and JSONDoc.
Swagger – https://developers.helloreverb.com/swagger/ expands on the ideas of WADL and JAX-RS – it’s billed as “language-agnostic. But since a spec without a usable implementation has limited immediate value, Wordnik has released Swagger implementations in Scala, Java, and HTML5. Client generators are currently available for Scala, Java, Javascript, Ruby, PHP, and Actionscript 3.”
I looked at the nascent Spring MVC implementation of Swagger from Marty Pitt https://github.com/martypitt/swagger-springmvc. …

Featured, General Computing, Headline, Web Development »

[13 Aug 2012 | No Comment | ]
Security – Epic Hacks and the 10 Year Overnight Security Crisis

The internet has cancer and its name is Identity. You may have seen the recent “Epic Hack” of Mat Honan  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/08/apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/all/.  Mat was targeted as he had a 3 letter Twitter account (those are precious I’ve heard).
“Getting into Amazon let my hackers get into my Apple ID account, which helped them get into Gmail, which gave them access to Twitter”
The other issue was his online accounts were daisy-chained together, an issue common I would say for almost everyone.
The media has made much of this incident with headlines like “Is iCloud’s …

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[5 Aug 2012 | No Comment | ]
Generate classes from JSON

If you work with REST APIs or web services you’ll eventually need to serialize objects to JSON so you can POST them or deserialize JSON back to an object. This is easy enough with things like Json.NET http://james.newtonking.com/projects/json-net.aspx from James Newton-King or Google-Gson http://code.google.com/p/google-gson/ or Jackson http://jackson.codehaus.org/. You just need a class structure that’s serializable.
Converting JSON into an actual class structure by hand can be a pain and seemed like an easily automate-able task so I was going to create a web-interface to do that.  It turns out Jonathan Keith (http://jonkeith.com/) has beat …

Featured, Headline, html5, Web Development »

[26 Jun 2012 | One Comment | ]
Creating Zoomable Presentations

If you work in corporate America chances are you’ll need to give a presentation sooner or later. That almost always means Powerpoint. I wouldn’t say I hate powerpoint, it’s quick, simple and it does the job but you won’t win any awards with it. Over the years I’ve tried to limit my usage to avoid long presentations with lots of slides. I generally find the more you have to rely on the slides, the worse your presentation will be. Guy Kawasaki advocates a 10-20-30 rule, have no more than 10 …

Cool & Future Tech, Featured, Headline, Technology, Web Development »

[14 May 2012 | No Comment | ]
What’s Faster Than HTTP? Try SPDY

Google is pushing for a faster web with an experimental new protocol named SPDY.  Although it’s not a standard yet, if you’re using Chrome or Firefox, you’ve probably already experienced SPDY.  After sitting for a while on my personal-backlog, I finally took  a closer look at what’s going on here.
SPDY needs a SPDY client (Chrome or Firefox for now) and a SPDY compliant server (Apache works fine with the addition of a simple module - http://code.google.com/p/mod-spdy/). Client and Server work together to optimize performance by reducing network latency and SPDY does …

Featured, Headline, html5, Web Development »

[21 Oct 2011 | 18 Comments | ]
Sencha Touch 2.0 MVC in 5 minutes or less

I’ve shied away from JS frameworks on the mobile platform primarily due to performance. I had not been able to find one that came close to native performance on Android. This changed last weekend when I tried out the Sencha Touch 2.0 dev preview. Performance is vastly improved over Touch 1.0. Animations and transitions are smooth, even on my Android 2.2 device and I was able to get up and running very fast.
Grab the Sencha Touch 2.0 Dev Preview here: http://www.sencha.com/blog/sencha-touch-2-developer-preview/
While I was able to get a basic app …