Home » Archive

Articles in the Technology Category

Cool & Future Tech, Featured, Headline, html5, Web Experiments »

[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, …

Featured, Headline, html5, Technology »

[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 …

Cool & Future Tech, Featured, Headline, Life & Introspection, Technology »

[20 Jul 2012 | One Comment | ]
The Greatest Technological Achievement in History

On July 4th 2012 CERN and the team from the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Since then there have been a lot of articles in the mainstream media with headlines referring to the “god particle” and a lot of hype but not much actual science. I’m not a physicist but I’ll try to summarize my understanding on what this is and how it may impact us in the short and long term.
Physics and indeed Science operates on a premise of “model” based reality. Essentially admitting …

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 …

Cool & Future Tech, Featured, Headline, html5, Things I've Made »

[19 Sep 2011 | 20 Comments | ]
Stream a webcam using Javascript, NodeJS, Android, Opera Mobile, Web Sockets and HTML5

With all the recent Goruck-ness it’s time to throw out a tech post. I’ve been prepping for a NodeJS presentation recently and wanted a unique demo. I had also come across the experimental build of Opera which supports accessing the native webcam of a mobile device. So I threw these two technologies together and came up with a Javascript powered way to stream a video camera from a mobile device to a bunch of desktop (or mobile) clients.
HTML5 had originally laid out support for a new element (the “device” …

Cool & Future Tech, Featured, Headline, html5, Web Development »

[23 Jun 2011 | 2 Comments | ]
Using Node.js, Cygwin and Web Sockets

If you have not heard of Node.js (or “Node” as Ryan Dahl calls it) [LINK] it is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys and faster than stink. Node.js is built around the Google V8 javascript engine and aims to solve the issues of concurrency and blocking IO which are prevalent in todays web servers. It also improves over traditional OS threading by using an event model to handle requests. This leads to the ability to handle many more concurrent requests but also handle them faster since less memory …

Cool & Future Tech, Featured, General Computing, Headline »

[7 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]
Android Development Cheatsheet

Here’s a rundown of everything I ran into when hacking my way through android development.
Setup Eclipse, run the Android SDK installer, install the correct USB drivers and finally check your device setup with “adb devices”. Your device should be listed.
If you don’t have an android device, be prepared for the emulator to be extremely slow especially during startup/shutdown. Be sure to mark your emulator as “Snapshot” (accessible from the ADB/AVD SDK Manager-> Start button). Also, don’t connect your device whilst the emulator is running. Adb gets confused.
I had …

Cool & Future Tech, Featured, Headline »

[10 Jan 2011 | One Comment | ]
A Framework for Software Agents

In my post on Software Agents I described some of the scenarios in which a Software Agent might be useful. Josef Betancourt [LINK] pointed me to his excellent article with some interesting ideas of his own and I particularly like his mind map [LINK]. Getting pragmatic I’ve been thinking about how to go about building these and will put down my thoughts in an attempt to move the conversation forward.
Let’s start with few design principles:

Agents should be flexible; We should be able to mix and match their functionality to …