Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

The secrets to using custom web fonts

The secrets to using custom web fontsIf you are a web designer then you’re already fully aware of the limitations surrounding the usage of fonts on the web. For years we have basically had two reliable options, use a standard web based font that is included on most operating systems with a few fall back fonts, or images. For headlines, custom fonts and anything fancy images were the only way to go, but that’s all about to change.

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Anchor links in Gmail and email newsletters

I usually recommend against using anchor links in email newsletters; the reason for this is twofold.

First, when someone is viewing a newsletter their attention span is probably extremely short. They probably want to get onto their next email, but something has triggered their interest in your newsletter. Why waste that interest on jumping them further down the email, this is your chance to grab their attention and hook them into your website. It may be your last chance before they click onto their next email and your website is probably a much richer web experience anyway.

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Could your Gmail account get hacked?

This may be old news to some of people, but it struck me today how much I rely on Gmail and if my account were to be hacked it would be a very painful event. Apparently there are tools that allow people to hack into Google accounts via sniffing cookies. I am really not one to be paranoid about security for the most part. Out of billions of connections per day to a site like Google, the chances of mine be jeopardized are low, but that said, if there is a simple way to make the process safer, why not?
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Google iPhone reader refomats my web pages

GoogleGoogle reader is a fantastic RSS reader and I use both the full web version and the iPhone mobile version daily. It’s simple to use, fast, and it’s a web app, and I’m a big supporter of web based applications. The only real thing it needs now is some fancy HTML 5 database storage, then we could use it offline and there would be no need for standalone apps while on the subway.

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2008 year of the smartphone

This year has been without a doubt, the year of the smartphone and Apple has led the charge with it’s iPhone. Touch technology seems to be all the rage now, and of course Apple introduced it’s first smartphone last year, but their second phone reached a far greater audience with more countries and recently announced sales of 6.9 Million iPhones.

I of course jumped on the iPhone bandwagon, but before I did I spent a lot of time researching many of the smartphones out there. At the time just before the second iPhone was launched there were a lot of great smartphones on the way, but none were out yet. Now that the iPhone has been out for a few months a lot of new devices have emerged. One of the reasons I bought the iPhone was because Apple was ahead of the curve, now a lot of the other manufacturers have similar offerings, but are any of them really iPhone killers? I decided to do a quick smartphone round up to see what’s currently out there.

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Google Earth for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Google released Google Earth for the iPhone and iPod Touch today. I’m a huge fan of the PC version of this great application and have killed many hours traveling this virtual world known as Earth. If you have never tried out Google Earth then I highly recommend downloading it now. You can view the entire planet in 3D, see photos, read Wikipedia entries and download different data overlays. This only scrapes the surface, but it’s an incredible application, and best of all, it’s free.

So how does Google Earth hold up on the iPhone? Well obviously it’s a bit trimmed down, but still much better than I thought it would be. You can see photos, Wikipedia entries and move around the earth in the typical intuitive Multi-touch way that we are all so used too. You can even twist two fingers to rotate, and if you tilt your device the accelerometer kicks in and allows an angled view so you can see the 3D surface of the Earth. You can also use the iPhones GPS to find your current location on planet Earth. The application runs fairly smooth on the iPhone, but I did notice a few hiccups which sometimes even happens on the full Google Earth.

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Smartphone wars heat up – HTC Dream and Blackberry Storm

AndroidEveryone is wondering what HTC and Blackberry will have up their sleeves over the next few months. The Android powered HTC Dream will be unveiled at a press event in New York City by T-Mobile next week on September 23 and it is rumoured to be ready for release sometime in October. There is also a pretty interesting video of Android being shown off at the Developer Day in London, and it’s looking very polished.

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Google Chrome – first impressions are the most important

Google ChromeGoogle Chrome was officially released today and of course being the Geek that I am I had to download it at work and at home and yes I am writing this blog entry from Chrome. Although I have not spent a long time with it, so far I like it, and for a first beta launch it is remarkably polished. This of course is nothing new for Google — they have a reputation of releasing extremely polished beta products. I also fully expect Chrome to be in beta for at least two years, but by then everyone will long since forgotten that it is a beta. 

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Google to launch a web browser – Chrome is here

GoogleThe web is buzzing with news of a Google browser. The news was launched via a 39 page comic. The browser is called Google Chrome, and at last check the site was offline but rumour has it that it will be back online tomorrow. Google has also announced on their blog that they sent out the news a bit early by accident. Personally I think they may have just been trying to generate blog sphere buzz and it has worked

This is really big news and probably really bad news for Microsoft. Google has already released Gears a browser add-on which allows Google to jump start browsers ahead into more modern standards. Chrome will use webkit, the same engine that Safari uses, but it will not use the webkit Javascript engine. It will use it’s own, which should make apps run much faster and with more features.

Could this really be Google’s entrance into the desktop market? I believe the future of applications is online. Everything is headed in that direction. More and more people are accessing their apps and data in multiple places and on multiple devices, and right now the major player in that space is Google.

Update: Google Chrome – first impressions are the most important

More info at TechCrunch:
Meet Chrome, Google’s Windows Killer
First Images of Google Chrome
No Joke: Google Introduces The Chrome Browser With A Cartoon

A Google Android Phone is on the way: HTC Dream

AndroidOver the past few days the web has been awash with rumours of the HTC Dream, a Google Android phone. Well it looks official now, HTC will be releasing the phone very soon and it may be available as soon as September. It has received F.C.C. certification and T-Mobile the US carrier will be first to have it. No word yet on which Canadian carrier will have it or when.

Even though I have an iPhone now I am eagerly awaiting the reviews for the first Android phones. Competition can only be good for everyone. Apple gave the smartphone industry the kick it needed to start innovating and now things are about to be kicked up a notch with Android entering the scene. HTC also seems really serious about releasing great phones as they have proven with the HTC Touch Diamond which was based on Windows mobile. The UI of the Touch Diamond was nicely designed, but only skin deep, hopefully Android gives them the flexability to really flex their muscle and serve up an even better UI.

Google has also finally released an updated Android SDK today.