What Every Geek Needs to Know About Cellphones
This is what every geek needs to know about cellphones: What the personal computer did to the world during the last two decades of the 20th century, the cellphone will do to the world in the first decade of the 21st century. Everything else is cleanup.
The cellphone is transforming from a wireless voice-communication device into a mobile computing appliance with voice, sound, cell, and video capabilities. Even the most inexpensive cellphone ships with a browser that provides easy Internet access and games that offer entertainment while you wait in line at the bank. Text messaging between cells also has been available for some time using the SMS messaging protocol.
Fast and Furious .NET Programming
But this is old news to geeks. What is new is that, from a geek point of view (and by "geek" I mean men and women who program things for a living), coding for the mobile device is becoming much less laborious and time consuming.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a group of reviewers who were shown the new features of the next version of Microsoft's .NET programming environment, Visual Studio 2005. What I saw was indeed impressive. I witnessed a developer from Microsoft create an application for his cellphone that communicated with a Bluetooth GPS device on the developer's desk. The cellphone application took longitude and latitude location information from the Bluetooth GPS device and then made a remote call over the Internet to a MapQuest web service that returned a street map associated with the GPS coordinates passed to it.
Even more impressive was that, during that hour, the developer wrote a low-level device driver to interact with the GPS device. Five years ago, it would have taken a group of developers weeks to accomplish the same task.
Now, please know that this wasn't any Microsoft smoke-and-mirrors marketing trick. This was the real thing. Yes, you still had to know a thing or two about .NET and web services. But all in all, the capability to create complex, real-world mobile applications quickly will make mobile devices the programming paradigm in this decade.