ACA and medicaid thoughts

there are 60 million americans who are covered by their state. now with the passing of the ACA, medicaid programs are going to pick up. 30 million americans are about to get health coverage, from which 17 million are of medicaid low income patients. as eligibility is raised from 100% of the poverty line to 133%, states wil be paying for coverage via federal funding from 2012-2014, from that date onward the states will start contributing to the cost, as fed share will not be lower than 90%. this pretty much means that medicaid will be become bigger and better and certainly more important.

how haptic technology may help mobile web

the new world of smart devices has changed the game. for the first time in history last month, mobile use surpassed web. it seems the direction is clear – more robust, engaging and capable devices which are portable, easy to carry and connect us on a personal/social and professional level. every vertical on the planet is thinking of mobile and it can be utilized to achieve corporate goals, save money and enhance communication within the organization.

from the early start it was clear there is one daunting issue with mobile. fragmentation. this issue persists across history, from the inception of virtual machines to the web. ask any front

end web developer of their experience with coding for an array of different browsers and brace yourself for some horror stories that will most definitely make you cherish your choice of profession. yes – the browsers claim the support and implement specific standards, but at the end of the day having a concise experience across the 90% is major pain.

not far behind are mobile devices. a developer builds an app for iOS and now wants to develop it for android and blackberry. good luck. android has more devices out there an screen resolutions than one can count, and while going native is a great idea, one will need to double their effort in order to produce a solid experience across the eco system.

forget you not that the true open standard for mobile has always been the web. steve jobs explained so in the first iphone unavailing back in 2007, and indeed some great technologies have emerged for the mobile web that allow developers to deploy/convert/cross-compile their code so it will either run natively or be compatible across many  devices and operating systems.

while that is a good and interesting market that is just starting to awake, one very quickly experiences the big gaps between mobile web and native applications. most certainly on apple devices. the experience keeps the users wanting more. yes, HTML5’s canvas and CSS3 really offer some great features that do a good job – but it’s not the same and sometimes is not as responsive. let’s face it – a big part of mobile is the experience as it drives engagement which is a big part why mobile surpassed web. just play angry birds on crhome and then launch it from your iphone and you will see what i mean.

i have always been a fan of haptic technologies. in essence haptic provides the user sensory feedback so they can “feel” the surface of the touch screen, which are great, but there is still a missing sensual experience to what one is using. my mom for example does not like touch devices and prefers real buttons. who doesn’t? touch screens take time to get used to and bar none everyone would prefer to work with a physical keyboard for tasks that are longer than 140 characters.

IMHO haptic is a game-changer and one piece of technology that will take user experience to the next level. exposing developer APIs and allowing us to provide our users not only a visual but a sensual experience of the UI elements and interact with our technology on a deeper more intimate level. it may just be what will save the mobile web. touch is stronger than visual in my opinion, especially as displays have more pixels condensed per inch than ever before. how many of you are “blown away” by the new ipad’s retina display? how many of you think it’s “okay”, but certainly not something you would immediately shell out $550 to upgrade your ipad2?

being able to program what our fingers feel as they interact with a touch screen may be what the mobile web horizontal needs so it’s experience delivery is enhanced and gain more traction and acceptance.

auto reference counting with iOS 5.0

iOS 5.0 introduced us to ARC for mobile. this is a major change (advantage) in the way developers  work. what was once a source for memory leaks, which required diligent memory allocation and management, becomes easier and much simpler of a task, allowing developers to focus on the code.

LLVM rocks indeed.

think of it as new ‘best practices’ one should incorporate into their coding habits, while disallowing other practices:

  • no more retain, release, autorelease nor dealloc
  • no more custom retain nor release method implementations
  • do not store obj pointers in C structures (use objects instead)
  • no more direct casting between objects and non objects (e.g. id and void*)
  • you are done with NSAutoreleasePool. use @autoreleasepool keyword to mark the block in curlies.

what ARC should encourage you to do is start thinking about the relationship between objects and object graphs, and not so much in terms of retain/release. there is now a new lifetime qualifiers for objects, which includes zeroing weak references. the value is automatically set to nil when the object it points to is deallocated. we now have qualifiers for vars and new weak and  strong declared property attributes.

apple is providing developers with migration tools which are build into xcode:

https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/DeveloperTools/Conceptual/WhatsNewXcode/00-Introduction/Introduction.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40004626 .

switching to ARC means neglecting support for iOS >5.0.
add custom containers to the mix, much more control over customizing UIKit elements, storyboards, tableView’s new flexibility and much more.

happy coding.

self.brain->reset()

our brains need the time to reset just like the gadgets and computers we use and operate. by experimentation i’ve learned that a minimum of 2-3 weeks vacation twice a year pretty much does the trick. think about it, in today’s day and age we are always on, always connected, always tapping into sources of data to keep us engaged. from the moment we wake up and check our smart phone which aggregates data from multiple social and professional networks, to email, text and voice mail – we are constantly engaging with our peers, families and consume multiple sources of data, easily streamlined for our convenience, easily shared and re-propagated. and this is just the digital disturbance 🙂

the human story for today is our need to focus. the need to do just one thing at a given moment and stick with it for many hours. developers know how to do so (hey nir, can you turn off the music and ask andrew to put his headphones on please?). i know that for me playing music does the trick and specifically practicing yoga. calming the mind is an art that requires constant and un interrupted practice. i cannot imagine the brain enjoying 100% capacity at any given moment, just as much as it enjoys 0% capacity. the truth is pretty much always in the middle. face it, we have learned to respond to these interruptions better than focus, and it goes back to the days where the telephone was invented.

sleeping is the best time for the brain to not consume new streams of data and process all it has been bombarded with, make new connections and archive/store the data. from a quick survey with close friends and family, i learn that sleeping patterns are very much affected and do worsen with time. how many of you out there in the internets sleep with the TV on?

this is why i take two long breaks from my work and focus on relaxing my mind and body, explore new geographical areas of our planet, meet new people, study a new language, and more often then not play/write music and expand my photography skills. this works in phases though and i find that it takes some time to re-adjust the mind and relax – slow down. the longest break i have ever taken from life was a 3 months trip to brasil. no iphone, no laptop, no internet connection. would you be surprised if i told you that it did not take long to re-adjust to the new situation and that i loved it? i took my best photos and wrote my best music while taking these breaks from life.

much like a hard reset, browser cache cleaning and the application of a new style sheet – one may immerge back with fresh energy and a newly re-wired brain. so – for the sake of your career, mental health and own happiness – plan on taking a longer time off. you deserve it.

iPad 3 predictions

the ipad3 is around the corner as apple just announced a media event on march 7th.

ipad3 event invitation what will we possibly get?

  • retina display: 2048×1536 pixels will make pretty much everything more gorgeous and engaging.
  • A6 quad core processor: this means tremendous performance and response boost.
  • LTE support. let’s face it – 4G network is where it’s all heading,
    as the internet will blend better and tighter with the device and our lifestyle.
  • better front and back camera. flash.
  • equal or better battery life.
  • unified GSM/CDMA support.
  • bluethooth 4.0 chip.


what we may get:

  • smart bezel virtual buttons:
    imagine the bezel and back cover of the ipad responding to customized buttons which lit up.
    so you can setup the top left .bezel button to launch maps. more here.
  • NFC chip (not likely IMHO).
  • airdrop feature from ipad to mac.


what we probably won’t get yet:

  • haptic feedback display. the game changer. it will be a great day when it arrives (though the image from apple may hint at it…).
  • solar charging of the device
  • new map system which apple has been working on

final thoughts:

  • how does siri fit in? i am not sure yet…
    will iOS 6.0 be announced as well? if so, developers will a beta by early next week…