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Showing posts from July, 2010

The Psychology of Marginal Cost

One of the side-effects of moving internationally is that one is typically required to completely re-evaluate the set of services which we are generally accustomed to - e.g water, power, telecommunications, transport etc. Partly because traditional utilities are very local and partly because the circumstances of life are more or less subtly organized differently in different places. One such difference can be the available pricing models for a particular service - most commonly some form of flat-rate or metered pricing. In areas where both flat-rate and metered pricing plans exist, analysis often shows that even though many consumer prefer flat-rate, the typical user would be better off with metered pricing, as only very few heavy users manage to fully use or "abuse" the plan. Consumers often quote predictable cost and "no bad surprise" at the end of the month as a key benefit of flat-rate pricing. But another interesting observation to take into account is that in

Android 2.2 - Froyo

I just finally got the new Android 2.2 release for my Nexus One (it's a long story...). Most of the significant features of this release are behind the scene like increasing java execution performance through just-in-time compilation or increasing javascript performance in the browser by using the V8 JavaScript engine from Chrome. Not sure I really notice much of a difference in everyday use, since I mostly use apps which are UI and framework bound for their performance (no CPU heavy games...) and most web-pages are light in JavaScript and browser performance is limited by network and rendering performance. But still these are very welcome optimization to help improve the platform overall. There are a few small enhancement - most significant for me is the ability to switch auto-correct/complete languages for the on-screen keyboard on the fly, since I write emails and SMS in multiple languages on any given day. There is now also finally a switch to disable the use of cellular data i

Push Notifications for Android

After struggling with a few apps which use lots of battery and network resources while trying to sync half the Internet onto the device, one wonders if Apple didn't accidentally have a point with their claim that most apps don't really need background processing as long as there is a way to push background notifications to the device. This leads to a split application design, where part of the application resides on a server in the Internet, doing whatever the background service on the device would be doing, but with a lot less worries about power and bandwidth. If there is something new and interesting, a small notification is pushed to the device to alert the user, that there is something worth looking at. As long as the device has network connectivity when the user acts on this notification, the details of this notification might be about is loaded on demand. If mobile networks are ubiquitous and fast enough, the resulting experience is almost as good as an app which contin