Monday, May 23, 2011

Becoming a Debugging Ninja

I've invested some time recently into learning the Eclipse debugging tools in greater detail. I wrote a blog post for Rain last week detailing some built-in debugging tools that are available that make debugging in Eclipse much more productive. Go check it out and let me know what you think. Please feel free to post any additional tips that you have.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hello ADK!

For those of you that either attended or followed the Google I/O 2011 developer conference you probably made a big mental note about the Accessory Development Kit or ADK. This was a HUGE announcement from Google which gave us all a vision of where Android is going -- Everywhere! Going forward, new Android devices sporting the latest builds of Gingerbread, Honeycomb and beyond have the ability to interface with usb peripherals. These external devices are not just limited to just keyboards and mice either; Google has provided developers with an Accessory Development Kit so that we can create unique and innovative accessories that can control or be controlled by Android devices.

Google I/O is famous for swag and this year was no exception. However, Google changed things a bit this year by giving certain devices to just those who attended the related talks. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to receive an ADK demo board. It's been a week since Google I/O and I decided it was high time to break the ADK out and take it for a spin. This was particularly exciting to me because I don't know hardly anything about hardware. Programming an Arduino based device has been a goal of mine for a while and I'm very excited to get into this.

The whole getting started process was extremely simple. Google has an outstanding article on their Android developer site that guides you through the whole process. The instructions were right on the mark and everything just worked right out of the box. I've made a video documenting tonight's adventure.

Just to give you an idea of the type of scale this technology is capable of, here is a video of me trying to pilot a  bowling ball through a 40 ft. labyrinth game using nothing but a Motorola Xoom connected using the ADK. The video is courtesy of my friend Trevor Fitzgerald who was good enough to come and take some video of me. Thanks Trevor.

I'm going to keep going with the ADK. I think there are some really neat possibilities here.