Check out the tomato plants [Devon] grew using a monitoring system he built himself. It’s based around a Raspberry Pi. As far as grow controllers go it falls a bit short of full automation. That’s because the only thing it can actuate is the black water line seen hovering above the plants. But [Devon's] work on monitoring and collecting sensor data should make it easy to add features in the future.
The moisture sensors pictured above monitor the soil in which the plants are growing. But he also has temperature and light sensors. These are very important when growing from seed and could be used in conjunction with a heating mat for plants that require higher soil temperatures (like pepper plants). The tomatoes are also pretty leggy. Now that he’s monitoring light levels it would be good to augment the setup with a grow light. A long term goal could even be a motorized bed which could raise the plants right up to the bulbs so they don’t reach for the light.
Don’t let the stars in our eyes distract you though. He’s done a ton of work on the project both with the physical build, and in plotting the data collected by the system. Great job!
I am going to be speaking with my uncle about implementing a Rasberry pie operating system similar to Devon’s to monitor moisture, light, soil temperature, and room humidity on a special type of plant (; I plan to take this to a new level by implementing ir controlled outlets to control air conditioning, light cycles, and watering automatically and also manually through remote Android OS integration. For this we will be using Z-Wave modules and a little help from an Android application called Tasker. Commands will be routed through a wireless gateway connected to my existing internet router.
Once you have completed taking the photos, simply close the notification drawer and the camera will automatically close. All pictures taken via this feature are at full resolution and same quality you would expect if you were using the standard camera application.
The QuickSettings Mini-Camera Tile feature is still under review. However, the CM team have shown interest and are looking to implement this new feature in a future update. There are no indications yet as to when it will arrive so it is time to be patient. If you happen to rely on another custom rom don’t worry as CM is open source so it is likely this feature will be used on other ROMs as well. Source for the code review of the CM QuickSettings Mini-Camera Tile can be found over at CyanogenMod Review (1)(2).
Sync across devices basically means that if you dismiss a Google+ notification on one device, be it your PC via the browser, your tablet or your phone, it will be dismissed on all of your other devices as well. You will no longer be nagged multiple times for the same notification. Also, your notification panel will have a separator between your read and unread notifications.
Other features included in this update (by the way, the new version number is 4.0.1 so we’re getting a lot for an 0.0.1 update) are a slide-out menu reminiscent of Gmail, Play Music, Drive and other newly-updated apps, and the ability to delete photos directly from Photos view. You will also see +1′s and reshares along with the comments when you tap on a post.
If you’re not keen on waiting for the update to appear in the Play Store on your device, you can trot on over to Android Police to download the app manually.
The Paranoid Android has released the source code on Github and it is available now, split intoPart 1 and Part 2. The Paranoid Android team states that “HALO is still in beta, code has not been cleaned, support for TabletUI and PIE is unfinished, among other minor things.” However, they are claiming that HALO is good enough to be released.
If you want to try the feature out for yourself on Paranoid Android, you can find download links for supported devices in this post. The new features are described as follows:
- HALO features described by the Paranoid Android team
Source [Paranoid Android (Google+)]
Tim Cook and crew are now off stage at WWDC, so as is typical around these parts when Apple announces something “revolutionary” (yes, they used the term again), we like to react. And even though Google has moved away from the series of cheap jabs during their own keynotes, Apple still does them in the bitterest and childish of fashions. If we didn’t toss out some thoughts in support, we wouldn’t be proper Android fans. Because after all, we are still Android fans.
So here we go, these are some initial thoughts to Apple’s big announcement of iOS 7 as compared to the current version of Android (4.2, Jelly Bean). In general, iOS 7 is a newly skinned version of iOS that finally matches up to current mobile design trends. Gone are the leather notebooks and green felt gaming tables – in is a minimal flat aesthetic. And to be perfectly honest, it does look beautiful. Jony Ive and his team did a fantastic job at skinning iOS and turning it into a modern looking mobile UI.
But every time Apple does this song and dance, we seem to sit throughout the keynote going, “Whoa, that’s been on Android forever.” Or even, “Umm, that looks just like how Android works.” Today was no different. While iOS 7 looks nice from the outside, many of the new goodies remind us a lot of our favorite mobile OS.
And not that we should need to remind you, but don’t take this too seriously. We’re just having some fun and pointing out things that gave us a chuckle. We are happy to see iOS evolve, just like we will be happy to see every other mobile OS evolve. Companies pushing boundaries and taking features to new levels is what we love about this industry.
(iOS 7 on the left, Android screenshot attached on the right.)
Apple is adding in a gesture for accessing Command Center from anywhere on an iOS device. A quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you are graced with a panel filled with toggles for Airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, brightness settings, music controls, camera shortcut, and even a flashlight. As you all know, Android devices have had access to similar information for a while thanks to 3rd party skins from manufacturers. But in Android 4.2, Google introduced a panel as well that can be accessed with a two-finger swipe down from the notification bar. Music controls have been in the notification bar for some time, so that’s not necessarily new.
I found this out today, but apparently iOS did not let you access their notification center from the lock screen. Android has been on this trend for at least two versions, but Apple is just now introducing it with iOS 7. Once released, iOS users will be able to swipe down their notification bar without unlocking their device.
The new notification center has done away with that terrible looking felt background and is more transparent. There are tabs for “Today,” “All,” and “Missed.” I like the idea of panels, though Android seems to have been able to handle all of this information without needing extra panels. Thanks to actionable and collapsable notifications on Android, you only need one area for all of this.
Safari is Safari – most people can’t stand it and prefer browsers like Chrome for their browsing needs. But one thing we thought was interesting in the new UI of Safari, was the tab view that shows all open tabs. They bragged about the 3D appearance, scrolling, and quick access to other tabs yet we have had this in Chrome for Android since it was first released over a year ago.
Multi-tasking! iOS 7 has a new style of multi-tasking that only runs in the background when it thinks you want access to frequently used apps. It essentially learns from your patterns to help extend your battery life. That’s kind of cool, assuming it can learn properly, which we won’t know anything about until people can spend some time with it. But in general, we like the idea of phones learning our patterns to better optimize our lives with them.
But in terms of a UI, Apple created something semi-unique. It’s not an exact copy of Android, since it scrolls horizontally and features full-screen previews of currently running apps. It does look a lot like what HTC did back with Sense 4, though HTC abandoned the look after hearing pretty terrible reviews of the change.
Apple did in fact announce a Pandora competitor this morning called iTunes Radio. It’s really not all that game-changing or innovative. You can create your own radio playlists based off of songs, or you can use recommended stations that Apple has ready to go. There are massive “BUY” buttons all over the place, along with ads, unless you are an iTunes Match customer. But you can’t save full albums or tracks to your library like you can with Google’s new All Access service, nor can you pick and choose specific songs to create playlists. It’s just like Pandora in that it brings up songs that it thinks match what you are looking for and then allows you to downvote them or favorite them, so that they’ll play more often. It’s a nice add-on to iTunes, but nothing new.
In terms of looks, the new Google Music and new Music apps look a lot a like. We’re seeing white menus and similar UI with big, bold album art.
Also, we should point out that Google Music All Access gives you unlimited access to albums and songs because it comes with a monthly fee.
While I don’t know how many people actually use the stock Mail app in iOS, it’s easy to see that they have stolen features from the popular iOS app called Mailbox. Apple added in swiping gestures, for deleting, archiving, and “More” options. It’s a complete copy of what Mailbox already made popular, and I can’t believe people aren’t throwing massive fits over this. But then again, this is what Apple does time and time again to its developer community.
Oh, and Gmail has had swipe-to-delete/archive for longer than I can recall.
The new iOS Calendar app doesn’t look all that much like that of Android, but the similarities are still there. We’re looking at an ultra-minimal design, with flat rectangles, pastel-ish colors, and a white background rather than the round appearance of the current iOS Calendar app. And in fact, the newest Calendar app from Google has similar design in the circular color picker and date chooser to what we are seeing in iOS, only it came out a couple of weeks ago.
Apple added a bunch of slideout navigation drawers to apps like Mail and iMessage. We have seen these in Google apps for over a year now (even the ones on iOS), but they made a point of the addition today as if it were something “new” to app development. No, Apple, it’s not new.
We already covered this here.
Actually, Al Gore has nothing to do with Android that I know of, but he was there. So, here is a picture of him looking flat.
I’m sure there were other things we could list, since the keynote was lengthy, but these were the new features or ideas that stood out the most. As you can see, iOS 7 is actually a pretty major change from iOS6, bringing it steps closer to the power of Android. It’s not going to kill Android or give Apple some immediate leg up on the world’s most popular mobile operating system, but it does make at least the design of their UI a hell of a lot more appealing. In the end, Android users saw a lot of what they are already accustomed to, which they have already grown accustomed to.
Paranoid Android made a big splash in the Android ROM community when they allowed any supported device to run a tablet UI and set custom DPI settings for each app. The developers made more waves when they gave users the option to change the colors of the UI for each individual app. Then they introduced PIE controls to their ROM, allowing for a full-screen experience without the need for an on-screen navigation bar.
Recently, they have been building a new feature called HALO, which is a Facebook Chathead-like experience that puts all of your notifications in a “halo” that pops up on the side of your screen. Upon clicking on this HALO, a floating window pops up containing the notifying app’s UI. This allows you to stay in the app you were using before while you choose how to deal with the notification.
The functionality of HALO was completed during the alpha stage, but now that they are in beta they have completely rewritten HALO to “fight against the occasional jank,” while working on other bugfixes and styling of the feature, getting it to look more like what they referred to as “Android 5,” which is the card-oriented “Google Now/Keep” style. HALO as a whole should be much smoother and pretty slick looking.
The Paranoid Android team has added gestures “to dismiss notifications or hide HALO on the spot.” Also, every app in your system should now work in HALO, meaning you can have a floating window of any app on top of whatever you were doing before.
This should be one of the last few releases before the team drops the source for HALO and allows other people to look into what exactly goes on in HALO. They are shooting to get it out this weekend, but there are no guarantees that there will be no delays.
Builds will be uploaded as they are completed and mirrors will be posted in the Paranoid Android Google+ community.
The keyboard that came with Jelly Bean (now called “Google Keyboard”) introduced Google’s version of Swype, which they call Gesture Typing. The keyboard also works for 26 different languages and has next-word predictions and current-word completions, along with a very accurate auto-correct function and voice dictation.
What’s interesting about Google putting this in the Play Store is that they seem to be moving towards a separation of Google apps and Android. Now, they can update all of these core apps without updating Android. This also seemed to be a theme at I/O this year. This should allow for more often updated core apps while OS updates actually focus simply on the OS.
It should be noted that this keyboard is only available on Ice Cream Sandwich and up and it seems to be country-restricted, unfortunately.