Android Development 101- Part 2:Graphical Elements

In this tutorial, we will be continuing from where we left off with the “hello world” application.  This time adding a graphical user interface (GUI) and a “toast”. The GUI will consist of a button, textbox and a label. The “toast” will be issued onto the screen when the button is pressed.

Some may wonder what a toast is.  Well, for non-programmers, a toast is a text notification that for the most part is used only to display an error on the screen (I am a big fan of using toasts instead of an alert on the screen as its less intrusive).  For this article we will use a toast to display a message on the screen that will take the text in the textbox and issue a “Hello Greg” onto the bottom of the screen.  After this article completed you will be able to successfully make toast commands, design the layout of the hello world program, and pull text from a textbox.

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Get started with speech recognition

Headset and microphone

Speech recognition makes it easier for us to be lazy with our devices – or perhaps set up the coolest voice-controlled project around. After the voice controlled home automation post, we received a lot of emails asking “how can I make it recognize my voice?”. Whether your project involves a PC or an Android phone, a high-budget, or no budget at all, there is a solution out there.  Join us after the break for a complete set of instructions on setting up speech recognition, and some of the best software options out there to meet your needs.

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Punching out parts

If you’re more of a code monkey than artist, it may be tough to transform your ideas into the 3D models necessary for fabbing. The folks working on openSCAD apparently feel our pain.

openSCAD uses a language somewhat reminiscent of C for creating models. A preview of the model is rendered alongside your code. Fully cross-platform, it runs on Linux, OS X, and Windows. Much like SketchUp, openSCAD can also extrude 2D outlines into models. This feature comes in very useful if one already has a set of technical drawings for a part. With no price tag, it’s pretty affordable during this costly season.

Eureqa discovers equations

While “Software to discover equations and mathematical relationships in data” isn’t at the top of our christmas wish list, we have to admit that Eureqa is pretty cool. Developed at Cornell University, Eureqa uses machine learning algorithms to determine the underlying math behind data sets. It derived Newton’s second law of motion in a few hours on a standard desktop computer, which isn’t bad at all for a cold unfeeling robot mind. There probably aren’t many applications for this in most hacks, but what hacker wouldn’t want Sir Issac Newton’s brain in their toolbox? The software can be downloaded for free from their website.

[Via Wired]

How to use Wiimotes w/ Linux

[Sprite_tm] has whipped up yet another interesting tutorial – software-based this time. He basically describes how he connected his Wiimotes to an HTPC. A USB Bluetooth receiver, and a little bit of Linux scripting,  was all that was necessary to get the system up and running. To add to the fun, [Sprite_tm] configured a the controllers to work with MAME (an arcade machine emulator), allowing one to play Duck Hunt on a computer in its full glory!

Software Auralization


Have you heard the latest track by gzip? Maybe it’ll end up on a “Greatest Hits” album alongside Philip Glass.

Visualization techniques such as animated algorithms can help programmers better grasp the abstract theories that make software work. Could auralization, the sound equivalent of visualization, provide similar insights? Postgrad student (and J. S. Bach fan) [Cessu] developed a program to do just that. By carefully mapping registers to notes, and slowing the tempo to a human timescale, the result is a cacophonous machine that offers a glimpse into the operation of various programs. You might find the resulting minimalist “music” insightful, entertaining…or maybe just incredibly grating.

[thanks Shadikka]

Fritzing, go from prototype to product


Fritzing is an open source project designed to help you move from a prototype to a finished project. Aimed at those basing their projects around Arduino, you start by building your physical prototype, then recreate it with Fritzing software’s graphical editor. From there you can generate a schematic, PCB artwork, and PCB production files.

[thanks CH]


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