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Bad Verizon, no Galaxy Nexus car dock?

Posted by james on Nov. 1, 2012

I have a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, and it's great. Leagues better than my old Samsung Nexus S (Aka T-Mobile Vibrant), which itself was a very good phone.

It's the "Nexus" phone, which essentially means it's where Google shows off it's newest stuff unencumbered by the phone networks. Except that this one is missing Google Wallet, since Verizon wants their own solution to win. Ironically, Verizon's own pay-with-your-phone solution is absent from the phone as well. More of a "if we can't do it, we're sure not going to let you do it either" mentality.

One of the best features of the iphones is their dock connector. There are tons of accessories, and most of them fit most iphones & just work. Even with the newer dock connector, there's sure to be tons of accessories that are made for that new connector.

What does android have? A ton of different phones, and none of them have any type of dock connector. They lack even the capability of those neat accessories.

So the Galaxy Nexus has some really neat pins on it's side, which can easily interface with accessories, and provide some of that missing functionality. Granted it's only on one of the many hundreds of android phones out there, but at least that's a start.

The twist? Samsung does not make a car dock that uses these pins for the Verizon version of the phone. The GSM version works just fine; slip the phone in the dock, it auto-changes to car-mode, starts piping music through your car, etc. The Verizon version? No connection.

To add insult to injury, the Verizon version of the car dock (which lacks all the neat functionality anyway) was discontinued either right after or right before it started selling (there's still some confusion on that one).

What the heck is going on? Where are the Galaxy Nexus CDMA accessories? Why isn't Google trying to foster a library of accessories that are compatible with all phones? Just one of the (many) glaring flaws of the Android ecosystem.

Tightly Coupled vs. Loosely Coupled

Posted by james on Oct. 10, 2012

Intuitively, you'd think that tightly coupled systems would be better. More integration, more sensible overall layout, everything plays nicely with everything else.

Maybe if each individual piece were perfect, that would be true. However, most of the time any given piece of software you're using has quirks, bugs, and limitations. That means sooner or later, you're going to have to deal with the non-perfect nature of a given piece of code.

A couple things that loosely-coupled software have - well defined interfaces & good separation. If you have no control or visibility into the internals of another piece of code, then you have to rely very strongly on the interfaces, and keep all your own code very separate. That means that between these two complicated pieces of code, there are a limited & well-defined amount of interactions that can happen. That helps a ton with debugging.

I'm sure if a tightly coupled system was made well, and behaved properly, that would be a great system to work within. However, given the choice between tightly coupled or loosely coupled software, loose wins.

Microsoft software (specifically ASP.NET) is a good example of this. When something goes wrong, it touches so many different behind-the-scenes pieces of software that it's incredibly daunting to even understand what's going on, let alone debug the very subtle & rare situations that trigger a given bug.

The web-development world is a good example of loosely-coupled software. You can nearly mix & match any of the given technologies at will - flash, JSON, javascript (both client & server side), web protocols, etc. And they all interoperate, and are nearly the most cross-platform/browser/machine/device software in existence today. I'd venture to guess the web wouldn't be what it was had there been more tightly coupled software driving it.

That's not to say tight-coupling doesn't have it's uses. Just that it's quite a liability, and more often than not tends to backfire.

There is no "should" in "testing"

Posted by james on Oct. 4, 2012

When testing, there is no "should" or "should not". For example, "This should work".

There is only "it did work" or "it did not work". Should implies some type of assumption, which is the opposite of testing. Testing is the result; what actually happened?

Obviously this has to be compromised a bit in the real world. We cannot test something under the exact real world conditions that they'll be used in. If the conditions were exact, that's no longer a test; that's just actually using the thing. So we have to choose specific situations & circumstances as a test environment.

But the terminology should remain consistent. A specific task or item has not been tested if we have to say something like "It *should* work in this situation". We should be able to say "During testing, this item *did* work in this situation".

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