Disruptive Technologies

Course site for Disruptive Technologies. Exploring identity, community, & design.

Author: Ken

Ken’s Final thoughts on the iPad

Using the iPad this semester was interesting. I already had owned Android and iOS phones, but this is the first tablet I’d used for a long period of time. Having the extra screen real estate on a mobile device was nice, although I realized that for the work I do the best device is a MacBook and that a phone is more convenient for most mobile use.

The one area where a tablet seems most useful is for reading articles and eBooks, which makes it an attractive device for students. On this I’m a bit torn because it’d certainly be better than using multiple textbooks, however carrying three separate devices with me seems strange. This is probably an irrational aversion though; I’m sure I could get used to the idea of having a device in my pocket, two in my bag, and soon maybe even one on my wrist. The biggest conclusion I’ve reached at this point is that buying stock in Apple is probably a good idea.

Ken’s Weekly iPad Reflection, Week 12

Recently, inspired by Jay, I’ve been looking into sending MIDI between different apps on the iPad. One promising way is using Inter-app Audio, which was introduced in iOS 7. A lot of apps support it, including GarageBand and Tabletop.

There’s also an app called MidiBridge that lets you route MIDI to and from apps that support it. This might be more promising because it seems like more apps can use it. If I were to write an app that supported MIDI thought I’d probably look to support Inter-app Audio too since MidiBridge costs $8.99 so that’d be a barrier for people.


Adobe Slate – Ken

Software Engineering

Ken – Student App Idea

My app idea is an online marketplace, basically like Fiverr or oDesk but specific to Stony Brook. People could do small freelance jobs for each other in exchange for credits, which they can cash out or spend on hiring people to do jobs for them. Some examples might be designing a resume site for someone or making a logo for their app. I imagine many departments could use this a lot, for instance if the music department needs a programmer or the computer science department needs an artist. Basically it would create a market for trade within the campus.

I feel that limiting it to the campus would increase the quality of work over other online freelance marketplaces, and offer a greater degree of accountability since you might know somebody who knows the person hiring you. It could be integrated with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yammer to use already existing social connections, allowing you to vouch for someone or find a friend of a friend with the skills you need. It would also provide an opportunity for networking or friendship among students by working on each other’s projects, and experience delegating parts of their own projects.

Ken’s Weekly Create: Design


Design involves the planning of an object’s look, feel, or functionality.

I made this image in Adobe Fireworks out of icons I found and modified to represent these different aspects of design. I chose the canvas size of 3236 x 2000 because its width to height is roughly the golden ratio.

Ken’s iPad Reflection: Programming on the iPad

I reached out for opinions from CS students on using the iPad for schoolwork. The consensus was that there wasn’t really a good way to accomplish most necessary tasks on the tablet, however there was some support for the Surface Pro, a fully functional Windows 8 tablet with a touch screen. I’m actually considering getting one instead of a new MacBook, although I’m not quite convinced about it. It seems like it might excel as a tablet but fall short as a laptop, more research is needed, especially on the keyboard.

There are many mobile and cloud based apps for writing code in different languages, but they typically lack the features and integration you’d want when creating full applications. Services that offer a cloud VM and browser-based IDE like Cloud9 and Koding are beginning to look promising, although they really need native iOS apps in my opinion to be viable on the iPad. Some apps can really be useful for learning the basics of a language, for example a new app Swifty can be used to learn the Apple language Swift on your iPad or iPhone.

In general I think if we’re pushing for iPads on campus there are 2 ways to lessen resistance against it:

  1. Frame the debate in terms of eReader vs. traditional books since it’s definitely a win for portability, cost, and flexibility.
  2. Move to a more optional BYOD model where iPads are offered as a rental, but the student can use their own device. Although I imagine the allure of standardizing on one device is that it’s easier to provide support.

Ken’s Tweetly Create

I’m very picky with how I use Twitter to shape my online identity since it’s public for all to see. I use it to retweet things from my apps’ Twitter accounts and some other posts I really like, and occasionally some thoughts I have. Lately I’ve realized that your replies to people don’t show up in your main feed of tweets so I’ve been using it a bit more for communication instead of solely a platform for publishing.

The majority of my tweets are tech-related but sometimes I stray a bit. My favorite tweet of mine is an idea pertaining to the popular open source app framework PhoneGap and its lack of quality plugins.

For this assignment I tweeted a link to a list of iPad music apps on Pinterest. I had already shared something similar a couple of weeks ago on Yammer but I thought this relevant for a couple of reasons.

For one thing I think some aspects of Pinterest are useful, especially the way you can share multiple aspects of your identity cleanly by creating different boards for different topics. I try to replicate this on Twitter by using multiple accounts and I wanted to highlight that here. The Twitter account for my app Color Sounds is centered around music and art technology, music apps, etc. So I planned to send the tweet from there, retweet it from my main account and post a link to that, however I don’t think you can link to a retweet.

In any case, I get the feeling I don’t use Twitter the way most people do. I’m on it a lot but almost always for consumption, hardly ever posting. I like finding interesting articles and things on it. Also I don’t think I follow or have a single follower on Twitter that’s somebody I know in real life. For me that’s what Facebook is for. Facebook is social and Twitter is business.

Weekly Create by Ken

It's Happening

At Stony Brook bits and bytes are a primary medium, so improving Wi-Fi connectivity is important. In this instance this was an issue brought up by Chris during one of our class discussions and it was fixed the very next week.




Ken’s iPad Reflection, Week 4

Since my last iPad reflection, I’ve been exploring more options for diagramming apps. I’ve found a cloud-based one that I like a lot called LucidChart. I’ve previously used draw.io, which is similar but the mobile browser experience is terrible. LucidChart has a native iOS app in addition to their browser version. Since it’s cloud-based you can easily go back and forth between devices and collaborate on diagrams. Also it can be integrated with Google Drive. The free version limits you to 60 items per diagram but this hasn’t been a problem for me yet.

The Cluetrain Manifesto – Ken

  • 1. Markets are conversations – A market can be seen as a conversation between many people, giving praise and approval with dollars, and responding with more desirable goods.
  • 2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors – This is becoming more true with things like Facebook advertising. Facebook knows so much about people that it’s possible to target customers much better, although in practice they are still lumped together in groups.
  • 7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy – I suppose this is theoretically true, but the value of links are largely determined by Google.

Ken’s iPad Reflection, Week 3

Since my first iPad Reflection, I’ve been using the iPad for doing the assigned readings. I like how Safari can open a PDF file in the browser (I don’t believe Chrome for Android does this) and also that it gives you to the choice to open it in iBook. It’s been a nice change to read on the iPad. Certainly it’s easier on the eyes than using my desktop monitor. I’m not sure how a Retina display monitor would compare though.

I’ve also started looking for other alternatives to Lekh Diagram, the diagramming app I’ve been using. One thing I like about iOS is that I feel safer just downloading a half dozen apps that look interesting and trying them out.  I previously did the same thing while looking for an image editing app for my Weekly Create. On Android I’d do a bit more research like reading the app reviews to make sure I’m not downloading something malicious.

Ken’s iPad Reflection, Week 2: What’s in My Bag?

my bag

  • winter hat, black
  • micro USB charger
  • white envelope containing coupons, receipts, etc.
  • wallet
  • electronic cigarette “mod” with rebuildable drip atomizer
  • 1 eraser
  • 3 ballpoint pens, 2 black and 1 multicolored
  • 2 folders containing various papers and blank looseleaf sheets
  • metal business card holder filled with my business cards
  • pair of Apple headphones, unopened
  • Two 18650 batteries
  • Nutri-Grain bar, apple cinnamon
  • pack of tissues, unopened
  • iPhone/iPad charger
  • iPad Air
  • 3 mechanical pencils
  • USB thumb drive, 64 GB
  • USB thumb drive, 4 GB

Most surprising: The electronic cigarette. People often used to be surprised I smoked and now they’re surprised that I used to smoke.

What I can’t live without: The wallet, the e-cig, the winter hat in this weather.

What could be replaced by the iPad: Most easily the envelope containing coupons and receipts, but that will take further technological change. If the world goes paperless I could see potentially getting rid of the folders and writing implements, but until then, in a world with math homework I don’t see getting rid of good old paper, pencil, and eraser. I suppose the thumb drives could be replaced if the iPad was easier to use as a regular storage device and had more space.

Weekly Create by Ken

Yik Yak troll

I was inspired to make this image after learning about the recent events at Colgate University involving Yik Yak. I used the app PhotoFusion for iPad to juxtapose the troll face on the Yik Yak logo.

Personal Introduction – Ken

My name is Ken, I’m from Long Island and I’m interested in mobile and web development, software engineering, and music. I’m taking this class because it sounded amazing and it was recommended by Meg Schedel. I’ve been part of her Cuddle Time group for three semesters and created an app with her called Drum Circle, which is an web-based collaborative drum machine. My comfort level with technology is very strong. I’m a Comp Sci major and my primary business and hobby is creating software.

Social Networks

I’m an occasionally user of several social networks, although I’m not the most active poster. I try to stay quiet until I have something unique to say, and as a reader I appreciate others who take the same view.

I like Twitter, however I don’t like how I have to follow a whole person. What I mean is I tend to follow a lot of software people, but I’m not interested in other aspects of their lives. I like the way Pinterest lets you create boards for each topic and you can choose which to follow. I’m also on Facebook, Quora, Stack Overflow, LinkedIn, and Google+ (barely).

Is there any area of life that technology is not a part of?

Technology is absolutely everywhere, even if it’s old technology. Humans have the drive to make every area of life easier and more effective, and have done so for thousands of years.

Reply All: The Writing on the Wall

I had heard about Yik Yak but hadn’t tried it until after I listened to this podcast. I actually had an idea for this type of app about 4 years ago but decided not to pursue it. I had mentioned the idea to my Mom (who is African-American) and she pointed out that it could lead to bullying and a mob mentality. Looking back it’s interesting that she’s the one who had that insight.

I knew this kind of racism existed, but never thought it would be quite so public in this day and age, especially on college campuses which are supposed to be bastions of liberalism. Actually I suppose it’s not really “public” since the haters are anonymous but it has very real consequences IRL.

Disruption + Innovation

I found the part about Toyota interesting, and it made me think about makers of low-end Android phones and tablets. In most countries besides the US and Japan, Android has a majority market share. However Apple makes the majority of the profit at the high end in first world countries. Cars are different though I suppose since they’re much higher priced items. Also a lot of the money in mobile is made after the initial device is sold, for instance Amazon can afford to sell hardware at cost or even at a loss, but the tie-in to their ecosystem more than makes up for it.

I feel that college could be displaced by online courses such as MOOCs, but only if there’s a way to deliver an approximate substitute for the social experience. Perhaps this would take a form similar to Coworking spaces.

Disrupting the Classroom

Honestly I’m a bit skeptical about attempting to harness social networking channels into the classroom. My personal feeling is that I would be less likely to engage through Twitter for instance than participating face to face. I tend to be pretty self-conscious and knowing what I say would be saved on the Internet and also tweeted out to my followers would probably make me more self-conscious.

Also I’m not sure how asking questions online would compare to asking them in the moment. On the one hand you’re not disrupting the lecturer’s flow, on the other hand will they remember the context when they address an 140 character question about something from 15 minutes ago?

I do however very much like the idea of using tools like Yammer for private class communication, and using things like Trello and Google Docs for group projects. I adore Trello and use it for my personal projects all the time.

Ken’s iPad Reflection, Week 1

It’s the second day since I unboxed my shiny new iPad Air. It’s a sleek little machine.

I knew going in that it wouldn’t fully replace the desktop experience. As a programmer I had no illusions about being able to install my IDE of choice (IntelliJ IDEA). However I have found it useful for diagramming and planning my software. Maybe I can finally upgrade my system of clipboard and stacks of scrap paper (thank you Professor Prusslin for giving such a crazy amount of handouts, it’s kept me going for years).

So far I’ve been using the app Lekh Diagram. The free version lacks the ability to export your diagrams, but for my uses that’s been fine. I look forward to exploring other apps, and I have nothing against investing the cost of a turkey wrap¹ if it’ll help get the job done.

It’ll be nice to test the app I’ve been developing on this tablet. I recently joined the iOS developer program and plan to release my first app for the platform, only having done Android up until now. I’ve already successfully provisioned the device, pushed my app to it, and found a few sizing issues I’ll need to address.

I noticed the iPad came with GarageBand preinstalled. As a sometimes composer I was curious to try it out, but when I try to open it it just closes right away. The same happens with Numbers, iTunes U, iMovie, Pages, and Keynote.

¹ Despite having working there I don’t really drink Starbucks.

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