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Prashanth Babu
Works at NTT DATA
Lives in London
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Bengaluru - Tokyo - Bengaluru - Melbourne - Bengaluru - Pune - Anantapur - Roorkee - Anantapur
Polyglot Programmer
Big Data, Hadoop Ecosystem, Java, Android, D3, JVM Languages
    2011 - present
  • Apostek
    2011 - 2011
  • Keane Inc
    2004 - 2011
  • Infosys
    2002 - 2004
Basic Information


Prashanth Babu

Discussion  - 
Thanks for a wonderful initiative and nice set of lectures first-up.

Professor  +Adam Porter any specific reason why Eclipse / ADT was chosen over Android Studio or IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition? As this specialization is a series of 3 courses, would it help if we started with Android Studio now?
Is it due to Spring backend in future courses, Eclipse was chosen ahead of others?

Edit: I am using IntelliJ IDEA CE, since I am more used to IDEA.
Adam Porter's profile photoMace Ojala's profile photoMichael Prentice's profile photoPrashanth Babu's profile photo
Thanks Prof +Adam Porter
And thanks to all for chiming in their thoughts.
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Prashanth Babu

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Prashanth Babu

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Awesomeness written all over. THIS is research.
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Understanding Open Source licenses is usually difficult, but this website helps in summarizing and explaining it in plain English. 
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+JetBrains guys are giving steep discounts [75% off to be precise] on all their products for personal licenses. Awesome. Whether you are #androiddev  or #Java  dev or #python  dev or #javascript  dev, all their IDEs are the best. Go for it now!!  +IntelliJ IDEA 
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Prashanth Babu

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Siri vs Google Voice Search for iPhone

Best one: 
"I don't know what do you mean by Hurricane Sandy damage photos".
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Prashanth Babu

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Fauxboto - Amazon's Holo typeface bug on Kindle Fire


One of the most welcome but least heralded changes introduced in Android 4.0 was the requirement that hardware partners do not modify any part of the Holo themes in order to pass the Google Compatibility Test Suite (CTS). For the first time, Android developers building against API 14 or above had a base theme that they could be sure had 100% visual consistency across devices from different OEMs. Of course, no such requirement applies to manufacturers who have no interest in bringing the Google Play Store or other Google specific services to their Android based devices.

Amazon have recently refreshed their Kindle line with a 2nd generation range of Kindle Fire tablets running Android 4.0.3 and they have been made available outside of the US for the first time. Kindle Fire represents an interesting new opportunity for Android developers. Having a strong, well supported downstream implementation of Android is also great for the platform itself.

In preparing to submit an app to the Amazon app store for distribution, I deployed it onto my brand new Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet for testing. The app worked great, but something was visually quite wrong:

It may not be immediately obvious what the problem is, especially as we software engineers are notoriously bad at picking up on design details, but there is a clear lack of font consistency in the above screenshot. The familiar Roboto typeface is there in a couple of places, but alongside it is something decidedly non-Roboto (it isn't Droid Sans either - Roboto's pre-ICS predecessor). What the hell was going on? My app didn't use any custom fonts of its own and the there had never been any similar issues on other ICS devices. Roboto was purpose designed to be open source friendly, royalty free and part of AOSP so there was no reason for Amazon not to make full use of it. 

I immediately assumed I had botched my styles somehow, but even in my out-of-the-box Holo preference activity, Roboto was nowhere to be seen outside the of Action Bar:

I then downloaded the Official eBay app from the Amazon app store onto my Kindle to see if other apps exhibited the problem:

Aarrgh... my eyeballs!! Notice how particularly ugly this font is when the bold weight is applied, which introduces blurring artefacts that completely destroy the rhythm of the text. Roboto was created specifically for the requirements of UI and high-resolution screens. This font, whatever it is, clearly was not.

The next step was to create a simple app from scratch to try to establish the criteria for which either Roboto or this rouge font (which by this point I had coined "Fauxboto") was being used. Was it a scaled pixel threshold, a style property or something else entirely?

Fortunately it became obvious pretty quickly where the problem lay. Notice in the above screenshot that the Roboto typeface is used only when a textAppearance style is specified, but crucially NOT when that value is ?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall. After a quick glance through the AOSP styles.xml, it turns out that the default textAppearance value for an unstyled TextView (as well as a bunch of other derivative widgets) is indeed ?android:attr/textAppearanceSmall.

So the rouge font appears because of Amazon's implementation of @android:style/TextAppearance.Small(and its inverse cousin). Only the GPL components of Amazon's Kindle OS are open source, so I have no way to see what that implementation is. Since I can't imagine this behaviour to be a deliberate choice on their part, it must be a bug.

Fortunately the power of Android's styles and themes framework lets us fix this in our own apps. First we must declare our own styles for TextAppearance.Small and TextAppearance.Small.Inverse. We will inherit from android:TextAppearance because we know that that particular style does not exhibit the bug on these devices:

<!-- fixes for broken Holo text appearances on Kindle Fire 2/HD  -->
<style name="TextAppearance.KindleFix.Small" parent="android:TextAppearance" >
    <item name="android:textSize">14sp</item>
    <item name="android:textColor">?android:attr/textColorSecondary</item>
<style name="TextAppearance.KindleFix.Small.Inverse" >
    <item name="android:textColor">?android:attr/textColorSecondaryInverse</item>
    <item name="android:textColorHint">?android:attr/textColorHintInverse</item>
    <item name="android:textColorHighlight">?android:attr/textColorHighlightInverse</item>
    <item name="android:textColorLink">?android:attr/textColorLinkInverse</item>

Now in our application's base theme we must redefine the appropriate attributes to reference our custom styles:

<style name="Theme.Mine" parent="@android:style/Theme.Holo">
    <item name="android:textAppearanceSmall">@style/TextAppearance.KindleFix.Small</item>
    <item name="android:textAppearanceSmallInverse">@style/TextAppearance.KindleFix.Small.Inverse</item> 

Depending upon how you have styled your application and the UI widgets you use, that small change will fix about 90% of the occurrences of the rouge font. What it does not do is fix the text appearance for any styles that inherit from Amazon's broken implementation of TextAppearance.Small (or the Holo derivative). Fortunately there appears to be only a handful these (like Action Bar subtitle, Action Bar item menu text and switch) and you can cherry pick them from the AOSP styles.xml for the widgets you are using and re-implement them accordingly.

After making these changes my app now looks like this, with Roboto font consistency and balance to the Holo theme restored. I can now focus on addressing my app's own design issues without being affected by those in the underlying platform:

I'm not aware of any formal mechanism to report bugs like this to Amazon, short of posting in their app distribution developer forums. If anyone knows someone who works on the Kindle Fire OS team, please direct them to this post. Amazon's own apps on Kindle Fire use a very customised theme (though curiously it is not a Theme.DeviceDefault implementation) so I'm not surprised that they do not exhibit this issue. However, fixing this bug will automatically make many of the 3rd party apps on their devices look 100 times better.
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Prashanth Babu

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Learn X in Y minutes, where X = Go
Go was created out of the need to get work done. It's not the latest trend in computer science, but it is the newest fastest way to solve real-world problems. It has familiar concepts of imperative languages with static typing. It's fast to compile and fast to execute, it adds easy-to-understand ...
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So, they start.  #googleglass  
This is mindless considering not a single soul outside of Google has ever used Glass. Yet people have started.

Nothing is or ever has been "Apple-like" about Google's products because the experience falls flat.
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There is a point in there somewhere, but it's soaking in fanboyism...
"Google has never ​had a successful product that people pay for"
Really? No one pays for Android devices? He says himself that it's the software that does the trick, and Android sells a lot on software!

Also, who cares whether people pay for it or not? Google makes the best service in several areas, where people are used to free. Requiring it to be paid for is simply dismissing what they're creating, for no reason at all.
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#Google   #microsoft  

CEO of Google:

CEO of Microsoft:

This tells you a lot about where these companies are heading!!
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Hackernews never stops amazing me.   #nexus10   #nexus4   #android  

"Android updates are named after things you might want to eat. OS X updates are named after things that might want to eat you."
And someone finally implements the killer-feature for the "Family Tablet": Multi-Account Support: > But what makes Nexus 10 unique is that it's the first truly shareable tablet. With ...
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