The night of 1000 flowers

Last night was the inaugural Flowery Tweetup organised by Stewart Townsend and Stuart Witts and kindly sponsored by Blaqua (a fine purveyor of floral attire). Music came from the Bikini Beach Band who provided various musical numbers ranging from The Beach Boys to Madness and back through New Order.

For once the event wasn't just the same tech people who normally attend this sort of thing, but a mixture of Londoners who seem to have a passion for things flowery. There's some Facebook pictures of the evening.


Google makes developing Android apps easy-as-pie

Google has made available App Inventor for Android that allows anyone to develop an Android application with minimal programming (if any) knowledge.

The website has uses visual building blocks which are dragged on to the 'canvas' and these can link to other functions. Access to the lower level Android functions (like GPS location and SMS) are available.

There are basic functions like buttons, canvas, checkboxes, etc and then media, animation, social, sensors and screen arrangement functions allowing complex applications to be constructed. It uses the Open Blocks Java library, which is distributed by MIT's (Massachusetts Institute of Technology's) Scheller Teacher Education Program which was used to develop the Scratch programming language. The compiler that converts the visual framework to a native Android app uses the Kawa language.

App Inventor for Android isn't openly available yet and potential users have to complete a form (using a GMail address) entering information about what App Inventor will be used for.

There are around 60,000+ apps in Android Marketplace, compared to over 200,000 in Apples app store, maybe this could redress the balance.


New Storage service to compete with Amazon S3?

A new service has been announced called S4 or Super Simple Storage Service which promises to undercut Amazon S3 and other storage services by magnitudes. It's not clear what back-end S4 are using, but they are providing various interfaces to their system including direct web upload,  http get and put methods and a SOAP and REST API for write-only access.

S4 will store as much data as you throw at it and they offer a full money back guarantee, though at only $1 per TB per month even if they do make a few mistakes, it's not as though it's cost you much. Amazon on the other hand would charge around $153 per month for the same storage (but then you do get read access to the data too).

S4 could be the long term storage solution for those long term (and forgotten) back-ups that your company so desperately needs.

Palm releases WebOS 1.4.5

Palm has release an update to their WebOS taking it to version 1.4.5 which will run on Palm Pre and Pixi devices. Though only a minor update which mainly fixes bugs, it does add 3D support to the Pixi range (and stabilises 3D for the Pre). It also adds supports for the PDK (plug-in development kit) which Palm released a while back. The update will be available immediately to US users on Sprint and French users of SFR. Palm have not said when O2 other other users will be lucky and get their new versions, but generally updates are quickly (within a few days) sent to all operators.

This is the first release since Palm was acquired by HP for $1.2bn and HP has confirmed that WebOS will be used as a future OS for tablet based computers, though it has not confirmed for which tablets or when. HP was going to produce a tablet (known as the Slate) which was going to run Windows 7, but HP pulled it when Apple announced the iPad. Having WebOS will allow HP to develop their own Operating System suitable for the enterprise market and reduce their reliance on Google (for Android or Chrome OS), Microsoft or even Intel/Nokia for MeeGo.