ICS Insight Blog

ICS Insight Blog

A Blog for Application Designers and Developers

Connecting software developers and UX designers with ideas, inspiration and insight to build really cool stuff people want to use.

Users find it frustrating and reluctantly accept the fact that connection to the Internet sometimes has glitches. Wait times are the norm. Users are accustomed to the cursor loading slowly, popping up periodically and at times needing to try a second or third time in order to connect to an online site. However, users perceive devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) differently. These new products are more black box in function than a computer, tablet or phone. The fact that a device is dependent on a connection to the Internet to operate properly is not so obvious to the user...
April 16, 2015  •  By Justin Noel  •  Qt & QML  •  Intel, automotive IVI, IVI, Qt, QML
Intel® In-Vehicle Solutions Proof of Concept - ICS High Level Design Document  Connected Technology Demand for connected devices in automobiles is accelerating as mobile ecosystems are maturing. The ability for automakers to differentiate in an increasingly competitive environment depends on their ability to integrate a smart in-vehicle infotainment system (IVI) strategy and deliver a fully connected lifestyle to consumers. The manufacturers who succeed at providing an open, scalable and easily configurable automotive IVI will be the future market leaders. Fast. Easy....
Digital signage (DS) is one of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that are invading our lives, for better or worse. I recently attended the Digital Signage Expo 2015, ₁ where I had the opportunity to lead a round table discussion on “Content Strategies for Interactive Retail Kiosks.” ₂ Why talk about kiosks at a DS conference? Interactivity, of course, is one of the cutting edge elements of digital signage. An interactive digital sign is essentially the same thing as a simple interactive kiosk. Interactivity is a natural evolutionary direction of DS technology. It’s a...
April 1, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, D-Bus
Continuing with our series of blog posts on some of the lesser known Qt commands, this time we will look at some tools related to Qt and D-Bus. D-Bus (1) is an inter-process communication (IPC) system that allows multiple concurrently running computer programs to communicate. It was developed by the freedesktop.org project to standardize services provided by Linux desktop environments. D-Bus is free software and runs on Linux and most POSIX-compatible operating systems, and a port to Windows exists. While originally developed for desktop systems, it is also...
At some point in any extended-length development project -- whether it’s a multi-year project or a multi-month project -- you’re going to need what I’m calling a Surge. What’s going to prompt a Surge? Here are some examples: The market shifts and the target customer changes: for example, the successful launch of another product provides insight into your intended customer and a re-alignment of your product vision. Some opportunity, such as an early customer adoption or the need to demo at a trade show, will force a re-alignment of development priorities. New product requirements...
“The Times They Are a Changin’” – Bob Dylan, 1964 How many of you have noticed a change in the buying behavior of consumers today? As Bob Dylan so aptly stated more than 50 years ago when major disruptive social change was occurring, change comes with a force that shakes the walls and windows. The times, they are indeed changing. And for everyone in retail today, times they are a changin’ yet again. Technology has changed everything, including consumers’ expectations of how and when they buy. This affects everyone. Commodities, products and services are external and each of these...
March 11, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, QML, quick reference, reference card, cheat sheet
I am a strong proponent of quick references or "cheat sheets" as an aid for recalling often-used information. In my career, I have created many work-related reference cards for colleagues and for my own personal use as well as for hobbies such as electronics and retro computing. Last year I put together a one page double-sided QML quick reference. ICS gave out hardcopies of the quick reference to Qt Developer Days 2014 attendees in Berlin and San Francisco. I recently updated it for the latest Qt 5.4.1 release. Printable Adobe Acrobat (PDF) versions in US...
March 2, 2015  •  By Dorothy Shamonsky  •  User Experience  •  Internet of Things, IoT, User Experience, UX
When designing a user experience, we usually assume we are engaging a user’s center of attention, albeit short. We design an experience that will be a user’s primary focus or foreground activity for the duration of their engagement with a device, whether it be on a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. In an attempt to provide added utility, we design reminders, such a notifications and badges that can inform users of unread messages and overdue updates. Personally speaking as a user, I already have notification overload. Although the idea is sound, notifications and badges may be too...
February 25, 2015  •  By Jeff Tranter  •  Qt & QML  •  Qt, tools, lconvert, pixeltool, qlalr
Every Qt developer should be familiar with the common tools like qmake, Qt Designer and Assistant, but looking in your Qt installation's bin directory will reveal a few more programs there. In this and future blogs, we'll look at some of the lesser known Qt development tools. First, let's review a list of the tools for which you should be familiar. A few, like moc, rcc, and uic may be less familiar to you if you primarily let qmake or your IDE take care of building software, but the tools shown in the table below are ones that most Qt developers use on a regular basis....
February 24, 2015  •  By Peter Winston  •  CEO Corner  •  ICS
Over many years of developing software and building user interfaces, I’ve seen numerous shifts in technology and been present for multiple evolutions in the way developers craft quality software. Yet, while the development tools and languages available to developers make them increasingly capable, software projects still consistently run into trouble; they miss deadlines, hit intractable technical obstacles and run rampantly over budget. As an independent software consulting company with broad capabilities and deep domain knowledge, my company ICS often gets the call when a client project...

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