Sunday, January 31, 2010

University of Washington Invitational Indoor Track Highlights

Being in Seattle, I'm fortunate to get some great indoor track action each winter as UW hosts a number of events at Dempsey Indoor.  Two weeks ago they held the UW Indoor Preview and yesterday was the UW Invitational.

I was there yesterday and being a fan of distance running, was excited to see that Olympians Galen Rupp, Chris Solinsky, and Jen Rhines were all scheduled to run.  Flotrack and Runnerspace were there too and had some good coverage and videos.  But I have my own video of a few races from a different angle (see below).  Flotrack's are better, but hey, I was there and took it so you get it too.

First up was the men's mile with Rupp and Solinsky.  Both of the headliners started out mid-pack but moved up so that they were at the front with a lap to go with Rupp leading.  Coming off the turn with just the straight to go though, Solinsky had taken the lead and would go on to hold off Galen 3:55.75 to 3:56.22.  An outstanding early run for both as they do some under distance racing in preparation for the outdoor season.

In the women's 3000, Jen Rhines and Amy Hastings were the class of the field and went to the front and alternated taking the lead up to 1 lap to go.  With a lap to go, Rhines took off and gapped Hastings, but at the top of the straight, Hastings started to gather her in and with Rhines moving out into lane 2, Hastings had an opening and was able to eke by winning in 8:58.45 to Rhines' 8:58.47.  A great race.

Last, and less than 2 hours after finishing his mile, Rupp came back in the 3000 set to face Scott Bauhs and Aaron Braun.  The three of them separated themselves from the pack mid race and with a lap to go it was the three of them right together.  Braun got a bit of a gap on the back straight, but then Rupp and Bauhs made their move and as they approached the finishing straight Rupp had pulled alongside Braun with Bauhs close behind.  In what may have been his one mistake, Bauhs tried to get in between his competitors but there wasn't room and he had to make a second move outside and came up just short to Rupp's 7:51.48 in 7:51.65 with Braun just 0.03 back at 7:51.68.  Another great race!

From the interview with Galen, it sounds like he'll be in Boston next week to run the 5000 against Lagat and others.  And there will be action back at Dempsey in 2 weeks and I'll try to be there again and post another report.

Here is the video with highlights from all 3 races:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Welcome to my new blog

I created this blog awhile ago and decided it is about time I posted an entry.  I actually created it to be a place for my personal blogging as I've had a work blog at Sun for quite some time and I created a dedicated blog for my computer ratings as well.

What will show up here?  We'll see as time goes on, but it will likely include rants and musing on many topics related to technology, sports, the blending of the two, and anything else that comes across my mind.  Take a look at my Sun blog for past entries I've made.

If you are into Twitter, you can follow me at @ktschmidt or @computerratings.

Stay tuned for more!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Web Apps vs Native Apps: Will we ever fully switch?

When Apple introduced the iPhone, the story was that we didn't need native apps, instead the Web was the application environment and apps should just be written to run in a browser (Mobile Safari).  This didn't last too long as Apple succumbed and the App Store was born and by all accounts, other than developers who can't get their apps approved, it has been a wild success.  I have to wonder though if Steve intentionally made the whole process somewhat onerous to try to encourage folks to still write to the Web as a better and preferred way to get apps to the device.

The success of Apple's App Store has led to other "app stores" or "marketplaces" from mobile phone providers to carriers to the Java Store and more.  So it isn't terribly surprising to see Intel launch a netbook app store, although I have to wonder if the motivation is just to keep up with the Jetsons or if this is the right model for netbooks.  After all, isn't the point of the netbook to leverage Web applications?  If so, is having a store for native apps really needed or desired?  It would seem it is just giving users a crutch to avoid making the transition to the world of applications on the Web.

So why is this?  It is a combination of several things including more developers being comfortable and adept at creating native apps, HTML5 not being ready yet (an excuse for the original iPhone, less of one now), and users being familiar with native apps or fearing not having access if they are out of range of the network so thinking they have to have them.

But there are significant advantages to a world of Web apps.

For developers, while it may never truly be write a single Web app and use it from any device, there is a whole lot more reuse and leverage from creating apps for the Web rather than creating N native variations.  Particularly when platforms like the iPhone refuse to support Java or insist on requiring development in Objective C.  Being able to have an addressable market of multiple mobile and desktop platforms is a huge advantage over targeting one specific platform.

For users, using Web apps allow access to the same app and data from any device without having to perform complex and error prone synchronizations.  Whether you need to access your e-mail, calendar, documents, games, whatever, being able to do so from multiple devices should be a huge benefit if users can just get over the notion that they don't have the app in their possession on their device.

So when will the transition occur?  It will happen first with mobile and lighter weight "netbook" type of devices.  These are (or should be) designed for the Web and will have less storage and general horsepower to run native apps and so are well suited to it.  It perhaps will take something like Chrome OS to do it as other Windows, Linux, or OS X based devices will always have at their core an OS built for native apps.  Chrome OS will change this as far as we can tell.

In the mean time, go ahead and make it a point to ask "could this be a Web app" when creating that next application.  You may be surprised what is possible and how many more devices and users you can reach.