Posts filed under 'Mobile'

2008 - The Year of Mobile

“Mobile goes big in 2008″ …okay, so I’ve been hearing this sentiment for the last 10 years or so (and it’s making the rounds in the plethora of ‘08 blogosphere predictions).  Although, I don’t think ‘08 is going to be the breakout year, we are going to see a very interesting year in the mobile space:

  • The iPhone was a big step in the direction of usability/beauty and will force Nokia, Microsoft, and RIM to up the ante - i.e., we will see some cool new devices
  • We will see some Android phones in the wild and with that some innovate software and hardware
  • Location based services will begin to emerge (Google’s “My Locations” is brilliant… if I could get the darn thing to work) and Yahoo’s Fire Eagle looks promising
  • Very interesting mobile applications based around social software and location (that isn’t a PITA to use) will emerge and engage consumers
  • One of the big guys (probably Google) will start to experiment w/ mobile payments which further entrenches mobile devices in the hands of consumers
  • Live streaming video to/from mobile devices will mature and create a killer opportunity (Scoble is already messing around with Qik and comvu has had this for Windows Mobile for a while [thanx for that pointer Andrew]) - I called this one way back in the olden days ;)
  • Exposing and sharing data (docs, video, photos, etc) to your mobile will see some interesting action - I created a very cool syndication platform a couple of years ago that I tabled and now is the time for something like this to go big time.  Take a look at this to see what I am talking about - http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2007/12/run-vista-gadge.html

But, we won’t see the true mobile revolution until the middle man (yeh, you know who) is out of the equation!

December 24th, 2007

Twitter Goodness on Your Mobile Device

Tiny Twitter Love
[point your mobile browser at http://m.ttwt.at to get the latest version of Tiny Twitter (v 0.9.9 12/15/2007) on your mobile device. You’ll be up and running in under 2 minutes]

Earlier in the year I started regularly using Twitter… soon after (aka pre-iPhone era) I built a mobile Twitter client for my Blackberry. I built Tiny Twitter for several reasons, but mainly I wanted a way to avoid the SMS traffic. On nights and weekends over the past year I have tuned Tiny Twitter - mainly adding features and fixing things for me and my fellow Tiny Twitter users. The latest version, 0.9.9, is looking pretty good!

Tiny Twitter will work on Nokia devices, Blackberries, and pretty much any mobile device that is Java enabled (including T-Mobile phones for those feeling the T-Mobile/Twitter pain):

Tiny Twitter on Crackberry
[Tiny Twitter on Crackberry]
Tiny Twitter on Nokia
[Tiny Twitter on Nokia]

*NOTE: on Nokia devices you’ll want to adjust the font size to the smallest setting (go to Font Settings from the Options Menu).

I also own a few Windows Mobile devices and have been wanting to build a Twitter client for these devices too (my Tiny Twitter Java client is just to wonky on Windows Mobile). The biggest thing holding me back from creating a Windows Mobile version of Tiny Twitter was the need for creating a custom control for rendering the follower timeline. This is something I had done in the past, and I just never had the time or desire to jump in head first. Well, one day I was having coffee with my man Matthias and turns out he was psyched to tackle this task. Matthias hunkered down and a few days later had the beginnings of a rock solid control - Matthias is the man. With the hard part out of the way courtesy of Matthias, I took some time over the Thanksgiving break to clean up some things, fix some defects, and add some features. I and some early users started using Tiny Twitter on Windows Mobile… and now you too can get Twitter love on Windows Mobile:

Tiny Twitter on Windows Mobile
*NOE: you’ll need to have the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 SP 2 at a minimum.

Enjoy! Twitter is a cool AND useful application after you start using it and it gets even better when you have a Twitter mobile client. I love Tiny Twitter and hope you will too.

Here are some of the features you’ll find in Tiny Twitter:

  • Automatically updated follower timeline
  • Automatically updated inbox (direct messages)
  • Delete all or single tweets
  • One click replies (@) and direct messages from the timeline
  • Quick access to see a follower’s timeline
  • Access links embedded in tweets
  • Hide friends (Java only)
  • Settings to customize the update interval and UI appearance
  • And of course most importantly send tweets!!!

Have fun you twittering fool go to http://m.ttwt.at and check it out :)

December 16th, 2007

Mobile Web Formatting Can Bite

Take a look at these two web page headers:

<head><title>MSNBC - MSNBC - Breaking News, World and US News Stories & Headlines - Get the Latest Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports, & Technology updates from around the world Front Page</title><script src=”/js/std.js” mce_src=”/js/std.js” ></script></head>’

<head><title>MSNBC - Breaking News, World and US News Stories & Headlines - Get the Latest Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports, & Technology updates from around the world- msnbc.com</title><link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”/css/html40.css” mce_href=”/css/html40.css” /><link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”/default.ashx/id/21589549″ mce_href=”/default.ashx/id/21589549″ /><link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”/default.ashx/id/21731496″ mce_href=”/default.ashx/id/21731496″ /><script type=”text/javascript” src=”/js/std.js” mce_src=”/js/std.js” ></script><script type=”text/javascript”>gEnabled=false;</script><meta http-equiv=”content-type” content=”text/html; charset=UTF-8″><meta name=”description” content=”MSNBC.com is a leader in breaking news and original journalism. Stay current with daily news updates in health, entertainment, business, science/technology and sports.”><meta name=”Search.Document” content=”front”><meta name=”Search.Updated” content=”Mon, 03 Dec 2007 23:17:49 GMT”><link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”MSNBC - Top Stories” href=”http://rss.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032091/device/rss/rss.xml”&gt;
<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”MSNBC - Most Viewed” href=”http://rss.msnbc.msn.com/id/3058960/displaymode/1026/eventType/1/rss/rss.xml” mce_href=”http://rss.msnbc.msn.com/id/3058960/displaymode/1026/eventType/1/rss/rss.xml”>…

Can you tell the difference? Okay that’s an easy question… they’re totally different.  Nice job grasshopper.  Well, these headers come from the same web resource (msnbc.com). The only distinction is that one is served up to mobiles.  And I’ve seen similar behavior for many of my test sites.

So, the piece that annoys me is the removal of the link elements (that’s bolded above) used for feed autodiscovery (the RSS icon that lights up in the browser, the super cool functionality you get in FeedDemon for adding subs, etc… you get it).  Ah man, no feed auto detection love on mobile devices for lots of web properties.  That sux.

December 3rd, 2007

Andoid Hello World in Under 10 Minutes

I started to write my first simple Google Android app at 10:30 tonight and was done by 10:45.  This included installling the SDK, installing and configuring the Eclipse plugin, coding (okay it was one line), and running the application in the emulator.

Android

So, big deal you say.  Well, I can tell you it is a big deal.  Try to do a similar feat (configuring an IDE, coding Hello World, and emulator execution) in the land of Symbian C++ and it will take you a day if you’re lucky.  A Java ME Hello World app from end to end will take at least an hour and more likely two.  The only mobile dev environment that is in the same ball park is Windows Mobile and building a .NET Compact Framework application.  I’m not making these numbers up; this comes from first hand experience. 

This is a great start… Android you got my attention.

Here is what you have to do run Hello World Andoid style (this is for a Windows machine w/ Eclipse installed):

Install the SDK - (http://dl.google.com/android/android_sdk_windows_m3-rc20a.zip)

  1. Just download the package and extract to your file system… i stuck mine in c:\program files
  2. Set your path variable (Windows) - right click on My Computer, and select Properties. Under the Advanced tab, hit the Environment Variables button, and in the dialog that comes up, double-click on Path under System Variables, and add the full path to the tools/ directory - it’ll look something like C:\Program Files\android_sdk_windows_m3-rc20a\tools
     

Install the Eclipse Plugin (excepted from http://code.google.com/android/intro/installing.html)

  1. Start Eclipse, then select Help > Software Updates > Find and Install….
    In the dialog that appears, select Search for new features to install and press Next.
    Press New Remote Site.
    In the resulting dialog box, enter a name for the remote site (e.g. Android Plugin) and enter this as its URL: https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse/. Press OK.
    You should now see the new site added to the search list (and checked). Press Finish.
  2. In the subsequent Search Results dialog box, select the checkbox for Android Plugin > Eclipse Integration > Android Development Tools and press Next.
  3. Read the license agreement and then select Accept terms of the license agreement, if appropriate. Press Next.
    Press Finish.
    The ADT plugin is not signed; you can accept the installation anyway by pressing Install All.
  4. Restart Eclipse.
  5. After restart, update your Eclipse preferences to point to the SDK root directory ($SDK_ROOT):
    Select Window > Preferences… to open the Preferences panel.
    Select Android from the left panel.
    For the SDK Location in the main panel, press Browse… and find the SDK root directory (installed in step 1 above)
    Press Apply, then OK

Code Hello World and Run in the Emulator

  1. Modify the XML based layout file
  2. Open main.xml in res/layout and modify the attribute as needed …something like so: android:text=”Hello Kevin”
  3. Run and your done!

November 15th, 2007

Debating Intensely

A few weeks ago Seth Levine sent me an invite to check out Intense Debate… it is a blog commenting solution and a product of the local Tech Stars.  David Cohen and company have done a fantastic job of bringing together some brilliant young whipper snappers and providing them with the resources they need to build some great companies…
Anyway, I had Intense Debate up and running in about 5 minutes.  The install was painless, and I was amazed when I fired up my blog and the WP commenting system was automagically replaced with Intense Debate and it works great… ah, job well done grasshopper!

Today, one of our design gurus, TD, was searching on Open Social and came across one of my posts.  He tried to access the page but was getting prompted for creds and couldn’t get access.  I took a look, and it turned the prompt was being thrown by Intense Debate.  I turned off the service, sent an email to the crew, and within 10 minutes and a few email exchanges all was fixed and happy again. That is pretty sweet!

I don’t mind when software stuff breaks, in fact I expect it to happen from time to time.  I write software and know how this stuff can go. But I WAS very excited to see Josh and crew get on it and get it fixed so quickly.  Excellent job on customer service as well fellas… David has taught you well ;)

November 14th, 2007

Android SDK Available - Grab a Chunk of the $10 Million

Google Open Social… Huh?  What?  To heck with that noise.  The hottest thing to come out of Mountain View is Android.  OMG, this is looking so good!

Take a look for yourself - and take a peek at the vids.

Sergey and company are ponying up $10 million to give to the best Android mobile apps. That is pretty sweet incentive.  Google will have no problems getting developers to build android apps (even without the $10 million).  The sticky point is going to be getting phones in the wild that run the Android stack.  That is the big challenge, and I hope they pull it off because if they do this is a game changer!!!

November 12th, 2007

Android - Google Becomes a Man

Android

Although, Google’s announcement of Open social has gained all the press as of late, the Android announcement is much more exciting to me:

  1. Open Social - don’t believe the hype
  2. Unlike the hurried, half-baked Open Social thing, Android has been in the oven for quite a while (@ least in our sense of time) - Google acquired the company in August ‘05 and at the time the company was 22 months old
  3. Android will be available for ANY phone manufacturer to install and build on top of - not just one - take that Apple ;)
  4. The phones should be affordable and the power of mobility can be shared amongst all
  5. It will allow for extensive use of third party apps - developers, developers…
  6. Apps will in time live on portable devices other than phones like car navigation systems
  7. I heart mobile

The SDK will be available soon - I’ll be taking a look. The only funky thing is that apparently the VM will not be Java ME/MIDP-based but some kind of C-based SDK. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it does mean that the existing suite of Java ME apps may not just work on Android powered devices.

November 9th, 2007

Bode Miller

I am indifferent on Bode Miller.  I know the media has not exactly put him in a good light, but I don’t know him so I can’t say.

But I love this quote I saw in a skiing mag while I was at the gym today:

“It’s about more than just winning.  You want an inspirational performance.

You always have a chance to win.  I mean if everyone else crashes, you win.”

This applies across many domains… So, the next time you think about putting down the competitor think about this.  Maybe you really should be pumping him/her/it up instead, if you are ready to bring your A game (if you got one) chicken :)

November 8th, 2007

You Drinking the NewsGator-aide

After getting home from the defrag conference tonight, I was psyched to see Emma and Ava still up.  Asher goes like a fireball all day and just crashes at eight.  I took the girls into Ava’s room to read and couldn’t help but muck thru the old clothes in the dresser… (anyone at defrag will get this or take a look here).  I’m serious - I did this and it brought out a mixed bag of emotions.

Anyway, shortly after that Ava (she just tuned 2) looked at me and said.  “Dad you at Denver today… you at Gator-aid”.  You drinking the drink too?

November 6th, 2007

Google Open Social - Don’t Believe the Hype

At first glance, Google’s Open Social sounds like a great thing.  Open… Social… two great tastes that go great together, right?  Maybe not.  “Open Social” sounds a lot like an “Open Marriage” – on the surface some may think this sounds fun but after thinking about it for a minute you quickly realize it’s a bad idea :)

Reeses

Here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind:

  1. For anyone that has developed Java apps (especially mobile), the idea of write once run anywhere sounds great but is a pipe dream.  When you have competing “hosts” attempting to implement the open social spec to their advantage it sounds like a recipe for disaster.
  2. The first and likely best open social application will be one that takes all my contacts/friends from the also ran social networks and drops them into FB or MySpace.
    1. The effect is actually opposite of that intended (and I suspect Google hopes that they are this social network aggregator)
    2. How will LinkedIn feel when I yank all my contacts from there and drop them in FB?  Yep, kinda like the “Open Marriage” concept where you come home from work to find you best friend in your house wearing your pajamas.
  3. Wait a sec… we already have the ability to write web applications that will run across all web properties…. They’re called Widgets.
  4. An Open Social spec has to be very limited in scope in order for it to work across all the social networks.  This leads to fragmentation (see point 2) and leaves developers wanting more and only being able to build lightweight applications.
  5. Why is Google defining this – if it is truly going to be an open api shouldn’t this be a true community effort rather than a closed session of top secret meetings?
  6. Young, eager developers get all pumped about the concept and start cranking out these applications… the first place they build for is Orkut (in the Orkut sandbox) .  Orkut gets some life kicked into it.  When they attempt to move the application onto another social site all they may end up with is sand in their face.
  7. It feels like an attempt to slow down the momentum that FB has been racking up with some buzz words.

As a developer, the notion of building a deep social web app once and having it run everywhere sounds great, but so does the idea of living off the grid in some remote hilltop with my family and dogs and building cool applications for the fun of it (well sounds fun to me @ least).   Unfortunately, neither one is gonna happen any time soon.  Or perhaps, Google is truly not evil, has good intentions, and can pull it off and all the social networks will hold hands… time will tell.

October 31st, 2007

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