Category Archives: Mobile Web

I Killed My iPhone

Well not literally I just got tired of paying for it so I canceled my wife’s phone (which was out of contract), moved my SIM card to her phone, and downgraded to the cheapest monthly plan. I keep my iphone on airplane mode and use it around the house and on any open Wi-Fi. The only thing I can’t do is make a phone call or text message… but I rarely do that and now I get to spend the money I save on debt reduction. Just think of the money and time we’d all save if we were able to have one phone number and one email address.

Don’t wait to hear the D-word

I saw this CBS video the other day that focused on Obama and the economy. One of the things he said strait-out was that he’s working to avoid total economic collapse and a depression. This is not news of course but to hear him dance around the d-word was a bit of an eye opener. It’s one thing to hear our media talk about it and another to hear him say it.

I hope the work he’s are doing today will actually help us avoid more trouble. But I’d argue that we the people shouldn’t wait for the official announcement of a full-blown depression or our own personal financial demise. We should change our lifestyles today, live frugally, and prepare ourselves for the possibility of harder times. Here are some things you can do right now to prepare:

  • Always work to improve your personal health.
  • Buy bulk dry food (beans, rice, grains) and always have a reserve.
  • Learn to cook creatively with beans and rice.
  • Learn to bake from scratch.
  • Switch from coffee to tea, it’s so much cheaper.
  • Plant a victory garden.
  • Raise chickens, if your community permits them.
  • Downsize everything you can.
  • Sell possession you don’t use or need via craigslist, garage sales, and ebay.
  • Create additional revenue streams by monetizing hobbies, blogging, etc.
  • Prepare a worse case scenario plan (job loss, homelessness, etc).
  • Build a tiny house on wheels.

For optimism’s sake lets say we’re not headed for the second great depression. In any event this advice is good advice. By preparing for the possibility of a depression today the worst result is that you’ll be better positioned for the future.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change that survives.” – Charles Darwin

424px-charles_darwin_seated

Breath of Fresh Air: Apple iPhone SDK for Feb. 2008

Great news from Apple and a welcome breath of fresh air. A software development kit (SDK) will be released for native applications for iPhone. Until now Apple has been taking a very unApple approach to software development for iPhone. They locked it down and suggested that everyone develop web2.0 applications formatted for iPhone’s version of Safari (web browser). This strategy hasn’t been going over very well. To add insult to injury the closed environment was causing even more trouble because it was discovered very quickly that the iPhone could be cracked and applications developed. Rouge hackers (a.k.a: inspired creative free thinking innovators) were knocking out cools iphone aps that other people with hacked iPhones could run.

If you’ve been following current iPhone events none of that is news to you, just a recap. The important part of the recent news is that an SDK means opportunities are opening up for innovative mobile solutions on iPhone.

To users this means the iPhone just got better because after February 2008 you’ll be able to download applications that run on iPhone. Your iPhone will become that much more useful.

To business this means you just got access to the hottest new mobile platform. If you have a web enabled service you want to mobilize now is the time to learn how to create Apple Desktop Widgets and web2.0 applications. It wouldn’t hurt for your developers to begin getting familar with the existing OSX SDK.Even if they’ve never developed for OSX I think you’ll see them pick it up fast. It is all standards based open stuff. Should be very familiar to them.

Why am I convinced this is the right strategy? Simple. iPhone has (by far) the best mobile user experience. Happy users mean user adoption. User adoption in large numbers means money and that everyone else will follow, maybe even Microsoft. Although you can bet that Microsoft will come up with their own variation on the theme, there is a good chance the’ll take the same technical approach and that if you build your aps right (3-tier and all that) you may have little work to port your ap to iPhone and a future Windows Mobile.

Which means, follow the iPhone crowd. Be smart about your architecture and chances are you’ll beat your competition to this new mobile market.

Here is the Apple post from http://www.apple.com/hotnews/

Third Party Applications on the iPhone

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once—provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than “totally open,” we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.

Steve

P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch.

[Oct 17, 2007]

Steve Jobs Splits The Difference With iPhone Owners

You may have noticed that Apple lowered the price of the iPhone $200 (from $599 to $399). This comes just a few months after the initial release and seems to have pissed off iPhone owners. I’m not too pissed, just surprised any company would have missed the target in initial pricing.

Steve Jobs seems to agree and will be splitting the difference with all us existing iPhone owners by giving us an Apple Store credit of $100. A little self serving on Steve’s part (Apple Store Credit as opposed to Cash) but still very appreciated by this very happy iPhone owner.

On a side note I’m very happy to see Apple charging ahead on pushing the iPhone out to more users. Great product and I always like to see Apple succeed. Yes yes… I’m a little biased.

Read the Apple Announcement

iPhone Conspiracy Theory

I love a good conspiracy theory. Here’s one little paranoid thought that popped into my head the other day that would explain why Apple chose not to release an SDK (software developer kit) or support for Flash or Java in Safari. You see if you want to develop an application for the iPhone, Apple has limited it to webaps that run in Safari, which is great news for me but not so great for end users and software companies.

In a word, Skype.

My guess is that AT&T asked Apple to lock the iPhone down to prevent anyone from creating anything like Skype for iPhone. You see if Skype (or similar) could run on iPhone many of us would choose to use Skype over placing a costly cellular call. AT&T would loose millions in revenue.

Theoretically a version of Skype could be written in Flash or Java, so those two technologies had to be left unsupported too. Skype software normally runs right on the computer’s operating system so uncontrolled open development had to also be eliminated as an option. Theoretically someone could write an ajax (Javascript) version of Skype but since Javascript is parsed entirely by the browser, Apple could still theoretically block specific Javascript functions just like browsers block pop-ups.

Some may say, but what about Skype for Window Mobile? Good point but it is a different situation and could possibly be the very reason AT&T would want to prevent more of the same. There may be a lot more reasons Apple chose to not support Flash and Java and fail to release an SDK. But I think the Skype reason is reason enough.

iPhone Running Slow – Easy Fix

I ran into a little weirdness yesterday with my iPhone. The “slide to unlock” was running slow or not responding. A few other things seemed to be running slow too.Knowing that the iPhone is really just a tiny computer it seemed logical to restart it, which fixed the problem, duh. I did a quick search online and discovered a few other people had the same problem and found the same fix.

To do turn off your iPhone just power off (press and hold button on top right) and then turn it back on after it has shut down (press and hold same button). Still loving my iPhone by the way. Amazing little thing.

Mobile Device (iPhone too) Browser Sniffer

If you have a mobile website already you might have noticed that it looks terrible, tiny, and in the upper left corner on the iPhone.

You might be wondering how to modify your mobile website for the iPhone. I have a simple solution in PHP, but you’ll be able to adapt it to whatever language you like. Actually you could also just add a couple lines of code to your page <head> and CSS file if you don’t need the sniffing part.

The sniffer works by looking for the iPhone user agent and then inserting the appropriate code. I have not found anything official on Apple’s website yet on this topic but gleaned the necessary code for the iPhone from various blogs of people who attended a recent developer conference.

I believe all you need do is ad the following line to your <head>:

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=320″ />

…and a width to your CSS file in the body {}:

width:320px;

Here is the sniffer:

$useragent=$_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];

if(stristr($useragent, “iPhone”)){
$device_type=”iphone”;
}

if (isset($device_type) and $device_type==”iphone”){
$meta=”<meta name=\”viewport\” content=\”width=320\” />”;
$css=”iphone.css”;
}else{
$css=”styles.css”;
}

In my page template I have replacement objects for [META] and [CSS] and do a string replace (http://php.net/str_replace) for those objects with the variables about. You can probably do the same thing with javascript; I used PHP because it was easier for me.

In a nutshell I’ve found that if you add the following meta tag to your <head> and width:320px to your body in your CSS file the iPhone will render your mobile site correctly.

This is just a quick patch for existing mobile sites. A full blown iPhone site would require (ideally) a lot more work. I plan to ‘iPhone-ize’ a few of my sites and adapt them for the iPhone. I’ll post what I learn. In the mean time take a look at http://favfeed.com which had the META and CSS added. No sniffer, since this site is a mobile only site.

Blogging From My iPhone

I stood in line yesterday for an hour and a half and bought myself an iPhone, which I’m using right now to blog. It just amazes me how fast technology changes the options we have and impacts our lives. But this time its not just a new technological toy that should be admired. This new iPhone is most definitely a gigantic leap forward in interface design and mobile technology. I suspect there will be some very serious conversations in the board rooms of Apple’s and AT&T’s competitors over the next few days. Apple has leaped us forward what feels like five years (or mor) and the competition will be scrambling to catch up. This thing is a tricorder!!!