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Posts from the ‘Mobile’ Category

Chris Dixon on the Mobile Web

April 9th, 2014

Rob Fahrni

Will write C/C++ for foodChris Dixon: “This is a worrisome trend for the web. Mobile is the future. What wins mobile, wins the Internet. Right now, apps are winning and the web is losing.

Emphasis is mine.

I don’t understand this school of thought. Most mobile apps use a web service. The web is not about a browser, it’s about the services on the web. A browser is just the lowest common denominator way to view a web service. Mobile apps are “winning” because the browser isn’t the best way to do the job on a mobile device.

I know it’s not a popular stance, but the browser has a long way to go. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are fine, but limiting. It will continue to mature.

On mobile we have native access to the device. We can whatever the platform allows, which is actually quite a lot. Interactions are just a lot nicer than they are in a mobile browser. We can handle everything locally then push the results into your favorite web service so you can get to it from other devices, including, but not limited to your web browser.

The browser isn’t the web. It’s one way to view the web.

John Gruber, Class Act

June 22nd, 2013

Rob Fahrni

John Gruber: “This made my day, but allow me to put my humble hat on for a moment, and praise two apps that foreshadowed iOS 7 long before Vesper”

Calling attention to two iOS UI pioneers was the right thing to do. It also shows that Mr. Gruber is a class act.

Thank you, John.

All kinds of crazy

March 27th, 2013

Rob Fahrni

Microsoft Cash Cow.Macworld: “While I was visiting the Microsoft campus a few weeks ago—in suburban Redmond, just across Lake Washington from my beloved Seattle—I kept thinking of the old Vulcan proverb: “Only Nixon can go to China.”

If Microsoft is China, then that makes me Nixon in this story, I realize.”

Quick thought.

Apple should buy Microsoft.

Yes, you read that right. Apple should buy Microsoft for their web services; Azure Mobile Services. Maybe, just maybe, they could leverage it to make iCloud what it could be.

Saturday Morning Coffee, Afternoon Edition

February 2nd, 2013

Rob Fahrni

My brother, Jay, or rather Jerry as you know him, usually has a piece on his weblog called “Saturday Morning Coffee.” It’s something I look forward to reading. There’s always something I find interesting. It looks like we’re not going to get a post today, so I thought I’d run one.

Let’s get started. Here’s how Jay starts his post:

“So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….”

Rob's Coffee MugOh, he also includes a picture of the coffee mug he’s using. Here’s mine. Unlike Jay I only have one I use regularly. Not that we’re lacking in the coffee mug department, we have quite a few, but this one is mine. It’s a hand crafted masterpiece I purchased at our local Farmers Market.

Super Bowl

Unless you’re one of those folks that don’t like football you know tomorrow is Super Bowl XLVII, in beautiful New Orleans, LA. The Baltimore Ravens will face the San Francisco 49ers. I’m pulling for the Ravens. I’ve had a hate-hate relationship with the Niners since “The Catch.” I was a Cowboys fan at the time and even though I’ve moved on to the Bears the hate for the Niners remains. Let’s hope Baltimore can pull a rabbit out of the hat.

Speaking of Baltimore. It looks like Ray Lewis has caused a bit of a crap storm over his quick recovery from a torn triceps early in the season. PEDs, or performance enhancing drugs, are not new to pro sports. This is just another in a long line of pro athletes being called out. I’d wager to bet he did use something to help him recover, so did Lance Armstrong, and Barry Bonds. Hey, it’s a part of pro sports. I’m probably in the minority here but I say let them use PEDs under the care of a licensed physician as long as they’re aware of the problems associated with them. They’re adults, let them make the decision.

Hey, how about this for goofy move. CBS has banned SodaStream’s Super Bowl commercial. Really weird. From a Forbes report:

“CBS banned SodaStream’s Super Bowl spot because, apparently, it was too much of a direct hit to two of its biggest sponsors, Coke and Pepsi.

Please pause and read that sentence again.”

That says a lot about how fragile Coke and Pepsi have become as a business. It looks like it’s time for those companies to rethink what they do if they’re scared of SodaStream. Things change. Roll with the punches guys. Good luck SodaStream.

Don’t call me RIM

It looks like BlackBerry is not the official name of the company formerly known as RIM. Does anyone else remember the “RIM Jobs” website. Good one. Anyway, BlackBerry announced the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 phones this week. The Z10 is a touch based device while the Q10 holds true to a traditional BlackBerry device and has a physical QWERTY keyboard. At first glance I thought the Z10 looked a lot like an iPhone 4, and tweeted as much, but later I realized it’s not as similar as I thought. At first glance the back of the device looked like the all glass iPhone 4 back, it’s not.

I think the Z10 looks pretty nice and the Q10 is a great choice for the keyboard loving BlackBerry loyalists. Will they succeed? Only time will tell.

Twitter Hacked

It looks like hackers were able to gain access to 250,000 user accounts. Whoops. I find the choice of headlines in the weblog post announcing the hack disingenuous. The headline read “Keeping our users secure” then goes on to explain:

“This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.”

Come on guys. Quit spinning bad news like it’s a good thing. You should’ve said something like “We’ve been hacked. We’re sorry.”

Weekend Box Office

It looks like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is number one at the box office. We haven’t seen a movie since The Hobit and have missed a bunch of great films that have released since the fall. I think my wife and I need to get out a bit more often. Maybe we can catch Hansel and Gretel soon.

The Twilight Zone, A.K.A. The Stock Market

As Jay pointed out last weekend, Apple took a hit on the stock market. They reported record revenue. The largest revenue of any corporation, ever. From an Extreme Tech article:

“Yet again, Apple has broken its own record and posted revenues of $54.5 billion — the greatest quarter of any company ever — driven entirely by sales of the iPhone and iPad.”

Of course the stock tanked.

On the flip side we have Amazon. A great company? Absolutely. They did however report a $39 loss million for the year. Their quarterly report wasn’t great either:

“Net income fell 45% to $97 million, or 21 cents a share, down from $177 million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago. Street consensus was for EPS of 27 cents. Sales were up 22% to $21.27 billion, from $17.43 billion a year ago. That, too, missed Street views of $22.26 billion.”

The stock was up, of course.

The market is a fickle thing.

The End

Have a great weekend and make sure to visit Jerry’s site next weekend for the real deal, not this wannabe version of Saturday Morning Coffee.

Choosing Native

August 26th, 2012

Rob Fahrni

Links the kitty!Andrey Butov: “The people who really seem to benefit from using the abstraction layers are web developers who aren’t comfortable with native code (C/C++/Obj-C/Java), but who are very strong in Javascript/HTML5/CSS. I’m not in that camp, so having to skip a native-code implementation, in favor of Javascript, would actually be a disadvantage for me, rather than a benefit.”

Andrey does a great job of sharing some of the reasons it’s best to choose a native platform over something like Titanium.

I guess we all go to our comfort zone when it comes to life, and that holds true for software developers as well. I prefer to use the platform tools, so I have a history of writing in C, C++, and now Objective-C. Yes, it’s painful to learn a new platform, but I think it’s worth it.

UPDATE (8/26/2012, 2:20PM)

Branch: A Blow To HTML5: “Facebook has now largely moved away from HTML5 in favor of native Objective-C code with their new iOS apps. And the results speak for themselves. Facebook had been one of the companies that most vocal in their support of HTML5 as the future of everything. The apps suffered as a result. And now they’re changing their tune. Is HTML5 still just not ready for prime time? At least on mobile?”

HTML5+JavaScript is never going to be as fast as a native application. I think it depends on the goals for you application. If you’re ok with a lowest common denominator experience, a web site will do just fine. If you need a rich, interactive, experience you may want to create a native application, especially on mobile. When I use my desktop I don’t mind visiting website based services as much. I think it comes down to screen real estate and I can easily switch away from the site and dow something else, while it loads.

I guess the bottom like is, I believe native is a better choice, at least for the foreseeable future.

Are Third Party Twitter Clients Doomed?

August 15th, 2012

Rob Fahrni

Things aren’t looking good for Twitter clients, I know, I’m reading a lot into it, but it sure looks bad.

Last night Gedeon Maheux of Iconfactory posted this on Twitter.

http://twitter.com/gedeon/status/235514836623187968

This morning he followed up with this choice tweet.

http://twitter.com/gedeon/status/235725584204959745

It really reads like Twitter is shutting the door on third party clients that display a stream.

This bothers me for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I’m a fan of Iconfactory’s work and they’ve done nothing but contribute great work to the Mac and iOS community for years.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

Long live Ollie.

iOS Sharing Across Apps

June 23rd, 2012

Rob Fahrni

I tend to use my iPhone for a lot of things on a day-to-day basis. I watch my Twitter stream, send links from Twitter to Pocket viewing, and on occasion I write weblog posts from WordPress for iOS. Yes, all from my phone.

The read later piece from Twitterrific to Pocket works flawlessly, I’m very pleased with that, but once it arrives at Pocket I feel like it’s a bit difficult to create a new weblog post.

Here’s what I want, from Pocket, but it could start with any application that can view a web page. In this case I’d like to go from Pocket to WordPress for iOS, or Tumblr for iOS. Bits of this work for the Pocket to Tumblr for iOS case, it just falls short.

  1. Select a bit of the article. Say, a paragraph, or a sentence
  2. Tap on the Share button
  3. Select WordPress from the menu
  4. Pocket would launch WordPress and create a new weblog post to my default weblog.

I’d like to have the ability to control the formatting template for the new post, but I think we need a standard way to share between iOS applications. David Barnard, of App Cubby, has done a great job with Launch Center Pro encouraging companies to support custom URL schemes so applications can communicate with each other, but we need more.

Custom URL Schemes is something I haven’t done in an iOS application, so some of these requests may be unreasonable, but here goes.

Would it be possible to declare a standard JSON format, much in the way RSS is a standard, that would allow applications to pass clips of data to each other? As part of the URL scheme (I’m not sure how long a URL scheme can be), or via the clipboard. I’m not sure if an iOS developer can control what goes on the clipboard, but if you can, what about something that includes the following.

  1. Source Site Name – Blog > Apple Core Labs
  2. Source URL – E.G. http://blog.applecorelabs.com/2012/04/18/open-for-business/
  3. Snippet – This would be the selected text, say, from Pocket.

Here’s what the JSON may look like.

{
	"newWeblogPost":
	{
		"sourceSiteName:" "Blog > Apple Core Labs",
		"sourceURL:" "http://blog.applecorelabs.com/2012/04/18/open-for-business/",
		"snippet:" "Are you looking for a partner to help make your iOS dream application a reality?"
	}
}

I think that’s enough for starters.

If applications could also agree on supporting a standard set of URL scheme resources, I think we could achieve much of what I’m after.

What if WordPress accepted this?

wordpress:///newPostWithStandard?content

Now, like I said earlier, this may not be possible because the string appended to the resource, the part after the ‘?’, may make the URL too long. If we can control what’s put on the clipboard, here again I’m a bit naive, it could allow us to communicate between the two applications. If the ‘newPostWithStandard’ was handled by the receiver, and we could put formatted text on the clipboard, we can now execute a custom command to create a new weblog post using the data in our JSON formatted clipboard data.

The best support, of course, would be from Apple in the form of a system accepted sharing API. We can only hope.

The Facebook Phone?

May 28th, 2012

Rob Fahrni

Business Insider, Henry Blodget: “Although Facebook might want to be a mobile platform, there’s no obvious need for a Facebook phone.”

I can’t imagine how crappy this could turn out. If you’ve ever used the Facebook iOS application you know what a steaming pile of poo that is. An entire phone, dedicated to Facebook? I’d imagine it will appeal to the narcissistic, reality show, types. Think Kim Kardashian, perfect target for The Facebook Phone.

Good luck Zuck, I think you’ll need it.

Twitter, It’s About Mobile

February 11th, 2012

Rob Fahrni

MG Siegler: “The most powerful aspect of Twitter, to me, is its mobile/client usage. The website is fine, but not its core, in my opinion. Some love it, some hate it. It will never be Facebook — it doesn’t have to be. Twitter’s mobile experience (no matter which app you use) is much better than Facebook’s because the simple nature of the network is a more natural fit for mobile.”

You’d think Zuck would understand how important mobile is. If he thinks Facebook Mobile is good, he’s smoking crack. Facebook’s mobile apps is absolutely hideous and buggy. This is where Twitter shines. There are multiple clients that outstrip the client offered by Twitter. Apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot are fantastic. I easily do 90% of my tweeting from a mobile client.

RIM?

January 29th, 2012

Rob Fahrni

New York Times: “Not everyone feels the same way. Over the last year, RIM’s share price has plunged 75 percent. The company once commanded more than half of the American smartphone market. Today it has 10 percent.”

This article is worth reading just to see what can happen to market leaders when the get too comfortable.