Daily links for 09/30/2011

  • “Mobile users with NFC-enabled devices will no longer need a special application in order to exchange contact details or other types of data between their phones thanks to a new NFC specification which has just been released.”

    tags: NFC phones techcrunch mobile

  • “Mobility has become the hottest topic for CIOs everywhere, with escalating demands for mobile applications coming from every corner of the enterprise. And no wonder. Last year, some 5 billion smartphones were in use worldwide, according to Gartner, and by 2015 a projected 6.7 billion will be loose around the globe. When we recently surveyed 261 IT leaders on this topic, 54 percent of you said you are planning to boost spending on mobile application development this year.”

    tags: CIO.com mobile

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 09/25/2011

  • “THE “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.” This is just plain wrong.”

    tags: food

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Daily links for 09/23/2011

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Daily links for 09/22/2011

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Daily links for 09/19/2011

  • “Industry experts expect that each authentication technology would rely on at least two different ID confirmation methods. Those might include embedding an encryption chip in people’s phones, issuing smart cards or using one-time passwords or biometric identifiers like fingerprints to confirm substantial transactions. Banks already use two-factor authentication, confirming people’s identities when they open accounts and then issuing depositors with A.T.M. cards”

    tags: NYTimes.com ID online

  • “The newly renovated office, located in SoMa, San Francisco’s tech hub, is home to the Verizon Application Innovation Center, which opened last month. Big and small software developers are invited to work here at no charge, with unlimited access to development phones, wireless equipment, shielded test rooms and lattes.”

    tags: app verizon

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Mobile app development: Native vs. hybrid vs. HTML5 (part 1)

I’ve seen and heard a lot of discussion about how people build applications for mobile devices. While there are literally hundreds of thousands of apps out there for Apple, Android, Blackberry and other smartphones, I can’t help but think the majority of these are one-off efforts. In this series in the blog, I’m going to tackle some of the issues with developing mobile apps, especially for enterprise use, and along the way propose some ideas for making the process easier and more repeatable.

mobile client technologiesI’m going to start this series by discussing the basic concepts of how you might develop an application for a smartphone or a tablet. I’m scoping it at this high functionality level and not looking at feature phones, at least not right now. I’ll use Apple as my primary example, but things are similar for other devices and mobile operating environments.

If you have an Apple iPad or an iPhone, many of the apps use the native software development kit, or SDK. It is available from Apple’s developer website and contains almost everything you need to start creating apps. Like any software you plan to use, make sure you read all the legal terms and conditions before you agree to them. If you work for a company, make sure your manager and local attorney also agree that you can use the SDK. This goes not only for Apple, but for Google, Blackberry, Microsoft, Samsung or any other SDK provider.

Most native apps on Apple devices are written in Objective-C, an object-oriented language. If you’ve developed software using C++, C#, or Java, Objective-C might take some getting used to. If you are comfortable with SmallTalk, however, it should seem much more familiar.

An Objective-C application is developed using the traditional write-compile-link-run-debug iteration, though the Apple XCode environment is quite powerful and makes this loop straighforward. Nevertheless, it is not a whole lot different from what programmers did 10 or 15 years ago. Objective-C is not a scripting language, is not interpreted, and on mobile devices you need to do your own memory management.

That said, when you create an app with a native SDK, you can use the very best and most powerful features on the device. You can optimize your app as much as you want and you have maximum control. This is very important for many software engineers. The app will be as functional, as beautiful, as secure, as bug-free, and as fast as you and your team can make it. It may also take you much longer to develop the app because you need to do all these things yourself.

Yes, the SDK makes your life easier, but it is still the case that when you go the native route you need to do more of the basic development yourself.

Here’s another important issue: if you write an app using a native SDK directly, you will essentially need to completely rewrite it when you use native SDKs for other devices. I say essentially because you may be able to write some of your apps non-UI program logic in C++ and re-use that for Apple, Android, and some other environments. There are some additional but similar tricks available.

To be on the safe side planning-wise, if you decide that you need to support multiple devices and you are using the native SDKs, assume that you or someone else will rewrite the app as many times as necessary to get the broad support you need. It is not uncommon to develop the first app for the iPhone and then outsource the creation of versions for other devices based on the original reference implementation. This can be expensive and time-consuming because you need a lot of people to get this done.

For some apps you will need to go the native SDK route for the reasons I stated above. If you do not have extreme requirements for look-and-feel, device functionality, or performance there are some other choices.

In future entries I’ll look are extending the native approach with libraries, something I call, oddly enough, “Extended Native.” I’ll also discuss the pure HTML5 web approach, and poke at the strange middle ground between Native and HTML5 called “Hybrid.” Tools that target multiple devices such as cross-compilers can also work, and I’ll get to them as well.

Next up: HTML5

Also see: “The spectrum of hybrid mobile app development with Worklight”

Daily links for 09/17/2011

  • “Two weeks ago, in the wake of tropical storm Irene’s devastating flooding in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, local residents organized a MRV Flood Relief initiative. What began as a self-organized volunteer effort to match needs and help offered in our communities, using telephone, handwritten posters, and a Mad-River-Valley-Hurricane-Irene Facebook page created by the Chamber of Commerce, quickly grew into a coordinated project based in downtown Waitsfield’s Masonic Lodge. Now, two weeks later, in an effort to more effectively provide daily coordination for ongoing flood relief efforts in 10 central Vermont towns, Mad River Valley flood relief headquarters has launched a new open source web site.”

    tags: vermont flood relief

  • “The file system in Linux can be intimidating coming from other operating systems like Microsoft Windows. At first glance it may seem that there is no organisation to the files, but there is a method to this madness. After spending some more time with the file system in Linux, it will seem a lot more secure and organised.”

    tags: linux file system

  • “Despite dominating the enterprise server market, Microsoft is struggling to maintain a large presence in the world of Web servers and is seeing its market share decline. Netcraft, which surveyed more than 485 million websites this month, credits Apache with 65.05 percent of Web servers compared to 15.73 percent for Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Services). This is down from 15.86 percent in August and 16.82 percent in July, but the more striking decline has occurred since June 2010 when Microsoft accounted for more than 26 percent of Web servers surveyed by Netcraft.”

    tags: microsoft server enterprise web

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Daily links for 09/14/2011

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Daily links for 09/09/2011

  • “After downloading the Kaplan Mobile application users log-in with their Kaplan account and are shown relevant course materials available for download. Kaplan customers are able to sync their accounts with up to two mobile devices. Currently, the application allows students to access full course content for Kaplan’s GRE, GMAT, and MCAT courses, as well as digital copies of its PSAT, SAT, GRE and GMAT retail test prep books.”

    tags: mobile application kaplan

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 09/08/2011

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Daily links for 09/07/2011

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What I did (and didn’t do) on my summer vacation

Now that it’s early September, I suppose I can look back over the last several months and take stock of what happened over the summer season. Technically, summer is not quite over, but in northwest New York where I live you can really feel the first flourishes of fall in last August. Admittedly, it’s 85 degrees F today, so it would be hard to convince many people that summer is on the way out.

I did start a new job within IBM in early June, owning project management for what we call the WebSphere Foundation line of software. More recently I picked up some additional executive leadership in the mobile area, which just might account for the links showing up in my (almost) daily news postings. Altogether, though, it means I’ve been swamped in a very good way with work.

Therefore what I didn’t do is blog very much. Part of it was time constraints, but a good deal of what I’ve been working on is internal business, product and technology strategy. Those are not exactly areas I can freely write about, but, heh, it’s a living. Given the stability of the WordPress platform on which my website is implemented, I’ve also not had to tinker much with the infrastructure behind this blog.

I did start using Google+ in addition to Facebook and Twitter. While I do wish everyone would just switch from Twitter to Google+, that’s not going to happen. Apple‘s support of Twitter in the upcoming iOS 5 will ensure it has a social networking role for quite some time. I feel my energy flagging with respect to Google+ and I suspect that is true of some others as well.

I didn’t sail much at all. This was a combination of the time I had available, the weather, and the conditions on Lake Ontario. I’ve decided that I’ll move the boat to another lake starting next year, but which lake is TBD.

I did spend quite a bit of time in the New York Adirondack region. Our son spends two weeks at camp up there, and this summer my wife Judith and I spent a week at The Hedges in Blue Mountain Lake. We managed to get up to the mountains a couple of other times as well. We’ve been to the Adirondacks quite a bit in our lives and plan to spend even more time there in the future. That’s one reason why I’ve been posting links on Facebook about the damage caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene.

Judith and I had a great time visiting friends in Maine over a long weekend in July. It set lobster as the season’s culinary theme, and that was just fine with both of us.

I didn’t have a major outdoor project this summer. Before the snow flies I need to do some repairs and paint the porch I built 5 years ago. It is holding up well except for some of the small pieces of trim that developed some wood rot because of the moisture from snow and rain.

I did enjoy watching the two guys who did the landscaping work on our side lawn. After battling an overgrown area that was once a grape arbor and then a garden for over a decade, we decided to convert it to lawn.  It took the two guys two days with a skid steer to pull up the weeds and hundreds of bricks that were used in the walkway and as edging. They then filled the area with 20+ cubic yards of dirt and seeded it. The grass is growing nicely now and the eyesore is gone. To visualize 20 cubic yards, think of a volume that is 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep by 60 feet high. That’s a lot of dirt and it validates my conclusion that it was work that I was just not going to get done myself.

With autumn coming on fast, I do hope to get a little more sailing in, do that porch work, and perhaps start and finish a few more outside evening projects. I get frustrated when I’m not building something, so it’s best if I have a few tasks like these in the pipeline.

Daily links for 09/01/2011

  • “The IBM® WebSphere® Application Server Migration Toolkit is a suite of tools and knowledge collections that enables your organization to quickly and cost-effectively migrate to WebSphere Application Server V7 or V8, whether from a previous version of WebSphere Application Server or competitive application servers including Oracle® WebLogic Server, Oracle Application Server, and JBoss Application Server.”

    tags: websphere migration

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.