What I’m Reading on 09/03/2014

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What I’m Reading on 07/24/2014

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What I’m Reading on 07/01/2014

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What I’m Reading on 06/11/2014

  • “If you own an iPhone and a Mac, Apple‘s new system for connecting the two is one of the best new features for OS X 10.10 Yosemite. True, Apple is years behind Google when it comes to making and taking phone calls from the computer, but its better-late-than-never approach gives the company two big advantages over Google’s system: the fact that it easily syncs with your phone, and that it’s part of a tightly-integrated system that goes beyond making calls.”

    tags: bs macs os x yosemite iphone

  • “In an exciting collaboration with Mozilla and Google, Intel is bringing SIMD to JavaScript. This makes it possible to develop new classes of compute-intensive applications such as games and media processing—all in JavaScript—without the need to rely on any native plugins or non-portable native code. SIMD.JS can run anywhere JavaScript runs. It will, however, run a lot faster and more power efficiently on the platforms that support SIMD. This includes both the client platforms (browsers and hybrid mobile HTML5 apps) as well as servers that run JavaScript, for example through the Node.js V8 engine.”

    tags: bs javascript simd graphics

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What I’m Reading on 05/10/2014

iOS Development


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What I’m Reading on 04/24/2014

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What I’m Reading on 03/10/2014

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What I’m Reading on 12/10/2013

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What I’m Reading on 09/24/2013

  • “Just a day after announcing its iPhone launch numbers, Apple is updating its iMac lineup. Last year’s all new iMac was an impressive performer and quite the looker, and an update to Haswell was expected at some point this year. Pixel density enthusiasts may be disappointed to learn that there wasn’t a move to a higher density display at either the 21.5-inch or 27-inch SKUs. Thankfully, pricing hasn’t changed, so the base model retains its $1,299 sticker, while the 27-inch model starts at $1,799. That’s not to say nothing’s changed. So what’s new?”

    tags: apple imac updates

  • “The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 improves upon the Note 2 in many ways and is still the best phablet in the market. Samsung does, however, need to improve on the Note 3’s camera software and work on a better rear cover accessory.”

    tags: mobile phones samsung galaxy note mobile

  • “Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve and its Steam game platform, wasn’t kidding when he said at LinuxCon in New Orleans that “Linux is the future of gaming.” Valve is releasing, in advance of the expected announcement of its SteamBox Linux-powered gaming console, its own Linux for gamers: SteamOS.”

    tags: linux games

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What I’m Reading on 09/23/2013

  • “Some users are finding that updating to iOS 7 seems to have reduced the battery life of their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Battery issues are often reported with major iOS updates, but this time around the culprits of newfound battery drain are easier to identify, because much of it relates directly to some new features and new control mechanisms built into the new iOS release. Fortunately, this makes for easy identification and easy remedies, so if you’re encountering any issues with battery life not living up to your expectations, you can probably resolve the draining issues quickly with a few settings adjustments.”

    tags: ios apple iphone ipad

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What I’m Reading on 09/01/2013

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What I’m Reading on 08/11/2013

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Daily links for 09/20/2012

  • “On Wednesday, Apple released a software update for the iPhone that, among other changes, replaces the Google maps that have been on the phone since 2007 with Apple’s own maps. The early feedback from reviewers and early adopters of the new software is that it is attractive but suffers from holes and glitches.”

    tags: apple ios google maps

  • “You have two methods for downloading and installing iOS 6. You can simply update your iOS device over the air via the device’s Settings, or you can connect it to your computer and use iTunes.”

    tags: ios iphone

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Daily links for 09/17/2012

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Daily links for 09/13/2012

  • “This is the first time Apple has altered the dimensions of the iPhone’s display, which has measured 3.5 inches diagonally since the original iPhone was released in 2007. While the display at that time seemed gigantic compared with the tiny screens on most cellphones, Apple’s competitors have been far more aggressive in pushing bigger displays on their smartphones, with some screens approaching five inches.”

    tags: apple iphone

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Daily links for 06/18/2012

  • “This Getting Started page contains a series of modules that offer step-by-step guidance on how to use the different parts of the IBM Worklight V5.0 product. The modules on this Getting Started page might include exercises. You can find the solutions to these exercises provided as code samples available next to the corresponding module. The modules on this page are available for download as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The samples on this page are available for download as .zip files.”

    tags: worklight mobile

  • “With IBM® Worklight® V5, a leading Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), IBM expands its overall mobile capabilities across its product portfolio. This series of articles introduces the Worklight platform by showing how you can build mobile applications that leverage a variety of IBM products. Part 1 describes the process of setting up a Worklight development environment and creating a simple application that will be used as the basis for iterative development in subsequent articles.”

    tags: worklight mobile

  • “IBM Worklight simplifies the development of mobile web, hybrid, and native applications across multiple mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows® Phone. It provides Eclipse-based visual development capabilities and source code enhancements to help developers accelerate development, testing, and delivery of mobile applications using open technologies such as HTML5, Apache Cordova (PhoneGap), JavaScript, and popular JavaScript frameworks such as Dojo, jQuery, and Sencha Touch.”

    tags: mobile worklight

  • “For many people, phones have become an important way to navigate the world, and mobile maps are at the core of the journey. They are often the critical element in commerce, socializing and search. So far, Google has reigned supreme in the mobile map world, with its maps on every iPhone sold so far — and, of course, on every phone based on its own Android operating system. Last week, though, Apple gave notice it would enter the battle, announcing that in the fall, its phones would no longer carry Google maps, but instead would have Apple’s own map service built in, part of its new mobile operating system. Maps are simply too important to be left to a rival.”

    tags: apple mobile map google

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Daily links for 06/07/2012

  • “Keeping pace with the mobility market is daunting, and maintaining apps that need to work on various devices in this ever-changing market is like chasing a carrot around a dog track. How can you keep up? IBM’s acquisition of Worklight, a privately held Israeli-based provider of mobile software, will arm customers with the open platform they need to build, deploy, and manage multiple apps across various mobile devices with ease. For WebSphere customers this is especially exciting, as it allows them to quickly, easily, and securely leverage their existing WebSphere investments in their mobile applications.”

    tags: ibm mobile worklight

  • “Here are the major flaws in iOS that Apple needs to deal with now for power users as its “post-PC” lineup becomes commonplace and, dare I say, mature.”

    tags: apple ios mobile

  • “Several users have reported getting an error message, that says “The user name or password for Gmail is incorrect,” when trying to access Gmail on an iPad, iPhone, iPod or iMac. The problem arose because Gmail uses different techniques to try to stop spammers. Setting up an account on a mobile device can trigger it to be locked. To unlock the account, you must visit the following link and prove you are human.”

    tags: gmail password error apple

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Mobile, smarts, an airport, and AI

How the constant presence of a smartphone along with some analytics could have improved one travel experience, albeit with caveats on privacy and centralized personal data storage.

Several months ago I was connecting through a large US midwest airport on my way home to New York from California. I had a three hour layover and dutifully went to my scheduled departure date and settled in. It was at the far end of the terminal.

After about an hour I realized that my gate had probably changed since I was surrounded by travelers speaking French. Indeed, when I looked up at the board over the desk it stated that the next flight was going to Montreal.

Via my iPhone, I looked up the new gate and discovered that it had changed, and that the new location was at the far end of another terminal. I could not have had to walk further to get to my plane.

I had several thoughts at this point. First, I should have registered for automatic updates from the airline so I could have been notified of the gate change. This should be a standing feature that I don’t have to enable on a trip-by-trip basis.

Second, I wondered why the airline/airport would have changed my flight to a gate so far away. Presumably they knew where I was, probably near the original gate. Now I know that they probably didn’t care about me, an individual passenger, but if they had known with accuracy via geolocation where a majority of the flight’s passengers were, they could have improved customer satisfaction by having the new gate closer to the old one, or one that at least minimized the distance connecting passengers needed to walk.

Let me say now, that in what I have said above and will say below, I’m assuming that appropriate permission has been given to all necessary parties to use my information for my benefit. Let’s imagine how analytics and transformational mobile apps could have made the experience better.

So I did need to take a walk. It was evening and I had landed after a 3+ hour ride in coach. The airline knew that, and they knew that they certainly had not fed me dinner. It’s possible they also could have known whether I had bought one of those expensive snacks on board. So I was hungry.

Therefore it was possible that I would like to grab some dinner on my 20+ minute trip to the next gate. Via personal preference stored on my phone or one time “in the cloud,” mobile software could have suggested where I would like to eat. This could have been combined further with analytics using airport data and passenger recommendations to suggest where the good places were and how long it would likely take to get me in and out of each restaurant.

Based on this, I could have a good meal and still make my flight. I would have accepted an automatic suggestion that I text a message to my wife saying that I had already eaten.

Some of this sounds like Apple‘s ads for Siri, and various of these things can be done by multiple apps. It needs to be seamless. My smartphone is there to be my helper. As I said in a recent blog entry, “a transformational mobile app is one that significantly improves the quality of your personal or business life, allowing you to do things you have never done before, and permitting you to be more effective and productive in an especially seamless way.”

So what I really need a personal assistant that lives on my smartphone or tablet, is kept current with what I am doing and where I am, is linked to the services I need, and makes suggestions when necessary. Today we cobble many features together among multiple apps. Via analytics, the cloud, and services accessed via APIs, tomorrow’s apps will be more all inclusive and offer greater value.

While some of this computation could be done on the phone, centralized services are continuing to advance in holding my information and deciding what to do with it. Hello Facebook and Google.

Personally, I would prefer a more federated approach where I have more fine tuned control over what data is stored and who has access to it. I wrote about this two years ago, but the idea does not seem to be catching on. Rather, the big social networks appear to be getting bigger, gobbling up any smaller players that add a bit of value.

Does this sound a bit like AI, artificial intelligence, per science fiction? It does, but I’m ok with that. But only if I have tight control over privacy and use.

Daily links for 03/15/2012

  • “The biggest new feature is what Apple calls the Retina display: like the one on the iPhone 4S, it’s a very, very sharp screen. It’s four times as sharp as the iPad 2 — in fact, it’s the sharpest ever on a mobile device. This screen has 3.1 million pixels, which is 1 million pixels more than on a high-definition TV set. (At least Apple says that that’s how many pixels it has; I quit counting after three days.)”

    tags: ipad nytimes apple

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Daily links for 03/13/2012

  • “In the March index, released over the weekend, Google saw its Go language drop out of the top 50 while Google’s Dart language was ranked 78th. Oracle’s Java language ranked first, used by 17.1 percent of developers, while Microsoft‘s C# came in at the third spot, used by 8.24 percent of developers. The Microsoft Visual Basic language was ranked seventh, used by 4.37 percent of developers. Objective-C, preferred by Apple and used for developing applications for the iPhone and iPad tablet, was ranked fifth, used by 7.38 percent of developers.”

    tags: google programming languages application development

  • “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the “Buy Green, Save Green NYS High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program” with $3.5 million in federal funds available to New York residents for the purchase of high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® refrigerators and clothes washers. The program begins Monday, March 19.”

    tags: new york rebate

  • “The latest version of WebSphere Application Server (WAS), V8.5 Beta – Liberty Profile, is now available via free download.  If you think you already know WAS, this version may surprise you.  The WAS V8.5 Beta – Liberty Profile, is small, fast and free, because you told us that’s what you wanted.”    

    tags: web ibm websphere liberty

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Stats for browsers and operating systems accessing sutor.com

I haven’t posted the stats for browser and operating system access to this website since last July, but since I’ve been doing a lot of posting lately on mobile topics, I thought it would be useful to check the stats again. The numbers are from Google Analytics and are for the last six weeks of traffic.


Position Browser Percentage
1. Firefox 37.85%
2. Chrome 31.76%
3. Internet Explorer 13.46%
4. Safari 9.15%
5. “Mozilla Compatible Agent” 2.58%

Operating Systems

Position Operating System Percentage
1. Windows 60.13%
2. Macintosh 22.21%
3. Linux 9.31%
4. iPhone 2.73%
5. iPad 2.68%

Browsers and Operating Systems

Position Browser / Operating System Percentage
1. Firefox / Windows 26.72%
2. Chrome / Windows 19.19%
3. Internet Explorer / Windows 13.42%
4. Chrome / Macintosh 11.20%
5. Firefox / Linux 5.79%

Daily links for 03/08/2012 – Apple (new) iPad (3) Edition

The new iPad

  • “This was surprising because our expectations were set for a new name. But it really shouldn’t be all that surprising. My iMac is not the “iMac 11″. My MacBook Air is not the “MacBook Air 4″. The iPod line changes, but the name remains the same. This will undoubtedly happen to the iPhone line as well. Just as the spec is dying (more than partially ushered to the grave by Apple), the ascending number naming race is dying too. It’s about simplicity.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “The new tablet, called simply the new iPad with no numbers or letters following the name, is an effort to keep growth chugging along in a two-year-old business that has turned into a major technology franchise for the company. Apple’s $9.15 billion in iPad sales over the holiday quarter were almost double the amount of revenue Microsoft brought in from its Windows software and not far from Google’s total revenue as a company during the same period.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “With the help of Ars’s Macintosh Achaia to refine the points for this article, here are ten annoyances that will remain with us as part of iOS—at least until the next iOS release rolls around.”

    tags: apple ios

  • “Apple announced both a new iPad and a new Apple TV during its media event on Wednesday, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at them. Ars spent some hands-on time with both devices in the briefing room after the event was over and managed to get a few answers to some of our questions, but as usual, Apple remained mum on some others.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “The dust has finally settled, the rumors have been replaced by facts, and now we know what the new iPad is all about. So what’s missing? Or what fell a little short of expectations?”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Why’s that? Because when you’re buying an iPad, you’re buying into the Apple ecosystem. The iPad isn’t dominant just because it’s a cool device, but because it stands alongside other immensely popular devices in the iPhone, iPod, and MacBook. Throw Apple TV and iCloud into the mix, and you have a set of devices that touch virtually everything you do. If you have one Apple device, it’s really hard not to consider getting the others.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Given all of the hype surrounding new Apple products, there are inevitably high sales expectations for the newest iPad. A recent survey from independent mobile advertising network InMobi found that nearly one-third of mobile users will buy the new iPad.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Bottom line, this hardware refresh is more than enough to keep the iPad ahead of the Android competition for the foreseeable future.”

    tags: apple ipad

  • “Unsurprisingly, Apple has managed to produce something that’s truly beautiful to look at, and while we’ve yet to see the full potential of having this many pixels on a 9.7-inch slate, we’re guessing a cadre of game developers are already hard at work in order to remedy that. Beyond being dazzling from a density standpoint, colors are sharp and accurate, and viewing angles are predictably ridiculous; even taking a peek from an extreme side angle gives way to a fairly solid image with next to no washout.”

    tags: apple ipad

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Daily links for 01/25/2012

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Daily links for 01/24/2012

  • “Specifically, 50 percent of the rival phone jumpers polled by CIRP upgraded from a Blackberry, 39 percent from an Android phone, and 10 percent from a Palm device. Only 21 percent switched from other mobile phones or picked up an iPhone as their first cell phone. And a full 43 percent of all iPhone 4S buyers upgraded from an older model iPhone.”

    tags: iphone android blackberry

  • “The idea is that consumers can control the devices, which can communicate wirelessly, with their smartphones, tablets or televisions. So the owner of a smart refrigerator could check what’s in the refrigerator on a smartphone, and in some instances, send photographs to be displayed on the refrigerator’s LCD screen.”

    tags: m2m wireless mobile

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Thoughts on mobile management

What does it mean to manage a mobile device, say a smartphone like an Apple iPhone or one with Google‘s Android operating system?

At the lowest level, the device level, you might want to

  • establish a policy for length and structure of passwords
  • set or reset a password
  • detect whether the phone had been jail-broken or rooted
  • configure device-wide VPN
  • set power management policies
  • manage the low level security of the filesystem or other local storage
  • wipe the device entirely or reset it to factory settings

Above that, at the application level, you might want to

  • inventory the device for installed applications
  • install or update applications
  • set security policies for use of the applications, their data, and their network connections
  • selectively remove an application or its data
  • configure application-specific VPN
  • manage anti-virus and other security tools for browsers and other applications that access the web
  • manage installation and use of an enterprise application store behind a firewall, private hosted outside, or via external sites like the Apple iTunes Store or the Android Marketplace

The first list of items, with additional functions, is part of Mobile Device Management, or MDM. Note that people do sometimes confuse “MDM” in this context with “Master Data Management.”

The second collection is part of Mobile Application Management, sometimes shortened to MAM.

The first thing to notice is that what I deemed “management” often has a lot to do with security, especially when the phone is used to access enterprise data and systems.

Second, in practice, those who provide MDM functionality often provide some MAM functionality, and vice-versa. That is, a vendor might say “I can give you an enterprise app store but can also wipe devices.”

BYOD, or “bring your own device” complicates things because I probably do not want the organization for which I work to impose overbearing policies that affect my personal use of my phone. I certainly don’t want them to wipe my entire device if I leave the organization juto remove all traces of enterprise data or network access.

So the line is blurry between MDM and MAM, and I think we should get rid of the distinction altogether. That is, let’s just talk about Mobile Management and combine the two categories above. It will simplify things, remove the imprecision of the definitions, and bring better clarity to what vendors do and do not offer.

So if we can agree that Mobile Management consists of 27 common capabilities (for example), a vendor that offers 5 of them can be more fairly compared with one that offers 25.

No doubt that vendor proving minimum capability will embellish the description by adding “but we do it from the cloud!” (grin)

Daily links for 01/18/2012


Virtual Worlds

  • “WonderBuilders, Inc. has created a virtual world called “Singapore Games Village.” Announced as part of the Media Development Authority of Singapore’s new Games Solution Center (GSC), this virtual world allows locally developed games to be showcased to prospective publishers who can then select the titles which they wish to license. The Games Village includes customizable game kiosks. Each kiosk displays games that can be played in a browser or on a mobile platform. The game kiosks are multi-user. As one person plays a game in-world, other remote participants can watch the game play and talk about the action. Users can also take turns playing the game.”

    tags: singapore games virtual-world

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Mobile BYOD is not unbounded

BYOD, or “bring your own device,” is an important topic in today’s discussion of mobile in the enterprise. Employees buy their own smartphones or tablets, love them, then bring them to work and want to use them to access company data, systems, and applications.

For the CIO, this represents an opportunity to save money by not having to pay for and provide devices, but opens up many questions about how to allow secure access and management of the enterprise portions of those devices. I’m here at the Lotusphere conference in Orlando, so it shouldn’t surprise you when I say that many of IBM‘s customers are looking at Lotus Traveler for secure access to email, calendar, and contacts on mobile devices, for example.

BYOD does not mean that any employee can bring any device to the office and demand that it be allowed access to the company’s digital infrastructure. That said, if the CEO brings in his or her sexy new smartphone, the CIO may feel more inclined to make that work.

In practice, CIOs will say that certain devices running specific mobile operating system versions, augmented by security and management software and policies will be allowed access to the company’s network. That is, “bring your own device” really means “bring your own device as long as it is one of the following.”

Many enterprises already support Blackberrys, so that will be relatively easy. There’s not too much variation among Apple iPhones and iPads beyond the major version numbers. So while a 3g phone might work, I think many enterprises will insist on a 4 or 4s phone, probably running the latest version of iOS.

Android is more problematic because there are many handset providers and many versions of the operating system. Expect individual handset vendors to negotiate directly with CIOs to allow use of their devices in the CIOs’ companies, even if those devices are bought by the employees.

The wildcard here will be Windows Phone and the devices that support it. While Apple iOS and Android are very different, both technically and culturally, Windows Phone is different yet. While Mango is quite nice looking, as I saw from the Nokia team at Lotusphere, will individual purchasers and CIOs wait until Windows Phone 8? Will the rate of adoption allow it to be accepted into the enterprise any time in 2012 or might it even be 2014 before the demand is sufficient for supporting it inside companies?

My advice to CIOs is this: if you support Blackberrys, you will need to support them for the foreseeable future. The newer iPhone and iPads will need to be given enterprise access because of their marketshare and the demands of senior management. For Android, pick a couple of handset vendors, perhaps based on a survey of your current employee users, and settle on the level of the operating system you will support. Educate yourself about Windows Phone, but the above combinations are probably of more immediate and higher priority.

Also see: “10 predictions for enterprise mobile for 2012″

Daily links for 01/05/2012

  • “The iPhone 4S will then be available in 90 countries in total, making it Apple’s “fastest iPhone rollout ever,” according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The new countries getting the iPhone on Jan. 13 include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guam, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Uganda.”

    tags: mobile iPhone apple

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Daily links for 12/23/2011

  • “For iPhone owners, 2011 brought a flood of new apps, but in many cases they struggled to outshine last year’s best. So rather than present a top 10 list that includes names from 2010, I’m including only apps that had their debuts this year. If you really want to turbocharge your device, combine these with last year’s picks. (Note that this list doesn’t include games, which will be the subject of a separate post on the Gadgetwise blog.) Like last year’s list, this one includes many free picks.”

    tags: mobile iphone nytimes apps

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10 predictions for enterprise mobile for 2012

Yes, it’s that time of year of for predictions for what we might see in the next twelve months. Being in the IT business and in a company like IBM, I’m somewhat hamstrung in what I can say regarding the future because of confidentiality, but here’s my attempt at some prognostications that won’t be giving away anything secret.

These are my personal predictions and not those of IBM.

  1. There will be a huge rush to fill the developing void being left by RIM and Blackberry, and smart enterprise CIOs will focus on security and management issues first.
  2. Although there seem to be 1 or 2 new entrants in the mobile device management area every week, potential customers will learn that it takes more than being able to call an API to wipe a device to give you enterprise credibility.
  3. The differences between mobile application management and mobile device management will become clear.
  4. Companies that develop multiple applications will understand that some will be web/HTML5 based, some will be native, and some will be hybrid. You don’t need to support just one kind and your application platform vendors shouldn’t force you to do so.
  5. CIOs will realize that the connection between mobile and cloud is overhyped. CIOs will realize that the connection between mobile and cloud is underhyped. That is, your use of cloud for mobile applications may not be in the way you expect today.
  6. Traditional networks that support web applications will need to be reconfigured and re-optimized to support an increasing amount of traffic from mobile devices. The number of interactions will dramatically increase, their length will be shorter, and significantly more asynchronous notifications from the server side will all drive a lot of R&D.
  7. While Android fans continue to claim world domination and Apple keeps selling more and more iPhones and iPads, look for Microsoft‘s relative marketshare to start inching up.
  8. WebOS is done, but look for a new smartphone/tablet operating system to arise by late 2012 that will start to challenge RIM and Microsoft for the number 3 and 4 market positions.
  9. Amazon will have a serious tablet in the market by mid-2012 that will start to get some enterprise interest. The connection between that and the Amazon cloud will become clearer. The device may not be running Android.
  10. Apple will make changes to iOS to make it easier to support both personal and enterprise secure personalities on the same device. Yes, I know you can do this on Android today, but we weren’t talking about Android, were we?

Bonus: I will give up my Blackberry and get an Android smartphone for the first time (to complement my personal iPhone and iPad).

Daily links for 12/08/2011

  • “It’s well-known that, with the release of iOS 5, battery life has been less than exemplary. I’ve been slammed with it, too, and am feeling the repercussions when I’m only halfway through the day and I get that dreaded low battery warning on my iPhone — not only my iPhone, but any iDevice has been struck hard for those of us who have updated. Apple has been actively pursuing a solution to the problem and even called complaining owners personally to have them install diagnostic tools for troubleshooting. Since then, iOS 5.0.1 has been released to combat the problem a little bit, with a full solution promised in an iOS 5.0.2 release soon.”

    tags: battery life iphone

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Daily links for 11/30/2011

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Getting started with mobile in the enterprise: The IBM Mobile Technology Preview

Over the last 15 years of my career, I’ve seen several ideas or technology trends capture a significant amount of customer, press, and analyst attention. There was Java, XML, web services, SOA, and cloud. In and around all those were standards and open source. To me, the unquestionably hot technology today is mobile.

To be clear, I’m not talking about what happens in cell phone towers or the so called machine-to-machine communication. I mean smartphones and tablets. Those other areas are important as well, but devices are so front of mind because so many people have them.

Apple is obviously playing a big role with its iPhone and iPad, not to mention the half million apps in their App Store. Google and the Android ecosystem have produced even more smartphones and a whole lot of apps as well. Then there’s been the drama around HP and webOS, plus RIM and the PlayBook and outages. So we’ve got competition, winners and losers, closed ecosystems, and sometimes open ones. What’s not to love about mobile?

It can get confusing, especially for people trying to figure out their enterprise mobile strategy. They are looking for strong statements, for “points of view,” that will help them take advantage of mobile quickly but also aid them in avoiding the biggest risks. This is made even more interesting by employees bringing their own devices to work, the “BYOD” movement.

Not every employee is issued an official company smartphone and the devices they buy themselves are often better than what the company might provide. So they are saying “I’ll pay for my phone and my contract, let me have access to work systems so I can do my job better.” The recent ComputerWorld article “IBM opens up smartphone, tablet support for its workers” discusses some of what’s happening in this space at IBM, my employer.

Next there is the whole web vs. hybrid vs. native discussion regarding how to build apps on the device itself. Should you write it to the core SDK on the device (native), stick to developing standards for continuity and interoperability reasons (web), or something in between (hybrid)? Which is faster and for what kinds of apps? Does the app cause a lot of network traffic or does it require great graphics? Are you willing to bet that HTML5 will get better and better? I’ve started discussing this in a series of blog entries called “Mobile app development: Native vs. hybrid vs. HTML5″ (part 1 and part 2). Your choice will involve tradeoffs among expense, time to market, reuse of web skills, portability, and maintainability.

What about management? If I bring my own device to work, how do the company’s apps get onto it in the first place and then get updated? Is there an enterprise app store? If I leave the company, do they zap my whole phone or just the apps they put on it? There are differences between Mobile Application Management (MAM?) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) that you need to understand.

Let’s not forget security, as if we could. A colleague of mine, Nataraj Nagaratnam, CTO of IBM Security Systems, told me the way to start thinking about that for mobile is that “a secure device is a managed device.” That doesn’t mean that all security falls under management, but rather you need to have device management to have a complete mobile security strategy. You also need to be handle identity management, authorization and authentication, single sign-on across apps, data loss protection, and all the things you need to worry about with the web today such as phishing, viruses, worms, social networking, VPN, etc. Security must be there but it also needs to be unobtrusive. Most mobile users will not know what a certificate is nor whether they should accept it.

Fundamental to managing and securing mobile devices compared to laptops is that people tend to lose their phones a lot more often than they lose their laptops. That’s a good starting point for thinking about the differences.

With that as prolog, let me introduce you to the IBM Mobile Technology Preview on IBM developerWorks at http://ibm.co/ibmmobile.

The Mobile Technology Preview encapsulates several technologies we’ve been working on in the labs. We’re making it available for you to experiment with it, comment on it, share your requirements for your mobile platform, discuss the pros and cons of different approaches to mobile app development on both the device and server side, and join the community to make it better.

We plan to update the Technology Preview as we add or change the feature set, ideally because of your stated requirements. In this release we’ve included

  • an application server runtime that uses the WebSphere Liberty Profile of the WebSphere Application Server 8.5 Alpha (runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows)
  • a notification framework
  • a hybrid app development model using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • basic management functions
  • location-based security
  • several samples featuring notifications, Dojo, PhoneGap, and a starter insurance app for handling car accidents.

The Mobile Technology Preview is available for Android devices.

I plan to use the tech preview from time to time to illustrate some of my discussions of mobile in my blog. I encourage you to try it out, track its progress, and influence its roadmap.

Daily links for 10/20/2011

  • Google has confirmed that the source code for Android 4.0 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ will be made public, after it refused to release the code for its predecessor ‘Honeycomb.'”

    tags: android open source google

  • “RIM’s troubles started last week when the company’s services, including e-mail and BlackBerry messaging, went down across the world. After a few days, the company was finally able to get its services back online. But by then, the damage was done, and many users around the globe started complaining.”

    tags: blackberry apps

  • “With a unique, end-to-end view of their businesses, today’s CIOs are a driving force behind what makes companies work smarter. It is critical, as one CIO put it, to “ensure you understand the vision, have a clear strategy and execute where the business wants to go.” This is one of the many insights uncovered when we met face-to-face with over 3,000 CIOs to create The Essential CIO-the largest study of its kind to date.”

    tags: mobile ibm cio

  • “As is usual when dealing with mobile operators and corporate IT, some caveats apply. So far only Android devices will work with the Horizon hypervisor with VMware unable to offer the benefits of a hypervisor-enabled virtualization on Apple’s iOS devices including the iPad and iPhone for Verizon. Steve Herrod, the CTO of VMware, said in an interview that’s he’s happy to do it when Apple decided to let others play around with its operating system. Meanwhile he reiterated that eventually he hopes to get VMware’s Horizon product written into the Android code.”

    tags: vmware verizon mobile virtualization

  • “But Lookout, a start-up that makes security apps for phones, wants iPhone owners to use its product, too. On Tuesday, it plans to introduce an iPhone app that addresses what its founders say are worries unique to iPhone owners.”

    tags: lookout security iphone

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

Daily links for 10/15/2011

  • “The challenge of developing and maintaining mobile banking applications that will run on an iPhone, an Android phone, a BlackBerry or a Windows phone, as well as browser-based or wireless application protocol apps that will run on anything, is daunting even for large banks with massive IT budgets, never mind the rest of the banking world. But Jeff Dennes, who led the development of some of the first mobile banking apps at USAA and was recruited to Huntington Bancshares, Columbus, Ohio, a little over a year ago, says a multi-platform strategy is necessary. And HTML5, the latest version of the hypertext language for structuring and presenting content on the internet, is the next development frontier for banks to ignore at their peril.”

    tags: banks mobile

  • “Two years ago, there was no such thing as an iPad. Five years ago, nobody had a smartphone. Before 2007, the year of the iPhone, mobile marketing was mostly about text-messaging and selling ringtones. The bottom line is that everyone is new at this thing called mobile marketing. So, it should be no surprise that marketers are still working out the kinks.”

    tags: mobile marketing

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

Daily links for 10/13/2011

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Daily links for 10/10/2011

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Daily links for 10/05/2011

  • “Adobe has also extended existing tools like Adobe Dreamweaver and Flash Professional to bring the next generation of Web standards to designers and developers who rely on those tools. Adobe also released the new CSS3 Mobile Pack for Adobe Fireworks, which will enable designers to easily extract CSS3 from their design elements in Fireworks and quickly add them to their HTML based websites and mobile applications. Moreover Adobe announced several HTML contributions. Adobe has been contributing actively to HTML5 with the W3C and through contributions to Webkit to enable new expressiveness in HTML.”

    tags: HTML5 adobe flash phonegap

  • “There are a lot of smart people out there who think that there’s a technical solution for every legal problem, but this one is particularly difficult. It even prevents the distribution of proprietary applications through the App Store that use libraries licensed under the LGPL or the GPL with the runtime exception. The locked-down nature of Apple’s products also eliminates the possibility of distributing a proprietary application that sideloads an (L)GPL library.”

    tags: GPL apple open source

  • “In retrospect, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Apple released a half-step iPhone this week, instead of a revolutionary and redesigned iPhone 5. Think about it–the real reason for the iPhone 4S is the same as for the iPhone 3GS: carrier contracts are two years long.”

    tags: iPhone apple carriers

  • “There’s a good reason Apple kept the iPhone 4’s chassis design the same: It works. Apple’s been making these things (or at least its eastern suppliers have) by the tens of million for well over a year now, and the process will have been optimized to the point that the cost of building them is tailing off fast–boosting profits. The decision also makes for improved reliability, allowing Apple to dodge any re-run of “antennagate” (which was, in any case, somewhat overblown) and learn the lessons about making the radio system of the iPhone 4S “just work.” In fact, Apple made a point of mentioning the antenna in the presentation, saying it now does intelligent antenna switching to maximize the way it handles incoming and outgoing signals. Plus, there’s all the peripherals out there that third party firms sell, which will now remain compatible.”

    tags: iPhone apple

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 09/14/2011

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Daily links for 08/24/2011

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Daily links for 08/18/2011

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Daily links for 08/13/2011



  • “So how do you sort through the pros and cons – and how has HTML5 thrown in a new wrench? Start with a hard look at not only the kind of experience you want to provide your customer base, but at what kind of budgets and resources you have to throw behind your efforts.”

    tags: HTML5 mobile

  • “In the mobile world, there’s no more important smartphone than the iPhone. Apple’s handset is wildly popular in every country in which it’s available. And each year, when new versions of the device are launched, people around the globe line up to be the first to get their hands on it. But so far this year, those people haven’t been able to get hands on a new iPhone model. Now, there is rampant speculation that Apple might wait a couple more months to finally offer up the next version of its smartphone. Whenever Apple finally gets around to launching a new smartphone, consumers will be quite interested to know what the device will come with. Will the next iPhone be a major upgrade over the iPhone 4, or will it simply be an evolutionary update? Will it come with a bigger screen or the same 3.5-inch option owners have grown accustomed to over the years? So far, Apple has been tight-lipped. But the rumor mill hasn’t been so silent. In fact, a host of reports have been cropping up, claiming Apple will be delivering several key improvements to the device. However, while some of those improvements make sense, others do not. Thus, it’s important for everyone to keep a level head when assessing those reports. The following slides will help folks do just that. Instead of listing every possible update that has been talked about, the following items are those that are most likely to come to the iPhone 5.”

    tags: eWeek.com iPhone apple

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

Daily links for 08/03/2011

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

Stats for browsers and operating systems accessing sutor.com

It’s been a while since I last put up some stats about what browsers and operating systems access my website at sutor.com. Traditionally, Firefox did well, followed by Internet Explorer, and then Chrome. The last two are now reversed.

Since much of my blog content has focused on content regarding open standards and open source, it makes sense for Firefox to have consistently led. Here’s the statistical story for the last month, thanks to Google Analytics. I’ve focused on the top 5 in each category.


Position Browser Percentage
1. Firefox 44.37%
2. Chrome 24.60%
3. Internet Explorer 14.95%
4. Safari 9.69%
5. Konqueror 1.64%

Operating Systems

Position Operating System Percentage
1. Windows 54.75%
2. Macintosh 22.07%
3. Linux 12.82%
4. iPhone 2.59%
5. iPhone 2.57%

Browsers and Operating Systems

Position Browser / Operating System Percentage
1. Firefox / Windows 26.17%
2. Internet Explorer / Windows 14.89%
3. Chrome / Windows 12.57%
4. Chrome / Macintosh 9.28%
5. Firefox / Linux 8.07%

Daily links for 06/22/2011

  • “The lesson here is not that companies should always wait until their products are absolutely perfect before they release them. If that were the case, very few products would ever make it to market, and many of them would be too late to make a difference. The key is knowing when a product is perfect enough and when you should hold a product for improvements versus releasing it to get it in the hands of eager customers. That’s the hard part, but it’s also the thing that great companies do well.”

    tags: iPhone white apple winning

  • “As you’ve probably heard, the proposal to move OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation was approved by a wide margin.  Volunteers interested in helping with this project continued to sign up, even during the 72-hour ballot, giving the project 87 members, as well as 8 experienced Apache  mentors, at the end of the vote.  The volunteers signed up included an impressive number of programmers from OpenOffice.org, RedOffice and Symphony,  as well as QA engineers, translators, education project experts, OOo user forum moderators and admins,  marketing project members, documentation leads, etc.    The broad range of support for this new project, from volunteers as well as voters, was very encouraging.”

    tags: openoffice scarcity open source

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

Daily links for 06/20/2011

  • “If you live an old home or building, you already know the limits of WiFi. Despite the improved range of 802.11n coupled with improved throughput at greater distances‚ WiFi doesn’t work magic. Buildings with brick or stucco-over-chicken-wire walls resist the charms of wireless networks, as do houses with thick wooden beams, cement elements, or with rooms spread out over many levels or floors.”

    tags: wifi networking

  • “OSGi is a very interesting set of standards today that it provides the component model for packaging components and provides the runtime functions needed to knit the components together to make an application. There is starting to be an industry acceptance of OSGi as the standard for developing components. This industry acceptances so far has been more around componentizing middleware runtimes to enable customers to use just want they need of the middleware, lightening the environment up. But this is also changing, with the OSGi Enterprise Expert Group, is where the programming model concepts to enable customer applications is being standardized. Many industry players, including IBM, SpringSource, BEA, Oracle and others are working together to define this standard.”

    tags: websphere foundation architects

  • “AS it turned 100 last week, I.B.M. was looking remarkably spry. Consumer technologies get all the attention these days, but the company has quietly thrived by selling to corporations and governments. Profits are strong, its portfolio of products and services looks robust, and its shares are near a record high. I.B.M.’s stock-market value passed Google’s earlier this year. Not bad for a corporate centenarian.”

    tags: ibm longevity

  • “As we understand it, Project Spartan is the codename for a new platform Facebook is on verge of launching. It’s entirely HTML5-based and the aim is to reach some 100 million users in a key place: mobile. More specifically, the initial target is both surprising and awesome: mobile Safari. Yes, Facebook is about to launch a mobile platform aimed squarely at working on the iPhone (and iPad). But it won’t be distributed through the App Store as a native application, it will be entirely HTML5-based and work in Safari. Why? Because it’s the one area of the device that Facebook will be able to control (or mostly control).”

    tags: facebook apple iOS mobile

  • “One thing holding pure Web apps back is limited support for HTML5, the latest Web standard, which can be used to create a rich, native-app-like experience in some browsers.”

    tags: mobile hybrid

  • “Nortel Networks, once North America’s largest communications equipment provider, has sought bankruptcy protection and has sold most its assets.  Among its assets remaining are 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patent portfolios.  The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking, Canada-based Nortel said.”

    tags: apple google nortel patents

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

Daily links for 04/28/2011

  • “A thick, heavy book with the equally weighty title A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming may be the single most important Linux book you ever buy.”

    tags: linux macosx book

  • “Canonical has announced the official release of Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narwhal. This major update introduces the new Unity desktop shell, which is designed to improve ease of use and deliver a more modern user experience.”

    tags: ubuntu linux

  • “In lab tests, people can distinguish between sounds as little as five milliseconds apart, and our involuntary timing is even quicker. If you’re hiking through a jungle and a tiger growls in the underbrush, your brain will instantly home in on the sound by comparing when it reached each of your ears, and triangulating between the three points. The difference can be as little as nine-millionths of a second.”

    tags: brain time newyorker

  • Python Math is a full implementation of the Python Programming Language with a restricted set of modules focused on mathematics processing. For more information, documentation, tutorials, downloads for other computers, and even merchandise about Python, go to python.org. No network connection is needed. The Python Math interpreter runs in your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Python Math is a universal app, meaning that it runs on iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, without downloading a separate app.”

    tags: ipad iphone programming python math

  • “iLuaBox provides an intuitive environment to learn, write, and run scripts written in the Lua Programming Language. This is not a stripped down version of Lua, but rather a full-featured implementation that is optimized for iOS 4.2. iLuaBox is a universal application that runs on any iOS 4.2 compatible device.”

    tags: iphone ipad iluabox lua programming

  • “Yet the stock is stuck, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its May 2 edition. It closed at $26.38 yesterday versus its average of about $27 since the start of 2001. The shares, which first surpassed $26 in 1998, have lost about 7.1 percent including dividends in the past decade while the S&P 500 returned 30 percent.”

    tags: microsoft stock

  • “Second beta for the LibreOffice 3.4 open-source office suite is available one week after Oracle dumped a commercial version of OpenOffice.org

    tags: libreoffice oracle openoffice.org

  • “As expected, the buyout of Linux power Novell by Attachmate has finally gone through. On April 27th, Attachmate acquired Novell for $6.10 per share in cash–approximately $2.2-billion. With this deal completed, Novell is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Attachmate Group, the parent company of Attachmate Corporation. Immediately prior to the merger Novell completed it’s “previously announced sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash.””

    tags: novell attachmate linux

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

2011 Road Trip: From home to Pigeon Forge, TN

This last week was my son Will’s Spring Break from school, so he and I took a 1750+ mile (2800+ km) road trip from our home in upstate New York, USA, down south to Tennessee. Over several blog entries I’ll highlight where we went and what we did. This is the first entry in the series.

April in upstate New York can be very warm, or very cool, and very dry, or very wet, sometimes on alternate days. It’s the real transition month from winter to spring. It’s not quite either, though, so in order to try to guarantee some warmer weather, my 14 year old son Will and I decided to get away by driving down to Tennessee. I had never been to that state except for a brief stopover in an airport almost 30 years ago, and Will had not been there at all, so it seemed like a good destination.

To sum up what we were looking for: warmth, bar-be-que, and new experiences.

Map from home to Pigeon ForgeOur plan was to leave last Saturday and spend a week on the road. Unlike highly scripted trips where all flight arrangements and hotel reservations are made in advance, my idea of a road trip is to make one or two essential reservations, plan a rough route, do enough research so you can get to the good things along the way if the mood strikes you, and then take off.

Having your own car and the flexibility to bring along anything you want is a big plus. Having a smartphone and an iPad makes it easier to be spontaneous as well.

Several years ago my daughter Katie and I took a road trip to Hibbing, Minnesota, to see where Bob Dylan grew up. We both agree that it was one of the best vacations we ever took.

Here was the rough plan for the trip:

  • Leave on Saturday and get to Pigeon Forge, TN, by Sunday evening.
  • See Dollywood on Monday.
  • Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Tuesday.
  • Get ourselves farther west to Nashville by Wednesday night and spend two days there.
  • Start driving home on Friday, getting back on Saturday.

I don’t like to drive more than 500 miles in a day, and since the distance to Pigeon Forge from our house is 758 miles (1220 km), I knew it would be a two day trip. Though I planned to leave around lunch on Saturday, the weather didn’t cooperate and I was nervous about driving into the heavy rains and high winds that were left over from the destructive storm that launched tornadoes in Oklahoma and North Carolina.

I set a decision time of 4 pm to figure out if we would leave on Saturday or wait until Sunday morning. By that time things had cleared up considerably and we left a bit after 5 pm on Saturday evening. A Sunday departure would have compressed the trip quite a bit.

How far did we plan to go? As far as we could. Because of this, I did not make any hotel reservations for the night before we left. I’ve found that I can usually find a Hampton Inn or other suitable hotel along the way. The downside is that depending on the day of the week and what might be happening in a particular area, we might not get a hotel when we are ready to stop. If that happens, we have to keep going until we can find a vacancy. I won’t accept anything but a non-smoking room, so that lowers the odds a bit.

The usual route is to head west toward Buffalo, head southwest toward Erie, PA, on I-90, and then pick up I-79 to drop straight south. I modified this a bit by first going south to I-86/Route 17 and then picking up I-90 north of Erie. This is a bit longer but cuts down on the truck traffic. Just as we got on I-86 it was clear that there had been a  recent blow down of trees so we  were right to have left later than we had planned.

We got to Erie around 7:30 and I pulled into a restaurant parking lot to take stock of where we were. I felt that I could do more driving even though there were plenty of hotels along Peach Street, I-90 Exit 24, in Erie. The problem was, and is, that I don’t really like that area. It’s extremely busy with a lot of traffic and feels very artificial to me. Here’s an example: there’s a business right off the highway that advertises “fireworks, pepper spray, stun guns, and sugar-free fudge.” That’s no place in which I want to spend a lot of time.

I used my iPhone Hampton Inn app and discovered that there was a hotel with a non-smoking two bed room another half hour down the road. The receptionist said there were plenty of restaurants in the area and, anxious to get out of Erie, we got back on I-90 and merged onto I-79 south in a few minutes. We stayed in Meadville, PA, and had a very nice dinner at Montana’s.

We got up early on Sunday morning and drive the 572 miles (921 km) to Pigeon Forge in about 12 hours. It was a long day on the road.

Here are some notes on that portion of the trip:

  • We just skimmed the Pittsburgh area to the west, so I still can’t say I’ve been to that city.
  • Driving through West Virginia is: turn to the left, turn to the right, go up a hill, go down a hill, repeat 5000 times.
  • West Virginia would have been more pleasant if a truck hadn’t lost its cargo and forced all traffic to a single lane. We lost 45 minutes because there was no way to go around it. I was very patient, if I say so myself, but with such a long day I didn’t need the delay.
  • We got off the highway to go to a little bar-be-que place near Clendenin, WV, only to discover it was only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday’s. The Bob Evan’s Restaurant where we ate lunch wasn’t much consolation.
  • When we exited West Virginia via a very long tunnel on I-77, one that I found rather unnerving to drive through, we ended up in Virginia. Somehow that surprised me, but there’s an awful lot of Virginia that is just as far west as West Virginia. This was a failure of mine to read the map more carefully than just noting which interstate highways led to others.

Will in TennesseeIt was dark by the time we left I-40 in Tennessee and drove the 30 minutes south on Route 66 to Pigeon Forge. The man at the check-in desk at the hotel said we were lucky that we had not come the previous day because traffic congestion from a car show made the trip on the local road take 3 hours instead of 1/2.

The main attraction in Pigeon Forge is Dollywood, the theme park that Dolly Parton bought into in the 1980s. However, from the highway south through the town it is hotel after motel after restaurant after go cart place after attraction after … . Imagine mini Orlando meets mini Las Vegas. Also imagine a lot of road construction.

Whatever: we had gotten to our destination with a week’s worth of vacation in Tennessee yet to come. But that’s a tale for tomorrow.

The Entire 2011 Road Trip Series

Daily links for 03/18/2011

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

Daily links for 03/08/2011

Open Source and Mobile Devices

  • “OpenLogic, Inc., the leading provider of enterprise open source software support, scanning and governance solutions, today announced the results of a scan and license compliance assessment of 635 leading mobile applications. Among other findings, the results show that 71% of Android™, iPhone® and iPad® apps containing open source failed to comply with basic open source license requirements.”

    tags: android openlogic license

  • “A review of 9,000 free and open source mobile projects contained within Black Duck’s KnowledgeBase found 3,800 mobile projects started in 2010, with 55 percent, or 1,716 projects, geared to Android, Black Duck said this week. Apple‘s iOS followed with 39 percent, or 1,219 projects. Windows, Palm, Blackberry, and Symbian, meanwhile, accounted for just 2 percent each or fewer of new projects. MeeGo accounted only for a handful of projects, Black Duck said. The company surmises that since Android is “open” — as in open source and supporting GPL code — and iOS is not, open source developers still will support the most popular platforms regardless of so-called openness.”

    tags: android ios Open Source

  • “The preferred license for the Android Open Source Project is the Apache Software License, 2.0 (“Apache 2.0″), and the majority of the Android software is licensed with Apache 2.0. While the project will strive to adhere to the preferred license, there may be exceptions which will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For example, the Linux kernel patches are under the GPLv2 license with system exceptions, which can be found on kernel.org.”

    tags: Open Source android apache

  • What you need to know, and better.

    tags: android Open Source

More Open Source

  • “Digia has reached an agreement to acquire the commercial licensing and professional services components of Nokia’s Qt software group. The move will bring some diversity to Qt’s corporate backing and potentially expand the availability of consulting services for commercial Qt adopters.”

    tags: qt nokia digia Open Source

  • “The latest quarterly statistics showing US smartphone market share show Microsoft’s task with Windows Phone 7 is daunting, as the new OS is already losing ground. The latest US smartphones figures from comScore cover November of last year through the end of January, and while the figures are largely as expected the drop of market share by Microsoft is a bit of a surprise.”

    tags: android windows

  • “Version 6 of Debian GNU/Linux, the popular open-source project that bills itself as “the universal operating system,” hit the Internet on Superbowl Sunday, packing a trove of updated applications and a pair of new editions to burnish its universal billing. The distribution, which already stands out for its broad processor architecture support—spanning 12 architectures—branches out in version 6 with 32- and 64-bit editions based on the FreeBSD kernel. These new editions, while rough around the edges, open new opportunity for technology sharing among separate open-source operating systems and indicate that the project that gave birth to Ubuntu Linux continues to drive open source in new directions.”

    tags: debian linux

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

Daily links for 03/03/2011

Things You Can Buy for 99 Cents

  • “99 cents is the inevitable price for best-selling iPhone apps, says the creator of Angry Birds. “If you look at the top games in the app store, 99 cents is the price,” said Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka (whose business card reads simply “Mighty Eagle”) in a presentation at Game Developers Conference on Monday afternoon. “There’s no point in arguing whether it’s good or bad for the industry,” he said — one buck is the sweet spot, and what remains is to figure out how to make your mobile game a success at that price.”

    tags: iphone ipad android Angry Birds apps

  • Kindle “First, a little history. Just last year, the magic price point for a lot of indie (self-published) authors was $2.99. Why $2.99? Well, if you price your e-book at $2.99 or higher, you get a 70 percent royalty or from Amazon when using its Kindle Direct system or 65 percent from Barnes & Noble when using its PubIt! self-publishing platform. That means that if you set your price to $2.99 you make around $2 on each copy you sell, which is damn good, especially if you sell a lot of copies, which certain indie authors do.”

    tags: kindle ebook amazon

iPad 2 vs. the Others

What to Use to Write Your Novel

  • Scrivener logo button“Scrivener is a tool for outlining, storyboarding, writing, and editing longer-form writing — think books, lengthy reports, movie scripts, and so on. Scrivener started as an app for Mac OS X, but there’s been a steady stream of users who’ve asked the company to produce a Windows and/or Linux version. Turns out, the company has been listening and is working on a beta for Linux and it’s looking pretty good.”

    tags: writers linux scrivener

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

Daily links for 03/01/2011

GPL and the Apple App Store


  • “Why, in this day of razor-thin and elegant Macs, actually usable Windows 7, and cloud-connected gadgets would anyone bother to carve up their hard drive and install Linux, the geekiest of the major operating systems? Linux will never be everyone’s desktop, but here’s why it might be just perfect for you, as a workhorse or a hobby.”

    tags: linux

  • Novell today announced DB2, IBM‘s highly successful database software, is now available as an easy-to-use online download on SUSE® Gallery and as an adaptable template within SUSE Studio™. Today’s announcement builds on Novell’s momentum to deliver software appliances across a range of IBM software, including WebSphere, Lotus and Smart Business, all powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise.

    Novell logo

    DB2 is the first IBM software available for download from SUSE Gallery, an online showcase where users can browse, download and publish software appliances and cloud-based applications. The DB2 template is also available within Novell’s appliance-building tool SUSE Studio, which greatly simplifies the process of creating an appliance based on DB2 database software. As a result, ISVs have the choice of downloading DB2 as a software appliance from SUSE Gallery and using it immediately, or using SUSE Studio to customize the database image to fit their specific needs.”

    tags: novell suse db2 linux ibm

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

Daily links for 02/27/2011

  • “So what will we see on March 2nd? We’re hearing it’s most likely a thinner, spec-bumped variation of the original iPad with a screen size and resolution identical to the current model. More RAM (512MB) and a more powerful CPU (the A5) are expected as well. It’s also a pretty safe bet the tablet will be sporting at least one camera up front — though if some of those case mockups we’ve seen tell us anything, expect a shooter around back too.”

    tags: iPad apple

  • “With the 83rd annual Academy Awards quickly approaching, media junkies will be hurrying to see this year’s latest nominees, while catching up on the latest buzz and predictions. Just in time for the Oscars, we’ve rounded up five apps designed to fill your insatiable hunger for Hollywood’s most important awards show.”

    tags: apps oscars iphone iPad

  • “Of course, literally thousands of sites and forums provide news and information about open source software. To narrow things done, we focused on sites that provide a lot of links of open source applications – the top places to download open source software.”

    tags: Open Source

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

Daily links for 02/12/2011

  • “The cell phone market has been undergoing massive changes over the past few years as Apple‘s iPhone and Google‘s Android platform are each competing to become the future of mobile devices. The winner of this mobile race will come down to a mixture of technical, community, and business factors.  I think there are five key areas where there are significant differences, and I’ll be watching for the next few years to see who will win this fight.”

    tags: ipad android

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

Daily links for 01/27/2011

  • “I like Honeycomb’s new features. They sound great. I just object to Google to turning Android into two separate but unequal platforms Sure, the hardware was never going to be the same, but did Google really need to make two platforms? Apple seems to be doing OK with iOS for everything from iPad Touch devices to iPad. For Android developers the bottom line is going to mean more work because they’ll need to write two different versions of every single application. Like I said at the top: “Ack!””

    tags: google android iPhone iPad

  • “Government agencies in Australia should actively participate in open source communities and will be required to consider open source options equally when going to tender, under new policy announced Wednesday.”

    tags: australia Open Source

  • “Developers from RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva and Mageia got together last week at the SUSE office in Nürnberg to discuss how they might implement a universal application installer they are referring to as an Application Store. This is in response to the belief that end users aren’t interested in libraries, dependencies, compatibility, and other technical details. They think users only care about screenshots, basic descriptions, ratings, user reviews, and such. The idea is to define and write a tool to find and install applications.”

    tags: linux package manager

  • “OStatic reports on the rather massive undertaking. Last week, at the SUSE offices in Nürnberg, developers from RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mandriva and Mageia convened to talk about creating a universal installer and application store for all these various Linux distributions, bringing together various established technologies.”

    tags: linux

  • “One of the most common mistakes new desktop Linux users make is to give up too easily, often citing the frequently heard myth that “It’s too hard.” The truth, however, is that it’s just different. It may be difficult to remember at this point, but Windows took some getting used to, too.”

    tags: linux switching desktop

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

Daily links for 01/17/2011

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

Daily links for 01/11/2011

  • “At a press conference in New York City today, Verizon said it will soon begin selling Apple‘s iPhone. The device will be available on its network starting in early February, COO Lowell McAdam said to a gathering of press at Lincoln Center. It’s the same model iPhone 4 that AT&T and international carriers currently sell except that it connects to the CDMA network instead of GSM.”

    tags: iphone verizon

  • “Of course, for any given organization these numbers may vary.  Some are 100% on the XML formats.  Some are 0% on them.   If you look at just “gov” internet domains, the percentage today is only 0.7%.  If you look at only “edu” domains, the number is 4.5%.  No doubt, within organizations, non-public work documents might have a different distribution.  But clearly the large number of existing legacy binary documents on government web sites alone is sufficient to prove my point.  DOC is not going away.”

    tags: microsoft

  • “Now come the iPadversaries. Here is what companies have to look forward to in their competition with Apple’s iPad. First, there will be a new iPad out sometime this spring. Anything introduced before this will be viewed in light of whatever Apple will have on iPad 2. One of Apple’s internal mantras is to always stay at least two years ahead of the competition. While that may not always be true at the pure technology level, the combination of an innovative device, coupled with its apps and services almost always keeps it many steps ahead of what any competitor can throw at it.”

    tags: tablets iPad

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

End of year update on math software for the iPad

As we reach the end of 2010 and so the end of the first calendar year for Apple‘s iPad, I decided to look around one more time at the math software available for that tablet. I’ve previously done this in several blog entries:

My opinion hasn’t changed much from July when I said there was a lot of room for improvement and innovation. There are still far too many math games and educational titles out there.

I can understand as a software developer that you might hope that your title could be the one to really make it big, but it’s a very crowded field. Anyone contemplating doing a new app in this category, indeed any iPad app category, needs to check out what has been developed and get really comfortable that what he or she will produce is new, interesting, and presumably somewhat profitable.

Also, I get nervous when I see an app that hasn’t been updated since June. There are many possible reasons for this, but the best apps are updated regularly. They add new features but they need to focus on stability, good interfaces, iOS updates, and most of all, what the existing users need. Leverage your best critics’ work to develop an app that even more people want to use.

Here are a few math-related iPad apps that are worth investigating beyond what I’ve spoken about in the past. The descriptions are from the app providers themselves:

  • OmniGraphSketcher

    “Perfect for quickly visualizing ideas and presenting them, OmniGraphSketcher for iPad helps you make elegant and precise graphs in seconds. Using simple multitouch gestures, you get the numeric precision of a charting application—with no complicated equations necessary. Whenever you need to produce a sharp-looking graph on the fly, OmniGraphSketcher for iPad combines the quantitative power of data plotting with the ease of touchscreen drawing.”

  • SpaceTime for iPad

    “SpaceTime is the award winning iPhone math app now available for iPad. From basic calculations to college calculus, SpaceTime is a full-featured graphing and mathematics application.”

  • Tex Touch

    “Tex Touch is a LaTeX code editor! Create, import, export or mail your LaTeX documents! Edit them on the go using a stunning user interface that lets you enter and navigate code at top speed!”

First impressions of iOS 4.2

Yesterday Apple released the latest version of their operating system for iPhones and iPads. iOS 4.2 is not radically new and different for the iPhone, but does bring new functionality to the iPad.

The primary thing I’ve been waiting for is folders, the ability to hold up to 20 apps in a named collection. I’ve acquired a lot of applications since I got my iPad in April and this will bring more order and structure to my screens. It will also mean that I’m more willing to get some new apps, something that Apple no doubt understood as it rushed to get this feature out. Note that you can give several folders the same name, such as “Games.”

The partial multitasking is good to have though I haven’t had time to play with it much. It’s not something I’m particularly impressed by since I think it should have been there onday one.

The really cool feature is AirPlay, the ability to stream music (and video?) to devices like Apple TV. We got one of those mainly to access Netflix, but it’s very cool to sit on the couch and beam over music into my speakers. I must admit that this is slightly redundant since I could already access my home music collection through Apple TV, but it’s an interesting indication of technology to come.

Daily links for 11/22/2010

  • Apple on Monday released the promised update to iOS 4.2 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The update brings a number of long-awaited iOS 4 features to the iPad and adds the new AirPlay and AirPrint features for all iOS devices. In somewhat of a surprise, owners of the latest iOS devices can now use the Find My iPhone feature for free. iOS 4.2 brings a slew of new or updated features to the iPad—features that iPhone and iPod touch users have been enjoying since June when iOS 4.0 debuted on the iPhone 4. This includes the iOS version of multitasking and fast app switching, the ability to organize apps into folders, a unified inbox and threaded messaging for Mail, and access to Game Center for keeping track of game achievements, scores, and challenges.”

    tags: apple ios iPad

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

Daily links for 11/04/2010

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

Daily links for 11/01/2010

  • “The inevitable: When Motorola preemptively launched their declaration judgment action against Apple earlier this month, we knew that Apple was likely to launch multiple patent infringement lawsuits against Motorola once their licensing negotiations failed to produce an agreement. Late yesterday, Apple filed a pair of patent infringement lawsuits against Motorola Inc. and Motorola Mobility Inc. in the Wisconsin Western District Court. The combined lawsuits cover six patents – none of which were covered by Motorola Mobility Inc.’s filed lawsuits. The main focus of these lawsuits centers in on the most important technology of all pertaining to the next generation smartphones: Multi-Touch. In 2009, Apple’s COO Tim Cook warned the competition during a financial conference, as follows: “we like competition as long as they don’t rip off our IP. And if they do, we will go after anyone who does.” Obviously Apple now thinks that Motorola has crossed that line.”

    tags: apple patent mobile lawsuit motorola

  • “Well, there wasn’t much to add to that, I thought. Until things began to hot up at the end of summer, and more patent lawsuits began to fly around. When, finally, Microsoft sued Motorola, I thought that it was finally time to update the NYT’s (excellent) graphic.”

    tags: mobile patent lawsuit

  • “Thanks to record shipments of the iPhone 4, which arrived on the U.S. market at the start of the summer, Apple shot past several other mobile phone vendors, landing in fourth place ahead of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. For the third quarter, Apple shipped 14.1 million phones, 1.7 million more than RIM and 3.7 million more than Sony Ericsson, which fell out of the top five list for the first time since 2004. This was also the quarter in which the iPhone 4 reached 17 additional countries to establish its beachhead worldwide. With heavy demand for smartphones, Apple also joined RIM as the second smartphone-only vendor among the top five.”

    tags: apple mobile smartphone

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

Daily links for 10/22/2010

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

Daily links for 09/23/2010

  • “Do you know “a Female Journalist who stands out from the crowd and not in a good way!” Meaning she’s unattractive? Why not ambush her with a visit from What Not to Wear? She’ll love you for it! Details below.”

    tags: fashion

  • “So, what happened? Well, for me, the experiment was a pleasant success. With a few exceptions, I got everything done that I would have done with a laptop. Yet I toted a lot less weight, enjoyed much better battery life, and had a computer that started up instantly whenever I reached for it. I also was able to combine the functions of a comfortable e-reader with those of a laptop.”

    tags: ipad ereader

  • “Visa has just rolled out a new pilot program that allows New Yorkers to pay subway, bus and train fares with a wave of their iPhones.”

    tags: subway pay iphone

  • “At its core, the FCC’s new online platform will leverage the same open source technology powering WhiteHouse.gov, and they’re planning active engagement with the open source community. We’ve found open source technology to be a great way maximize the scalability and accessibility of WhiteHouse.gov, and we’ve even contributed some of the custom code we’ve written back to the public domain.”

    tags: Open Source government

  • “In his April blog post announcing his resignation, Gosling would only say, “As to why I left, it’s difficult to answer: Just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good.” However, over dinner with eWEEK in San Francisco during the week of Oracle’s first JavaOne conference – held concurrently with Oracle OpenWorld here – Gosling went a bit deeper, telling a tale of low-balling key employees and cutting off at the knees projects and strategies Sun had put into play.”

    tags: oracle java sun

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

Daily links for 09/14/2010

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

Math apps and the updated iOS Developer Program License Agreement

Apple‘s changes to the iOS Developer Program License Agreement resolve some issues but still contain confusing elements for those who might want to develop sophisticated apps such as those for mathematical computation.

As I first discovered this morning in a blog post by Hank Williams, Apple has changed their iOS Developer Program License Agreement to be less restrictive on the tools used to create apps for iOS for the iPos Touch, iPhone, and iPad.

Apple’s press release states:

We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.

Those relevant sections in the license agreement are:

3.3.1 Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.

3.3.2 An Application may not download or install executable code. Interpreted code may only be used in an Application if all scripts, code and interpreters are packaged in the Application and not downloaded. The only exception to the foregoing is scripts and code downloaded and run by Apple’s built-in WebKit framework.

3.3.9 You and Your Applications may not collect user or device data without prior user consent, and then only to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application, or to serve advertising. You may not use analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party.

In April I looked at the previous restrictions in the license and concluded that it would be very difficult to to implement a full featured mathematics application on the iPad.

Nota Bene: I am not an attorney and the following does not represent a legal opinion and certainly not an official IBM point of view.

The changes to sections 3.3.1 and 3.3.s improve things somewhat today:

  • Evidently you can now have an interpreter on the device. This means that you could run Python or a Java virtual machine on an iPad.
  • From 3.3.2, prepackaged scripts are allowed, so interpreted Python code is allowed if that code comes with the app.


  • You cannot download code to be interpreted.
  • I am not sure if you are allowed to type in code on the iPad and then have it interpreted. I suspect not, because that code is not prepackaged with the app, even though it is not downloaded.

From the perspective of building a math app with Python or another interpreted language, I interpret this as strictly meaning that the app and libraries are fine now, but users cannot write new functions if the math app provides an interpreted language such as Mathematica and Maple do.

This is problematic. If, say, the library does not provide a factorial function, am I not allowed to write one?

I suspect that one of the things that Apple wants to avoid are system calls into the iOS operating system by random downloaded scripts. I hope it is not just a question of performance. Some computations take a very long time.

I really can’t see how this type of interpreted script for math computations should cause any problem for the iPad device, for Apple, or the users. This form of code interpretation is how things get done in these kinds of apps.

Indeed, if I have a word processing document it contains markup to indicate paragraphs, fonts, colors, and so forth. A work processing app interprets that information, which could be said to be a descriptive script. Or is ok to interpret such things? Do I need permission from Apple to do this?

I don’t think this is the last we will hear from Apple in this area. Their statement is now shorter, but it is not complete enough regarding the kinds of code that might be interpreted. I think another round is necessary to clarify matters.

On the other hand, perhaps all this is below Apple’s radar or level of caring. While that might be true, it might be better to ask permission first rather than asking forgiveness later when you submit your app for publication.

Daily links for 09/02/2010

  • “The latest release of Ubuntu 10.04, code-named Lucid Lynx, has a somewhat revamped user interface. One of the most significant changes is the Software Center, which provides a simple, user-friendly way to find and install your choice of thousands of free, open source apps. While there are many ways to install apps in Ubuntu 10.04, the easiest way is to click Applications from the top-left panel and select Ubuntu Software Center.”

    tags: ubuntu

  • “Author Neal Stephenson has been credited for inspiring today’s virtual world startups with his novel Snow Crash. Now he’s launching a startup himself: Subutai, where he is co-founder and chairman.

    The company, based in Seattle and San Francisco, has developed what it calls the PULP platform for creating digital novels. The core of the experience is still a text novel, but authors can add additional material like background articles, images, music, and video. There are also social features that allow readers to create their own profiles, earn badges for activity on the site or in the application, and interact with other readers.”

    tags: stephenson book

  • “While the iPad’s aesthetics are exemplary, its built-in protection is a bit spare, especially when it comes to its 9.5-inch screen. Transporting the iPad can sometimes resemble a trip home from the grocery store with a dozen really expensive eggs.

    But fear not, iPad owners: thousands of armed-guard-like cases are available to protect your frangible computing device. ”

    tags: ipad

  • “During Apple‘s music event, Steve Jobs gave a brief preview of iOS 4.2, the iOS update that will finally bring the iPad up to speed. In November, the update will finally bring the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad up to the same iOS version, and it will also bring Game Center to the iPad.”

    tags: ipad

  • “Teachers are looking for alternatives as Linden Lab prepares to close down the Teen Grid–a region of the immersive virtual world Second Life designed just for teenagers and their education institutions. Where will all those teen avatars wind up? And is there an upside for those who’ve spent years developing educational resources on the proprietary platform?”

    tags: second-life teen virtual-world

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

Daily links for 08/05/2010

  • IBM and groups like the OpenAjax Alliance are launching a few initiatives to make the Internet more accessible to folks with mobility or sensory disabilities.

    The overarching theme here is that the Internet needs voice Web development and other interfaces to address 750 million people around the world with disabilities and another 900 million illiterate folks. The elderly as well as people with disabilities have largely had to sit out the Web 2.0 advances such as social networking.”

    tags: ibm open-source accessibility

  • “iVERDE™ Built on the open-source iDesktop™ client, iVERDE allows iPad and iPhone users to access VERDE Windows 7, Windows XP and Linux desktops. iVERDE is fully integrated with the VERDE distributed connection broker and user console, providing a user experience identical to any other VERDE client. iVERDE has been contributed to the open-source community under the GPL license, and is available through Apple’s AppsStore.”

    tags: verde virtual-bridges

  • WordPress

    “The use of WordPress in this case is significant because it represents one of the highest profile installations of the free, open source software. Long a favorite with smaller scale Web sites and blogs, the software was originally developed for bloggers but has expanded its capabilities to include full-scale Web site content management.”

    tags: wordpress open-source

  • “Though loudly cheered by developers when it was introduced at the 2009 Google I/O developer conference, Wave has just not been widely used. Despite a year-long beta period, no one really succeeded in finding a compelling use for the technology. It found fans as a way to interact during conferences and as a real-time collaboration tool, but these business use cases never translated into popular appeal. “

    tags: google wave

  • Boat on Blue Mountain Lake“Our two hour scenic boat cruise crosses three beautiful lakes: Blue Mountain, Eagle and Utowana. The Osprey and Neenykin, vintage 1916 launches, along with the 40′ Towahloondah perfectly complement the historical narrative spun by experienced guides. In the late 1800s, Blue Mountain Lake attracted the very wealthiest families in America as a great retreat; some of their great camps are still visible from the water. Behind the scenes, the servants and lumberjacks of the area lead to many interesting stories that give this region its rich cultural heritage. Our tour features the camps, hotels, steamboats, workers, and players in the late 1800s.”

    tags: historic tours adirondacks ny

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

Daily links for 08/04/2010

  • “Demand for Linux programming skills has exceeded that for Unix programming skills for the first time ever, according to Richard Nott, director of recruitment site CWJobs.co.uk.

    Possible reasons for this include the fact that more mobile platforms are supported by Linux, as are HD boxes, Nott said. In addition, the increasingly popular open source operating system Ubuntu also runs on Linux.”

    tags: linux skills

  • “Either way, however, when it comes to security, there’s no doubt that Linux users have a lot less to worry about.”

    tags: linux security

  • “The purpose of this article is to identify some of our favourite free Linux games which have these addictive qualities. They may not offer breathtaking graphics, innovative ideas, or the highest presentation. However, what they do provide is great gameplay coupled with the urge of always having just one more play.”

    tags: linux games

  • “OpenLogic, Inc., a provider of enterprise open source software support and governance solutions encompassing hundreds of open source packages, today announced that OpenLogic continues to see impressive growth.

    “As our scanning business has taken hold, our revenues continue to increase at an even faster rate,” said Steve Grandchamp, CEO of OpenLogic. “Companies are realizing that combining the accuracy and efficiencies of OpenLogic’s OSS Deep Discovery with a comprehensive governance and support strategy ensures successful, safe and cost effective open source adoption.” ”

    tags: openlogic open-source

  • “Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, has been a long-time advocate of free, open source textbooks and educational materials. Now that Sun is no more, he and Vinod Khosla (co-founder of Sun) are more actively pursuing their efforts to radically change the way educational materials make it into kids’ hands and, hopefully, taking us closer to a point where our reliance on expensive, dead-tree textbooks goes the way of their former company.

    McNealy and his social learning/textbook site, Curriki, were profiled by the New York Times yesterday and he called out something that most of us already know: the cost of textbooks is unacceptable and open source models can completely disrupt the multibillion dollar industry to the benefit of worldwide education.”

    tags: sun education textbooks

  • “Your current feed reader is full of unread items. You’re hesitant to subscribe to any more feeds because you can’t keep up with your existing subs. Maybe you’ve even abandoned feeds altogether.

    Fever takes the temperature of your slice of the web and shows you what’s hot.”

    tags: feedreader reader software

  • “This iPhone secret is notoriously difficult to discover, but explains how everyone gets those gorgeous quality images of the iPhone to post in blogs or screenshots illustrating applications in the iTunes App Store. Why it’s so difficult to find is anyone’s guess. But here is the simple 1,2,3 on how to do it yourself.”

    tags: iphone screenshot

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

Revisiting math software on the iPad

Now that the iPad has been out for about 3 months and I have had mine for a bit longer than 2 months, I’m going to revisit math software on the iPad. I previously did a couple of blog entries on the subject:

What is the state of math software available in the Apple App Store for the iPad?

Here’s my lightning review of most of the titles: pretty bad.

I’ll break the apps down into categories and highlight several I think are worthwhile:

  • Math apps for teaching really little children how to do simple arithmetic. I’ll admit I haven’t looked at all of them, but make sure you ask your child if  he or she thinks the app is inane before you purchase it.
  • Calculator HD for iPadCalculators, lots and lots of calculators. Too many calculators. Some of these fall under the sub (or super?) category of “my first iPad app.” Since Apple provides a calculator for the iPhone but not for the iPad, evidently tens of people think this is a huge market opportunity. There’s only so much you can do with a calculator. I use the Calculator HD for iPad and I think it’s pretty elegant and worth the $.99.If you are an HP or TI calculator aficionado you have several choices, so look around. You have quite a few options if you don’t want to pay anything, so I suggest you start by trying out several of the freebies first. You’ll develop criteria pretty quickly for what is junk and what isn’t.
  • Limited apps that do simple high school math like computing greatest common divisors or solving some simultaneous equations. You need a whole lot of these to cover the basic algebraic operations. I can’t imagine many of these took too long to write.
  • Math SheetFancy calculators with alternative user interfaces. My choice in this category is Math Sheet. It’s not quite perfect: I don’t know how to use a previous result in a later calculation and it doesn’t support big, arbitrary precision integers. It uses the iPad screen real estate well and it’s free.
  • Really nice graphing apps. These really give you insight into graphs, especially 3D ones. My favorite is Quick Graph for $1.99. Here’s some advice from a former mathematician and math teacher: you really, really need to understand equations and their graphs to do well in pre-calculus and calculus. Don’t try to shortcut and learn the minimum necessary. If you learn it well, your geometric intuition will help your algebraic and analytical problem solving, and vice-versa.
  • Kitchen sinks. These are ports of desktop apps to the iPad. They are often expensive because the authors, I would guess, are afraid of cannibalizing their desktop markets. I suspect they will get subsetted and will change to better use the iPad user interface if they are to survive.
  • Numbers. This is a mini version of the Apple iWork spreadsheet for $9.99. If you don’t expect it to do everything its older and bigger sibling can do, I think you’ll be impressed. Check out the sample new spreadsheet documents  to see its power.

I’m still waiting for an iPad version of Maple or Mathematica. Having been part of a team that built a computer algebra system, I know it will be a lot of work to bring a credible one to the iPad. As with many apps, they will really need to take advantage of the multitouch interface. Otherwise they might just look like today’s batch of kitchen sink apps, see above.

Also see:

Daily links for 07/01/2010

  • “The sudden rise and fall of the Kin is a clear pointer to the fact that Microsoft has no clear mobile strategy. The company is flailing wildly, throwing money about like it’s a solution to everything. It isn’t. the phrase that lingers in my head to describe Microsoft’s current mobile plan is “here today, gone tomorrow …”.”

    tags: microsoft kin

  • “Conde Nast Digital has released yesterday a new issue of its Wired Magazine app for the iPad and in the process has revamped a bit its approach to tablet magazines. When the first Wired Magazine app was released in May for $4.99, it contained only the June electronic issue of the technology magazine. The new app however is free and contains previews of past and current issues of the magazine and will be updated monthly. Now users can determine which issues to purchase based on their preferences.”

    tags: magazine wired iPhone

  • “Open source software monitoring and management services delivered as part of a subscription package are not uncommon. Could it be that the key to differentiation in the long-term is not products or services, but data? That’s one possibility. What are the others?”

    tags: open-source

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

Update on my Firefox extensions

It used to be that I tried a new Firefox extension every day. Since the Firefox browser from Mozilla became a standard tool for how I do business and generally access the web, I’ve focused less on trying new things and more on tuning the environment I have. I then replicated that environment across the various computers I use with the various operating systems on them.

I don’t use Firefox exclusively. I’m a software guy and I love to try new things, so I certainly have Chrome, and on the iPhone and iPad I use Apple‘s Safari browser. I’ve played with Opera but never stuck with it. Firefox is the browser I use when I need to know that things will work and look right.

I’ve decided that I am going to spend a little time each day for a few days and check out what’s been going on in the Firefox extension world. Before I do that, however, I want to list the extensions I do use now to establish the baseline.

My Firefox extensions

  • Adblock Plus: I’ve tried to live with website ads, especially when I experimented with them here, but they were just too annoying. This addon removes most of them and there are subscriptions to keep your blocked list up to date.
  • ColorfulTabs: This makes my tabs appear in different pretty colors. Not essential, but it really improves the user interface experience.
  • Diigo: I use Diigo to save and publish the daily links that appear in my blog, and this is their official addon to make it easy to capture those bookmarks.
  • Firebug: This addon is a great too for debugging web pages when things go wrong. I mostly use it for figuring out why CSS isn’t doing what I thought it should.
  • OptimizeGoogle: This cleans up some behavior in various Google apps, makes some more secure, and gets rid of even more ads.
  • Xmarks: This synchronizes my bookmarks across multiple browser types across multiple computers and devices.

Daily links for 06/25/2010

A Smarter Planet logo

  • “Editor’s Note: Following is an essay co-authored by Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and Linux for IBM, and Jean Staten Healy, director of cross-IBM Linux strategy for IBM. It describes the central place Linux plays in building a smarter planet, and builds on a presentation about the role of Linux in Smarter Systems, which the two IBM executives gave at the recent Red Hat Summit.”

    tags: linux, smarter-planet

  • “One of the better open source-focused posts I’ve seen recently was “Linux as a catalyst for a smarter planet,” which included Jean Staten Healy and Bob Sutor of IBM discussing social challenges going on around the globe, and how Linux is being applied to solve problems. Filled with interesting data about how social change will make a place for Linux in the future, it reminded me of some of the many posts on open source tools for humanitarian and social causes that we’ve done. Here, you can find many of these, and some thoughts on Sutor’s and Healy’s presentation.”

    tags: smarter-planet, linux, open-source

  • “If there ever was an overhyped product, it’s… well, actually, it’s the iPad, though the iPhone 4 is close on its heels. But even after all the hoopla — from the speculation and rumors to the “lost” iPhone 4 incident and police action — the arrival of the iPhone 4 is no letdown. The iPhone 4 really is all that was promised and more — except for a potential reception problem.”

    tags: iphone, apple, ipad

  • “Free defined the Microsoft Store opening. Free T-Shirts. Free skateboards. Free concert. Free celebrity meetups. Free money, as in donations to San Diego charities and the Girl Scouts. Several of the teen girls I spoke to admitted they came just for the freebees. But they also boasted about using Windows, and most of them Windows 7 at that.

    By comparison, Apple Store drew a very different kind of crowd: People anxious to give up money. They were desperate to hand Apple $200-$300 (before tax) to get an iPhone 4. One group got paid in freebees for showing up. The other group lined up — with the promise of hours waiting — for the privilege of giving up money. In response to my earlier tweet on the topic, Altimeter analyst Michael Gartenberg rightly asked: “Which is the better business model?””

    tags: microsoft, apple

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

Daily links for 06/24/2010

  • “Linden Lab®, creator of 3D virtual world Second Life®, announced today that company founder Philip Rosedale has been named interim CEO, and CFO Bob Komin has assumed the additional role of COO.  Linden Lab also announced that Mark Kingdon is stepping down as CEO.”

    tags: second-life

  • Red Hat, Inc. (RHT 30.91, -0.45, -1.44%) , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the next step in the integration of its enterprise-grade server and desktop virtualization portfolio with the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2. In addition to providing the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, the 2.2 update includes new scalability capabilities, migration tools and features to expand the performance and security of the solution.”

    tags: red-hat

  • Firefox logo“Mozilla is rolling out an update of its Firefox Web browser that adds support for plugin isolation. Version 3.6.4, which includes the new feature, was officially released on Tuesday and will be deployed soon through the browser’s automated update system.

    It is unusual for Mozilla to deploy a major new feature in a minor point update, but the plugin isolation capability is a worthy exception to the rule, since it will significantly improve the browser’s stability. In the new version of Firefox, plugin components like Flash and Silverlight will run in external processes. When these plugins crash, the browser itself will not be terminated.”

    tags: firefox, flash

  • “The Eclipse project has announced the Helios release train, a major update of the open source Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) and many of its key components.

    Due to the modularity of the software and the diversity of its community, Eclipse is developed like a platform. There are a multitude of independently-developed components that supply specific kinds of functionality. The most widely-used components are collected into a set of standard Eclipse packages that are targeted towards specific kinds of development.”

    tags: eclipse, open-source

  • “The Fedex delivery man pulled up at 10:30 this morning with an iPhone 4 in his hand — there were 15 more on his truck. The packaging is elegant and simple to open. After syncing the iPhone 3GS and Stainless Shuffle to be sure iTunes was up to date, I connected the iPhone 4. The first screen to appear showed my mobile phone number and asked me to enter my zip code and last four of the social for authentication. After agreeing to the Apple and AT&T terms and conditions the phone was activated and the copying of apps plus thousands of songs and music began. I went out for an errand and when I got back the iPhone 4 was loaded with my data. The next step was to set up the Google accounts for over-the-air syncing of my 1,500 contacts plus all the calendar entries and gmail. Minutes later I was good to go. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.”

    tags: iphone

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