This Site & Me
I'm a technologist, mobile specialist, experienced software developer, author, public speaker & an SAP employee. My thoughts, ideas, rants, comments & most of the code you'll find here are my own. Feel free to use any of this, but be sure to identify the source.
Topics You'll Find Here
This site contains content on a bunch of different topics including Mobile, Mobile Development, IBM Lotus Domino and other topics that strike my fancy. I've written a couple of mobile development books, so mobile and mobile development tend to dominate.
Like What you See?
Like what you see here? Found something useful?
If you benefited from anything I've posted here, please think about buying one of my books or taking advantage of one or more of the ads on the page.
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Wednesday, 24 February 2010 11:48
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Tuesday, 23 February 2010 22:02
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Friday, 12 February 2010 06:00
There's something up with the site, it's not rendering correctly.The home page seems OK, but when you drill into any of the categories it's broken. Ouch!
I tried to install a FeedBurner module yesterday and now everything's hokey. I'll see what I can do to fix this.
Update: I've been poking and prodding at this and I just can't figure it out. It's not only this site that's broken, but all of my Joomla sites being hosted on fatcow.com. I asked FatCow for help and what I got in response was this:
In Joomla Configuration settings, we have disabled and enabled 'Search Engine Friendly URLs', 'Use Apache mod_rewrite' ,'Add suffix to URLs' and set .htaccess file, still the website links loads with broken themes. It appears that you had installed any new joomla modules or plugins. Please disable those plugins and check the website functionality from your end.
Which is effectively telling me nothing. Yes, I have added extensions, but when I opened the ticket I told them I disabled everything and it didn't change anything.
The admin functions are working great and the home page renders correctly. It's just when you open any other of the site that isn't working correctly. The content appears, but none of the templating is applied. I'll continue to troubleshoot this, but I'm moving this week, so my time is limited (sorry). I'll also keep begging FatCow to help me figure this out. They mentioned they changed directory permissions all of a sudden SugarCRM is working but my Joomla and vBulletin sites aren't.
- Category: IBM Lotus Domino
- Published on Tuesday, 09 February 2010 17:31
A lot of people have asked me to post the slide deck from my Lotusphere 2010 Beyond the Browser: Building Rich Client Applications for Domino (AD114) session. I wasn't sure whether I was allowed to post it, but I received the following confirmation from the track manager:
"Attendees can download whole tracks from Lotusphere online so please direct them there if for some reason they are not aware. For non-attendees, you can post the slides on your site."
So, that being said, the presentation is attached to the end of this article
The session was a lot of fun although the Demo Gods rained trouble on me. I was prepared for that and had finished demos ready, so nobody left without seeing how it worked. That didn't stop people from complaining about it in their session evaluations though. Oh well, sometimes you just can't win. I'm making some progress on the Android sample application I showed a part of in the session. I should have that done in a few weeks (need to finish my move to North Carolina first). Stay tuned.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Thursday, 04 February 2010 08:43
As part of my family’s move to Charlotte, it was time to start looking for a new bank. We selected Bank Of America and proceeded to setup our new accounts. It occurred to me to take a look to see if the bank had an iPhone application and I was pleased to find that they did. I downloaded the application from the iTunes and proceeded to launch it. When the application starts, it presents you with the screen shown in the following figure.
You can then define your account login information (including the same additional security measures Bank of America uses on their desktop browser application) and access all of your accounts and transactions. It’s pretty cool and I like it. I’m not going to show you this with my own accounts (yes, I blanked out my login name in the figure below), but I’ll describe it. What you see after you login is a list of your accounts. When you select an account, you’re provided with a list of transactions and other information.
The only complaint I have about the application is that it’s very sluggish – after you login and start navigating through the account information, the screen response is very slow. Whoever wrote the application apparently didn’t know how to optimize the menu items and so on to provide the best user experience.
Where the What Were They Thinking stuff begins is when you look at the BlackBerry version of the application.
I didn’t expect that there’d be a BlackBerry version of the app. It wasn’t until I’d used the iPhone version for a while that I thought to look in the BlackBerry AppWorld for the app. Surprise of surprises – Bank of America also offers a BlackBerry application. So many times, vendors decide that all people care about is the iPhone application and skip other platforms. In this case, they are trying to accommodate multiple platforms. The problem is that they didn’t implement the same features in the BlackBerry version of the application.
When you open the BlackBerry version of the app, you see the screen shown below.
It looks like the same features of the iPhone application. When you open the ‘Locations Near Me’ option, the application uses the GPS information available on the device to determine the location of the nearest bank locations – very nice.
When you click on ‘Mobile Banking Sign In’ you’d think it will prompt you for your credentials and allow you to view account information (just like the iPhone app). Nope, that’s not how it works here. When you select this option, you’re presented with the following screen.
What???? The Browser? What were they thinking? The iPhone application shows an interactive list of accounts then allows you to browse the account transactions inside of a native iPhone application. The BlackBerry application launches the browser and gives you the exact same functionality you’d get if you fired up the browser and typed in www.bankofamerica.com in the address bar. The browser???
Eventually you get to the login prompt and you just have to deal with the mobile browser version of the site.
What’s the point? It’s essentially useless except for the branch finder. I just don’t know what they were thinking. The bank spent the time and money to build a fully functional iPhone app but relegated BlackBerry users to a simple application that merely launches a particular URL in the BlackBerry browser.
Developers: Please don’t do this. The functionality the application needs to call on the back end to get the account information and account activity clearly exists (the iPhone application is using it) and the BlackBerry platform supports the exact same application capabilities that the iPhone does (the same API’s are generally available across both platforms) so why the dfifference? I bet it was harder to do for the BlackBerry and it will take them some time to deliver parity. I’m OK with that – UI’s are just easier to build on the newer platforms (iPhone, Android). But the BlackBerry can call any service on the back end and process the data – just like the iPhone app. If it’s too hard to build the long list of account transactions like used in the iPhone application, just have the server return the activity as HTML and render it in a BrowserField in the BlackBerry version. You’d still get the same data and you can make it look like the iPhone application (although on non-touchscreen BlackBerry devices it won’t be as easy to navigate. You could always intercept the click within the browser field and open up the selected account activity record natively.
Anyway, my personal opinion is that hybrid applications for the BlackBerry should be avoided at all times. If you need to launch the browser to provide your application with specific functionality then you’re not really trying to build a BlackBerry app – all you’re building is a shell program that uses the browser for its heavy lifting and I’m really not interested in using that kind of application.
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Friday, 29 January 2010 09:19
Robert X Cringely used to publish on www.pbs.org and now publishes his own blog at www.cringely.com. He has done a bunch of cool things related to the PC industry over the years – including being the author of Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date which I really loved.
Anyway, he writes about US Security every once in a while and recently published the following regarding how hard it was for US Officials to determine whether this Christmas Day Bomber was a terrorist:
“Instead of just complaining, let’s take a look at the issue from another angle. Contrast these three situations: 1) you are sitting in a hotel bar in Mongolia and want to use your Visa card to buy a round of drinks for your friends, and; 2) your Mom is at the check-out counter at a Sears store when the clerk asks her if she wants to apply for a Sears credit card and save 10 percent on her order, and 3) a possible terrorist with a dubious travel record and suspected al-Qaeda connections is standing in line at a European airport waiting to board a flight to the U.S. that leaves in an hour. What happens in each of these cases?
In Mongolia the bartender takes your card and authorizes it in seconds across a 12,000-mile round-trip. At the Sears store the transaction is not only authorized in less than a minute, but a new account is created and both your Mom’s identity and her creditworthiness are established and calculated on the spot, along with her discount. Meanwhile the airline, airport, local security, European police, Interpol, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Customs Service, FBI, CIA, and NSA can’t between them figure out in an hour whether this guy standing in line in Holland should be allowed on the plane or not.
How is it that we can run our credit card operations so well and our national security so poorly?”
He’s right and has every right to be mad. Read the full article: http://www.cringely.com/2010/01/predict-me-im-from-the-government.