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, 30 October 2013 08:21
I finished writing Apache Cordova 3 Programming back in September and now I'm in the production phase with the book. The different sections of the book have been reviewed by several of my colleagues plus several members of the Cordova development team. Right now I'm about halfway through with the copyediting process and hope to have it finished by Monday.
The book is not yet available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Informit.com, but the 'paperwork' is in place, so it should be up there any day now. I will post here with links to the ordering pages as soon as something happens.
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Monday, 28 October 2013 08:47
I’ve always been fascinated by spam messages. I had a personal email account back in the very early 90’s, back in the dial-up ISP days, so I’ve seen spam from its infancy.
Notice I’m calling it spam and not SPAM or Spam. In an email context, spam is not an acronym, so I’m truly not sure why people capitalize all of the letters in the word. Spam on the other hand is a tasty breakfast meat (although it can be eaten at any time during the day or night) that I used to have all the time while camping as a boy scout.
Anyways, spammers have been trying all sorts of tricks to get past filters, and it’s always interesting to see how it works inside. This morning I received the following email message.
My email client recognized the from address, so it let the graphics display (the PayPal logo), but I knew immediately that it couldn’t have been from PayPal mostly because I’m pretty sure they’ll never email me to tell me that my account has been limited. They might email me to tell me that my account has been disabled, and probably tell me why, but what the heck does “your account has been limited” even mean?
Looking at the email, you can see that the email content is in a san serif font and the click here link is in a serif font. Clearly the person who crafted this email isn’t very good with HTML. Also, in reading the email, you can see it was written by someone who doesn’t speak English as a primary language. For example, the phrase “The account will continue to be frozen until it is approved And Validate Your Account Information” is a dead giveaway as it’s not really English.
Anyway, I always look at the email message source to make sure and when I looked at the source for this message, I found the following:
The way to tell that this email did not come from PayPal is through the links to resources embedded within the email as well as links to outside entities. For example, as you can see from Figure 2, the logo image comes from a site called jewelleryminx dot com. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound like a paypal server to me.
Notice too the link to ‘validate my account info’ – this one is the tricky part. If you look at this, you should notice immediately that it looks like it is pointing you to PayPal because the link points to paypal.com, right? Wrong. The link URL begins with paypal.com, but in reality, the URL is a very long and complicated subdomain of givarperu dot org. Anyone who thinks they know what they’re doing, including spam filters I think, will see that the URL begins with https://paypal.com and assume it’s pointing to PayPal when it is actually pointing to a server registered in Lima Peru, see the domain registration below.
So, these are a few simple things you can do to tell whether an email is spam or not.
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Friday, 25 October 2013 07:45
A friend of mine posted a link to this video on Facebook. It's a perfect mix of Start Trek and Monty Python (two of my favorite things). Well done.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Friday, 25 October 2013 08:42
I had a chance to attend PhoneGap Day in Portland this summer. Now that my day job involves Apache Cordova http://scn.sap.com/blogs/johnwargo/2013/10/21/an-introduction-to-smp-kapsel, I was able to make arrangements to attend. The event was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of interesting stuff about PhoneGap and what people were doing with it.
Here’s a picture of the goodie bag they gave all attendees. My favorite gift was the PhoneGap branded cell phone charger thingie. I love that and I was able to score a second bag and therefore get two of them.
There were some very interesting sessions. My favorite session was by Lyza Danger Gardner where she covered PhoneGap Self Defense for Web Devs. It was a fast-paced and very interesting session about the things that a PhoneGap (and Cordova or course) developer must keep in mind while developing web applications for the PhoneGap container. It all made perfect sense as I listened to her speak, but it happened so fast that I know I’m going to have to watch it again to make it sink in. This is an absolute must see for anyone building hybrid applications. You can find the video recording of her session at http://phonegap.com/blog/2013/10/18/phonegap-self-defense/.
There was another session that is worth noting; not because it was good, but for other reasons I shall try to explain.
Apparently the PhoneGap and Cordova development teams are beer drinkers. So, with much fanfare, they started serving beer beginning at lunch (and throughout the remainder of PhoneGap day). I like beer and I even like drinking beer (on special occasions of course) for breakfast and sometimes even lunch. In this case, I was in a room where a whole bunch of young people had started drinking beer at about 12:30.
Anyway, I made the mistake of saying something to someone standing next to me after lunch and he manhandled me into a conversation that I wasn’t very interested in but consumed a lot of time. Apparently this particular person had had a few beers and that only exacerbated his outgoing personality. Well, it turns out that he was a presenter and he soon went up on stage and delivered what was, in my opinion, the most inappropriate and unprofessional conference presentation I’ve ever seen (and I even saw John Cleese [of Monty Python fame] say ‘asshole’ during a keynote at an IBM conference). You can watch the video of his session here http://phonegap.com/blog/2013/10/17/making-real/. Please be forewarned that there’s a lot of obscenities in this session and the audio quality is not very good.
The slides for all of the sessions (except for Lyza’s, rats) are at http://phonegap.com/blog/2013/08/02/a-look-back-at-pgday-us/.
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Thursday, 24 October 2013 07:54
I posted here last year that my PhoneGap Essentials was licensed for translation into Chinese and Korean. Over time, some copies of the Korean translation showed up at my door. It was so amazing to see my work in another language.
What surprised me the most about looking at the translation was that they’d translated the comments in the source code as well. That was the right thing to do, I’d just not expected it.
Anyway, my new book, Apache Cordova 3 Programming is supposed to go up on Amazon for pre-order this week, so I’ve been periodically checking to see if it’s up there. As I searched Amazon yesterday, I noticed that there was a copy of the Chinese edition of PhoneGap Essentials available for sale (at more than $100 none the less – the book sells for about $5US in China).
Here’s an image of the cover.
My boss is going to China in a few weeks for SAP TechEd, so I’m hoping I can get one of my colleagues to order it and give it to him to bring back for me. My cousin and his wife are in Hong Kong, so perhaps they can get me a copy. We’ll see what happens.
- Category: Mobile
- Published on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:50
A while back, I complained here about how email marketers weren’t taking mobile devices into account when formatting blast emails. They were sending HTML-formatted messages and using CSS to style the emails like they wanted to, but those emails simply didn’t render correctly on devices with smaller screens (like the keyboarded BlackBerry devices).
I know that the people creating these emails were taking mobile devices into account, they’d have to as many people nowadays don’t even have PCs anymore, but where I think they fail is in accommodating all types of mobile devices.
I received a couple of emails today which made me think about this topic. The one shown in Figure 1 below is what started me thinking about this. Notice how the content goes off the right side of the screen.
In my previous post, I was complaining mostly because the emails I received were centered rather than flush left in the email, so no matter what the device, anything with a screen more narrow than the width of the email would see a lot of blank left border for the email. With the example above, at least they flushed the content left so I wasn’t looking at a bunch of blank space on the left with content beginning more toward the center of the screen. It’s still not readable, but at least no screen real estate is wasted.
That was my point of my previous post – don’t waste screen space by unnecessarily centering things. Several people misunderstood my point.
REI on the other hand, paid special attention to what they did and sent me the email shown in Figure 2 below. Notice how the email renders beautifully? They centered the content, but at least at the same time made sure that they didn’t go past the right margin either.
That’s the way to do HTML emails to mobile devices. Deliver an exceptional experience no matter what client is viewing the email.