Feb 13 2012

iOS Missing Feature: Multiple Device App Management

I have over 100 iOS apps in three different devices, an iPod running running iOS 4.2, and an iPhone and iPad on iOS 5. As much as possible, I always sync all devices to my laptop so that they all have the latest updates. I know that since iOS 5, apps and songs purchased from iTunes on one device will automatically sync to other devices. That said I still find that I have sync for other reasons, to transfer photos to iPhoto and sync a large number of podcasts I listen to. And perhaps, most importantly, I’ve sync to charge my device. One issue, definitely first world problem, I have with having multiple iOS devices is managing all the apps in the different devices. If I delete on app from the iPad, it doesn’t delete it from the iPhone. If I delete it from the iTunes on my laptop and I sync with a device that contains that app, it will copy it back to iTunes.

Another big issue is that you have to configure your app pages and folders on each device. If you spend an hour organizing your apps into folders and pages in one device you have to re-do it all over again on the second device. What ends up happening is that you’ll have two devices with the same apps in different pages and folders.

What I am missing from my mobile experience is the ability to sync, not only the apps and content of apps, but the meta-data about how I organize apps between iOS devices. I want to have the choice to clone how one iOS device organizes and layouts the apps to other devices. I would also like the ability to have different app layout settings, such as have the iOS device automatically put applications into folders based on the app category or my usage of the app. And of course, I would like to have a way to delete an app from one device and have it disappear from all other devices.


Jan 23 2012

The Mobile App User Half Life

Recently at a iOS development meet up the presenters from Qubop showed a powerful slide from their presentation that quantified the mobile app user life cycle. It is estimated that on average after one day of usage, 38% of the users will stop using a mobile application. After a week, the percent of users that will still use the app drops to 50%. After 6 months, you are down to 10% of users still using your app in some capacity.

Because of the half life of mobile application users, app developers are constantly updating their mobile apps. It depends on the number of apps you have on your phone, but if I don’t get the latest apps in a weeks period I would have 15 app updates waiting for me. I update one day and the next day there is another app ready to update. Because apps are updated so often, and they require the users permission to do so, mobile app users have are developing app update fatigue.


Dec 29 2011

Enable Siri on iPhone 4S

A family member received the iPhone 4S for Christmas and the first thing she wanted to try was Siri. She didn’t know how to turn it on so she called me, the local family tech support. To turn on Siri on the iPhone 4S go to the Settings app. Once on the iPhone Settings, drill down on the General option. In the General settings view drill down on the Siri option. Once in the Siri settings view, make sure that the toggle button is turned on. You can also change other Siri settings such as the language.

Siri Settings View

Siri Settings View


Dec 18 2011

The Ultimate Geek Gift Guide 2011

This geek gift guide is not so much for geeks and techies but for those that have geeks and techies in their life and need a little help in finding the right geek gift this holiday season. If you want to wow the geek in your life with the latest technology gadget you need to look no further.

For two years straight the iPad has been the most coveted piece of technology on most self respecting geek. The iPad is great for geeks no matter their expertise, music, photography, gaming, social media, etc. A geek that travels a lot or enjoys reading on their iPad when at a coffee shop would enjoy the 3G iPad so that they can always be connected no mater where they are. Whether you give the geek in your life an iPad or if they already have one, there are a ton of great accessories, such as a envelope iPad cases from Poketo.

Poketo Envelope iPad Case

Poketo Envelope iPad Case

Over this last year there has been an explosion of tablets come into the market such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet. The Nook tablet at $249 is a great bargain but so is the Amazon Kindle Fire at $199. The Nook tablet is a bit faster and more powerful than the Kindle Fire, but if you already own a Kindle or have purchase Kindle ebooks then the Kindle Fire would be the obvious choice.

For the financial whiz in the family I would recommend the HP 12c Financial Calculator. The HP 12c Financial Calculator has a retro HP look and over 120 mathematical functions that would be appreciated by any business and finance power user.

Every engineer needs a notebook and there are no better notebooks than Moleskine notebooks. Moleskine has come out with a limited edition Star Wars notebooks perfect for that die hard fan. For the old school video gamer in the family, they also have a limited edition Pac-Man set.

As everyone already knows, the standard geek uniform is jeans and a t-shirt. Any self respecting geek needs to have some ThinkGeek shirts in his wardrobe. ThinkGeek gear is like Armani Exchange for geeks, binary fashionable and geek chic.

If you need more suggestions, take a look at previous years geek gift guides:

The Ultimate Geek Gift Guide 2010, The Ultimate Geek Gift Guide 2009, The Ultimate Geek Gift Guide 2008


Nov 14 2011

jQuery Mobile + PhoneGap = Awesome Mobile Development Platform

I’m currently prototyping an iPad application and I’ve just found working with jQuery Mobile and PhoneGap to be a breeze for mobile application development. I’ve used iOS SDK before and I’ve experimented on test applications with Android and I’ve always found issues with both the iOS and Android development frameworks. I’ve also looked into cross platform mobile development toolkits such as Appcelerator Titanium and Sencha Touch but I found these were not of me at the time. Any of the aforementioned platforms and frameworks can be used to create a great looking and functional mobile application but I found that they each ask the developer to make a trade off.

With jQuery Mobile, you develop your mobile application with HTML5 and JavaScript/jQuery. With jQuery Mobile, all of your UI is written in pure HTML5 tags with the correct CSS classes and attributes. jQuery Mobile is built on top of jQuery so many web developers can immediately start being productive with jQuery Mobile.

Everybody has an idea for the next great iPhone application. The top reasons I’ve heard from people, including from developers, as an excuse for not getting started is that they don’t have a Apple computer, they don’t want to learn another programming language, they don’t have time, etc. jQuery Mobile invalidates all of these excuses. You can use Firefox or Chrome to test your jQuery Mobile application, you develop using plain HTML5 and JavaScript, and most it’s easy to pick up.

Because a jQuery Mobile application is just a HTML5-based web application, if your an run it on your iPhone or other mobile device using the native web browser. On the iPhone, when you run a jQuery Mobile application the browser will take up a small portion on the screen for the navigation buttons, bookmarks, and other controls of the browser. One way to claim all of the screen real-estate is to create a native application, that is where PhoneGap comes in. PhoneGap is a native shell around a web application, such as those developed in jQuery Mobile. With PhoneGap, you can turn your jQuery Mobile application into a full fledged native application.


Aug 15 2011

Google Make Its Largest Acquisition

Google announced that it was buying Motorola for a staggering $12.5 billion. This is the largest acquisition made by the online search and advertising giant to date. I was talking about this with a friend who said the following. “If I’m a typical Motorola employee I’m worried, if I’m HTC I’m pissed, if I’m Microsoft I’m making a bid for Nokia, if I’m Apple, I’m laughing it up.” I’m not entirely sure about my friend’s statement but I am positive that Google has changed it’s strategy and decided to fight fire with fire, patents with patents, lawyers with lawyers, and mind share with truck loads of hard cold cash.

Google went at great lengths on this deal, it not only paid top dollar for Motorola but it even created a special “Facts about Google’s acquisition of Motorola” SEO-rich webpage which includes choice quotes from Android partners and a message from Larry Page.

Larry, CEO of Google, wrote about the purchase…

Motorola has a history of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and products, and in the development of intellectual property, which have helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today.

The last Motorola phone I thought was ground breaking was the first generation RAZR. Since then I have not been impressed with their phone offering, including their Android versions. In the press release, Larry made several references of the StarTAC, which Motorola originally released in 1996.

To appease other Android partners and licensees, the press release stated that Motorola will e a independent business unit.

This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business

For me, the key and most revealing sentence in the whole press release was the following.

Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

What struck me about the above quote is how hard Google is spinning this. When competitors buy up patents, it’s anti-competitive but when Google itself pays top dollar for a turkey stuffed with patents it will “increase competition.”

It has been reported that Google is paying $40/share, over 50% on top of the price at the time of the announcement. The reason Google is paying this price is clearly for the over 14,000 granted patents and over 6,500 pending patents Motorola has acquired over time. These patents will add to patents Google has added to it’s patent portfolio.