Thursday, November 5, 2009

Build Your Own Tweets Widget for the Symbian Platform

If you are a Web developer interested in developing a social networking application such as a Twitter app that can retrieve tweets on a Series 60 Symbian phone, then here are code snippets to demonstrate how easy it is to implement it using Nokia Web Runtime using Javascript, and HTML.  If you are new to mobile Web development on Symbian, take a look at the Web Runtime Quickstart tutorial.

Now to retrieve tweets on a Series 60 Symbian phone, you can implement the index.html (see slide 11 in the presentation attached below), which will invoke init() function within main.js.  The init() function will simply instantiate the UIManager and set up the views (see slides 12 and 13). Then, if the user selects the 'Tweetz' icon, then Twitter.Update() will be invoked as listed below.  The function Twitter.Update() will simply initialize the twitter buttons including adding the separator, and will display "Loading twitter feed" as it waits for the twitter feed to download.

Twitter.prototype.Update= function(numToShow){
    this.numToShow= numToShow;
    if ( this.buttons== null ) {

       // add the separator
       var separator = new NavigationButton(null, 
       // create buttons
       this.buttons= new Array();
       for( var i = 0 ; i < this.numToShow; i++ ) {
           var button = 

           new NavigationButton("twitter_button_"+i, 
                                 null ,"");


           "Loading twitter feed...");

Next, initialize the twitter URL for getting a user's RSS feed. In this case, it is initialized to the TwitMyMobile user account. Then, you can get the RSS feed by instantiating the AJAX request. The API is passed, "GET" for retrieving the data, the second parameter is the twitter URL, and the third parameter is set to true to indicate that this is an asynchronous request. The http.onreadstatechange is set when the request state changes, then the Twitter.DoUpdate() function is invoked for parsing the returned data. The code fragment for getting the user's tweets will look as follows:

 // Twitter API for getting a user’s RSS feed 
var twitterurl= ""; 

// Get the rss feed 
// Prepare for asynchronous download 
this.http= new Ajax(); // true means asynchronous request"GET", twitterurl, true); 
// When the AJAX request is done, it will call self.DoUpdate() this.http.onreadystatechange= function() { self.DoUpdate(); }; 

// send the AJAX request 

Now, the Twitter.DoUpdate() method can easily parse the data. Use the DOMParser API to parse through the response XML. If the content type is not set correctly, we get the response as text. Next, we loop through traversing the elements, creating buttons and gathering tweets. The while loop traverses through the child nodes, and retrieves the title, and publishing date for each of the tweets. The tweet image is set to tweet.png for simplicity. If we get any exceptions and get no data, then we display "Tweetz not tweeting right now" message and intialize the title and date fields accordingly.

Twitter.prototype.DoUpdate= function() {
    if (this.http.readyState== 4) {
        try {
            // Get parsed Doc 
            var xmlDoc= this.http.responseXML;
            if (xmlDoc== null)
            { // if the content type is not set  
              // correctly, we get the response 
              // as text 
              var xmlparser= new DOMParser(); 
              xmlDoc = xmlparser.parseFromString(
              var itemElements =
              var loopEnd =
              // traverse elements & create buttons 
              for (var i = 0; i < loopEnd; i++) { 
                 // iterate through child nodes of 
                 // this item and gather tweets
                 var title = null; 
                 var date = null; 
                 node = itemElements[i].firstChild; 
                 while (node != null) { 
                    if (node.nodeType == 
                         Node.ELEMENT_NODE) {
                       if (node.nodeName == "title") { 
                          // item title 
                          title = getTextOfNode(node); 
                       }else if 
                         (node.nodeName== "pubDate" ||
                          node.nodeName== "dc:date") { 
                          // item publishing date 
                          date = getTextOfNode(node); 
                 } end while  

                 node = node.nextSibling; 
             } // end for  
                 + date + " " + title + "");
          } // end if (xmldoc== null
      } // end try
      catch (x) {
           "Uh-Oh! Tweetz not tweeting right now.");
         for (var i = 0; i < this.numToShow; i++) {

         } // end for  
      } // end catch
  } // if (this.http.readyState== 4) {} 

 For a complete listing of the code, take a look at the slides I had presented at SEE 2009 on Improving the Mobile Web Developer Experience illustrated below.  If you find this article useful, please feel free to retweet and forward me any comments.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mobile 2.0: Developer Pitfalls & Strategies for Improving Mobile Web Developer Experience

Last Friday, I gave a presentation on Developer Pitfalls & Strategies for Improving Mobile Web Developer Experience at Mobile 2.0 in Silicon Valley (Mountain View, California).  It started out by defining the mobile Web, then provided an overview on the mobile device constraints that led to mobile development challenges. I briefly talked about the "Tool Trends" then took an in-depth look at strategies for improving performance when utilizing web technologies (i.e. JavaScript, CSS and HTML) based on Yahoo's 14 Performance Rules. It concluded highlighting the activities of the Symbian Foundation Tools team including a roadmap of how the Symbian tools are being evolved to further improve and enhance the mobile web developer experience.
In case you were not able to attend Mobile 2.0 or would like to take a closer look at the slides presented, it is attached below.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Implementing Incremental Project Builder for an Eclipse Web Runtime Plugin

In order to develop an Eclipse Plugin, you will need to install the Eclipse Plugin Development Environment (PDE) and for web development, you will need to install Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP).
This article discusses two major mechanisms that are associated with projects in an Eclipse workspace. The first of these is incremental project builders, which create a built state based on the project contents, and then keep that built state synchronized as the project contents change. The second is project natures, which define and manage the association between a given project and a particular plug-in or feature.

  • Builder - Builders take raw materials and produce some output based on those materials. In Eclipse, both the raw materials and the output of builders are resources in the Eclipse workspace.
  • Incremental - It would be inefficient if builders rebuilt their entire output from scratch every time they were invoked. Instead, builders in Eclipse are incremental. This means that after the first build, subsequent builds should only rebuild based on what has changed since the last build.
  • Project - A builder operates on the resources in a single project in the Eclipse workspace. If there are many projects in the workspace, builders need to be installed on each one separately.
How does the JavaScript compiler know which files need to be recompiled?

The Eclipse builder maintains a built state that includes a list of all types (classes or interfaces) that are referenced by each type in the workspace. This information is returned by the compiler each time a source file is compiled. This state is computed from scratch on a full build, and updated incrementally on each subsequent build.

Whenever files are modified, the builder receives a resource delta that describes which files were added, removed, or changed.

For deleted JavaScript source files, the corresponding class files are deleted. Added and changed source files are added to a queue of files that need to be compiled.

The builder then processes this queue as follows:  
  • Remove a file from the queue, and compile it.  
  • Compare the resulting type to the old class file, and see if the type has structural changes
  • Structural changes are changes that can affect the compilation of a referencing type: added or removed methods, fields or types, or changed method signatures. 
  • If the type has structural changes, find all types in the project that references the changed type, and add them to the queue. 
  • If the type has changed at all, write it to disk in the builder's output folder. Update the built state with the new reference information for the compiled type.  
  • Repeat until the queue is empty.  
  • As a final step, the builder generates problem markers for each compiled type that had compilation problems.
What are Project Natures?
Create an association between a project and a given tool, plug-in or feature set.  By adding a nature to a project, you indicate that your plug-in is configured to use that project.

Natures also provide a way of handling the lifecycle of a tool's interaction with a project.  When a nature is added to a project, the project nature's configure() method is called.  This gives the tool an opportunity to initialize its state for that project and install any incremental project builders that are needed for that project.  When a nature is removed from a project, the nature's deconfigure() method is called.  This gives the tool an opportunity to remove or clean up any meta-data it has created for that project, and to remove any listeners and builders associated with that tool.

How do we implement an Incremental Project Builder?  To implement an incremental project builder, you first have to create an extension:  Next, create a Builder class that must extend the abstract IncrementalProjectBuilder superclass.

name="eScript Builder"
<run class="org.eclipse.escript.builder.Builder">
<parameter name="optimize" value="true"/>
<parameter name="comment" value="escriptBuilder"/>

public class Builder extends IncrementalProjectBuilder {

protected IProject[] build(int kind, Map args, IProgressMonitor monitor) { 
if (kind == IncrementalProjectBuilder.FULL_BUILD) { fullBuild(monitor);
} else { 
   IResourceDelta delta = getDelta(getProject()); 

if (delta == null) { 
   fullBuild(monitor); }
else { 
   incrementalBuild(delta, monitor); 

return null;

private void incrementalBuild(IResourceDelta delta, IProgressMonitor monitor) {
System.out.println("incremental build on "+delta);
try {

delta.accept(new IResourceDeltaVisitor()
{ public boolean visit(IResourceDelta delta) {
System.out.println("changed: "+
return true; // visit children too
} catch (CoreException e) { e.printStackTrace(); }

private void fullBuild(IProgressMonitor monitor) {
    System.out.println("full build");

If you are interested in seeing a Web Runtime (WRT) Plugin demo in action, then come to the Symbian Silicon Valley SIG event on September 16.  If you found this article useful, please retweet it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

How to Share Photos & Contacts on iPhone

One of the most intuitive and appealing applications for sharing photos and contacts on the iPhone is called Mover developed by Infinite Labs.  Mover was developed for the iPhone.  No need for pairing. It only requires an iPhone or iPod Touch to be connected via WiFi network.  Mover is available now for download for free on App Store.

Here is how it works:
  1. Download the Mover app from iTunes App store and open it
  2. Click the '+' sign to add items that you wish to share with the other iPhone or iPod Touch
  3. Mover will display the options to "Add Image" or "Add Contact"
  4. After selection is made, an icon will appear on your iPhone or iPod Touch screen
  5. It will display the photo or contact along with an "arrow" (indicates the other iPhone device)
  6. Just slide the icon you want to transfer (towards the other device)
  7. To delete any item, select 'Edit' to remove the item (note: it does not remove it from the iPhone)
The photos and contacts transferred are automatically saved in the camera gallery and addressbook, respectively.

The transfer of photos may take some time depending on the image size, but the transfer of contacts is very fast and it even sends the contact's photo.

The Mover app is very intuitive and fun to use, but obviously only works on an iPhone or iPod Touch device.  You may want to take a closer look on YouTube

If you found this article useful, please add a rating, comment and retweet!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Does the Palm Pre really live up to its hype?

Palm Pre is an internet connected multimedia smartphone designed and marketed by Palm, Inc., with a multi-touch screen and a sliding keyboard.  It has been the most highly anticipated gadget since the debut of the iPhone. Now that the Palm Pre is scheduled to launch on June 6, 2009, and will be the first to use Palm's new Linux-based WebOS operating system. Does it really live up to its hype?

Quick Features Overview:
  • Layered Calendars & Linked Contacts via Palm Synergy feature to bring together your Outlook, Google & Facebook calendars
  • Intuitive Notifications appear at the bottom of the screen to let you know what's going on
  • Universal Search for searching your contacts, and applications, or Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia or Twitter
  • Photos, Music and Videos 
  • Built-in Media Player supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, WAV and AMR music files, and MPEG4, H263 and H264 video formats
  • Download Applications from Palm Pre Catalog or buy movie tickets and add movie times right to your calendar
  • Activity Cards that allow opening multiple applications by flipping them, moving them around or throwing them off screen
  • Combined Messaging via Palm Synergy conversations grouped together in one chat-style view
  • Email, WiFi and GPS
  • Web browser is based on WebKit
  • Breakthrough Design (Slide out keyboard for faster texting, accelerometer will automatically change the orientation of the display between landscape and portrait mode for music, websites, photos & videos when the device is rotated in the user's hands)
  • The Palm Pre is based on WebOS which is built around a system of "activity cards" used to manage multitasking.  The multitasking capabilities and system notifications are unparalleled.
  • The Palm Pre showcases a sharp display and supports multitouch gestures, enabling most navigational input to be made using the touchscreen. However, since it includes the slide-out keyboard, it does not include a virtual keyboard as many other touchscreen smartphones do.
  • The Palm Pre uses the WebOS' feature called Synergy that integrates well information from many sources. WebOS allows contacts from multiple sources (i.e. Gmail, Facebook and Exchange) to be integrated together.  Also, Calendars from multiple sources can be viewed together or one at a time. For messaging, Synergy combines all conversations with each contact into a single chat-style window.  
  • Palm Pre offers good call quality, and the wireless options include 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.
  • Palm Pre's keyboard is cramped
  • Battery life drains quickly and the smartphone can be sluggish at times
  • Lacks expansion slot, video recording capabilities, on-screen keyboard, flash support (Note: On Feb 16, 2009, Adobe announced that it will be developing a version of Adobe Flash Player for WebOS). 
  • Palm Pre App Catalog is still in beta and there are only a limited number of titles 
In summary, Palm Pre may not be the iPhone killer device just as yet. Nonetheless, Palm has made a solid and smart device that offers something more in its multitasking and personal information management capabilities. 

Finally, what are your thoughts on the Palm Pre?  Do you plan to develop your applications for the Palm Pre within the next 6 months?  If you found this article useful, please retweet!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Add YouTube Video On Your Twitter Page

TwitterAnalyzer, BubbleTweet, TwitZap and BubbleGuru are some of the many services that allow you to overlay a service on top of your Twitter page. VidTweeter lets you tweet YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion videos. All you have to do is to provide your Twitter user name, and select the type of video from a choice of YouTube, Vimeo or Dailymotion videos. When someone opens the URL you have tweeted, in this case, the YouTube video will play on top of your Twitter page as shown above. The cool thing is that you actually get to see how many people actually viewed your tweeted video!  If you found this article useful, please retweet

Click the link to see it in action:

Friday, April 10, 2009

8 Nifty Twitter Mobile Clients

For any Twitter newbie, it can be a very daunting task when you first start twittering to figure out which Twitter client of the numerous others is appropriate for a specific mobile platform.  You quickly discover that it is hard to find a way to follow all of your Twitter updates without being interrupted constantly by a flow of updates. While you can update your status via SMS, keeping track of your friends and followers is difficult to do particularly while you are on the go.  Due to the huge success of the iPhone launch, there is no shortage of the number of Twitter clients out there on the iPhone or even other emerging platforms such as Android.  Below is a concised list of the more popular mobile Twitter applications listed by platform.
  1. Tiny Twitter (Java-enabled phones, Windows Mobile, Blackberry platform)                          
  2. TwitterBerry (Blackberry)
  3. CeTwit (Windows Mobile)
  4. Twitteresce (Java-enabled phones)
  5. Twibble (Java-enabled phones)
  6. Twinkle (iPhone)
  7. Twidroid (Google Android G1)
  8. Tweetie (iPhone)
Tiny Twitter is a twitter client for Java-enabled, Windows Mobile and Blackberry phones.
  • Set automatic update interval
  • Click update from [menu] to fetch friends timeline
  • Send tweets/direct message
  • Hide friends temporarily
  • Collapse tweets, hide user's image and truncate text to get more real estate
  • Retrieve direct message
Overall: good for mass-market phones, but other Twitter clients have better UI (see below)

Twitterberry is a mobile Twitter client for posting updates for the Blackberry platform.

  • Pictures support via TwitPic
  • support
  • Timeline updates while device is sleeping
  • Audible/vibrate alerts
  • Retweet
  • Favorite
  • Delete
  • Picture support via
  • Refresh timelines
  • Configurable auto-updating of timelines
  • Longer list of tweets: 200
  • View & reply to tweets and direct messages
  • Favorite and delete tweets from any timeline
  • View friends list
  • Allow overflow of 140 characters when typing your tweet
  • Optimize menu screen so most commonly used choices are easy to access
  • URLs in tweets can be selected and opened in your Blackberry browser
  • User customizable default application entry screen
  • BES connection support
Overall: best app for Blackberry

CeTwit is a Windows Mobile Twitter client written in C# leveraging the .net compact framework.

  • Timeline display
  • Account storage
  • Status updates
  • Direct Messages
  • Click to reply
  • Automated refresh
  • Smartphone support
  • Avatars in timeline
  • Local caching of avatars
  • Squeezer support
  • Relative timestamps
  • Follow/unfollow
  • Pictures support via TwitPic
  • support
  • Timeline updates while device is sleeping
  • Audible/vibrate alerts
  • Retweet
  • Favorite 
  • Delete
Overall: Nicer UI compared to Tiny Twitter and fully featured, except for URL shortening

Twitteresce is a Twitter client for Java-enabled phones with a slick background for text updates.
  • Displays all status updates
  • Retrieve and delete tweets & direct messages
  • Autoupdate
  • Refresh rate
Overall: basic tweeting functionality for Java enabled phones, but lacks several nifty features

Twibble is a location-aware Twitter client that uses GPS on Blackberry Curve 8330 or Symbian phones like Nokia E71 or N95

  • Post Messages
  • Auto refresh
  • Notifications
  • Uploading of photos via TwitPic
  • Themes
  • Integrated tweets & direct messages displayed in a single list
  • Open web URLs within tweets
  • Retweet
  • Quick @replies
  • Follow users
  • Mark tweets as favorite
  • SSL support
  • Cancel network requests
  • Location-based (shows location of friends on a map) via GPS
Overall: good for Java-enabled phones or GPS supported phones

Twinkle is an iPhone client that has location aware features.

  • Discover, connect and send messages to people nearby
  • Upload photos and update your status on your Twitter account
  • Using the power of geolocation, join the discussion with the people around you
Overall: cool UI and looks slick on the iPhone

Twidroid is a Twitter client for the Google Android phone.

Tweetie is a full featured Twitter client for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

It offers everything you would want from your timeline to trends - all within an incredibly polished user interface, great performance and ease-of-use.
  • Handles multiple Twitter accounts
  • View  your timeline, replies and direct messages
  • Manage favorites
  • Browse friends and followers
  • Post new tweets, Retweet
  • Reply directly to tweets and send direct messages
  • Follow and unfollow people
  • Block/unblock users
  • Navigate reply chains
  • Inline web browser
  • Integrated with TwitPic for posting photos
  • Update Twitter location
  • Post tweets w/auto URL shortener
  • Uses secure connection (https)
  • View Twitter trends and custom searches
  • Nearby searching
  • Links to StockTwits
  • Optional landscape keyboard
  • Themes
There are several other Twitter clients that were developed earlier for the iPhone such as Twitterific, Twitterfon, Twittelator and Twinkle (above).  However, of all of them, my favorite one is Tweetie for the iPhone. Tweetie includes four main buttons: Tweets, Replies, Messages, Favorites.  Under More, you will find My Profile, Following, Followers, Trends and Search.  You can easily view @replies, see URL links directly in the inline browser, retweet messages, turn links in the browser into short URLs and much more. Perhaps, the only thing missing is that it doesn't let you browse the web and shorten a URL on the fly.  Tweetie is definitely a solid app overall and is probably the most full-featured Twitter client available for the iPhone to date.

What is your favorite Twitter mobile client? Please let me know in your comments.  If you found this article interesting, feel free to retweet (upper left corner) and follow me on Twitter.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Top Android Social Networking Applications

Social networking applications are increasingly driving the growth of the mobile internet audience. According to a November comScore report, the European mobile social networking audience grew 152% from November 2007 to November 2008 to 12.1 million people (UK boasts the highest mobile social networking penetration at 9%. Furthermore, 33% of all mobile social networking users access social media sites exclusively.
According to the New York Times, Facebook is adding a million users per day and nearing a milestone of 200 million users.  Whereas, MySpace still dominates Facebook in the US market with 72 million monthly uniques. After 3 years, Twitter has roughly 8 mm unique US unique users according to Compete.  Twitter is a distributed service, leveraging a lot of  "instances" of  Twitter (i.e. Tweetdeck, Twirl, Tweetie, Twitterific, SMS users,...) and it is reported that more than half of its users don't even hit the main site at any given time.

Based on the aforementioned findings, I decided to focus on the top 3 social networking mobile applications available on the Android Market.  

Application Title: Twidroid   Website:
Available: Now on Android Market   Release 2.0 expected around mid-April 2009
Rating: 5  (Best social networking app on Android Market)

Twidroid is a fully featured twitter client for Android mobile phones.  The twitter client I downloaded was a Beta release (version 1.6.4). 

Features supported included:
  • Posting tweets, replies, direct messages and refreshing results
  • User profile detail information from a posted tweet
  • Option to send direct message, follow or unfollow
  • Tweet options include add/remove favourite, delete and cancel
  • Background notifications for replies and direct messages
  • Auto-layout for landscape and portrait mode
When posting a tweet, you have the option to include a picture already taken from your photo gallery or to import the picture by opening the camera through Android.  The settings allow you to select the photo hosting client (Photoid or Twitpic) and the picture quality (low, medium and high).   You can also insert your current location when posting your tweet.  As you are entering characters for posting the tweet, a character countdown in the upper left corner tracks how many characters you have left from the 140 characters limit.  As the tweet is being posted, you get a status update.  
Twidroid also includes background notifications that inform of new tweets.  From the menu, you can click on "Settings" which allow the user to set various options such as "Check for Tweets", "Check for Replies", "Check for Direct Messages", "Vibrate on Alerts", "LED Flash on Alerts", "Play ringtone on Alerts", and how often to check (default is 5 minutes). Shorter intervals may use up more battery.  Other options include "Show shortcut icon" (disabled by default), "Show complete message in notification (disabled by default), "Start at boot time" (enabled).  Whenever a tweet is posted, the URL is automatically shortened, and the URL Shortener option can be customized in "Settings".  Display options for "Use Screen Names", "Font Size", "Metric Units", "Refresh list after sending tweet" and the number of tweets to display (set to 80 by default) are customizable to suit your style.  There are various other settings for enabling SSL, Autocomplete for Contact Names, Automatic GPS, and Cache Settings.  
The only nice-to-have feature would be the ability to easily view your own profile information (i.e. followers) without having to view it from your posted tweet.

Application Title: MySpace Mobile   
Available: Now on Android Market
Rating: 3  (application UI needs more work)

MySpace application includes options to display My Profile information, Friend Requests, Friend Status and Mood, Friend Updates, Comments and Bulletins.  However, the performance was considerably slow for displaying profile information and even simple comments, or adding comments.  During an earlier attempt to post a comment, there was a "Post Comment Failed" message displayed, so when I re-entered the comment, the comment ended up being posted twice.  There were also some display issues but they cleared up once a subsequent comment was posted!
Generally, I did not find the MySpace application on the Android as compelling or cool!  Nonetheless, the application has had >250,000 downloads!

Application Title: fBook   (Updated)
Available: Now on Android Market
Rating:  3+ (no option to display older newsfeeds)

fBook application provides several of the features supported by Facebook.  Features supported include:
     1.  Home (NewsFeed, Events, Requests)
     2.  Profile (Info, Wall, Photos)
     3.  Friends (Status, Online, Photos)
fBook provides the option to either choose the "mobile" or "full" website at the bottom of the screen.  The login page did not provide an option, remember me so that the user is required to login repeatedly which can be annoying on a mobile phone.  The Settings can be invoked from the menu option.  

The Settings include options for "Storage" (clear cache), "Notification Settings" and "Message Checking Frequency" (defaulted to every 5 minutes).  There is also a "Photo Upload" option available from the menu.
The "NewsFeed" displayed only some of the stories, and there did not seem to be any option for uploading the remaining stories or any available configurable settings.
The "Profile" info displayed only basic and personal information. There was no content displayed for Education, Work, Group or Pages.  The "Wall" did not seem to show many of the posts.  The Profile Photos showed no photos.
The "Friends" options shows the friends status, friends that are online and the friends photos that have been uploaded.   The option for Status updates is not intuitive as it is hidden on the panel in the upper left corner.  There is also a Search option hidden on the same panel in the upper right corner! Clicking on the Search option allows you to search people on Facebook (cool)! But, would you expect that is how you can Add Friends by entering a name of a friend, then clicking Add Friend or Message!  You can also post a comment on your wall by clicking on Profile then selecting Wall, and touching in the comment area.  

The download site indicates that fBook is a wrapper that fixes the Facebook iPhone web app (push notifications (supported on Android only) and photo upload).  Nonetheless, it is a useful mobile application for checking your facebook status  on the road.  

Were there any social networking applications that you found compelling on the Android Market?  If so, let me know them in your comments.  If you found this article informative, please feel free to click on retweet (upper left corner) and  follow me on twitter.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Watch March Madness Live On Your iPhone

This year, you do not have to miss the NCAA tournament, March Madness, while you are on-the-road as you can see it streaming live via your iPhone starting next Thursday.

The March Madness iPhone application was developed by MobiTV and is available to download from iTunes for $4.99.  In addition to streaming the games, it provides real-time game scores, stats and more.  However, the only drawback is that you will need to connect your iPhone or iPod Touch to a WiFi connection so you are limited to where you can watch the game.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

First Official American Idol iPhone App Lacks Text, But Provides Bios, Videos, MyRanking And More

It is rather disappointing that the first official American Idol iPhone application has launched just in time to watch the final 13 round in season 8, but lacks the ability to text for casting votes directly from the app - a key "must-have" feature that die-hard fans are likely to notice almost immediately.  
The American Idol application is available today for both the iPod Touch and the iPhone for $1.99 and provides bios, news and behind-the-scenes videos of the contestants. However, users who want to access the videos of the recent performances are redirected to a link to iTunes for downloading the music for an additional $.99!  Zumobi, who is building the application in collaboration with FreeMantleMedia Enterprises, 19 Entertainment and Fox,  plans to allow "Text" in a future version of the app.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cool Way To Tweet Music

The most frequently used site for tweeting music is ( It is well integrated with other microblogging services. However, requires you to sign up with your email address.

Here is another cool way to share music on Twitter and  it is very easy to use.  
You do not have to sign up nor give away your Twitter password.
  1. Go to the site:
  2. Enter your username for Twitter
  3. Enter the name of the artist
  4. Enter the track name
  5. Click on "tweet music" / natasha bedingfield

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Should Facebook Do More To Prevent the Spread of Rogue Applications?

Graham Cluley's blog 
reported that Facebook had discovered yet another rogue third-party application in less than a week after the "Error Check System" had blasted Facebook users claiming that there was a problem with user profiles and concerned users were redirected to malicious websites.  The new rogue application sends a bogus notification messages that a friend has violated Facebook's Terms of Service.  A typical bogus notification message appears as follows:

"[Friend's name] has just reported you to Facebook for violating our Terms of Service. - This is your official warning! - Click here to find out why you were reported! - Request Facebook look at what has happened and rule immediatley."

Now if a novice user misses the school boy spelling error by clicking on the link, then he would grant the rogue application permission to access his profile and personal information, and inadvertently forward the bogus information message to all of his Facebook friends!

When Facebook opened its platform to developers, it allowed anybody to develop and write a Facebook application. One of the issues is that the applications developed are apparently not going through the scrutiny and certification process that is desirable before the application is made available to the public.  As a result, even if Facebook removes one malignant application, another one can pop up in another place like a poisoned mushroom under a different name.  

According to Graham Cluley, Facebook has now removed the rogue application along with its clones ("My account" and "Reported for Rule Breaking").  Facebook users have to be more careful before adding new applications, but, isn't it time for Facebook to add more scrutiny before having its applications published ?

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Porting J2ME Applications to Android

When the new Google Android platform was introduced, there were initially a small number applications available, so Google spent $10 million to attract developers to their Android Developer Challenge before the T-Mobile G1 phone was released.  The existing Java ME community quickly realized that there was a huge opportunity if there can be tools developed that allowed the existing Java ME applications to be run on the Android platform.  

There are 2 tools that may be somewhat useful for allowing Java ME applications to run on Android:
  1. MicroEmulator is a pure Java implementation of Java ME in J2SE.  The advantage is that it is an open source project and is licensed under LPGL so that it is possible to distribute commercial software with its libraries.  See MicroEmu: Running Java ME applications on Android for further details.  
  2. Netmite has developed an application, J2ME MIDP Runner to allow running Java ME applications on Android without significant source code changes that is readily available to download from the Android Market
MicroEmulator supports the following features :  
  • MIDP 2.0 (TextField UI - not yet implemented)
  • Skinnable and configurable interface
  • Generic Connection Framework
  • JSR 135 (Mobile Multimedia API); JSR 75 (File Connection API)
  • JSR-179 (Location APIs) targeted to be available as a commercial extension
  • JSR-184 (3D graphics) on top of Android OpenGL ES targeted to be available in the future as a commercial extension
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Android Vulnerability: Is the phone Web Browser really dangerous ?

Sarah Perez writes 
"Android Vulnerability So Dangerous, Owners Warned Not To Use Phone's Web Browser". According to Washington DC Security researcher, a new vulnerability in Google's mobile OS Android allows hackers to remotely take control of the phone's web browser and related processes. 

But, wait let's take a closer look at how an Android phone can be compromised.  If an Android user does not utilize the media server functionality when using its web browser, can he still be at risk?  According to Rich Cannings, Android Security Engineer, the Android mediaserver uses OpenCore and works within its own application sandbox so that security issues in the mediaserver would not affect other applications on the phone such as email, the browser, SMS and the dialer.  He further notes that the Android vulnerability is limited to the mediaserver and could only exploit actions the mediaserver performs such as listen to and alter some audio and visual media.

"Both vulnerabilities could have been prevented if Android had the ability to block malicious code from executing in memory."  One of the ways, this can be prevented is by the use of a class file verifier similar to the J2ME verifier, which could ensure that the Android bytecodes (.dex files) do not contain illegal instructions, cannot be executed in an illegal order and do not contain references to invalid memory locations, etc.

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