Posts Tagged: development

A Minimalist’s Guide to the Mobile Web from BDConf, April 2012

Jenifer Hanen – A Minimalist’s Guide to the Mobile Web – BDConf, April 2012 from Breaking Development on Vimeo.

Thurs 08.30.12 – The nice folks at Breaking Development have published the video with slides from my presentation at BDConf April 2012 in Orlando.
If you say to yourself “I must know more about designing and developing for the mobile web and beyond the desktop”, then get yourself on down to the Breaking Development Dallas coming up in a few weeks – September 24-26, 2012!

Breaking Development: A Minimalist’s Guide to the Mobile Web

Mon 04.16.12 – Here are the slides from my presentation on “A Minimalist’s Guide to the Mobile Web” from Breaking Development Orlando.
Here is the official description of the talk for the BDConf website: “Designing and developing for mobile devices can be overwhelming in the sheer amount of factors to consider. Questions of where get started or how to retool for fast and lovely mobile sites can send one screaming for the supposed safety of Webkit before running and hiding under an iOS rock. But such fear and trembling is unnecessary and we can go forth in confidence with the minimalist’s guide on data sipping as a legitimate lifestyle, serving responsive images, how to strip that code, and do I really need all this Javascript?”
A video the presentation will be available soon on the BDConf Vimeo channel.
If you are a mobile or web design and/or developer who really would love to attend a great one track, intimate conference on the mobile web, Breaking Development Dallas will held in September 2012.

Qt Dev Days 2011, The Photos

The Famed @Yeswap, aka Dennis, has arrived! The Mysterious Qt for the Next Billion Slide Digia's Tuukka Ahonien presenting Jussi and John, the N9 App Doctors Tuukka, Juha, Suvi, and Riku at the Qt Dev Days Welcome Reception Having fun at Knuckles - Juha Nokia's Richard Kerris presenting the morning's first Keynote Qt's Jeremy and Benedikte helping someone The Delicious White N9 The Qt Dev Days 2011 SF Expo All the Lovely Ladies who registered us and helped with questions Aditya, Pablo, and Oscar Mildy scary circus man with a glowing ball at the Qt DD dinner & party Jurgen and the Cotton Candy Lady Alexandra and her fabulous feather boas Magician Jay Alexander showing his tricks to awed geeks The N9 and the Lumnia attempting to have drunken phone... Riku and Juha Digia folks at the Party: Suvi, ___, Tuukka, and ___ William and Sunny Laughing while attempting to navigate/fly an AR Drone Watching an AR Drone flying Jeremy discussing the Rasperry Pi In the How to Contribute to the Qt Project Session

All photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.

Thurs 12.01.11 – As the Qt Dev Days 2011 wrap up and are over, I present to you a summary of the photos I took over the course of the three days of the training and conference.
I really enjoyed and learned a good deal over the course of the Qt Dev Days. One of the best parts is the high ratio of nice and smart folks I met and the conversations were good. I attend at least 3-4 conferences a year and this one rates up there with Mobilism for my fave conference of the last 2 or so years in terms of content and inspirational conversation with other attendees.
Big thanks to Qt, Nokia, Digia, Futurice and all the other sponsors for putting on a great conference.
Even bigger thanks to all the lovely folk I met, the good conversations on mobile & development that were had, and letting me take your photos. Y’all rock.
See everyone next year, if not sooner.
My Qt Dev Days conference notes:
Qt Dev Days 2011, Day 1: Training
Qt Dev Days 2011, Day 2: Conference Sessions
Qt Dev Days 2011, Day 3: The Last Day

PySide, from the Heights of Happiness to the Depths of Despair in less that Two Hours

On Friday in the way of any good internet bunny trail, I found myself at the PySide website wondering what progress had been made with the Python port/binding for Qt since I last looked, downloaded, built and inspected to see if it was fit for my mobile application development purposes back in April/May (or more like was my skillset I ready for building the most recent stable version of PySide).
In the first 20 minutes of traipsing down Python and Qt based bunny trails on Friday afternoon, I found myself in raptures of happiness, as it appeared to my eyes and reading comprehension that Nokia had taken on the PySide project and was moving forward with it as a legitimate wing of Qt. I was so excited that I called a non-technology-working friend and gushed about it to her (sorry).
I tweeted asking if any of the PySide folk would be at Qt Developer Days 2011 in San Francisco next week. I was ecstatic about the prospects of using Python for the logic in my Qt Quick apps rather than C++ or Javascript.
The major reason that I love both Python and Qt Quick/QML is that the code is by and large minimal and declarative but gets the job done powerfully without excessive grammar, wordiness, and very little punctuation, which makes my minimalist loving self happy happy happy. The very idea of Python + Qt Quick sounded too deliciously good to be true.
And it appears that after some months of Nokia dedicating employees to making PySide a robust binding for Qt and Qt Quick, that Nokia is now un-dedicating said employees and will be decommissioning their involvement in PySide to an add-on for Qt.
My hopes were crushed in less than two hours. Up in happiness of the possible perfect pairing of my favorite programming/scripting language with my favorite mobile framework, only to fall down the rocks of despair and sadness that so much potential was so fast dissipated.
Matti Airas the Nokia python guru on the PySide project does write in this email that he does see a future for PySide and mobile as an add-on for Qt in the community separate from Nokia. Here’s to hoping that he is right.
Further hopes go to Python catching on as a good option to the various C languages and Java for mobile app development. And here’s to hoping that PySide folks will be at Qt Dev Days next week.
Update from Wed 11.23.11 – Just to clarify, this post is for NaBloPoMo and is my joke on / to myself about moderating my enthusiasms in a world where the funding of technology projects is driven by management stratagems & quarterly profits, as I get so excited upon finding out a technology has finally reached the point that it will be useful and then, in this case, less than an hour or two later after searching for more info I find out that the project has been discontinued.

Tidbits :: Saturday, January 15, 2011

Things happened today. Photos gotten taken, but not posted.
What I did do today is spend another 6-8 hours fiddling with VituralBox, Windows, calling Windows Customer Service, installing Linux on VirtualBox, attempting to install and test the various components of Qt on Linux and Mac, etc. Basically, a whole day on my computer setting up a dev environment. More on this later.
Here are some links to some interesting tidbits:
Small Surfaces on Is the phone the next Swiss Army Knife?:

“Fortunately, mobile phones don’t get bigger when you install new software on them. But there’s been a long-standing debate about the utility of strong-specific digital tools (e.g. the digital camera) and weak-general tools (the camera-phone).”

The LA Times on Engelmann oaks, better than beautiful:

“You don’t have to be a descendant of one of the fathers of American botany to share in what De Fato recalls as his pleasure and amazement. The arboretum’s grove of Quercus engelmannii, pictured above, is one of the last local stands of a native tree once so common to the foothills that an alternate common name is the Pasadena oak.
The first thing that strikes you upon reaching this group of roughly 200 trees is how much more animated it is by birds, butterflies and scampering lizards than the more cultivated parts of the garden.
The second is that it is drop-dead beautiful.
Better than beautiful. Engelmanns are the oak lover’s oak.”

Make your own DUCK BACON. Yes, Duck Bacon!
Camont on Duck Prosciutto-Charcutepalooza Challenge#1. My Duck Bacon.

Nokia Booklet 3G : Day 16 : The OS Wrap Up : Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu vs. Jolicloud

Oceanis Background app allows one to change the Windows 7 Starter background Boot choice screen with Windows 7, Ubuntu, and Jolicloud Jolicloud Desktop screenshot

Screenshot photos taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Wed 02.10.10 – In the last two weeks of trialing the Nokia Booklet 3G that WOM World/Nokia sent to me, I have had a range of great to ok to just bad experiences with the Booklet, but all of them have been predicated on the Operating System (OS) and not necessarily the Booklet itself. I am of the opinion that the Booklet is a great little mini-laptop that is beautifully designed but hampered with a crappy OS in Windows 7 Starter. It would be great if Nokia were to install an OS that had the same level of polish, attention, and design that the Booklet itself has.
Here are my thoughts after two weeks of testing, installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling alternative Linux based Operating Systems in the form of a Pro & Con comparison of the hardware, and the various potential OSs of Windows 7 Starter, Ubuntu, and Jolicloud:

Pros for the Nokia Booklet Hardware:

Beautiful hardware design
3G with a sim chip port in a netbook is excellent and frees one up to be able to work on a computer anywhere
Lovely screen
I like the chicklet style keyboard, even if a bit narrow
Truly long long long battery time: 10-12 hours. I have yet to run it all the way down.

Cons for the Nokia Booklet Hardware:

I don’t like the touchpad, rough surface, works poorly in Win7
Overall: The Nokia Booklet 3G is a lovely, little mini-laptop. The only thing cuter is Jackie’s pink Eee PC. The Booklet would be cuter than the Eee PC if it came in hot pink or deep purple.
Pros for Windows 7 Starter:
Native 1280×768 screen resolution
Cons for Windows 7 Starter:
Wow! Win7 Starter sucks.
AT&T Sim chip does not *just* work for the 3G side, Al and I had to add our own settings & it still didn’t work. It finally did about 3 days later.
Multitouch on the touchpad does not work or works very badly and intermittently.
Win 7 on the Booklet is slow. Sometimes molasses in a blizzard slow. Unexceptably slow.
Can be quirky on start up and starts in Airplane Mode with wifi/3G turned off. Odd but true.
Windows 7 Starter does not let the user do a lot of normal tasks like change the background, so I had to download a specious 3rd party app to rid the desktop of the Win7 logo.
Overall: Windows 7 does NOT live up to the hype. While it may appear to be an improvement over XP or Vista, any OS is an improvement over those two, so it is not saying much. Windows 7 Starter is a bad little OS. Nokia’s biggest mistake is not the 1 GB of RAM or Intel Atom chip speed on the Booklet, but the inclusion of Windows 7 Starter as the OS as the Windows Bloat slows down the hardware. If Nokia wants to be in bed and having relations with Windows (each to their own), then for the price of the Booklet, they should have Windows 7 Ultimate as the shipped OS, as it is more polished and for the $600 price unlocked the Booklet does deserve a polished OS.
Did I mention how damned slow Windows 7 Starter is to do any task? Ugh.
Pros for Ubuntu via Wubi:
Super fast install of Ubuntu via Wubi which uses bit torrent.
Wow! Ubuntu is much nicer than Win7 Starter! Can I say that again?!
AT&T sim chip 3 G data *just* works in Ubuntu after you answer 3 questions, no fiddling with properties & preferences.
Multitouch does work on the touchpad and it is *fast* (it worked on the first two times I installed Ubuntu through Wubi, but not the last two times)
Ubuntu is fast on the Booklet, none of the hesitating or slow loading of Win7.
Ubuntu comes shipped with over 25 applications that provide a wide range of office, graphics, web, and developer tools and programs, including Nokia’s QT.
Cons For Ubuntu:
800×600 screen resolution. As of Jan 29, 2010, don’t try the kernel mod fix to make the res 1280×768 as recommended on the Ubuntu wiki, it makes for a very unstable install, wait for the Ubuntu dev folks to make a stable fix.
Sometimes the multitouch works great, sometimes it runs too fast.
Overall: Ubuntu is my favorite OS for the Nokia Booklet 3G hands down and miles ahead of Windows 7. While at the time of writing this, I could not get the native screen resolution to work with the Ubuntu fix, the Jolicloud folks did, so the Ubuntu folk should not be far behind with a workable fix.
The best part of Ubuntu on the Nokia Booklet is that the OS has a light footprint which makes for a fast Booklet and even though light & fast, Ubuntu is powerful and comes with or one is able to download easily any and all developer tools to really work on the Booklet with Ubuntu. I can code and deploy Django, Google App Engine, and Nokia’s QT with Ubuntu, which I would not be able to do fast or easily with Windows 7 Starter or Jolicloud on the Booklet.
I really do think that Nokia should do a co-promote with Ubuntu’s Canonical and ship a version or a dual boot of Ubuntu customized / polished up for the Booklet, as it is provides much more programs and functionality than Windows. For all the naysayers that don’t think Ubuntu is polished enough, if Nokia were to work with Canonical, much of the polish problems could be solved within a few weeks with a team of devs & designers on the project. The main points are to make sure the native screen resolution and multitouch always work, as well as the syncing with one’s mobiles. If one really wants Windows, then provide a dual boot. Many folks would be happier with Ubuntu after 30 minutes of using it, not just a geek like me.
Pros for Jolicloud:
Native Screen Resolution of 1280×768 out of the box (or install as the case may be)
Different User Interface desktop layout
Apple/Mac style keyboard shortcuts work to close windows (ctrl+w) & exit programs (ctrl+q). Ubuntu & Windows do not do this.
Touchpad is fast for moving the cursor.
I like the black background & the colors & icons are easy on the eyes.
Cons for Jolicloud:
First time I tried to install last week, it kept quitting. It worked tonight, but it was very slow.
Slow start up load
Froze completely the 1st time I asked it to use the AT&T sim chip for data connection, had to force re-start.
2nd time I tried to use the AT&T data, it froze again. Not working.
Different User Interface desktop layout
Multitouch does not work, two fingers won’t scroll
While Jolicloud is built on Ubuntu, it does not have as many programs & applications available without downloading or using the package manager
Jolicloud takes over any install of Ubuntu on the Booklet and I had to uninstall both to reinstall Ubuntu to get it to load again.
Overall: Jolicloud has a great deal of potential, esp. as a netbook OS for non-power/non-geek users. The User Interface has quite a bit of polish, the native screen resolution of the Nokia Booklet works on startup on Jolicloud, and I love that some Mac/Apple gestures & keyboard shortcuts just work. The downsides to Jolicloud of non-working 3G, missing programs & tools that Ubuntu ships with, slow load time, and the lack of multitouch on the touchpad make Jolicloud unworkable for me as a geek user who would like to use the Booklet as a mini-laptop that is a mini-dev box. But I will not discount Jolicloud as their developers are ambitious & very responsive and many of these issues may be solved within the month or two.
I may expire waiting for Apple to deliver a cute, tiny, light, fully powered 10 inch MacBook Pro. Nokia has done the next best thing by making a cute, tiny, light, well designed 10 inch Nokia Booklet 3G. But… it is under powered with a bad operating system in Windows 7 Starter that slows the machine down and makes for a bad user experience. Sorry, but the Windows 7 experience does not cut it, even in the upgraded $80+ Ultimate version.
As with many Nokia products the hardware is beautiful, but the OS is either lacking or the wrong fit for the beautiful hardware. In the case of the Booklet, Windows is a wrong fit, but there are options out there and Nokia should give the customer a choice of a great user experience with the Booklet.
Nokia needs to step up their game and either develop a kick ass version of the Maemo OS for the Booklet, which would be delicious, or work with Ubuntu to make a Nokia branded version of Ubuntu that would make the Booklet experience a delight to use and worth the $600 unlocked asking price.
At this point, I would love to buy a Nokia Booklet 3G if it had a great OS, but not if it comes shipped with a bad OS at $600 when I could get a pink Eee PC at $275 and install Ubuntu on it for free.

Monday TidBits

I am currently buried under in work and thus don’t have any real photos to post from today and the two blog posts that live in my head about the Nokia N900 will have to wait for a day or so.
In the meantime, here is a few delightful links for you:
The Language of Food on Ceviche and Fish & Chips. A wonderful cultural historical linguistical exploration of vinegared meat from the Persia of the Sassanids to vinegared fish dishes of modern day Peru and the UK.
Tom Chi in his OK/Cancel form writing on how developers and designers need to work together and not in separated worlds in Bowman vs Google? Why Data and Design Need Each Other
These last two articles are on the differences between US/Nordic or Apple/Nokia in terms of advertising and approach written by Teemu Arina, who I met last year at Nokia Open Lab 2008, and Karri Ojanen, who I have not met but I love his name & admire his work. I have been formulating my own thoughts on the essential (good) differences between the design & advertising cultures of Apple v. Nokia which in many ways stem from the differences between Norther California and Finland culturally, and Teemu & Mr. Ojanen have beat me to the punch in: Interactive value creation, Apples and Nokias and with Digital (Advertising) in the Nordics.

My One True New Love : Google App Engine

I have read up and checked out the Google AppEngine in a cursory fashion a couple of times in the last few months, even to the point of signing up for an invite before it was publicly open and downloading the SDK. But life and work and play were too busy, so I didn’t have time to really delve into GAE with any intent and real application.
Until today. Last Friday night, a much admired friend passed away in a car accident and on Sunday I was asked if I would develop a memorial web application for friends, family, and colleagues to post photos and stories up. I said yes and ran through my head quickly all the possible ways we could do it. Given the resources at hand it seemed that PHP, be it hand rolled or Cake PHP would be the only approach to take given the time & server constraints. Yikes.
I really struggle with PHP, I dislike all the verbage, punctuation, and braces. When I am able to make a whole app work in it, I am vastly relieved. But most of the time the butt kicking that PHP delivers is greater than my feelings of accomplishment.
One of the things that I do adore about Python and Ruby is that they both are lean and make sense. There is not butt kicking, only happy writing, testing and deploying. Except most host servers don’t like one to run a good Python or Ruby framework such as Django or Ruby on Rails. So if a client or friend already has a server and a domain and wants to move forward fast, much of the time Django and Ruby on Rails gets ruled out. Thus, the evils of PHP reassert themselves.
After sending most of yesterday and this morning debating of how I should plan and construct the memorial site, a meteor of insight flashed through my head… Google App Engine.
GAE is free (for now), uses Python and Django (happy days!!!!), it has great tutorials on top of all the Google resources. No reinventing the wheels with PHP and/or Cake PHP.
So this afternoon I started experimenting with GAE and discovered very quickly that between its webapp extension and the images/Picasa API that I would be able to develop the whole memorial application with very little fuss and stress.
Here is a quote from an email that I sent to the folks organizing the memorial:

Google AppEngine is a dreamy love bug of a dev environment, I may have to marry it. PHP is formally now dead to me. Normally 6 hours into a dev project I am not happy but really really really really really frustrated and writing snarky twitters about how much I *hate* PHP. But no… Love love love love the Google.

Google, thank you for making my life easier today when I would rather be crying than developing.