Archive for March, 2009

WordPress for iPhone

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 | Company News | Comments Off

I posting this from the WordPress iPhone app. I spent hours trying to get it to work. Well they released an update which fixed one problem. It still wasn’t workng bu I found the cause: a .htaccess redirecting all XML files to my feed. It was meant to redirect feeds from my old blog, but it was interfering with the apps ability to access my blog. In any case it works now.

iPhone OS 3.0

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 | Reviews | Comments Off

Now that it has been over a week since the iPhone OS 3.0 event, I would like to comment on what happened. I’m very impressed with the new features that Apple is including with the update. I was actually surprised at just how many features were added- I expected a few bigs ones (ie copy and paste) but some surprised me (P2P Bluetooth). Let me go over the features I think are important:

- Copy and paste: FINALLY! While I didn’t need it all that often, it does come in handy once and a while. Even though the interface is a little odd, and will take getting used to, it is a much needed addition.

- Search: This is bigger than it sounds. Having a global Spotlight search is something that we’ll never believe we lived without. And adding search to Mail and iPod is another much needed addition.

- Landscape keyboard: I hated not being able to use the landscape keyboard in Mail and in SMS(now Messages). Its about time this was added too, and it makes typing on the iPhone so much better.

- Automatic login in Safari: This is awesome- no more needed to type passwords over and over again. With Safari remembering key passwords, it makes browsing a much better experience.

- Peer to Peer Bluetooth: WOW! This is going to open up a whole new class of applications. I cannot wait to see what other developers do with this ability. I can imagine playing games with other iPhones and sending notes and Calendar events to a friend or co-worker. I even have some ideas on applications that can leverage this.

- Dock connectivity: Its about type the dock was opened up. Imagine attaching it to a serial cable and managing a switch or router with it? This sounds really cool, and I can’t wait to see what device manufacturers will come out with.

- Push notification: I’m glad this is finally coming, though I am disappointed there still is no option for background notification. While having a notice come through will be helpful for some apps, there still is no option for background audio. I would like to see an interface to specify 1-3 apps that are allowed to run in the background. It would make management much easier than Windows Mobile devices, but still allow needed apps for users.

All in all and awesome update. I’m actually already running it on my iPhone, and it is quite nice. Obviously, I can’t talk about it too much, but other than being buggy in some areas, it works great.

Now I’m thinking of ways I can utilize the new features, and hopefully I can come up with something cool.

Activation Frustration

Monday, March 9th, 2009 | Story | Comments Off

So I saw this article about not screwing your customers, and it reminded me of an similar experience I had at my day job a few weeks ago. We were having some problems with one of our middle school’s TV studio computer. I had to re-install Windows XP on it.

Now here is where it gets interesting(and frustrating). The studio uses Visual Communicator 2. It used to be made by Serious Magic. They were bought by Adobe in 2006. The newest version is version 3- which costs a lot of money to upgrade. And version 2 was working fine so we didn’t feel the need to upgrade.

Anyway, I install VC2 just fine- but then it needs activating. Ugh- I hate activation and I avoid activation as much as possible. But we already bought this product, so I go ahead and try to activate it over the internet. No luck. I try again. Nope. I just to make sure I have internet connectivity, and I do. But it won’t activate.

Okay, so it gives a number to call to activate over the phone. I was on the phone for over TWO HOURS trying to activate VC2. I kept getting the run around- on hold for 10 minutes, transfer to a different department, wait 10 more minutes, transfer again-BACK TO THE FIRST DEPARTMENT, or get hung up on. Finally, after getting ready to pull my hair out, I finally got someone in tech support that could answer my question. And I was incredulous at the answer.

I told him my quandary and his response- “Oh they shut the servers off, so you can’t activate it.”

“Well can’t you do something?”
“No, I can’t- they shut the servers off”
“Sooo what do I do?”
“Buy a newer version.”
“WHAT!? We spent a ton of money on this? We already paid for it! Why should we have to pay again to use software that was working fine before I had to reimage!”
“Sorry, nothing I can do. Bye”

Wow! What horrible customer service- and he said all of this in a very rude tone! And the biggest reason I hate activation- once they shut the servers off you are screwed. Of course the pirates have no problem cracking the activation and using. Its only us paying CUSTOMERS that have problems.

Luckily, through some Google-Fu I found that the former employees of Serious Magic convinced Adobe to release an activation hack. It was released about a month before I ran into the problem. It would have been nice if the idiot tech on the other end of the phone  told me about this.

I know when we do upgrade our TV Studios (sometime next year) we will stay away from anything made by Adobe.