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Page Two TAB Articles by Geoffrey Goetz

Can’t Seem to Digg Your iPhone Anymore These Days?

Digg has changed more than just its style recently, and apparently has left their third-party development teams screaming for a transition back to the old Diggs.  The bottom line is that the iPhone App does not work at all anymore.  I use to be an avid ‘Digger’ myself, until the iPhone came out and my RSS reading habits changed greatly.  This was also about the time where I stopped subscribing to feeds individually, and started using Google Reeder exclusively.  When  the official iPhone version of Digg came out, I became a ‘Digger’ once again.  The look and feel of the new iPhone App was so impressive that I modified my online reading behavior slightly, and starting ‘Digging’ into popular feeds once again.  I consider myself a member of theDiggnation and have even been part of the studio audience of “The Screen Savers” back in the day.  So when the iPhone version of the App stopped working, I Started Digging a little deeper to figure out what was the matter.  I did what any self-respecting iPhone veteran would have done:

It was this last step that proved that I was indeed not crazy.  The developer forums have been buzzing with requests to bring back the prior version of the APIs.  It appears as if the update to the Digg site had some unforeseen consequences.  Kevin Rose has eventweeted about some of the issues since he has taken charge earlier this year and has vowed that an update was coming that would resolve many of the issues.

Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2010 22:00:02 -0700
From: Digg Support
Subject: Re: [Contact Digg] Bug Report - General
Hi,
Due to the launch of the new version of Digg and related bugs, the app
is not currently working as it should, but m.digg.com is and the app
should be fully functional shortly.
Thanks for your patience.
- Digg Support Team
Follow us on Twitter – @digg
Learn more in our FAQ section: http://about.digg.com/faq

Then I received the above response from the Digg support team, basically verifying my findings.  It appears that it is not only the iPhone App that is suffering from the ill effects of the redesign.  Several individuals of the Diggnation have spoken up and voiced their opinion on the redesign.  With all of the Buzz about Digg online lately, perhaps I should switch back my RSS reading habits, as I would have seen the issue with Digg posted a lot sooner if I was not depending on Digg itself to let me know what topics were trending hot.  With any luck, the iOS Digg App will be functional before Digg elects a new CEO to run the company.

August 29, 2010 Posted by | How-To, iPhone, Software | , , , | Leave a comment

Mystery Island, Now Just a Message In the Bottle

Koingo SoftwareI typically get software update notices at least every other day (more so following OS X releases) for all of the Mac software I have purchased over the years. Typically the I make a mental note of the update and plan on downloading and installing at a later time. Not this time. I received an interesting correspondence from Koingo Software. They informed me of my prior purchases and let me know how to upgrade my existing license. Just the usual information from a company you bought software from. Then the interesting bit, a scavenger hunt. An old scavenger hunt that has been going on for some time now.  Apparently they have lost one of their original software titles a while back and are still looking for anyone that may have a copy residing on an old hard drive or backup volume. The software title in question was the original release of Mystery Island. You may recall the tag line: “Millionaire James Harvey has died and his son inherited it all. Now he is missing. It is your job to solve the mystery!” According to Koingo, the archive was originally 42 MB and was a .sea file called “Mystery_Island_Full.sea.” So I quickly ran over to a stack of old MacAddict (now MacLife) disks that I still have looking to see if the title was on any of the discs I still have. Sadly no. It is an intriguing situation as not very many current Apple customers have had Macs since that time. It would be interesting to know if you remember playing this game back in the day, and even more so if you happen to still have an original copy of the installer. You could now score $500 from Koingo Software if you do.

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Software | , | 1 Comment

Oracle Sues Google over Java – Objective-C Unaffected

Oracle vs GoogleApple created a huge development ecosystem that brought developers to Apple’s iOS and Objective-C programming language.  Many corporations started taking mobile development more seriously as the number of users grew to astounding numbers.  The iOS platform quickly became a staple development platform.  Now Google is trying to convince that same community of developers that it’s platform is the second coming.  The adoption of the Android platform by users has caught up and surpassed that of iOS.  But app development in the Android Market Place had not exactly followed suit.  Revenues on the iOS platform have not been worth sacrificing by spending time on Android development.  Until recently.  As more developers start targeting Android, the frequency of updates, new features, and even the release of new iOS apps will begin to slow down.

It should therefore be no surprise that Oracle timed the filing of its law suit against Google shortly after Android passed iOS in smart phone market share, and shortly after Google announced its plans to generate billions of dollars off of the Android platform.  In a move similar to Apples move to protect its intellectual property when it sued HTC over patent infringement, Oracle, the current owner of Java, has sued Google over its use of Oracle’s intellectual property.  Given that iOS and Android are direct competitors in the smartphone marketplace, and all app development on Android allegedly uses Oracle’s intellectual property, anything that affects Android negatively can and will affect iOS positively.

Jonathan Schwartz may have know that this day was coming when he wrote in his farewell memo to the employees of Sun stating that “every employee needs to emotionally resign from Sun. Go home, light a candle, and let go of the expectations and assumptions that defined Sun as a workplace. Honor and remember them, but let them go.”  Sun Microsystems’ corporate culture had a very different attitude concerning the licensing of one of its most valuable technological assets, Java. One may say that Sun’s open culture influenced one of its former employees, current Google CEO Eric Schmidt, to make the Android operating system open. All that has changed as Larry Ellison now owns Java. It is not that Oracle does not see the value in Java, it most certainly does. And counter to Google’s philosophy when it comes to technology, where there is value, there should be revenue. Especially when it comes to mobile platforms.

There is one technical glitch, Android claims that it does not use Java, it uses Dalvik. So what is Dalvik? No, it is not a fishing village in Iceland (well yes it is, sort of). The best way to explain the difference between Java and Dalvik as it pertains to Oracle and Google is to use an analogy comparing it to the differences between UNIX and Linux.  Java is a programming language that got its start at Sun Microsystems back in the 1990′s. This programming language needs to be compiled into bytecode in order to execute. This bytecode then runs within a virtual machine. It is the Java Virtual Machine that is akin to UNIX. Dalvik is also a virtual machine similar to Java’s virtual machine. The Dalvik virtual machine would be akin Linux in this analogy. The Dalvik virtual machine is fundamentally different in its design from the Java Virtual machine, but they are both still virtual machines.

And here is where things get a little funny. There is a tool that takes Java compiled bytecode (which would normally run in the Java virtual machine) and converts it into a different instruction set which is used by the Dalvik virtual machine. The same Java source files are compiled into the same Java bytecode which is then transformed to work on a different virtual machine.  So technically, on each Android device, there is no Java bytecode, and there is no Java virtual machine installed.  No physically installed, copied or otherwise distributed Oracle Java product on the device at all.  That does not necessarily mean there is no Oracle enabled technology involved.

So why is Oracle chasing Google over Java on mobile platforms and not Apple and other operating system developers on desktop platforms?  While it is true that Sun did make Java Open Source via the OpenJDK, it appears that this only applies to the Standard or desktop Edition, not the Mobile Edition. And this is where Oracle hopes to make its claim on Google and in turn any Android manufacturer. But is it even the same Java source code? It is important to understand that Dalvik uses a subset of the Apache Harmony Java classes, an effort which essentially re-wrote the necessary Java classes from scratch.  So what part of anything truly Java is on Android to begin with?

What appears to be in question is whether or not any of the Harmony sources can be used on mobile platforms, and wether or not Google’s attempts to utilize the Java Language, not the virtual machine, on a mobile platform in any form violates the intellectual property now owned by Oracle.  So long as there are still 24hrs in a day, developers will have to choose which platform they spend their time on.  If you are a developer looking to port your existing inventory of lucrative iOS apps over to the growing Android platform, you may want to delay that decision a little while longer as the dust settles and analysts evaluate the merits of this law suit.

August 13, 2010 Posted by | Commentary, Development | , , , | Leave a comment

iPhone 4 Registration, Activation and Visual Voicemail

New iPhone 4

Approximately 1.7 million of us have already purchased, registered, activated and started using Apple’s new iPhone 4 running iOS4.  600,000 in the first 24hrs alone.  5,000 of which I had the pleasure of getting better acquainted with just two weeks ago at WWDC!  According to several sales projections, that leaves only a mere 8 to 10 million more purchases, registrations and activations to go next quarter alone.  That is if Apple is to hit that magical 100 million units by the end 2011.  So what wisdom and insight can the rest of humanity gain from the relatively few of us that have been through this pre-order process over the last week???

When all was said and done, going to the AT&T Retail Store and having the iPhone 4 delivered to my home ended up being the best of both worlds. I did not spend all day glued to my computer waiting for my pre-order to get accepted online finding out later that it had in fact been canceled, and I did not spend all day standing in line at the Apple Store waiting for my new iPhone to be activated by an in store Genius. But in the end, there was one last hurdle to overcome, activating the new SIM card in the iPhone 4 via AT&T.  AT&T did include a set of instructions to follow in the box that came from FedEx.  And here is how things went for me…

iPhone SyncPreparation of Old iPhone

If you are part of the 17% purchasing an iPhone 4 as a new customer of AT&T, skip to the next section.  If you are upgrading an existing iPhone, be sure to back up and sync one last time.  If you have purchases on your older iPhone, prior to registration of your new iPhone 4, you may want totransfer purchases to your iTunes account on your Mac or PC.  Offload any photos you still have on the device, and be sure to listen to any outstanding voice mail messages.  For the most part, act as if the phone was about to be lost stolen or destroyed, and you have one last chance to get everything off of it prior to updating.  As a special note, I did have one iPhone 3G on iOS4 prior to the upgrade and one iPhone 3G still on iPhone OS 3.1.3.  Both updates to a new iPhone 4 went without a hitch.  So do not feel like you need to upgrade your old 3G to iOS4 prior to activating your new iPhone 4.  Even if you intend to restore data from your backed up iPhone running iPhone OS 3.1.3 onto your new iPhone 4 running iOS4.  This is exactly what I did in one instance and ti worked just fine for me.

Connect To iTunes

Apple iTunes Registration

Registration is the process of associating the new iPhone 4 with an iTunes account.  It is from this iTunes account that all data will come from.  Apps, music, podcasts, movies, photos, the works!  One of the new iPhone 4s I registered as a new phone, and the other I registered using the most recent backup information from my iPhone 3G. Both registrations via iTunes went quickly and smoothly.  I was able to access both iPhones via iTunes and sync via iTunes right away. This is where the instructions were a bit confusing.  According to the steps outlined by AT&T, the iPhone 4 should remain powered off during this process.  As soon as I attached the iPhone 4 to my Mac, it powered on and preceded to ‘phone home’ so to speak.  So from this point forward both of my iPhones remained powered on.  Since I do manually manage music and videos on both phones, I did not get any of my music off of my 3G device and installed on my iPhone 4.  As for your Apps, provided you register your new iPhone 4 with the same iTunes account as your old iPhone, all of the Apps you have purchased will be able to be installed and run on the new iPhone.

Waiting For Activation

AT&T Activation

Don’t get all excited just yet, that party has just begun. While Apple now know of your new iPhone, and you have registered it with an iTunes account, AT&T wants on on the action.  The online activation via http://att.com/Activations for both phones failed, and I was forced to call AT&T at 1(800)331-0500 to activate each phone.  Both the online forms and the automated system on the phone walk you through the steps of activation simply and plainly.  What was not clear is what I was supposed to do with my old iPhone 3G.  For one activation I left my iPhone 3G powered on, and for the second activation I turned my iPhone 3G off. What I did to my old iPhone did not seem to have any affect on the registration process. Activation took just as long with the old iPhone power on as it did powered off.  In both cases I also connected the new iPhone 4 to my local Wi-Fi, so both phones did have network connectivity during AT&T’s registration process.  Here is where I got a little impatient.  I did power on and off each iPhone 4 about every ten minutes or so for two hours each until the activation was successful. When all was said and done, the activation took about two hours for each iPhone 4 to activate and connect to AT&T’s 3G network.  I probably could have waited two hours and powered on and off just once each.

Password Incorrect

Visual Voicemail

Following the activation, I noticed that my voicemail was not functioning at all. After several trial and error attempts to access my voicemail, I was eventually gained access to an old school interface and had touch tone access to voice mail. Not visual voicemail.  This was enabled by accessing the voicemail feature of the phone, and answering some automated questions. Shortly thereafter, I was prompted for a password to access visual voicemail. In old school touch tone voicemail systems this is often referred to as your voicemail’s pin.  Something that I had long since forgotten about. Fortunately, I was able to recall what my pin was. Once I entered my pin, my phone started working as a modern day iPhone should work, visual voice mail and all.  If you do not know your pin, you will have to contact AT&T support to have your voicemail password reset.

Overall things went very smoothly and there were no real obstacles that I could not overcome with a little patients.  Systems may be slow or down at times, but it all worked out in the end.  I now have two functional iPhone 4s and two Wi-Fi only iPhone 3Gs.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | How-To, iPhone | , | Leave a comment

TAB Welcomes: Geoffrey L. Goetz

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Geoffrey L. Goetz

Geoffrey L. Goetz

An overwhelming feeling of “Jamais Vu” is how I would best describe the experience of re-entering both the mobile as well as the development scenes since the advent of Apple’s iPhone SDK.  Ground breaking new technology, ever-expanding features and capabilities in each new SDK.  Innovative and hip company in Silicon Valley calling all the shots. And like a moth to a flame I just have to be there no matter what. Writing about it, speaking about it, teaching, mentoring, and building solutions with it.

That was me in a nutshell back in 1997 when Java took off and Borland was the hip company in Silicon Valley (actually Scott’s Valley, on the other side of the mountain, but close enough) that I could not help but fall in love with.  Everything then feels like everything now, and is best described in Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm.

I may…

View original 212 more words

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

   

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