Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blog Moved

Hello! I have moved my blog over to wordpress. I will no longer be posting updates here. You can get to my new blog by going to and it will redirect you.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mobile Web Applications

There always seems to be a push from IT folks to cross-develop for multiple mobile platforms. The truth is, in many cases you just cannot make a mobile application that is quite as compelling as a native app. You lose a lot of the hardware access and speed that make it so satisfying to use something like an iPhone application. That is why you see people like Facebook making apps for every device. In addition, you lose the app store exposure and marketing unless you package the web app into some kind of native wrapper.

All of that being said, there are cases where a web app will do fine and can target more than one platform. e-Commerce is a good example. Web storefronts created with an MVC design pattern can swap out a simpler presentation layer that will look better on a mobile device. Go to as an example.

The elusive search for a nice framework that goes past basic HTML and leverages more advanced features across all smartphones has been going on a while. I've seen many, but they either suck completely or will not be accepted into the app store. With iSkygaze, I used a library called IUI to make a web app that seems more like a native app. Today though, there is a new solution and I'm liking it a lot....

Senchatouch is made by the same people who made ExtJS. It combines HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript to make a pretty nice apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Is it a replacement for native apps? No, but it could be a great solution for people developing apps for internal use in a corporate environment where app store visibility is not important.

Friday, May 7, 2010

iPhone/iPad Storybook

I'm fairly close to wrapping up a cool project for the iPhone and iPad. It will be completely free. This kids storybook allows various personalization and will hopefully attract some new customers to Lillian Vernon. Stay tuned!

In other news, the facility that I work at in Virginia Beach will be shutting down next year. They want me to move to Colorado but I am fairly certain I am not interested. I guess I still have plenty of time to figure it out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I think the iPad is great

Thank God the ultra-nerds of this world do not determine the success of a product. Yes, I like the iPad.

Everyday I read the same diatribe that has been spread across the internet by a core bunch of people who refuse to allow anything in the electronic ecosystem that is NOT complex.

"It's just a big iPod touch"
"It's a closed system. I hate Apple."
"No USB port? No way!"

The iPad is NOT just a big iPod touch. That's like writing off a 50" TV as just a bigger 9" TV. The interface is certainly familiar which is why it is so intuitive, but the apps have been redesigned to really take advantage of the space. It has the speed to do it all incredibly fast and a battery life that is unparalleled. Go the Apple Store, read "The Elements" by Theodore Gray or watch a Netflix movie and tell me you are not impressed.

As far as the closed system argument goes, the app store has something for everyone. I am running an incredible astronomy program, a flight sim, Netflix, note taking, word processor and some great games. There are plenty of options. In addition, the App Store has plenty of apps that are in direct competition with Apple like Kindle and Netflix. People are looking for a problem where none exists. Believe me, an app being refused from the app store is the exception, NOT THE RULE!!!!

Apple's forte is engineering complete solutions through hardware and software. They do this incredibly well. The fit and finish of the product is incredible, and the minor complaints I do have like multitasking and uploading photos via Safari can and will be addressed through software updates.

Does it replace a laptop for everyone? No. I cannot develop software on it, nor can I create videos like I do with Final Cut on the Mac. It does have a place though. For reading books, surfing the web, email, watching movies on a trip or in the kitchen, using specialty apps like notetaking, astronomy, etc, this device is great. If you don't like it and think a Windows 7 or Android tablet will be better that is ok, but at least try the thing before repeating some inane comment you've heard on the net. Android cannot even include a decent email client and HP has a horrible track record for touch screen UI so I wouldn't get too excited.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Foreign Character Sets Working in Next Version...Confirmed

I'm happy to report that all international characters will work in Version 1.2. You can see a sample below. I'm working on making the process of fitting characters into the alloted space better as well as improving how text using the Zapfino font is edited and rendered.

Current Postcards 1.2

The next version of Current Postcards (1.2) will fix problems using the extended characters that are available on the iPhone. This is really for international users or spanish speaking user trying to use enhanced character sets. I believe this will also allow chinese/japanese characters (kanji, han) to render correctly but it is a little difficult testing this. The simulator for the iPhone does allow me to change the language but I haven't figure out how to actually write these characters in the simulator yet.

We are also working on more postcard themes for a future update that include more "postcard" like themes with the stamp, watermark, etc... Expect this to follow after the 1.2 release.

Hope you are enjoying the free program!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

1.1 Other Features

Apple took too long to publish Current Postcards 1.1, so I went ahead and included some other tweaks I completed and re-uploaded the app. This means you may not see the app till next week. In addition to the fixes in my previous post, it also supports font selection and adds a photo border.

Click on the sample above for a better view...