Tag palmpre (62)

taking joy in fixing a badly broken LJ app
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2011-12-29 17:10:00
Tags: lj for webos essay palmpre projects programming
Words: 211

After the latest LJ release, I got a few emails saying LJ for WebOS was badly broken, and lo and behold they were right.

I was not excited about fixing the app, since I knew the code for parsing posts, which is most of what broke, was pretty brittle and terrible. (c.f. "don't parse HTML pages with hand-written state machines") And I don't even use the app much anymore, and it's certainly not going to sell many more copies since it only works on webOS phones, which are not exactly flying off the shelves, and new ones might not exist. So I toyed with the idea of dropping support entirely, but that just felt wrong, even though I'd rather be working on new shiny apps for Windows Phone 7.

Last night I took the first serious stab at fixing things, and it turned out to be much more fun than I had hoped. The app was so nonfunctional it felt like writing a whole new one, and it turns out the new page format is a bit nicer to parse to boot. So I've fixed maybe 60% of the issues already, and hopefully I can fix the rest by next week sometime (pending New Year's festivities) and get back to WP7.

2 comments

Setting values on a view: webOS vs. Android vs. Windows Phone 7
Mood: curious
Posted on 2011-12-11 13:00:00
Tags: essay palmpre windowsphone programming android
Words: 574

Now that I'm working on porting FlightPredictor to a third platform (Windows Phone), I have a better idea of the differences between the platforms. This post is about one of the more common things to do: taking values in code and making them show up in a view.

For reference, here's a screenshot of the flight info page of FlightPredictor for Android:

This view is one of the most important ones in the app, and there's a ton of information on it. Let's focus on just one part: how to make the flight times (the "4:35 PM - 5:50 PM" in the upper-right corner) show up on screen.


webOS:
For a blast to the past, let's look at Mojo first. This is the old application framework that is only used for older phones today.

In Mojo, each view is an HTML page, so in our HTML page for the flightInfo view, we include the following:

#{-publishedDepartureTimeStr} - #{-publishedArrivalTimeStr}
(I'm deliberately omitting the layout stuff...maybe I'll cover that in a future post!)
The #{} syntax means to use the property from the templateModel of the scene. (the - means don't escape any HTML in the property). So, my Flight object has these properties, and when pushing the scene I call
this.controller.stageController.pushScene({name: 'flightInfo', templateModel: event.item}, event.item);
The event.item is the Flight object, and since I'm passing it as the templateModel, that's it! All in all, this is pretty simple - as long as the property's already defined in the Flight object, I only have to change one thing (the HTML source of the view) to get it to show up.

--

Now, let's look at Enyo, the new application framework that is used on the TouchPad (and some newer phones). In Enyo, views are defined by JavaScript that generates HTML. (for a real introduction, see Enyo Basics - From the Bottom Up) Here, the FlightInfo kind includes this for the view:
{name: 'currentFlightTimes', allowHtml: true, content: ''}
and then in the create code for the scene, we have:
this.$.currentFlightTimes.setContent( flight.publishedDepartureTimeStr + ' - ' + flight.publishedArrivalTimeStr);
Here we have two things to do, but it's still fairly straightforward to make new properties show up.


Android:

Things are considerably less happy here. First, we have to define the TextView in the layout's .xml file:
<TextView android:id="@+id/flightInfoCurrentFlightTimes">
Then we have to create a variable for this TextView in the Activity class:
private TextView currentFlightTimesView;
Then, in the constructor for the Activity class, we have to get the view:
currentFlightTimesView = (TextView) findViewById(R.id.flightInfoCurrentFlightTimes);
And finally, when we set a flight, we have to set the text on that view:
currentFlightTimesView.setText( flight.getOriginalDepartureTime().getTimeStr() + " - " + flight.getOriginalArrivalTime().getTimeStr());
So that's a total of 4 changes to make, in two different files. This is significantly more irritating than either webOS version, and it really shows up when you have ~20-30 of these to add to the view.


Windows Phone 7:
Back to a world of happiness: with data binding, we can go back to a Mojo-like model and just add this to the XAML:
<TextBlock Text="{Binding PublishedFlightTimes}">
Admittedly, in this case we'd have to add an extra property for this (or make two separate TextBlocks), but there are plenty of cases where I just want a property that already exists. In any event, it's much simpler than Android. Hooray!

So, the final count:




OSChanges
webOS - Mojo1
webOS - Enyo2
Android4
Windows Phone1 (maybe 2)

I would be very curious to see what the corresponding number is for iOS - is there a way to do simple templating?

2 comments

On a revenue basis, webOS >> Android
Mood: energetic
Posted on 2011-12-07 11:23:00
Tags: palmpre projects android
Words: 266

I worked for around 3 months on FlightPredictor for Android. It's not a particularly pretty app, but it is very functional, and I am proud of it.

Since I released it 3.5 weeks ago, I have sold a grand total of 20 copies. At $1.99 each, minus Google's cut and taxes, that amounts to around $20. (and I had to pay $25 to register in the Android Market, so I haven't even broken even) There's even FlightPredictor Lite, a free trial version with ads (that have made me 3 cents so far).

On webOS, a platform whose future has been very uncertain since August, and despite the fact that I haven't released any new apps in a while, and have only made minor updates to FlightPredictor HD (mostly adding airport maps at users' requests), and there's no free trial version, I'm still making $10 a day. Obviously there are a lot of factors helping me out there (TouchPad firesale, the fact that FlightPredictor HD is still a featured app and is in Pivot), but maaan. If I wanted to optimize for revenue, I should have doubled-down (ahem) on webOS.

I guess that makes FlightPredictor for Android somewhat of a labor of love, which is odd since I don't plan on getting an Android phone. It was fun to learn how to make an Android app, though, even if it was frustrating at times.

The Windows Phone version is coming along slowly (busy time of year), and I'm hoping playing around with a developer phone will give me more ideas of how apps generally work on WP7.

0 comments

FlightPredictor HD featured in October webOS Pivot magazine!
Mood: pleased
Posted on 2011-10-26 19:55:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 41

Well, this is a bit bittersweet since the October issue still hasn't been pushed to TouchPad's, but some clever folks at webOSRoundup found it anyway, and FlightPredictor HD is featured! I've posted the thumbnails below - click through for the full pages.

0 comments

What do I want out of app development?
Mood: pensive
Posted on 2011-08-30 23:10:00
Tags: essay palmpre projects
Words: 443

As I mentioned happily, FlightPredictor HD was chosen in the latest six-pack of free webOS apps. So when I looked at the sales reports for that day, the results were...impressive. I feel weird throwing out numbers, but the total I got from that promo is more than I've earned, total, since I started webOS app development in 2009. It's nowhere near life-changing money but it's more than I expected, especially since I didn't have an inkling on Sunday that it would be featured at all!

Anyway, it's a good opportunity to step back a little and remind myself why I'm doing app development and what my goals are.
- Money: Well, the money's definitely nice. I have no illusions about making enough to replace my day job - even on iOS it's tough to do, and requires a lot of luck (as I understand it). I'm pretty happy as long as I'm making enough to subsidize purchases of webOS hardware, accessories, and the occasional trip to meet webOS folks and learn stuff. With this latest boost, I'm set on that front for a good while.
- Satisfaction: I still get a jolt when I think about people deciding to spend their own money on one of my apps...especially if they like it afterwards! 5 star app reviews and especially emails are very very fulfilling to me. Obviously this promo didn't do a whole lot to further this since the purchases were on HP's dime, but I did get a few good reviews and nice emails.
- Craftsmanship: I like creating things that are high-quality, and that I enjoy using myself. Almost all of my apps fall into this category for me, and most of them were created to "scratch my own itch".
- Programming: Closely related: I like programming, as you can see by the list of random stuff I've done. Some days the high I get from creating something and turning an idea into reality is almost intoxicating.

I like my day job a lot, and I think writing apps full-time would be exciting at first, but after a while I'd be about as happy as I am now - certainly the novelty would wear off! (and not having a fixed salary would stress me out, I'd imagine)

Anyway, that's been on my mind, and I find that writing up my thoughts usually helps organize and clarify them. So...there you go!

(programming note: I actually have some links queued up, but it felt like that was all I posted to LJ, so I wanted to back off a bit. And then this webOS thing blew up and now _that's_ all I post about. So...links tomorrow, unless I forget :-) )

0 comments

FlightPredictor HD in the latest webOS app pack!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2011-08-29 13:52:00
Tags: palm palmpre projects
Words: 51

There's a new pack of free webOS apps, and I was pleasantly elated to find that FlightPredictor HD is one of them!

I somewhat jokingly suggested it after the last pack of free apps, but I had no idea they'd consider it and it would make the cut! happy happy happy

4 comments

Developing for webOS versus Android
Mood: determined
Posted on 2011-08-29 13:20:00
Tags: essay palmpre projects programming android
Words: 544

Over the weekend, I spent some time working on porting LJ for WebOS to Enyo, and after I got stuck there, I worked on porting FlightPredictor to Android. Since I was developing in both environments, I thought I'd give some more thoughts on Android (here's part 1):

I'm definitely learning more as I go, but there are still some areas (well, most areas) that developing for webOS is way easier than Android. I admit I'm biased in the matter since I've done a ton of webOS development, but sheesh:
- The Eclipse I'm using is decent in some ways and really frustrating in others. (I'm using MOTODEV Studio, because...well, I had an email from them and I just picked something) Keep in mind I'm used to developing in a text editor so the bar's pretty low here. It took me a while to realize that when you start debugging something you then have to switch to the "Debug" perspective to actually see what's going on. And 90% of the time when the app crashes, the only info I can see is that a RuntimeException was thrown, somewhere. (even when it's something easy, like a NullPointerException in my code!) Worse is when none of my code is on the call stack and I don't have the Android source code, so it gives me very little idea of where to start looking.

Honestly, the Intellisense is nice, but it just doesn't feel quite right, and often gets in my way. Hopefully as I get used to it I'll stop fighting with it so much. And the emulator is slow - it takes 15-20 seconds to get from pressing "Debug" to the app actually starting, and given the limited information I get back from the debugger it's almost not worth doing. (although if I know where the problem is, I can set breakpoints, etc., which is nice)

- To include a big list of structured data (i.e. a list of airlines), for webOS I just have to include a simple .js file assigning a big JSON array to a variable. For Android I have to generate an XML file (or a JSON file, I guess? Didn't try that...), and write initialization code to parse the XML file and store it.

- In webOS, doing an asynchronous web request is drop-dead simple - just use an XmlHttpRequest! Yay! In Android you have to spin up a new thread and post messages back and forth and such. Just reading that section of the book I'm borrowing depressed me, and I'm sure when I get to that it will suck.

- I wanted to have a Spinner (a list selector) that displayed a string and would return the associated value if it was selected. You know, like EVERY LIST SELECTOR EVER. Except, no - you can easily display a Spinner with a list of strings, but if you want to do something crazy like associate a value with it, you have to implement some interface and things generally get more complicated. What's so hard about a freaking templatized value type?? This makes me angry.

Anyway, nothing so terrible that I'm giving up, but a lot of annoyances and I really have to be in a tolerant frame of mind or I will start throwing things and cursing.

2 comments

401's, why have you forsaken me? (adventures in #webOS)
Mood: frustrated
Posted on 2011-08-28 12:33:00
Tags: essay palmpre programming
Words: 671

TL;DR - 401 errors are important! Handle them correctly!

I've started work on porting LJ for WebOS (LiveJournal client) to Enyo and the TouchPad...and it is not going well.

A little background: An XmlHttpRequest is a neat Javascript feature that let's you fetch web pages or other URLs in the background without requiring a page reload. (it's the "X" in "AJAX") Key to the whole app working is being able to access protected posts, and to do this, I have to use an XmlHttpRequest to fetch a post's webpage while adding "auth=digest" to it, saying I want to see the page as a logged-in user sees it. The dance continues with LJ returning a 401 Unauthorized HTTP error, but this has the necessary information to do another request with the proper authentication. (see the Digest authentication section of RFC 2617)

This is all a bit clumsy, but worked great in the existing LJ for WebOS. Last night I got to the point where I was actually trying to get posts in the new version. First up was developing in Chrome - one of the nicest part of the new webOS framework is that it's easy to test most things in Chrome instead of having to fire up the emulator and install it, etc. I noticed that when I tried this code for the first time, I got a bunch of popups in the browser asking for a username and password for various LJ sites. If I hit Cancel on all of them, things seemed to work - the code then saw the 401 error and proceeded to authenticate normally.

This seemed odd, to say the least, so I did a quick search which led me to this StackOverflow page (yay StackOverflow!), which says that's it's a known issue in Chrome and the only way to work around it doesn't work in my case (because I need to know what the headers on the 401 error are).

Well, that's pretty annoying, and seems clearly wrong to me - the user didn't go to this page, so why is she being asked for a username/password? I could see that you might want the option to do this in some cases, but the default should be off.

So I was already a bit irritated and, after a little bit more work, decided to try it in the webOS TouchPad emulator. I watched the logs scroll by as it got to the point that it did the first request for the post pages and then...nothing. Only when I quit the app by throwing the card away did I get some not-really-sensical error indications in the log.

I rebooted the emulator (as it seems to have a problem once you do too many HTTP requests or something), and the same thing happened. I was a bit at a loss - since I wasn't getting any of my log messages I couldn't see at all what was going on. Finally I fired up Wireshark to see the HTTP requests that the emulator was making to see if there was a clue there.

Much to my surprise, I saw it requesting the same pages over and over again! It would do a request, get back a 401 Unauthorized response, and then do a request again, seemingly trying to authenticate with an empty username and who knows what password.

I looked through my code and tried a few things to make sure that I wasn't causing this, but after some more searching I found a private thread confirming this behavior and that it was a bug.

*sigh* I can't make any more progress while this bug exists, and who knows when (or if?) it will be fixed in the OS. So, if anyone asks, this is why LJ for WebOS isn't on the TouchPad, and I guess I'll move on to other projects for now...

(this probably also mean that running the phone-sized version on the TouchPad won't work either, so...sorry about that. I don't have the heart to try it out right now.)

2 comments

Marriage Map: cartogram, more crazy reviews
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2011-08-27 13:54:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 207

I added a new feature to the same-sex marriage map (and corresponding webOS version) - a cartogram! It weights each state by population (roughly) so you have a better view as to what percentage of the population lives under what laws. (and it's easier to see what a big deal New York is!)

Since the last crazy webOS app review, I've gotten a few more! The first one is responding to that last reviewer:

To (the negative reviewer):I pray that you die in a fiery car crash. JUST KIDDING! I don't pray. But I'm hoping for that crash. :-)
and today I woke up to a new one star review:
Men who say they are gay are basically telling you they like another man's pen1s up their butt... That's freaking disgusting! Y wud I want to know tht?! How wud you like it if i came up to you and told you I liked to swallow d1cks? Don't you all get it? May the lord Jesus Christ have mercy on these wretched sinners, or may he smite them for their Satanous ways... I love God & he protects the holy, I am at peace.

Sigh. I think my next app is going to be about puppies; everyone likes puppies, right?

9 comments

choosing a phone
Mood: conflicted
Posted on 2011-08-25 14:53:00
Tags: essay palmpre
Words: 598

(an aside: my apologies to people reading this who couldn't care less about webOS, etc. The last week has been somewhat traumatic, but my obsession is waning and I'm about ready to move on...)

Well, I've got at least a flavor of my three choices for my next phone's OS. So, let's break this down list-style!

webOS
Availability: bad Were I in a perfect world and I could get my hands on a US Pre3, I would do that. However, that doesn't seem to be an option unless HP has a developer program for them (hmm, this hadn't occurred to me...need to check into). One option is to buy a Pre3 from Europe and use it on AT&T, but according to Engadget I will get very little 3G coverage due to frequency differences. Another option is to use the developer Pre 2 I have with AT&T (or get one on Verizon), but the phone isn't that exciting and I'm not sure the status on OS updates, etc.

Phone quality: very good if I can get a Pre3, OK with a Pre 2.

Development environment: very good At least, once the phones get Enyo. Which I still think is going to happen but is kinda risky to plan around.

App catalog opportunities: good Obviously I'm established here, and I have ideas for more apps.


Android
Availability: very good Everyone and their dog has Android phones, including Sprint.

Phone quality: OK The UI is acceptable, but not very exciting to me. Plus there's the fact that phones seem to get OS updates in the "late to never" timeframe.

Development environment: OK Eclipse is fine enough, but I got pretty frustrated doing simple things. I'm borrowing a book which I hope will help, or at least make it clear if things really are that hard...

App catalog opportunities: OK Android is probably the second-biggest app catalog, but there doesn't seem to be a FlightCaster app, which is surprising to say the least. Anecdotally, I've heard that Android users are less likely to pay for apps, but I don't know if that's true.


Windows Phone
Availability: good There's a good selection of phones, although I'd likely wait until the Mango OS update is out (next weekish?) and see if Sprint has any new good phones.

Phone quality: good I really like the Metro interface (it was inspired by airport/subway signage...how could I not like it? :-) ), and the live tiles stuff is kinda neat. I am kinda surprised that copy-paste isn't available yet (coming in Mango) and background tasks (coming in Mango) have pretty draconian limitations on memory usage, etc.

Development environment: good Visual Studio, as always, is a nice environment to work in, and I'm already familiar with the basics of C# and Silverlight. Not only did I get set up and get a list working in one night, I also finished a port of PasswordHash. (not pretty, but it works) It is annoying that I'd have to use my Windows laptop to do it, though.

App Catalog opportunities: OK Irritatingly, there's already a FlightCaster client for Windows Phone, although I think the additions I've made plus updating in the background would make my app better. But that is a bit of a downer.


--

So I haven't made my decision yet, but I'm currently leaning towards Windows Phone. As I've stated before, I still plan to work on webOS apps as I wait and see what lies ahead for it. (it doesn't hurt that I'm still making good money off of webOS, although the firesale/HP promo halo is starting to fade away)

1 comment

webOS app sales: after the TouchPad firesale
Mood: busy
Posted on 2011-08-23 13:15:00
Tags: palm essay palmpre projects
Words: 137

Well, the last time I did one of these they announced no more webOS hardware from HP, so maybe if I do another one something really really good will happen?

Anyway, the fire sale basically started on Friday. Here are daily numbers for my most popular apps since then - two free, two paid:







ThuFriSatSunMon
FlightPredictor HD827192341
Simple Alarms615181228
Marriage Map162532162179
GAuth10463153


So things are still going strong! Interestingly, FlightPredictor HD sales are still driven strongly by HP's promo codes (36 of the 41 on Mon), while Simple Alarms is the opposite (only 6 of the 28 on Mon). So I'm curious to see if FlightPredictor HD sales drop off faster than Simple Alarms...

0 comments

webOS: the day after - on to anger!
Mood: angry
Posted on 2011-08-19 09:55:00
Tags: palm essay palmpre
Words: 248

I think I'm working my way through the five stages of grief here. Today I'm angry at HP for repeatedly saying that it was a marathon not a sprint, etc., and then deciding to kill the TouchPad less than 50 days after it launched. And the Pre3 launched like two days ago in Europe!

(to be clear, no anger at Palm GBU employees - they've been great and it sounds like everyone was blindsided yesterday...and obviously there's a lot of uncertainty for them. Good luck, guys and gals!)

My plans for now are this: keep working on apps, because it sounds like they really do want to license webOS even though the rational thing to do would be to line up a suitor before announcing they're shutting down webOS hardware. This is not rocket science. I'm guessing Apotheker wanted to announce the shutdown during the conference call to convince shareholders things will get better, but man, talk about the worst thing possible for the platform.

So I'll keep at it, with a bit less fervor than before. If I look at mobile OS's that I would want to develop for and can on a Linux machine, that narrows it down to...Android and QNX as far as I can tell. QNX seems to have very little future, and Android doesn't really excite me that much. So, who knows!

I'm not sure what to do about my next phone, given that I don't know what's going to happen with the Pre3.

0 comments

webOS woes
Mood: sad
Posted on 2011-08-18 17:03:00
Tags: palm essay palmpre
Words: 124

So! HP just announced they're not making any more webOS devices. Maybe webOS will be licensed, maybe not. Signs from inside indicate webOS isn't dead and might be licensed out to other hardware manufacturers, but clearly no such deal is in place yet.

I am: sad (and not sure what to get for my next phone - had my Sprint Pre for over two years and it's not gonna last too much longer), but hopeful that webOS isn't going away for good. I'll probably take a few days off, try not to read too much news, and come back and decide how much effort to spend developing apps. I still enjoy writing apps, and enjoy using them myself, so I'll keep doing that at least...

5 comments

webOS app sales: how are my apps doing?
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2011-08-17 20:30:00
Tags: palm essay palmpre projects
Words: 541

After seeing this post about webOS app sales on PreCentral, I thought it would be a good time to look back at my apps' sales. And in this post, you get real numbers, because...why not? :-)

Summary: App sales since the TouchPad release have been impressive. My numbers are a little weird because my paid apps have separate versions for phones (i.e. Mojo) and the TouchPad (i.e. Enyo).

I have four paid apps for the TouchPad, and here are their approximate sales (by number - all apps are 99 cents except FlightPredictor HD, which is $1.99) in July and August:







JulyAugust (as of today)
FlightPredictor HD155180
Simple Alarms165130
We the People HD8565
Private Browser HD5535


A few interesting things:So obviously I find it impossible to say how well the TouchPad is selling, but people are definitely buying apps (myself included!), and for that I am thankful. Here's to webOS's continued success!

2 comments

crazy webOS app reviews: Marriage Map
Mood: amused
Posted on 2011-08-07 15:36:00
Tags: essay palmpre gay projects
Words: 260

Marriage Map (the webOS version of my same-sex marriage map) got a 1 star rating this morning, with the comment:

It is a shame that marriage is moving from the way God intended it to be. I pray for the souls of those who are blinded by their belief that same-sex marriage is right.

A few things spring to mind:
- Thanks for the prayers! (not intended sarcastically)
- I'm honestly confused about what would make this person happy. I'll presume that same-sex couples aren't going to be able to marry in this person's church anytime soon, so does he think they shouldn't be able to marry in anyone's church? Or is it just the fact that we're able to get hospital visitation rights and the like?
- I tried pretty hard to make the app "non-partisan", so I feel like he's kinda giving 1 star to reality. Although to be fair, I did make the states closer to allowing blue-greenish and the states that don't allow it reddish. (also, 0 of 3 people find the rating helpful, so yay!) I don't usually rate my own apps, but I made an exception in this case to balance it out a bit.

The webOS developer relations team has stated in the past that they're pretty resistant to deleting reviews/ratings unless they contain spam or profanity, so I'm not going to flag it. I guess it's not so bad, given that it's gotten 252 downloads (not great for a free app, but a decent number) and this is the first bad review that's still there.

4 comments

pouring good news
Mood: happy
Posted on 2011-08-01 13:41:00
Tags: palmpre work
Words: 79

Last week was a shower of good news!

- I got promoted at work! Now I'm a Senior Software Engineer, which doesn't translate into anything different on a day-to-day basis. But I'm still excited :-)

- I am now officially a webOS Black Belt developer! Looks like I get some nice marketing material for my webOS apps, as well as a hefty discount on developer devices.

- (good news #3 is embargoed for now, but hopefully I'll get to talk about it soon...)

5 comments

webOS Dallas event trip report
Mood: good
Posted on 2011-07-26 14:58:00
Tags: travel palmpre
Words: 382

Last Friday I went to the webOSRoundup Dallas meetup/developer event. (you can see me in a few pictures there - I sat in the second row)

I had a pleasant drive up that morning and arrived in plenty of time to eat lunch and read on my TouchPad before showing up to the conference center.

The developer event was first, from 1-5 PM. Most of the material was fairly basic stuff, which I had expected, so I worked on my own webOS apps, adding a feature to Simple Alarms (yikes, I need to update that page!) and finishing the port of State Lines to Enyo and the TouchPad. (hopefully coming soon!) I did say hi to the people next to me and chatted and helped them out a bit. And Ben Combee (@unwiredben) showed off a Vectrex emulator that he had ported to the TouchPad and added iCade support. (code available here)

During the breaks I chatted a bit with HP and webOSRoundup folk, which was nice, although I didn't have a lot to say.

After that, I checked into my nearby hotel, then went over to the meetup event. It was at the Blackfinn, which seemed like a nice place (and had good beer!) but it was really, really loud. I had a few short conversations, but the noise combined with my natural introversion kept me from talking to too many people, and I left kinda early. I stopped by Best Buy to get a Touchstone (since I didn't win one :-) ) and returned to the hotel for a night of light coding and relaxing.

The next morning I just drove back, stopping for lunch at a Mexican place in Waco.

The trip was fun, but wasn't as successful as I had hoped. The next time I do something like this, I need to:
- have more specific projects to work on or features to add in my apps. I kinda felt like coding Friday night but didn't have much that I was inspired to work on.
- make more of an effort to network and talk to people. I've done better on previous trips, but maybe the lack of a plane trip/overnight stay hurt here? I kinda felt like the event snuck up on me, and maybe preparing for it more would have helped.

0 comments

webOS developer situation: unacceptable
Mood: angry
Posted on 2011-07-23 16:57:00
Tags: palm rant palmpre
Words: 340

I develop software for a living, so I tend to be more tolerant of bugs, realizing that even though it seems simple to fix, that isn't necessarily the case. And I've cut HP/Palm a lot of slack in the past from a developer standpoint, but things have recently gotten to a ridiculous point and I have to throw up my hands and rant about it.

Since the TouchPad launched on July 1, the sales numbers for apps have been wrong. And not even wrong in an obvious way - one app has gotten exactly 2 sales per day, while every other (paid) app has gotten zero. There's no notice on the page that things are messed up, although there is a thread on the developer forums. Yesterday, after we were told they had identified the problem and a fix was in the works, the sales numbers dropped dramatically, and now we're told not to trust the numbers until we hear otherwise. And last week, the June app payments were sent out, but for the wrong amount.

I've cut Palm developer relations a lot of slack, since the people are very friendly, their policies are much nicer than Apple's (no fee to join the program or submit apps, no arbitrary rules for rejection, quick turnaround times on reviewing apps), and they seem to realize that the webOS platform needs as many good apps as possible and as such, treat us pretty well. But when I say things like it seems they're chronically understaffed, this is the sort of thing that I'm talking about. And I haven't even touched on the tiny screenshots in the App Catalog and the inconsistent "For TouchPad" labels on apps.

Palm has been a part of HP for over a year now, and I know they've been in a mad frenzy to get the TouchPad out, but the time for excuses is over. I'm not leaving the platform anytime soon but things like this sap my will to work on apps. Please get this taken care of soon!

11 comments

app reviews getting better!
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2011-07-06 16:15:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 125

As a followup to App reviews are a way to my heart: I released updates to the two apps in question that went live yesterday, and now they're up to 3.5 and 3 stars! Not as good as I would like, but I don't feel like a bad person for having made bad apps anymore.

On the flip side, the marriage map now has a rating of 2 stars (after 1 review), and as far as I can tell no comments were left. I guess I'll chalk that up to something mysterious, and hope that other people who have downloaded (there are 42 of you!) either rate it higher or let me know what's wrong with it.

Back to trying not to obsess over this...

5 comments

App reviews are a way to my heart
Mood: anxious
Posted on 2011-07-03 13:20:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 148

The HP TouchPad released on Friday, and it is flippin' awesome and you should get one!

So all my apps are out for it. Here's a list:
FlightPredictor HD
Simple Alarms
Private Browser
We the People HD
Marriage Map
GAuth
PasswordHash

Anyway, most of these show up as new apps in the App Catalog, so they start back with no ratings. Which means I'm even more anxious than usual watching for when they get rated. And lo and behold, two of them are not doing well, which makes me very unhappy. One app I can fix (update already waiting to be reviewed!), but the other one I'm not even sure what people are complaining about...

I guess the moral is, if you want to make my day, rate my apps well, and vice versa. Hopefully I'll settle down after they all have a few ratings under their belt.

2 comments

a sigh of relief
Mood: relieved
Posted on 2011-06-22 10:24:00
Tags: palmpre work
Words: 75

Yesterday two awesome things happened:
- a bunch of work stress magically disappeared
- I finished and submitted most of the webOS apps that will be ready at the TouchPad launch (July 1)

Both of these had been causing me a lot of stress, to the point of not sleeping well. So I'm really excited about putting these behind me.

(also, I submitted 4 apps last night, and when I woke up 3 were accepted already. Yay!)

1 comment

happy Friday eve! PreCentral interview, Atul Gawande
Mood: complacent
Posted on 2011-06-16 10:53:00
Tags: palmpre gay politics links
Words: 184

I got interviewed at PreCentral yesterday! I think it went pretty well, and a surprising number of people clicked through to look at my apps and stuff.

Here's Atul Gawande's commencement address at Harvard Medical school. He talked about how medicine needs to move from a "cowboy" culture to a "pit crew" one.

The New York same-sex marriage bill passed the State Assembly (as it has several times before), but its future is unclear. Supporters say they have 31 of the needed 32 votes in the State Senate, but the Republicans (who have a majority in the State Senate) aren't even sure they're going to bring it up. But it sounds like it's either going to happen or it won't by the end of this week.

What to say to someone who's sick and how to help without being an imposition.

I'm not paying a great deal of attention to the Republican primary, but apparently Tim Pawlenty has proposed more tax cuts that are significantly larger than the Bush tax cuts. (and of course, the vast majority going to the top 1% or 0.1%...)

0 comments

Palm TouchPad conference!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2011-04-25 14:00:00
Tags: palm palmpre
Words: 89

"Time… is what keeps everything from happening at once" - Ray Cummings

Time is falling down on the job for me. But, later this week I'm going to Sunnyvale for a HP/Palm TouchPad developer session! Very excited to get to try out my apps on the TouchPad and see how it feels.

The webOS team will be there as well and I'll have a chance to ask them questions. So - anything people want me to ask? (please only questions they can answer, i.e. not "Will the Pre3 be on Sprint?")

8 comments

LJ for WebOS: the saga ends!
Mood: surprised
Posted on 2011-03-15 13:06:00
Tags: lj for webos palmpre projects
Words: 64

After my last LJ for WebOS adventure, I was a bit down. But, I look at the App Catalog today, and the most recent review has been upgraded from 1 star to 3 with the text: "A recent update has greatly improved the readability of the themes, so is[sic] that's what put you off before I suggest taking another look."

Yay! Thanks, random person!

0 comments

Why so few webOS 2.0 apps?
Mood: frustrated
Posted on 2011-03-15 10:37:00
Tags: essay palmpre
Words: 276

(in response to this Precentral article)

As a developer that has apps that run on webOS 1.4.5, here are my current development choices:
1. Work on them using only 1.4.5 APIs, which means any webOS device out there can use my app. (possibly excepting people on Tercel in Mexico - what's up with that?)

2. Use some of the nifty new webOS 2.0 APIs. This means that the vast vast majority of webOS users won't be able to use the app. I don't even have a device that runs webOS 2.0 to test on.

3. Spend time trying to port them to Enyo, which is very clearly the future.

Right now my time is divided between 1 and 3. Using Metrix, I can see that somewhere around 2% of my users are running webOS 2.0+. Not to mention, even if I spent time adding webOS 2.0 specific features, those won't be highlighted in the App Catalog as far as I know.

So...yeah. There's very little incentive to spend time on webOS 2.0 right now.

--

An aside:

I have two free apps in the catalog - PasswordHash (a simple utility for generating passwords based on a master password and domain) and GAuth (generates codes for Google's two-factor authentication). PasswordHash was my first webOS application and it's really only useful if you use that password-generating scheme. GAuth is useful for anyone that uses Google's two-factor authentication. Guess which app is more popular?

Mind-bogglingly enough, PasswordHash gets downloaded ~7 times/day while GAuth is only downloaded ~2-3 times/day. (actually, PasswordHash had a day two weeks ago when it got 84 downloads!) Maybe people are misunderstanding what PasswordHash does and then deleting it?

0 comments

Salvaging the looks of LJ for WebOS
Mood: sad
Posted on 2011-03-13 15:01:00
Tags: lj for webos palmpre projects
Words: 147

An excerpt from the most recent review of LJ for WebOS: "...most recent update has made it so ugly that it is unusable." This makes me sad!

So - here's my plan:
- the most recent update added themes, some of which are not terrible (I think). So I added a dialog box on first launch that points this out and makes it easy to try them.
- I also created a "plain" theme (see the first screenshot on the LJ for WebOS page, so if you really hate every one of the other themes, at least you can fall back to that one. I also made it the default theme, which made me a little sad but people can always change it if they want.

Here's hoping this will make people happy! Of course, people rarely go back and change their reviews so I'm probably stuck with that one...

2 comments

Answered: why did HP (i.e. @palm) announce new #webOS products so early?
Mood: thoughtful
Posted on 2011-03-03 10:31:00
Tags: palm essay palmpre
Words: 499

I've seen a lot of speculation (especially now that Apple's announced the iPad 2, which will ship next week) as to why HP/Palm announced their slate of new products so early. So let's take it from the top:

(this is all speculation, of course)

So why did they announce in February when the Pre3 and TouchPad aren't releasing until "summer"?: The Pre3 and TouchPad won't be ready until summer. If HP could release either early they absolutely would.

Well, obviously, but why didn't they wait to announce until shortly before they released? Well, for one thing, the Veer is releasing in "spring". Surely HP wouldn't want to have one event for the Veer and another for the Pre3 and TouchPad.

Also, I think HP is in a tough spot. Palm hasn't had a new phone announced since last October...and that was the Pre 2, which looks exactly like the Pre/Pre Plus with better specs. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that's not exactly new and exciting. A lot of people were saying that if Palm didn't announce anything new and exciting by CES (later modified to Feb. 9), they'd leave for an Android phone.

But HP CEO Leo Apotheker said they'd ship products within weeks of announcing them! What gives? My guess is that he said this in frustration after learning that the products they were announcing on Feb. 9 weren't going to ship for months.

Why are the Pre3 and TouchPad taking so long, anyway? What about HP's scale and billions of dollars? The Palm acquisition wasn't finalized until July 31. That's just 6 months ago...and you have to imagine that at least the first few months was HP looking at the insides of Palm and figuring out what they wanted to do. That leaves very little time for HP to get more people working on Palm stuff. And usually adding more people slows things down in the short term!

Plus, there are some serious technical challenges here. In addition to working on webOS 2.0/2.1/whatever, for the Pre3 they have to deal with the fact that this is the first webOS device that doesn't have 320px width, not to mention it has a new processor and HSPA+ support. And the TouchPad is all new hardware and the OS looks substantially different. Apple worked on the iPad for a long time before it released.


Bonus question: Will the TouchPad be cheaper than the iPad? No. Apple has the advantage here of huge economies of scale, plus an iteration under their belt to lower costs. I guess it's vaguely possible that HP will lower their usual profit margins or even take a loss, but this isn't a "razor/blades" type model - I can't imagine HP's making any money on app sales, so where would they make money? If HP is willing to take the very-long-term view about increasing webOS adoption, maaaaybe. But I doubt it. My guess for the 16GB WiFi model: $599 ($100 more than the equivalent iPad).

0 comments

byte manipulation in Javascript = not fun
Mood: irritated
Posted on 2011-02-24 09:22:00
Tags: palmpre projects work programming
Words: 191

Google's two-factor authentication is a really good idea, so I'm trying to port the Google Authenticator to webOS. This involves calculating hash values, etc. in Javascript, which is a giant pain because Javascript knows nothing but signed 32-bit integers and 64-bit floating point datatypes. So every time I look at the sample Java code and it uses a byte[], that means I have to manually convert to the -128..127 range. And the sample code does some things like converting 4 bytes to an int, which is easy in Java but a pain in Javascript.

Anyway, finally I had the bright idea to actually compile the Java code so I could compare the results, because I generated at least twenty different codes trying various permutations of things, none of which were right.

Another thing I learned! If you return an error string from a constructor, this does essentially nothing. You still get a constructed object. So, if your library is doing this, there's a 99% chance that no one's going to notice without a lot of pain in suffering.

Adding to my troubles: I am involved in some heavy yak-shaving at work.

6 comments

Another new webOS app: Private Browser
Mood: happy
Posted on 2011-02-22 13:24:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 50

As promised, I have another new webOS app, Private Browser, that's out today! It lets you keep your browsing history private and save bookmarks that are protected behind a password. Here's a short video overview - I did it on the first take, so forgive the awkward pause near the end...

0 comments

New webOS app: State Lines
Mood: excited
Posted on 2011-02-20 20:30:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 93

FlightPredictor, my top-selling webOS app, just sold it's 1000th copy this weekend! To celebrate this milestone, I'm proud to announce:

State Lines, the popular iPhone app, is now available on the Palm App Catalog! An indispensable resource when traveling, it's also fun to browse nearby states and see how their laws differ from yours!

This port was made possible by the good people at Two Steps Beyond and my inability to sleep over the past few weeks. For more exciting developments brought on by the lack of sleep, stay tuned later this week!

1 comment

Sprint and @palm: I get a phone call
Mood: impressed
Posted on 2011-02-16 14:34:00
Tags: activism palm palmpre
Words: 188

After emailing the CEO of Sprint about carrying the new webOS phones, I got an email from Vanessa, a woman in his office who wanted to give me a call to address my concerns. I hesitated but figured sure, what the heck?

Vanessa called this morning and we had a pleasant but short chat. Basically, the message was the same as I had read on webOSroundup - no plans to announce right now, but she emphasized that that doesn't mean they won't end up carrying them at release. So basically it sounded like nothing more than "yup, we haven't said anything publicly". I asked how soon before launch they know that they're going to carry a phone and she said usually very close to the launch, which was a little confusing since clearly they'd have to do testing, etc.

Interestingly, she said she had used a webOS phone but just recently switched to Android. Hopefully that's not a bad sign!

Anyway, I was impressed that someone bothered to call, even if there was really nothing to report. Makes me hope even harder that Sprint ends up with the Pre3...

0 comments

My email to Sprint re the Veer/Pre3
Mood: hopeful
Posted on 2011-02-13 02:07:00
Tags: activism palm palmpre
Words: 342

(sent to Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, at dan@sprint.com)


Mr. Hesse -

My name is Greg Stoll, and I'm a happy Sprint customer. I joined the Sprint family in 2009 with the introduction of the Palm Pre, which I purchased in August, shortly after its introduction. The reason I switched to Sprint from T-Mobile was the availability of the Palm Pre - the webOS operating system was compelling enough for me to switch to a new network.

But, once I joined, I was pleasantly surprised - the Sprint coverage in my area has been great, and the customer service I got has been superb. I have sadly had to deal with this more than most as the first-generation Palm Pre's had some hardware difficulties, but every time I came back to the store I was helped by friendly and knowledgeable people who dealt with my problems quickly and fairly. For this reason, I recommended Sprint to my partner, who switched from AT&T just a few months ago to get a Samsung Epic 4G.

I'm sure you've seen the presentation by HP about their new smartphones Veer and Pre3, which are scheduled to come out this spring and summer. I am writing you to ask you to please seriously consider making these devices available on Sprint at launch. I know that Palm had some rough times with the Pre and Pixi, but more experience with similar form factors with the vast resources and marketing of a company like HP will make the Veer and Pre3 much more likely to succeed in the market.

It seems like HP is gearing up big time to promote these phones as well as webOS, and I think Sprint would be a great fit for their reintroduction after the absence of the Pre/Pixi Plus and the Pre 2. I know that personally I will be getting a Pre3, and while I'd like to stay with Sprint given my good experience with y'all, if it's not available I'll be forced to switch to a competitor.

Thank you for your time!

-Greg Stoll

2 comments

Big HP/Palm announcement day: recap
Mood: hopeful
Posted on 2011-02-09 17:46:00
Tags: palm essay palmpre
Words: 338

So...quite a mixed bag!

They announced two new phones: one is the Veer, which is a tiny phone (the size of a credit card), and the Pre 3, which is like the Pre but bigger. I want the Pre 3, but it's not coming out until summer. Which would normally be a bad thing, except that odds are it won't be on Sprint, and my contract isn't up until August anyway. But, we'll see!

They also announced a tablet called the TouchPad, which looks pretty sweet but again isn't coming out until August.

So my plan is to probably get a Pre 3 and a Touchpad, but they didn't announce any pricing, carriers, or release dates (other than "summer"). This is a little frustrating, and I'm willing to bet that if they're not saying now we're not going to be happily surprised later. Or maybe it's just because the release is so far off there's still time for the price to bounce around. (or maybe they're waiting on the price of the iPad 2?)

Other not-as-terrible-as-the-internet-says-but-kind-of-annoying news: there will be no over the air update to webOS 2.0 for current phones other than the Pre 2. Hopefully there will be doctors available for all phone/carrier combinations so you can manually upgrade the OS, but this means a lot of people probably won't do it since it's much less convenient. And then it makes targeting particular versions of the OS hard for developers.

So, overall the stuff still looks good, but the wait is gonna kill me!

A few external links:
- Engadget compares the TouchPad to the iPad and other tablets and it holds up well...for now.
- Here's a good hands-on video of the TouchPad.
- John Gruber seems to like the looks of the TouchPad.
- Kindle app for the Touchpad - yay! (but it's unclear whether it's coming to the phones or not)
- Pre 3 hands-on with video
- There's this neato Touch to Share feature that lets you touch the TouchPad and Pre3 together to pass a URL (demo video).

0 comments

FlightPredictor wins! and a new life rule
Mood: happy
Posted on 2010-07-28 10:09:00
Tags: health asmc palmpre projects
Words: 83

Palm just posted the official results of the Hot Apps competition, and FlightPredictor made the list! Really looking forward to improving it and making some new apps once I have some free time...

Speaking of which, a new life rule: no sushi close to shows. Of course, the one time I get sick from it is during a rehearsal. (nothing overly dramatic, but I did feel pretty crappy and sat down a lot) Hopefully tonight is better - only 2 days until we open!

1 comment

FlightPredictor featured on palm homepage!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2010-07-15 12:50:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 24

As with LJ for WebOS before it, FlightPredictor is now on the Palm homepage! Screenshot:


(it's the "plane with clock symbol" at the top)

2 comments

Lesson learned: avoid "authorized retailers"
Mood: okay
Posted on 2010-07-08 12:41:00
Tags: palmpre
Words: 233

I got the skinny on my phone today - I did buy it less than a year ago, and the warranty does carry over to the replacement phone, but because I bought it at a Sprint "authorized retailer" and not a corporate store, they sold me a refurbished phone! Maaaaaybe this was mentioned at the time (I was somewhat under duress, having just lost my phone) but I certainly don't remember them saying that. The guy at the store I went to was sympathetic, saying someone came in last week in the same situation. (then I paid for the repair, and I'll get a refurbished phone shipped to me in a few days)

So: from now on, corporate stores for me. It's certainly not clear from Sprint's website, but I guess the "Sprint Store by Direct Store" is supposed to clue me in. That's the Arbor Walk location, to be clear. And apparently the manager of that store was a real jerk to Shawn, so another reason to avoid them!

But, I still like Sprint - cheaper plans, coverage seems fine, and because I'm a "Sprint Premier" member (read: been on any smartphone plan for 6 months) I'm eligible to upgrade phones every year instead of every two years. And the customer service, at least at the corporate store on Capital of Texas (which I am sadly quite familiar with) has been friendly and competent.

5 comments

so it begins
Mood: grumpy
Posted on 2010-07-07 10:44:00
Tags: asmc palmpre links
Words: 246

Tonight is the first real summer musical rehearsal. I know it'll be fun (as it always is), but rushing home most nights to have dinner and then rush off to rehearsal gets a bit tiring. And the rehearsal schedule is brutal - WFSa this week, MWFSa the next, and then eleven days in a row until we open.

My Palm Pre's screen wouldn't turn on on Saturday, and the Sprint store told me it was out of warranty and would cost at least $100 to fix. Later that day, it started working again, but it conked out last night and hasn't come back. So I guess I have to argue with them about why it's out of warranty (I think their stance was that this phone is already a replacement, but the warranty should carry over, right? I'm still within a year since I got the phone...)

And I cut my finger last night just enough to be annoying. And my legs/feet/ankles are sore from ice skating, which means rehearsal tonight might be kinda painful.

Anyway, enough whining: check out this story about the Russian spies. Apparently one of them made contact with someone who she thought was from the Russian consulate, although none of her actual contacts vouched for this guy, who was in fact an undercover FBI agent. She was having trouble with her laptop that she used to contact the Russians, and then handed over her laptop to the FBI agent to fix it.

0 comments

8 webOS apps to buy - while they're on sale!
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2010-07-02 12:49:00
Tags: essay palmpre
Words: 202

Since the 50% off sale is going on for another few weeks, here are my favorite webOS apps:


  1. FlightPredictor - OK, I'm a little biased here, but it's gotten great reviews on the App Catalog and is one of Palm's Featured Apps. Great for frequent fliers!

  2. Plumber's Nightmare - connect the pipes to leave no gaps. There are 60 levels and it's great when you have a few spare minutes.

  3. My webOS Apps - Very easy way to keep track of your app sales and statuses. Great for webOS developers!

  4. TweetMe - Beautiful Twitter client that's very functional. Just look at those screenshots!

  5. Sports Live! - A great way to keep track of your favorite US sports. Lives in the notification area so you can always know what the score is. There are also cheaper versions available for individual sports - I have the baseball one myself.

  6. Poker Drops - Trace out poker hands for points. The same developer (whom Palm hired a few weeks ago) also wrote Wobble Words, which I'm also a fan of.

  7. FlashCards - A great way to brush up on stuff you should know. I've been working on my state capitals :-)

  8. CrossWords - Tons of puzzles available, and keyboard navigation makes it very easy to use!

0 comments

Palm: money to burn?
Mood: thoughtful
Posted on 2010-06-30 10:49:00
Tags: essay palmpre
Words: 229

Since the HP acquisition of Palm is expected to close this week, Palm has been spending money on their platform like crazy. To wit:

- On June 17, they announced all apps in the App Catalog would be 50% off until July 9, and they'd reimburse the difference to developers. So instead of making money on every app sale, they're paying the developer for each sale.

- Monday, Palm extended the 50% sale until July 23.

- From the beginning, the policy has been that each app in the catalog (unless it was open source) had a $50 submission fee. Yesterday they announced that not only are they getting rid of that fee, they're refunding all the $50 fees they've collected in the past, which is pretty ridiculously generous.

One could argue that these are nothing particularly new - Palm's been courting developers pretty heavily from the beginning, what with making homebrew very easy to do (no rooting required!) and giving away $1 million in their Hot Apps competition (of which I'm hoping to collect some), and having another Hot Apps competition starting in July for PDK apps. But the timing of these last three moves, plus the fact that they're insanely generous, make me think that they're related to the acquisition. I assume that HP was on board with these moves - if so, it bodes very well for the future of webOS!

0 comments

weekend pictures, my first ad!
Mood: nervous
Posted on 2010-06-07 10:52:00
Tags: pictures palmpre projects
Words: 146

We went down to Houston this weekend to see the Young Frankenstein musical (verdict: entertaining but not as good as the movie), and ended up seeing a nice backyard with some bees. Also: back in Austin we saw the original Batman movie at the Paramount with Adam West. Pictures of all the above:


The Palm Hot Apps competition will award cash prizes to the 221 most popular free and paid apps on June 30. I think FlightPredictor has a (very) outside shot at winning, so I bought an ad for it on webOSroundup. (it's one of the boxes on the right - doesn't show up every time so you might have to reload) Thanks to destroyerj and skimmerduk for design help!

One year and one day ago, the Palm Pre went on sale - PreCentral has a a good retrospective on what went wrong and what went right.

2 comments

FlightPredictor released!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2010-05-03 10:30:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 61

FlightPredictor, the best way to know ahead of time whether your flight will be delayed, is now available on the Palm App Catalog! Here's the official homepage, and here's a video walkthrough of how FlightPredictor works.

It's powered by FlightCaster.com, a San Francisco-based startup. Many thanks to them for making their API available and responding to my questions and suggestions quickly!

2 comments

LJ for WebOS update
Mood: hopeful
Posted on 2010-04-16 10:11:00
Tags: lj for webos palmpre projects
Words: 297

The good news: Since my last update, I'm up to 132 copies sold. I've added some new features, including the heavily-requested thumbnails in posts, and I made a video walkthrough of the app that's linked to from the App Catalog. (which is a cool feature - thanks Palm!)

The bad news: The rate of sales is really slowing down - this last week I had three days in a row where no copies were sold, which is the first time that's happened since I've been tracking the daily numbers. Pushing the update helped a little, but I'm getting a feeling that the market may be somewhat saturated - the intersection of "people who own a Pre" and "people who use LiveJournal enough that they're willing to pay a few bucks for a good client" probably isn't that big to begin with. Or maybe it's just a blip; I suppose time will tell.

I was hoping that I might squeak in to the Palm Hot Apps competition, but looking at the leaderboard I'm a ways out from the #200 slot. Right now I'd have to sell 51 more copies to get on the list, and that's only going to go up over time. Oh well!

In any case, I've had a lot of fun working on LJ for WebOS and I'm glad that people seem to generally find it useful. I'm hoping to publish my next app (the FlightCaster-based one) within a few weeks - it's mostly ready to go but I'm waiting on some API changes before I call it done, and then I have to make a video, etc.

A post by someone on Palm's developer relations team sums up well why I like WebOS so much and why I'm going to be a sad panda if it goes away.

6 comments

Palm up for sale?
Mood: uncomfortable
Posted on 2010-04-12 10:48:00
Tags: palmpre
Words: 67

Bloomberg is reporting that Palm is putting itself up for sale - although nothing has been officially announced, I doubt they'd publish if they weren't pretty darn sure. Possible buyers include HTC and Lenovo. (but not Dell)

While I'm disappointed, I guess I don't really care as long as WebOS phones continue to be made. I like my Pre's form factor but I love the OS and software.

4 comments

old-school 3D
Mood: ecstatic
Posted on 2010-04-06 15:52:00
Tags: palmpre wedding
Words: 174

We watched Coraline last night - the Blu-Ray disc included a 3D versions, and it came with four pairs of old-school 3D glasses (with red and green lenses), so we gave it a shot. It actually worked reasonably well - it took a little while for my eyes to adjust but you could definitely see the 3D effect! The colors did appear a little weird, though. I'm guessing they did red and green for the lenses instead of red and blue because Coraline's hair is blue. After it was over, looking out of one eye looked very different than the other - our eyes had compensated and now saw the opposite color they had been looking through.

We picked up our wedding album today! The binding is very elegant and the pictures turned out well. I also got a CD of lots of pictures which I'll post in the near future.

I'm going to Palm Developer Day in California! (as kind of a birthday present) Looking forward to meeting people and learning more about WebOS and such.

2 comments

new external HD, project, life
Mood: excited
Posted on 2010-04-05 13:51:00
Tags: palmpre projects programming
Words: 433

My backup strategy as of last week was to copy the really important stuff onto my 16GB USB thumbdrive relatively frequently, and more infrequently copy everything onto an external hard drive. Feeling rather clever at the time, I bought an enclosure like this, so I could buy a cheaper SATA hard drive and stick it in there and plug it into my computer via USB. Then when I wanted to upgrade drives I could just buy another SATA drive.

This sounded good in theory, and indeed kinda worked, but it was very slow for some reason - copying 200GB over to the drive and then untarring the 200GB file took around 3 days. Because of this I backed up way less often than I should have.

As luck would have it, the SATA drive seemed to die last week, and so after doing a little research I bought a Western Digital Elements USB Hard Drive with 1TB of space for $90. It was easy to get it to mount on Linux, and took less than 24 hours to do the same copying/untarring procedure. And it doesn't look totally cobbled together! So I'd recommended it if you're looking for an easy backup solution. You can also get a version with fancy software and an e-ink label on the outside that was actually kind of tempting.



I've been working for a little while now on my next WebOS app, which is called FlightPredictor. (unless I decide to change the name :-) ) It's an interface to FlightCaster.com, which can predict airline delays ahead of time and generally has lots of interesting data. (see a sample report) They already have iPhone and BlackBerry apps, so I'm happy to bring a third platform into the mix. (and before Android, even!) I'm just putting the finishing touches on it and incorporating some API changes, but right now the best part is that it does WebOS notifications to let you know when the information has changed so you can always keep on top of things.


The last few weeks have been quite busy, and I'm starting to wear down a bit. Between squeezing any time I can to work on FlightPredictor, plus a lot of yardwork we've been doing (planting a few new trees, making a rock garden), plus the usual weekend errands, plus volunteering at the tax center...it's getting to be a bit much. Hopefully things may quiet down soon but it's conceivable we/I'll start flaking on things to stay sane...

Baseball season has started! Here's a handy map to what parts of the country root for which teams. Go Astros!

2 comments

One more LJ for WebOS sighting
Mood: happy
Posted on 2010-03-17 11:32:00
Tags: lj for webos palmpre projects
Words: 33

After it made the Palm homepage, Precentral reported on the new homepage and mentioned LJ for WebOS by name. Cool beans!

(and, yes, this will be the last of these for a while)

0 comments

LJ for WebOS featured on palm homepage!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2010-03-16 17:22:00
Tags: lj for webos palmpre projects
Words: 20

LJ for WebOS is currently being featured on the Palm homepage! (it's the lower right of the 3x3 grid)

Screenshot:

3 comments

links n' such
Mood: irritated
Posted on 2010-03-11 12:33:00
Tags: palmpre gay projects links
Words: 221

My Board Game Geek app for WebOS is now available in the Palm App Catalog!

What If Everybody in Canada Flushed At Once? - or, Canadians really like hockey.

A map of the most common fast food restaurants across the US, made by calculating the "burger force" (proportional to one over distance squared). McDonalds obviously reigns supreme, but Sonic makes a pretty good run in Texas!

LOST: Baywatch intro

The subscriber rates cable companies pay to carry each channel. ESPN and Fox Sports Net are by far the most expensive, and even the FOX Soccer Channel (which apparently exists) costs more than Comedy Central.

Florida (like many places) offers tax credits if you film a movie or TV show there. Now they're considering a bill that would deny these credits if the show has a gay character. (among other things)

As a Michigan fan, I'm not sure how to take the fact that Jim Tressel (the Ohio State football coach) answered questions from a local gay publication. (and said some very nice things) He's probably the first major coach to do so.

An interview with David Boies and Ted Olson about their Prop 8 case. Nothing earthshaking, but it's interesting to hear them talk about the trial and what they think their chances are. They're expecting a ruling by late April/early May.

4 comments

A close shave
Mood: bouncy
Posted on 2010-03-10 13:32:00
Tags: health palmpre projects house
Words: 728

Yesterday, we were driving home from work as usual on the onramp to North Mopac just south of Duval when the car in front of me started slowing down and then came to a complete stop. On the onramp.

Luckily, I was watching and was able to stop in time. Even more luckily, the car behind me was barely able to stop in time as well. (David says he could hear them slam on their brakes, but I was focused on stuff in front of me) Then the crazy honking began, both from the car behind me and me, and the car pulled off into the shoulder. I'm guessing they stopped because the sun was just at the right angle so that you couldn't see anything in the side view mirror, which made getting on the freeway from a dead stop rather challenging. Luckily no one hit me.

I was pretty amped up from this and my heart was definitely beating faster than normal. Unfortunately, this continued for quite a while. Apparently reflux can present this way, and taking some antacids seemed to help for a while, but it made me jumpy all evening and made it hard to sleep...

I worked on a new WebOS app last night - this one's a quick interface to BoardGameGeek. To submit it, I had to make the decision again about where to put it. To review:
- To put it on the App Catalog costs $50 (one time fee)
- Not doing that is free, but then it's a lot harder to find without a direct link
I prefer putting my apps on the App Catalog for the widest exposure, but then I feel like I have to charge something to make my $50 back. (and it's not that I really begrudge the $50, I understand it takes Palm time to review the apps, etc.) So I did that and am charging .99, the lowest allowable. We'll see what happens1

Good lost episode last night: At this point my favorite episodes are Locke, Ben, and Sawyer ones. Michael Emerson (actor who plays Ben) is amazing and really sold me on the whole Machiavellian teacher bit. Lots of sweetness when he says "Because no one else will have me" and Ilana replies "I'll have you". Awww!

The excessive "winking" at the audience is getting to be a bit much. I'm fine with Hurley acting as a fan of the show and asking a question about something every once and a while, but asking if Richard was a cyborg seemed kinda silly.


A Lost encyclopedia is coming out in August! I know it makes sense to release it after the end of the show since then it can be "complete", but it would have been helpful earlier. Still, I'll probably pick it up.

Random note: Like Greek food? Try Pars Deli at the corner of 183 and Burnet. Delicious gyros, and it's clearly a family run place. They left the door open today and it was soooo nice :-)

House stuff: We had solar screens installed by Josh Hobbs a few weeks ago. The process was pretty easy (we didn't have to be there any of the time), the prices were reasonable and the screens look nice. (need to take a picture at some point) Haven't really been able to measure their effectiveness yet, but it's definitely darker, so presumably that will keep out heat too.

Next week we're getting a high efficiency A/C unit put in, as well as making it "multi-zone" so we can control the upstairs and downstairs temperature independently. After crunching the numbers it's not going to quite pay for itself in reduced electricity bills, but it will get pretty close and we get a new unit out of the deal. (we spend a fortune on cooling in the summer!) The $1500 tax credit helps, and Austin Energy has some nice rebates too.

Bought the Heavy Rain soundtrack from iTunes. (yay for DRM-free music!) I might try to transcribe the really pretty piano music (Painful Memories), if I feel inspired enough.

Final Fantasy 13 was bought and played yesterday. Even after just playing Heavy Rain, whose visuals were pretty impressive, it looks fantastic - definitely using the PS3 to its full potential. Also, does anyone know if the characters have such ridiculous names in Japanese too, or is that just a translation thing?

3 comments

Palm and LJ for WebOS
Mood: thoughtful
Posted on 2010-03-04 13:14:00
Tags: lj for webos essay palmpre projects programming
Words: 747

I worry about Palm sometimes. They recently lowered their guidance for this quarter, analysts don't seem too upbeat, and their stock price for the last year looked promising when they released the Pre in July, but has dropped dramatically since then.

More concerning is the fact that, 9 months after releasing the first WebOS phone, Gartner estimates that 0.7% of smartphones are running WebOS. Hopefully this will improve now that they're on Verizon (and rumor is they'll be on AT&T sometime this year) and once they launch in more countries.

The good news is that the mobile phone market isn't quite like, say, the social networking website market, which has a very strong network effect. If all your friends are leaving Friendster for Facebook, then Friendster is less valuable to you, and you'll probably switch to Facebook. But I can still use the web just fine from my Palm Pre even if the rest of the world switches to iPhones and Droids and Nexus Ones. There is somewhat of a problem that if fewer people use WebOS, fewer people will write apps for it, but this is more of a slow process. Also, at least in the US, most people are under contract for their phones and so they only have an opportunity to switch cheaply every one or two years. I'm really hoping Palm can keep turning things around - just yesterday they released an update to the Facebook app that makes it much nicer.

Speaking of apps...

LJ for WebOS has been doing pretty well since my last update - as of this very moment I've sold 72 copies. It seems fairly random how many copies are sold a day - thanks to the new app My WebOS Apps I have a nifty graph on my phone with these totals for the last week: 5, 1, 1, 2, 4, 2, 0. So...who knows?

One of the frustrating parts has been seeing bad reviews indicating that it just isn't working for a few people. Most of these reviews came early and I'm pretty sure I've fixed the bugs since then, but most people don't go back and edit their review when problems get fixed, and I have no way of contacting them to ask them if it's working for them and to try to diagnose their problem if not. I've been trying to make it more and more obvious how to contact me to the point that if you can't load the posts a dialog comes up with a button to email me the problem. We'll see if this helps at all. Encouragingly, more of the recent reviews have been good than bad, bringing the average back up to 3.5/5 stars.

I spent a lot of last week working on a new feature that I really wanted to add: the ability to browse other people's journals. I even wrote the parsing code before I got stuck on a problem that I've gotten stuck on before - the inability to properly authenticate so that the client can load friends-only posts. The API way to do this is to call the sessiongenerate method - unfortunately LiveJournal's cookie scheme has changed because of some security holes, and no one's gone back and updated or added a new API.

Every time I run into this problem, I spent some time trying to "fake it" by POSTing the right thing to the login page, essentially pretending I'm a regular user signing in from a browser. As in the past, I can't get this to work and I'm not sure why, and it's really frustrating to try to debug because it's all guesswork.

So I was a little down about that, and the last release (made it to the App Catalog yesterday) only had a few small features like deleting posts. This week I took a stab at some random not-quite-featurey things that have been on my list for a while, and everything just kinda worked. The next release will use a lot less bandwidth on the initial request (66% less in my test case!), and it fixes a bug with comments not posting by showing the CAPTCHA dialog that LiveJournal was returning. I was amazed that both of these basically worked the first time, so that was a nice pick me up :-) I'll probably submit it to the App Catalog tonight after a bit more testing.

I'm running out of features to work on that are actually possible to do, so I'm very open to suggestions!

0 comments

my first WebOS app published!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2009-12-16 16:49:00
Tags: palmpre programming
Words: 235

PasswordHash is now officially available on the Palm App Catalog! After some initial hiccups I was able to install it to my Pre and it works just fine. Hopefully my other app will be approved soon...

Speaking of my Pre, I had been having some problems with it lately - it thought that headphones were plugged in to the headphone jack all the time, and so I couldn't listen to music or use the phone except on speakerphone, which got annoying pretty quickly. I tried some internet-suggested remedies that worked for a little while, but this weekend even those stopped working, so I took it in to Sprint to see what they could do.

I dropped my phone off at the nearest Sprint service center, got lunch and returned to have them tell me I'd be shipped a new phone and it would probably arrive the next day. And they let me keep my phone in the meantime (and ship it back when the new phone arrived). Lo and behold, yesterday it arrived, today I took it in to be activated, and it seems to work like a charm. After being careful not to nuke my existing backup (not actually sure if this is a problem anymore, but better safe than sorry!), it transferred over my contacts, apps I had installed, and even bookmarks! So +1 for Palm and Sprint for taking care of the problem.

0 comments

WebOSJournal reviewed!
Mood: happy
Posted on 2009-12-11 13:26:00
Tags: palmpre programming
Words: 39

So WebOSJournal (my LiveJournal client for the Palm Pre/Pixi) got a nice review. I've submitted it to the Palm App Catalog, and hopefully it'll be up there soonish!

As a bonus link, The Year In Ideas is pretty interesting.

0 comments

links for what should be friday
Mood: hyper
Posted on 2009-12-03 15:10:00
Tags: palmpre programming links
Words: 137

Seriously...long week anyone?

I put up WebOSJournal on the PreCentral homebrew gallery. Still plenty of work to be done, of course...

What every programmer should know about memory - really long article (and it's only Part 1!) but I learned a lot. (and remembered a lot from college classes :-) )

Apropos of net neutrality, How Robber Barons hijacked the "Victorian Internet" (i.e. the telegraph system). The short version is that there was no government regulation and Western Union/AP fixed an election and conspired to keep non-AP newspapers out of business. Less government regulation doesn't always equal more open markets!

Drug-Makers Paying Off Competitors To Keep Cheap Generics Off Market - pretty much what the headline says. It sucks, but apparently it's legal.

No one wants America to be the sole global superpower, but no one wants to share the load.

2 comments

rethinking the plan
Mood: tired
Posted on 2009-11-24 10:30:00
Tags: palmpre projects programming
Words: 121

I signed up for the Houston Turkey Trot 5K with my family. Unfortunately, it starts at 8 AM (which is very early for me these days) and I'm not in great shape and it's going to be cold, which doesn't do so great on my lungs. Hopefully I survive!

Been working on WebOSJournal (the LiveJournal client for the Palm Pre/Pixi) - it's coming along decently but I'm running into some frustration trying to allow replying to posts/comments. The authorization scheme is tricky and of course you don't get useful feedback. I actually downloaded the LiveJournal source code to try to figure out what I'm doing wrong, but it's hard to find my way around...

Obama kicks off massive science education effort - yay!

2 comments

Test post
Posted on 2009-11-17 22:18:00
Tags: palmpre programming
Words: 5

First post from Palm Pre?

4 comments

life update
Mood: busy
Posted on 2009-10-21 13:24:00
Tags: palmpre house programming
Words: 244

We finally got our roof replaced (and got a gutter on the back of our house to boot), and are almost done with getting the insurance settlement and paying the roofers and whatnot. I'm looking forward to putting this behind us. How often do roofs get damaged like this, anyway? The damage happened in March and we're still not quite done...

I've been getting back into origami lately - found a really cheap source of paper and ordered a bunch that should arrive today. My sorta-goal is to make all five Platonic solids - so far I've made a (bad) tetrahedron, a decent octahedron and a pretty cool cube. Anything with equilateral triangles = hard.

We cooked something out of the Joy of Cooking last night! Some kinda chicken dish with garlic and lime and potatoes. It turned out pretty well.

Planning on volunteering with the Community Tax Center in the new year. It's been a while (too long!) since I've done any volunteering, so it'll be good to get back into it.

As I mentioned earlier, I've been working on a LiveJournal client for the Palm Pre/Pixi. It works decently for me, but when I gave it to a few people to test it freezes. (luckily, you can just kill it so it doesn't mess up the whole phone) I'm at a bit of a loss as to why this is happening and it's pretty disheartening, so I haven't worked on it in a few weeks.

2 comments

developing for the Palm Pre
Mood: contemplative
Posted on 2009-10-09 10:18:00
Tags: palmpre programming
Words: 179

This week Palm announced how you'll be able to publish apps for the Pre, Pixi, etc. There seem to be three options that I'd consider:
- Join the Palm Developer Program (PDP) for $99/year and pay $50/app to get it in the App Catalog on the phone (paid or free)
- Join PDP for $99/year and distribute it on the web (paid or free)
- Release it open source and distribute it on the web (no need to join PDP in this case)

Basically, if I wanted to sell apps, I'd have to choose options 1 or 2, which are a bit more expensive than I'd like for a hobbyist project. I've been working on a LiveJournal client under the assumption that I'd be selling it for $2.99 or so - I haven't seen any other clients and I put a fair bit of work into parsing posts and comments, etc.

But I think I'll probably just release it on the web open source and put up a Donate button or something. Costs me nothing and it will let more people use it.

1 comment

reviews of stuff I generally like
Mood: determined
Posted on 2009-09-17 09:52:00
Tags: movies reviews palmpre games
Words: 468

After spending another month with my Palm Pre since my last review, I thought I'd take a minute and reevaluate. I'm still happy with it in general...

Battery Life: This has gotten a bit better since my first review - I still charge it every night, but just taking to the office and browsing a little with it during the day still leaves me with plenty of juice. Even traveling with it and playing games for a while on the way back from Niagara Falls I was able to use it most of the time.

WebOS: One big annoyance is that, when the phone is in landscape mode (which is better for reading web pages, etc.), you don't get the notifications on the bottom, and the keyboard is obviously in the wrong place. This leads to a lot of switching back and forth between landscape and portrait mode, or just giving up and leaving it in portrait mode.

Apps: There are now 50 apps on the store, and supposedly paid apps will be available next week. Here's hoping!

Last night we watched Spirited Away which was really pretty amazing. It struck the same "magical environment" tone for me that Coraline did. Here's a good review of it with a few clips to get a good taste of it. The director's newest film is Ponyo, now showing at the Alamo Drafthouse Village.

This week (busy week!) we also picked up Scribblenauts, a new game for the Nintendo DS whose tagline is "Write Anything, Solve Everything". The basic idea is that you have a series of puzzles to solve, and you can write any object (no trademarks or profanities) and it will appear, which you can then use to help you. It's a pretty cool idea and the dictionary of words it recognizes is huge. (according to someone who extracted it, it's over 22000 words!)

There are two types of levels - puzzle ones, where the goal is to do something specific (like collect the flowers and give them to the florist, or help the birthday boy break open his piñata) and action ones, where the goal is to get to the starite and overcome whatever obstacles are in the way. The puzzle levels are a lot of fun - they aren't too difficult but you master the level if you beat it three times in a row using none of the same objects. The action levels are an exercise in frustration, because the control scheme is fairly terrible. You tap on objects to manipulate them, but you also tap to move Maxwell (your character) to a spot on the screen. We've already died many times because of mistaps and there sure isn't any undo...

Anyway, it's a cute game and fun to play and watch. I just wish it was less frustrating!

3 comments

still liking my Pre
Mood: confused
Music: Michael Giacchino - "Star Trek" soundtrack
Posted on 2009-08-20 14:17:00
Tags: palmpre programming politics links
Words: 131

Palm is now accepting submissions for the Pre App Catalog, so I went ahead and submitted PasswordHash. That one will be free but I'm thinking of charging $2 for my next one...

LabVIEW has a lot of handy keyboard shortcuts.

codepad.org is a neat place to quickly try out/share code in a bunch of different languages.

The latest in health care: maybe the Democrats are going to give up trying to compromise since the Republicans don't really seem interested, although Chuck Grassley may or may not be. Honestly, I've kinda given up trying to figure out what the hell is going on - I hope something good passes but hearing how laws that affect us actually get passed makes me sad.

The Longest Poem in the World made out of rhyming tweets.

0 comments

spilling links
Mood: nervous
Posted on 2009-08-17 09:52:00
Tags: pictures palmpre projects links
Words: 128

Pictures from New Mexico and Barbara & Alex's wedding are up. Note that the pictures from the wedding itself aren't that great...I did my best!

Published a Pre version of PasswordHash - it was relatively easy to port. A new feature (in the web and Firefox versions as well) lets you force a special character to appear in the password.

Apparently men who "strongly endorsed old-school notions of masculinity" were half as likely to get flu shots and other preventative medicine. Can't say I'm surprised.

Also, "for men, sexual boredom was correlated with variety in partners (or lack thereof), while for women, it was more related to variety in activity." Good to know? (the Coolidge effect description at Wikipedia is pretty funny)

Finally, an Obama protest I can get behind.

0 comments

slideshow comments
Mood: busy
Posted on 2009-08-11 14:15:00
Tags: palmpre projects
Words: 75

Did a quick project so that GLSlideshow (my screensaver), which currently shows random pictures from my gallery, would show the comment on the picture as well. Wrote it up here but there are no demos or anything so it's not very exciting :-)

Played around with the Palm Pre API last night, and I feel like I have my legs under me and can start making things that are actually neat rather than just toys. Exciting!

1 comment

Palm Pre review
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2009-08-10 14:27:00
Tags: reviews palmpre
Words: 1009

I've been using my new Palm Pre for just over a week. My old phone was a Nokia 62xx something and was pretty terrible, so I'll mostly be comparing it to David's iPhone 3G. (which of course I don't have a ton of experience with) Here are my thoughts, roughly in order from good to bad:

OS: WebOS is really pretty wonderful. One of the big advantages is being able to run multiple applications at once - you can get by on the iPhone without this, but the way I'm used to doing things it feels much more natural. In WebOS open applications look like cards, and you can switch between them with a flick of the finger, or close them by flicking them up off the screen.

Another nice thing is the way they do notifications - for example, when I get a new mail message, a little banner pops up in the bottom of the screen with the subject, and then it shortly collapses to a small icon in the bottom right corner which I can later touch to see the subject. It does the same thing for voicemails and calendar alerts, and it's a very slick way of letting you know something happened without totally interrupting you.

There's a menu you can open by touching the top right that shows you percentage battery life, and lets you configure WiFi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode. Whereas the iPhone has a modal popup every time you get in range of a WiFi network, for the Pre you'd have to go to the menu to connect to one. I think I like the Pre's way better as I found the popups annoying on the iPhone.

Calendar: Integrates nicely with Google Calendar, which I use - I get notifications on the phone and it's easy to browse. Yay!

Email: I get push email from Gmail which is awesome. The mail client itself is decent - I can see my labels, and clicking on a link opens the web browser like you'd expect.

Browser: The browser is generally fine. Has the same pinch/unpinch for zooming as the iPhone does. Sadly the scrolling (both here and in other apps) just doesn't feel as smooth as the iPhone's. I also really wish there was a way to open a link in a new card - there used to be an arcane key combination (orange button + space + click, maybe?) but it got removed in the WebOS 1.1.0 update.

Keyboard: The physical keyboard is small but functional. I like it a little better than the iPhone's keyboard - the tactile feedback is really nice to have. On the other hand, you can't really use it in landscape mode, since obviously it rotated with the phone. The keys are pretty small but I've gotten used to them and can type at a reasonable rate.

Having extra keys (orange, symbol, shift) is nice, but it means it can be a bit of a crutch. For example, to delete an app from the launcher, you have to hold the orange button and click it. Apple can't do this with the iPhone, so they had to find a more intuitive way of allowing this, which in the end benefits the user.

Contacts: They have this neat system called Synergy that can download your Google, Facebook, and AIM contacts (and Microsoft Exchange, but I didn't try that). The good news is that this is pretty neat and it tries its best to merge contacts that are actually the same person. The bad news is that, at least in my case, there were still a ton of contacts (AIM in particular) that didn't get merged, so I had to go through and manually do that. Which was kind of a hassle.

But still, the nice thing is that since it knows the merged contacts are all the same person, you can continue conversations you were having over AIM and switch to SMS or email fairly seamlessly. I haven't had a chance to actually try this but the demo I saw looked neat. Also, it downloads Facebook contact pictures which is a nice plus.

Launcher: The launcher is kinda OK. There are only 3 screens with apps on them which mean they can get kinda long. One nice feature is that you can start typing while the launcher is open and it will search through all your apps and contacts (this mitigates the 3 screen limitation somewhat). If you type something that has no matches it will bring up options to search on Google, Google Maps, Wikipedia, and Twitter which is nifty.

Messaging: I haven't done this much at all (it's really annoying at work getting my IMs on my phone) but the times I used it it worked fine.

Apps: The App Catalog currently has only 32 apps - they haven't really opened the door yet, but what's there is decent. There's Tweed (a nice Twitter app), Pandora, a stock ticker and a few others. Happily, their SDK is now available and it's pretty easy to install apps on the phone, so I'm looking forward to testing it out with a few simple apps.

Other apps it ships with: Google Maps (works about the same as the iPhone version, including builtin GPS), the requisite YouTube app, Amazon MP3 (yay!), and PDF and Office file viewers.

It comes with some Sprint apps, too, like Sprint Navigation (provides turn-by-turn directions with speaking!) and Sprint TV which I've only played with a little but seems to have a decent selection of TV shows (most require payment) and radio stations.

Battery Life: The battery life is honestly pretty bad. Usually I end the day at around 50% battery life which is reasonable I guess. Leaving the phone on in areas where signal strength is low seems particularly hard on it. (i.e. inside the Austin Convention Center) It was terrible the first few discharge cycles but things have gotten to a point now that I can live with it.


I've been happy with my Pre, and I'm looking forward to developing apps for it!

3 comments

This backup was done by LJBackup.