Monday, February 28, 2005

Flash Lite: Redux

Well, a few weeks ago, I said I'd comment on Flash Lite. I haven't felt like commenting on this topic, simply because I'm rather ignorant of the whole technology outside of creating fancy little graphics for webpages (and I don't do that anymore myself -- having never been good at it (check out the title header for a sample -- anyone out there wanna improve it? :P ). In the mobile world, I'm a rather big fan of Java (or was, until I started finding that companies like Nokia, for example, had utterly gutted out socket connections in most of its Java enabled phones ... had to move to C++ to get those features). This isn't for any other reason than my partner is a Java Guru and I work for a premium Java Tools provider, so I know something about Java (but I don't program IN Java -- see the difference?) However, I am aware Macromedia makes "Enterprise" web application type software such as Cold Fusion, so you know they're doing more than just aninmation type-software.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, it was spreading all over the net, that thank god, it was gonna displace dismal Java (mobile Java, generally based on J2ME/Personal Java) because Java is "too hard" (ie... it requires more brain power to be an OOP programmer than a basic "scripting" langauge writer -- it what the feeling was anyway) -- and Flash Lite was the savior of the mobile world, as things could be written much faster.

All of this may be true ... Blogger Bryan Rieger dropped some verbal bombs on the whole thing, and being a Flash developer himself, they're well worth listening to. However, I just can't see (with my limited insight into the technology of course) Flash doing much more than sending nifty greeting cards (as it does now on the net), or some simple games (keep in mind, my favorite Sumo Volleyball, which ICQ seems to have murdered, was in Flash). This is all fine and dandy, but Java (and more so C++ Symbian/PCC/Palm) have real meat and potatos inside ... as I asked the rhetorical questions previously: Can Flash Lite access the native system's features? Such as the phone book, or Bluetooth radio, or store information onto a memory card? If yes, then I think Flash Lite could have a bright future ... but, from what I know, this isnt' the case -- it's not meant to do that, so why all of the talk about "replacing" Java, when it doesn't even come close to doing what Java does (or can/could do, if phone makers didn't gut it out).

It's obvious, people got ahead of themselves -- many of the time, people with no programming experience do that (I won't mention them here, cough...the entire commerical technology media, cough...) ... while others, kinda just go along with the crowd, I'm more inclined to be critical (not negative -- as I hate them types) ... show me the money I guess.

Having said that, can all of the Flash Gurus out there somehow port mini Pac-Man (I got to levl 4) and mini Pong to my phone? Sure, my eyes are blown out playing these two all day, but on a phone, wouldn't they just be so cute?

Ooh, one more thing -- Bryan also mentioned that, if Flash Lite were on most mobile phones -- especially as it relates to Jellingspot, then Flash ads/games/etc. could be distributed over Jellingspot -- Maybe there is more to this Flash stuff just yet ... ;-}

[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth wireless Jellingspot
Java Flash Lite ]

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I bought a N-Gage QD and got jacked! (Part II)

Well, I called GAME yesterday and talked to customer service -- in all fairness, their people were EXTREMLY friendly and sympathetic to my plight ... my choices: 1. Send it back and get a new one, or 2. Get a complete refund. I told them I'd try to find some cheap cover here, as my time is worth more (going to the post office, boxing it back up, etc...) than the 20 bucks ... but, alas, I can't even FIND a place in the entire CZ that has one in stock, and I'm not about to order one and wait 3 days ... I may as well send the bloody thing back!

So, it's going back ... now I have Pathway To Glory sitting here and can't play it (not that I'm a big gamer) -- sure would be nice if the N-Gage PLATFORM were open, so I could pop it into my other Series 60 phone and play it ... no, that'd be asking too much.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I bought a N-Gage QD and got jacked!

So, to make a long story short, I ordered a N-Gage QD from GAME in the UK ... the price was right, about 100 bucks less than what I could get it for here in Prague, and this WITH a game (Pathway To Glory) ... I get the box from the post office 5 minutes before it closes, on the box it says "If security seal has been broken do not accept it..." blah, blah, blah -- the package's seal hasn't be broken, so... I get home, open that bad boy up -- N-Gage, got my Pathway To Glory game .... open up the N-Gage box, get the console, see the battery, put it in -- put in the fake SIM card they give you so you can play it ASAP -- look for the back cover -- NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

Can you believe that? I start back tracking, going into a panic attack ... double checking to make sure I'm not an idiot ... even read HALF of the manual .... NO BACK COVER TO MY N-GAGE! Some jerk must have jacked it in the "shipping" department, before it went into the box -- I guess that's how things go in the UK nowdays -- no more British Empire, now I know why.

I called GAME, but of course, they were closed ... I'll call tomorrow and yell -- I'm sure they'll want me to send the whole thing back -- what a nightmare. We'll see ... I'll be posting on this again real soon. If they don't hook me up ASAP with a back-cover, I'm going on a anti-GAME Jihad against them .... putting them in my cross-hairs for an online beating -- this is just wrong (some jerk probably said, "Hey, this box is going to the Czech Republic, let's jack his back cover cuz I broke mine"). Whatever the case, they better fix it!

More soon ... have a nice weekend, I know I won't!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

MobiLuck on MS Smartphones ...

MobiLuck's cool proximity based Bluetooth P2P client now works on Microsfot Smartphone powered devices. This is good news -- first on Symbian, now on MS Smartphones. MS has done a pretty good overview of MobiLuck's technology.

While I can't see a very good business plan behind such applications (somebody, like us at Jellingspot, are going to have a free one soon anyway), the idea behind the technology itself is pretty cool IMO -- some people laugh at it now, but I remember the laughs about the Internet (internet dating, etc...) ... never fear, eventually, the nay-sayers will be on the bandwagon -- you innovators at MobiLuck (et alia) pay them no attention ...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Moblog Updated (23/02/2005)


AdSense (Part II) & Screencasting

Just noticed AdSense is now, F I N A L L Y, pushing Bluetooth and other relevant ads related to the content of my site. About freak'n time!

I'll try to get back to posting on a regular schedule ... the poblem is time, and more importantly, having something interesting to say (unlike this post) ... I'm getting there... in the meantime, check out Rob Harwood's Blog, especially his cool 60 second screencast of a "HelloWorld!" example in IntelliJ IDEA.

I think I'll be doing some screencasts soon, myself, on a number of things -- maybe even go full time on my blog with ONLY screencasts (forget about Podcasting... Screencasting will be the real deal!)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Skuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt! & Flash Lite

Forgive me for not writing all that much this week, but I'm in "burn out" mode -- I'm as of now managing development for our UIQ and Java Jellingspot client, trying to get JDS working on Windows, re-working a new website (and its content), moving websites to new servers, making brochures for our Novy Smichov pilot, and basically going KUuuurazy! I want to comment on Flash Lite, as it's the buzz word from last week (and this week) because of all of the wireless / tech conferences going on, but it might take me another day or two to get to it. If you're interested in this subject, Blogger Bryan Rieger is giving it some attention, as is Justin Everett-Church. Stay tuned, I'll get to it myself ...

[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth wireless Jellingspot
Java UIQ Flash Lite ]

Monday, February 14, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Jellingspot

(Disclaimer: I'm co-owner of the company that makes Jellingspot)

In our discussion of proximity content servers, we briefly scanned over some of the current companies in this growing industry (albeit it's still just a small blip on the technology industry overall radar screen). We reviewed Wideray and Hypertag, which seemingly have built systems arourd IrDA (Infrared) solutions (with possible Bluetooth solutions in the works), while Bluepulse and Nokia have built larger systems dependant upon carrier networks, Bluetooth technology, and other additional services that make deployment a bit more expensive (although, it seems, much more robust). All solutions, including Midletsoft's Jellingspot (Yell-ing-spot), require a client side application to access their respective solutions.

Where Jellingspot differs from the others, is that it's not coupled with proprietary hardware. Jellingspot is first and formost a software platform that works either on Linux or Windows (and eventually Mac). So, from this stand-point, there is litte barrier to adopting it ... it can be deployed on existing infrastruture with very little overhead. Pop in a Bluetooth USB device, install the server (make sure it has Java and a Web browser), and you're off to the races. Since it uses Bluetooth technology, it has the same reach as Bluepulse's or Nokia's Bluetooth solutions, and a farther reach than the IrDA solutions.

Administration of Jellingspot is done via a web console, which means that if your Jellingspot box is connect to the net, you can do admin to it from anywhere on the planet (ditto with the others previously mentioned). Nokia's solution updates its modules via GPRS, and it seems Wideray and Hypertag do, too. Since Jellingspot is installed on a PC, admin can be done via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPRS, RJ45 -- it's simply about getting access to the web console.

See Admin Console Here

Once at the web console, you can simply create new text messages with its built in wizards, add form (phone) fitting graphics (for the adpusher service) -- which can be screen shots, coupons, etc... or, you can use the more powerful fServer service, which allows users to browse menus and download files/videos/pictures from marked folders.

Videos & Trailers
Short Doom3 Trailer

From an extensibility stand-point, Jellingspot offers an open API for developers to write their own services (called Jellingspot Service Beans [.jsbs]), Wideray also seems to offer some kind of development kit for $2500 big ones. Jellingspot will be free for developers.

Jellingspot's weakness may lay in the fact that it is NOT based on its own hardware ... while your author doesn't have anything in mind at this time, I'm sure those of you out there reading this will be able to comment on why exactly being based on open platforms is not as good as being on proprietary hardware (maybe from a QOS stand-point -- but, if your PC breaks down, you can just re-install Jellingspot on a new PC -- if your Wideray box breaks, you have to get a replacement).

Anyway, there is really too much to discuss between ALL of these solutions -- the best thing to do is to go to each website and READ what they have and ask questions -- that's the only "objective" way to learn about the proximity content server industry -- an industry which is going to be coming to your local shopping mall or tourist office very soon. If you have specific questions about Jellingspot, shoot.

Please checkout:


[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth wireless Jellingspot
Proximity Servers Symbian Mobiles ]

Friday, February 11, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Nokia

Yes, I promised to give the Jellingspot run-down yesterday, but I simply haven't had the time to think clearly ... and, right when I thought I was gonna do it, BAM! I find out that big dawg Nokia has entered the proximity server race, too (as reported by Geekzone).

I will go check out Nokia's site later to try to find more info, but it appears that Nokia is doing something similar to Bluepulse, or just plainly straight jacked them (or bought them or licensed it), but it's pretty much the same concept of how Bluepulse does things.

Anyway, in short, it looks like Nokia manages the server, and customers just login to update their specific content modules via GPRS (kinda Hypertag style) and then these little modules transmit the content via Bluetooth to location based smart-devices. This means that it's gonna cost money to do admin, as carriers aren't gonna let you do it for free. Also, Nokia probably will be charging some kinda of monthly access fee to use their network to do admin (plus you'll probably have to buy Nokia hardware?). Let's hope that USERS won't have to pay Bluepulse style. I will do more research on it in the coming week to see how it all works, if they even say how (all of these guys are generally sneaky about how they do things).

All in all, what it DOES show is that the proximity/point server market is REAL when Nokia starts to throw money at it -- and shows that all of those ney sayers are about to be proven wrong. Way to go Nokia -- welcome to the jungle! More on this later ...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Gett'n your 'ProxiDate' grove on ...

I know, I know, I promised to do a review of Jellingspot against the alternative proximity content servers out there, and I promise I'll get to it tomorrow ... running around like a chicken with no head right now. However, my awsome feed reader Omea Pro just pointed me to Engadget's deal on a "Proximity Dating" application which smells a lot like Mobiluck. I haven't yet really went off on Mobiluck yet (but you can see I linked to it on the right side of my blog) ..., but since it deals with Bluetooth, you know I'm all up in it.

This ProxiDating application, which you gotta pay for! -- is meant to find you a hot chick who is dorky enough to be searching with the same application via Bluetooth for some buster with a Bluetooth phone ... Mobiluck is kinda of a "people meet'er" application, while ProxiDate seems to be just for dating. I don't really know, as I won't cough up money to buy the client.

Jellingspot is gonna implement something like this (actually, it was started, but never finished) ... but, this isn't about Jellingspot so I'll shut up. Basically, these kind of applications -- peer-to-peer Bluetooth apps. -- are actually pretty useful and work well in tandem with a "ProxiDate" type night at some pub, etc... but, charging for the application might not be the best way -- or at least, not to get it onto somebody's phone -- they need to work on the business plan ... but, I give'em two thumbs up on the attempt and technology.

[ Technorati Tags: dating wireless Bluetooth
Proxidating ]

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Desktop GSM, Czech it out!

From the land that brought you the word robot, some clever Czechs just launched a desktop (home) phone that uses GSM technology -- targeted at older folks who have a hard time using a normal cell (not to mention, can't loose it). Also good for developing countries that don't have good land line access (or don't want to pay the land line monopoly bully your first two born children) ...

A simple concept, but I bet it sells like crazy! Starts selling for 216 USD in the next week or so.


So, I was just surfing the net, checking out blogs and google hits on proximity services, and I ran into a blurb about Semacode. I checked out their site, and was like, wow -- this is exactly what I've been wanting to do! More so (and better yet), their open source site had downloads ready to go.

If you're too lazy to look, basically, Semacode creates a special type of "barcode" that you shoot (photo) with your camera phone (from their client application), and it will decode that barcode and its content. In most cases, the barcode is generally a URL, which then, once decoded, can open up your browser and surf to the decoded message's site. This means, no typing on your keypad -- you can now just take a pic, and surf. Pretty cool.

I installed a client application on my 7560 and it worked 95% of the time (taking a pic off of my LCD monitor) ... my P900 sucks pretty bad, and decoded only about 20% of the time, if that (I even printed the barcodes out, but it didn't help). The cameras on S-E phones suck. Whatever the case, this technology is definately gonna prove useful. The client applications are buggy as hell, they crashed my phones like crazy, too ... but, that's to be expected at this early stage.

Semacode fanatics send their URLs embeded with these barcodes on postcards, add them to business cards, etc... which is what I think I'll do with my new biz cards. You can create your own bar code pretty easily online, or download the server and put it on your own website.

Somehow, someway, this technology (if it's gonna be free to use it for our commerical app) is gonna get put into Jellingspot ... not quite sure how, but I like it ...

If you're a developers in the wireless field, this might be a cool technology to add to your existing application (learn how here) or just to play with. This won't be the last you hear about Semacode from me ...

[ Technorati Tags: semacode technology wireless symbian
advertising marketing ]

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Hypertag

This last in a 3 part series looks at Hypertag, a U.K. production. Hypertag works much like our previously discussed solution, Wideray, but its target market is a little bit different (although there is a lot of cross over).

For example, Hypertag is ideal as a solution coupled with a traditional print advertisement. Let's say, you're standing at a bus stop, and there is one of those board ads that form part of the shelter you stand under while waiting for your bus -- it's a new CD advertisement for the band Audioslave. On the ad you notice a "point your IR port here" -- you do that, and you get a 15 second sound sample straight to your phone via IR. Not only have you saw the band's new CD cover on the ad, but you get a piece of their music, too. This is actually pretty cool ... it doesn't seem very interactive, but that's not what it's really designed to be -- it's meant to add another layer of "multi-media" or usability to the traditional print ad, and I think it's a pretty cool thing. Same thing could be used quickly to nab a coupon, or get the phone number of a booking office (say, the Blue Man Group is coming to town). .

From looking over their site, it first appears that you don't need any client application on your device, which would make it stellar (for getting one piece of content), but further study shows that this isn't the case, and you in fact need a client side application. Also, like Wideray, admin isn't discussed in much detail. I believe, however, that the hardware of Hypertag and Wideray have their admin done via GSM -- that is, a SIM card is inserted into their hardware (probably on some embedded Linux setup), and you directly link to those little boxes (not really sure how big Hypertag hardware is), and you update the content from there -- I'm guessing, that alone could get expensive, but it make sense in the case of Hypertag if you have their hardware all over the place (with Wideray, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth admin, or even standard RJ45 makes more sense). They probably get users on the service to update, too -- way to generate money, but gauge their customers (only speculation of course).

Anyway, their website doesn't reveal much -- it seems Wideray, Hypertag, and Bluepulse are all sneaky, as their webpages aren't all that informative, especially for larger funded companies ... maybe it's a "we don't want anybody to know about us" type thing, but that doesn't make sense (or maybe it does, as how they do things isn't so important to the users). If anybody in the UK (or in the US, where it seems they've got a foot on the ground) has used it, please let us know your user experience.

[ Technorati Tags: IrDA wireless mobiles proximity advertising marketing ]

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Wideray

Part 2 (of 3) of this series will take a quick peek at Wideray, a San Fran company with chop-shops in Vancouver (Bryan, try to find a set up in your town!) and New York (Newwwww York!!!!). If my memory serves me correctly, these guys first started with their IrDA solutions at medical conferences, where users could dish out electronic brochures to PDAs (Palm). Seemingly, that was their beachhead, their opus moderandi, but they're now moving into the direction of bigger and better things.

Basically, from their demo (on their front page), you just walk up, point your IrDA device (phone/PDA) at their little access point, and it beams you some goodies. From their demo, I can't really tell how interactive this can be, but I know a client application was required to connect to their system -- to those without a client, maybe it can send you a client application, but how does IrDA know what kinda of device is accessing it? (I guess I should learn more about IrDA, huh?)

Whatever the case, you walk up and get the info, and take it with you -- electronic coupons, ads, directions, etc... basically, anything the phone can handle. They claim to have a Bluetooth solution, but their demo doesn't really show that, as there would be no need to walk up to anything.

Seems simple enough -- I guess IrDA solutions are normal in Asia (I've yet to see one anywhere in the US or Europe), but I still think this is good stuff -- maybe it's the super geek in me, but I'd use it for sure, especially if it were free.

Anyway, as the previous link above shows, they've crawled their way into EB Games -- good for Wideray. This should make it possible to get info about games, plus game screenshots and video trailers, cheat tips, etc... the same way that JRC Gaming in the Czech Republic is getting now with Jellingspot Data Server (Warning: Self-Serving Plug). Regardless who does it, this is really needed -- it opens up a whole new world of interaction between gamers, retail chains, etc....

We can only hope that Wideray gets a full deployment into EB Games (I guess I can say I'd prefer it to be my solution, but may the best man win) ... the industry could really use a boost. If anybody has used Wideray, give us a shout-out -- we wanna hear from you!

[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth wireless mobiles proximity gaming marketing ]

Interruption: Suck'n AdSense

I'm interrupting my 3 part-series (I'll get to part 2 later today) to just quickly bitch about Google's AdSense program on Blogger -- if you'll notice on the right-side of my blog, I added the silly AdSense deal to make some quick cash (yeah right, more just to see how it works) --- it has been up, what, a week -- and all I have is ads for Blogging Tools -- how retarded. You'd think that ads for Bluetooth, Mobile phones, etc... would be showing up, since I've mentioned them 1000 times --- but I keep getting these retarded Blog Tool ads.

What is worse, is that EVERYBODY who pretty much is blogging on has the same stupid ads -- and get this, Google OWNS, so you'd think that their "contextual search" engine might get it right -- OMG, time to sell stock in Google (if I had some) -- if I don't start seeing some useful ads in the next week or two, you can kiss that skyscraper on the right-side of my blog good-bye! (not like you guys are clicking it anyway) ...

Now back to the regularly scheduled program ...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Bluepulse

This first part in a series of 3 starts with the Auzzie company Bluepulse. From the outset, let's state, that Bluepulse charges users (ie... clients) to access their services. However, I'm not here to discuss their busines plan -- I just got that out of the way. Now, let's look at what they're doing.

Like most companies, in order to put their technology through the real world squeezer, Bluepulse has started a live pilot to test their technology. Unfortunately, the link to the news article (from their site) is broken, but I recall that it took place at the Broadway Shopping Centre in Sydney (to be precise). I also remember they spent over 100,000 dollars (not sure if it was US or Australian, I'm guessing the latter ... 1 USD = 1.30 AUD) to juice up this mall, not really your ma and pa store's solution, but it seems to offer some goodies.

For example, with Bluepulse, they state that their system can navigate you -- step-by-step -- to landmarks, stores, etc... So, you want to know where the hell Micky Dees is, you just select that info from the directory (I guess), and based on your position (which access point you're connected to), it'll tell you which way to go ... pretty cool stuff IMO. Additionally, they have an IM function so you can IM people on the same network (remember, this is all free via Bluetooth), and you can get news about sales, etc.... all relevant to your location. This is all done with their "SPacial Object Technology" (SPOT).

So, no standing in line to get stuff via Infrared ... you get everything wirelessly via Bluetooth (and or a GSM solution I think -- read on) and it's all location based. Sounds cool to me ...

However, I think unlike a "true" (whatever that means) proximity server, it utilizes wireless carriers to get non-Bluetooth phones involved in the mix, although I'm not sure (as they don't directly say), but phones that generally don't allow Java technology to access the Bluetooth radio (no JSR-82 stack, for the developers out there) are on their list, I'm guessing they're doing something via the carriers. This may also explain why they charge 1 dollar a day (or 5 per month) to use their service (but again, speculation). However, it's not much -- and if it works as they say it does, and you can get a coupon that saves you some chips (that's money for the non-ghetto folks out there), then it's probably still worth it (They better have a lot of content, games, etc... if you're gonna make'em pay, though).

Whatever the case, the Southern Hemisphere has its player, and unless there are others I don't know about, keep an eye on these guys ... my only fear is that getting a ROI on their hardware setup/installation is gonna be hard ... but, I hope they do it.

No word on whether or not third-parties can write applications for their system, or how admin is done on it ... if anybody learns more about Bluepulse (you can read many posts about it in their forums), drop me a line. Ooh, and check out the Bluepulse Demo...

[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth wireless mobiles proximity ]

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution ...

Ok, the crux of much of my current technology efforts are currently intertwined with Wireless Proximity content technologies, also called Point Server technologies, and even at times called "Location Based Services" technologies. The last is normally mix-mashed with efforts that utlize carrier triangulation to offer "location based" services over your carrier's connection -- therefore, for the sake of things -- we'll just call it proximity server technology .... a recent addition to the family of names can be found by Blogger Bryan Rieger, who gave it the name of Contextual Content Distribution. Whatever we call it (and I'm sure the industry will streamline itself soon), it's here to stay.

Basically, proximity technologies utilized technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Infrared (IrDA), and ZigBee to distribute content related to a specific location or business to near by persons who are carrying the requiste corresponding devices to connect to these solutions. In English, this means that instead of using your carrier (AT&T, Eurotel, T-Mobile, etc...) to get SMSs or MMSs, or view streaming video on your handheld/phone -- which generally costs you money - you can get similar content, over those technologies as mentioned above, generally for free and at a very fast date rate. Additionally, this content is relevant to your physical location. Of course, as you'll see in this 4 part dicussion, not all proximity content solutions are free to the user (this should be a point of discussion among you all), but that's a minor point in this discussion.

What is important is that, instead of going out onto the net to look for information, the information is piped to you. You need to know what time your movie starts? You turn your phone one, and bam! If you're within 100m of the cinema, you can get the movie times table push to you. Not sure about that your girl wants to see, bam! You download a moview preview to your phone -- take it with you while you go tear up some Micky Dees. Didn't cost you a dime (or a small one at that).

Or, how about this -- you're in a cafe ... you whip out your phone, and you connect to a proximity server, and bam! You're browing personal and/or classifed ads. You add your own into the thin air. Antoher person comes within that 100m area, checks out the bulletin board service from their phone, and sees your ad ... while the term ubiquitous computing has already been used to discribe slighly different things, in reality this IS ubiquitous computing at its finest. There are TODAY, solutions which can do this, and we'll review them from a user perspective.

I can rant about the solution I'm currently involed in, but let me first give the floor to my fellow industry side-kicks.... Bluepulse, Wideray, Hypertag. I'm impressed with all of them, and I think you need to keep an eye on them all ... go check out their sites, I'll start the discussion on them for the next 3 days.