Tuesday, December 09, 2008

W3C mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0 becomes a W3C Recommendation

No, I am not transcribing the W3C News feed, if you also read the last post from some minutes ago. mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0, the specification whose authors are Sean Owen (Google) and Jo Rabin (dotMobi -and before, at Segala-), has been demonstrated by means of a main reference implementation: the W3C mobileOK Checker.

Behind the web front end in that page, there is an open source checker that has been possible thanks to the mobileOK Checker Task Force: Abel Rionda and Miguel García (Fundación CTIC, current co-chairs of the TF), Sean Owen (Google, chair of the TF from its creation in early 2007 until June 2008), Jo Rabin and Ruadhan O'Donoghue (dotMobi), Dominique Hazäel-Masseux and François Daoust (W3C), Roland Gülle (7Val). Ah, and myself.

Basically, the open source checker implements the tests and the tests intend to provide algorithms for those best practices in the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 (Basic Guidelines) W3C Recommendation that can be performed by an algorithm without the need for a human expert (that is another battle that I'll write about someday).

This is part of the support of Fundación CTIC to web standards in what regards to mobility since September 2005, when I joined the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices working group:

It has been a lot of work, besides the dozens of projects accomplished in the meantime, but it is good to see that results are visible and -what is more important- useful.

Device Description Repository Simple API is a W3C Recommendation

The DDR Simple API document has just become a W3C Recommendation. This work intends to provide a standard way for any stakeholder in the web ecosystem to access device information known "a priori" like screen size, number of colours, or image formats and markup supported. The document has been developed within the W3C Device Description Working Group and its editors are Jo Rabin (from dotMobi -mTLD Top Level Domain-), José Manuel Cantera Fonseca (from Telefónica I+D), Rotan Hanrahan (from MobileAware, chair of the DDWG) and myself, Nacho Marín, from Fundación CTIC.

It would be completely unfair not to mention the fifth horsemen, Mr. Rodrigo García (also from Fundación CTIC) who was a key player in the development of the document, the re-expression of the API in IDL and WDSL -to prove how it could be used by other technologies different to the Java API used in the document).

This is not the only document provided by the DDWG, so here goes my acknowledgment to: Andrea Trasatti (Director of Device Initiatives at dotMobi), as editor of the DDR Core Vocabulary (together with Jo and Rotan); Jose Cantera once again, as editor of the document Device Description Structures; Eman, James and Matt, as editors of the Device Description Landscape 1.0; and Rotan, yes, Rotan again, as editor of the Device Description Ecosystem 1.0.

And of course, to all the participants in the group: it was a pleasure to work with you all. I hope we'll work together again. Some of you are still doomed to bear with me in the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group, one of the other groups in the W3C Mobile Web Initiative.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mobile analytics

Some days ago I read a post in the Little Springs Design blog very interesting about Mobile Analytics. I forgot to post about it but a twit from Andrea reminded me that I had that pending task.

It talks about how careless analytics engines for web sites are about mobile web and, given that mobile access is increasing on and on, something should be done about it. There seem to be some commercial solutions but no open solution seems to be available à la Google Analytics.

A must-read article for those intending to measure accesses to their mobile sites.

Nokia Maps 3.0: Great improvements coming

Nokia Maps is the software that I use when I travel abroad. The best new feature that I have found in the news coming from the Finland is the integration with Ovi and, more particularly, the chance to plan your trip in the web and then transfer the results to your mobile. If one image is better than one thousand words, a video is much better than a googolplex words. There you have it:

Available on S60 3rd Edition FP2 devices and soon to come on FP1... and S40 too!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Songbird 1.0

Songbird is a new music player in town. It has recently reached its version 1.0. I started playing with it and all seemed fine. But after installing the LyricMaster extension, it stopped playing music files (no matter whether I disable or uninstall the extension).

It promises a lot but it seems to still be buggy.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Symbian going open

A lot has been written in what regards to Symbian becoming an open-source operating system. The scheduled moment for that to become true seems to be 2010. In the meantime, some facts prove that they are taking it really seriously.

For example, the new Carbide C++ 2.0 has just been released for free. A bit sad for spending money this year on some Carbide Pro licenses, but a step forward into openness. Next step: kill Symbian Signed (or at least, seriously re-think of it).

[EDITED 2009-01-21: This post was written long ago but it was saved as a draft and not published -do not know why-. Published now! :-) ]

Google Reader and its revamped user interface

Google has improved the UI of one of their most popular service: Google Reader, their web-based RSS feed reader. Besides the slight changes in the look and feel, CPU load when accessing the service has decreased a lot.

In an Acer Aspire One, you can now really enjoy the site without your web browser becoming unresponsive once in a while. In an even less powerful device like the Nokia N810, your CPU stops being at the 100% all the time and, if you do not want the full view of the posts you can use the list mode. This mode allows you to view only the name of the origin web site for the post, and its subject and date, so you can avoid all the posts that are not attractive. This list view is an intermediate step between the traditional Google Reader "full web experience" and the simpler Google Reader Mobile.

The main difference is that Google Reader Mobile offers a list of links (one link for each post) and the selection of a post means loading a new page, while the new list view in the "full" Google Reader shows the content of the post using JavaScipt. Luckily, the use of Javascript all over the Google Reader site seems much lighter in terms of CPU consumption.

Great work!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Running Office 2007 in Ubuntu 8.10 using wine

There I go with a step by step tutorial:

Just follow the steps in http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=844309 BUT INVERT THE ORDER OF STEPS 9 AND 10. This is, first execute winecfg as said in step 10, and then rename files as said in step 9.

I have started word and typed a little and seemed to be working fine. Then I just moved the cursor over the default Excel spreadsheet and it froze.

Stay tuned and I will report feedback about my experiences with Office 2007 in Ubuntu 8.10 with wine.

Ah, I launch Office apps by means of the scripts provided at http://www.wine-reviews.net/microsoft/microsoft-office-2007-update.html.