iPhone is different!

Filed under: mobile,rants,why? — jaydublu @ 10:33 am

I once posted something about ‘why the fuss about the iPhone‘ – I still don’t get it.

We’re a few months away from having the thing released here, but in the mean time there’s the iPod Touch which is most of the iPhone without the phone. Since the bit I’m interested in is the web browser and the Internet features – it’s ideal so I got one for the team for R&D.

I pointed it at one of the sites I’d optimised for mobile devices following recognised best practice (e.g. Luca Passani’s Global Authoring Practices for the Mobile Web) and was not hugely surprised that it rendered the desktop version as my mobile detection didn’t pick up the User Agent.

A quick tweak to get it to spot that ‘iPod’ is a mobile device and … Safari throws an error.

It turns out that Safari Mobile doesn’t support xhtml-mp!

So to get an iPhone friendly version of a site you can’t use your mobile version and keep it xhtml-mp. I see Facebook have a mobile version using xhtml-mp, and a special iphone version without a doctype.

Do I feel a return to the bad old days of browser sniffing and multiple versions of sites? Oh dear!

Why do Apple always have to be different?

Apple iPhone – what’s the fuss?

Filed under: mobile,opinion,why? — jaydublu @ 5:24 pm

I’m sorry, I may not have been paying attention, but why is the Apple iPhone such a big deal?

Yes it does email, and lets you browse the web and take pictures, but so do most phones. OK it’s in a sexy Apple designed case, and has a natty user interface, but there are many other damned sexy phones out there too.

It now seems even the OS is being kept under wraps – if you want to put an app on the phone develop it as a web app – much as you would with any other phone.

So what’s the big deal?

Mobile bloody phones

Filed under: mobile,rants,why? — jaydublu @ 8:01 pm

OK, I’m so cross I’m inspired to blog!

I’ve had a few phones in the past – each gaining in sophistication on the previous model – an experience I’m sure I share with many people. The phones are now trying so hard to be more than just a phone – email, pda, mp3 player, modem …

I’ve currently got a Sony Ericsson K750i which was quite cool when I got it (aren’t they all?) and it did a job. But I always regretted putting the bloody CD in my computer to install the ‘PC Suite’ – the computer has run like a dog ever since – it never did what it said it would do (sync stuff up etc.) so I basically gave up – and stick to treating the thing as a phone.

But the little joystick nipply thing first stopped going down, then stopped period. Common problem I gather. I ‘acquire’ a spare phone and go to try and copy all my settings, contacts, ringtones, games etc. from one to the other – so I’m back in the world of the PC Suite and now I’m REALLY CROSS!

Whoever came up with the idea of mobile bloody phones and tried to make them clever?

I wish I was one of the few who refuse to use the frigging things!

XSLT – why?

Filed under: rants,why? — jaydublu @ 6:14 pm

Another in the ‘Why?’ series – I’m looking at methods for delivering a site based on dynamic content – news, clients that sort of thing – and the primary frontend will be a beautifully constructed Flash movie (trust me, it will be beautiful!) but for SEO, accessibility, and general good practice there will be a beautifully constructed xhtml equivalent too.

So how to store and deliver the content? Flash reads xml very well, so it makes sense to pass the content in that format. So how about representing all the content in xml, and use xslt to transform it for html / wap / any other format? Got to be the way to do it!

So I do some research into the practicalities of the approach, and it’s a right palava! Assuming a standard hosting solution, you need the base xml file, the xslt transform file, then something to do the transform. I’m a big PHP fan, but xslt support is not yet bundled (like MySQL for instance) so you’ve got to reconfigure, and that took some doing. Then for every page you need a php script to use the xslt file to transform the xml file. And XPATH and all that jazz takes a bit of getting your head around.

So why not go ‘old skool’ and store the data in MySQL, read it directly using PHP? much easier – oh yes the Flash. That was going to have a bad time extracting meanigful content from a complex structure, so it makes sense to write a ‘translating’ script to prodcue just the data the movie needs in a nice digestable format – another transformation, or another PHP script reading MySQL data.

I know which way is easier, so it leaves one question … why XSLT?

Gentoo – why?

Filed under: bluetooth,gentoo,tinkering,why? — jaydublu @ 9:53 pm

Why? Because I want to play with bluetooth, and I found a howto based on the Gentoo operating system.

So I dig out an old box and go to install Gentoo. It can’t be that hard can it?

Five attempts later and I still can’t get more than a dozen steps through the quick install (?) guide, and as a last resort I post a message on the forum.

Almost instantly get a reply helpfully pointing out that my AMD K6-2 processor needs an i586 stage3 not the i686 as in the instructions.

So I’m further along a tortuous road, but there’s still a long way to go before I even get a bare box that boots itself – as I’m writing this the kernel is compiling and I have no idea if I’ve got all the modules I need configured.

Don’t know what the odds are of getting anything that I can achieve my (limited) goals on – I’ll report back.