More to mobile than cell phones

With the iPhone and other “smart” phones, access to the web is now easier than ever.  They have pretty much hijacked the term “mobile web” in the public perception, so it was great to hear a talk by Dan Young (of DXY Solutions) at NEOUPA in June covering some of the myriad of different mobile projects they are connected with.

“10 years ago no one thought of dropping their landlines”

Dan Young talking at NEOUPADan passed around his very own Apple Newton, which pretty much set the stage for where we are now with mobile.  He also outlined the differences they see with today’s devices.

He pointed out that laptops are portable and generally, if its a work one, people don’t mind sharing them to check email.  Phones are mobile, and very personal, even if its company owned.  People seem to have a reluctance to share PDA’s and phones.

A lot of the work Dan is involved in use mobile devices other than phones.  These are the units that you see UPS or Meter Maids use.  They have a lot of different considerations such as:

  • Environment – Sun glare, extreme cold or heat, dust or rain
  • Size – Too small could sour the experience
  • Dexterity – Can they use it one-handed? Do they wear gloves?
  • Connection – Support isn’t always at hand
  • OS – Java/J2ME, Blackberry, WinMobile, Symbian, Android etc.

Dan stepped through a little of their process. Screen flows help a lot to build the logic that a users follows (there’s no help on a cell phone). Having focus groups and watching the users handle and interact with both the device and the software, helps them make changes on-the-fly and re-test very quickly.  These sessions have also made them aware that users will “mask their fear” of the device initially, so when working with companies to provide these type of solutions they make sure employees are comfortable.  They have to also be cognizant that every touch (calls, back light use, etc.) drains the battery.

It was an interesting look into a still developing arena, from a local company heavily involved.

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Playing with Unify from Unit Interactive

I was lucky enough to get a beta invite for Unify recently. Unfiy is an in-browser content editor, developed by Unit Interactive.  The nice thing about this is you do not need any special programming or a CMS to maintain the content.  The beta testing is coming to a close, but I wanted to share this video to show how easy it is to use.

(View full size)

I really liked the way it worked and would really consider it for some of the HTML only sites I build at DMWebsites.

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A seemingly British week in Cleveland…

For some reason this week has been, for us at least, very British.
Bakers van in MentorI got a photo from my wife during this week of an old British bakers van (Hovis to be specific). Not too interesting I suppose, except it was driving through Mentor!

Two guys, from very close to where we lived in the UK, were recreating a race across America in Ford Model-T’s.  You can follow their exploits on their website.

Then, returning from Amazone (great fun, but I’m not all that at Lasertag), we stopped off at Gaelic Imports. If you live around Cleveland you have to stop in and grab some of their fantastic baked good. I stocked up with some sausage rolls, pasties and bakewell tarts amongst other things. I also grabbed one of their breakfast pies. They are just so tasty!

We also picked up some canned goods from “back home” too.  Now these are hard times I know, but when someone if baking this stuff fresh, and its so cheap, you’ve gotta support them.  They also sell through Reilly’s at the Westside Market.

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In the 6 years I’ve been in Ohio I can’t remember seeing one single snail!  Is it that Britain is so soggy I just grew used to seeing them?

They’re everywhere!

It seems every movie that is vaguley comedic in nature, has a cast member from the U.S. version of The Office. I’ve nothing against them-if you can get the work, great.

But, c’mon.

I took my son to see the sequal to “Night at the Museum” and they had at least 3 cameos of Office alums, not including the creator Ricky Gervais (all wasted IMHO).  They were really just there for the “Ooh, that’s so-and-so from The Office”.