Monthly Archives: December 2007

Installing Treo Palm OS Simulator for Web Testing

This is the second installment of my quest to install simulators on my Windows XP system for all the major smartphone platforms. Yesterday we covered the BlackBerry simulator; today we’ll tackle the Palm OS version of the Treo.

The first step will be to the Palm developer center. If you don’t already have a free developer account, register for one now. (It’s necessary to download any of the simulators.)

Since we’re covering devices based on Palm OS, I’ll pick the latest which is the Centro smartphone. Palm offers a simulator for each device, so follow these steps to get the one for the Centro:

  1. Start at the Centro Developer Center
  2. Under Quick Links, click on Simulators
  3. In the KB article shown, click on and download it (18MB)
  4. Extract the .zip file into some convenient location
  5. In the extracted files, navigate to PalmSDK\Simulators\Centro_Sprint_Simulator_Release_Build_X
  6. Double-click on PalmSim.exe to start the Simulator
  7. Choose the .rom file pointed to by default (e.g., Simulator.SprintCdmaRelEnUS.rom)
  8. If a Windows Firewall warning message appears, choose the Unblock option

You now have a working Palm OS simulator!

Some tips and tricks:

  • Read up on the documentation (\Doc folder) to learn about keyboard commands and so on
  • Run the Prefs app on the device, choose Power, and set the Auto-off to 3 minutes
  • To access the internet from the simulator, right-click anywhere, choose menu Setting | Communication, and select Redirect NetLib calls.


Palm OS Treo Simulator Screenshot

Installing BlackBerry Simulator for Mobile Web Testing

In order to accurately test mobile websites on a variety of devices, you either need to buy a bunch of phones (if you’re a big developer and can afford it), or go the cheap route and rely on device simulators from the manufacturers. In order to better understand how looks and behaves, I’m going to install all the major simulators I can find and document the steps along the way.

To get rolling with the testing of BlackBerry devices, we’ll start at the BlackBerry Developer Program and find the page for BlackBerry Developer Tools.

There are two different software packages we’ll need. First is the Device Simulator:

Use BlackBerry Device Simulators to demonstrate and test how the BlackBerry® Device Software, screen, keyboard and trackwheel/trackball will work with your application. These simulators will also simulate behavior in various wireless network conditions.

Second is the MDS Services:

The BlackBerry Email and MDS Services Simulator Package can emulate certain aspects of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. When used in conjunction with a BlackBerry Device Simulator, users can simulate browsing web content, sending and receiving email or application data traffic.

The MDS Services software is needed to simulate a network connection, which we’ll need for testing mobile browsing. Without it, your simulated BlackBerry has no network access.

Next we’ll proceed to downloading the latest Device Simulator. Each phone/carrier combination you want to test is a separate download. In my case I’m testing with the 8830 on Sprint and the 8300 without a carrier. Download these .exe files and run them, installing into the default folders.

Next we’ll need to download the Email and MDS Services Simulator package. This download required me to create a free registration with the BlackBerry developer program. (While installing this package, it warned me that I needed a newer Java development kit installed, but I deselected that prerequisite and continued on without it. If you do run into problems, you might in fact need a recent JDK.)

After the packages are installed, we can fire up the simulator:

  1. Bring up an Explorer window and navigate to the “Research in Motion” folder under Program Files
  2. Go into the “Email and MDS Services” folder, then the “MDS” folder, then double-click on run.bat
  3. Go back up and into the “Device Simulators” folder, then a device folder (like “8830-Sprint”), then double-click on the device batch file (like “8830-Sprint.bat”)

Wait a minute for the simulator to start running, then start using your new phone!

Some tips and tricks:

  • Bring up the simulator help content (F1) to get familiar with the UI and keyboard controls
  • Keep the LCD on (menu View | Keep LCD On)
  • Save or copy the screen as an image (Edit menu)
  • Zoom in (View | Zoom) or go full-screen (F11) for presentations

That last tip made me realize this simulator would be great for any sort of demo, hack, or presentation. Instead of fumbling with an ELMO, you can run your demo from this simulator on your laptop.



Get Detailed Stats On Flickr

If you’re a Flickr user and have been wanting a better understanding of who is viewing your pictures, you’ll be happy with today’s launch of Flickr stats for pro members:

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you — we’ve launched another of our most often requested features. Yay!

In order to get started, you’ll need to first login to Flickr, then visit the stats activation page. That page will tell you to wait a bit for the stats data to appear. The FAQ says it may take up to 24 hours, but mine were ready in about 10 minutes. (But then, I don’t have a huge number of photos.)

Once your stats do arrive, you’ll see a great breakdown of overall stats, including daily aggregate views, and view counts for photos, photostreams, sets, and collections. These counts are available for the previous day, this week, last week, and all time.

Flickr photo stats most viewed The most viewed photos are shown next, complete with miniature thumbnails. Clicking on a picture title leads you to a full page of stats just for that one picture, so you can really drill down to as much detail as you want.

Flickr photo stats referrers

Next up is the referrer data typical of a blog stats package. It shows the breakdown by referrers from Flickr itself, search engines, other sites, and direct links. Traffic from search engines and other sites can be clicked on to show the exact referring link or search term used.


Flickr photo stats breakdownFinally there is a breakdown of all photos in various categories such as public vs. private, geotagged vs. not geotagged, etc. A nice touch here: most of the “not …” sets are linked to the Flickr organizer. So if you were the sort that always wanted to make sure pictures were in sets and not orphaned, you could click on the “Not in sets” link to bring them all up at once.

All in all it’s nice addition to Flickr and perhaps another good reason to have a paid Pro level account.

Movable Type Open Source Edition Now Available

The open source version of the Movable Type publishing/blogging platform is launching today. See the announcement for more details (a podcast is also available):

As of today, and forever forward, Movable Type is open source. This means you can freely modify, redistribute, and use Movable Type for any purpose you choose.

It looks like the open source version (MTOS) has all the features and functionality of standard Movable Type 4 edition (MT4), but also includes other improvements and bug fixes. It sounds like the code was forked, “open-sourced”, and now released. The current MT4 product, along with the enterprise addon software and support packages will continue to exist (and will be paying the bills at SixApart).

My upgrade to MT4.0 is still half-baked, but I really need to finish it off. I’ve already got a Pro license for MT4, but will want to check out the MTOS version as well before completing this upgrade process.

Someone Else’s User-Generated Content

Chris over on Copyblogger has a great post titled Are You Someone’s User-Generated Content?, commenting on bloggers who have been abandoning their personal blogs in favor of social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Here’s a key quote from Chris:

…people who abandon blogging have gone from developing a digital asset of their own that could have real value, to becoming someone else’s user-generated content.

The phrase “user generated content” is kicked around a lot (perhaps too much), but in this context I think Chris makes a great point. I’ve seen many blogs where the person is now doing updates on a micro site like Tumblr, or Twitter. Maybe for those just doing personal updates (like a journal), that will work, but for a true personal site you need to control your own content and have it hosted on a domain you control.