Category Archives: Mobile

SplashBlog.com Shutdown

This past week SixApart announced that the SplashBlog mobile blogging site will close down in a month. I’ve been following SplashBlog and its use as a mobile blogging client:

  • In February 2005, SplashBlog.com launched as a free hosting service for SpashData’s SplashBlog mobile client (initial price $20). When launched, the client could post to either the TypePad or SplashBlog services.
  • In September of that year, they released client version 2.0 which was now free, but only connected to their own SplashBlog service. The service was free for up to 100 pictures and about $30/year for an unlimited account.
  • In March 2006, SplashData sold the SplashBlog client and service to SixApart, presumably to enable mobile blogging to their services like TypePad.
  • In August 2006, the SplashBlog client reappeared as TypePad Mobile
  • A couple months later in October 2006, SixApart launched the Vox service and released a mobile version of the old SplashBlog client specifically targeted for Vox.

Today, SixApart continues to support both TypePad Mobile and Vox Mobile clients for Palm, Windows Mobile, and Symbian Series 60, so it seems like the old SplashBlog client will live on for a while longer.

As for the SplashBlog.com service shutdown, they are providing tools to either download all your original images in Zip format, or migrate them to a TypePad account. Migration to Vox is also possible, but not directly; instead, you can use the Zip export/import method.

iPhone “Simulator”

iPhoney: It’s not quite a simulator, but will certainly help web developers understand what their sites will look like from an iPhone. Since the iPhone uses Safari, the iPhoney app can use the same on an OS X system to provide a pretty decent testbed:

Looking for a way to see how your web creations will look on iPhone? Look no further. iPhoney gives you a pixel-accurate web browsing environment—powered by Safari—that you can use when developing web sites for iPhone. It’s the perfect 320 by 480-pixel canvas for your iPhone development. And it’s free.

iPhoney Example Screenshot

Russell Beattie Blogging Again

Russell Beattie, a mobile developer and now entrepreneur, took a break from blogging for the last year, but is back at it again. If you’re interested in mobile devices and trends, Russell’s blog is worth following: Russell Beattie’s Weblog » Filling in the gaps.

Also worth checking out is Russell’s new site Mowser which transforms normal web sites to make them readable on mobile devices. Initial results look promising and I want to dive into this a bit deeper.

Russell is also running mobitopia which is a mobile bookmark site (based on open-source software). I need to keep an eye on that for good sites to add to my mobile website list.

Web Development for iPhone

With the launch of the iPhone, Apple has finally posted some documentation to help web designers understand the browsing capabilities of the mobile Safari browser: Web Development for iPhone.

I was looking for this sort of information before the launch, but I guess it was under NDA. Maybe those who attended WWDC this year were privy to the info?

In any case, the most interesting content is a guide titled Optimizing Web Applications and Content for iPhone. The guide gives a good explanation of the user interactions on the phone and explains how to target content, including some iPhone-specific meta tags to help optimize page layout.

As a big fan of the potential of the “mobile web”, I’m hopeful that the iPhone buzz will bring validity to the idea of browsing the web from your mobile phone. Sites specially formatted for mobiles are slowly growing (see my latest list), but are certainly not the norm.

I’m worried that instead of moving mobile web forward in general, the iPhone will only cause a ton of iPhone-specific tweaks. For example, look at all the hacked-together sites listed on rev2.org’s Top 25 Web Apps for iPhone. Or check out 37Signals’ Ta-da List, a great web application, now with a custom iPhone version.

I’ll be on the lookout for useful mobile sites that render well on the iPhone as well as other web-capable phones.

Adventures with Sprint

This weekend I learned an important lesson: don’t try to make a double phone switch moments before leaving home for the weekend. The call to Sprint went well enough and she assured me the changes would take effect within 4 hours. They didn’t, of course, because the agent had skipped the important part where I need to reprogram my phone with the new number. She said it wasn’t necessary, so I went along…doh, big mistake.

Coming home late Sunday night I discovered the next surprise: Sprint customer service is not open 24/7. On Sundays, for example, they’re only online from 9am to 9pm (Pacific time). The automated menu system is there, but real live humans are not. How can you be a telecommunication company and not have 24/7 customer support?

Luckily, there are plenty of searchable forums to help explain the programming sequence, so I got everything running again on my own. One good site in particular is the PhoneNews.com Knowledge Base which is a wiki that documents details for all phones sold by US mobile carriers. (Also: they’re hiring.)