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25 May 2010

The Fight! Pre versus HTC Evo 4G

Definitely not rocket science. But thought it was a fun comparison. Especially since I own the Palm Pre and just pre-ordered the HTC Evo 4G.

Enjoy :)

By the way, the problems he has with WebOS are not because he doesn't use WebOS very often. I have the same issues after using it as my primary device for close to a year. A little frustrating that the hardware can't keep up with an OS that has so much potential.

19 May 2010

Android Official

As of 1:00 p.m. today I became Android official by pre-ordering the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint.

Call it drinking the Kool-aid, jumping on the band wagon or jumping ship. I haven't really decided how I want to look at it so it doesn't matter to me.

But the truth of the matter is this: I'm joining a movement of sorts. What Google has done with the Droid mobile platform in the past two years is staggering to me. They've been able to develop a mobile OS that rivals the best on the market. They have a cloud computing and SaaS structure already in place to power Apps on their phones. And they intelligently offer them on a variety of devices with most carriers - thereby making it available to the widest possible spectrum of users.

All this and they keep moving forward with the speed of a company that has serious goals to meet. When I see that, I can't help but want to be part of it.

If it were all a flash in the pan - you'd expect to see the Droid market rise, level off and then either remain stagnant or actually drop. But instead it keeps moving off the charts. Here are just two stories from the past month or two:
I fully expect there to be bugs with the HTC Evo 4G just as there have been with every other mobile device I've owned. But I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do, and I feel like the sky is the limit based on the almost mind-boggling stuff Google has unveiled for the future of their mobile platform.

Can't wait until June 4th!

18 May 2010

SEO Tactics to Avoid

Search Engine Optimization is the buzzword of the day. And while there are valid expressions of SEO in good web design - there is also the possibility of going too far and becoming something of a jerk in the web world.

Remember the scene in Crocodile Dundee II where Paul Hogan was fishing with dynamite in New York Harbor? Absurd you say? Yes, but this is what many of the popular SEO tactics are like today. Rather than "helping" people find your site, you "force" them upon your site. This is a monumental difference to the visitor. It's the difference between them saying, "Sweet - that wasn't so bad" and, "What the heck is all this crap cluttering up my search?"

LINE25 recently posted on 5 tactics that will make you look bad. They are:
  1. Stuffing your titles with keywords
  2. Littering your body text with keywords
  3. Not using your real name on comments
  4. Excessive interlinking of words and phrases
  5. Sending link exchange request emails
In my opinion these are just 5 of many.

To read more about each of the above check out the full article here.

13 May 2010

HTML5 & CSS3 Are Coming!

Advances in web design and web strategy are often limited by the modern browser's ability to accurately render what we've created. Of course that's why we use hacks and a little elbow grease to make sure our sites look relatively the same in all of them.

HTML5 and CSS3 are nothing more than progress - the next version of that thing we're already using. But as it is with most things - you need the majority of the people to accept them before they can be widely used.

In this case - we need the majority of the browsers (if not all) to get on the same page and honor the web standards that will allow for true innovation and progress to occur in the area of web design.

Because of this I love it when I find little articles and/or tools that make it clear just how far we are along that journey.

This site built by the Asylum helps you to quickly and visually see what browsers support some of the new and fun stuff HTML5 and CSS3 offer:

Have fun!

06 May 2010

Palm Pre: Failure to Launch

Those of you that have read this blog before probably know that I obsessed over the Palm Pre for close to 6 months before its arrival. I stood in line to get it and have now had it for close to a year. So here is my final review of the Palm Pre on the Sprint Network:

  • Sprint plans: Awesome
  • Sprint coverage: Awesome
  • Sprint customer service: Used to be the worst but is getting much better
  • Palm Pre hardware: Not great at all. Plastic that cracks easily, hard to protect, slider is easily damaged, battery is easily jarred which restarts the phone, screen is highly finger-print sensitive, on/off button sticks on my phone, have to use Palm certified recharging products or recharging won't start immediately.
  • Palm WebOS: Great idea. The future is: Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS). Hopefully HP will squeeze every ounce of usefulness out of this genuinely innovative concept and make it useful on a variety of platforms (like a tablet perhaps?)
  • Palm WebOS functionally: My Pre has never felt fast. There has always been a lag in the responsiveness of the tough screen and the ease with which programs will start and run well. Games take relatively long to load and I've had a few that won't start due to their size. I routinely see the "Too many cards open" warning which basically means a restart.
  • Palm Follow-through: Very poor. When I bought the phone it came with the promise of any number of things like flash compatibility, video recording, mobile document creation, etc. We just received video recording in the last OS update but the other two are still MIA.
  • Palm Touchstone: Awesome idea and works well. I'm assuming this will be a feature accessory for many new phones in the future.
  • Connection troubles: I've noticed that the Pre has a problem figuring out whether or not to use the Sprint Network or the Wi-fi at times. If the Wi-fi is available but hasn't been authenticated (like at a hotel or restaurant) certain Apps (like Tweed) stop working. You have to either authenticate or turn off the Wi-fi in order to refresh Twitter. Seems like the phone should know that and force the App to use the Sprint Network.
  • Over the Air (OTA) OS Updates: Awesome - works well - can't complain.
  • OTA OS Updates (actual content): Nothing to write home about. Palm has the perfect scenario - the ability to fix bugs immediately and push it to every Pre out there. But instead they wait months to roll out updates that on my Pre seem to do nothing. Small tweaks and slightly different functionality, but nothing major. AND! Half the time I have problems after the updates! Decreased battery life, camera takes 3x longer to take the picture and locks up the phone after the shot, Google Maps takes a lot longer to open and rarely works correctly now, etc.
In Summary
Palm was failing big time so they stepped out of the box and went for it all with WebOS and the Palm Pre. On the one hand they hit it big. New technology that made Apple, RIM and Google go, "Oh my word...we better get on that..." But I just don't think Palm had the time and money to completely knock it out of the park - which became even more evident this past month when HP bought them out.

In this day and age, you have to offer a product with the latest technology out of the box. Chances are the consumer will only have your product for 24 months. In my case I feel like upgrading in 10-12 months. So you can't put out a product that is lagging and say, "We'll roll that out in Q2 next year." That business plan just doesn't cut it any more.

So I want to commend Palm for their effort. And I wish them well in the future as they partner with HP and look for new innovative ways to use WebOS.

But for me, I think I'm ready to try something new. I've held off on the whole Android craze because just like everything else Google does, it starts in the roughest of beta and remains there for a while until all the kinks are worked out. But once they get the kinks worked out - they seem to be able to use the latest technology and stay at the top of the game.

Because of this I feel like the most recent Android phones to hit the market have the perfect combination of a stable/consistent Android OS coupled with hardware that takes it to the next level.

The HTC Incredible and HTC Evo 4G have caught my eye and in June I just might pull that trigger.

This in part because I don't think I have the patience to wait until December to see what Microsoft Windows Phone 7 phones will look like and be capable of. So for now I'll leave you with the HTC Evo 4G and it's rich feature set...

04 May 2010

It's a Slow Decline. But it's a Decline...

There's just something in me that wants to root for the underdog. I'll find myself watching a sporting event where I could care less about either team. And yet, before long I'm hoping that the losing team will stage a comeback so it will be a good game.

So it's no surprise to me that I feel the same way about browsers.

For years it has been an Internet Explorer (IE) world. But not for long. As newer browsers emerge, IE has slowly been losing ground. According to this Engadget article, they have finally dipped below the 60% mark in terms of browser market shares.

Now this may not seem significant, but for a browser that had been in the 90% range for years, it IS a big deal.

And to bring it closer to home, here are the browser stats for for the month of April 2010:
  • IE: 44.78%
  • Safari: 24.75%
  • Firefox: 21.71%
  • Chrome: 5.33%
Not sure what this says about the visitors to our site - but our IE usage is about 15% less than the reported numbers!

In Summary
One important thing to note: I'm not just rooting for Firefox and Chrome because they are underdogs. This truly comes down to the philosophy behind the products: Standards compliance, use of the latest technologies (html5 and css3), speed and the ability to adapt quickly to the changing tech landscape.

Looks like good days are ahead!