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March 29, 2012

Great script for enabling touch events

If you've ever used the jQuery UI library's draggable() function to make a site that had a really cool interface, you've probably marvelled at how well it worked at making thing draggable with your mouse... until you tried it on your touch-enabled mobile phone or tablet. On those devices, no matter where you touched or slid your finger, your previously lively website lay there, unresponsive, like a dead fish. Tap. Nothing.

The bad news is that despite all of your hard work, your site won't work on a touchscreen because draggable() doesn't respond to touch events.

Now the good news is that there's an easy fix. After a little searching, I found Touch Punch. The author describes the script as so: "jQuery.ui.touch-punch.js is a small hack that maps touch events to their mouse event analogs." Perfect.

You can view working examples on the author's site or download Touch Punch from Github.

December 15, 2010

What to do with that free Evo from Google I/O?

A discussion thread from the Mass GTUG group this morning wandered onto the topic of whether people were using the Sprint Evo phone that Google I/O 2010 attendees received. Most people on the thread said they weren't using it much unless they had made it their primary mobile phone. It's not my primary phone either, but I've kept using mine for various reasons and I thought I'd share them to a larger audience.

  1. First off, I find the Evo has an excellent camera. It takes great 8MP shots with low shutter lag, especially compared to the lag on my Droid. It even takes better shots than my pocket Nikon! And I love how the photos are geo-tagged because the Evo, like most modern cellphones, has a built-in GPS receiver. So, I end up taking the Evo along with me on trips instead of a digital camera.

  2. Secondly, this phone has a great battery life. I know, I know-- many of you who are familiar with Evo's are goggling in disbelief at that statement, knowing that when the Evo first came out its battery would often last less than an 8-hour workday. But when it's a secondary device not used to make cellphone calls, you can put it in airplane mode. With the antennas turned off, the battery can last me over a week.

  3. Third, the Evo's nice large screen makes it a great ebook device. It's got that beautiful 4.3-inch screen which is a joy to read with. Yet another reason to bring the Evo along on your travels.

  4. Finally, for those of you who like gaming (or have kids who like gaming), the Evo is a good gaming device, and keeps your kids away from your own phone on car trips. Did I state that clearly? Having an extra Evo phone around keeps your kids away from your own phone. 'Nuff said.

And remember, the more you use your Evo as a camera, e-reader, game console, and all-around media device, the less you consume your primary phone's battery. I don't carry the Evo around with me every day, but when I travel or go someplace where I want to take pictures, it's a lifesaver.

June 9, 2010

Do Android and iPhone users really want different things?

Jon Gruber has an interesting insight on his blog with the thought that Apple and Google do seem to concentrate on different aspects of their respective mobile experiences:

One thing that I've been thinking about today is that yesterday's announcements really showed how different Apple's priorities are from Google's. What Apple has focused on is making the iPhone feel and look better. It's about how it feels in your hand, about how amazing the new Retina Display looks. It's about even better battery life.

People who prefer Android over the iPhone value different things. I'll bet Android users were more likely to expect that Apple would announce a new UI for notifications, for example.

This reminded me of a conversation that Steve Bryant and I had through the comments on another one of my blog posts regarding "open" mobile platforms (like Android, where you can load any app you want) versus closed mobile platforms (like iPhone/iPad, where you can load only Apple-approved apps). Steve thought that users on each platform consciously wanted a different experience from the other platform, but I wasn't so sure. Steve, maybe I'll have to rethink my position. It's a lot easier to read the public intents of competing companies than it is the mobile masses.

April 1, 2010

Manual Droid 2.1 update works great

If you've read about the manual method for updating your Droid to Android 2.1 but have chosen to wait for Verizon to push it out to you, wait no longer. The manual update process is easy, works just like the over-the-air update, and works fine. As for the 2.1 update itself: having pinch-to-zoom in the browser: excellent; animated "live wallpapers": meh; no increase to the current three homescreens: disappointing.

March 29, 2010

Android app of the week: Connectbot, an SSH client

connectbot-for-android.jpg

For those of you who have Android phones, I wanted to share a link to a great SSH client I've found, Connectbot. It can handle ssh or telnet connections, and lets you customize screen colors and sizes. You can even switch between multiple active sessions by flicking left or right with your finger. Very cool. (Check out this demo video from the developer.)

qcode-connectbot.pngRead more on Connectbot's homepage at
http://code.google.com/p/connectbot/

Now only if I could figure out how to log onto the Cisco VPN at work with my phone...