Forum Nokia Champion


Is this the year of mobile? It is for me!

I’ve been selected as a Forum Nokia Champion. To paraphrase “Forum Nokia Champions earn recognition for having outstanding expertise in certain Forum Nokia-related areas, participating in various online and offline activities, and sharing and showcasing their knowledge with other Forum Nokia members”. This is a tremendous honor and I am pleased to be associated with such an elite program.

With the launch of the Ovi publishing platform coming soon, I expect Nokia to make big moves in retaining their status as leaders and innovators in mobile. If you’re a publisher, be sure and sign up today.


Podcast: Live from 360|iDev


I recorded an onsite podcast from the 360|iDev conference with some great folks from the Flash Lite and mobile community. Emmanuelle Cipollini from Barefoot Software, James Eberhardt of Echo Mobile, and Dave Yang of swfoo joined me for a quick talk concerning this conference, Flash, and transitioning from Flash to the iPhone.

You can subscribe via iTunes here.

Download the audio file here.

I’ll be posting a rave review on the conference itself later.

MBA Symposium – Gary Hamel


I attended BU’s MBA Symposium this past Saturday. It was a well organized event with some great speakers and break-outs. One that stuck out was Dr. Gary Hamel (beaming in from the silicon valley, very big-brotherish). It was an inspiring speech to say the least but here are some of the points that really stood out for me:

Accountability should go up the org chart as well as down: Hamel described companies where reviews and complaints were placed in tickets and opened up publicly for all the company to see. Management had to respond to these tickets and close them other wise it affected their compensation. Talk about flipping management on it’s head.

Leadership is a privilege, not a right: In the said company, there were no titles or hierarchy. No one was given a leadership based on tenure. Instead teams would agree and ask someone to be a leader based on their demonstrated abilities. A good indicator if someone was in a leadership role was if people responded to meeting invites.

There were just a few of an hour-long brilliant speech. You can read Dr Hamel’s article at the Wall Street Journal.

Adobe Community Expert


Some great news. I’ve recently been designated as an Adobe Community Expert for Mobile and Devices. This is a real motivator and after holding the torch for Flash Lite for a number years and it really demonstrates Adobe’s willingness to reward and recognize folks who contribute to the community. There are some great perks that go along with this and I’d encourage any lurkers out there to contribute since it does reap rewards at times. One easy way to get started is go register yourself in the Adobe Groups section and look for stuff in your area. One thing to note, the community aspect of Adobe’s offerings is much improved thanks to the efforts of Rachel Luxemburg.

There’s some exciting things going on with Flash Lite these days at Mobile World Congress, I’ll be covering them with some future posts. But in general look for some spirited content coming from me focusing specifically on Flash Lite and Open Screen Project in the near future.

I’m Speaking at Mobile Connect Conference on Nokia WRT


For those who are interested or in the Bay Area, I just found out that I’ve been chosen to speak on Nokia Web RunTime at a new convention that is colocated with SDWest next month called Mobile Connect. Details are here:


    90-minute Conference Session, to be held Thursday, March 12th, 2009, 11:15am in the Santa Clara Convention Center


    Mobile Development & Technologies
    You know what your stakeholders want; now it’s time to implement it. Whether you need to determine coding standards or choose technology, this track will help you navigate the last few phases of the mobile software development lifecycle. With courses on programming styles, updates on the latest languages, core build and release techniques, maintenance guidelines and more, you’ll find advice and information on building, deploying and maintaining mobile software in the real world.


    Nokia Web Runtime Widgets
    This session will cover an overview of the benefits and features of Nokia’s Web Runtime technology including the recently announced platform services allowing for device specific access to features including the calendar, contacts, messaging, audio, video, images, GPS, and camera, via JavaScript APIs. The session will feature both best practices in widget development as well as an end-to-end solution demonstration in creating a real functional widget.


    Rob Toole
    Rob Toole has over a decade of experience in bringing rich and engaging experiences to both the desktop and mobile space with companies including, ESPN, Medtronic, and Fidelity Investments. As a recognized community expert in the mobile technology space, Rob has led sessions, product demos, and seminars as a guest for high-profile event organizers such as Adobe, Nokia, and Mobile Monday Boston.

Very excited about this opportunity and hope to see you there!

360|iDev – I’m totally there!


I’m really excited about attending a great community driven conference at Ebay’s headquarters in San Jose next month called 360|iDev. I really saw this as a tremendous opportunity to gain some business insight and network as well as well a pick up some general iPhone development skills in the red-hot iPhone developer market. The price is unbeatable when compared with some 3-day workshops I’ve seen recently at over $2000. Click the banner above or to the right for details and get registered before the price goes up.

Some other folks from Beantown will be out there as well, both Scott Janousek and Keith Peters will be presenting which means after hours mayhem for sure. See you at the hotel bar.

Race against Runkeeper and Sports Tracker


In starting to get acquainted with my new iPhone, I’ve been testing out some of the new location aware apps offered on the App store. One that caught my eye was Runkeeper. RunKeeper tracks workouts and tracks data such as time and location allowing you to build a diary and share your progress with your friends. I had been using Nokia Sports Tracker on and off for the last year and had been pretty happy with it so I decided to put my Nokia N95 in one pocket and my iPhone 3G in another and see how they matched up. Let the battle begin 🙂

    RunKeeper – My Tracked Workout

    Newcomer first…. RunKeeper is pretty sweet. It does a great job allowing you to see your stored workouts on the device itself and even will leverage maps so you can see your mile markers and route. This is far beyond what Sports Tracker offers in the device, though ST does offer a lot more general data points. The RunKeeper online portal is a little primative but cool allowing you to post your workouts into social platforms such as Facebook and the like. From what I hear they are improving this as we speak.


    Cons include some known issues that are being worked out. First, the touch interface makes it pretty easy to press something by accident when you’re stowing the handset, not their fault but a usability issue nonetheless. I did experience one bug (pictured above) that somehow had me running to Burlington, MA and back (40 something miles!) in under 20 minutes. I think this was caused by the low battery message. This is a killer since you simply can’t just do your run over and disappointing to find that after all that work you don’t have your data. But other than this anomoly it has worked for everytime since.

    Nokia Sports Tracker – My Tracked Workout

    Sports Tracker is still a great application that you can use with your compatible Nokia device. The socialization piece on the website is top notch allowing you to look at a world map and see other workouts in your area as well as post pictures from your workout. It also allows you to share your progress via widgets into other platforms.

    Now the bad. In the same run head to head you can see that my N95 did not pick up the GPS till I was well into my run. This is not a software issue so to say since the built in GPS on this devices takes a notoriously long time to pick up location, but still not cool. Also the visualization on handset is terrible compared to RunKeeper. Strange that they are strong on the desktop and weak on the device here.

In closing, it’s important to note that Sportstracker is free while RunKeeper is not, at least for the premium version which is $9.99. You can also use a free version of RunKeeper which I used for the demo, but you’ll get hit with ads. I did end up buying the full version, but I think there needs to be a few more differentiators other than ads to justify the price here. As for Sports Tracker, it’s hard to tell if it’s more than skunkwork for Nokia as it’s been in beta for a while. It’s a great offering however and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them evolve it someday as they roll out more devices and maybe roll it into their Ovi strategy.

Who wins? They are both great and both specific to the handset, so depending on what you own (Nokia, iPhone) give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Blame the iPhone: dumps almost all Flash


I bet some of you are sports fans and have already seen’s new layout for their website. Design wise, a huge leap forward, still very rich and engaging and much easier to navigate. But there is something markedly different here. What you ask? Well the only thing left on it that’s still Flash based are the banner ads and video players. This is a huge departure from the old design which heavily relied on all sorts of widgets and small rich applications to visualize everything from real-time data such as game scores, to player stats. Now they seem to have replaced most of this with DHtml and Ajax. And it works beautifully.

In some ways this is a win for Adobe since if ESPN still picks them to ditribute their enomormous ammount of programming they clearly still have a firm grip on video distribution online (The video does look stunning). Yet interactive features that used to live inside flash such as search, comments, and stuff like star ratings are all outside the swf, just as other video rich sites like Hulu does. used to be a real mantle piece for Flash, and I really think the iPhone’s lack of support has had some hand in leading them to this approach. It’s smart in a lot of ways because you’re not plug-in dependent and only rely on the browser to render the bulk of your content. One thing I have to note as well is that now I get faster load times and less spinning beach balls on my Mac which points to better all around performance.

I love Flash and Adobe gained a lot of ground with MX 2004 in getting it to be looked at as a real application solution rather than an animation toy. Unless they continue to innovate, make Flash even more ubiquitous on even more platforms, and get performance better than ever, they may become a banner ad and artists tool for good someday.

Aptana tools for Nokia Web Runtime on the money


Aptana has released a suite of plug-ins a few weeks ago supporting Nokia Web Runtime. I was able to load it into Eclipse on my Macbook easily enough and give it a whirl, though they offer their own IDE for those on PC. It’s a free donwload with a 30-day trial available here.

To set some expectations, this tool is not a substitute for the S60 Emulator which gives a more real scenario of how your widget will perform. But what it does do it give you a great idea of how all of your AJAX and DHtml will perform in real-time. I remember testing out some widgets recently both for business and for a talk I gave for Nokia back in October, and it was tedious using a browser for crude tests, let alone constant installs to the phone and S60 emulator. There were security issues as well as CSS formatting inconsistencies, not to mention certain Javascript functions that simply were not supported the same way you’d see it in a conventional browser. This tool really bridges the gap in those instances and I wish I had it months ago. Would have saved me loads of time.

As usual, your hardware will still give you the ultimate watermark of whether or not your code works in the runtime. Other things to note is that it supports a variety of Nokia handsets with different screen sizes, Flash Lite embeds, packaging and deployment to Bluetooth devices, as well as soft-key support. No 4-way navigation, though this is where the emulator comes in. Wonder how this will affect touch as more S60 5th Edition devices entire the product line.

Kudos to the Nokia WRT team for getting another useful tool out for widget developers

2008 Professional Laundry List


2008 is over, thank god. But along with an ailing economy and painful marketplace came a lot of good things. So anyways, here’s my year in review:

    Launched a number of rich applications with my employer Fidelity that I’m very proud of. Look forward to doing that in 2009 as well, hope to continue to raise the bar.

    I spoke at Harvard University, led a lively talk with staff and the user group organizers.

    Was a speaker at a Forum Nokia event with several colleagues in the industry.

    Created and produced a podcast series with friends from BAMaDUG to critical acclaim.

    Made dozens of contacts in the mobile industry at meetups and conferences such as Mobile Internet World, Mobile Monday and MiTX.

    Founded and launched a social venture (still in stealth mode bit will be public soon).

    Participated in beta testing for several Adobe products, under NDA so no comment 🙂

    Broke down and bought an iPhone… after the intimate talk I saw by Phil Schiller (who’s doing the final MacWorld keynote this week in place of Steve Jobs) I couldn’t help myself. The developer tools are fantastic and I’ve already hit the ground running in getting some apps built. Look for that in Q1 this year.

I’m looking forward to what 2009 brings and have a good head of steam for the coming year. I’m excited to be booked for Flash on the Beach in Miami as well Flash on Tap in Boston. I’ll continue finishing my studies at Suffolk and look forward to finishing my MBA and will be a regular at industry events as usual. Look forward to seeing you all.