Glad I was right about Chumby


Right in time for the holiday season, Chumby Industries released the Chumby 1, a newer and cheaper version of the original Chumby that came out a few years back. Like it’s predecessor, it offers a large amount of free widget content including access to web based services folks use on regular basis: Facebook, Pandora, and Gmail to name a few. So why does the new Chumby offer a glimmer of light to what could be the start of some mass appeal? Because (in my opinion) they did a few of the things I pointed out in my post from two years ago aptly named “The Chumby Dilemma

First they made it cheaper. The original used to be $180 bucks, this new one is $120 shipped. I actually bought two of them on holiday promotion for $99. They’re right there on the price threshold now, $99-$120 is more than reasonable for all the great things the Chumby does.

Second, they changed the design of the enclosure making it seem like it belongs in rooms other than the bedroom (was never a fan of the pillowish enclosure). They put a battery case in it (battery sold separately) so you could take it around the house. Basically, they made it feel like a hell of a lot more than an internet alarm clock, which it is.

So while I’m sure this cuts into their margins a bit, they made the product more enticing and salable by changing the easiest things. The brilliance is truly in the software and Flash based channels and I hope they focus and continue to grow that. So go buy one, it’s a fantastic device that has a special place set aside on my kitchen counter.

By the way, people are doing some really cool things in hacking the Chumby. You can see a list of all sorts of mods and hacks here on this wiki page. A favorite is this one recently featured on Hackaday:


Submit your mobile app to the MAX Awards


So your a mobile software developer/publisher working in Flash Lite and want to go to Adobe MAX, the leading conference in rich internet applications, creative and design solutions, and killer parties. But you live really far away and need a little help and incentive to get there. Well guess what? If you submit your mobile application you have a chance to be selected as a finalist and get a free conference pass!

I’m an industry judge for mobile and devices and expect to see some high-quality offerings like I have and years past. Please enter your app, all entries will be considered so don’t hold back, deadline is July 31st. I’ve heard on the Twitter-verse there are going to some game-changing announcements concerning mobile so this is not one to miss.

Don’t miss the party! Enter your app here.

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.

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.

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.

BAMaDUG Episode 3 podcast available

Boston Adobe Mobile and Devices User Group December 2008 meeting - Share on Ovi

Back again for more punishment, we recorded another podcast in Harvard Square the other night. Great conversation and good atmosphere. Here’s the low down:

    Members Rob Toole, Max Antinori, Scott Janousek, Ira Hochman, and Alessandro Pace give a recap of the MAX conference, cover new CS4 features, and the release of the Nokia N97. Recorded on location at Cambridge 1 in Cambridge, MA.

Subscribe via iTunes here!

Download the audio file here!

It took Apple SVP Phil Schiller to convince me on the iPhone


I had the opportunity to go back to my alma mater Boston College to go see Phil Schiller speak yesterday. Phil graduated from BC in 1982 and is Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, Apple Inc. Something tells me Phil was also in town for the BC-Notre Dame football game this weekend as well, but I digress.

In a nutshell, Phil’s presentation was excellent. Since it was mostly educators there, Phil didn’t try and spin a elearning context to Apple’s product, but he did touch on how the iPhone was changing everyone’s (particularly BC students) lives. Whether he was trying to sell the crowd on the iPhone or not, he got me. I’d been really thinking about getting one lately, particularly after looking at the SDK. The big epiphany for me was his emphasis on software being the most innovative thing driving the iPhone. The cell-phone industry had traditionally been so centered on hardware first and software last. Apple saw an opportunity here and entered the mobile market positioning the iPhone as a high-end device which was all about killer apps. And yes the iPhone as a device is still sexy, but lacks in camera, removable storage, etc… What I’ve realized recently is… who cares? Software is king and really allows for the fastest path to innovation, and who’s better at software than Apple?

Of the five questions asked after the talk, I asked him directly about Flash on the iPhone. As an aside Phil told me interestingly enough that they bought Flash will he was at Macromedia years ago over Christmas since they knew Microsoft would be on to it any day. But I got the vanilla Steve Jobs answer of “legacy video player, performance hog, not built for touch” etc… I could have pushed him on this here since all those answers are kind of a cop-out. There’s clearly an angle with Flash undermining their service delivery model for software. But there it is… that’s about as close as you can get to asking that same question to the Jobs man himself.

Don’t be surprised if you see an iPhone up in my banner soon.

I’m Presenting at Forum Nokia Tech Day


I’m porud to announce that I’ve been asked to speak at the Forum Nokia Boston Flash Lite Technology Day on October 10th. My session will focus on Nokia Web Runtime and Flash Lite and will highlight the advantages that both platforms offer in bringing your application/widget to market. Click here to see the full agenda.

This free seminar will be held at Nokia’s Cambridge Research Center and will feature a number of industry experts listed here:

Ganesh Sivaraman, Internet and Web 2.0 Business Development Manager, Forum Nokia
Robert Burdick, Senior Architect for Emerging Technologies, Forum Nokia
Bill Perry, Mobile and Devices Evangelist, Adobe
James Talbot, Adobe
Alessandro Pace, Forum Nokia Champion
Scott Janousek, Forum Nokia Champion
Ira Hochman, Untravel Media

This is a don’t miss seminar or any mobile professional or enthusiast. Please feel free to come out and heckle me. Registration is filling up so signup below.

Register here. Mobile announced


What do you do when no one takes your mobile product platform and creates a truly useful, mass market focused, standalone application? Create your own and tie it into one of your own existing internet services like! According to Bill Perry, the Flash Lite application will allow users to upload, share, and view photos via supported mobile supported devices. Read more about it here.

This is cool, no doubt , however far from a killer app. Especially since sharing your photos from a mobile phone to services such as Flickr, Ovi, insert your cloud based photo service here, has been around and easy for a while now. I think Nokia really has it right with integrating this with the camera application directly.

The other part of this story (and the real win in my opinion) is that they are releasing it first to non-typical Flash Lite devices such as Palm and Windows Mobile (instead of the old faithful S60 devices). Open Screen Project’s main initiative is to get on as many screens/devices as possible. And the fact that they’re adding Palm show’s they’re putting their money where their mouth is.

Now if the devices group can use this as a momentum piece and build some more tie-in’s to their own products or even third-party services, I think they can really go places. It’s an excellent strategy in creating a viable model that other companies can mimic.