Mobile Services Review

 

General Thoughts

Google provides the most coverage of the categories, although typically not the best.  They have some real improvement to be made here.  Yahoo! seems to do the best for coverage and quality.  Microsoft is lacking on a few fronts but their find a business (which is probably the best feature of a mobile service period) feature was clearly the best. Google services are slow, so are Yahoo!.  Microsoft is the fastest.

Rating scale 0-3, 0 if they did not offer the service.

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The Winner

I’m a gmail guy so I find myself in Google’s Gmail Mobile most of the time, Google understands mail & map applications.  Yahoo! has the leg up on Google for the other areas besides Find Business.  Microsoft does a really nice job with their category/movies/find a business, it has the most potential.    But still the winner goes to Google Services. 

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Windows Live SkyDrive

Errr, I take back what I said about using Amazon S3 as my personal backup tool.  After playing around with Windows Live SkyDrive, it’s now my picked solution, mainly because it’s free.  Although Amazon S3 has much more potential for applications using it then SkyDrive, SkyDrive is perfect for a quick & dirty backup solution.  They have a really nice Active X upload tool that makes it a snap to upload more then 1 file at a time.  Microsoft finally beat Google to the punch by offering online storage.  Only drawback so far is the storage, 500 MB, but I see this being raised eventually and of course Microsoft is well known for selling a higher platform which at this point I’m willing to pay.

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Google on Smart Phones

So the Google guys made http://calendar.google.com iPhone specific.  That’s great, if you have an iphone, otherwise it looks like crap (on my BlackBerry 8830).

Google,

  1. The iPhone is no way the market leading smart phone so why are writing specific apps for it?
  2. The iPhone is not ready for the enterprise so all the goodness you are putting in for iPhone specific apps doesn’t help us enterprise guys.  You do want to sell your office apps to the enterprise right?
  3. Can you update your generic smart phone apps?  They all have a tendency to lock, especially gmail.

Observation: It’s been long rumored that Google was coming out with a smart phone, but with these iPhone specific apps coming out I am starting to doubt anything but maybe a WIFI only cell phone.  Either way, any Google phone would be a direct competitor to the iPhone.  Things would sure get interesting on the relationship between Apple & Google if they started to compete against each other.


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Forgot Attachment, Not in Gmail

One of the easy email blunders is to tell someone you attached a file and forget to attach it – DOH!  Depending on who you are sending it to (like the CIO say) it can be quite embarrassing.  I really try not to make this email foul but occasionally do. 

I’m in Gmail today creating an email with an attachment and click the send button and something funny pops up. 

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Oh DOH! – I forgot to attach the file.  Gmail is smart enough to remind me?  Kinda of, it looks for the verbiage like “attach” and pops this up if the email doesn’t have an attachment. Sweet! 

I’ve always been a fan of Outlook but I now prefer Gmail to it.

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Ruby, PHP, ASP.NET Job Comparison

I don’t do RoR….yet, I hear the good things about it so I’m really close into diving into it.  Before I do I want to make sure RoR is going to be something I can use professionally too.  Here is a 30 minute research into the jobs out there for RoR compared to Asp.Net & PHP. I searched for the phrases “Ruby on Rails”, “PHP”, “ASP.NET” and radius of 100 miles from the zip code. There is no doubt some overlap of job posting but this is pretty clear indication of where things are.

8/25/2008

Where I live – Cincinnati Ohio, Midwest

Site Zip RoR PHP ASP.NET
Monster.com 45102 4 35 114
Career Builder 45102 1 36 89
Hot Jobs 45102 1 12 7
Total 6 83 210

 

Second up New York City, East Coast

Site Zip RoR PHP ASP.NET
Monster.com 10270 29 357 621
Career Builder 10270 8 184 356
Hot Jobs 10270 18 176 180
Total 55 717 1157

 

And now for the West Coast – San Francisco

Site Zip RoR PHP ASP.NET
Monster.com 94130 23 216 135
Career Builder 94130 17 123 67
Hot Jobs 94130 31 521 107
Total 71 860 309

 

So for me ASP.NET makes the most sense by far (almost 4x that of PHP).  A surprise to me is on the West Coast, were it looks like ASP.NET is much smaller then else where.  It seems that Ruby on Rails is very much in the incubator stage still, I guess I’m not turning on RoR anytime soon after all.


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Amazon S3 & Koders.com

I had a vision today when signing up for Amazon S3.  Here is the background: Amazon s3 is great, cheap storage, API, scalable, reliable, accessible from anywhere (Internet capable), etc… I plan on using it for my personal backup center putting things like my personal source code library, photos, & important documents. I get everything a enterprise company gets but at my rate.  Great.

The one thing I’m dreading is maintaining folders.  Lets be frank, directories/folders are anything but proficient compared to say search.  That’s why Google beat Yahoo!.  Yahoo! was a directory, you had to drill down to find results where as for Google you searched for them. Yahoo! later changed to be a search engine but people are starting to forget the thing was directory of links, users would submit links and Yahoo! people would categorize (not so automated would you say?) 

So for Amazon S3, I’m going to have act like I work at Yahoo! back in the day, this is going to suck big time.  That’s when the revelation hit me. 

What if I could point Google or even better Koders/Krugle at my directory and search it?  That would rock except some things I don’t want public BUT I still want it searchable just by me. 

I already have my personal backup center in Amazon S3 now I need my personal search engine. I could easily write something that populates a simple html page with a directory listing of all the files I have stored/want indexed.  I would then want to login to koders to search for code/files/documents etc….

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Amazon S3 for Backups

I’m really looking forward to Google’s version of S3, Google tends to do things better plus free ;) .    Until then I’m going with Amazon S3 for my personal backup strategy.  Right now I have a media PC with a 100 Gig hard drive, that is mirrored that serves this purpose but we really don’t use it enough to justifying it running all the time.  Plus in the bigger picture of things, this just fills my life with more work that I don’t want to do. 

Links
  • A List of Amazon S3 Backup Tools – Mostly these are tools that work via Linux/OS X
  • elastic8 – A nice list of these tools
  • S3Fox – Firefox plugin – I’m probably going to be using this for my ad hoc client
  • S3Drive – Provides a drive on your my computer that is your Amazon storage
  • S3Browse – Uses a web interface to interact with your S3 storage.
  • PutPlace – Promises to publish to S3, Flicker, etc… Still in beta
  • Jungle Disk - Looks to be the premier paid software to give WebDAV support.
  • I really like http://filicio.us ideas with tagging but it looks to new for me to rely on.
My Setup

I’m looking for a way to automate backups of certain folders at certain times, tag folders so I can search later on, an ad hoc way to get files.  I’m looking to backup source code files, pictures, and important documents.  For now I think I’m going with S3Fox until I find something more automated and with tagging/searching.

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YSlow & Improving Speed

Yahoo! came out with a FireBug addon – YSlow, that takes a look at your web page and offers a score on performance. Most of the recommendations are easy enough to follow, below are 3 that take some Apache httpd.conf hacking to get working:

1) Configure ETags

Add this to your httpd.conf

FileETag MTime Size

 

2) Turn on Expiration Headers

# Turn on Expires and set default to 0

ExpiresActive On

ExpiresDefault A7200

 

# Set up caching on media files for 1 year

<FilesMatch “\.(flv|ico|pdf|avi|mov|ppt|doc|mp3|wmv|wav)$”>

ExpiresDefault A29030400

</FilesMatch>

 

# Set up caching on media files for 1 week

<FilesMatch “\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|png|swf)$”>

ExpiresDefault A604800

</FilesMatch>

 

# Set up 24 Hour caching on commonly updated files

<FilesMatch “\.(xml|txt|html|php|js|css)$”>

ExpiresDefault A86400

</FilesMatch>

 

3) Add Gzip compression

Install mod_gzip for Apache, add this to your httpd.conf to configure mod_gzip to handle files/settings

<IfModule mod_gzip.c>

 mod_gzip_on Yes

mod_gzip_can_negotiate Yes

mod_gzip_static_suffix .gz

AddEncoding gzip .gz

mod_gzip_update_static No

mod_gzip_command_version ‘/mod_gzip_status’

mod_gzip_keep_workfiles No

mod_gzip_minimum_file_size 512

mod_gzip_maximum_file_size 1048576

mod_gzip_maximum_inmem_size 60000

mod_gzip_min_http 1000

mod_gzip_handle_methods GET POST

 

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^httpd/unix-directory$

mod_gzip_item_include file \.shtml$

mod_gzip_item_include file \.html$

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript$

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/javascript$

mod_gzip_item_include file \.js$

mod_gzip_item_include file \.css$

mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-httpd-php$

mod_gzip_item_include file \.php$

mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$

 

mod_gzip_dechunk Yes

 

# DO NOT WASTE TIME COMPRESSING IMAGES

mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.$

mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/

mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader Content-Type:image/*

</IfModule>

 That’s it, those 3 changes improved my score from F (60) to a respectable B (81).

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iPhone Development Podcast

Who knew datapoohbah could be so insightful on a iPhone Development Podcast?  Check it out, it pretty well done, and he makes some real good points.

I’ve been playing around with writing a iPhone web application, more to come on this soon.

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about:cache

Thanks to the Atlassian folks for letting us know about this gem, finding cache info in firefox just got easier – type about:cache in your browser:

 

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