February 2, 2010
I noticed a few months ago that the URL for an official Android app was in use, although hidden from public view. Well, we now have lift-off.
I’m using the new app to post this. I’ll edit to add links later.
Now, getting to the post on a laptop, I’m surprised to find that it wasn’t published. I thought I’d told the Android app to publish, not just to upload. It did seem to be working with a local, and locally-savable copy, which is good. Anyway, as threatened, here are some links:
- The post at Mashable where I first saw the news today, and from which I’m borrowing the WordDroid image.
- The announcement post on the WordPress for Android blog.
January 20, 2010
I’ve been driving while distracted quite a lot over the last seven weeks or so. I’ve been distracted from driving itself by finding my way around the Silver Spring area, to which I moved in early December. I’ve often also been distracted by kids in the back of the car: are we nearly there? I’m hungry, etc.
So my actions suggest that I consider a certain amount of distraction while driving to be reasonable. Now that it’s possible to turn cars into wireless wagons, a whole range of social media distractions are becoming available. Mashable Greg provided an interesting account of such distractions.
My guess at an answer is that driving while cellphoning will top the list of dangerous social distractions for the forseeable future. But it is just a guess, and systematic research about the effects of driving of specific social behaviors is needed. Credit goes to Ford for conducting, and publishing the results of, such research.
January 5, 2010
If you don’t already know that the Nexus One was launched today, you’re probably not interested in the new Android phone anyway. If you are interested, you may well have seen the 24 month cost of ownership comparison between the N1, the iPhone 3GS, and a couple of other smartphones. It makes the N1 look like a pretty reasonable deal.
Just three comments:
- The comparison was at BillShrink. It seems strange that readers of a blog styling itself a savings tool are interested in throwing thousands of dollars at a phone.
- A URL of intent: http://www.google.com/phone. Yes this is the Google phone – or at least, the first Google phone.
- By all means waste your time trying to get the N1 (emphasis on the singular) that TechCrunch is giving away. It is mine, my Precious, and I am willing to bite fingers off and fall into volcanoes for it.
November 23, 2009
The theme of a WordPress blog is like its skin, its graphical interface… So the theme is part of the blog’s identity.
Should that identity be preserved across platforms, even when some of the platforms are mobile? A recent post suggests that it typically isn’t. WordPress.com’s mobile default is a mobile theme, rather than a mobile version of the blog’s “main” theme.
For self-hosted WordPress, there are several plugins available. The most popular seem based on the rule: if mobile platform, then mobile theme.
There are some aspects of theme design that don’t translate well to mobile. For example, the theme for this blog shows a lot of white space. That doesn’t work on mobile, when there isn’t much space to spare.
On the other hand, colors do work on mobile. The WordPress.com CSS upgrade doesn’t let me tweak the color scheme of the mobile themes. I wish it did.
For self-hosted blogs, it might be good practice to have a little CSS file that specifies colors, and other aspects of themes that carry over well to mobile, and invoke that file from every theme the blog uses.
I’m sure someone has written a good, thoughtful account of aspects of theme design, and the extent to which each aspect should be similar or different between mobile and other themes. If you know of it, please leave a link in the comments.
November 16, 2009
If you’re reading this on a mobile phone, you won’t be seeing this blog’s Simpla Way theme. That’s because WordPress.com automatically uses a mobile theme when displaying blogs on a mobile device.
What about self-hosted WordPress? I went over to the WordPress.org theme directory, searched for mobile, and was shown just one theme: Carrington Mobile. The thing is, a mobile theme isn’t much good without code to select it when appropriate.
So the mobile hotspot for WordPress is plugins, not themes. Of the many plugins tagged with mobile, here are those relevant to mobile themes (with at least a thousand downloads).
- WPtouch iPhone Theme (299,390 downloads) “transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme… when viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android or BlackBerry touch mobile device.” This theme in plugin’s clothing is used (with modifications) by WordPress.com for such devices.
- WordPress Mobile Edition (100,296) seems similar, and is used (with modifications) by WordPress.com for mobile devices other than those on the WPTouch list.
- MobilePress (38,818) allows device- or browser-specific themes, and allows development of custom mobile themes.
- WordPress Mobile Pack (18,108) includes a selection of mobile themes.
- Wapple Architect Mobile (6,186) sounds interestingly different. “Other mobile plugins for WordPress use a default mobile style… Wapple… retains the styling of your site from web to mobile.”
- MoFuse (4,074) allows creation of, and redirect to, a mobile version of the blog.
- Mobilize by Mippin (3,425) is similar to MoFuse in that it involves a mobile version of the blog.
My most mobile-focused blog, Android Icon, currently uses WordPress Mobile Edition. I plan to use that blog for a grapple with Wapple, and maybe a try of some of the other plugins listed above, soon.
November 13, 2009
Android Icon is my newest blog. This android is the starting point, but there are other droids to look at…
If there is a support group for people who can’t stop starting blogs, please let me know.
October 28, 2009
The Droid, the new smartphone from Motogoozon, will cost $1831. Motogoozon is of course the combination of Motorola, Google, and Verizon.
The cost would be $1931, were it not for a $100 rebate: what a relief that it’s so much lower than $2K.
1831 = (299 – 100) + 24 x (39 + 29). As usual with smartphones and other fancyphones in the USA, most of the cost is in the monthly payments, rather than upfront.
I could cite many sources for this, but I’ll go with John Biggs’ post on Crunchgear. There is much rejoicing in Crunchland about the Droid.
Personally, I’m happy to see the Droid hype. It increases the chances of an Android app boom. On the other hand, there are no guarantees that new and interesting Android advances will run on my G1.
October 21, 2009
First impression: looks good. In fact, it looks good enough that I might be able to get through a Twitter-related post without taking a dig at Twitter. Having said that, I seem to have taken a little dig in the post title… and, in the unlikely event I post about Digg, I’ll probably be unable to resist a dig about Digg.
I feel as though I’m finally seeing Twitter in its natural habitat. I can check tweets when I don’t have the attention span for the feeds to which I subscribe. By the way, my mobile feed reader is Google Reader, via the Android’s browser.
Thanks to Kiwi Mikex for making the whale photo available through Creative Commons.
October 20, 2009
The first Android phone, the G1, launched a year, less two days, ago. I got one about two months ago. Those who like their gadgets more up to the minute may have one of the more recent Android phones, or be eying the avalanche of new phones due out soon. TechCrunch offers a complete list of… Android phones. (That’s offers, in the present tense, because David Diaz promised updates to the post.)
Michael Arrington (also at TechCrunch) recently expressed a concern arising from the impressive number of Android phones and vendors. It’s that Android’s open source licensing may result in the platform splintering, thus creating much more work for application developers. The contrast with the tightly-controlled iPhone platform is obvious and troubling.
Closer to home, or at least to this blog, I’m interested in what Androidy things WordPress.com is up to. Will Automattic develop an Android app? There’s already an iPhone app, of which Automattic seems particularly proud, and a Blackberry app. Each of the two links in the previous sentence goes to the appropriate, Automattic-owned, WordPress.com-hosted blog.
When I typed in the corresponding URI for an Android app (http://android.wordpress.org/), I got a “blog is protected” message. That at least shows that the blog exists…
There is some Android-related, albeit not Android-specific, news about WordPress.com today. If you are viewing this blog on an Android, or other mobile device, you’ll see a built-for-mobile theme. The change was announced earlier today, with a link to the new Mobile Themes support page. I was at first disappointed to see that the CSS upgrade does not extend to mobile themes…
Sticking with disappointment, but going back to Android itself: the lack of a simple, built-in screen capture capability is ridiculous. To give just one example of how it would be used, I should really illustrate the theme news with screen captures showing this blog as it appears on my G1. I tried the fix described by Christina at Download Squad, couldn’t get it to work right away, and decided that I wouldn’t have time to write this post if I spent any more time on attempted screen captures.
That said, I’m bullish on Android, and will continue to post about it, grumbling only when it’s really merited.
October 19, 2009
Domain mapping is one of the paid upgrades available for WordPress.com. I use it: that’s why this blog shows up as changingway.org (it was born as changingway.wordpress.com, and will still answer to that uri). I also use the custom email feature of the domain mapping upgrade: that’s why you can email me as andrew at changingway.org.
I recently got an Android phone, and I want to use my changingway.org email on it. I could of course use the Android’s browser. But I’d prefer to use its Email application. Why? I’ll defer that question until the end of the post.
This post is mainly about how to use the Android Email app with the custom email feature of WordPress.com domain mapping. Usually, Email setup is pretty much a matter of giving the app an email address/password combination. For custom email, you need to do more than that.
Instead, you need to do some manual setup. You’ll need to tell the Email app about some things you’ll find on your custom email web site. Starting at the web page from which you manage your custom email, click on Settings (near the top right of the page) and then on Forwarding and POP/IMAP. You want IMAP (see here for why it’s preferable to POP).
Make sure IMAP is enabled, and click on Configuration Instructions. This will take you to a list of email clients and mobile devices: Android is of course a mobile device. Clicking on Android will take you to some incoming settings (e.g., IMAP server is imap.gmail.com) and outgoing settings (e.g., SMTP server is smtp.gmail.com).
Tell your Android’s Email app about these settings. It’ll ask you for them after you provide your custom email username and password. Note that your username includes your domain (e.g., andrew at changingway.org, not just andrew).
You have a few decisions to make, some of them arising from the fact that the Email app can manage multiple email addresses. You’ll need to give your custom email a name, and decide whether it’s the default address when you send from the email app. For example, the app on my Android knows andrew at changingway.org as CW, and uses it as the default address for outgoing mail.
If you are the target audience – people wanting to use the Android Email app with the email they got when they mapped a domain to their WordPress.com blog – then I hope that this how-to post was helpful.
Now, from how to why, and to three specific questions of why.
- Why prefer the Email app to checking email from the Android browser? My main reason is that the Email app can display a new mail notification icon at the top of the Android screen.
- Why use the Email app, rather than the Gmail app that also comes on Android phones? After all, the custom email account is a Gmail account. I haven’t tried the Gmail app. My wife actually bought the phone, and had it set up with her Gmail. So I’m not sure whether a custom email could be used for the Gmail app. If it can, I suspect that some of the above will be helpful.
- Why use this phone in the first place? Some have said that the G1 isn’t built for email. Well, the G1 is the phone I have, and it works pretty well, for email and for other things. And there will be many more Android phones, each seeking to improve on the G1.