Monday, March 2, 2009

Blogger on the G1

I found a quick and dirty way to post to my Blogger account using my T-Mobile G1 phone. I wasn't able to get the default Android browser to post to my blog well, the formatting for my phone didn't show the site well and I still haven't found a Blogger app in the Android Market. I remembered that Google Gears was a part of the default browser while checking out Wordpress as a possible alternative (Wordpress has a Google Gears plug-in). I ran a search for Blogger Gears and found an example site that Google wrote when they first released Gears that works for posting to Blogger a lot better than using the direct site, except photo uploads don't seem to be supported. Here is how to get it working:

1. Make sure that you have Google Gears enabled in the default browser. To do this, launch the default browser, click menu, choose More on the right, then scroll down to Settings. then scroll all the way down to the bottom and make sure that Enable Gears has a green check next to it. I might also be a good idea to have an active Blogger account, if your Blogger account is linked to the same Gmail account as your G1, you should be fine.
2. Go to this site, or it might be easier to search for blog.gears on your phone and then click on the result with the title of blog.gears.
3. When the site loads, Gears will pop up and tell you that the website wants to store information on your computer, click I trust this site and then click Allow.
4. Then click on the login button in the upper right hand corner of the site, it will take you to a Google Accounts Access Request page, scroll down to the bottom and click Grant Access.
5. If you don't automatically get logged into your Blogger account, click the Login button in the upper right hand corner of the page.
6. If you have multiple Blogs ties to your main Blogger account, you can choose one of them from a drop down box in the upper right-hand corner.
7. Next click Show All Posts to show all of your recent Blogger posts, with the ability to edit them with tags! The Create New Post button is self explanatory.

There are a few caveats: I don't see a way to upload photos and all formatting must be done by actually adding in the HTML code. Also, there is no spell checking or different fonts. This way seems like it may be good for on the go drafts at best, or editing existing posts on the go.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Zune Phone

Message to Microsoft: Make a Zune phone!

I currently use a corporate pda phone running Windows Mobile 5.0 and my brand new Android powered T-mobile G1. I hadn't realized how bad the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS was until I had some real time to use my new Google powered phone. Before I purchased the G1 I tried out all of the in-store phones running Windows Mobile 6.1 and, in truth, they are not much better. It seems like Microsoft went to great lengths to make WinMo have a distinctive Windows feel, much to the detriment of actual usability. My Zune, however, has a great user interface, it's easy and fast to use.

My proposed WinMo roadmap: pull some of the WinMo Dev team off of current WinMo development and send them to the Zune team, make the current WinMo OS "Windows Mobile Corporate", then make a "Zune OS" using the current Zune firmware as a base. This could be done incrementally which would provide more value for both current and future devices:

First, Microsoft should start by releasing a nice open, well documented sdk for the current Zune that allowed apps to be created for current gen Zune devices, with support for wi-fi and compatability with the WinMo sdk.
Second, release a Zune app store.
Third, use the WinMo members added to the Zune team to port over some of the phone features of WinMo to the Zune firmware and repackage as "Zune OS". Two flavors of this OS should exist, one for media players and one for phones, with the media player edition the same OS, just without the phone functions/ hardware.
Fourth, add in touch screen support and release a Zune Touch media player.
Fifth, follow bug reports to clean up errant problems caused by touch screen support and app store support.
Sixth, announce a Zune OS for mobile phones to great applause!

Now, on the surface this proposal looks like just another way to copy Apple and in a way, it is. However I say they take a slightly different approach: stop making Zunes. Microsoft should instead use my proposed Zune OS much in the way that it uses its WinMo OS now, license it to manufacturers. The Zune OS could gain a lot of ground if a manufacturer were able to use the same processor, same sdk and the same base OS to create a full line of media players and phones.

My proposed "Windows Mobile Corporate" should really continue down its current path. Companies require the security, stability, and the tried and true sdk to continue day to day operations, but the consumer doesn't need compatibility for a program written 5 years ago.

I love my Zune. I love the look of the device, the interface (especially since firmware 2.5), the features. A Zune phone seems nearly inevitable, I just hope that Microsoft takes a hard look at creating a new OS for a Zune phone rather than slapping a new UI on Windows Mobile.