An Open Source WebOS

Today’s announcement from HP that WebOS will be set free as an Open Source project opens up room for some interesting changes in the mobile landscape.  Both CNET’s Stephen Shankland  and The VAR Guy think nothing much will come of this move.  As both a long time Open Source zealot and a mobile developer, I think there is more there there than they do.

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RecallCheck Post-Mortem

Recently, I’ve been answering a lot of questions about about RecallCheck, which was an Android based mobile application to allow uses to scan UPC bar codes on packaged food and find out about any recent recalls involving that product.  Developing and marketing RecallCheck, I worked with my business partner Scott. With the project is now over, I’d like to cover some of the learnings and reasons I believe we were ultimately unsuccessful. Continue reading

A Neat Android Feature–Finding Apps with QR Codes

The above image is a QR Code.  These two d codes are remarkably versatile.  You can store just about any text in them.  Things typically encoded this way include contact information, addresses,  and web urls.  Most smart phone manufacturers  support at least scanning the contact information (e.g VCARD), but Google supports a whole range of other uses.

One of the more interesting uses Google supports is encoding a text string representing an application in the Google Market.  When the example above is scanned into a Android based phone, it will launch an app I’ve been working on called RecallCheck (see below for more details).

This week the Google announced it was implementing QR Code stickers for businesses to put in their window.  When scanned into an Google Android phone, they will bring up information about the business from Google.  Expect to see a lot more about QR codes in the coming years as they work to connect the physical world with the Internet via phones.

Updating RecallCheck to Version 2.0

At Agorasys, we’ve updated our RecallCheck program to version 2.  With this version, we now have an online database of food recalls based on the fda recall site that we search, instead of launching a web search based on variations of the barcode.  With this new structure we are able to offer better results.  One cool new feature of the improved results is the ability to call the recalling company directly from the application.

Because not all of the FDA recalls include barcodes (e.g. bulk peanuts), it isn’t possible to see all of the results in our database yet.  Our next feature will be adding a keyword search that allows for searching across all of the recalls using words instead of barcodes in order to easily find recalls based on manufacturer, food type, recall reason etc.

Why RIM Should buy Palm

Recently I ‘ve been working on an application for the Blackberry.   Since I”m now in a position to compare Android vs. Blackberry development I’ve concluded that Blackberry development platform is a terrible thing to develop on.  And I’m not the only one.  To say that the platform is “not developer friendly” is an understatement.  Their Eclipse plugin’s Internet update/installation functionality appears to have been down for at least several months.  I’ll spare you the many struggles I’ve had creating an app,  like fishing stories, they are only of interest to the participant.

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