To skype or not to skype on the go, that is the question

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 09.17.2012

Last updated 09.17.2012 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

The smart phone and the notepad are both small computers. We shop on our smart phone, we read news and watch television on it. Every company seem to have an app that can be downloaded so you can use it on your smart phone or your notepad. When these words are written, iPhone 5 is just launced, and Windows phones will soon run on Windows 8. The death of the computer has been declared by many, but the computer will of course survive, not least because you use it on your office with multipe large screens. But the smart phone and the notepad will be more and more important for specific purposes and the options and apps will explode in the coming years. "To skype" has become a word like "to google". I don't call you this evening, but I skype you. And there is a difference between traditional calling and skyping. Skype integrates voice over IP with video over IP and it is free on wired computers.

Now there are signs in the It press that Micorsoft will integrate Skype into Windows Phone 8. That should be safer, faster and work more seemless than an app from a third party that is downloaded to your phone. Windows 8 is in beta, but will come in its first version at the end of this year according to the news. Now the critical question for whether you will use Skype on your mobile phone is whether it will be free or not. You can call skype users on mobile devices by paying a small fee. But phone companies will not sit and watch Microsoft take over market shares in a highly competitive market. So if it is free or very cheap, what will the response be from phone companies and big telecom companies? Imagine, you have a wireless internet and can call other Skype customers for free via internet with a video phone. That can be a very hard tool for Apple, Google, Nokia and Samsung to beat. So this is good news for people and small companies but bad news for some big companies. Here in Norway there is a small phone company, TalkMore that offers a service called TalkMore Link. If you use that service intelligently you can reduce your phone expenses to less than USD 100 per year. You call free to other TalkMore customers, so it is already completely free to talk to persons in your network. You don't pay for connecting and you don't pay for the conversation. But you don't have a video phone capability that Skype offers. Depending on where you live, the bandwith may also be too limiting to make the video tool a serious option. Generally it is also too early to know the future and if Microsoft will integrate Skype into Windows Phone 8. Personally if I had a Windows Phone with Skype integrated, I would of course combine it with a TalkMore account.

WordPress 3 Quantum Leap

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 05.11.2011

Last updated 06.10.2011 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

It is well known that it is possible to develope professional sites with WordPress without knowing HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP (the main technology driving the project). Of course, it is an advantage to know these technologies, so you can tweak third party themes, and make your own themes, plugins etc. With WordPress 3.* it has become easier to develope multi blogs, WordPress eCommerce sites and professional company blogs. In 2011 most bigger companies have a business blog where they can communicate with the public, not least for managing the company's reputation. Reputation management is very important in the digital age when a negative story can spread globally in minutes. Being able to instantly communicate with the world via a blog, can be an invaluable tool in killing a developing fire. In addition, much of the work on search engine optimization is done for you by default on the WordPress platform.

But the fastest development seem to happen around developing solutions, applications, themes and plugins for mobile platforms like the iPhone and the iPad. Turning your site into an iPhone application is now reduced to locating the correct theme and / or plugin and install it in the WordPress DashBoard via a few mouse clicks. Read more on my forum under the heading: WordPress on mobile platforms. That forum also describes in detail, in the WordPress sub forum, how you shall set up your WordPress test or development server. If you want to make your own themes and plugins, that is almost a necessity.

Smart Phones and Privacy.

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 01.19.2011

Last updated 01.19.2011 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

In another article on this page, we have mentioned that Smart Phones are not smart in the sence you think. A smart phone is a computer with security like a computer 20 years ago. So the risk of downloading software - applications - to your smart phone is at least as risky as downloading software to your computer. What you may not be aware of is that such software can act like a trojan and send inforamtion like your contacts etc. back to the applications producer or their ad networks. A well know application, Angry Birds is a puzzle video game that send location data to trackers.

Few devices know more personal details about people than the smartphones in their pockets: phone numbers, current location, often the owner's real name—even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off.
Source: Wall Street Journal December 17, 2010 - Your Apps Are Watching You

So the problem is that most people don't know what your application send back to the tracker. The application can send location, age, zip code, gender and other personal details to outsiders. In adition, an application can hack your contacts and track which applications the user uses (download) and how they are used. This information can be and are sold to ad networks. User information and behaviour are central tags in this new business. Who is responsible for this information? Serious software producers will tell you which information the application track - unserious will not. If that is described in the handbook or a user manual, that is far from a guarantee that the user reads it. Google, the producer of the Android operating system, says app makers "bear the responsibility for how they handle user information.

Apple has signaled that it has ideas for targeting people more closely. In a patent application filed this past May, Apple outlined a system for placing and pricing ads based on a person's "web history or search history" and "the contents of a media library." For example, home-improvement advertisers might pay more to reach a person who downloaded do-it-yourself TV shows, the document says. Source: Wall Street Journal December 17, 2010 - Your Apps Are Watching You

A pantent based on a system for placing and pricing ads based on a person's "web history or search history". Is this a system for the sovereign or the naive consumer? Where are the limits of privacy? Where is it in different countries? Is there (international) law that can handle conflicts and cases in court?

See also: Is your smart phone really smart?

Windows 8 will run on mobile platforms.

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 01.06.2011

Last updated 01.14.2011 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

According to the Las Vegas CES 2011 Microsoft Windows 8 will be ARM powered and can run on mobile platforms like iPad, iPod and iPhone smart phones - in all more than 200 platforms. There is an explosion of internet connected products - among other things Tv's. ThreeD Tv "without glasses" and ThreeD cam coders were also presented on the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow in Las Vegas. With the new foccus on ARM chips, Intel and AMD will get increased competition. For more information see:

  1. PCMag: Next Generation of Windows Will Run on ARM
  2. Yahoo News: Windows 8 on ARM Expands Microsoft's Mobile Horizons
  3. CES: Wintel Hegemony is Over, Next Windows to Run on ARM Processors
The important thing we should be watching is how apps might transform the Web from an "open" environment to a "closed" environment. That kind of shift is exactly what large corporations want and need to exploit the full income potential of the Internet. It won't happen overnight, but history shows it happens eventually.
Source: The Web is Dead?

For more information see: Will Apps Unravel the World Wide Web?

I think this is very serious. Microsoft is often known for their owns standards, but Windows 8, running on mobile platforms should be better for the open web than many other operating systems running on proprietary platforms. Limux and other open operating systems for mobile platforms should be evne better. I see them and the next "Skype(s)" coming.

See also: Is your smart phone really smart?

The consumerization of IT

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 11.19.2010

Last updated 11.19.2010 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

Consumerization of IT is a new term that you find on many tech company sites. Big American companies like Amazon, Oracle, Microsoft , Google etc sets the trend as ususal. What does the term imply and do all really understand the concept? Having participated on some Oracle seminars regarding Cloud Computing and terms like Weblogic, Exalogic, Exadata, InfiniBand, Elastic Cloud, Virtual machines I think have understood the term from Oracle's point of view. For a more or less independent view of Oracle's technologies, you may go to the techtarget site.

Microsoft and Oracle look at the subject more from an enterprise view, while Amazon is concerned both about companies and individual consumers. In the Amazon Elastic Cloud, EC2 you can for example use your Amazon debit card and buy virtual (super) computing power like you buy any web service. You pay for the service like you pay for electricity, telephony and similar. Once you are finished, you (can create an image that can be recreated later) destroy the virtual machine. Efficient and cheap and a great service in peak periodes for companies and easy for the student that need super computing power for his master thesis for a short periode of time. There is no need to invest in new hardware.

The cloud essentially "consumerizes" all of IT, not just relatively unimportant bits like procuring personal hard- and software. This requires a whole rethinking of corporate IT, as the idea of any master design becomes unattainable. How can IT as a species survive this trend as it may render the education of a whole generation of IT-ers irrelevant? On the brighter side - it really caters for the talents of today's teenagers: consumption as a lifestyle.

Source: Cloud and the Consumerization of IT

In the other end of the spectrum you find companies like Google that offer free IT services to the surfer and small companies. It is of course not free, since Google's sites and services are driven by advertising. The difference is that online advertisers indirectly "pay" for Googles services while the user of the service pay up front for the other solutions mentioned above.

Google (GOOG) is taking one of its biggest steps to showcase the power of a trend known as the “consumerization of IT.”

Today, the company will begin unlocking more than 60 applications for its Google Apps customers. These apps, however, aren’t new. They are the same ones that consumers with Google accounts have been using for years - apps like Google Voice, Blogger, Picasa and Google Reader.

Source: Google Unlocks More Than 60 Consumer Apps for the Enterprise.

Related links:

In the end there is no free lunch, the question is who pay for the lunch you or I consume.

Is your smart phone really smart?

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 10.24.2010

Last updated 12.30.2010 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

Your smartphone is a computer, most often without a firewall and an antivirus program.

It is well known that computer on a wireless connection is generally less secure than a computer on a cable network. Even encryption is not always enough. There is good and bad encryption algorithms. What would you think when I told you that your smart phone's security can be compared to a computer 20 years ago. This is so serious that mobile phone companies have rejected to participate in Tv programs in Sweden. In addition, some of the smart phones can stop functioning in cold weather (e.g. below zero degrees centigrades). So don't rely on communicating via your smart phone if you are on a ski tour in the mountain.

You go to a secret meeting and turn off your smart phone, but if a hacker has taken control of your phone, your phone may not be turned off. If the hacker is smart enough, he can control your phones components like the screen, microphone etc. You think that the phone is turned off, but only the screen goes off when you turn off your phone. The microphone and other components are active so it is possible to record your discussion in real time or record it for later replay. This is scaring, and indeed it is. The only secure method is not to take the phone with you to important meetings.

So how can a hacker take control of your smart phone? An obvious way is that you lend your phone or forget it and it is delivered back to you with a trojan, keylogger etc. There are also other ways to hack a smart phone. Here are some:

  • Via internet surfing. It is most often less secure than surfing the web with a computer.
  • Via an email sent to you. Never open a suspect email.
  • Never - open an attachment to an email you are not 100 % secure about
  • Use a secure encrypted email service.
  • Via downloaded documents or applications.
  • Via hot spots.
  • Hot spot Security concerns.
Related links:

A new domain and website in minutes

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 12.27.2010

Last updated 12.27.2010 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

I am used to blogger and made one of my first web sites on that platform. Since then I have made my web sites on my computer using the Dreamweaver platform. I make the site on my hard drive and upload the code to my hosters web server. That is fast and efficient. Some days ago my daughter's man ordered this domain and a few minutes later the site aroundtheworldtrip.net was on the web. I knew that the wordpress platform was fast and efficient, but how he did it was impressing. He ordered the domain name from his Norwegian registrar domeneshop where their tool helped him to find a semantic name. A competitive service is nameboy.

What impressed me most was how he used Wordpress Direct and their resources online putting the site on his hosters webserver without downloading any code. In other words, he could make the site online as if it was hosted directly on the WordPress web server. When the site was finished he used social marker for a fast tagging and posting to major social websites. On an other site I have seen how he has got the first hit on the Google SERPs by using Market Samuray. I know of WordTracker, but he used Google Adwords tools in a similar way. So in 2010 you can make your own new domain and site on a unique IP any place in the World with internet access. Don't confuse this with blog or forum or other content management system software that is already on your hoster's server.

Scientific web publishing

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 08.03.2010

Last updated 08.03.2010 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

In AmsTex a mathematical version of TeX I could write the most complex scientif formulas. Later came Scientific Word that made it even easier to write scientific documents. Now, Wolfram Reasearch, the company that created scientific word have created their own mathematical search engine WolframAlpha where you can write in query strings like cosinus 1 that give very nice results that you may wan't to publish on your own blog. (As a side note, observe that the results can be downloaded as a PDF document). You may think that the natural thing to do is to use

I have seen how scientific word documents like the one explaining the well known Kalman filter has been published on Wikipedia and ofte wondered how that is done on Wikipedia and WordPress powered blogts. Most probably a script like PhpMathPublisher is used. The following links direct you to various online articles that explain the details.

On the way to transclusion

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 06.24.2010

Last updated 06.24.2010 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

Transclusion is an ideal way to cite in web documents. As far as I know the full potential of existing web standards have not yet been implemented in any web browser. If you look at the source of this article you will note that the above link has a name, an id and an href with a # in it. That makes it easy for external sites to parse this text and link to it. I liked this

I can't quite "picture" how this would appear to a reader. Do you have a couple of sites that we could look at it working? Sample Javascript code that we could use on our sites to test using transclusion to incorporate external webpages would be a bonus!
Source: WPW - Citing in forum threads and posts.

cite from a fellow member of the WebProWorld forum. The above cite is blockquoted and coloured green to indicate that it is a cite from an external web page.

Some related threads from the same forum:

Web3Logistics: The road has started

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 05.29.2010

Last updated 04.03.2011 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

Unicode and multilingual sites

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 05.29.2010

Last updated 06.17.2010 Status: Will be updated with additional information.

Object oriented programming was invented in Norway. I have bought a lot of books on the subject. And I have a hoster where I can change PHP version by clicking a radio button in the cPanel. I can even choose PHP version at the folder level by a few commands in the .htaccess file for that folder. That hoster support both MySQL and PostGreSQL. Very few of the books I buy function seamlessly. So if you can not make the code in your book function, even by changing PHP version and database, don't claim it is object oriented. And when I look at the database sequrity implemented in some of these books (I know it is a book), but you could at least move the database connenction (function or class) above the applications folder.

Some hints if you intend to write a programming book with code download. Tell which platform the code was tested on, the folder structure and any specific configuration. As a minimum supply an online errata where bug fixes can be found. The time for you that writes a book is valuable, but so is it for the potential buyers.

Below I have listed Larry Ullman's Book "PHP 6 and MySQL 5 for Dynamic Web Sites" that uses some object oriented features at a very high level, but don't claim to be object oriented. I got some problems using PHP 5.2.9 (the default installation at my hoster). But the book is about PHP 6 and when I changed to PHP 6.0.0-dev, everything functioned correctly if you got the folder structure that is aslo explained in the book correct. Excellent job Larry Ullman. The book and his forum is listed here as a Unicode resource, and it is, since it has outstanding chapters on Unicode and developing multilingual sites. In addition we list some important pages from the PHP manual (it is so good that it can be read like a book) and other related pages.

The Ulysses framework and jQuery Ninja

Kjell Gunnar Bleivik First version 05.29.2010 Status: Will be updated with additional information.