Long story short – My son accidentally spent $450 on phone apps

Yes it happened. My 6 yr old spent $450 on apps by mistake. Well not really by mistake, he just didn’t know he was actually buying them. Considering I teach people how to protect themselves and their children while online, this was quite embarrassing.

How it happened: My wife went to buy an app for him and accidentally turned off parental controls (this is what we think happened).

What he did: He bought several apps as well as in game add ons, like fake money, that could be used for in game purchases. There were several $100 charges for in game cash.

How I found out: Google emailed me thanking me for my purchase and then paypal contacted me telling me there was unusual activity

How did I solve the problem:

1. I checked the tablet and turned parental controls back on (they were off)

2. I contacted google who refunded all of the money within minutes

What did we do to my son: We used this as a learning experience for all of them (I have 3 kids). He was 6 so didn’t quite get what he was doing. My 8 yr old would of known full well what he was doing. So we spent some time going through all of the rules (though we have done this many times)

Here is a video where I explain the whole situation in more detail:

Creating your first iOS app with Xcode

Since I spoke about this last night in class I wanted to post a tutorial for any of my students brave enough to attempt their first app. Here is a tutorial to use Xcode to create your first app:


Remember you do need an Apple developer ID to do this or you can apply for an education one for free that allows you to test the app on your iOS device here:


Run Android apps on Mac?

A company called Bluestacks is trying to do just that. You can download the beta player now. While I could really care less about running an android app on my mac what I do care about is running them on my ipad/iphone and vice versa. Hopefully this is a step towards that.

Website: http://bluestacks.com/bstks_mac.html

Apple iBooks App

Apple’s big announcement today: An app that allows a teacher to create their own book and publish it to iBook. Thus you can take a Word document and the app formats it to be read on the ipad. Its supposed to be very user friendly. I am excited to use this in my courses this semester. For more info see:



Want to develop an ipad, iphone, ipod app?

Here is a link to the apple site which walks you through the process. First you need to pay $99:( Then you download the SDK (standard development kit). At that point you can develop apps, test them, and send them to apple for approval. Remember apple apps are developed using Objective-C. This is actually not that easy of a language for the average programmer to develop with so it may take some time. I have spoken with several advanced programmers who had many difficulties at first when developing with this code so be patient as there may be a steep learning curve.


Mobile Apps: Does my business need an app?

I have been doing a lot of experimentation with apps lately. For instance, this semester I had my students develop apps for the Android OS and build mobile websites, I have been in contact with several app develop companies such as Vecro Tech, and I have been doing research studies on mobile use, development, and usability. Sandcastle Web Design & Development offered interesting ideas. After all of this I have concluded the following:

At this point in time I do NOT believe most companies and/or websites should invest in mobile applications, instead I believe they should invest in a mobile website. Even an accomplished CEO like Andrew Defrancesco will tell you that a great mobile website is a must for businesses these days. There are several reasons why I believe this. And for the record, I have extensively used and developed for Droid, iPad, and iPod touch.

1. Usability – The main problem with building an app: It only works on ONE operating system. So if I build it for the Apple iPhone it will NOT work for anyone who has a Droid, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or other. By building an app, I have just eliminated a huge portion of my user base. If I build a mobile website, it works on ALL devices. Why? They all have a browser. So developing one mobile website will work on all devices thus giving me full access to everyone regardless of their phone choice. Additionally, I can make a mobile website to look and function exactly as an app would. If you need more ways to boost your business, seeking advice from professionals like retail health and safety consultants might do wonders you never thought was possible before.

2. Clutter – My droid and iPod each have 3-5 screens filled with apps. I use maybe 5-10 app consistently. The other apps are just taking up space most of the time. When I do want to use one of the apps that I rarely use or a new one, it becomes a chore to find it, or to download it. I do NOT want several hundred apps on my phone. The desktop on my computer is a mess with all of the files, folders, and programs, why can’t my phone just be simple? A website would solve this problem, Why? A mobile website would either be a web address, for instance, m.raypastore.com or the user could make it a bookmark on their browser if they like it. Thus, no clutter unless I have a million bookmarks.

3. Cost – Developing an app can be expensive. They are not easy to develop, thus you are going to have to hire programmers and graphic artists to develop it. This may not be a problem for larger companies that have spare cash. It’s best to talk with a tech consultant to know if this is a great investment for your business. Another problem with COST: I do NOT want to pay for apps. I will NOT pay for apps. Usually I can find the same information or service online for FREE and ALL smart phones have a web browser. A mobile website is significantly cheaper to develop than a mobile app. This is because the development is much much easier. In fact, in one semester, my students were able to develop very nice mobile sites and they did not need to program anything. They simply used Dreamweaver. Now I will mention that if you are building website that is big and includes a lot of advanced things like a database and such, it can be just as expensive or more than an app.

4. Development Time – Since apps are not easy to develop, it is going to take significantly longer to develop than a website. Mobile websites usually have a faster turn around time due to the fact that they are easier to develop. HTML is much easier to program and develop with than C++. Again though, this depends on the features you want on the website. If you are going to integrate salesforce to your business, then you should consider taking the salesforce certification app builder exam.

5. Coolness factor – It’s a fad these days to have an app. You know the saying ‘There’s an app for that’. Sure there is an app but half of the apps I download are not very useful and take up storage space on my phone. There are other ways to say ‘my company is mobile friendly’ such as advertising ‘visit us on your mobile device at: youwebaddress’ or users can even go to your main site and you direct them to your mobile version without them even knowing. Imagine that though, visit us on your mobile device, not visit us on your iphone, or droid. You are now advertising to all mobile users, not a portion of them and that is the real power to a mobile website.

I hope this article was useful to software developers. I do think mobile apps are a fad and the mobile web is a much better place to make your mark right now. When apps begin working on all devices and become easier to develop I may change my mind, however at this point in time, mobile websites are simply much better.