Firefox Mobile OS

This is something I am quite excited for as its made using HTML5. Firefox OS has an opportunity to really show how awesome FF is. Now, what I would really like to see is firefox to make a PC OS. From Mozilla “Firefox OS is an open source mobile operating system which uses Linux and Mozilla’s Gecko engine to run a user interface and set of applications written entirely in HTML, CSS and JavaScript.” What does this mean? You will be able to build Apps for firefox using HTML5, no more Xcode or Eclipse. Now sure you can build HTML5 apps for apple and google by exporting them via phonegap to xcode/eclipse however this OS is designed for HTML5. Very exciting.

Link to firefox os

Information for developers

Simulator where you can build and test your apps for firefox OS

An article discussing some of the advantages and disadvantages of firefox mobile (although more towards the negative side)

First firefox phones sell out

Pete & C 2013!

Here is my presentation (well poster) for Pete & C 2013. This year it is on developing apps for the K-16 classroom. I start by discussing the most difficult ways then get into how to do it using simple and free methods


Australian university to issue 11,000 iPads next year

Some excerpts from the article:

“The University of Western Sydney said in a statement that it plans to distribute 11,000 iPads next year to every new student and member of the faculty “to support learning and teaching innovations across the curriculum and in informal learning environments.””

“The iPad initiative is part of a curriculum overhaul at UWS that will stress “flexible study options” and “a blended learning model,” The Australian reports. Traditional lectures will be augmented by a more interactive learning approach, Krause said.

“Mobile technologies will be a key part of this strategy,” she said. “We want to support our academic staff to make the most of iPads and custom-designed apps in class so that, even in the largest lecture theater, students have access to just-for-me, just-in-time interactive learning experiences.””

My thoughts:

While I am personally more inclined to use laptops over tablets because they do so much more, I think things like this can be very beneficial if implemented correctly – and that is the key. If they just buy professors and students a bunch of iPads, I would not expect much good to come out of them…at least not a large % anyway. Now if they train the professors and students how to use them, provide good resources, and support, then it could be an awesome initiative.

mailto: html code on a mobile device is actually a good thing

Many times when accessing a website we click on the contact link and it opens up outlook or another email program that we do not use. This is annoying and I cannot stand it. I tell all of my students never to use this code. However one thing one of my students recently pointed out to me is that when viewed on a mobile device, this actually takes you to your default phone email, which is actually a good thing on the mobile device as you are almost forced by google or apple to have a default email. Thus while I hate this on the computer, I love it on the phone. I just thought it was a pretty cool difference and thought I would share.

The code to create this type of link is: <a href=””>

Can you ditch your smartphone for wifi only?

This is a great article by Here are some of the basic reasons why smartphone companies do not allow you to just purchase voice only plans:

*They do not make money on calls anymore. That is why they are now offering unlimited voice calls.
*They make money from data

Here is the part that I found really interesting:

“If you’re willing to ditch Verizon and any of the other major carriers, you could try a new service from Republic Wireless, which costs only $19.99 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data. The carrier buys and resells capacity from Sprint Nextel’s network. But it also uses Wi-Fi networks. And because it uses Wi-Fi to carry the bulk of its data traffic, the company can offer such a low-cost service.

The company launched a beta version of its service about a year ago. But it was quickly so overwhelmed with users interested in the service that it had to shut down. It relaunched its beta service earlier this year. And starting next month, the service will be available to anyone.

The only catch is that, at least for now, it only supports one device, the Motorola Defy XT. That device is available for preorder now and costs $249 (plus $10 activation fee). Other smartphones will likely follow. And there’s even a chance that eventually, customers will be able to bring their own smartphones to the service. But for now, it’s just the Motorola Defy XT.”

How to make an HTML webpage the correct size on a mobile device

I have written about this a few times (just last week) and I wanted to add some details to the discussion. Basically when designing a webpage for the mobile device you want your page to show up as the correct size on the device so the user does not need to zoom. To do it you would use the viewport code. Today I am adding some more details to that:

General width. Keep in mind the ‘780’ changes depending on the size of your actual page:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=780">

This code just matches their device regardless of what you set:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width">

The following disables zooming altogether:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, user-scalable=no" /> 

This sets the zoom level when the page is first opened:

<meta name="viewport" content="initial-scale=1">

This creates no zooming and the user has to move the screen around:

<meta name="viewport" content="maximum-scale=1">

I encourage you to try them all out to see what works for your site and so that you get a better idea of what they all look like.

Developing for the mobile web – size

This is an update to a previous blog post of mine that has now been updated (

So when developing a website for the mobile web we need to take into consideration the screen’s size. Obviously since we develop on a computer we need to test a lot to make sure our page looks right on the mobile device. So here are a few quick tips which are updated from my previous post:

1. Most phones compress the page (display) 980 pixels in width. That means that a page that is 980 pixels on a browser (desktop) will be compressed to the fit the phone. However, that is not always the case so we add this line of code:

2. The line of code, which is placed in the header (<head>):

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=780″>

Will make the page compress to 100% of the phones width (a %) rather than a strict defined width. This is a good option for those developing for multiple devices which is usually the case when developing for the mobile web…otherwise you would just develop an app.

Developing for the mobile device chart

I made this little chart for my students as a guide to help them know what options are available for mobile device development:

Developing for the mobile device

  Native Apps Mobile Web
  Apple Android Android
xCode x      
Eclipse   x    
HTML(5) Mobile Packaging software

(ie software that outputs to xCode and Eclipse such as PhoneGap)

x x x x
HTML (5) Development Software (ie software that outputs HTML/HTML5 such as dreamweaver)     x x
Flash (any Adobe Air compatible software) x x x x