Archive for April, 2010

INB347 Applications beyond the desktop

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 by connorfranzoni

This particular entry, (as you may recognise the title) is a rewrite of the one uploaded last week, as I have deemed it necessary to rewrite it on a new web application. I have removed the previous one on facebook as I have already covered Facebook once on this blog and I thought it was a bit of a copout to do to entries on the same 2.0 technology. So instead of a list of interesting facts about Facebook seen over multiple devices (which you may feel free to look into as I will post the links at the end) I have decided instead to look at how dig has burst through the shackles of the desktop and now can be accessed where ever you bring your phon.

No longer do we live in a world where the internet can only be accessed by desktops and laptops, in the 2000s we can now access the internet from phones, mp3 players and even fridges (because the internet needs to know when you run out of milk). This new trend to access the internet through devices rather then desktops has had web developer’s scrambling to make their sites accessible through a smaller screen without being cumbersome in size or time consuming in loading. ‘Digg’ is one company that has hoped on the bandwagon.

The mobile devices version is allot simpler then it’s desktop counterpart, however still produces the fundamental essence of what the site the ability to for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on them which dictates how high the story appears on the site. The mobile version only displays the main stories, the ability to go forward and back through the pages and the ability to sign in.

Digg Mobile

Digg

Digg has taken the approach of many newsfeed websites have done when creating a web application by removing the options of their site and simple showing the user the stories they wish to look at rather than flooding the screen with useless options. This is because the application will almost always be used while commuting or to kill time rather than purposefully going on to the website to find something in particular. Many newspapers and online news sites have followed suit, by only giving the reading materials rather than giving the users options.

However the other option some more less known news web services have taken is an sms service which is not nearly as popular. Aljazeera claims you can;

“ now accessible anytime anywhere through SMS.

The SMS service launched by Aljazeera Mobile project will allow subscribers to receive news services, including breaking news, through their mobile phones.

Subscribers may choose to receive Arabic or English SMS messages on the following topics:

  • Politics
  • Sports
  • Economy

It will take only one call to your local service provider to get Aljazeera SMS service.”

Some useful links on the topic;

http://english.aljazeera.net/aboutus/2006/11/200852517383151207.html

http://digg.com/

http://m.digg.com/

If you would like to read a bit about facebook mobile;

http://www.facebook.com/mobile/?ref=mf

http://blog.facebook.com/

INB347 Perpetual Beta

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2010 by connorfranzoni

Gmail in BETA

Though I am sure many of my fellow students will have noticed as I have that Gmail is the perfect example for this week’s topic of perpetual beta (I will attempt to show the facts in the most witty and interesting way I can). Gmail was released on the first of April in 2004 as an invitation based free webmail service (A tactic they again used when Buzz was released in order to generate interest for the site).  For five years Gmail sat in beta and all it did was integrated chat, developed new anti-spam technology, expanded to 53 languages, created a mobile app, added group chat, launched an iPhone UI, added a vacation autoresponder and launched Gmail Labs. Subsequent to these successes Gmail modified the vacation auto responder with a Gmail Lab, launched 48 other Labs, launched video chat, enabled open protocols and APIs, added a delete button (not sure why this was not there when it was first released), rewrote and redesigned their entire JavaScript code base, and added key functionality to get large companies, start-ups, universities, and many other organizations (in addition to Google itself) running on Gmail.

Jokes aside from Google’s example we can see the advantage of leaving a product in beta instead of releasing it out right and then updating or patching it ever so often.  When a program is left in beta all its user’s becomes the programs testers, and have the opportunity to report bugs and suggest updates, then as these updates and fixes are implemented, they can then be tested by the same users.

However there is the argument that this form of long beta’s is an excuse for a company to release a product without spending the time or money to test it and make sure that it is a functioning product. As well as this fact in as a general rule users do not make the best testers as they are not attempting to find bugs so there is always the potential risk of having a major flaw that has sat unnoticed until the program is released. Onto of that the simple idea that it is in beta and not fully tested and deemed to be functional may turn users of the program altogether if there are rivals who provide the same service who have released a product. Though for Google this was not a problem as they already had a reputation for excellence a smaller product may not be able to generate enough of a user base to use perpetual beta rather than testing the product. However in the case of Gmail and I think for many other web based programs that perpetual beta will become more and more of the norm in coming years.

Some other useful and intresting links for more information;

http://mail.google.com/mail/help/about_whatsnew.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBbmiQhuAhU