Archive for July, 2009

Answer Me This, Verizon Lovers

lteWith all this babbling about Verizon rushing out LTE for some non-dongle device and talks of the AT&T/Apple love affair breaking down, a simple question keeps popping to mind:

What happens when you don’t get LTE coverage? Aren’t you just going to get thrown down to the old CDMA? And the iPhone/iTablet is going to magically work with CDMA? Will the next gen iPhone have BOTH GSM & CDMA? Why is this never considered in any of the articles I read?

The Pre-Breaking iTunes 8.2.1 Update

palm-preI originally published these thoughts in Seth Godin’s Triiibes community. I’m fleshing it out a tad for this post.

It is a well-known fact that John Rubinstein headed up the development of the original iPod and later took charge of the spun-out iPod division. He later left Apple to retire on some beach in Mexico where he was eventually hunted down by Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners. Roger made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and now we see Rubinstein leading the formerly beleaguered Palm. Rubinstein did NOT jump straight to Palm from Apple as has been reported on many sites.

This background, and not to mention the legions of Apple developers that moved to Palm (including a friend of mine), puts no doubt in anyone’s mind that inside knowledge of how to interface with iTunes came to Palm. Even so, they could have white-roomed it and figured it out on their own. I mean, how hard could this be?

With the PR frenzy leading up to the Pre’s release, it was noted that the Pre would natively synch with iTunes (and iPhoto), allowing you to sync anything that wasn’t DRM’d. At first, my opinion was that any device should have unfettered access to the non-DRM part of an iTunes library. However, the more I learned of the situation, the more my views have changed.

Consider this:

  • There is an API for iTunes (doubleTwist is using this successfully and many others)
  • Palm is blurring the support lines (if there is a synch problem, who is the customer going to call)
  • If Apple lets Palm do this, everybody else will assume it as a right

I’m glad to see Apple finally move on blocking Palm. They should have done it a lot earlier. Also, I do not see this as being anti-competitive on Apple’s part, they do not have a monopoly on music catalog software (Songbird, anyone?). I see it more of inline with a DMCA violation on Palm’s part (though I know this is not the case).

What’s your take?

The Chrome OS FUD

logo_smUpdate: Robert X. Cringely’s Op-Ed is out. Not at all what I expected, but that’s what I like about RXC. After watching a couple hours of Google IO ’09, I finally realized the deal with Chrome OS. Learn more about Native Client and it will all make sense – Google IS revving up for a fight for the Desktop OS and NaCl is how they’ll do it. And I wish the “Tech” blogs would understand the difference between Linux, GNU/Linux, and a Distro. It’s almost embarrassing to read. Disregard my blathering below.

I must have read over 50 articles on this whole Chrome OS thing and I’m still baffled. Here are some of the better articles I’ve read on the subject:

To see a more complete list of stuff I’ve read, take a look at my Recently Read Articles. I’m still waiting on what Robert X. Cringely is going to say (he loves to take his conclusions to the logical extreme), but he’s holding out for an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times.

Some interesting theories:

  • Chrome OS is a way of sticking it to the man. By giving netbook/smartbook OEM’s another Windows alternative to use as a bargaining chip to lower the Windows tax.
  • Chrome OS is meant as a dual-boot solution. It will be installed alongside any other operating system to give you a way to boot and jump on Gmail within 10 seconds.
  • Chrome OS is meant to be a distraction for whatever Microsoft is set to announce on Monday.

What I think is going on, and what is hinted at in the Gizmodo link above, is that Google is using Chrome OS as FUD against itself. Android is creeping into a market for which Google never intended, the netbook/smartbook realm, and in order to prevent Android from seriously forking, Google is saying “We will have an OS for that space, don’t go there!” I’m not going to blather on about this because, as I said, I’m confused.

One other thought, any netbook/smartbook that Chrome OS goes on will be FREE. Not just the operating system, but the hardware – subsidized by Google and a minimal contract with a carrier.

image: Google

The Proper Way To Use UTF-8 (PHP/MySQL)

phpAfter living in Japan for six years and doing web programming for most of that time, you would think I would have this down by now. I used many combos – from Lasso/FileMaker to PHP/MSSQL and even PHP/PostgreSQL – but never used PHP/MySQL for any CJVK work.  So I did some Googling and found four pages that claimed to have the answer:

  1. Use UTF-8 No BOM for each page. That is Byte-Order Mark, which does help in other languages like Cold Fusion, but not for me in PHP. NOPE!
  2. Use a PHP header tag:
    header('Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8');

    and use a HTML meta tag:


  3. Use SET NAMES ‘utf8’; when instantiating your database object. NOPE!
  4. Change the column to utf8_general_ci and the collation to utf8_general_ci. NOPE!

I saw that PhpMyAdmin was displaying the characters correctly, so how were they doing it? I did a deep dive into the code and wound up at the mysql dbi connector where the following statements were set for EVERY query:

mysqliObj->query("SET CHARACTER SET 'utf8'");
mysqliObj->query("SET collation_connection = 'utf8_general_ci'");

This, along with the column set to utf8_general_ci did the trick. The processing pages were set to Western (Mac OS Roman) which did not cause any problems inserting or displaying Japanese data.

This post is more for myself so I don’t ever forget how this is done. This can be black magic sometimes so I need some documentation.