HP Open-Sources webOS

Here is my first radio news piece in case you missed it, or if you just want to hear it again.

HP Open-Sources webOS

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RAY HOLLISTER: Recently HP announced that they are open-sourcing the operating system that runs their phones and tablets called webOS. In a nutshell, open-sourcing means that Hewlett Packard will be sharing the source code of webOS, the human readable code that the operating system is programmed with. Now this is quite different compared to companies like Apple who jealously guards the code that their iOS operating system runs on.

This puts HP’s webOS at a crossroad. This could revitalize the operating system to where you could see webOS devices everywhere, or they could just be putting it out to pasture.

To give you some background story, webOS itself was wildly praised by many critics and users when it was announced by Palm at the Consumers Electronic Show in January of 2009, but the phones and tablets that it ran on were all disappointing sellers.

JEFF BAKALAR: The phone is great, they just have absolutely no quality control.

RAY HOLLISTER: That was Jeff Bakalar, Associate Editor and Co-Host of CNET’s “The 404” on the episode just after he had received his 9th Palm Pre. All of his previous eight Palm Pre’s had to be taken back to Sprint because they were defective. Sales of Palm’s phones were so dismal that the company was rumored to be on the edge of bankruptcy when HP announced that they were purchasing Palm for 1.2 billion dollars in late April of 2010.

After HP purchased Palm, they excited fans by holding an event on February 9th of 2011 announcing two new phones and a tablet device with what can only be compared with the excitement of an Apple keynote event.

(“Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” by LCD Soundsystem begins playing. A crowd applauding and cheering can be heard.)

TODD BRADLEY: Well good morning! Welcome to San Francisco.

However, that excitement wore off quickly as HP did not announce prices or when the devices were expected to launch. The HP Veer, a diminutive phone with a face only slightly larger than a credit card finally came out over three months later, and the HP Touchpad was finally released on July 1st. Both sold so poorly that only 48 days after the Touchpad was released HP canceled all webOS devices. In the same announcement they stated that they would “explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

Four months later, HP’s newly appointed CEO Meg Whitman finally announced that they would be open-sourcing webOS.

So, unless you’re already familiar with how open-source software works, you are probably asking, “OK, what does that mean?” Well, it means that HP is letting everyone take a look under the hood, and take out the parts they want, or they can take the entire system and install it on their own devices. This is the same way that Android, which is primarily made by Google, works. In fact, webOS could potentially become a serious competitor to Android, which has taken over the market share from Apple’s iPhone.

The question is, will webOS be successful as an open source platform? The main factor that has separated the successes from the failures has been the level of manufacturer support. If only modders, hackers and tinkerers put webOS on their phones and tablets, and hardware manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Sony do not adopt it, then webOS may not find success in the open-source after life.

DEREK KESSLER: If that is to be the future of webOS, that’s a death sentence.

RAY HOLLISTER: That was Derek Kessler, Editor-in-Chief of webOSNation.com, a news site dedicated to webOS news and discussion. Derek has been following the news around Palm and subsequently webOS and HP since 2000, and despite his concern that HP still has not announced any partners in manufacturing, he still remains optimistic.

DEREK KESSLER: I’m very hopeful that HP and other companies latch on to this open-source webOS and actually do something with it, and they do something amazing, and make hardware and software that is actually worth putting out, and worth buying, and good for the users, and good for the companies that make it.

From 89.9 WJCT, I’m Ray Hollister

You can have Marty McFly’s shoes from 2015 today! (Power laces, not included.)

Marty checks out his new kicks.

If you were a child of the 80’s like I was, you most likely remember that iconic moment in Back to the Future Part II when Marty arrives in 2015, and he has to change into clothes that fit the time period so he will pass for his future son. He puts on a jacket that looks five sizes too big for him, but with the press of a button it adjusts to fit him perfectly. Before he did that, he slipped on the coolest pair of high tops ever designed. The Nike MAGs had glowing lights (not really sure why, but they looked really cool), and everyone’s favorite part, they had automatic, power laces.

Today, Nike announced that they have made 1,500 2011 Nike MAGs! The sneakers are almost exactly like the shoes that Michael J. Fox wore in Back To The Future II, with one unfortunate exception. They do not have power laces, yet. According to Nike’s commercial starring Bill Hader, Christopher Lloyd, Tinker Hatfield, Donald Fullilove and Kevin Durant, this highly coveted feature won’t come out until 2015.

Nike is auctioning these items of sneaker geek lust off on eBay with 100% of the net profits going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research starting tonight at 11:30 pm EST, and ending September 18th, 2011. Also, Google Co-Founder, Sergey Brin has pledged a matching donation of up to $50 million. Michael J. Fox will appear on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight wearing a pair of the famous shoes “for the future” to announce the auction.

Personally, I think this is a lot of fun, and I’m glad all of the money is going to a great cause, but I’m hanging on to my money until somebody finally releases a working hoverboard!

You can have Marty McFly’s shoes from 2015 today! (Power laces, not included.) is reprinted with permission from Deemable.


Even wolves hate Creed, or do they?

A horrendous photoshopped picture of a wolf standing next to a crooning Scott Stapp. The wolf is saying "No!! Curse my highly acute wolf hearing!"

I’ve never understood why people hate the rock band Creed so much. While I’m not a huge fan, I’ve always found their music at least palatable. However, from all of the Creed hate I read on the interwebs, it would seem that I am not in the majority. There are over five million pages of search results for the phrase “I hate Creed” and several Facebook pages and groups dedicated to the hatred of all things Creed. Now, apparently even wild life hates Creed.

Earlier this week, a Norwegian boy used Creed to fend off a pack of wild wolves. On his way home from school, a pack of four hungry, but clearly  musically snobbish wolves approached young Walter Eikrem. Thinking on his toes, Walter grabbed the nearest weapon he could find to fight off the beasts: his Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 phone that was blasting Creed’s “Overcome” in his earbuds. He yanked the headset out of the phone and turned the phone up as loud as the little tiny speaker could go. He yelled and waved his arms while Scott Stapp‘s vocals screamed from the little white Android phone. Seeing, and most importantly, hearing all of this, the wolves just turned around and left.

Now, did the wolves really just hate the sound of Creed’s first single in seven years, or is there something more sinister afoot here?  Wind-Up Records, Creed’s label, just happens to be owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which just happens to be owned by Sony,  which just happens to own half of Sony Ericsson, which just happens to be the company that makes the Xperia X8! (OK, when I started that rant, I didn’t realize how many layers were involved. I even skipped Sony Corporation of America.) The Xperia X8 was featured prominently in every story about this young boy’s little convenient miracle. Perhaps, this was all an elaborate setup to create a viral story to promote two of Sony’s interests. I would like to believe that just the wolves were agents working for Sony, (maybe they were prototypes of Sony’s new attack AIBO) and Walter is innocent in all of this, but honestly, even in Norway, what kid is going to admit that he listens to Creed? This whole story smells of a conspiracy, or I’ve been watching too many TV mysteries and I haven’t had enough sleep lately.

Source: Der Spiegel, via Gizmodo

Image mashup by Ray Hollister. Scott Sapp image by kindofadraag via Flickr. Wolf image by Steve Gregory via Flickr.

Sony Music Entertainment

JTA Bus Schedule WebOS App Changelog and Planned Updates


Some folks asked for this, so here it is. This is what I am planning on doing, and the order I plan on doing it in. If anyone wants to help, let me know! I’m doing this all for free.

Version # Changes or Planned Changes
0.0.1 Added Bus Schedules Header, List of Bus Schedules with hyperlinks to JTA website.
0.0.2 Changed background color and spaced out the list to make it easier to tap.
0.0.3 Added JTA logo and link to JTA homepage.
0.5.0 Converted text html list to Mojo List UI.  It’s easier to tap and more natural for WebOS users. Added place holder cards for each schedule and put a Webview widget on each schedule card. Now you don’t have to leave the app to see the schedule on the JTA website.
0.6.0 Fixed missing cards. Added a header on each schedule card with a link to the actual website so you can open them in another card. Started importing schedule into the application. Added AR-3 Townsend-Regency schedule, links to the pdf version and the route map jpg to the app as a style test.
0.6.1 added Metrix and R-5 schedule, pdf, and route map jpg.
0.6.2 added WS-1 and WS-12, schedules, pdf, and route map jpg.
0.6.3 added P-4 schedules, pdf, and route map jpg.
0.6.4 Removed WS-1 schedule and added Trolley Schedules.
0.7.4 add NORTHSIDE
0.7.5 add SOUTHSIDE
0.7.6 add WESTSIDE
0.7.7 add Trolley and Skyway
0.7.8 add Inter-County Shuttle
0.7.9 add Ride Request & Stadium Shuttle Service
0.8.0 add Help file with instructions on how to use app
0.9.0 add Terms of Service and Copyright information
1.0.0 add open schedule in new card

I’m tired of looking at ugly App Catalog icons!

When I got my Palm Pre in October of 2009, the only thing that disappointed me was the lack of apps in the App Catalog and how few of the apps in the catalog looked very professional. I often would see new apps and think to myself, “Gee, I could make an icon that looked better than that!” Considering how beautiful the apps that came with the phone were, I assumed that anyone who developed a decent app for WebOS must have at least some basic graphic art skils.

At first, I rarely downloaded even a free app if the icon didn’t look sharp. I never even considered buying an app that didn’t have a gorgeous icon. I don’t remember when it was or what app is was, but at some point I remember downloading an app that had a crappy looking icon because the reviews were so high. When I opened it, I was surprised at how clean and professional it looked. I guess I was expecting something that looked like one of those dollar rack, DOS floppy disc, shareware programs that they used to have at the grocery store.

Since then, I have been a little more forgiving to app developers with crappy looking icons. I still hesitate before I will buy an app that has a crappy icon, though. The more apps I bought and downloaded, the more I started to wonder how and why developers could make great looking apps that had ugly app icons.

Recently, I found out how and why it happens. I didn’t know it before, but when I started working on my first WebOS app last week, JTA Bus Schedules, I realized that most of the beauty of WebOS comes from the user interface APIs that come built into the operating system. So, anyone who knows java and html can make a beautiful looking app, even if they have never even opened Photoshop! But, alas, WebOS doesn’t come with a logo maker. To make a great looking icon for that beautiful looking app, the developer needs to know a thing or two about graphic art.

So, how about I put my money where my mouth is? I know that there are a lot of developers that can write apps a heck of a lot better than I can. However, I can make app icons that look a heck of a lot better than some of the ones that are in the App Catalog. So, if you are an app developer, and your icon looks less than sparkly, let me help you. If you have a free or homebrew app, I make you a new icon for free. If you have a pay app, I’ll still do it for, but it would be nice if you threw some cash at me. For the record, I’m not in it for the money; I just want to help out the developers that are making kick butt apps, but may not necessarily have the graphic art skills to make a sharp looking icon.

So, if you are interested, let me know. Hit me up at appicons at rayhollister.com.  Or send me a tweet @rayhollister.

Whoops! I goofed.

Last night I uploaded version 0.5.0 of the JTA Bus Schedules app for WebOS. I made it so that the schedule webpage on jtafla.com opened inside of the app, instead of loading a new web browser card for each schedule.

I don’t particularly like it this way, because it doesn’t give you any feedback to let you know that the app is working. It just turns the screen white until the page loads. My plan is to add the actual schedules to the app, and then make it so the schedules launch as a separate “card stage” so that you can have multiple schedules open at the same time. I just don’t know how to do that, yet.

Also, I just found a few goofs! A few of the schedules won’t load. I’ll fix them up as soon as I get home.

I made a WebOS app!

I can’t believe it! I watched one episode of the Palm Developer Podcast on YouTube and followed the Ares app tutorial. Then, I played around with Ares and I created my first app! It was fairly super easy, especially considering I have never written an app before! Now, don’t get me wrong, my app stinks. It’s basically just a page of hyperlinks, but it looks cool! If you have a Palm WebOS device, check it out… I’ll post a link to it as soon as it is posted in the Palm beta catalog.

The WebOS App Project

Today I decided to make an app for WebOS. Everything I hear about WebOS development tells me that it is fairly easy to develop an app on WebOS if you have a rudimentary understanding of html, css, and javascript. That’s about all that I have. I have no prior experience or education in any other programing language. I’m beginning tonight. I will update you as I progress. I am planning on making an app for my local transit companies bus system. I am probably going to have a map in it, and the bus schedules. That’s about all I can think of right now. Here I go!

Phineas and Ferb spoof CSI: Miami.

Now for something completely different. Since I have a four year old daughter, I have an excuse to watch Disney Channel. One of Zoe’s favorite shows is the cartoon Phineas and Ferb, a show about two brothers who are creative geniuses that take every seven year old boy’s craziest ideas and make them into realities, i.e. building a roller coaster through a major city, going to Mars, traveling through time, making it snow in the summer, etc. In true Saturday morning cartoon style, their sister plays the role of the “villain” that is always trying to “bust them” by showing their mother what they have done. They don’t seem to mind though, and they have even assisted her in the busting on one occasion. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, their pet platypus, is a secret agent that is constantly disappearing to thwart the evil plots of his nemesis, a clueless, evil scientist. In true deus ex machina style, these two plots usually come together with the evil scientist’s new invention inexplicably causing the boys creations to conveniently disappear or otherwise go away. OK, yeah, now that I wrote that all down, it does seem kinda crazy, but it is a fun show to watch. It’s also a heck of a lot more cerebral than Thundercats was!

Anyways, now that you have a general idea of what the show is about, in an episode that Zoe and I just watched, the boys pretend to be detectives on a manhunt for their sister’s lost doll. During the search, they do a montage of detective show parodies. The funniest one is when they parody the opening scene of CSI: Miami. They managed to squeeze in a total of 6 well used gags from both shows in only 21 seconds.

The real reason why I’m a “long-haired hippie freak”

My friend, Grace Gilbert, was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer back in 2004 when she was in high school. It was a long struggle, but she began doing well and the cancer went into remission. However, in 2007, when she was a sophomore in college, her cancer came back out of remission. She also started losing her hair because of a change in her medicine. So, she decided that she was going to shave her head.

To show Grace how much we loved her, ACCESS218, the Christian college group that I belonged to, decided to have a head shaving, hair cutting party to support her. A bunch of guys shaved their heads with her, and a couple of girls cut their pony tails and donated them to Locks of Love. I was planning on shaving my head, also. This which was a fairly normal routine for me; I used to get a buzz cut about every 3-4 months. However, Grace told me how beautiful she thought my hair was, and she said that I should grow it out. So, I told her that I would. Now, almost three years later, I have a 7 inch long pony tail, which isn’t too bad considering I have very curly hair, and I started out almost bald.

Unfortunately, Grace passed away later that same year. I often think about her when I am spending the extra 15 minutes every morning that this heap of hair takes to make it look professional! I really don’t mind it too much because thinking of her, reminds me to live every moment to the fullest and make sure that the people I love know that I love them, because that is how she lived.

I was planning on cutting my pony tail and donating it, but after reading a lot of negative criticism about Locks of Love, I decided to sell my hair once it is long enough and give the money to Grace’s favorite charity, Dreams Come True.

Amazing Grayce Helps Others