Converting Android app to BB10 (via Eclipse)

I have to be honest. Not many clients are requesting these days to have their app uploaded to the Blackberry World store. But once in a while I’ll get a client with the request of having their app in all the stores which includes Blackberry World.

Obviously the best way is to write and optimize the application in the native format. However, what if you wanted to just convert an application that you just completed for Android without re-writing the entire thing all over again.

I have to admit it was very difficult when I did this a year ago, but as of recent its becoming easier and easier. I’m unsure if Blackberry has made it easier, or I have gotten used to the process.

Some things you need before you begin:

1. Blackberry Vendor Account

2. Eclipse

3. App you created for Android

4. Blackberry signing keys (must have #1 completed)

5. Blackberry Eclipse Plugin

In regards to #5, follow directions on how to install it within Eclipse.

After you have set-up and you have done all of the above, the process is pretty straightforward unless you have many Google Services installed. You have to get rid of those before the application is properly verified by the Blackberry APK Verifier.

Tips:

– When you are uploading your BAR file to the Blackberry World, make sure you have proper screenshots (either from Simulator or the actual device) as they seem to be rejecting apps that don’t have proper screenshots.

– Don’t bother including Playbook as part of the accepted applications for your App. I’ve noticed that when you do include playbook, the blackberry employee by default will use Playbook to test your app, and for some reason it always fails. I personally don’t have a Playbook to test, nor do I want to optimize it for the limited market that’s Playbook. Stick to official BB10 devices such as Z10, Z30 and Q10. I have tested on the BB10 devices and the conversion works flawlessly.

Happy submitting to the Blackberry World store

New Language “Swift” with a government twist?

As you probably have heard by now, Apple unveiled a “new” coined language “Swift“. Swift apparently works side by side with Objective-C. The new code presented will be interactive, fun, and above all lightning-fast. With the announcement came a 500 page iBook that was ready for download for those who wanted to learn the new language. Very exciting. Above all, the actual release received the biggest applause by the audience observing the keynote.

And now the TWIST

At the bottom of the Apple’s website there is linkage to a third party website:

Looking for the Swift parallel scripting language? Please visit http://swift-lang.org

The website was immediately down after the announcement and the following message was posted on the swift-lang.org website:

Swift Language

Here’s where it gets interesting. Upon performing a Whois on swift-lang.org following information was revealed:

swift-lang.org whois

Hmmm? Whats this:

mcs.ani.gov

When you go to the website it will take you to Mathematics and Computer Science (Argonne National Laboratory). If you scroll all the way to the bottom you will see this fine logo: (US Department of Energy):

US Department of Energy

Now if you go to search and type in: Swift, you will get the following:

Swift

And here we see the name of the person who registered the domain name originally. And it appears the program is part of University of Chicago.

Its just interesting to see the “connections”. You can draw up your own conclusion.

Regardless, I’m truly excited in seeing Swift at work.

Sirefef – Microsoft, Feds Disrupt ZeroAccess Botnet

Because Microsoft found that the ZeroAccess malware disables security features on infected computers, leaving the computer susceptible to secondary infections, it is critical that victims rid their computers of ZeroAccess by using malware removal or anti-virus software as quickly as possible,

This is a very dangerous bot that surface on the peer-to-peer networks. What it would do is basically hijack your web browser and direct you to infected websites which would attempt and install further malware into your computer. If successful the infected computers can be used for various purposes. The scammers could then steal personal information or fraudulently charge businesses for online advertisement clicks. Criminals have also disguised ZeroAccess as legitimate software, tricking people into downloading it.

Redmond company in conjunction with Internet Service Providers and other entities in control of the Internet domains and IP Addresses were asked to disable access to the botnet and preserve any content and material associated with it to help with Microsoft’s case.

Sirefef  infected nearly 2 million computers all over the world, and cost online advertisers more than $2.7 million each month.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad

This is a personal observation since I had the opportunity to own both the Surface and iPad. You would be surprised to find out which device I actually kept. Can you guess? Microsoft Surface Pro was the one that I ended up keeping. I’m totally fond of Apple products and I still use them over “others”. For example, MacBook Pro is the primary laptop I use on daily basis, iPhone is the primary handset that I use for pretty much everything.

However, in the tablet world I was looking for a device that can do it all. Many will argue that iPad’s can achieve such, I strongly disagree after I gave Microsoft Surface Pro a chance.

With the Surface what you are running is a full blown version of Microsoft Windows 8. iPad’s are running a well designed but limited iOS version which essentially should only be used on handsets.

Second, I’m able to use a full Office products on the Surface. On the iPad I have tried various alternative “apps” such as: Pages, Office2, Smart Office2, and Docs2Go to name a few. Great apps don’t get me wrong, but neither of these applications could open a simple Word document that included, charts, and colour schemes. On the iPad the particular Word file in question looked like a mess. All I wanted to do was edit, and send it back to the sender. The program that came close was Smart Office 2, however after editing and attempting to save, the recipient could not open the document.  I’ve tried literally everything to edit this simple Word file. I almost threw my iPad out because of it. (I was highly disappointed in Apple’s Pages) What took hours without success, took only seconds with Microsoft Surface Pro.

Okay, some of you may be thinking, just because of a Word document he got rid of the iPad over the Surface. Well no. Essentially iPad will more then likely beat the Surface in the entertainment area. BUT, there is one interesting feature that the Surface has that has not been advertised or talked about over iPad (entertainment related).

I love music, for entertainment purposes I would choose music over movies, games, etc. On the iPad the only way I could play an entire song was to either go on Youtube or purchase the song from iTunes. Well on the Surface there is an app called “Music”. You can search for any artist and listen to the entire song for free. YES for FREE. Not only the entire song, the entire ALBUM!. Can your iPad do that? There is no jailbreak required, there is no “hack” needed, just simply click on on the Music icon, and listen away.

The conclusion what I came up with was, if you are planning to use any iPad for productivity (aside from replying to emails), forget about it. You are looking at a wrong device.

I won’t be purchasing an Apple tablet until they release iPad Pro (which hopefully includes a full blown MacOS).

UPDATE (May 7, 2014): Needless to say I never kept the Surface Pro. I felt as though it wasn’t very compact. I rather bring a full blown laptop. I also found that touch-screen when you are doing serious work is not required. I’ve used the touch function maybe 10% of the time. I still believe Surface Pro is much better overall functional unit than iPad, however I’m sticking to laptops until possible iPad Pro release.

12 Year old Montreal Hacker

It is reported that a 12 year old hacker from Montreal was able to hack into websites belonging to the Montreal police, the Quebec Institute of Public Health, the Chilean government, and other, non-public entities. If all checks out, he would be the youngest Canadian known hacker. It is reported that $60,000 of damages were caused by the hacks. There was no word what sort of exploits he had used, however it was reported that the hacker did manage to gain Administrator and User access. I doubt there will be any releases of the exploits he had used, it would have been interesting to see what it was.

Are all the elite hackers from Montreal ? 🙂

Blackberry Messenger BBM Released

At first I thought it was a joke. But here are the direct links for both Android and Apple, its official Blackberry Messenger BBM is released.

APPLE

ANDROID

Update #1: I have fully enjoyed having BBM on my iPhone. I truly don’t have any complaints and I think Blackberry did a terrific job creating the App on the iOS platform. I haven’t had the chance to try the Android version as of yet, therefore I can’t comment. For me the only feature that its missing is swapping between devices (sorta how iMessage has it setup). Lets say I have an Android Tablet and iPhone. If I have BBM installed on both devices, it would be great if I was able to use both simultaneously. Currently, if you log in one device, it logs you out of the other one.

Many of the other complaints I have been hearing that are lacking are video sharing, video chat, etc. I’m sure those will be added to the future upgrades, however, the App the way it is currently is fantastic.

Web Search Results Required

Clients have approached me on a countless occasion requiring web search results over the actual web design/development. Web site owners rather keep their out dated content, old layout, old infrastructure, old coding and expect a Search Engine Optimization to place them number 1 on Google search index.

The problem with that assumption is that Google updates its search engine index algorithm monthly if not weekly (possibly daily). The algorithm is constantly evolving and including the latest technologies, trends and social data gathering. More importantly, Google’s main search prerogative is the actual content/information. In simple terms, if your content is 5 years old, and you spend your budget on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it won’t be significant enough for Google to care.

CONTENT IS KEY

PRO TIP: Before attacking SEO, consider changing and or updating your websites content. Google likes updated content, coding, and technology.

Google Hangout for iOS

If you have updated to the latest version of Google Hangout, you will notice that there is a call option now. And yes it actually works for Canadians (for now). The call quality is superb, and it essentially uses Google Voice technology without all the extra options that you get with Google Voice. Its a start for us Canadians who have been deprived and have not had a chance to legally obtain Google Voice account.

If you are a Canadian, grab the 1.3.0 version and don’t update it. I assume they will disable this for Canadians in the next update. Enjoy free phone calls to Canada and United States.

Direct Link (AppStore)

Rogers down for 3 hours due to software glitch

Rogers wireless has approximately $9.42 million wireless customers and all of them were down between 6:00 PM and 10:30 PM. The most interesting part is that voice and SMS were down, however DATA was up and running.

The apparent software glitch was due to heavy traffic and was not handled properly by the switching system causing a major crash. There have been no specific reports of how the software works and what it has to do with switches. The assumption is that there is a two way system where one voice is carried over and the other signals between the towers, therefore when you are driving it makes sure that it switches you over to the nearest tower to you. Allegedly that’s what failed which caused the primary system to run into a loop.

There is an underlying denial that hacking was involved taking down the system.

Current result and resolution is the update of the current software thats being used (fixing the hole) and giving all the postpaid subscribers a day of service refund (if you are paying $30 monthly, you would get $1 discount on your next bill).

The most disturbing factor in all of this is that 911 was not functioning. Interesting part is that Rogers recommends users of having a land line if they are required to make 911 phone calls. Who has a land line anymore?

PRO TIP: If your provider is ever down, take out your sim card, reboot the phone and let the phone roam on any network to make that important 911 call. Hopefully, you can do all of these steps while in an emergency situation. Or get a Bell land line.

Search Engine Indexing: Alexa takes out reviews

If you are a web designer-developer you have heard of Alexa. Alexa is in a way a premium version of Google Analytics. It also provides you with a detailed statistical data of your website.

One of the features that it had was “reviews”. You were able to review other websites that were ranked in the Alexa system. This is no secret but if you had an account with Alexa and had your domains added to your Alexa account and you ended up reviewing other websites your ranking would improve significantly. For example if I left a positive review for Bing.com and Google.com I would see my personal domains get bumped. Alexa will of course deny such a practice but it was evident that it would “help” to leave positive reviews for other domains.

The other issue is that there were services that provided for $ to leave positive reviews for your website. Of course again, that would improve your Alexa ranking even further versus if you left positive reviews yourself.

Alexa has finally decided to take “reviews” out of the equation. If you go on any website under the reviews section you will receive a message that the feature was retired.

There are of course other methods of manipulating Alexa’s rating system, I shall leave that for another article.