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Essential iPhone Application for SEO

Also relates to SEO

I don't make a habit of posting entries pertaining to SEO - leave that to the SEM's! But the recently released Analytics Ap is worth a mention. It provides access to all your Google Analytics accounts with quick access to many key measurements for assessing the performance of your sites and keyword targeting. Would be nice to see the addition of date comparison in a future release - which is one feature I utilise considerably on the main Analytics site. Anyway at £3.49 this is good value and delivers a quick method to wow your clients with their website growth following your SEO recommendations!

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 at 10:23:05.

iPod Touch Accelerometer Rotation Tips

This post does not relate to any other topics

There are two things my friends want to do when I flash out my new iPod Touch: pinch zoom and spin that accelerometer into action. Both great features. Especially the latter when rotating into cover flow mode. But more often than not the accelerometer fails to respond to my demonstrations and we are left in expectation of what might happen as the accelermometer does not work.

I was starting to share the feeling of others on the web that this might be a repairable bug until I discovered last night that it is all down to the position I hold the iPod Touch. If the Touch is being held vertically (at right angles to the ground) the accelerometer seems to be flawless in its performance. The problem only arises when the Touch is held horizontal (parallel to the ground) - I assume because the detection mechanism does not work in this plane. Seems to resolve any issues and while I generally prefer to hold it fairly flat in my hand I will be prepared next time a friend asks to see my iPod Touch.

Posted on Nov 10, 2007 at 10:27:50.

iPod Touch E-book Reader

Also relates to Apache

No, don't get excited as this is not a blog about a great new e-book reader application for the iPod Touch post jailbreak. It simply outlines how I organised my e-books on my local network so I could access them efficiently from Safari on the Touch.

Currently I have chosen not to jailbreak my iPod Touch since it will invariably lead to far too much time preoccupied with installing and testing 3rd party applications! After all it is an MP3 player not a phone so do I really need all those extra applications?

But the one thing I do really need is an e-book reader and this was one of my main reasons behind investing in an iPod Touch to allow me to read my e-book collection on a more portable device than my iBook. Accessing PDF files on the Touch is simply a case of visiting the PDF URI in Safari. This is fine for my purposes and the clarity and sharpness of the screen make reading PDFs very enjoyable. A few important features such as bookmarking are absent but this serves as an adequate stop-gap for me at present. So I just had to find a simple way to access all my PDF files from my iMac harddrive. Fortunately this wasn't too hard since I have recently been test driving the excellent Papers for archiving all my e-books and journals and have them indexed in a library directory with sub-folders for each year of release.

So, I just needed to configure Apache to access that directory so I could load up my e-books in Safari on my iPod Touch. Since my apache server also serves my sandbox for web development I wanted to keep access to my e-books separate. The normal approach to this would be to create a new name-based virtual host and update the machine entries in NetInfo Manager. But without jailbreaking my iPod Touch there is no way to override the local DNS (i.e. lack of a NetInfo Manager and shell access to lookupd).

Instead, the best solution was to enable another port in the apache configuration, and then all requests on this port can redirect to the e-book directory:


Port 99 seemed like a nice easy number to remember. So after enabling port access in the firewall and a little bit of Apache virtual host configuration later:

NameVirtualHost *:99
<VirtualHost *:99>
        DocumentRoot /Path-to-Papers-Library

        <Directory /Path-to-Papers-Library>
          Allow from all        
          Options FollowSymLinks Indexes
          IndexOptions +SuppressHTMLPreamble +FancyIndexing +NameWidth=* +SuppressDescription
          IndexIgnore *.papers* Unknown .svn ._* .DS* Spotlight

The virtual host is enabled on port 99 and the root directory for this site will point to the Papers library. I then just used a few rules from the mod_autoindex module to make the directory index available in a simple to browse layout.

Screen capture of the browser window with index of year folders

And there it is. I can now load up Safari on my iPod Touch and browse to on my local network and have ready access to all my e-books. Of course this requires I am within range of my local network. Taking my e-books away with me would require hosting on a network available outside my LAN.

Posted on Oct 30, 2007 at 13:43:10.

Where Have My WiFi Music Store Tunes Gone?

This post does not relate to any other topics

Total respect to Apple's iTunes Store support team since in just less than 24 hours since I lost my song and posted this blog they have made the song available to me again via the Check for purchases in the Store menu. In hindsight I realise that allowing users the ability to download songs multiple times could affect the DRM of the files so perhaps it is right that download is one time only. Anyway, not many support teams that I have dealt with that are that efficient! Thankyou.

The iPod Touch is great. The iTunes WiFi music store is great. But do not reset your iPod Touch if you have manual syncing and have not manually transferred (is that even possible?) your purchases to your iTunes library!

Yes I have just kissed good bye to my first purchase from the iTunes WiFi store - fortunately only one song. My iTunes library is way too large to utilise automatic syncing with my iPod Touch (as I am sure is the case for most people). But with manual syncing set-up it would appear that any music purchased through the iTunes WiFi store on the iPod Touch is not transferred to the iTunes library automatically. I assume (and hope!) there is a way to drag and drop instead - I cannot try this since there is no way for me to reacquire the song I have lost from my iTunes account. So will have to buy some more music first.

Anyway this is an unfortunate flaw in the iPod Touch integration and will more than likely deter me from using the WiFi store for anything other than just listening to previews of new releases. After all it is just a simple one click Restore to again kiss good bye to all those purchases.

I also think it is wrong that I cannot download the songs I have purchased a second time. It is my account, no-one else has access to it, so how can this breach any legalities (other than affecting the download count at the store - a little bit of code perhaps). It is not often I am disgruntled with Apple but this sucks a little…

Posted on Oct 30, 2007 at 13:21:39.

Getting something for TV License at last?

Also relates to Software

I am extremely reluctant when it comes to handing over cash for my TV license. In recent years we have seen the BBC squander our money on lower quality programmes, worthless channels that regurgitate very old and over watched series and most notoriously deliver proprietary software to the select many that choose to have Windows as their operating system! Yes with regards the latter I am talking about the iPlayer. The quality of streaming media on the BBC has always been dreadful - ever tried watching a sporting match while working!? So then along came the iPlayer - software allowing the download and viewing of BBC programmes by UK based IP addresses. But software that was built under the sole premise of working on Windows PCs!

Well finally the e-petition has paid dividends and the BBC has announced a partnership with Adobe to make a Flash-based video version of the iPlayer to make it compatible on the Mac and other platforms. I suppose it is a step in the right direction, although the fact this only covers streaming versions of the programmes is not ideal. It still means the BBC is providing services with the tax payers money to only a proportions of the UK. Yet another example of the corporations disregard for accessibility to all as has already been exemplified in the ongoing issues of digital coverage. Of course a Flash based version doesn't bode well for the current incarnation of the iPod Touch which will be one WiFi device which will not be able to take advantage of the free access to the iPlayer from the Cloud network. Perhaps this will change with the SDK prospects next spring?

Now I just wish the licensing authorities would stop sending us those threats that the enforcement officer is due to pay us a visit - despite being fully paid up licensees and having informed the license office of this several times! No wonder there is a license fee shortfall when the amount of time and resources are wasted chasing licenses that have been paid! ;)

Posted on Oct 18, 2007 at 12:27:54.

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