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Mobile Design and Development

It is pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that the growing prevalence of mobile technologies is something that cannot be ignored. A special report in the Economist on telecoms in emerging markets wrapped up with the prediction, “…at current rates of growth it seems likely that within five years, and certainly within ten, everyone in the world who wants a mobile phone will probably have one. 3G networks capable of broadband speeds will be widespread even in developing countries, and even faster 4G networks will be spreading rapidly in some places.” It does not appear that it will be long before Smart Phones are just normal phones and anyone who wants to be, will be connected to a world wide mobile network. Any business or developer that wants to reach groups of significant size really needs to be prepared via mobile platforms. Brian Fling has been helping others operate in this space for close to a decade and is very familiar with the lay of the land. He sees the opportunities and has experienced the pitfalls and frustrations as well. His new book, Mobile Design and Development brings some of that experience and knowledge to the mobile neophyte, looking for an overview of just how to get in the game.

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FLURB, a Webzine of Astonishing Tales

FLURB is not new. Issue number 7 is now up. But it is new to me. What I’ve read so far is different, but good. The text is mixed with illustrations. You can check it out and it wont cost you more than bandwidth and time.

Assemble the Social Web with Zembly

Web applications are all the rage. Web applications that function within the context of social networking sites doubly so. I think it is safe to say that pretty much anyone looking to garner a large audience on the web, for financial or any other reasons, has to be considering how they can reach people on sites like Facebook, or all those users out there accessing the web via their iPhones. Sun Microsystems has entered this arena by providing a set of web based development tools and a platform on which to host the resulting products that is now in beta and named Zembly. And while Zembly has not been open to the public for all that long, two of Zemblys architects with the help of two writers have published a new cookbook for the aspiring Zembly developer, Assemble the Social Web with Zembly.

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Managing Online Forums

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I vividly remember the first time I was able to dial up a bbs with my Commodore Vic-20. It was Star Trek themed and I was excited to see that the Sysop was online. We typed a few lines of text back and forth while I hollered to everyone in the house that I was talking to someone through the computer. Things have come a long way since then and I’ve put in quite a few hours experiencing one of the more exciting sides of the internet, participating in community. Of course it hasn’t all been great. Communities on-line are just like any other in that there are differences of opinion and issues that arise. Some are handled well, some are not. Social interaction can be very complicated and learning how to manage a social site can be a process that involves a lot of painful lessons. Fortunately not all of our learning has to come through direct experience. Sometimes we have the opportunity to learn from the experience of others. Patrick O’Keefes book Managing Online Forums is that guide to the budding leader of the webs next great community.

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Wikipedia The Missing Manual On Wikipedia

The Missing Manuals series, published by O’Reilly Media, today announced the migration of its book about Wikipedia to Wikipedia. As of today, the entire contents of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton is available for free online for editing and updating just like any other Wikipedia entry.

I posted a review of this book last March if you are interested in more information. I think this is pretty cool.

FBML Essentials

Facebook became the largest worldwide social site in the middle of last year. If their current pace holds they will pass MySpace as number one in the U.S. some time next year. Those numbers have led a number of people to strike out and develop Facebook applications, hoping to grab a piece of that huge audience. One aspect of writing such applications is knowing Facebook Markup Language, which has been described as the icing on the Facebook API cake. FBML Essentials aims to be the resource that provides hopeful app writers with what they need to use FBML successfully.

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Twitterzines – Micro Sci-Fi

Twitter, the home of microblogging is now also the home of microfiction. The first @thaumatrope presents speculative fiction in a 140 characters or less. When taking submissions thaumatrope pays $1.20 for each that is accepted. A new player launching on January 14th is @Outshine. They bill themselves as a twitterzine for “optimistic, near future prose poems.” and they pay $5 per accepted submission.

This is not a book review per se – but I’ve found thaumatrope to be very entertaining and have high hopes for Outshine. Just one more place for those who love to read to get a little fix.

Learning Drupal 6 Module Development


I am extremely interested in building user driven sites that allow for scaling up communication and collaboration between individuals that share common goals. There are a number of approaches to this type of problem. Of course, as always – one can pick a platform, language, etc. and start building from scratch. Another option is to choose a framework and build from there. But what intrigues me most, and I am seeing a lot of people take this approach, is to find an existing solution that is extensible and using that as the platform. This means the jump to a working site is immediate. Many of these environments are being built on top of content management software.
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The Ultimate CSS Reference


Cascading Style Sheets are now the dominant method used to format web pages. Even something as simple as modifying a WordPress blog can involve digging around a bit in CSS. A quick search at Amazon on CSS returns over 7 thousand books in the computer category alone. This book claims to be the ultimate though, and that made me approach it with a bit of skepticism. Sure, it could be a decent reference, but is it truly the ultimate reference? I admit I was curious to see.
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WordPress Theme Design

I’ve been using WordPress blogging software for about four years now. I started messing around with themes pretty early on in the process. My approach has not really changed too much over that time span. I start by going on-line and just browsing through themes that are available to down-load and use. There are tons of them available and usually I’ll hit more than one that looks pretty good. I download it, and then I start messing with it, making changes so that it perfectly fits what I want. I am not really inclined to learn all about CSS, PHP or exactly how WordPress works. I just change, save and refresh and usually I eventually get where I want to go. But now, those days are over. Tessa Blakely Silver’s new book “WordPress Theme Design” has made it possible for me to quickly learn the basics, without getting bogged down in minutiae and tons of documentation. This has been a real life-saver for someone who just wants to knock out a nice WordPress theme. I do have to admit though, I’ve learned a number of things about web design that relate to quite a bit more than just WordPress.
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