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Posts published in December 2010

Learning iPhone Programming

Learning iPhone Programming, by Alasdair Allan: a definitive book to learn native iPhone programming. Recommended for those who understand Apple, C, OOP, and wish to create high-performance full-featured applications for iPhone.

I’m an old-school coder and I would not claim myself mastering a platform before writing my own application in that platform. But there are different approaches to write our code in iPhone. The easy (and old) way is using web application with HTML-CSS-JavaScript suite. But to make the apps integrated with iPhone’s feature (camera, GPS, compass, accelerometer), we have to choose the native code: with Cocoa and Objective C. This Learning iPhone Programming book, published by O’Reilly, is a definitive book that guide us in designing such apps.

This book explores in detail the steps to take in design real iPhone apps. First it guides us to enroll in the iPhone Developer Program, to make sure our codes will be approved to run on a real device (instead of a simulator). The development environment (the Xcode) and iPhone SDK must be installed. Then, while preparing and designing our first iPhone app, we would learn the terms and tools in iPhone apps designing.

The following chapters will dig deeper in Objective-C language, design aspects, and essential features to be mastered; including network connection, data handling, sensor, geolocation and mapping, and the integration of the applications. We would also learn the distribution of our application in Appstore. The last chapter mentions the other aspects to learn further to enrich our app.

I consider this is one of the best books available to guide us designing a full featured iPhone app. I found it easy to learn (partially because I knew a bit about C, OOP, and Xcode — but you don’t really need to master them to start learning this book). I like how fast we can learn iPhone programming, guided by this compact book.

Head First WordPress

Head First WordPress, by Jeff Siarto: An excellent book to explore the important features of WordPress as blogging platform and CMS, and to manage a well organized blog.

A couple years ago I wrote a booklet about WordPress, aimed to educate teachers and students to start blogging. The book was almost purely for novice, to use, to install, and to understand blogging world (feed, aggregator, communities, etc). This year I found that O’Reilly has published a book discussing WordPress: Head First WordPress.

As other Head First books from O’Reilly, it is rich with illustration, and clever metaphors to make it easy to understand the concept of WordPress. This is an O’Reilly, not a “For Dummies” book, so you could not expect a verbose explanation here. In brief but clear language and illustration, it discusses the concept of website and blogging, the installation of WordPress from the scratch, changing the blog’s look and feel, editing the themes. Things like webhosting selection, cloud computing, and Google Analytics are also explored. Then it explores some relatively advanced topics, including the use of plugins, multimedia services (podcast, video, etc), organizing, optimizing, and securing the site.

However, as the name implied, this is a book for starter: it does not review all features of WordPress. Features of WordPress Multiuser and Buddypress are out-of-scope. For seasoned WordPress users (or plugin developers), there are not so many new ideas to dig here. I will suggest this book for a new blogger or web designer who want to boost his/her blogging experience in short time.

One other thing: I think O’Reilly must publish the Kindle version. The current e-Book version is only in PDF format, and less enjoyable to read in Kindle.

Hongkong: Carrier Ethernet World

This week I got a request to give another presentation at an international forum. The event was titled Carrier Ethernet World, which is the official conference of the Metro Ethernet Forum. It took place in Hong Kong from 1-3 December 2010.

Carrier Ethernet is a family of network technology, developed for telecommunication operators and Internet providers to transport higher bandwidth traffic. Since the network convergence implemented more than 10 years ago, various information networks (telephony, data communication, media and TV) have switched to IP. At the user level, Ethernet (IEEE 802.3 family of standards) has become general standard for wired communications networks. At the carrier level, it is considered more effective to deploy the networks that are high-speed packet-based; instead of the old TDM systems (such as SDH / SONET and ATM). Some examples include MPLS and CET. And beyond the core network, we should also talk about access network, the Metro Ethernet network.

The conference presents major forerunners in this technology. Its main sponsor are Juniper — which is known as an old player in the field of high-speed packet data transport, Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. So of course I was not expected to compete with them telling those cutting-edge technology developments.

I delivered my on the afternoon session of the First Day. It was at the stream A, which discusses innovation. My presentation was directed to discuss innovations that will support business development and the technology of Carrier Ethernet, including the regulatory side. Imagine how many layers I should dig.

I started with simple things: introducing the telematics world in Indonesia, the user-centric approach to system architecture, the comparison between the vertical architecture and the horizontal one. Since we are still in migration period, the transition between the architectures has not found the final form. Then I compare several schemes, including the SDP, and how various types of applications (network-domains, IT-domain, Internet 2.0) will be placed in it. With NGN fortified with SDP, the network is expected to be a platform not only to meet the necessity of information infrastructure, but also as the platform for developing technology, application, content, and the business in those fields. These things are aggressively growing in Indonesia. Approach to the regulator, thus, should not start from the classical things like tariffs, and the easily biased desire for liberalization; but instead about common interest to foster the economic development of the digital ecosystem, which includes innovation, production, commercialisation, and lifestyle. It would create the contexts to develop NGN with a more optimal architecture.

After my presentation, I was asked to be involved in a panel session. Here, we discussed widely about the projected necessities of innovations in the next 5 years, related to the opportunities of business development and network expansion. There were quite a lot of interests here about the ideas of Indonesia. I did not feel in vain to come to Hong Kong then :).

This was, however, my premier visit to Hong Kong. But last July I gave another presentation in 4G (Mobile) International Forum in Taipei. Enchanting that I could convey ideas in two major forums in both wired and wireless technology. Weird, wired, and wireless :). Hong Kong greeted me with a comfortable weather for walks. Hilly landscape with a fairly spectacular views, contrasted with the strait, bay, seaside, and skyscrapers. Unluckily, an unending thin fog made it difficult to take landscape photographs.