Monday, April 23, 2012

One year ago, today...

One year ago today, Universe was published to the HP webOS App Catalog.

It has been a LONG and crazy year, I might add. We saw the launch of the TouchPad. We also saw the TouchPad and all webOS hardware become discontinued products. We saw HP dispose of a CEO, and gain another. Mrs. Whitman has changed course for webOS, and as a result, we saw plans to (and progress in) release webOS source code. My, what a year!

I had decided to take an unannounced break from webOS programming. In part it was because of what happened to webOS (and partially because of what had happened to me), but I also needed to get my career in order, and work sort of sucked up a lot of my time.

But now... But now I am jumping back into the pool, and ready to do more laps! I am working on the 2.0 release of Universe (not going to drop a date, but a lot of work will likely end up in GitHub before the App Catalog). I am also working continuing development of the tablet version of Universe. I am quite excited for this! One of the reasons for my excitement is because I can now develop certain features that I could not before.

I have been asked many times for features, not limited to: User Agent spoofing, disabling images, text reflow, as well as many reported rendering bugs. I could not offer most of these because I was not using my own WebKit engine. Instead, Universe was built on top of the WebKit engine in webOS (which was dated). I had considered writing my own implementation, but this would have required A LOT of man power. Too much for just one person (Historical Note: There were a couple of people working on the WebKit implementation at Palm to ready it for webOS -- I got to work with them! :D ). But now that webOS is becoming open source, HP is releasing the source code to their WebKit implementation as well as their Enyo web browser, and calling it Project Isis.

This leads me to my second announcement (which you may or may not have read before)...

As you may have read a while back from webOS Nation, I will be working as part of webOS-Internals to lead up the effort from the community side to get Isis working and in Preware, as well as to help to bring community contributions back to HP.

I am looking forward to the coming months! (Haha! Did you see what I did there?? :D ) I hope that you will continue on this journey with me.

Long live webOS!

webOS Smart Apartment, Part 1

In a small, two bed room Silicon Valley "luxury" apartment home near the Palm headquarters...

I am currently in the process of adding small enhancements to my apartment that are built off of webOS. I will be documenting them on this blog.

One of the apps that I am working on, HomeControl, will allow modules to connect to different components inside of a house to allow for remote control and automation. My goal is to integrate all of these components in webOS, as well as to make my apartment inviting to technology.

For now, I will show you some quick photos of what I am doing to get started, then I will write another post that goes into more depth explaining how I plan to achieve this.

Photos will be posted on my Flick account, in the Set here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Introducing Universe, v1.0.2

Today Universe v1.0.2 is available in the HP webOS app catalog, for $2.99.

But that is not all... "Human knowledge belongs to the world." -- Antitrust (the movie)

Universe is being released under a dual MPL v1.1/GPL v2 license. The source code can be found here:

As part of our commitment to open source, part of the profits from the sales of Universe will go towards the webOS Internals and other webOS homebrew efforts.

Please watch this blog for tips and tricks for how to effectively use Universe.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The future of (the) Universe

First, I want to thank all of my testers. They are amazing. They have bent over backwards (almost literally) for me to help me fix bugs. So far, I think Universe is probably one of the most stable pieces of software that I have written. It feels very complete, mostly because of the help that I have received from my testers.

Second, I wanted to announce that Universe is sitting at version 0.7.3 (alpha), and it is about to be marked feature complete and nearly ready for beta. But...

Third, I am starting a position as a work-to-hire contractor on Palm's (ok... ok... HP, but it will always be Palm to me) WebKit Team. I am very excited.

What does this mean for Universe? I am not 100% certain. I have been told that I may get to continue work on it, since there seems to be enough disconnect from my work and Universe. Let's hope that this is the case. Thankfully, I never wrote a port of WebKit to the webOS Linux platform, so Universe is *just* a Mojo shell ontop of a WebView wrapper which implements WebKit. This might be the distinguishing factor.

Either way, I am going to continue development. Since I have most of my reported bugs fixed (yes, there are a few out there, which I will get dealt with), I am not going to be releasing a new dot release every night like I have been for the past week or two. I am going to focus on going from 0.7.3 (alpha) to 0.8.0 (beta), or even 0.9.0. This will give me some time to figure out what I can and cannot do with Universe. Once I have some sort of direction, I'll post the release to some testers.

This brings up my next point. I have a ton of testers. I've lost count. So, in order to reduce the number of people, I am going to require that to be in the beta one must have submitted at least one bug report or at least one feature request to me via email, Twitter, Facebook or PreCentral and have made me aware of their email address (to make it easier on me).

Anyway, I will post again in the future about what the fate will be. Hopefully something works out!

Twitter: @openmobl (
Facebook: (OpenMobl) or (Universe Web Browser)

Thank you for all of your help!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Presence on Facebook

Today we launched our presence on Facebook. It is nothing special, but will be a great way for users of OpenMobl products to interact with each other and us. Please feel free to head on over to our Facebook page and "Like" us and our products!

OpenMobl Facebook Page
Universe Web Browser Facebook Page
mōVox Facebook Page

Also, for Twitter, you can follow us here:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Small Update

Unfortunatly, I cannot say much. While webOS 2.0 *IS* technically available overseas and unlocked, the SDK/PDK is still not public and under NDA, so I cannot speak to what is going on with it.

What I will say is that I have taken a small break with mōVox to do some work on Universe, which I would like to bring to webOS. I feel that I will be able to provide a much cleaner browsing experience than what is built into webOS. I will also say that I will continue to work on mōVox, regardless of what webOS 2.0 brings to the plate.

So, welcome 2011 and all of the fun adventures that it brings!

Check back in a few weeks for more news. I'll post here when a beta is available.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jabra STONE and Palm Pre

I recently came across the Jabra STONE bluetooth headset. I am a bit of a sucker for things that look elegant and are functional, with emphasis on elegant. So, I had to own one. I picked one up from and it arrived within about 4 days.

I was a little disappointed to see that the STONE had arrived in an OEM Bluetooth package. I had kind of hoped for a pretty box. It would have been nice to have added to my collection of recent Palm product boxes. Needless to say, my interest in the packaging dwindled quickly and I was excited by the contents. The first step was to charge the STONE for 2 hours. I complied with the instructions so that I could play with my new toy as quickly as possible.

The first thing that excited me about the STONE was that it really did look like a stone. The STONE base is roughly 2 in. by 1.5 in., and about 3/4 in. from base to top when laid to gravity's natural will. The STONE headset is about 1 in. wide by about 1.5 in. in length. The headset fits nicely into a groove in the base which makes the entire STONE appear as a natural, semi-oblong egg shaped stone.

After waiting for about 2 hours, my first task was to get this thing paired with my Palm Pre smartphone and in my ear so that I could start testing out the Bluetooth Streaming Audio (A2DP) functionality.

The manual states that one can start the pairing process for the first time by popping the headset out of the base and the headset will go into pairing mode. No dice. Thankfully, like the zillion other headsets on the market, you can press and hold the ring button to turn it off, and then press and hold the button for about 3-4 seconds and it will enter pairing mode. Done! Now my Pre and STONE are talking. I started listening to music.

The audio quality for the STONE is not the best, as I would have expected. It is a little muffled. I feel that this had to do with the way that the STONE sat in my ear. It seemed to push the audio against the ear canal wall instead of into the ear. At least, this seemed to be how it worked up until recently, when I discovered how to place the headset in my ear in a manner that provided the most comfortable fit and the best audio quality. With the ear gel that my STONE shipped with (not the flat circular gel, but the gel with a slight lip), I have found that the most comfortable fit is done by gently resting the ear piece in the entrance to the ear canal, as opposed to trying to force the ear piece down the canal. This allows for a slightly better audio quality and a little more volume from the device.

The next intricacy is the volume control. The control is actually touch sensitive and not a button. I have not quite determined if it responds to a tap or a swipe gesture, but both seem to do the trick. I find that swiping up to increase the volume, and down to decrease the volume, are the most effective. Sometimes it takes a bit of swiping for the headset to respond, and sometimes it is an instantaneous response.

The battery life on the STONE leaves a little to be desired. I have found that it gets about 1 hour or so (up to about 1.5 hours at the most) of battery life when listening to music. While this is not terrible, it is also not spectacular. Thankfully, there is a second battery in the base unit. The base unit, when paired with the headset, can provide about 2 more charges to the headset. This allows the battery life to be extended a few more hours when on the road. Unfortunatly, it takes a little bit of time to recharge the headset in the base unit, and during this time period the headset cannot be used. I have read that there is a firmware update that will increase the battery life, though I am not sure if my STONE has this firmware already (I will be seeking out the mentioned firmware to test it).

While I have played with the STONE and streaming music, I have not had much of a chance to exercise the phone control aspect of the device. In the near future I will play with the audio quality and get a sense of how it sounds to the remote party (the guinea pigs being my parents, who will likely promptly complain if the sound quality is slightly off).

So far my favorite aspects of the device have been the stone like shape and the touch volume controls. I feel that both of these features, and the fact that the stone comes with a base that includes a battery, make up for the slight battery life short-coming. In the end, I would give the Jabra STONE a 4.5 star rating out of 5 stars.

Image references (in order of appearance):

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

mōVox (SIPper) - webOS VoIP - An Update

Pixi Dial Pad My project for the last few months has been SIPper. SIPper will be a VoIP client for the Palm webOS platform. Initially, it will support making and receiving calls. In the future it will support sending and receiving text messages, multiple accounts and a myriad of other features. Who knows? Maybe it will even support video conferencing and video sharing some day.

So far, I have been making decent progress. A lot of the JavaScript code is coming together. The biggest show-stopper, at the moment, is the lack of microphone API in the webOS PDK. Once this becomes available, I will be able to implement a sound driver to wrap everything together for calls to be made. Until then, I can implement the rest of the application.

The name of an application is also very important. While SIPper is kinda cute, and could be made to remind the user of a sippy cup, it wasn't very professional. The target audience of this application is business professionals who want to leave their office phone behind, but still utilize access to their corporation's VoIP system to receive calls (not to forget consumers looking to reduce their phone bill). So, to accommodate a more professional name that makes a little more sense, SIPper will now be known as mōVox. mōVox is a concatenation of the word "mobile" and the Latin root, "vox," which means "voice." Mobile Voice is what this application does.

Now that you know where things currently stand, please have a look at a few screen shots here: mōVox Screenshots

I will continue to post updates as events unfold. I'll also try to broaden the topic to include webOS development.