OSCON 2012 Presentation – Mastering HTML5 Geolocation

Want a fast and fun learning experience on adding location to your web apps? I’ll be sharing practical tips on how to shave days or weeks off your learning curve. The session will cover the HTML5 Geolocation API, its benefits, how it works and what doesn’t work using real-world examples covering both desktop and mobile. If you are planning on attending OSCON 2012 stop by my session and say “hi”. My session is Location, Location, Location – Mastering HTML5 Geolocation, 1:40pm Thursday, July 19th in Portland 251.


Presenting at LinuxFestNW 2012 on HTML5 Geolocation

This weekend I’ll be presenting at LinuxFestNW 2012. We (Esri) will also have a booth there, so if you are in the area of Bellingham, WA swing on by.

My topic will be HTML5 Geolocation and I’ll be talking about building applications using the HTML5 Geolocation API from A to Z. I’m going to start out looking at basic coding patterns, then we’ll discuss accuracy across different browsers, look at many common gotchas, and I’ll be giving tips on how to effectively implement it with local and remote database. If you attend, come prepared to get a full dose of HTML5 goodness.

Here’s the link to the prezi: http://prezi.com/kawyhcqxjdip/html5-geolocation-api-location-location-location/

10 Tips and Tricks for Running Live Demos on a Mobile Phone

Here’s my short list of some things to consider when you demo your company’s mobile apps to a live audience. I’ve accumulated this list over the last several years as the team I’m on does a lot of showing off apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. We’ve also seen quite a few demos from customers and at industry conferences.

While most of these tips apply to personal demos where you have the phone in your hand while standing in a tradeshow booth, I’m actually talking about projecting demos on a big screen in front of a live audience, or during an internet video conference call with screen sharing.

  1. Screen brightness. Adjust the screen brightness so that the screen is not too dark and not washed out, and temporarily disable screen brightness auto-dimming. Auto-dimming is where the phones background light gets dimmed usually around ten to fifteen seconds before the screen auto-locks.
  2. Turn off auto-lock. Temporarily disable your auto-screen lock (if your company policy permits it). There’s nothing more aggravating than talking about something for a few minutes and then when you turn your attention back to the phone you have to re-enter your unlock code. I’ve also seen this happen to people on the screen behind them and they didn’t notice but the audience could see it.
  3. Silence the phone. For demos that don’t need sound, which is probably most demos, turn your phone’s sound all the way to “off”. Most phones beep, tweedle and pop as various things happen in the background, so spare your audience by making your phone silent.
  4. A/C Power. Plug your phone into a power outlet. While this may seem obvious, I’ve seen a phone die during a major industry conference plenary session.
  5. Shutdown extra apps. Shut off any unnecessary apps that will consume memory and CPU. You want your demo to run as fast as possible.
  6. Remove unnecessary icons. Clean any non-professional app icons from the navigation screens you will be showing live. On a few rare occasions I’ve seen some fairly disturbing icons that had no place in a professional presentation.
  7. Verify the type of demo camera. Ask ahead what kind of demo camera the conference has for mobile phones, one of the most common ones is called an ELMO. These are devices where you set your phone below it and it has a camera that points downward at the phone and connects to a projector through a switch. So, when you go to show off your app you turn a switch that connects the ELMO (or similar device) to the projector. Some of these are terrible and some are great. I use an IPEVO Point 2 for some demos because it’s portable and I trust it.
  8. Test demo camera. Test your demo camera well before your presentation. You may need some help from the conference’s audio visual team. Make sure your phone in focus, check if you can see the application details, look to see if the background colors aren’t too white and washed out, etc.
  9. Cache local data. Cache your data when possible. If you plan on connecting to remote data sources, consider moving that data onto a local SQLite database on your phone.
  10. Check internet connection. Check your internet connection beforehand. Conference are notorious for having limited cell and wireless coverage. My recommendation is always create a movie backup of your most important demo points. Yep, I’m 100% serious. With an IPEVO Point 2, for example, you can project the camera image in a desktop app and use software such as Camtasia Studio, which also offers a free trial, to create a movie with audio too. Also, a note to phone developers here, it’s a best practice to check if your app has an internet connection and to let your users know if the connection goes away, for example: http://www.andygup.net/?p=155.

The Largest Conference For Mapping and Geospatial Developers – Esri DevSummit 2012

I’ll be presenting at the Esri DevSummit next week so if you are attending please swing by my sessions and say “hi”. If you aren’t familiar with Esri or the conference, about 1400 developers and other technical experts converge on Palm Springs, California every Spring to learn all things technical about building commercial and enterprise geographic information systems. There will be everything from introductory Dojo workshops to deep dives into the heart of our APIs.

If you’re around here’s my schedule. I’d be very interested to hear about what you are working on:

Monday,  March 26

Getting Started with the ArcGIS Web APIs – 8:30am – 11:45am, Pasadena Room. I’ll be presenting the portion related to our ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Gettings Started with Smartphone and Tablet ArcGIS Runtime SDKs – 1:15pm – 4:45pm, Pasadena Room. In this session, I’ll be presenting on our ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Android.

Wednesday, March 28

Flex the World – 10:30am, Demo Theater 2. I’ll be presenting with my esteemed colleague Sajit Thomas on Apache Flex.

Presenting at the Esri Developer Summit

I’ll be presenting at the Esri Developer Summit this week (March 7 – 9, 2011) . So, if you are at the conference in Palm Springs, California stop by and say “hi”. If you aren’t familiar with this conference, it is the largest geo-developer conference in North America with over 1200 geo-geeks basking in all manner of technical geographic goodness. There will be 63 technical sessions and around 29 sessions presented by non-Esri, ArcGIS developers. What better way to learn than to hear it straight from the developers on the front lines…right??!

I have three sessions: a pre-conference session on Getting Started with the ArcGIS API for Android (beta), Localizing the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex, and integrated Volunteered Geographic Information and Social Media into your GIS. A GIS, is a Geographic Information System, for all you non-geo-geeks. Hope to see you there!

Random Hacks of Kindness #2 – Hacking for Humanity

This weekend I attended the Random Hacks of Kindess (RHoK) Conference in New York City. I even hacked a little and did a short presentation. It’s a conference for hackers who want to contribute free and open source software to help with humanitarian crisis response efforts around the world. The conference was held simultaneously at 21 global locations. The majority of the apps have some sort of mapping component. In attendance were hackers, project managers, fire chiefs and others from as far away as Sudan.

A variety of projects were worked on at the conference including  a mobile Incident Command app for responding fire agencies, hospital status monitoring app, and a Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping tool for the United Nations World Food Program. For a full list of problem definitions go here.

My project is a Twitter Search widget built for use with the open source ArcGIS Viewer for Flex. It monitors and maps Tweets for a geographic region, returning all Tweets within a specified radius. The ArcGIS Viewer for Flex is a mapping and visualization tool and it lets you integrate and display real-time data from multiple sources. In other words, you can use this tool to map Tweets alongside things such as earthquake data (GeoRSS), weather data (REST) and anything else with a geographic attribute, all in real time. Decision makers for emergency response agencies can use this visual fusion of real time information to help paint an operational picture, identify problems and see trends.

Many people opt-in for sharing their location information when they Tweet. If they have opted-in, the widget retrieves this information through Twitter’s Search API. You can see a live version here.  I originally built the widget for RHoK #0, right before the Haiti earthquake. This widget was used in the Haiti earthquake and the Tennessee flood. It has also been adopted by a variety of emergency response agencies that are using it today.

If you want to contribute to one of these humanitarian projects, check out the RHoK website for more information: http://www.rhok.org/