Chris Ritke is thinking and writing...

...about this and that and some other things...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I don't get it - or do I - probably not - or maybe so?

This kind of stuff drives me nuts. Allen writes "...The mobile phone guys will never get it. They will never figure out how to deliver content other than ringtones and maybe some MP3 tunes...."

Darn. Darn. Darn.

Who are these mobile guys that don't get it? Or does that mean that I don't get it or that I'm not a mobile phone guy or what?

Just because there's those white cables sticking out of your ear doesn't mean you've got the whole world figured out. (Whoops. Sorry. I think I'd also love to have an iPod!)

And one last thing for now. Ringtones may be as stupid as can be - but people are doing it... and I mean LOTS of people. So are all of these zillions of people buying ringtones (or games - oh no, watch out for those crazy people) idiots? Probably not all of them. Maybe just most - eh some - hmmm, a couple?

Whew. I think I feel better now.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I'm smiling now

It seems there's a lot of interest in the NewsReader, we've been getting hits and downloads like crazy. This really makes me smile after that crazy router thingy yesterday.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I don't believe it

Well, today and yesterday we sent out press releases and emails promoting 49PM's mobile NewsReader and what happens? Some router or cable or something completely stupid somewhere dies and our website is gone. I sure hope somebody out there somewhere gets this figured out quick. !&@**!$?!@@#%^@#

Hm. Just got feedback from the guys - some router somewhere in the middle of nowhere died... they're going to fix it. Ugh.

A quick update about 10 minutes later: it's back again! Whew. Those guys are quick!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Mobile Java - Are you crazy?

Looking back I remember working on WebProject, one of the first project management apps on the web. It was horrible getting it to work in the different browsers on the different platforms (very funny, there was only ie and netscape and pretty much just Windows, Linux and Unix - come to think of it, there was Win95, 98 and NT and all that) - but in hindsight there weren't really that many combinations.

After having sold the company I started thinking about what to do next and the mobilespace came to mind, it looked like it was taking off. But oh my God - writing software for about 3 1/2 million different clients - how was that ever going to work? So, I trashed that idea pretty quick.

I even remember telling this guy from England how crazy I thought it was, developing Java apps, I told him I thought it would never work on more than a couple phones... never on more than a handful.

But, I just couldn't resist the urge and started playing around and found out: hey this will work - those phones seem to be (fairly) well behaved! So here I am, writing mobile apps that actually do work on so many phones I can't believe it, and it's fun! And the best part is: now I just need three versions and I've pretty much got my stuff working on all of the phones - well, except Blackberry because I'm concentrating on networked apps and they have that wacko gizmo you have to go through - so guess what: I'm happy! website redesign

Just finished a major redesign of the website - it's weird how you can sit there for months thinking about what it could look like and then *bam*, it hits you in just a second and it's all just coding from there.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Flash Lite Devices?

I just checked the Macromedia official list of Flash Lite supported devices - it's an impressive list, but look at what's on sale at the stores here - funny thing though: my Nokia 3650 supports it!

Nevertheless, I find the whole thing very intriguing and will keep thinking about it - maybe even do some stuff!

Page on Flash Lite

Page Magazine in Germany just put out an article (not available online, it seems) on Mobile Design (thanks for the info Uta!) - one of the more interesting aspects is what they have to say about FlashLite. It seems they also think it's pretty cool, especially the FlashCast push service and T-Mobile's News Service.

Now Push is not necessarily my cup of tea - and with these services you pretty much only get what they want you to see as opposed to a weblog reader which is a democratic tool, as weblogs and news should be.

But, FlashLite is definitely something to watch (and maybe even to build stuff for!) - it looks like they're off to a good start!

Mikey under the table

Mikey under the table
Originally uploaded by itzechris.
People (The Year of Coffee, Russ ) are writing about their morning coffee and posting images - well I need my coffee every morning to turn my brain on - but I guess that's nothing new and writing about it is probably not that innovative anymore.

Not that I really want to be that innovative when it comes to posting images on blogs, but as you can see I have a dog called Mikey - he's pretty crazy, but also really lovable. So, I figure I might as well put up a blog where he gets to talk about and show what he's up to:

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Mobile Java: Write once, run everywhere?

Well... no, yes - ahem - sort of.

If your using MIDP 1.0 only, which means that you'll end up looking with a pretty crappy looking app, then yes, write it once, test it on all the phones you can get your hands on and yes, you'll have one version that'll run on pretty much every phone.

But that's not the solution, is it? The app is supposed to look great, right? So you're going to have to somehow build your own ui widgets and do fullcanvas and all that - but now what? There's still a ton of MIDP1.0 phones, there's Nokia's FullCanvas and there's MIDP 2.0's GameCanvas, among others. And then there are a million different display sizes. Sheesh.

Well, what has made sense for us is to build a set of three libraries that have all of the widgets and all that, one for MIDP 1.0, one for Nokia's FullCanvas and one for MIDP 2.0. All of the widgets automatically figure out the display size and build themselves accordingly. Now all we have to do is write an app once, compile it with each of the three libraries and voila - three versions of the app which all together will run on pretty much every phone. The only thing left is to map each phone model of each manufacturer to one of the three versions. Maybe I'll post our mapping table some day!

Oh, I forgot one thing: we still have to test each version on every phone we can get our hands on. There's always a little quirk here or there. Life could be soooo much simpler.

Mobile Image NewsReader

Just finished the Mobile Image Newsreader - check it out at Or download a trial right to your phone by pointing your mobile browser to

It'll read any atom or rss newsfeed and also download any associated images. It goes through a backend server which pre-formats the data, only sends the news posts to the mobile client and also formats the images to fit exactly in the device's display.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Joined this

Great News

Now this is great news: the Mobibots Boxing game is now online in Germany - that means people can download it directly to their phone there! We're still working on the US - looks like it'll be another 24 hours.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

one more thing for this morning

it's 7:15 am over here in cali, it looks like the sun is coming up which is not a bad thing. I think I finally got enough coffee in me - now it's probably time for some decaf green tea to hydrate the brain so I can get going on some stuff I need to do with the mobibots web site.

But first I've got to change the radio station - those idiots at the alice morning show just drive me nuts.

Ok, so how about some thoughts on mobile things

So what's the deal with mobile software? It doesn't really take a rocket scientist to do, just a lot of patience and testing, testing, testing. But, it turns out that if you keep with it, you can pretty much get stuff to work on almost any device. It's really amazing!

If you're interested, check out, that's some of the stuff I'm working on.