iPhone Application Development: IT’S BACK!

Ascend Training is happy to announce the return of our iPhone Application Development class! iPhone, iPod, iPad Application Development (5 days, $2490) has just been added to our catalog of classes. Ascend Training is proud to have Gene Backlin, author of Professional iOS 4 Application Development: Building Applications for the iPhone and iPad, teaching this exciting new topic. The class will be exclusively taught at our Chicago location (410 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 433) on the following dates: November 29-December 3 and February 7-11.

Please contact our IT Administrator, Jeremy Chambers, about prerequisites for the class.

Getting a New Computer Without That Hefty Price Tag

As much as I love the applications included in the Adobe Creative Suite I sometimes wonder if my computer is going to make it through my next Flash project or if it will even be able to open the flier I am editing with InDesign. So, seeing as the computers I own are getting on in years, I’ve been thinking it is about time for an upgrade. Now I have always been a Mac guy myself, but their prices are getting more and more outrageous. To get the power I want in a desktop without breaking the bank, I am in the process of choosing parts for a computer I intend to build myself. Now this may sound completely beyond your knowledge and skills, but surprisingly enough its no more complicated than my Lego Death Star I built in the 4th grade. All you need is proper manuals, here is a useful site that will tell you the necessary components and how to choose the correct ones. There are many more tutorials to be found by simple Google searches. Buying your own components and building your own computer will give you about twice as much bang for your buck. Yeah, the jig is up Dell and HP.

That being said, I have a few tips to save you even more cash. When it comes to computer hardware, take your time, you don’t want to get something that’s outdated but also don’t want to be spending too much on a piece of hardware that you could find on sale or cheaper elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with Gizmodo, this site is your best friend when it comes to tech deals. Each day, Gizmodo will post an article called Dealzmodo that lists the best deals of the day for primarily tech items. There are always hardware deals on Gizmodo. Newegg is one of the best sources in general for hardware, everything you need will be on Newegg at reasonable prices. For in depth reviews of hardware, tomshardware.com is the place to go. One last thing, and this should go with out saying, avoid ebay. As appealing as some of those prices are, this is fragile technology and I, for one, would not trust ebayers with this stuff.

lego death star

On second thought, building a computer may be less complicated than the old Lego Death Star. I must’ve had a lot more patience back then.

Thats all for today,

The battle behind the screens – Flash vs. Silverlight

It’s definitely a war–it’s just that it’s a Cold War.

Since Microsoft released Silverlight, (and by the way, watch what happens when you surf over there) their answer to Adobe Flash, in 2007, there’s been a (sort of) silent war going on behind the two software giants about who gets to play your movies.

When you go to a site like Youtube or Hulu to watch videos (and who among us does not, these days?), isn’t it awesome how fast it is? How clear? How the videos you watch don’t take up space on your hard disk or really even slow down what you’re doing in the background? That’s because when you go to those sites (and soon others like Vimeo and possibly Dailymotion), your browser loads a plugin to let you read the Flash Video that someone has posted and that the website has slightly reconfigured–and plays it right from the source, like you’re looking through your computer to where the video really is, somewhere else. This means that anyone, anywhere can see it, which is good news for video producers and marketers alike. Just as Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux can all (usually) read the same types of files, now we can all see almost any type of video–the trouble is that not everyone feels like they’re making enough money this way.

Any guesses who? (*coughSilverlightcough*)

Well, you’re mostly right, but it isn’t JUST Microsoft. There are plenty of people out to get Flash, now that it’s the standard for video playback on the web: Sun Microsystems (who makes Java), plenty of open-source proponents, and Apple have either resisted or worked around integrating Flash into their video products (iPhone, anyone?) but more than ever, Adobe is realizing that if they want their product to stay at the top, they’re going to have to get into some heretofore unexplored venues. To that end, the rumors are flying about new tools for developing iPhone apps using Flash, putative Flash support on the theoretical Apple Tablet (if it exists, right?), and more.

Microsoft is responding to this by leveraging their power toward pushing Flash out of certain areas; ever notice that the streaming function of Netflix is run on Silverlight instead of Flash?

So here’s the question: both Flash and Silverlight are proprietary software, and both are the big boys when it comes to video playback on the web–now whom would we prefer as the keeper of our vids? Because someones’s going to win this battle–and either way, it’s going to mean a lot about how we get (and what we can do with) our video.

What do you get for the phone who has everything?

iphone, rumors, questions, next

What to do next with the coolest phone Ever?

So ok–it’s going to be a while until we get Flash for the iPhone, but I think we can all agree that it’s still pretty cool. The question is: now that you can do almost everything on the iPhone, like getting GPS Driving directions, reading e-books with the Kindle App, checking your email, stock quotes, and weather forecasts, and watching movies…what’s next for this niftiest of devices? I know! NEW APPS for it!

When the iPhone came out in 2007, most users were impressed and pleased with the number of cool applications you could get for it; in fact it’s this that makes the iPhone more of a palmtop computer than strictly a phone–you can load new software and get upgrades just like you can with your laptop or desktop. That said, the idea of WRITING software for the iPhone was, and still is for many, a black box. What’s involved in writing an app for the iPhone? Do you have to learn a new language? Does it mean you have to HAVE a Mac computer…or even own an iPhone?

With the meteoric takeoff of Apple’s App Store, it’s become clear even to the comparative luddite that someone is creating all these apps, and with the iPhone gaining (still!) in popularity, it seems likely that more and more people will learn how–but how?

Well, as far as that goes, there are a couple of ways to get going, but the best we can think of is a class on iPhone Application Development – how to use Objective-C, how to upload and test the apps, and how to get the most out of what you create.

Since the much-touted PastryKit is only a theory at this point, and since it’s gotten even easier to market new Apps with all the upgrades to the App Store, we think now is a fantastic time to start learning to program for what is STILL the coolest phone out there…and what can only be made cooler by a new app…by You!

Pay-Per-iView…Apple to get into the digital TV biz?

In November, it was leaked that Apple may be getting into bed with a few of TV’s major networks to begin offering a paid, subscription-based package of digital content using Apple TV. Apparently, for a tithe of about $30, subscribers will get to watch whatever they want using Apple’s existing network of streaming and downloadable content through iTunes. The latest seems to be that no major networks have agreed so far, but the larger question is: can Apple really compete with the likes of Comcast, AT&T, and DirectTV?

Not many people got really excited about the Apple TV when it came out; for sure, not enough people bought it for it to come down in price along with the rest of Apple’s line. Among the issues it carried in the door were enormous updates to install right out of the box, incompatibilities with various TV sets, and wildly variable streaming speeds. Nevertheless, their sales since then increased exponentially, and now it’s not that hard to conceive of a widely-used, Apple-based system for watching TV the way we already do. We’ll be watching to see which, if any, of the big networks sign on to become part of the new Apple TV Paid subscription system–and who signs up.

iPhone Nano, or Big Screen iPod? What’s Next from Apple?

While we sit chewing our nails deciding to run out and buy the new iPhone 3G, one can only wonder how much time it will be before Mr. Jobs’ “Next Big Thing” will be? I myself could use the more accurate GPS navigation, but can’t help but wonder which will come first: A 32 GB iPhone, or an iPhone Nano?

Reuters has announced that on July 5th, Apple filed a patent application that leads us to believe that an iPhone Nano is headed down the pipeline. IPod and iPhone accessory maker Digital Lifestyle also submitted a patent application for a new dock, to support a “telephonic portable digital media storage and playback device.”

 

Rumors have been swirling for over a year that an iPhone nano is emminant,  but does it make sense to cannabalize the larger sized iPhone when sales are higher than if there were a Beatles reunion tomorrow.

On the other hand, even with the recent decrease in initial cost of the iPhone, by raising the user-fee, it actually costs more to operate over a 1 year period. If an iPhone Nano did hit the streets with the same success as its’ predacessor, Apple could reap millions on the backend. And let’s not overlook the ramifications of the iPhone on Macintosh computers. The more people fall in love with their iPhones, the more OSX operating Macs will be sold. Apple sold nearly 2.5 million Macs this quarter, the highest number ever.

While I’m not sold on the release this year of an iPhone Nano, what does seem likely is a Big Screen iPod Nano. Apple Legal sent takedown notices to both Gizmodo and 9to5Mac who both obtained images of a big screen iPod Nano. 

- Jori Curry