Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

iOS vs Android

January 14th, 2013 joconner 1 comment

Yesterday someone told me that Google’s Android devices have shipped more units than iOS devices in Q3 and Q4 of 2012 — I will check and recheck my source on this. That’s a big claim, but seems plausible considering that Android ships on a lot more than your basic tablets. Android is in a lot of things, including smart televisions and many manufacturer’s smart phones.

It leaves me wondering…has Android finally got the momentum to dominate the small device market, smart phones, etc. More importantly to me, does it have developer interest?

I’m convinced that a successful computing platform for tablets and phones must serve two consumers. First, those customer-consumers that buy the devices and use them day to day must be happy with the usability and overall fitness of the OS. Second, the developer-consumer must be convinced that the platform is easy to develop for. The OS and platform tool chain must be robust and complete. Otherwise, developer interest fades quickly. Without developers, you simply don’t have those random, goofy, hacked apps that seed a market. Without those apps, customer-consumers don’t have any motivation to discover a newer platform.

I’ve finally made my own choice though…my choice about which platform I’m going to develop for. There’s no doubt that I’m fascinated by Android. So fascinated, in fact, that I suspect that many future posts will be devoted to Android. However, I’m going to use a couple tool sets. Of course, I’m going to write native applications in Java, but I’m also going to try something relatively new for me. I’m going to look at… PhoneGap. I only know the idea behind PhoneGap, and I haven’t tried to develop with it yet. However, that’s going to change too.

You know what’s the best thing about PhoneGap? Ready? It’s that you write your application once using PhoneGap APIs, and that application should now run on multiple platforms. I’ve always been fascinated and pulled into this promised of write once and deploy to many devices. Well, PhoneGap promises that. Interestingly, it’s taking on the same job that Java did a long time ago. Oddly, though, I recall that Java never quite made it onto the desktop. And instead of being the common language of all these devices, the common language seems to be descriptive HTML, CSS, and JavaScipt. Of course, my curiously can’t be satisfied easily. I’m going to give both a try: a native Android application and a PhoneGap one. Which will be easier to use? 

I suspect that the native application will be the snappiest, most desired application. However, I want to be pleasantly surprised by Phone Gap. In fact, I’d like to be so delighted with Phone Gap that I give up my other toolsets. In addition to having a single src code that works for both iOS and Java, I’d love to have that single tool chain that can help me develop apps across platforms too!

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Still Can’t Use Apostrophes? Really?

December 10th, 2012 joconner No comments

Answer this for me. Why in the world are we still preventing very common characters from name fields in online forms, in bank account applications, in insurance forms…tax returns? Why? 

In 2012, many companies have adopted Unicode in their backend databases. But what’s wrong with their development teams that prevent them from allowing customers to spell their names correctly in their application’s user interface? I live in California. We have LOTS of hyphenated names, names with accents, names with apostrophes. There really is no excuse for preventing users from spelling their names online in the the same way that they spell them on paper.

At this point I’m just irritated. At one point I thought I could just tell people how to fix these things. Then I thought I could occasionally blog about it — thinking the word would get out slowly. Well, I suppose if it is working at all, the message is getting out slower than anticipated. I never had delusions that an i18n blog would be generally popular with the masses. This isn’t a soap opera or Hollywood expositor after all. However, you might thing that common sense would just spread, that it would simply be absorbed across the web. It ‘aint so.

Look, if you are a software developer and have ANY influence on how your company provides its input or signup forms online, can you do me a favor? Can you remember that some people have names that actually have an apostrophe or hyphen or n-with-an-accent-grave? You can easily parse these fields; you can check against sql attacks etc that use interesting characters to turn databases into mush. We have the technology people. Let’s consider what might happen if we use it.

All the best,

John O’Conner (note the apostrophe)

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In Memory of Bill Hall

July 27th, 2012 joconner No comments

I met Bill Hall sometime in 1993 or 1994 when we both worked at Novell. He was already a well-known software engineer, consultant, and internationalization guru. As a recently minted college graduate, I adopted Bill as my mentor. Like many mentors, Bill probably never knew this. And yet, he mentored me for more than 16 years in this globalization industry. He is the one, the only one, that I thought knew all there is to know.

Bill Hall could laugh until tears came to his eyes, and he could look at you and freeze a moment with you as if you were the only person in the world that mattered. Later in his life, his eyes would water for no good reason, except that maybe he was just getting older, and allergies or maybe just life itself had squeezed most of Bill out.

When Bill wasn’t talking about internationalization or piloting, he always spoke of his wife and children. I met his wife Ewa and one of his children, Kasia. They and my own wife toured around Tokyo one year long ago while Bill and I spoke at a conference or just happened to be in Tokyo together. I suppose the event doesn’t really matter; it was a long time ago. Kasia must be a junior or senior in college now….wow, time flies.

Just today, I received an email from Kasia, a personal email telling me that her father had died. I’ve since discovered that many others in the internationalization and globalization industry have received a similar but different email or notification from Kasia. At least a dozen other people that I know received those personal emails that said something that only Bill and you would know, something that Bill shared with you, and I got one of those from Kasia. After the initial shock of learning of his death, I couldn’t help but smile. Kasia had sent out an email to me, just to me, and it was personal, and I realized that his dear daughter had inherited Bill’s way of reaching out to people one on one, making them feel as if you were the only person in the world that mattered.

Thanks, Bill for your friendship, for your knowledge, and for what you’ve given our industry. We already miss you.



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Internationalization & Unicode Conference 36 Call for Papers

April 1st, 2012 joconner No comments

The IUC 36 call for papers went out last week –

This conference event brings together the best minds, ideas, and practices in the worlds of internationalization and localization,  There’s content sessions to please everyone including technical engineers, project managers, and product managers.

The Program Committee is requesting proposals for presentations. Check out the website for details, but some of the general areas are the following:

  • Application Areas
    • Social Nets
    • SEO
    • Websites and web services
    • Libraries and educatoin
    • IDN
    • Mobile and Tablets
    • Security
    • Machine Translation
  • General Techniques
    • i18n libraries
    • bidirectionality and scripts
    • html5
    • Data formats: json, xml,
    • project mgmt
    • font dev
  • Culture and Tech
    • Endangered languages
    • Unencoded languages
    • Case studies
    • ISO language tag issues
  • Regional Considerations
    • Africa, Asia, Middle East
    • Locales and CLDR
    • Emoji Support … sigh…

If you think you might want to present something new and exciting that you have been working on, consider presenting at the conference. Read the above link to find out more.

One last thing. Check out that Gold Sponsor!







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Seeking input on article topics

October 14th, 2011 joconner No comments

Hi there again,

This is just a quick note to say thank you for reading this blog. Internationalization is definitely a favorite topic of mine. The problem is that I enjoy so many topics that sometimes I don’t stay focused.

To help with that, I’m asking you to make suggestions. What would you like to read about here? What globalization topics interest you the most? What topics do you have trouble finding information about on the web or in your favorite magazine. I’m here to help you of course, but I get a lot out of researching material too!

Have a great weekend!

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Countries with Multiple Time Zones

October 6th, 2011 joconner No comments

Recently I came across a W3C document about times, dates, and time zones. The document claims that only 20 countries observe more than one time zone. The United States is in that list. Can you name the rest of them?

I’ll post the answers to this question tomorrow! Until then, which countries do you think have more than one time zone?

P.S. Please provide your answers as comments!

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Take care in speaking and writing your customer’s name

February 9th, 2011 joconner No comments

No matter how many times it happens, I still feel somewhat surprised that companies still don’t know how to gather form data, move it through their database and use it without destroying something as simple as a name. My most recent surprise came just today, this time from Ford Motor Company.

Apparently I had filled out an online form and included my name. Unfortunately, Ford didn’t quite know what to do with the apostrophe in my family name. They turned it into a form similar to an html character entity reference but they seem to have scrubbed out the semi-colon from the “'” reference. Here’s the US postal address they used to reach me recently.


Aah, when will they learn?



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Media Globalization at Yahoo

May 23rd, 2010 joconner No comments

After several years away from full-time internationalization work, I’m happy to announce a significant change. I am working as the Media Globalization Architect at Yahoo. This is a dream job for me, and one that will definitely be challenging.

My primary globalization experience has been gained through developing internationalization frameworks and APIs, particularly for the Java platform. Sure, I’ve also worked to define best practices for Java EE apps as well, but never on the scale of Yahoo’s media properties! And that’s exciting.

I hope you’ll join me here in this blog from time to time as I write about some of my experiences as a Globalization Yahoo! I haven’t educated myself on Yahoo’s corporate blogging policy, but I do know that I’m tasked with developing and maintaining thought leadership in the globalization arena, particularly for web-based media. So it doesn’t seem unreasonable to share some of my ideas and experiences here.

Until next time,
John O.

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