New twitter app gives easier access to trending topics, I mean ads

There’s a new version of the twitter app for iPhone in the iTunes store, this one features a few nice updates (like an improved posting pane) but the most noticeable change would have to be the strip across the top of the screen highlighting trending topics.

Before I continue, I should state that you can’t remove this strip, or if you can I can’t find out how to.

The strip cycles through the top trending topics which in itself is interesting, but this also means promoted (or paid) topics also appear.

I’m guessing this will increase accidental clickthroughs for advertisers as I find I’m clicking on the new strip occasionally as I move my thumb up to scroll to the top of the page.

One good UI feature though is that the strip does go when you scroll down the view giving more screen real estate for tweets rather than trending topics.



How to get a million followers in a day – just be Charlie Sheen

If you’ve been on twitter in the last 24 hours I’m betting at least one of your friends has retweeted or started following Charlie Sheen (http://twitter.com/#!/charliesheen).

He’s on track to gain 1,000,000 followers in 24 hours, that has to be some kind of twitter record.

I’m hoping the popular cleaning product “Mr Sheen” is working every marketing angle right now to get some additional followers out of it too.

**UPDATE**

24 hours after posting that I can see he is now about to break the 1.5M mark (1,458,339 to be exact).

I really liked how quickly The Red Cross jumped on the #tigerblood hashtag with this tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/RedCross/status/42947546695467008

Use Facebook as Page – new functionality for page admins

Facebook have launched new functionality for page administrators that allows you to more easily monitor activity on your page and interact with customers as that page.

It’s all done through the “Account” link at the top right of the screen. Clicking “Account” reveals a new menu option “Use Facebook as Page”.

This this shows a popup of pages where you are an administrator. Clicking “Switch” next to the page will allow you to use Facebook as that page.

There’s then an option to take a short tour which steps you through some of the key features.

Your notifications will now show activity relating to that page and not your primary account. Plus you can have your page “Like” other pages and you can post comments on those pages you like as your page.

At any time you can click the “Account” tab and switch back to your primary account.

Creating an iPhone friendly site in PHP

Creating a website that renders well on an iPhone as well as on all standard web browsers shouldn’t be a difficult task. It’s always easier if you can design and build a site with this in mind rather than retrofitting a site after it’s launched, but either way the principle remains the same.

The way we do it at Fly Digital is to load exactly the same page regardless of the browser being used, no redirects to a seperate mobile site or subdomain. This way, whenever you’re making updates to navigation or content in the future you only have to do it in one place.

You can achieve the basics in two simple steps. First of all you’ll need to detect if the user is browing your site on an iPhone, here’s the server side way to do this:

<?php
if(strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'],'iPhone')) {
  //it is an iPhone user
}
?>

Once you know this, you can see how you can load one stylesheet if it’s an iPhone and another for all other browsers. I’m not going to go into the CSS side of things in this post, I’m assuming you know a bit of CSS already if you’re reading this article. Suffice to say your iPhone styles will need to take into account the smaller screen when you’re loading things like container DIV’s and image sizes (do you see now why I said at the beginning it’s better if you can do this before building a new site rather than afterwards…?)

To stop the Safari browser from allowing users to use the pinch screen gesture to scale the webpage up or down in size, and to set the width of the page to the width of the screen, use this line of code:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,minimum-scale=1.0,
maximum-scale=1.0" />

Finally, a neat touch is to create a springboard icon for users that bookmark your site. This is a 57×57 PNG file that should be called apple-touch-icon.png and sits on the root of your domain. Fly Digital’s icon is shown below as an example:

http://www.flydigital.com.au/apple-touch-icon.png

Note you don’t need to add the rounded edges and reflection that you see on Apple icons, the iPhone will do this for you automatically.

Here’s the full IF statement with CSS includes for you to copy and paste. Give it a go and you’ll be building websites for iPhone and web browsers that all run out of one file in no time.

<?php
if(strstr($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'],'iPhone'))
{?>
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,minimum-scale=1.0,
maximum-scale=1.0" />
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="css/style-iphone.css"
media="screen"/>
<?php
} else {
?>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="css/style.css"
media="screen"/>
<?php
}
?>

Top 5 ‘non-work’ activities to do in quiet times

Love them or hate them, quiet times – those times when you wake up and realise that you don’t actually have any commisionable work to do that day – are a part of running any small business.

Sure you can spend the time on growing your company, but realistically sometimes you just don’t feel like working on that new marketing activity or phoning that client who you haven’t heard back from or working on your own website. In times like these it might be less productive to force it, so instead why not try one of these top 5 ‘non-work’ things to do in quiet times:

1) Tidy up

Even though Einstien asked “if a cluttered desk is an indication of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk represent?” I still find that I work better when my surroundings are tidy. If you work from home this is particularly important. Why not spend a few hours getting your kitchen sparkling, or don some rubber gloves and give the bathroom a good scrubbing.

Or if the sun is shining get outside and clean the car so the next time you’re off out to meet a client at least you don’t need to park around the corner because your car is caked in mud.

2) Exercise

Get out of the office, put on some old clothes and go for a jog around the block to work up a sweat. If running’s not your thing, how about a round of golf at that course you’ve always been meaning to play or a swim in the local pool.

If you’ve got a favourite sport go buy yourself a treat like a new tennis racket or a new pair of running shoes and then go try them out. It’s a great feeling and gives you a real boost to play a sport that you love with new equipment, or to pound those pavements in new athletics gear. I’ve often found that my best ideas are ones that come to me when I’m exercising.

3) Spend time with someone you love

As a small business owner you’re not going to be a stranger to long working hours, but one of the reasons you may have gone into business for yourself is to spend more time with your friends and family. So use this quiet period to remind those around you what you look like.

Take your kids out of school for a day and take them on an adventure somewhere, make a packed lunch and take it to your partner at their work, call up a friend and see if they fancy a lazy afternoon in the pub or sit down and write all those family emails you’ve been meaning to send for weeks.

4) Try something new

This one doesn’t have to be work related. How about looking up a recipe for that dish you’ve always wanted to master or giving bread making a go (once you start making your own bread I challenge you to find anything better than that smell of fresh baked bread in your house). How about an online tutorial for a piece of software that you’ve always wanted to try.

Try and end the day knowing that you’ve given something new a shot. You might not master it in one day, but that first step is the most important one of all.

5) Be a kid

If all else fails and you find yourself really demotivated to try any of those, why not go back to being a kid again. Go shoot some mini-golf, take a trip to the local swimming pool and play on the slides, go to the toy shop and buy yourself a new board game and get your friends round for games night, buy yourself a ticket at the local amusement park and go on the rides or head into town and take a walk round the aquarium or science museum. Sometimes it’s a very cleansing exercise to shed that adult skin for a day and let the mind rest.

If you have any of your own ‘non-work’ tips, please post them below. But make the most of your quiet times and enjoy them, there will be plenty of occasions in the future when you’ll be wishing for some more…

How to concatenate a string in Objective-C

I’m writing this article with the objective of hopefully helping you if you’re looking how to concatenate a string but also to vent just a tiny little bit.

Firstly, to set the scene. You have two strings and you want to join them together. For example, string1 is something like “Fly” and string2 is something else like “Digital” and you want to join them as string3 to become something new such as “Fly Digital”.

In ASP Classic, this is a breeze:

<%
string1="Fly"
string2="Digital"
string3=string1 & " " & string2
Response.Write(string3)
%>

In PHP, not a problem:

<?php
$string1="Fly";
$string2="Digital";
$string3 = $string1 . " " . $string2;
echo $string3;
?>

But Objective-C doesn’t quite use the same logic of string1 + string2 = string3. Instead you need to call a whole new method called stringByAppendingString, which is where I start to ask questions. But first, here’s how I do it in Objective-C:

NSString *string1 = @"Fly";
NSString *string2 = @"Digital";
NSString *string3;
string3 = [string1 stringByAppendingString:string2];

Now call me old fashioned, but I think the PHP / ASP Classic / Javascript methodology is far more easily adoptable for programmers than having to know a new method to achieve what I consider a very basic but fundamental part of programming. I question why the developers of Objective-C thought that a whole new method had to be invented rather than sticking to the very logical 1 + 2 = 3 style. If there’s anyone reading this that knows the answer to that question I’d love to hear it.

Hello (Blog) World

Traditional Hello World first post to test the template. I’ll post something slightly more meaningful shortly…