tech: Apple’s UDID ban and Cordova

Recently Apple came out with a news article saying that starting 01 May 2013 they will no longer approve apps for the App Store that access the device’s UDID. So the question immediately follows for app developers that use Cordova, is that with Cordova’s device.uuid value, it looks suspiciously like that value is being generated from the now banned UDID, which will keep their app from getting approved by Apple. Is this the case or not?

The long answer is that it used to. Up until Cordova 1.7, when running on iOS, the device.uuid value was the UDID. So if you are using Cordova 1.6 or older, then you are affected. But in Cordova 1.7 the computation for the device.uuid value was changed: basically at that point instead of using the [UIDevice uniqueIdentifier] value, it switched to using the filesystem path to the resource bundle. Near the end of that filesystem path is a nice GUID (not UDID) which is specific to the app on that device. It’s not the UDID. Then in Cordova 1.9, it changed again. If there is an [NSUserDefaults standardUserDefaults] value for the key “CDVUUID” that was previously created, it will use that. If a value for that key doesn’t exist, it will create one, store it in standardUserDefaults, and use it going forward.

There is some good reading material in the Jira ticket.

If you are still are in need of a device-specific identifier instead of the one that Cordova self-manufactures, Shaz has done a good job explaining some of the alternatives in his forum post.

tech tips marcelk 26 Mar 2013 2 Comments

life: Blockbuster video on-demand

Back in the day, there was a Blockbuster store right down the street from my house. My family would go in on the weekends and pick on a DVD to rent. That Blockbuster store is now gone. And so are many others. Now the closest store is a 15 minute drive away. Since I’ve had Netflix, I haven’t thought about Blockbuster. And if something wasn’t available on Netflix, I’d look at Amazon streaming rentals. Literally a couple of windows away from that old Blockbuster store is a Redbox kiosk.

So when I was in the mood for a movie yesterday, I couldn’t find what I was looking for on Netflix. Or Redbox. Or Amazon. So on a whim I looked at blockbuster.com and found their streaming rental service, Blockbuster On Demand. Instead of running a monthly subscription, it is on a per-rental basis (pay for what you use). So I can keep an account there for occasional use without hitting recurring charges. When streaming, it doesn’t play in your browser like Netflix, they have a standalone app for Mac, PC, and Android (curiously, not for iOS). I watched an old 80’s movie, so I can’t speak much to the picture quality due to the master, but it did stream flawlessly. I found a movie to watch, and nobody else had it.

So it’s worth giving Blockbuster a shot. Will this be enough to help them survive as a company? Looks like they are playing their cards right from and end user’s perspective, but it won’t be the same Blockbuster store down the street – those are likely gone forever.

cool stuff that doesn't cost much &life tips marcelk 28 Feb 2013 No Comments

tech: O’Reilly webcasts

A coworker pointed out to me today that O’Reilly media has ongoing webcasts on a number of current technical topics. After browsing through the very interesting slides for optimization of mobile web sites, I was impressed and will be going back often to see what is coming up. Nice job, Tim, you may convince me to buy some more books.

tech tips marcelk 25 Feb 2013 No Comments

life: art of manliness

Today’s society seems adrift in its definition of what it means to be a man. A good man, and one who has confidence, serves others, and grows. My hip brother-in-law got me connected to the newsletter from The Art Of Manliness. I don’t necessarily agree with absolutely everything they say, but I do like most of it. It’s got good advice for someone who is refining their character, even at an advanced age like me. ;-)

life tips marcelk 25 Feb 2013 No Comments

tech: installing Couchdb on RHEL the easy way

Thinking of installing Couchdb on Linux using the source? You’ll be at it for a while, there are lots of dependencies. And if you don’t do it right, couchdb doesn’t have great debug info that helps you find what went wrong.

If you have RHEL / CentOS / Fedora, I came across this great set of instructions that uses Fedora’s EPEL repository to make installing couchdb a simple single invocation of yum. Yup, no compilations of source, and the pre-reqs are taken care of for you. It’s definitely the way to go.

It won’t install the bleeding edge version. But for my purposes, I’m OK with that.

tech tips marcelk 22 Feb 2013 No Comments

life: a flashlight

Every person needs a good small flashlight. I used to think that a Maglite Mini was the reference. Well built, but bright? But then I found the Ultrafire WF-502B. It uses a Cree LED rated at 900 lumens, which is way brighter than anything else I’ve found. It also uses an Ultrafire 18650 battery, which is not a typical AA battery. That battery is slightly larger than an AA, but outputs 3.7 volts at 3000mAh. At Amazon I got the flashlight (no battery) for $11 and two batteries and a charger for $13. I carry it in my laptop bag. I really like the brightness, it’s amazing compared to other flashlights I’ve owned, even ones that take D cell batteries.

Disclaimer: I do own Cree stock.

life tips marcelk 17 Feb 2013 No Comments

tech: Instagram, I thought we were friends?

This analysis of the new intellectual property policy of Instagram claims that Instagram can sell your pictures without any compensation or permission from you, and they limit their liability should they disclosure your content.

Honestly, I never really got around to using Instagram. But I just deleted the app from my phone. How my intellectual property is handled matters, even if you have a cool free service.

I will be very surprised if they don’t reverse this within the next week or two.

Update on Dec 19: Instagram will be clarifying the language around some of the terms previously interpreted as onerous. So yeah, some backpedaling and a partial reversal. I’m glad there are people other than me that can read and parse these legal documents, and help me understand what they mean.

tech tips marcelk 18 Dec 2012 No Comments

tech: Google Maps is back on the iPhone

The Google Maps application has returned to the iPhone (iOS 6). It literally is new and improved. It even includes turn-by-turn navigation (includes a disclaimer that it is in beta). Yeah, this will likely replace my use of Apple Maps and Waze.

Find it in iTunes or the AppStore.

tech tips marcelk 13 Dec 2012 No Comments

tech: fascinating trends for the Internet and mobile phones

I changed positions recently at my employer, and am now working in the mobile phone software space. I’m learning a lot. But when I came across this presentation, I was wowed. It has a lot of information conveyed in a way that is easy to understand. It highlights trends on the Internet, including mobile phone usage. I definitely encourage any more-than-casual user to read this.

http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/2012-kpcb-internet-trends-yearend-update

What really stuns me is how fast everything is changing. Not just technology, but concepts like “asset-light vs asset-heavy”. Android was unveiled only 5 years ago, and now there are ~500 million Android devices shipped. iPad growth is 3x iPhone growth. Crazy times…

Uncategorized marcelk 10 Dec 2012 No Comments

politics: misconceptions and partial truths

Here I go wandering into the shark-infested waters of US politics during an election year. But this is meant as a non-partisan post.

First, the financial advice site Motley Fool has a thought-provoking writeup titled “3 Huge Economic Misconceptions From Election Season”. Remember, this is coming from a financial advice site, not a sideways-leaning news or politico site. I think all of us have misconceptions, unintentionally, that sound perfectly logical and sensical. But when really digging in to them, they aren’t true, at least in the simplistic way we assumed them to be.

Second, the amount of partial truths being tossed around by both parties is just astounding. Perhaps “saddening” is a better description. Take a provocative soundbite, start to dig under it, and generally only half (or less) of the real story is being told. Everybody is twisting the partial truth that is convenient for them into a full truth, with the expectation that by repeating it enough we start to believe it as the whole truth. Life is not as simple as the politicians make it out to be. They are playing to our own lack of knowledge, our knee-jerk reactions, and our misconceptions, for their own benefit. Don’t let that happen. Take a look at FactCheck.org to unwind the spin and to get fair information. Be informed with the full truth, even the parts you don’t like.

Third, please vote. Get registered, get informed (correcting misconceptions and partial truths), make a choice, and manifest that choice with a vote. And after the vote, communicate with your representatives. It saddens me that living in the greatest democracy in the world, only 50% of eligible voters vote (on a good day). And how many times have you communicated with your representative regarding a topic you care about via a phone call or email? As a citizen in a democracy, you have a sacred responsibility to uphold that democracy and participate in the political process. Otherwise, the democracy is weakened by your absence. Don’t be absent.

Fourth, learn to coexist with others that have different opinions. Respect them, even when you disagree with them. Be able to have a meaningful exchange where ideas are shared and understandings are widened, instead of forcing a conversion or just hurling insults. You don’t have to agree with them, but do you understand them? Do you understand what their motivations are, even if you disagree? Often we have the same goal, but differ only on how to achieve it. Make it about finding the best ideas independent of the source. Understanding others will help you understand yourself. This country is made up of a lot of unique regions, histories, and cultures. The USA is not homogenous. And that is what makes us strong.

It may not feel like the best time right now, but this is the best place.

life tips &op-ed marcelk 06 Sep 2012 1 Comment

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