Archive for ‘February, 2011’

Magic

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C Clark – Science Fiction Author (1917 – 2008)

Presentation Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the slides I’ve prepared for the new and improved version of my “Why is MRO software so complicated?” presentation that I’m giving at the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Miami next week.

If anyone has any advance questions they would like to pose, please drop me a line or leave a comment here. As usual I’ll post the full presentation here on the blog as soon as possible after the presentation.

Author: Paul Saunders

Related Posts:

#AeroIT Hashtag
Why MRO Software isn’t Simpler
Why isn’t MRO Software Simpler?

MS Kinect SDK arriving Spring 2011

Since its release for the Microsoft Xbox 360 last year hackers have been playing with the Kinect sensor device to make awesome, crazy and weird stuff happen that frankly belongs in the realms of  science fiction.

This week Microsoft have announced plans to release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit, or SDK, this spring.

Click here for the full press release

For me this proves to me that Microsoft really understand that when you combine open techology and extrordinarily talented people who are motivated to make stuff, then cool things happen.

Author: Paul Saunders

Related Posts:

Google Introduces Low Tech AR
Why MRO Software isn’t Simpler
Why isn’t MRO Software Simpler?

iPad vs Android

4 Reasons why Android will be better than iPad for Aerospace

In aeropace IT the hot topic this year is definitely tablet devices. Every airline it seems wants to kit out their flight and cabin crew with iPads. The big problem with getting these projects approved internally is that no-one seems to know what they want to do with them once they get them. There are obviously grand visions for what an iPad could bring to the airlines business and there are some great productivity and business apps available, but there isn’t yet much in the way of airline specific apps out there to do what they want to do. Crew reporting apps and EFB type apps are still in their infancy and there is a race on to be the first to market. Conduce Software are right in the thick of things developing both web and native device apps for airlines in the form of MyTechLog and the Fatigue Reporting suite of apps. We however are not solely focussed on the iPad. We have hedged our bets slightly by developing for both the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms in parallel.

If I were a betting man (which I’m not) I’d be putting my money on Android tablets to be the front runners when it comes to Aerospace. Here are 4 reasons why:

1. Android is where the best development talent will be

I’m going to stick my neck out here and predict that the migration of development talent from other platforms is going to be greater towards Android than it is towards Apple iOS. I think this is because it is much easier to start developing for Android devices than it is for Apple ones. For a start you can only develop for iPhone and iPad using a very limited set of tools. You have already lost a significant chunk of budding developers at the first hurdle. Secondly and I think most critically, it is our experience that it is easier for existing developers to pick up Android development than it is for iOS development. In the words of our senior developer Marcin Wojciechowski who has recently converted to both development platforms:

“Objective C is veeery… hmm… different”

Adding all this to the fact that the whole Google Android Open Source thing is much more appealing to most techy types compared to Apples’ consumer focussed empire, then I think Android wins the arms race for development talent. This means that tech businesses are going to be making strategic decisions along those lines in future and that home spun development is going to be much easier for Android than it is for iOS.

 
2. Android’s Operating System is more suited for business
This is a bit of a contentious issue, but I think the Android operating system is going to be much more suited to business than the iPad. Android 3.0 tablets will have true, more useful mutli-tasking than the iPad. Other features which are coming with Android 3.0 will make it feel much less like a larger version of the phone devices which they are today. Where I feel the Android has many benefits over the iPad already is with system administration. Where Android will win is the ability to manage it from a corporate perspective and the ability to lock it down to performing only the roles you want. Android device synchronisation (i.e. lack of) and application roll out is obviously less of a pain potentially making Android tablets cheaper to administer.

3. Hardware Vendor Flexibility
If an airline approached Apple with an order for several thousand iPads for their flight and cabin crew I would put money on them being given directions to the nearest Apple Store. Equally if the same airline went to an Android hardware vendor such as LG or Samsung they would be welcomed with open arms. In fact I know this was the experience of at least two well know Flag Carrier airlines in the Far East last year. Apple have been very successful by rigidly sticking to their guns and would never entertain the idea of doing something bespoke for an outside organisation by changing their design or pricing structure. However I think that Android hardware vendors would easily succumb to the charms of an airline with enough buying power to either cut a good deal or produce a bespoke piece of hardware… maybe a ruggedized device, or an approved EFB device that integrates with the aircraft systems.

 
4. Some people just don’t like Apple
For every executive who wants to purchase iPhones and iPads for his team there is at least one IT guy rolling his eyes. Most current IT workers weren’t brought up with Apple devices and the adjustment required due to the shift in trends from PCs to Macs has been difficult for some companies. There is a perception that some IT activities such as security, disaster recovery and application deployment is not as good with an IT landscape that includes Apple devices – not to mention the effect on IT budgets. Without question Apple devices have superior design and simplicity of both hardware and software, but that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I think that given the choice a grumpy, 40 something Head of IT will plump for Android over Apple any day.

Related Posts:
Aviation Terrorism vs Aviation Accidents
iPhone vs Android App Fight
Why is MRO IT Software so Complicated?

Author: Paul Saunders

Basecamp Mobile Launched by 37Signals

Today 37Signals launched a new mobile web app for their flagship project management application Basecamp.

What is most striking about this is that the application is a true browser based web application not a native device application. This seems to be bucking the trend slightly regarding mobile device development. One of the biggest headaches for mobile application developers is device divergence… you need to be a master of all platforms or simply pick one or two to work with, potentially missing out on a significant market sector by ignoring the other platforms.

This approach for a web based application does have it’s drawbacks of course with no offline capability and the potential requirement for more expensive infrastructure, but it does seem to be an elegant solution for a small developer to adopt. I’ve had a quick look using our Basecamp account and it does work very well. Time will tell if this is a solution which marks the “end of the beginning” for mobile device application development.

Find out more about Basecamp Mobile and the reasons for developing a mobile web application here

Author: Paul Saunders