Personal Cloud Desktop Apps on iPad, iPhone & Android

Posted by at 2 September , 2015

Let’s get our pitchforks out it’s time burn the house MacroMind and Apple not Adobe built….wait what?!?

Do you recall a time when you used Adobe Flash for everything on the web? Or maybe you knew it as Macromedia Flash or Shockwave Flash. Turns out the same people who are calling for it’s demise (yes, I’m looking at you Apple) in 2010 are the very same folks who fostered the growth of the current iteration of Flash into existence.

Read this via the Wikipedia page for Adobe Shockwave: “Shockwave originated with the VideoWorks application developed by MacroMind for the original Apple Macintosh. Animations were initially limited to the black and white of early Macintosh screens. VideoWorks was rebranded as Director 1.0 in 1987. Director 2.2 was released in 1988, and included the Lingo scripting language with extensibility provided by Xtras. A Windows version was available in the early 1990s. Director 3.0 was the last version by MacroMind, and released in 1989 which introduced XObjects to Lingo. Shockwave Player had still not been developed, and the sole means of publishing content remained generating executable applications.”

“Shockwave originated with the VideoWorks application developed by MacroMind for the original Apple Macintosh.”

It’s interesting that the current cabal trying to kill Flash is not really saying why or how Adobe should handle Flash. Adobe Flash still makes up a huge portion of the web market with a survey conducted in 2011 by Millward Brown, Flash makes up over 90% of the media content on the web. There is no way that killing it can benefit anyone that still produces Flash based content in the short term. Many companies, especially Google (who by the way just unveiled a new logo) a subsidiary of the newly formed Alphabet Inc. still use Flash based ads to make money.

Flash ain’t dead just yet.

Even Google doesn’t want to pull the cord just yet. The reasoning is that the big G’s revenue stream from Flash based Ads is a touchy subject. You don’t cut off the hand that feeds you, do you now?

Advertisers have been the big pro-Flash holdouts and that is why Flash will live on for the foreseeable future. The market is too huge and no other viable alternatives have been really developed. HTML 5 is a start but how many folks have figured out how to markup really good content that replaces Flash? Google has a conversion tool called Swiffy that according to the site that “Swiffy is a simple Flash to HTML5 converter that helps make SWF files available to a larger audience.”

The simple truth is Flash isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

And the verdict is…

Much ado about nothing. The internet will slowly move on from Flash and in the meantime people will posture on the imminent demise of Adobe’s product but nobody outside of tech will really care.

About Xform Computing

Xform delivers the power of cloud-hosted desktops and applications to iPad, iPhone and Android phones and tablets. Xform has Cloud clusters deployed in the US and Europe. With over 1.5 million virtual desktops created and streamed to customer’s PC’s and mobile devices, Xform’s apps include VirtualBrowser for Firefox, VirtualBrowser for Chrome, Private Anonymous Browser and AlwaysOnPC. The apps are sold in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps, and other marketplaces.

Learn more about our products here: http://www.xformcomputing.com or click on the app links on the right hand side.

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Posted by at 28 August , 2015

Weekend Reading

Instagram’s Square Photo Tyranny Has Been Abolished

Good news photographers, Instagram’s UI now supports landscape- and portrait-oriented images—and video!—making it easier and less cumbersome to compose that perfect shot.

Top 10 mistakes Node.js Developers Make

Node.js has seen an important growth in the past years, with big companies such as Walmart or PayPal adopting it. More and more people are picking up Node and publishing modules to NPM at such a pace that exceeds other languages.

Uber hires the Jeep Cherokee hackers

The hack of a Jeep Cherokee was the most significant car hacking story to break recently. Now the guys responsible will work for Uber.

Uber snatched up Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, the hackers who exposed a serious security vulnerability in Fiat Chrysler (FCA) vehicles, which resulted in the first ever recall for potential car hacking, on Friday, reports Reuters.

And finally a bit of humor…

As developers we can also have a bit of fun too. Popular blogging platform Medium got into the spirit with a clever App Store update.

About Xform Computing

Xform delivers the power of cloud-hosted desktops and applications to iPad, iPhone and Android phones and tablets. Xform has Cloud clusters deployed in the US and Europe. With over 1.5 million virtual desktops created and streamed to customer’s PC’s and mobile devices, Xform’s apps include VirtualBrowser for Firefox, VirtualBrowser for Chrome, Private Anonymous Browser and AlwaysOnPC. The apps are sold in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps, and other marketplaces.

Learn more about our products here: http://www.xformcomputing.com or click on the app links on the right hand side.

 

 

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Posted by at 27 August , 2015

New API Extensions will help protect users from malware and spam.

Do you like your Firefox with a little bit of Chrome sprinkled in? Well get ready because some changes are happening which will make Firefox feel a lot more like Chrome and that’s a good thing…for developers.

With web technologies changes at a blistering pace, many developers have to adapt to the ever changing browser ecosystem. Developers therefore are going to find it much easier to write and port add-ons between browsers. The downside is that many of Firefox’s existing add-ons will need some serious modification to ensure they continue to function when Firefox 43 is released. However this will probably be seen as a small price to pay by developers as they find that they can release new extensions and support their offering across most platforms with only a few changes to the underlying code.

You can read more about the upcoming changes in this article via filehippo.com

About Xform Computing

Xform delivers the power of cloud-hosted desktops and applications to iPad, iPhone and Android phones and tablets. Xform has Cloud clusters deployed in the US and Europe. With over 1.5 million virtual desktops created and streamed to customer’s PC’s and mobile devices, Xform’s apps include VirtualBrowser for Firefox, VirtualBrowser for Chrome, Private Anonymous Browser and AlwaysOnPC. The apps are sold in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps, and other marketplaces.

Learn more about our products here: http://www.xformcomputing.com or click on the app links on the right hand side.

 

 

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Posted by at 24 August , 2015

The Death of the Phone Call and the Re-Rebirth of Instant Messaging…again.

If you’re in you Mid 30′s to late 40′s you might remember AOL Instant Messenger, that ubiquitous chat app that came installed on your home PC running Windows 95 that allowed you to suddenly and without any concern for privacy connect with random people online. It was, for most of us, our first taste of what has become a mainstay of mobile devices, the ability to connect with anyone at anytime from anywhere.

Fast-forward to today and Messaging apps are everywhere. You don’t see any app that has a social component built in neglect the one element that users are craving and that is the ability to chat with other mobile users. The race to reach the most users is the goal of these messaging apps which is not surprise that big blue (not Twitter, sorry) the other big blue, Facebook is in a hardened battle with China’s WeChat for replacing email, phone and texting in Asia.

“According to a report, it is estimated that WeChat has more than 1 billion users around the world.”

This number is no surprise with many apps including LINE from Japan and WhatsApp, the mobile messaging market is getting very saturated and ultimately these companies are fighting for every user they can convert into paying customers in the ecosystems they are building. With the ability to send money to each other or even send gifts to friends and family, opening eCommerce abilities in markets like this has the potential to explode. Adweek has some numbers on the type of user base that is growing in places like SouthEast Asia, particularly in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. The chart below shows how many are using the platform to circumvent traditional forms of communication.

In the end no one really knows what type of platform will win out. Will users value security over convenience? This is the multi-billion dollar question everyone is trying to figure out.

And so the battle rages on.

About Xform Computing

Xform delivers the power of cloud-hosted desktops and applications to iPad, iPhone and Android phones and tablets. Xform has Cloud clusters deployed in the US and Europe. With over 1.5 million virtual desktops created and streamed to customer’s PC’s and mobile devices, Xform’s apps include VirtualBrowser for Firefox, VirtualBrowser for Chrome, Private Anonymous Browser and AlwaysOnPC. The apps are sold in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Amazon Apps, and other marketplaces.

Learn more about our products here: http://www.xformcomputing.com or click on the app links on the right hand side.

 

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Posted by at 14 August , 2015

Weekend Reading

Jobs in Cloud Computing

 

Want to get ahead in the cloud? Docker and DevOps skills are what you need.

According to recent IT Jobs Watch figures, job roles involving container technology Docker have risen 317 places to number two in the 500 most sought after IT skills. With this in mind, recent research from Rackspace has shown a similar spike in Docker and DevOps-related skills in the UK technology industry.

 

The future of SEO: Apple vs. Google

Over the past few years, many top startups have elected to go mobile first and build app only experiences. While some have had success, mobile first companies such as Uber and Hotel Tonight have missed out on the large opportunity of SEO. Soon, pages within an app will be as easy to search for as pages on a website, and mobile-only companies will be able to compete directly with websites via search.

 

Designing Web Interfaces For Kids

Kids spend a lot of time online, and their cognitive and physical limitations present many challenges to them when they do so. Pair that with poorly designed content and dark patterns, and you have a bad mix.

 

The Hamburger Menu doesn’t work

It’s called a “hamburger” because it it looks roughly like a bun-meat-bun sandwich. Others have insisted that it looks much more like a triple hot-dog, but they’ve thus far been unsuccessful in winning the public’s hearts and minds. The idea behind the hamburger menu is that you can use it to hide site navigation on smaller screens, showing it only when the user clicks the icon instead of always showing it (which was the previous norm).

Run Flash & Java on iPad and iPhone with Virtual Chrome, Virtual Firefox and AlwaysOnPC in a secure streaming cloud computing environment. – To see more click on the link below:

 

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Posted by at 13 August , 2015

VirtualBrowser for Firefox with Flash and Java is the only app that allows you to play MMO games like Stormfall: Age of War on your iPad or iPhone.

Download Stormfall: Age of War for VirtualBrowser for Firefox

It’s true. Our VirtualBrowser for Firefox app available on the Appstore for both iPhone (Download Here) and iPad (Download Here) is the only place you can play Flash and Java games like Stormfall: Age of War.

Stormfall: Age of War is a competitive Massive Multiplayer Online game or MMO. If you do a search for Stormfall: Age of War on your iPad or iPhone it takes you to the Plarium hosted page which redirects you to the Appstore to download the iPhone app for another game Stormfall: Rise of Balur. Why would you want to download another app for a game that you could play online anytime with VirtualBrowser for Firefox?

Step 1: Attempt to Download Stormfall: Age of War for iOS (Screenshot from iPad)

Step 2: Download an entirely different app for iPhone only (Screenshot from Appstore on iPad)

Watch this video to see that playing Flash and Java games is as easy as downloading VirtualBrowser for Firefox!

virtualbrowser for Firefox App Store Button Download

 

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Posted by at 10 August , 2015

AlwaysOnPC and VirtualBrowser for Firefox has a solution for an interchangeable tablet to desktop ecosystem running Flash and Java on the iPad and iPhone.

A shiny new iPad at $499 or an expensive (and yes, shiny) new PC or Mac at $1000 dollars? You do the math. The price of consumer Personal Computers and Tablets is the deciding force behind what type of machine you will purchase. Although the “Overall shipments of tablets and 2-in-1 devices fell to 47.1 million in the quarter, a 5.9 percent decline from the same quarter a year ago according to preliminary research data, IDC said.”  - via TechCrunch. The demand for tablets is still significant at 47.1 million shipments. Yet many consumers are still left with the impression that a tablet can replace a PC.

How does AlwaysOnPC and VirtualBrowser for Firefox solve this issue?

In 2010 we saw the future (but more importantly the need) and came up with our own virtual PC cloud solution. Instead of having users connect remotely to a work server and launch your own windows desktop; we’ve given you the ability to have your own powerful Desktop PC solution that is hosted by our servers and maintained by us. In turn you can work from anywhere without worrying about if the connection to your work computer/server is up and running. The price is also a good deal at $8.99 for the year.

Since then there have been many attempts to create Virtual Cloud Desktops. Some have failed, others well the solution is still not quite as thought out. The facts are pretty clear With 64% of the average American household between the ages of 12 to 64 owning a tablet – Source Tabtimes.com  the need for a mobile tablet solution is already here. There are other competitors in this space that are attempting to “solve” this issue. Take a look at Paperspace, this is short description via TechCrunch on what Paperspace is trying to do, “Paperspace is different because it’s aiming to wrap up a similar service in terms of accessing a remote, cloud computer, but offering it through an easy-to-use console where everyday consumers can just click a button to log into their upgraded, more powerful remote machine.”

The caveat with Paperspace is the fact that you still have to buy a hockey pucked shaped disk that houses a small computer to connect to the machine. This does nothing to solve the portability issue and at $50 dollars is a no go for many consumers. There are countless other attempting to create a space for themselves in this market but for the time being we offer a great solution to the 64% of iPad owners looking for a person pc as an in between when carrying your laptop isn’t an option.

The Future of a “Post PC” World

There was an interesting article posted by tech media site The Verge on August 9, 2015. The title staunchly put it “There’s no such thing as post-PC” you can read more about it here. This article laid out the ground work as to how consumers and professionals use tablets and PC’s interchangeably with the claim that “You use your smartphone as much as your laptop because it’s just another PC”. 

If you think about it the argument could be held as true. Think about how you use your computer, tablet and mobile device? Do you use your tablet as a consumption device to browse websites, watch videos, send emails? What we are trying to continue to provide is the ability to access a virtual desktop from this device as an in between computer for when you don’t have access to your regular desktop.

We are just providing another flavor of Personal Computing to allow you to work uninterrupted.

 

 

 

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Posted by at 7 August , 2015

Weekend Reading

Outspoken Investor Chris Sacca Backs Jack Dorsey As Next Twitter CEO

As Twitter marches closer to selecting its next CEO, outspoken early investor in the company Chris Sacca has made his personal choice known.

In a multi-part tweet storm, Sacca backs up his reasoning for wanting Dorsey back in the saddle. First and foremost is his product vision. Twitter’s previous CEO, Dick Costolo, stepped down in July after announcing his departure in June.

Why do so many people love Material Design?

I have been reading and studying about Material Design for some time. I haven’t done a design or development following the guideline, so probably you’re wondering how I write about it, well… I’m actually familiar with it.

 

 

Two Charts That Prove Why Amazon Is Now Worth More Than Walmart

After their last earnings report, Amazon surpassed Walmart’s market valuation.  Despite the obvious fact that one company is focused on offline while the other is largely online, the two businesses are remarkably similar.  Let’s take a deeper look to understand the uncanny similarities.

 

Designing Custom Images For Your Online Content, Faster!

Visual elements are a huge part of online publishing. Whether you are creating social media updates, blog posts, eBooks or slide decks on SlideShare, if your post contains images, then you’ll get exponentially better engagement.

 


Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by at 5 August , 2015

Consider this, we’re all engaged with our smartphones. Wether we are checking our Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Kik (insert your favorite social app here) to see what our friends are up to the need to communicate and connect is engrained in our DNA. We are completely and utterly hooked on the ephemeral moment.

Snapchat message screen

1. Connecting Instantly

Why do we feel that compelling urge to connect instantly? There is a good read on Techcrunch on the debate of Ephemeral vs. Perpetual Messaging. One of the points that stood out was this, “This desire for these apps comes from the unnatural state of current online social communication. In real life, all communication happens within a context and people only have a limited identity in that context.” So what does this mean? In the setting of all these social apps the goal is to create an extension of your personality to continually exist wether you are present or not. Your digital persona is alive and present in the digital context of the app.

2. Oversharing of the moment.

Another topic that is currently centered around this category of apps is the element of oversharing. Teens have a much higher propensity to overshare without realizing that in the future, an employer will find out what they did in high school. These apps leave a digital footprint that while claims of the traces of your kick ass summer party are gone this may not always be the case. That fleeting moment that disappears gives a false sense of privacy and security on the users end. Compound that by friends who screen-grab and post to other social sites and you’ve got a good chance that your ephemeral moment isn’t going to be only seen by those closest to you.

3. You can be who you want to be Online…

Take a look at the chart below on this post about how messaging app Kik is claiming higher engagment than Snapchat at 200 million registered users. The numbers are skewed towards a younger demographic of high school aged students. But really look at that the key metric here which is the amount of time spent within the app at 39 minutes (on Kik). On average between the 3 major messaging apps presented you have users spending on average 27 minutes sharing pictures, videos, gifs, links and silly doodles.

Graphic on app usage by age group

This is more than enough time to curate an outward facing person that will show people what you want them to know about you. This creates a narrative that not only engages but creates that value to you as a brand. The minute we don’t want to use it or grow out of that demographic you can easily delete your traces and start fresh on another social network of your choosing.

In essence you are creating an illusion that you can always get out of whenever the moment strikes.

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Posted by at 3 August , 2015

I recently stumbled upon a couple interesting articles on Medium on how niche messaging apps are currently flooding the market. This made me wonder about how our own recent efforts to introduce PicsCast a private picture app fits into this whole ecosystem.

Screenshot of iPhone Messaging Apps

Let’s face it this is a tough market to tackle. Your are fighting with a lot competitors in this space. You have a whole slew of use cases, all focused on the single goal of a dominant communication platform. Everyone’s heard of Slack’s meteoric rise to the top of the B2B internal messaging ecosystem unseating such popular work messaging systems such as Microsoft Lync, Skype, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger for Business, etc. The underlying theme is users are craving away to with each other in the simplest way possible and it all starts with sending a message. This means removing complex and unproductive user interfaces and growing as mobile first products.

So Why Does it Matter?

Good question! Messaging as a platform is here to stay. I wouldn’t be surprised if many companies start to move in this direction to create more integrated ecosystems that begin with the chat experience. The need to communicate and show your life to others is a basic human need. That’s why you see so many people glued to their phones. The need to connect is there and these platforms provide the instant ability connect with others regardless of what the platform the content is delivered on.

Messaging is becoming its own operating system.

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