Cloud Four Blog

Technical notes, War stories and anecdotes

PhoneGap at Mobile Portland Tomorrow, Monday, August 24th

Simply put: if you are a web developer that has ever dreamt of building an iPhone or Android application and selling it in the respective app stores, you can’t afford to miss Mobile Portland tomorrow night.

Why? Because Brian LeRoux, from Nitobi, is flying in from Vancouver B.C. to talk about PhoneGap. PhoneGap is an open source project that allows you to build iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile applications using web technology and distribute them via the various app stores.

So there you have it. One of the lead developers of an extremely cool tool for building mobile apps in town for one night only. Clear your calendar and join us.

RSVP on Upcoming so we can make sure we have enough food and beverages for everyone. And please join us after the event at Produce Row Cafe for a late dinner and drinks.

What does “Mobile” mean?

Tonight at Mobile Portland, there will be a presentation about Moblin. Moblin is an open source operating system for netbooks and mobile internet devices.

This presentation has caused me to reconsider what we mean when we say “mobile?”

Usually when I’m say mobile, I’m talking about almost exclusively about mobile phones. I’m interested in mobile phones because they go everywhere with people and they are nearly always connected to the Internet.

However, it’s not a stretch in any way to think of the iPod Touch as simply an extension of Apple’s iPhone plan. If you forget about the iPod Touch simply because it isn’t a phone, you miss out on a significant number of iPhone OS users.

So if we include the iPod Touch, should we also include devices like the PlayStation Portable which also includes Wi-Fi and Internet browsing?

Photo of PlayStation Portable browser

PlayStation Portable Browser from http://www.flickr.com/photos/webmink/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What about Netbooks? Both Moblin and Google Chrome OS are designed to compete for these new devices that place a premium on mobility instead of the horsepower that we’ve become accustom to when thinking about laptop computers.

And why not laptop computers? I was reading article recently that talked about the impact mobility has had on large businesses. The article wasn’t talking about mobile phones. It was focused on laptops instead of desktop machines.

Finally, there are these new devices that aren’t quite phones, but aren’t laptops or netbooks either—the Mobile Internet Device (MIDs).

Photo of MIDs

MIDs from http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshb/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

MIDs are larger than smartphones, but smaller than netbooks and tablets. They often have touchscreens and small keyboards. They are designed primarily for web usage.

How do MIDs fit with other mobile devices?

I’m not sure. At the moment, I’m not sure where we draw the line between any of these devices.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons I’m so happy we’re getting a chance to hear from some of the developers of Moblin today at Mobile Portland.

If you haven’t RSVP for Mobile Portland yet, please do so now. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn more about these new devices and what open source can contribute via the Moblin initiative.

Welcome, Megan!

We’re excited to welcome Megan Notarte (@megnotarte) to Cloud Four. Megan has extensive experience as both a project manager and developer, most recently as the IT Manager at Oregon Real Estate Forms.

Megan will be helping us mostly in a project management role, but we will be putting her development skills through the paces, too.

We feel fortunate to be growing during these challenging economic times–and we feel particularly lucky to have someone of Megan’s caliber joining us. We think she’s going to contribute a lot to our company right away, but we also expect her to help shape what comes next for Cloud Four.

Cloud Five?

During the hiring process, the most common question we got asked was whether or not we would change our name to Cloud Five.

The simple answer is no.

We picked Cloud Four not because of the four founders, but instead because we wanted a name that represented our values and our roots.

We wanted a name that conveyed transparency and openness. A cloud has those characteristics while also being something with substance. And as Portlanders, we see our fair share of clouds.

Those values and characteristics are not changing as we grow. The qualities of the name that originally appealed to us remain true no matter how many people we have in the company.

We’re excited about what comes next and we’re very happy to have Megan as part of our team.

Mobile Portland Turns One Today

In late 2007, we realized that while there were numerous user groups in Portland, that there wasn’t one focused on mobile development. We decided to start one.

None of us had ever started a user group before. We bought a great domain name—mobileportland.com—and started scheming.

In February of 2008, I was scheduled to give a presentation at PDW Web Innovators on the upcoming mobile tsunami.

On the day of the presentation, I turned to Aileen and said, “I think we should announce Mobile Portland tonight. Any chance you can put up a quick web page?”

Nothing endears you to your coworkers like last minute requests for a web site when you’re already busy with client work.

In just a few hours, Aileen not only created a web page, but also created Mobile Portland’s distinctive mobile rose image.

Our first meeting was in March of 2008 at eROI. The PSU Business Accelerator hosted us for a couple of months before we found our home at About Us.

From that humble beginning, the group has grown to average between 30 to 40 people per month. Nearly 300 people are signed up for meeting announcements or the Google Group. Interest in mobile continues to grow.

Tonight we celebrate the one year anniversary with a great presentation on Mobile Web Development (RSVP). And we couldn’t have picked a more appropriate person for the one anniversary.

Gail Rahn Frederick has been a mobile developer for many years. She recently started teaching classes on mobile web development in her spare time.

When asked why she decided to start the class, she said that she felt disconnected from other mobile developers in the Portland area and figured teaching was one way to help build the community.

Those are the same reasons why we started Mobile Portland.

If you are in the Portland area, we’d love to see you tonight. If you’re a web developer, I highly recommend tonight’s presentation. And if you can’t come tonight, please join us at one of the future meetings.

Thank you to everyone who has attended meetings or joined the mailing lists for making this group a success. Thank you in particular to AboutUs for being such wonderful and gracious hosts. We’re excited to see the organization grow and change in the coming years.