Mobile Computing Apps Archive

Sports Scoreboard Apps–Relevant to the Olympics


Follow the 2012 Olympic games on your iOS or Android phone | CNet

My Comments

London 2012 Official Results App

London 2012 Official Results App

Whatever side of the world you are on, you will be wanting to keep tabs on the Olympic Games in London. For example, you may want to know whether your country is clawing the Gold medals or a favoured athlete is performing well in the sport you are watching. It can even extend to knowing when a new world record has been set or broken.

But the problem is that you may be watching it during that Olympics party that you are attending or hosting at home and everyone runs in to the living room for that key race where that record is being set or broken. Or you are watching an Olympics event in that crowded bar and you want to make sure you can get that drink without missing that record-breaker or gold-medal performance. A good thing to do is to equip your smartphone with an Olympics sports-scoreboard app. Like most apps of this kind, these are offered for free by a sports publisher or broadcaster or one of the official sponsors of the sport.

These apps will benefit people who are on the other side of the world where the activities occur overnight and they may not be able to follow them in real time. Here, the sports scoreboard apps can be useful for checking on the scores for the events that just occurred as part of starting your day’s activities so you can decide whether to watch the replays or not.

Your local official broadcaster, like the NBC in America, may run a scoreboard app for the major mobile platforms. There is also a good scoreboard that is offered by Samsung for both the iOS and Android platforms. This one offers the scoreboard for each of the fixtures as well as a medal tally and the ability to track an event or athlete. The limitation with this is that you cannot track a country team, whether for team-driven or individual-driven sports. ScoreMobile currently offers an “event alert” for medals and breaking news, but nothing more.

It is still worth considering these apps as part of “tooling up” your smartphone or tablet computer for the Olympics so you can have the best value out of these games when you use these devices.

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Two-screen TV viewing a strong trend


The Future Of TV Is Two Screens, One Held Firmly In Your Hands | Fast Company

My Comments

There is something that is becoming a reality with TV. It is where our TV-viewing sessions are involving two screens – one large screen carrying the main video and one smaller screen that we are holding in our hands.

This has been brought about by the popularity of the tablet, laptop and smartphone which are serving the second-screen role.

Some of us may think it is just for checking email or the activities of our Facebook Friends or Twitter followers. But a fair bit of this activity is to do with the content itself.

For example, one could be using GetGlue, Fango or other TV-related social networks to find out who is watching this show and what others have to say about it. Similarly, one could be checking the show’s Website and looking at other information and commentary that exists there. These are activities that may not work well on the big screen.

Similarly, most big-screen applications cannot support multiple concurrent logins for social-network or similar uses; and they are typically require “pick’n’choose” or “SMS-style” text entry.

In the case of news, a good quote for this is that “the revolution doesn’t have to be televised”. Here, one could be checking other news resources to verify the veracity of a news story, which can be very difficult during election time. This is augmented through comment feeds and Tweet feeds that are set up during news events like the one I participated in during the UK parliamentary inquire in to the News Corporation phone hacking scandal where I was dropping Tweets in to the feed from a Fujitsu laptop that I was reviewing. Similarly the scoreboard apps that I have mentioned about previously could simply work as an always-live scoreboard display during a sporting event and some sports like cricket or racing may benefit from these apps further by displaying supplementary scores like track position or bowling scores.

Of course, the commercials as we know them will be hamstrung by the two-screen viewing experience. This is more so as the traditional goal of eyeballs at the screen during ad breaks is reduced more. Here one could be following up information on the second screen while the ads play on; as well as visiting the kitchen or bathroom or stoking up the log fire. But the information that one could be following up on can relate to what was in the TV program; or it could be to follow up on something that was advertised during that ad break or a previous ad break.

As I have noticed and observed, this concept of two-screen TV is hard to adjust to for some people, especially the older generation who are more interested in focusing directly on the screen. It may be us simply glancing down at that smartphone or tablet so we can know further what is going on with some events.

I see this as becoming an interesting chain of events as we integrate in to an online and highly-interactive media-consumption life.

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Jumping over from iPhone to Android–Samsung makes it easier


Samsung frees fanboys from iPhone with freeware • Reg Hardware

Download Links

Easy Phone Sync

Android client: Google Play

Desktop Handler: Developer’s download site 

Easy Phone Tunes

Android client: Google Play

Desktop Handler: Developer’s download site

My Comments

Some of you who own iPhones have perhaps thought of jumping over to some nice Android-driven smartphones like the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy S3. But some of you may have built up music, podcast and other data collections using the iTunes software and this is more so if you use a Mac.

Now Samsung have provided an “own-brand” version of Easy Phone Tunes as a data transfer tool to link the Android phone to iTunes. This tool, Easy Phone Sync, is based around an app that is installed on the Android phone and a desktop client that is installed on an iTunes-equipped regular computer that is running Windows or MacOS X.

The commonly-available “Easy Phone Tunes” app is more about syncing your iTunes music library or a subset thereof to the Android device rather than moving across the data like contacts info.

But what I see of this is that it is a step in the right direction to permit iPhone users to jump over to the more open-frame Android environment and also to support heterogeneous mobile-computing environments where there is a mix of Android and iOS devices.

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DLNA now part of Nokia Lumia WP7 phones with Play To app


Nokia’s Play To app now available for Lumia devices, enables DLNA-connectivity – Engadget

“Play To” DLNA App for Lumia’s Already Available in Marketplace | My Nokia Blog

My Comments

A feature that Microsoft should have provided as part of the Windows Phone mobile operating system but provides as part of the Windows 7 desktop operating system is the “Play To” function. Here, it allows you to push pictures, audio content or video content from your device to a DLNA-compliant network media player that can be controlled by other devices.

A question I have pondered about this operating environment is whether one could play content held on the phone or on a DLNA-compliant network media server through that smart TV or network-capable home-theatre receiver using one of these phones. Now the question has been answered with this app being available for the platform.

But, personally, I would like to see this available on the Windows Phone MarketPlace as an app for any WP7 phone and work in a “full” manner with network and local content. This means that it could download content from a DLNA NAS to the phone, play out content to a DLNA device, upload photos and video content to a NAS with DLNA upload functionality as well as cause content held on a media server to be played on a media-renderer device. This could them prove the Windows Phone 7 as part of the industry-standard media management landscape.

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Android now on par with Apple for tablets–what this could mean for printed-content delivery


As tablet use grows, Android use on par with Apple, report says | Mobile – CNET News

My Comments

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet – a 10″ Android business tablet

Over the last year or so, there has been a lot of talk in the newspaper industry about heading to the digital-delivery path, with most newspaper publishers running the idea of offering their mastheads in a digital-delivery form. This has been lately augmented over the past few days of the Fairfax media group announcing their new direction and pushing the idea of a subscription-based digital-delivery arrangement for their two main mastheads, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

When I have heard this kind of talk, the tablet platform that is most often cited and supported for these applications is the Apple iPad. This is because it is seen as the most popular form of tablet computer for this application. But, from the CNET article, it is becoming so that the Android tablet platform is being placed on a par to Apple’s platform, mainly due to Amazon’s Kindle tablets.

I would also find that the Android tablet platform has yielded some capable products like the ASUS Transformer Prime; as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab series and the business-oriented Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet that I just reviewed. These do appeal to users who “know what they are after”. Similarly, the Android platform has also yielded the 7” coat-pocket-size tablets like the Toshiba ATiSo that I reviewed recently.

Toshiba Thrive AT1S0 7" tablet

Toshiba Thrive At1So 7″ tablet

What I would like to see more for this platform is that the newspaper publishers work on integrated app-based newspaper readers for this platform rather than focusing the integrated experience to the iPad. Here, the 7” coat-pocket-size Android tablets could allow a user to have a few mastheads in their coat pocket to read on the train or the Transformer Prime could double as an electronic newspaper.

One platform that I am pleased with is the Zinio platform used for distributing magazines. Here, the effort was to deliver the magazine mastheads to a variety of devices ranging from the iPad through the Android tablets to the Windows and Mac desktop platforms, simply by working on a client program for each of the platforms.

Newspapers could look at developing a platform that allows the development of client apps for different device platforms and allow the user to subscribe to multiple mastheads without cluttering up their device with apps. It may either have to go for an app for each publisher or an app that is supported by multiple publishers and works as an online newsstand.

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App stores moving towards larger downloads – how about dynamic packaging

Lately I have observed Google Play (was Android Market) and the Apple iTunes App Store for iOS moving towards permitting the download of larger deliverable files for their platforms’ apps. What I see of this is a move towards PC-style app packaging where there is an executable image of the program along with separately-packed “library” or “resource” files.

This may yield a limitation with it taking a long time before the app becomes ready to use as well as increased pressure on the bandwidth. The latter issue will affect those of us who use wireless-broadband services because of reduced throughput and increased costs to use these services.

What could be achieved would be to allow the app stores to implement dynamic packaging where the user only downloads what they need rather than the same large package. This would be very handy with game franchises and similar programs which have the same runtime code but users download variants which “expand” the program further. Similarly, there could be developers who build function libraries such as peripheral-interface libraries and share these with other developers. It also appeals to app packages which may be packaged for particular device classes like a “smartphone class” app and a “tablet class” app that exploits the large screen of these tablets.

The app stores should then work towards the dynamic package model when they permit larger deliverable packages for the apps that they provide. This setup can work alongside the other mechanisms like background download or Wi-Fi-only downloading to ease the pressure on the devices and their networks.

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Using your smartphone or tablet with your network-attached storage

Why use your smartphone or tablet with your NAS

There are times when you want to upload or download files from your network-attached storage device using your smartphone or tablet computer. Examples of this include offloading files from a low-capacity device, through making media that you took or acquired through your device available at all times from your DLNA-equipped NAS to simply backing up data held on your device.

Of course, you may simply treat that NAS simply as a network transfer point for your data. Examples of this may include working with documents that you start on an iPad and want to complete on your regular computer or conceptual “rough-shot” pictures that you take you your phone’s camera and want to work with further using Photoshop and other software on your computer.

How is it done

But how am I able to do this with my network-attached storage and my mobile devices? Some network-attached storage devices may use a Web front for the file collections where as others may implement certain extensions to DLNA for uploading and downloading some media files. This latter situation is infact a long-term goal for the DLNA Home Media Network, especially when it comes to shifting or syncing multimedia files like music or images.

These environments don’t necessarily provide a consistent or ideal user experience for the mobile device user. This can typically be due to a Web front that is optimised for desktop use only to DLNA server and client apps not offering the proper sync or file-transfer functionality.

SMB file-manager apps

The preferred method that I would use is SMB/CIFS network file handling which every network-attached storage device supports thanks to Linux’s SAMBA software. Even the USB-linked file servers that are an increasing part of high-end routers like the Freebox units do support SMB as well as the Internet HTTP and FTP file transfer protocols. This has been a standard for regular computing devices with the Microsoft Windows Platform since Windows For Workgroups 3.11, then was exposed to Linux regular computers through SAMBA and has been exposed to the Apple Macintosh platform since MacOS X.

The platform-based mobile devices now can join the SMB party through the use of SMB-enabled file-manager apps. These are typically low-cost or free apps that expose the mobile device’s file system and the SMB file shares (entry points) made available by computers or network-attached storages. Some of them have file-viewer functionality for file types not supported by your device’s file handlers.


Intuitive Commander (App Store – $0.99)

FileBrowser (App Store – $4.49)

Syncsellence (App Store – $5.49, free limited version App Store)


ES File Explorer – I use this on my phone (Android Market)

File Expert (Android Market)

File Manager (Android Market) / File Manager HD (Android Market) – Rhythm Software


File Expert (Blackberry App World – US$1.99)

File Manager Pro (Blackberry App World – US$4.99) – Terra Mobility

ArrangeIt File Manager (Blackberry App World – US$1.99) – Conceptual Designs

The various app stores for the popular mobile-device platforms will list more of the file manager apps with SMB file transfer and you can find them using the terms “SMB file transfer” in your search query.

It is also worth noting that your NAS’s vendor may offer file-transfer apps for their device on the iOS and/or Android platforms so you can transfer the files to their device. These programs may also work with the remote-access functionality that some of the consumer and SMB NAS units provide, thus keeping login credentials for the devices and streamlining the remote-access experience.

Other issues worth highlighting

iTunes-purchased content

You may have problems copying content that you purchased with iTunes on your iPhone or iPad directly to the NAS due to Apple’s setup for these devices. But they have improved the iTunes and iOS setup to allow a user to download the purchased content to an instance of iTunes run on a regular computer even though they purchased it on the iOS device. This works best if the regular computer’s iTunes library is referencing the NAS in question.

People who use iOS platform devices that aren’t updated to iOS 5 will need to tether the device to their iTunes-enabled regular computer. Then they will need to use the “Transfer Purchased Content” option in iTunes to copy the content they bought on the device to the regular computer or NAS.

It will also be important to make sure that audio content is downloaded as MP3 files rather than protected M4A files.

One way that Apple can work this situation out better is to implement read-write ability to iTunes (DAAP) servers for the iPod media-management app in their iOS platform. Here, the software could then support improved “offload” functionality. This may not come about due to Apple’s investment in and their fanbois’ preference for the iCloud as a large-capacity storage service.  But practically-minded Apple enthusiasts could place more value on a NAS as an extra-capacity data store so they know where their iTunes content is all the time.

File-transfer operating conditions

When you transfer files between your mobile devices and the NAS, make sure that you have a strong Wi-Fi signal at your mobile device and that the device has sufficient battery strength. This could be achieved through having the device connected to its charger while the transfer goes ahead.

NAS setup conditions

If you are transferring media files to the NAS, you would need to transfer them to the media folders that are referenced by the media-server software on that device. This may be made easier by using the file manager software’s “bookmark” or “favourites” options to point to the start of the NAS’s media folder tree.

It is also worth keeping other personal and workgroup shares on the NAS simply for backup or transfer purposes and referencing these with your file-manager app.


Once you are able to know that you can use the SMB file transfer method for moving data between your NAS, tablet and smartphone, you can see more value out of these mobile-computing devices.

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Printing from your smartphone or tablet


HP Envy 100 all-in-one printer (D410a)

HP Envy 100 all-in-one printer - you can print to these printers from your smartphone or tablet

Most smartphone or tablet users would like to obtain hard copy of documents or pictures on paper. But at the moment, there is no open and common platform for printing from these devices.

There isn’t even the ability to connect a printer directly to any of these devices and this issue will become more real as more households use these devices. It will extend to other Internet-ended devices like Internet-ended TVs and set-top boxes that are part of interactive TV setups.

There are a few solutions being established by most of the printer manufacturers and all of these solutions require that you use a newer network-enabled printer that is connected to your home network.

Manufacturer-supplied print app

Brother iPrint&Scan mobile app

Brother iPrint&Scan - one of the mobile print apps offered by the manufacturers

The most common solution is to download a printing app from the mobile device’s app store. This method can work if your preferred printer brand is other than Hewlett-Packard because this brand offers different print options that don’t rely on these apps. As well I have installed these apps on to my Android smartphone so I can assess different network printers’ abilities with printing from a smartphone.

These are written by the vendors themselves, usually for all of their recent-issue network-enabled printers and they can print known file types like image files, PDFs or, in some cases, common office file formats. It is also worth knowing that most of these apps allow you to scan photos or documents to your mobile device using your multifunction printer’s scanning facility.

Typically these programs register with the device’s operating system as a file-handler for the file types that they can print. Then, when you open one of these files in the operating system, you have the option to open the file with the printer app; which will list the printers on your network that it has discovered and knows it can work with. Subsequently you select the options that suit your needs, such as paper size or duplex printing, and start the print run.

Apple AirPrint

This works with all Apple iOS devices that are up-to-date with a version of iOS 4.2 or newer. At the moment, it only works with HP ePrint-enabled printers and provides a similar print-job experience as what would be expected for desktop printing.

Apple has yet to release this feature to other printer manufacturers so that people can have a choice of printer to work from.

Google Cloud Print

Google is offering a smartphone printing solution known as Google Cloud Print. This solution, which is immature at the time of writing, requires the use of an HP ePrint-capable printer or certain network-enabled Kodak printers for PC-free network printing. Other printers will require a desktop computer to be running a helper application to collect and forward print jobs to that printer.

At the moment, it works in a similar manner to the printer-manufacturer-supplied app setups where the user has to use the app to print out documents. There is a larger choice of applications as shown on this page for mostly the Android and iOS platforms.


I have covered HP’s ePrint “print-by-email” setup through the review of a handful of ePrint-enabled HP printers. Here, the printer and the smartphone or tablet must see an Internet service for this to work.

As well the printer has to be registered with the HP ePrint service by its owner. Users would have to then send the image, PDF or document file to a special email address that has been determined as part of the printer setup routine. There is the ability to set up a white-list of approved email addresses that can send print jobs to the printer and recently HP enabled the ability for users to determine an easy-to-remember email-to-print address for their printer.

Kodak offers a similar function for some of their network-enabled printers at the moment. But none of the other popular printer manufacturers have established an email-to-print infrastructure that can work with any smartphone or tablet device.

Achieving best results from your mobile-device print setup

An issue that may plague smartphone or tablet users when they print using one of the mobile print solutions, especially the manufacturer-supplied print apps or the Apple AirPrint setup is that the job may be interrupted midway or take an inordinate time to print. It may not be of concern for Google Cloud Print or email-to-print setups because the job would be lodged with an Internet-based server which would resubmit it to the printer.

This can happen if the mobile device isn’t communicating properly with the Wi-Fi network such as through low batteries or being used in an area where there is poor reception. In most cases, it would be a good idea to make sure the battery is charged up or the device is plugged in to its charger; and you are seeing at least three or four bars on the Wi-Fi signal-strength indicator when you are running the print job. This may require you to avoid moving the device around until the print job is complete, which will be indicated on the software.

What can be done

What I would like to see for on-site printing from mobile devices is the use of the UPnP print device classes which I have touched on previously. As well, more printer manufacturers could license or exploit the email-to-print setups that HP and Kodak have established.

As I have said previously, the network printers should also have a larger memory so that  print jobs can be transferred from the client device and held in the printer’s memory until the last page is turned out.


At the moment there isn’t a clear path for setting up a printing solution for your smartphone, tablet computer or similar device that doesn’t need a desktop computer to be available at all times. It all depends on which make and model of printer you are using on your network and, in some cases, what platform you are using for your device.

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Sports scoreboard apps–a very useful mobile app class

ScoreMobile scoreboard app

ScoreMobile scoreboard app

If you look in your mobile platform’s app store, there are quite a few sports apps which turn your smartphone or tablet in to a scoreboard or leaderboard for your favourite sporting events. Some of the scoreboard apps allow you to monitor a particular team’s games, view league ladders or see on-demand video of game highlights. Examples of these include the ScoreMobile apps; and the “Footy Now” / “League Now” apps for the AFL and NRL football leagues respectively; all of which are available on most of the main mobile platforms like iOS and Android.

Most of these apps are free or advertiser-funded and are written in conjunction with companies and other interests associated with the particular leagues or codes that these apps work with  As well, they work via whatever Internet connection your device is using at the moment, whether it’s the Wi-Fi home network, the Wi-Fi hotspot at your favourite bar or the wireless broadband service that you device is associated with. But are they a useful download for your phone or tablet?

I would say that they provide a useful role for any sports followers, whether they watch the game on TV at home or their favourite bar or cafe; or go to the stadium to watch the game.

Footy Now AFL scoreboard app

Footy Now AFL scoreboard app

One key use for people who watch the game in a public place such as the stadium, a large outdoor screen in a square or a packed-out bar, is to have a “handheld scoreboard” that they can glance at  Here, they may not see the scoreboard easily due to them being in the wrong seating position or being further back from the venue’s TV screen.

At home, you could be outside listening to the radio commentary on that small portable radio yet be able to check the scores at a glance. This may then be useful for knowing whether to head inside to see the action on TV and can be a boon when there is confusion in the commentary which can happen with some plays. Two best examples of such a confusing situation is a batsman hitting a run but being caught or run out in cricket or a scoring event (try, goal or touchdown) in a game of rugby, Australian Rules or American football which can be escalated to a higher scoring play.

For Australian readers, this could extend to you having a tablet computer showing the scores for the AFL or NRL Grand Final near the barbecue while you are cooking the meat for the Grand Final lunch.

These apps would also appeal to travellers and expats who like to follow their favourite matches while they are travelling. An example of this was a friend I know who had used one of these apps on his iPhone to follow a baseball game that was taking place in the US while he was over here in Australia. Similarly a Manchester United fan could follow that soccer team’s performance anywhere around the world even if there isn’t a TV broadcast of the games where they are.

League Now NRL scoreboard app

League Now NRL scoreboard app

For these apps to work properly, they need to have proper support for push notification but without placing too much strain on the device’s battery runtime. As well, these apps need to be able to work in a manner that doesn’t take over the processor power of these devices when they are just showing scores. As well, the data backend has to be synchronous to the scoreboard at the actual game in the same manner as what is expected for the TV scoreboard – a football goal appears on the mobile scoreboard app as soon as the pitch umpire declares that goal.

So whether you are an avid sports follower or just casually watch some sporting events like football finals or Grand-Prix car races, the mobile scoreboard apps do have a place on the smartphone and tablet devices.

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At last the iPad has a Facebook client app


The iPad gets a Facebook app, finally | Engadget

The Official Facebook App for iPad Is Finally Here | Gizmodo

Facebook Finally Launches Its Own IPad Application |

Facebook unveils iPad app, new mobile platform for developers | SmartCompany (Australia)

From the horse’s mouth

Introducing Facebook For iPad

Download link

iTunes App Store

My Comments

Previously, I posted an article on the idea of creating and implementing desktop and tablet-computer client programs for popular social-network services. Here I raised issues of optimisation for the host’s user interface, integration with local hardware and software resources as well as system performance issues; compared to software-maintenance and interlinking with service-based advertising as drawbacks.

Now Facebook have released an official client for the Apple iPad tablet computer. This client demonstrates the advantages of a client-side app for the iPad; with functionality like an always-visible presence list, proper response to the touch gestures, “to-the-edge” full-screen photo viewing as well as a multi-column view.

They have also answered a call from people who play FarmVille and similar games by offering the ability to play these games on the iPad using this platform’s Facebook client.

Of course time would tell when a port for this client is made available for the other popular tablet platforms like Android Honeycomb or Blackberry Playbook. But I often wonder whether Facebook will even issue a client application for the Windows or Macintosh desktop-computing platforms.

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