Category Archives: Mobile

MerchantCircle Listings Support Mobile Devices Through Responsive Design

mcmobile2 In January launched a site redesign completely restructuring the HTML for the majority of pages on the site. The site redesign is based on a common base class template and architected to afford a great deal of layout flexibility via CSS. This affords the design team to dramatically modify the design of the site without requiring resources of the development team. As an example, take a look at the New Design screenshot from this post, notice the rail appears on the right-hand side whereas today’s listing uses a left-hand rail via CSS best practices.

Our latest efforts supporting mobile follow Google’s preferred guidelines:

Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.

Like most websites our traffic is increasingly moving to mobile and we feel this UX is significantly better than a desktop optimized experience.

MerchantCircle’s New Mobile Listings

mcmobilePreviously I posted about the redesign of MerchantCircle pushed out earlier this year and this week we’ve followed up with a mobile version of business listings. The mobile implementation leverages a lot of markup generation code developed for the desktop version and offers the end user a much better experience on a small screen.

At this point, we’ve working on creating more mobile versions of pages across the site as well as some of the various sign-up, and review flows.

[Update May 2012] Mobile version of listing pages have been taken down. More to come…

Leveraging the Facebook API on Google AppEngine with jQuery Mobile

In the past I’ve built starter kits for Facebook development in ASP.NET and building CruiseControl plugins. My latest interest has been experimenting with Google AppEngine as my day job is all python appserver stuff so it’s a pretty logical fit. I’m slowly putting together all of the pieces I’d like to have in website starter kit including support for jQuery Mobile and Facebook Graph API.

I have a simple proof-of-concept app working here. Btw, as this is a work-in-progress it YMMV and the app may or may not be in a working state so apologies in advance.

Technologies used:

Google AppEngine

Cheetah Templates

Facebook Graph API

jQuery Mobile

Optimizing Wireless Router Performance using Android and Wifi Analyzer

imageWifi Analyzer on Android Wifi AnalyzerPrior to getting my Motorola Droid I hadn’t thought too much about which channel my wireless router was running. In fact, I never really put too much thought into router channels at all though not long after I got my Droid I stumbled into Wifi analyzer and realized my router overlapped at least three others located near by. Fortunately the airwaves aren’t so crowded (at least not yet) finding a free channel was relatively easy.

In case you can’t tell in the image to the right there are 13 wireless routers broadcasting their signal around our house. I wonder if those questioning the new SmartMeters to be installed here in Scotts Valley have checked their existing wireless predicament?

How does your neighborhood compare?

A week in New Orleans on the HTC EVO

HTC EVOAll this week I’ve been in New Orleans at TechEd 2010 using the Google HTC EVO phone that I got while at Google I/O in May. The phone is on free service through Sprint for 30 days and is an incredible piece of hardware with an huge screen, very fast processor that’s been an absolute joy to use even though there are a few UI features/apps from the Droid I prefer. It’s going to be really sad to return to the Droid once the service ends as it runs circles around it.

The Falafel team here with six people has two Motorola Droids, two HTC EVO’s, one iPhone 3GS and one HTC Tilt 2. We taken tons of photos, many of which ended up being immediately posted to Facebook or sent via email. I’ve posted live streaming video to, photos and status updates to Facebook and Google Buzz, listened to podcasts, found directions to restaurants, coffee shops and all sorts of other locations, posted to Twitter read the news, posted updates to the Falafel team on Yammer, sent tons of free SMS messages via Google Voice, identified landmarks using Google Goggles, instant messaged via Meebo, tracked my travel via TripIt, connected to the web via Sprint Hot Spot countless times, scanned barcodes, installed apps and oh yeah, even made a few phone calls!

In fact, this afternoon I was working at a Starbucks connected via the Sprint Hot Spot feature sharing my connection with Falafel’s President John Waters while he was dialed into a GotoMeeting call with other Falafel employees located both here in New Orleans as well as back home in California.

Last night, we were walking along the Mississippi and caught Anderson Cooper filming AC360 where we watched the show streamed over a Slingbox to an HTC Tilt 2 located in Amarillo TX! It’s really amazing what these pocket devices can do and how close you can get to replacing a PC with one.

With Android you can literally pick up a new phone, log in with your Google account and be off in running with your contacts, email and lots of other goodness in minutes. I can’t wait to take a look at the new iPhone though I can’t imagine a case where I’d switch from Verizon to AT&T because at the end of the day I want/need to make phone calls.

As fun as all this has been, I’m ready to go home and see my family again so now it’s time to go to bed because I have to be up in a little over three hours to catch a 5:25am flight home.