Monday, January 12, 2009

Turn Firefox into an iPhone HOWTO

At Sogeti Netherlands we've done our fair share of development for Mobile Devices, but we've only recently started developing specifically for Google Android and Apple iPhone. As we lack experienced colleagues in this field to teach us the tips and tricks, we've got to go out on the net to find out how things work. Sometimes you end up in the weirdest places.

We're an IT company and have a massive amount of laptops and desktops, but guess what, just two Macbooks. One specifically allocated to a client account and one we bought to get a good and working development environment to start programming for the iPhone. There are a few options to develop without a Mac environment, but they're a real hassle. Maybe I'll get into these later.

With only one environment to develop (and a few iphones) we started looking for emulators. Developing and testing Native Applications requires a bit more than developing web applications, so turning your browser into an iphone would help. And in this case we wound up in a strange place... ismashphone. Well, not really the strangest of places when developing for an iPhone, but the context wasn't exactly office material.

Back in may 2008 the ismashphone team reviewed the new Zinio magazine reader for iPhone. Zinio is a distributer for Technology magazines and they were offering a number of magazines to iPhone users for free, including magazines like Penthouse and Playboy, which do have some bits about gadgets and tech to let you have an excuse. The ismashphone team was kind enough to provide you with a hack so you can update your Firefix or Safari browser to act like an iPhone and be recognised as an iPhone.

It seems the hack still is pretty hot, also judging by the fact that the same article (Read MacWorld...) on the Aplletell blog is among the fastest rising blogs on Technorati this week.

In case you're looking for pictures go their, if you want to try out the hack inside your office for serious testing, here's the version without distracting piccies. The hack is rather easy and gives webmasters an easy tool to check how their websites look when visited by an iPhone. Here's the 7 steps to walk through:

Turn Firefox into an iPhone - HOWTO

(by ismashphone)

The Issue: With a few steps you'll be able to turn your computer's Mozilla Firefox into an iPhone browser. This is similar to our post on turning your computer's Safari browser into an iPhone browser.

Why? To access iPhone only websites with your Firefox browser in order to preview them, or to obtain data from iPhone mobile-web targeted sites.

The Lesson:
1. Open your Mozilla Firefox browser
2. In the URL bar, enter "about:config"

3. Right click anywhere on the page, go down to New and over to String

4. You will be prompted to enter the preference name. Enter: general.useragent.override

5. You will next be prompted to enter a "string value". Enter: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419 (United States) 6. Once you have hit OK, you have morphed your Firefox into an iPhone mobile browser! Woo!
Here is a sample of what Google now looks like: Associated Press has made an iPhone only website:
Without this configuration you would not have been able to access this page.

To reverse this process and return to regular Firefox mode, you must go back into "about:config".
Then scroll down to the "general.useragent.override" and right click it. Select Reset.

You're back to regular Firefox.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Playboy gets Dressed

This weeks top story features Playboy getting dressed for the occasion. Playboy getting dressed isn't your typical April Fool's Day prank but a very smart move by the popular magazine, as reported by James Wagner Au at the NWN blog:

Smart Bunny: Playboy Sells Fashion Created And Co-Branded By Second Life Designers

With regular events and a staff of gregarious, frequently dancing Bunnies, Playboy's official Second Life presence, a tropical island club developed by Boston's Green Grotto Studios, is one of the few real world company sites boasting steady visitor traffic. (Direct SLURL teleport at this link.) And unless I missed a previous announcement, it can now claim another title: the first major company to link its brand with Second Life-only brands. In this case, Playboy-branded fashion sold on the official island, but created and promoted by SL designers who are an integral part of the label; among them, KO Designs, Alpha Male, Sharkture, and Simply Spoiled.

Playboy started out in the Metaverse with the opening of the Playboy Island in Second Life in June 2007 (read blogpost here), which surprisingly (for many) didn't become the house of sin in the sex-filled world of Second Life. No actually, there was nothing sexy about Playboy's presence.

This time, everybody is getting fluffy with the bunny as Playboy is now in cohoots with a quality selection of Second Life fashion designers. Reactions from the more marketing oriented blogs are pretty happy about Playboy's move;

Nic Mitham says:

"The company is selling Playboy-branded items on the island created by residents inside Second Life - they are tapping into the expertise incumbent in-world."

And Digodo writes:

"It’s an interesting move because apparently Playboy thinks they can fill a gap the Metabrands have - a recognizable, A-brand that separates the quality from the B products for people who haven’t spend months in Second Life. On the other hand, the metabrands bring ‘good will’ of the existing community to the table, a recognised and appriciated brand amongst people who have spend some time in Second Life and are well rooted into the community.

What the most important thing is, in my humble opinion is that Playboy seem to understand how communities work and that is even more important than getting your product out in the virtual world. I have been very disappointed with the things (the majority of) real world companies have done in Second Life sofar. It's been a marketing trip mostly, and the community just isn't interested. It's time companies skip the promo-attitude blabla and start taking their business into Virtual Worlds.

This would have been easy for Playboy, to bring their business to a Virtual World which is sex-infested according to many. Doing the opposite; getting dressed gets them my respect and it shows they understand the way the Second Life community works. Whereas most brands come in and invite people to 'leave their natural habitat' to come to their island, Playboy is bringing the brand to the community.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007


Last month I wrote on Playboy entering Second Life, well, earlier this week they opened up with a big party -which of course was a USA timezone thingy, too late for me to stay up.

So I probably missed out on a few lightly clad party-animals, cyberchampaign and some music. No big fuzz then. I popped in for a peek to see how the build was done -though Nic warned me:

"This may not be a venue you would perhaps want to visit from work - it’s got a mature rating and most people there do seem to be wearing very little. Of course, you could always convince your boss (or IT department) that visiting the virtual Playboy mansion is in fact a research exercise into leveraging real world media into virtual worlds. Let me know how that goes."

It became PG rated somehow, Partner Guided that is, as I was having coffee with Mrs. Vee.

The Playboy sim is hard to miss on the map, it's logo stands out very clear and the design of the sim is very handsomely build around the trademark bunny. It's probably no surprise the general look and feel are on the sunny side of life, there's a high beach and coconut tree per square inch ratio. Being there from a business point of few I politely turned down "my Happy Meal" who asked me to dance.

The first thing that got me excited had absolutely nothing to do with Playboys' core business, but with simple communication. This is absolutely one of the very few business sims that has an Event Calender! How hard can it be ;)

The pic on the left is something that would please a colleague of mine, who's been immersed in for several years and showed me several mood-pictures from his favorite places, they always had similar signs. On the right is The Cherries, the club "to enjoy formal elegance in an informal setting." Throughout the sim there's music, not only on the audio stream, but interactive music as well, like this harp. Later we'll get to Drum Mountain and inside the store I also saw a piano.

The Playboy Store

The sim's main event is the Playboy Store, which basically has a platform for clothing and apparel (left) and a hovering platform for Playboy movies and mags. (right)

The Sunny side of life

On the sunny side of life there's the Reed Resort, a Tiki shack with a sculpted bunny hostess and free raft rides" The pic on the right shows me doing a modelling pose, one of the many spread throughout the sim.

Then There's Drum Mountain with all sorts of drums and the Grotto, a lush secluded pool paradise for Hugh's private pool delights.

There are a few more elements on the sim, but I'll leave it up to you to explore. I'm a little pressed for time, so this time I'll skip the surfboards.

A short wrap up; unlike Nic's statement the visitors were quite decently clad (must be since I visited during US office hours) and the overall build is well designed and done. On a few occasions I saw prim jitter and cornerpieces that were slightly off. The most positive thing is that it's varied and has an event calendar.


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