Archive for ‘September, 2012’

v4.7 of DriveSecure Goes Live

Earlier today our client TR Fleet went live with the latest version of their Conduce Software developed Fleet Risk Management application DriveSecure. This fourth phase of development provides tighter integration with third party data partners and a whole new level of self service analytics and business intelligence.

Version 4.7 of DriveSecure features a brand new bespoke reporting module that allows users to build their own reports on the fly to answer ad-hoc queries or to create complex exception alerts. Now with over 800 users of the DriveSecure application TR Fleet are already making plans for version 5 which will include additional data modules and even a mobile app.

Please contact us to find out more about our bespoke software development capability.

Not So Toughbook

The Panasonic Toughbooks that our etechlog runs on are pretty tough. Some of them that we manage have been in service for seven or eight years and despite seeing quite a lot of wear and tear are mostly still intact. However we received a returned exchange unit today where the engineer’s comment was simply “broken screen”. I assumed this might have meant that the backlight had failed as we’ve seen this a few times. I plugged in a charger and switched it on only to find that the screen was indeed broken.

It looks as if there has been quite a heavy impact at the base of the screen, but the screen’s protective film has held it all together. Although the device booted up OK the screen was a little bit hard to read as a result.

We’ve seen quite a few drop tests of these devices and this is the first really serious damage we’ve ever seen. I’d be interested to quiz the engineer or pilot involved and find out how this device finally managed to give up the plot.

Author: Paul Saunders

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Lists v2.0
Etechlog Sneak Peek

Has Apple Jumped the Shark?

The news has been ablaze for the past week with the release of Apple’s flagship product the iPhone 5 and the often maligned iOS6 update. I’ve heard the debate from several users as to whether Apple’s best days are behind them. Here’s my take on the reasons some believe Apple has jumped the shark.

Underwhelming Product Updates
The iPhone 5 certainly doesn’t knock your socks off as a radical new product. Indeed there is little reason to upgrade from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5. Apple doubters have pointed out that there hasn’t been a single product launch since the death of Steve Jobs last year that has really wowed the market. The iPhone 5 is certainly an incremental updates rather than a revolutionary new product. Having said that, the public is still willing to queue for days for the device and pre-sales have outperformed all previous versions of the iPhone.

iOS6 Fiasco

Much has been made of the step back in user experience that was brought about by Apple dropping Google’s YouTube and Maps apps from iPads and iPhones with the release of iOS6. Certainly the Apple Maps product is half baked to say the least. However what is significant is that this move sees the removal of Apple’s biggest competitor from native apps on the device. Apple’s Maps application has been the subject of much ridicule, but sales of the device are not won or lost on maps alone. Besides an iOS Google Maps app is rumoured to be not so far away and Apple’s foray into the maps market is surely bad news for other map software vendors. There was a 15% take up of the new operating system in the first 24 hours. This is an impressive roll out showing no drop off in demand considering that iOS5 took 5 days to reach 20% of devices and Android’s Jelly Bean update not even reaching 2% of devices since launch 2 months ago.

A 7 inch iPad?

One of the key benefits that Apple had over the mobile and tablet competition was the lack of divergence. Whilst you can buy every sized Android device to suit any possible form factor you could possibly desire this is a nightmare for developers who have to either cater for every single screen resolution possibility or focus on individual devices. Up until the release of the iPad 3, Apple’s iPad only came in one size and dominated the market. This meant developers only had to worry about one size and one form factor. Does the rumoured release of the iPad mini or nano mean that developers have divergence to worry about with the iPad as well now? It is rumoured that the new mini device will sport a 7.85 inch screen which with a retina display will allow a screen resolution of 1024×768, the exact same size as the iPads 1 and 2. This means that existing apps written for those devices will just work. There are several use cases such as point of sale and medical applications where a smaller device makes much more sense than a full sized 10 inch device. Could this move see Apple compete directly with the Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD?

Certainly the death of Steve Jobs was a huge and devastating blow to Apple. Few organisations as large as Apple are quite so dependent on one individual as the driving force and public face of the business. Some pundits have tagged new CEO Tim Cook as a caretaker who is keeping the seat warm for future executives like Sir Jony Ive. Steve Jobs left the company on an upward curve and I believe on rails for the next few years. The market changing product launches that we have seen over the past 10 years simply cannot be repeated every decade and it is natural to expect a period of incremental updates as those products become mature and ubiquitous in their respective markets. With news of continued patent wars, connector rip-offs and Foxconn meltdowns, haters are still gonna hate and fan boys are still going to queue round the block for product launches for the foreseeable future in my opinion.

Related Posts:
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Author: Paul Saunders 

Visual Studio 2012 Theme Editor

This blog applies to those who match the following criteria:
  • You are using Visual Studio 2012
  • The default theme is making you feel sick, dizzy and/or nauseous
  • You don’t already know about this extension!
If you want to be able to change the default theme, you can install this extension:
No need to click on the download link, you can do it from inside VS:

1. Open VS 2012
2. Go to Tools > Extensions and Updates…
3. Select “Online”
4. Search for “Color Theme”
5. Select the extension called Visual Studio 2012 Color Theme Editor
6. Install it
7. Restart VS 2012
8. Select new menu option “Theme” from the very top bar (I forget what that thing is called!)
9. Choose your new theme! (blue works well in my opinion)
10. Hey presto – No more headaches and eye strain!!!

Conduce etechlog reaches 10,000 sector milestone

This week the Conduce etechlog reached the milestone of successfully transmitting and receiving the 10,000th sector since go-live at Thomas Cook Airlines in June 2012. That’s around 1000 sectors per week. Thomas Cook use the etechlog on Panasonic Toughbook laptop computers on board all of their aircraft to capture and transmit essential flight operations and engineering data after every flight.

After a successful migration of the service from the previous supplier the Conduce etechlog solution is proving to be a reliable and robust service. Work has commenced to re-platform the software onto alternative operating systems such as Android and Windows 8 as well as integration with additional engineering and flight operations systems.

Please contact us for more information about the Conduce etechlog product.

Waiting for Apple to Review

This week saw the release to the iTunes App Store of the latest version of AircraftIT for iPad, the eJournal reader app that we develop on behalf of AircraftIT. The time taken from submission to the App Store until approval and release was a torturous 11 days for this version 1.6.0.

Although this was a vast improvement in the review process since the early days of the App Store where 21 day turn around times were pretty average, this is the longest approval time for a version update we have seen for a long long time. Even a seven day wait time for approval which has been pretty common for the past 12 months or so is pretty painful. Many a time I have had the status screen of iTunes Connect on permanent refresh.

So what does this mean? Are Apple short-staffed? Have they increased the rigour with which applications are reviewed, or are there simply more apps being submitted? What ever the answer be aware that iTunes Connect application review is currently taking a little longer than you might anticipate right now.

Related Posts:

Presenting on the iPad
[VIDEO] Tablet Strategy Bootcamp
iPad App Submission Timeline

Author: Paul Saunders