Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Fantastic Set Of Web Development Analysis Tools have pulled together a fantastic set of links to all sorts of web standards and performance tests. Well done guys!

Useful Free Web Tools For W3C Contrast Compliance

Here are a couple of very useful web based tools for checking W3C compliance.

The first by Johnathan Snook enables you to check the colour contrasts of your theme for W3C compliance when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen. The tool will indicate that the colours pass the test if both the colour difference and the brightness difference exceed their threshold. It will indicate that it sort of passes if only one of the two values exceed their threshold. And finally, it'll fail to pass if neither value exceeds its threshold.

The tool will also indicate if the colours pass the newer WCAG 2.0 contrast ratio formula. The WCAG 2.0 formula differentiates between text smaller than 18pt text larger than 18pt (or text that is bold and larger than 14pt). For AA compliance, text should have a ratio of at least 4.5:1 (larger text, at least 3:1). For AAA compliance, text should have a ratio of at least 7:1 (larger text, at least 4.5:1).

The second by Juicy Studio enables you to check your CSS for validity against the W3C's validation service, along with a colour contrast test, and a test to ensure that relevant sizes are specified in relative units of measurement.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Funny Indian Airlines TV Advert

I found this on the XO Blog, made my chuckle so that I'd share :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Google Maps In Your Audi

Google & Audi have announced they will collaborate to build a Androide based saterlite navigation system into the R8.  Drivers will be presented with 3D satellite imagery, terrain information, and a variety of locational points augmented with useful data such as Wikipedia entries. It doesn't end at the car interior though, Audi A8 drivers will be able to search and send business directories and addresses from the office desktop computer prior to actually getting in front of the wheel.  More....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

extreme transaction processing patterns and write behind caching

Below is the intro to a great article by Lan Vuong posted on InfoQ about extreme transaction processing patterns and write behind database caching.

Applications typically use a data cache to increase performance, especially where the application predominantly uses read-only transactions. These applications directly update the database for changes in the data. The issue here is that as the load increases then the response time on these updates grows. Databases are not good at executing lots of concurrent transactions with a small number of records per transaction. Databases are much better at executing batched transactions.

Eventually, the database will saturate the CPU or disks and at that point the response time will rise as additional load is added. Conventional in-memory caches are also limited to only storing what can fit in the free memory of a JVM. Once we need to cache more than this amount of data then thrashing occurs where the cache continuously evicts data to make room for other data. The required record must then be read continually thereby making the cache useless and exposing the database to the full read load.

There are several products currently available, including IBM® WebSphere® eXtreme Scale, Oracle Coherence, and Gigaspaces that allow all of the free memory of a cluster of JVMs to be used as a cache rather than just the free memory of a single JVM. This allows the capacity of the cache to scale as more JVMs are incorporated. If these JVMs are on additional physical servers with CPU, memory and network, then this allows scalable servicing of read requests. They can also provide scalable servicing of update requests by leveraging their write-behind technology. The scalability of write-behind caching makes it ideal to handle extreme transaction processing (XTP) scenarios. XTP is defined by Gartner as "an application style aimed at supporting the design, development, deployment, management and maintenance of distributed TP applications characterized by exceptionally demanding performance, scalability, availability, security, manageability and dependability requirements.”

In this paper, we will illustrate how to optimize the performance of an application by leveraging the write-behind pattern with examples using IBM WebSphere eXtreme Scale. The write-behind function batches updates to the back-end database asynchronously within a user configurable interval of time. The obvious advantage of this scenario is reduced database calls and therefore reduced transaction load and faster access to objects in the grid. This scenario also has faster response times than the write-through caching scenario where an update to the cache results in an immediate update to the database. In the write-behind case, transactions no longer have to wait for the database write operation to finish. Additionally, it protects the application from database failure as the write-behind buffer will hold changes through memory replication until it can propagate them to the database. more....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Performance profile your web pages with Speedtracer for Chrome

Speed Tracer is a tool to help you identify and fix performance problems in your web applications. It visualizes metrics that are taken from low level instrumentation points inside of the browser and analyzes them as your application runs. Speed Tracer is available as a Chrome extension and works on all platforms where extensions are currently supported (Windows and Linux).
Using Speed Tracer you are able to get a better picture of where time is being spent in your application. This includes problems caused by JavaScript parsing and execution, layout, CSS style recalculation and selector matching, DOM event handling, network resource loading, timer fires, XMLHttpRequest callbacks, painting, and more.  Learn more and download at.....

Google Chrome for Mac is finally here

Google Chrome for Windows has been around for a while now and has been building a steady following based on it's lighting fast speed in comparison to IE.  Now Google have launched an 'official' Mac OSX version although only for Intel based machines.  It appears to only be a cut down version and a little flacky but Google say they will release a further 'stable' beta in January.  Download....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Build your Flex applications natively for multiple mobile platforms

ELIPS Studio3, winners of the OSEO prize at the Deloitte Technology Fast50 2009 launches free beta program. Looks like it should be worth signing up...........

Mobile Application Development in Flex Builder!  ELIPS Studio 3 is a plug-in for Adobe Flex Builder, a widely used IDE for internet & desktop application. Our plug-in allows Flex to go mobile!

Use services from our Mobile Flex FrameworkThe product offers a mobile-optimized Flex Framework, plus numerous Flex extensions, including mobile UI components & access to mobile device features (voice call, SMS, access to calendar and contacts, to the camera, etc.)

Build for the Mobile Platform you wantELIPS Studio 3 is based on a native runtime.
It will automatically generate, optimize and package your Flex applications as native code for industry-leading platforms, including iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android, etc. One code base for all platforms... and unforeseen performances!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Clay Shirky talking at TED about Social Media

Well worth a watch for a in-depth analysis of the topic

What makes Google Chrome So Fast

A great series of technical presentations on the three key techniques that haven given Google Chrome it's incredible speed:-
  • DNS pre-resolution
  • V8 JavaScript engine
  • DOM bindings and more

AS3 Performance Testing Harness by Grant Skinner

Another tool in your toolbox in the quest for super quick applications. Keep up the great work Grant!

Performance test has been updated with support for synchronous tests and integration with unit testing and test driven development

Flash on the iPhone

Flash on the iPhone is here......  Get the overview at Adobe Labs

And here is a link to Mike Chambers excellent presentation on how it all works

Recommended read - Flash & Flex Developers Magazine

Bi-monthly and FREE magazine - the leading source of Flash/Flex practical knowledge. Each issue contains articles, tutorials, listings, codes, promotional offers that may give you many benefits! Check the issues.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The 6 tribes of Homo Digitalis

UK's mobile and broadband provider TalkTalk have up with the University of Kent to conduct the first Digital Anthropology Report, in search of homo digitalis. The aim was to go beyond traditional research methods and get a true understanding of how technology fits into people’s lives, by looking at people’s attitudes and behaviours to technology and communications more generally.

There are some people who think that modern technology is always a bad thing, damaging human relationships and causing us to spend more time in front of a screen and less time face-to-face with other people. On the other hand, the technology behind the screen allows us to stay in touch with people who were previously very difficult or wholly impossible to reach.

They found six distinct “clusters” of consumers, which we called our Six Tribes. Download full report

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google to Retire Gears for HTML5

According to Mashable in a statement to the L.A. Times via email, a Google spokesperson confirmed that Google is shifting its focus away from Gears toward HTML5, and encourages developers to do so, too. This means that while they’re looking forward to a time when users can enjoy an offline-supported Web experience courtesy of HTML5, they’re “letting the sun set on its Gears project.”

Part of the shift in focus pertains to Google’s Chrome browser. While Google Chrome for PC includes Gears, the Mac version (which should be released any day now) won’t support the program. Apparently, there were technical issues that would make using Gears in Chrome for Mac problematic, especially since Gears isn’t compatible with the Snow Leopard operating system.
The following is the original statement from Google, as well as a subsequent assertion made after the L.A. Times published their story:
“We are excited that much of the technology in Gears, including offline support and geolocation APIs, are being incorporated into the HTML5 spec as an open standard supported across browsers, and see that as the logical next step for developers looking to include these features in their websites.”
“We’re continuing to support Gears so that nothing breaks for sites that use it. But we expect developers to use HTML5 for these features moving forward as it’s a standards-based approach that will be available across all browsers.”

Check out from Volkswagen, it's brilliant!

The Fun from Volkswagen is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

Three fabulous videos:-

Influential Islamic Finance Conference

More than 1,200 industry decision-makers from over 50 countries are preparing to meet in Bahrain at the 16th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2009).  This year's conference, to be held from December 6-8, will focus on new strategies for new economic realities and WIBC 2009 has set the stage for discussions that will shape the post-crisis landscape as Islamic banks grapple with the need to manage risk, seek new growth markets, deliver on market expectations as well as remain competitive.  The theme of WIBC 2009 reflects this fresh outlook that the leading Islamic financial institutions are currently adopting as they compete in an increasingly challenging landscape.  Read this rest of the article on Gulf Weekly

Reserve Bank Of India opposes mobile banking

It is seen that there is strong opposition from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the home ministry has forced the government to drop the idea of a cost effective, convenient and efficient mobile-based model of financial services that allows transfer of funds outside the banking system. The RBI is concerned that regulating the system will be difficult and it would cause uncontrolled credit creation outside the banking system. The home ministry is concerned about the misuse of the facility from a security consideration.

But then Telecom industry which was abuzz till now with mobile banking coming in, and telecos were happy that they could reach out to more no. of people through this service and provide banking system for more people across the country, but then I guess that will never happen now, as RBI and the home ministry is opposing the move.

Check out the discussion on

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Contactless mobile payments

This is a very detailed paper on the evolution of contactless mobile payments by Stephen J. Ezell a senior analyst with the information technology and innovation foundation (itif)It's long but well worth a read, download pdf

New iMac - I sooooo want one :)

What next for the internet

This is a must read presentation for anyone interested in the evolution of the internet and the coming trends for 2010. Download

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Flex-ActionScript3 MDI (Application Multiple Document Interface)

Marcelo Marmoni of ATS has continued the flexlibs & Flexmdi project to build out a very nice 'windows' like environment within Flash under an MIT license so you can do anything you want with it. Nice one Marcelo!

You can find the code or download it here:
Or you can see an online example here: 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WebPageTest : Where web sites go to get fast!!

Matt Cutts mentioned this tool in an interview with Mike McDonald at Pubcon 2009.

UBank auction USB stick signed by social media expert and pop star MC Hammer

SPDY: An experimental protocol for a faster web

This time a great intiative from Google on speeding up the web. Exec summary below but well worth a read of the full article for those of you who also want greasy fast lighting speed from your web sites.....

Exec Summary
As part of the "Let's make the web faster" initiative, we are experimenting with alternative protocols to help reduce the latency of web pages. One of these experiments is SPDY (pronounced "SPeeDY"), an application-layer protocol for transporting content over the web, designed specifically for minimal latency. In addition to a specification of the protocol, we have developed a SPDY-enabled Google Chrome browser and open-source web server. In lab tests, we have compared the performance of these applications over HTTP and SPDY, and have observed up to 64% reductions in page load times in SPDY. We hope to engage the open source community to contribute ideas, feedback, code, and test results, to make SPDY the next-generation application protocol for a faster web.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Agile vs Waterfall : A visual introduction

A very insightful video by chrisspagnuolo

Traditional Requirement Gathering - Absolutely Brilliant

I stumbled upon this video which The was originally made for a one-time only showing at the 2007 iRise user conference held in Las Vegas. Made me laugh out load!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Who Wants To Build UI's When You Can Build Apps - 280North ATLAS

This is a really great demonstration by Francisco Tolmasky co founder of 280 North of their new development tool for building Cappuccino applications. In addition to managing your project files and editing code, it includes a powerful visual layout tool for designing your interfaces without ever having to touch code. Designers are empowered to interact with their designs instantly, which means programmers get to finished applications faster.

Recomend you sign up for the Beta program here

Introducing Atlas: A Visual Development Tool for creating Web Applications by Francisco Tolmasky from Carsonified on Vimeo.

10 Consumer Trends For 2010

Some good insight into the social trends that could infleunce products and services in 2010 from

Official Solar Charging Case for iPhoneTM 3G/3GS

For all those of you who can't make the day on a single charge!

With NOVOTHINK's hybrid solar charger case, you can now power up your iPhone literally anywhere under the sun. Our solar panel technology enables you to be part of the solar energy solution.

Click link to purchase from Bigpond $99.95 + $12.95 P&P

Monday, November 16, 2009

Static Analysis tool for Action Script 3 - Flex PMD

FlexPMD is a tool released by Adobe that helps to improve code quality by auditing any AS3/Flex source directory and detecting common bad practices, such as:

Unused code (functions, variables, constants, etc.)
Inefficient code (misuse of dynamic filters, heavy constructors, etc.)
Over-complex code (nested loops, too many conditionals, etc.)
Over-long code (classes, methods, etc.)
Incorrect use of the Flex component lifecycle (commitProperties, etc.)
A report is produced describing the violations of a given rule set. FlexPMD includes a rule set that is broad ranging and continually growing. It is also straightforward to create new rules and users are encouraged to do so.

An Engineer's Guide to Bandwidth

Anouther great performance article from the guys at Yahoo, this time by Carlos Bueno
Software Engineer, Yahoo! Mail..........

Using the iPhone 3G as your minimum bandwidth devices for web browsing is starting to look like a very sensible thing to do. We are so used to broadband that we have become lazy with web2.0 richness. However as mobile becomes the new device of choice your funky web2 site can be basically unusable. So don't waste time and money creating 'lite' versions put your site on a diet, whilst maintaining all the funk and as a consequence reduce your cost of ownership.

Web graphic optimisation tool

Image optimization is an art few have mastered. Useful image editing tools exist that allow images to be edited to reduce their file size while retaining image quality. Using these tools is a good start for optimizing images, but more can be done using advanced tools like uses optimization techniques specific to image format to remove unnecessary bytes from image files. It is a "lossless" tool, which means it optimizes the images without changing their look or visual quality. After runs on a web page it reports how many bytes would be saved by optimizing the page's images and provides a downloadable zip file with the minimized image files.

This link gives you the ability to optimize six images at a time, however if you use the same function in YSlow report it will optamize all images on a page in one go. Detials of Firebug and YSlow can be found by seaching this blog.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Microsoft Surface Demo: Barclays Premier Lounge

Barclays new concept branch in Piccadilly

Animator vs Animation

Just click on the link, click on play, then leave the mouse alone, sit back and enjoy a piece of creative brilliance. Copywrite Alan Becker 2006

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

UBank Moneybox video download links

For all those people who have asked me for files they can use in presentations below are the links you need. The files are .flv so need the flash player plug in but are about a manageable size. As always if you do use any of this content please provide the appropriate aknowledgement to as they own and retain all the copywrite ©

Saving Is The New Spending
S1Eps9 Money

S1Eps10 All About Savings
S1Eps8 How The Share Market Works
S1Eps7 PaylessTax
S1Eps6 Supperannuation
S1Eps5 Enoughism
S1Eps4 Property vs Stocks
S1Eps3 Aussie Dollar
S1Eps2 Recession
S1Eps1 Credit Crunch

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thomas Cook Corporate FX TVC

Twiggtowers is very excited by the success of Thomas Cook CFX, powered by FXpayport

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Agile Demystified

This is a fantastic paper written By Allan Kelly, consultant and author of Changing Software Development: Learning to Be Agile (2008) that encapsulates and answers just about all the questions and concerns I get asked by people about Agile. It is a 10 minute must read for any business or project person, even if you are the most ardent waterfall advocate.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quickly validate your website against W3C standards

This validator checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. If you wish to validate specific content such as RSS/Atom feeds or CSS stylesheets,, or to find broken links, there are other validators and tools available.

FlexMonkey automated test tool

Gorilla Logic, the firm known for delivering enterprise application development resources with a 10X productivity and quality benefit, today announced their open-source, automated testing tool for Adobe Flex applications.

Very cool....

A bit of UBank halloween fun :)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Star cast includes:-
  • Paul G
  • Twiggy
  • Heir Schorkel

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Realy usefull international meeting planner

The future of the mobile internet

This is a must see presentation for anyone wanting to understand the challenges and possibilities of internet on mobile devices.  It's a bit technical in parts but every business person interested in the future of mobile should watch.  Learn how a few simple decisions could be the difference between success and failure.  There is some real potential competitor differentiation contained in this presentation.........

Great article on web site performance best practice

Just because your site is 'Rich' is doesn't have to be slow. This article written by the Yahoo Exceptional Performance team, brings together the experiences of some of the biggest sites and provides some great coding standards and ideas for 'new site' migration.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free Flex swf security vulnerability scan from HP

This is a nice little automated tool that looks for all the standard web coding vulnerabilities but does it for a Flex application.

Oracle Open World Presentation

The UBank story seems to grow more popular every day. Had a great turn out at my presentation today at Oracle Open World in San Francisco.

Handy website performance profiling tool

Have been very impressed with Yslow a plug in for Firefox Firebug. Really simple and easy and covers all the basics

"YSlow grades web page based on one of three predefined ruleset or a user-defined ruleset. It offers suggestions for improving the page's performance, summarizes the page's components, displays statistics about the page, and provides tools for performance analysis, including™ and JSLint. "

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oracle Global Financial Services Leadership 2009 Summit

Just finished speaking at the Oracle global financial services leadership summit in Hong Kong. Seemed to be well received, well at least no one hurled anything :)