Monday, February 28, 2011

Develop cross-platform iPhone and Android games with Corona Mobile Development Platform

Corona SDK is a mobile development framework by Ansca Mobile (established by a team of former Adobe mobile engineers) for creating high-performance, multimedia rich mobile applications and games for the iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Corona SDK uses Lua programming language. Although this is a new language to most application developers, I can assure you that this scripting language is pretty easy to learn and master, much easier than Objective-C, C++ and even Java.

One of the success stories of mobile application developed with Corona SDK is that: a 14 years old kid from Utah, Robert Nay, has developed a popular games with Corona SDK called Bubble Ball, and uploaded it to iTunes App Store. Within a very short period of time, this game has attracted millions of download, outshining the famous Angry Birds games.

The Corona SDK contains an integrated simulator for iPhone, iPad and Android. It also comes with a debugger, and a rapidly growing library of APIs and sample codes. It is integrated with Box2D physics engine, make it easy for games development. It can also take care of different screen size and resolution of mobile devices, and scale the application display accordingly.

Corona SDK is available for Mac OS X and Windows (still beta). It is free for trial during development stage. However, you'll need to pay for the annual Corona SDK Subscription in order to distribute and/or sell your mobile apps developed with it.

You might probably also be interested to read about:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coding cross-platform iPhone, iPad and Android mobile applications in Javascript

Talking about mobile application development, most of us will think about Objective-C for iPhone/iPad and Java for Android devices.

Well, there are at least 2 ways we can produce cross-platform iPhone, iPad and Android mobile applications in Javascript.

One is by using the open source PhoneGap mobile framework by Nitobi Software, which is basically a wrapper that runs your mobile application via the webview browser object and provides some access to native APIs of the mobile platform. The trade-off of using PhoneGap including: slower application runtime, limited access to OS and hardware APIs, web-like user interface (compared with native user interface), etc.

Another way is by using the open source Appcelerator Titanium Mobile development platform, which will compile your Javascript codes into native iPhone, iPad and/or Android mobile application. As a result, the mobile apps developed with Titanium Mobile will have almost the same runtime speed with native apps developed in Objective-C (for iPhone/iPad) and Java (Android SDK).

You will need an Apple Macintosh computer (with Apple iPhone SDK installed) to build iPhone applications with Titanium. You can build Android applications in Apple Mac, Windows or Linux computer, with the Android SDK and emulators installed. This also means that if you are using Titanium in a Mac, it is possible for you to develop cross-platform mobile applications for both iPhone and Android using the same code base.

One of the beauty of Titanium is that it has a rich library of APIs of 30+ modules, 80+ objects, 800+ methods and 2800+ properties  (and still expanding) which enables developers to get the most out of the mobile resources, including resources from Internet such as the Facebook APIs, Yahoo APIs, etc. It even made available a Kitchen Sink demo program, which showcases majority of its available APIs.

Mobile apps developed with Titanium including Sugar Mobile by SugarCRM, eBay Corporate by eBay, GetGlue by AdaptiveBlue, etc.

You might probably also be interested to read about:

Now it is possible to develop Desktop applications (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X) with web programming language (Javascript, HTML, CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby)

For decades, programming for Desktop applications running in Windows, Linux or Mac OS X is a different world from programming for Web applications (LAMP, Django, ASP.Net, etc.).

Developers from the Java world, and the Adobe Flash world, might argue that their development platform can go across Desktop as well as Web application development, and even Mobile application development too. That's true, but the application developed with Java or Flash will have trade-off in performance compared with native applications. There is also limited support to OS level controls, interfaces and functionalities as well.

If you are a Web developer familiar with languages such as Javascript, HTML, CSS, PHP, Python and/or Ruby, have you ever though of using your favourite web programming languages to develop desktop applications that run on Windows, Linux and/or Mac OS X?

Appcelerator Inc. has put their endeavours to make this dream come to reality with their open source rapid application development (RAD) platform called Appcelerator Titanium Desktop. In fact, you can also build cross-platform applications that run on these 3 different OS platforms, compiled from a single code-base.

Titanium platform is a similar product in a number of ways with Adobe AIR. For web developers, its main advantage is that you don't need to learn a new language like Flash or ActionScript, as you can leverage on your existing knowledge in Javascript, HTML, CSS, PHP, Python and/or Ruby. In addition, Titanium provides access to native OS controls, as well as numerous APIs for you to work with.

The Titanium Developer tool itself has separate build for installation on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. This means regardless you are using Windows, Linux or Mac OS X, you can develop applications with Titanium in your favourite OS platform, and even develop for another OS, such as developing Linux applications in your Windows computer.

This is what they claimed: "Flaunt your geek cred with Linux applications, go mainstream with Windows, get hip with OS X, or do all three from one code base. Titanium apps take up to 1/10th the memory of Adobe AIR apps and have complete access to the local system. "

Sounds promissing? Well, Titanium is still a relatively new product, and you might hit some bugs or flaws when using it. It has been improving from version to version, and its community base is growing.

In fact, Appcelerator Titanium is more popular being a cross-platform RAD for mobile application development (iPhone, iPAD, Android, etc.)

Take a look at my next article about Titanium Mobile.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Converted my CIMB credit card transaction to Smart i.Pay instalment

During Chinese New Year time, I have made a relatively large purchase in a retail shop with my CIMB credit card, amounting to RM3k+.

After considering the additional cost incurred (the interest), I've decided to convert that transaction to 10 months instalments with a one-time upfront interest of 2%. This means that by paying CIMB RM60+ for the interest, I can repay the RM3k+ credit card transaction in 10 months period, equilvalent to 0.2% interest per month.

The process is pretty simple. Just make a call to 03-62047877 (CIMB credit card customer service) and inform them you want to convert the transaction to CIMB Smart i.Pay instalments. After some verification and confirmation, the transaction will be converted into the instalment plan accordingly.

CIMB Smart i.Pay scheme is as below:

Maximum amount for Smart i.Pay conversion is RM30k per transaction.

In fact, if the transaction made is for education, insurance or hospital expenses, you can convert it to CIMB Smart Flexi-Pay for 10 months, 0% interest repayment scheme. The minimum spending for that transaction is RM1k to be eligible for CIMB Smart Flexi-Pay.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Changed my ceiling fans from Panasonic FM14C5 to Alpha VS-5

About 5 years ago, I installed 3 Panasonic FM14C5 ceiling fans in my house. It was an OEM of a similar KDK fan. It has pretty good looks and feels, and functioned well until recently, 2 of the 3 units gave problem and disappointed me.

The problem ceiling fans gave out noise when operating. They also no longer controllable with the remote control. And their warranty period was over.

I called my electrician friend to come and take a look. He said many household already encountered the same problem with this model of Panasonic ceiling fan. The motor control circuit is damaged and only serviceable by Panasonic.

As a result, I decided to change the 2 problem Panasonic FM14C5 ceiling fans to Alpha VS-5.

Alpha VS-5 is slightly more expensive than FM14C5, but yet within the range of RM2xx. It looks bulkier, but actually is better than FM14C5 because:
  • VS-5 has 5 blades, while FM14C5 only have 4 blades
  • The blade of VS-5 is ABS type, while FM14C5's is metal type
As a result, VS-5 is able to deliver stronger wind, and its operation is very quiet because ABS is used for its blades.

Hope that these Alpha VS-5 ceiling fans in my house can last longer.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Proposed stations of Klang Valley MRT (Sg Buloh - Kajang line)

Apart from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension to Subang Jaya and Puchong area, another hot topic in KL public transport nowadays being the new Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system from Sungai Buloh to Kajang.

Currently, the Land Public Transport Commission (Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat, SPAD) is organizing the Klang Valley MRT Open Day at Exhibition Hall 3, Mid Valley Convention Centre for 3 months from 14 Feb 2011 - 14 May 2011, open daily from 10am to 9pm.

There, we can see a 40 feet satellite image featuring the proposed alignment of the 51km line consisting of 35 stations running from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, namely The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT Railway Scheme .

Beside Mid Valley, the railway scheme is also displayed at the following place for public review during the Klang Valley MRT Open Day period:

  • SPAD office
  • Bangsar LRT station
  • Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL)
  • Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam (MBSA)
  • Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ)
  • Majlis Perbandaran Kajang (MPKj)
  • Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS)
The proposed MRT line and its stations is as shown in the map below.

You can click here to download this map in PDF.

From the map, we can see that the proposed 35 stations are:
  • Sungai Buloh
  • Kg. Baru Sungai Buloh
  • RRI
  • Kota Damansara
  • Taman Industri Sg Buloh
  • PJU 5
  • Dataran Sunway
  • The Curve
  • One Utama
  • TTDI
  • Seksyen 17
  • Seksyen 16
  • Pusat Bandaraya Damansara
  • Semantan
  • KL Sentral
  • Pasar Seni
  • Merdeka
  • Bukit Bintang Barat
  • Bukit Bintang Timur
  • Pasar Rakyat
  • Cochrane
  • Maluri
  • Taman Bukit Ria
  • Taman Bukit Mewah
  • Leisure Mall
  • Plaza Phoenix
  • Taman Suntex
  • Taman Cuepacs
  • Bandar Tun Hussien Onn
  • Balakong
  • Taman Koperasi
  • Taman Mesra
  • Saujana Impian
  • Bandar Kajang
  • Kajang
Click here to visit the official website of Klang Valley MRT Project.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Importing contacts from SIM card to Samsung Galaxy Tab

If you are switching phone to Samsung Galaxy Tab, and have stored your contacts used in your previous handphone into the SIM card, you can import those contacts in your SIM card to the Contacts application of Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Here is the way to do it.

Step 1: Open the Contacts application in your Samsung Galaxy Tab by tapping the Contacts icon as shown below.

Alternatively, you can also open the Phone application and select the Contacts tab to reach the same place.

Step 2: Press the Menu key (the 1st of the 4 keys below Samsung Galaxy Tab) and select Import/Export.

Step 3: Select "Import from SIM card", then select Save contact to "Device".

Step 4: The list of contacts in the SIM card will be shown on screen. Press the Menu key again and select  "Copy to device" to duplicate the contacts to the phone, or select "Move to device" to move the contacts from SIM card to the phone (after moving, original contacts will be removed from SIM card).

Note that you also have the option to delete unwanted contacts in SIM card here with the Delete option.

Step 5: You will be given the option to select the contacts you want to copy or move. If you want to select all, then just choose "Select All".

Step 6: Tap on the "Done" button below and the import will be performed.

When the action finished, you can press the Back key (the 3rd key) to return to Contacts.

Perhaps you already figured out how to export contacts from Samsung Galaxy Tab to SIM card. The process is similar, just that you select "Export to SIM card" instead of "Import from SIM card" during Step 3.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apple iPad is entitled to LHDN personal income tax relief but not Samsung Galaxy Tab

In reference to Paragraph 46(1)(j) of Malaysian Income Tax Act 1967, an amount limited to a maximum of RM3,000 is deductible in respect of the purchase of non-business use personal computer for individual tax payer.

This deduction is allowed once in 3 years, but no deduction will be granted if the computer is used for business purpose.

Now, the question: are tablet computers such as Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Viewsonic ViewPad 7, Toshiba Folio 100, CSL Spice Mi700 DroidPad, Blackberry Playbook, ZTE V9, etc. entitled for this personal income tax relief?
I have asked this question to LHDN, and the official answer is: if the tablet computer only have computer features and is for home and family use only, then it will be treated as "computer" and is entitled to the personal income tax relief of up to RM3,000, claimable once in 3 years.
This will be the case for Apple iPad, Toshiba Folio 100 and Blackberry Playbook. Let's say you purchased an Apple iPad 64GB with Wifi+3G at the price of RM2,599 in year 2010, and your tax rate is 24%, when you file your 2010 personal income tax now, you can claim back RM2,599 tax relief, which is equilvalent to a saving of RM623.76 in your income tax. (If you have any family member or friend or colleague who purchased Apple iPad recently, please forward this good news to them using the "Share" button below.)
However, if the tablet computer also have handphone features in addition to computer features, which mean you can make phone calls and also send SMS/MMS using the telco service with the tablet, then it will be treated as a "phone" and is not entitled to personal income tax relief. This is the case for Samsung Galaxy Tab, Viewsonic ViewPad 7, CSL Spice Mi700 DroidPad, ZTE V9, etc. Bad news.
If you need to verify this information, can make a call to LHDN at 1300-88-3010 or email to

Best deal to buy original Samsung Galaxy Tab in Malaysia

Samsung Galaxy Tab is a 7" tablet computer, smaller than the 9" Apple iPad and larger than the 5" Dell Streak,  with full phone feature and dual camera.

It was first officially introduced to Malaysia by Maxis with the following data plan commitment packages:
  • 12 month: RM1,849
  • 24 month: RM1,749
However, right now Maxis has already removed Samsung Galaxy Tab from their range of bundled smart phone packages.

Beside Maxis, Digi is selling it with the following data plan commitment packages:
  • 12 month: RM1,849
  • 24 month: RM1,599
And before 28 January 2011, Celcom is selling it with the following data plan commitment packages:
  • 12 month: RM1,738
  • 18 month: RM1,668
After 28 January 2011, now Celcom has reduced its price to:
  • 12 month: RM1,568
  • 18 month: RM1,498
SenQ is also selling Samsung Galaxy Tab. Although the price is slightly higher, you don't need to tie up with any data plan, and you can use your credit card to pay by installment. There is also extended warranty period up to 3 years. The current price:
  • Non-Citibank member: RM2,199 (free RM50 Chinese New Year voucher)
  • Citibank credit card: RM2,099
Therefore, right now the best deal to buy original Samsung Galaxy Tab in Malaysia seems to be:
  • RM1,498 with Celcom Exec 50 + mBasic 1GB data plan (18 month contract period)
  • RM2,099 in SenQ, pay by Citibank credit card (no need data plan commitment, 3 years warranty, 36 months installment period)
Recently, Celcom and Digi has signed a partnership to share their telco infrastructure. Therefore, we can expect that either you are with Celcom or with Digi, the 2G/2.5G/3G data service quality and availability will be the same after this sharing of telco infrastructure.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.