Apple and Porsche

16 09 2014

Apple’s engineer Mark Zimmer about the iPhone:

Yes, this is one of the biggest vehicles for change because it raised the bar on handheld social media, on internet in your pocket, and on the spread of digital photography. The ability to make a difference was propagated with the iPhone and the devices that copied it. Did Steve Jobs know he was starting this kind of change? He knew it was transformative. And he built ecosystems like iTunes, the App store, and the iBookstore to make it all work. Without the App Store, we’d all still be in the dark ages of social media. The mobile revolution is here to stay.
Holding the first iPhone was like holding a bit of the future in your hands. It was that far ahead of the pack. Its amazing glass keyboard was met with skepticism from analysts at first, but the public was quick to decide it was just fine for them. A phone that was just a huge glass screen was more than an innovation. It was a revolution.
[…]
Each new iPhone iteration brings remarkable value. Better telephony (3G quickly became 4G and that quickly became LTE), better sensors (accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, gyrometer, etc.), and better camera, lenses, flashes, and BSI sensors. Bluetooth connectivity makes it work in our cars. Siri makes it work by voice command. Each new feature is so well-integrated that it just feels like it’s been there all along. Now that I have used my iPhone 5S for awhile, I feel like the fingerprint sensor is part of what an iPhone means, now.
This all-in-one device has led to unprecedented spread of pictures. It and its (ahem, copycat) devices supporting Google‘s Android and more recently Microsoft‘s Windows Phone 8 have enabled social media to become ever more present, and influential, in our world.

Basically this is also valid for a well-known sports car, the Porsche 911, designed by F.A. Porsche and first sold in 1964.

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Both companies offer high-priced products with an outstanding build-quality, a timeless design, and an extraordinary user experience. Each product iteration can be seen as an innovative step to perfectness.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The two entrepreneurs as well as the two top designers share similar values, the design philosophies follow the same convictions, and both businesses are built around a few products which are the focus of innovation, the carrier of technology, and the basis for financial success.

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Upholding values like

  • Quality
  • Design
  • Durability
  • Continuity
  • Innovation
  • Brand Loyalty
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Customer Relationships

for decades give rise to a cult, a myth.

Mathias Müller, CEO of the Porsche AG, in the Annual Report 2013 …

It has been just about three years since my colleagues on the Executive Board of Management and I developed guide- lines for Porsche management’s business activities. Since then, I have always been clear about the most important point of this “Strategy 2018”: Our mission is to impress our customers with a unique purchase and ownership experience. This includes offering them outstanding products that fully satisfy their requirements for an exclusive sports car.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc, in the SEC filing 2013 …

The Company is committed to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software and services. The Company’s business strategy leverages its unique ability to design and develop its own operating systems, hardware, application software, and services to provide its customers new products and solutions with superior ease-of-use, seamless integration, and innovative design. The Company believes continual investment in research and development, marketing and advertising is critical to the development and sale of innovative products and technologies. As part of its strategy, the Company continues to expand its platform for the discovery and delivery of third-party digital content and applications through the iTunes Store. […]
The Company believes a high-quality buying experience with knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of the Company’s products and services greatly enhances its ability to attract and retain customers. Therefore, the Company’s strategy also includes enhancing and expanding its own retail and online stores and its third-party distribution network to effectively reach more customers and provide them with a high-quality sales and post-sales support experience.

Both companies not only offer products but also services. The overwhelming revenue is made with their kernel products, the iPhone/iPad and the 911/Cayenne.

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Here are the product line-ups (without all the available variants) of both companies with their main products, founders, actual CEOs, and designers who were/are responsible for the companies’ top sellers.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Customer relationships …

Apple Stores with the Genius Bars represent the company’s philosophy of customer relationships. A distinct fanboyism is typical for both brands.

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It was Steve Jobs’ saying ‘To purchase is to build relationships’ and here is what Porsche does to keep the brand loyalty.

Today’s customers have high expectations. They expect any company they interact with to give them the a great experience. In order to succeed, organizations need to make sure that they are delivering the best customer care possible, making the experience memorable for customers and enticing them to go back to do business with that firm and recommend it to others. Forward-thinking business leaders are cognizant that the experience they deliver to both customers and prospects will make a difference between a closed sale or a disappointed customer who will never do business with that company again.
The Porsche AG, winner of the Sales Force Effectiveness category in the Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards 2013 in the EMEA and Asia Pacific region, is a firm believer in the importance of delivering the best customer experience throughout the entire customer journey, starting from the first moment of interaction with the brand. In line with its corporate objective of value-creating growth, the German company wanted to refine its sales process, allowing the brand to interact with customers with relevant and personalized communications over various touchpoints at different points in their purchasing journey.
In order to achieve this objective, in 2010 the company embarked on an ambitious project to optimize the utilization of every sales opportunity and at the same time promote customer care through an improved service quality. This included pairing each customer with a sales contact person who can help and guide the customer throughout the vehicle acquisition process.

Another objective was to reduce the number of unattended sales opportunities, but leverage each customer contact as a way to build a relationship with the client. Porsche developed a global CRM system (rolled out globally in 2011) to bring together customer contacts and information from different channels, allowing the company to carry out the necessary follow-up activities and create personalized interactions tailored to the individual customer’s exact needs.

In 2012, the first full year that the initiative was in operation, the company saw a two-point increase in its purchase satisfaction index while CRM-based sales follow-up activities went up by 70 percent.
Porsche’s results clearly show that customers value organizations that deliver best-in-class service. In a competitive environment, only these organizations will remain successful and be able to beat the competition.

It should be mentioned that neither Google, nor Samsung or any other of Apple’s competitors are engaged in customer relationships on a personal basis. Replace the brand names Google, Samsung, Microsoft, etc by Anonymous Inc. and you get a true definition of your relationship after buying a product. ‘Brand-conscious’ means preferring the low-price product line-ups.

Differences …

Well, it’s hard to imagine the Porsche CEO presenting a new model with jeans and a turtleneck pullover. And there are some quite obvious explanations.

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We talk about

  • products of $1.000 and $100.000,
  • easy life in sunny California and stiff politeness in rainy Germany,
  • completely different product line-ups calling for different kinds of presentations

Cooperation …

There is an app for that and it’s obviously running on iOS devices.

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Porsche Car Connect
Remote display and control your new Panamera
Starting from model year 2014, Porsche Car Connecl now brings you the ability to remotely access your new Panamera from your iPhone. This requires that your Panamera is equipped with a Porsche Car Connect unit. Depending on your country, your model and the options installed, you will be able e.g. to remotely locate the position of your Panamera, fold exterior mirrors, set timers for charging, read the tire pressure or set a geo and speed fence.
Porsche Car Connect is available for the new Panamera (model year 2014) and requires a Porsche Car Connect unit in your vehicle. The functionality of this app varies depending on your country of residence as well as on the options available in your vehicle.

Environmental initiatives …

Apple as well as Porsche are leading companies regarding environmental initiatives and show us that innovation is not limited to products but also to the process of production and recycling.

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I cannot forget Tim Cook’s call for climate change deniers at the annual shareholders’ meeting in 2014:

If you only want me to make things, make decisions that have a clear ROI, then you should get out of the stock.

At the time the main difference between the two companies is about production.

Porsche cars are engineered and manufactured in Germany whereas the overwhelming part of Apple products are produced in China. Controlling the environmental and labor conditions in foreign countries, particularly in China and developing countries, is a pretty hard task and some principles must be sacrificed.

Let’s see whether Apple’s strategy to bring the production back home and Porsche’s considerations to build cars in China will change the future situation.

Summary …

Creating and leading a brand needs more than just to be a business man.
Important character traits, the right co-workers, a dash of genius, passion, and luck may initiate the development of a business DNA followed by the birth of a brand.

Outstanding personalities, thinkers, team workers, visionaries can create something out of nothing and put a dent in the universe.

Related links …

Designed by Apple in California

Going Apple

Porsche Car Connect for iOS…

Porsche Car Connect

About the environmental initiatives …

The Hidden Price

Porsche: Ecological Responsibility

Apple: Environmental Responsibility

Facts about Apple and Porsche …

Porsche Annual Report 2013

Apple SEC Filing 2013

Thanks for surfing by.





Point.io

5 10 2013

Point.io offers an enterprise Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform (launched on July 16, 2013) and Enterprise Gateway products for specialized enterprise mobile application development. Focused on document management and workflow, the platform is designed to help enterprises embrace BYOD while maintaining control of their content.

Bring your own device (BYOD) means the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.

Since the Point.io Gateway handles all secure communication across the firewall, a VPN is no longer required. Users have access to more types of remote storages, including behind-the-firewall repositories like SharePoint, FTP, SFTP, Google Drive and Amazon S3.

20130729-073549.jpg

In addition to its platform launch, Point.io is unveiling two new partnerships. The first is with Stratospherix. The other is with TheHostingPros, which is offering a free Sharepoint site when a Point.io account is setup.

FileBrowser by Stratospherix is one of the top-ten most-downloaded apps in the Utilities section of The App Store. The company has over 600,000 users in 60 countries. FileBrowser is now powered by Point.io and includes all the features of the Point.io platform.

I first take a look on the native app of Point.io because I think it should contain the main features and gives an overview of how the company’s service is intended for.

The native app Point.io …

Starting in July 2013 the version 1.001 of Point.io was offered for iPhone only.
The app is ugly designed but can be used to show how the platform works.

After installing the app on an iPad I recognized some mysterious behaviors:

- available storage sites are different on iPhone and iPad
– access to Dropbox and Box was not possible on the iPhone
– switching from portrait to landscape mode on the iPad mostly doesn’t work
– files on Google Drive cannot be displayed
– file transfer from one storage site to another is not possible

Here is a complete update list from July to October 2013:

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Features announced by Point.io:

  • 1 You can see all your storage connections in one place. For example, Point.io provides a combined view of Box and SharePoint and will be adding additional storage locations such as Dropbox and Documentum in the coming weeks.
  • 2 With Point.io, you get access to your documents on any mobile device, from anywhere, regardless of where the document is stored.
  • 3 Share any file with anyone using secure links. Precisely control what any person can do with your files at all times (e.g. print, edit, save).
    •There is no need to ever send file attachments again.
  • 4 Remove access to any file(s) as soon as they have been used for their intended purpose. Prevent any loss of control over your documents – your files always stay on your network.
  • 5 Ensure control and security over your documents, even when others use their own mobile devices (BYOD).

An interesting application is sending a document not as an attachment but as a secured link.
This feature is new and provided neither by actual file management apps nor by any well-known cloud client apps for Box, iDriveSync, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.

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About FileBrowser …

With FileBrowser, the iPad or iPhone becomes a powerful tool for business and private use, allowing users to access content on company file servers, workstations or cloud storage from anywhere. The FileBrowser app is easy to use and allows files to be downloaded, edited and uploaded back to the original location or distributed to other employees, partners or customers. With FileBrowser, users can access their documents from their mobile device and no longer need to take bulky laptops to meetings or out of the office when visiting clients.

Let’s take a look on the universal app FileBrowser by Stratospherix, UK.
FileBrowser is the only file management app with Point.io integration at the time.
The best way to summarize all the features is to visualize them in a mind map.

Feel free to download the complete mind map in the following file formats:

PDF

ITMZ (Native format of iThoughts)

MMAP (Mindjet)

XMIND (XMind)

FileBrowser allows to create an account on Point.io.

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Stratospherix announced …

FileBrowser’s integration with the Point.io platform provides real benefits for users. With Point.io, access is simpler than ever before – users need only enter a single username and password to gain access to all their file servers and cloud storage locations.

At the time this announcement is far away from reality. One more time an app was released although it doesn’t meet the basic requirements of users yet. This is definitely the best way to lose favor with customers or to lose customers. A basic rule of app development was ignored: Release when finished.

Note
See my article
App Development + Marketing

Summary …

What are the benefits when using Point.io?

For private use with an installed version of FileBrowser your file management will look like this if and only if your different cloud accounts are supported by Point.io and, in case of connections to Windows networks, a suitable gateway is installed on the server:

20130729-124751.jpg

A benefit?
As you can see there is just one Point.io account necessary to access different cloud storages and Windows network drives. Instead of listing your connections in the left navigation window they are now listed on the right side. Not supported accounts have to be configured as usual and will still appear in the left navigation section of FileBrowser.

This image shows the situation without using Point.io but VPN:

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A benefit?
Point.io says that a VPN connection is no longer needed. I cannot see any benefit in that because VPN is a well-functioning and developed technique which is secure and totally controlled by yourself. If connecting via Point.io there is an additional security risk with services and tools of Point.io.

Definitely no benefits!
At the time other disadvantages are the incompleteness of services and some mysterious behaviors of FileBrowser on the iPad (no feedback when loading large files) and FileBrowser in general when accessing files on Google Drive (No display, Point.io operation failed, Error retrieving file info, Folder not found).

So the only remaining benefits are:

  • Supported cloud storages on multiple devices require just one configuration for Point.io.
    Access to Point.io then enables access to all storages configured on Point.io.
  • Sharing options increasing security like
    Allow/Disallow Print, Download Original File, Download as PDF, Expiry Date, Screen Capture, Password
    These sharing options control the level of access granted by this link.

What should be mentioned is that FileBrowser is still a powerful app with a perfect UI.
Stratospherix would be well-advised not to move Point.io integration into the foreground as they did when releasing version 2.9.1 on July 18, 2013.

Videos about Point.io …

Point.io ad

Point.io with FileBrowser

Related links …

Point.io

Stratosherix

Thanks for dropping by.





iPhone Configuration Utility

23 09 2013

iPhone and iPad are often seen as gadgets.
The reality is also that many companies successfully integrate mobile devices in the company’s IT infrastructure to improve business processes.
Apple offers some tools which help companies to manage their mobile devices. Theses tools are mainly for configuration purposes and take into account that mobile devices for business use have to fulfill strong security requirements and should be configurable from a central point instead of doing this for each single device.

Apple
iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU) lets you easily create, maintain, encrypt, and install configuration profiles, track and install provisioning profiles and authorized applications, and capture device information including console logs.

Configuration profiles are XML files that contain device security policies, VPN configuration information, Wi-Fi settings, APN settings, Exchange account settings, mail settings, and certificates that permit iPhone and iPod touch to work with your enterprise systems.

Note
Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility can also be used for configuring the iPhone of your daughter or son to set some useful age-dependent limitations like access to the App Store or other requirements like using a strong passcode for unlocking the device. This prevents some severe troubles if the device gets stolen or lost.

With the iPCU you can create so-called profiles which can be transferred directly to a device, saved to a cloud storage from which they can be installed, or simply sent to the destination device by E-Mail as an attachment. Tapping on the attachments then starts the installation procedure.

I want to show you how Apple’s iPhone (and iPad) Configuration Utility basically works.

Installation …

You can download the free app iPCU for Mac or PC here:

iPhone Configuration Utility Mac

iPhone Configuration Utility Windows

Note
The screenshots were taken from the German version as it was not possible to install an English version. Sorry about that.

After installing the application the home screen looks like this:

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Among others it shows all technical details of your device as well as profiles configured in former sessions.

Feature overview …

With iPCU you can configure important settings of Apple’s mobile devices and deploy them later. Here is a brief feature overview. You will see all the configuration options when clicking on Provisions and select a profile.

  • 01 General Settings
  • 02 Passcode Setting
  • 03 Restriction Settings

    Allow installing apps
    When this option is off, the App Store is disabled and its icon is removed from the Home screen. Users are unable to install or update their apps using the App Store or iTunes.

    Allow use of camera
    When this option is off, cameras are completely disabled and the Camera icon is removed from the Home screen. Users can’t take photographs or videos, or use FaceTime.

    Allow screen capture
    When this option is off, users can’t save a screenshot of the display.

    Allow voice dialing
    When this option is off, users can’t dial their phone using voice commands.

    Allow In-App purchase
    When this option is off, users can’t make in-app purchases.
    Force user to enter store password for all purchases
    Requires users to enter their Apple ID password before making any purchase. Normally, there’s a brief grace period after a purchase is made before users have to authenticate for subsequent purchases.

    and more

  • 04 WiFi Settings
  • 05 VPN Settings
  • 06 E-Mail Settings
  • 07 Exchange ActiveSync Settings
  • 08 LDAP Settings
  • 09 CalDav Settings
  • 10 Subcribed Calendars Settings
  • 11 CardDav Settings
  • 12 WebClip Settings
  • 13 Credentials Settings
  • 14 SCEP Settings
  • 15 MDM Settings
  • 16 APN Settings

Creating a profile …

I took an easy example for explaining the basic actions of configuring, deploying, and using iPCU.

Let’s create a configuration profile for an icon on the homescreen which allows to directly edit an E-Mail and send it to a given recipient.
We can do so using the section WebClip Settings.

Transferring and using a profile …

To transfer the profile to an iOS device you can

  • transfer it directly by connecting the device via the USB connector
  • send the profile (an XML file) as an attachment to an E-Mail account accessible from the iOS device

By tapping on the attachment the installation process starts.
Follow the instructions shown during installation.

20130514-083528.jpg

When exporting a profile iPCU allows to generate the profile with the following options regarding security:

  • 1 without
  • 2 sign profile
  • 3 sign and encrypt profile for (just) this device

If the .mobileconfig file is signed it can be installed by any device, as long as the profile hasn’t been altered. So signing a profile is an essential security feature.
Once installed, the profile can be updated only by a profile that has the same identifier and is signed by the same copy of iPhone Configuration Utility, which provides the certificate.

If the profile is signed a ‘Verified‘ note appears if you go to Settings – General – Profiles and select the profile immediately after installation.

Useful Links …

He are some further links for those who are interested in using iOS devices in businesses:

Mobile Device Management

iOS Deployment Scenarios

iPad @ Work

iPad @ Work Vol 2

Apps @ Work

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.
Comments and Likes are highly appreciated.





DBMS on iOS-Devices (5)

25 05 2013

There are three apps for managing databases I focussed on in this and my previous articles.

Tap Forms HD (Tap Zapp Software Inc, Canada)
Bento (FileMaker Inc, USA)
Microsoft Access Mobile Database Client (Impathic LLc, USA).

This article is about the features of Bento and contains a final assessment of all three products.

The developers of Tap Forms and Bento use different terms for the same objects.
Here is a translation of the standard terms used by Microsoft:

Standard Tap Forms Bento
Table Forms Library
Query Search Collection

The features …

I took these screenshots to emphasize the highlights of Bento Mobile Database.
The library ‘WordPress’ contains informations about my blog. I manage these informations with my favorite app Tap Forms. In Tap Forms I exported the data as a CSV file and imported the records in Bento. Here are some basic informations about Bento.

All options for viewing the data also allow the editing of records.

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Additionally to the table view records can be viewed in forms.
Forms can be designed by the user by arranging the fields to the needs.

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Bento offers no traditional queries (SQL like expressions for selecting data) but a full text search.
This might be a disadvantage if you want to select records e.g. with numerical values less than 500.

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On the other hand Bento allows concatenating text fields which is not supported by Tap Forms.
So the capabilities of calculated fields leave nothing to be desired.

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Full feature description of Bento …

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The mind map created with the app iThoughts for iOS contains all features of the app Bento Mobile Database for iPad. It can be downloaded here:

Bento Mobile Database for iPad

Map as a PDF

Map in ITMZ file format (iThoughts)

Map in MMAP file format (MindManager)

Map in XMIND file format (XMind)

Support …

On my iPhone Bento did THOMAS appear in the apps menu of the ‘Open in’ command. So I contacted Bento’s support and described the problem. Here is the very poor answer:

Discussion Thread
Response Via Email (…) Apr 04, 2013 02:54 AM PDT

Hello Thomas,

Thank you for contacting FileMaker Customer Support.
Regarding your question about Bento, when you open the email with the CSV file attached, does a window open showing Bento as an app when you touch the CSV attachment with your finger for a couple of seconds
If you have any questions, please contact Customer Support on: 0845 603 9100 (United Kingdom) or 01 4073432 (Ireland), Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (excluding holidays)., and reference case number: 130403-000002.
Thank you,
Customer Support

Nothing more to say.

The main problem is that FileMaker provides no other way to fill the database except with a CSV file by using the ‘Open in’ command. This is a definitely poor strategy of a big company!

Summary …

Three competitors …
Tap Forms HD, Bento, Access Mobile Database Client

Two winners …
Tap Forms HD, Bento

It’s not easy to give a final assessment and it’s obviously subjective because different users have different requirements. However, my preferred app is Tap Forms HD by Tap Zapp Software Inc, Canada.

Decisive for me are the following features …

  • Syncing via iCloud across all devices
  • Backup as ZIP file and Restore on other devices
  • Building SQL-like queries
  • Direct Import/Export to Dropbox
  • Perfect, fast, and understandable support

The main disadvantage of Bento is that it solely offers CSV files for transferring data.
This file type, as implemented by FileMaker, is not appropriate for exchanging data between devices. UnlikeTap Forms Bento does not include the field type in it’s CSV file. So relevant information drops away. After importing URLs Bento interprets the contents of this field as simple text and so it’s no longer associated with the functionality of opening a browser when tapping on it.

Note …
In contrast to Bento Tap Forms HD includes field-type tags in the header row to tell an importing app which fields are numbers and which are text, dates, URLs, or other field types.
While backing up Tap Forms creates a ZIP file which consists of a normal CSV file as well as all other ‘not-text’ data like images or audio recordings. Restoring this kind of a CSV file with additional information about filed types enables the importing app to reassign field-type specific functionality.

20130324-154149.jpg

So there is no chance to transfer libraries of Bento from one iOS device to another and to further sync the data. Even File Sharing via iTunes is not offered.

Nevertheless Bento is a serious competitor and offers some impressive features which I miss in Tap Forms HD. These are:

  • Creating of Forms for editing and displaying data
  • Displaying data in spreadsheet-like lists
  • App controlled managing of ‘Date Modified/Created’ fields
  • Calculations can also be done with text fields by concatenating text
  • Useful Help System with short but understandable descriptions

It’s hard to comprehend that features are missing which users perceive within a minute when they start an application the first time. Many longstanding features known of comparable apps for computers are not carried over to iPad. It seems to me that companies developing software for mobile devices are not yet ready to accept the needs of the market. It’s not explicable that, for example, Dropbox in it’s mobile client still doesn’t offer a setting for the sort order of files.

Related Links …

DBMS on iOS devices (1)

DBMS on iOS devices (2)

DBMS on iOS devices (3)

DBMS on iOS devices (4)

DBMS on iOS devices (5)

Importing Data

Form Access To Tap Forms

Databases and Mind Maps

I appreciate your Comments and Likes.
I you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me via comment or contact form on the About page.
Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





DBMS on iOS-Devices (4)

22 05 2013

Microsoft Access is the worldwide most powerful system for developing database applications with forms, reports, queries and VBA modules. An acceptable performance is ensured for databases up to 2 GB and a number of records up to 100,000 per table when using a state-of-the-art PC.

Microsoft Access 2010 Specifications
I myself develop databases in a Frontend-Backend design mainly for auditors since about 25 years with more than 2,500 licensed users. My experiences are that no other system allows you to develop applications, add features, and fix bugs as efficiently as with Microsoft Access.

So let’s have a look at a client which allows to use Microsoft’s proprietary database file format (.accdb or .mdb) on Apple’s iOS devices.

Impathic LLc, USA offers the Microsoft Access Mobile Database Client at Apple’s App Store.

Microsoft Access databases are Stand-Alone Files, and so the database file must be transferred to your iOS device in order to open it in the Access Mobile Database Client. This is in contrast to many other databases, which connect over a network in ‘Client-Server’ mode. While having your database file on your device prevents the ability to work on the data concurrently with other users, it also allows you to work with your database in a disconnected environment, such as on an airplane.

Transfer to an iOS device …

How to transfer a Microsoft Access database to an iOS device …

Transferring an Access Database via iTunes File Sharing

  • (1) On your desktop, locate your “.accdb” or “.mdb” database file.
  • (2) Plug your iOS device into your desktop or laptop using the USB cable and open iTunes.
  • (3) In the left panel of iTunes, locate and click on your iOS device name.
  • (4) At the top of the screen for the device, select the “Apps” tab.
  • (5) Scroll down to the “File Sharing” section at the bottom of the screen.
  • (6) Select “Access” from the list of apps.
  • (7) Drag your Access database from your computer into the file list.
  • (8) When you next launch Access Mobile Database Client, you will see your database in the list of available databases.

You may also transfer a database from a cloud provider offering a client app for iOS devices which supports the ‘Open in’ command or you can send the database as an E-Mail attachment.

Transferring an Access Database from the cloud

  • (1) Sign up for a free account at http://www.dropbox.com if you don’t already have one.
  • (2)Upload your “.mdb” or “.accdb” file to your dropbox account using their desktop integration program.
  • (3) Download the free “Dropbox” app from the Apple iTunes App Store, launch it, and log in.
  • (4) Browse to your database file and tap the forward button , then select “Access” as the application to open the database with.

    Notes
    When you first select your database in Dropbox, the app may say “Unable to view file”, but you should still be able to tap the forward button to open it in Access Mobile Database Client.

    Modifications made to your database will not be saved back to your Dropbox account, but instead will be saved locally on your iOS device. To get your modified database back to your desktop, you need to transfer it back using the iTunes File Sharing method, or by tapping “Edit” from the database list, selecting your database, and then mailing your database back to yourself, or opening it another application (such as the official ‘Dropbox’ app).

Transferring an Access Database via E-Mail attachment

  • (1) Tap on the E-Mail attachment (an accdb or mdb file).
  • (2) From the ‘Open in’ menu choose ‘Access’.

The full feature description …

20130320-171028.jpg

The mind map created with the app iThoughts for iOS contains all features of the app Microsoft Access Mobile Database Client. It can be downloaded here:

Microsoft Access Mobile Database Client

Map as a PDF

Map in ITMZ file format (iThoughts)

Map in MMAP file format (MindManager)

Map in XMIND file format (XMind)

Impressions of the application …

See this annotated slideshow to get an impression of the user interface.
Tap on an image to see the navigation bar.

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The pros …

  • Support for Microsoft Access 97, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010
  • Support for relationships between tables
  • Export of tables or queries as CSV file to other apps like Apple’s iWork app ‘Numbers’
  • Ability to adjust the font size for listings
  • Simple UI

The cons …

  • Creation of databases not supported
  • Changing of tables (add fields, etc.) not supported
  • Adjusting the column width not supported
  • Backup and Restore not supported
  • Printing of tables not supported
  • Saving changed databases back to a cloud storage not supported
    iTunes File Sharing is the only way to transfer edited databases back to other devices or cloud storages
  • No integrated browser for opening Hyperlinks
  • Display of images not supported
    Images located in the system table MSysResources or other tables are not displayed.
  • Errors when executing queries with string operations
    Error executing query: Syntax Error: Stopped parse at …
  • No feature updates or bug fixes since 18 months
    This usually is an unmistakable hint for a frozen app.

It’s obvious, and no disadvantage of the app, that

  • linked tables in a Frontend-Backend configuration are not supported
  • sharing the Frontend is a senseless act as forms, reports, and VBA modules are not supported on iOS devices

The test results …

I imported the following databases via iTunes File Sharing

  • My simple WordPress database WordPress.accdb
  • The Microsoft sample database Northwind.accdb
  • A database containing a table with 100,000 and one with 3,666,731 records

Does the client app or the iPad behave disgracefully when using large amount of data?

Here are some stats:

  • Table with 12 fields:
    Number of records = 100,000
    File size on a PC = 320 MB
  • Loading of records into the list view:
    500 records within 11 sec
  • Query with the WHERE condition ‘Begins With’ for a text field and descending sort order:
    215 records selected within 38 sec
  • Full text search over 12 fields:
    448 records selected within 370 sec

Repeating the tests with 3,666,731 records came to a nearly linear increasing processing time.

And … Neither the app nor the iPad crashed!

Summary …

I cannot recommend Microsoft Access Mobile Database Client because of the limited sharing options and missing sync functionalities when using more than one device.
It might be useful for looking up records on an iOS device for databases containing more static content like product lists with stable prices or other tables similar in kind.

The competitors, Tap Forms HD by Tap Zap Software and FileMaker’s Bento, are light years ahead.

Related links …

DBMS on iOS devices (1)

DBMS on iOS devices (2)

DBMS on iOS devices (3)

Importing Data

Databases and Mind Maps

From Access to Tap Forms

I appreciate your Comments and Likes.
I you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me via comment or the contact form on my About page.
Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





DBMS on iOS-Devices (3)

19 05 2013

Using a database is the only appropriate way to store large amount of data.
As tablet and smartphone purchases are booming it stands to reason to have a look at some apps for iOS devices.

Allow me to point out some previous articles about databases here on iNotes4You

DBMS on iOS devices (1)

DBMS on iOS devices (2)

Importing Data

Databases and Mind Maps

From Access to Tap Forms

20130317-125716.jpg

First of all it’s useful to have a look on what customers use databases for:

  • Personal information management
    This field of activity means the “classical” applications for PDA or organizers. Mostly, there is no cooperative work with other users on the same piece of data. The amount of data on the mobile device is usually small, and is at most edited on the mobile device itself. The main challenges for developers of mobile databases for personal information management are

    • Flexibility
      regarding changes of tables and fields
    • Independency
      of stationary devices
    • Easy to use
      even for non-professionals
    • Reliability
      of the developer constantly upgrading and adapting the app to changing operating systems and devices
  • Replication of large databases
    The replication of large databases or parts of them – large in the context of mobile, lightweight appliances, e.g. not more than 2 GB – is characterized by the cooperative use of the same data by numerous users. Data are mainly managed and manipulated by the DBMS on a stationary server, only a few or no changes are performed on the mobile device. Business applications, geographic information systems or multimedia are typical applications. The most important challenges for mobile databases in this field are syncing, performance, storage capacity, and the way to display data on a small screen.

The differences between stationary and mobile devices can be described by the following issues:

  • Amount of data
    Due to the restrictions of CPU performance and storage capacities applications for mobile devices are suitable for about, let me say, 10,000 records. Larger amounts of data cause performance problems when it comes to import, export, and sync data with other devices.
  • Hardware resources
    Stationary devices are customizable for the needs of their applications with a broad range of exchangeable hardware components. In contrast Apple’s mobile devices are not upgradable. So the later usage of the device has already to be considered when it’s purchased.
  • Form factor
    Screen sizes like that of the iPad are not suitable for databases containing tables with a large amount of fields. Even in landscape mode it’s hard to view tables with many fields and different field types. Usually views of tables are not customizable by defining suitable forms, subforms for related tables, data sheets, and reports like it is possible e.g. in Microsoft Access.

As we are talking about applications for the actual iOS devices the key feature list assumes an iPad and an iPhone as mobile devices optionally supported by a Mac as the big brother to do some tasks mobile devices are not designed for.

The key features …

Here are some key features for apps managing databases on mobile devices.
When expanding the branches of this map you will see many details reflecting my comprehensive experiences with database tools.

20130317-154541.jpg

The mind map created with the app iThoughts for iOS contains many detailed informations when expanding the branches. It can be downloaded here:

Key Features of Mobile Databases

Map as a PDF

Map in ITMZ file format (iThoughts)

Map in MMAP file format (MindManager)

Map in XMIND file format (XMind)

Classification of apps …

The apps available at Apple’s App Store I would like to describe are distinguished from each other by

  • Creating and customizing a database on the mobile device
    examples are Tap Forms (Tap Zap Software Inc., Canada) and Bento (FileMaker Inc., USA)
  • Creating the database on a stationary device and editing data on the mobile device
    an example is Microsoft Access Database Client, My SQL Mobile Database Client, (Impathic LLc. USA) and the mobile database clients for Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, Sybase, PostGreSQL, and DB2 also developed by Impathic.
  • Access to databases located on webservers
    an example is MySQL Database (Software Solutions + Technologies AG, Switzerland)
    These solutions are not discussed here because of the dependency of an external data source managed on a webserver.

Some features in details …

I want to talk about an appropriate usage of databases on Apple’s iOS devices. So the focus is on private and small business applications, the usage of more than one device without the necessity of a stationary device, and the independency of external data sources.

So the key features are

  • Creating the database on the mobile device
    e.g. On an iPad or by importing a CSV file which automatically generates a table with the correct field types
  • Creating the fields by selecting from various filed types which are particularly useful for mobile devices
    e.g. location data
  • Syncing across multiple devices
    e.g. syncing via Apple’s iCloud
  • Importing data from previous systems
    e.g. via a CSV file from Microsoft Access
  • Exporting data to other apps for further usage
    e.g. to Apple’s spreadsheet app Numbers to create graphs or editing data for print outs or presentations

Please visit iNotes4You to read the upcoming article DBMS on iOS-Devices (4) with a description of the Mobile Microsoft Access Database Client by Impathic LLc, USA.
This article will be published on May 22.

Thanks a lot for visiting iNotes4You.
Comments and Likes are appreciated.





A Small Office Configuration

8 05 2013

iPad may effectively support business activities particularly if colleagues are intensively involved in external relations.

Mind maps are the most efficient way to summarize information about a topic. So I created a mind map which contains many suggestions for integrating iPads and iPhones in the daily tasks of a small business effortlessly.

Small businesses are often forward-looking companies implementing modern technologies to improve sales. Usually they are not supported by technical and organizational assistants and the CEO has to supply the knowledge and to communicate the usage of devices, sharing techniques, and organizational guidelines. Summarized: He has to do everything.

The dream of all CEOs is a maintenance-friendly environment with easy-to-use devices. As tablets are rapidly gaining popularity there are no special training demands required and the company is usually not faced with problems of acceptance as the staff already use these kinds of devices privately.

Let’s discuss some details where the benefits of mobile devices integrated in a suitable environment makes business easier:

  • A colleague has to share a document with another colleague.
    He can do it by E-Mail that means selecting the E-Mail address, writing a short text, adding an attachment and sending the mail. Lots of E-Mails must be managed later by selecting relevant mails and deleting others.

    An alternate way would be to use a cloud storage and an automatic syncing functionality like Apple’s iCloud syncing which is supported by a growing number of apps.

  • A document on an iPad should be printed out in the office.
    You may save the document to a cloud storage, download it on a PC and print it on a network printer.

    An alternate way is to use an PC/MAC application called FingerPrint.
    Every network attached printer will be shown on iOS devices in the print menu. So the document can be directly printed out on any printer in the office.

  • You call a colleague and inform him to call a customer at 15:30.
    The colleague writes it down on a cheat sheet.

    An alternate way is to enter a reminder which is automatically synced with the other iOS devices and reminds the colleague to call the customer. Shortcuts (defined under ‘General – Keyboard – Shortcuts’ like CC=Customer call… with) makes it easy to forward the information directly to the colleague.

The mind map above outlines experiences made in the company I work for.
It focusses on …

  • Easy file sharing between iOS devices and
    other iOS devices even if they are running under different Apple IDs
    cloud storages and desktop computers within the office
  • Fast and easy syncing of
    Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Bookmarks
    Documents, Data stored in a database, and Scanned documents
  • Easy connection to
    computers within the LAN from outside the office
  • Ability to print from anywhere
    in the office via Fingerprint that makes every printer AirPrint-capable
    from outside the office via Google Cloud Print
  • Improving business by using social networking
    via clients for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Using a database
    with essential business information which automatically syncs with all other devices
  • and last but not least reducing the costs of the technical equipment to a minimum

To understand all the experiences I made use this mind map and adjust it to your individual requirements.

Here is a slideshow with details of some branches of my mind map for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool:

Download …

The mind map ‘iPad in Small Office Environments’ created with iThoughts for iOS can be downloaded here:

Map as a PDF

Map in ITMZ file format (iThoughts)

Map in MMAP file format (MindManager)

Map in XMIND file format (XMind)

Visit
The Apple group on Biggerplate
to see and download all mind maps related to Apple.

Thanks for stopping by.
I appreciate your Comments and Likes.








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