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iPad and iPod icons for your web site

January 16th, 2011
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Any visitor using an iDevice can bookmark your website onto their desktop. However, this distorts, shrinks and colorizes your site to produce something ugly and undistinguished. What you want is to supply your own icon.

The icon for an iPad is 72×72 pixels and 57×57 pixels for iPhone and iPod touch. You do not need separate icons. Indeed you cannot specify them separately. The icons will be re-sized. Let’s say you start with an 800×800 original. You could resize this to 72×72 to optimize for iPad and post this on your web site. The 72×72 will be resized on iPhone.

Instead, what I do is resize to 144×144. For iPad, a second resizing is done to 72×72 within the iPad and a second resize to 57×57 on the iPhone. This improves the icon on the iPhone since the resize is based on a better image but slightly degrades the iPad since a second sizing is introduced. Whatever. I want you to be aware that you have a choice in what size image to post.

Let’s say the image you post is called iicon.png. The name is pretty arbitrary and I am guessing that the format is not confined to PNG but I have not verified that. If your image is in your web site root path, then you would add the following to your web site head section:

link for apple icon

Of course you give the complete path (or absolute URL) and change the name to reflect what you actually call it. Note that it is not necessary or possible to specify the dimensions of iicon.png. The browser will figure that out.

The icon will appear with rounded corners and a lighting effect applied:

icon with rounded corners and highlighting

I do not recommend that your try to duplicate the beveling and lighting effect. Rather, upload a flat image with no transparency:

flat icon with sharp corners

and the effects will be applied automatically (and consistently!) in the iDevice. This flat image is much simpler to develop than trying replicate what is already there.


Laptop Security

November 15th, 2010

I recently bought a used laptop for travel (called TRV), hardware redundancy, and use as an additional screen. Since I only paid $150 for it ($250 after a display upgrade), I can afford the dollar loss if the laptop is stolen and because it is redundant, it would not be a crimp in my ongoing operation.

However, during travel, I want access to what I need for customer support (ecommerce, past email correspondence, etc.). I also want access to my telephone book and website passwords. For about a month or so, I have been running my TRV computer with these kinds of app running on it. However, I was at great risk if the computer itself got stolen because of the data on it.

A second issue has come up this month, with the release of the FireSheep program. This is a password sniffer which can pull passwords from an unsecured wifi access point. Even more, it can hijack most sessions in an unsecured wifi access point because only the logon session is secured and not the entire session. These are not new vulnerabilities but the ease with which this can be done is alarming.

Websites and wifi access points can resolve the FireSheep vulnerabilities. Open relays used to be widespread but now secured access to SMTP is the norm. So too, secured wifi will likely become the norm as well. In the meantime (i.e. now), there is a risk using any public wifi using protocols that pass information in the clear.

I have now resolved both issues quite simply. Now, all of my apps run on my main computer. This computer never leaves my office. I then use remote desktop (RDP) to connect and have access to *all* my programs. There are no programs a thief can use to compromise me.

I have deleted my previous programs on TRV and then copied over a movie file to overwrite the sectors holding previous data.

To run RDP, the target computer must have Remote Desktop enabled (Computer Properties >> Remote Settings >> Remote >> Remote Desktop. I have to allow the less secure version because I am connecting XP to Windows 7. Even so, I have used a network sniffer to verify that the login is secure. I have not yet locked it down and will use

as guides.

To run RDP, enter “mstsc” in a Run command from the Start Menu. You may also find it in the Acce4ssorries folder in the Start Menu Programs folder.

I have a static IP address for my home system and have given it a domain name. Rhino Software used to offer a great, free service called DNS4me to ASP members but has decided to stop offering it. They are advising people at to consider or

A downside of the RDP approach is that my laptop has essentially nothing useful on it unless it is connected to the internet. In particular, I cannot work on anything in an airline seat unless the airline provides wifi. I don’t expect this downtime to be a problem as having people in front of you recline their seats makes airline seat computing a dicey proposition anyway.

Annother issue with RDP approach is if you are using sound. For example, you want to use Skype. With RDP, the sound will go to main computer and then to the remote desktop, introducing delays and consuming bandwidth.


Does the freemium model work?

September 15th, 2010

Should you offer a free version of your software?

Two different perspectives on using free services to attract users:


Usually, the “free” offering never times out and is usually limited with respect to the paid version.

The shareware trial model most of use generally times out, most commonly in 30 days. The trial itself is often full-featured, but not always.

The experience of ASP members is to emphasize sales over downloads. An immediate purchase with a strong money back guarantee is instead of the user thoroughly evaluating before purchase.

A free offering will satisfy many people and they will never upgrade. Many (it would appear disproportionally many) will want free technical support and it is a burden to either supply it or refuse. Rather than offer a free version, a paid, low-cost version will make customers out of those who would otherwise use a free version.

3 things appear to support using a freemium model:

  • horizontal usage with scale and
  • no prior demand
  • web service

By scale, I mean that the app should be broadly applicable to a wide class of user. If you get 1000 free users, perhaps 1% of them will upgrade, giving maybe 10 paid users. This is rather low return on your development efforts. However, with 100,000 free users, that same 1% is 1000 paid. Thus, you need scale to get a good return. If you have targeted product aimed at a narrow niche, you are better off getting sales rather than free users.

No prior demand supports freemium almost by negation. If there is prior demand, people will search for solutions and your marketing is well served by making sure they find you. However, if people don’t even know they have a problem which your software solves, they will not search for you at all and search marketing is ineffective.

People expect web services to be free. It is hard to find examples of successful web services which do not offer free versions. Even Amazon offers a huge amount of purchase content allowing for comparison, user evaluation, search, recommendations, and other great resources. All that content is free. There no login or requirement to pay.

In summary: prefer sales to downloads and don’t undercut your efforts by offering a free version … with some exceptions.


Help your business fail … or succeed

August 19th, 2010

A recent study of ASP membership may help ASP members and non-members alike.
As a benefit of ASP membership, member site URLs are listed in our site. Yet, something like 18% of our members do not take advantage of this benefit. Among that 18%, we think the rate of business failure is nearly 2:1 greater.

ASP members not giving a public URL

The chart shows year of joining ASP and records only those members not supplying the ASP with a URL we could publish. The expire/active determination was made as of Aug. 2010. So, for members joining in 2002, 17% of the expires did not supply a publishable URL whereas 9% of the still active members have not supplied a publishable URL.

This same pattern holds up year after year: the odds are greater that not supplying a URL to ASP when joining leads to lapse of ASP membership (the main contributor of which is business failure).

The message here is do not treat your site URL like a secret. Advertise it in all appropriate venues.


A sad passing

August 8th, 2010
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Mike Dulin enjoying beerIt is my sad duty to inform you that Mike Dulin, ASP President, passed away recently. The ASP board of directors has elected him posthumously to the ASP Hall of Fame as its 2010 inductee.

A public obituary may be found at:

and as was requested, the ASP has made a donation in his name to both WBEZ Radio, Chicago, and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

Mike will be sorely missed both for his devotion to the ASP as well as his wit and character as well.


Symantec Suspicious Insight

April 5th, 2010
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Several ASP members have reported that a new label is unfairly categorizing their software as “Suspicious Insight” and unfairly affecting their sales.  This label looks like a virus warning when the criteria suggest that “undiagnosed” is a fairer designation.

Software labeled as “Suspicious Insight” simply has traffic among Symantec users below a threshold set by Symantec, perhaps because the version of software is new.  Many small vendors may never cross that threshold and are unfairly labeled.

See a write-up on one ISV’s experience with Suspicious Insight for more background.


Safer Downloads for Sale

December 1st, 2009

Safer Downloads

The ASP funded the development of a software certification service called Safer Downloads (SD) through the trial stage.
It now wants to divest itself of this property and is soliciting bids to transfer ownership.

Up for sale, as a package, are the:

  • (.net & .org) and domain names (4 total)
  • USPTO trademark registration of the seals
  • ownership of the proprietary software and content used to power the site
  • activity and test records, as they exist on site

All funds offered by initial prospective customers (less than 10) have been returned. Most bank balances have been recovered by the ASP. An existing CD (time deposit) will be recovered soon and so there are no financial assets transferring to buyer under this sale. Read more…

Announcements , ,

New Version of PADGen ( Released

November 16th, 2009
Download PADGen

Download PADGen

ASP announced recently that a new version of PADGen ( is available – utility that helps software developers create portable application description (PAD) files. This is the first major update to the PADGen™ PAD™ generation tool in over a year.

Does your software support Windows 7?  If so, you need to update to the new PADGen.  In addition to Windows 7, the new PADGen supports a streamlined and standardized list of Windows operating systems.

Are you switching to Mac? The new PADGen supports a standard OSX type rather than specific version numbers.  This future-proofs your submissions.  iPhone is new as well. Read more…

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