Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 23, 2010

Weekly launches apps for iPhone, Android

'Palo Alto' applications provide access to news, allow users to submit story tips, photos

by Palo Alto Weekly staff

Two mobile-phone applications that will give iPhone and Android users access to Palo Alto news, sports and other local information are being launched this week by the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online.

The apps also allow individuals to submit highly personalized news, photos and story tips, according to Bill Johnson, Weekly publisher and Embarcadero Media president, who announced the new apps Thursday (July 22).

Johnson said the free applications (named "Palo Alto") are available in the iTunes Store and Android Market. Applications for Apple iPad and Blackberry devices will be released soon.

The apps include real-time news and sports feeds from Palo Alto Online, as well as access to the Palo Alto Online Twitter feed and videos. Those who download the application will see the same news and sports information, including photos, appearing on Palo Alto Online but formatted specifically for the mobile phone and without needing to open a Web browser.

In addition, users can use the 360News tool to submit anything from a breaking news report to a tip about a pothole in the road to a video of their daughter's winning goal in a soccer match. Once approved, submitted material appears on the app, on Palo Alto Online and, where appropriate, on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, 360News and CNNireport sites, with credit going to the user. The applications also feature "push" notifications to users about breaking news or special offers.

"The Palo Alto mobile applications will evolve and improve in the weeks ahead, but they already bring a level of interactivity and engagement that goes beyond the functionality offered in most mobile-news applications," Johnson said.

The applications were developed by SachManya, a Santa Clara start-up and creator of award-winning YAPPER (Your APP makER), an online, easy-to-use self-service mobile application maker, and 360News, an interactive geo-aware program that allows users to keep up with local news and submit and comment on news, photos and videos.

When introduced earlier this year, YAPPER won the distinguished 2010 Macworld DEMO Best of Show award and showcased its revolutionary WYSIWYG app creation technology on the main stage.

"YAPPER is a platform for news organizations and other publishers to easily build mobile applications with rich functionality," said Chintu Parikh, chief YAPPER and CEO of SachManya. SachManya was founded by veterans of Yahoo!, Apple, HP, NeXT, Infosys and Wipro.

The Palo Alto Weekly and its parent company, Embarcadero Media, have long been pioneers in online publishing. The Weekly was the first newspaper in the United States to publish its contents directly on the Web in 1994. It since has developed numerous online features, including local sports and real-estate websites, video advertising, a popular community discussion forum (Town Square), a classified-ad website (Fogster), and a daily news digest distributed by e-mail (Express).

Comments

Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I tried to install this on my Android phone and got warning that the app will have the ability to "read phone state and identity". What does that mean and why does this app need this kind of access?


Posted by Frank Bravo, webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

Hi Steve-

The technical answer is the Android version needs to have that access so it can read a number of the phone for registration/activation purposes. The way the tools are written, it needs to get the number from the phone's Telephony Manager API, which requires the "read phone state and identity" permission.

Apparently there are numerous complaints against how they do this messaging of alerts.

Short answer is it's ok to just accept the warning.

If you have any other questions or feedback, please let us know!

\frank


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Is there any chance of this "phone state and identity" information being used for spam or identity theft?


Posted by Frank Bravo, webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

It's good you are cautious about installing thing on your Android phone! Thanks for asking!

Here's a couple of links about this issue:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

From what I understand (I'm an iPhone user), these warnings pop up all the time on lots of apps on Android phones. I saw somewhere (but can't find it again) the New York Times app is full of these types of messages.

I don't know if any of this helps, but hopefully it does.

\frank


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Given the PAPD's history with the Stanford Daily

Web Link

I'm very reluctant to put this app on my phone.


Posted by Dan Baer, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Thanks for making this resource happen. I find myself getting my news more and more from various sources on my iPhone. Now, I think that my news intake has shifted so that the breakdown by medium is
iphone - 40%
radio - 25%
computer (home or work) - 20%
television - 10%
traditional print - 5%

The mobile app will help me stay up on local news. Thanks again.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I have a Droid phone. When I click to go to the webpage (after the initial article) the resultant page seems to not be expandable. Am I missing something?


Posted by Frank Bravo, webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 26, 2010 at 7:18 am

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

Sorry. I don't understand what you mean. Right now, when you click on the "go to webpage" link, it take you to the full version of the site.

\frank


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2010 at 7:44 am

He probably means that pinch-and-zoom doesn't work to make the text or graphics bigger and easier to read. This works in the Android web browser, but some apps don't support it.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

Right Steve, "pinch and zoom" or even the older way in the browser menu. If I want to go to the webpage AND be able to read it then I have to go to the original Browser. Something for an update?


Posted by Frank Bravo, webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

Yes, something for the update, hopefully soon.

Just out of curiosity, since we presented the whole story in the app, what information were you looking for in the "go to webpage" view? Thanks.


Posted by Frank Bravo, webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 27, 2010 at 7:26 am

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

I looked a little more into the "pinch and zoom" ability for our app and here's what I found.

Only some Android phones support pinch & zoom functionality, which is enabled by HTC, and is part of a patent infringement case Apple has against HTC.

Web Link

So all Android-based user has the same experience and until the legality is straighten out, we are not able to support it within the app.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2010 at 11:17 am

That Apple lawsuit is a hoax. All recent Android phones support pinch to zoom in the standard Google applications like the web browser, the image gallery, and Google maps. Many 3rd party apps support it as well.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Frank,

The app webpage didn't seem to have the comments. Could an upgrade be made such that the webpages update periodically (and would then include the comments). I think it was a story about a local homicide court case and I wanted to comment quick before it got locked down. :)


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I see comments in my phone's app. They probably already tagged you as a spammer and blocked comments from your phone.


Posted by F. Randall Farmer, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

The App keeps crashing when I edit a 360 news story (it doesn't save my progress, so this is very frustrating.) I'm not sure, but it might be because I'm trying to set a date that is in the past, March of this year, to be exact.


Posted by member name, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm

App. does not open using iPhone 3G, OS 4.1


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Are videos broken in the Android App? When I go to PaloAltoOnline.com in the web browser, the Obon video at the top of the web page plays fine (and is a nice video to watch). If I try to view the same page via the app, the videos do not play.

I have Android 2.2 with Adobe Flash.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields