Ford Launches App Developer Program at CES 2013

Ford When I saw this headline “Ford Launches App Developer Program” in my email. I thought of two things right away, the first was I wish I owned a new Ford and the second and more importantly I wish I was a developer. This is the first open mobile app developer program in the automotive industry. It works through the SYNC connectivity system and AppLink. The package includes a software development kit, technical support from Ford engineers and the development community. For developers who have an idea but are not sure how to proceed they can work with jacApps who has been chosen to provide development and technical support for third-party developers.

The Ford Developer program has been beta tested with a group of invited developers. This group has included everything from two-man startup like Roximity to large organizations like National Public Radio and Major League Baseball. Ford also worked with Facebook and participated in TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon during the creation of the program. There are currently more than 3 dozen AppLink-compatible apps available on iOs and Android. During the beta testing Ford worked out the details of the software development kit (SDK), documents and the technical support systems. Ford now feels the program is mature enough to release to the general developer community.

The Ford program is similar to those created by Apple, Google and Facebook. Developers who are interested in the program can register at the Ford Developer Program and download the AppLink SDK. The SDK includes code libraries and documentation for the APis. Once the AppLink code is added to the developer’s app they can then submit it for review by Ford engineers. The Ford engineers make sure the app works properly and is suitable for use in a vehicle. Ford then works with the developer to provide a distribution license. The app is then ready to be submitted to the relevant app marketplace. If you are a developer and are interested in having your app be integrated into an automobile now is your chance. New app partners that joined the existing Ford AppLink program recently include Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Amazon Cloud Player, Aha Radio, Rhapsody, Greater MediaGlympse and BeCouply.


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Take Screenshots with a Non-Rooted Android

Whenever I write an article about Android I inevitably get two questions – One, is my phone rooted?  And two, if not, how do I take screenshots?  I decided that the easiest way to answer those two questions was to write a post detailing my answers.  However, if you want really quick answers, they are 1) No, and 2) It’s easy.

There are quite a few apps available in the Android Market that allow you to take screenshots of your device, but all (at least all that I have looked at) require your phone to be rooted.  There’s nothing wrong with rooting your device, and it can allow you to do a lot of things that aren’t otherwise possible, but I had no real need for it, outside of screenshots that are necessary for my writing.

Fortunately I found a simple way around the rooting requirement, and it’s even made by the Google Android team.  If you are a developer, then you will likely already know where I am going with this, but for the other users out there, I am talking about the Android SDK (software developer kit).  You can download it from here.

Once it’s installed, click your Start menu and look for Android SDK and click on DDMS, which stands for “Dalvik Debug Manager”.  No, I don’t know what the “S” is for, so if anyone does, please chime in.

Once, DDMS is up and running, and your phone is plugged in to the computer, click on your device to highlight it.  I have found it best to plug in the device BEFORE opening DDMS, but your results may vary.

If you don’t see your device listed, then you may want to check what USB mode it is in.  Again, your experience may vary, but it seems for mine that it requires it to be set as a USB Mass Storage device.

Now, in DDMS, click “Device” and choose “Screen Capture”.  You will be presented with several options, including Refresh, Rotate, Save, Copy, and Done.  I prefer Copy, which allows me to paste it into a photo editing program for further refinement, if any is needed.

That’s actually all there is to it.  It’s very simple to set up and use, and being able to to grab your screenshots without doing what is a very scary process for many users (rooting) is what the Visa ads call “priceless”.  Of course, many users probably have no need for this type of functionality, but for those who do this should simplify the process.