Dev Highlight: 72ka

It’s been quite a while since we’ve highlighted a developer on pivotCE!  So here’s a long over due highlight on a webOS developer practically every webOS user should know for his homebrew solution to Google Maps: 72ka.

MeWhat’s your handle?
My name is Jan Heřman, webOS people know me as 72ka. The “72” comes from my old beloved Palm Zire72 and “ka” is the Czech suffix for number personifying.

Where do you hail from?
I live in Prague, Czech Republic.

PalmZ72_TX_Linux_exampleWhat was your first Palm device?
My first device was the 3Com Palm IIIe, which helped me to finish the university, mainly using the famous EasyCalc, which was my right hand all the time! Then I owned a Zire71, Zire72, then I won a Tungsten T and Palm Vx in the competition for the best article on [a] website about Palm devices. I still have the Zire72 and Palm Vx. After PalmOS died, I migrated to the Nokia internet tablets N770 and then N810 and made the czech localization for Maemo OS2008. After Maemo died I jumped into Android for one year, but I was not satisfied with the system and bought a “dumb” phone for a while. The webOS Palm/HP devices have not been and are not available on the Czech market, so one day I saw an offer for a used old locked AT&T Pre Plus and bought it. The same day I successfully unlocked it just for fun and to try it. I fell in love with webOS.

PrewareShotThen I started the Google Maps development activity, because the map application is important for me. I have never seen an original Google Maps application in real use, because I started to be a webOS user after Bing Maps was released to all Palm/HP devices. Then, thanks to the amazing webOS community, I received enough money to buy a Pre3 from Germany for an unbeatable price (many thanks again). Then I was able to optimize my apps for it which contains many development exceptions.
And what´s the point? If I like some device/system, it will always die (PalmOS, Maemo, webOS) and vice versa (Android)… I´m not lucky with that.

Have you published any apps in the HP App Catalog?
I don’t have a developer account. I tried it to upgrade my community account, but the dev account needs a credit card with PayPal and I don’t have (and don’t want) to bind any card with PayPal, so the dev account is not available for me… sadly. And the support e-mail is cancelled, it always returns as undelivered. Any advice is appreciated.

What homebrew apps have you developed?
Google Mapshttp://github.com/72ka/google-maps
wInNeR –  http://github.com/72ka/wInNeR
HERE maps – http://github.com/72ka/here
Gas&Oil Mixhttp://github.com/72ka/GasOilMix
Aladin

Have you written any patches?
Nothing…because I started to be a webOS user at the end of webOS’ life, all the patches that I needed I found. Thanks to the authors!

What’s your daily driver phone?
I use the Pre3 and after one year, I love its form-factor. Only the battery life is really poor.

Which tablet do you use?
One of a dozen cheap tabs. ICOO D70GT. I successfully ported Open webOS on it but without graphics acceleration. Recently looks like that the touchscreen will definitely fail soon, typical for such cheap hardware.

Qtopia_running_Zire72How did you get your start into programming?
My first experience (I was around 10) was a Commodore 64 and BASIC, Assembler and Pascal. Then I developed two apps for Psion Series 3a handheld. Then some apps in TurboPascal for the electronics, like 4 channels oscilloscope just for logical circuits developing. I made an app for model train automation and for driving the model locomotive using pulse width modulation, including the inertia simulation. I remember an app for converting the midi music files to the old Nokia phones text code for custom ringtone melodies. I like reverse engineering in combination with C low-level programming of linux kernel – but it needs a lot of time. Recently I developed one app in .NET, one database system using WAMP for my job. Currently I´m developing only for webOS with care for other possible platforms, which are supported by Enyo2. I need to say, I´m not a professional developer as most of the others, my profession is far different.

GPE_Linux_bootingDo you develop for other platforms?
My most successful time was in Linux development for Palm Zire72. As a Hacking&Development member of the Linux4Palm project, where we ported the Linux kernel on almost all PalmOS devices. My latest release of a complete bootpack for Palm Zire72 can handle all hardware excluding a camera. Some of our code was submitted to mainline, what I see as a big success. Within this project, we even organized some meetings and we participated twice at international linux conference LinuxExpo Prague 2007 and 2008. Back then, linux on a handheld was really rare.

What projects are you supporting in the future?
My current active project is still Google Maps for webOS (Mojo framework), and the rest of the apps written in Enyo 2. I have a lot of tasks to do, but my free time is very limited (almost nothing). My future plans are aimed to bring my apps to other platforms using PhoneGap. I´ll see how the things with Open webOS and the other platforms will go.

Finally, I want to thank all the people who supported me. Compared with my other activities, I have never seen people so accommodating, supportive, and positive with feedback. It makes me more sad about the fate of webOS.

No need to thank the community. It is the community that thanks you for the continued development for webOS. I for one, use the homebrew Google Maps app from Jan all the time!

#webosforever

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