Friday, June 11, 2010

Finding out things the hard way

Like quite a few people I know, I always read the manuals to anything only when I get stuck. Most times there is recourse, like when building IKEA furniture. If you do manager to mubar it then you can always hammer the thing together.

Sometimes though there isn't a recourse like when the Android Marketplace makes the transition from paid app to free app permanent. Put another way, once an app is introduced to the market place as free, it remains free forever.

This is the state as of June 10th 2010. I cant see any rationale behind such a limitation. I am sure it (I would hope) its stated in the Android Marketplace guidelines, but its so counter-intuitive that I didn't give a thought to flipping the switch from paid to free for a single day promotion. It turns out that my promotion has become permanent now :).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Whats red and green and goes 50 mph ?

Well you wont see that joke in our latest Android application: "Kids Riddles", instead you'll find a selection of riddles with beautiful color illustrations.

This is the first book type app from the publishing lineup of Okenko books. For more details checkout the post at okenkobooks.

"Kids Riddles" as usual available from the Android marketplace now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Almost a jigsaw puzzle: Mosaic puzzles

My latest app: shuffle around tiles to make a chosen picture. Choose from easy (2x2) grid to medium (3x5) grid to insane (many x many) grid.

Any puzzle you start is automatically saved on exiting the application and restarted at the same state.

The application leverages the accelerometer to shuffle the tile board (if available).

Update: v2.0 now available on the marketplace. Create a puzzle from any image or take one with your phone camera. Menu item "New puzzle" will bring up the image selection gallery.

Main page with one paused puzzle.

If you are stuck, press the menu and use the Help button.

There will be a lot more coming, including a new platform, watch this space!. As usual available on the Android marketplace now.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pexeso na ruby

My first foray into an app for kids, a game of course what else ? :).

Pair It is an app that shows sets of pictures which kids have to put together, essentially create associations. The association is the same for each screen of pictures. Each screen contains 3 pairs of pictures.

Jitka of okenko books designed the game and drew the illustrations. This is the first of a number of upcoming apps for kids, that I am looking forward to working with her on.

As usual available on the Android marketplace now.

Was it a good day ?

Did you have to use your AK ?

I didn't but I am sure some Fins would after getting totally dominated by the US in the Olympics mens ice hockey semifinal game.

Anyways I got around to writing this simple app after reminiscing about Ice Cube asking the question. Well he was actually describing his good day. For those not aware in the 90's or not into rap here it is: Ice Cube - It was a good day. Alternatively use your favorite search engine to: "ice cube today was a good day".

The app itself is pretty basic and shows off the widget capabilities of the Android operating system. The widgets I find are a very interesting component that allows quick access to functionality. Something the iPhone in all its glory should copy - but that would mean multitasking. I say enable widgets and leave it up to users to choose how much load they put their phone through. In other words how long they want their battery to last.

The app and the widget:


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Android development environment update from SDK 1.5

I'm finally getting to releasing apps that have been sitting around. Then I thought it may be a good time to update my development environment. As of 30 min ago I used Android 1.5 on Eclipse 3.4. SDK v2.0.1 is now available.

Installing Android 1.5 was a originally a simple exercise. Everything went as outlined in the readme/howto documentation. That is a pleasant surprise for a development environment believe me. I typically find one or two things that require some additional tweaking, perhaps because of a hard coded path (Perl's install dirs without spaces come to mind, though thats also been a while), but 1.5 was a breeze.

Initial experience with the new SDK install scheme, with SDK Setup, wasn't as smooth. To be precise everything was smooth but the very start. Right off the bat I got the following error

That reads "URL: HTTPS SSL error occured trying to access the location".

The SDK docs mention flipping a setting in that same dialog to force HTTP. That didn't work for me even after restarting the application. I then found this solution: modify the androidtool.cfg. I know I didn't have a proxy problem and tbh I was a bit lazy to create the directory and modify the config file.

I then noticed the UI application is a java app spun off by a batch file. On the off chance that the environment doing a double-click didn't correspond to what a batch file would expect, I opened up a cmdline, cd to the tools folder and executed the batch file from there. After this the "force http" setting worked fine.

As I said that was a but a minor glitch and the rest was smooth sailing. I am up and running now with android 1.1, 1.5 and 1.6.

PS: I still suspect the original error with the HTTPS is due to the fact that the relevant cert wasnt/isnt in my keystore.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

nCaltrain - the Caltrain schedule on the go

nCaltrain is an application for Android phones that presents the current Caltrain schedule so you can easily tell when the next couple of trains leave or the full daily schedule for day.

Update version 2.0 now available: clicking on any of the trains in either Commute or Schedule mode pops up a dialog with the complete route of the specific train (all stations and departure times).

nCaltrain has 2 display modes: Commute and Schedule mode. The most important information from the Commute mode is also available as a widget.

Commute mode

You can search for trains between any two stations on the Caltrain route. Your search can be filtered by the type of train (bullet, limited or local). The correct timetable for the date is automatically retrieved from the date in your phone.

Widget view

You can add this widget to your home screen so you have an instant view of the next train departure. The next train is determined by the filter setup in the Commute mode.

Schedule mode

You can view the complete schedule between any two stations. This view shows all trains and you can filter by day: weekday, Saturday or Sunday.

Available now from the Android Marketplace.