Tag Archives: story

Weekend Coder: Updating an app; A love story

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This weekend I have something a little different for this series, and I think it is something that developers and non-developers alike will enjoy. The best I can explain it is as a self-reflection of developing for BlackBerry 10 and specifically centering my thoughts on one of my apps, Random Stories+.

First a little background, Random Stories+ (RS) is an ad lib style app/game where it asks you for various words by parts of speech (verb, noun, adjective, etc) and fills those words into a story to make a potentially silly sounding story. Version 1.x of RS was one of the first apps I ever wrote and I did the majority of the development prior to BlackBerry 10 launching. After launch it was never a particularly popular app so it kind of fell by the wayside and I moved on to other projects.

From a development standpoint this is a relatively easy scenario to code. Pretty much have the user start a story (2 length options, quickie with 5 blanks and epic with 10 blanks) and have a function randomly select one of the stories for which the user could then enter their words. After the user presses submit those words would be concatenated into the rest of the story. Hilarity ensues?

At this point, you may be wondering I am telling this story. Well the short answer is simple, self-review and self-improvement. The long answer, however, I think is much more interesting and has screenshots!

I have seen many people write articles about if you look at your old code and you barely understand it means you have advanced as a developer. And in my case, with this code being over a year old, this couldn’t be more true. Let’s first take a look at the workflow of the 3 main releases of the app:

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The awakening of Android’s sleeping giant: the Sony story

OneSony

Sony was once an electronics giant. Combining innovation with quality enabled it to dominate the premium end of the market. In recent years, this worldwide conglomerate has had to look beyond electronics to find profit through its entertainment and financial services divisions. The electronics business has fallen on hard times, but there are green shoots of recovery.

A restructuring of the mobile business, dropping the joint Ericsson branding was a good start. Releasing a truly impressive Xperia Z line, encompassing cutting edge smartphones, and possibly the best Android tablet to date, has built a new, richly-deserved confidence in the brand, and the PS4 will land in many living rooms this Christmas. Could this sleeping giant be stirring?

Sonny boy

History of Sony 1 TVK

The company that would become Sony was founded in the aftermath of World War II. Engineer Masaru Ibuka and physicist Akio Morita pooled resources and opened a small electronics shop in Tokyo in 1946. It was called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) and it was envisioned as a place where engineers could be free to show off their skills in a supportive and fair environment, in contrast to the conditions that many had been forced to work in during the war.

They began to research and manufacture various products including a power megaphone, magnetite-coated, paper-based recording tapes, and a magnetic tape recorder called the G-Type. An important deal with Bell Labs saw the new company licensing transistor technology and a line of commercial transistor radios soon followed, starting with the TR-55 in 1955, which was also the first product to carry the Sony brand. The name was chosen as a mix of Sonus (Latin for sound) and Sonny (based on the American “sonny boy” phrase, which had come to mean young and spirited in Japan). It would become the official company name in 1958.

A passion for technology

sony-founders_1921884i

There was boundless ambition within Sony and a belief that it could produce better electronics than its competitors. A commitment to scientific research would soon yield more successes as transistor radios gave way to television. In 1960, Sony established itself in the U.S. and constructed a huge new factory in Japan. It also produced the world’s first portable television, the TV8-301. Ibuka’s feeling was that “The days of radio are over. The future lies in television.”

Sony continued to improve the technology it developed. There were more tape recorders, smaller televisions, and then in 1965 a color TV, the first open-reel VTR (video tape recorder), and the first all-silicon transistor stereo amplifier. In 1968 the first Trinitron color TV, the KV-1310 launched what would become a very successful line.

The number and pace of the innovations coming out of Sony was astounding and it continued into the 70’s. There was the color video cassette player in 1971 and the Betamax VCR in 1975. The Walkman brought portable music to the masses in 1979. Even during the recession of the 1980s Sony produced the first CD player in 1982 and then the 8mm camcorder in 1985.

Missing out on mobile

Sony-Walkman-600The amazing boom in the Japanese economy went bust in the 1990s and it’s sometimes referred to as the Lost Decade. Other companies in the region, most notably in South Korea, began to eat into Sony’s market share. This difficult period coincided with the rise of the mobile phone. Sony was too slow to pull the trigger on new products and it missed the chance to capitalize on the Walkman brand with an MP3 player, despite developing a prototype before Apple launched the iPod.

Sony’s impact in the mobile market was disappointing. It backed the wrong technology and it failed to act on internal suggestions that adding mobile phone functionality to its PDA product would be a good idea. Sony could have started working on smartphones back in 2000, but the opportunity was missed.

Getting into bed with Ericsson

Sony Ericsson

Along with Motorola and Nokia, Ericsson was a true mobile pioneer. The Swedish company had started out repairing telegraph equipment in 1876 and its credentials as a telecommunications giant could not have been stronger. With less than 1 percent of the mobile market, Sony felt a partnership would be beneficial. Ericsson’s understanding of the mobile market would mesh with Sony’s innovative hardware and the two would push mobile phones to new heights.

It didn’t really work out that way. When the joint venture started Ericsson was in the process of shedding jobs, and its share price was tumbling. The wider telecommunications industry was suffering too. The first fruit of the Sony Ericsson partnership was the Sony Ericsson T68i in 2002, a feature-packed candy bar phone with a color screen. A steady stream of devices followed and Sony gradually made its influence felt with phones like the T610 in 2003, which was one of the first phones with a built-in camera.

In 2005 the K750i launched with a 2MP camera and an MP3 player, and the W800i brought the Walkman brand to mobile phones in the same year. Sony Ericsson engaged in a camera war with Nokia. Sony’s Cyber-shot digital camera branding was carried over on devices like the 2006 K800i, which boasted a 3.2MP camera with a Xenon flash. In 2007 the K850i made it to 5MP, but the company was heading in the wrong direction. Proprietary memory sticks and high prices didn’t help, and the iPhone was about change the market. After 2007 Sony Ericsson plummeted into the red.

Grasping for a handhold

The company had built a 9% market share, but in 2008 it fell to 7.5% and Sony Ericsson was overtaken by LG in the charts. Worse was to come in 2009, with large financial losses, closures and lay-offs. Sony Ericsson’s market share fell to just 4.5%. It was going down fast and reaching out for something to break the fall.

It was becoming obvious that Symbian would not bring any further success and the decision was taken to jump on the Android bandwagon in 2010. Sony Ericsson was late to the party. HTC, Samsung, and Motorola were already producing Android smartphones. Sony had never let the dominance of others stop it from entering a new market and it wasn’t about to start now. Its usual strategy was to do things better than the competition and produce premium products that were irresistible.

Getting to grips with Android

The first Android smartphone from Sony Ericsson was the Xperia X10. It had a 4-inch touchscreen with a 480 x 854 pixel resolution, a 1GHz processor, and an impressive 8.1MP camera. There were some positives, but there were negatives too. The fact it shipped with Android 1.6 was a major disappointment. It was also laggy, it had no multi-touch support, it lacked a flash for that great camera, and the keyboard was widely criticized. It wasn’t a disaster, but it certainly wouldn’t be enough to turn the company’s fortunes around.

Sony Xperia X10

Next up, in 2011, was the Xperia Arc. Sony Ericsson was obviously getting the hang of Android because this phone launched with the latest version of Android, 2.3.2, the lag was gone, the camera had a flash, and it looked gorgeously premium. The main downside was the high price tag.

Around the same time as the Arc, Sony Ericsson launched the hotly anticipated PlayStation phone, the Xperia Play. It had long been touted as a potential savior for the company, but in the end it failed. It was too expensive, the game selection wasn’t great, it was big and heavy, and the marketing machine never got going.

The break up

Sony Ericsson’s sales continued to fall. The margins on the new Android line were better, but that wasn’t enough to stop the losses. By the middle of 2011 Sony Ericsson’s market share had fallen to less than 2% and something had to give. In October Sony announced that it would be acquiring Ericsson’s stake in the business and the deal went through in early 2012.

Sony Mobile released a string of phones in 2012 without the Ericsson branding, starting with the Xperia S, but it struggled for a major success. Attempts to compete in the mid-level sector failed and at the premium end Sony’s releases were not able to beat flagships from Samsung and HTC. Sony had also entered the tablet market in 2011 and the updated Xperia Tablet S followed in 2012. The company was beginning to creep closer to the cutting edge with attractive and powerful hardware, but it lacked a compelling USP when compared with the rest of the Android market.

A new beginning

The Sony Xperia Z kicked off a new round of flagship phones in 2013. It was perhaps the first time that Sony could really lay claim to offering the best Android smartphone on the market. Water resistance helped to differentiate it, the hardware combined Sony’s technological know-how and “the best of Sony in a smartphone” served as a marketing tagline. It boasted really high quality specs and Sony made a serious marketing push in regions where it could reasonably expect to make inroads – namely Japan and Europe.

Sony Xperia Z1 vs Zperia Z aa 26

Early signs suggest that sales have been good and Sony may start climbing the mobile charts again. The excellence in smartphone design was replicated in the Xperia Tablet Z, one of the best Android tablets ever made, probably the first to really challenge the iPad. A first foray into phablet territory followed with the Xperia Z Ultra.

A commitment to staying on the cutting edge can be seen in Sony’s surprise update with the Xperia Z1. The Sony Android smartphone and tablet line now has a clear identity, combining a typically stylish, minimalist design language with the latest technology.

The bad news for Americans is that Sony Mobile is focusing on Europe and Japan for the foreseeable future. It intends to build a solid base before it tries a fresh assault on the U.S. and it has never really developed good relationships with carriers stateside, which is still a prerequisite for mobile success there.

Building an ecosystem

The fact that Sony has its own successful entertainment wing can only boost its prospects further. It is also locked into a gaming console war with Microsoft, as the PlayStation 4 goes head to head with the Xbox One to claim your living room. It has long had a reputation for quality in televisions, even if it proves unprofitable, as it has for several years now. What other Android manufacturer can boast its own catalogue of music and movies and a whole world of gaming pleasure? If Sony can find a way to bring these elements together with its mobile devices, then it will be an electronics giant again.

Android Authority

The design story behind LG G2

LG g2 bezel is insane1

LG has opted for the path of least resistance with their latest flagship, the LG G2. For the record, we’re smitten with its anorexic bezels, incredible performance, and much more. Of course, the button placement isn’t going to please everyone, but in our time with it so far, we think that LG has made a very intelligent decision here, and one that works well in practice.

LG’s let live a video that details their design philosophy, and it’s a good watch, so be sure to check it out below.

LG is arguably the leading purveyor of LCD displays in the world, and their expertise in this area can’t be more apparent than in their choice to include that big, brilliant, and amazingly thin bezelled LG G2. Check out our LG G2 review to see our thoughts on it!

For those that are paying attention — and chances are good that you are, if you’re visiting Android Authority – then you’ll know that LG is in the process of redefining themselves. And all signs are pointing towards a company that’s highly committed and receptive towards the notion of perpetual improvement.

If the LG G2 is any indication, than we fully expect LG to continue bringing us great quality technology at compelling price points, which, of course, is something excellent, and something that will translate into more companies adopting a quality-first, consumer-first, and value-first approach.

Like what you see? Let us (and LG) know down below!

Android Authority

Mylifepaper for iOS Turns Everyones Life Into the Next Hot News Story

Cupertino, California – Interdom is excited today to announce the launch of Mylifepaper onto the App Store. Universally compatible across all iPhone and iPod touch devices, this wildly engaging new social connection app gives users the power to sharemilestone moments and daily happenings in their lives via a digital multimedia newspaper.Mylifepaper gives anyone an avenue to publish their photos, videos and thoughts they feel like sharing in their newspapers in real-time, and present it all to their readers. Connecting with others is as simple as subscribing and getting friends’ and family members’ papers delivered straight to their mobile device too! The perfect way to stay in the loop, Mylifepaper is currently available for download on the App Store for free in the Social Networking category.

“The question that drove Mylifepaper into creation was is as simple as it was innovative,” enthused. “What would iPhone owners do if they had an entire news themed outlet that covered just them? This app gives users an entirely new way to cover their lives and daily issues, and to share anything that’s on their mind in a dynamically succinct way.”

All users need to do is create a profile, add Mylifepaper ‘readers’ to publish their papers to, and they’re up and running. New copies of their Mylifepapers can be edited and released on demand, ensuring that no one will miss out on experiencing another newsworthy moment of their lives simply because they weren’t around them at the time!

At its core, Mylifepaper is a socially engaging digital diary that allows users to compile everything they want to. In addition to adding in personal photos and videos, users augment photos and videos via a diverse set of included filters. They can also list their favorite places, opinions, update their readers on the weather, future plans, and everything else in between. To help them do it all the app features eleven unique ‘News Categories’ ranging from ‘My Weather’ and ‘My Plans’ columns to ‘My Reviews’, ‘My Advices’, and ‘My Questions’ modules among many others. Complete with a full slate of usability functions, sharing options via Facebook and Twitter, and community ranked posts and papers, Mylifepaper is the new way to stay connected to everyone closest in one’s life.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch and iPad
* Requires iOS 5.0 or later
* 23.4 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Mylifepaper 1.0.1 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Social Networking category.

Mylifepaper 1.0.1
Download from iTunes
YouTube Video (Demo)
Screenshot
App Icon
Media Assets

Founded in Poland, Interdom is multi-faceted company operating across numerous diverse industries. Initially opened as a real estate agency the organization is excited about its transition into the mobile arena with the launch of Mylifepaper, an innovative social connection platform. All Material and Software (C) Copyright 2013 Interdom. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks and registered trademarks may be the property of their respective owners.

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Rory’s Story Cubes for iPhone and iPad review: Get writing inspiration from pictures on dice

d096708924fixed1.jpg1 Rorys Story Cubes for iPhone and iPad review: Get writing inspiration from pictures on dice

Rory’s Story Cubes for iPhone and iPad is the iOS version of the dice story-telling game of the same name. You roll the 9 cubes and tell a story inspired by the pictures on the dice. Rory’s Story Cubes is a great way to get your imagination going and a fun tool for kids learning to write.

Rory’s Story Cubes includes two sets of 9 cubes: original and actions. That’s a total of 108 different icons, give an seemingly endless pool of possibilities. You can choose to use just one set of cubes, or both. There is also a “voyagers” set available for .99

3caa8488f1nshots1.jpg1 Rorys Story Cubes for iPhone and iPad review: Get writing inspiration from pictures on dice

To play the game, you simple choose which sets of dice you wish to use a shake your iPhone to shuffle them. You can then move them around on the board, rearrange them in a specific order, and rotate them. Rory’s Story Cubes has a great design and very nice graphics.

The only thing Rory’s Story Cubes includes for the game is the actual cubes. Most people play this game as a group, but I would love to see a writing section with smaller versions of the cubes displayed at the top for solitaire play. A voice recording feature is another great option for drafting a story while looking at and manipulating the cubes.

The good

  • Realistic physics – shake to roll the cubes. Move and rotate them as you tell your story.
  • Your cubes – add to your Rory’s Story Cubes collection. The app now comes with both the Original and Actions sets. Other sets available as in-app purchases.
  • New combinations – generate a random combination of 9 cubes from selected sets.

The bad

  • Doesn’t provide a way to actually write the story

The bottom line

Rory’s Story Cubes is a great way to spark a child’s imagination and creativity. Even if not playing a group, telling each other stories, a student can use Rory’s Story Cubes for a writing assignment at school or just to practice his or her story writing skills.

fbd0538598mf.gif Rorys Story Cubes for iPhone and iPad review: Get writing inspiration from pictures on dice

ccbc2ef66awitter.png Rorys Story Cubes for iPhone and iPad review: Get writing inspiration from pictures on dice

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CrackBerry’s BlackBerry Developer Podcast – the 1/3 told story

Watch the first 20 minutes of our 60+ minute podcast above. We’re going to sit down with Alec again just as soon as we can. Apologies!

The unthinkable happened. We screwed up. On Friday, April 12th, we recorded an awesome video podcast with a very special guest. BlackBerry’s VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development, Alec Saunders, joined myself, Chris Umiastowski and Rene Ritchie to talk all things BlackBerry 10 app related. 

We spoke for over an hour. All was great. We talked about his role and the structure of the Dev Rel team at BlackBerry. We talked about the upcoming BlackBerry Live and BlackBerry Jam Americas event coming up next Orlando in May. And from there, Alec fielded a bunch of questions that we asked on behalf of CrackBerry readers. 

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The Guardian backtracks on UK BlackBerry 10 security story

blackberry z10 theguardian The Guardian backtracks on UK BlackBerry 10 security story

This morning The Guardian posted a story that a British government-funded agency, the Communications-Electronics Security Group, had fully rejected BlackBerry 10 for government use due to security concerns – specifically over the Balance feature. Our own James Richardson dug around a bit more for a statement from the CESG about what’s going on with BlackBerry, and found simply that BB10 hasn’t been out long enough to be fully tested yet. Since then, The Guardian has pulled the story and are currently making corrections, according to the story’s author Charles Arthur.

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Disney’s Toy Story smashes its way to Google Play [video]

Toy-Story-Smash-It-Android

Have you ever wondered what Angry Birds would look like if it had been starred by the gang from Toy Story instead? Well, wonder no more, as that seems to be the basic idea behind Disney’s latest game, Toy Story: Smash It! – albeit with an added 3D twist.

Toy Story: Smash It! is a physics-based puzzle game that features Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and some of your favorite characters from the acclaimed animated movies. Check out the features and trailer for the game below.

  • Block-breaking puzzle play: Throw unique bouncing-balls with special power-ups to knock down aliens and break through their defenses!
  • 4 imaginative episodes: Take a fun-filled journey “To Infinity… and Beyond!” Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you stop the evil Zurg, catch alien bandits, and more!
  • 60 challenging levels: Encounter new challenges in every level. Find creative ways to smash through bricks, glass, trains, and more to get the highest score possible!
  • Hours of replay value: Replay each episode to get 3-stars on every level and earn impressive achievements!

Note that Buzz is the only playable character in the game, but no doubt you’ll be seeing plenty of familiar faces throughout the game. If you’re interested, you can download Toy Story: Smash It! from Google Play for .

 

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