• The Smartphone App Review

    Electric Dawn has just been reviewed by The Smartphone App Review, and I think it’s fair to say that it can be considered a glowing account of the app. It’s certainly a proud moment for me, after so many years since the first iteration of the app appearing on the market.

  • Five Years

    It is just over five years ago that Whimsical Otter launched its first Android app onto the market. Back then I was building and continually improving apps primarily for my own use, then sharing them on the market for others to enjoy. But as the market grew I decided to shift to running the business as a going concern and the focus shifted to the finances. This worked out okay for a while but as the Android market shifted from primarily pay-for-apps towards free-apps supported by in-app-purchases and advertising (in contrast to the apple market where pay-for-apps are perhaps more the norm), this new model no longer worked for Whimsical Otter.

  • Color Picker for Android

    The Lightbox app allows users to alter the colour displayed on the lightbox screen. Previous colour-pickers used in Lightbox were sufficient for general use but lacked the fine control needed for some applications. The new colour picker provides three large controls for tweaking the hue, saturation and value aspects of a given colour. This means that for colours close to white it is now possible to finely tune the hue and saturation independently. There are also a few standard colours in the mini-palette to quickly jump to full white, red, yellow, green, blue or magenta. The original colour and the new colour swatches are also displayed allowing the user to reset to the original colour as a starting point. On larger displays, the controls will expand to make full use of the screen space (in portrait or landscape) for even finer control for the user.

  • George CompuRobot CGL

    Whilst tidying up my desk area I stumbled on an old George-bot (CGL CompuRobot) that I’d bought cheap on ebay some years ago. The electronics all work perfectly well, but a broken gear/cog means one of the wheels is undrivable. Eventually I may find a replacement gear, but in the meantime here are some photos showing some robust 1980s electronics.

  • Android Game Development with libGDX

    I had initially started development using Android and OpenGL ES using straightforward Java. But quickly ran into responsiveness issues due to naive use of Collections and the automatic garbage collector. After reading around the subject I stumbled onto libGDX (as mentioned in the previous post) and decided to start afresh. The library as a whole I found to be very straightforward to use. Great tools for setting up the initial projects. Excellent and expansive documentation for the API and cookbooks for actually making use of the library in your own application.

  • Android Game Development

    I have been wanting to get back into developing simple arcade games for the last few years. With modern mobile devices packing some serious processing power it seemed like a good time to start again. Back then it was all C++ and desktop Windows PCs using OpenGL or DirectX (or even better Irrlicht ). Now, I wanted to focus on Android devices so Java and OpenGL ES were the obvious choice. To get my head back in the game (so to speak) I knocked up a simple invaders clone. The aim being to familiarise myself with OpenGL, user input options, and the performance capabilities of the devices.

  • Trifle Recipe

    Inspired to create a novel dessert for a Pincho Party I started with the idea of a traditional sherry trifle and evolved it slightly.

  • Three Years of Electric Dawn

    Three years. Thirty-two releases. Three major versions. One thousand and twelve downloads. One hundred user ratings.

  • Unit Testing with AVR Studio and AVR-GCC

    When developing embedded C applications for 8-bit AVR microcontrollers, I found the lack of a unit test framework troublesome. Especially as unit testing now forms a standard part of our C-sharp and Java development processes.

  • Sunrise Alarm

    Why build a sunrise alarm clock? I am not a winter person. Those dark wet and miserable mornings are not conducive to me leaving a comfy warm bed. The summer however is a different matter. I wake with the sunrise, and (unless I’ve been out the night before) will be awake and wanting to get up and go early. I intentionally moved to a place where the master bedroom faces East(ish) so for about half of the year I have the joy of being woken naturally. But not in the winter.