How To: Invite ALL of Your Facebook Friends to Google Plus At Once

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Using a neat little trick, I managed to send everyone on my Facebook friend list a Google+ invite. In this post, I’ll show you how to do that. It’s actually quite simple. If you don’t have a GMail account, this will still work for small amounts of contacts, but you need to use a GMail account to process and invite all of your contacts at once.  First, if you don’t already have a Yahoo account, sign up for one. Otherwise, sign in and go to Yahoo Mail. The reason this works is because Yahoo and Facebook have some kind of partnership. Once logged in, go to the “Contacts” tab. Click “Import Contacts”, and choose the “Facebook” option. Allow Yahoo access to your Facebook contacts. On my account, it only imported 100 contacts the first time. After the second try, I had all 257 of my Facebook contacts imported. Now that you have your contacts imported, go back to the “Contacts” tab. Click “Actions”, and choose “Export All…”. When asked, export as a “Yahoo! CSV” file, and remember where you saved that. You will need it later. Now go to Google Contacts. Create a new group called “Facebook”. Once you have a “Facebook” group, click the “Import” link on the upper right of the page. Select the Yahoo .csv file, and make sure to choose to import it into the newly created “Facebook” group. Now that you have all of your contacts imported, if you don’t have GMail, select all of your contacts and choose “Email”, otherwise go to GMail and login to that. In GMail, click “Contacts” and then click the “Facebook” group. Click the checkbox above the list of contacts to select them all at once. Now click the “Email” button. You will now see all of your contacts in the “To” field of GMail or your email client. Copy the entire list, and paste it into the Google+ invite form. Click invite. Congratulations, you just invited all of your Facebook friends to join Google+.

I Finally Snagged a Google Plus Invitation!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Google’s new invitation only (for now) social network, Google+. If  not, I suggest you check out the site and take the tour. Google+ will likely forever change the way we interact with friends online, by grouping friends into social “circles” and sharing only certain material with certain groups of friends. In addition to that, another neat feature is “hangouts”, where you can have a group video chat with up to 10 different people. Regardless, today I managed to snag an invitation to the service by posting my email address on Beatweek’s Facebook wall. Less than 5 minutes after posting my email, I had an invitation sitting in my inbox from Bill Palmer. Shortly after that, I even got a second invitation to the service from the same person. Unfortunately, because Google wants to limit how many people are on their service, even with an invitation, I couldn’t sign up for the service yet, but I’ll definitely be checking the Google Plus website frequently to see if I can get in. I’m incredibly excited to try out this new service from Google, and I have incredibly high expectations from it. Anyways, if I do manage to get in, I’ll be happy to invite anyone who requests an invitation from me. I’ll update this post (or post another post) once I get into Google+.

UPDATE: I got a second invitation by Richi Jennings of Computerworld, who I emailed before posting on Beatweek’s wall, asking for an invite. Thanks Richi! However, I still didn’t manage to get into Google+, unfortunately… :(

UPDATE 2: I finally managed to sign up for Google+! I’ll try to invite everyone who asked me to send them an invitation, but I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to sign up.

I’ve Been Completely BANNED From the Android Market

In case you were wondering where all of my applications went, Google decided to suspend my entire account and all applications on it on December 29th, 2010 at 8:46 PM (UTC). This is very disappointing, frustrating, and depressing, especially since I am no longer allowed to upload any new Android applications. I believe that Google went too far and should have only suspended the infringing applications instead of banning my entire account, since I had many legitimate, non-infringing applications on it, such as EliteGuard, Currency Converter, Simple Dice, Find the Mouse, and InfiniteSMS (I don’t believe simply removing the SMS sending limit qualifies as infringement). Here is the message I have received from the Android Market Support Team:

Hello Dylan,

After a regular account review, your Android Market Publisher account has
been suspended due to multiple violations of our Terms of Service. You may
view these terms here:

http://www.android.com/us/developer-distribution-agreement.html (Section
4.4).
http://www.android.com/market/terms/developer-content-policy.html

Please note that Android Market Publisher suspensions are associated with
developers, and may span multiple accounts.

We are not inclined to reverse this decision.

Regards,
The Android Market Team

An hour after receiving this message from Google, I decided to try to appeal the ban, with an apology letter directed toward the Android Market team. As of January 3rd, 2011, I have not received any reply from them at all. A copy of my response to them is below:

Dear Android Market Support,

In addition to the applications that infringe upon your terms of service, I had many ‘legitimate’ applications listed that cause no harm to any devices or networks, or infringe on your terms of service in any way. I would like to appeal your decision to suspend my account, and I would like to request a specific list of infringing applications and how they infringe upon your terms of service so that I can remove those particular applications from the market if I am given another chance to distribute my applications on the Android market. Although you say that I have multiple violations of your terms of service, the only application I wrote that I am aware may potentially infringe on your terms of service is “EliteBomb”, my text-bombing application, of which I had multiple versions listed. When I uploaded this application, I was not aware that it was against your terms of service, and I would like to apologize for any misunderstandings. I realize that you don’t have to unsuspend my developer account, but given another chance, I would like to keep my applications that do not infringe on your terms of service listed, and upload more applications in the future. I have no intention of abusing the privilege of uploading Android applications. I will not upload another text bombing application, given the chance, without your prior consent.


Dylan Taylor
http://www.dylanmtaylor.com/

Unfortunately at this point, it doesn’t look like I will be able to get my Android market developer account back, and this is really frustrating and depressing. I truly would like to continue to develop and support my applications for Android, but it does not look like Google will allow me the privilege of doing so, so I shall begin to look into alternative means of distribution. This is a truly disappointing and sorrowful moment for me. :-(

EliteBomb SUSPENDED From Android Market

Google has decided to pull all three versions of EliteBomb, “Lite”, “Plus”, and the regular version without any formal notification what-so-ever. In fact, I didn’t even realize that my EliteBomb applications had been pulled this holiday season until I was notified by some of my customers. All I know for sure is that my last EliteBomb Plus order is dated December 22, 2010, which means that the applications were likely pulled between the 22nd and the 23rd. I have no intention of discontinuing support of the applications that have been pulled. I contacted them regarding this matter, but unfortunately, because of the holiday season, or some other unknown reason, I have yet to receive a response from them despite emailing them about it several days ago. Originally, I decided to wait until I received a response from them before writing up anything on my website, but out of frustration and due to emails from some of my over 45,000 EliteBomb users, I decided to post this anyways to let you guys know what happened. I hope to have EliteBomb back up soon, but if that is not possible, I will likely release a modified version that is acceptable on the Android market, under a different brand name. I was thinking along the lines of “Phoenix Text Bomber”. ;)

Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Software Development Kit Released

The Android 2.3 software development kit was recently released which means I will be updating the screenshots in the Android market to have the new look, and checking my applications for compatibility. Stay tuned for more updates!

What I Think About the New YouTube Widget

Don’t get me wrong… I absolutely love the new YouTube application (well, new to me, considering I’ve been stuck with the archaic version in Android 2.1), and the application itself is a huge step forward from how the application used to be, and, I must say that it has one of, if not the best touch screen video player controls on any mobile device. However, there is one major flaw that only recently caught my attention: the style of the new YouTube widget. At first, it doesn’t look that bad. It tries to stand out by using the YouTube logo as part of the outline of the widget, and it has a very unusual gradient and outline (for the Android platform). Unfortunately, being creative and having a non-native feel are probably the worst traits of this widget. The left and right margins of this icon are very slim, causing the widget to feel cramped, and not fit in with most of the other Android widgets. In addition to that, the borders of this widget are really ‘sharp’ looking, in comparison to other widgets. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Take a look at the Google Search widget, the news and weather widget, the Google Buzz widget, the “Power Control” widget, or almost every other widget that comes preloaded with Android. Also, I don’t think I like the partial transparency of this widget, as it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right to me, since most other widgets are fully opaque with subtle transparent drop shadows and anti-aliased rounded corners. Functionality wise, the widget is great, since it’s mostly just a redesign of the previous YouTube widget.  While the widget looks great alone, when it’s on a mobile device, next to icons and other widgets, it feels cramped, the borders are too noticeable, and it doesn’t feel very native. Really, YouTube did an excellent job functionality wise with both the YouTube application and the widget, but I think there is always room for improvement, in particular, they could allocate more room for the title of the video by moving the record button under the search icon, and having them on top of each other, and moving the separator for the video information over to the right. Then they could go back to the old styling of the widget’s background, which looked similar to what was seen in the ‘power control’ widget. However that’s just my opinion on the new widget, and I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who love the new look. My biggest complaint, however, is the slim margins on the sides of the widget.

Automatic SMS Limit Removal WORKING on Android 2.2 (Froyo)!

I’ve been messing around with the SMS limit removal code in EliteBomb Plus on my rooted Android 2.2 device (Samsung Epic 4G, running the leaked ROM), and I just managed to get the SMS limit removed 100% automatically! This is very exciting, as this feature is the #1 request I get. In fact, this feature is so major, that I will be bumping the version number to 3.0 when I get it released to the Android market. I have not tested the code for backwards compatibility with devices with Android versions less than 2.2, but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work. This feature will be released first in EliteBomb Plus, and it will be ported over into the free version of EliteBomb shortly afterwards (I like to reward my paying customers). Before I release this, I plan on doing some further testing to ensure that everything does in fact work properly, and it’s repeatable. Unfortunately this process involves removing the limit and resetting it to default several times to make sure that it works. There isn’t much I can do about that unfortunately. However, I’m really excited to finally have this working, and it’s great to be able to release this to make removing the SMS sending limit much easier. Once again, the version with the fixed limit removal will have a version number of 3.0. Look for it in the market very soon. I will also be updating InfiniteSMS, since it’s mostly the same code. Anyways, I should stop working on writing this, and get back to work. I’m just really excited to have this working! ;)

UPDATE: Version 3.0 of EliteBomb Plus is on the market right now! Check it out in the Android market! :) The free version of EliteBomb should have the fix available very soon. Keep an eye out for it…

UPDATE 2: The fix is now available for the free version of EliteBomb as well! If you don’t have it already, I highly recommend downloading it now.

Google Adds Mobile Editing to Docs on Android and iOS Devices

This post is somewhat out of the ordinary, but this is just so cool, I couldn’t help myself from sharing it. Google just released a new feature in Google Docs that will let you edit your documents from any mobile phone running Android or iOS. Not only that, but you can also edit your document while others are editing it at the same time, with “near real-time” updates. This new feature will be available for all users on Android version 2.2 or iOS version 3.0 or greater. Users on Android can also write text using their voice. Check out the following video, it’s pretty cool.

My Opinions On the Leaked Epic 4G Froyo ROM

There are many changes that Samsung made to the leaked Android 2.2 (Froyo) ROM (link: [ROM] Froyo DJ29 leak, deodexed, zipaligned and pre-rooted v4.2 [11/12]) that I really dislike, and I hope that they change before the official release comes out. This is a list of the things that I noticed so far that significantly degrade the user experience, as well as changes that I absolutely love, and a few suggestions:

  • Samsung replaced the stock messaging application with their own custom one that isn’t nearly as good or as nice looking. This is actually my number one concern about the new firmware
    • They really need to stop trying to imitate the iPhone’slook and feel. If we wanted an iPhone, we would’ve bought one
      • Not only that, but they are also doing a terrible job at mimicking it. In fact, Samsung’s new messaging app feels worse than the one on the iPhone
    • The image viewer in the new messaging application is completely broken. It has no ability to zoom in, it shows a progression timer when displaying a still image, images are zoomed out by default, etc.
    • The best option is to just scrap their messaging app and go back to the stock messaging app, which works flawlessly, and has a very native and natural look and feel
  • The new way the applications are arranged in the app drawer is annoyingly unintuitive. Making the user manually rearrange them is not the right way to sell more devices. They were fine before when they were automatically arranged in alphabetical order, but it’s really annoying having to manually reposition the icons. There doesn’t even seem to be an automatic arrangement option.
    • Manual arrangement is fine, as long as the user can choose to have the icons arrange automatically.
    • The new application removal icons are also fine, but really, they should also exist on the pre-installed crapware, since nobody wants NASCAR and Sprint Football Live preloaded anyways.
  • The Internet browser feels incredibly slow and unresponsive now, especially with scrolling. I’m not sure what modifications Samsung made to the browser, but really it would be best to leave it stock, since the stock browser is known to have excellent performance compared to the one in Eclair.
    • Also, the new “Internet” icon looks terrible compared to the look and feel of the rest of the operating system. I really prefer the old one.
  • The new “News and Weather” application is great. It really is. I love how it automatically locates you via GPS and displays relevant weather information, and the tab scrolling at the top of the screen is wonderful.
  • The new colorful icons in the Settings menu feel very non-native to the platform, but I kind of like them. With less glossiness (I despise glossy icons) and saturation, I could actually become accustomed to them.
  • I really like the new voice recorder application they include in the new ROM. It’s very simple and easy to use, yet it looks great!
  • The Video Player application is also really good, but I experienced some issues with stopping a video that really ruin the user experience. When the back button is pressed, the video should be stopped, and I should be taken back to the list of videos on my device. There should be no need to press an additional on-screen button to stop playing the video. Also, video playback is laggy, and skipping to parts of the video reveals significant delays.
  • The Memo application is pretty good, but it should allow you to backup memos that you create, either on the device’s SD card, or to the cloud.
  • Getting a GPS position is still flawed. It takes way too long to get a lock on my position, especially considering how other, lower-end phones such as the Samsung Transform are able to get a quicker GPS location that a high-end device like the Samsung Epic 4G.
  • The new AllShare logo looks much better than the old one, but it looks a bit too glossy for my tastes.
  • It would be a great addition if Samsung would pre-install the latest version of Google’s Voice Search application, which comes with Voice Actions. Sure, users could install that themselves, but it integrates really well with the operating system, and works much better than the version that comes installed. Also, most users won’t know to install the version of Voice Search in the market.
  • I love the new Silent toggle in the notification bar, but really, it should let you put it in Silent, Vibrate, or Normal (Non-Silent) mode.
  • During calls, the proximity sensor sometimes doesn’t work correctly, leading to difficulty ending the call.
  • There are often glitches when entering the lock pattern.

I will update this list if I notice anything else that should be changed with the new firmware, but really, I’m overall impressed with the new firmware, and I will continue to use it on a day-to-day basis.

UPDATE: Very frequently, when pressing on the screen and dragging, the phone will think you let go early, even though you didn’t. This is far too common, especially with the lock pattern and Swype, and the problem is incredibly annoying and infuriating.

Pssst… Planned Improvements for "Find The Mouse"

I realize that “Find The Mouse” isn’t that much fun yet. I’m working on implementing a feature to keep track of scoring. For each round successfully completed, you will get one point plus one point for every click left. The game will also keep track of how many games were won in a row. Keep in mind that this game was never originally designed to be very fun, it was meant to be an example to teach (very) basic Android programming. These upcoming features are simply the result me giving into peer pressure and trying to make the game more enjoyable. Keep in mind that this is an open source project and anyone is welcome to contribute code if they would like to see it in the game. The feature is done as far as coding, I just have to work on the new layout.