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.

My Blog Is Now Running WordPress 3.2

WordPress Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I upgraded my blog to the new major revision of the WordPress blogging platform, version 3.2, as soon as it was publicly released. In only a day, the new version was downloaded over 330,000 times. The new version of WordPress is supposedly much lighter and faster than the previous iteration, as a lot of bloat has been removed and a lot of the code was optimized to be more efficient. The new version features a new admin panel and an HTML5 compatible default theme. Overall, I am pleased with the new version of WordPress, and I’m looking forward to even more positive changes to the platform in the future.

LibreScribe Progress Update

Since my last post, I have made a lot of progress with LibreScribe. Just a few commits ago, LibreScribe gained the ability to retrieve a list of installed applications on the device, and add them to the list in the applications tab. I also fixed several other significant issues, including:

  • When the smartpen is connected/disconnected, the application no longer crashes, and the status is automatically refreshed
  • Device storage usage is now displayed in MiB instead of in bytes. This makes it a lot less confusing how much space is remaining on your smartpen.
  • A bug, where the Echo Smartpen was detected as an “unknown LiveScribe Smartpen” in certain cases was fixed.
  • All absolute paths have been removed from the project. All resources are now referenced using relative paths.
  • wxFormBuilder has been replaced with wxSmith. The entire user interface has been recreated from scratch (although it’s very similar to the old interface, intentionally)
  • Many C++ source and header files are no longer necessary, so they have been removed, and merged into other files. This makes the codebase a lot more maintainable.
  • Duplicate udev events (such as multiple add events of the same device) are ignored now. Previously, we ended up refreshing the device information up to four times in a row because of duplicate events. This significantly reduces the delay between plugging in a device and seeing a response on the screen.

There are still tons of issues that still need to be fixed before LibreScribe becomes usable in a production environment, but I’ve been steadily making progress, and I hope to have something useful out soon.

Major Bug Fix in LibreScribe

A lot of work on the LibreScribe project has been accomplished since I first wrote about it. Just today, I fixed a major regression which was preventing the device information dialog from being displayed. In addition to that, I now have more work done on the interface, so that when the windows is resized, most of the elements will scale properly to fit the new size. Another major change I made was setting up the layout of the “Audio” and “Applications” tabs, so that there are now lists, with data split into columns. These changes mark a significant improvement in the look and feel of LibreScribe, but it’s only the beginning. Expect a large number of major changes in the not-too-distant future.

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”. ;)

New EliteBomb Plus Gingerbread Screenshots Added

I’ve been working on cleaning up the market pages for my applications, and I noticed that the screenshots I had on the EliteBomb Plus page looked really stretched and unappealing, so I fired up my Android 2.3 emulator to get some better looking screenshots for use on the Android market. After playing with my app in the emulator for ~15 minutes, I finally got a really nice set of screenshots for the market, and I thought I’d post them here as well. Enjoy! :)

New FiOS WEP Calculator Advertisement

In an attempt to get more downloads of my FiOS WEP Calculator, I created a new advertisement that I will be running on AdMob. This new advertisement is much better than the plain text advertisement that I have been running previously, and will likely get many more clicks and downloads than the old version. Anyways, here it is:

Beginning Work On EliteGuard

I’ve begun working on my latest project, EliteGuard SMS Bomb Protection, and I have the logo in addition to a good amount of the actual source code completed. EliteGuard is going to be an application to protect you from being text bombed. Right now it only prevents against repeated messages, and upper/lower case variations of the same message, with no additional changes, but in the future I plan on improving the spam detection logic to automatically determine if the text bombing application is making very slight changes to the original message in order to get around spam filters. I plan on getting EliteGuard into the Android market soon, although initially, it won’t have very many features available. As EliteGuard is right now, it doesn’t display logs of messages received, but it does internally keep track of how many of each message was received. Also, EliteGuard is capable of blocking messages received, even if the messages are from different senders. Because EliteGuard is only active when SMS messages are received, it has a very minimal impact on battery life, and the impact on battery lift should actually be less than if you were to receive all of the messages when you were getting text bombed, since there is no longer a need to use precious battery life to vibrate the phone, play a sound, or display an incoming message notification.  If you want to be protected against SMS bomb attacks, make sure to download EliteGuard from the Android market when it’s available.

Introducing EliteBomb Lite (for Legacy 1.6 Devices)

I’ve been getting emails from users of legacy devices still running Android 1.6 asking why they can’t install EliteBomb, and I decided to port the application over to that version. This will be available in the Android market as “EliteBomb Lite” soon. EliteBomb lite is a copy of the free version, but without the ability to select from you contacts (which uses APIs introduced in 2.0). I don’t have any plans of porting over EliteBomb Plus to 1.6 at the moment. EliteBomb lite will be supported by advertisements, and will offer all other features present in the free version of EliteBomb, including SMS limit removal. If you have a device running a version of Android higher than 1.6, I do not recommend using EliteBomb Lite, as there are no benefits to using the Lite version. Unlike the regular and the Plus version of EliteBomb, EliteBomb Lite doesn’t even request the permission to read your contacts, since that feature isn’t available. EliteBomb Lite uses the maxSDKVersion attribute in the Android SDK in order to hopefully prevent the application from being used on version of Android greater than 1.6. Even though setting the maxSDKversion value is typically a bad idea, I believe it will help prevent people from installing the Lite version on their device if they don’t have to, since the Lite version provides a lesser user experience than the regular, free version. If you have a legacy device, expect to see EliteBomb Lite in the Android market soon. Also, here is the high resolution application icon that I created for EliteBomb Lite:

UPDATE: EliteBomb Lite is available in the Android market. Users of devices with versions of Android greater than 1.6 will not be able to see it listed.

Updating Content Ratings on All My Applications in Android Market

The Android market now requires all developers to set a content rating in the Android market, selecting which age group the application is appropriate for. I am currently in the process of updating the content ratings on all of my applications so that they will continue to be available to all audiences in the Android market.