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Cid’s Aerial Tours Updated to 1.03

Cid’s Aerial Tours Updated to 1.03

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in Gaming, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

Cid’s Aerial Tours has been updated to 1.03! Similar to the 1.03 update for Dragon Geo, this update for Cid’s Aerial Tours does not contain many major external changes, as most of the changes are internal. Here is the full list of changes in 1.03:

- Fixed a visual bug with the LANGUAGE settings in OPTIONS that was present for Android 2.3 – 4.0 users.
- A few performance optimizations were added.

The CREDITS no longer runs as a separate activity and is now a fragment that runs within the main title screen. Also, a minor visual layout bug in OPTIONS was corrected for Android 2.3 – 4.0 users. Some minor performance optimizations were also added to the code.

The latest update to Cid’s Aerial Tours can be found on the Google Play Store:

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Dragon Geo Updated to 1.03

Dragon Geo Updated to 1.03

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Gaming, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

DRAGON GEO has been updated to 1.03. Unlike the last version, there are no significant external changes, as most of changes are internal and mostly affect how OPTIONS and CREDITS are displayed. Here are the changes with the new version:

* OPTIONS is now displayed over world maps.
* Several minor layout changes made.

OPTIONS and CREDITS no longer run as separate activities and are now fragments. In summary, OPTIONS now appears to float above the map that’s currently in focus.

Other than that, there are no significant changes. The new version of DRAGON GEO can be found here:

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A Fix for the “Bluetooth Share Has Stopped” Error

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Mobile | 0 comments

At the Wearable Worlds’ hackathon event this past weekend, I encountered problems with the Bluetooth functionality on my Galaxy Note II. Specifically, I was encountering force close errors (“Bluetooth share has stopped”) while testing out the iBeacons with the FLUX Android app that our team was developing. After doing some Googling on the issue, apparently there’s a significant bug on Android 4.3 – 4.4.2, in which the BLE module is unable to store any MAC addresses after a certain point.

David G. Young, a developer over at Radius Networks, explains the issue throughly:

Lots of folks using iBeacons with Android devices have been suffering from repeat error dialogs saying “Unfortunately, Bluetooth Share has Stopped”. These annoying dialogs are caused by low-level bug #67272 in the Bluedroid stack, which is a layer between the operating system and the Bluetooth hardware.

While the bug has been around since Bluedroid was put into Android 4.2 over a year ago, reports only started commonly showing up recently. Today, some folks report that the dialog appears so frequently when doing Bluetooth LE scans, that the technology is effectively unusable. What changed?

Some companies are now distributing beacons that are a significant cause. By default, the beacon shown below has a proprietary security feature that rotates its Bluetooth MAC address every 0.8 seconds. This creates big problems for Android devices doing Bluetooth scans. Due to the bug mentioned above, Bluedroid can only handle seeing 1,990 different Bluetooth MAC addresses before the Android BluetoothService crashes. This might take months or years under normal conditions; however, Qualcomm Gimbal beacons (shown below) spit out a new MAC address every 0.8 seconds which crashes Android in just 42 minutes. To be fair to Qualcomm, this is not a Gimbal problem. It is an Android problem.

What’s worse is that Android periodically saves its list of recently seen Bluetooth devices to internal storage, and reloads it after a crash. Eventually, this stored list will contain all 1,990 allowed MAC addresses, causing the Android BluetoothService to crash as soon as it sees a single new device. Once this state is reached, Android devices are completely unable to scan for new Bluetooth LE devices without an immediate crash of the BluetoothService. Lots of frustrated users have reported having to do a factory reset to clear the condition.


Radius Networks – A Solution for Bluetooth Crashes

While David mentions that a factory reset will fix this issue, it’s not really an ideal solution, as (anyone knows) a factory reset can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Aside from performing a factory reset, Radius Networks has an app on the Google Play Store (BLE Crash Resolver) that addresses this issue. However, it seems to be “hit or miss”, as it fixes the “Bluetooth share” issue for some and fails for others. Unfortunately, BLE Crash Resolver did not work for my Galaxy Note II running on Android 4.3.

At that point, I had almost committed myself to performing a factory reset, but fortunately, I had found another solution here.
I temporarily fixed this problem by doing the following:
1. Root your phone and install a file explorer, such as Root Explorer.
2. Turn off Bluetooth.
3. Open your file explorer and mount the filesystem as read/write. Navigate to {root}/datamedia/misc/bluedroid.
4. Make a backup of the file bt_config.xml.
5. Open bt_config.xml in a text editor.
6. The tags between <N2 Tag=”Remote”> and the corresponding </N2> are the cached Bluetooth devices. Delete them. Save the file in place and return to the folder.
7. Delete the file bt_config.old.
8. Rename bt_config.xml to bt_config.old.
9. Turn Bluetooth back on.
10. Check your Bluetooth settings. If all your paired devices are gone, the fix worked. Otherwise, repeat from step 4.
On the commit section for iBeacon, ZackFreedman posted a detailed list of steps to resolve the BLE crash issue. Zack’s solution involves editing the bt_config.xml file in the root/datamedia/misc/bluedroid folder and removing all the registered MAC addresses from the file. Once done, Bluetooth functionality should work normally without any force closes. Please note that this solution requires you to have ROOT access on your device, as you need the proper permissions to access and edit the bt_config.xml file.

It’s not a permanent solution, as the issue will pop up again if you hit that 1,990 MAC addresses limit, but at least this solution will get your Android device back in working order without having to perform a factory reset. It certainly worked great for my Galaxy Note II, as I am no longer encountering the “Bluetooth share has stopped” issue. Kudos to ZackFreedman for this fix.
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Hackathon This Weekend at Wearable World Invents the Connected Traveler

Hackathon This Weekend at Wearable World Invents the Connected Traveler

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Hardware, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

This weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in “Wearable Worlds Invents the Connected Traveler” two-day hackathon event, fully sponsored by American Airlines. It was an amazing event, as there were many groups of developers creating unique, exciting travel-related applications. There were a lot of sponsors like GoGo, Pebble, IBM, MasterCard and tech partners like Concur, VoicePark, LocationSmart, etc. present, providing developers with unique technologies and APIs to help out with their hackathon projects.

This was the longest hackathon event I have ever attended, as it spanned two full days! With the goal of making life easier for the mobile traveler, developers worked passionately to produce a working application that airline (like American Airlines) could potentially utilize in the future. I had the fortune to work with an extremely talented group of people, which included: David Lee, Ibrahim Kabil, Andy Kwan of GPOP and Lance Nanek, a veteran Android/Glass developer. Together, over the course of two laborious days, we churned out a Google Glass/Android & web application called FLUX, an application designed to provide a convenient travel experience for VIP travelers with American Airlines. I have to admit, I was intidated first, as I have never participated in a hackathon of this scope, as well as working with seasoned web/mobile developers & UX designers that have been in the field far longer than I. However, I soon found my role in the project and am glad that I was able to assist with the Android development portion of the project. I was also humbled to see my team members’ expertise.
Our team, working away at the Wearable Worlds Invents "The Connected Traveler" hackathon.

Our team, working away at the Wearable Worlds Invents “The Connected Traveler” hackathon.

During development of FLUX, I was quite intrigued with the Google Glass, as my team members were skillfully adept with using and developing applications for it. While I have never had experience with Google Glass or working with the GDK, it was impressive to see that we were able to produce both FLEX versions of Android and Google Glass from the same codebase with little issue, especially with Lance’s expertise.

By the end of the hackathon event, our team was able to produce FLUX for three platforms, which included an Google Glass and Android application for the American Airlines’ VIPs and a web-based client/server setup for American Airlines’ employees. The FLUX Android & Glass application for VIPs displays data such as flight departure time, gate information, current weather settings, etc. It also uses the iBeacon Bluetooth modules to detect where the VIP is currently located in the airport and displays relevant data based on the area. For example, if the VIP was at the security checkpoint, FLUX would inform the user to prepare for security and display their digital boarding pass automatically. At the sametime, the FLUX transmits that data to American Airlines’ employees, giving them the ability to prepare and know about the VIPs specific needs and provide premium services that would be expected by VIPs. Such a service would minimize chaos and confusion and make the travel experience for VIPs a better experience.
David Kim of GPOP giving the pitch for FLUX.

David Kim of GPOP giving the pitch for FLUX.

During the pitch session, there were quite a few incredible projects displayed, including an in-flight social app, sophisticated mobile and Pebble flight notifications, etc. Unfortunately, our team was not one of the five teams that were chosen to advance to the next round. However, I am proud that our team was able to produce a functional prototype in a short period of time, not to mention working with a talented group of people! I’m definitely looking forward to attending more hackathons in the future! Read More

Cid’s Aerial Tours Updated to 1.02

Cid’s Aerial Tours Updated to 1.02

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Gaming, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

The latest update (1.02) for Cid’s Aerial Tours has been published onto Google Play! CAT now has  Japanese and Korean language support; Cid is multi-lingual! The worlds of Final Fantasy IV can now be viewed with Japanese and Korean location labels.

Here is the full list of changes in 1.02.

- Added missing Overworld map locations.
- Added Japanese and Korean language support. Cid is now multi-lingual!
- Main screen background now alternates between a sky and underworld background.

The latest update to Cid’s Aerial Tours can be found on the Google Play Store:

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Dragon Geo: 1.02 Update Released!

Dragon Geo: 1.02 Update Released!

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Gaming, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

I just posted an update (1.02) for DRAGON GEO on the Google Play Store! There are some rather large changes with this version, as it features many new maps, including the Dragon Warrior VII map that King Zenith from Dragon’s Den recently made. Here are the changes with the new version:

* Fixed a few audio-related crash bugs.
* Fixed a memory issue for LOW RESOLUTION mode.
* Added several new maps for Dragon Warrior III:
- Cave of Enticement
- Romaly Castle
- Noaniels
- Cave West of Noaniels
- Eginbear Castle
- Portoga
- Isis
- Isis Castle
- Cave of Jipang
- Port Town
- Haukness
- Shrine of Holy
- Shrine of the Poison Swamp.

* Added Gwaelin’s Cave for Dragon Warrior II.
* Added the Dragon Warrior VII PS1 map by King Zenith.

Many thanks goes out again to King Zenith and x_loto! DRAGON GEO can be found here:

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Announcing GO THERE NOW for Android!

Announcing GO THERE NOW for Android!

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

And now for something a little different. Today, I’m launching a simple Android called GO THERE NOW, which can create customized homescreen shortcuts that launches Google Maps in Navigation Mode immediately.

With GTN, navigation mode can be launched immediately and customized navigation shortcuts can be created.

With GTN, navigation mode can be launched immediately and customized navigation shortcuts can be created.



Ever since the introduction of the new UI found in Google Maps, there have been many complaints about the overall UX, in that the new Google Maps takes far too long just to launch Navigation Mode. The new Google Maps takes a minimum of three steps just to get Navigation Mode, but GO THERE NOW simplifies the process, by making it one step instead. GO THERE NOW supports several languages, including: English, Chinese (Traditional & Simplified), French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Vietnamese.

Many thanks goes to Joey for the app idea! Feel free to check out  GO THERE NOW in the Google Play app store and let me know your thoughts and especially if you run into any bugs!



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Launch of CAT: Cid’s Aerial Tours

Launch of CAT: Cid’s Aerial Tours

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Gaming, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

Today marks the launch of CAT, also known as Cid’s Aerial Tours!

CAT is an interactive map guide app for the Google Android platform, akin to Google Maps but for viewing world maps from Squaresoft’s classic 16-BIT RPG, Final Fantasy IV (aka Final Fantasy II for the U.S.).  Like Dragon Geo, users can zoom in and out on the map using buttons and pinch/tap gestures. Users can view the three world maps (overworld, underworld, and the moon) from Final Fantasy IV. Unlike Dragon Geo, CAT is a much smaller app and will focus solely on world maps, rather than castle/town/dungeon maps.

CAT is the second Google Android app that I have launched onto the Google Android Store.

Many thanks goes out to my friends who helped beta test CAT, as well as these sites that provided the sprites, maps, and music/sound effects for Final Fantasy IV:

BETA TESTERS:
* Steve Chou
* Joey Dorpat
* Ashwin Kamath
* King Zenith
* James Spencer
* Dan Smoliak
* Jesse Thomas

RESOURCES:
* Videogamesprites.com
* Ian-Albert.com
* Zophar’s Domain


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Cid’s Aerial Tours is available for free on the Google Play Store. If you have an Android device, be sure to check it out! Read More

Game Developers Conference 2014 (GDC 2014) – Wrap Up

Game Developers Conference 2014 (GDC 2014) – Wrap Up

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Gaming, General, Hardware, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

GDC '14 - Bustling with activity at the Career Center.

GDC ’14 – Bustling with activity at the Career Center.


This past week, I had a chance to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a huge annual conference for game producers & developers. As this was my first GDC, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet professionals in the gaming industry, attend seminars on game development, as well as seeing the latest games and technology on display. 

GDC '14 - GDC attendees getting an opportunity to try out Oculus Rift.

GDC ’14 – GDC attendees getting an opportunity to try out Oculus Rift.

GDC ' 14 - Unity promoting the Unity gaming engine to game developers.

GDC ‘ 14 – Unity promoting the Unity gaming engine to game developers.


While the first two days of GDC came and gone with little fanfare, things became a bit more interesting when the Career Center and the Expo Floor opened up on Wednesday. Companies like Oculus and Unity were in full force on the floor. Oculus, riding on the growing interest into virtual reality technology, were demonstrating the full capabilities of what the Oculus Rift VR headset had to offer for the next generation of games. As for Unity, they were heavily touting it’s capabilities as a versatile gaming engine that supports most (if not all) current gaming platforms, as well as high-profile games that were developed with Unity.

GDC '14 - The Sony PlayStation exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – The Sony PlayStation exhibit at GDC.

GDC '14 - Valve's exhibit at the GDC.

GDC ’14 – Valve’s exhibit at the GDC.

GDC '14 - Valve's SteamBox, a PC running SteamOS.

GDC ’14 – Valve’s SteamBox, a PC running SteamOS.

GDC '14 - The controversial SteamOS controller.

GDC ’14 – The controversial SteamOS controller.


Some of the biggest announcements at GDC included Sony’s Project Morpheus, a VR headset similar to the Oculus’ Rift headset.  Another large announcement was Valve’s unveiling of the latest version of the SteamOS controller, considered to be controversial due to it’s unorthodox game controller layout. Along with the new controller, Valve was also demonstrating the SteamOS and the SteamBox PCs over at it’s booth.

GDC '14 - Intel at GDC, promoting it's Iris Pro GPU's abilities.

GDC ’14 – Intel at GDC, promoting it’s Iris Pro GPU’s abilities.


Hardware companies like Intel, AMD, and nVIDIA were also at GDC, demonstrating what their hardware can do for game developers. With Intel, they were promoting Iris Pro (Haswell’s integrated GPU) and it’s gaming performance. The message that they wanted to deliver was that the Iris Pro was capable of running the latest games (albeit at lower settings compared to nVIDIA & AMD’s GPU solutions).

GDC '14 - AMD demonstrating EyeInfinity with Battlefield 4.

GDC ’14 – AMD demonstrating EyeInfinity with Battlefield 4.

As for AMD, they were focused on promoting EyeInfinity, their triple monitor solution for gaming, as well as Mantle, an AMD API that allows developers greater access to AMD’s GPU capabilities on a lower level.

GDC '14 - nVIDIA's exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – nVIDIA’s exhibit at GDC.

GDC '14 - nVIDIA's GRID rack server on display.

GDC ’14 – nVIDIA’s GRID rack server on display.


Over at nVIDIA’s booth, they were promoting their latest Tegra 4 SOC solution, as well as nVIDIA GRID, a cloud game streaming service that nVIDIA is currently promoting.

GDC '14 - A GDC attendee playing Crypt of the Necrodancer with a DDR mat.

GDC ’14 – A GDC attendee playing Crypt of the Necrodancer with a DDR mat.

GDC '14 - Bit Bros., a 2D fighting game that plays similarly to Nintendo's Smash Bros. series.

GDC ’14 – Bit Bros., a 2D fighting game that plays similarly to Nintendo’s Smash Bros. series.

de with the large game & hardware companies, part of the Expo Floor was dedicated to Independent Game Developers, where the latest and greatest indie games like “Papers, Please”, “Crypt of the Necrodancer”, “The Stanley Parable”, and many others were on display. GDC has always had a large focus on independent game developers, but this year, indie game developers were definitely in force, as many of the indie games on display were quite intuitive and most importantly, fun to play.

GDC '14 - The Videogame History Museum Exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – The Videogame History Museum Exhibit at GDC.


Outside of the Expo Floor, I encountered an interesting exhibit, the Videogames History Museum. It was an exhibit dedicated to the history of arcade and console gaming, with classic consoles like the NES, SNES, Atari, N64, Genesis, GameCube, Game Boy, Virtual Boy, etc. on display. There were several stations where gamers could reminisce and play these classic consoles; I was able to get a chance to play E.T.: Phone Home (a game that was largely responsible for the 1983 video game crash), as well as a few rounds of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The exhibit was definitely a trip down nostalgic road for me.

GDC '14 - Game Developer's Choice Awards

GDC ’14 – Game Developer’s Choice Awards


On Wednesday night, the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2014 was held. It’s similar to the People’s Choice Awards, except that the winners here are games and their developers. A significant portion of the GDC Awards were dedicated to indie games, showcasing how far indie games have come in recent years. What I found surprising is that a large amount of the awards were given to the indie game “Papers, Please”, winning five awards for categories such as Best Narrative, Visual Art, etc. Another big winner was Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us”, a great game that rocked the gaming world last year.

With GDC ’14 concluded, I am still in awe over all the announcements, games/tech that were on display, and more importantly, the advice I received from game designers and professionals. As I have started the journey back into software development in the past year, I was initially overwhelmed, as I felt at times if I could ever get back to speed with what game companies are looking for in developers these days. However, I also gained insight and a better direction of where I should focus my software development skills on.

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