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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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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

Hack Allows Defiant Windows XP Users to Receive Updates Until 2019

Hack Allows Defiant Windows XP Users to Receive Updates Until 2019

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in News, Software | 0 comments

If you’re still on Windows XP (gasp) and are fretting over Microsoft’s discontinued support of XP, there is now a way for XP users to receive official MS security updates. All it involves is modifying the registry to make your system appear as a Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 system, which runs off the same OS kernel as Windows XP. As Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 has official support from Microsoft until April 9, 2019, Windows XP users can unofficially get security updates for another five years!

To make this registry change, you can create a .reg file with the following contents below and execute it.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\WPA\PosReady] “Installed”=dword:00000001


Once done, the Microsoft Update website will be fooled into believing that your XP system is a POSReady system, making the latest updates available.

Thanks to ZDNet for reporting this. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has issued a statement about the “hack” in that it is completely unsupported and that users are better off upgrading to Windows 8.1 instead. No word on if Microsoft will do anything to counter this hack, but for the time-being, XP users can gain access to the latest security updates for Windows Embedded.

SOURCE: ZDNet – Registry hack enables continued updates for Windows XP 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

Android Studio: Disabling AAPT PNG Optimization with Gradle

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Software | 0 comments

For those that are developing Android apps and are using a lot of pre-optimized PNG images, you want to update to the latest Android SDK Build Tools 19.0.3:
 
0.9.2
  • Aapt-based PNG processor is now default again while we investigate some issues with the old one.
  • flavorGroups have been renamed flavorDimensions and the DSL has been updated. The old DSL is still available until 1.0 at which time it’ll be removed.
0.9.1
  • It’s now possible to include a file when there’s a conflict during packaging:
      android.packagingOptions {
          pickFirst ‘META-INF/foo.txt’
      }

  • New PNG processor.
  • Should be much faster when processing many files
  • Fix issue where crunched png are bigger than original file
  • To revert to the old cruncher: android.aaptOptions.useAaptPngCruncher = true
    WARNING: We’ve seen reports of the new processor generating PNGs that make the app crash on GB
  • The plugin now enforces that all library dependencies have a unique package name.
  • To disable this you can use android.enforceUniquePackageName = false
  • WARNING: The ability to disable enforcement will disappear in 1.0
  • Fixes:
  • Generated POM files now have the proper dependencies even if the pom object is manipulated in build.gradle
  • libraryVariant API now gives access to the list of flavors.
  • fixed issue where changes to the manifests of libraries didn’t trigger a new manifest merge.
  • BuildConfig.VERSION_NAME is always generated even if the value is not set in the current variant.
  • BuildConfig is now packaged in libraries. This requires that all your libraries have a unique package name.
  • If you are disabling enforcement of package name, then you should disable packaging of BuildConfig with: android.packageBuildConfig = false
  • WARNING: the ability to disable packaging will disappear in 1.0

For those that are unfamilar with aapt, it is the SDK compile tool responsible for packing your app into an APK package. As part of the packing process, aapt also performs file optimization on certain media files, such as PNG files. It uses a built-in PNGcrush to reduce PNG file sizes as part of the process.  Normally, this is a good step to perform prior to building the APK. However, when you have already optimized your PNG files with tools like TinyPNG and offer greater savings than PNGcrush, this step is completely unnecessary. Also, it greatly adds to the compile time for building your Android application.

While developing Dragon Geo, I was always suspicious on why my APK was much larger than it should be, given my already optimized PNG files. However, it now makes sense with the latest update notes on the Android SDK Build Tools, as it seems that for the longest time, the PNG processor in the aapt was not checking whether the ‘crushed’ PNG files were actually smaller than the original PNG files it was crushing! Google finally mitigated this issue by fixing aapt in 0.9.1. Along with this long-awaited fix, Google has now made it possible for Android Studio/Gradle users to use the new PNG processor in aapt with the following change in the build.gradle configuration file:
android {
    ..

    aaptOptions.useAaptPngCruncher = false
}

Although the new PNG processor is disabled in 0.9.2, it is still possible to use the new PNG processor in aapt with this command. I recently tested this Gradle configuration for the Dragon Geo app to see the difference in APK size from the older builds. In the case for Dragon Geo, the size reduction was dramatic; the APK size was roughly 4.8 MB smaller! Although a few Android developers have reported issues with the new PNG processor in aapt, I have found no bugs in Dragon Geo with this new build configuration. Read More