Get off my lawn.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greed 1.1.11

I just rolled out an update to Greed, and here are the release notes:

Slightly spruced-up UI:

Nothing major, but I was getting kind of sick of looking at Greed's main screen. So now it looks a bit different.

Click-to-toggle: In the Feed and Article lists, the star, share, like, notify and cache attributes can be toggled on and off by clicking on the individual icons under the items' titles. If you're like me and your fingers are larger than 1/4" in diameter, you can still manage these attributes by long-pressing an item and using the context menu for it.

Like/unlike support:
Greed supports the "like this" feature found on the web-based version of Google Reader. The little square smiley icon indicates when you've marked an article as "liked".

Layout Changes: Some layout optimizations in some of the views should result in lower memory consumption. Also, I changed the way font sizes are specified so they will work on WVGA resolutions.

Zoom Controls: The article viewer now has zoom controls on it.

Donut-specific Force-close issue: The Donut-level Android API throws an exception if you update an adapter's contents in a background thread. Since I was under the impression that's how adapters are supposed to work, Greed was force-closing pretty regularly when opening the Feed list or Folder list. That should be fixed now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

RingControl updates

I've been ramping down lately on the Big Android Project(tm) I was working on for two months. It's out on the market now, and I'm getting back into updating my own apps.

The first thing to do is get them all updated so they run well on Donut. The first app I'm working on is RingControl, the app that sets ringer mode based on the phone's physical position. I'm looking for suggestions.

I've seen some complaints about force-closes when using the "shake to wake" feature. That feature seemed like a cool idea at the time I added it, but now that the in-call UI has been updated to be less annoying in Cupcake and Donut, I'm thinking of taking the shake-to-wake feature out of RingControl. Seems kind of pointless to have that in there now. Anyone using RingControl, let me know: Would you feel ripped off or anything if that feature were to
disappear in a future update?

Another thing I'm thinking of removing is the SMS-command response function. I think it's a cool feature, but it's kind of out of place in RingControl. No one seems to know it's there. There's an application called SMS Commander that does a similar thing. The guy who wrote it actually claims to have a patent pending on the idea of having a phone do things in response to SMS messages. (Too bad for him... I happen to hold a patent on the use of the letter "L" in SMS messages.)

I don't know how many RingControl users read this blog, but if any do, let me know what you'd like to see in a RingControl update.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Artists in law enforcement

Earlier, I posted this article about a security guard at the building where I work.

There are about 80 people in my office in the building he guards the entrance to, all of whom get their network connections from a 100-port router in a rack next to the office door. That router came up missing a few months ago. The Federal Asset Protection Team (or whatever they're called) came in to investigate the theft. They returned almost immediately after that, when some additional equipment came up missing from a closet.

An occasional visitor to that office was a man to whom I'll refer as "Gragg" in this story, in order to protect his privacy. (Note the unusual spelling I use here. You're free to assume I'm spelling it that way not because that's his actual name, but for some other unknown reason.)

Gragg was the federally-appointed Computer Technician, in charge of all cable plugging and unplugging, monitor picking up and setting down, and other technical tasks that no one in the office besides him is qualified to do. He would hang around the developers from time to time, and tell us how he could type Java code in Notepad without the aid of syntax highlighting. At one point, I spent considerable time wondering why someone with that kind of talent didn't write software instead of spending their days wheeling computer equipment around and plugging in cables. (Total time spent wondering: 2.5ms)

Anyway, during the robbery investigation, the Team asked the guard if he had seen anything unusual. He said "There was some guy in here the other day for about an hour, and he left with a big box." They asked him what the guy looked like. Being the great illustrator that he is, he drew them a totally realistic picture of the guy. It was so good that when the Team showed it to the man reporting the robbery, he instantly said "Oh yeah. That's Gragg." So they arrested Gragg and got all of the equipment back.

The leader of the Team got a commendation for his excellent investigative work, and the guard got nothing.

Moral[0]: If you're planning to sneak stolen goods past a guard in a federal, be sure to stop and chat with him. Verify that he is A) blind, B) unable to remember faces, C) unable to draw well, or some combination of A, B, or C before proceeding.

Moral[1]: If you're an investigator, be sure you're the guy in charge, so you will be properly recognized for your efforts (and those of others).