Get off my lawn.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Greed 2: Where was I

I just pushed a Greed update that includes something I had been thinking about, and then got a request for from a user. Basically, the ability to return to the article you were reading before you got interrupted and had to do something else on your phone. Not a big thing, but I think it's kind of handy.

There's a "Where was I?" item on the main menu. If you click on it immediately after starting this update of Greed, you'll be greeted by a message saying it can't remember where you were. You have to read an article before you can return to it.

Once you've read an article (any article, in a feed, label, attached to a "friend", etc.), its location will be saved, and you can return to it from the main menu by clicking "Where was I?". That's basically all there is to it.

Also in this update is the addition of a couple of things from Greed 1, namely the ability to rename feeds, delete feeds, and manage labels. Long-press on a feed in the Feed List to see the options. These are only enabled if there's a network connection.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Greed 2: Authentication errors

I've noticed a number of remarks in the Market about authentication errors with Greed in the past few days.

I've also been contacted a few times about it. One person mentioned having some authentication issues trying to get into Google Reader on her laptop.

I'd be interested to know if anyone is having trouble of this kind with Greed, and if so, what are the exact symptoms? I've been unable to reproduce the problem here.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Greed 2: More updates, and another app

I just pushed another update of Greed to the Market.

There are several updates here, a few of them that could be called "features."

UI Clutter

A few people mentioned the UI looking cluttered recently. I have thought the same thing for a while, but there's only so much time in the day, so I hadn't gotten around to fixing it.

Toward the goal of reducing the clutter, I removed the little lightbulb and floppy-disk icons from the feed list, and replaced them with tiny color-coded dots. When you click on the checkbox on a feed item, a menu of colored buttons pops up at the bottom. It looks like this:

The one with the light bulb is what you click when you want to mark a feed for notification. The one with the floppy is what you click when you want to include a feed in the list of feeds to download when you select "Cache All" from the main menu.

The dark green "download" button downloads the contents of the feed(s) you've picked, including articles, attachments, and images (when possible). The red one clears downloads for the selected feeds, and the blue one marks the feeds as read.

So, the dots... You'll see a purple dot on feeds that are marked for notification, a green one for feeds that are marked for caching, and a blue one for feeds which have downloaded articles in them. Something like this:

The article list uses a similar approach for the read/unread, starred, liked, and shared attributes of articles. There are "download" and "clear" items for articles, and a "share" button.

Overall, I think it's less cluttered, although I'm still looking at ways to make it better looking. I'm not a graphic artist, so drawing those buttons (yes, I drew them, don't blame anyone else) takes some time.

Prefer Network Setting

A previous version of Greed added offline content. When downloading articles, that version would download them straight to the SD card and then read them from there, showing the contents in the UI. It makes the UI faster, and enables Greed to display previously-loaded articles when there's no network connection. The downside is that it also doesn't update from the web automatically, so you have to manually hit "refresh" to see updates. I added a new "Prefer Network" setting (on by default) that reads articles from the web when there's a network connection. They're still saved to the SD card as well. The idea is that it will still be able to function without a network connection, but the articles will be up to date when possible.


Greed Lite has ads in it, like a lot of free apps do. The Greed Full key app can be downloaded and installed to prevent the ads from showing. Originally, I had Greed set up to check for the presence of the key application on startup, and prevent ads from displaying. As it happens, some people were downloading the key application and Greed wouldn't notice it was there until it was completely stopped and restarted. I fixed this.

Images in downloaded articles

I have a start on image downloads for articles. When you download an article to the SD card, Greed will retrieve all the images it can and store them along with the article so you can see them when you read it. I intend to flesh this feature out soon, adding download of stylesheets and other linked items so the articles look better when you view them locally.

Other than the above and a few minor performance improvements and bug fixes, that's about it for this update.

The Other App

In case anyone's interested, the thing that's been keeping me busy during the day is another Android application I've been working on for a few months. It's out on the market as of Monday 5/3. It's called Garmin Voice Studio, and it has a better-looking UI than Greed does. (That's what I get when I have a crack team of graphics experts working with me. Those people are good.)

Garmin Voice Studio lets you create your own navigation voice for any Garmin GPS device that supports VPM-type voices (any GarminFone as well as nuvis). If you're on O2 in Germany, the voices will work on the A50.
Later this month, there will be an announcement for T-Mobile in the US for the same phone. More are coming.

It's similar in concept to the "Own Voice" application that Nokia released this week for Ovi Maps. But what I learned this week is that Own Voice actually ships your voice files off to a server for them to be turned into a voice pack, and you also have to give Nokia permission to use your voice however they see fit. I thought both of those things were kind of strange... Voice Studio keeps the whole thing on your phone and does the Ogg encoding and voice generation on board. It also lets you decide who gets to use your voice. I'm a little partial to it obviously, but I think it's a cool app. I had a great time writing it, and learned a lot.

Anyway, you should be able to run Voice Studio on any Android phone running Android 1.6 or above. Feel free to check it out, and leave some feedback about it in the comments.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Greed 2: Key application

I just uploaded the key application for Greed, which unlocks features in it and makes it the "full" application.

I did this earlier than I planned to, because people were asking for access to it.

Please note that the widget in Greed has not been updated to the new code base yet. That will happen as soon as possible, ideally within the next couple of weeks.