Smart Watch, Dumb Phone?

So, it seems Apple is finally ready to launch the iWatch – I am probably in the market for one, if for no other reason than the geek factor of it, though I can’t help but think that these things keep doing it ass-backwards.

How is it a “Smart” watch if it is nothing but a dumb accessory to the “Smart” phone. For it to be “Smart” it has to be the other way around. The watch has to be the phone, and the phone has to be the accessory, otherwise it’s just one more gadget I need to remember.

Done right, the Smart Watch is a communication hub with just enough functionality for me to be able to leave the increasingly large, clumsy, battery eating brick of a phone at home.

It should:

  1. Tell the time (wee 🙂 )
  2. Do phone calls
  3. Play music
  4. Check/browse e-mail
  5. Follow twitter and other social media updates
  6. Show my calendar
  7. Maybe even basic GPS / location tracking
  8. Possibly simple home automation
  9. (Oh, and the health thing, for those who find that useful 🙂 )

It does not require a massive CPU or GPU or a big screen but it has to have 3G and WiFi. When I want to play a game, browse the internet, write emails and need the screen real-estate, horsepower, or a semi-proper keyboard, I can turn my watch into a hotspot and connect my (3G-less) “phone” to it.

In fact, I’d probably just connect my laptop or my iPad to the watch and ditch the phone entirely. I don’t really need the phone – it’s a silly device – too small to be useful and too big to drag around all the time.

Why you should NOT advertise on LinkedIn!

I got a “promotional offer” from LinkedIn the other day: 300SEK of free advertising.

I’ve been wanting to promote TempusCura for a while, and figured LinkedIn would be a good place to do so, so as a test I created a campaign, provided my CreditCard details (because as always, free promotions are not really free, there was an administration fee of SEK 35:-.), and set it to run immediately.

I deliberately set the burn-rate high at 300SEK/day because I wanted to test if there was a noticeable difference in downloads or web-site traffic, and opted for impressions rather than clicks to get the widest exposure. As I said, it was a test.

I then went on to do other stuff…

This morning, and by complete accident, I ended up looking at the Campaign page of LinkedIn again, and to my horror saw that my little test had burned not 300, but 3.000SEK in two days. Unlike Facebook and Google, the amount you pay for the campaign is not limited (at least not by default) – if I had not seen this today, it would easily have been 30K by the time I was invoiced. Not cool!

So what did I get for my money?

213.000 impressions.

Wow!

Well, wow-not, much as expected, web adverts are not worth the price of the paper they’re not printed on… 213.000 impressions resulted in 20 clicks – probably from existing customers, friends or family.

It’s hard not to laugh. That’s SEK 150:- per click to advertise an app that I sell for SEK 7:-

I don’t know why there are so many ads on web-sites? I mean, I can certainly see it from the point of view of those who get paid, but for the advertisers? Seriously?

My advice: Draw your ad on the back of a piece of toilet paper, wipe, flush, and save a lot of money.

Tempus Cura Released

iTunesArtworkTempusCura was released on the App Store today.

I’m deliberately not promoting the release yet as I’d like to see the first 100 users or so trickle in slowly in case there are any issues that needs to be resolved, but I’m looking forward to any and all feedback, so please do drop me a note if you decide to try it out :).

The app itself is a free download and comes with 30 days of free subscription, so for the first month you can create or joins as many projects as you like. When the subscription expires you can either extend it at the early introductory price of $1/month or $10/year in which case the app remains unrestricted.

Alternatively you may purchase seat licenses for each of the projects you intend to use at the similarly discounted rate of $1/project. This in turn unlocks those projects once and for all, with no need to ever purchase another license or subscription to access that project again.

Enclosure for iOS

Between other jobs, I’ve been able to put some (mostly late-night) time into porting Enclosure to iOS.

My first thought was that, “hey, it’s both OpenGL – it can’t be that hard to convert Java to Objective-C”. As it turns out, it’s a bit of a nightmare, so I quickly gave up that idea, and instead turned my attention to another tool I’ve been wanting to use for a while: Unity.

Let me start by saying that Unity is nothing short of awesome. The only downside is that I have to write the code in MonoDevelop which is not much more than a glorified text editor – being used to IDE’s from jetBrains (I use both IDEA and AppCode), Mono is a bit of a pain in the neck.

Anyway, choosing Unity meant re-thinking the visual appearance of Enclosure – the main gameplay will be the same, but it will look like a different game entirely. Here’s a sneak peek:

Early development screenshot

Early development screenshot

I have most of the basic gameplay-features in place, and because it’s C#, I can grab big chunks of code from the Android game and more or less paste them into Unity. Much simpler than converting to Objective-C.

Right now I have a ton of other things to attend to, but hopefully I’ll find time to finish it in the coming months.

Tempo Tim Update

Last night I uploaded a new version of Tempo Tim with some new features that has been requested over the last couple of days since it was first launched:

  1. Ability to pause the timer without resetting it
  2. Parental lock to prevent kids from tampering with the settings
  3. Show remaining time while “parent lock” is on.

The remaining time is shown both as a time and as a “progress” bar in the form of a glass of lemonade 🙂

The new "lock" screen in Tempo Tim

The new “lock” screen in Tempo Tim

Android Development on a Mac

I just had to take 5 minutes to write about this…

Last year I did a small Android app for a client, it was just a prototype but it had to run on a specific device: A Sony Ericsson Xperia. It was supposed to be nothing more than a couple of days work, and everything looked fine until I tried debugging the app on the device.

The damn thing just wouldn’t connect – I downloaded and installed a host of drivers and countless megabytes of Sony fluff, but finally ended up stitching something together from various 3rd party sources. It took almost two days before I could get the debugger connected.

I should have known, I guess, since I had a similar nightmare on a laptop with my HTC Desire some half year earlier, but back then I figured it was just the laptop that was messed up.

Now, today, I had to do another small Android project and since my HTC Desire was so low on battery that it would not run from the USB connection on my MacBook, I hesitantly dusted off the Xperia and plugged it in.

I pressed “Debug” in IDEA and lo and behold, the app instantly fired up on the device.

How ironic is it that Android development is easier on a Mac? 🙂

(Update: The HTC finally charged up so I tested it as well – same story! No need for annoying HTC sync apps and funky driver setups – it just works).