Archives For Technology

Group Games v2.0

October 13, 2013 — 2 Comments

It’s been many months in the making and Group Games v2.0 is finally here!

Here are the updates (there are a few):

  • New Favourites view! Save all of your favourite games by tapping the star in the top right hand corner.
  • iPad compatibility! App is now universal and uses a two-column view on iPad (Both portrait and landscape).
  • Games have been completely edited.
  • Redesign to fit in with iOS7.
  • How-To dialogue box only shows when first opening App (always available in ‘More’ tab).
  • New ‘More’ view with How-To, About and Disclaimer.
  • New “Rate this App” pop-up (can be ignored).
  • Re-Drawn App icon to be pixel perfect.
  • New launch screen images.
  • Fixed bug regarding pressing the back button after sending an email from ‘Find Someone Who…’ or ‘Scategories’.
  • Fixed bug where scrolling could cause you to accidentally tap on a game.
  • More games will be coming in future updates!

If you’re thinking now would be a good time to write about Group Games, I’d love to give you some codes to give away. Contact me and we can work something out. You can also download screenshots to use in your post here.

I hope you all really enjoy this App update!

Group Games Now and Next

One of the reasons I made all the changes last weekend and upgraded to Standard 3.

Today I had the opportunity to head to the shops and check out some new technology that has been released recently. Specifically, I wanted to check out the iPad Mini.

I currently own an iPad 2 and I have no intentions of replacing that device anytime soon, but nonetheless, I was curious. My first impression…

Heaps lighter but not that much smaller.

I really noticed how how much lighter it was than my current iPad. I especially noticed the difference when I then went to pick up one of the new 4th gen iPads. The iPad Mini is less than 50% then weight of the 4th ten! 308 grams vs 652 grams (for Wi-Fi only models).

What really surprised me was the fact that the screen didn’t seem all that much smaller than my current iPad. Now I mostly use my iPad for reading and I found it comfortable to read some of my favourite websites on the Mini.

As I said, I’m not in the market for a new iPad. But in a few years I could see myself switching to the smaller, cheaper iPad Mini. I really liked it, especially the weight!

The Competition

While I was out, I also had the opportunity to check out a Nexus 7 tablet from Google. Besides taking ages to figure out how to light up the screen (Hint: the sleep/wake button is on the side, not the top), I found the device felt a lot smaller than the iPad Mini.

After this thought, I was reminded of the section in Apple’s most recent keynote, where Phil Schiller ripped on the Nexus 7, saying how much smaller the display was. The video and some of the key numbers are below.

  • The display itself is 35% larger on the iPad Mini.
  • When viewing a webpage in portrait, when you take away the browser and software buttons, you actually see 49% more website (as a side note, I’m not a fan of the software buttons on the Nexus 7, they take up way too much of the already smallish display).
  • When viewing a webpage in landscape, you actually see 67% more website!

Though I initally thought the attack was harsh and drew unnecessary attention to the Nexus 7, the comparison is true. The Nexus 7 seems a lot smaller than the iPad Mini.

A smaller, widescreen display doesn’t leave much space for content when you add in software controls. I think this is why I’m such a fan of Safari’s full-screen mode for the iPhone 5. With controls, you see frustratingly little of the website.

Have you seen an iPad Mini and a Nexus 7? What did you think of their display sizes?

This post is part of the series ‘The Technical Details Behind IceBreakers.ME

In the past I have decided to design my own project logos myself. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best designer in the world but I can do an alright job.

I’ve designed logos for this site (check out the header – very simple), for FreeHDCountdowns.com and for the Group Games iPhone App among other projects. But for IceBreakers.ME, I wanted to get someone else involved. So I turned to my friend Tim’s company, Tyro Designs.

Tyro Designs logo

Tyro Designs aim to do great design at an affordable price. Here’s the blurb from their website:

For too long, good quality design has been out of the reach of the ‘little guys’. We’re hoping to change that with our company!

We are seeking to offer many of the design skills that usually cost thousands of dollars at a reasonable price for people who are just trying to get off the ground.

I decided to request a quote for the logo design and in not much time at all I got the quote back (very reasonable!) and decided to go ahead. All the while trying not to be one of these.

Tim managed to get the project done within the timeframe and I am extremely happy with the result.

IceBreakers.ME logo

I am very happy to recommend Tyro Designs to anyone looking for affordable web and print design. They are professional in communication and efficiently thorough in execution. They even wrote a blog post about the IceBreakers.ME project!

And best of all, I’m a very happy customer! :)

This post is part of the series ‘The Technical Details Behind IceBreakers.ME

When I decide to create a website, naturally I look for .com domain names. This is because they are the most common domain name on the web and people will naturally assume that a website finishes with .com.

www

I really wanted to name my site “IceBreakers”. IceBreakers is a term that is searched for lots on Google and I wanted to have that keyword in my domain name, enough said. Unfortunately icebreakers.com was taken as were other iterations (such as icebreakergames.com). So I had to go for plan B.

I looked around at other possibilities, and one of the possible options was IceBreakers.ME. When I saw it I just had to take it.

I knew that a .me domain name wasn’t going to be as easy to remember as the .com, so I’ve decided to heavily promote the .ME in all the branding. In a few ways:

  1. Whenever I say my websites name, I always say IceBreakers dot ME.
  2. I’ve capitalised .ME when writing the web address (as well as the I and the B).
  3. The tagline, games and questions to get to know YOU, emphasises the ‘YOU’ in order to contrast the ME in the domain name. Hopefully making it easier to remember.

IceBreakers.ME wasn’t my first choice, but I’m really happy to have a domain name with a super hot keyword for SEO purposes. At the moment I’m getting minimal traffic from search engines but I’m hoping that over time, with more games and more links, my site will be able to rank highly for a number of searches relating to IceBreakers.

P.S. If you’re wondering where I host my domain names, I use Crazy Domains from Australia. Partly because of their cheap domain names, and partly because they are one of the few hosts to provide .com.au addresses. I host all of my domain names with them (I consolidated earlier this year).

Today I purchased a great piece of software! It’s called Reflection and allows you to mirror an iPhone (4S or 5) or iPad (2 or new) to a Mac or PC. It’s even good enough to put an iDevice shell around the mirrored screen. It’s also very easy to use. Just open the software on your Mac, start Airplay mirroring on your device and your Mac will show up as an option. Simple.

I used Reflection, together with ScreenFlow to create a video introduction to Group Games. I’ve wanted to do this for a while but because I’m not using Xcode (I’m using Red Foundry’s Fusion to create Group Games), I can’t use the on screen emulator. Watch the video below to check out Reflection and ScreenFlow in action.

LTE vs 3G vs WIFI

October 3, 2012 — Leave a comment

Last week, I picked up an iPhone 5 (yay!). And after two years of lousy data speeds and coverage with Vodafone, I decided to go with Telstra. Now I had a Telstra sim card for my iPad and I always thought the 3G speeds were fast, but I really wanted to see just how quick the 4G coverage was.

In short, it is really really fast! Faster than anything I have ever experienced.

Below are 3 screen shots of data speeds I have had on the three different connections.

LTE

3G

WIFI (ADSL2+)

I was incredibly impressed with the LTE speeds I picked up in the city, I have never experienced anything like it. And I am quite disappointed that the slowest speed I experience is the Telstra ADSL2+ fixed line connection I have at home.

In reality, I am able to download everything at acceptable speeds at home, and anything faster than that really is a bonus. But I have to say I’m a little excited about the upcoming NBN!