Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Week with an Android

I have been using my Nexus One for about a week now so I actually have some opinions! First things first, my favorite app by far is AppBrain. AppBrain syncs the list of all of the installed application on my phone to the web. I am able to see other people's lists and can even queue up new installs from their site.

What I miss about my iPhone

I will admit, there are a few things that my iPhone did better than my Nexus. The first thing I miss are a few of the applications that are not yet on Android. This is not a major problem, but still something I miss. The other thing I miss is Audible books, however I have heard rumors they are working on bringing Audible to the Android platform.

I am also trying to forget about how my iPhone worked. It has been said that it is easier to use an Android phone if you have never used an iPhone. I am frustrated with how many clicks it takes to place a phone call. It was a total 7 including unlocking my the phone when I used my iPhone. I have been up to 20 clicks depending on what menu I am in. Spending more time with the phone will definitely make these type of frustrations go away.

What I love about my Nexus

The best feature is by far the various Google applications. Sadly, I have not used my phone as much as I would have liked. Every waking moment for the past week has been dedicated to completing my capstone project.

The biggest change I have made so far is that I gave up my Zune for listening to podcasts. I have started using Google Listen for all of my podcast consumption. This has been the biggest change. Having a stand along podcatcher has been one of my biggest complaints about using a Zune or an Apple product.

The Conclusion

I am happy with my decision to go with an Android phone and really like the Nexus One. My next step is to start developing apps for it. I have the SDK downloaded and have started looking at some sample projects. Hopefully I will have something useful within a few months. I also have some exciting long term plans to develop an Android application!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Capstone Project: CardSurface

After four months and 15,031 lines of C# code my capstone project is finally complete!

CardSurface is a card game engine designed to work on a a multitouch screen and allow players to play a card game in a somewhat natural way. The engine itself is client-server based and allows multiple table clients to access the same server. Face down cards are viewable on mobile devices trough a web based interface.

Our project took an entire semester worth of work, but it ended up being a huge success! We implemented not only a GUI based table client using the Microsoft Surface SDK, we created a command line client that is also able to connect to the server and play a game.

Our engine is designed to implement any turn based card game. For our demonstration of the engine we implemented Blackjack, however Poker would be a better demonstration of our engine's features.

The biggest accomplishment of our engine is that the client itself has no knowledge about the game that it is playing. It requires the server to provide an updated game state after each move or action that is performed in the game. Additionally we support multiple clients and multiple games running on the same server!

There is a lot of room for improvement with this project and we probably only finished half of what we would have liked to have accomplished. However, it is definitely a project that I am proud of. The entire code base is available open source on card-surface on Google Code.

I also want to thank Aaron and Kyle one last time for being amazing partners on this capstone project. We definitely went above and beyond what was required and created something that will live on past this project.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thunder over Louisville 2010

Not only do I attend Thunder every year now, I blog about it (Thunder 2008 & Thunder 2009).

Just to get all of the linking out of the way first all of my photos are in my Flickr Thunder over Louisville 2010 set and in three Facebook albums: Facebook Thunder over Louisville Album 1 of 3, Facebook Thunder over Louisville Album 2 of 3, and Facebook Thunder over Louisville Album 3 of 3.

I really wish I had time to compose a more detailed blog post, but being the last week of classes means I am crunched for time. Instead, here are some of my favorite pictures:


I have a lot of really good pictures from the air show this year. The weather was perfect for taking pictures!

A historical prospective of our military

Almost looks like something out of a movie

We had to stand there for a few minutes to get the picture, but it was worth it.

I shot fully manual this year for my pictures and remembered my tripod. I think they turned out better than previous years.

Some more more fireworks...

And even more fireworks...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Abandoning my iPhone for Android?

I purchased an iPhone 3G shortly after it was released. It was my first smart phone and my experience has been something of a love hate relationship. See What I like about my iPhone 3G and What I hate about my iPhone 3G. While there is nothing wrong with my phone, it has survived undamaged, I have the urge to upgrade. I have a problem with gadgets and need to move onto something new.

My current collection of mobile gadgets includes my iPhone 3G, my Zune 80, and an iPod Touch that gets no use. I use my Zune for podcasts, but would be willing to move to another device if it was better than what I currently use. I really should sell my iPod Touch or give it to someone as a present. Just to throw this into the mix, I don't have any plans to buy an iPad but a good Android table would be hard to resist.

The Nexus One phone purchased unlocked from Google that works on AT&T costs $529. That is a lot of money, but since it does not come with a contract I am willing to pay that price. For how much I use my phone, cost is not a factor.

It really comes down to the decision of what phone to buy. Right now I am thinking about clicking the checkout button on the Nexus One and jumping ship over to the Android platform. This is partially motivated by my desire to develop mobile applications.

Is the Nexus One the right choice for me? If I don't get a good argument against the Nexus One I'll hand over the cash.

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