Trekking Across Bulgaria #throughglass

by Stephen Fluin 2014.08.30

I'm currently travelling in Bulgaria, wearing Google Glass the entire time. There are a lot of interesting reactions, one of the most unexpected was another traveler inside the monument known as Buzludzha that I visited. I was standing in the middle of the inside of the monument trying to take a photosphere, and I hear from behind me, "is that Google Glass?".


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Create Your Own Mobile App Privacy Policy

by Stephen Fluin 2014.06.08

One of the necessary evils of the world is the use of a Privacy Policy when you develop a mobile application. You probably aren't going to hit everything if you write your own. There are a huge number of paid services out there, but the complexity and lack of transparency from those services can be very frustrating.

After some searching, I found a service that provides free access to a template that can act as the basis for your own privacy policy. It even guides and leads you through the process of modifying and customizing the policy to your needs.

Check it out here: http://www.docracy.com/6513/mobile-privacy-policy-geolocated-apps-


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Chrome Cordova Apps - cca create bug

by Stephen Fluin 2014.05.30

Failed to fetch package information for org.apache.cordova.keyboard

If you have experienced this error, you aren't alone. Any projects being created with version v0.0.11 of Chrome Cordova Apps (cca) are now failing to be setup properly.

The change comes from a desynchronization between Cordova's plugin library and the cca tool. This has been fixed by the developers in the latest source code on Github, but not released as part of npm.

The easiest way to get around this bug is to edit

/usr/bin/cca

, and change line 53 from:

'org.apache.cordova.keyboard',

to

'org.apache.cordova.labs.keyboard',

After that, cca should work just fine again, allowing you to create new projects.


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Glass World Problems

by Stephen Fluin 2014.05.04

I starting wearing Google Glass in May of 2013. Since then, I've worn it nearly every day. I took a couple breaks in that time. Once during the 2.0 hardware upgrade, and again when travelling internationally to Brazil due to fears of concerns. Over this time I've learned that I'm relatively dependent on Google Glass as an important piece of my technology life.

When I go out to spend time with friends, I rely on the quick ability to send messages while driving, I also depend on the ability to take pictures at a moment's notice. These capabilities are so powerful because the Glass interface gets out of the way. Glass is an amazing piece of technology, but with these capabilities come their own "first world problems". It's a high quality device, with one very noticeable exception in how it was designed. Google Glass is dependent. Glass is dependent on a data connection. If you don't have a Wifi connection, it can use your phone, but this connection is buggy and error prone.

An all too frequent "sad cloud"

Imagine getting into your car and remembering that you need to let your wife know you are on your way to the store to grab groceries. You want to get a message out that is extremely useful, but not mandatory.

You tilt your head, speak the words "Ok glass send a message". Glass responds that the command was accepted and is listening "I'm on my way to Target, did you need to pick anything up?". You see Glass begin to spin out of the corner of your eye, but you've moved onto more important things. About 6 seconds later you hear the failure sound and see a sad cloud staring back at you. Glass has failed you, and you have to decide whether you want to relive the last 30 seconds of your life over again, or give up. Downtrodden, you give up.

What to do about it

This is entirely a software development problem. We've been successfully building applications without internet connections for decades. If Glass fails to process your interaction in ANY WAY related to connectivity, it should store the audio and RETRY RETY RETRY. The fact that Glass relies on the user rather than its own capabilities is ridiculous!

Grunting with Glass

The other problem with Glass is what I call "Grunting with Glass" or "Sneezing with Glass". The easiest way to take a picture is to wink, and in general this feature works great. Glass has a built in winkometer or scrunchometer that measures movement of your eye and face. Combine the right face action and timing and Glass will believe you are winking.

Occasionally though, human beings close their eyes for reasons other than winking. Sometimes when I'm lifting a heavy object, reaching for something, or even just sneezing, Glass will detect what it thinks is a wink, and take a picture. At this point it's pretty much easier to just leave the terrible photo in the timeline and on the web rather than curating it and deleting it.


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Factorio Game Review - 8/10

by Stephen Fluin 2014.05.03

Factorio is a 2d building game built by an independent team in Czech Republic. Initially funded by a successfull IndieGoGo campaign, the game's alpha is nearing 1.0. 

Playing Factorio feels like you are playing a natural extension to Mojang's Minecraft when played with the Buildcraft and IndustrialCraft mods. Factorio is a very simple game at it's heart: collect resources and survive. The player can wander the landscape and collect resources manually, but the primary game mechanic and the source of fun in the game is in automation. Collect enough Iron and Stone and you can build an automated drill. Process materials and you can build an inserter to move resources and machines to process them. Combine conveyor belts and electric power to build greater and greater system of machines that keep you full on resources and safe from the enemies.

It's a great game, but once you have built everything there is a limited amount of replayability. Multiplayer may change this, as build efficiency and military will play a role of increased importance, bringing all sorts of new fun to the game.

On a side note, the game also supports using Bitcoin to pre-order the game. Visit their site, click on "Buy Alpha", then select a level of pre-order and click "Buy Now", and then finally "Pay with BTC". Keep an eye on the US/EU price, as one of them will actually have a cheaper BTC exchange rate, so make sure you buy the cheaper one.

 

  • Graphics - 4/10
  • Gameplay - 10/10
  • Replayability - 8/10

Overall Rating:8/10


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