Summer is an odd time. With no ice hockey matches to attend our thoughts turn to other subjects, such as why does RefSignals sometimes repeat questions? I've been asked a few times about how to stop it doing this, so here is a solution. RefSignals is an Android app built with Google App Inventor for Android that quizzes you on the signals made by referees during ice hockey matches. In February I wrote about this app and published the source code so that people could take it and use it as the basis for their own quiz apps. The response was great and the app has been remixed for all sorts of subjects so I hope this will come in useful.
*** Update! See: RefSignals: A quiz app built using App Inventor - how to stop repeated questions for an improved version of this app! ***
I've been going on quite a lot about Google's App Inventor for Android to anybody who will listen recently. An example application I show them is one I built as a result of a conversation I had with my friend Georgina Parsons while we were sat in an ice rink in Gothenburg, Sweden watching a great match between the Frölunda Indians (the local team) and HV71. Ice hockey is a shared interest of ours but normally we attend matches in England so following proceedings in Swedish could be tricky. Fortunately the referees have a series of standard signals they make to indicate which penalties they are calling and our conversation turned to how it would be great to have a mobile app to help us learn those signals.
A few days ago WOMWorld/Nokia asked "Have you made an Ovi app yet?" Ovi is Nokia's mobile app portal, similar in idea to Google's Android Market or Apple's App Store. My answer to this question was no, it hasn't occurred to me, but it turned out that a tool existed to turn any RSS feed into an app without needing to go to the effort of doing any coding. I had a spare half an hour so I decided to give it a try to see if I could make an app for this site. The app generator takes you through a wizard that asks you for a few settings, a few graphics and then submits you shiny new app for a review process. A couple of hours before writing this post I got an email to say my new app is now available in the Ovi app store - for free!
Users of the Apple Mac are looking forward to the release of Snow Leopard this week, the new version of their operating system. I've been watching the news of this in my Twitter stream and gather that it will cost an Apple user £25 to upgrade. So in a way, those of us who use free open source operating systems have saved money yet again, we are £25 up, but what to do with it? Here are some ideas:
Trolley dash in a pound shop
Make yourself sick on flapjacks
Take your partner for 2 1/2 meals at a 2 for £10 restaurant
The EEE does lots more fancy multimedia stuff. One great program that is on board already is Amarok (although it has been renamed Music Manager here). This has got to be one of the greats of the open source world. Through this application you can listen to your music collection, listen to internet radio, subscribe to podcasts and it integrates with last.fm (so you can listen to streams and scrobble tracks).
I've just had the good fortune to have been able to borrow one of these magnificient little machines for the weekend. For those of you haven't heard the Asus EEE PC is an ultramobile laptop. Think "Honey I shrunk the laptop" and you'll have a good picture of it.