Tap That! Number v4.0

I’ve just released a new version of Tap That! Number for Android – version 4.0. It’s a major revamp, as I’ve completely re-written the high scores component. Instead of using ScoreNinja (a lightweight high scores library), I’ve opted for Scoreloop, one of the big social gaming platforms. This basically means the whole interface looks a lot … Read more…

How to make $250 a day (and get banned from the Android Market)

Logo for the Google+ Invites App

A few weeks ago I did something which, in retrospect, was probably rather stupid. But it was surprisingly successful while it lasted. As I wrote earlier, I’ve been using Google+ since the day after it was launched. I myself received an invite from a stranger who was offering invites publicly. For this reason, I’ve been keen to share invites with anyone else who’s looking for one. I put up a post on this blog offering free invites, and got a huge response from the Android community. In fact, there were so many responses that it overwhelmed my email after a few days. There’s no way I could have kept up with the demand.

Rather than stop accepting requests altogether, I wanted to make it easier to handle the load. (NB: At this stage there was no limit to the number of Google+ invites you could send.) My first thought, trying to work out a faster way to do things, was “hey, is there an Android app for this?” A quick search turned up a negative. No Android apps offering Google+ invites. So, why not make one? It seemed a pretty good idea, so I spent that afternoon writing a simple app that accepted an email address, and a description of the request. The data was sent to a PHP script on my server, so I could go through and invite the email addresses stored in a database.

Actually, it’s not that simple to write an Android app that POSTs data asynchronously to a server, checks the response, and handles errors gracefully. I re-used some classes from another unreleased project, but it was still a bigger job than I expected. But the actual coding is an issue for another day. The most interesting part came when I released the app on the Android Market.

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CPU Usage Live Wallpaper – Launch Discount

Android Live Wallpaper
CPU Usage Live Wallpaper PRO (with gradient enabled)

My new app CPU Usage Live Wallpaper is now live on the Android Market. For the first few days I’m offering the PRO version for a special price of US$0.99 (or the equivalent in your currency). If you’d like try before you buy, check out the free version. It does the same job, but gradients & extra configuration options are disabled.

This simple wallpaper shows the current CPU usage on your phone, visualized by color. Light green indicates low CPU usage (about 0-20%), orange is medium usage, all the way to red which shows high CPU usage. There are more than just three colors though – this wallpaper cycles smoothly through the spectrum from green to red.

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Live Wallpapers, and PreferenceActivity bugs

Android Live WallpaperI’ve been working on a new app lately – a CPU monitor live wallpaper for Android. There are some great tutorials & sample code out there if you’re looking at starting with live wallpapers. I recommend the Androgames tutorial, as well as the official Android documentation, and CubeLiveWallpaper sample application. Both tutorials take a slightly different approach, so make sure you understand the concepts (especially threading) thoroughly before writing your own wallpaper. I started off using the Androgames model, but then ended up completely rewriting the code to optimize battery use. The end result is much more like the CubeLiveWallpaper example.

While coding the settings screen for this app, I ran across two pretty major bugs in the current Android SDK. It seems the implementation of PreferenceActivity is quite broken, and has been for several versions of the SDK. In particular, ListPreference and CheckBoxPreference each have outstanding bugs which nearly every developer will encounter when trying to use these classes.

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Development Update

The Samsung Galaxy S2 is the most popular phone in Samsung's Android lineupThis blog has been pretty quiet lately. I haven’t been able to post anything for a while due to work and study commitments. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll be able to get back into things, and post about my second month on the Android Market.

In the meantime, here’s a quick update on what’s been happening in the past few weeks.

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Hijack any Facebook account with Faceniff – Firesheep for Android

A hacker called Bartosz Ponurkiewicz has released a simple Android app called Faceniff (Facebook + Sniff), which allows you to hijack the Facebook profile of anyone on same wireless network as you. Think Firesheep, but running on something you can slip in your pocket and carry anywhere. Oh, and it’s “for educational use only”  😉 Understand?

The interesting thing about Faceniff is that it works with WPA2-PSK encrypted networks (as well as the lower grade WAP protocol). So it doesn’t matter how strong your wireless encryption is, it’s still susceptible to inside attacks. All you need is a rooted Android phone with Faceniff installed.

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The Heist overtakes Angry Birds as #1

Screenshot of The Heist game for iPhoneYet another success story from Apple’s App Store. The Heist is a new game for the iPhone from the creators of Camera+. I wrote about these guys previously – they certainly know how to make good apps. Until recently, Angry Birds was the uncontested best seller on the App Store. However, for the past 3 days it has been ousted by The Heist, which now occupies the #1 position for daily downloads. In just half a day, the app was downloaded 25,233 times. How much revenue is that?

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