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Showing posts from October, 2012

Who are The Story Elves?

The Story Elves If you are interested in storybooks and the future of them then you'll enjoy this blog . I'll have more to share in the coming months when the first iPad app that I've been collaborating with The Story Elves on is released. It is called The Waking Prince and we've lavished many hours on getting it just right for readers to enjoy. Anyone with an iPad in their Christmas stocking, or with one already on their shelf will be able to enjoy this app. It is bookish, innovative and above all a wonderful story for our modern age. Written by Zoe Roizen Soane each page contains beautiful illustrations by Scott Brundage, and you'll delight in the original elements only possible on an iPad and not yet done before in other apps. Update: The app is live on the App Store, you can download  The Waking Prince here .

He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe

They say that your past comes back to haunt you but sometimes it just comes back to say hi and remind you of all the things that made your childhood special. I've played the iOS remakes of Alien Breed, Worms, Gridrunner, Spy vs Spy, Gauntlet, Spy Hunter, Pitfall, to name but a few, and now comes something that I never expected but which I devoted many childhood hours to watching on TV. Not to mention playing with the plastic figures and Castle Grayskull. Was there a game at the time? Probably, but I don't remember it. Does it disappoint? No, of course not, this is Chillingo we're talking about after all. Could it be a bit less easy? Yes. Is Orko's theme the most catchy thing you've heard since that PSY guy? Probably.

Angry Birds Star Wars: Coming Soon

When it comes to casual gaming on mobile devices Angry Birds wrote the book, and now they intend to boldly go where no other casual game has gone before (that's the wrong one isn't it? yep) to a galaxy ... you know the rest. A game so ubiquitous that Rovio hardly need to introduce the game in their promotional material. They now intended to make Star Wars even cuter than in the Lego games. But for those more interested in books than games, check out Rovio's recent foray into the book app market with their Bad Piggies cookbook .

JavaScript and CSS centred interactivity in iBooks

If you work with ePUB then you'll know the work of Liz Castro, and if you don't then you really should. Her book, EPUB: Straight to the Point  and subsequent mini guides will keep you on track for perfection and be your wise guide through the highs and lows of creation. So when she writes a book about JavaScript and CSS interactivity you should be listening carefully. Interactive mini-guide coming soon. I'll let you know when I've seen a copy. You can now read a full review of the Monarch Butterfly by Liz Castro on this blog.

Kobo Arc vs Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire HD vs iPad mini vs NOOK HD (Tech Specs, updated x2)

By Etamme (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Here's a breakdown of three   four  five prominent 7 inch tablets - centred on content, books and magazines - that have just been released or are just about to be released. I hope that it helps in the important decision of which to buy. KoboArc Nexus 7 Kindle Fire HD iPad mini NOOK HD Price £159 (16 GB), £189 (32 GB) £159 (16 GB), £199 (32 GB), £239 (32GB with HSPA+) £159 (16 GB) or £199 (32 GB) Wi-Fi models: £269 (16 GB), £349 (32 GB), £429 (64 GB); Wi-Fi + Cellular: £369 (16 GB), £449 (32 GB), £529 (64 GB) £159 (8GB), £189 (16GB) Available Colours Black and White Black Black Black and White Smoke and Snow Connectivity WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Micro USB WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Micro USB, and Bluetooth, NFC Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) b/g/n, Bluetoot

Android - Simple User Interface - Activity, Intent, Extension and Extras

Google provides a good tutorial called ' Building a Simple User Interface ' for beginning Android development, the first part of which is intuitive and informative. In this post I look at the extension of Google's code to incorporate an activity. The activity involves sending and displaying the string entered in the text field used in the tutorial, and is split across three files, which are all contained in the src folder of the app: src->com->example->simpleuserinterface-> src->com->example->simpleuserinterface-> src->com->example->simpleuserinterface->AndroidManifest.xml And here they are in order with comments added. The first (ActivityMain) is the heart of the app. package com.example.simpleuserinterface; import android.os.Bundle; import; import android.content.Intent; import android.view.Menu; import android.view.View; import android.widget.EditText;

The Secret Life of a CALayer (Part 4): Setting Shadows (Xcode)

This is a very simple update to the previous project. I want this time to add shadows. We do this by amending the viewDidAppear: method from last time , as shown here: -( void )viewDidAppear:( BOOL )animated {     [ super viewDidAppear :animated];     blueLayer = [[ CALayer alloc ] init ];     positionOne = CGRectMake ( 100 , 100 , 100 , 100 );     blueLayer . frame = positionOne ;     blueLayer . backgroundColor = [ UIColor blueColor ]. CGColor ;     blueLayer . name = @"One" ;     blueLayer . contents = ( id ) [ UIImage imageNamed : @"plane" ]. CGImage ;          [ self . view . layer addSublayer : blueLayer ];          redLayer = [[ CALayer alloc ] init ];     positionTwo = CGRectMake ( 100 , 400 , 100 , 100 );     redLayer . frame = positionTwo ;     redLayer . backgroundColor = [ UIColor redColor ]. CGColor ;     redLayer . name = @"Two" ;          [ self . view . layer addSublayer : redLayer ];

The Secret Life of a CALayer (Part 3): CABasicAnimation (Xcode)

CABasicAnimation is one of five types of animation available to a CALayer, the others being CATransition, CAAnimationGroup, CAPropertyAnimation,  and CAKeyframeAnimation. And we are going to use it in this post to animate the hitTest from the previous post. To do this we need first to extend the interface of our .m view controller from  last time to look like this: @interface HitTestViewController () {     CALayer *blueLayer;     CALayer *redLayer;     CALayer *yellowLayer;     CALayer *greenLayer;     CGRect positionOne;     CGRect positionTwo;     CGRect positionThree;     CGRect positionFour;     CALayer *hitLayer; } @end Next we're going to alter the -viewDidAppear: method: -( void )viewDidAppear:( BOOL )animated {     [ super viewDidAppear :animated];     blueLayer = [[ CALayer alloc ] init ];     positionOne = CGRectMake ( 100 , 100 , 100 , 100 );     blueLayer . frame = positionOne ;     blueLayer . backgro

Windows 8 shortcuts in VMWare Fusion (OS X)

Windows 8 has a whole array of shortcuts linked to the Windows key, a list of which can be found here . Some of these can be accessed by VMWare Fusion straight out of the box: switching between the Start screen and your current app (for which you use the Cmd key)  going direct to the Desktop ( Cmd + D) opening the Settings menu (Cmd + I)  But many of the useful ones like Cmd + C (Charms menu) and Cmd + X (Simple Start menu) do not work with VMWare Fusion's default settings. Do not despair, go instead to VMware Fusion > Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Key Mappings Here you simply click on the drop down selection bar that reads "Profile - Default" at the top of the dialog box, and choose "Windows 8 Profile". You can now access Windows key shortcuts by press Shift + Cmd + the same key as Windows users. For more advanced options follow the guide that can be found here .

The Secret Life of a CALayer (Part 2): Sublayers and hitTests (Xcode)

A UIView can have any number of subviews and we add them like this: UIView *yourSubview = [[UIView alloc] init]; [yourView addSubview:yourSubview]; Likewise a CALayer can have any number of sublayers. UIView *yourSublayer = [[UIView alloc] init]; [yourView.layer addSublayer:yourSublayer]; But because a CALayer, unlike UIView, UIViewController, UIImageView, UISlider, UIApplication and UIWindow, does not inherit from UIResponder and does not handle touch events, we use the hitTest: method to discover which layer has been touched. In this example there are four layers, so let's place this information in the interface of our view controller .m file: @interface HitTestViewController () { CALayer *blueLayer; CALayer *redLayer; CALayer *yellowLayer; CALayer *greenLayer; } @end Next we're going to create the layers and add them to our self.view.layer giving each one a name as we go: -(void)viewDidAppear:(BOOL)animated { [super viewDidAppear:anima

The Secret Life of a CALayer (Part 1): Accessing and Manipulating Layers (Xcode)

UIView, UIImageView and even UIImage offer such a plethora of options that it is easy to forget how much power is held within the seemingly humble and neglected CALayer class but there are still some important things that the CALayer class can provide, and often in simple and flexible ways that can solve a whole range of challenges. Let's first start by accessing a layer and changing its colour in the viewDidLoad: of our view controller: self.view.layer.backgroundColor = [UIColor blueColor].CGColor; Immediately you'll see there's an error. This is because we've forgotten to do some important things: (1) Double click on the blue project file in the left navigation bar (where all your files are located). This should take you to Targets and the Summary subsection, which you need to scroll down until you reach "Linked Frameworks and Libraries". (2) Click the small plus button that you see under the stack of toolbox icons to add to your frameworks and

Mobile Development IDEs: Ease of installation, ease of use and current popularity

Ease of Installation To the beginner Xcode appears unwieldy enough but the fact that you can download a copy through the Mac App Store makes the starting to get to know process less painful. The Windows 8 IDE might not be quite this simple, but it is easy enough for anyone used to downloading and installing software ( a link can be found here ). When it comes to Android there are a few more hoops to jump through, all of which are listed here , and involve downloading the SDK and Eclipse, installing both and hooking them up together. Finally, there is the Blackberry 10 SDK , which from the website gives the impression of being a breeze, but is a bit of a head-scratcher when making the right choices and you'll need Virtual Machine software too unless you install the Visual Studio plug-in instead of the self-contained Eclipse-like IDE (which for some reason is launched from a Terminal command on OS X). 1. Xcode (iOS) and Windows Visual Studio Express 2012 RC for Windows 8 3. Ando