An Android cat… doing the can-can

its a cat.... doing the can-can

Done much mobile phone development?
Me neither.

In an attempt to fix that I put a day aside to write an Android app with the theme decided by my imaginative housemateCan-can cat was born.

It turns out than in a day you can;

  • Install eclipse and the relevant Android Develeopment Tools (ADT) plugin.
  • Learn the basics (Activities, the various xml Android files and resources) to get started
  • Write a simple Android mobile app with animation and music
  • Upload it to the Android Market

There are very useful resources on how to get started.  So instead here are some of the good parts of the experience;

  • Its Java.  Its obvious but for me this makes the barrier for entry so minimal you can be productive as soon as your IDE is configured.
  • The documentation is great and there are loads of familiar resources like stackoverflow out there if you get stuck at any point.
  • The Android Market is open, in minutes you can upload an app and it be available.  Great for a developer… less so as an Android user (there are too many helloworld and stupid apps like mine on there)

Here are some of the gotchas that slowed me down;

  • The built in Mediaplayer seems flaky, or at least overly complex with error and status handlers all over the place.  I kept it simple and created/destroyed rather than reusing players.
  • If you get an eclipse error complaining about not being available…. try selecting your Activity class when running.
    That slightly unintuitive error means you have one of the many xml files selected and its trying to run a transform instead of your app…
  • Its not required for a valid android manifest but make sure you include a minimum SDK or you can’t upload to the Android Market :
    <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion=”7″ />
  • The Android Market is not web browsable, you need to be using an Android mobile to access it… why?

Other than that its all quite painless.  What to make to check out the next platform?  Disco Dog?  Polka Pig?


Free Geek Books!

As I’m now getting back into work-mode (watching Wall street: money never sleeps counts as research) I recently got around to reading  The Pragmatic Programmer and took heed of a few of its points.  I particularly liked the reminder to invest in yourself by reading a new tech book every quarter.

This combined serendipitously with stumbling upon a list of free techie ebooks so now I’m going to be spending each spare 10 minute slot investing in me.

I’ve looked around for other free or decent pay-for techie books via iTunes seem thin on the ground.  Amazon seems the best bet.

Anyone got any recommendations or suggestions (nothing obscene) on how to fill those idle 10 minutes of me time with geekery?

Japanese Punk bands rooool!

I'm not sure what we were doing but it was fun.

I'm not sure what we were doing but it was fun.

Last night I was lucky enough to see the Japanese punk band Secret 7 Line at one of the few live music venues in Shanghai, YuYinTang.

They were super special.


Continue reading

Dog vs Monkey!

No no this isn’t a lame reference to a previous post on the excellent movie Eagle vs Shark.

Anyone that knows me knows my family has had pet dogs since I was born (the latest new canine Shove is Daisy).

Anyone that knows me well will know I’m a fan of our primate friends. Continue reading

The Mars Volta – weirdest band evarrr?

Can you see why for the first 5 minutes I thought the singer was a woman?

Last Friday night I was lucky enough to get a free ticket and my name on the guest list (thanks Tony!) to see The Mars Volta. It was a good night, I got to see parts of the Brixton Academy new to me even though I’ve been there a fair number of times in the last decade. However, the gig itself was decidedly odd… Continue reading

“I’m so complex!”

Shark vs Eagle image

Films (movies to any Americans reading) in which nothing dramatic or world changing happens but this nothing happens in a hilarious and often believably poignant and awkward way are increasing in popularity.Napolean Dynamite, Superbad and most recently (for me) Eagle versus Shark for example. Continue reading

The weather outside is frightful

ice fishing in finlandice fishing in FinlandThis post has no interesting content for anyone other than myself. I shall endeavor to re-read it from as many different computers as possible to improve my wordpress stats though…. Continue reading

Free the gnomes! Buy a T-shirt!

wolfmother gnome tee

I recently heard of the yellow bird project , a nice simple idea which allows the people running the company to make money for charity whilst interacting with and supporting the musicians they like.

T-shirts designed by Wolfmother, Clap your hands say yeah and The Shins are available along with many more.

If you, like me, like quasi-unique T-shirts, music and doing your bit for charity I’d recommend you check them out.

I’ll be purchasing Wolfmother’s design to help release gnomes from the shackles of human opression (and make some money for the Teenage Cancer Trust on the side)

I told you, I’m not allowed to argue unless you’ve paid!

Attribution to the Pythons for the title.

I need to finally come out. I’m a big fan of Stephen Fry’s work.

Mostly this is due to watching epiode after episode of QI and it making me feel as though it makes me cleverer.

However I recently stumbled upon his blog here and found he too is a big fat geek. If you like words, technology or just, you know, fun I’d recommend reading it. Continue reading

F*ck goods in china!

mistranslation of 'Gan' - chinese for 'Dry' and also 'Fuck'.

No, this isn’t an article advocating a more protectionaist policy regarding imports of goods from the PRC…

A friend pointed me to this article recently which gives a good explanation of one of the more infamous Chinese mistranslations.

(Spoiler : it boils down to the chinese symbol for ‘dry’ also meaning ‘fuck’ in certain contexts. contexts not well understood by translation software…)

The article is a nice crossroads between my interests of the Chinese language, profanity and technology. The content is a bit dry but some of the other translations might raise a smile.