Saturday, June 25, 2011

Android development

After putting it off for so long, I finally went all out and did it. But it took a far longer time than expected but at least I have taken the precious first few steps. I'm talking about developing for the android platform. I've bought my desire last year in december. But for almost half a year all I did was play around with other software on it, I didn't even start to do the very reason I bought it in the first place, develop my own software on it, until recently. After seeing how long I've procrastinated, I decided to get serious and even bought a few books off amazon and the one which I have been reading which got me over the first hurdle was "Hello, Android". It is a pretty nice walkthrough on how to write your first android software by showing you the steps to write a sudoku game. And a few other small apps to show how to implement other features. I highly recommend it if you're looking for good a beginner android development book.

So the first android app I've written is about something which is quite dear to me, solat. I've wanted to write an application for referencing http://www.e-solat.gov.my (which I use on my blog to display solat times) even before I've got my desire. But once I've got it, I found that Syakhir Jaafar already beat me to it by releasing MySolat. So I've been using that one until I've finally got the drive to write my own. The title of my application is "Solat Malaysia", because, it shows solat times in Malaysia (Yeah, I'm really creative that way.. ). I am writing it more for my own use and practice in writing android app more than anything, so I'm releasing it as an open source software where you can get the code here. So if you are a muslim and using an android phone, please try to download it from the market and maybe give some feedback. I have a few ideas on what feature to add next and all, but some feedback from other users would be great too. But if you are not a muslim (as in you don't have any use for my app), you can still learn from the codes or maybe even advice me on how I can improve mine, check out my github. Any kind of input would be greatly appreciated. My development currently is mostly done in eclipse (yeah, haven't got raw yet.. :P).

Programming for the android is certainly different than what I usually do (web apps mostly) but I can relate to the mvc style with declaring the inteface in the xml resources and the logic in the java codes and all. I guess the main hurdle was actually just getting a feel on how everything glues together (and there is a lot of things, the resources - (strings, menus, layout), the android manifest, the codes, the intents etc). But once you've grokked it, it feels quite natural.

Whichever way it is, the book helped a lot. Expect me to continue to improve the "Solat Malaysia" app (it is very rough right now) and hopefully I'll write even more software for the android platform in the near future. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Welcome to a new age...

Since the dawn of time, man has always dreamed the impossible dream. Uploading photos in an instant, playing online games without lag, watching videos on youtube and ted without waiting for buffer. And now that I have got unifi up and running at my house, those impossible dreams has come true.. :P

What can I say? So far I'm pretty impressed at the speeds I'm getting. Downloading gigs and gigs of stuff takes hours now, not days, not weeks, just mere hours. The installation went quite smoothly except for a bit of broken fiber problem but that was quickly resolved. Took only around 2 hours in the end. When I asked the technician what was the red marker around the last port of the router, he said it was for the tv. At first I thought he was joking. But when I finally tested it out, it is exactly that. A port for just the tv connection. Connecting other devices or computers to it would not resolve any ip for the said device or computer and connecting the tv to any other port would actually cause the set top box to give a connection error notice.

Initially I was queued for installation at the end of next month, but suddenly someone from unifi called and said that a customer has cancelled their appointment and there is an opening for me the next morning if I want to. Of course I grabbed the chance.

Regarding the tv, there would be extra charges if I wanted them to do the wiring all the way to the front. I said never mind I can do it myself. As soon as they were gone, I tried connecting the set top box to the tv in front and as for the networking I used my old Aztech Homeplugs 200Mbps. Works like a charm. But there is no Playhouse Disney channel on the unifi tv so I guess I'll have to continue using astro too. But apart from that, my installation is quite normal. Is it worth adding an additional rm 40/month to get the extra boost in speed that unifi offers? Definitely. Can the ip tv finally replace storm static astro? Not yet. Can I now p4wn people because of the increase speed and lack of lag? I've got hundreds of years to practice I think before I can shed my noobyness.. >.< Oh well..

Haiya ala Solah