Apr 052013

Its been a long time since the blog was updated or any updates at all for that matter. I have relocated to London and been busy settling in, but have now got cracking with some interesting new projects.

The first one of these is a Super Simple Weather App. Yesterday I tweeted a link on my personal twitter account that I had written a Weather App. In fact it was only a static HTML page the just had the word “COLD!!!” in really big font. This was just a little bit of humour as it has been uncharacteristically cold this year and I was getting a bit frustrated with it.
I recieved some good feedback on it, a few retweets,favourites and responses of ‘ha’ type.
It got me thinking that actually it would be an interesting thing to actually do properly.
Its not fully finished yet but is working for London area and can be found at Super Simple Weather App

**Update this was broken for a while,but now fixed. Also the HTML5 Geolocation is working so no longer limited to London**

Jul 252012

Quite often I will spend time writing small apps, mainly javascript pages. Often these serve no useful purpose and are really just a fragment of code. Sometimes they are longer and have a purpose but aren’t of a commercial quality and aren’t well tested. Often they are a starting point for a product, the equivalent of an artists sketch.

I decided to give some of these things a home at happycaffeine on the projects page.

The first is a simple javascript clock using numbers drawn on post it notes. I may develop this further maybe also an analogue clock version and a HTML5 off line version.

**Update – the clock is now HTML5 and works off line **

Jul 132012

So, you may have seen some tweets recently that there is a problem with the Supertram stop locator in Chrome for Mac. I’ve started playing around with it and trying to identify where the problem lies. First thing was to go back to an earlier version of Chrome that i had installed when I started developing the App and it works fine. It works fine with that still which is a relief as it means its nothing that I have done. The next stage was to update the version of Easel.js which is the library used for working with the HTML5 canvas element. That hasn’t made any difference either.

So now its time to start asking questions, looking for support on the Easel.js support forum, asking for help on possibly submitting a bug report for Chrome and looking for a work around to the problem.

Sometimes its not all about doing the new,fun creative stuff. Maintenance work and keeping on top of changes and updates is just as important and necessary. It can be frustrating when the thing that breaks is out of your own control but no less satisfying when it gets fixed

May 272012

Beginning work on a new App. Had an idea kicking around in my head for a twitter client that I think people may find useful for a little while. Normally when i start developing an App will start with the code first and add the user interface on afterwards to match the functionality. Going to do this one slightly different and have a play with the u.i first to really get a feel for how the App will be used then add the functionality to that.

Will be interesting to see how the process differs and what I can learn from it.

May 252012

A lot of Athletes especially amateurs will concentrate of the physical aspects of their sport, that seems quite obvious really. That is what sport is all about after all who can run the fastest, jump the highest,score the most points right.

A lot of professional and really dedicated amateurs are now turning to sports psychology to help them improve the mental aspects of their game. Professionals will often have the psychologists they can turn to who will be their to help and advise them at every turn, this is less likely for the amateur.

With the amateur athlete in mind Happycaffeine has developed Focus and Breathe.

As its name suggest its an App that has two parts to it.

Focus aims to develop concentration, by giving you a target to concentrate on for 30 seconds. Use Focus to learn to think in the present, to learn to not worry about events that have already happened and can’t be changed. use Focus to learn to not worry about those things that you can’t change but focus on changing those things that you can.

Breathe will help develop centered breathing. How often has somebody said to you ‘take a deep breath’ to try and calm you down. You probably breathe in a little deeper than normal, maybe hold it a little and then quickly breathe out again.

Learning centered breathing will help in those moments when you need to take a deep breath. Breathing in for six seconds, holding and then slowly breathing out calms you and prepares you mentally.

I was motivated to write Focus and Breathe after reading a Psychology book that included exercises on which it is based but found getting the timing of the exercises problematic as I didn’t want to have to mess around with setting a stopwatch or alarm.

Focus and Breathe is an App I needed, as I was having problems staying focused on the task I was supposed to be concentrating on when Playing Roller Derby.

While developing and testing Focus and Breathe i’ve found that it is good to use Breathe twice then use Focus. The centered breathing is helping me when I play Roller Derby to get my mind on the game. I’ve noticed a definite improvement while using the App so fully intend to keep using it as part of my mental training.

Hope you find Focus and Breathe useful and that it improves your game as well.

May 012012

Launched the initial  version of the E Number Knowledge App.  Download it from the Google play store here Already had some good feedback on it. 1st update will be to make it possible to move to the S.D Card, which was a feature that was overlooked during the initial work.

Really impressed with how much the Google Market has improved recently  and now changed to Google Play. The tools available to developers and the possibilities for adding promotional materials are better as well.

Being more of a developer rather than designer it can be easy to forget how important the first impressions of a product are. All the icons and Graphics used in the Google Play page were a bit of an afterthought,but am quite pleased with how they turned out.  For the word cloud image I managed to find a Word cloud generator and used the Wikipedia E numbers page as source text then played around with the various options until something pleasing came out.

Being more familiar with Google play now will mean I can start to think of the various things that are needed when publishing to Google play earlier and make sure the work is top notch in the future.

Anyway make sure you install  E Number Knowledge and give feedback so it can be improved

Jan 222012

I’m writing this blog post off line as my internet connection has been off all day and doesn’t look like it will be back on for another couple of days. Fortunately this hasn’t  interrupted my work too much.  Most of the day has been spent working on the next App that will be launched under the happycaffeine brand and the first one that will be marketed fully.  It’s going to be a E Numbers information App that I started a while ago but for several reason it never got finished.  The absolute basics are just about working but there is still a bit left to do to turn it in to a decent product.

As my internet was off I spent the day workng at a friends house and I don’t know whether it was the change of scenery or the need to try not to rely on having the internet access that did it but a few problems that I’d had with the App were overcome and rather than adding loads of code it was actually fixed by removing and refactoring the code.  Making things better by makeing them more simple always makes me happy.

The next job will be to improve the User interface and add some graphics to make it more user friendly and easier on the eye.



Internet came back on line not long after writing this, phew



Dec 222011

As 2011 draws to a close and 2012 is just around the corner its time to kick things off again with Happycaffeine. Although the web site hasn’t been updated for an age that doesn’t mean that things have been quiet. Quite the opposite in fact.

A lot of time has been spent doing the groundwork that will lead to new products and projects. This work has meant that time has been spent  learning new skills and improving existing ones, to ensure that future work is of the highest standard possible.

So what happened to the next Version of  Roller Derby Timer? For so long now I’ve been promising a new version of the Roller Derby Timer App. When I re-visited the project I decided that the existing work had to be scrapped and that it was better to start again.  So there is still a new version of the Roller Derby timer App in the pipeline,but it will be completely re-written rather than a minor update.  This re-write allows makes it easier to implement further upgrades so once the base product is finished minor upgrades can be rolled out more consistently.

Not wanting to be selling a product that I wasn’t completely happy with I decided to remove the existing Roller Derby App from the Android Market until the new version is ready.