Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sometimes size does matter

Today I have released the version 1.5.0 of PowerGrasp which has better support for tablets. Of course, it ran on tablets before, didn't it? But that didn't satisfy me. I was using PowerGrasp on the tablet and thought, some things are off. Where is the action bar support? Why are the panels placed on top? They are hard to reach.

Not anymore. So there you have it, now the application has more convenient placement of panels, portrait orientation no longer uses view pager since the screen is already large enough.

Another thought I had, lists don't fully utilize the space available on the screen. This is addressed now, too, with the new icons view. This view is also available on smartphones, so this update is not only for the tablets.

Also, in the previous version, which I haven't written about, I've made a feature which enables to send me donations. A donation of any size will turn off the ads permanently. Oh, and also they, of course, keep me motivated to produce new versions of PowerGrasp.

Right now we have 36 hundred installs, thank you guys! More features are coming...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Getting grip of the files

Well, it's been a long time since the last post. Does it mean that I have abandoned development of the applications? Hell, no! I've been working on something I planned to make a long time ago. Actually it started as a Java ME project, which became quite a popular application in Russian-speaking circles of the internet for mobile phones. Well, now it has come to Android.

PowerGrasp - the archiver and file manager.

So, why another one when there are enough of them already? Because I beleive I can do such an app that will be pleasant to use. Unfortunately, not all other apps have the same qualities. Besides, I enjoy making applications, so why not?

Now, what this fella can do. It can work with ZIP, RAR and tar files. By working I mean not only unpacking, but also creating and editing existing archives. Unfortunately, RAR files can't be created and modified (sorry, but the authors of RAR forbid it), but that's not the case with ZIP and tar files.

This is not only an archiver, it is also a file manager. When I made a Java ME application, it wasn't like this, but on Android it seems to be impossible to make an archiver and not implement some features of a file manager. So here we go: we have all the usual features like copy, cut, paste, delete and so on. Also PowerGrasp has a neat interface with two pages, just slide your finger to the side to open the next one.

I have created a Wiki on Bitbucket for PowerGrasp where you can get all the help for the application. Right now it has a lot of missing content, but I will add more over time. You can even help me create a decent wiki, that would be absolutely great. Also there is an issue tracker for PowerGrasp where you can post your suggestions and found bugs.

So, you can grab PowerGrasp on Google Play and try it out. I hope you like it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drawing engine improved

Not so long ago one of my users wrote to me that there could be a room for improvement regarding CPU usage when running LivingCells. I looked at the code and decided that it would be nice indeed to make the drawing engine less CPU demanding.

So here it is! Now the drawing engine behaves completely differently, with less needless redrawing. The CPU won't be so busy and the battery will live longer. This should be more obvious when the speed is not high or the cells are large.

Also there are some other improvements. One of them is the status bar, which shows how many cells are on the field, what generation is, and whether the field has become static. It is not shown by default, you should look for it in the settings. Other notable changes include fixed orientation of the grid. No matter how you rotate the screen, the grid will remain mostly the same.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Turmites infestation has just broken out

No, not termites. Turmites. That's a new cellular automaton which I've just added to LivingCells. It is quite different from other cellular automata in the app. Other automata have fields of cells, which live, and this one has a field of static cells. However, there are these turmites, which move on the field and change cells.

How they affect a cell depends on the color of the cell and on the turmite state. All the actions are specified in the rule, and every combination of a cell and a turmite state has its set of actions. Actions which a turmite performs are as follows: it sets the cell to a new color, changes its state, makes a turn and walks one or more steps in the current direction. The results are some cool patterns.

One other nice thing about this cellular automaton is that it suits live wallpaper very well. Turmites eat the same amount of device resources regardless of the cell size or speed. I fact, it is better to set high speed for turmites and small cell size, this automaton sits particularly well with these settings. I've even made a new "very fast" speed setting for this.

So, hope you like this new automaton, and as always, if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

LivingCells gets a live wallpaper feature

I've just uploaded a new version of LivingCells - 1.1.0. I've been requested several times to make a live wallpaper, so here we go! This has actually become possible to set the application as a wallpaper. All settings for the wallpaper are set separately, so no need to worry about them when you are messing with the standalone app - experiment freely. :)

I should tell you though that even after optimizations every computation of the next grid state requires CPU resources and drains power. So don't make the speed too fast or the cell size too small.

There are other features in this release that I would like to introduce. It is now possible to erase cells when in the corresponding mode. Just make a long press on the screen to switch to this mode. Also you may double tap the screen to make a bunch of cells appear.

And finally some changes in the settings. I've already mentioned speed, it is now adjustable. There is also one intersting setting, which keeps grid non-static. You see, some rules are designed in such a way that cells eventually disappear from the grid and it becomes pretty boring. It's obvious that it's not the best behavior for the wallpaper. :) That's why there's such an option which makes groups of cells randomly appear on the screen should the grid become too dull. It is enabled for the wallpaper by default.

Hope you will enjoy these changes! Leave any requests, comments and questions below, any constructive feedback is welcome.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

LivingCells hits the Market

At last, my LivingCells application appears on Android Market. This is a collection of several cellular automata, which includes at this point famous Conway's Game Of Life, its colored variant, and also a family of cellular automata called Generations, which includes widely known Brian's Brain.

There are several implementations of Game Of Life on Android Market by now, a few of them have really nice features. But in my opinion a cellular automaton implementation should, first of all, look cool. Even damn cool. So that's what I tried to achieve, and I sure hope I managed to accomplish this goal. Also it should be customizable and interactive - that's how I see it. In my app you can even drag existing groups of cells on the screen. Also it is fun to play with different rules, for Game of Life I recommend to try Day And Night and Walled CitiesGenerations automaton has even cooler rules like the amazing Star Wars rule (thanks to Mirek W√≥jtowicz for it) or Faders.

This applications runs on any Android device with OS version 2.1 or higher. Oh, and I also should mention, this app is, of course, completely free.

So, try it, tell me what you liked, what you didn't like and so on. I have a few suggestions what to add to this app, but I'd like to hear yours too.

Update: now I have one more automaton - Turmites. Help has been updated, and you can also read my newer post about this automaton.

Download this application from Android Market

Screenshots:
Generations - Star Wars rule
Colored Game Of Life - Conway's Life rule