Articles for August 2015

Watermelon: anger on the inside contained by joy on the outside

We watched the movie Inside Out with Manas this summer.  After watching the movie emotions were high in our day-to-day conversations with Manas.  Last Sunday as we were having breakfast, Manas was making a weird sound, which for no good reason irritated me.  I told him that I was getting angry and on our anger scale I had reached “Pineapple” anger.

Anger Scale

As you can see, our anger scale is based on fruits.  We have used this scale since Manas was in preschool.  In our experience, it helps him (and us) calm down by talking about how you feel at the moment.  Anyway, Manas continued making the weird sound, ignoring my anger scale warning.  Finally I said “I am at Watermelon level now”, which means am going to burst.

That’s when suddenly he stopped me and said, I want to share an analogy with you.  Watermelon’s green shell keeps juicy red pulp which is anger, inside.  In Inside Out green Joy keeps red Anger inside, rather than anger showing up outside all the time.

Inside Out – Joy

“Wow, that was deep”, I thought to myself.

How can I keep my anger after that wonderful analogy? We talked again some more about emotions over the breakfast.  Kids never stop surprising you.

The Start of the Majestic World

Do you like conspiracy thriller books?  Then enjoy the new novella by a talented upcoming author from the designX6 team, entitled The Start of The Majestic World.  Here is a sample chapter reading from the book.

Below is the book description from Amazon:

Agents Maynard and Brett are no strangers to complex mysteries and morally grey assignments. When they are sent in pursuit of a mysterious rabble-rousing radio personality, however, they stumble upon a web of conspiracy and betrayal beyond anything they could have imagined. As events lead them from the brooding hills of Appalachia to the remotest wastes of Siberia to the deserts of the American southwest, they discover unlikely allies and twisted madmen, scientists bent on playing God, and mounting evidence hinting at sinister machinations that threaten the entire nation. With each thrilling episode, the ever-escalating power and scope of the danger they face forces them to call upon all their skills and experience to survive.

Enjoy!

Is iOS ecosystem healthy?

Neil Cybart’s article on declining iPad sales is astute and worth reading.  Neil in this post observes that iPad is mostly used as a device to consume contents.  To grow sales again, Apple need to transform iPad in to a content creation device.

By selling a device that is truly designed from the ground-up with content creation in mind, the iPad line can regain a level of relevancy that it has lost over the past few years. In every instance where the iPad is languishing in education and enterprise, a larger iPad with a 12.9-inch, Force Touch-enabled screen would carry more potential. Simply put, the iPad needs to stand out from the iPhone and Macbook. The iPad Air and iPad mini aren’t doing it.

Finding iPad’s Future : Neil Cybart (10 August 2015, 3410 words)

I think just new hardware is not enough for content creation.  I agree with Khoi Vinh’s thoughts on why iPad sales has declined.

To me, the central issue is whether Apple is functioning as an effective steward for the iPad as a platform. Are they creating the right conditions for it to succeed? Are they innovating iPad technology, both hardware and software, quickly and aggressively enough? Is Apple setting the stage for must-have software on the iPad?

More practically, you could ask: are developers getting what they need in order to create breakout software specific to the iPad? Have we seen iPad-specific apps that are so compelling that consumers feel that they must own iPads in order to use them?

iPad Sales on a Downward Trajectory : Khoi Vinh (1 May 2015, 1226 words)

Lukas Mathis also highlights iOS issues as well lack of interest from iOS app developers.

iOS is a cumbersome system for even reasonably complex productive tasks. Apple has started fixing the window management problem, but there’s still the document management problem1 (most real-world tasks involve multiple documents from multiple sources — there’s pretty much no way to organize and manage document from different applications in iOS), and the workflow problem (many real-world tasks involve putting the same document through multiple apps, which iOS is still not great at, albeit getting better).

And then there’s the fact that few developers are willing to invest a lot of money into productive apps on the iPad. They are expensive to create, the market is small, and Apple’s handling of how apps are sold on its devices does not instill confidence.

The thing that’s preventing people from using the iPad productively is not the small screen, it’s the operating system.

 – iPad: A Consumption Device, After All? : Lukas Mathis (14 August 2015, 1493 words)

It is clear that common thought here is lack of software innovation.  Is software really important for Apple? Do Apple believe creating good quality software takes fair amount of work? Apple is giving away their software for free for a long time now.  They also created a market where users expect either free or cheap software.  I have written about this concern earlier here and here in 2013.

Brent Simmon’s post on making living by selling apps is accurate and disheartening at the same time.

Yes, there are strategies for making a living, and nobody’s entitled to anything. But it’s also true that the economics of a thing may be generally favorable or generally unfavorable — and the iOS App Store is, to understate the case, generally unfavorable. Indies don’t have a fighting chance.

The platform is awesome. We love writing iOS apps. It’s fun and massively rewarding in every way except monetarily. As a craft — as a budding art form, perhaps — it’s juicy.

Love : Brent Simmons (30 June 2015, 850 words)

Based on our own experience, developing good quality software is difficult and definitely not free.  It is hard to stay motivated without fair return for the work involved in developing good software.  Having said that we are going ahead with our plan to release Hallows Thieves like I said earlier this month.  We believe this is the the right thing to do.  We want our app in the app store to deliver 100% of benefits and features we promised you.  It is sad that simple program like Hallows Thieves is broken within just couple releases of iOS.  Apple must pay attention to software quality as they add/update their software platform.


PS: Just noticed a nice article,

Meanwhile, the irony is that it’s not actually the gold that’s the luxury but the software – that tap on the wrist telling you to turn left. In a sense, the gold case is an accessory to the software in the same way that the strap is an accessory to the watch.

How is the Apple watch doing? : Benedict Evans (13 August 2015, 1654 words)

Well said, hope Apple has plans to make iOS ecosystem exciting, again.

 

You will get a new version of Hallows Thieves, soon!

Have you played Hallows Thieves game lately? Default levels for the play (Easy, Medium, and Hard) we created are just right.  For the adventurous players, we created “custom” setting.  See the screen below.

We have a problem with slider control now.  Everything else works just fine.  So you can play the game as usual without realizing something a miss.  Adventurous kids and parents are probably missing custom setting.

We think that with iOS 8 major or some minor release, slider control stopped working.  We realized the problem around mid of April 2015.  Thanks to our tester, Manas.  Our first thought was to recompile and release the update.  That plan did not go well.  Codes which were just fine when we released the game in October 2012 now simply would not compile.  Classic example of taking technical debt by using a platform.  Probably iOS 8 release deprecated something we were using.

Anyway, time to move on and fix the problem.  Just today Hallows Thieves app got approved for distribution through Apple’s TestFlight Program.

So what’s new? We are building Hallows Thieves from scratch again.  Big plus for you is more value for the same money.  This time our witch and ghosts are universal.  I mean we are building universal app.  Buy once and play the game on iPhone, iPod-touch, and iPad.  We are also adding some animations to the game.  For example candies now bounce in the basket and ghosts swirl as they try and protect candies.

For techies out there, all codes are in Swift and we are using SpriteKit now.  We hope Apple will provide better support for these tools going forward.  With this release we are ready to payoff our technical debt due to use of iOS platform.

For all existing users this will be a free update.  We are sorry for inconvenience caused due to slider control defect.  If you can not wait for the official release, please email us.  We will be happy to include you in pre-release beta test group.


PS : Our beta release build is a solid build and well tested by designX6 team members.  We do not expect crash or any other system wide issue in the beta build.