Let’s kick it all off!

Sorry for the last few months there has been little update. I decided that before I got too old I should enter a bodybuilding contest, honestly seemed like a good idea at the time. Well it’s been the hardest 3 months of my life to be honest. First off it isn’t the cheapest thing to do (I have spent £500 on chicken alone), you have to be super disciplined (up at 5, 1 hour cardio, training even if ill), you become very moody, tired and even get insomnia (writing this at 3am) because your constantly hungry! However with less than 2 weeks to go, I am still chuffed I decided to do it. On a positive side, because you don’t sleep as much, your brain seems to be come very creative!!!

So what’s the plan Batman?

So, I have many plans, lots of ideas and have been researching lots of stuff but I need to do some house keeping first!

1) Release a v1 of Hack24 cross platform to prove the framework works.

2) Fix Burf.co Search Engine because I turned it off.

3) Finish the garage so that large projects are possible 🙂

All of the above are in progress and I hope to have them done very soon. Then it is full speed ahead for some cool robotics / machine learning project that I will discuss in my next post 🙂

Goodbye O2, Hello Reach

So 3 years ago, I joined O2’s innovation lab as their iOS developer. I didn’t actually do much hardcore iOS development per se, instead I researched new technology and rapidly created prototypes to demonstrate to the wider business. It was awesome fun and I learned so much on so many different fronts (how Corps works, AI/data science, VR/AR, the list goes on). As the lab developed, it’s future seemed to be focused on machine learning and big data, I decided to move in to Digital Products team to lead the Android development for O2Drive, O2’s telematics solution. Though I miss the crazy lab work, I missed doing mobile development more. My Android was a little out of date but I do enjoy a challenge and I learned a lot. I have to say that the O2Drive team was lovely and very welcoming! They really were driven to produce a great product!

So I start Reach on the 9th of April as their Application Development Lead which I am super excited about. I generally don’t change jobs very option (twice in 16 years) and don’t even have a cv! I believe they do a lot of Android and C# development but I am hoping to shake things up a bit with some Swift! It would be nice to do some iOS, Android and maybe try out cross platform solution like Xamarin or React. I believe they have used Xamarin in the past 🙂

To Lang=“en” or not to Lang?

So work has been progressing nicely on Burf.co and it’s up to 2mil + pages however, one of my aims was to only index English content. I thought by searching out for the HTML tag “lang”, it would be really easy to do! Even if there were a few different versions like en-gb or en-us, I thought it would still be an easy task. I also thought that all popular/mainstream/big sites would use this tag!

So 2 million English pages later and well…. I have over 300 different Lang=”*en*” variations! Plus major sites like Wikipedia don’t even use the tag!!

I guess it’s back to the drawing board!! I now need to use some sort of word matching algorithm to look at the page content and then work out if it’s English! A simplistic way of this could be to search for very common English words to see if they exists (the a at there etc) or not.

Update coming soon 🙂

Burf.co is up!!! But….

So the good news is that Burf.co Search Engine is up and running in a rather alpha stage, the bad news it’s full of adult material so please be warned!!! There is no safe search filter on it yet!!!

My plan is to improve the search algorithm and then put a adult content blocker in place to protect people! This of course can be turned off but trust me, there is some nasty stuff out there that no one wants to see!

Technology wise, the index is just over a million pages and will heavily increase when the new blade server arrives tomorrow. It’s using MongoDB full text search for the initial results. MongoDB did seem to sh@t the bed when indexing all the words on a page, so I look at only parts of each page.

More to come soon 🙂

SHDR : Online OpenGL Shader Editor

I had to post about this amazing tool I found, now when I am writing my 3D games, I basically pray every time I play with a shader in case I brake it.

I know the basics but using either xCode or Android Studio (now has a tool), there is no syntax highlighting or easy way to see errors!

SHDR allows you to paste in your fragment and vertex shader and tells indicates any issues, and renders the results if it can!

BRILLIANT!

 

Whats going on and what have I learned so far?

Good evening all.  Your probably wondering why I have been a little quiet lately, maybe it was the marathon I just did, or maybe it was all the bloody colds I have had.  Could it even be the kids?

Short version

Though all of the above is valid, things are still happening.  I am still chasing my dream of my own Virtual Reality world (in Android), I am learning iOS8/Swift and also READING BOOKS, the ones that contain stories!

I am trying to slightly step back, review what I have learned, and move forward in a more productive focused way.

New stuff will be coming soon.

Long version (sorry)

As a dear friend of mine once said (paraphrasing) , Burf, you like building frameworks but then you loose interest.  Try finishing something.  He was completely right and this helped spawn Burf Development, and the GameJam event I organise at work.

Since I started Burf Development at the start of the year I have released 2 Android games (both part of a game jam so need work), started sharing code on GitHub and released 6 games and 1 app for iOS!  The largest one, being Hack24 which has had quite a few downloads (currently rated 4.5 out of 5).

I learned some obvious lessons with Hack24.

The first one being that I should of only shipped the game out once I was happy with the features.  I should of waited until APN’s where enabled in the game as this is a great way to remind players to come back and inform them that they have been hacked, robbed etc.

It seems that once the initial download rush is over, it is pretty hard to get that boom again.  On the first few days I was receiving 100-200 downloads a day, now its like 40 a week.

I also had some server issues, I guess I could of done more testing however most of this was down to a time validation issue where the clock got out of sync with the client, this caused users not to be able to login 🙁

Waiting 7-9 days for a iOS release is annoying! Especially when you find a bug within minutes after release!  Do more testing, get friends to do it to!  My wife was top bug finder!

Check the support email, oh boy I never actually expected people to contact me, but yes they do!

Work out a road map, or a plan! I am a little stuck on what to do with Hack24 now?  I feel I keep moving on to new stuff!

Whats the plan now?

Well I have a load of idea’s in Trello,  I have a few started projects and lots of new technology to learn.  I have a ton of online course lined up and have started reading books.  Oh and there are the 2 awesome kids I have to, I try to focus my time on them!  Oh did I mention I have a wife and a full time job!

Android and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been one of my favourite topics since I saw Lawnmover man.  I have tried to make my own VR world many time since I was about 12!  VR is now starting to take off with Oculus Rift (Facebook), Sony Morpheus, Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR plus many others!  Apple sadly has nothing in this area, and so I either develop for the desktop or for Android.  As I quite enjoy learning Android, this is a double whammy!  Also, you can generally release anything to the Google Play store (a VR framework would not be allowed).

device-2014-10-03-221016

 

Learning Swift & iOS8

As a senior iOS developer, I really need to rock at Apples new programming.  I have played with Swift a bit but I really feel its time to freshen up my skills.  There is also a lot of cool stuff with iOS8.  My aim is to build a couple of simple but pretty apps (master that AutoLayout) in Swift.