Bouncing Pets – Digi Sky Games

Author: ryadmin  |  Category: Blog, Digi Sky Games

Bouncing Pets is the first game to come out of the Digi Sky Games studio. It was launched in November of 2013.

Since then over 15,000 people have downloaded and played the game. They have played over 125,000 games.

I like the game, it is fun to play. It only takes a minute or two to get through a level.

Screenshot_2014-02-27-23-43-34

Each level has a set number of pets that you need to rescue. You can do so in a number of ways. Drag your finger across the screen to move the main trampoline. If the pets bounce on the trampoline, you are fine – but if they hit the ground, you lose health, you only have 3 hearts until you lose a stage. You also have access to 8 different powerups to help you get through levels.

Screenshot_2014-02-27-23-43-51

The levels get progressively harder. Trying to save 20 or 25 pets before 3 hit the ground can be a real challenge – especially if you have several pets on the screen at the same time. Choosing which powerups you level up is key to winning. I like the balloons and extra spring powerups the best.
You can collect coins each level, these can be used to level up your powerups – that is, increase the length of time the powerup is in play, and/or reduce the cooldonw time until you ca n use the powerup again.

Bouncing Pets is available for FREE on Google Play and the iOS App Store.

You can read more about Bouncing Pets at the official Digi Sky Games Website.

Digi Sky Games

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog, Portfolio

DigiSky Games is a small group of programmers and graphic designers aiming to make fun casual mobile games. Designers and developers working directly without all the overhead.

website

I’m the Web Developer and head up the Marketing department.
We grew up playing video games and still do, it’s in our blood. Milestones met and Launch dates kept is our standard. We are always trying out new ideas and changing traditional formulas to make great new games.

Bouncing Pets is the first game out of DigiSky Games. It features a multitude of animals like dogs, cats, and pigs. Help these cute and furry creatures to safety. As a thank you, they’ll throw out coins for you.

Download Bouncing Pets for Free here

Alliance Plastics

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog, Portfolio

One of the services I perform is consultations. In September I presented an introduction to Act! by Sage{link}.

Act! is a Contact Management Software (CMS), which allows companies to keep track of large numbers of contacts effectively and efficiently.

ACT!2013_PRO

Alliance Plastics, a company based in South Carolina, placed an ad looking for an Act! instructor. Alliance Plastics has offices and warehouses across the country, they need a centralized system for keeping track of customers and vendors.
They recently purchased several licenses for a program called Act!, and they needed help installing and training several of their employees.

Alliance Plastics purchased Act! Premium for Web 2013. This version of Act! allows for a web server to run Act! from a centralized location. All users log in to a website through the browser and run Act! remotely. Act! Premium for Web required Windows Server 2008, and the users interact through an ASP.NET website. We could have used a static IP address to login remotely, but I suggested they use a domain name and direct it to the server to make it easier for users to remember. With Act! installed, ports configured, and remote login software up and running, we were ready to get started with the staff.

Before the meeting, I used Join.me screen-sharing and conferencing software to install FireFox and bookmark the remote login page. Act! Premium for Web will only work with Internet Explorer or FireFox browsers. Most of the staff had IE as their default browser, it was a pleasure to install FireFox for them.

Alliance Plastics has an office in Las Vegas, and they flew out a dozen key employees to take part in personal training in the program.
I created a 30 page slide show presentation for this class. We went through images, menus, videos and went through practice contact entries.

The Alliance Plastics team thanked me for the training, and I still work with them from time to time on updates and complex Act! maneuvers.

Leap Motion is Fantastic

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

My Leap Motion arrived in July, and I have been giving it a try for the last couple week. I love it! I’ve been using it to wake up the computer from sleep with a gesture, and to navigate websites. The gestures required a little learning curve, but nothing too involved.

Image credit - http://www.techspot.com/

Image credit – http://www.techspot.com/

 

THE GOOD: This first generation deice is already very fast and responsive. It is about the size of a lighter or USB stick, much smaller than you would think it would be. It has infrared LEDs and cameras to track your hands with great detail. It recognizes very small movements down to the .01 millimeter (according to the website), and can track each of your fingers independently. You can use default gestures, or create your own single finger, multi finger, or entire hand gestures. This little device creates a 3 dimensional area that you can interact in. Many times and invisible 2-D plane marks the “touch” of a touch screen, behind the boundary, you are using a cursor – cross the boundary, and it registers like a click or touchscreen ‘tap’.

 

The app store looks like it has doubled since I received my Leap controller, and Airspace App store recently published that over 1 million apps have been downloaded for Leap Controllers. I use the app “Touchless” the most – it allows the Leap to work like a mouse or touchless touchscreen all across the computer and any program. There are movie apps, games, productivity and creative apps too, and this is just the beginning. As the Leap gets out into the world, more programmers will be making Airspace apps for the Leap. There are a lot of free apps, in addition to several paid apps.

 

 

 “We’re providing developers and users a powerful platform for creating, playing, exploring and learning, and it’s thrilling to see people around the world take their first leap with our technology,” said Leap Motion CEO and co-founder Michael Buckwald. “We’re already seeing musicians, doctors, teachers, artists, students and gamers find creative and practical uses for their Leap Motion Controllers, and we’re just getting started.”

 

THE BAD: The memory requirements seems to be an issue, it uses a lot of resources to run. I noticed that the longer I have the Leap plugged in and activated, the few resources there are for other programs. Many times there are no problems with speed at all, and I have tested it on a few devices – Windows and Mac. It also isn’t as natural to use as the mouse yet, I use it more as a secondary device than a primary one; (1/100th of a millimeter, according to the literature, but I’m sure that is also just a matter of time picking up.

 

Be A Fit and Healthy Nerd

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

I just leveled up after my workout today.

My stretches and cardio plus my sit-ups and push-ups earned me about 200 points, enough to level up.

I’m talking about Fitocracy, of course. The online workout tracker that allows you to collect experience points and level up – just like an RPG. There are Quests and Achievements worth additional points as well.


(comic by XKCD)

I took a few weeks off…… maybe more than a few…. due to the holidays. Now I have no excuse but to get back into my workout routine. Fitocracy helps me do that. Fitocracy is easy to use – you just tell the system what workout you did and how many reps/how much time spent – and Fitocracy will track your points.

Check it out – it is worth a look. It is in a closed beta right now, but if you put your name on the list, they get back to you pretty quickly. I have also requested additional invites.

2 other programs have been helping keep my resolutions. Push Ups pro and Sit Ups pro by NORTHPARK.

These Android Apps follow you through the workout and count your reps. You begin each app with a quick test to see how many push ups or sit ups you can do at a time – then it creates a 5 set daily workout for you. At the end of every workout, you can keep the workout the same way it is, make it a bit harder, or make it a little easier next time.

The real fun part of these apps are the rep counters. The push ups app asks you to touch your nose to the screen of your phone every rep, ensuring that you go all the way up and all the way down. And the sit up counter you hold to your chest while the accelerometer tracks your position and counts reps for you.
You may not have the same problem of losing count of reps like I do – but for me this is extremely useful!

These apps also track your progress over time and encourage you to increase the number of reps until you are doing over 100 sit ups and push ups a day!

These apps plus Fitocracy have given me the push I badly needed to start working out again after the lazy holidays, and it may work wonders for you too.

Cool stuff at CES 2012

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

I love living in Las Vegas, NV.


(image by http://www.dailyuspost.com)

We have concerts, special events, and once a year – we have CES!!

Tech heads, Nerds, Geeks, and booth girls pack one of the largest convention spaces in the country. I love it so much.

I got to check out some of the new TVs we might be seeing in stores soon. The OLED TVs were amazing. The blacks were soooo deep, and the colors were incredibly sharp. The 80″ TVs were just ridiculously big. Flat screens are getting flatter – they had some frameless flat screens that had the picture go almost all the way to the edges, and the TVs were not much thicker than your phone!

I don’t like 3D – I just don’t like it – I think it allows directors to dumb down movies more and jack up ticket prices. Plus those stupid glasses give me a headache, every time. Several exhibitors had 3D TVs that blew – most had glasses, and the glasses free ones were horrible. All that known, I saw one 3D TV that blew my mind! You would look at this thing, glasses free and from any angle, and it really truly appeared like things were jumping off the screen!! It is made by Haier, and they had a slot machine video playing, I was at least 10 feet away from the TV, and I felt like I could reach out and grab the coins falling out of the TV. It was a very odd effect.

Cameras were also big this year. I saw several makes and models that were simple upgrades of previous models – which is cool, but not much to write about. 3 cameras really stood out for having awesome new features. Polaroid has a new Digital instant camera – for the people that love the “print on demand” Polaroid – now the camera/printer has 14 megapixels, an editing suite built in, and a memory card slot; I think it is a great improvement on the old school Polaroids. Polaroid also had a “Smart Camera” – which is basically everything in your smart phone, minus the phone. It is a 16 megapixel, internet enabled, ANDROID OS camera – it can download apps, play games, and take better pictures than any smart phone for years to come. Canon surprised me with a fantastic new feature on one of their new cameras: You snap a picture and it automatically grabs a video clip of 5 second after the shot and 5 second BEFORE the shot! Yes, the camera records footage before you snap the picture…… I really like that! Also, the image capture isn’t a frame of video – it is a snapshot image at maximum resolution – and it is accomplished with a duel core processor.

Sony and Casio has some cool “Smart Watches” to show off. I won’t lie – these are pretty cool! I would want to get one if the price was reasonable. They sync with your phone and let you know about texts, calls, emails, and interface with many of your phone’s apps. The Casio one is my kind of watch – G-Shock and tough, it also has a proximity alert that will let you know if your phone is more than a few feet away from you – try losing it now!

“Smart” was one of those words that you would hear at every booth – Smart cars, Smart refrigerators, Smart chargers…….. There was this Smart Window that was pretty cool – a transparent screen that works as your window – it has internet, apps, weather, and will turn opaque on command – acting as blinds. I thought that was pretty cool.

There were some new smart phones and tablets too – but they are not really my thing. I love my smart phone – but I don’t need to see 50 phones that will never go to market. And there are tablets being built by companies who have no business trying to scootch into the tablet scene – really Polaroid??

It was a fun time for sure – and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year.

And if anyone wants to buy me a Haier 3D TV – just email me!

 

–Ryan

 

Plan B – find your phone AFTER you lose it!!

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

A friend of mine had his phone stolen yesterday.

No worries though, he got it back. He installed this Android program AFTER he lost his phone, and it told him exactly where it was, and where to find it.

He posted about it from his recovered phone. Nice……….

Plan B for Android

Plan B is a unique phone finder app. I have known some apps in the past, where if you had it previously installed – you can access it over the web or by text in order to locate it.

Plan B is different, you install it AFTER you lose your phone.

AppBrain.com and more recently the Android Market allow remote installations. And this program starts as soon as it is downloaded. Once downloaded, it starts sending GPS locations directly to you via email.

I have heard of these programs, but I was surprised at the accuracy – Plan B found me and my phone, right at my apartment. Right there. Not just general area – but my exact building. Mileage may vary, but my results were extremely accurate.


(from Plan B website)

The emails came in every couple minutes – so if I was tracking a moving object – I would have a good idea where to go.

After about 10 mins, I went to the phone to see what was happening on the phone end. I saw that something was downloaded – but no indication that it was under GPS tracking. I opened the app and there was a link to Lookout Security & Antivirus.

It looks like the point of Plan B is to get you to download the parent app – but I am OK with that. It demonstrates what the Lookout program can do with GPS location on a lost phone. And more importantly – it gives the same protection to people without the forethought to have such an app installed already.

Cell phone protection
(There are worse ways to protect your cell phone)

I recommend people download some sort of remote location app – just in case – but even if you don’t, remember that this Plan B app exists. It could save your bacon.

–Ryan

 

Wizard

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

Well, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.

I have a regular client who calls me out for various computer problems. He bought a new Blackberry over the holidays, but couldn’t get it to sync with his ACT! database system.

He called me in to help, and he wasn’t wrong to do so, the new phone was being exceptionally problematic.
Well, it wasn’t the phone itself, you see his version of Blackberry Desktop Manager was not compatible with his new phone model – and the newest version of BBDM would not launch after install.

I searched forums, worked on the registry, downloaded brand new drivers – and BBDM would crash crash crash.
The BB forums were filled with similar complaints – but nobody over at RIM knew what was causing the conflict and there was no solution.

I went home to do some research (in motion).

Today I got it all working in under an hour – using Google as a middle man and bypassing the stupid Desktop Manager altogether!!

Not only did it all work, but now my client is always synced, automatically and wirelessly (before he had to actually connect via USB and would sometimes leave his phone in the office overnight just to sync)

He was over the moon with my outside the box solution, and called me a computer WIZARD!

Gave me a fat check on the spot, and I am sure he will be recommending me to other people.

Yeah…….. feeling pretty good!

 

–Ryan

 

EVA personal voice assistant (Siri for android)

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

I got a wonderful Xmas gift for my Galaxy Fascinate, EVA personal voice assistant.

I have seen videos of Siri, and even seen it in the wild a few times. The possibilities of the software sound a lot better than what I have seen in practice, though. It is still new enough that many people are still figuring out how and why to use it.

I was interested in the android versions, and after a little bit of research, I picked out the EVA intern program (free version) . In order to make it work, I also downloaded a text to speech app, SVOX and a free trial voice package.

The voice interface is great – I turned on the ‘voice wake up’ setting, and adjusted it, so that when I say “Computer.” EVA comes to front and accepts verbal commands. It took a few days to learn the syntax to create documents and launch programs, but now I can launch any program with a phrase.

I liked the voice interface so much, I downloaded another app to turn custom phrases into ring tones. So now when I get an email, the EVA voice says “Ryan, you have a new email”; I have this set for pretty much all of my program alerts. It is pretty cool to know exactly what is coming in without looking at my phone display.

I find the reminders to be very useful. I can ask EVA to remind me to do things or set alarms based on ‘time from now’, ‘exact time’, or even ’location’. I wasn’t much for setting reminders for myself using the calendar feature of my phone – but once I got in the habit, it is a great way to stay on task or multitask without losing track of time or priorities.

The ‘Lists’ feature works pretty well. I have a continuous shopping list that I update when I run out of something and delete things when I buy them. I also made an ‘Xmas shopping list’ that I kept updated whenever I thought of a new person or gift. I know there are probably some better ways to use this feature, but that is what I have found useful so far.

EVA also has a special list designated as ‘expense report’ and I can have all my money in/money out transactions saved by category and get monthly or weekly summaries of how I am spending my money. Right now it is just a novelty, but I really like using it.

EVA is a fairly new program, and it is done by a single person – but I am amazed by how often new updates are available. The facebook feed keeps me updated with new features almost daily. The most recent one is integration with the Google Places API, so I can more easily search for businesses around where I am.

All-in-all, EVA has been a wonderful program and an excellent gift, I recommend that anyone still reading should at least download the free 30 day trial (contains all the features of the full version)  - and if you still like it, buy the $10 full version.

–Ryan

Curating your Google+ Circles for maximum enjoyment.

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

I am a big fan of Google+, I’ve been using it since it has come out, and I have tried a few different ways to keep my Circles in order. Let me share my newest way with you. I have already started seeing some good results.

I made these 4 Circles in addition to my other Circles . Everyone I am following can fall into one of these groups.

STEAK, CHEESEBURGER, HOT DOG, and 99¢ CHORIZO.

STEAK is pretty easy to describe. STEAK represents the best people in my stream – the funniest people whose posts I have to see. I make sure to check it every time I log into G+ so that I don’t miss anything. I keep this Circle small, so that I can check through 24-48 hours worth of posts in a few minutes.

CHEESEBURGER is my catch all. Just about everyone can fall into this group. I have this Circle set to show all the posts in my main stream. If you leave a funny comment or someone I know reshares your post, I will probably add you to this group. When I go to a new restaurant, I’ll give any Cheeseburger a chance, and that is what the CHEESEBURGER Circle represents.

HOT DOG is for people that I still want to follow, but I don’t need to hear from as often. I have this Circle set to show fewer posts in my main stream. Here is where it gets into the Circle management, if your posts are the 50th reposting of the same thing, you may go from CHEESEBURGER to HOT DOG. It is also pretty easy to redeem yourself back to CHEESEBURGER, I will browse this Circle if the stream is slow, and pick people to come back into the higher Circles.

99¢ CHORIZO is my penalty box. Have you ever picked up Chorizo from the 99¢ Store? DON’T!!! This Circle is for people that I am on the brink of unfollowing altogether or blocking. I used to have a no tollerance rule: you annoy me, you are blocked. But this is a more reasonable approach. Nothing from this circle goes to my main stream – and if you make an annoyance of yourself in comments, and I see you are already in this Circle, you are blocked.

I still have other Circles, like my Las Vegas Circle for locals, my IT/Tech circle for webmaster stuff – but I find that just because you got into my Circles based on a topic, you may post a majority of off topic things. I have not really found Circles based on posting topics to be useful enough.  People can be in many Circles (Hello Diaspora!) – so I don’t have to take people out of Circles to put them into these new ones. And I occasionally still post to certain circles still – but for me, Circles are all about reading lists and controlling how much I want certain posters to show up in my stream. This has been working well the last few weeks.

Give it a try, and see if your stream isn’t a little better because of it!

 

–Ryan