Keep Calm Wallpaper Test

Video

I’m not planning on publicly releasing this but I thought it was pretty cool and a nice demo of live wallpapers.

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Keep Calm for Android updated

I’ve now updated Keep Calm so that it now has a new Holo UI and better quality saving of the created posters. Unfortunately the new version no longer supports Android 2.1 because I wanted to improve the general quality of the app and this meant dropping the older features.

Despite this, the update gives the app a new refreshing look that is much easier to use – the swipe menu at the bottom is now gone and has been replaced with an Action Bar:

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You can get the new version over on Google Play now for free. If you want to read more information about the update, here is what I wrote about the Pro update earlier this week.

Introducing Word Finder for iPhone

I like word games but I’m not particularly good at them. Instead, I’ve gradually made a series of apps that make it easier to cheat (and win!) common word games such as Boggle, Letterpress, Scrabble and other anagram based games. After a while I eventually integrated them into a single app that also allows you to search for words using patterns.
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The patterns feature is particularly useful if you have crossword clues, for example. You can enter a % symbol for a blank letter and a – for a gap of an unknown length, so you could use a pattern such as a-f to find all words beginning in a and end in f:
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Alternatively, if you wanted to look for a seven letter word with a as the second letter and r as the last you can do the following:
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As mentioned earlier, you can also search for words for use in commons word games. You can type boggle: followed by the sixteen letters that make up the 4*4 block to find all the possible words you could make. You could also do the same for letterpress (by beginning your query with letterpress:) or type the seven letters in front of you when playing Scrabble. Sorting methods can also be used by bracketing them at the end:

  • Alphabetical
  • Reverse (alphabetical)
  • Shortest (first)
  • Longest (first)

Here is an example of how you may use this:
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As a bonus, you can also get the definition and scores for a word by tapping on them:
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Overall the app is reasonably easy to use and you can get it now on the App Store for 99c. I’m planning both an iPad version and an Android version and I intend to make them available in the next month.

Keep Calm Pro for Android updated

This morning I released an update to Keep Calm Pro for Android and it changes quite a bit. Before I overview the new features, here are some common complaints about the previous version:

  • UI was difficult to use
  • Poster was ‘forgotten’ on device rotation
  • Poster wouldn’t always save/didn’t appear in the Gallery app for a long time
  • UI looked nasty and didn’t feel like an Android app
  • Posters saved were poor quality
  • No option to save square posters

Keep Calm Pro 1.9 has resolved all of these issues. The first major change is the appearance of the app; the image on the left shows what it used to look like and what it now looks like:

ImageThe new UI is now ‘Holo’ and has an Action Bar on all versions of Android (I’m using Action Bar Sherlock) which means it now conforms to the newer Android design schemes. This also lead to a huge reduction in the amount of code as well – and there is definitely a major performance boost because I’m using more standard techniques now.

The poster is no longer ‘forgotten’ when you rotate the device. It was a weird ‘feature’ of Android but I’ve now fixed it and it means that the UI will now properly turn.

Posters should now always save and appear in the Gallery app straight away. I’ve also optimized the saving routine as well because before it was running a Media Scanner across your entire SD card however now it will only scan across the specific file. The saved images are now high quality PNGs and appear exactly as they do in the app. A lot of Android users (the iOS version has had the feature for a couple of months) were complaining that their posters weren’t fitting on Instagram however there is now an option on the Share menu to create a square poster instead:

ImageAnother change that I’ve implemented is that the color of the icon will now change with the color of the text, which makes far more sense than staying white.

Overall Keep Calm Pro has significantly improved, and you can head over to Google Play to get the new version.

Opening pages in Chrome from Safari on iOS

If you particularly like Google Chrome for iOS (it isn’t a badly designed app, just a little slow because of Apple’s restrictions) but don’t like having to copy links from the address bar in Safari into Chrome I’ve come up with a simple bookmarklet that will do it for you:

  1. Create a new bookmark in Safari (you can do this by adding this page to your bookmarks) and give it a useful title like ‘Open in Chrome’
  2. Delete the URL
  3. Paste this into the address box instead: javascript:window.location.replace(window.location.href.replace('https://','googlechromes://').replace('http://','googlechrome://'))
  4. When you’ve got a page open that you want to open in Chrome, just tap the bookmark. Sometimes it will ask if you want to open the link in Chrome but most of the time it doesn’t and just changes apps straight away.

Keep Calm is a year old today

Exactly a year ago today I released the first version of Keep Calm on Android. Over the following year I’ve released an iOS version with Pro versions for both platforms. Combined, the apps have had almost 1.5m downloads.

The original version of Keep Calm was very different to the current version (and almost entirely different from the iOS version). Rather than being able to see the poster and edit it in real time the user instead had to fill in a form with the option to pick from around 25 icons before they got to see the poster. The poster generation was also incredibly slow.

I’ve got it noted down that Keep Calm had 200 downloads (I vaguely remember it being nearer 250) on its first day and I was particularly excited at the thought that somebody downloaded my app every 7 minutes, however at a peak I’ve had downloads every 7 seconds…

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