sábado, novembro 26, 2016

Android App: Brick-a-Brack

(If you want to try it, install it via Google App Store

My idea of fun isn’t always fun for someone else. Listening to music, reading, playing/developing/creating games, exploring (scuba-diving, hiking, biking), and watching Shakespeare plays are just a few things that are fun in my book.  I’m so glad I live in the 21st century, because most of these activities can be done or extended by using current technology.

I love Android technology!  If I had to save a few things in a fire, it'd be my Shakespeare library (some P. D. James as well, and a few others), my smartphone and tablet (my electronic content is already in the Cloud so I wouldn't have to worry about portable disks and my Synology Home Server), and a few other bits and bobs. This leads me to the question. Is programming Fun? It surely is! For those of you who have never written any code before, it really is delightful.  I understand that “programming” can sound intimidating to someone who has never written a line of code before, but if you’re reading this post, then you’re probably pretty familiar with using modern devices, which means most of the hard learning is already done.   

Why is programming fun is the follow-up question. Thinking about it I must say it's because of the absolute joy of creating things. I've always liked to tinker with computer stuff, as well as the fact I love to be always learning. Making things pleases my inventive leanings built deep within me.

When I was starting out in the 80s with my BBS, I couldn't imagine what would happen 20 years or thirty years later. If someone had handed the 12 year-old me a Samsung smartphone or a 10-inch tablet, I’d have assumed they were props from Star Trek.  I can do literally everything with these magic little gadgets.

Google, Samsung, Apple have crammed so many amazing features into smartphones, and I can only marvel at the inventive things I can do with them. As someone who's always been interested in geeky stuff,  the smartphone capabilities are without parallel in the computing world. Gone are the days when my only means of connecting with a computer were the keyboard and mouse.  Cameras, microphones, touch screens, and motion sensors enable me to experience and do things on the smartphone and tablet that were pure SF before this past decade.  Not only are they fun to use, but they’re so fun to tinker with!  Anyone who enjoys taking apart and tweaking with stuff can appreciate the joy of understanding how a computer, smartphone, and tablet works and then bending them to do my will in new and creative ways.

With so many features packed into such a small device, it's easy to access the microphone and then transform sound and video clips that I store in my phone’s memory.  Being a Maker I can hack away at my own game, adding motion and touch events like tilting the screen (like I did with this "Brick-a-Brack" game).  It doesn’t have to be pretty or polished, either ("Brick-a-Brack" game is anything but that; if you try it you'll see why). Just getting my app to recognize a sideways movement and moving the paddle in one direction, then in the other, can be an amazingly fulfilling moment.

When I was coding for a living, some of my superman moments came at the end of a long period of time coping with a specific issue, finally being able to "see the light" that allowed me to connect to a Database server and successfully understanding the way a SQL statement was supposed to work or why a particular database was having performance problems in production. 

Isn’t it fun to play with magic?

NB: My other Apps.

NB2: SF = Speculative Fiction.

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