For the last month or so, I’ve been chipping away at (what started as) a small pet project to replace Google Reader, since Google announced plans to discontinue one of my favorite services. A little over a month later, it’s almost in a beta state, so I’m making it available on Github: https://github.com/melllvar/grr.
It’s certainly not completely on-par feature-wise (or perhaps even in terms of scalability), but it’s close enough to support my daily routine, with features such as
Feed hierarchy (nesting feeds inside folders)
Marking as read/unread (single articles as well as entire views)
It’s been a while since I last wrote anything here – I’ve been writing chunks of stuff at Google+, mostly regarding my current project, CocoaMSX.
I’ve migrated vast majority of my PSP emulators to Google Code – PSP’s SVN repository seems to be one of the most frequently accessed parts of my site, so I figured it’d make sense to make it a lot more widely accessible, as well as allow me to eventually retire my repository. All binaries have been migrated – including past releases and both 1.50 and 2.00 variants. Source is available as well, but since the original repository contained all the projects, I ended up discarding the revision history, in order to ease the transition. The only repository that has not been migrated is NeoPop, because RACE PSP made it unnecessary.
A while back, I wrote about receiving a note from Google regarding the Federal Government taking up interest in sites that hosted pirate Android apps. I’ve since received official confirmation that indeed, the wheels of justice are turning – if only a bit slowly. If piracy did harm the sales of the app (and I have reasons to believe that it did), it did so at the worst time possible for me – at a time when no official client was yet available. While it’s too late for Spark 360, I hope it will improve the commercial landscape for current and future Android developers, and not drive them away.
I will finally be attending Google IO this year – after trying to secure attendance unsuccessfully in 2011 and 2012 – although I did attend an Extended session at one of Google’s campuses. It should be interesting to see what Google has coming this year – especially after the poorly received Google Q, and the disturbingly Orwellian Google Glass of last year. There has been a lot of speculation about a new Android-based watch from Samsung – something to which I’m particularly looking forward.
A new version of Spark 360 is out today. Version 6.16 fixes minor bugs with PSN support, specifically:
PSN Blog viewer crash
Friends list showing “null” when no details are available
Given that I don’t usually have much to say that requires a full-on weblog post, from now on you can find update/release-related posts on my Google+ profile page, which will also include updates on a new project I’m working on – a port of blueMSX to OS X, called CocoaMSX.
For the new users who receive an “account already exists” message, even though the account creation failed the first time around – please uninstall the application, and install it again – the original error will have left the app in an inconsistent state.
While I’m not sure whether the recent crackdown was initiated by Google, I am happy to see it finally happen. Apple’s been very authoritative on their stance against piracy, and was always quick to act against it, while my impression has been that Google’s been turning a blind eye to the rampant piracy of Android apps – including some fairly brazen ones that ran on paid membership systems.
I don’t want to blame the app’s lackluster sales on piracy necessarily – software companies do this all the time and come up with some fairly ludicrous numbers. Still, given that the top Google search term for Spark 360 was ‘spark 360 apk’ for as long as I can remember, it would be naive to say that it didn’t have at least a moderate impact on the app’s sales.
For myself, I hesitate to put any sort of figure on the issue, since I know that some of those who pirated the app would probably not bother to actually pay for it, while others would simply just hoard it and not use it. Ultimately, what made Spark 360 unfeasible as a commercial app was Microsoft’s official Xbox Live app – it killed almost 90% of the daily sales (which had already plummeted in February – for reasons still unknown).
My experience with being a mobile developer has been an odd one – it’s exposed me to various less-than-savory “businesses” that routinely contact (read: spam) me with offers of mutual collaboration, free app hosting, paid app hosting, and even the odd “we have created an account for you and uploaded your app, here’s your password”. I still get emails and offers about OpenSpark – an application that hasn’t even worked for two years. Hard to imagine this experience being unique – I’m fairly certain that many others app authors get the same treatment. Android’s open nature has sadly attracted the unscrupulous masses eager to turn a quick buck – it’s a fact of life for those of us who prefer an open platform.
In any case, I’ve always enjoyed supporting open source software – the pros certainly outweigh any cons – and am happy to contribute once again.
Version 6.12 of Spark 360 is now out – it fixes issues that crept up as a result of the latest Xbox Live site update. This also means that the iOS version of the app will probably not work, unless I get around to updating the source sometime (though I wonder whether anyone’s actually still using it).