Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Todo Q v1.1.7 for Android Released

A weekend full of work resulted in a few bug fixes and enhancements released as Todo Q v1.1.7.

Todo Q is smart to do list that filters based on your current location. Todo Q unifies the calendar, contacts, and navigation functions seamlessly into a single interface. This integration plus advanced sorting & filtering, time & location alarms, gps/nav integration, gui configuration, send via sms, custom icons, backup to SD, and much more make for a full-featured application.

Here's a summary of the new features in 1.1.7.
  • New "Notify" field with Vibrate, + Audible, + Repeating Audible values is a dropdown located just above the priority dropdown that allows task level control of notifications.
  • Reminder field can now be a dropdown or slider and is controlled by a setting. The default is still a slider for now, but I like the dropdown.
  • Categories can now have custom labels which are established in the settings.
  • Fixed the bug where the task contents weren't being autoselected in the editor, causing extra keystrokes. This still seems to be acting differently since upgrading development kits.
Things I'm working on for upcoming releases that will hopefully see the light of day.
  • Foursquare integration, with other location providers coming in the future. (testing now, very nice)
  • Use a contact address with task for navigation, etc.
  • Better battery/power management for location alarms.
  • Google tasks integration (this is hard!)
  • Multiple gmail accounts (even harder!)
  • Usability
All of these features were requested by customers. I am too clueless to come up with this stuff on my own. ;)

Todo Q is available in the android market for only $1.99.

Droid 2.1 rollout

Engadget says it's finally coming. Todo Q has been tested on 2.1 before, but not on a Droid. I bought mine day one & hope this all goes smoothly. They've had enough time to get it right.

If there are issues, please email me at billybobbain@gmail.com.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Plasma Fractal Generator source added to github

The plasma fractal generator project has been added to github at http://github.com/billybobbain/Plasma. Maybe I'll find some time, but I really wish someone would add color cycling using a 256 color palette ala Fractint.

Plasma Fractal on Droid


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Todo Q v1.1.5 for Android released

Todo Q v1.1.5 was just released to the android market and includes many new customer requested features.

Backup to SD Card
The Todo Q database can now be backed up to the SD card. If something bad happens to your phone and you have to reinstall your applications, Todo Q will automatically restore from the backup database.

Usability Enhancements
We added new save and revert menu items on the Todo Q Editor menu for users that prefer a direct command to save or cancel changes instead of the automatic save. Plus we added confirmation messages for anytime we save or cancel an update to a tasks to give you more feedback.

Clear Filter Button with Task Counts
The Todo Q list sports a new button adjacent to the filter field that displays the count of visible tasks vs total tasks as a label. When clicked, this button clears the filter and refreshes the list to show all tasks.

Here's a screenshot of the task list unfiltered...

... and filtered based on the string "3141".

Each item is visible for a different reason:

  • Find Me 3141 has "3141" in the description
  • Find Me Too has "3141" in the custom field
  • Find Me Three has "3141" as part of the address / location field.

Todo Q searches across multiple fields when filtering and updates the list and task counts dynamically as you type in the filter field.

Todo Q is available for only $1.99 on the Android Market. Give it a try today.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Stealing Time with Todo Q

A few years ago I met a guy at work named John that just had his hands in everything. He had  more than a full-time job, did outside consulting, wrote papers, was on forums & expert groups and anything else that interested him. I once asked him how he found the time and he said it was really simple. You have to learn to "steal time." I'm like, WTF does "steal time" mean? He says, "You know those moments when you had a breakthrough, were interrupted, or maybe a meeting ended early?" View those as opportunities to "steal time" and work on something else. I started trying to do this and I do find it to be effective. Everyone does it... when you are paying a bill standing in line at the market, or even while supposedly listening to your wife. He just advocated taking it to the extreme. I'm not as good as John, but I've learned to apply this technique and it seems to have helped my career and life in general. Not sure wife would agree.

One of the other things I heard about a couple years ago on TED was the cognitive surplus that is wasted in the world by idle time, mainly watching TV. I especially like the comparison of TV to Gin in the past. (John would like that too) I've started apply stealing time to TV... so if I sit down to watch TV, I ask myself does this show suck? If so, then turn off the TV and do something else. Or if a (insert your favorite sport here) game blows out, steal that time and do something else.

The ultimate question becomes, what to do with all the extra time? So I made a list, which turned into a to do list or queue, which is now Todo Q. Available for $1.99 on android market.

Hope you enjoyed my little story. I stole the time to write it because the smoke alarm started a low-battery beep this morning and after that, I was up. Steal some time today.

Billy Bob Bain

P.S. - Here's John in the past with book and some trophy. Like I said, it was always something.

John Reilly

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Todo Q v1.1.2 for Android adds Custom Icon Support and Send over SMS

Todo Q v1.1.2 adds the following user-requested features.

  • send todo & location over SMS as plaintext
  • custom icons can be assigned to a todo or location
  • added preference to define custom icon folder
  • ability to delete a location and optionally todos from location editor
Below is a screen shot showing both custom and built-in icons in the list.

Todo Q with Custom Icons

Todo Q is available for 2.0+ devices such as droid and nexus on the android market for only $1.99. 


Friday, March 5, 2010

Five Great Applications for Android

I am a developer with a Droid. Here are my five favorite android applications that don't have the word google in them.

Thinking Space is a mind mapping tool that is fun to use.


RealCalc is a multifunction calculator with the RPN I crave.

Minishot Basketball is one of my 6 yr old son's favorite games.

Solo Guitar makes even me sound pretty good.

Chess is great and looks better on my droid with each release.

That's my five. What are yours?


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mixing it up with Android and Google App Engine

In my opinion, Google has solved the mobile development puzzle when it comes to networking and security. A handset only application is fine, but a secure networked application is much more fun.

I've been theorizing a "Send to Friend" feature for Todo Q for a little while. I have more than one user (ok, just one) who wanted the ability to send tasks to their spouse and/or kids. (we too are an all droid family)

I really liked this customer's idea, but had trouble deciding how to implement the feature. A few of the ways to implement:
  1. a "break-it-up-over-SMS" idea
  2. some kind of email kludge
  3. shared calendar with auto import
  4. or some kind of server-based solution
The "break-it-up-over-SMS" idea was workable, but looked ugly and cluttered the users SMS inbox. Maybe there is a way to send it to an application "port", but it wasn't documented well enough to figure out and you still had the multiple message issue. The email kludge was also possible, but I didn't like that solution really even though Mailinator would have made it easy. The shared calendar solution would get most of it, but Todo Q carries location data and mangling that into the google calendar would have resulted in ugly calendar entries. When I 1st wrote Todo Q, it didn't have its own database and just piggybacked on the google calendar. I didn't really want to go back that direction, so it fell to the server-based solution.

The server-based solution was a bit daunting due to security concerns. Was I going to have to write a whole security framework just to support this feature? Seemed like more trouble than it might be worth. I had written a couple of applications on Google App Engine (GAE) before and knew I wanted to use it again for this feature due to the minimal cost and maximum scalability. Amazon EC2 was another option, but the cost is just too high for a micro-isv like me. (I do have experience with EC2 costs)

Turns out that others, such as Gast Studios, have already been down this road with Android and GAE. Todo Q supports only 2.0 devices and higher, so my solution was a little easier than the Gast solution. His post at stackoverflow.com had all the details necessary to implement the security feature. Instead of inventing my own security, Todo Q could use the google account associated with the device. No username & password prompting, credential caching or anything nasty was involved. The final solution uses the device AccountManager to get the "authorization token" and perform an HttpGet to appengine which returns a cookie that identifies the user. Subsequent requests to app engine will automatically use this cookie and be authenticated as the app engine user. Once again Google let me focus on my application and not build another framework.

Todo Q for 1.1.0 has support for "Send to Friend" and is available for $1.99 from the android market.

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