Posts for 'Development'

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August 27, 2011 •

SteamerCard circa 2008

For the majority of my blog posts in the previous couple of days, my good pal Dean keeps point out to me that the SteamerCard entry (on the right of the page) is currently down. :P

While I’m actively fixing it now, since I don’t think I’ve actually done this before, I thought I’d explain what SteamerCard is. :D

Back in the summer of 2008, before I succumbed to buying an Xbox, I was really jealous of all of my friends who had Xbox Live! GamerCards. The whole concept of being able to embed your current gamer status as a discrete, interactive card really appealed to me for some real reason, and I was feeling sad there wasn’t much of an equivalent on the PC. That being said, considering how much I loved Steam, I thought that would be an excellent platform to have one on. :D

So I decided to build SteamerCard as another service under the UberGames banner. :) Unlike most other third party GamerCard services though, I wanted it to be a fully interactive HTML <iframe> element, and given the design considerations, completely ad-free.

The SteamerCard webapp is written entirely in a PHP/MySQL solution and works on a system of parsing the information from the Steam website with regular expressions. In the interests of reducing the number of requests made to the Steam site, the system caches the user’s information in its own local store, and updates itself on an hourly basis.

Unfortunately as of last month when the UberGames system was updated to PHP 5.3, the combination of deprecated code in its base classes caused the entire system to die. Given how heavily the base classes were integrated with the upper-level code, unfortunately it turned out that I couldn’t really resurrect the code without doing a near-complete rewrite.

So at the moment, I’ve pretty much decided to rewrite the majority of SteamerCard from scratch, whilst revamping as much of the old code in the process.

Looking back on the old design above, I’ve also decided to redo the visual look of SteamerCard while I’m at it:

SteamerCard 2011 Design Mockup

This time around, I’m building the whole thing in as much of an OOP fashion as possible, and I’m hoping to set up a system where other themes can be added as well. :)

Also, in a follow up to the blog I wrote last night, once it’s done, I’m considering open-sourcing SteamerCard when it’s finished. :D

Open Source! (Also GitHub)

August 26, 2011 •

Open Sauce :D

Oh wait. Or was that the other 'open sauce'...

With a few websites, a few game mods, and even a few iOS apps under my belt, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve written a fair amount of programming code at this point. XD

As a result of being extremely lazy and hating having to reinvent the wheel, once I got the hang of OOP principles, I decided to always try and make my classes as low-level and as abstracted as possible, so I could always re-use them in later projects. :P

Over a period of developing, testing and refining, I’ve started coming up with a few common classes that I seem to be using a heck of a lot. For example, in PHP, I’ve ended up with a pretty decent MySQL manager class (which I then extended into SQLite), and in Objective-C, I’ve got a UITableViewController that automates loading content on separate threads. ^_^

Since I’ve been finding them so useful in my projects, and wondering if other people might find them useful too, I’ve been considering open-sourcing them.

In any case, I took the plunge this week. :D I’ve uploaded a pile of the PHP classes I use for client work and UberGames projects to my GitHub account.

That account’s been collecting digital dust for a while now, so I thought this would also be a good opportunity to start using it, as well as figuring out a bit more on how git actually works. ^_^;

I’ll be putting as much of my code up there as possible and improving it as I go. As I want to make sure it’s easy to use and understand, I’m also going to try and refine all of the formatting and internal documentation so they’re standard across the board (which it isn’t right now ^_^;).

All of the code is released under the MIT license, so go nuts with it. :D

.EDIT: Feel free to contribute to the classes as well! (Thanks @nekodex lol)

iPokédex featured on Kotaku!!

August 24, 2011 •

Yeah this is old news. REALLY old news, but I can’t believe I didn’t write a blog post on it at the time. ^_^;

Even still, up to this point, this is blowing my freaking mind. iPokédex managed to get app of the day on Kotaku!!!! ^_^

I’ve been an avid reader of Kotaku for 5 years now and their Twitter account holds a special section in my list of feeds. Never did I imagine that some of my work would actually get so much as a whisper.

In hindsight though, it makes it a bit sader that I eventually had to remove iPokédex. ^_^;

Either way, like before, mad props to Luke Plunkett for reviewing my app. Hopefully there will be more to come in future. :D

So. WTF exactly is ‘fair use’?

August 22, 2011 •

Objection! (Usage of this image is done under 'fair use'. I'm just saying.)

Well now. Given recent events, I think it’s fair to say that I feel like I understand the intricacies of international copyright law a little more than I did a couple of months ago. ^_^; After my communications with the TPCI lawyer, coupled with some readings from some other sites concerning similar copyright cases, I thought I’d write up a bit of a clarification of how this stuff appears to work.

MANDATORY DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, and the following text is my own supposition. It shouldn’t be taken as absolute truth, and if you see something you know is incorrect, please let me know.

So, the crux of the matter is that ‘fair use’ is a rather convoluted and complicated ‘convienience’ clause added to copyright law, with the original goal of (subjectively) ‘limited’ re-use of copyrighted material without needing to get the original holder’s permission primarily for purposes of  things like critical commentary or research. With the existence of the fair use clause, this basically means that most forms of unauthorized copyright usage go from ‘blatently’ illegal to ‘potentially’ illegal. ^_^;

Continue reading

On iPokédex getting pulled

July 21, 2011 •

Well, sadly it’s happened folks.:(

As of last Friday, I had to pull iPokédex from active distribution and leave it offline indefinitely, by personal request of a representative of The Pokémon Company International.:(

I’m really disappointed it came down to that, but sadly, there doesn’t appear to have been any other option.

Since I was slightly busy on the weekend, it’s taken this long to follow up on the matter here, but now I’ll see about putting up what’s been going down since my last blog post.

After receiving the notice from Apple, I immediately followed up by sending this email to the address they provided to me:

Continue reading

iPokédex: Copyright Notice from TPCI

July 11, 2011 •

Well. It finally happened. Since it’s been more than a month after I heard about it happening on Android, I was wondering if it ever was going to happen on the iOS as well… but it looks like it finally has. ^_^;

On Saturday morning, I received this email from Apple:

Dear Tim,

On 6/27/2011, we received a notice from The Pokémon Company International, Inc that The Pokémon Company International, Inc believes your application named “iPokédex” infringes The Pokémon Company International, Inc’s intellectual property rights.

We look forward to receiving written assurance that your application does not infringe The Pokémon Company International, Inc’s rights, or that you are taking steps to promptly resolve the matter.  Written assurance may include confirmation that your application does not infringe The Pokémon Company International, Inc’s rights, an express authorization from The Pokémon Company International, Inc, or other evidence acceptable to Apple.We look forward to receiving confirmation from you within 5 days.

At this point, I’m not surprised at this message. It’s been a long time coming.

I am quite disappointed about this though. :(
I find it quite amazing that TPCI would be wanting to shut these kinds of apps down. If the reviews of iPokédex are any indication, the Pokémon brand has been enhanced by these fan productions. Some people have even said that iPokédex is what got them into Pokémon in the first place. ^_^

I would also say that as long as these apps aren’t trying to generate profit, they shouldn’t be causing any damage at all. There was previously an argument that 3rd-party Pokédex apps could interfere with the sale of strategy guides, but given there is now an official Pokédex app for the 3DS that is also free, I’m really not sure about that. ^_^;

At this stage, I’ve replied to Apple acknowledging the message. I’ve also promised that if I cannot resolve this within the 5 days, then I’ll personally be removing iPokédex from active distribution for an indefinite period.

From here on, I’ll be getting in touch with the Pokémon Company International to see if I can clarify the nature of this copyright infringement, and if there’s anything I can do to fix it.

For the time being, I’m choosing to remain optimistic it’s possible to work something out. :)

But in the meantime, if you haven’t already downloaded iPokédex, get it while you can. If I need to take it down, then the time is set for Wednesday evening.

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