I Removed Dindy From The Play Store

Dindy was very useful to me and (probably) to a few hundreds of people around the world. I enjoyed mainly reading the good reviews it got and getting supportive emails from users. But the reality is that since Android 5 Google has been making its own steps into the Do Not Disturb game, and even more so in the next version, Android M.

The changes in Android 5 already made Dindy less useful, by not allowing developers to put the phone in real silent mode. If you weren’t careful about who you select as a favorite contact, that would clash with Dindy’s settings. Android 5.0 specifically has bugs that prevent Dindy from working properly at all, and I had to apologize for that to a couple of users. These bugs were fixed in 5.1.

In Android M, Google basically implemented Dindy, with the exception of automatic SMS replies and some extra customizations that I doubt anyone was using. That doesn’t seem to be enough to justify an investment for users in an app to manage Do Not Disturb modes, or for me to keep adapting the app to Google’s changes in every Android release.

The first version of Dindy worked on Android 1.5 and I’ve changed it continuously to work with newer versions of Android over the years. Recently, in its peak usage, Dindy had around 1200 installations globally. That’s a very low number. My guess is that only a few hundreds of those were actually using it.

Unfortunately, Google still doesn’t get phone volume controls right. One thing that is very unclear is that if you want to switch the phone to vibrate, you should not lower the volume until it reaches vibrate mode. The result of doing that is lowering the phones ring volume to the minimum and then telling the phone that it should be on vibrate. If you have anyone important that you’d like to get past vibrate and ring, now your phone will ring in a very low volume. The correct way to switch to vibrate mode in stock Android 5+ is to click the volume button to see the volume controls and then tap the bell icon to switch to vibrate.

Apple got that right in the iPhone, by the way. Maybe Google will get it right in Android N.

אנ-וולופ – משתלם בשמחות

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אנ-וולופ (Unvelope) הוא שירות שאני מעורב באופן חלקי בפיתוח שלו. בבסיסו השירות מאפשר לאורחים בשמחות לתת את המתנה באמצעות כרטיס אשראי, אפילו בתשלומים! כדי להשלים את החבילה, אנ-וולופ גם נותן שירותים של אישורי הגעה, ניווט לאירוע, תזכורות ובקרוב גם סידורי ישיבה.

היום אנ-וולופ הופיע פעם ראשונה בתקשורת. הנה הוידאו:

לפרטים נוספים בקרו באתר הבית.

Playrock Is No More

My two partners and I decided to close down Blenure, the company we set up to create Playrock, our mobile, social and local gaming network and infrastructure. Our failure to execute taught me a lot, so while it’s a shame it didn’t work out for us, I’m happy that we gave it a shot, and I enjoyed working with quite a lot of people like contractors and developers that saw the potential in our idea and invested time in integrating Playrock’s SDK into their games.

We all still think it’s a good idea. Seems like some other people think so too, as Google is rumored to start its own Playrock clone :)

In the meantime I found a new job here in Israel, for a promising startup that I can’t say much about. The people there are great and the work is challenging and therefore a lot of fun.

Happy Birthday To Me. I’m 36

When I look at last year’s birthday post I realize how quickly time has passed. It’s like I wrote it yesterday. Compared to last year, 36 doesn’t come with thoughts about choices, but with a look to the future.

It’s been two years now working on Playrock. We released as beta without advertising and are improving it all the time to make it better and more appealing to our users. I think Playrock is a great idea and we get very good responses from people that hear about it.

However, if Playrock doesn’t do well enough, I will be forced to look for a job. It’s not optimal, but not bad either – it will be a good time for me to explore overseas job opportunities, as I previously wanted to but never had the chance.

I traveled to see The Prodigy for the 13th time in September and had an amazing time thanks to some new friends in Belgrade, Serbia.

As for side projects: I haven’t had much time to work on those. My ideas list is growing and I might start working on one of them soon. As always, it will probably be a niche project that won’t appeal to many people, but it’ll be fun to code. I didn’t manage to find a designer for the website I built for my online will idea that I already implemented, which is a shame because I was hoping to progress with that.

My workouts are still the same and I’m relatively happy with my fitness and health.

So for the upcoming year I hope that either Playrock will be successful or for a different kind of adventure outside of Israel. Other than that… life is pretty good as is :)

Sometimes Select Is Broken

Coding Horror’s first rule of programming is “It’s Always Your Fault”. I’m a big believer in this rule.

That’s why I was so surprised to find a bug in GCC 4.7.2 that turned out to be real and not just a fragment of my imagination. I’m also surprised no one else reported it earlier. I guess it shows that there aren’t too many people (or companies) out there building C++11 code, yet.

So after more than 10 years of programming in C/C++, this is the one time I get to be affected by a compiler bug. From now on it’s going to be really my fault 100% of the time.

We Released Playrock

Playrock icon To those of you who have been wondering what I’ve been doing over the past 18 months, I finally have something to show for all this time. We released Playrock, which is “a social gaming network where you can play with people who are next to you. Players can instantly create their own virtual spaces, select games that they like to their spaces, and start playing and sharing with other people.”

If you have an Android phone and consider yourself a friend of mine :), please take the time to download Playrock from the Google Play Store by clicking this image below:

Since this is a social app, contact me by email and I’ll add you to one of my “virtual spaces” so I can show you what it does. There is a small learning curve needed to use the app, but I believe it will be worth it. Also, any feedback would be appreciated. Write me to amit@blenture.com (or any address you have of mine) with your thoughts.

How To Restart Ubuntu Audio

Sometimes I have issues with audio on my Ubuntu installation, usually after some rogue Flash applet destroys it (don’t ask me why.) What works for me is the following:

$ pulseaudio -k

After I do that pulseaudio restarts itself, but in case there is no audio you can try to followup with:

$ pulseaudio

Use at your own risk (I guess the worst that can happen is that you’ll have to reboot)