New version of Fractal Explorer (v2.0.0) went live on Google Play.
With this update you can finally:
- control depth of fractal rendering – you can either set it to constant value, or you can specify starting value and a “zoom factor” that will increase depth as you zoom in
- create your own color schemes
- control how coloring is done – you can either set how many times a color scheme is applied across the whole depth of the fractal, or you can set the “depth range” of a color scheme, so the number of repeats will depend on the depth
- add the wallpaper to your gallery – this will save it as JPG image, and allows you to share it from your photo gallery application
That’s not all, of course. There are many smaller changes. First of all, UI has been updated to Holo theme and action bar has been added. There’s now only one list of cool places.
New high quality mode has been added that produces much better looking images, especially for fractals with lots of abrupt color changes. Those busy looking fractals are much smoother looking in this mode. There’s a major performance hit to it, so you will probably not use it normally, unless you have a really powerful device. Wallpapers are always rendered using this mode, so that they look the best.
Tegra 3 users will now enjoy much faster rendering times, as the new version uses multithreading to make all those cores crunching. My tests on Asus Transformer Prime show nearly 400% increase in performance. It’s much more noticeable for very deep fractals. Other multi-core CPUs should also give you a speed boost, although that may vary from device to device. For example, I was not able to force my LG phone with dual core OMAP processor to utilize it’s full power.
And tablet users can now use Fractal Explorer comfortably, as it no longer forces portrait orientation.
Finally, as of this update, support for devices with old Android versions (below Froyo) or low-end CPUs has been dropped.
Hope you’ll enjoy this update.
In a matter of hours, version 1.2.2 of SilverBug should be available from Google Play. Today’s update is a first in a series that will see SilverBug transform from the hopelessly outdated application that it is now, to something that will not make you cry whenever you use it.
This is a very minor update, the biggest changes are:
- added support for new currencies for fixings and collection – unfortunately charts will still support only 3 currencies for now
- currency for fixings and charts can be set independently now
- added configurable premium that will be added to the value of your collection – this is more important to those who live in countries that impose high VAT on silver, which makes retail value much higher than the spot or fixing price
- updated mintage figures
- some minor UI tweaks
- switched to Holo theme for newer Android versions – not that it makes the app any prettier, just a little bit less out of place
- switched to new ads provider (hence new permissions are required)
- dropped support for old versions of Android – only 2.2 (Froyo) and up are supported from now on
Now, I know that’s not much, but the support for more currencies was the single most asked for feature, so I wanted to include it before anything else.
As I mentioned, there will be more updates to SilverBug. So what can you expect? Well, a complete redesign actually. It really pains me to look at it as it is now. It’s not THAT awful on the phone, but run it on any tablet and it really shows how outdated it is. Unfortunately, not only does it look bad, the user experience is also lacking.
That said, the goal number one is to make SilverBug look modern and pleasant, and be a joy to use.
And the second goal is to make SilverBug more useful, which means improving existing features and adding new ones. I received quite a few suggestions from you and I’ll try to make them a reality. What are those?
- support for other currencies for charts
- handy database of junk coins, so they can be easily added to the collection without the annoying process of specifying them yourself
- adding photos to your custom coins
- more coins in the catalogue
- photos for every (or at least as many as possible) issue of each coin series
- making the collection functionality more useful
- replacing charts generated on the server, with real interactive charts
If you got into astronomy and thought of buying a telescope, you probably got overwhelmed by all those parameters and how they relate to each other. I know I was.
That’s where Telescope Calc comes into action. With this app, you can quickly and painlessly calculate operational parameters of any telescope-eyepiece combination. Not only that, it can also calculate what should be the focal length of eyepiece for minimum, wide, optimal and maximum magnifications. And of course, you can save your configurations for later.
All this with simple and intuitive user interface, optimized for phones and tablets.
SilverBug received a maintaince update today. No new features, but many improvements, including:
- updated mintage figures for some of the coins (those where new data was available, mostly Perth Mint coins)
- fixed adding of coins to collection (this bug made ‘My collection’ pretty useless for some users)
- fixed some lesser bugs
- added full support for landscape orientation
- tweaked UI for various screen sizes, including tablets
So those of you who use tablets will appreciate landscape mode and a lot of other tweaks to the looks of SilverBug. Mostly bigger text and icons. Some examples.
SilverBug UI tweaks: new tabs
SilverBug UI tweaks: Add coin dialog
If nothing ugly pop ups, the next update will bring some extra content and possibly new features.
I have been playing with Fractal Explorer code recently. Got a lot of ideas for improvements, one of them being a high quality render mode that utilizes antialiasing. I’ve experimented with some methods and the results so far are pretty good. Take a look:
Fractal Explorer: with and without antialiasing
Now, you might not notice the improvements immidiately, so I prepared some close up shots as well.
You can clearly see that this technique results in smoother edges and reduces the effect of “stand out” pixels. The downside? Performance. With antialiasing enabled it takes about 4-5 times longer to render than normal quality mode.
The performance hit is big, so this will probably not be used that often for exploring the fractal. However, this will be very useful for rendering wallpapers, you probably want it to be the best quality posible.
I’ll try posting more often on development progress. Lots of ideas, lots of work to do, but not so much time
I finally got my hands on a Gingerbread powered device and was able to fix very annoying “invisible UI” bug in Fractal Explorer. I also made some minor UI tweaks, but nothing to call home about. This update is already available through Android Market and will soon appear on alternative markets.
BTW, newest version of SilverBug is now available through alternative markets.
I released new version of SilverBug to Android Market on Sunday. The main change is the ability to define your own custom coins and add them to your collection. You can add both fine silver (bullion coins, bars, rounds) and junk silver (Morgan dollars or any other silver circulating coin, but also silverware if you so desire).
Unfortunately, users of alternative markets will have to wait a bit longer for this update, I’m currently swamped, hence the late post, no screens and no update for alternative markets. I hope to have it done on weekend in worst case scenario.
SilverBug has been updated last week with some new features and fixes, which include:
- fixes and improvements in ‘My Collection’ and ‘Edit Collection’ screens
- fixed typos
- added an icon on coin info screen, on the right side of coin specs section, so it suggests to the user that this area is clickable; here’s how it looks now:
'More' icon on coin info screen
- added mintage figures data accessible on coin info screen:
Mintage figures table on coin info screen
Hope you enjoy this update
I’m happy to announce the release of my newest Android application, SilverBug.
SilverBug is an offering for those who are interested in holding physical silver. One of the most popular and affordable ways is to hold silver bullion coins. And this is where SilverBug comes in. It contains detailed information on 10 most popular bullion coins, including specs and high quality photos. It can also help you with keeping track of your collection. And it keeps you up to date with current price of silver (last LBMA silver price fixing, to be precise) and lets you see price history with simple to use charts.
SilverBug coin viewer showing Australian Kookaburra in it's full glory
More information on SilverBug can be found here. And here’s a QR code for easy downloading with your Android phone.
Thank got I decided to implement error reporting using ACRA. Thanks to this I discovered that there’s a lot of crash reports coming in from devices running older versions of Android. Looks like I was so focused on fixing the camera problem, that I didn’t notice that I have broken compatibility with pre 2.0 Android versions.
The problem is fixed with update to 1.3.1, which should appear in Android Market any moment now.