App support for Windows 10

Yesterday Microsoft launched Windows 10. All Ebscer games that have supported Windows 8/8.1 have also been tested on Windows 10 without any issues.

The available games for Windows 10 are…

If upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 then all of your saved settings and progress should transfer over to the new operating system without any extra steps.

Optimistic about Windows 10

Windows-10Windows 10 is set to be released at the end of the month, and I am somewhat optimistic about how it will do. While most PC users chose to skip Windows 8, I think that version 10 will get the widespread adoption that Microsoft is hoping for.

A few years ago when Windows 8 was set to be released I rushed to get my game Xploding Boxes ready for the launch. This turned out to be a bit of a misplaced priority as most users choose to stay with Windows 7, and not upgrade. This time it seems as if Microsoft has actually remembered that most PC users don’t have touchscreens and will be rolling out an OS the people actually want to use.

Unfortunately I don’t think that too many of these new users will be interested in the types of puzzle games that I have created for the platform. Instead the potential looks to be more that Metro-style Windows 8.1 apps will be able to act as a new baseline for your more boring business types of applications.

How to disable hub notifications from BlackBerry Blend

IMG_20150710_143534Starting with the release of version 1.2 of BlackBerry Blend it is now possible to disable the frequent connection notices that would previously appear in the Hub.

To do this you need to update Blend on both your phone and on your desktop, than on the phone you need to unselect the “Connection Notification” option.

This simple change removes the main annoyance that had previously plagued Blend.

Use of 10.3 continues to increase

June saw the use of 10.3.x continue to increase. 75.1% of Pixelated users, and 78.1% of Stuff I Need users were running OS 10.3.0 or higher.

There continues to be a very small number of users on 10.3.0 with most users on 10.3.1 and a few users on 10.3.2 instead.



With Verizon finally rolling out a version of 10.3 to their users in early June, these numbers should be up significantly next month. 10.3.2 currently has very few users and with very few new features it is unclear how many carriers will be pushing out this update to their users.

This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free strategy game Pixelated and the free checklist app Stuff I Need. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of June 2014 through the end of June 2015.

Update to Weather Beautiful app

Z10cropThe Weather Beautiful app has been updated to version 2.1 for both Android and BlackBerry users.

This is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll down for a full weekly forecast.

New in version 2.1 is the ability to swipe right in order to advance to the next background image, or to swipe left return to previous background image. Also the overall file size of the app has been greatly reduced, with the BlackBerry version 70% smaller and the Android version 61% smaller. Additionally on BlackBerry 10 the app now shows a custom splash screen while loading.

Links & Information


Twinkle update adds support for Android

AndroidTwinkle has been updated to version 6.0, adding new features, new colors, and Android support.

About Twinkle

This app allows you to set and keep track of upcoming and past events. Twinkle will tell you how far away an event is, and share it with a friends through social networks. The app includes an number of options for sorting or filtering your views in order to allow you to easily be able to manage and share a large number of different events.

New in version 6.0

The biggest new feature is the added support for Android phones. Designed to conform with Google’s material design guidelines, the fully native android app has been completely rethought for the platform.

BlackBerry 10 users will get two new background colors (Brown and Teal), in addition to fixing a bug that previously prevented changes to the filters to last between app restarts. Also, the details line is now hidden when the event doesn’t have any details.

Users of traditional BBOS phones have not been left out either, as that version of Twinkle has been updated to version 4.3 to give access to the two new colors.

Links & Information


BlackBerry 10 users leaning more international

A look at BlackBerry 10 users in 2015, is far more international than in years past. Canada is still has the largest user base, but India and Nigeria have also now moved themselves into the top five.


In January 2014 this breakdown looked far different. At that time Canada, the United States, and the UK had combined for 53.8% of the market, but in early 2015 they only consist of 27.4% of the market. Most of the difference comes from a larger share of the market going to countries in Asia and Africa.

India has grown from 2.8% to 11.5%, Nigeria has gone from 1.1% to 5.2%, Russia has gone from 1.0% to 2.0%, and China has increased from 1.6% to 2.8%. Meanwhile Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany have seen their marketshare drop. The numbers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia have stayed rather consistent. The end result of this, is that the BlackBerry 10 user base is more geographically diverse than ever.

These numbers are generated from downloads of the Stuff I Need checklist app from January 1st to June 9th of 2015. The data was collected by BlackBerry World when the app is downloaded.

Theming ListPreference Dialogs on Android Lollipop

ListPreferenceSetting a custom theme color for your Android app is as simple as setting a colorAccent color in the app’s styles.xml file. Yet while this will theme most of the app, oddly ListPreference pop-ups and other dialogs do not naturally inherit the theme used by the rest of the app.

In order to fix this both a dialogTheme and an alertDialogTheme need to be explicitly added to the app’s styles.xml file. The result should look similar to this…

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <style name="AppTheme" parent="android:Theme.Material.Light">
        <item name="android:colorPrimary">@color/primary
        <item name="android:colorPrimaryDark">@color/accent
        <item name="android:colorAccent">@color/accent
        <item name="android:dialogTheme">@style/DialogStyle
        <item name="android:alertDialogTheme">@style/DialogStyle
    <style name="DialogStyle" parent="android:Theme.Material.Light.Dialog">
        <item name="android:colorAccent">@color/accent

Use of BlackBerry 10.3 continues to slowly climb

As BlackBerry announces the upcoming release of OS 10.3.2 the previous versions of the OS continue to slowly get adopted by the market. Pixelated showed 67.7% of users on OS 10.3 last month, while the Stuff I Need app had 73.3% of downloads going to 10.3.x devices.

Adoption of 10.3 is steadily going upwards, but remains at a slower rate than either 10.1 or 10.2 where in years past.



This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free strategy game Pixelated and the free checklist app Stuff I Need. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of May 2014 through the end of May 2015.

How to treat Android’s up button like a back button

When opening up a child screen on most android apps an arrow will appear on the upper left corner of the screen indicating that you can go back to the previous screen. Android’s documentation refers to this as an “up” button (despite the fact that it clearly points left). While at first glance it appears to similar to the back button it is subtly different.

More complex apps may have a use for the difference in this button’s behavior, but for simple apps the up button acts like a back button that additionally blows away minor state information (such as scroll position) on the parent screen. Fortunately there is a simple way to force the up button to act the same as your standard back button.

In the child activity find the onOptionsItemSelected() method…

public boolean onOptionsItemSelected(MenuItem item) {
    int id = item.getItemId();
    if (id == {
        return true;
    return super.onOptionsItemSelected(item);

and replace NavUtils.navigateUpFromSameTask(this); with finish(); so that your new code now looks like...

public boolean onOptionsItemSelected(MenuItem item) {
    int id = item.getItemId();
    if (id == {
        return true;
    return super.onOptionsItemSelected(item);

Now the back button on your action bar will work just as well as the back button at the bottom of the screen.

Elo ratings for college hockey is a new website for measuring the quality of college hockey teams. These teams are measured using an Elo rating that has been measured based on an analysis of 18,608 games. This rating system both shows how teams compare to each other, and also can be used to predict the probability of a team winning a particular match up.

The ratings from the end of last season show the top five teams being Boston University, North Dakota, Providence, Minnesota State, and Denver. In addition to seeing how the teams are currently doing there is a wealth of historical data on how the team’s have done over the past 17 seasons.

A more in depth look at the numbers can be used to break out additional information such as how Providence rose to be the most recent champions or a look at the rivalry between Air Force and RIT.

While College Hockey is currently in the offseason, I hope to expand the site to show even more data once the teams get playing again later in the year.

Weather Beautiful now on Android

IMG_20150504_132524The Weather Beautiful app has now added support for Android phones. The app can be downloaded from either Google Play or the Amazon App Store.

This is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll down for a full weekly forecast.

The background images for the app feature landscapes taken in the area surrounding your current location. These pictures update every fifteen seconds in order to show you more views.

Links & Information


Weather Beautiful app updated

Q10cropThe Weather Beautiful app has been updated to version 2.0 in BlackBerry World. This new version adds a large number of improvements to the app.

By far the most requested feature for the app was added support for showing temperatures in degrees Celsius, and that is now an option that users can select from the options panel. Additionally, the main screen is now also displaying the current date, and now includes a small icon demonstrating the current weather.

In addition to the improvements in weather reporting, the app has also expanded the pool of pictures that it is pulling from. As before the app brings in stunning photography of your current location, but now there are even more images available to show a greater variety of backgrounds.

Links & Information