Division of BlackBerry 10 OS versions unchanged

September has once again seen almost no change in the distribution of BlackBerry 10 OS versions. Roughly 90% of all BlackBerry 10 users are running a variation of OS 10.3 on their phones.

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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 September 2015 through the end of September 2016.

Projectile Physics Calculator released for iPhones

img_0012The Projectile Physics app has been released for iOS. This app makes it easy to solve two dimensional projectile motion equations by entering the measurements you do have, and seeing the rest get automatically calculated.

About Projectile Physics

This app is a projectile physics calculator designed to solve for all of the components of a typical projectile motion problem. The app solves for both the vertical and horizontal components of the distance traveled, the constant acceleration, the initial and final velocity, as well as the time. These factors are solved for in real time in order to help you get back the factors of the equation quicker.

Links & Information

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Update for the Hockey Scores app

Z10The Hockey Scores app has been updated to version 4.1 for the upcoming NHL season. This update also adjusts the start times for games by always showing them in the local time zone.

About Hockey Scores

This application provides the day’s hockey scores is an intuitive and easy to use format. It also includes additional game statistics such as start times, goal scorers, shots on net, hits, faceoff percentage, and a list of the goal scorers. The application supports all phones running BlackBerry OS6, BlackBerry OS7, and BlackBerry 10.

Links & Information

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Weather Beautiful app released for iOS

shapeitappThe Weather Beautiful app has been released for iOS in the Apple app store. This release of the weather app is on par with the Android and BlackBerry versions.

About Weather Beautiful

Weather Beautiful 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 for a full weekly forecast. While temperatures are shown in Fahrenheit by default, there is an option to switch to Celsius.

Links & Information

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Niagara Border Crossing app released for iPhone

img_20160927_172242The Niagara Border Crossing app has been released for iPhones in the iTunes app store This app shows wait times for border crossings over the Niagara River between the United States and Canada, and is also available for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows users.

Wait times are shown for all four of the bridges between Western New York and Southern Ontario. These include the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, the Rainbow Bridge, and the Peace Bridge. Separate times are shown for cars, trucks, and also for those using the Nexus lanes.

Links & Information

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Update for Weather Beautiful app

Z10cropThe Weather Beautiful app has been updated for Android and BlackBerry phones. Now at version 2.3, the Weather Beautiful is more efficient, and also includes a two percent reduction to the file size of the app.

About Weather Beautiful

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 for a full weekly forecast.

Links & Information

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Getting website text in Swift 3

Last month I noted that Swift 2 had not yet dropped its Objective-C origins when it came to retrieving website text. Fortunately, Swift 3 has great advances in this area. Getting source of a webpage is now a simple and straightforwards process…

let url:NSURL = NSURL(string: "http://ebscer.com")!
do
{
    let responseText:String = try String(contentsOf:url,
                            encoding:String.Encoding.utf8)
}
catch let error
{
    print("Error: \(error)")
}

Update for 10,000 Farkle game

Z1010,000 Farkle has been updated to version 2.6 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This update smooths out some of the animations and improves the responsiveness of the game. Additionally the app now uses a custom accent color throughout all of the menus.

How to Play Farkle

Farkle gives you six dice to roll and awards points for a straight, three pairs or three or more of the same number. Fewer points ares also awarded for each individual 1 and 5. Any dice that do not score can be re-rolled for additional points. If all 6 dice can be scored, then all of the dice can be re-rolled on the same turn.

The skill in this game comes from knowing how far to push your luck, and which scoring combinations to take, and when to re-roll.

The default game mode gives you 10 turns to score as many points as you can. The 10,000 point mode gives you unlimited turns to reach 10,000 points. The two competitive game modes both use the traditional format of racing to 10,000 points.

Links & Information

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Getting web site text in Swift 2

Update: This process has been simplified for Swift 3

Loading the text of a webpage in Swift has not completely dropped its Objective-C origins, which makes the process a little bit less obvious than it should be. Fortunately it is only a few lines…

let url:NSURL = NSURL(string: "http://ebscer.com")!
let request:NSURLRequest = NSURLRequest(URL: url)
NSURLConnection.sendAsynchronousRequest(request, 
    queue: NSOperationQueue(),
    completionHandler: { (response:NSURLResponse?,
        data: NSData? error: NSError?) -> Void in
            let responseText:String = String(data: data!,
                encoding: NSUTF8StringEncoding)!
            print(responseText)
    })

You may also need to edit your plist file to whitelist the domain.

UI design for questions in your app

IMG_20160721_103356When asking a question in an app, it is important to make it easy for the user to find the right answer to the question. Simply because a question is phrased for a yes/no answer doesn’t mean that presenting yes or no as answers is a good idea. Instead it is a good idea to present the answers such that the right option can be selected even if the user doesn’t even bother to read the question.

The Brexit ballot from earlier this month is an example of good design. The question on the ballet asked if the UK should leave the EU, but the answers to pick from are ‘remain’ and ‘leave’ rather than ‘yes’ and ‘no’. This makes for a better user experience.

The image to the right is from the Stuff I Need app and shows the example of the same design. ‘Delete All’ and ‘Cancel’ do not explicitly answer the question, but give the user the opportunity to pick the right choice, even if they don’t read the question.

BlackBerry 10 distribution still flat

As has been the case for the past few months, the distribution of BlackBerry 10 devices has remained unchanged with the percentage of users on OS 10.3.X in the low 90’s.

One thing that was different, is that for the first time we have seen a few phones running OS 10.3.3 which is the long promised final update to BlackBerry 10, that includes zero new third party APIs.2016Jun-Pixelated-BB10OSVersions
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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 2015 through the end of June 2016.