Three Years

Three years ago today I sold my first BlackBerry application. In the morning I posted Pixelated Plus for sale in AppWorld, and by the end of the day it had been purchased by three people. It has sold a lot more copies since then.

Back on May 31st, 2009 BlackBerry AppWorld was less then two months old, and not preinstalled on any devices. Pixelated Plus at the time was exclusive to the BlackBerry Storm and had no free version available. So three sales on the first day seemed pretty good. Of course the next day, I didn’t sell any.

At the time the magic number was 93. That was the number of copies of Pixelated Plus that I needed to sell in order to break even on the $221 that it cost me to get into the store. At the time I was nervous about my ability to make back that investment.

Needless to say, but it has paid off. In 2010 I left my job in order to make silly little games full time. So thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past three years. There is no other “job” that I would rather have.

Runaway Trains gains 10 more levels

Runaway Trains has been updated in BlackBerry AppWorld, the Nook Bookstore, and on Google Play. This new version improves graphics for the Android version of the game, and adds 10 new levels, which brings the total number of levels to 130.

About Runaway Trains

Runaway Trains is a colorful strategy game for all ages where you must route the trains to the proper station. Each level progresses in difficulty and presents an unique puzzle which you must solve by finding a way to guide the coloured trains causing a collision or running out of track.

This is done by touching the intersections to toggle the open path of the tracks. If at any time the trains crash or end up at the wrong station, you will have lost and have to try again.

Links & Information

Android app on Google Play

Every bug is your fault

When you write software you need to take responsibility of any bug that users might blame you for. No matter if it is your fault or not. If the end users think it is your fault, then you should take responsibility to fix the problem no matter where it actually lies.

As posted by Brandon Bloom:

When you run a business, if your software has a bug, your customers don’t care if it is your fault or Linus’ or some random Rails developer’s. They care that your software is bugged. Everyone’s software becomes my software because all of their bugs are my bugs. When something goes wrong, you need to seek out what is broken, and you need to fix it. You fix it at the right spot in the stack to minimize risks, maintenance costs, and turnaround time. Sometimes, a quick workaround is best. Other times, you’ll need to recompile your compiler. Often, you can ask someone else to fix it upstream, but just as often, you’ll need to fix it yourself.

True hackers have come to terms with a simple fact: If it runs on my machine, it’s my software. I’m responsible for it. I must understand it. Building from source is the rule and not an exception. I must control my environment and I must control my dependencies.

Although this attitude needs to extend beyond dependencies, and also cover things like your distribution.

Twinkle updated to version 4.1

Twinkle has been updated to version 4.1 in BlackBerry AppWorld. The biggest new feature in this version, is the ability to filter your view, to only show events that are a given color, or a certain date. You can also now permanently delete synced events, and some elements have had their visual appearance improved.

About Twinkle

Twinkle is an app that 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 BBM, Facebook, and Twitter. Additionally Twinkle offers full integration with the native calendar, allowing you to either synchronize events, or to import/export them from one app to another.

New Filtering options

A new “Filter Options” listing has been added to the menu to allow you to filter the events that you see. You have the option of filtering events based on the background color assigned to the events. You can also set up filters based on the date of the event, showing either all dates, events in the past or just events in the future.

Links & Information

Benefits of Carrier Billing in the UK

After looking at the benefits of carrier billing in the United States and Canada last month, I have now run the numbers for the UK. The results are pretty similar.

Comparative purchase rates for Pixelated Plus are shown in the above chart for the five largest carriers in the United Kingdom. Of these carriers, only O2 and Vodafone support carrier billing. Across all of these carriers, customers who have access to carrier billing are 2.3 times more likely to make a purchase. For a developer, a customer on Vodafone is worth almost the same as four customers on T-Mobile.

Similar to the statistics for US carriers, the measurements in this chart are relative to the number of purchases at Orange (the largest carrier without carrier billing), such that Orange would always have a value of 1.00. The number of purchases is based upon purchases of Pixelated Plus from January-March 2012. Normalization for carrier size was based on data from the free application Pixelated over the same time period. All data was collected through BlackBerry AppWorld at the time of download.

Black Out updated to version 1.3

The PlayBook and Nook game Black Out has been updated in BlackBerry AppWorld and the Nook Bookstore this past weekend. Version 1.3 updates the look and feel of the games, and now allows you to submit high scores by simply hitting ‘submit’ on the keyboard.

How to Play

The goal to Black Out is to tap the tiles, so that they all get ‘blacked out’. This is complicated because whenever you tap to flip a tile, it also flips all of the tiles surrounding it. As such it requires a well laid out strategy.

In order to accommodate different difficulties, the game supports board sizes from 3×3 all the way up to a 10×10 grid. Furthermore, there is also a hint button in case you find yourself in need of help.

Links & Information

Version 2.2 of Binary Clock app released

The Binary Clock application has been updated to version 2.1 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This update adds pink and orange as additional color options. Also if you have made the $0.99 in-app purchase to automatically display the clock when charging, the app will now show when charging via, a charging pod, as well as when charging via USB.

How to read

A binary coded decimal can be read with each column added up with each light worth (from top to bottom) 8, 4, 2, and 1, and the column on the left being worth 40, 20, and 10. This is done with each set, which (from left to right) are for hours, minutes, and seconds. For example, the clock to the right shows a time of 4 hours, 22 minutes, and 37 seconds. For more information on reading Binary Coded Decimals see Wikipedia.

Links & Information

Xploding Boxes reaches 300 levels

Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 3.2 in BlackBerry AppWorld, and the Nook bookstore. This update expands the number of levels to 300, and also adds some speed control to high res BlackBerry 7 devices.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry and Nook, where the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve. The first 25 levels are free, while the full 300 levels can be accessed by making an in-application payment and requiring no further downloads. This game is available for the PlayBook, most smartphones running OS 5.0 or higher, and the Nook Color and Nook Tablet.

New in Version 3.3

In addition to the new levels, version 3.3 also adds the ability to increase the game speed on Bold and Torch phones running OS 7.0 or higher. This can be adjusted from the options page. This feature has already existed on the PlayBook since the last update.

Links & Information

What wasn’t seen at BlackBerry World

Much has already been written about what was said at BlackBerry World and BlackBerry 10 Jam. (The most interesting probably being this article done by Forbes). But I think that it is even more interesting to look at what didn’t happen during this week.

Android was nowhere to be seen

Most attendees at BlackBerry World were using a BlackBerry Bold (about 80% of the crowd). Another 10% were using a BlackBerry Torch, and the remaining 10% were using iPhones. I really don’t think that I saw a single Android device during the entire event. What is more is that despite the announcement that BB10 would allow Android apps to run in their own windows, nobody seemed all that interested in writing Android apps, with the attention being placed on Cascades and HTML5/bbui.js instead.

Nobody was complaining about the lack of support for BBOS java apps

At BlackBerry DevCon this last fall you could not go anywhere without running into someone complaining about the lack of support for BlackBerry Java apps on the platform. While it wasn’t the slightest bit of a surprise to those of us paying attention, it was a very annoying to have to hear about it again and again. Fortunately, those people have finally gotten over themselves. Perhaps is was due to seeing how non-native the Android apps looked and acted, or by seeing how easy Cascades was to work with, but I didn’t run into anyone still bemoaning the point.

Dan Dodge wasn’t there

Despite his recent promotion, nobody seems to have seen Dan Dodge at the event. He has always preferred to be a behind the scenes type of guy, but in retrospect it was a bit weird that he wasn’t in Orlando. So John Pinkerton tells me that Dan Dodge was at the event. Still interesting that he was at BlackBerry World, rather then on the tech side of things.

There was a lack of media at BB10Jam

It was surprising to see how much most of the media just shrugged its shoulders in regards to BB10Jam and made little to no attempt to cover it. In the article mentioned at the top of the post, Brian Caulfield wrote about how he “sneaked” in. But even from the blogs there was very little coverage. The bloggers that are typically at these types of events were only seen at the joint party at Universal Studios.

In conclusion

Are any of these points really that significant? Probably not. Still, this is my way of reporting on what happened this past week in Orlando without pointlessly rehashing what everyone else has already written.

Presenting today at #BB10Jam

For those planning their schedules today at BlackBerry 10 Jam, I would like to remind you that my session is this afternoon at 4:45 in the BC Salon XI room. The title of the talk is “COM102 – Supporting your App after release”, but it will include a complete look at what it takes to succeed as a BlackBerry developer. Come and find out what was lead to success in the past, and what you need to do in order to find success in the future with BlackBerry10.