All posts by Eric at Ebscer

Weather Beautiful app updated

The Weather Beautiful app has been updated to version 2.5 for Android phones. The free app can be downloaded from either Google Play or the Amazon app store.

This update reduces the app’s install size, fixes an issue where the background images didn’t always show, and also ensures compatibility with the latest versions of Android.

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


Erie Canal app updated for Android

With the New York State canal system set to open next month, the Android apps for the Erie, Oswego, Champlain, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals have all been updated to version 2.0 in the Google Play and Amazon app stores.

These apps have been rewritten from the ground up to speed up downloads and to be compatible with the latest versions of Android.

These apps give you the ability to see the locations of all locks, boat launches, lift bridges, and guard gates along the canals. The primary view of the apps shows a list of all the landmarks along the canal, with their distance along the canal along with a phone number that the app can dial in order to contact the marinas, and locks on the route. In addition to this, there is also a map view that precisely shows the location of everything along the canal’s path. An options page allows you to filter out the types of landmarks that the app shows (on both the list and the map).

Links & Information

Erie Canal


Cayuga-Seneca Canal


Oswego Canal


Champlain Canal


Async requests using ionic-native/http

Android has been locking down the security within chrome, making cross-origin requests far more complicated within cordova applications. As a result a good alternative to use is a native plugin such as the @ionic-native/http or cordova-plugin-advanced-http. Unfortunately, this gives you a method that is dependent upon callbacks rather than one that can be used asynchronously.

The good news is that you can fix this by wrapping the method in a promise as show below.

import {HTTP} from '@ionic-native/http'
const asyncHTTP = (url) => {
return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
HTTP.get(url, {}, {},
(response) => { resolve(; },
(response) => { reject(response.error); })

Coding with Ligatures

A little over a month ago Daring Fireball linked to a new monospaced font with support for coding optimized ligatures. I was already using a JetBrains IDE for my primary development at work so I decided to give it a try, and one month in I am really liking it.

Some of the ligatures such as => are purely cosmetic changes, but others such as the greater or equal symbol and the less than or equal to symbol are much easier to read. The font has been designed with care to the point where even differentiating between === and == is easier with ligatures enabled. The only symbol I am not yet sold on is the one for != which is easy enough to read, but so different from how it is typed that it slows me occasionally.

Overall I finding viewing my code through these ligatures to be an improvement, and plan to keep on using them in any development environment where they are supported.

Niagara Border Crossing updated for Windows 10

The Niagara Border Crossing App has been updated to version 2.0 in the Windows 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, iPhone, and BlackBerry.

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


10th anniversary of BlackBerry AppWorld

BlackBerry AppWorld turns ten years old today.

While the store is currently limping towards its demise at the end of the year, it is worth celebration and acknowledging the run that it has had. Ten years is a long time, and for many of those years it was at the center of my world. It was the means through which all of my hard work was distributed to tens of millions of others.

For many years it was the only way that I collected money to pay my rent.

BlackBerry has moved on from apps and phones, and quite honestly I have since moved on from BlackBerry.

But I still miss it at times. So, here is to a celebration of AppWorld’s final birthday. At the very least it was good to me…

NCAA Hockey Ratings return

Elo ratings for NCAA college hockey are back up and running at after not working properly for the start of the season.

Currently the top ranked team is Minnesota-Duluth with St. Cloud State just a single point behind. Minnesota State rounds out the top three which are all from the same state. (Meanwhile my alma mater is in the middle of the pack).

These ratings can also be used to generate predictions for the outcomes of future games. I also have an explanation of what these ratings mean.

Head Words game updated to version 1.5

ShapeItAppThe BlackBerry 10 game Head Words has been updated to version 1.5 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This version adds a new “Drinks” category that will probably be the last new item that I ever post for sale in the BlackBerry store. Additionally the other categories include updates for items that have become popular within the past year such as The Good Place, and Camila Cabello.

About Head Words

Head Words is a native multi-player guessing game where after selecting a category, one player places the phone on their forehead while the other players give clues. With one minute to guess as many words as possible, the player can tilt the phone down for each correct answer, or tilt the phone up to pass. At the end of round a word list will show what was guessed right and wrong. The swipe down menu provides an option to turn the sound on or off.

The game includes five categories for free, and the option to purchase access to ten additional categories for a dollar each.

Links & Information


Z10 accounted for over half of all BlackBerry 10 devices

As BlackBerry 10 has just passed the 5 year mark it seemed like a good time to take a look back at the platform. The very first BlackBerry 10 phone, the all touch screen Z10, proved to be the most popular accounting for 63% of all devices.

The second phone to launch, the Q10, proved to be the second most popular. This shows how the BlackBerry 10 platform never really got all that far past the initial launch of the devices. The three devices that were launched in the first half of 2013 (Z10, Q10, Q5) ended up accounting for 88% of all BlackBerry 10 phones. While later devices such as the Passport and Z30 got a good amount of media attention, they never got quite the same sales as the initial batch that BlackBerry released.

Mostly this is probably due to the lack of support for BlackBerry 10 from the wireless carriers (especially in the United States) after the initial launch of the platform.

This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free checklist app Stuff I Need. Data shown on the chart is from the launch of BlackBerry 10 in January 2013 through the end of January 2018.

Five years of BlackBerry 10 OS adoption

Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the launch of BlackBerry 10, and with the OS abandoned at this point we can look at the complete history of OS adoptions by users of the platform.

Throughout the life of BlackBerry 10 users were fairly quick to update to the newest version of the OS with almost every version exceeding 70% adoption after the first two months. This rate slowed down for the final version of the OS (currently around 64% adoption rate) as the users that cared most about getting updates have probably moved on to other platforms that are still planning future updates.

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 launch of BlackBerry 10 in January 2013 through the end of January 2018.

Update for the Hockey Scores app

The BlackBerry 10 Hockey Scores app has been updated to version 4.4. The app now offers the option to show the scores for different dates, so you can easily check to see yesterday’s scores, or tomorrow’s game times.

About Hockey Scores

In addition to showing the scores of each game, the app also shows the game time, shot on goal, shot attempts, hits, faceoff percentages, and a full list of all of the game’s goal scorers.

A one time in-app purchase can be used to remove all advertising from the app.

The version will not be released on BBOS, and should be coming to iOS soonish.

Links & Information