Sep 05 2011

Graphical Daylight now available for the BlackBerry Playbook

Graphical Daylight, mentioned for the first time a few hours ago, is now available for the BlackBerry Playbook. You can get it from the BlackBerry AppWorld.

This app generates a daylight map for the current date/time. That’s… pretty much all it does. :)

– User can define darkness as starting at sunset or civil, nautical, or astronomical twilight
– 4 user configurable clocks which can display either a city’s time or a timezone
– Clocks retain your settings from session to session
– Places a marker on the map when a city is selected
– 195 major cities to choose from (and we will add more when we update if people request them!)
– 179 timezones to choose from
– Free, no ads, doesn’t talk to a server


Click on a thumbnail to enlarge.

Time from submission to approval was just under 9 hours.

Sep 05 2011


One issue I ran into on my drive from Alaska to Arkansas, was that I consistently overestimated how late the sun would stay up. Particularly in Alaska, the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, I didn’t want to drive at night due to the prevalence of large animals on the roadways. Although my computer was packed up, I used both my Playbook and my iPod during the drive- and I wished I had a daylight map similar to what gets produced by this java(?) app from the Naval Observatory. (Although, I wanted a local app that would update in near real time and did not care about historical or future daylight maps). Apps that do this exist for iOS, but I didn’t want to input my iTunes password while on hotel WiFi. I looked for an app in the BlackBerry AppWorld also, but didn’t see one.

Since arriving in Arkansas, I’ve had plenty of time on my hands during the weekends (it’s been way too hot to head into the great outdoors). Getting a daylight map generator hasn’t been a priority, so I never downloaded one of the apps from iTunes. In any case, this was an application more suited to a tablet than my iPod. So I spent about 46 hours over the past two weekends writing an app for the playbook.

The app assigns a lat/long to each pixel, and then for each pixel calculates the sun’s altitude relative to the horizon in degrees. Then it darkens the pixels where the sun is below a user selectable altitude (e.g Sunset = 0 deg, Civil twilight = -6 deg, etc). Scaled-down development screenshot below:

Click to view full size

This was a relatively straight forward project, and I’m generally happy with it. I titled it Graphical Daylight. Thinking I’d release it to the wild as a free app, after code signing, I started the process of uploading it to RIM for approval and inclusion into the AppWorld.

At which point, while choosing a category for my app,  I found out that Livingstone Services had released ‘Daylight’ on April 26,2011 which does more or less the same thing. (After looking at theirs, mine is a bit more feature rich.) This timeframe suggests that theirs was an app written to get a free Playbook when RIM was running their developer promotion prior to the release, I haven’t found a website for a developer called Livingstone Services. I’m releasing mine anyway (well, assuming it goes through QA I am).  And I’m putting mine in ‘Utilities->Clocks’ where it belongs, instead of ‘Maps and Navigation->Maps and Navigation’ (where, to be honest, it also belongs).  Grrr… 46 hours wasted…

I’ll put a note up here after the Graphical Daylight passes QA and is available in the AppWorld. It’s now available free on the BlackBerry AppWorld.

May 26 2011


The revision to the controls for BattleWire:TaOS seems to be well recieved:


Apr 18 2011

BattleWire:TaOS now available on BlackBerry App Store

Edit 5/22/11: I’ve submitted a new version of the game to the AppWorld, which should fix the control issues.

BattleWire:TaOS is a version of BattleWire16K for the BlackBerry Playbook. It adds a new enemy, and uses on screen controls. If you have a Playbook, the game is free (as in free beer, not as in free software) so give it a shot! And since I don’t have a Playbook, you might let me know if the controls work ok? I wasn’t able to test pressing two buttons at once in the simulator…

Edit 4/21/11: The developer of Twystem, a puzzle game for the Playbook, happens to have an actual device and was kind enough to test my game. Apparently the controls do work, but multitouch does not (so the player can not move the tank, and move the turret, and fire his gun all at the same time). I have a pretty clear lead on how to correct this, so expect an update in the next week or so. And if you have a Playbook game that needs testing, you might send him an email.

Here’s a screenie from development:

If you want to play the original game, click here, or here to read the dev blog. I’ll write a better post later, after I figure out how to link to the game on the app store, and when I have more time. The approval caught me off guard this morning, and I have other things that need to get done today.