Category: Android

Euclidea – Geometric Construction Game

Euclidea

Euclidea

Euclidea is a very interesting game. Something new, a different game, educational, fun, difficult, challenging. A great game. If you like geometry, if you loved how to build geometric constructions on paper, but always made them blur, you will love this game.

Slitherlink

Slitherlink

Slitherlink

Usually I do not play much on my Android phone. But when waiting for someone or something, to have a good puzzle is worth it.

Slitherlink, as you can look up in the Internet, is not an idea of this app author. It is a known puzzle, and if you look up in Google Play, you will notice a few implementations.

I can’t say that this one is the best, as I did not test any other. But it installed correctly, runs smoothly, and seems to have some good diversity of modes and difficulty levels. Therefore, I am quite happy with it, happy enough to consider buying the ad-free version, with extra levels. Truth be said, the free version includes a good mount of levels, and ads are not intrusive. So, kudos for that.

About the game, it is up to you to read about it and test it. It can be seen as some sort of minesweeper, with some reasoning mechanisms also used in sudoku.

Any.Do – The best task tracking system ATM

Any.DO-Logo-+-NameFor a long time I have been trying different ways to track my stack of tasks. I tried different approaches, from using paper (it is fun!), Calendar Mac App, Wunderlist, and recently Any.Do.

Paper is probably the best, as you can write freely, draw, scratch, rip, and other physical activities that are quite fun. But, unless you get a small notebook, it gets hard to be with you all the time. You could also scratch on a smart phone device, like Samsung S Note app. But when I am working in my laptop, I do not like to have to take the phone to add or remove entries. So, next natural step is to use a tool that syncs tasks between devices.

Wunderlist is cool. Cool enough for me to use it for some time. It has the fun fact that it keeps finished tasks scratched, just like you might do in paper. Nevertheless, the app is (or was, when I tried it) quite limited. You could have different todo lists, but it was hard to see them all at once. You could add some manual tags to tasks (I did that for some time), but it got boring. And it wasn’t easy to sort tasks. You needed to, somehow, change its date.

I tried for some time Evernote for that. It allows to add tick boxes to your notes. But again, not easy to see all tasks in one screen, unless you add them all in the same sheet. And if you do, it gets complicated to manage the order, and the categories, with lots of cut, copy and paste.

So, recently I am using Any.DO. It is also available for Mac, Web, and Android, so easy to sync around. And it has three main ways to see your tickets: per category, per time, or per importance. And in each of these three views, you can sort easily your tasks just by moving them around. I am very satisfied (for now, at least) with it. But I still wonder how much more fun and efficient it might get with the paid version. But a monthly (or yearly) subscription is not exactly what I want right now. Nevertheless, if I could buy the app (and not a service) I might be buying it soon.

From Tamagotchi to SimCity Build It

I am not sure if you remember the Tamagotchi at all. It was a small device, kind of “Chinese electronics” (sorry, I know most electronics are made in China anyway, so not sure why the ones that does not have a non-Chinese mark are mostly so creepy), where the child needed to take care of a pet.

Probably there were other games with similar behavior, but this is the first game that I remember that needed constant attention, as it worked in real time. From time to time, the device will ring and flash, asking the player to do something, like feeding the pet, or playing with it.

From Tamagotchi we got to different other games with real time behavior. Probably the most common is the FarmVille, the game from Zynga. You all know the game, so probably I do not need to talk about it. But the player is a farmer, and needs to take care of animals. Events occur from time to time, if the player is playing, or not. So, it cannot be compared with other games like the old Sim City. There, things happen from time to time, as well. But the player can change the speed of the time, or just exit or pause the game, getting to the last position next time it plays.

Well, the kind of FarmVille games continues. There is another one, very similar, for Android, Hay Day. Probably there are much more. But I just happen to have installed that Hay Day some time ago, as I really liked the chicken on its icon.

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Well, recently I just downloaded SimCity Build It for Android, from Electronic Arts. You know, I am, or I was, a SimCity fan. So, why not to get a SimCity version and play it? Who knows, even buy it?

But I got frustrated. Why? Because SimCity Build It is Hay Day (or FarmVille) in disguise. The mechanics are exactly the ones from Hay Day. Even the market! But if Hay Day is prepared with some caution (for example, to make a strawberry cake, you need flour, sugar and strawberries), in SimCity Build It, to build a house, you might need some iron, plastic or some wood. But you might also need some seeds, or a couple of hammers or even a measure tape. Yes, you might need seems to build a building. Yeah, that makes sense (not).

And, again, this is a “real time” game. You can’t pause it, you can’t exit it, you can’t speed forward for some time. You do not control or play the game. The game plays you.

This also leads to the discussion on the old “Pay to play”, or the new “Pay to win”. I confess I prefer the first. You might even release a free shareware version (lets say, 5 free levels). Just make that clear in the download page. Then ask for some amount of money to buy the full game. But this might be a good discussion for any other future post.

Watching 720p matroska on ASUS Transformer

Yesterday I decided to try and watch a series episode on my Eee ASUS Transformer (TF101). First, notice that I rooted it, and it is running CyanogenMod, with Android version 4.1.2.

The episode was stored on a SD card. It is not a fast SD card (class 4), but should suffice. The file was encoded with Matroska (MKV) in 720p. So far, so good.

Asked a friend about what player he would recommend. he said there were two, but just reminded of one name: MX Player.

Nevertheless, I didn’t like to notice that MX Player free version has advertisement, and therefore decided to try VLC. I use it on my Mac, and I like it (and its icon), so, why not test?

VLC installed cleanly, but when playing, it wasn’t able to render a single frame. From 5 to 5 seconds it changed the frame, but full of noise and encoding blocks. Gah, #fail.

Then, if VLC doesn’t work, let’s hear my friend suggestion, and try MX Player. Installed the free version, and then, needed to install the codecs package. Didn’t like much this approach… it could download the codecs itself, why to hide them in an app. Nevertheless, it installed with more or less effort. When playing, it was able to render the image perfectly, with acceptable number of frame per seconds (don’t ask how many, I don’t know, but enough to watch smoothly the video). The problem was that I could just watch the video, as there was no sound at all. No, it wasn’t a volume problem. Neither an option. As far as I could get after googling a little, there are more people complaining that MX Player doesn’t play sound when watching a Matroska file. Weird. #fail.

In one of those googling, somebody said he converted the Matroska file to MP4 with Handbrake. That is too much trouble for someone like me. But somebody else said that BSPlayer had a free version for Android that worked. Righto! Downloaded it, it installed cleanly and played the video at first. #win.