Android Project Part I: Background

For starters, let me give you some background on starting this blog series.  I spend a lot of time looking things up and learning.  The downside?  I forget things.  So, this will be a win/win.  I can write things I find out down here so that I don’t forget them AND since Google will crawl this site, I will be more likely to re-find it in the future!

I’m going to be writing a miniseries on Android App development.  My home church is Harvest Community Church (or Harvest for short) in Kingsport, TN.  Like many churches, you can get updates, listen to sermon recordings, watch videos, and the like.  The problem for people like me who are very mobile oriented, is that I rarely “go” to a site from a real web browser anymore.  There’s an “app for that” on my phone that aggregates all that information and brings it straight to me.  My calendar, contacts are all synchronized with Facebook and Twitter and my information is all brought to me via Google Reader and the magic of RSS.

The problem is that trying to stay up-to-date with what’s going on at the church from day-to-day is hard!  Nobody wants to have to spend 15 minutes swyping the bulletin calendar into their phone.  This is the motivation behind HarvestDroid and what I want eventually to be an open source ChurchDroid template for any church to use (replacing RSS/Photosharing/Content addresses and locations). My initial requirements and posts will be:

Requirements

  • A Tab menu to divide the following sections
  • News Tab
    • This is a list of announcements
  • Radio Tab
  • Sermon list
  • Videos
    • Open media with music player intent
    • Open media with embedded player
  • Visit! Tab
    • Phone call integration
    • Email integration
    • Google Maps Directions/Navigation Integration
  • Future Enhancements
    • Android notifications of updates
    • Social integration
      • Facebook?
      • Foursquare?
    • UI Skinning (Gotta fancy it up, right?)
    • Offline Access/Caching (This targets 3G/Media, so I assume the app to be connected 99% of the time you use it)
    • Add events to the Google Calendar app

So, as of now, that seems like a nice list.  What do you think?  If you had a mobile app for your church, what would you want to help you stay connected?

Software Development: Academic VS Real World Education

I’m pretty lucky.  I knew that I wanted to do something in computers since I was in the 5th grade.  My class got an old (new) computer with a green screen, some kind of math/vocabulary rabbit game, and my favorite…BASIC (the programming language).  Yes, “10 Print” and all.  I wrote my first video game on that machine – Magic 8 Ball.  It was pretty simple.  You entered your name and your gender, and then, if you were the girl that I liked in class, it would tell you who you would end up kissing me by the end of the day.  Ahh, memories.  How did I learn how to code that?  I can’t even remember.  Was it learning from class?  Was it trial and error and figuring it out?  What was most important?

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May the 4th Be With You! (Happy Star Wars Day!)

Every year, nerds from all over the world come out of the woodworks to tell their favorite pun to all the folks of Earth and Tatooine they meet.  That day, my friends, is May the 4th.  You see, “Fourth” sounds like “Force” if you say it with a slur and a mouth full of Wookie Cookies.  As you know, I’m big into tech, and that passion and intrigue, for most people like me, came from seeing Star Wars at a young age.  We saw all that was possible by technology, from flying starships to chopping aliens’ arms off with lightsabers to having a real heart-to-heart conversation with a trash can that beeps.  So today, think back to your childhood and about what your passion is.  What show did you watch or event did you experience that made you want to go out and conquer the world as a developer, a teacher, a pharmacist, or an evil Sith lord that’s more machine now than a man?

May the 4th Be With You! Happy Star Wars Day!

Willit Run Photo Featured on Schmap

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

The photo above was taken around in 2008 in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in downtown Washington, DC.  Sometime later that year, I got a Flickr mail that my photo was a finalist to be featured on Schmap, which it ended up being!  (Honestly, I don’t really like Schmap because it feels too Mapquesty – just my opinion, though)

Schmap is a leading publisher of digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. More than 90 million Schmap Guides have been downloaded since first release in March 2006: this phenomenally popular series can also be browsed online, with versions optimized for iPhone and Nokia users

You can see the photo on Schmap by going here.

What's My Motivation? OR Resuming Old Projects

Writing software can be both a job and a hobby for many of us, and we all have projects sitting out there that we start and never finish.  Some of them, however, are farther along or more useful than others.  When we remember that we need to finish a project, whether at work or at home, you can use these tips for getting things done immediately to get back to your life!: (more…)