My name is Stephen and currently an IT Professional doing administration and support, however I've always had a deep passion for software development. I've started mobile application development when I got my first Android phone in October 09. This blog catalogues all my progress with creating mobile apps for not only Android, but eventually iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7. Hope you enjoy.


Still Learning

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I know the lack of posts are obvious, but it's because I'm still learning Android coding. It's such a complex system and I'm self teaching with a book designed with the 1.0 SDK, so who knows how much more it'll take me to get up to speed with 1.5, 1,6 and 2.0...which was just released today.

My current progress is still learning to create user interfaces (UI), which in comparison to the other programming languages I've worked with, Android is THE most complex. With this one example in the book I had to create a whole new file just to define what colors to use for the text and background, the file was a total of 6 loc (lines of code) ps: it's page 85 of this 400 page book I bought to teach myself Android, so I still got a ways.

With that begin said it'll just be a greater victory once my name is on an application that's on phones across the world.

In other news Android universe is expanding in the USA. What was just T-Mobile, is now Sprint (I love my HTC Hero), and soon to be Verizon territory.

Genius. In It's Simpliest Form



Pure genius. I almost hate myself for not thinking of this. It could be an absolute gold mine.

Maybe with the fact that Android can do background (hidden) services within applications, I can do a spin off on this where it's always running and a timer goes off every 108 minutes, not just random times only when the user loads the "game". Just brainstorming.

Reasons for Android Switch


As per my previous post, I have switched my time from learning to develop for iPhone to Android. Here is a rundown as to why I made that change.

--I can install (and already have) install the android SDK on any OS, so no longer do I have to only develop on my dual booted home PC w/ OSx86, I can now develop on my Ubuntu desktop and Windows 7 laptop.
--As popular as the iPhone appears, it is still only limited to AT&T customers. Android phones are already out on T-Mobile. Sprint and Verizon are coming before this year is over and AT&T will jump on soon as well. Why develop for a phone on 1 major carrier vs many phones on all the major ones? Why develop for a OS that's only on 1 phone vs 1 on many?

Personal Device
--The plan was to not only develop for iPhone, but also to purchase one. Honestly after deeply looking into one (w/ an expensive AT&T plan) it was not what I wanted. Which led me to look at other phones and led me to the HTC Hero and Android. Obviously the iPhone is king and I plan on developing for it eventually, but not owning one as my main device, so I'll wait till I make some money developing Android to jump onto iPhone.

Open Source
--After diving into the Linux world over 3 years ago, I've grown to love open-source. So after I heard Android was no longer just Google, that it was lead by the Open Handset Alliance, I felt it was more my kind of OS compared to Apple's.

AppStore vs Android Market
--Simple enough, why try to compete with the 60,000 apps of the iPhone when I can get in on the Android Market right before it (hopefully) gets big?

That's pretty much it I think.

Sidenote: If anyone knows a screen capturing software that works either in 64 bit Ubuntu or 32 bit Windows 7? I would like to take videos of my programs running in the Android emulator.

Here's what you see when you run Android code, it loads up a full phone and then once it's at the home screen it'll install and execute your code:


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You probably thought I quit this blog, but I didn't! I'm here, but I did quit the iPhone! The plan was to learn how to develop for it by the time I was due for a new phone via my contract I would buy one. Well let's just say after weeks of researching phones on a consumer and developer level, I decided to stay away from the iPhone. I have my reasons, mostly because too many people have them. But that's what got me into iPhone development in the first place, it was hugely popular. For personal reasons I also want to use Google Voice and with that comes this announcement:

I've already created a SDK setup using the LATEST SDK on both my Linux desktop and Windows 7 laptop, have created Hello, World and even a short "To-Do List" application, and I plan to purchase the HTC Hero in the upcoming weeks.

Expect another post detailing more of why and how I decided to go with Android.

So maybe down the line I'll get back into iPhone development, but for now I'm devoting my time to Android.

Sidenote: please bare with me while I fix the blog's template.

Getting Owned by App Store Pirates

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Getting Owned by App Store Pirates

I found this article today and thought it was an awesome idea! Why fight pirates? This article speaks the truth in the fact that most pirates wouldn't even try this game if it wasn't cracked, so why not try and get some extra sales instead of wasting time trying to prevent pirates from getting their hands on it.

I must learn how to incorporate a similar function once I get on the ball again. But not only that, the blog itself from icombatgame is very similar to mine, in that it's a first time game developer posting their progress. I plan to read most of the other posts this week instead of my usual iPhone dev book.

iPhone OS 3 WWDC

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Just got this in the email

Don't lose your spot. WWDC.
Get your WWDC ticket before they're gone.
Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. June 8-12 in San Francisco. Don't miss this unique opportunity to capitalize on the amazing possibilities of iPhone OS 3.0. At WWDC, you'll get the latest information about the APIs and robust developer tools included in the new iPhone SDK—directly from the engineers who created them. There's no better way to take your iPhone app development to the next level.
WWDC 2009
Tickets to last year's WWDC sold out.
Don't wait. Purchase now and save $300.
Buy now

My birthday is in the middle of that too, I can just see it now my friends asking me what I want to do for my birthday and I respond "Fly to San Fran and go to a Developers Conference" oh and let's not forget the prices...US $1295.00 when you purchase by April 24 — a $300 savings. Even if was knee deep in iPhone programming I wouldn't spend that money.

Mobile App Stores. Explained.

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Giz Explains: All The Smartphone Mobile App Stores

Gizmodo posted a interesting article today regarding the different mobile app stores. One thing I took immediate notice to is the price differences to get started and submit apps for developers. Google's Android seems to be the way to go. However iPhone isn't half bad either, and add that huge user base into account. Blackberry is way out of the starter budget, Windows Mobile could work, but it's user base is dieing due to the other options available now. Nokia makes great phones, I want the N97, but for the US they are overpriced because you have to buy them unlocked via the internet and I can't judge Palm because there's no info.

Reading chapter 5 now in my iPhone book: Using iUI for web apps, but it's been a crazy busy few days.

8-Bit Homebrew Computer

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8 bit computer now available for all your homebrewing needs - Engadget

Came across this article today and I must say I'm a little intrigued. I'm not about to jump on this and purchase it for $50, even if it can play my old NES cartridges. But then again my NES still works! Maybe one day I'll jump backwards in time and program a game that would of been on my favorite console of my childhood...the Nintendo Entertainment System aka Famicom. That would be cool on so many geeky levels.

Til then, I'm still reading through my iPhone development book, iPhone in Action. Still on Chapter 4: Advanced WebKit and textual web apps.

Should An iPhone App Developer Charge Or Run Ads? (Galaxy Impact Case Study)

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Should An iPhone App Developer Charge Or Run Ads? (Galaxy Impact Case Study)

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Came across this article this afternoon and figured it greatly applied to myself so why not share it as well. Those download numbers are insane! Looks like in game advertising is where its at. Enough posting, time to get back to reading the book I bought to help get started in iPhone dev. iPhone in Action, I'll be posting more about that in the near future, I'm only on chapter 4.

OSx86 Installation Part 2

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Happy first day of spring. It's snowing here actually, after perfect spring weather all week, but I digress. As I stated below, I installed and got my OSx86 online with the intention of getting the iPhone 3.0 SDK up and running by now. Before I get into 3.0 SDK, let me talk about getting wireless working. It's quite funny I think.

The spare/HTPC computer I installed OSx86 when booting into Windows uses a Netgear WG121 usb wireless adapter, which didn't work out of the box, so I tried Netgear for Mac driver, no go. I tried scouring the OSx86 forums, a few people tried and couldn't get it working. So I was screwed, then I realized I had an old Datel WiFi Link that I was going to sell. It's a USB wireless device that can do both, act as a receiver or an access point. I used it for a while on my wired computer to broadcast a wireless signal for my Wii/PSP/DS online play, but we now have a decent router in my house so I no longer needed it, so randomly searched OSx86 forums for info on the detail thing, and what do you know, it works! I had to get this app called "WLan Setup" because it doesn't work with Apple's airport software, so I added my SSID/WEP/etc in this WLan program which is set to auto start and OS X thinks its a wired connection. So hey it works for the time being.

Next issue, figure with the iPhone 3.0 revealing Apple would unleash the new SDK. I was half right, it is available, but not for free, for $100. So I got the SDK for 2.0 installed and in order to combat this $100 cost, I found a way to earn some extra money via http://www.CrossLoop.com/StephenMilone. Check the sidebar for more info.

OSx86 Installed & Online


Just a quick post here...from my OSx86 install! Easier then i thought, however getting wireless working is a funny story. which i'll add later on

OSx86 Installation Part 1

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I finally got around to finding the correct ISO of OSx86 to download for my motherboard. If you don't know of what OSx86 please continue reading, if you do skip the next section.

OSx86 is a community driven project to get Apple's OS X operating system to work on regular PCs. The project really got going when Apple itself starting building their Macs based on the same Intel Core2Duo processors that is already in most mainstream computers. The reason for this type of project is to get around Apple's protection that only let's you install it on their own computers.

The community has developed many different variations of "Hackinstosh" to cater to different needs and hardware. After searching through the forums I decided to go with iPC Universal Final 10.5.6 release, it seems to be the one that is already tailored to my computer hardware well, which is a Gigabyte motherboard with a Core2Duo processor and will give me the least headaches in getting everything working. Now hackinstosh and these ISOs aren't exactly legal, so in order to cover myself I did purchase the retail disc for OS X, even though I won't be using the actual disc itself, I do not want to get in trouble for running a pirated system.

Plus today in a few hours Apple will be revealing features for it's new operating system for the iPhone, version 3.0 and with that will come a new SDK. So maybe waiting til now to get started was a good move.

Apple iPhone SDK

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I read an article about how a developer's game became #1 in the Apple store and quit his job after netting $21K from his sales in one day! iPhone Developer Quits Day Job After 'iShoot' Hits Number One

So sound's like this iPhone has an user base that's willing to buy games from indie devs...which leads me to this

Dear Stephen Milone,

Thank you for registering as an iPhone Developer. To access the iPhone Dev Center and download the free SDK, simply click on the button below, and sign in using your Registered iPhone Developer Apple ID and password.

Your Registered iPhone Developer Apple ID is: djxstream

Download Free SDK

If you need further assistance, please contact us.

iPhone Developer Program

but wait, I am a Linux guy, always have been, the SDK can only be ran in Apple's operating system. So what do I do, buy an expensive over priced Mac? NEGATIVE. I've been reading about MacOSx86 project for a while now, even made sure I bought a motherboard that was compatible when I built my latest PC rig over the summer, however I never installed it, but it was nice knowing I could if i ever needed to use Mac OS X...and boom. Looks like I have a reason.

The WiiWare dream?

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As a video game addict who hopes to become a developer, when the Wii first came out with its revolutionary game play (Side note: Wii's developing codename was Revolution) I had to get one and I love it, Zelda, Mario, Smash Brothers are all great. However my favorite game of late has been World of Goo. An indie WiiWare download, I spent a few days going through all the levels, there was 2 I just could not beat, however I did finish the game's story and the credits rolled...the credits consisted of exactly 4 names! While watching the credits it was what sparked my interest in developing for the Wii. However after some searching, I came across that it costs money to get the WiiWare SDK, close to $2000...in other words, not a good place to start. But you never know...



Now here is where I hit a dead stop regarding video game design...atleast from a 1 man operation perspective. I have zero experience in graphic design except a few minutes here and there doing edits in GIMP, mostly for photos or web site design, I have another site for another passion of mine, DJing: http://www.djxstream.com

But 3-D models...even 2-D models...backgrounds...shadows, light...no experience whats so ever.

Video Game Dev History


My video game development history is rather short, having only worked on 2 projects that actually compiled for looked like a game.

First was the high school final C++ project. I did a port of Pong and I have already discussed this in my programming history post.

I also went into detail of my other programming languages I learned in college, well during college I got into Visual C++ & Visual Basic when not in class, in VB I made random programs to help me with repetitive things on my PC on an as-needed basis. Nothing to intense, renaming files, resizing pictures, etc. In Visual C++ I wanted to get into video game programming and I did, cold. Without any books or knowledge specifically generated towards creating a game I tried to create a RPG, and honestly I think I did pretty well in just general coding of the game.

from scratch, no engine, no copied source code, all i took was sprites from Final Fantasy VI on the SNES.

Now this is all from memory, maybe I still have the source code, I've gone thru 2 other computers since college so it may not have transferred over at one point.

I had 3 characters on the screen, 1 was movable by user input, 2 following their own pattern. The limits were made in place that a character could not walk off the screen, nor through another character. And while controlling the character and pressing the space bar while next to another character, the characters would face each other and then dialog was displayed. The dialogue was pulled from an external text file so that I can edit the "script" without changing code...however I never got that far.

Computer Programming History


The world of computer programming first hit me in my Junior year of High School, where we had to take an intro to C++ class. Rocking a DOS based Borland C++ compiler in the year 2000, and I excelled. Top marks in my class, first to finish projects I was hooked, so Senior year came and I took advanced C++ as my elective class, and picked up right where I left off and even excelling more because these projects weren't like last years where it was a problem and and there was one answer. These were projects where we had to design our own program, but it had to use the algorithm we learned that week/month/whatever it was.

Then my first "game" came, we just learned how to generate random numbers & how to draw shapes on the screen, with using that I created a Yahtzee dice roller. It didn't keep score or anything, but it "rolled" the dice by changing the display and then let you choose which ones to keep and roll again.

Now my final project for HS, I decided to re-create the game that started it all, Pong. I don't remember much else of the code, but it replicated the original Pong in every way, I do remember however that there was one problem I could not fix, I set the keys for up/down for both players and if the ball was going towards the right player, the paddle wouldn't move if the left player was holding down their key. I realized that a few extra if/then statements would of probably fixed this later on in time. However it was still FAR more advanced than what anyone else submitted, hell even my dice roller was more complex then half my class's final project.

Onto college and pursuing my degree in Computer Science. I took as many programming classes as I could, more C++, Basic, Perl, COBOL, FoxPro, Visual Basic & .NET.

My Video Game History


We'll this wouldn't be much a blog if I didn't use the first post to tell you my story.

I grew up on video games, my parents Colecovision to my first system, the NES followed by the many Game Boy iterations then I skipped a generation of 16 bit goodness and my next console was the PlayStation 1. Add on a Dreamcast, PS2, Gamecube, PSP, NDS and a Wii and you have my current game collection. PS3 or Xbox 360 coming soon.

Then during college I got a part time job..of all things working in the video game section of toys r us. I was there for 3 Christmas seasons and was honestly marveled at how many people bought bad games and good games were left on the shelf. And I'm not just talking about games based on a movie or a tv show, those will always sell. But just generally bad games, I can't even remember titles. This experience is what really lit the spark to get into video game design.

After college graduation I was looking for a job, like everyone. I was mainly looking at programming or video game based positions. Applied to be a game tester as well. One place actually "hired" me. I was working a part time job at the time, and went for an interview. The interview lasted 5 minutes and they pretty much put a phone in my hand and i played some craptastic hip hop trivia game. I'm thinking this is part of the interview, they gave me a bad build and wanted to see if i could find the bugs...nope. I was testing just like everyone else and then the guy who did the interview came over to me and telling me "you can take lunch whenever, we take an hour". As much as I wanted to be in video game based company, this was just a shady operation. I didn't get an offer ($$), sign any papers, agree to anything and they just made me start working. It didn't feel right, but after leaving that office, before lunch time mind you I returned to me lousy part time job in a music/electronics/computer store and was like this has no future, let me deal with the shady company again, so I emailed them saying I would like to work with them but I will need time to leave my current job...never heard back.

Fast forward a little bit and you're at where I'm at now, a real job in IT. Not programming, but a real job that I enjoy. And finally I decided to try and dive back into the video game world by running this site and trying to become an indie developer. If only as a hobby at this point in time.

So welcome, that's my story. The main point of this site is to report progress on my development, creating a blog was one of the ways I thought to make sure I stay on top of it and not let it die off as another unfinished project.