Category Archives: Tech

Nextbit Robin

This morning, I’ve seen a bit of buzz about the Nextbit Robin, a new Kickstarted smartphone from the guys who made Baton.

I looked at it and thought “that looks awesome, and it makes me want to get one more than the OnePlus Two does. Thing is, I have Baton on my phone – courtesy of a CyanogenMod update and I’ve never used it, so I have no experience with this company. I’m wondering if I’m just experiencing a bit of Kickstarter fever.

I have a slight Kickstarter problem, you see, and this would be a big investment – buying a new phone outright when the old one isn’t even a year old yet. I bought the OnePlus One because I wanted to get out of the cycle of contract upgrades and buying phones that cost twice as much as they should through those contracts.

The Robin is $349 (£228), which is cheaper than my OnePlus One was (£269 last November, £219 now), but I don’t know how much use I’d get out of the flagship feature – I’ve never had a storage warning on my OnePlus One.

So my question to myself is: how much of this is going “ooh shiny?”. Backing the Kickstarter saves $50 on retail (according to the campaign), and maybe I’ll just wait for the retail package in February next year rather than prospecting a new phone now that I won’t get for at least six months.

But still… I kinda want to back it. I’ve put it on reminder so I can make a decision closer to the end of the campaign. Except for the “special SIM tray”, I’ve not seen any reason other than the discounted price to back the Kickstarter, and they’re fully funded now so they’re going ahead in any case.

Android apps

As some of you likely know, I occasionally write Android apps outside of my day job. Most of the time, I write utilities of various types which I find useful, and I publish them to the Play Store as Moltis. I currently have five apps on the Play Store at the moment, and if anyone’s using them and finds them useful any feedback on them would be valued.

If anyone has any ideas for other utilities that might be useful to them, let me know – I’m interested in new challenges, and open to filling gaps.

No Rest for the Wicked apps

I’ve written three apps for use at No Rest for the Wicked, one for storytellers and two for players.

Warp Bag is an app that handles the contents of your warp bag and drawing beads. It needs some updating in line with the new Psyker rules, but seems pretty solid from feedback I’ve had. [1]

NRftW Event Admin is a utility I designed for use by the storytellers to keep track of people going on endeavours so we could determine what the balance was. How useful it was varied. It relies on having an internet connection, and every player having an account on the downtime system – if you’re not on the downtime system, it can’t track you. There are myriad improvements that can be made, but it wasn’t terrible to use. [2]

NRftW Deck Timer is a utility I’ve recently designed to help people track how long they have to roleplay when using decks. Currently it’s only set up with a hacking interface, but it does function as a timer for any type of deck. My main thoughts on it are that you probably want to start timing as soon as you start laying out cards and totalling up the time once you’ve played all your cards, which means that it needs a mechanism to (a) start timing before a total time is added, and (b) add further time in as you sort out your cards. It’s not a perfect system, and without significant effort I’m not sure I could make a “perfect” system, and the system I can envision would require everyone with a deck to have an Android device to solve it.[3]

Other apps

There was some commentary that we didn’t have an IoD specific dice roller, and I made a comment that I could write one if someone was willing to pay me to do so. I’ve still not been paid to do so, but I have created Dice Roller, a beta app that handles nWoD dice mechanics as well as being usable for rolling any other kind of die as well. [4]

The last app is actually one of the first ones I wrote, and the most subtle. You’re Awesome is a utility that at random intervals sends a message to the phone’s user reminding them that they’re awesome. I wrote the initial alpha on my laptop on a train down to London, and I created it to as a confidence booster for anxious people. It can either use generic messages, or messages that it combines with a given name, and you can alter the frequency of the messages.[5]

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Currently I have 20 users using the Warp Bag app according to the Play Store
2. Currently I have 4 users using the Event Admin app according to the Play Store
3. Currently I have 1 user using the Deck Timer app according to the Play Store
4. Currently I have 6 users using the Dice Roller app according to the Play Store
5. Currently I have 4 users using the You’re Awesome app according to the Play Store

#rpgaday2015 day 14 – favourite RPG accessory

Apparently today I am to talk about my favourite RPG accessory. Being the sort of person I am, I think I might say “dice”. They’re pretty, come in different styles, can be customised, and are collectible in their own way.

I have collected some other things over the years which are also useful though.

  • FATE Tokens. Haven’t had cause to use them yet, but they’re really pretty
  • Combat Description Cards. Really looking forward to using these – there are different decks depending on the type of damage you’re doing, and you get descriptor hints to help you describe your actions.
  • NPC Cards. NPC generation quickly.
  • Smartphone. Between apps to take notes, roll dice, keep characters on, and the general utility of being able to have 100 rulebooks in your pocket, it’s a really useful thing to have (assuming you can keep yourself from checking Facebook)

I want my hoverboard

Lexus have been releasing a number of videos about their hoverboard, and I’m saddened to say it’s a fake. Kind of.

It actually works; the science is solid and it does hover and take a passenger when it does – the videos are not faked, the board is actually hovering and bearing a passenger without wires. However, it’s not the hoverboard people want.

The Lexus hoverboard only works on a set track of permanent magnets. It’s basically a maglev system for personal users. The skatepark they set up is actually just a shell over a track of magnets they laid down, and they freely admit that – they even show you it being built and how it all works.

They’re not even original in the concept. Google X Labs already devised and abandoned a mag-lev hoverboard. Any requirement to embed magnets everywhere isn’t going to be practical for general use, is it? If we’re restricted to doing the same tracks at hover-parks, it’ll remain a novelty – a carnival ride rather than a thing of the masses.

It’s 2015 and I want my hoverboard.

The hidden consequences of HDD failure…

So, loss of my storage drive doesn’t seem too bad at first.

I lost my local Copy/Dropbox folders (but they’re in the Cloud, so no problem) view it now.
I lost my Downloads and Torrents, but I can always re-download things I downloaded before – biggest issue there is going to be remembering where I was with some series.
I lost my game installs, but they’re all on Steam so I can just reinstall them no problem.

Then it hit me. All my game installs. Which means that my Skyrim progress is lost… dammit. I was so close to One-Handed 100 and now I have to start over? I mean, I can do things better the second time around, but having to restart is just annoying – losing everything I’ve built up is just annoying.