Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Introducing Comic Cover Muzei

If you own an Android phone you should know about the wonderful new live wallpaper app, Muzei coded by Roman Nurik. I was hooked on it from day one. You see Muzei automatically downloads and sets a new wallpaper image for you every day. By default the app will download art curated by Roman's fiancée. The first image it showed was van Gogh "The Starry Night" which is one of my favourite paintings and I'm getting a chance to see it at MOMA this summer but I digress.

After I downloaded the app I was reminded of a blog post by my buddy Raymond Camden. In the post on the Marvel Comic's API, Ray shows how to query the Marvel database and display covers. So I decided to combine chocolate and peanut butter into one awesome combination.

The Muzei app provides a way to write an extension to provide a new data source. So what I've done is to create an extension that randomly picks a Marvel Comic book cover and sets it as your wallpaper. It's called Comic Cover Muzei.

Select the data source

Set your options

Enjoy your art

Right now you can set an option to only download the images over wifi if you are worried about bandwidth usage and you can set the refresh interval from 3 to 24 hours. I've got plans to add more options to allow you to pick the character or series to pull the images from. 

Also, right now the app only uses Marvel Comic covers but I'd love to add other companies like DC, Image, etc.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Anna Has Been Pulled From the Play Store

Back in September of 2012 I posted up my sample app called Anna which highlighted the power of doing speech recognition on mobile devices using PhoneGap. Today I've had to pull the app from the Play Store because of this infringement notice from Wolfram Alpha.

I don't have the strength, time nor money to fight this so I just going to rolled over pulled the app. I attempted to discuss it with Wolfram Alpha but they insisted I 1) pay for an commercial deployment license, 2) remove the Wolfram Alpha functionality or 3) pull the app. I can't afford the rates they charge for a commercial deployment license. Still they can't do anything about the source code for the app which is still available at: https://github.com/macdonst/anna

I'm not even mad, just a bit puzzled as there is no way my sample app is in any way a threat to the Wolfram Alpha app in the Play Store. I guess they don't want to have a precedent where they don't aggressively enforce their terms of service.

It's rather silly as I don't even ship an API key with the app. If you want to use Anna you have to sign up with Wolfram Alpha so they won't be getting the, albeit small, exposure that my app provides. Also, I doubt I'll ever recommend them to any of my developer friends ever again.