Stack v3 Alpha 1 : Video Demo!

Here's a quick video of how (the unreleased) Stack v3 works. I think it's much improved - check it out:
Many thanks to all who've donated (and received their alpha version of Stack v3 in return) - I really appreciate it!

Stack v3.0…

Yes you read that right. In going back to make sure Stack v2.2 would work properly on 3.0, I had a horrid idea… A couple hours later, and I'd got it working. And man is it awesome! On a whim, I'd rewritten Stack to actually be an icon in SpringBoard. It can be moved anywhere, has all the same positioning and reordering abilities as any other icon, it doesn't interfere with other apps, and is generally the cleanest and best way I could ever implement Stacks (yes, with an 's', there can be more than one now!). It took an awful lot of hacking around and programming blind to pull it off, but I think it's gonna work really well. I have no idea when I'll release it, but it will (likely) only be for iPhone 3.0 and above (running out of 2.x devices here to test against for compatibility!). Also please note that I'm now taking donations as an incentive for me to continue working on Stack (as long as I can), so if you have anything spare to give I graciously accept any amount!
Here are various screenshots to just get you interested:

Stack v2.2 'release candidate' for iPhone 3.0

I held Stack 2.2 (my final release) for the launch of 3.0 as it made sense to make sure it still ran on the newer firmware (as I won't be able to update it from now on). Without further ado, I direct you to my 'new' Stack website! Hope this helps out all those who've been missing Stack and/or yearning for the cool new stuff in version 2.2. IMPORTANT NOTES: • Should work on iPhone OS 2.0 all the way up to 3.0. • Has issues on 3.0 as regards showing on top of videos (there's a technical reason for this, they removed something I was checking for in 2.x which allowed me to fade out when not at SpringBoard. Will try and find a workaround for 3.0) • Is not available in Cydia. This is a Terminal-only install, for political reasons. Sorry if it makes things difficult. • This is still a prerelease binary - there are some bugs. Let me know about them in the usual ways (email, Twitter) • As always, any of those Extended Preferences-alike mods will likely prevent Stack from showing in Settings NEW IN STACK v2.2: • Custom positioning - drag the Stack to reposition it horizontally • Display mode: image (customizable), single-icon, or cascaded icons (3 icons) • Optional Item-removal prompt • Grid View theming (Grid View images are fully modifiable) • Much-improved performance and memory usage

Trading Card Games

One thing I've learned during my life: people never grow up.

When I was young, Pokémon cards were all the rage, and that eventually turned to Magic: The Gathering in mid to late teens. Trading card games have naturally existed for many many years before that.

Today, it's the exact same with business cards. You go to conferences and events and try to trade as many as you can, to collect some in all sizes and colours. Nab yourself an Apple or Google business card and you're really proud of it. I'm pretty sure if people weren't too embarrassed to 'battle' their business card against others they would! I particularly liked the Realmac business cards (I wrangled one each out of Danny and Keith).

I must have been the only person at WWDC without business cards, so mid-week during the conference I decided to design myself a set I could order from Moo.

Today, they arrived! I'm really proud of them, being my first ever business cards, and I really enjoyed every bit of the design & ordering process with Moo. The Moo packaging is very nice too, with heavy duty holders.

I should also invest in some buttons, as quite a few people were sporting those too…

Tour of the Valley

Had a crazy day today with Chris McClelland and Philip Strain touring all the cool places in Silicon Valley (Google, Apple, Yahoo and Palm). Eventually ended up at Stanford, Tapulous and the WWDC Meltdown meetup. Can't say much about it except it was *awesome* :-D Funniest part of the day was when we saw the Tapulous offices and Chris decided that we should go in… Several seconds of shocked silence and priceless looks ensued before we introduced ourselves.

WWDC+Palm Pre = Rollercoaster Week

Haven't blogged in quite a while thanks to exams and whatnot, but this week I've been in San Francisco for Apple's World Wide Developers Conference with a sizable group of other Irish developers. And wow what a week it's been.

Asides the obvious Apple awesomeness, there's been even more cool stuff happening: at Monday lunch time Symbian held an event in Jillians just across from Moscone West, where the first 100 attendees got a free Nokia 5800 Xpress Music and t-shirt (as well as food and drink!):

Very nice move by Symbian I think; I would never have even bothered looking at Symbian even for making sure my websites run on it, but now with a free 'high-end' phone I have an excuse to do so. I'd also be really interested in writing S60 apps… except there's no Mac-native SDK. If Symbian actually wants to attract iPhone developers, as they seemed to at the event, then they better MAKE A MAC SDK!

On Tuesday, I decided to be adventurous. I was able to buy a Palm Pre from a local Sprint Wireless store without activation or a contract (apparently I hear it's very hard to do? $602 including tax), so I instantly ran off back to my hotel room to see if I could A) hack the activation out of the OS, and B) get it working so I can develop apps for it and run them on device.

Well, success :-) I gave up Tuesday eve because I couldn't get the device into restore mode no matter what I did, but on Wednesday morning I figured it out: you have to hold the volume-up button while the device is off before plugging it into USB, and from there you can use Palm's firmware flashers to do whatever you like with it. As the device can run unsigned firmware (!!!) I was easily able to hack out the activation check, and get up and running and enable the root shell. In that respect, I may just have the first jailbroken Pre in existence.

I gotta say; this week at WWDC I've used my Pre more than my iPhone. It's not better than the iPhone in any respect, BUT it's as-good-as for most people. Everything 'just works', whether it be syncing with iTunes or even using the iPhone headset with the Pre. It's a fantastic device and OS, and I really wish Palm well with it.

But man, for a hacker, the Pre is incredible. As mentioned, it runs unsigned firmware and has a root shell over USB when in developer mode (you can use the Konami cheat code to enable dev mode, too); you can do whatever the hell you like to the OS! The entire UI and all the apps are written in javascript, which in essence means the source code is available for you to modify at will, without recompiling anything. Even better, you can write C/C++ native Linux apps for it that draw directly to the framebuffer, as the recent Doom port shows. The specs are impressive, it's a ~600MHz ARM Cortex A8 with 256MB RAM with accelerometer, GPS, WiFi & Bluetooth, or, put another way, almost the exact same specs as the iPhone 3G S (bar the compass, afaik).

After revealing my exploit of the device, I was invited to a small Palm meetup nearby where I got to chat with the actual WebOS engineers, thoroughly validating my efforts :-D

Staying in San Francisco 'til Tuesday next, so hopefully I'll get some more free stuff somewhere (I'm *such* a student). This has seriously been the best week ever.