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  • App Review: Clean Master for Android

    There are many resource management apps available on the Google Play store, which allow the user to either clean the RAM, close apps, manage files, but one app stands out from the crowd. Clean Master is one app which does all.

    Clean Master provides management of the following:

    The app’s design is clean and beautiful. The user interface has also been well planned out, and any one can start using this app immediately.

    When you open the app, you are shown the storage information and RAM information on the top half of your screen. The bottom half of the screen contains buttons to the features mentioned above. Pressing on either one of the features, opens up the screen of the respective feature.

    The animation which is shown as the data is compiled, is just beautiful. The design and user interaction team has done well to design this app.

    Clean Master is a highly useful as it allows the user to keep his device in check and to make sure that any unwanted resources are not being used. The main use of this app is to keep the resources being used in check. As a result, the battery life will last longer as only a handful of user apps will be running hence less use of RAM.

    This feature allows the user to clean the junk files, those files which have been discarded by the apps but are taking up space in the memory. The less the RAM will be used the better the device will be performed.

    There is also an advanced functionality which further allows the user to remove all files linked with the apps. This even includes videos or pictures which are on the device memory.  Using this feature may remove all of your app’s data (which you select to clean) and your app’s functioning will be affected. Be careful if you use the advanced functionality.

    This feature allows the user to stop and remove any of the running app from  RAM.

    This app even provides an antivirus software which scans the apps for any problematic apps. The antivirus software has been provided by AVTest.

    This feature allows shows the user list of installed apps, and allows him to either backup or uninstall the app. The user can also sort the list on a number of different parameters such as frequency of use, date used, app size, etc…

    Clean Master is one feature packed app, and I highly recommend this application. You will not regret using this application, as it will help you keep your device remain healthy. Is that not what we want?

     

    • Clean Master Android App Review by Mustafa Neguib
      Clean Master Android App Review by Mustafa Neguib

    October 15, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 5408

  • App Review: Horror Escape Puzzle Game for Android

    I was checking out my friend’s Android smart phone, looking for any good apps or games that he has installed so that i could install on my smart phone.

    I came across this puzzle game by the name of Horror Escape where you have to solve puzzles by finding clues. There are many other apps which follow the same style of hiding clues and then the user has to find them, but i found this game intriguing as it has a back story, and the ambiance of the game suites it quite well.

    From what i have found so far, is that there is an evil guy who has locked the character(you) in a building, and he has left clues for you to find in order to escape. When you find one clue it leads to the next clue. I like detective and puzzle games, where i have to solve a case, and i love Sherlock Holmes, one of the best detectives that i have read about (i am reading the stories of Sherlock Holmes at the moment).

    This game is constructed in such a way that there are levels, where each level is a room. There are a total of 15 levels in this game. One requires patience and needs to harness his collective powers of thinking in order to find the clues and eventually escape from the building.

    I myself am at level 6 and i am stuck at it. What i am really impressed is the way the clues are hidden in each level. One has to actually look for them, by pressing on everything hoping that some clue pops up. There is no animation, but the graphics are professional and realistic, which further helps bring the detective in you out to help your character to escape.

    If puzzle games fancy you, then I highly recommend this game, but this is a good time kill for others as well.

    • Horror Escape Game Review by Mustafa Neguib
      Horror Escape Game Review by Mustafa Neguib

    October 12, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 4605

  • App Review: Recordable Android Screen Recorder App

    Introduction

    There are many ways to make screen recordings of your android app. In Android kit Kat 4.4 there is a built in feature where you can use and to record your device’s screen as you use your app via the adb software bundled with the Android SDK. There are other free apps as well, but many of them require your device to be rooted, which not everyone is comfortable with especially me as it can brick your device if gone wrong.

    Wanting to make a demo for my app Inbox My Articles Offline RSS Reader I was pleased to find Recordable an Android screen recorder app which does not require your device to be rooted. However you need to download a free software onto your computer which then sets up the application for you. I was happy to see that Linux is also supported and in my case Ubuntu. Other supported operating systems are Windows and Mac.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The user interface is very minimal, where there are only three screens in the app, the first two show the list of videos recorded, second other for the settings, and lastly to play the video.
    The app is very easy to use, and for first time users, instructions are given on the home page which are then replaced by the list of videos when you have at-least one video saved.
    The minimal user interface is quite understandable due to the main aim of the app is to record the screen of the device.
    The installation process is very easy and the app and the software on the computer give clear instructions at every step of the way.

    Usefulness

    I liked the free Android screen recorder app so much that I actually purchased the paid version for a very reasonable price.
    In the free version there will be a watermark of readable.mobi on the bottom right of your video. This is acceptable as the app does a really great job so one does not mind.
     
    The paid version does not add this watermark which is good since the user has paid for the app and there are more settings available to the user.
    The app itself was really easy to use. All you have to do is after installing and activating your app is to open the app and then press the record button in the action bar.
     
    There are a number of different settings which range from setting the frame rate to the quality of the video to enabling and disabling drawing your touches on the screen and much more settings at your disposal.
     
    As soon as the recording starts you can go to your app and start using it. However the device does become less responsive as you continue to record, but it is bearable. I myself don’t mind this issue, as the resulting video that i get is good for me. You may have a different opinion regarding this.

    One of the the best feature of this app as mentioned earlier is the fact that your device will not need to be rooted in order to use this app.

    Conclusion

    I highly recommend this app as it makes recording videos for your app demos very easy to do, and this app delivers what it  promises to do so. This app is the value for your money.
     

    September 30, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 4263

  • App Review: Evernote Android App

    Introduction

    Evernote is a cloud based note taking app available for  number of different platforms. I will be reviewing the Android app of Evernote.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The Android app has been beautifully designed. The user interface is intuitive and the beginner user does not need any tutorial to start using the app. The first screen after logging into the app is the screenshot which allows you to create your new notes. I use a smart phone with 5 inch screen in portrait mode so I have quite a large typing area which makes It easy for me to type as I like to see what i have written a few lines above the current line. The text styling controls and bullets have been laid at the bottom of the typing area just above the keyboard which makes it further easy to type.

    The submit button and other controls such as the attachment button have been laid at the top of the screen.  This helps the user from incorrectly  performing any function which can have some side effects.
     
    The menu can be opened by swiping the screen from left to right or by pressing the back button at the top left of the screen when the app is launched, which has other useful features.

    Usefulness

    The usefulness of the app lies in its use of the cloud and how seamlessly the app and other platforms sync seamlessly with the cloud. For example I have written this review on Evernote itself and this review will be saved in my phone’s memory until the app is synced with the cloud.
     
    I have the app at my disposal where ever I am and I can jot down all of my ideas right there and then even if I do not have n internet connection. The app syncs with the cloud as soon as I connect my smart phone to the internet. The cloud further helps keep my data safe. I don’t have to worry about my phone crashing and me losing all of my notes.

    Other Features

     There are more controls in the menu such as the “Add New Note”, “Take Picture”, “Record Audio”, and “Add Attachments”, which allows the user to add these items to their notes fairly easily. You can even create and manage notebooks so that you can organize your notes.

    Conclusion

    I congratulate the Evernote team for make truly a remarkable app and even more a truly remarkable system with which the app integrates into. I highly recommend this app to all.

    September 28, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 3235

  • My Experience At A Game Development Hackathon

    I took part in the Global Game Jam 2014 Lahore a game development hackathon which took place in early 2014 and was organized by two game development studios in Lahore, Pakistan Mindstorm Studios and Tintash.

    This was not my first ever competition, i had taken part in a coding competition when i was in my university, and also in the Softec 2012 Software Competition held at National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences where i displayed my final year project (a 3D fighter jet game built in OpenGL ES on Android), but this was my first ever hackathon.

    I am technically sound, and i love programming, and since my final year project was a game and i also had developed an advanced text based version of ludo in my computer programming class, and also having about 2 years of experience in the software industry(1 year in the manufacturing + 1 year working for a software startup) i thought that i was ready.

    I registered myself for the event after finding out about it when the registration was about to end. Another reason why i had decided to register for this was to make up for the time when i had not registered for the startup weekend held at Lahore, which i regret not doing so, mainly due to the hectic schedule at my former company, but this time i was determined, that if i was selected i would go and attend, at least i will meet new people and learn something about the industry.

    I have always wanted to make games, i know the maths, the programming, the logic. The only place where i lack is in the art. I have always told myself that i will learn the advanced form of 3d modelling, and then i will start to make games.

    I as a developer believe that i should have the understanding of the basics, so that i can build onto that. If i want to learn a new programming language, i will study what the language offers, me and then i will make what i want to. I have had a nack at drawing from an early age but i did not keep at it, and like all grew out of practice. There were spurts of energy where i would spend days drawing, and then just like that drop it all, and move onto the next thing.

    Receiving the call of being selected for the competition was really wonderful. The event duration was of 52 hours. Knowing that i had to reach by 6pm to the venue to register, i arrived early at my office at 8 am (my usual  time was 10 am and i would leave between 6pm -12 am, i have even spent longer hours, but that is another story) so i could leave by 5pm.

    Excited and feeling nervous, as i did not know what i would do. I believed in myself and got my self registered. When i reached there i found out that most of the contestants already had formed groups, and the group size was to be of 2 to 5 persons, which were to include,  an artist, a developer, a team lead, audio guy, and some other of whom i do not remember now.

    The orientation went well, where the CEO of Mind Storm Studios Babar Ahmed and the CEO of Tintash Murad Akhtar and explained to us what we were to do. I had once applied and given an interview at Tintash but was rejected due to poor performance ( i don’t like to give interviews, but i don’t mind taking them 🙂 ).

    I had heard of the wonderful work that Mind Storm Studios and Tintash was doing, and i was in the presence of legends, and i was dumb struck. Being an aspiring entrepreneur my self then(then i was working part time on my own projects) i was in heaven.

    At the end of the orientation i was to join a team and that is where a problem occurred. Since most of the teams had already been in formation before the competition, i had to talk to people to ask if they needed a team mate. I found one another developer who needed a team mate and i then contacted the organizers of our team. So now were two developer, but we needed a designer someone who knew art.

    The organizers paired me up with one individual (Faisal Shareef) who was not to keen on being teamed up. Another problem hit, the tools that we used were not compatible. He developed games using unity 3d, while i used opengl desktop and opengl es on android and had no experience with unity 3d. However, i was determined to team up with him, as i needed a team mate to compete in the competition, and also having seen that most of the devs used fast paced development tools such as game development frameworks, or game engines i needed to team up. I would have come up with something, but i knew the art would have been real bad if i would have been on my own.

    The organizers also tried to convince him to team up.  One of the organizers even said that “some times 1 and 1 make 11”. I having experienced that working alone is extremely difficult and not easy at all, i also encouraged him to team up, and we ended up teaming. We ended up naming the team “Two Men Army”, and our game’s name was “Saviour”.

    After the teams were formed we had the theme around which we were to build the game around. The theme was “Shadow”. We had to use the element of shadow some how.

    The clock was ticking and we started to brainstorm for ideas. We came up with a few ideas and narrowed down to two ideas. We ended up selecting the following idea, which further improved and matured as we worked on it and built a story around it.

    “Our game started around a guy who is dying as he has had a heart failure. The guy’s shadow rises and has to go through a maze of sorts and solve puzzles, and has to bring back the heart for his master in order to save him. The twist that we had added was that the shadow has to get the heart and come back with it before his master dies. If he dies then the game is over.”

    As we mentored by experienced professionals in their fields our story grew, and matured. I learned about game design, art, music. In a game the graphics and art are not the most important thing. They are important, but not as much as i thought they were. The game’s story, how it captivates the player, audio music, game play all have a major role.

    My team mate handled the art, while my role in all of this was in game design, helping design the obstacles, searching for the awesome music sequence, and also driving back and forth as we did most of the development at my home and used to go back to the venue at the appointed times.

    There were times when i was at a war with myself, as to what my role is, what is it that i am bringing to the table as i was not doing any development. Being a developer, and being part of a project where i let the others do the work is a bit difficult to handle, but since i am now an entrepreneur this is what i will have to do. Let others do what they do best, while i handle the business and production side of the things.

    The only way i kept my self sane was to realize that what i am doing is also very important. In the short time that we had, it was best to let my team mate do what he does best, and to support him in other tasks which were also very important, such as making sure that our game documents were submitted on time, preparing the video of the game, looking for audio (background music and sound effects),  because without them our game would not even be considered and be worthy enough. I understand that a team contains many different individuals who bring together different skills and talents to build a team.

    I like to think that my contributions and along with my team mate’s(Faisal Shareef is the ultimate combination that every computer programmer wants to be, he is also really good with art and also programming. I am glad that i met him. He is such a passionate fellow.)  and our understanding of the constraints that we were under, allowed us to gell well as a team, and not to break under the pressure. The end goal was to complete a game under 52 hours, and i think we did well. We found out that there was a team which broke up, and they could not develop a game.

    The time came for our presentation. Looking at what the other teams had come up with, caused some chills in my team. We did not know whether we were good enough, but we knew one thing, that our story was good. It was going to captivate the audience. We knew that we as a team had given our all and that what ever happens will happen.

    The presentation went well, and we gave the demo of our game. We even got a shout out from Babar Ahmed that we were the only team who actually met during the competition and had not known each other before. This was really nice to hear, and we were applauded.

    The demo went perfect, the que of the music was perfect, people were clapping when the the shadow got the heart and the music started bringing in an aura of fast paced urgent need to survive.

    In the end it all went well, me and my team mate came in third and we also won the award for “Visual Production”.  When we were told that we had won the award for “Visual Production”, i thought that was it. We were not going to win any position since we had won an award. What i did not know was that we were still eligible for a position, and when we were announced as the 3rd place winners, me and my team mate were stunned. We could not believe that we actually got a position.

    Me and my Faisal were not professional game developers. I was in the business apps industry, and Faisal worked at a small game development company part time and was also studying for his bachelors at that time.

    We actually beat professional game developers. When we were receiving our certificates, the organizers were also amazed at how we worked together as a group. This shows, that with passion and dedication, David can definitely beat Goliath.

    • My certificates
      My certificates

    Fixed the team’s name to “Two Men Army”.  Update made on May 29th, 2014  23:31

    Fixed grammatical mistake in 2nd paragraph. Update made on May 30th, 2014 02:59

    May 29, 2014 • Entrepreneurship, Technology • Views: 4752