As I dive head first into writing full-fledged android apps, looking at the source code of apps has proven to be very valuable. I’ve found it particularly helpful when learning how to structure my code. Many thanks to all the developers committed to open source!
I’ve compiled below a list of great android apps that have gone open source. If there’s any that I’ve missed please let me know in the comments.
Astrid Tasks & To-do List
A very popular todo list app.
The Official GitHub Client
Github walked the walk and open sourced their app on github.
A to-do list app that stores your items as a text file on dropbox
Track down your lost or stolen phone or tablet. Not much of an interface on this app as its purpose is just to send gps data to the prey website, and allow you to control your phone remotely.
Thousands of step-by-step guides to fix your stuff.
Hacker News Reader
A great reader for hacker news.
My Tracks by Google
Record your GPS tracks and measure your speed. Great for workouts.
Guag.es by GitHub
A client for viewing your web traffic statistics. You need to first sign-up at http://get.gaug.es/, a google analytics type platform.
Manage your wordpress blog on your android with this official app.
The Official Wikipedia App
An RSS news reader with a lot of social features.
A popular geocaching app. Geocaching, from what I can gather from Google, is a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers with other participants.
A popular unofficial reddit client. From the website: “reddit is fun is currently closed source as of version 2.0 which was a rewrite.” The last open sourced version is 1.3. Check out Diode for an updated GPL fork.
Official XBMC Remote
XBMC is a popular open source project that can turn a computer into a dedicated media center.
This Summer, I finished “Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty”, an amazing book by Morris Kline. It’s a book that tells the history of mathematics, but with a particular theme. As the author boldly states in the introduction, it’s about the “rise and fall” of mathematics. While no one would argue that the utility of mathematics has in any way diminished, the “downfall” that the author speaks of is about the rise of doubts in the status of mathematics as our most trusted knowledge. It’s about whether the universe has a mathematical design or if “mathematization”, in the words of the mathematician Hermann Weyl, “may well be a creative activity of man, like language or music”.
This “loss of certainty” in mathematics is perhaps best epitomized Godel’s theorem of incompleteness, which poked holes in our axiomatic-deductive system that was thought to guarantee the “truth” of a proposition. Godel proved, surprisingly, that mathematical propositions could be derived that are neither provable nor disprovable by the laws of logic in an axiomatic system. The dream of building mathematics on an all encompassing set of axioms, a dream that so tantalized mathematicians in the late 19th and early 20th century, was shattered.
This book also has a fascinating section on calculus. The use of infinite, and infinitesimal values in the logical foundation of calculus stretched the limits of legitimate mathematical concepts, troubled mathematicians, and presaged Georg Cantor’s investigations into the paradoxes of infinity.
It’s fascinating to read how simple ideas like negative numbers were once controversial. Many European mathematicians up to as late as the 16th and 17th century did not accept negative numbers to be legitimate numbers. At the time, the laws of Euclidean geometry were thought to be inherent in the universe and the basis of all mathematics. Negative numbers were “nonsensical” because there were no geometrical basis for them.
Ultimately, these controversial ideas are accepted because they work, and it is our preconceived notions that have to bend to incorporate them. If you want to understand the state of modern mathematics, this book is immensely valuable (and very readable). It ends with mathematics in an isolated and fragmented state. It’s isolated due to the steep rise in abstraction as mathematics pulled away from the sciences in the 20th century. It’s fragmented because questions about the foundations of mathematics has resulted in three schools of thought: formalism, intuitionism, and logicism.
The greatness of this book is it’s ability to evoke the thrill of a paradigm changing discovery. It’s filled with quotes from mathematicians as they debate and grapple with new ideas (often ones that they came up with themselves). Some of these ideas might be mind boggingly eery, perhaps enough to drive someone insane (see Godel and Cantor), but I guess that’s the nature of reality.
Tada! Here’s the new icon for Follow Mojo, the new app I’m releasing for Android and then iOS. Follow Mojo is an app that gives you insight into your relationships on Twitter. Who’s not following you back on Twitter? How has your number of followers increased over time? It gives you actionable analytics, so you can prune who you follow, choose people to follow, and set goals. It also sends push notifications to your mobile when someone unfollows you.
Not being a designer, I struggled a lot with the design, and purposefully kept it simple. It was definitely a learning process, and I went through several versions.
Here are the older versions of the Follow Mojo icon:
Let me know what you think!
Have you ever wanted a talkative ascii cow on your linux terminal? I’m going to guess yes.
I recently came across “Cowsay”, a command line app that does just that. You can install it through apt on ubuntu.
$ sudo apt-get install cowsay
Now you have all the power you’ve ever dreamed of at your fingertips. You can use cowsay by piping the output of a command to it.
$ echo “Freemasons run the country.” | cowsay _____________________________ < Freemasons run the country. > ----------------------------- \ ^__^ \ (oo)\_______ (__)\ )\/\ ||----w | || ||
It can be used with “fortune”, a linux app (installable with apt) that outputs a fortune cookie style fortune to make the cow seem really wise.
$ fortune | cowsay ____________________________________ / You may be gone tomorrow, but that \ | doesn't mean that you weren't here | \ today. / ------------------------------------ \ ^__^ \ (oo)\_______ (__)\ )\/\ ||----w | || ||
You can put that line in your .bashrc file so that the cow greets you every time you login with a new fortune for you!