Embiggen with Tasker

Embiggen user Tim just asked me if there was a way to use Tasker with Embiggen, and it turns out there is. Lets say we wanted to have the contents of a text message show up in Embiggen when you get a text message. Here’s what you do:

  1. Create a profile that listens for an incoming text message (New profile -> Event -> Phone -> Received Text)
  2. Create a new Send Intent task with the following settings:

Extra:
Text:%SMSRB

Package:
com.briercan.embiggen
(com.briercan.embiggenplus if you’re using Embiggen Plus)

Class:
com.briercan.embiggen.BigWordsActivity
(com.briercan.embiggenplus.BigWordsActivity if you’re using Embiggen Plus)

It should look something like this:

If you want to show different text for the app, just use a different variable in the Extras field instead of %SMSRB. For example, if you want the name of the person who texted you, put the following in the Extras field:

Text:%SMSRF

I hope this helps! Post a comment if you have any questions or if you have a good idea for how to use Tasker with Embiggen!

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Dry-clean only shirts

The late comedian Mitch Hedberg once said:

My shirt is dry-clean only, which means that it is dirty.

This is one of his many funny one-liners, but it has significance when making software. If it’s a pain to take a shirt to a dry cleaners, you’re not likely to clean the shirt at all. The same goes for unit testing, making reliable backups, having a branching strategy, etc. Sometimes the tools you’re using make it hard to follow these best practices, so they don’t get done.

If you find yourself saying things like: “Branching, oh no, we use VSS, merging is a nightmare!” or “I can’t unit test, our code has so many dependencies”, maybe it’s time to start looking into fixing the reasons why you can’t branch or unit test. Maybe switch to git, or a recent version of TFS if you can. Set up some dependency injection so that your code is easier to test. Sometimes it’s not easy to make these types of changes, but it’s usually worth it.

What are some other “Dry-clean only shirts” in the software world, and how can you fix them?

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Trello for task lists

I just started using trello for the game I’m working on, and I’m pretty happy with it so far. It’s pretty simple, and allows you to have lists of lists. Most of the time those lists will be for maintaining what needs to be done, what you’re working on, and what is complete (sorta like a scrum board). You can have multiple boards (one for Home todo, Work, etc), and do all sorts of labeling, break out tasks, etc. It’s free to use, and I’ve been using it a lot.

Trello

It’s made by some of the people who brought you FogBugs and StackOverflow.com. You should try it out.

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Embiggen at Devo!

Redditor kermix was nice enough to send me a picture of him and his friends from a recent Devo concert. It looks like there are a couple Android phones running Embiggen, an IPhone, and maybe a windows phone? Pretty awesome though. Thanks kermix!

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How are people finding my app?

A few weeks ago I noticed that the usage stats for Embiggen were going up pretty quickly. Normally there would be about 200 page views per day, but that number jumped up to about 700 one day, and then up to 6297 the day after! I was psyched, but I didn’t realize until a couple of days after that embiggen had been posted on Reddit, and the app had gotten most of the downloads from that post. A small viral effect started, and there were market links popping up on twitter, blogs, and eventually AppBrain listed Embiggen on the Top 10 Hot apps of the day, because of the increase in downloads within a single day.

I want to thank reddit user evilpig for posting the app, and everyone for providing feedback on it. I just wish I could have seen it sooner, so that I could have responded to some of the questions quicker. A couple of weeks later, there was another crest of user activity that came with a bunch more downloads, but I have no idea how word spread about that one.

As far as I know, there is no way to tell how people are finding your android market page, but it would be really useful to know that sort of thing. Does anyone out there know if there’s a way to get stats for your android market page? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on Reddit (SN: briercan)

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