All posts by Dusty Reins

Enterprise Systems Integration Architect, software developer, photographer, naturalist.

Life Photo Today Rev. 2 Available For Testing

I have had a lot of distractions the past few weeks delaying work on the new app. In Rev. 2, Life Photo Today becomes LPT for shorthand and sports a dark app theme which enhances the visibility of the images I hope.

Life Photo Today Logo
Life Photo Today launch icon.

I have introduced an Alpha Testing status update screen on startup and will now allow the sharing of any gallery photo except those taken the same day.  I will allow photos from any date once I have worked out the bugs in the live cam capture and share feature.

If you are interested in helping me test and develop this new app then join the Dusty Reins DevLab Community and look in the Life Photo Today – Testing discussion area for a link to download the app for early access and testing. It is usually easier to do this on your mobile device via Google+.

Photographs, Capture The Moment In Our Space And Time

I have used photography to do just as the title suggests since I was 5 years old.  Photographs can tell many stories and I think it would be interesting to see what photo stories are likely to show up each day.

I have been working on another mobile Android compatible app which should open up the ability to do this. Worldwide.

Life Photo Today Logo
Life Photo Today launch icon.

Life Photo Today is still in the development stage but I am excited to have enough of it functional soon to begin Alpha testing of the concept. You can keep up with development progress and participate in testing by joining the DevLab Community I have set up for early testing of my applications.

So the current concept I am working on to facilitate include:

  • Share a photograph captured on an Android powered mobile phone or tablet device with a connection to the Internet.
  • Shared photographs include a caption, description and assignment to a general Category.
  • View a list of shared photos optionally selected by most recent, most recent by Category, most popular, and user contributions.
  • Viewing a single photo offers the opportunity to gather viewer acceptance of the image as valid within restrictions and guidelines in a published User Policy.
  • Votes are assessed values on a five point scale. 1 = BAN (1 ban will restrict this photo from being viewed again until it is reviewed for User Policy restriction violations by an administrator. ME; ha! 🙂  ) to 5 = Really Like!
  • Users will be able to view all of their contributions and see how other users have rated them.
  • View more details about an image by tapping on the image to reveal a user supplied description and map showing an approximate location where the photo was recorded.
  • No social interaction between users, no user identification attribution for a photo is revealed to public.
  • Photographer retains all commercial intellectual property rights to the image, while allowing a licence for a low resolution image to be stored, displayed and shared via Life Photo Today and user selected social endpoints.

Those of you who choose to get early access to this effort and help define workflow presentation and usefulness to technical issues can participate in the DevLab discussions. I hope the joint effort leads to a technically stable client-to-cloud system that is simple, informative and entertaining to use.

NOTE: For my friends who knows the label Cheeky Raider. I can see a possible companion app that falls into the “gaming” category of apps in Google Play.  Don’t know if that effort is viable but my implementation goes more toward my interests in the concept that photographs are records of a moment in space and time within the human experience.  Let me know what you think.

I have ideas for other features which I think will add more interest and value to the app but for now I need to focus on getting a viable application out for user testing and feedback. More information to add to the DevLab, feedback monitoring, new information on this site…

You see… It isn’t all about just coding the app that determines if others perceive it as available, useful or entertaining.


Map It! Available in Google Play Store

Map It! Icon
Map It! Launch Icon

Map It! is a free application for Android powered mobile devices available for download in Google Play Store.

Although this is my second mobile app in Play Store, this app was my original concept of a mapping tool for my own needs.  As I began to use the original prototype in the field I quickly realized it needed more features to become a location sharing tool as well as a mapping and navigation tool.
My part time job includes incorporating different locations to travel to almost every time I travel my route every three days. These locations are remote where there are often no road signs to go by.  Getting good verbal directions to a new location is oftentimes difficult and confusing.  The directions given to me usually does not include the fact that I may have to take a different route than the one used by my co-workers.

Now my co-workers can use the Map It! SMS text share which then gets imported into my own list of locations.  I can then decide on the best route to get there which decreases the amount of travel time required if done the old way.

So it has already proven to increase productivity which is greatly appreciated by the company I am working part time for and I consider that a big win already!


Map It! Rev.5 Available in Beta Test

Map It! has already become a very useful tool for me and this version is a reflection of many hours and days of testing in the field.  My usual routes are in rural areas with very spotty to no cell service so responding to poor communications has been quite challenging and time consuming.

Map It! Icon
Map It! Launch Icon

This version was an effort to improve reliability of the Navigation Map under difficult situations.  I replaced the new Google Activity Recognition Service with an algorithm of my own design improving the map’s responsiveness to user movements and reliability.

I will have an opportunity to do more extensive testing tomorrow and if there is no show-stopping feedback from volunteer testers in the DevLab, then I will publish this version to Google Play for release to the general public.

I have several ideas based on my own needs for future enhancements including new features. But for now, more field testing and updating the info page for Map It! on this site will be my primary concern.

Spot It! 1.1.3 Available in Google Play

I wasn’t happy with the performance of the Google Activity Recognition Service as it was creating problems with the response to user movements during navigation.

Spot It! Icon
Spot It! Launch Icon

Taking it out and replacing it with my own algorithm not only reduced the overall size of the application but has improved performance significantly.  Future enhancements will largely address user interface elements.

If you would like to see additional features added such as an automated emergency notice which shares your current location via SMS. Please let me know in the comments below or contact me via Google+ or Facebook.


Map It! Rev. 4 Moved to Beta Testing

Now testing for user workflow, performance and discovery of problems which show up on different devices.

Map It! Icon
Map It! Launch Icon

If you are interested in getting a preview and helping me with your feedback on problems and usability, consider joining the Dusty Reins DevLab Community on Google+.  Your response will help me decide when it is ready to  publish to the public on Google Play.  More information getting access to the Beta is available in the DevLab.

I am really excited about this app because it is a working tool for me.  Therefore, It gets a lot of practical testing from me! ha!  Future enhancements are in the works which is useful to me in my part-time job.

Dusty Reins DevLab
Join my team in a Google+ Community!

I would like to hear from you about how you use the app as well.  You can comment below or on my Google+ and Facebook pages in addition to the DevLab community page.

Spot It! 1.1.2 Released to Google Play

This version of Spot It! gives users the ability to mark and save any Spot It! location on a map. The new feature is available by a long-press on a map location you want to navigate to.

Spot It! Icon
Spot It! Launch Icon

Another feature makes use of Google’s Activity Recognition Service (which is still subject to refinement) that will adjust how frequently your location is updated.  Now, Spot It! will adjust update frequency depending if you are still, walking, biking and in a vehicle.  The main concern here is to help conserve your battery power as much as possible.

I have also incorporated the mapping engine I developed for my second app Map It! which is currently in Best testing. There were a few bugs discovered in the previous version and those have been squashed.

Let me know down below if you experience any problems using Spot It! or if you have suggestions for additional features and enhancements.

Spot It! 1.1.2 (beta) Released For Testing

A new feature has been introduced to Spot It! enabling users to mark locations other than the current location. Just long press on the map to set a marker for the location you want to navigate to.Spot ItI

This version is a re-write incorporating code from the new (and upcoming) app Map It! Both apps will share the same mapping engine incorporating new Google APIs for Geofencing and user activity recognition.

If you are interested in getting early release previews of my mobile apps for Android powered devices, join us in the Dusty Reins DevLab and let’s go bug hunting!

Map It! Rev. 2 Now Available for Testing

Map It! is now available for early review and testing by members of the Dusty Reins DevLab.

Map It! Icon
Map It! Launch Icon

I have written up some preliminary information about Map It! and the new features it supports under the Mobile Apps link at the top of the page.  I am really excited about this app because it is the concept I had for my first mobile app and the one I really need to use for the work I do in photography and nature exploration.

I think I can have some fun with it too. Imagine getting a text from me sharing the location of a stash of Lone Star beer. If you have the Map It! app you will be able to navigate right over there with no problem by importing the GeoCoded text right into the app. Otherwise, you can use a Google Map link and you will be on your own to find your way there.