Upcycle Your Old Smartphones and Tablets

I’m not normally much of a hippie or a Martha Stewart type, but I somehow got to thinking about the technology graveyard in my closet. Everyone has one. You know, the one with your clickwheel iPod, the Kyocera phone with an LCD screen, or the 2 megapixel Sony camera. The stuff your phone replaced, and then two more phones replaced that before they themselves ended up in the graveyard.

So what’s in my tech graveyard? Lots of stuff I thought was amazing back in the day. A Casio Databank calculator watch, a 40gb Flashtrax, a 128mb MP3 player, a GP32, a Nokia N-Gage, and the list goes on. Also, two old iPods (1st Gen, 4th Gen) and an iPhone 3G. I got to thinking, you know, these iPods could live a new life as a tiny photo frame, or clock, or kitchen computer, or…

…maybe an IP camera? Is that even possible?

It is, actually.

In my attempt to turn these old iOS devices into IP cameras, I found a couple of apps that did the trick. The first one I tried was IP Cam Pro by Senstic. This one was all right, but I ended up going with ipCam by SKJM, which was a more compatible solution, and cheaper. Don’t let the reviews scare you, those people obviously don’t understand what an IP camera actually does. ipCam runs all the way down to iOS 4, which meant I could use the old iPhone 3G and iPod 4th Gen, but not the first gen Touch, so that one went back to the graveyard. However, once attached to a solution such as a Belkin video dock, you now have a working IP camera from something that was collecting dust. Be sure to set a static IP on the device and you’re all set.

I also attempted this with my old Android 2.3 phone, and it was even easier. I used IP Webcam by Pavel Khlebovich, which is an excellent piece of software, and free for what I needed it for. Of course, with Android you have true multitasking, which allows this program to hide in the background and start on bootup. This additionally allows you to give the old phone a secondary use while it sits in a dock, so I figured a photo frame / clock would be a great option. The app I chose was Photo Slides by Softick, which was also free and worked beautifully. As a bonus, you can set it to automatically start itself when connected to a charger, and close when disengaged, making it able to start on bootup and close itself if you want to remove it from the dock and use it as a surfing device. So from a cold bootup, it works 100% without having to configure or launch anything.

The Android solution of installing IP Webcam + Photo Slides ended up being an incredibly useful way to reuse a graveyard-bound smartphone. The iOS devices, on the other hand, can’t do anything but show the camera feed or show a blank screen, and neither of those keep it from being an eyesore. I wrote an email to the developer of ipCam to see if something could be done about that, but we’ll see. Knowing Apple, probably not.

Now my house seems to be covered in cameras, and my concerns start, since I don’t want to creep out visitors. However, I think the Android solution at least is a bit more elegant and discreet. People don’t get that big brother feeling in their stomach while staring at a smartphone, like they do staring at an IP camera hanging from the ceiling. And obviously, there are some places where the cameras should never be. In my house, for instance, the 2nd floor (all bedrooms) is a camera-free zone, and the computer rooms as well.

Anyway. I also had an iPad 3rd Gen laying around that only gets used when I’m developing stuff. Although I could go the ipCam route with it, I decided I always wanted a refrigerator with a tablet built in, but didn’t want to spend $4k for it.

The solution? I purchased a tablet refrigerator mount and a 10ft charger cable on eBay. Then I ran the cable around the fridge with neodymium magnets. Easy as that, and now my $400 fridge is a $4k fridge. It got me thinking, I’d like to make a “FridgeOS” app for it. Something with recipes, inventory, shopping list, and other goodies. Perhaps I’ll develop this another day. Perhaps one day I won’t be busy.

The 21st Century Gentleman

In the middle of one of those tired old “is chivalry dead?” arguments I got to thinking about what makes a modern gentleman. Given that chivalry is no longer part of what makes a gentleman (good riddance), it raises the question of how a classy gentleman could be defined these days. I think this is pretty much how I would define it, and by the way, in the spirit of equality, this list should generally apply to ladies as well.

Rule 1: Absolutely no fedoras. Being an obnoxiously-dressed neckbeard does not make one a gentleman. Unless you can successfully rock a zoot suit in your ’90s style ska band, don’t wear a fedora/trilby… and if you are in a ska band, you should really question the direction your life is going.

Rule 2: The modern gentleman rarely discusses religion and politics. When he does, it is discussed with tact and civility, and usually only with friends and family. A gentleman does not spread fake quotes through social media and complain about political correctness. He does not spend his time on social media whining about being short-changed by some race/gender/orientation. He does not post conspiracy theories on social media.

Rule 3: A gentleman brushes his teeth. Shaves. Smells nice. I don’t know why I have to post this, but a gentleman does not make public distasteful noises and/or smells with his body. For some reason IT staff have a hard time grasping this.

Rule 4: A gentleman has a go-to drink. Maybe he enjoys single malt whisky. Maybe he’s more of a mai-tai guy (no shame in that in the 21st century). If he’s creative, he has his own signature cocktails. He has something he can come home to after a hard day.

Rule 5: A gentleman is chivalrous… to everyone. Chivalry is dead not because it’s wrong to be nice to women, but because equal courtesy should be extended to men as well. Be respectful to all that haven’t lost your respect, but never be patronizing or sexist.

Rule 6: A gentleman respects that everyone has a different journey in life. Until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, never accuse them of having some sort of privilege that you don’t, or that their lifestyle is inferior to yours. That’s tacky and rude. So what if someone was born into a rich family? So what if someone is on welfare?

Rule 7: A gentleman has hobbies, but doesn’t take them too far. Men are the worst at this. Don’t spend a large portion of your money to complete a video game collection or buy recreational drugs. Don’t have more cars than will fit in your garage. Don’t own 142 guns. And for the love of God, don’t buy giant inflatable ponies to keep in your bedroom.

Rule 8: A gentleman knows when to censor himself. Restrain yourself from overuse of expletives, or they lose their effect. A 21st century gentleman can curse sparingly, but not within earshot of unknown parties. Avoid discussions of genitalia, especially at the table. Art is art, but conversation is ultimately an art of restraint.

Rule 9: A gentleman can find social and intellectual well-being without drugs and alcohol, if necessary. A gentleman knows his limit and actively avoids getting drunk and obnoxious.

Rule 10: A gentleman is never a victim. A gentleman accepts their life as the sum of what they have put into it. It may not be exactly what they want it to be, but…

Rule 11: A gentleman is driven. They know what they want out of their life, and they spend every day trying to achieve. However, a gentleman is capable of relaxing and leaving work problems at work.

Rule 12: A gentleman has few enemies. They don’t start petty fights on social media. They forgive those who have wronged them, because having many enemies makes life even more difficult and emotionally draining.

Rule 13: A gentleman does not objectify the gender of his affection. However, he doesn’t allow the opposite sex to shame him when he wants to empower himself.

Rule 14: A gentleman is calm. He doesn’t freak out over things. A gentleman doesn’t get outraged every week on Facebook.

Rule 15: A gentleman is unique. You cannot place a gentleman into a subculture just by looking at him. He is not part of any collective. He is himself, and is comfortable being himself.

Rule 16: A gentleman is independent. He is organized and knows how to cook and clean when necessary. He doesn’t rely on others to carry him through life.

Rule 17: A gentleman surprises others with their compassion when it is not expected. He is kind and charitable.

Rule 18: A gentleman does not enter into a relationship he does not belong in.

Rule 19: A gentleman has healthy masculinity, but is not afraid of having a feminine side. Some may wear a scarf. Some may carry a man-purse. But no hipster may ever be a gentleman (see #15).

Rule 20: A gentleman does not boast about his finances, and lives a modest lifestyle.

Disclaimer: I am not the perfect gentleman, as I fail a few rules. Most people do. In my opinion, one should strive for as many of these as possible.

My First World Problem

My sense of smell is completely gone.

Apparently this happens after a long battle with the flu. It has been several months since I got over the worst sickness I’ve ever had in my life, and I still have not regained my ability to smell. It seems like it would be a trivial thing, but it has affected my life in unfortunate ways. My ability to taste food has been muted about 20-50%. I can’t tell if milk is expired. I can’t tell if the oven is burning. I can’t smell freshly-cut grass, a woman’s perfume, or summer flowers in the morning rain, or any number of random smells that unlock some faint memory from childhood you forgot you had. Honestly, it really sucks.

I guess I’ll see a doctor about it, but it’s probably one of those things that either comes back, or doesn’t. Once your olfactory nerves are damaged, that’s it, they’re gone forever. Sometimes I get hope, though. I can detect some smells if they’re pungent enough (pepper, vinegar, onions), but even then I think that is my nose reacting to those scents because of acid content, etc.. I can also sometimes detect some scents, but they do not smell the least bit correct… more like a moldy, mucus-y smell.

It could be worse, I suppose… I could have gone blind, or deaf, or lost a limb. Heck, people die from the flu all the time. But I still feel like I have to retrain myself to live life as best I can with what I have left.

Wi-Fi Thermostats are Awesome

There comes a time when a man is unsupervised for 2 weeks, and random household projects take place. Gutter cleaning, hedge trimming, pump re-piping, mysterious projects involving an angle grinder, and on top of all this, the start of what will become numerous home automation experiments.

Anyway, I made the purchase of a Wi-Fi thermostat. It is a Filtrete 3M-50, and it rocks. The same thermostat is also labeled as a Radio Thermostat CT50 and other models. I found mine as an open box model on eBay, figuring some poor guy bought it and couldn’t figure out the wiring. Judging by the few missing wire labels but otherwise perfect condition, I figured right.

Hardware installation was surprisingly easy. Thermostat wiring is somewhat standardized, although my Trane unit threw a curveball at me as far as the “C” wire, which happens to be the most important wire to get a modern thermostat working. On a Trane, it turns out this wire is labeled “B”, and it took some research to figure this out (even Nest’s website couldn’t determine my setup). Anyway, I put the 6 or so wires in their place, fired it up, and it has worked ever since.

The Wi-Fi setup is slightly weird, and maybe it doesn’t look as sexy as a Nest, but it works well, doesn’t need a battery, has a touchscreen, a scheduler, and an app to adjust temperature and scheduling settings. But the thing that sold me on it… get this, it has a well-documented JSON-based REST API. *drools uncontrollably*

Why did I buy this passé, beige, how-you-say… uninspired box when I could have bought a Nest? I guess this would be why…

1) Nest had no open API. The only info I could find was reverse-engineered. It looked nice though.
2) Nest requires the cloud. As far as I could tell, you can’t address it on your network directly.
3) I wasn’t sold on the automatic scheduling. It has to see you for that to work, and my thermostat is in a room with no real traffic.
4) Their website suggested it was incompatible with my wiring. This turned out to be untrue.
5) There are a lot of scary Amazon reviews out there. Either you love it, or it destroys your life (and freezes your pipes). Not much in-between.
6) It uses a lithium ion battery. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to replace the batteries on a thermostat every 3 years.
7) There was apparently a (forced) software update bug that bricked a lot of people’s thermostats in the middle of winter.
8) I don’t care what the hardware interface looks like… if it’s doing its job I shouldn’t have to look at it or touch it.

I’m not a Nest Labs hater or anything though. I like their Nest Protect product, even though it has a few problems of its own, and I may end up purchasing one or two of them. Heck, does anyone else make a Wi-Fi smoke detector?

So, I managed to write an extremely basic class in PHP that allows me to get and set the temperature, and I’ll be releasing it on GitHub soon as part of a big project I’m working on. A project which is getting closer and closer to release. 🙂

#OneSpark #EdSpark #YearOfAwesome #lolhashtags

So, since I’m not busy enough these days I decided to help out my friend Courtney with a project of hers she wanted to enter into OneSpark. If you’re not familiar with OneSpark, it’s a crowdfunding festival in Jacksonville that helps get innovation and investors in the same place, to help local projects get funded. That’s the idea at least, but in practice it’s more like an idea some rich bohemians came up with to get people to remember that downtown Jacksonville exists, while simultaneously not really managing to get anybody’s projects off the ground.

Alas, I promised myself this would not turn into a rant. 🙂

The idea we entered is a nifty one. It is an ABA Therapy App (in fact, that’s the name) that allows behavior analysts and therapists to work more efficiently with autistic children. Right now it supports manding, assorted flashcards, and analytics, but we want to do all sorts of useful things with the app. The prototype is currently written in jQuery Mobile, but it may be rewritten natively for the final version. All in all it is a pretty exciting project and we got a lot of great feedback. We also got some wonderful funding and met some great allies in our cause.

screenshot-numbers

This was all born out of a pact we all made called the “Year of Awesome.” I know that sounds like some kind of Honda used car sales event, but really all it is, is the promise that we’re going to have our twenties go out with a bang instead of a whimper. You know, get the ball rolling on stuff that should have been rolling years ago, like starting a business and building cool ideas. So this was a way to do just that, and I think we succeeded. Maybe we didn’t win prizes or anything, but we built something, attracted the investors we needed, and got a nice booth at EdSpark. And hey, we got more funding than most. Now there are some next steps to take care of, and you’ll soon be seeing some exciting new mobile projects from me.

The Year of Awesome is go.

Moon Boogie

My latest game involves driving a jumping pink jalopy around on the moon, whilst shooting heart-shaped bullets at aliens. Believe it or not, no LSD was involved in the making of this app.

Moon Patrol is one of my all-time favorite games (I even have the standup arcade game), so it was only a matter of time before I wrote my own version. It follows the same formula, but I changed a few things here and there. I actually wrote a Moon Patrol clone about a decade ago, but the source code got lost in a drive crash… this one is better anyway, haha.

screen568x568

Get Moon Boogie for Android
Get Moon Boogie for iOS

You’ll notice the iOS version costs 99 cents, while the Android version is free. The reason for this is the Android version is way easier to port than the iOS version, and I don’t have to pay $99 a year for a developer license like I do with Apple. Also, what I’ve noticed is Android users expect everything to be free (like Windows and Linux software), while iOS users are fine with paying a buck or two (like MacOS software). So, lots of reasons.

The holes were the hardest thing to implement. The game is extremely difficult, even for me, the guy who made the game. I spent probably 3 days trying to track down a weird Android bug, but I spent even longer cursing at Xcode over a file path bug. One final note: Disco Nick is hidden in the game, as usual.

Enjoy.

It’s Good to be Back

So it’s been a few months since I’ve been back home now.

Home.

For those of you that don’t know, I moved from Atlanta back to Jacksonville in November and no longer have to live in a small house with 6 other people. I no longer have to take huge trips from ATL to JAX. I no longer have to deal with Atlanta traffic. I no longer have to come home to my house every few months and see what an overgrown disaster my lawn has become. I no longer have to pay for a house I don’t even live in. I can now live in my own home, in my own city. With money not being squandered on living in two places at once.

Life is good again.

That’s all I really wanted to say, is my life is awesome. Maybe it’s the mai tais talking, but I’m in love with life, and I can’t wait until summer.

546817_500

All this pretense. It has to stop.

.guru domain names? That’s so 2006. Why not .rockstar, .ninja, or .zombiecloudevangelist? How am I supposed to be a pretentious expert on the internets with only one vanity TLD to choose from?

No, I’m not really here to whine about top level domain names, but I am going to rant nonetheless. And this rant has been a long time coming, so sit back (or run away).

This whole industry is sick – and I mean the whole thing – broken. I hate this.

I hate that being a web designer means you have to belt out the same tired “San Francisco startup” website, or the “Cupertino frosted glass flat UI” look. I hate that if you try to stray from these two designs, some turtlenecked UX team lead will throw your portfolio in the trash.

I hate that being a backend developer requires you to learn some unproven language that got invented last month so the CTO can impress people in his mentor circle. I hate that the industry, after all these years, is still focused primarily on esoteric concepts like programming languages, as if syntax will make any measurable difference in your project’s outcome.

I hate that being a frontend developer has turned from an artform to a Bootstrap and Angular lovefest. I hate that I like Bootstrap and Angular.

I hate that startups have become wild idealist utopias for urbanites to pretend they’re making a difference while funding their caffeine addictions. I hate that I don’t want to live downtown simply because the fixie-obsessed fake people who live there make me feel dead inside.

I hate that being a designer means you have to put mustaches and birds all over everything dang thing. I hate that the art of design has been all but lost in the fits-all world of One Right Palette. One Right Framework. One Right Strategy.

I hate that we’re all visually screened in Skype interviews to make sure we wear an ample amount of man-scarves, facial hair, or nerd glasses. I hate that I somewhat fit this description.

I hate that we take orders from Chris Coyier, James Padolsey, and Jony Ive like they’re some kind of warlords that will lead us to a happy rainbow battle. I hate that your own ideas are garbage until they copy off you, at which point it becomes genius.

I hate that I build stuff nobody asked for, with no research to back up its purpose. I hate how it all gets thrown out in the end, with maybe a shred or two left to the Github wolves.

I hate that analysts play up the death of the desktop, while ignoring the soon-to-come trend of mobile burnout once the market hits saturation. I hate that this is all becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I hate the mobile-first ideology that is responsible for ugly, uninspired desktop experiences. I hate that these are being created and championed by people who call themselves user experience experts, who know how to create great responsive websites but choose to be lazy.

I hate that every website wants to present me with some kind of dizzying parallaxed nightmare because there’s a jQuery plugin on one of Smashing’s top 10 lists that makes it easy. I hate that I wrote one of those plugins.

I hate that designers are forgetting the art of good design and selling out to the marketing science and tech whimsy. I hate how every self-proclaimed internet ninja fancies themselves social marketing experts.

I hate that when ideas are born in the industry, the first question is, “how much could I beg for this on Kickstarter before Google buys me?” I hate how I can’t remember the punctuation rules for that last sentence.

I hate that Big Data is driving every new management decision. I hate how nobody really knows what Big Data is.

I hate SCRUM worship. I hate lean worship. I hate the worship of one-size-fits-all ideas.

I hate how we’ve gotten caught up in this gold rush of “the next big thing.” I hate how the tech media is trying to invent the need for wearables and the internet of things.

I hate all this interdependence on random cloud APIs. I hate how these APIs keep getting rewritten or disappear altogether.

I hate that I have to delete my voicemails without even listening to them, due to sheer magnitude of job recruiters contacting me even though I removed my resume listings months ago (because Career Builder sucks). I hate how, 5 years from now, I’m going to look back at that statement and shake my head.

I hate how I’m expected to move to The Valley if I want to be someone in the industry. I hate how, in the age of the Internet, this somehow matters.

I hate that I’ve had this iPad for over a year and can’t figure out what to do with it besides watch Cookie Monster sing Tom Waits songs. I hate that I faced an epic inner conflict about whether or not to target=”_blank” that link.

I hate how nobody really knows what I do. I hate how my industry job title has changed four times, but I’m still doing the exact same job.

I hate how “innovation” doesn’t stand for anything anymore. I hate how it has been reduced to another corporate buzzword, or to describe peanut butter flavored Pop-Tarts.

I hate the fakeness. I hate the pointlessness.

I hate that I wrote this, and I hate that you had to read it.

Album Reviews: Crystal Castles, The Birthday Massacre, Depeche Mode, David Bowie

Here’s something I don’t usually do. I’m going to review some of the interesting albums that came out this year and what I think of them, like anyone here cares. But at any rate, here you are.

Crystal Castles: III
Back in 10th grade, I went through a short-lived nihilist phase. I’m not sure if it was inspired by The Big Lebowski and my desire to pass out in a swimming pool, carry swords and marmots around, and put out electronic records, but it looks like it inspired Canadian Duo Crystal Castles to do the latter. The album’s concept can be best described as nihilistic. The band has always been about creating hard-to-listen, lo-fi punktronica, but they’ve slowly been moving away from their roots and into the realm of throwaway dance music. Which, admittedly, is something that nihilists would do.

Let me just be frank… this album sucks. It starts off well enough with Plague, which is a pretty decent song, but then it drops off entirely from there. From here on it’s mostly generic club music, with an annoying volume ducking effect on nearly every track that will make you think your speakers are busted. It was an incredibly stupid decision for them to make, and especially makes me angry that a band that used to be good at being lo-fi would stoop to insane levels of over-production. With the post-production effects removed, the album might even be decent. Insulin is a more experimental song that will remind you of their first album, but it only lasts a minute or so, and then it gets back to more dance floor junk. Then they wind down the usual way with Child I Will Hurt You, with a song that isn’t too bad, but isn’t enough to save the album.
Score: 1/5

The Birthday Massacre: Hide and Seek
Also hailing from Canada, the land of hit-or-miss artists, comes synth-rock band The Birthday Massacre’s new album. I’ve been a huge fan of TBM since 2006, so I’ll try to keep this review as unbiased as possible.
This album is a significant departure from their usual style, but not by much. The basic formula is still there… mostly cinematic 1980s style progression mixed with occasional angry industrial rock tracks. The album starts with Leaving Tonight, which is a beautiful song that I instantly fell in love with; it really hits you over the head with what this band is about: haunting vocals, keytar solos, magic synthesizers, and dark subject matter. Next, the angry track this time is Down, which is by far the most angry song they’ve ever made, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best. After that, it’s hit or miss, which kinda breaks my heart to admit. However, the middle tracks Alibis and One Promise start to pick things up. From there, things start winding down again, but perhaps not as prematurely. Overall, it’s still a good album, but the more computerized, dancy feel they’ve given this album seems like it’s holding itself back from being a lot better. I’m hoping I can learn to appreciate some of these songs more as time passes, and I hope they can get a different producer than Kevvy Mental… I’m not really sure he “gets” what they’re supposed to be about.
Score: 3.5/5

Depeche Mode: Delta Machine
I’ve been a Depeche Mode fan for the longest time, even though every album they’ve ever put out is the same story… a couple of amazing songs, and then the rest is filler. This is no different.
It starts off pretty amazing. The first three tracks: Welcome to my World, Angel, and Heaven are all spectacular… and then I forget the rest. But even for those first songs, it’s at least worth a listen; at least they make it easy to skip over the rest.
Score: 2.5/5

David Bowie: The Next Day
Bowie’s first album in 10 years is great. I’ve never been a huge Bowie fan, but I definitely have a respect for him. That said, I’m happy with the album but it’s still not really my thing. “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” gets a respectable place on my car MP3 player, until I get bored of it. But hey, that’s something.
Score: 3/5

Skinny Puppy: Weapon
Skinny Puppy (Canadian band again), is another one of those bands that have been around forever but isn’t my favorite band, either. This album was a departure from their ohGr-esque rapping and back to their 80s industrial roots, a genre they played a huge part in inventing. Now, I like ohGr, and I loved their last album (which oddly enough sounded more like a Skinny Puppy album), and this album is definitely interesting. Wornin’ is definitely my style, but from there it gets incredibly repetitive, but their music has traditionally been that way. I like it for what it is, a sort-of throwback with modern production (they even have a great cover of their old song, Solvent), but it ain’t The Process either. And I don’t care what you say, that was the best album they ever did, and one of my favorite albums of all time.
Score: 3/5

Front Line Assembly: Echogenetic
Another band from Canada, eh? FLA is always a fascinating band. Their sound is always evolving, and always trying modern electronic techniques to see what sticks. Their 80s music sounded like what you think it would. In the 90s it was guitar-driven heavy metal. In the aughts it was IDM and drum n’ bass. And now… well… dubstep.
Now I’ve dropped that (bass-filled) bombshell, it’s still respectable industrial. I mean, if you want to get down to it, them and other bands like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher basically invented most of what dubstep is, a decade before it got labeled that way. So what you end up getting is a nice mix of what makes FLA cool, plus a little of what’s cool about dubstep (you know, the glitchiness and bass-dropping) without the Skrillexy high-pitched moans, rapping, and the screaming demand to call 911 at any given time. So it’s not as bad as you think, but I still like Artificial Soldier better.
Score: 3/5

Fantasy Healthcare

I have an announcement to make: I placed 3rd in the Robert Wood Johnson foundation’s Games to Generate Data Challenge. I have been secretly working on this project for most of the year, and now that it’s over, I can talk about what I’ve been building.

Fantasy Healthcare is a game that allows friends (in the Wisconsin area for this version) to create their own healthcare provider dream team and pit it against other friends and players online. The provider data and provider names are 100% real, but the doctor/department names have been changed to protect the innocent. The idea is that players will better familiarize themselves with providers in the area, while also learning which providers perform best in certain areas.

The interesting part of all this is how it all got started. At my public sector job, I joined up with a group that was looking to enter the Games to Generate Data Challenge as a team, but alas, government red tape (and lawyers) prevented this from happening. However, since I was a contractor, I was able to take an idea of my own into the challenge and see how far it would get. It ended up being a good enough idea to place in the Top 5, so from there I developed the game on my own.

Fantasy Healthcare is written in HTML5, Canvas, CSS3, Javascript, jQuery, jQuery Mobile, PHP, and MySQL. The back end stuff runs on a Linux server. The Canvas stuff is also cross-compiled to native iOS and Android platforms for the efficiency and fast performance you expect from a game. I did it all myself, so considering I competed with some large teams and some big industry players, I guess I did pretty well for 3rd place.

So besides winning some nice prizes, I also got a trip to Boston to attend Games for Health, and a trip to the Health 2.0 Conference in San Jose to see the winner announcements. First off, Ben Sawyer’s Games for Health project in Boston was a wonderful experience, and I wish I were able to go again. There are really some amazing interactive ideas out there ready to transform the industry. As far as Health 2.0, I also had a great time hanging out in the Valley, drinking local brews and eating some In-N-Out Burger. The 1st and 2nd Place winners were totally deserving of their prizes, each having some fun-looking and interesting games, and I sincerely wish them all the best with their endeavors.

While I was in San Jose I got caught up in the government shutdown, but that’s a story for another time.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Health 2.0 are doing some wonderful things right now to provoke and promote bleeding edge ideas in the healthcare industry, so be sure to visit their challenge site.

What’s next for Fantasy Healthcare? I’d like to publish the apps and expand it to more cities. This will take some time I don’t have at the moment, though. In the meantime, it is available here for anyone to play with.