Archive for December, 2011

Just published my newest app!

The lockscreen, Void Lock.

Here’s the Free Version: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.devjackey.voidlock

Here’s the Paid Version: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.devjackey.voidlockpaid

Here’s the icon: Not Too bad right?

Anyway, now for some information about Void Lock.

Hmm, idea started from HL requesting for a way to turn on and off her phone without pressing the power button. I put some thought into it. Put a lot of research too. Making it turn off was easy. A simple Screen Timeout to a very short time or a Administrator Access, LockNow() would lock the phone. The problem, was turning it on. There’s no easy way to do it. Actually, I should say that its impossible to do through simple app methods. Therefore, inspiration hit. The only way I could think of to avoid pressing the home button is to keep the phone always on, but just looking like its off. This way, you can lock and unlock as much as you want without pressing the power button. However, I had concerns about battery life, so after a few tests, I believe its suitable to try. Theoretically, I was thinking of making a lockscreen, so I went to make a lockscreen.

Now, a lockscreen that pretends its off has a LOT of really good benefits. Most of them to do with saving battery and security. If the phone is always on, it’ll just lose battery from being awake, but normally the phone loses battery the most through its display. If the brightness is all the way down, then no battery is lost through that. Still loss from being awake, but one thing draining is less harsh than two things draining. Now about security, I wrote up a Demo Version without the Gestures feature and showed a lot of people. Every Single One of them thought my phone was off, battery was dead, or phone froze. Not a single one even considered that my phone was on, but pretending to be off. Now, this offers up a LOT of possibilities. Most of them involved with the possibility of someone taking the phone. For example, if I had tracking apps going on, the thief wouldn’t even be able to see that. Furthermore, if the thief thought the phone wasn’t on in the first place, then they wouldn’t think about turning an off phone off right? So this would give someone a higher chance at recovering their phone.

Now, I got the basic ideas down, but now for the fun part. How would I unlock it? Well answer was pretty simple. If the phone was pretending to be off, I can’t exactly have icons on the screen like other lockscreens right? I’ll have to unlock stuff through irregular methods such as Gestures or Key combination presses. I decided to use both. For Key presses, any key but the home key and power key can be used. I didn’t put any restrictions on them, so you could unlock by pressing one key or pressing 100. The amount of combinations possible just screamed out, “SECURE”. Now for gestures, I was a bit worried about the accuracy of gestures, but it turns out that Google did a VERY good job. As long as your gesture isn’t a simple simple one, its also very very secure. However, accuracy is still a slight problem because I noticed myself messing up 2 out of 10 times. This is why the key combinations is the backup unlock method. I will make key combinations to be Unlock only, because too much possible key combinations would just lead you to forget if  the combination you’re thinking of is Unlock or turn on wifi. At this point, I can talk more about the Gestures. Because gestures are associated with shapes, I can put in features from other lockscreens such as Launching apps directly from the lockscreen. Very useful feature. I decided, I can also do gestures for settings. Since, its just a nice convenience. Say you’re at a meeting and you need to vibrate your phone quickly. Normal lockscreens would require you to first press the Power button, then unlock the lockscreen, enter in password if its password protected, THEN pull down the handy notification bar to change to vibrate. My lockscreen handles this in a much more convenient way. Press the power button, then draw the gesture for Vibrate Phone. Actually, if you’re using the WakeLock mode where you DO want to keep the phone always on, you could easily just take out the phone and draw the Vibrate gesture. So quick and simple. Let’s try a different scenario. Let’s say you left the house. You need to turn off wifi because it would drain your battery a LOT from constantly scanning around you. Same amount of steps for regular lockscreens and same amount of steps for my lockscreen. Its just much easier to access.

Now, this app was very fun to make and very fun to show friends. I could see big things going for it and I plan to expand on it a lot more.

Took me about a month to make the app. Hard part was definitely finding ways to make sure the lockscreen was secure!

After I was done, I had to think about pricing. Initially, I thought about charging about $4 for it, since I saw other lockscreen apps around that price on the market. In addition, I was planning to put up a limited trial version for about 7 days. This goes against my normal policy of Free Full Version with ads and Paid Full Version without Ads. I normally went that way because I’m poor and I know the feeling of wanting a paid full app, but not wanting to spend the money on it. Therefore, I decided all my apps will be full versions for both free and paid, except that the free with have ads to pay for my meals and paid will be like a Donation to me. However, for this app… well I thought it would have been stupid to put ads on a lockscreen. Especially if that lockscreen is pretending to be off. Imagine this: Guy picks up my phone. “Phone is OFF! O.O” then… an Ad pops up. Guy: “Oh.” He clicks the Ad and now he’s in.

So, I gave up on the idea of ads on free apps, and decided to just hope they’ll buy the paid version after using the free trial, but… something about that just doesn’t settle with me. I really didn’t like the feeling of selling apps that way. Then, I played a game of Word With Friends, and I noticed ONE thing. There was an Ad after every move! Of course, I could do the same thing! I could stick back to my original policy and still avoid putting Ads in the lockscreen, by putting the Ad after a successful Unlock. However, this would be annoying, since I unlock my phone constantly. So, I put up a new rule, Ads will only show up once every two hours.

Now, its 5AM, and my longest post since I’ve made this blog is now OVER.

Hopefully, I’ll go back to writing here more. But, I’ve been writing a lot in diary these days.


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Lack of updates…

Wow! I haven’t made updates on this blog after I made the diary app. Been recording all my progress on there instead.

My new lockscreen app is almost done. Pretty proud of myself, spent one month to do it and that month was spent doing schoolwork and studying for finals.

I should be able to release the lockscreen by the end of today. All I’m missing is just the app icon.

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