Dundee Radio Android Apps

21st February 2012

The Discover Radio App is available in the Android Market Place

One thing that I find irritating about internet radio, is the fact that it is well designed to be listened to on your computer, but not on your phone.  Smartphones actually play internet radio very well, the issue is that for most, it is a little tricky to first of all, find a media player that can play streaming audio but then, it’s even more tricky to find out the internet radio address for the station you need.  These addresses are rarely publicised visually and require digging through website or playlist code to track down.

The station that I was having issues with was Dundee University’s own Discover Radio.  After tracking down the address for the radio stream, I found it tricky to find an easy to use player on Android that I could just feed this address.  This seemed odd to me as the Android MediaPlayer class can play these streams natively.

So I decided to make an Android App to do this for me.  The Discover Radio App is now available to download from the Android Market Place.

A few tweaks of the code and the Strathclyde Fusion app was made available too.

With a friend of mine being a DJ at Strathclyde University’s Strathclyde Fusion, I’d already become irritated by the lack of web player on their website, the link provided to listen to their station only produced a windows media player playlist which, when I’m working on my Mac, is not natively supported.  So with a few tweaks to the code, out came the Strathclyde Fusion app too.

Now Discover Radio, being a student radio station, has a habit of going off air, mainly at night or on Sundays when there aren’t enough students on campus to keep it running.  With this in mind, I wanted to listen to my other local radio stations, TayFM, Wave102 and TayAM.

The Dundee Radio App lets you listen to all four of Dundee's radio stations.

Once again, no apps existed for these stations and so I compiled all of my efforts into one single app, Dundee Radio for Android will allow you to listen to all four radio stations native to the fair city of Dundee.

Chip Counter for Android

3rd October 2011

Available In Android MarketChip Counter is a free app, now available in the Android Market Place, that lets you set the values of different coloured poker chips and then simply say how many of each one you have, giving you a quick and instant total of how much you have.

Update: Chip Counter now has a handy Poker Hand Ranking Screen for people who struggle to remember them all.

Just say how many of each chip you have and touch the "Calculate" button.

Recently I’ve started playing poker with my friends and every time we do this we get to the end and as you do, we start counting up our chips.  Problem is, we always made mistakes and would end up counting and recounting our chips, adding up the total in our head or digging out pieces of paper to keep track of our progress.

Ok so maybe we’re just not that fantastic at mental maths, I’m a computer scientist, not a mathematician, so I thought “surely there’s an app for that?”  I grabbed my phone and searched, there was not!  Or at least, not one that matched my search terms.

Now we have just been working on a project at uni which resulted in us deciding to make an Android app so I had literally just taught myself how to make Android apps and seeing as the idea of counting chips like this was really, ridiculously simple, I figured I’d just write it.  So here it is, Chip Counter for Android.

When you open it, you’ll see a selection of eleven different coloured chips, just put the value of the chips that you want to use (I only needed four of them) and hit save.  Now, when ever you open the app, you’ll see your selected chips, just type in how many of each chip you have and touch the “Calculate” button.

I hope you like it, I may make it look prettier later but for now, it does the trick.  (Update: have now made the buttons and title bar have a gradient and curved corners.)

Chip Counter now has a handy screen to show you different poker hands that can be reached through your menu button.

Getting in the Market Place

I’ve only very recently switched to Android and of course one thing I knew about the Android Market Place compared to the Apple App Store that I’ve been using for three years is that it is a lot easier for developers to get in.

The first and most obvious thing is that to become an Apple iOS developer, I have to pay $99… every year.  Android on the other hand is a $25 one off registration fee.

There is something that bothers me about Android though.  In the Apple App Store, I know that every app has been checked and approved by Apple.  This means that Apple believe it is safe for me to use it.  When I submitted my App to the market however, it was instantly available to download!

Now on some level, they don’t need to be as thorough as I have to place in my code exactly what permissions my app needs (in this case, none) and so there’s not as much risk, people know what they’re getting into, i.e. they know that an app will be looking at their contacts or that an app needs location data.  But that’s not stopping me from lying about everything else.  My app might not have been a chip counter, what if it had been filled with hardcore pornography?  (it is not).  It does make me take a second take though, I’m sure I’ll be more careful about what I do and don’t install on my phone in future, now that I know that anything can get in the market place without people looking at it.  Or perhaps I’m missing something obvious.

What do you think?  Should the Android Market screen all apps?  What if it raised the cost to developers?