Friday, January 20, 2012

Crowdsourced Translations

Just a link to a good post by Adam Saltsman on Gamasutra about the experience of using crowd-sourcing to localize the popular iPhone game "Canabalt" into other languages.

Say what?
The only comment that I have is regarding Adam's post is that he mentions that "the introduction of new language options has had no measurable effect on sales." It should be noted that the game has very little text, I mean hardly any at all. And of that small amount of text, you seriously don't need to read any of it to be able to understand how to play it. The game is simply tapping on the screen to jump and doesn't really even have a user-interface. Also the game is over two years old. So, chances are that anybody, even non-English speaking people, who wanted to play it have probably already gotten it and hardly suffered at all for lack of localization.

I should also note that he does say that he thinks localization was a good idea and that it is probably a better idea to have localization in for for launch as international app stores may be more likely to feature the game. I'll add that being featured early on is one of the key features to having a successful mobile game.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA Blackout Day

Today is the day a lot of major internet sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, Google and many others are blacking themselves out to raise awareness of the Software Online Protection act. If your are just learning about this whole thing now, here is a link to a CNN article that explains what it is and why you should be concerned about it.

I found some code that is supposed to black out the blog, but I'm too afraid of breaking something to try wedging it into this template code. I did install the plug in that adds the "Stop Sopa" graphic in the upper right-hand corner. I'll also post this wonderful and informative picture.

Learn what YOU can do:

Regarding SOPA and PIPA, are you actually doing anything? Posting links, re-tweeting, liking and sharing posts may raise awareness, but it isn't really doing much. 

All the major blackout sites have links that will take list your representatives websites via your zip code. They all have web-mail forms. Granted, it's just going to be read by an aid and a tally-mark added to a list, but it counts. A large number of tallies from actual voters scares the hell out of them. Politicians get money from lobbyist, not to get rich, but to buy campaign ads to get your vote and get them re-elected. Its all about YOUR VOTE! Tell them they won't get it next time if they don't vote NO on this issue.  It will take less than five minutes to fill out a web-email form for all of your representatives.

Also don't hesitate to look up their Facebook pages and post on their walls. If you're tweeting about SOPA and PIPA, throw in their @name to get their attention. Show them that you are paying attention. Tell them you are watching and that you vote.

UPDATE: It's been too long and now can't figure out how to remove the SOPA graphic on the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

iPhone Audio Controls Rant

I've been meaning to complain about this for awhile. Dreaming, nay fantasizing, about complaining about this. Really. I had this fantasy where I would be at one of those diners where you pay lots of money to sit next to somebody famous. I'd be sitting next to Steve Jobs and I would spend the entire time not just complaining, but ranting to the point where Mr. Gates wouldn't care one way or another about the problem, but just be so sick of the whole thing that he would get his people to fix it just to shut up the echo of my voice in his head.

There are two unfortunate problem with that opening. The first is that Mr. Jobs has since passed away. I pay him tribute by not saying, gone to that 'something related to Apple or Tech in general' in the sky. The second unfortunate problem is that I think that opening may have  raised your expectations of what this problem is way above my ability to express how much it gets under my skin.

Anywhere, let me present you with a picture. This is the iPhone lock screen after you've pressed the home button twice. Doing that overlays the iPod controls for the audio. You get the four main controls: back, pause/play, forward and volume.

My problem is with how close the back and forward buttons are to the centered play/pause button. Why aren't they moved off to the edge more? Do you have any idea how many time I've hit back or forward when I meant to hit play/pause? It is really easy to do and really annoying while in the car. Know that this isn't a problem while listening to music, who cares if you accidentally skip ahead to the next song. It is a problem when listening to an audiobook. Some books have really long tracks and you don't want to have to re-listen to 10-20 minutes of a book to get back to where you were. And trying to manually trying to find the exact spot where you were is annoyingly difficult and certainly not something you can do while driving.  there is no reason the back and forward buttons aren't all the way on the left and right edges of the screen.

/rant off

UPDATE: They fixed this a few patches ago. They moved the Back and Forward buttons more toward the edge of the screen. Yay.