Hacking at hackathons

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I just love hackathons. For those who doesn’t know what a hackathons is, in short; Hackathon is usually a software developers gathering where teams and individuals create something from scratch before the hackathon ends. It usually lasts 12 to 24 hours. And why I love it so much? I learn something new each time I attend a hackathon; I set a goal to complete the project on time; and all that by hanging out with the like-minded people. Love it!

A month ago, WhoHack (WhoAPI startup) team went to Osijek to OSChackathon #2. We have built something amazing and even too ambitious. We created a car racing game built on these technologies: Objective C (iOS App), node.js/socket.io (for multiplayer), HTML5 (front-end game engine). Too bad I can’t show you, haven’t record it yet. It requires few people to demonstrate :) But.. you can watch us presenting it, without a sound and not the best picture quality but hey, at least something: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjGisKZE1DY#t=3124s

My latest adventure was at the local’s 10 people (friends) hackathon, officially called HackWorks. Our lead hacker, Damir Sarcevic, had the best project, prepared the grill and fed us all :). I was working on a remake of the game my old game development team and I made, long ago. The game is CaveShip.

You can check the PC original here:
http://generationstars.com/?game=4

Hackathon mobile version, here:
http://budimilic.com/games/caveship/

Open it on you phone in landscape mode and touch the screen to keep the ship up from the gravity pull. If you still want it to try on your PC, press the UP key for the same effect. Game still doesn’t have any game rules like ship energy, level selection, a menu, etc.. I’m happy with the work done.

Check the photo gallery Kornelije Sajler took while working on his project:
http://flickr.com/photos/23706006@N03/sets/72157633879185633/

Next time I’ll try something bit harder. I’ll try to create a remake of Speedy Lander, using Corona engine writing code in Lua. Wish me luck!

Bypass the iPhone 4/4S passcode security lock

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I’ve watched a video on YouTube where some guy bypassed the security lock on his jailbroken iPhone by viciously pulling and inserting his SIM card; some crazy method to bypass the lock and see the phone contacts :) definitely not worth a try if you found a locked iPhone in some bar ;) By watching that video, a thought came to my mind, actually two of them. Why this guy didn’t tried to tap the “contacts” button while on an emergency call, and why he didn’t try to launch the multitasking by double tapping the home button. I have tried both methods and it worked!

Double tapping the home button while on a Emergency call screen showed all the previously used apps, you could easily switch between them but not go to the home screen; so I tried the other method. Call the iPhone from your other phone if you know the number, answer it, tap the “contacts” button and now hit the home button; that’s it! You’re on a home screen with full control over device. Don’t forget this only works on jailbroken devices, I have tested it on iOS 4.2.1 and iOS 5.01.

Check the video:

Ultimate question for all startups?

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Are you up to the challenge with possible failure which can put your social life in second place and risk your relationship with love ones?

Don’t hope to be in those 5% of startups that succeed with little to no trouble. Startups can be really hard! I can just tell you to brace yourself because you learn only with your own failures. Good advices can only prepare you for a good hit, be it a good or a bad one.

What do you think is the Ultimate question somebody can ask you as a startup?

AutoPullRepo – a Bitbucket project

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AutoPullRepo - a Bitbucket projectI’m a Bitbucket.org user and please don’t judge me for that. There are a lot of different opinions about Bitbucket vs. GitHub, but mine is the only one that matters to me since I’m extremely satisfied with the features and the use of Bitbucket. Why would I switch to any other source control service? Now that we cleared that out, let’s talk about this post’s subject. :)

 

The problem:

Actualy two of them. I have a hosting account in Slovenia, they block all foreign IP’s to connect to FTP, so It’s pain in the but to make some changes on the script there. My other problem (while working on WhoAPI); if you have let’s say 20 hosting accounts all over the world and you need to update the same script that’s on all of them, how would you do it? (no control of the server modules, so no automatic deployment)

 
The research:

I found no scripts that can solve these problems. I’m sure that they exists, but I lost two (if not more) hours trying to find a finished and a working one.

 
The solution:

I made a script (one file) that you upload to your server, change two lines of code, set the Bitbucket settings to ping the script as soon as you make the change to your files on your repository (30sec. job) and you’re done! What this script does is it download’s your script from the Bitbucket repository and extracts it, so you have the latest version of your script always live.

No FTP, no drag&dropping files or scp-ing to the server directly. Out of the box solution for easy automatic script deployment. And yes, It’s in PHP :/ I would like to write the same thing in Python, and Node.js version would be cool as well.

Check it out here: https://bitbucket.org/edifreak/autopullrepo
 

Our first iPhone app in development

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Yep, after long wait we’re finally doing it. Here’s the story. We loved what we saw when iPhone was first introduced and the potential after Android showed what can be done with the apps (before the iPhone introduced the AppStore). We’ve been eager to get involved in all the hype these platforms created. So after three long years we bought a Mac Mini and started developing our first app. I must not forget to mention my brother Dino Budimilic who had the time to learn how to use the Mac, Xcode and all what comes with it :) He helped us create the app.

The app we’re making is all about our existing web service on http://crodns.com. It’s a domain availability checker with whois information on demand. We’ve already created the WebApp that works on all smartphones (at least we like to think so) which you can try here: http://m.crodns.com

Here are some screenshots of the icons we made. You may notice which icon we decided to go with on the Loading screen:

In-app screenshots and videos are coming after the release. My estimate is we’ll submit the app to the AppStore before this month ends. I don’t expect any problems with Apple’s approval :)

This version is intentionally made for regional market, that means it’s localized. But we didn’t forget the Global market, no! We’re planning to release the English version right after this one, as a separate project. We haven’t yet decided which domain to use for it, but we’re sure to find out using our first app ;)

Work update

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It’s hard to blog about anything when you don’t have time to manage your initial work. So just to leave an update, I’m still working on a new GEM Studio website along with other customer projects. Our new website will bring lots of fresh and innovative ideas to the local corporate web. We aim to receive at least one recognition prize for design, smart use of new web tech. and innovation. I’ll put more updates with video presentations of our new website qualities once we start with finishing touches.

Let the machine write your article!

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It’s very interesting to see how the words are generated by a software. This whole article was fully composed using Google Scribe. It’s a word suggestion text writer. I would like to see this implemented in WordPress or just to see it as a javascript plugin. It’s not only good for writing the content faster but also for those times when you’re trying to find the right word in your head. And yes, instant spellcheck ;)

I’ve tested their engine by writing “I like it” and accepted all the suggested words after that:
I like it and I’ma let you finish but Beyonce had one of these days I’ll bet your life..” :)

Go ahead, try it: http://scribe.googlelabs.com

A taste of the future

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There are many things I look forward to see in the near future. Technology that will hopefully redefine how we interact with information and other people in a good way. I’ve found some videos, concepts of the future. Enjoy!

Future of screen technology:

Microsoft’s Vision of the Future:

The Future of Mobile:

Work on GEMStudio.hr [update]

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We at GEM Studio are working hard to develop the most advanced website that we’ve made so far, and this project is our own company website.  So what’s so special about our new site? I’ll tell you :)

  • AJAX calls everywhere, the most important part we use it – is main content. Every click to a page you want to open loads the content directly into the content part without reloading and thus saving bandwidth and loading time.
  • HTML5 tags like <article><header><footer> and so on. This may be useful to future developments of search engine and other crawlers so they know exactly where’s the expected duplicate content like Menu options and  content location.
  • CSS3 styles all around, shadows, rounded corners (like in the pic on the right), etc. Internet Explorer gave us some headache but we’re managing it with CSS2.1 and MS Filter effects to come as close as we can to CSS3 result in other browsers.
  • Goodbye Internet Explorer 6, no support for you. What this means for us is more coding freedom :) but still fighting with IE7.
  • WordPress Blog integrated in main design/within website, no /blog directory.
  • Social integration like Facebook Like on all content, FB comments on all articles, standard share options via Twitter and other networks, our tweets always in the sidebar with important news and hosting servers notifications.
  • Better integration of Live Support chat with Client control panel.
  • Killer Ajaxed domain availability checking, supporting over 350 (cc)TLD’s including Croatian ccTLD (.hr and .com.hr).

And much more! We hope you like what we’re doing and expecting your feedback as soon as we publish the website.

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