Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Using the Facebook API and Contemplating Seppuku

A lot of our TapLynx and related work requires us to get RSS or Atom version of content. For classical blog platforms this is a pretty easy thing. Even if the authors do not have RSS explicitly enabled, platforms like Drupal and WordPress have nice, RESTful ways to get a feed from the blog postings.

Then there's Twitter and Facebook. Facebook has been the worst recently as they keep changing how they want requests formulated. Until recently anyone who could formulate a request correctly could get a Facebook wall as a JSON feed as long as the content was public. Recently, an oAuth token became required even for "public" data. Granted, this is becoming a more common event. Unfortunately, we either weren't watching the right Forum posts or it wasn't announced when the change happened. So, we found out about the change after customers started to complain that the applications were broken.

Things are working for us now, but the documentation isn't totally clear and the system is likely to change again. It makes us nervous.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Greek Financial Crisis

In light of the recent events in Greece it seemed like a good time to add a Greek Coin to Carter's Coin Flip. So, version 2.2 has been approved by Apple and will hit the App Store on Thursday, June 23 2011. We had actually chosen this particular coin earlier in the year for its pretty design. We moved it up in the release order because of the world news. Here is a preview of the coin we are using. This is the Greek 10 Drachma coin from 1973. This is actually a rare design. We originally chose the coin because we were looking for a coin with a horse on it at the request of one of our younger members of the "focus group".

The 10 Drachma coin is about the same size as the Swiss 2 Franc piece (about 26mm in diameter). All of the coins in Carter's Coin Flip are proportionally sized to reflect how they appear in the real world.  Also, the coins was minted in "medal alignment" which is why the tails view is upside down. Other coins in Carter's Coin Flip with medal alignment are the British Pound and the Canadian Quarter). Medal alignment means that a coin's faces are both the same orientation. This is great if you are wearing the coin on a necklace as it will always be the right side up, no matter which side is facing forward.

The Phoenix had appeared on the coin since 1971 but the Pegasus was not on the coins for long. As with many of the older coins we use in the app, inflation and the Euro have decimated the monetary value of the coin. 10 Drachmas was equal to just 0.02 Euros in 2001. This particular coin from 1973 was part of the "Hellenic Republic" movement. Greece was marking it's departure from the monarchy of King Constantine II. In 1976 all of the coins were again replaced with new designs.

If you don't already have Carter's Coin Flip, maybe you would like to buy a copy. Also, we are setting up a email newsletter type of list we want to use to expand our focus group. If you want to have the opportunity to vote of the next coins or give input on features we can use to enhance the entertainment value or the educational value of the app please sign up and check that you are interested in Carter's Coin Flip.