My First Android App

I recently published my first app for the Android platform. My main goal was to get my feet wet with Android development, and the Assistant Coach app seemed like a fairly simple idea that, as far as I could tell, hadn’t been done before.

The whole process took me about a month, working part-time. I really enjoyed the process; the Android documentation is excellent, and the architecture is designed well. It had been a while since I did any Java development, but I fell back into it pretty easily (esp. thanks to Eclipse). I had a blast and am thinking about what to make next. Let me know if you have any ideas!

Assistant Coach Upcoming/Requested Features

Assistant Coach icon

Here is a list of features that have been requested and that I plan to add in a future version of Assistant Coach. Please feel free to contact me w/ any suggestions at all.

  • Data Import – the ability to edit a (text) file of profile data and import it into the application
  • Configure Kick-off Data – right now every kick-off is assumed to result in the opposing team having a first down on their own 30-yard line. This should be configurable in the next version of the app
  • Opponent EP – the data for expected points currently applies to both your team and your opponent’s team. This should actually be two separate sets of data
  • Opponent Profiles – (building on the item above) the specific opponent affects a team’s performance in punting, field goals, and on fourth down. The current way to deal with this is to edit a profile before each new game. In the future, perhaps I can find a way to save a base profile and then automatically adjust values for a given opponent. The opponent profile would be much simpler to edit than redoing the entire team profile.
  • Less Confusing Results Color Bars – the colored bars in the 4th Down Results screen may be slightly confusing because the range of possible values goes from -7.0 to +7.0 but is represented by bars that all have a “positive” thickness. Perhaps a better way to visually represent an EP value would be to have a center line with the bar extending to the left (negative) or right (positive).

Assistant Coach User Guide

Assistant Coach icon This user guide should help to clear up any questions about how to use the Assistant Coach application. The intended audience for the app is football coaches (mostly high school and small colleges) and perhaps football enthusiasts or statisticians (although the math here is very basic).

Below I will go through all of the screens in the application, explaining what each user input does, and what the effect will be.

Version Note: I’m in the process of publishing a new version of the Assistant Coach application. I’ve added new roster and field diagram features, and I have simplified the interface for the 4th Down Calculator. Previously it was set up for multiple team profiles, but I have removed that. The app will continue forward with only a single team profile. If you currently have multiple profiles, you should delete all but one. Otherwise the new version of the app will choose one at random and ignore the others. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I’m hoping that one profile is just fine for most purposes.

Note about the 4th Down Calculator: The calculations here represent expected, or average, outcomes. The data come from, and will be most useful in, scenarios in the early-middle stages when the game clock is still not a factor. Many adjustments need to be made as time starts to run out (in either half). The calculations might still be helpful as a general guide, but it won’t adjust for factors such as being down by 4 points with one minute left in the game (when a field goal would be essentially useless) and so on.

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Triathlon Test Run at Mystic Lakes

P & I found a place to swim that’s much closer to home than Walden Pond: Upper Mystic Lake in Winchester. We swam there yesterday and liked it a lot. The water was pleasant, and there was a buoy about .2 miles off the beach that made for a nice swim target.

It’s four miles from where I live, and half the ride was done on the Minuteman Trail. I forgot my goggles, which was a pain. It wasn’t a huge deal, except for sighting my destination. I already have to work on that, and this made it much worse. Every few strokes I would look up and have to correct my course. It caused a lot of unnecessary strokes.

We’re going to scrap our plan to do a test run at Walden Pond, and do it here instead. There are many possible bike routes, but the easiest is to do loops around the entire Mystic Lakes, each of which would be about 5 miles…

View Larger Map

The next time we go there for a swim we’ll do some scouting to make sure the roads are safe enough to ride along. The Mystic Valley Parkway, along the east side of the lakes, had a nice shoulder, almost as wide as a dedicated bike lane.

Triathlon Test Run at Walden Pond

UPDATE: We’re doing the triathlon test run at Mystic Lakes instead. But I’ll leave this post here because it’s probably a pretty decent practice run for the Marlborough Triathlon, in case anyone stumbles upon it and lives somewhere near concord.

The original post for the Walden Pond test run is after the jump.
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Fun With Linguistics

Been going through a great series of linguistics lectures by John McWhorter and I came across a pretty interesting tidbit about how we pronounce the letter ‘l’ differently, depending on whether it’s at the start of a word or not.

Here is a recording of me saying the word “oil” …


… and here is that same recording played backwards …


Incidentally, I recorded & saved both versions using the built-in Windows accessory called “Sound Recorder” and I converted the resulting WAV files to mp3 with a program called CDex.

iDealDigs Face-lift

Just did a pretty big feature roll-out. We completely changed the top banner section, including a new logo, introductory text explaining our site’s main goal, and a new navigation menu. Here’s a screenshot of our new homepage

We also added some new content …

Popular Places: a list of our biggest & most popular markets, including Buenos Aires, Rio, Miami, Paris, Cape Town, Singapore, and so on. Each entry shows a small google map of the area, how many listings we have, and a random sampling of user-uploaded photos.

Agency Directory: a thorough list of all the top rental agencies in each of our biggest markets.

More coming soon …

Registered for the Marlborough Triathlon

 I registered for my first triathlon today, the Marlborough Triathlon, taking place in and around Fort Meadows Reservoir in Marlborough, MA. It’s on August 1st.

I’ll be fine with the running and biking, but getting enough swimming in is going to be a challenge. I am hoping it’s warm because my plan is to get a season parking pass at Walden Pond and do a lot of my training there.