On Friday I downloaded a new app for my android phone: Boston Bus Map. It’s a free app that uses the MassDOT xml feed to show current bus locations and give estimates for arrivals at a given stop.
I have only just begun using the app, but so far I find it very cool & useful. I brought up the 77 route, which runs near my house, and got a google map with an overlay showing the location and direction of each bus on the route. Tapping on a bus shows a little pop-up window with the bus id, route name/number, exact heading, and number of seconds since the last update.
Like many people in the Boston area, I often have two or three ways to get from point A to point B, and knowing exactly how long it will be until the next bus will be a great help in deciding the best way to go. At some point I’m going to go sit at my nearby bus stop and try to get a feel for how accurate the data really is.
BostonBusMap has a…
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!
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).
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.