Drawing of clock design

Welcome…

Finally I found the time to set up a website for the Minimal Clock Widget for Android. I created this blog to share some facts, ideas and inspirations around the project. I’ll also inform you about the upcoming updates and give some insight in the development process.

When I started the project I said to myself, that I would be extremely happy, if one person likes my clock design. Now, the clock widget has just broke through 26.000 downloads in the Google Play Store and the rating of 4.5 of over 230 people is just plain awesome! I met a lot of really interesting and wonderful people in the process, and I want to thank them a lot.

Feel free to comment on the blog. Share the stories and if you haven’t had a look at the clock widget yet, try it out!

Let us start by recalling: I tell you the story behind the Minimal Clock.

The Story – Part 1: Getting the idea

I started the whole clock project just for fun and learning roughly before one year. I finished my diploma in chemistry and wanted to dip in something completely new for a little distraction. So, I decided, that I wanted to learn Android app development, to get rid of the lame self-excuse “I don’t know how to …” every time I had a million dollar app idea.

The best way for me to learn something is not to read books, it is better to throw yourself into a real problem situation. So I thought of an “easy” and realizable project. Not only I wanted to program an application for Android. No, I wanted also to publish it, to advertise it, to get real people to download it, to get the full impression of Android apps and what is all around. The problem was: What can I do. At this time I was clueless, what is easy to do.

As I am interested into art and design, I always search for something nice looking for personalizing my Android home screen. So I looked around for a nice clock widget, to replace the stock HTC-clock. But I could’t find something, which satisfied my taste for plain and minimalistic design.

So there was the lightbulb above my head: “Why not create a clock widget myself? This looks really easy to do.”

The project idea was born… I didn’t had a clue, how difficult it would really be.

souce: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/

Virtual Fear – Facebook buys Oculus Rift

Today the “Great Book of Faces” bought Oculus Rift for 2 billion dollarios (˜ 3.5*106 BTC). For those of you who live behind the moon, Oculus Rift develops a Virtual Reality Gaming System. Basically, 2 computer monitors attached directly in front of your eyes (VR Glasses). First Valve had some flirt with the company, but know I think there is some tension. I hope that Valve does not start a cooperation with the “Big Blue”.

Mr. Sweetymountain commented on his triumphal purchase among other things the following:

But this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.

This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.

And here my brain starts to hurt.

Welcome to the dystopian future.

Do we want to live in a world where everybody sits alone at home with his VR-Glasses on? I say alone because when everybody has these kind of glasses on a true human interaction is not possible. I think the creation of a full virtual reality is really problematic. Some people got really addicted by a normal game like WoW, but imagine what would happen if an entire world is inside of this reality? I like more the idea of enhancing the reality with augmented reality things. To help discover our own world further. I don’t have something against games or also VR-Games, because one can limit his stay inside this reality. But when you create a platform where everything will transform into virtual reality I getting scared.

Another question is, who would runs this world? The big blue does not really stand for openness. All we hear about them is destruction of personal privacy and monetizing their “customers” by showing them constantly advertisements and selling their interests and habits to market research companies. So think of what virtual reality they would create. Mr. Sweetymountain would enslave all the virtual inhabitants, showing them constantly blinking advertisements and selling them virtual goods and adventures. On surplus everything gets patented and he creates the opposite of Tim Berners-Lee open world wide web.

A friend of mine suggested me to take a look into the book Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline. Maybe this will bring some more thoughts on this theme and I’ll write about it.

I personally don’t want to look like the person in this well fitting piece of art by EranFolio:


Reality 1920×1200 by EranFolio on deviantART

feature image by Nan Palmero

android wear powered smartwatch

Android Wear – Yes, please!

Today Google announced Android Wear. This will expand the android operating system by adding support for wearables and smartwatches. We are not only talking about smartwatches, we talk about everything whats imaginable.

For me as a clock widget designer this is very interesting. I plan to bring some design watchfaces
from the Minimal Clock to the new smartwatches and add some innovative features.
Knight Rider
When I first saw the announcement I had immediatly the 80’s show “Knight Rider” in my mind.
Hopefully we can call our Google self driving cars “KIT” with our smartwatches like
David Hasselhoff in near future. A Child’s dream come true.

The big G has teamed up with some big companies to bring some devices in near future.
On the one hand Google ex-favorite company Motorola will give us a wonderful smartwatch this summer (see feature image).
If you are a developer, you should sign up at moto360.motorola.com for a chance to get it your hands on as it soon.
Also LG, which we all know and love for their NEXUS 4 and 5, will follow later this year with the LG G Watch.

Here is the video introducing Android Wear.

lego feature

Has LEGO an impact on creativity?

Do you remember, when you were a child and wanted to build something with LEGO?

Do you were the type who just build the model by the manual or the type who builds it one time and throwing the pieces afterwards in your big LEGO box?
I was definitely the second kid. I was addicted to Lego. I kneed on the carped the whole day surrounded by a million LEGO pieces.
My dream was it to become a LEGO Artist for the (this time only) LEGO park in Denmark.

Now, when I look around me I’m not sitting in mountain of colorful plastic pieces. One can say this is sad or that I grew up.
But I learned a lot playing with LEGO:

  • three dimensional thinking
  • solving problems
  • a fresh restart is not so bad
  • the process of building your own ideas is really satisfying

The most important: I learned that everything in your imagination is “build-able”.
So if you have kids, buy them some LEGO and tell them they can build everything they want with it.

You may ask yourself, why the heck is he talking about this?

Because I stumbled upon the new project of Google and LEGO: buildwithchrome.com.
This brought up some nostalgic thoughts. I found also the time to participate.

I tried rebuilt one of my famous clocks. The astronomic clock on the Piazza della Loggia in Brescia, Italy.
Later it’ll follow an entire blog post about it.

Look here to see my creation on buildwithchrome
If you like it please give me some pluses!

muzei screenshot

Why I love muzei…

Roman Nurik is my new role model!

But first what is muzei?

It is a Live Wallpaper for Android which shows a everyday a selected classic artwork as your homescreen background.
Muzei overlays it with a blur and when you double tap it will smoothly unblur itself showing its true beauty.
This sounds not breathtaking, but if you try this I assure you’ll be overwhelmed by its beauty!
I could tell you more, but my words can’t describe what i mean. So go to the Play Store and try it yourself! See the pictures below, and you’ll understand.

Why Roman Nurik inspires me.

He is exactly the kind of developer I want to be someday. His new creation “muzei” is so wonderfully designed that it hurts!
He defines the Android Design in a new way. He opens up a new path. I love the animation of the muzei logo on the first startup of the app and the animations between the different views.

I think also he worked together with Romain Guy. I know for sure that Romain Guy created the implementation of the blur filter and also the animation part. So this means, Nurik learns something by doing something. Exactly as I do on the minimal clock widget.

The best part of this all is that everything is open source. I’ll learn a lot about android in his code and I’ll adapt him and include maybe some things in the minimal clock. Thank you for inspiring me!

Tell me what you think!