1-hour-app project and randomChan

The 1-hour-app project is something I started to force myself learn android programming. It’s not a serious effort to make vendible apps, but more a concept that should stimulate myself to produce something creative fast, with simple ideas and easy implementation.

As you expect, the idea is to program an app from scratch to Play Store publishing in just 1 hour. This means that the main functionality of the app should be running in an hour, further improvement and updates are of course allowed, especially if I like the result when I’m done with the first development.

Actually I think that’s both funny and useful, or at least has been so far, with my first one-hour-app: randomChan.

The app is available on the Play Store, and was refined after first publishing. Of course, it’s kind of nonsense app, which I guess will be common when making apps with deadlines that tight.

update: Google decided the app was infringing someone’s intellectual property. I don’t know whose. In the future, I may reupload the app on a different app store.

QuiXXX removed from the Play Store

The android app Quixxx, which me and Marco Virgolin developed 10 months ago, was removed from the Play Store due to violation of intellectual property. I really don’t understand whose property we have been supposed to violate, as Google didn’t specify it in its automated email.

That was particularly sad, because the app was doing very well, despite having been made in three days as a joke. We had something like 4k downloads per day, and we were even earning something from the ads, and the statistics were still raising.

I think that this experience made me reflect on the potential which one has by being able to create apps and submitting them to the public this way. It’s incredible how simple (lucky?) it was to produce an app which got a decent user base in just some months and no further effort.

This is why I started a little project, ‘1-hour-app’ to force myself to learn android programming. I will talk about it in a later post.

3D website experiment

Greatly inspired by this article, it came to my mind that would be cool making some website which could be explored like the real world, rather than just consulted or read.

I picked the original code from the article, which already let you build a simple 3D world which could be navigated in first person, and modified it to have customizable blocks, with action, photos and mouse to control the view, enriching the experience.

Actually, then I spent a lot of time developing what would be the map editor, which has been really useful when designing my own map/world.

A first experiment that I have made is here.

I also uploaded the editor so that people can design and try their own world.

Everything will be saved locally to the localstorage of the browser, so for now, you can’t share the world you have created. Anyway, I’m planning to offer the possibility to create and share your own world, but it will take some effort so I will do it later.

The thing should work fine with chrome and firefox.

Collecting Robots

Collecting Robots is a little project I have made as a project for a university course of Operating System for Robotics. The goal is to plan a strategy for some “robots” to collect some “objects” and taking them to some “collect points”. The robots also have a maximum capacity, i.e. they can take a maximum number of objects at once, so to go on they will need to take the objects to a collect point.

The problem is quite hard (I believe it is NP-hard) so my first thought was to use an heuristic approach. I implemented a genetic solution using the JSGenetic library I wrote some time ago.

Actually there’s a little problem with my implementation: the crossover operation is quite weak. It does not combine the two parent individual in a complete way, thus the generated children is often very similar to the parents. This moves the evolution capability towards the mutation process, which is much more random, and this means the evolution will lead more likely to a local optima. This is especially evident with large problems (many objects) when object positions are not uniformely distributed in the map.

The app is publicly available here.

Browser compatibility:

  • [Google Chrome/Chromium] OK
  • [Firefox] Some problems, “go” and “animate” button works but label doesn’t refresh (isn’t .innerText standard?), simulation is slower
  • [IE] Not tested
  • [Safari] Not tested

Some notes on usage of the app:

Map generation

You may use the randomly generated map which is presented on startup, generate a new one with the “randomize” button, or generate your own map.

To generate your map, just press “clear” to clear current map, then select the proper point you want to place on the dropdown list, and place it clicking on the map.

If you want to change the number of points used by the randomize option, you can place the point manually on the map, in the number and type you want them to be, and then pressing “randomize” will make a new random map with the number and type of points you placed.

Evolution of the solution

When the map is ready, you can press “init Evolver” to initialize the Evolver object, which is responsible for managing the evolution process.

Then, pressing “go” will start the evolution, showing the best solution found in the left canvas.

When you’re happy with the shown solution, press “stop”.


Beware that you need to stop the evolution to run the simulation. Doing otherwise will lead to unknown results 😛

When you have a solution (you need to at least have initialized the Evolver), you can see the robots in action in the right canvas by pressing “animate”, which will start the simulation with the current solution.