Archive for category Software
With the addition of 8 new 2 Euro commemorative coins, the series issued in 2013 is completed.
Personally, I’m eagerly waiting for the coin dedicated to Giovanni Boccaccio, the italian author I studied with pleasure at lyceum.
There are also other interesting commemoratives to collect, such as the one issued by San Marino and dedicated to the italian painter Pinturicchio, a worthy substitute of the coin dedicated to John F. Kennedy, announced at the beginning of the year.
As required by some collectors, a Coin Card parameter has been added to filter your coins.
The Coin Card format is getting pretty popular, in particular for 2 Euro commemoratives.
This update retains the design of the previous versions, but a completely new one is already in the works.
It will be a full-flat design, according to the style introduced by Apple with iOS 7 and that will last for a long time, I think, since it combines in the best way simplicity, clarity and transparency: essential concepts to be able to use smartphones and tablets on the go.
Follow the Facebook page of the app to take a peek of the new style in the next weeks.
Since today, the app Rationalism in the Province of Como speaks german!
Subtitles in german for the english and italian audio have also been added.
This is an exclusive feature of the app, useful if you want to improve your proficiency in a language.
Personally, over the years I improved my english a lot by watching movies or by playing narrative videogames with original audio and subtitles in italian or english.
In the app, the translation of the subtitles isn’t literal, since we obviously gave priority to a fluid text for each of the three languages, but following them on the screen is pretty easy since they’re in sync with the audio track.
It will be useful to whoever will use the app from the comfort of their home couch, which means the vast majority of the users that will download it.
But why version 1.6, instead of 1.1?
It’s a curiosity you probably noticed if you have an eye for detail, maybe by viewing the slide of the presentation in which the next steps of the project are listed.
The version number will follow the golden ratio, phi, which is 1.618…
It’s a special number, knowned since ancient times.
In mathematics it’s the irrational number to which the ratio between two consecutive numbers of the Fibonacci series leads to, while in nature it’s present in a number of ratios, such as for example the ratio between the spires of a shell.
In arts, as well as in architecture, it always represented ideal proportions, the “beauty” in general.
Even in the app you can find it in different forms, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, but never needlessly.
For example in the design of icons, in the spacing between elements of the user interface, or even in the lenght of the audio pause between a section and the next.
If something sounds good or looks nice and in harmony with what surrounds it, it’s thanks to phi, as rationalist architects also knew very well.
Regardless of subtitles or the version number, you’ll get the best experience when in front of, or inside, the rationalist building described.
So, I invite you to do it when you’ll get the chance: you’ll be welcome in Como, Cernobbio or in the Tremezzo area!
Visiting both the town of Como and the places in the Tremezzo area takes some days of stay: could this be a good incentive for the slow tourism, opposed to the hit and run phenomenon?
The app Rationalism in the Province of Como is today available on the App Store.
It’s the result of months of work, together with numerous collaborators, promoted and coordinated by the Culture Department of the Province of Como, the public authority administering the west branch of Lake Como.
It’s a multimedia tour about rationalist architecture in the Lake Como area, from Como to Cernobbio and Tremezzo.
The points of interests include the most renowned buildings designed by the architects Giuseppe Terragni, Cesare Cattaneo and Pietro Lingeri.
Is this yet another info-guide app? Or yet another audio-guide app?
Not at all!
The design concept is probably the most interesting aspect for fellow developers: I wanted to make an app that could be an “holistic” combination between these two different app types, info-guides and audio-guides.
A combination in which the end result were higher than the algebraic sum of the single parts.
Let’s start from the audio, the real core of the app.
After we completed the script, written in a simple and easy to understand language, I hired three professional storytellers who managed to literally “give life” to the contents with their voices.
Luca Grandelis is the italian storyteller, while Garth Kennedy took care of the english language.
Luca is a well-known voice-talent, while Garth is also an artist, an abstract mechanical sculptor.
German language will be soon added in the next update, thanks to the voice-talent from Berlin Birgit Röhricht.
Then there’s the interface, designed keeping in mind the keywords of iOS 7: clarity and transparency.
Experts of mobile technologies applied to education love to repeat the mantra “content is king“.
Well, I agree, but if “content is king“, let me add “software is queen“.
Quality contents are often negatively affected by mediocre software that should manage and present it to the user.
The work made in this direction will have its judge in users’ comments: if they’ll concentrate on the contents, it will mean that the software is actually “transparent” and the result optimal.
The app will be officially presented on sunday 29 september, at the Antiquarium of Ossuccio, in the Tremezzo area of Lake Como, and it will be one of the many events organized for the European Heritage Days 2013.
It will be the chance to shake hands with the people who collaborated on the project.
Although there isn’t a single pixel, word or line of code that didn’t pass under my eyes – and this includes the responsibility for eventual bugs -, this work wouldn’t have been possible without them.
So, the combination between mobile technologies and cultural heritage could really work?
I believe so, and I think it’s the only way out of the tunnel of the economic and social crisis the Belpaese has fallen into for too many years…
Also, the educational effects of this app can be measured in the medium term.
Many communication experts agree on the fact the we tend to overestimate initiatives like this one in the short term, due to their “novelty” character, while we underestimate the impact in the medium and long term.
A litmus test could be this: let’s count how many people of Como (but not only them!) think today that the Camerlata fountain was inspired by Volta’s battery.
Then let’s count them in a 5 years’ time… and maybe a good chunk of them, thanks to the app, will remember that it’s actually a sort of futuristic monument to the traffic!
The news doesn’t end here, as I’ll reveal during the presentation.
Meanwhile, have a nice listening and vision of the app Rationalism in the Province of Como!
Three “miracles” have happened this summer in Como, as Piercesare Bordoli, president of the Famiglia Comasca association, said:
the reopening (although temporary) of a section of the lakefront walkway, after a long closure due to works for anti-flooding bulkheads, the restoration of the historic steamer Patria, and the redevelopment of the arena of the Teatro Sociale, the area on the back side of the theater previously used as a parking.
Small steps in the direction of a town that really cares about tourists and its citizens?
Maybe… in my small way – and with due proportions, since the three “miracles” involved a number of public and private institutions, and millions of Euros – I hope the latest update of the app dedicated to the gardens of Lake Como will be another step in the same direction.
A nice and updated app about the garden-villas of Lake Como, can be another good welcome card to encourage tourists spending pleasant days in this magic land.
It’s a mostly technical update.
The app now includes hi-res graphics for the Retina display of 3rd and 4th generation iPads, supports the 4-inch display of the iPhone 5, and also supports the landscape orientation.
Even the sharing of your favorite gardens via Facebook e Twitter has been improved, using the native APIs introduced in iOS 5 and 6.
The app is faster and more responsive, the scrolling animations more pleasant, and the overall look slightly improved.
Apple enthusiasts know very well that iOS 7 will be released shortly, and the app is already compliant with it from a design point of view, thanks to a “flat” user interface style and consistent colors.
Curious about the update?
Download the app Gardens of Lake Como – west branch from the App Store!
The Mac version of Euro Coin Collection is today on the Mac App Store!
The new app has all the features of the iPad and iPhone versions, with the advantage to be able to view all the virtual album at a glance on a 27 inch iMac.
You’ll need OS X Snow Leopard to run the app, while Lion or Mountain Lion are required to use iCloud features and Facebook or Twitter sharing.
The app has also been enhanced for the MacBook Pro with Retina display.
At the same time the apps for iPhone and iPad have been updated to versions 1.6.1 e 1.2.1.
The 2 Euro commemorative coin that Monaco will issue in december to celebrate the “20 years since the UN Accession” has been added.
There’s also a new “bounce effect” added to scrolling UI elements, an effect related to the “inertial scrolling” that makes user experience on iOS devices so smooth and pleasant, elaborated by the dutch designer Bas Ording.
If you read the Steve Jobs biography you’ll remember the episode in which Jobs met the designer in the lobby of Apple headquarters and he hired him on the fly after viewing a brief demo of Bas’ ideas to improve OS X user interface.
Bas is still at Apple and they’re going great in my opinion: the recent presentation of iOS 7 is a clear demonstration of the continuous innovation process pursued by the Cupertino-based company.
Enjoy the Mac version and the “bouncing” album!
14 new 2 Euro commemoratives 2013 have been added, some of them already issued while others announced for the second half of the year.
2013 was going to be an interesting year for collectors of Euro coins, since many countries announced the issue of two different series of 2 Euro commemoratives, but it became even more interesting due to Benedict XVI’s historic resignation.
Vatican recently issued a 2 Euro commemorative coin for the Sede Vacante MMXIII, included in this update, and at later date the italian Mint will also issue new Euros with Pope Francesco‘s effigy.
Another new feature added to both versions of the app are the country initials on flag icons: it may seem trivial, but it was suggested by a number of collectors since associating flags to each of the 20 Euro-area countries isn’t that easy at the beginning.
A Mac OSX version of the application was already announced a few months ago and it will soon be available on Mac App Store.
I’m completing tests and, most of all, I find very handy the synchronization of the collection via iCloud with all my mobile devices “made by Apple“, or better “designed by Apple in California“.
Collectors using an iMac, MacBook or Mac mini can’t miss it!
Version 1.1 of Euro Coin Collection HD is on the App Store!
This update adds the eagerly awaited support for the Retina display of 3rd and 4th generation iPads, which means graphics 4 times more detailed than the previous version and even 8 times if compared to the graphics currently used on iPhone 3GS.
After getting past the wow-effect caused by the new graphics, I invite you to use the app in landscape mode. Many users find more comfortable using their iPad in this way.
Other than all the improvements and corrections recently added to the latest iPhone version, there’s also the 2 Euro commemorative coin “Royal Wedding”, the last of 2012, issued by Luxemburg in december. Soon I’ll release a small update of the iPhone version, 1.5.1, that will include this coin.
But there’s one more thing coming soon for Apple and Euro coins fans. I anticipated it in the app presentation, in a last slide named “One more thing…“.
Steve Jobs made this sentence famous: at the end of his presentations of Apple products he was used to give the public an additional surprise.
I hope I learned well from his example… take at look a the last slide!
The update 1.5 of Euro Coin Collection is on the AppStore!
It’s mainly a technical update, since the support for iPhone 5 Retina 4-inch display has been implemented.
Technical improvements made the app load faster and run smoother, but there are also more visible modifications, such as the ones related to user interface usability, designed for new users, or the improved Twitter and Facebook sharing options.
A series of corrections to the texts and to some coins details complete the list of features suggested by the most active users.
I know collectors can’t wait to see the 2013 2 Euro commemorative coins added… it will be done, but before that there’s another important technical update coming soon: version 1.1 HD for iPad with support for the Retina display of the 3rd and 4th generation iPads!
Two releases at the same time for the app Euro Coin Collection!
The first thing you’ll notice will be the new graphics, four times more detailed than the previous version.
I recall I had the same impression with the VGA version for Pocket-PC devices, 7 years ago. However, at that time a lot things were missing: smooth scrolling, multi-touch, social network sharing… just to name a few.
The second thing will be the 2 Euro Commemoratives issued in 2012: 29 new different coins to expand your collection.
Then there are new mini-albums to view german and greek mintmarks at a glance, iCloud synchronization and the notification center.
And yet, that’s not all, the app will get even better thanks to your new suggestions.
We’re in the back to school time and I think that the HD version for iPad could be useful to teachers who love technology.
Other than the pleasure to collect Euro coins, coin designs actually tell the history of European countries, celebrating key historical people, events or places.
Now that Apple made the Volume Purchase Program available outside the US, it’s easier for education institutions using iPads purchasing the apps they need.
I’d like to invite teachers and educators to contact me to download the app for free and evaluate its educational potential.
And here it is the update of Euro Coin Collection with 2 Euro Commemoratives at last!
Highly requested, which was expected, since they’re so cool to collect, it has been almost like developing another app, so much that I thought about making a separate app for a while.
In the end, however, I preferred integration, adding the ability to quickly switch from the virtual album with standard coins to the one dedicated to 2 Euro Commemoratives.
104 new coins, issued from 2004 to 2011, each with its own image and description in 7 languages, required a lot of work, so I made the zoomable images available only by In-App purchase.
The app is fully functional even without unlocking them, but if you’ll do that, you’ll support its development.
Other updated features in version 1.3 include new coin grading levels, the ability to add up to 50 coins per collection type and the update of the coins available only in mint sets (according to the info on www.euro-auflagen.de).
Most of all, there’s now the ability to share the coins to swap, or wanted, thanks to a pre-generated message via email, Facebook or Twitter.
If you use Twitter, I recommend you to check out the hashtag #EuroCoin to find other collectors to swap coins with.
There’s still a lot to do and features to improve, adding 2012 commemoratives, for example.
Post your feedback on the Facebook page!