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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New features coming soon.. album mode!

Sorry about the lack of updates, I have taken a 6 week break from Photo Cube for rest and to celebrate my birthday. Back to work now!

Last week I completed the Screenshot feature, which allows you to take a snap of the cube in action, without any of the distracting icons or widgets on the homescreen. You can then directly share that pic via Facebook, Whatsapp, Email, MMS, any way you like.

Now hard at work on what is probably the most requested feature, Album mode. This allows you to choose a particular photo album/directory on your sd card, then it will choose pics randomly from that album and update the cube periodically. This will be the simplest and easiest method of viewing your pics on the cube, no need do do anything other than choose an album:

Of course the Single Image and Custom Image modes will still be available for those of you who like the fine control. The Album mode will probably be the easiest to use for new users and whenever you have a new album which you want to showcase.

More technical info for anyone who cares: this is not that easy to do because of the randomness of images in the albums. I have to be careful to duplicate sides only when really necessary, e.g. when albums contain less than 6 images.

As the user is no longer cropping the pics manually I have to be intelligent about how I crop them to a square, treating Portrait and Landscape differently. The timing is also important, processing the random images is quite processor intensive, it needs to be done in the background so that any visual lag is kept to an absolute minimum as the cube is updated.

Ideally I would like a soft fade in/out of the old images to the new, but that's probably beyond the scope of the initial version, I think initially it will just update everytime the homescreen is reshown after being hidden e.g. by opening an app. Once that works I can think about making it a User Setting, e.g. change every 10 minutes, hour, 1, 2 or 3 times a day etc.

Once all that is done I would like to look at tighter integration with Facebook or other online services, would be great to be able to just choose a Facebook or Picasa album, and let Photo Cube choose pics from that online album.

Stay tuned!

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