Quikthinking Software Blog
  • 0 Apple’s iPhone Ecosystem

    I've never been an Apple "fan boy." I migrated into the world of "i" for professional reasons. After dabbling with an early Texas Instruments computer donated to me by a family member, I used an Apple Macintosh in an early workplace gig. After that job, DOS, (digital operating system), then Windows computers ruled the roost of my media employers. The first personal computer I purchased was as DOS pc. A long string of Windows computers followed from Windows 98 through Windows 11 today. After I began developing mobile applications for Android to get experience, I knew that expanding the app titles into iOS would broaden their base of appeal. iPhones a Poppin' My first iPhone cost me $1. It was a Verizon promotion that I took advantage of. When I upgraded that 4S to iPhone 6, I paid $200 to get it via the pre-owned market. Next, it was another pre-owned unit, this time an iPhone 7 for $217. iPhone X cost me $369, again, it was a just like-new pre-owned unit. I also have a bunch of pre-owned iPads and MacBooks. All of these Apple devices still work, and I have never had issues with any of them. During the iPhone journey, Android remained my mobile phone of choice. I just like them better. I've never paid more than $200 for any of my Motorola or Samsung Androids. My latest Android phone, a brand new one sporting Android 13, cost only $129. Captured in the ecosystem? The U.S. Justice Department and 16 attorneys general filed a lawsuit on March 21, 2024 alleging that "Apple's iPhone ecosystem is a monopoly and that its anti-competitive practices extend to the company's Apple Watch, advertising, browser, FaceTime and news offerings." Some of this might be true, but let's face it. Apple's world is essentially a pay for play experience. If you want to spend thousands on their offerings, you can do so. As I've detailed, there are other options for sober minded, cost conscious individuals. When I became an Android developer in 2011, the one-time cost of the Google Play developer application was $25. Apple charges an annual developer fee of $99. I’ve been paying it since 2018. Who does the media love? The media pushes Apple products as cutting edge technology. If you want to be with the cool kids, you know that television, radio, print, and digital push Apple's annual updates as must have swag. In the press, Android has always been ignored, especially in the United States. Bulletin. According to, Android commanded 70.11% of mobile operating systems worldwide. iOS is behind in 2nd place at 29.19%. These stats are for the fourth quarter of 2023. It's a hard argument to assert that "Apple's iPhone ecosystem is a monopoly," if you are not forced to be a gloating participant in their techno culture. Yes, the green or blue bubbles in iMessages are cute. Go without them using Android messaging and you’ll be just fine. I do agree that it is much harder for a developer to exist inside of the App Store world based on their assessment of submitted applications. Their use of psychological tactics imploring you to embrace their suite of Apple tools is never ending. In the end, "i" universe users will just pay more if the Justice Department wins this case that is sure to drag on for a long time. Do you think the iPhone ecosystem is a monopoly?

  • 0 An Android Flirt with Windows 11

    I do most of my digital game playing on tablets or mobile phones: Android, iPhones, and iPads. I have never owned a game console, although I have played games on an Xbox. My Amazon Fire TV module had a game controller awhile back, but I never used it. Once upon a time, I did play a few games on early Windows pc’s. In 2023, I experimented with the Android implementation on Windows 11 created by the Amazon – Microsoft partnership. The Amazon Appstore Preview on Windows 11 was teased in 2022. Good News Arrives In October of 2022, I received an email from the Amazon App Store saying: "Good news - at least one of your apps is included in Amazon Appstore on Windows 11 developer preview, expanding your reach to hundreds of millions of new users." Hmm. I did not ask for any of my apps to be added, so I was flattered that one of the Quikthinking Software titles was selected. Amazon explained how to find the app they selected on their developer console, but I never could find the one that they branded "Windows 11 included" in their portal! March of 2023 brought this communication from Amazon: "Good news - your app catalog is eligible to be included in Amazon Appstore on Windows 11 developer preview." OK. The Windows Subsystem for Android It was also necessary to download and install "The Windows Subsystem for Android" on my Windows 11 laptop. This was a headache. After installation I did watch some game trailers and was intrigued. The platform seemed to have potential, but following much thought, I realized there was a huge investment of time that would be needed to change our apps for Windows 11 Android. Despite promises, it seemed that very few Amazon Android apps would be 100% compatible out of the box to work inside of the Windows 11 subsystem. I concluded that there would not be a global rush to embrace Android on Windows 11, so I deleted the Windows Subsystem for Android from my laptop. The real test for me came at the end of 2022, when I tried as an experiment to submit one of our newest apps to the Amazon Windows 11 app store. When your Google Play and Apple App Store approved app is flying fine, you have high hopes for Windows 11 inclusion. Unfortunately, the app was not approved for the Amazon Windows 11 club. Normally when your app has an issue, you make the changes and work with the app store in question to implement a fix. The requested changes meant a major overhaul. Goodbye, but is it Farewell? I had a feeling that the Amazon – Windows 11 bromance was not going to last. I did not follow through on my submission and cancelled it. In early March, 2024, this note arrived from Amazon: "Amazon Appstore on Windows 11 will no longer be supported after March 5, 2025." On the Amazon App Store Developer blog, additional information was provided. "Starting March 6, 2024, customers will no longer have the ability to install new apps. They will still have access to previously-installed apps." Did you even notice or know? The vast majority of our app downloads come from Google Play and The Apple App Store. So the Amazon Android – Windows 11 experiment failed. As the Amazon update on their developer blog states: "Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), Amazon Appstore on Windows 11." From my developer perspective, one must be cautious when jumping into new digital territory. This one adventure just wasn't worth it for me. I'm glad I made the right choice!

  • 0 Will AI Create Your Next App?

    ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence tool, has exploded across screens everywhere since it's November, 30, 2022 public introduction. If used as a cheating tool, ChatGPT can do a decent job completing school assignments for students. Will this technology replace app developers? Forbes and Fox Business have both reported that a conga line of educators have immediately banned the app from all school devices: The Los Angeles Unified School District (December, 2022) Seattle Public Schools (January, 2023) New York City Public Schools (January, 2023) **** Several universities have pushed the delete button on the technology too. That's a fast reaction to a viral trend, but what will stop students from using the app on their own personal devices? ChatGPT is able to solve math problems, churn out college essays and write research papers. How does it work? You think of a goal. You then compose a text sentence about the goal inside of the app's writing box. Finally ChatGPT goes out to the internet to do its noble or rogue deed scraping public information from everywhere. The gathered material is compiled into prose worthy of a best selling author. Here's an example. "Write an essay on the history of creating visual novel mobile games." If you've used ChatGPT, try it and see what you get!   For software app developers, AI art generators are also gaining fast traction as a speedy way to create respectable images. Art generators use algorithms and machine learning to create graphic pictures at lightening speed. Text to video? That's waiting in the wings...of course! It's in development making ChatGPT look like the junior varsity. Meta, owner of Facebook continues to work on Make-A-Video, an application that generates a video from a sentence you enter into a text box. Demos of the app have been released to the public. I've seen them. The app is not public. Google's text to video AI Imagen looks even better than Facebook's. You enter a sentence into a text box to produce a video that can even include AI generated text. Imagen is not publicly available but from what I've seen of the videos they look amazing. For an app developer needing software code, AI experts in the field say that subroutines can and will be written by AI as small modules to be included in larger projects. Since tech leaps ahead so quickly, the day will come when AI can write full applications for even smaller developers. I'd say that it makes no sense to stand in the way of developing technology. Humans with emotional skill will have abilities that AI can't deliver - for now. If you've used a digital spell checker or thesaurus are you cheating? No, not really. Modern tools always continue to evolve. Smart inventors will create new ways to potentially improve life. In the world of digital creators, sweat equity for manual creation will give way to AI automation. Then, we'll all have more time to think about better solutions to our problems while the machines do the grunt work. How long will it take for both humans and AI to be equally proficient? Only time will tell. It doesn't take a fortune teller to predict that text to video will be replaced by speech to video. Who knows what will be after that? The thoughts you've just read were written 100% by me, Hugh Smith! Sorry ChatGPT. **** May 18, 2023 update. New York City's Department of Education has made a one hundred eighty degree turn! ChatGPT will now be allowed on school devices and networks. Which other educator will be next to hold digital hands with this cutting edge technology?  

  • 0 What Did You Do For The First Time In 2022?

    In 2022 I made five people extremely happy by offering them amazing digital online deals, but there's more to the story. My loss was their gain. Let's begin with these 5 items kicked out of the Quikthinking Software office space... One generic 4K camcorder One Sony digital audio tape recorder (DAT) One high quality Marantz cassette recorder One Optimus handheld Digital voice recorder One "how-to market online guide" by author Derek Gehl  Here are the actual item pictures: I haven't used these tech items for years. All were in working condition but they sat around the office in their original boxes collecting dust. We now use other modern electronic devices that have replaced the "antiques." What did I do for the first time in 2022? Two things to note, but there are others. These tech items tie into the first. Have you guessed? I sold them all on eBay! Sales were in December 2021, January 2022, March 2022, and November 2022! I'm counting the late December 2021 "experiment" for 2022. To my pleasant surprise, all of these items sold quickly at fair market value generating a reasonable price based on their age. The photos you see for the listings on eBay were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S8 mobile phone. I've added the tan background for this post. Early in eBay's history shady sellers and suspicious buyers gave the platform a questionable reputation. Time marches on. eBay improved their platform controls. We finally decided to take the plunge. Am I late to the party? Yes, but so what! It certainly beats a yard sale! You can easily find some very good "how to do eBay" guides online if like me, you've never tried it before. Look for a guide to watch or a guide to read. I found the entire eBay process easy to manage. The second thing we did for the first time in 2022 was clean the inside of our microwave oven! What a difference a cleansing makes. I won't reveal how long we've had this particular microwave, but the point is you can always move forward if you challenge yourself to do so. If you didn't get to accomplish a doable goal in 2022, move it into 2023. Forget about resolutions. Make the goal simple. Make it something that you know you will be able to do. Focus on something you will do for the first time ever! For the year that is ending, what did you do for the first time?

  • 0 I Short Circuited Short Videos Before Short Videos Were Cool

    I joined YouTube in March of 2014. Six of the first ten videos created for YouTube's @QuikthinkingSoftware channel that year were only 16 seconds long. Over time, video trends gravitated toward longer videos. Some YouTube creators now think that 10 minutes is the sweet spot for run time. As you know, many YT videos are much longer. Eventually, even Facebook encouraged video posts of at least three minutes. FB claimed that three minute videos would be shown to more people. That brings us to Instagram reels revelations (see the Instagram article I wrote in 2020). Instagram and Facebook are owned by the Meta company. When Tik Tok (all short videos) came on the scene and exploded, all of their competitors panicked. So it's no surprise that in March of 2021 YouTube rolled out "Shorts" across the USA. As of this writing @QuikthinkingSoftware has 180+ videos on YouTube. Six are private. Some public ones have been featured in this blog. Many of our videos are exclusively posted here and not on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Why, because we won't have to worry about censorship, or the video length, or the content that we produce. For our current involvement with YouTube, it's "back to the past" as we've recently added a "Shorts" section with the focus on our app niche. Note that our expanded length videos share similar app subject themes with the "Shorts." Don't worry. We'll continue to create longer videos but we won't be pressured by artificial rules encouraging us to waste your time padding out the length of videos. Some people do this to game the YouTube algorithm so their statistics are juiced.  You've seen those videos where the presenter takes two minutes or more before getting to the point! "Ramble On." Here is the featured image of @QuikthinkingSoftware on our YouTube channel in early December, 2022: After creating 180+ YouTube videos (just for this channel) you become a better producer. I also have two other YouTube channels not related to games or apps. Join us. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and enjoy what you'll gain from watching the content! Hit the bell (after subscribing) to get alerted about new videos.

  • 0 The Creepy Digital Gatekeepers

    "You haven't used 22 apps in the last 30 days." Have you received one of these creepy cryptic notifications from Google on your Android device? Recently via Amazon Prime Video I watched The Creepy Line: Google and Facebook censorship manipulation undermining Democracy. I don't know about you, but I've had it with the constant surveillance the so called social companies conduct on us. The Creepy line, released in 2018, is a top notch documentary showing how society is manipulated by Google and Facebook. What's even more frightening in the movie is how these companies do it and get away with it. Thankfully, my iOS Apple devices are somewhat more well mannered. I certainly didn't ask Google to send me notifications about how often I'm using specific mobile apps on my phone or tablet. Frankly, it's none of their business. It's my storage space. If I could turn off all of these ridiculous notifications, I would.

  • 0 Doomed: Death of the First Person Shooter Video Game

    A rugged individual. This character type could reap a reputation of renegade violence out of chaotic gun driven 'justice' in the old west. This model of behavior partially defines the global sterotype of "the reckless American." Our Society's video games are no exception. From Duke Nukem to Doom and beyond, first person shooter sequences capture a vicarious thrill for players who gaze down the barrel of a gun or riffle to score game points.   In the early first person shooter games all you see is the barrel of the weapon larger than life at the bottom of the video screen actively seeking out kills with the aid of the player. A bombastic example on the silver screen is the 2006 unrated extended edition of Doom featuring Karl Urban and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The final act in the movie captures the carnage that the video game originally cooked up. See a variant of the video game rendered below. I'm not one for censorship, especially among adults. I don't criticize other game developers who want to play with or create first person shooter fire. This game genre never captured my attention. As such, you won't find one in our app catalog. Censorship of digital games is a no go. Ratings to aid parents are fine. Video games are entertainment even if some of them overflow with macabre massacre madness. Control of weapons, specifically weapons of mass destruction in a free society is a separate issue. With 330 million Americans and 393 million weapons (according to a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey), it is clear the arms race is winning stateside. As of this writing Black women are the fastest-growing group of gun owners in the USA according to reports by NYMag's The Cut, NPR, The Philadelphia Tribune, Essence, and other reputable sources. Women quoted by Essence say a weapon makes them feel "more secure." Among majority demographic populations the traditional non-sports game hunting person owns a gun for "self-defense." It will be interesting to see if the death of the first person shooter video game happens and gets documented in a future digital obituary. Perhaps gun violence in our streets will play a role moving people away from 'first person shooter video games' as go-to entertainment.

  • 0 Hate is No Game

    Cyberhate and extremism is hard to avoid if you are a part of a demographic that plays online multiplayer games. I was fascinated by the Anti-Defamation League report about this crisis. Some in the press did report on the ADL summary when it was released in early 2022. However, not many in the press followed this story. Reading through the report in January was distressing. I finally decided to expose some of their research here. All of these facts are from ADL surveying done in 2021: Five out of six adults (83%) ages 18-45 experienced harassment in online multiplayer games—representing over 80 million adult gamers. Three out of five young people (60%) ages 13-17 experienced harassment in online multiplayer games—representing nearly 14 million young gamers.   8% of adults ages 18-45 and 10% of young people ages 13-17 reported being exposed to discussions in online multiplayer games around white supremacist ideology, the belief that "white people are superior to people of other races and that white people should be in charge." 71% of adult online multiplayer gamers experienced severe abuse, including physical threats, stalking, and sustained harassment...The largest increases in identity-based harassment occurred among adult respondents who identified as women (49% in 2021), Black or African American (42% in 2021), and Asian American (38% in 2021).   Even the Quikthinking Software YouTube channel is constantly getting hit by haters who leave their vicious anti-Black comments among our videos thinking their thoughts will be published. They won't. Solutions involving government regulations are proposed by the ADL to address cyberhate and extremism. Sadly, you may know that legislating morality has never worked. The ADL suggests: Regular reports about hate and harassment Independent audits Better reporting systems Addressing workplace toxicity Number 4 seems to be the most valuable idea for adults. I'd extend this to work-at-home teams who share remote duties. For the 13 - 17 year old crowd a better approach might be to establish an anonymous feedback loop direct to the online multiplayer game app managers. These decision makers controlling organizations can make it clear through their social media channels that cyberhate and extremism won't be tolerated inside of their game platforms. Scan through the whole ADL report yourself on their website. It is well worth the time, and well worth the read. If the summary disappears over time just do an online search to find it: Hate is No Game: Harassment and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games  

  • 0 Android vs iOS Joy And Pain

    During a recent virtual summit I attended, all of the presenters were asked for their favorite: iOS or Android? I did not present. Like lemmings jumping into the ocean waters off a cliff, one by one each presenter answered iOS. Our first computer experience was with an early Mac. We then moved on to Windows PC's. Today, we have four iPhones: 4, 6, 7, and X, plus an iPad along with a Motorola phone and a Samsung phone representing for Android. Let's not forget a MacBook Pro, iMac, and multiple Windows desktop and laptops machines around various workspaces at Quikthinking headquarters. We are not tech crazy, but the mobile devices are used to test our apps before submitting them to the app stores. We don't want to disappoint you! Frankly, I'm always surprised in a world where approximately 85 percent of mobile phone users have Android, in the USA few seem to admit that they actually prefer Android. Score one for the iOS cool kids. Here's my advice to you if I was starting over today to develop software apps. I started with Android ten years ago. See our Timeline. Learning to program with the Android tools available in 2011 was financially more accessible for those with limited budgets. iOS required not only a bigger bankroll, but a longer learning curve to tackle their Objective-C programming language for apps. Today Swift leaves Objective-C behind as the programming language of choice for Apple apps. Swift offers an enhanced ease of use and improved features. Submitting apps to Google and Amazon was much more straight forward in 2011. At that time acceptance in the App store (iOS) had lots of challenges although they have improved their review systems. By 2018 our first app submission to Apple was accepted on the very first try. What did we learn in the 7 years between 2011 - 2018? Creating reliable software isn't easy, but with a good attitude to learn along with a system to improve and grow anything is possible. Personally, I'm always slowed down by the endless requests made by the iOS devices badgering you to supply permission to do little things on the devices. Yes, it's a security thing, but I like the rugged individualism of Android gear that leaves much more freedom of choice in your own hands. If you start with Android and then migrate to iOS, you won't be disappointed. You should definitely learn both. Today we have solid in-house knowledge of both operating systems. So, when it come to a question of Android or iOS, I proudly say Android. My very first Android phone cost only $25 dollars and it worked great! We hope you enjoyed the image of robots with apples on their antennas! It's one big beautiful world!

  • 0 Your Legacy Of Creating Culturally Diverse Content

    A film producer - director I recently interviewed for a separate non-app project struck an emotional nerve with me by using social media for a noble cause he wants to help. How did he do it? He used a timely surprise YouTube video to promote healing and understanding. These are troubled times. In his video producer Chris Bournea challenged content producers to "create diverse works that reflect the multicultural fabric of our society." This sounds great, but who actually does this on a regular basis? Outside of the few weeks many feel obligated to participate in women's history month, Black history month, and other 'accomplishment appreciation' moments in selected communities, where is the day-to-day commitment?  I agree with Chris and always have. More of us should follow his lead by embracing his idea. Our 10 second elevator pitch is derived from our founding focus on "apps, teaching tools, quizzes, and casual games with a multicultural touch." Are we really walking the walk? After hearing and watching Chris, we went all the way back to 2013 to find one of our very first Android Apps we've long since pulled out of Google Play. One thing you'll notice in this 2013 game below is that we used white, black, and Asian avatars without even thinking twice about it. In this 16 second video with grainy character headshots, you'll see a couple of scenes from Double Header Link Game. Chris Bournea's idea is as relevant today as it was back in 2013. Rather than trivialize inclusion, let's invite everyone to the party for an honest cultural mix!   Below I'm with Chris Bournea in a February, 2021 video conversation about his revealing Black history documentary movie. This is not related to his healing and understanding video I referenced above. You can watch my conversation with Chris about "Lady Wrestler: The Amazing Untold Story of African-American Women In The Ring" on Facebook. Just follow the link. Chris Bournea with Hugh Smith

  • 0 How We Bypass Gatekeepers

    We originally published this to our Instagram feed. If you don't, please follow us on Instagram @quikthinkingsoftware1 ---------- Once there was MySpace and Google Plus to capture your social attention. Today, it's Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Tomorrow, will it be the interactive "podcast" site Clubhouse?Note, Clubhouse may be all audio, all the time but it is not a traditional podcast.As we've recently seen, these social media giants can drop you like a hot potato if they deem your content is in violation of their standards.Are you comfortable putting all of your eggs in one basket? What do you think?Between the three major app stores that we regularly supply with teaching tools, quizzes, audiobooks, or games there is a subjective difference between how our intellectual property is evaluated.In my experience, Apple by far uses the most professional approach evaluating apps. Of the 15 apps we have in the App Store, 13 were accepted immediately including our first 7. We were asked to make minor changes to only 2 of the 15. We did, and the apps were both accepted on the second submission.I don't have issues working with editors as I've worked with them my entire career including many years in both broadcast journalism and music programming for radio.In the app world most of our apps (over 60) were originally done for Android. With that said, the Amazon store has always been a pleasure to work with.As far as Google is concerned, I fear that their artificial intelligence based algorithms wreak havoc throughout the entire app evaluation process.So this update doesn't get too long, I won't go into additional details. Let me just end by saying that having your own real estate to plant your flag in is even more important today than ever.We started in June, 1996. The site lives on in its sixth total revision with a seventh on the horizon.The danger of relying on one app store, one social media platform, or one publishing arm as your primary third party base of operation means you relinquish control of your own destiny to a gatekeeper.Build your own gate that leads to your own home. It should be your focal point. Third parties you trust today may execute the ultimate power tomorrow and block or erase your legacy.

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