Calling All Artists: Artbook Tampa Bay is Open for Submissions!

As you may have read a few months ago, we’ve been working with Adobe InDesign to create digital content.  Our first project was an in-house portfolio used to showcase our work with current and potential clients, friends, and colleagues.  We really enjoyed designing and building the portfolio and began looking for more opportunities to create digital magazine-type content for the iPad. Our newest project is called Artbook and will be a digital ‘coffee table’ book app compiled of original art from local Tampa Bay artists, Art Galleries and Museums.

We completed a prototype of artists and artworks, listed out submissions guidelines, and then built the “Submission” page on our website to make an easy, streamlined application for artists. This launched yesterday and we want to invite you to take part in this special project!

If you are a local Tampa Bay artist and would like your work to be available in the iTunes store, accessed by people all over the world, please visit http://www.hdinteractive.com/artbooktampabay for more information and to submit your work.

We are beyond excited to offer this exposure opportunity for our local community!  Support Artbook Tampa Bay by submitting today or sharing with friends!  We will let everyone know when the finished product is available in the iTunes store. If you’d like more information, please visit our site or read about the project on newrootsnews.org.

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Great Gift Ideas For The 2011 Holiday Season

As a techie, I understand how hard it can be for spouses, friends, and family to find the perfect gift for that special technology guru in their lives.  So I’ve put together a list of the things we love and the things we want this year. It’s never to early to get started!

Apple TV

This little gadget is only $99 with free shipping.  Hook it up to your TV, and you can wirelessly log into your iTunes account and watch shows, movies, and more.  And now, iPad2 and iPhone 4S users can use AirPlay Mirroring to wirelessly stream videos on your iPad or iPhone directly to the big screen, even if you rotate your phone or zoom in and out.  Apple TV makes it easy to stream Netflix or watch videos on Vimeo or YouTube as well.

Price: $99

WD TV

A competitor of Apple TV, WD TV is nice if you have a lot of digital movie files in a variety of formats, while also getting Netflix and a bunch of other cool digital media tools in one little box that you hook to your TV / entertainment system.  If you have the room, I also recommend a projector to enhance the viewing experience. Your tech friend will love creating their own in-home theater!

Price: Depending on the system you choose, this gift will run anywhere from $89.99 – $129.99

Mac Mini

Speaking of cool entertainment toys, if you have a nice TV or projector with HDMI, I also recommend hooking up a Mac Mini with a wireless keyboard and trackpad to your TV. My family and I have made great use of ours. When you use the computer as much as we do, there are times when you just wish you could put a particular streaming video, website, or something else on your TV. With an iPad 2 and Apple TV, you don’t need the computer as much as you used to to stream great content to your TV (or play Angry Birds on a big screen).

Price: From $599

Fun Flash Drive

These little portable drives make great stocking stuffers. Amazon.com has a huge assortment of cool flash drives, including animals and Star Wars characters.  We love R2D2!

Price: $19.99

AR.Drone Parrot

Though it’s a year old now, I still think this quadro-copter is super cool!  Your loved one will love flying it indoors and out, all controlled with their iPhone, iPod, or Android phone.  Two onboard cameras stream to your phone as well, giving you views in front of and below the Parrot! Available on Amazon.com.

Price: $299.95

Solio Bolt Solar Charger

Help stave off the dead battery blues with a solar charger.  The Solio Bolt Charger uses solar power to charge batteries in all types of USB-connecting devices like phones, iPods, cameras, and more.

Price: $65

Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet

Techies love the latest and greatest in technology gadgets.  Surprise them with the new Kindle Fire coming to Amazon on November 15th (available now for pre-order). The tablet offers a full color, 7” multi-touch screen and comes WiFi ready.

Price: $199

GoPro Camera

This camera is so small and versatile, you can do almost anything with it. Our lead developer loves his, using it to film surf sessions, wake boarding, skateboarding, and even scuba diving. It’s easy to use and customize with different lenses and accessories and a plethora of nifty mounting possibilities (including helmet mounts, surfboard mounts, wrist mounts, poles, chest mounts, and more). Video can be uploaded to a computer and easily manipulated to create time lapses, stills, and more. Your technology-savvy friend will have a great time finding uses for this handy little camera. And the accessories make great stocking stuffers!

Price: $149.99 – $299.99

 Gift Cards

If you’re still not sure what gift will please, grab a gift card and let them choose their perfect gift.  Amazon.com is a great, versatile card that allows them to buy almost anything.  An iTunes gift card gives them the option of purchasing movies, music, games or even digital magazines.  Or consider Panera or Starbucks.  These places offer free WiFi, and your friend or family member can enjoy a nice coffee or snack while working remotely.

Price:  Any

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Adobe Max 2011

Two weeks ago, I attended my 3rd consecutive Adobe MAX conference. It was a great experience in many ways and I want to share some of what I saw and learned with you. I’ve divided the content into the three days of the conference and provided links to articles and videos for you to learn more about the areas that may interest you.

Day 1

The conference started with a keynote focusing on the new Creative Cloud, Adobe Touch Apps, Typekit, and Digital Publishing. Some of our developer friends thought it was too design-centric and focused too much on designers, but day two brought more developer topics.  Watch the keynote below:

Creative Cloud sounded super interesting.  You can learn more about the product by clicking here or watch the video below:

Adobe’s Julieanne Kost has a great blog with information and videos detailing Adobe Touch Apps for iPad and Android tablets.  Check that out here: http://blogs.adobe.com/jkost/2011/10/announcing-adobe-touch-apps.html

Adobe also announced the acquisition of Typekit. Typekit.com is an excellent, affordable resource for web designers to embed custom fonts from the cloud.   Click here to read an excellent blog about Typekit.

We love Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite and now see great applications for ourselves and our clients using the new ‘single edition’ feature.  Read more about it here.

In the afternoon, I attended a session about an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) by MIT, called Vanished. I’ve been a big fan of ARG’s for a few years and will produce one someday. You can read about Vanished here: http://vanished.mit.edu/about or watch the session below:

Day 2

The day two keynote featured more about HTML 5, Flash Builder, Flash 3D, AIR native extensions and other goodies for developers. You can watch the keynote below:

I was really excited to see that some of our apps were featured on the big screen and at the Adobe booth and lounge, shown in the picture here.

Now that Flash Player 11 has been launched, we can take advantage of Flash stage 3D and the Starling 2D game engine.

If you want to see Flash 3D in action, check out the Nissan Juke‘s cool site.

Very cool news for game developers: Unreal tournament now publishes and to and runs in Flash player 11 in your browser.  Learn more by clicking here.

We also made a relationship with MapQuest, and plan to use their Flash API in some of our upcoming iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.

In the Adobe booths, they had a video loop that included an interview they did with Todd and I concerning Flash, Flex, and mobile development.  Watch the video below:

Flex developers creating iOS and Android apps, definitely want to learn about and start using AIR Native Extensions.  Watch the video below for more:

In the evening of day two, we attended the Award and Sneaks hosted by Rainn Wilson. View a list of the award winners here. Click here to read a nice blog post about the sneaks. Rainn Wilson was hilarious and some of the sneaks were amazing! Here is a collection of videos of the sneaks and here is a video that featured our game, Pyramix!

After the awards and sneaks, Adobe hosted an awesome outdoor party that included the band Weezer, candy world, LA food trucks, free alcohol, hanging out with lots of Adobe folks including: Greg Wilson, Holly Schinsky, Christophe Conreats, Michael Chaize, and Piotr Wierzgala.

 Day 3

On day three, I went to a session by Sanjay Patel from Pixar on storytelling.  Later I attended a session called ‘Designing game interfaces’ that you can watch below:

My last session of the conference was on game metrics. It was interesting, but I didn’t learn much.Finally, I ended the trip at dinner with 15 Adobe evangelists and solution partners at Roy’s, then the red-eye flight home.
I’m looking forward to doing it again next year!

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eBooks Just Got Personal!

Whether you’re an author, book lover, or casual reader, our latest published iPad app, Autography, is big news for you!

As an author, picture reaching out to your readers no matter where they are and connecting with people you otherwise never could have.  Autography can do that!

Imagine attending your favorite author’s book signing from 1,000 miles away. Thanks to Autography, you can purchase your eBook straight from your favorite author with an included personalized signature page and receive it in seconds any time of day, no matter where you are!

The Autography app works on all eReader platforms by inserting a blank page into an eBook that authors can customize with an image or logo.  Authors can then sign that page, creating a personal keepsake for the reader. Once complete, the author emails the reader a link to download the book with the personalized picture and signature included. Readers can easily share these pages on Facebook and Twitter with the click of a button.

This project encouraged us to learn and use new technologies necessary for conveying accurate signatures and branded pages to any eBook format.

If you’re an author and you want to use Autography to reach out to your readers, you can download the app on iTunes.  Readers can contact their favorite authors and request signed eBooks or encourage them to download Autography on iTunes now! You can learn more at www.Autography.com.

Check out this recent testimonial from an author using Autography: http://jonfmerz.net/2011/10/14/autographed-ebooks-and-more/!

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Neptune – Oracle of Letters, our 11th app and Most Challenging Game Yet!

Neptune Oracle of Letters iPad gameI’m pleased to share with you our 11th title, Neptune – Oracle of Letters. It’s fun, simple and addicting for word-game junkies, like me, but casual gamers will like it too. We used the dictionary engine from Pyramix, but added a whole new element of speed and excitement to the game by making it timed, to spell as many words as possible. That race against the clock leads to a fast-paced game with multiple strategies.

We also took the time to collect a huge range of stats (stored locally), that allows the user to make bigger words, score more points, and compare stats with fellow players.

I’m also very proud ofthe thoughtful work of our design team.  The eye-catching visuals and rich sub-aquatic sounds are very impressive and let you escape into the game.

Check out the trailer, featuring a scenic view of the St Petersburg waterfront:

Download today and let us know your thoughts!  We always appreciate your feedback.

We’ve Reached 100k App And Game Downloads!!

This year, we’ve been working really hard building games and apps for iOS, Android, Nook, and Blackberry, and we’ve had a blast doing it.  But we’re even happier to know that people are using and enjoying them!  This week, we hit 100,000 downloads for iPad and iPhone!

Kung Fu Battle Slots, released only last week, is super fun and we have high hopes for it.  Pyramix and Mr. Mixit are two of the most popular games we’ve made, and they are available on multiple platforms. People are also having a great time  insulting their friends, impressing the opposite sex, and communicating while abroad.

Thanks to everyone for helping make our games and apps successful!  We hope you will continue to enjoy everything we produce and share with your friends!

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Hiya! Battle Your Friends With Our New Game!

HD Interactive reached a new milestone today, one that I am extremely excited about!  Our 10th game, Kung Fu Battle Slots, was just approved in the iTunes app store and is also available for the Nook Color!

Our creative team has truly outdone themselves by crafting rich, authentic Kung Fu graphics and original music. Another unique feature is the two-player, head-to-head mode. There aren’t a lot of two-player one, device games, so we thought it might be fun to share gaming experiences with a friend. You’ll also like the one-player mode with A.I. features that get better/worse as the user does.

In KFBS, we meshed a slot machine game with the card game War, to create this fast-paced action/reflex game.  Players must attack, block and death-match opponents to win a seven round slot battle.  With the win comes bragging rights, and that’s always more fun when you can see the look on your opponent’s face.

To promote the game, we created two fun YouTube trailers.  Watch them now and tell us which is your favorite! Share the fun with your friends!

 

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Box of Sox is in the Tournament!

Wow! Pyramix is doing great in the Appmadness tournament! Thanks, everyone, for voting!

Box of Sox, our fun matching game that requires the player to match up pairs of sox from their exploding dryer, is competing in the tournament as well.  This was the first game we created, and we’re quite proud of it.  Please help Box of Sox make it to the next round by voting here!

Users are allowed to vote for one game in each matchup every day, so please continue to vote everyday until August 7th!

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It’s App Madness!

Our new word game, Pyramix, is competing in a tournament over at appmadness.net!  We’ll take it round by round before we predict how deep Pyramix will go in the tournament. We haven’t scoped out all the competition yet, but we deserve to win round one. Check out our competition and PLEASE VOTE.

The tournament mimics the NCAA: In the beginning, there are 64 apps competing in groups.  Two apps are pitted against each other and, after the end of a week, the app with the most votes has won round one.  Then, winners “play” winners until the best app on the net is crowned!

In each round, the app that continues on is the app with the most votes. Please visit this link and help us win round one! You can vote once every 24 hours, so keep voting!  For the tournament, we will be offering Pyramix FOR FREE! So get it now, enjoy, and vote!

Thanks for your support! And don’t forget: Nook Color owners can also enjoy Pyramix! We’ve seen huge sales in the Nook app store, selling a few hundred copies of Pyramix per day for the first two weeks! We also have two more games – our best yet – about to be published to Nook and iPad. Stay tuned!

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We’ve Reached Our Goal!

You might remember the post in which I announced my New Year’s goal for 2011: to create apps for as many devices as possible. Well, I’m very happy to say that, with five months still left in the year, we’ve reached that goal!

The fantastic HDI team has built several cool apps and games for the iPad, iPhone and iPod, including our Say It 4 Me translator apps and our most recent game, Zenflip.

Mr. Mixit and Pyramix, available for iOS, are also big hits in the Android Market and are some of the first Flash games to have sold in the Amazon Android  Store as well.

We’ve also developed Mr. Mixit and Pyramix for the Blackberry Playbook so that as many people as possible can enjoy them.

As long-time users of Adobe products, we found that their latest Flash 4.5 and Flex 4.5 programs have made our goals much easier, since these two products allow us to more easily develop for multiple platforms. And some of our biggest news of this year comes from Times Square, where Pyramix and Mr. Mixit were featured in an Adobe billboard ad! To see all the photos, visit our Facebook Page.

Our latest accomplishment was releasing Pyramix as a Nook app. Of the 366 apps in the marketplace, Pyramix was the 15th most popular app last Friday, but by Saturday, the game had jumped to seventh, then fifth place by Sunday!

It’s already been a great year for HDI! I want to say thank you to all of our awesome clients, team and game users. We are just getting started, so stay tuned for more!

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