March 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM
It's been quite the eventful few months since last I made a "real" blog post. Except, most of those events have just been me being hard at work making apps, writing some sweet h4x, marketing apps, watching some anime, improving apps, yelling at apps, and playing video games.
Studio Bebop has started to really take off, and is seeing more and more success each month. These last few months have been a major learning experience for me, not just in programming, but for business in general. One lesson that's been repeatedly bashed into my head ever since I got home, is that when you are a self-employed app developer, 90% of your job is programming, and 100% of it is marketing.
The app market has EXPLODED these last two years, and since I decided that my old methods of product advertising (READ: using all the spambots I wrote as a freelancer) aren't exactly the most effective/ethical options anymore, I've had to start from square one! Well it's been a long (and sometimes expensive) process, but I feel like I've finally started to get a grip on how to market apps semi-reasonably well. I'm planning on writing an article about this very subject in the near future, so I'll abstain from going into detail here. However, I will say that one really good idea to get your app to stand out, is to put together a promo video. I knew that one day all of that time spent making AMVs would one day come in handy!
On the pr0 h4x side of things, I completely rewrote my heuristic brute force password cracker Gentle-Brute. For those of you wondering what the heck "heuristic brute force password cracking" is, it's essentially a method of brute force cracking wherein the algorithm skips attempts for potential passwords like 'aaaaaa', 'asdf7777772dn', etc. Which in turn leads to a shorter number of potential password permutations to try before finding the correct one, thereby (potentially) drastically reducing the amount of time necessary to crack a password using brute force. This is accomplished by only generating potential passwords that adhere to the rules of English-like words and phrases. I just recently found out that 2600: The Hacker Quarterly is going to publish the article I wrote on this very subject, so once that happens, I'll link to a proper explanation about HBF. (It's super cool I promise.)
Rewriting Gentle-Brute was a lot of fun. It gave me a chance to try my hand at a few things I'd never done before. Like creating my very own super awesome Rubygem. Or using Curses to fulfill a secret lifelong dream of making my own super-hacker looking hash cracker. It's beautiful ;_;
Moving on in the world of h4x, I recently put together a neat little article discussing how to use intrinsic functions on iOS devices with Cortex A8 (and later) CPUs to perform super fast BGRA to Grayscale conversions on CVPixelBuffer frame data. Or as I like to put it, how to use ASM black magic to process eight pixels at a time of a video frame. You should read it, I think it's fascinating.
My brother and I went to Ikkicon over the new years weekend. The con itself was pretty mid-tier, but I got a lot of great ideas for ways to market apps, and I had a great time with my brother and some other friends in Austin. I had to make some adjustments since I last wore it, but I busted out my Emillio cosplay both nights for some good old fashioned self-esteem building. After a bit of coaxing, my brother decided he'd cosplay Castiel from Supernatural, and he looked marvelous.
While we were there, I made the acquisition of some super awesome (and tax-deductible because they are for market research) figures, and a moe moe keychain. Gaze upon their glory!
Finally, to wrap things up, here are the highlights of the anime I've been watching and my thoughts on it.
I finished watching School Rumble, it was magnificent. I had mentioned earlier that the dub was pretty good (which it is), but following the admonition of my friend Preston, I switched to the sub and it was glorious! I love School Rumble, and you should too.
I watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica or (just Madoka if you're not super lame), and it was awesome. So awesome in fact, that I had this 16x20 poster made to adorn my wall with its greatness. The show is basically Cardcaptor Sakura, but with a darker more adult-focused plot full of twists, a la Evangelion. (Maybe that's why there's going to be a Rebuild movie?)
The music is done by one of my favorite anime musicians, Yuki Kajiura. (Noir, Tsubasa Chronicle, .hack//SIGN) The animation was done by SHAFT, and it's not only gorgeous, but also incredibly stylized. Watch Madoka now.
Speaking of super stylized and beautiful animation, I recently finished watching Katanagatari. I really really really liked it. It's one of the most unique anime I've ever watched both in terms of visual presentation, and story. What's even better, is that while Katanagatari may be super unique, it's not a case of all flash and no substance. (Unlike say Dead Leaves for instance.) A word of warning, do not watch the dub, or I will find you and hurt you.
^^^ Kinda sorta spoilers FYI ^^^