Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pegs Released!


Pegs by White Pixels is now available in the App Store for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.


Many thanks to the generous testing crew. Their time helped make it happen. User Testers: Karen, Eric, Kenny, Scott, Sean, Aaron, Amy, Sally, Kathy, Dennis, Joey, and Patti. Beta Testers: Zoe, Dean, Kristen, Zach, Brian (x2), Kenny, Erin, Jeff, Wes, Sienna, Leif, Juliet, and Sonja.

Enjoy the new game!
Rick


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Inch Worm 3.0


As you can see, Inch has grown a bit older and a lot cuter. You can now solve all 72 puzzles in any order. I’ve also fixed a couple of gnarly bugs.

I hope that you and your kids enjoy the update. As always, I’d appreciate ratings and two-sentence reviews for the update in the app store.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Inch Worm Review

Geeks With Juniors has posted a great review of Inch Worm.
See it here.





Monday, March 13, 2017

Help Test Pegs

Pegs by White Pixels

Now is your chance to help test Pegs by White Pixels, the latest in my series of games for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. It’s a simple puzzle game for ALL AGES.

It’s all about critical thinking. Problem solving. Subgoals. Have at it. Make some mistakes. Go back. Try again. It’s all good.

User Testing:  I’ll be running user tests this week and next, in person, in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley. You can influence the game’s design before it’s too late. Space is limited, so sign up ASAP.

Beta Testing:  I’m aiming for beta testing in April. Beta is on your devices, so anywhere in the world. You can see the game early. There will be a limited number of testers. Sign up now. You’ll get an email from Apple when the beta is ready to roll.

Thanks for your help!    - Rick



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pegs

Here’s an early prototype of our next project:

Pegs by White Pixels.


You can do it! Solve Peg Solitaire.

Pegs will help. It starts out easy, then gets harder, with a twist. Early levels will help you discover the secrets. Think hard about the colors and shapes; they matter. You’ll see some hints and warnings along the way. Keep going. Have fun.

It’s all about critical thinking. Problem solving. Subgoals. 
Have at it. Make some mistakes. Go back. Try again. 
It’s all good.

Ages 6 to adult.
Coming summer 2017.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Make Problem Solving Fun


Inch Worm by White Pixels is an addictive collection of maze puzzles for ages 6 to adult. Students lead Inch home, interacting along the way with cherries (eat them), acorns (push them out of the way), leaves (make bridges), snails (push them home), ladybugs (push and pull them), and dragonflies (herd them home). 


Success requires skills in planning, problem solving, logic and spacial relationships. Some students will plan Inch’s entire route. Others will look for the next step that does no harm. Appropriate subgoals help kids solve the advanced puzzles. Their solutions reveal differing thought processes. Everyone will make some mistakes, and learn from them! It’s all good.




App Name:  Inch Worm by White Pixels


Platforms:  iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, $0.99, no ads, no in-app purchases





Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Inch Worm 2.0




Thanks to some fast work by Apple’s review team, Inch Worm 2.0 is now available in the App Store. It’s a free upgrade. So you can immediately start using the leaves to make bridges and dealing with those annoying dragonflies. There are 48 new puzzles. Go for it.

Thanks to everyone who helped with testing this time around. Star ratings and reviews for the new version are needed and appreciated.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Inch Worm Released!


This email arrived September 6th at 12:01 AM:


By morning Inch Worm was available in the App Store:


I'm pleased to have gotten this far, with a lot of help from friends. It's a first step. I'm trying to spread the word. Then it's on to a couple additional series of Inch Word puzzles, and another app.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Who knew?

Who knew what it would take to get a simple game for kids released in the App Store? Engineering - my speciality - was just a small fraction of the work. But we’re getting close…



Inch Worm is scheduled for release on September 6th. Whew!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Inch Worm Beta Testing



Beta testing is underway. Let me know if you'd like to help. 

Rick Meyers
rick@whitepixels.com


Friday, July 1, 2016

Inch Worm Testing



Big Picture

“I love this game.”  -  Jack
“What I like about it: it’s tricky a little.”  -  Hazel
“OK good. No. Not good.”  -  Aaron
“Oh, man.”  -  Brian

Getting Stuck

“I won the first one.”  -  Devan
“Great. Now I’m stuck.”  -  Titus (with a smile)
“Just to tell you, there’s a big trap.”  - Oliver
“Oh, I trapped myself.”  -  Joey (with a smile)
“I have an idea.”  - Sophia

Cherries

“I love cherries.”  -  Sophia
“I need a snack first.”  -  Violet (before eating a cherry)
“Grab that cherry at the beginning.”  -  Aidan 

Acorns and Snails

“The acorns are the hardest.”  -  Leif
“I forgot I can’t go to the edge.”  - Zachary
“Snails these days never listen!”  -  Simone

Strategy

“I know the secret.”  -  Emmy
“I just have to plan things out.”  -  Elsie
“There are actually two ways to get through.”  -  Charlie
“I’m not going to tell you the answer. It’s pretty obvious.”  -  David
“Finally. Took me long enough.”  -  Sean (big smile)

Bottom Line

“This game is actually quite fun.”  -  Titus
“Addicting.”  -  Michelle, Patti


Many thanks to everyone who tested Inch Worm. Each of you helped make Inch Worm a better game. Watching you play forced me to fix things.  ;-)


Testers:  David, Charlie, Ryan, Isabel, Violet, Jack, Brian, JD, Jude, Beth, Aaron, Josiah, Micah, Aidan, Devon, Jenn, Leif, Juliet, Birger, Zachary, Sophia, Simone, Hazel, Jenny, Oliver, Sara, Emmy, Elsie, Erin, Erik, Titus, Jeremiah, Joey, Patti, Matthew, Sean, Sally (wants to swipe), Kathy, Dennis, Erin, Michelle, Wes (the voice of Inch), Jeff (color consultant), and Karen (solved all the puzzles, multiple times).

Friday, June 17, 2016

Playing and Learning






"Play is a big part of how kids learn."
  
           zoopz.com

"For kids, especially kids under the age of 12, playing is learning and learning is playing.… So when we think about playing and we think about learning, the distinction between the two is very blurry and I think that as an organization, as an industry, we need to be a little bit more aware of that…
  
           Debra Levin Gelman
           http://uxpod.com/design-for-kids-an-interview-with-debra-levin-gelman/
           http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/design-for-kids/

"Better games. Smarter kids."
  
           whitepixels.com

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Favorite Kids' Books

In designing educational games for kids, some of my inspiration comes from children’s books. Here’s four of my all-time favorites:

Doggies
by Sandra Boynton
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
Mouse Paint
by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Make Way For Ducklings
by Robert McCloskey


I’ll never match this level of quality or appeal, but it’s nice to at least know where I’m aiming.

What are your favorites?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Aplia Values

       

It's been a couple of years since I retired from Aplia. Before I forget, here's some of the values that helped make Aplia a great place to work.




Hire people that are smart and nice.
    They can learn everything else.

Get to know your users.
    Figure out what would make life better for them.

Design the best product for students and instructors.
    Everything else (sales, profits, ..) will follow.

Keep the design simple.
    White pixels are free!

Build a little. Test it with users.
    Then build some more. Then test it again.

Measure it. Fix it.
    Then measure again to see if you fixed it.

Give bugs top priority.
    Don’t build more if you have bugs.

Avoid add options for this and that.
    Add an option, go to jail.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Developmental Math



Here's an update to an earlier course profile.


Developmental Math Courses
 • Arithmetic, geometry, pre-algebra, algebra
Mostly 2 year schools
Many small sections
Students test into the course
Usually non-credit
 • Usually one term
 • 50% drop rate

Instructors
A few lead instructors - full time
Many adjuncts - freeway flyers

Students
Generally struggling in school
Many non-traditional students
Resent having to take the class
Lack basic math skills
Fear math

Key Challenges
 • Course: Ferocious drop rate
Instructors: Time, especially for individual attention
Students: Math skills, motivation, fear, time

Quantitative Literacy


Here's a brief profile of one of my favorite math courses.


Quantitative Literacy Courses
• "Math for real life."
• "The last math course you'll ever take."
• Personal finance, understanding statistics, charts, graphs, ...
• Understanding the news, reading the newspaper, ...
• Primarily 4 year schools
• Viewed as innovative
• Satisfies minimum math requirement

Instructors
• Ph.D. Math professors
• Chose to teach this course

Students
• Often weak math background
• Happy this course if offered, chose to take it

Key Challenges
• Instructors: Time, especially for individual attention
     Selling the course to the administration
• Students: Math skills, fear of math

Math for K-8 Teachers



Math for K-8 Teachers Courses
• Full year course
• Huge books, tons of material
• Taught in Education department
• 4 year schools
• Simple arithmetic through geometry, algebra
• Manipulatives
• Conceptual
• Required for education majors

Instructors
• Ph.D. education (or math) professors
• Tend to like the course

Students
• Future K-8 teachers
• Sophomores, juniors, seniors
• Math skills vary considerably

Key Challenges
• Tons of material
• Students must recognize multiple approaches
• Instructors: Understanding it all, time
• Students: Breadth of material, concepts


Saturday, February 6, 2010

GigaOM Infographic


A beautiful infographic prepared by GigaOM outlines the size of the iPhone App economy. Go check it out. We'll wait.


iPhone Apps

$250 million revenue in December 2009
$175 million (70%) goes to developers
$75 million (30%) goes to Apple


iPhone Sales

Apple sold 8.7 million iPhones in Q4 2009 (not counting Touch)
Guessing $150 / phone, that's $1.3 billion, plus carrier subsidies


iPhone Contracts

Users spend an average of $4.37 per month on apps
Users spend (my guess) $80 per month on connectivity


Interesting.

App Development is Big.
iPhone sales are Bigger.
Data plans are Biggest.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CourseSmart on iPhone and Tablet


Thousands of textbooks, including books from Cengage, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill, Worth, and Wiley are already available on the iPhone. The screen's a bit small, but the convenience factor is huge, and the books rent for 6 months for 1/2 the price of a paper copy. Check out a video here.


CourseSmart seems to be getting ready for the Apple Tablet. This could be very interesting, as soon as Fall 2010. Check out the video here.




Apple Tablet in the News

This morning the Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury News, and many others are reporting more rumored details of the Apple device.

They report an announcement scheduled for January 27th in Yerba Buena in SF, with availability in March. They predict a larger device, with a 10" diagonal screen. They also predict a price between $800 and $1000, which would include free Wi-Fi, but not cell phone access.

Should be interesting...


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Apple Tablet

Here's my speculation on the much-rumored Apple Tablet. I'd love to hear your comments.

In short, it's a thin paperback-sized device, based on the iPhone, with a new emphasis on movies, TV shows, books and periodicals.


Features

• "There's an App for that."
• Internet In Your Pocket - Safari, Google, Flash
• Personal Video - Movies, TV, YouTube
• iPod - Music and Photos
• Video Games
• Books, Magazines, Newspapers
• Cell phone, video chat, text messages
• View PDFs, Office documents

Technical Specifications

• 7.5" x 4.5" x 0.5" tablet
• 6" x 4" color LCD display (960 x 640, 160 dpi)
• Multi-touch screen, on-screen keyboards
• 14 ounces
• WiFi, cellular, bluetooth
• GPS and accelerometer
• Video camera (640 x 480)
• Camera (4 Megapixels)
• Battery life up to 10 hours
• Tablet OS (extended iPhone OS)
• Available March 2010
• $499 with contract

Predictions

• Apple announces Tablet Developers Conference.
• Apple announces cloud storage for movies, TV shows, music, ....
• Apple revamps iTunes stores for movies, TV, books, magazines.
• Ivy League University announces Tablet for all Freshman.

Again, this is all speculation. Comments please!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wired on iTablet


Large-screen color tablets, when they finally arrive, will rock the world. Here's Conde Nast's take for Wired Magazine.

Turn down your sound, then click here.

This Year's Freshmen


Most of this year's Freshman were born in 1991. For many of us, that seems like yesterday. To relate, we've got to be careful about our historical perspective.

For these students...

• Text has always been hyper.
• The KGB has never officially existed.
• Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice.

The Beloit College Mindset List is a great way to jog our thinking. See this year's full list here.



American Government

Here's another brief course profile, this time from the Political Science Department.


American Government
Really US Government
Taught at 2 yr and 4 yr schools
General Education requirement
Requirement for transfer to 4 yr schools
Lecture, quizzes, papers, mid-term, final

Textbooks
Brief
14 chapters, 380 pages, 25 pages per chapter
13 chapters government structure, 1 policy
Brief growing in popularity (due to lower cost)
Comprehensive
20 chapters, 650 pages, 32 pages per chapter
16 chapters structure, 4 chapters policy
Texas
Adds 7 chapters on Texas government

Professors
Both faculty and adjuncts
Most are education oriented
Often tech-phobic

Students
Both freshman and sophomores
Both non-majors (mostly) and majors
Some had HS Civics, others didn't
Many lack college reading and writing skills
Many are politically naive
Others follow Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Charter Cities

How can a struggling countries break out of poverty if they are trapped in a system of bad rules?

Paul Romer is developing a radical new model of growth and governance, which calls for the establishment of city-scale special administrative zones.

View Paul's TED talk here, and visit his foundation's web site here.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Aplia Fall 2009 Courses

For Fall 2009, Aplia is offering an amazing 30 courses in 12 different disciplines:

Accounting
Principles of Accounting
Financial Accounting
Fundamentals of Accounting
High School Accounting
Managerial Accounting

Business Communications
Business Communications

Business Law
Excerpted Cases
Legal Environment of Business

Decision Sciences
Management Information Systems
Operations Management

Developmental Reading
Developmental Reading: Mid-Level

Economics
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Macroeconomics
Principles of Economics
Survey of Economics
Intermediate Microeconomics
Money, Banking, and Financial Institutions
International Economics
Advanced Placement Economics

Finance
Financial Management
Preparing for Finance

Management
Human Resources Management
Organizational Behavior
Principles of Management

Marketing
Principles of Marketing

Philosophy
Introductory Logic

Statistics
General Introductory Statistics
Introductory Business Statistics
Statistics for Psychology

Taxation
Individual Income Taxation




Saturday, July 25, 2009

California Coast Photos













Waddell Creek (x2)
Moss Landing