Monthly Archives: May 2017

New character added to Painted World

New character will be added tonight to the Painted World interactive fiction app ….

Get it on Google Play

Introducing Arjun Petal…….

Welcome to the Shooting Stars talent agency where Arjun Petal can make anyone a star… or at the very least that’s what he tells the prospective client.

Arjun is a con man, his con is the age old vanity press scam.

It works like this. He meets a client with low self esteem and dreams of stardom in his modelling agency and he relieves them of all their surplus cash.. he gets his fees and then he makes them feel so bad about themselves that they cannot continue with his program. His fees are non-refundable.

What can go wrong? Eh? Well.. things are not going to plan for Arjun. Maybe it’s the ghost who haunts his building or Irina, his latest client, who seems to be able to see the ghost or maybe, just maybe ..

It’s something to do with Eve, the mysterious lady who shows up at his door and gets angry…

http://glitterbug.ie/paintedWorld/

Women in Technology

This is the first of a few blog posts about women in technology. Written by a female coder and co founder of Glitterbug app development, it is about what software development has to offer and about my personal experience as a woman in coding as well as the things that initially deterred me from pursuing my dream of being a software engineer.

My name is Laura Cavanagh. I have been working in technology, specifically software development and software architecture, since 2003 (which, as of now is 14 years).  I spent that time in large and small companies, working in a range of roles from coding to architectural design, to consultancy and presales and back to coding again.

I taught myself to code in C from the age of 20 and became a computer programmer at 22. I am a self taught java, android, swift and web developer. I just wanted to write a few blog entries on what it is like to be a female coder as it is a question I get asked a lot and I feel a need to express it and explain what it has been like for me.

About me:

Degree in Psychology

13 years in software development and software architecture

Worked in security applications, web development, XML parsing, marketing applications.

Co-founded  Glitterbug with Colin Vaughan in 2016.

We make apps, we are slowly but surely finding our path through the world of app development which has taken us from quiz apps to interactive fiction and chat stories and now to our eCommerce adventure in food ordering apps.

 http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2017/05/22/glitterbug-chat-stories/

http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2017/05/21/glitterbug-galvanize/

http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2017/04/17/painted-world-released/

http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2016/11/18/what-makes-glitterbug-quiz-apps-stand-out/

 

About being a female software developer

 

But this blog entry is not about Glitterbug. It is about what it is like to be a woman coder.

Just as the philosopher Thomas Nagel asked “What is it like to be a bat?“, I have been asked many times what is it really like to work as a female coder in an industry which is so male dominated, particularly in the technical part of that industry.

Well, I can’t speak for all women. We are all individuals and all so very different. But I can tell you what things have been like for me and you can draw your own conclusions.

 

The Things I love about software engineering

The thing I love most about software development is the highs and lows that I get from solving problems. I find certain aspects of the work extremely interesting. The parts I most enjoy are finding a problem, working my way through it and solving it. I suppose, with highs and lows, excitement and frustration, there comes focus and interest.

I find it hard to focus on anything boring and almost impossible to pull my attention away from anything I find interesting (I have all the symptoms of ADHD!!!). That, for me, meant that I had to do something appealed to me, something that sparked my intrigue. I am the kind of person who could be sitting there doing a puzzle for a hour while all hell broke loose around me. I get so locked into the puzzle I am solving that I don’t hear people or notice anything.

So, for someone like me, puzzles and problem solving were really attractive. What I would take away from that (if i were you) is that if you like solving puzzles, whether they be word puzzles, crosswords, jigsaws, whatever form they take, whether you are a man or a woman, then maybe you will get a kick out of software development.

 

Now, that is probably glossing over the parts that are boring. All jobs have boring parts – endless meetings full of ego boosting, listening to another non-technical project manager try to minimize the difficulty of what his or her team is doing and bully them into working longer hours, writing documentation and reviewing it and configuration things, yep, there are parts which are not to my taste.  But, my point still stands (unshaken by these negatives!) that software development involves a lot of fun and fun is simply something that isn’t present in every industry!.

Another reason why I have enjoyed software development (and this is hit and miss) is that you can, if you search for it, find workplaces that are full of awesome people. IT is the home of the quirky, if you look for it.

Now, in saying that, not every company has its group of funny, offbeat, quirky and interesting people – the sort who are intelligent but nice about it – so, if you haven’t found it in your current workplace, keep looking. Keep swimming!!

So, basically, in this blog and subsequent randomly placed blog entries, I will talk about the reasons why I do love software.

I just want to quickly mention the really practical benefits, which I will gloss over briefly – they pay you loads of money ((certainly on par with solicitors and accountants, but generally with shorter hours than either of those groups)), there are tons and tons of jobs out there once you get even a smidgen of experience (I’m living in Ireland and I’ve also worked in Melbourne, Australia and I found this true for both places)) and you can take this skill around the world with you.

 

Women and writing code

Now… as a woman coder I am often met with the misconception that there is something different about me because I write code and the implication there is that most woman cannot write code.

 

Now, we know that currently there are tons and tons more men than women (I hardly ever meet other women coders in my work) but that does not mean that woman can’t code!!! I mean, really, when you say it out loud it does seem silly, doesn’t it. But, there is it, there is this sort of hidden myth, permeating our societal consciousness that says – women cannot code well.

I just want to say that this is not based on scientific fact. I mean, there are fewer women who choose to go into coding, but logically this does not mean that women are worse at coding, that they cannot think like coders or that it is not for them. If you kind of think that, on any level, then you are making a logical error and that’s okay, we all make mistakes (just google warm reasoning and heuristics if you don’t believe me), just don’t keep thinking it, consider it logically,

So.. if we get rid of this myth, this silly, illogical myth, about women and our teeny tiny, little brains not being able to code, then the question raises its hand (like an over eager child in a classroom begging for some kind of approval).. why are women less likely to get into coding despite all the amazing gains from working in this industry (interesting work, money, easy to find work, travel with your work, choose your hours, ability to wear funny t shirts to work, etc)?

 

Things that deterred me at the start

Well… I can only tell you the things that deterred me at the start.

  1.  People told me that it was too hard for me
  2.  Men/guys kept trying to ‘help’ me by giving me the answers or finishing the code for me.
  3.  People told that me I was too old because I didn’t study IT by myself as a 10 year old!
  4.  Told not to study IT back in 1999 because there were too many people studying it
  5.  Told that I should be doing a job that is caring (as a woman)
  6.  Told that I should work to my strengths (as a woman ) and focus on communication
  7.  Told that coder women were unattractive (totally not the case, btw, we coder women are awesome).

So… I’m just going to tackle the first one for now because at the rate I’m going this is turning into a manifesto rather than a Saturday Rant.

  1.  People told me that it was too hard for me

I used to find puzzles hard. I struggled with rubix cubes. I would take ages and ages to figure out word puzzles and feel like a fool. I used to find coding hard at the start, It was mind aching, boggling and brain churning.  Generally, it turned my brain to Swiss cheese Sam Becket in Quantum leap style.

People said to me, oh, it’s way too hard for women. Yes, I have heard those words from otherwise reasonable people who do not run around shouting global warming is a myth and telling people that all fertile women should be handmaids. I mean, ordinarily reasonable, logical people.

But, these reasonable people, held this unreasonable idea. When I struggled, I remembered what they said and I thought, well.., maybe they are correct, maybe, just maybe, I do find this too hard, maybe all the guys find it easy.

Now, there were reasons for this – real, actual, logical reasons

A. It is really hard, almost everyone who codes finds it hard

B. It is harder if you do not have a background in solving puzzles, you have to think in a way that you are not used to.

C. Again, it is really just difficult. Most people find it difficult. And the more self critical you are, the most you push yourself and the more difficult you find it because you challenge yourself to do harder and harder things.

D. I was comparing how I felt on the inside (sheer despairing panic) to how other people (who might also be panicked) looked like they were coping.

But I didn’t see those logical, factual reasons. I was blind to them. Instead, I dwelt on the guys who laughed at my desire to learn to code (I am self taught, which made them laugh even more), the men and women who told that women struggled with it because we were less good at maths and logic (aghhh!!!) and the men and women who explained that it was too stressful for me and that I should try something easier (nice intention but would you really say that to a man??).

So, for a while I gave up, I sunk into despair and stopped trying. I felt like a fool for even attempting it.  But then, one day, inspired by friends of mine who said that everyone finds it difficult and that I should keep going, I tried again and again and I got through that massive wall and learned how to right fairly decent programs in C.

So, I have meandered for a while now, time to go, code to write, apps to release, etc, etc, but I just wanted to write what will be the first of many blog posts explaining what it was like for one particular individual, a self-taught coder woman living in Ireland at the start of the 21st century).

Hope you enjoyed reading this and if you are contemplating coding, whatever your gender, push past the tough parts and KEEP SWIMMING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glitterbug Chat Stories – upcoming stories

Glitterbug Chat Stories is our new app available on Android devices. Glitterbug Chat Stories is a chat story app where stories are presented as text messages. It has been released a few days now and we have our first 10 stories (3 published in the app and the others will be added as the week progresses). We hope to keep writing and adding new stories to the app.

1. Dollhouse
Six months after her sister Sal broke off all contact, Clara goes in search of her. The last she heard, she was working as a care assistant
for an elderly woman. Seems like a good place to start looking…
2. Into the woods
Kylie is leaving her jealous, cheating husband and she’s got her eye on Troy, her old teenage crush. They decide to meet in the woods…

3. Worst date ever
Three very different friends chat about their worst dates, it turns out they have more in common than they thought!

4. Sleepwalker
Hannah suffers from somnambulism. But nothing like this has ever happened before. Tonight she wakes to the sight of a blood stained corpse,
hatchet in hand.

5. Bring her back
When Zara’s younger sister dies tragically in a car crash, her grief is inconsolable. She decides to bring her back, any way she can.

6. Death Notice
When Sai witnesses the death of a cyclist, the dying man gives him a notebook and tells him that he must choose who will die next.

7. The lodger
When Maria sublets a room in her house to hot guy, Sam, he starts to infiltrate her dreams and turn them into nightmares.

8. Buyer beware
Pilar and Justin just bought the house of their dreams but will it turn into a nightmare?

9. Just dating
Kelly can’t wait to tell Pippa about her first date with hot guy Tiago. Meanwhile, Tiago, tells another version of the events.

You can download Glitterbug Chat Stories for Android devices on Google play.

 

 

Glitterbug Chat Stories – Our writing process

Our Glitterbug Chat stories app was released a few days ago with the first three stories.  This week we are writing to create some new stories. It has been a creative week so far full of planning, thinking, writing and dreaming.

Our process is like this. Myself and my writing partner Elaine write our stories using whats app. We decide and plan an overall starting point and a general idea of what might happen. I use the word might here because, at that stage, it is all open to change.

We start writing the story together as a blast of texts, from start to end. The process takes us between an hour and three hours depending on the story. We sometimes write frantically fast because we are so caught up in the events of the tale.

We improvise the entire story based on a general outline of characters, genre and the initial setting. What we end up with is raw story in its purest form.

Colin is our editor. We write. He reviews. That is our process. Colin takes our raw story and goes through it, first correcting grammar, spellings and any other mistakes, next testing in on the Glitterbug Chat stories app, next reading through the content to ensure that it makes logical sense and that nothing is assumed or mistaken.

We then do a final review of the writing to ensure that we like the plot, the conflict levels, the  characterization and the wording.

Finally we translate our story to another 9 languages and we release it with a chosen image.

Having three people write the stories really helps us to collaborate, co-create and produce a quality story. Co-writing with my friend Elaine is a bonding experience and we both find that it spurs us on to be more daring, innovative and also more focused in our story telling. Having a great editor like Colin really aids the process as he has an eye for grammatical errors, typos and any missing or unresolved logic.

Glitterbug Chat Stories is totally improvised and we love the improvisation journey. I took part in several improvisation courses while I lived in Melbourne and this taught me a lot about the power (and fear!) of unleashing your spontaneous self.

I hope that our readers enjoy our stories. Remember that you can download Glitterbug Chat Stories on Google play and that this app is totally free to use with no in app purchases.

 

10 times you might want to read a chat story

Chat stories (like Glitterbug Chat Stories) are tales which are told via text message. This fantastic new writing medium is quickly gaining popularity.  A chat story contains mainly dialogue and it is told through a series of chat messages or text messages.

 

You can probably read a chat story anywhere but here are our top ten situations which are perfect for reading chat stories

  1. Cardio machines at the Gym – Looking for something easy to read from an exercises bike or treadmill, these short stories in easy to read text message format are perfect.
  2. Waiting for or sitting on a bus or train – You need something quick that you can read and easily slip back into your pocket or bag – reading on your phone is ideal and chat stories are a great way to read on your phone.
  3. Lunch or break time – Glitterbug chat stories are the perfect escape for that 10 minute break. You don’t have to bring anything extra with you as they are on your phone, you don’t need to download images or text from the internet as these are stored on the phone in the case of Glitterbug chat stories.
  4. Walking – I find that I can read text messages and walk without any issue, I just have to watch out for other walkers and steep declines!!
  5. Waiting on an appointment – Doctors office, school, job interview. Take your mind off it with a chat story.
  6. First to arrive – meeting a partner or friends and you get their early. Chat stories are so convenient, you can read them from your phone (rather than sit there with a book) and when your friends or partner arrive just leave the app and, with Glitterbug Chat stories app, your progress is saved.
  7. On an ad break – Watching TV and the ads come on. Grab your phone…
  8. Before sleep – for many people, reading calms you down, lets you forget about the day and help you sleep easier. Chat stories are such a simple and easy read that they are perfect for this time.
  9. At breakfast – because these stories can be easily read while eating (no pages to turn!) and as your place in the story is automatically saved, they are great for tuning into at breakfast.
  10. Having ‘me’ time – going alone to a cafe, restaurant, bar or simply sitting on a bench at lunch time and having a sandwich – chat stories fit in well with this time to yourself.

Download on Google Play

Glitterbug Chat Stories Android app

Glitterbug Chat Stories Android app

Here at Glitterbug we love to write stories. That’s why we are releasing our Glitterbug Chat Stories Android app. We have been very happy with the positive response to our Painted World ebook app which we released earlier in 2017 and we enjoyed the writing so much and we have decided to create another fiction app.
Our new app is simply entitled Glitterbug Chat Stories because, well, it is a chat stories app.

What are chat stories?

Chat stories are short fiction pieces designed for the mobile user. Chat stories are written in the style of text messages.
The stories are highly dialogue focused, fast paced and full of action.
Chat stories are quickly becoming a popular form of fiction which lends itself well to the age of mobile devices.

Glitterbug Chat Stories – one Tap and you will be hooked!

Glitterbug chat stories are written for different genres. We plan to update our app on a very regular basis with new
stories including a few long serials updated weekly. Each story is written in the form of text messages between different
characters.
Genres include horror, comedy, drama, fantasy, romance and action. We have a growing number of stories.

100% free

Each Glitterbug chat story contains roughly 200 – 300 messages, making them lengthy enough to create stories which you
can sink your teeth into.
Your place in the story is automatically saved, so you can leave the app, try another story and then return to each story
where you last started.

Our chat story app is 100% free. This means that there are no in-app purchases, no 20 minute or 40 minute waits for users who
refuse to pay fees. All our users are free users. We also limit advertising to rewarded videos which you watch after every
50 messages. We have absolutely no banner ads or institutional ads. This is because we highly value the reader experience.

Our Android version is now available. You can download our chat stories here for google play (iOS version coming soon)

Download on Google Play

Glitterbug Galvanize – casual motivation app

Get Galvonize casual motivation app on Google Play

Get Galvonize casual motivation app on Google Play

Whats new this week

This week we released the Glitterbug Galvanize app. It’s our brand new app and our first venture into lifestyle or motivational apps. Galvanize is a casual motivation app.

Galvanize is all about feeling better about yourself.

A casual motivation app

Galvanize a casual motivation app which means that there are no nagging
reminders, annoying push messages or updates on your progress. We find that those kind of techniques, while useful for some
people, do not suit everyone. One size does not fit all. Personally, I like to get ideas and suggestions for things that can
make me feel better without updates which make me feel guilty on those days that do not feel like doing the tasks.
We wanted something helpful but kinder and more gentle and that’s why we created Galvanize.

 

So, what exactly is casual motivation?

Casual motivation means that you are in control. Instead of adhering to a regimented schedule or when to do what, you decide
to take part when you want to. It can often be counter productive to be nagged about doing things we don’t feel up to.

Galvanize works like this – when you feel like you want to tune in, when you need suggestions, ideas or something, just
something to make you feel better, open the app, choose a topic and begin.

Topics include suggestions to make you feel happier, more energized, more social, comforted, more community focused, more aware, more upbeat, more relaxed.

How does Galvanize work?

This free app uses the premises of Cognitive behavioral therapy to provide motivation, lifestyle choices and practical suggestions.
Galvanize starts with a screen showing images and each image has a topic relating to how you want to feel or what you would like to
focus on.
Examples of these are first steps – things to do when you don’t feel like you want to get out of bed in the morning, energize –
activities which will increase your energy levels, give back – ideas for things you can do to help other people.
There are many more topics.
When you click on a topic, you will get a suggestion for an activity which you can do to help you get closer to your goal, whatever
that may be.
Simply tap the next button at the bottom of the screen to see the next idea. Read through the ideas or return to the screen to
choose another topic.

 

Galvanize in 1 minute

1. Open the app (no login required, no personal details taken)
2. Choose a topic e.g. feel relaxed
3. Click next to see each idea appear
4. Decide for yourself which ideas you would like try out

Get Galvonize on Google Play

New UI changes and translated versions of Painted World

It’s been an exciting week at Glitterbug. We released version 1.5 of Painted World, our choose your own adventure story, on Android.

The new version contains lots of new stuff that we have been working away on, namely:

Brand new UI, especially for those vital pages were you read the story. Background images and chat-based story formatting makes the
stories easier to read on mobile devices.

New Character – Rosa – has been released. Follow her interesting story today!

Support for tablets added. Woo Hoo! Colin has also worked hard to extend support to older versions of Android (fixing previous bugs with these older versions) as well as
covering lots of different screen sizes.

Language support – we added support for French, Portuguese, Spanish and Hindi. Further languages scheduled include Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian and German.

We also carried out a lot of design and development work for our new Restaurant app Glitterbug Appetite. This app will have never-seen-before in a Food Ordering app features combining a solid, well desinged food ordering app
with marketing and special offers management.

Finally, we started working on a new app, Galvanise, which will be hitting Google Play and the app store soon!!

You can download Painted World from http://www.glitterbug.ie/paintedWorld