Category Archives: Developer Rants

CryptoQuip with Friends Coming Soon

Many of you still enjoy CryptoQuip, which came out in March 2009, almost 6 years ago. Well, we’re excited to announce that we’re working on an update that will make this game feel brand new! In addition to updating to take advantage of iOS8 features it will:

  • Improve the visual design and usability
  • New Puzzles
  • Brand new turn based “with Friends” mode for those who want to play socially!

We haven’t yet set a target release date , but we will keep updating this site as we get closer. Please send us feedback. Now is the time!


Web Development Textbook

For the past year one of the 2 principals from surje has been putting apps aside to work on a textbook on the fundamentals of web development. If you’ve noticed things slow down that’s why.

Well, it’s finally here, after over a year of really hard work Ricardo, and his colleague Randy Connolly have finally finished the book and it’s available on Amazon.The book is intended for multiple course stream in web development, and teaches web development concepts using a LAMP stack and a range of technology including HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, jQuery, Bootstrap, DNS, Twitter, Facebook.

Get Fundamentals of Web Development

There are still some materials left to complete such as lab manuals, powerpoint slides and some sample exams (and solutions), but soon, apps will be back on the front burner. Maybe another game, a Robert’s Rules app or something else (that Facebook can buy :)

iOS 7 Preview

Even though we’re all super busy around here, it only made sense to try new iOS 7 update from Apple.

It’s the first time the UI changed in a long time and we’re excited to see how our apps fare. I’m just updated my development phone as I write this and so far I’m pretty psyched.

The UI really has changed since iOS6, with new animations for transitions and a clean new look. I especially like how my lock screen is uncluttered and has a flashlight and calculator built in !! The subtle changes tot he UI I notice are great. The emergency phone button has moved for example, although I must say some of the flat elements make it look a little… flat I guess. Personal taste I’m sure.

Look for some new stuff from us around the winter holidays, we’re knee deep in other awesome projects, but will be back with some new apps, including perhaps the greatest meeting app ever (for some sub-populations).

I’ll try and post again soon, but in the meantime I hope everyone enjoys this nice weather.



We have a new client is a local mom who posts about our neighborhood. shares her opinions on all things related to shopping, stores and living in Calgary as a Mom. It’s actually quite fun to read so far.

It’s really easy to use wordpress, and having a mom blogging about mom type things validates that anyone can manage and run a website with the right support (i.e. us)

That’s probably it for 2012, see you in the new year!


HostPapa wordpress hack solution

I have a client who insisted on the cheapest hosting possible. Despite my recommendation to go with something else, this client was persuaded to choose HostPapa, and now I have to fix my client’s site. Since the host still hasn’t figured it out I though I’d post a quick and dirty solution here.


The hack was a script, run from inside the shared hosting package. I won’t post the details here, but it went through all directories and replaced index.php and index.html files with replacements that simply said “hacked by hacker“.


Replacing those files (index.php , index.html) in your wordpress installation with fresh ones is a good 1st step, but not enough.The hack also sought out the header.php file in your theme directory. (i.e. wp-content/themes/twentyeleven/header.php). That file should be replaced with a fresh one form the wordpress installation package as well.

Voila. Your sites are now up for the time being. Good luck and may the internet have mercy on your domain so long as it’s hosted on a poorly configured host.

Over 10,000 active users!

I checked our update stats since we released our iOS6 updates and found over 10,000 updates! I interpret that to mean that at least 10,000 downloads of our apps have remained on people’s devices.

There may be 10 thousand people playing our games on a given day. That feels pretty good. I hope you are enjoying our work, and send us bugs and feature requests so we can grow that number.

Although we have nothing in the hopper in the short term, we are patching our apps as needed, and thinking about what we will build next. We may build another game, but more likely will build a meeting productivity app. Stay Tuned…

All iOS6 updates approved

So in the end we updated Rafter’s Loot, CryptoQuip and Santa’s Loot for iOS6! The physics games work great on the larger screen.

I’m hoping iOS6 will patch the dictionary lookup since WordSlide still works better on iOS5 (on my 4S), or that on the iPhone5 dictionary lookup works great.

I must say Apple is obviously working overtime. Rafter’s Loot Free was approved today(Sunday) and CryptoQuip was approved late one evening last week.

As for BB10, we’ve made almost 0 progress, and still aren’t sure if we’ll make the new year with an app. Time will tell.





Cryptoquip updated for ios6/iphone5

So rather than fix my poorest performing game I decided to improve my best performing game for iOS6. We submitted updates last night and hope to take advantage of that bigger screen. Cryptoquip is sometimes a little tight, so the extra space is great.

I’m generally frustrated with this update though. Changing how rotations are handled is huge!

I may stop supporting some games since I’d be working for pennies an hour to update them…

iOS 6 – More means less

Just a brief update from App land here in Calgary. iOS 6 lands today for the public, so I can give you my impressions as a developer.

Now it’s important to note that I’m not a full time developer as regular readers well know. We have a stable set of games out there for iOS, and we quickly tested our most popular ones last week to make sure they worked. Since everything was hunky-dorey in the simulators I turned our time to other interests, like the web development textbook I’m co-authoring.

What we we weren’t prepared for was the slow dictionary performance in Word Slide :( The game is now a little less responsive due to dictionary lookup issues. How do I know this? Well A Word Theme, is essentially the same code base, except for the dictionary usage. Holding a word in Word Theme is lightening fast as it should be while Word Slide’s performance has degraded.

Next we come to our other games. Thankfully most of them work on the new iOS6 as is, so we can relax for the most part. Rafter’s Loot though is another issue. It’s whitescreening right now, and that forces me to choose: Do I stop supporting the game altogether,  or do I invest x hours into fixing it, to continue earning a trickle of cash that will work out to less than minimum wage for my efforts?

The deciding factor was that we are currently advertising Rafter’s Loot it in our other games. I’d have to patch the existing (perfectly fine) games to remove the ad as well as not support it. The efforts to do that would undoubtedly take as long, and the end result would be 1 less sku.

So, with the rest of Calgary drifting off to bed with dreams of Kofi Annan in their head, I am looking down the barrel of a long night, all to squeeze out a little more money for my family, until some better way support them comes along (maybe Blackberry 10?, Maybe my upcoming textbook?, maybe a rich benefactor?)

More “features” and form factors for you means less sleep for me :)





Happy Stampede

So I’ve been busy the last little while, and I haven’t updated. Now that I’m on vacation from my job for the summer it’s nice to sit around with the family, doing fun outdoorsy type stuff. I’m just not sure you want to hear about it. Watched the Calgary Stampede Parade today on TV, for example.

But as we relax and play we thought of a third game to use the Word Slide and Jewel Slide framework. Called A Word Theme, this game will be similar to Word Slide and Find except you will have to find words that match a theme, rather than all alphabet words. The hard part is making levels in terms of total time. The game’s at least a week or two away, but I thoughts I update you all on what’s happening.

As an example:

A theme of “welcome words” might require you to find words like hello, hi , etc… We’re working on some good ones as I speak. I don’t want to give too many away.

Anyhow have a great stampede, and I hope to be posting again soon about the newly released game.