Posts

Mons Rumker: the Chang'e 5 Moon Landing Site

Image
Mons Rümker is the Moon landing site of the lander-ascender spacecraft of Chang’e 5, China’s lunar sample return mission. It’s one of the most interesting volcanic areas of the Moon. To explore this unique feature, I made a video of Mons Rümker in Google Maps . Mons Rümker in Google Maps. The video opens with the bright crater Copernicus at the center of the view. It then centers on and zooms in on Mons Rümker, rotating around the plateau to show its 3D structure and relief. I made the video by recording on my Chromebox a screencast of Google Maps at 1080p. Finding Mons Rümker may not be easy, as it's a subtle area and you need to know where to look for. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn’t let you search for or share features on planetary bodies other than the Earth. The video hopefully helps to locate the area in Google Maps, here’s how: visit maps.google.com zoom all the way out click Satellite click  ☰ to open the menu click Globe zoom out more click Moon click 3D to show the c

Space Apps for Android: 17 Nov 2020 Update

Image
 I released version 17 Nov 2020 of my ebook Space Apps for Android: Discover the Best Astronomy and Space Apps . If you purchased the book, the latest version is available for free download in ePub, Mobi, and PDF format where you originally downloaded it, on Gumroad or Leanpub . The cover of the Space Apps for Android ebook in the Kindle app on my Pixel 4 XL. Chapter The Planets now has an introduction. I also revised the chapter’s text and added the Mars Explorer app. Some apps are no longer available in the Play Store, so I removed their entries from that chapter: Physical Mars, Pluto Safari, Space Weather, and The Red Planet Mars. I removed Mars Explorer (unrelated to the app by the same name I added) too, as it now serves ads and no longer meets the book inclusion requirements. It’s amazing how many Android developers remove their apps from the Play Store, including several Space Apps for Android covers. But the ebook is a work in-progress and I regularly update it with the Lean

View the Surface of Mars with Mars Explorer for Android

Image
Mars Explorer is an Android app for viewing the raw images of the surface of Mars taken by NASA’s Curiosity, Spirit, and Opportunity rovers, and the InSight lander. Mars Explorer on my Pixel 4 XL phone. You can get the latest images from the active missions, Curiosity and InSight, and browse the image archives of the completed missions, Spirit and Opportunity. The app lets you view, save as favorites, and share the images. To drill down to the ones you’re interested in, there are options for selecting the relevant Sol (Martian day) or terrestrial date. In Mars Explorer you’ll also find general information on Mars, the vehicles that take the images, and their instruments. Weather reports and environmental measurements from the Curiosity rover complete the feature set. The app runs well also on Chrome OS, where it takes advantage of the large screens of Chromebooks by providing an alternate layout that better organizes the content and the navigation elements. The layout activates on And

Practicing Google Featured on TestingCatalog

Image
Issue 162 of TestingCatalog featured my newsletter Practicing Google . The TestingCatalog newsletter. TestingCatalog , one of my favorite newsletters , provides news, updates, and insights on Beta and unreleased Android apps. It's a great resource to feel the pulse of the Android apps world and keep up with what developers are experimenting with. Thanks TestingCatalog!

Narakeet Review: A Narrated Video Editor

Image
Narakeet , formerly Video Puppet, is an impressive web tool for making narrated videos with an AI voice generator . It’s now out of Beta and open for business. Artwork on the Narakeet home page. What sets Narakeet apart is the ability to automate most or all of the production steps . From generating visuals, adding background music, and synchronizing media, to synthesizing voice over narration. The tool is great for quickly putting together instructional or marketing videos, tutorials, demos, and more. The narration features leverage some of the best machine-generated voice synthesis systems in the industry like Amazon Polly and IBM Watson Text to Speech. Although Narakeet’s over a hundred voice models in more than 20 languages are very natural-sounding and lifelike, it’s possible to provide recordings of your own voice narration. To create a video, upload a PowerPoint presentation with the slides containing the visuals and the voice over text in the speaker notes. Or write script fil

Don't Publish Large ePub or Mobi Ebooks

Image
Do you sell ebooks directly on Gumroad or on your website? Don't ship large ePub or Mobi files, they may make it impossible or impractical for readers to load the files in their favorite reading apps. Here's an example of an ebook I bought on Gumroad and available in PDF, ePub, and Mobi format. I'd like to read it on my Android phone and tablet. My ePub reading app, Google Play Books, is ubiquitous on Android. It can sideload files up to 100 MB, but the ePub version of that Gumroad book has a size of 105 MB. I can't use the Kindle Android app via Send to Kindle because the book's Mobi file is 33 MB. Gmail, along with most other email clients, can't send attachments over 25 MB. For larger files, Gmail sends download links that don't work with Amazon's automated Send to Kindle system, which can't click links. Also, Gumroad doesn't provide a Send to Kindle button for the file the author supplied. This leaves the PDF file. However, it’s a suboptimal

Mockup Generators for Google Devices

Image
 Mockup generators are tools that combine screenshots with renderings of the frames and bezels of the desktop or mobile devices they are taken on. The generators can also overlay the screenshots to photos of actual devices. The Previewed mockup generator with some Android device frames. The combined images are used as illustrations or for promoting apps, ebooks, websites, or other digital products. There are several mockup generators for mobile and desktop devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. But they usually focus on Apple hardware. The few frames in the Google ecosystems like Android phones or Chromebooks, when available, are often out of date. Google's own Android device art generator is missing the latest generations of flagships. Chrome can take screenshots with device frames but, again, there are no recent Android devices. Yeah, the cobbler's children have no shoes. List of mockup generators for Google devices I use mockup generators for sharing Android and