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Breaking the iPhone (4S) Cover and Back

Breaking the iPhone (4S) Cover and Back

Whilst cycling to Cambridge one day I hit a pot hole so hard that the iPhone case on my handle bars swung open and the phone fell on it’s face breaking the screen. Thinking it was my fault for not securing it correctly I kept the iPhone holder and lo and behold a few weeks later the same thing happened after I replaced the screen.

Smashed Screen

There are several ways to replace an iPhone screen. Supposedly Apple will do it for £90 and I have heard of a few pop up companies that will do it for £50. You can also do it yourself for about £20 with a cover off eBay (like this).

The back will only run you a few pounds though (eBay as well); it is really easy to change too. Two small screws at the bottom of the phone (which are a custom shape that Apple created) followed by a slide of the back gets it off and you can replace the whole back in about 2 minutes.

The front however is a little more complicated! You have to remove quite a lot of the components to even get the screen off (taking about an hour) and then you need to make sure you *don’t* tear the wires that connect the chips that handle the data to and from the screen (which I did the first time requiring me to do it all over again).

Taking the iPhone apart

For anyone who is into their ‘taking stuff apart’ I seriously recommend this experience. I needed to learn some patience with the smaller screws that are a little more fiddly – but actually some tweezers gave me a lot of help.

I used a piece of paper to label the appropriate components and screw sizes for when putting the phone back together. This was after the first time thinking I could remember it all but struggling to find the screws that fit back in their place! I read the iFixit guide on my iPad to take the phone apart – make sure you use the correct model as the 4 and the 4s have some small differences that might cause you to break the headphone jack like I did!

Back of the iPhoneAs with all Apple products, even the interior working of the phone are quite neat too.

Long story short – don’t use this iPhone holder on your bike! I will be getting a new one which I will review soon.

iPhone Bike holder

JumpDuck Lessons

JumpDuck Lessons

Over the past month or so I have been seriously working on JumpDuck. I thought that I would document my lessons learnt (which are obvious but need to be remembered when working on projects).

I have kept on a tradition from Softwire which is weekly status emails. But working alone this means I needed to find someone else. Fortunately my friend Justine Solomons (used to be the head of Sales for Softwire) has just started her own company and is in a similar situation working alone. Her business is primarily to do with literature, having experience in the digital publishing world, she is also creating networking events for small time writers to meet big publishers. Her company is called ByteTheBook and their website contains many book reviews as well as short stories and events, networking and book clubs. Anyway, despite having completely different areas we can still bounce ideas off each other and ask sensible managerial questions to make sure the other is on track. (e.g. who do you need to speak to for X and how are you going to acheive Y?). I have found this process extremely useful to make sure I am doing things correctly and I hope Justine feels the same way!

As part of my weekly status email I list what tasks I expect to complete on each day (roughly) and plan out each week’s work and goals in detail. I also include a section about personal reflection to understand how my motivation is affected by different events and to analyse how productive I was and why.

Below is an extract that has been kept in this email each week to make sure I keep it in mind:

I am currently very motivated to get my stuff working. I really want to show people what I can accomplish myself. I need to keep the memory of this motivation to keep me working as hard as I want to. I need to keep this balance in my life of fun things as well as the work I want to complete as well. (kept for motivation).

Structuring and planning everything in detail is a great way to not get in a muddle. I need to make sure I do this for EVERYTHING! (e.g. new projects, consultancy, networking)

My motivation is quite high as I really want to release this game, and move on to and work on other projects so I can show them off also.

I have also learnt that the time spent planning things is almost definitely always paid back further down the line. It would be great if I could plan things whilst bouncing ideas off other people – so getting a desk in Softwire might be sensible (of course not taking up Softwire time anywhere).

Also estimates are incredibly difficult. I have been way out (both under and over estimating tasks) even when breaking things down to the hour level. E.g. a three hour task once took 2 days, and a 4-8 hour task took just 20 minutes. I can only assume that estimating will get better later, but it seems to just be picking things out of a hat right now. Planning in more detail should hopefully get rid of some of this uncertainty.

Top down design is probably the best approach as you stub out methods and understand how things work on a whole and then do the simple implementation later.

Planning out daily tasks is actually a really good way to keep focussed, especially when you have a goal of work to be completed in a week and so can be a bit more flexible with working hours – e.g. go for a bike ride down to Greenwich on a Thursday morning!

In terms of game development, it is harder than it looks. Simple things (you would have thought) like an online leaderboard are actually quite difficult. Making it secure can take a lot of planning and work and actually allow you to show absolutely nothing from it!

However, like all software, understanding exactly how the game will work is best to plan out in advance, otherwise you get to hacking things together which just isn’t really that nice!

Having done two rounds of testing I notice that graphics is definitely not my strong point (go figure!) and making things easier is definitely something that needs to go into mass market games.

I don’t really want to spend too much more time on this game as hopefully it will be the first of many and I want to get on with some new projects so hopefully I am going to submit to Apple by the end of this Jubilee weekend. Therefore learning the limit of finished and perfected is something that needs to be weighed up on a case by case basis.

I would really like to develop some more games for the iPhone as I think I can take the lessons learnt from JumpDuck and make better games in the future.