There are five or six methods for memorizing pi, that most well-know of irrational numbers. Which method works best depends on the way an individual’s brain is wired. Some people prefer sounds, others visualize digits and others use a range of memory techniques. The method described here uses the technique of grouping digits to memorize pi.
First, you need to find a calculation of pi so that you have access to the list of digits – how many are you aiming for? For a modest target (say up to 50 digits) the simple method is fine.
1. Split pi into small groups of digits (e.g. 4, 5, or 6 digits). Work with a group size that suits you (many people easily remember telephone numbers in groups of four). Once you have settled on a group size then print out the list of digits in a format that suits you. Use pencil to mark the groups. For example: (3.14159) (2653) (5897) (9323) (8462) (6433)
2. Focus on memorizing the ﬁrst small group of say 6 digits (this starting block is easy).
3. When you have rehearsed the ﬁrst group, move to the next and practice for a few minutes.
A disadvantage of the simple coordinate method is that if you misremember then you have to start over. If your ambitions are greater, then the advanced method can help you extend the number of digits progressively and also enable you to pick up in the middle of a list.
There are several flavors to this method for memorizing pi, but they generally involve a range of grouping techniques, for example:
A. One group of 1 (3), 2 groups of 2, 3 groups of 3, 4 groups of 4, 5 groups of 5 and so on, up to 10 groups of 10 (and beyond if your brain is up to it). You can see that this is a series – did you work out how many digits this would enable you to remember? You might prefer just to use this as an extension to the simple method above.
B. Organize the numbers in the format of telephone numbers (whichever country suits you best). For example – the US (314)159-2653, (589)793-2384, (626)433-8327 and so on.
C. Building on the previous flavor you can even put names to them so that they read like a telephone directory. Alan (314)159-2653), Bob (589)793-2384, Chas (626)433-8327(that’s 260 digits.
Directories and Music
Going further, you can have one directory for friends, one for famous bands or musicians, and so on! Even with Z you can have Zach and ZZTop!
Some people find that singing helps them to remember – if you have a favorite tune that can help. Pop music is usually in 4/4 time which provides a good rhythm although you may want to shift time signatures as you work with larger groups of digits. That’s expert level!
Finally – Be Practical when Memorizing Pi
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, that is the key and it helps to have the digits grouped on cards to make that easy even when you are in the coffee shop, although you may get some strange looks! And if you want to go further, there are even more refinements to take you from expert to master level in memorizing pi.
This week we finally submitted Mazed into the App Store. The development for Mazed began in early 2015 as a client gig but unfortunately the client lost interest in the app and a promising prototype had to be locked up in a drawer. Looking back at our unfinished projects, Mazed was definitely bugging us the most as we had already collaborated with Elliott on the designs and the gameplay itself was already finished. We decided to start approaching the client again and managed to get a hold of him to get a single “go for it” response when we asked if it would be ok to publish it ourself. Legally speaking there was never a problem, but we felt better knowing for sure he was not interested in the project anymore. Also every major decision about the game was made by us so we felt safe to go ahead and finish the game.
The original game idea was to use the phone’s gyroscope to guide a number of balls through a series of labyrinths. Users would be able to race against time to compete with their friends. We would have a set list of mazes to be selected. After getting the green light from the client, we decided to add gold, silver and bronze medals for each level to motivate players to improve their times. This became one of the most fun aspects of the game while testing and we are very happy with the addition.
As with most of our games, we used SpriteKit to develop the game and it was fairly easy to create the physics nodes using the maps as images. We simply loaded the maps as images and then created the physics object tracing the lines with [SKPhysicsBody bodyWithTexture:texture]. This approach required the map to be drawn in a single line, so there couldn’t be any floating bits of the map in the middle of the map. The map also couldn’t be closed so we drew invisible holes into the maps for SpriteKit to be able to read the map properly. The result ended up a lot faster than we expected and we didn’t run into any performance issues calculating the physics.
It is very frustrating to see unfinished projects, especially ones being so close to be finished. We are very happy that we got to finish Mazed as our own title. Most importantly it’s another project skeleton in our drawer that we were able to finish, leaving us more room for new ideas! The app will be released in the coming weeks.
Turns out people like free apps. Last week we made Wedding Anniversaries free for a few days and as expected, the downloads jumped from a few downloads a day to several hundreds each day. This wasn’t really a surprise as apps gone free are always picked up on social media and several websites that collect these apps.
I was sharing my experiences with Aaron, an iOS developer with several apps in the store (he also wrote a great SpriteKit with Swift tutorial guide that you should definitely check out) and he got very excited. Soon he decided to make his weather app Project Rainman also free. He just updated the app so timing was perfect for a small experiment. Then this happened:
Turns out the coverage the app got from the “apps gone free” type promotion was enough to boost the app into the top free weather apps in several countries, including the US. The app has beautiful design and it was no wonder it was climbing the charts once it got there. Excited about Aaron’s results, I immediately decided to try the same with Weather Compare, our simple weather comparison app that has been a paid app since it was first launched. To our huge surprise we were able to replicate the success of Project Rainman and also hit the US charts for Free Weather Apps (highest position #21). Within hours the app went from a mere few downloads to 4-digits a day. And here we are after two days:
Now it’s not really a surprise that making apps free boosts your downloads. Nevertheless it was very exciting to experience such download volumes and the amount of feedback also multiplied. What surprised me was the effect on my other apps. Since making the app free, our app portfolio’s downloads have increased by 300-400%. I tried to think about my own behaviour when downloading apps and I can’t recall many times I have checked out the developers’ other apps unless it was a game I really liked and I knew they would have other similar types of apps. However it seems that users tend to do it whatever the app is. The thought of someone downloading Weather Compare and afterwards trying out Move the Lines sounds funny but it looks to happen!
I fully expect Weather Compare to crash through the download charts soon but it doesn’t mean this wasn’t a huge learning experience. We got a lot of feedback, mostly users complaining about not finding the option to change the measurement system. Weather Compare was one of my first personal apps and at the time it was fairly normal to put settings under the System Settings view. However our users don’t seem to find it and thus we plan to add a separate settings view into the app where users can change this. Maybe even a simple popup on the first app launch as you’d expect users to only set this once.
The main thing I learnt from making apps free was the boost I got on all the other apps. I totally underestimated the effect on downloads for all the other apps and I think this may be a very valuable tip for the future. On our next app release I plan to make all our apps free for a few days to hope build an audience the same way. Wether it will have an effect will be seen but during the first few days of an app launch every little bit helps.
If you’ve had similar experiences and if you use app discounts to promote your other apps, we would love to hear more! Contact us at contact (at) darksquaregames.com
You heard me right! I was walking through the city of Prague in Czech Republic when I saw an Apple logo on a window in the city center. To my big surprise the logo didn’t turn out to be of an Apple retailer but a museum! Apparently just weeks before my visit, an anonymous collector opened up the largest private collection of Apple products in the world. Calling themselves the Apple Museum. It was too random of a coincidence to find this place so I had to pay it a visit. I spent a good hour walking around the exhibition of nearly 500 Apple products
The Apple Museum was very atmospheric inside. On the background they played what i believe was Steve Jobs’s Stanford Commencement Address from 2005 and the walls were filled with quotes or covered with timelines of important events of the company history. The exhibition was set in two floors, with rooms dedicated to different areas and eras of Apple history and products. The museum was nicely and openly laid out and it was very interesting to walk through the steps of Apple’s history. In addition to the exhibition, they also just opened a small cafe called Steve’s Food that served raw vegan food. They were also about to open up an Apple shop but unfortunately they couldn’t tell me more about it.
I would definitely recommend visiting the Apple Museum if you are interested in Apple products and their history. I was fairly familiar with the history of the company beforehand but I’d seen most of the products only in photos and it was a great opportunity to see them all from close up. Compared to the surprisingly high museum prices in Prague, the ticket prices were also quite cheap and there was definitely a lot to see. As an added bonus, the museum claims that all the proceedings are donated to charity purposes so you’ll be basically doing a good thing!
The tickets cost 300CZK (11 euros) with discounted tickets for families (700 CZK), students (220 CZK) and children (140 CZK).
When i was 18, I got the chance to be a best man at my best friend’s wedding. Now years later we were discussing wedding anniversaries and we tried to remember the traditional meanings for them. The anniversary names were originally created to provide guidance for appropriate gifts for the spouses to give each other. We were surprised how they were almost the same in all the countries and the little App Developers in our heads had to check out if there were solutions out there in the App Store to remember all these. Turns out, there are a TON of wedding and anniversary countdown apps out there, but none for remembering these traditional dates. So we figured, what better way to start 2016 than by creating a tiny app to help couples remember theirs.
A day later we had a working version of the app ready to be submitted. The app is extremely simple. The first view asks the users their wedding date and the following list view presents the user with all the anniversary dates, their names and how much time is left for this particular date. The app was promptly reviewed by Apple and is now available on the App Store.
For your interest, here is a list of all the wedding anniversaries in US and in many other countries as found from Wikipedia.
As a long-time chess player, I’ve been part of many chess clubs and one thing that has been common with all of them are weekly tournaments. In these tournaments players of all ages and levels come together and most commonly play a round of blitz with both players having 5 minutes for a match. The tournament organisers collect the names of all participants and draw a grid with each player assigned a number. Then the organiser calls out all the player names and seats them to an appropriate board. After each match, the players let the organiser know the match result. The organiser marks the result in his results table. Now every player steps to the seat on his left, and magically after a number of rounds, all the players have played against each other once and the tournament results can be seen from the table. This system is called Round-Robin.
Having gone through this ritual probably hundreds of times, I figured it could be an interesting opportunity for an app. So I decided to develop an app for the tournament organisers.
The first screen of the app allows users to create and manage tournaments. I wanted the users to be able to easily switch between tournaments, which comes in handy when there are more than one group playing at the same time. The second feature I really wanted was to make adding new players very easy. As the players in these club tournaments are most often the same, it doesn’t make sense to input them by typing every time so I decided to allow the users to select participants from all the previous tournament participants in the app. This will hopefully make the registration process a lot faster.
Once the user has selected all the participants and the tournament is ready to start, the app generates a match schedule for the whole tournament. The user can easily seat the players according to the schedule. The tournament view consists of 3 tabs: matches, grid and standings. Matches tab simply presents the user with the match schedule and the user can input match results here directly. The grid is a typical tournament grid that may help visualise the tournament. And finally the third tab is for final standings, that are updated live as the tournament progresses.
Lastly, I wanted the users to be able to share their results. Organisers usually post the final standings on an email list or something, but with our app, they are able to email the participants all the aspects of the tournament, including the match schedule with individual match results, the grid and the final standings.
The app is now live in the App Store. I am already considering future update for the app, for example I played with an idea of being able to snap photos of each tournament, which would make sharing the results even more interesting for the participants. All feedback and feature ideas are more than welcome!
I’ve been playing around with ideas of combining RGB colors for quite a while now and I was finally able to finalise a prototype that had been in my “drawer” for several months now. The basic premise of the app is quite simple, the game spawns lines from the top of the screen and you have to press buttons that match the same colors. The twist comes when the line colors are only available by combining the basic RGB (red, green, blue) values. Yellow lines require red+green, purple needs red+blue and cyan needs green+blue. Finally there are also white lines that require you to press (or swipe through) all the buttons. After every 10 lines, the game gets either Harder of Faster, making the game slowly harder and harder.
It was very satisfying to finally launch this game as it had been bugging me for months. In the end I was never happy with balancing the game and I tried out dozens of different methods in doing so. Finally I went for a very simple approach as it started to feel like I would never finish the game and I really wanted to move onto other projects. I’m quite happy with the end result and especially happy that it’s out now! RGB Smash is officially out on iOS.
People often come to me with their app ideas and this time I got very excited when a friend of mine presented me his. Apparently the train drivers in Germany have a button they are forced to press every now and then to confirm they are awake in order to prevent horrible accidents. When my friend was taking a night train home one day, he had troubles staying awake and thought, why wasn’t there an app for us late-night commuters. A quick check into the App Store sadly presented me with the usual “it’s already done” results, but I still felt like this would be a very simple and fun app to make and at least I would be able to present a modern version of the app.
As the premise for the Wakey Wakey is very simple, I wanted to keep the app itself very simple as well. I wanted the app to be free so I decided to include an in-app purchase that unlocks more alarm sounds. Elliott helped me once again with very nice and minimalistic designs for the app.
Alarms featured in the app’s release version are:
The first two are available for free and the rest you can open through the in-app purchase. It was a lot of fun to come up with annoying sounds to wake up to!
Prototype Memory Falls started out as an idea I got over Christmas holidays of trying to create a unique gameplay around classic memory games. I was playing around an idea of a memory game where the board would continuously change in some way and ended up creating a prototype where the board would scroll through the screen, and the player’s goal was to find as many pairs as possible in a given time.Elliott also had some extra time in his hands and once again helped with the designs. After some testing he found a very interesting theme for the game. We decided to end up with 6 different icons for the cards and he found some old articles about how some sets of playing cards used to have a total of 6 suits. In addition to the usual 4 (heart, clubs, spade, diamond) there were also Shield and Cup. I thought it was an excellent idea and we went with that.
The idea I prototyped was a scrolling list of cards falling from the top of the screen and you try to find as many matches as you can before the time/cards run out. Some of the cards would have multipliers and the goal was to reach a high number of points.
Results Turned out the game idea had a major flaw. Moving the cards out of the screen kind of lost the whole point of memory games – memorising the cards. The twist that was supposed to make the game special actually kinda killed the whole idea. Also the best way to play the game was simply to tap everything you saw and it became a game of speed, not memory.
New Idea Over several months of not working on the game, i tried to come up with new mechanics to fix the problem with the first prototype. Finally I came up with an idea to combine the original idea with the mechanics of Tetris and found it work to really well. Now new blocks fall from the top and you try to find pairs before they fill the screen. I implemented two different game modes, one where a new card falls after every pair you try to match, and a speed mode where cards keep falling faster and faster.
Submission Submission caused me a lot more headaches than normally this time. My first submission was rejected by Apple due to Copyright infringements over using the word ‘Memory’. I was shocked about this especially after the huge fight indies put up against King for trying to copyright words like Candy and Saga. However I found out that this was actually an old problem, first mentioned in the news in 2012 by Gamasutra.For now the game is only available in countries where the brand is not trademarked, and we are trying to come up with a new name for the game. The game is available for free here.
As a fairly serious chess player I often try to come up with app ideas related to chess. I happened to look for an Elo calculator (Elo is an international rating system used in chess and several other games) and to my surprise didn’t find a free app, only paid ones that looked to have been designed for iOS5. So I decided to spend a bank holiday developing one.
I decided to divide the screen into three areas. Top area is the form where you set your current rating, K-Factor (depending on many things, like your age, current rating etc) and your result on the games. The second area is a tableview with all your opponent ratings. New opponents can be added using the +-button at the top right. Each opponent has it’s own rating and an “expected result”, which determines the change in your rating. The last area is the results area which presents your expected result (how many points you should’ve gotten), your new rating + change and your performance rating. The calculations use the guidelines offered by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and it varies a bit from some national methods. If I reach any results with the app, I might add more national calculation options as well.
I’m quite happy with the result and very curious to see if receives any downloads in such a niche market. It hit the store late last night (13.06.2015) and seems to be doing quite well with it’s keywords. The app is definitely not my prettiest one as I didn’t use a designer for it, but it definitely does that job and I plan to use it myself, which I guess is already something!