Posted in coding, project

To Code or Not to Code?

When it comes to building a complicated app full of exciting little things there are a couple of things that have to be thought about and are fundamental to the creation of such a project: time, money and ability.

When I set out on this project, the plan was to be able to learn coding in a comprehension and clear way before I got started with assignments and other fiddly little things that life throws my way this time of year. Sadly, because I was off being awesome in London, I wasn’t able to do that and so that great enemy Time has become precious and fleeting.

Do I have the time and the ability to be able to code the app the way I wanted to, from the ground up? I’m not sure. I’m really, really not sure.

So this throws some rather large spanners into already complicated works.

I’ve been advised that I don’t reeeeeaaallly have to build the app. As long as I put together a full, comprehensive development plan and bible (which could be anything up to 100 pages) then I’ve got a pretty good start, as well as developing networks with guys who already build apps and may be able to help me out in that regard. Which takes a weight of my mind, but equally makes me a bit sad inside.

Equally, there is a chance for me to build the app in a simple, stripped back and non-code-requiring way. Maybe. That’s still only a maybe. And although it means that if I could use it then I could genuinely have a working prototype to show people (which is amazing), there’s a part of me that feels like it’s a bit of a cop-out and that I’m sacrificing some key interactivity features for the sake of making things easier on myself.

It’s a difficult one.

I’ve decided, therefore, to go back to the start of this post and plan things as such: If I have TIME, I will code. If I don’t have time, I will consider MONEY. If I have some time and no money, then I will build according to my ABILITY of using a simpler program, with projected future possibilities built into the development plan. If I have ALL THREE, well, then I am going to attempt to code the shit outta this thing.

Is it just me, or does my plan sound like I still don’t know what I’m doing…?

Posted in project

Return of the App

Guess who’s back? Back again.

Jen is back. And so’s the app!

Some may have noticed I’ve been away from this side of things as I’ve been working on a lot of other projects and the like for the past couple of months. My apologies. But the good news is I am back and ready to rock and roll with this baby!

Couple of things to point out before the blog posts return to their app-related goodness. First one is that the YouTube channel is probably stopping now. I, sadly, just don’t have the time to film them along with everything else going on and so it is on hiatus for for forseeable future. I’m still carrying on with book reviews and insights, but as I’ve said in a previous post these will be restricted to the new site: adventuresofabookreader.

Second thing is that the app has evolved a bit and is changing. Also, it may be the case I won’t be able to develop the app itself, i.e. the actual coding of it. This is unfortunate, but again, with time restrictions now in play, the possibility of me learning a whole new medium might just be too much of a stretch. This, however, is only a possibility. I will of course keep you updated.

But the most important thing is that the app is a go, and I’m really excited to get stuck straight back into it and working on it. Hope you’ll follow me for the ride!

Jen x

Posted in project

A Question of Copyright


One thing that’s been at the back of my mind throughout this project is the idea of copyright; and it’s the complexity of this is one of the greatest hurdles this app faces.

The simple fact of the matter is, that I don’t have the resources to purchase the rights to all of the books I will be referencing in the app. Ideally, that’s exactly what I’d do, and it would allow me to create an e-reader kind of app, where users can fully explore the books. But that would cost me a huge amount of money and would require a level of rights acquisition I just don’t have.

At this moment in time, my hope is that, as a kind of demonstration of what the app could be, just having extracts up to the legal copyright limit will be enough. By picking out key sections of the books, I’m hoping to satisfy the needs of the apps remit (engaging the LGBTQ community through literature) and keep me out of some legal issues!

A couple of the books are out of copyright, however. The Picture of Dorian Grey and Orlando are old enough that obtaining right isn’t an issue, so it’s entirely possible I’ll be able to enter these books in their entirety.

On a side-note, I’ve also thought of including a buy-it link on those extracts of the books I can’t get rights for. On the one hand, this means that users can purchase the books if they’ve enjoyed what they’ve read, but on the other I feel like it’s entering into some kind of relationship with retailers, and delivers a consumerism to the app that I don’t really want. It’s a conundrum.

All of this is still on the understanding that I’ll be able to code the app in the first place…

It’s something I’ll continue to think over, maybe do a bit of research when I have the time, and I’ll let you know what I decide to go with.

Posted in project

Where Have I Been?


Hi there! Almost didn’t recognise you, it’s been so long since I was around these parts. Allow me to explain a little:


And yes, I was feeling pretty ill when I filmed this, so I accept I look flipping awful. So far, this is my most watched video on Youtube, which is kind of exciting. I’ll hopefully be filming again this weekend, so keep an eye out.

There’s a few other important things happening with regards to the app and how I’m going to be working things on here.

First and most importantly is that I have absolutely no time to learn any coding of any kind right now, and probably won’t for the next five weeks. Although it’s pretty tough to admit it, this is just the way things are. So, realistically, this blog won’t be following my coding adventures for at least another two months – which is when I get back to university and can see where I am and take it from there. I really want to continue with creating this app, but there may need to be logistical alterations. I’ll keep you updated when I know what’s happening.

Secondly, is that I’m aware how literature-/book-heavy this blog has become now that I’ve set up the YouTube around books. With that in mind, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be setting up a separate blog full of bookish reviews and general thoughts. As the app is on hiatus until September/October, it means that my main focus will be on the new blog, rather than on this one. I will keep them connected in some ways, but it seems to make more sense to keep these two things divided, rather than all lumped into one. This blog was designed to explore me setting up the new app, not reading books, so I’m going to stick to that.

Thanks for following me so far on this adventure, and hopefully I can update yoou again soon with how everything is coming along.


Posted in something different

Pokemon Go – Augmented Reality

Pokemon Go is taking over the world. I don’t think that is in any way an exaggeration. From little boys and girls to the grown-ups who used to be boys and girls dreaming of catching pokemon, the game has captured the imagination and has taken Nintendo to heights it hasn’t seen since the first days of Mario and Zelda. And for all its glitches, bugs and server-crashing nightmares just as you’re about to take that gym you’ve had your eye on for the last hour, the game is definitely addictive. I mean, what’s three more miles if it means you hatch an awesome pokemon and get a tonne of stardust?

We’re now getting more exercise, chatting to strangers in the street and having a huge amount of fun doing it. Who’d have thought gaming could be so useful?

Well, a lot of people, it’s just never been so prevalent before. The trick with Pokemon Go is its use of augmented reality (AR) – the opportunity to see the digital world interacting the real one (unlike virtual reality which fully immerses you in a digitally created world).

What this means for game creators is that the limits for creation are disappearing. This may seem a strange concept, given the power that virtual reality gaming has in creating completely different worlds. But what it means is that developers don’t just have to think of new worlds, or redesign the world we already live in, but explore new ways of interacting with the world we have. For mobile gaming in particular, where a camera is readily available for capturing the user’s view of the world, this opening of exploration provides scope for new and extraordinary content.

At the most basic level, we have Snapchat’s filters which turns you and your friends into pieces of toast and puppies. At the highest, we could be looking at a world in which surgical operations on patients could be conducted digitally, the simulation providing a clearer map of what could happen, and preventative measures being made to save even more lives. That’s pretty cool, right? So, there are fewer limits to creation and game development as a whole. No longer are we restricted to the 8 bit of the 90s, but enter something far more sophisticated and world-changing.

In gaming terms, what is so perfect about Pokemon Go is the use of AR – for the first time, gamers can feel like they are actually catching pokemon for real. It isn’t some fantastical creation of developers (expect, of course, it is) but something that holds a digital ‘truth’ because it interacts so cleverly with the real world. No longer are you removed from the current world in order to game, but are immersed in something that feels more, well, real.

Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of it than I should. We are probably a way off from the surgery scenario, but the possibility is still there. With Nintendo and Pokemon Go, it is a possibility that hadn’t been fully realised in the public consciousness until now.

Is the game perfect? Of course not. It’s potential.


Photo Credit:
Game design courtesy of Niantic and Nintendo.
Screenshot courtesy of Jennifer Vennall


Posted in reading

Review Show

Back for a bit to present you with a new video. Enjoy!

Feel free to let me know what you think – subscribe if you want to keep up to date, like if you, you know, like it.

And what’s your answer to my big question at the end? Let me know either here or in the video comments.