Tag Archive: Android


Square Footage Master Tutorial

Square Footage Master is a must-have app for realtors, house buyers, and contractors who need to measure houses, yard or office square footage (or square meters). You can get an accurate result without using any other tools. No tape ruler? No problem. The app comes with a camera ruler (as the one in the Advanced Ruler Pro app) and a body ruler that are very easy to use. It will also save the measurement to the memory card or you can send it to yourself or someone else by email.

Preparation:
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You can use the app with a tape ruler or a laser ruler. But the true convenience comes from the built-in camera ruler and the body ruler. In order to use these two rulers, some preparations are required.

The above screenshot is the home page of the app. Before using it, please click on the “SETTINGS” button on the home page.

For the camera ruler, you need to measure two values and input to the settings. First, it is the camera height. When you use the camera ruler, you stand straight and hold the phone at the height such that the camera is at your eye height. We need to know the camera height. Secondly, it is the camera to wall distance. Usually you lean against the wall when you take the measurement, which means the measured length is from the camera to the other wall. However what you need is the wall-to-wall distance. If we know the camera-to-wall distance, we can automatically add it to the measured length which will give you the wall-to-wall distance. For both values, you can lean against a wall and ask someone using a real tape ruler to measure the camera height and camera-to-wall distance then input to the settings page.

It is a good idea to use the body ruler when the measured distance is not on the ground (such as counter top size) or or it is too short (such as a hallway width). So please take the time to measure the different body dimensions. For example, to measure the step length, you can put a tape ruler flat on the ground, starting the tap head, walk normally for 5 steps, take the reading then divide it by 5. This will give you a more accurate step length.

Usage:
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You can click on the “Start a whole house measurement” to start a new project. It will bring you right to the room measurement page.

You give the room a name, specify the room category (level 1, 2 or outside or non-living area, we will use it to give you square feet for different category), then you can use the camera ruler or the body ruler.

To use the camera ruler, tap the length on the shape you want to measure, tap the camera button, you will see the camera preview is showing. Now lean against the wall, put the camera at the eye height, tilt the phone to aim the root of the wall on the other side and tap the aiming scope. Now you will get the measurement from the camera to the other wall. Just press “Back” key on your phone, the measurement value (after adding the camera-to-wall distance) will be will be recorded. To use the body ruler, tap the length to measure, tap the body ruler button, a dialog will pop up asking you how many steps or hand spans or strides. Choose the body ruler you prefer and type in the number. You can use decimal, such as 2.5 hand spans.

If you already knew the length using other types of ruler, just tap the edit box and enter the value. You can input things like “1 1/8 ft”,”5.3 m”,”138 cm”. No matter your default unit setting is U.S. or metrics, we  will convert them to your default unit.

On the room measurement page, you can select different room shapes. The shape diagram will tell you which lengths to measure in order to calculate the area. You can flint left or right to choose a different shape.

Once all required lengths are recorded, you will see the area above the shape diagram. Now just press DONE button to go back to the room list page.

On room list page, you can click on the ADD button to add another room. After you finish all the rooms, press DONE, it will prompt you to save it. You enter a unique name for this measurement (such as the address of the house) and the measurement will be saved.

Again on the room list page, you can click on the top title where it says Total Living Area to change to a different category. For example, you want to find out the total living area on the second level, just click on the title, select “Living Area – Level 2″, the total living area of level 2 will be displayed. You can also do it for all the yards or non-living area etc. However in order to use this feature, you need to specify the category for each room when you take the measurement.

Go back to the home page, you can click on the “Open a whole house measurement” to see any measurements you saved. They are sorted alphabetically. Single click on the measurement will take you to the room list page. Long click on it will bring up a menu to choose actions such as “Delete”, “Rename”, “Send”.

On the home page, there is also a button called “Measure one room”. If you just want to measure a room without saving, you can use this button. The screen is the same as the measure a room page except it doesn’t have a cancel button.

Already eager to give it a try? Get your android phone and download it from Android Market. Here is a QR code for your convenience that will lead you right to the Android Market link of Square Footage Master.

If your country doesn’t support Android Market yet, you can pay $2.99 to yingwentech@gmail.com using PayPal and we will send the apk file to your email.

A couple of users suggested we should make video tutorial to help people understanding our apps. So I made two simple videos to get this effort started. More videos will be added over the time. I have to confess it is not easy to make a nice video :(

Measure something longer than the phone length using the screen ruler feature (for either Advanced Ruler or Advanced Ruler Pro)

How to manually calibrate the screen ruler (for either Advanced Ruler or Advanced Ruler Pro)

We received several reports of occurrence that user who purchased our app tries to cancel/refund the app, it shows as “cancelled” on our end but the user didn’t get the refund. I told them to contact Google directly as we have no control over the situation but to be frank, I don’t know what Google phone number or email they should use and how the issue will be resolved.

The 24 hours refund policy on Android Market has been very controversial among android app developers. I noticed two problems with it. First is the abuse of the policy and piracy. People might abuse the policy, especially for the games. They can play a paid game for a whole day and return it, get full refund. Other people who have root access might copy the apk file from the phone, refund it, install the apk manually then they will get the app for free. I tried to think people are good. Most apps are 99 cent after all. Why bother pirating such cheap apps? The second problem is this policy promotes returning without thinking about it. Some users know they can refund but don’t know how soon they could do it or afraid they might forget to do it if they didn’t do it immediately. So they just try the app in a rush before even trying to understand the app. If  having a tiny doubt of the app when trying, they click on the “refund/uninstall” button because they are afraid that the button will become “uninstall” only in the next second. I noticed this as I randomly picked some users who returned our app and try to engage a conversation with them. Many of them didn’t understand what the app is doing. Other even said they didn’t have time to try it so return it. After I briefly show them how to use it, they like the app.

I totally understand the philosophy behind Google’s 24 hour return policy. Google’s slogan is “don’t be evil”. As businessmen, we all know customers are god. But I think this returning policy is still badly executed. Android market should let the app developer choosing the refunding policy, not by Google. For example, if I am making a game that can be finished within 2 hours, I certainly don’t want it to be refundable as long as they do have two hours of fun. If I am making an app that is useful all the time (such as the Advanced Ruler Pro we make), I will allow a longer than 24 hours refund period so that user has enough time to try it. Users will look at the refund policy and the price of each app and decide if they will purchase the app. If an app developer made a lousy app and refuse to refund, users can post bad comments or trigger chargeback  through their credit card company. With a hefty $25 chargeback fee, I think no app developer will even refuse to refund. Eventually, app developers will make their app better and the users still have their choices.

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