Tag Archive: ruler

Sorry we’ve been busy with other things so we haven’t got a chance to update the apps for quite a while. It turned the new Android versions don’t work with some of our old code very well. It causes some serious freeze issues on most of our apps (ruler, level, protractor etc.) We found out what’s going on and released a new versions for all those apps. As far as I can tell, all apps should work fine now on most of the phones. So sorry for the late updates.

There were a lot of complaints about the  Advanced Tally Counter where the name of the counter is not showing. The root reason was discovered and a new update was posted for both the free and the paid version.

Advanced Protractor Pro 

Last but not the least, we updated the Advanced Protractor Pro to include a neat feature – to help Photographer to find out what lens to bring for a particular location. Well, it sounds like nothing to do with a protractor when you first hear this. But here is how it works.

What lens to bring is a question that all photographers will ask themselves before going out for a photography trip. Sometimes it is a tough question. Bringing them all is an easy answer but not an easy decision for a strenuous hiking. This Advanced Protractor Pro will help you to scout the location beforehand and help you making the decision.

Last winter, I went to the famous Horseshoe Bend near Page, AZ. My first question, before I went there, was what kind of wide angle lens I would need in order to capture the whole bend and the side cliffs. I went to the Google Map for help. If  I have a real protractor, I can put it on screen to find out the angle of the span, then use an online angle to focal length converter, I can figure out the lens focal length. But isn’t our Advanced Protractor Pro is a better protractor? This triggers me to add this new feature.

First, you go to settings to change the display of the angle degree to focal length.


Next, long press and hold the multi-function round button so that you can see three green circles on the screen. Now press Menu – Toggle Camera to turn on the camera.

The next step is to use your computer to open the Google map to navigate to the place you are interested in. Use the app camera to take a picture of it. (Yes, we plan to release another app to show the Google map right in the phone but here is what you have to do with the app right now)

Now you can drag the handles on the screen. Put the center one at where you will stand when taking the photo. The other two handles at the widest angle that your photo will cover. In this case below, I will stand at the rim of the cliff to capture both walls. The focal length calculated by the app is about 18 mm (or 12mm if taking picture vertically). Note that this is the focal length for a full frame sensor in the landscape mode. If you have a crop sensor, you need to divide it by 1.5 or 1.6 whatever the crop ratio is. You also need to adjust it if you plan to capture in the portrait mode.


Is it for real? Yes of course. Here is a picture I took last Winter when I was there. As you can see from the EXIF information, I used 17-40 lens at 19 mm.

Horseshoe Bend

Here is another one. If you want to capture both the Half Dome and the two falls (Vernal fall and Nevada fall) from the Glacier Point, you would need about a 32mm lens or 21 if vertically. If the cloud is interesting, you probably will take the picture vertically thus a wide angle lens such as 17-40 or 14-24 is certainly required.


How about the Bellagio music fountain? To capture the whole fountain needs a really wide angle lens, probably a fish-eye. But a nice composition is to capture both the Bellagio and the Caesars Palace hotel buildings as background and use the fountain as foreground. The app tells me it is 19 mm.


I actually use a 17 TSE so that I can more room to crop and also be able to shift the lens to get rid of the distortion for the high buildings.

7-11-2013 1-28-30 PM

Obviously, I hijacked the Protractor Pro to squeeze in this extra feature. I only spent an hour or two to add it. It is clearly not enough. The next app we will do is to create an app for Photographer do something like it but it will do more. Please stay tune.


I decided to make Advanced Camera Ruler free for a day and see how it went. To my surprise, it ended up with 23682 downloads just in one day. It did extremely well in China and many European countries. If I remember correctly, I haven’t seen this amount of downloads in any of our apps on Android, although I never made Advanced Ruler Pro free on Android. All the free versions on Android are feature-limited version of the corresponding paid version which will of course attract less people. Comparing with the sales of this app when it is not free, I decided to keep it free for a week or so, or even consider switching to ads support model. Will see.

I also decided to release a new version to translate this app to a few other languages. It is very disappointing to see some users’ comment saying the camera won’t turn on. The reason is the camera height has to be input first before the camera preview is turned on. There is a message right there on the screen but since many of the users don’t understand English, they don’t understand what it said. Other users try to aim at the object directly and hope the app will give the direct distance between the camera and the object. Many users never read instruction. No to complain as we sometimes do the same thing. I’ll just find a creative way to make it more intuitive.

Our second app “Advanced Camera Ruler ” for iPhone is available on sale. We ported this app from our most popular Android app “Advanced Ruler Pro” to iPhone. We kept the two most useful features – the distance ruler and the height ruler and integrate them into Advanced Camera Ruler. We also improved the usability of the ruler. You will find it is extremely easy to use.

Here is the link to the iTune store. It is on sales at 99 cents.


We also prepared a quick tutorial to show you how to use the Advanced Camera Ruler.

We just post updates to Advanced Ruler (Pro), Advanced Protractor (Pro) and Advanced Bubble Level (Pro) to fix the compatible issues with Android 1.5 and 1.6. Please give them a try if you are on those firmware versions.

[Developer’s talk]

We used to support all levels but in the last update to fix the camera preview issue on Galaxy S, we broke the compatible because we used a Android 2.1 only method. Because of that, Android 1.5 and 1.6 users would get a force close with a VerifyClass error. In a regular Java program, we just need to add a “if” statement to check the version first and only call the Android 2.1 only method if the Android version is 2.1 and later. However on Android, this workaround doesn’t work. As long as a class uses a new method, no matter it is triggered during runtime or not, a VerifyClass error will be thrown when VM tries to load it. So we end up using reflection to call the method. Not fun at all. I also noticed some publishers post different apk files for Android 1.5. This doesn’t sound like a good solution as it will force users to purchase it again when he/she upgrades its phone’s firmware. If Android market support several apk files for the same app on different Android version, it would be a useful feature.

Anyway, the good news is more and more users are moving to 2.1 and 2.2. I just found the following updates on Android developer website. Only 17% people are still on Android 1.5 and 1.6 which is considered as “old” version. The data is collected during two weeks end on December 1, 2010. No wonder no that many people complained about the compatible issues on our apps.

Platform API Level Distribution
Android 1.5 3 6.3%
Android 1.6 4 10.6%
Android 2.1 7 39.6%
Android 2.2 8 43.4%

Here is the historical distribution.

[Source: http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html]

Post updates for all the tools

I just post updates to pretty much all the Advanced tools apps on Android market. The main fixes are
1. Fixed camera preview not working on Samsung Galaxy S phones. It affected Advanced Bubble Level Pro, Advanced Ruler Pro, Advanced Protractor Pro
2. Added market licensing checking to all paid apps
3. Use ProGuard to obfuscate all the apks to protect our copyright
4. Made no sounds by default in several apps as people complained the sounds are annoying.
5. Phone database updates for Ruler and Ruler Pro


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)

Advanced Ruler Pro Rocks

While I was happy to sell enough apps every day for the lunch money, it was quite a shock yesterday morning when I routinely checked in to see how many sales during the night. More than 300 copies of Advanced Ruler Pro was sold since 4am that morning (a three hour period). So I quickly googled around and found out what happened. It was Recombu who posted a review on Advanced Ruler Pro a couple of days ago, which was linked by Gizmodo that morning. Gizmodo is a very popular website for gadgets so it was quickly followed by many retweets and blogs, forming a nice rippling effect. The sales were phenomenal during the day. I checked again this morning, There are more than 1000 sales yesterday. I know the ripple will die down after a few days but it is certainly a joyful ride.

Here are some posts for Advanced Ruler Pro I found that are original in addition to the recombu and gizmodo links above.

Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5563041/advanced-ruler-pro-measures-large-distances-with-your-smartphone

Wirefresh: http://www.wirefresh.com/advanced-ruler-pro-android-app-asks-how-tall-is-that-tree/

Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/cexn2/just_happened_across_this_little_app_that_saved/

The last one is very interesting as the guy measured the same pole using Advanced Ruler Pro and a real surveying equipment. The difference is only 1.32% (25.33 ft. v.s. 25 ft.). As a matter of fact, if one puts the phone on a stable tripod like a surveying equipment does so that the phone doesn’t shake when taking the measurement, I bet Advanced Ruler Pro can produce even better accuracy.

Best Android Apps Review just listed our app Advanced Ruler Pro in their Top Android App section.

Advanced Ruler Pro takes advantage of the Android OS and it’s ability to overlay additional layers onto the camera input, allowing for the advanced ruler functionality. The app uses fairly basic geometry to calculate values of distances, heights, etc. that you see in your camera view, and it’s all done in real-time. Then, just tap the screen to take a screen capture of whatever you want to measure and record……

Read more from


I usually log in to the Android market order inbox every morning to see how the sales going. This morning, I did the same thing but I am surprised to find out there are many sales for Advanced Ruler Pro from Japan during the night. There were sales from Japan market but not a whole lot. My gut feeling tells me Advanced Ruler Pro must be mentioned by a Japanese website. After googling around, I believe I found the site.


Even though I can’t read Japanese, with Google Translate, I can tell it tries to cover all the features in Advanced Ruler Pro. Maybe I should include a Japanese version of this app. Thanks Octoba!

I just happened to notice Advanced Ruler was mentioned by AndroidBoss about a month ago. I am flattered Advanced Ruler was picked among several other ruler apps. (Even though Advanced Ruler Pro is the only camera ruler on the android market, Advanced Ruler is not the only screen ruler. There is actually a relatively old screen ruler that has more than 50k downloads). I am even flattered that Android Ruler is listed side by side with other four great apps. All those four apps have > 250k downloads (some of them might have over 1 mil downloads)

Anyway, here is the link and the quoted text.  I don’t know the name of the reviewer but he/she certainly understand the Advanced Ruler very well and all he/she said below is very accurate. And thank you!


Quoted from AndroidBoss

Advanced Ruler

This app isn’t going to replace a 12 inch ruler or a 36 inch yardstick anytime soon for one simple reason: I don’t happen to have a phone with a 12 inch display. But if you just need to get a quick measurement of something small, there are a number of ruler apps in the Android Market.

Here’s why I like Advanced Ruler:

The software will automatically recognize a variety of Android smartphones, which lets it figure out exactly how large your screen is and automatically calibrate the ruler correctly. If your phone isn’t automatically recognized you can hit a calibrate button and use an old fashioned measuring tape to identify help the app figure out just how to draw the ruler on your smartphone.

You can also adjust the direction of the ruler and toggle between inches and centimeters. The ruler can be locked, which means you’ll just see 3 or 4 inches or so. Or you can unlock the ruler, allowing you to scroll past the edge of the screen to see the 5th inch or further.

Advanced Ruler also lets you adjust the text size, ruler style, and other settings.