Lightning Bug 2.8.1 – Call to Action

Version 2.8.1 has been released to the Android Market. This is primarily a bug-fix release, but before we get to that, a few words about our on-going issue with audio playback in the Android OS.

In our previous release we included a custom audio system to address a known Android bug that has been causing “gaps” in looped audio since Android Gingerbread. We called our solution “Lightning Bug Audio” and thought we were finally clear to start working on all the new features and content you’ve been asking for. Unfortunately, we are now aware that there are still two significant audio issues:

– If you send Lightning Bug to the background with the custom audio system enabled, you will hear a lot of audio distortion when doing anything that frequently updates the screen such as scrolling through your emails or even just swiping from one home screen panel to another. We believe this issue is due to yet another OS bug in which Android is ignoring the priority of Lightning Bug’s audio output. We’re not sure yet though and will continue to investigate.

– If you are using a device running Ice Cream Sandwich, such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, not only is the original Android audio bug still present, but Lightning Bug Audio will not work at all! To this end, we have disabled Lightning Bug Audio in 2.8.1 to avoid more confusion.

We have gotten more complaints about this audio issue than all other Lightning Bug issues combined! We want it fixed just as much as you, and we will continue to investigate possible work-arounds when we can. However, the time to move on is here. We will no longer put off Lightning Bug 3 development to address this issue.

In the meantime, we need your help in letting Google know that this issue needs to be addressed in a future release of Android. An official bug report has already been made and can be found here:

PLEASE, visit this link and click the star icon in the top-left of the screen. Stars are equivalent to votes. The more votes this issue gets, the more attention it will get from Google. It’s that simple.

To that end, we have also added a one-time startup dialog to Lightning Bug that will either ask you to star the bug report or send a tweet to @AndroidDev asking them to address the bug report.

And we’re very happy to say that we have actually launched this ‘Call to Action’ in conjunction with the creators of Sleepy Time which features the same dialog as of a release today. While Lightning Bug and Sleepy Time are technically competitors, getting this bug fixed is clearly in both of our interests. So a big THANKS to Chuck from Sleepy Time for working together with us on this!

Now with that out of the way! 2.8.1 also addresses the following:

App appears zoomed out and is unusable on Ice Cream Sandwich
Many of you using the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, emailed us about this issue. While we did test Lightning Bug in the official Android emulator for Ice Cream Sandwich, we had not had the opportunity to test it out on a real world device. After purchasing a Galaxy Nexus, we confirmed and fixed the issue. (It was due to a display setting we made several releases ago)

Clock not displaying correctly on tablet devices
Somehow this one got by us while we tested release 2.8, but the issue is related to a graphics hardware acceleration option available as of Android Honeycomb. We enabled this option in 2.8 hoping it would improve the user experience on large screen devices. Unfortunately, it turns out there is an Android issue when enabling this graphics option in combination with large fonts. Lightning Bug’s clock uses such large fonts when in landscape mode on tablets. When the graphics option is enabled and large fonts are encountered the result is no text showing up. Fortunately, the solution was easy. We just disabled the graphics option!