After a hiatus …

Well it took me a while but I managed to get Hexing up on the Google Play Store again. Who would have thought just adding a privacy statement could have been such an ordeal.

It all started way back when ...

Trippy Feet:

Well, I should mention first that in the following recollection I probably tripped over my own feet more than anything else. However, this process also taught me to be careful about updating software when not required and paying attention to the important emails.

The journey started back in November 2018 when I noticed that Hexing wasn't accessible through the Google Play Store. Checking my account there I came across a banner error message informing me that the Play Store had removed my program because it didn't have a privacy statement which was now required by various countries including the EU. So my first lesson is 1) Check the Play Store regularly to make sure everything is running smoothly there. I guess a reminder is a task for Google Calendar.

Upon checking my email client I found the email from Google telling me that they would be doing this. Apparently redirecting my emails into a sub-directory and then ignoring them wasn't a good strategy for email overload. So there's got to be a better solution to dealing with all the emails from friends and family and automated servers and the important automated mail servers. That's my second lesson. Not sure I've solved that one yet ... especially now that I've added Google Calendar notices to the list.

Holy Flood Batman:

Next problem was that between Android-Studio, Cocos2d-x, and Firebase everybody decided to change everything between when I last worked on Hexing and now. Not that I don't appreciate the improvements but ... Holy flood Batman! I guess this lesson is that if I had recompiled Hexing semi-regularly I would have had a smaller plate of changes to deal with and it wouldn't have been such a problem.theyNext problem was that between Android-Studio, Cocos2d-x, and Firebase everybody decided to change everything between when I last worked on Hexing and now. Not that I don't appreciate the improvements but ... Holy flood Batman! I guess this lesson is that if I had recompiled Hexing semi-regularly I would have had a smaller plate of changes to deal with and it wouldn't have been such a problem.

So what were the problems ...

Well the first was that I now required a privacy statement. Hmmm, a tad out of my wheelhouse and since I'm not making any money with my programs yet (actually as it turns out it seems I'm paying money to have people play my programs ... I hope they really enjoy them ... well at least one of us does). This suggests that paying a lawyer to produce a privacy statement was a little extravagant. So I did what many others probably do and basically searched the net for other privacy statements and cut and pasted until I had something reasonable, without spelling errors, and that seemed to cover the whole spectrum of things that Hexing users might want to know about. One problem solved.


So, I have the text of a privacy statement but what do I write it in? Scratch Word ... that was a no-go ever since I left the MS Windows world permanently for linux (Ubuntu -- my relief was palpable). There are lots of tools on linux. I contemplated Latex but thought this was a little over the top and since I had being playing with AsciiDoc lately and it had the professional look I wanted I decided to use it. Great!! The document, when auto translated to HTML, looked just like I wanted it to. Now where to put it.

I thought about installing it in Hexing so it would be with the program whenever needed but the maintenance problem of updating it as I updated Hexing and the problem of how to display it from an in-memory resource and the waste of space bothered me so I figured I'd put it up on the internet and just have a button in Hexing to open it up. Turns out that Cocos2d-x has just the call for this and it was a one-liner except for the button code -- which was quite simple too. Another problem solved.

Web Presence:

But I needed a web presence so I could put my privacy statement up. This required me to find a web service somewhere (but again$$$), or a free web service (but I didn't like the lack of control). So I just decided to use my personal machine which is on 24-7. So now it was time to install another host on my Apache server. Fortunately, this was relatively easy compared to the old days ... which made my cry and pull my hair out. Only problem was that my Apache server went away when my machine crashed and I had to re-image the OS. And this not being my first time down this road I had kept notes on what I needed to do (thanks GNote). But of course there was a catch, everything had changed, so I had to re-learn and plod through all the web pages (which are massively interlinked so even though you are hopeful when you start because there is a clear starting position there is no ending page because they are so highly interlinked that you don't know if you've even read the page you are on now ... better read it!

Be Safe MySQL:

Anyway I finally got the Apache server running, my old (hand crafted) web pages back (which was nice) and a place to put all the web pages for Non-Aligned Games that I intend to do in the future. Oh, wait a minute I had a web site for Non-Aligned games before I had to re-image the OS. Now where did I store those pages? Arrrggghhhh! MySQL used in WordPress, on linux, stores the databases on the OS partition -- which goes away when you re-image your OS (thank goodness I wasn't still using MS Windows). At least I was smart enough to move the /home directory off onto it's own partition. So now I needed to figure out how to move a MySQL database area to a safe place (like on my /home partition) for when I bork my OS again. Finally figured that out and recorded the process on GNote and now I could re-install WordPress

Learn WordPress:

WordPress is really nice and for the most part free (some WordPress third party developers add lots of really professional addons for WordPress that they charge for). However, I didn't know anything about WordPress. OK, so I'm going to learn some WordPress. I was starting to wonder if I could still call myself a game programmer.

There was a learning curve with WordPress but once you pick the theme you want to settle on, from the thousands of free themes out there, you can get down to creating your web site. The problem with WordPress themes are is that they only roughly show you what your web site is going to look like. Adding graphics, and logos and text to your chosen theme can make it look completely different than the preview. Once you do get over most of the learning curve then it is pretty easy to do things. That might be partially you know what your limits are now.

AsciiDoc on WordPress:

So now I have a WordPress web site hosted on my own machine and a seed of a web presence. Now for that AsciiDoc privacy statement. WordPress has some plugins that mention AsciiDoc I'll just add one of those plugins and get it to suck up my privacy_policy.adoc and poof my privacy policy is up live. But, nothing is ever simple. These plugins didn't work the way I wanted them to so I eventually just made an external link to my HTML version and left it at that. Not optimal but at lease I don't have to maintain more than one version of the policy.

What was I doing again ... oh yeah something to do with a game ...

Game Mods:

Next was installing the buttons into the game which would display the privacy statement for the game and the Non-Aligned web site which I could announce my progress and new games etc. I started up Android-Studio as usual and it mentioned that there was some sort of update. As usual I just clicked the install button and off it went. That was a mistake. I think there is some corollary to Murphy's law for computer science that states that you shouldn't upgrade software while it is working.

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