Tuesday, May21, 2019 L-36.com

No More StartLine on Google Play

All good things must come to an end



The racing app StartLine was developed to be the best racing app available for Android. Users said it was the best thing short of Expedition. But most people found it too complicated and it never had a broad following. For those that did use it, they found success. The highest level success was a 3rd place in the Cowes race week J109 class. I personally use it along with the RaceBox in my club racing where this season I won all three series plus the TI race. Success is not just the app but the crew and the boat but I could not have done it without the app.

But the app is old and specifically it is targeted at a minimum Android SKD level of 11. This allows it to work on the older tablets I and users feel comfortable having in the marine environment. Now Google says any app that is not at SKD level 26 cannot post on the Google Play Store.

Given the limited number of users and the fact I make no money off this app, it is completely infeasible for me to update the SKD version to 26 as it will without a doubt break the code. I have thus today removed all of my apps from the Google Play store and am no longer going to accept new users. I have been getting new users periodically including this season but these lucky users will be the last. I will continue to support them as the benefit to me is the fresh ideas that they provide which improves the app and by extension my own race results.

The app and RaceBox also led to a spinnoff box now in use by the US Olympic Sailing team. That is another project I hope to be able to talk about some time. It has been a 5 year effort and led to some awesome hardware that I hope will contribute to more than one medal. Last Olympics the only user was Caleb and he had limited use of it due to the development being so close to the actual games. Caleb continues to use the newer versions and is the most outspoken supporter of the gear.

But even that had an end of life story. The RaceBox was built on an Intel Edison as was the first version of the Olympic project. When Intel Obsoleted the Edison, I was left with a large number of Edisons to support my and any RaceBox users and the task of rewriting the Olympic code for an ESP8266. That led to WiFi remote displays which I use on my own boat for the Stowe displays that are part of the RaceBox family. My boat is WiFi enabled and has four remote displays that get their data from the Edison onto local ESP8266 modules.

So the fun continues but the StartLine Google Play Store availability does not.

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