American Go E-Journal » Tools: books, software & hardware

SmartGo Kifu Half-Price Through Sept. 15

Sunday September 2, 2012

SmartGo Kifu is on sale for half-price until September 15. Building on the acclaimed SmartGo Pro for the iPhone, SmartGo Kifu offers a go board with tools to study go: professional game records, go problems, and annotated games enabling users to replay master games, solve problems, play against the computer, and record their own games. The first-ever sale for SmartGo Kifu, it may also be the last, says SmartGo author Anders Kierulf. “The main reason for the sale is to give SmartGo Pro users a fair way to upgrade to SmartGo Kifu. SmartGo Pro, now discontinued, was iPhone-only, and has since been superseded by SmartGo Kifu, which works on both iPad and iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t provide a solution to upgrade users from one app to another.” At the sale price of $9.99 — instead of $19.99 – “This is your chance to upgrade to SmartGo Kifu, or simply get SmartGo Kifu at half off,” says Kierulf. “The next release of SmartGo Kifu will include joseki matching. Get ready by upgrading to SmartGo Kifu now.” For more information, see Kierulf’s blog post.

 

Share

Jasiek Releases “First Fundamentals”

Saturday September 1, 2012

Designed to “help beginners to rise above their current level and become intermediate players as quickly as possible,” First Fundamentals has just been released by author Robert Jasiek. The 212-page book (also available as a PDF) is also intended to help intermediate players “abandon their remaining mistakes,” says Jasiek, who notes that “A lack of awareness and understanding of mistakes is the by far greatest obstacle for improving.” First Fundamentals includes clear and simple principles about the fundamentals of strategy and tactics and illustrates the principles with examples from beginners’ games. “Apply these principles and improve several ranks!” says Jasiek. Click here for sample pages.

 

Kaya Go Server Releasing Beta Version

Sunday August 19, 2012

After 7 months of intensive development, the Kaya Go Server  (Kaya Go Server Aims at Online Audience  9/19/2011) programmers are releasing the beta version. “Kaya has been growing a lot technically in the past six months,” reports lead developer Gabriel Benmergui. “We have made weekly releases improving and adding features, including automatic professional relay games, variation sharing and voiced countdowns, Fischer time system and many more since we came out on Christmas 2011.” The server can now broadcast simultaneous game video and commentary and the system’s been field-tested at several tournaments, with Guo Juan 5P using it for a lecture at this year’s Canadian Open, which was broadcast on Kaya, courtesy of the Quebec Go Association. In addition, “OpenKaya, the open-source side of the project, has had collaboration by many people and contains hundreds of hours of work,” Benmergui adds. Over $13,000 in donations thus far have enabled the team to develop the project full time. “Kaya works in all devices,” Benmergui notes. “Although it’s not optimized yet for Android and iPad, it is usable in those devices, without the need to download anything.”

 

Android Go Programs

Wednesday July 25, 2012

It has been a while since the E-J reviewed go programs available on the Android platform, and given that not all of us have iPhones, I thought it was time to do an update.  I should note first that I love Apple, and have three Apple computers in my home.  However, I hate the iPhone and iPod touch for go.  Why? One simple reason:  the screens are so tiny it makes me go cross-eyed; as for the iPad, it is too big to fit in my pocket.  I have had several Android devices, and my current one is a Samsung Galaxy player with a 5″ screen.  It is small enough to carry easily, but big enough to see what I am doing.  Another advantage Android offers is that it is open-source, which means people can develop and change apps very quickly.  On the whole, I have found Android developers incredibly responsive, and three programmers actually changed their application based on user comments, in some cases overnight! I also have no need for a cell phone contract, or expensive data plans, what I wanted was a wireless only device, and I got mine specifically to record go games.  There are a ton of apps out there, so I thought letting our readers know which ones I found most helpful would be useful. A tip for searching, don’t bother with “go”, search for “baduk” or “weiqi” on the Google Play Store. I will review three game recording apps this week, and then review apps for Go Problems next week. I am not reviewing KGS for Android as it requires a data connection, so I can’t use it to record games if I don’t have internet access.  People who play on KGS, and want to do so on their phone, or watch games, will love the app though – it is beautiful and functions very well. Continue reading…)

Summer 2012 GoGoD Release Includes 2,000 Cho Chikun Games

Friday July 20, 2012

The Summer 2012 GoGoD (Games of Go on Disk) update is now available and on its way to subscribers, with a total of 72,644 games in the Database, reports T Mark Hall. “This is a landmark issue,” says Hall. “We now have exactly 2,000 games featuring Cho Chikun. He beat Cho Hun-hyeon as the first to that mark by a whisker. And since we are in Golden Oldies mood, let us recall and salute Jan van Rongen, who collaborated with us on Chikun’s collection in its early days.” Other new material includes “a new Kitani game we found on the day we went to press, but apart from that there has been a long catalogue of new finds of old masters’ games. The most significant perhaps are the three new games by Shusaku which we wrote about in New In Go. Of course the Krypton Kiddies who only wish to drive their 4×4 josekis are not forgotten. You will find well over 1,200 new games for 2012 alone.” Fun stuff includes some new 13×13 blindfolded-pro games, as well as pro games at 9×9, 13×13, 15×15, 17×17 and 21×21. Hall says that GoGod is changing the way the database is sold. “Basically, we are dropping the subscription system at the end of this year, although purchasers who have already subscribed will get their copies as normal,” Hall says. “From now on, all sales will be at the plain vanilla price of $30. This gives us the freedom to update at different times in the year, when we reach notable targets, for instance.”

SmartGo Books Adds Three by Yilun Yang

Friday July 20, 2012

Just in time for players to get in shape for the upcoming U.S. Go Congress, SmartGo Books has added three more booksfor a total of 38 designed to be read on the iPad. The latest batch is a trifecta by Yilun Yang 7 dan, “all based on his inspiring workshop lectures,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. “How to Destroy and Preserve” ($3.99) and “Sabaki – How to Manage Weak Stones” ($3.99) are out-of-print small books originally compiled and edited by John C. Stephenson. “The Workshop Lectures, volume 1” ($5.99) by Slate & Shell contains three chapters: When to Tenuki in the Opening, Choosing the Direction of Attack, and Playing Complicated Joseki. SmartGo Books is a free app for iPad and iPhone, with 38 Go books (including “Invincible”) available as in-app purchases. Kierulf tells the EJ that he hopes “to add at least two more highly requested books before the Go Congress.”

Kiseido Discounting Books through July 31

Friday July 20, 2012

Through July 31, Kiseido is offering 10-20% discounts and free shipping on dozens of books. Books on sale include the 4-volume Graded Go Problems for Beginners series, the Elementary Go Series, the 6-volume Graded Go Problems for Dan Players, 7-volume Mastering the Basics Series and more, including problem books, technique guides and game collections.

SmartGo Books 2.0 Released

Tuesday July 3, 2012

If you have an iPad or iPhone, reading go books just got even better. “SmartGo  Books 2.0 improves the reading experience by moving the controls more out of the way, always showing the chapter title (iPad) and page number (iPhone), and speeding up navigation,” reports SmartGo author Anders Kierulf. Three new books bring the total number of SmartGo book to 35, and Kierulf says he hopes to have five more books before the upcoming U.S.Go Congress.

The three new books:

  • “Get Strong at Life and Death” by Richard Bozulich ($8.99): Fundamentals of life & death, with 230 problems (Kiseido).
  • “More Go by Example” by Neil Moffatt ($6.99): Explore the thinking required to break through the kyu-dan barrier (Learn Go Press).
  • “Correct Joseki” by Mingjiu Jiang and Guo Juan ($7.99): Dealing with joseki mistakes, and how to select joseki for particular game situations (Slate & Shell; published in print as “All About Joseki”).

SmartGo Books is a free app you can download from the App Store, with books available as in-app purchases. Click here for more information.

 

AGA Launches Revamped Website

Sunday July 1, 2012

The American Go Association’s new website launched on Saturday, June 30. While most of the new site’s changes are behind the scenes and will provide a more up-to-date, robust and flexible structure for the site, users will also notice a cleaner and more streamlined visual design.

Most of the old site’s content has been retained, as well as cleaned up and updated where necessary, and is accessible via nested navigation bars along the left-hand side. Three popular areas — Upcoming Events, Ratings and Latest Go News — are quickly accessible via the navbar across the top of the page, while the center of the home page continues to feature news stories which are updated daily.

Well over a year of work has gone into developing and implementing the new site. “We owe a huge debt of thanks and appreciation to the dedicated team of volunteers — Chris Garlock, Roger Schrag Steve Colburn, Joshua Simmons, Justin Kramer, Jason Preuss, Jonathan Bresler, Roy Laird, Phil Waldron, Sam Zimmerman, David Arteche and Bob Gilman — who put so much of their time and energy into this project,” said AGA President Allan Abramson. “This updated and upgraded site will enable the AGA to continue to provide the go community here and around the world with high quality information about the world of go. It’ll also enable new go players to quickly and easily access that world.”

Comments and suggestions on the new site are welcome: email them to journal@usgo.org

Baduk TV Comes to Your Smartphone

Monday June 25, 2012

Go junkies rejoice: Baduk TV is now available on your smart phone. That’s right, you can now watch the same program Korean baduk (the Korean word for go) players watch 24 hours a day. The free Baduk TV app is available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Though currently only available in Korean, Myungwan Kim 9P says there may be an English translation version of the program available as early as the end of this year. “Many Korean go players first met go through Baduk TV,” says Kim, “The biggest reason prize money in Korean tournament has been rising for the last 10 years or so is because Baduk TV created so many fans and attracted commercial sponsors. I think it could make a huge difference to the go community here, as well.” For now, the service is free, though Kim says that may change later this year, and the rates will depend on how many users there are.