How to use the Android phone application

The phone application


Full Disclosure: the free Android smart phone application is available for download at:

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.glyphOK

All Non-free features described herein are marked with a '###' symbol.
The Non-free version is not available yet, but it will obviously be awesome.

FYI: Ideally, you should read this HOW-TO on a "full sized" device (like a personal computer) and follow along by playing with the function (on your hand-held device) for each example.

Contact Ralph with your questions and suggestions

Trouble shooting the Android smart phone application


General description:

The Instrumentation smart phone application can be used to Send and Receive glyphs as SMS or 'text messages'. This description uses the example image at the top of this page.

In general, picking something from the list of "selectable functions" in the top right of the screen will activate that function once. Pressing the 'Execute' button will then activate that same function again.

To send a glyphic message, however, you must press the 'Execute' button after selecting 'Send Message'. Pressing the button is required to reduce the problem of accidentally sending a random glyph to a random person when you accidentally select the 'Send Message' function. It won't absolutely prevent the problem, but it might slow you down.

Direct Term selection

Terms can be selected from the 'basic vocabulary' ("I just wanted to talk to you") and 'syntax' ("again") just below that. These 'drop down' lists are shown on the right side of the image at the top of this web page.

The 'basic vocabulary' contains the part of the term specified by the inner spokes and laths (the first and second layers of the glyph). The 'syntax' contains the part of the term specified by the outer spokes (the third layer of the glyph). The outer laths (the fourth or 'Specialization' layer of the glyph), are (mostly) unimplemented at this time.

If you select the basic or syntax part of a term from the lists on the right side of the page, the glyph and index will change as soon as a new term is selected. This does not require you to press the 'Execute' button at all.

Normally the first line of text in the lower left corner of the glyph display area will be the basic part and the second line will be the syntax part of a term. If the second line displays "(Specialized term)", the first line is a Specialized term (duh!) which currently includes integers (try 80000000 to 80FFFFFF) and error or informational messages (try FF881100 to FF881114).

Changing the glyph

You can change the glyph with a pointer (or your finger and a 'touch' screen) by clicking on the 'center' of an element. The RED or GREEN DOTS show the locations of the centers of the elements.  The DOTS change from RED to GREEN to show which layer is currently defined by the 'Octant Hints'. Turning 'Colors off ' makes it easier to see the DOTS.

Clicking the text field may bring up a 'virtual keyboard' so that you can enter text or hexadecimal numbers (this depends on your set-up). Clicking anywhere on the glyphic display area will reset the text field to the current index (replacing any search strings) and remove any error or informational messages.

Pressing 'Enter' on a keyboard or the center key on a 'DPad' will either search for the string in the text field or display the glyph and term that matches the hexadecimal number in the text field. This works no matter what function is currently ready to 'Execute'. Of course, some hexadecimal numbers look like words (such as BAD), so you may occasionally be surprised when you hit enter. In this case you would need to use the 'Find a String' function explicitly.

Fun facts

If the display is smaller than approximately five by three inches some text may become unreadable (your display and eyes may vary). You can change the text size, but 'too small' may then just become 'too crowded'.

As you may have guessed, this initial free version is more of a prototype than a fully realized communication tool. I wanted to get it out as soon as possible so that I could get feedback on people's likes and dislikes rather than wasting time developing features that no one wants. I will be working on improving performance and reliability as I collect feedback to see what features are most requested. Please let me know if you find any bugs or other problems.

You can see my general plan for future development here (all goals are subject to the ravages of an uncaring universe).


The application requires the following permissions:

To get a get recipient name for sending glyphs read contact data
To transmit a glyph to that recipient send SMS
To detect incoming glyphs and notify you receive SMS
To read a glyphic message from the SMS inbox read SMS
To download new language files
access Internet


The Menu provides these extra functions

The menu mostly duplicates the selectable functions below, but it also provides some additional useful options. The four free categories are "Explore", "Communicate", "Settings" and "Help". (the non-free version will add 'Create' and 'Control' categories)

The following options are not duplicated in the selectable functions below.

"Default Text Size" - This will fix the text size if you set to an unusable value. The text size of the menu never changes. It is on the "Settings" menu.

"Exit" - This will kill the program and free its resources. It is on the "Help" menu (sometimes it helps).

You can also use the menu to change the "Octant Hints" to a different level without changing the current selectable function. Within the menu options only "Send Message", "Text Size", "Glyphing Bee" and occasionally "Receive Message" will change the current selectable function.


The selectable functions of the application are explained below:

Explore the Instrumentation vocabulary

"Index - show glyph for (hex) number."

This will display the glyph and term that matches a hexadecimal number entered in the text field. A hexadecimal number is a 'base sixteen' number. The digits are 0 through 9 and A through F. The 'Index' function is not case sensitive.

The application can translate the numbers 00000000 through FFFFFFFF, but most numbers above FFFFFF (six 'F's) will not have any terms associated with them just yet. Smaller numbers may not have terms just yet either (the vocabulary is still far from complete).

The 'Index' function will change all alphabetic digits (A through F) to upper case in the text field.

"Find a String - find terms for entered strings."

This will display the glyph and term that matches the string that you enter. The search function is very simple and always considers multiple words to be a single string. The search function is not case sensitive. If a string matches a unique term (such as "dogs"), it will only be found every other time you press 'Execute'. This is how you can tell that the term is unique.

The 'Find' function will change all letters to lower case in the text field.

When the search reaches the end of the list it will start back at the beginning. A new search will start with the term following the most recently displayed term. There is currently no way to change this behavior (like searching backwards), but changing the glyph or the index (and hitting enter) will change the most recently displayed term. Unfortunately this will also clobber the search string, so do it before you start searching.

When you understand how the Instrumentation Description laths (the second layer of the glyph) relate to the evolution of word stems (such as turning friend into friends or friendly), you will find that it is easy to change the first found related term into the proper form by clicking on the elements of the glyph. Reading the tutorial and playing with the game can help you master this skill.

"Find Exact - locate exact string entered."

Like 'Find' but doesn't return partial matches. For example, searching for "ERA" will not return "funERAl". This is very handy for finding short words like "old" or "art".

"Find Articulation - locate syntactic term(s)."    ###

Like 'Find' but doesn't search all of Creation.

"Find Phrase - locate conversational phrases."

'Conversational phrases' are common groups of words found in everyday speech. Using 'conversational phrases' can simplify Instrumentation communication and save valuable time. You can see an example of a conversation consisting mainly of phrases in the 'Demo' function of the Instrumentation game (select 'Bob and Ted make plans').

Phrases tend to be found in the index range from #3E01 (can I get your number) to #3EFF (that's all folks). They will eventually extend from #3A01 all the way to #BEFF. There are a few terms (like 'stomach') which currently exist within this range, but I believe that they will be replaced as the vocabulary matures.

This function will search the index range above and skip individual terms which might accidentally contain the desired string. Searching for the empty string ("" without the quotes) will show every current phrase in index order.

If a word only exists in one phrase and you press Find Phrase a second time, you will see the error message, "Cannot find String:". If multiple phrases contain the string, you can cycle through them endlessly by repeatedly pressing Find Phrase.

"Drill Down - find terms hierarchically."

This will display all basic terms 'hierarchically' in banks of sixteen. The Layer # button goes to the previous display. The Close button will end the search and display the glyph for the selected term (for the current level). The articulation term does not change. This is a prototype function for the Instrumentation indexing scheme.

There are four levels of 'basic hierarchy'. The first level is all sixteen of the Creation terms that end in zero. The second level shows the fifteen terms that immediately follow the first term that you pick. The third level provides the Passive, Active and Non-Descriptive term banks. The fourth level displays the bank of sixteen nouns (from the Description layer) that relate to the second level term that you picked. Clicking a term on the fourth level will end the search and display the glyph for that term.

On level one, the Layer # and Close buttons both cancel without displaying the topmost term (even if you used the Layer # button to go back to level one). If you want "true or yes", click on it once and then click Close (or click on "true or yes" three times and Passive Descriptive once, your choice). On other levels, the Layer # button will also reset the selected term to the previous selected term, which will be the top term on the display (if possible, the bottom-most terms can never be the 'top' term).

"Thesaural Mode - cycle Description terms."

This will display all of the passive, active and non-descriptive nouns that share the same types of Creation. If you start with the passive noun 'observation' you will be shown other nouns such as 'impression', 'monitor' and 'datum'; as well as the non-descriptive noun "I've been noticing something". You can use this feature to find related words that you didn't even know were available. 

"Glyphing Bee - 'spell' the word(s) displayed."

FYI: I delayed adding this game because it shows the weakness of the current vocabulary.

This game will display one or more words. Pick the elements (the spokes and laths) that represent this word and increase your score (shown as "Bee Score is:" in the upper left hand quadrant). Layer one elements are worth one point, layer two elements are worth two points and layer three elements are worth four points. (layer four elements would be worth eight points, if they were used) The maximum score in any game is 100,000. Good luck!

The game defaults to using just layer one elements (the inner spokes), but you can play higher layers by entering the layer number (2 or 3) before selecting "Glyphing Bee" (or pressing 'Execute'). The game is over when you get the "Glyph is OK" pop up message. Then (Optional: enter a layer number and) press 'Execute' to play again. Minutes of fun!

Each layer in the initial glyph display will either be 'all on' or 'all off' to minimize the number of elements that you need to click. If a layer needs five or more visible elements, all of the elements on that layer will initially be visible. Otherwise, all of the elements on that layer will be invisible.

When playing multiple layers, the best strategy is to solve the inner laths first. You can use the parts of speech and the summary as a guide. The remaining laths (the thesaural laths) can seem almost random (sorry), but remember that only four or less elements need to be changed on each level. The colors are useless unless the inner spokes are already solved.

Next solve the inner spokes, the "Bee Score" for the 'solved' two inner layers must be an even number (>= 24 and divisible by four) and the colors can now help you decide which is the last inner spoke. Try to relate the given term back to a categorical term (good luck, sorry).

Finally, the outer spokes can be solved with the help of the syntactic classes (or verb types). At this point you also know that you are working towards a final score of 56 (see below).

Below are the final and initial score limits for the three current game levels.

Number of Layers:
One
Two
Three
Maximum possible score (AKA 100000)
8 24 56
Initial minimum possible score 4 12 28

Solitaire - Glyphs make everything better!

This is a version of solitaire which uses glyphs as cards. The object of the game is to arrange all of the cards into four descending suits (this is not 'Klondike' solitaire however). 

The 'Shuffle' button will start a new game.
The 'Deal (##)' button will deal a new layer of Cards.
The 'Close' button will end the game and return to the normal display.

Everything you need to know about the game (and much much more) is explained here.

If you press the home key while the "Ring Tone" selection dialog is open, the "Solitaire" panel may be dark the next time you open it. To fix this, press the home key while the dark "Solitaire" panel is open. I may fix this eventually, but I can't think of a valid reason for you to pause during the "Ring Tone" selection dialog. In the mean time, you can use the dark "Solitaire" panel as a stealth screen saver.

"Fortune - the (random) glyph knows all."

This creates a random glyph for mild amusement purposes only. If you want to consign your fate to the whims of a machine, I can't stop you, but life has a strict 'No Refunds' policy.

To get a complete fortune, keep pressing the 'Execute' button until you get the "End of Your Fortune" message at the top of the screen. Everything up to that point is your fortune (you might want to write it down). Like all good oracles the exact meaning will be unclear until after your doom befalls you.

Create the perfect message

"Build Message - create a one to sixteen glyph message."

Only adds new glyphs at the end of the message.

This will replace the current glyph in the message and then advance the pointer to the next glyph. This lets you change existing glyphs and add new glyphs to the end of your message. There is no current way to insert a new glyph into the middle of an existing message. When you add or replace the sixteenth glyph the pointer will return to the first glyph (so be careful or you will overwrite the start of your message).

The glyph is saved, not the index. Thus, if you change the index number but fail to use the 'Index' function (or press the enter key), the glyph will not be updated and your new number will not be saved.

A maximum of sixteen glyphs or 160 characters can be sent (due to system limits on the size of an SMS message). If your message has more than 115 characters, you will be told how many characters are still available. There is a space between glyphs, so 'FF' will take up three characters of your remaining space and '-FF' will take up four characters. If you get the error message "SMS maximum Exceeded", the latest glyph has not actually been saved, so you can still save a shorter glyph or send the incomplete message.

There is currently no way to Send the single words "false" or "no" as "-0". This is because computers can't tell the difference between positive and negative zero (stupid computers!). The doctrinaire alternative would be "false or no apparently" (-20000), but there are many other options such as "false" (386) or even "most false" (6386) or -2000. Be creative in your refusals!

See 'Read Message' below for details on using Build and Read together.

"Insert - add one new glyph to message."    ###

This will insert the current glyph into the middle of the message. Everything else works like Build above.

See 'Read Message' below for details on using Insert and Read together.

"Pick Glyph - select glyph by # in message."    ###

Go directly to a glyph.

"Delete Glyph - remove one glyph from message."    ###

Just one glyph, not the whole message.

Communicate with the world

"Read Message - check message before sending."

This will advance the pointer to the next glyph and then display it. Notice that this is backwards from the way that Build and Insert work.

Build and Read share the same pointer, so the glyph you see with Read is the glyph that you will be replacing with Build. If you want to add another glyph to the end of the message that you are reading, you will need to press the 'Execute' button until you get the "No More Saved Glyphs" message to advance the pointer past the current end of the message.

"Change Address - find a recipient for 'Glyphting'."

This will let you pick someone from the 'Contacts' application. There is currently no way to enter a number by hand or create a mailing list.

"Send Message - transmit a glyphic 'text' message."

This will display the name of the current contact or bring up the 'Contacts' application if no contact has been chosen. You must then press the 'Execute' button to start the message transmission. Before actually sending the message you will receive (another) final warning so that you can not (easily) accidentally press the 'Execute' button and resend the same message (or some new unfinished message).

Once the message has been sent there is no current way to recall it. Instrumentation is not responsible for your poor life choices (see 'Fortune' above).

If the message template is empty, you can send the single, currently displayed glyph by pressing 'Send Message'. Just be sure the template is actually empty. If the final warning says "one glyph" the template is empty. If the final warning says "1 glyphs" (or some other number) the template is not empty. You can use the menu to 'Delete' the template without changing the current selectable function.

This means that you don't really need to 'Build' a message to send a single glyph. Since many terms are complete thoughts (such as "would you like to join me??"), this can be a handy feature (if you remember to Delete any previous message before sending). Deleting a message does not affect the currently displayed glyph.

"Pick Message - select message from input queue."    ###

This will list the glyphic messages in the SMS message queue and let you pick one.
(in the free version, messages do not go to the SMS message queue)

"Check Sender - get name or number of message source."    ###

This will display the name or number of the person who sent the last post that you Picked or Received.
(this is only useful if you have more than one friend)

However, when you receive a new Notification this will be the name or number of the person who sent the post that you are about to Receive. In this case, the 'sender' might not match the message in template zero until you actually receive the message.

If the phone number is in your 'Contacts', the name will be displayed, otherwise, the number will be displayed.

"Receive Message - accept a glyphic 'text' message."

This will clear message template zero  (unless there are "No Receivable Glyphs") and display the first glyph of an incoming message. If the message contains more than one glyph, it will be loaded into the message template, and the 'Read' function will be automatically selected.

All messages are received into template zero, which means:

  1. You can change the message and then forward or return it.
  2. Any new message will replace any existing message in template zero
    (so remember to 'Send' before you 'Receive').
  3. You need to 'Delete' template zero before you try to 'Send' template zero after receiving a multi-glyph message (or send a different template, if one exists).

"Store Received - move template zero."    ###

Save it in another template so that it doesn't get clobbered by the next message. Requires multiple templates.

Control all message templates    ###

The free version (GlyphOK) only has one message template (called template zero). the non-free version (which doesn't officially exist yet) has sixteen message templates. (sixteen is bigger than one)

"Select Template - pick saved glyphic message."    ###

Get template by number.

"Save Templates - update all prepared messages."    ###

Store message templates 'permanently' to device memory.

"Load Templates - refresh prepared messages."    ###

Read message templates from memory.

"Delete Message - remove *ALL* saved message glyphs."

This deletes an entire message and sets the pointer to the beginning of the (now empty) message template. Deleting a message does not affect the currently displayed glyph or any other templates.

There is currently no way to Delete a single glyph within a message.

Setting your comfort zone

"Octant Hints - show the Octant type by layer."

This will show the type (or essential meaning) of the elements in each of the eight octants of the glyph. The green dots show which layer contains the elements. Turning colors off and setting the index to #00 can make it easier to see the dots.

If a Hint number (one through five) is entered in the text field, pressing the 'Execute' button will take you directly to that layer. Otherwise, pressing the 'Execute' button will take you to the next level. The 'types' are briefly explained in the overview tutorial.

"Colors on / off - colors show near-by terms."

Turning colors off can make it easier to read the glyphs in an incoming message. Colors cannot be used to identify a specific glyph, because the colors will change as the vocabulary matures. Eventually, the entire glyph should be solid blue and yellow.

Turning colors on can help you avoid glyphs which have no associated term when you are clicking on the elements of a glyph. The elemental colors have the following meanings:

In other words, click on a yellow or blue element to see a nearby term.

"Notification - signal when a glyph is received."

This will cycle through 'Off', 'Vibrate', 'Tone' and 'Both' notification modes. Off is the default mode. A Notification icon is also displayed if the application is not currently in use.

If the phone number is in your 'Contacts', the name will be displayed, otherwise, the number will be displayed. This happens when Instrumentation is active (visible) regardless of the Notification value.

NB - Notification may not work at all if the application has never been opened. I assume that this will only be an issue for a long time user who has reloaded the application and forgotten about this friendly warning. If you find a message in the SMS inbox that starts with "glyph" and continues with hexadecimal numbers, this is (probably) the problem. Otherwise glyphic messages are never sent to the inbox. This application can 'Receive' the most recent glyphic message in the inbox (but only the most recent).

"Ring Tone - select a sound for notification."

This will let you pick a ring tone from the standard ring tone selection menu. If no ring tone is selected the current system default ring tone will be used (which may be silent). The ring tone will not be heard unless either 'Tone' or 'Both' is selected using the 'Notification' function above.

"Text Size - change the size of the font."

The current text size will appear in the text field. Change that number and press the 'Execute' button. After pressing the 'Execute' button, the current function will be set to 'Colors on/off' and the text field will be reset to the current glyphic index. This is done to restore the previous glyphic state and to avoid accidentally setting the text size to some overly large or small number.

The allowed range of text sizes is eight to fifty, but it is safest to change the size in increments of two or three at a time. Otherwise you may render this application's display unreadable and unusable (this will not affect any other application). If you manage to do this you will need use "Default Text Size" from the menu to restore the system default text size. I'm sorry, but I can't tell what your exact minimum and maximum sizes should be because of the wide range of Android screen sizes.

If you try to change the text size by more than five sizes all at once the program will ask you if you actually know what you are doing. This is for your own protection.

"Language - change the vocabulary files."

This function will not work unless your phone has internet access.

You will be given a choice of languages. Currently the 'non-test' choices (see "Beta test" below) are English (the default) and Espanol (like Spanish, but poorly translated). If you choose English, any other vocabulary file will be deleted and the default vocabulary will be re-loaded. If you choose any other language, the new vocabulary file will be downloaded from this (the Instrumentation) web site and loaded.

In either case, updating the vocabulary takes a bit of time. Downloading and decompressing a file can increase this time significantly if the internet is feeling cranky. The (compressed) Espanol language file is just under 171 Kilobytes.

If you press the 'Home' button after selecting a language, the download should finish in the background.

Beta test Language files

The language files English2 (309 Kb) and Espanol2 (330 Kb) contain the beta versions of the new 'improved' vocabulary. The beta vocabularies have different version numbers than the primary vocabularies, so you should be able to tell if your friends are using a different vocabulary.

The beta vocabulary has over twice as many singular nouns as the current primary vocabulary (it even contains the word 'vocabulary'). The beta vocabulary should be updated every other week (when this website updates), until I decide that this beta vocabulary is ready to become the new "Primary Vocabulary". After that, I will use beta vocabularies to preview all future vocabulary updates. Future updates should include:

The beta vocabulary is still under construction, so:

Getting the vocabulary to match the Types is the major hurdle in making this language mnemonic.

Help yourself to greatness

"Help - the short version of this page."

This presents a cheat sheet which lists (most) of the functions on this page.

If you click on the panel or rotate the device from portrait to landscape (or vice versa), the help panel will go away. You can press 'Execute' in either case to bring the help panel back.

If you click and hold (or use the 'back' button), the help screen will go away. If you click and drag (or use the DPad 'up' and 'down' arrows), the help screen will scroll. If you delay too long before starting to drag, the help screen may get confused and close instead of scrolling.

"Help Webpage - instrumentation.conlang.org"

This option will bring you to this website. Welcome!

"About - Say My Name!"

Shows the Copyright date, Author name, vocabulary version and application version.


The Instrumentation smart phone application is
Copyright 2013 by Ralph L. DeCarli.  All rights reserved.

THE INSTRUMENTATION SMART PHONE APPLICATION IS PROVIDED `AS IS' WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR(S) OR CONTRIBUTOR(S) BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.




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