Tag: iPad

Go Book Library with iPad Air

When the iPad mini was released last year, I calculated that you could save money by buying an iPad mini and building a library of Go books using SmartGo Books instead of buying the same books on paper. Since then, SmartGo Books has added more than 30 books – will the same calculation now hold up for an iPad Air?

Start with introductory books. SmartGo Books provides several choices, including Jonathan Hop’s So You Want to Play Go? and Kiseido’s Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game, but let’s assume you go with Janice Kim’s acclaimed Learn to Play Go series:
Learn to Play Go vol. 1-5: $35 / $75 (first price is SmartGo Books, second price is the cheapest source for the paperback, in this case Amazon or the Go Game Guru value bundle)

Some books to guide you on your way as a double-digit kyu player:
Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol. 1-4: $24 / $84 (Kiseido)
How Not to Play Go: $4 / $10 (Slate & Shell)
Single Digit Kyu Commentaries vol. 1&2: $11 / $26 (Slate & Shell)
Fundamental Principles of Go: $10 / $24 (Slate & Shell)
Cho Hun-hyeon’s Lectures on Go Techniques vol. 1&2: $20 / $40 (Yutopian)
Basic Techniques of Go: $9 / $18 (Amazon)

The whole Elementary Go Series is a must-read:
In the Beginning: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
38 Basic Joseki: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Tesuji: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Life and Death: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Attack and Defense: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
The Endgame: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Handicap Go: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)

You’ll want to challenge yourself with problem collections:
Rescue and Capture: $3 / $11 (Yutopian)
Tricks in Joseki: $3 / $11 (Yutopian)
Get Strong at Life and Death: $10 / $21 (Kiseido)
Get Strong at the Endgame: $10 / $21 (Kiseido)
Life and Death: Intermediate Level Problems: $5 / $7.50 (Slate & Shell)
Making Good Shape: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)
Five Hundred and One Opening Problems: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)
Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)

More to study as you reach single-digit kyu:
Patterns of the Sanrensei: $13 / $26 (Slate & Shell)
More Go by example: $7 / $9 (Amazon)
The Workshop Lectures vol. 1-6: $36 / $75 (Slate & Shell combo)
The Go Consultants: $8 / $18 (Slate & Shell)
Magic on the First Line: $7 / $12 (Slate & Shell)
Key Concepts in Life and Death: $7 / $16.50 (Slate & Shell)
Master Play series (5 books): $29 / $81.50 (Slate & Shell)
All About Ko: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)
Modern Master Games: The Dawn of Tournament Go: $12 / $35 (Kiseido)
This is Go the Natural Way! $8 / $20 (Yellow Mountain Imports)
Correct Joseki: $8 / $15 (Slate & Shell, published as All About Joseki)
Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki: $8 / $20 (Go Game Guru)
The Way of Creating a Thick and Strong Game: $9 / $22 (Go Game Guru)

No self-respecting Go player would be missing Invincible:
Invincible: The Games of Shusaku: $20 / $50

Valuable books as you approach dan level:
Catching Scent of Victory: $10 / $22 (Go Game Guru)
Breakthrough Attacking Power Yamashita-Style: $9 / $22 (Go Game Guru)
Shuko: The Only Move vol. 1&2: $20 / $46 (Go Game Guru)

Our total so far: $462 for SmartGo Books. $1064.50 for printed books.

Those savings are enough to pay for an iPad Air that’s perfect for reading: $499. And that still leaves room to buy six out-of-print books that we’ve brought back to life:
Tesuji and Anti-Suji of Go: $10
Killer of Go: $10
Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes: $9
How to Destroy and Preserve: $4
Sabaki – How to Manage Weak Stones: $4
Counting Liberties and Winning Capturing Races: $10

And SmartGo Books includes several books that are not available in print, with more on the way. Let’s throw in two excellent books by John Fairbairn:
The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei: $20
Gateway to All Marvels – The Xuanxuan Qijing of 1347: $15

Of course, you’ll also want SmartGo Kifu, with the full GoGoD collection of 76,000 pro games, 2,000 problems, and joseki matching: $20.

Final tally: $1064.50 for 58 printed books. $1063 for an iPad Air with all the books and software you need to become a strong player, plus a bonus of six out-of-print books that are hard to find at any price, and two books not available in print. You’ll learn more thanks to the interactive diagrams and problems, and you can carry your whole Go library with you.

Of course, few people will actually buy enough books to amortize their iPad. But the savings are substantial, and if you’re on the fence, these savings plus the availability of SmartGo Kifu may tilt the scales.

A Free iPad With Your Go Book Library

SmartGo Books is now 48 books strong, and growing. Let’s say you’re building your Go book library as you improve, and see how the savings of SmartGo Books vs. paperback add up. Will it be enough to pay for that iPad you want?

Start with introductory books. SmartGo Books provides several choices, including Jonathan Hop’s So You Want to Play Go? and Kiseido’s Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game, but let’s assume you go with Janice Kim’s acclaimed Learn to Play Go series:
Learn to Play Go vol. 1-5: $35 / $75 (first price is SmartGo Books, second price is the cheapest source for the paperback, in this case Amazon or the Go Game Guru value bundle)

Some books to guide you on your way as a double-digit kyu player:
Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol. 1&2: $12 / $42 (Kiseido)
How Not to Play Go: $4 / $10 (Slate & Shell)
Single Digit Kyu Commentaries vol. 1&2: $11 / $26 (Slate & Shell)
Fundamental Principles of Go: $10 / $24 (Slate & Shell)
Basic Techniques of Go: $9 / $18 (Amazon)

The Elementary Go Series is a must-read. Three of the books are available in SmartGo Books:
Tesuji: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Life and Death: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)
Attack and Defense: $10 / $18 (Kiseido)

You’ll want to challenge yourself with problem collections:
Rescue and Capture: $3 / $11 (Yutopian)
Get Strong at Life and Death: $9 / $21 (Kiseido)
Get Strong at the Endgame: $10 / $21 (Kiseido)
Five Hundred and One Opening Problems: $9 / $25 (Kiseido)
Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems: $10 / $25 (Kiseido)

More to study as you reach single-digit kyu:
Patterns of the Sanrensei: $13 / $26 (Slate & Shell)
More Go by example: $7 / $9 (Amazon)
The Workshop Lectures vol. 1&2: $12 / $30 (Slate & Shell)
The Go Consultants: $8 / $18 (Slate & Shell)
Modern Master Games: The Dawn of Tournament Go: $12 / $35 (Kiseido)
This is Go the Natural Way! $8 / $20 (Yellow Mountain Imports)
Correct Joseki: $8 / $15 (Slate & Shell, published as All About Joseki)
Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki: $8 / $20 (Go Game Guru)
The Way of Creating a Thick and Strong Game: $9 / $22 (Go Game Guru)

No self-respecting Go player would be missing Invincible:
Invincible: The Games of Shusaku: $20 / $50

Valuable books as you approach dan level:
Catching Scent of Victory: $10 / $22 (Go Game Guru)
Breakthrough Attacking Power Yamashita-Style: $9 / $22 (Go Game Guru)
Shuko: The Only Move vol. 1&2: $20 / $46 (Go Game Guru)

Our total so far: $296 for SmartGo Books. $687 for printed books.

Those savings are enough to pay for a beautiful new iPad mini: $329. And that still leaves room to buy five out-of-print books that we’ve brought back to life:
Tesuji and Anti-Suji of Go: $10
Killer of Go: $10
Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes: $9
How to Destroy and Preserve: $4
Sabaki – How to Manage Weak Stones: $4

Of course, you’ll also want SmartGo Kifu, with 40,000 pro games, 2,000 problems, and joseki matching: $20.

Final tally: $687 for printed books. $682 for an iPad mini with all the books and software you need to become a strong player, plus a bonus of five out-of-print books that are hard to find at any price. You’ll learn more thanks to the interactive diagrams and problems, and you can carry your whole Go library with you.

SmartGo Kifu for iPad

The iPad version of SmartGo has been approved! It will be an iPad-only app called SmartGo Kifu, priced at $19.99.

View games as kifu

Kifu is the Japanese term for game records as shown in books. Viewing and replaying a game as kifu is the first new feature in this iPad version of SmartGo. You can still replay games move by move. But you can also look at a game as a series of figures and diagrams, much like a Go book. SmartGo Kifu automatically splits the game into diagrams at comments and variations. In a diagram, you can see a sequence of moves at a glance.

SmartGo Kifu comes with 20 professional games annotated by Alexandre Dinerchtein to showcase this feature. You can import any additional commented games and view them the same way.

Kifu3_Book.png

In this first release, the diagrams are static images. Future versions will let you replay moves directly in the diagrams, but that feature needs some hands-on testing with a real iPad, not just a simulator.

Why not universal?

SmartGo Kifu builds on SmartGo Pro for the iPhone. At this point, the two apps are still pretty close, but over time I expect them to diverge:

  • The screen size of the iPad allows whole new features that will either be missing or limited on the iPhone.
  • Even for shared functions, the UI will over time change away from the iPhone version and become optimized for the iPad.
  • The extra power will allow more game records. Initially, SmartGo Kifu includes 20,000 pro games, but I hope to increase that significantly as soon as I know how the iPad performs.

Unfortunately, this means people who already own SmartGo Pro will have to pay again for SmartGo Kifu. I’d love to provide upgrade pricing, but that’s not yet possible on the App Store. SmartGo Pro users have gotten numerous new features and refinements over the last 18 months, and you can expect many more free updates for both SmartGo Pro and SmartGo Kifu.

Kifu1_Takemiya.png

SmartGo: Universal, stronger play

The simpler SmartGo application will be universal, as it’s mainly designed for playing against the computer, and I don’t expect big differences in functionality between iPhone and iPad versions. Playing strength automatically improves as you add more processing power, so just as it already plays better on a 3GS than on a 3G, it will play better yet on the iPad. Expect the universal version of SmartGo within a few weeks.

SmartGo on iPad

SmartGo Pro on the iPhone has been a great success. Given the restrictions on screen size and computing power, it works a lot better than I at first thought would be possible. But the iPad seems custom made for Go, and I hope to make this the killer app for Go players. Please let me know about any rough edges you find in this first release, and what you’d like to see in future versions.

The iPad: Magical and Inspirational

I’ve been working on user interfaces for the game of Go for 25 years. It was part of my Ph.D. thesis. It’s been my bread and butter for the last 10 years. And now, without ever touching an iPad, that device has changed my view of how to present a Go game to the user. Within six weeks of working on the iPad version of SmartGo, I’ve come up with two significant new concepts.

I could have come up with these ideas before. But it’s a fact that I didn’t, not until the iPad came along. The possibilities and constraints of the iPad — a blank canvas focused on content — inspired these new approaches. And I expect more surprises and inspiration after actually holding an iPad in my hands.

The iPad is meant to be touched. And it has revolutionized my concepts without me ever touching it. That’s powerful magic.

To me, it’s like Apple designed the iPad with Go and SmartGo in mind. If the iPad gets other developers to feel the same way, Apple has already won.