November 5, 2012

Somebody listened to me

In a surprise twist, it appears that someone at Apple listened to my plea to have Keystroke placed back in the App Store.  I’m very happy!  I fully expected for my request to be dumped in a big bucket of unanswered emails.  It’s nice to know someone out there is being somewhat reasonable.  Thank you.

November 3, 2012

Keystroke bites the dust

Well what do you know… it’s happened yet again.  Apple decided my Keystroke app isn’t “useful” enough to remain on the App Store, so they pulled the plug.  At first I was a bit miffed they were censoring me, but then I realized it couldn’t possibly be only me.  Sure enough, in the last day or so there have been other news reports that any App on the store that simply mentions Emoji is being shut down.

Granted, my Keystroke app was much more useful before iOS 6 hit the streets, as Emoji was a cumbersome item to enable.  But with iOS 6, everyone gets it for free.  The Emoji Apps that Apple is targeting, I assume, were around to try and enable the hidden built-in Apple Emoji keyboard.  What made Keystroke different was that it provided its own custom keyboard implementation.  And it also provided access to other built-in Apple keyboards so you could compose messages with the keyboard of your choice.  Keystroke wasn't just an Emoji-enabler, it was a message composition tool with switchable keyboards (only one of which was a custom Emoji keyboard).

I wrote back to Apple pleading my case to have Keystroke reinstated, as its sole function does not revolve around Emoji.  I suspect it will fall on deaf ears.

Nevertheless, this is yet another instance of where the App Store curation process has gone over-the-top to yank off Apps that only they don’t want.  Another instance of poking developers in the eye.  Another annoyance to me making me reconsider why I’m still putting any work into iOS since it can all be wiped out with the wave of someone else’s hand…

March 14, 2012

Pricing Stability

I’m of a similar mindset with Brent Simmons when it comes to App Store pricing.  In his latest blog post, he lays out reasons for why a stable, non-changing price is the best policy.

I’ve also had the same idea, and my Apps (with very few exceptions) have had stable pricing since day one.  It is a much friendlier environment when you know exactly what something is worth and never have to guess if it will be “on sale” sometime later.  If you want an App, buy it and feel confident that you were not obtaining it at an inopportune time.

March 7, 2012

The “new” iPad

Apple introduced their “new” iPad today.  As soon as the online store starts functioning I’ll be placing an order.  (Then I’ll be updating my relevant iPad App Store titles to take full advantage of the retina display!)  One thing I’d like to mention about the post-Jobs Apple:  new naming scheme for products is terrible.  When they come out with the next iPad model, this new one won’t be new anymore, but its official name will still be the “new” iPad.  Yuck.  Plus the recent naming schemes for phones and such has been a sequential numbering system, interspersed sometimes by the letter “s”.  This iPad should have either been called iPad 2s or iPad 3.  This is going to get mega-confusing mega-fast.

October 12, 2011

iOS 5 Means Artsiness App Updates

Several of the Artsiness Apps received updates to take advantage of the newly released iOS 5.  They are all now using ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) internally, although nobody except me probably cares about that part since it’s not a user-facing feature.

• Ball had some small bug fixes and now uses CoreMotion to determine gravity, as the older accelerometer methods are being phased out.

Keystroke can now show the Twitter system keyboard and can also send Tweets.

Meteorology is able to toggle showing various topography layers when viewing a regional map, has better use of popovers on the iPad, and received a few under-the-hood optimizations.

Represent fixed a long-standing ugly user interface bug and was also updated to be Universal (i.e. it works natively now on both iPhones and iPads).

Slasher also now uses CoreMotion to determine shakes, and was updated to be Universal.  Wait… what’s that?  A Universal build?  What ever happened to the App Store policy that “do-nothing” Apps are not allowed on the iPad?  What ever happened to them denying a Universal build of Slasher oh-so-long-ago for just that reason?  Oh yeah.  Just as I suspected.  It’s a totally capricious system.

Waft has iCloud for saving Playlist Files, shows more now-playing info on the lock screen, can Tweet station and song info, and also includes a new section to display an Icecast radio station directory.

I’m probably most excited about the changes to Waft.  Adopting new technology is always fun (i.e. iCloud, ARC, displaying now-playing info on the lock screen, etc.).  Including the list of Icecast stations is also a major step-up in terms of the variety of music available directly in the App itself.  Disappointingly, the Icecast directory is only able to show one thousand stations at a time.  The limitation is not in Waft, but instead comes from the directory server itself, which is not a component under my control.  Also, scrolling through the list of stations is slightly sluggish, but I have some ideas for how to speed that up in future updates.  (I wanted to get the iOS 5 / iCloud update out as soon as possible and then revisit optimizations later.)

Download away and give the new updates a try!

October 1, 2011

Website Refresh

The Artsiness website has received a fresh coat of paint!

It may take a discerning eye to spot the changes at first — they’re minor right now.  But I wanted to take a moment to describe what I did.  I stopped using iWeb to create the site, and now everything is hand-crafted HTML.  I kept the main look-and-feel of the website as much as I could.

There are a number of benefits with the new approach, only some of which are:
  • I can now put anything I want on the web pages and am no longer restricted to the limited set of objects that iWeb provides.
  • Resizing the page reflows content, as web pages are meant to be!  (iWeb used a static page height and width.)
  • The layout is legible when viewed on an iPhone instead of being a squished-up small version.
  • I am no longer dependent on iWeb, which appears to be a dying product anyway.

There is only one single drawback I’ve found so far:
  • Updating a web page is going to be a tiny bit more difficult for me, as manipulating raw HTML is slightly more complicated than using a higher-level web authoring tool.

Clearly the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.  Give the refreshed site a look.  Please let me know if anything appears strange.

July 20, 2011

Address Book Dates — Back From The Dead!

At long last, Address Book Dates works again!  Sadly, no, not on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).  Apple never fixed any of the bugs I reported.  But now that Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) has hit the streets, I managed to get everything up and running once more.

As always, you can also use the iOS counterpart, Dates, if you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.