November 10, 2009

Dates

Although the Macintosh Address Book Dates project is temporarily on hold for Mac OS 10.6 due to Apple bugs in the Address Book application, the corresponding iPhone and iPod Touch functionality in the Dates app is alive and well.  Dates v1.4 of is now available in the App Store and it works very well.  Some of the new functionality in the latest version:


  • Revised to take advantage of OS 3.0
  • The filtered list of only-contacts-with-dates now allows searching
  • The filtered list of contacts has better localization for its right-hand side index
  • App launch time is improved when the address book has many contacts
  • It is no longer possible to navigate to an empty “Groups” tab if there aren’t any address book groups
  • Operates in both portrait and landscape orientations

August 28, 2009

Address Book Dates & Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Back when I started Artsiness there was no iPhone. I had the simple ambition just to publish a few of my side Macintosh projects. When the iPhone arrived, I started playing around a bit with it, and before I knew it, it was the sole focus of my time. I originally thought the phone would be a side-side project to the Mac. It is quite remarkable that the phone commands the majority of my time, and the Mac is the side-side project. But I digress.......
Now that Mac OS X 10.6 is here, I went back to update my Mac projects to ensure they worked properly. All Druthers needed was a simple recompile (and a few internal type changes) to be compatible. Address Book Dates, however, has been a different story entirely.
It turns out that Address Book has some bugs. I filed bug reports with Apple of course, but alas, they were not fixed for the final 10.6 build. What this means is that I’m now stuck in a situation with no satisfying resolution. My options are:
A) Simply finish up the Address Book Dates changes and publish them with known bad bugs
or
B) Do not put out Address Book Dates for 10.6 until Apple fixes their bugs
I’ve chosen to go with option B. The bugs are extremely bad. (For example with Birthdays, the Address Book does not tell me the real birthday date so all calculations are completely wrong.) About the only good thing I see is that the existing Address Book Dates product does not work at all in 10.6, so if you do have old plug-ins lying around, they will not give you bad results either.
In the past, Apple has traditionally come out with an update relatively quickly after the initial OS release. Hopefully my bugs will be addressed promptly and I can then have Address Book Dates on 10.6. Until then, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can use Dates to keep up with birthdays and anniversaries and such.

August 26, 2009

Meteorology v2.0

At long last, Meteorology v2.0 has been approved on the App Store. Apple has been bragging recently about how after an App submission, it takes “only 14 days” for most to be approved. What they don’t say is that if an app is rejected, it takes yet another 14 days, so as a developer you’ve pretty much lost an entire month worth of sales. (That’s if you’re lucky and it isn’t rejected a second or third time...)

Meteorology v2.0 was rejected only once, so for that I guess I was lucky. And the rejection was for a nit-pick item—I’m glad I fixed it, of course, but for something so minor I would have rather had the App on sale and then fixed it with an immediate (ok, not immediate, it would take two weeks for approval) update.

Back to Meteorology, in case you missed the first version: Meteorology displays comprehensive animated weather radar maps from the NOAA National Weather Service (www.weather.gov).

June 17, 2009

Stickum

In a major step forward, OS 3.0 gives the iPhone and iPod Touch the ability to copy and paste. With Stickum installed, it is easy to make lists of frequently used copy and paste items. With a simple tap, instantly copy an item from the Favorites list and it is ready to paste into any other app.

Stickum shows the contents and structure of the current pasteboard, as well as saved favorite items, and allows for editing of the information as well. It is a breeze to change the content of copied text, add a new image from the photo library, or even modify a copied URL.

June 2, 2009

Slasher is back!

Hooray!

I just received a call from Apple. Slasher is now available again on the App Store. It took a few months of unanswered emails and a couple phone calls to finally be heard. Frankly, I’d almost given up. But now it’s back!

April 5, 2009

App Pirates

As I feared, piracy is fairly rampant with iPhone/iPod Touch apps. Last night I received an email for Artsiness technical support requesting help with my well-received port of Mystery House. I put in a bit of code to detect when the App is being played illegally. I let the game play regularly for a few turns, then it nefariously ends prematurely with a note prodding the user to actually purchase the game. The user clearly ran into that situation and wrote to ask why it happens. Perhaps I should have made the end-game notice a little more obvious. But either way, I find it interesting that someone will both take the game without paying for it and try to get support from the author.

It provides me some satisfaction that the piracy-detection code is doing its job. It looks like I will be adding that in to all future products.

April 4, 2009

The Queen

I ran across an interesting cartoon. It makes a passing reference (at least I think so) to my Slasher app. They call theirs iKnight, but I’m pretty sure they had Slasher in mind when they wrote up their parody. The funny thing about the cartoon to me is that of all the people who were most offended, the British seemed to top the list. Of course, they have a rash of knife attacks and that’s not anything to make light of. But an app on a phone cannot compare to a real knife.

On a side note, a lot of other “weaponry” apps such as guns and grenades have been showing up on the App Store. I’ve made yet another appeal to get Slasher back on the store, but so far haven’t heard anything back. I saw a news story recently about how the British are up-in-arms (ha ha) about all the firearm simulations in the App Store. I hope Apple does not cave in and remove those apps.

March 11, 2009

Mystery House

Mystery House pioneered the graphic adventure game genre on the Apple II back in the 1980s. Lovingly recreated in all its hand-drawn glory, the iPhone version is faithful to the original experience.

I’m not exactly sure how the idea to bring Mystery House to the iPhone wormed its way into my head, but I’m glad it did. Recreating the game was an extremely fun experience. Even if nobody buys it, it was still well worth the effort on my part.

I’m trying something different this time around, too. I sent out press releases announcing the game to a number of web sites catering to the iPhone. I’m hoping that at least a couple of them will pick it up and post a link in order to drum up some interest. There are so many apps (especially games) on the App Store that unless you get some publicity, it’s difficult for anyone to come upon any specific one by happenstance.

January 29, 2009

Knives vs. Broken Bottles

I see there’s a new app called “Bar Fight Bottle” up on the App Store.  Could somebody please explain to me why a picture of a bottle meant to cut somebody in a bar fight is acceptable and a picture of my kitchen knife is not?

January 9, 2009

Horn Is Available

At last!  Forty-six days later, Horn is now available on the App Store.  I submitted it back on November 23:  the same day I submitted Guimbarde.  In the time it took for Horn to be approved, I submitted and had approved two completely new Apps (Guimbarde and Consider) plus updates for two others (Dates and Ball).  Each of those took mere days for approval.

It will be interesting to see if there is now a bombardment of other Air Horn-style apps to the store to coincide with the approval of Horn.