Work on PlainNote is continuing. Eventually it will hopefully turn into the PlainNote ecosystem. I’m currently working on a sync library to sync up with a server that doesn’t exist yet. The server side is going to get some help from @funkatron. We have been collaborating on a google doc for the API.
Notable Items about the API
Current Methods include
In the interest of being open I thought I’d get some information out there on what we’re working on. The ultimate hope would be to have the ability to view and edit notes across any device as well as the web and have it all play nice together. There are a lot of timing issues to think about as far as updates on multiple devices without sync. For simplicities sake I think our current direction is going to be take the latest edit as master and not try to merge.
Good things to come shortly…. (like the below WebOS version of PlainNote)
I’ve been doing some more work on PlainNote and added several fixes and features over the past week. There is now protection code in case you exit the app while editing via the home button or get a call or sms and exit to deal with those your note will be autosaved.
I also changed the mail button on the note detail screen to an action button which now shows two actions. The original action of “mail” to mail your note and a new action of instapaper which will send your note to instapaper.com. This is a fast way to get your note online and you can pick it up via their website or in your rss feed if you subscribe to your own instapaper feed.
While creating the code in PlainNote for posting to instapaper I created it as a stand alone library so it could be included in other applications and have open sourced it. The code is available at github here. It’s pretty easy to use and you basically instantiate the library and then call one call to send it all to instapaper and you get a Yes or No back indicating if it went alright.
instaPaperLib *IPLib = [[instaPaperLib alloc] init]; BOOL response = [IPLib postToInstapaperWithUserName:@"username" andPassword:@"password" andBody:@"sample text snippit" andURL:@"http://www.somesiteurl.com" andTitle:@"Your post title"];
The new binary for PlainNote was also submitted to Apple this afternoon and hopefully it won’t be more than a day or so until the app is updated with these new features on the AppStore.
One of my favorite iPhone applications is MyWebClip from forYou inc. It’s a bookmarklet aggregator as well as a quick dial application. It’s a very nice way to link to frequently used web applications and I find it a lot easier having them all categorized in one place without having to dig through my screens for a specific icon. It’s nice knowing all web applications are in one place. I find it fast and very well written to act just like another screen of icons on your iPhone. It gives me quick access to my home automation whic his web based, full screen weather maps from weather underground, google reader etc… You manage it just like the regular iPhone application icons by touching and hold to bring up the X to delete items and you can add items by URL or by browsing and then adding like a bookmark to create an icon. I have very few applications I use multiple times a day and this is one that I wouldn’t want to live without.
I got an upgrade today that had a few nice new features:
While I haven’t had much trouble with any bugs or crashes it’s nice to see them keeping up with some updates. I was happy to get the update but I was disappointed to see a 17+ rating on this application when I installed it. I would guess this is due to the application being able to access the web from inside of it but this is no different than safari which ships with every iPhone. Should we restrict iTouch and iPhones to anyone over 17 due to them shipping with Safari? There have been countless articles about the idiotic and inconsistent ratings of the AppStore but this is the first one I had personally experienced vs just reading about it so I thought it was worth a mention. This application should be rated general for everyone and I feel like it got a bum rap with an adult rating.
I love my Griffin Clarifi, I’ve got about 8 iPhone cases and it’s by far my favorite one but I’ve recently acquired an inCase Power Slider so I removed my Clarifi for the first time in several months to put my iPhone into the Power Slider and I was disappointed to see that the Clarifi and given my iPhone a nice set of scratches.
You can see to the left of the lens in this picture (click for a bigger size) that the macro lens on the Clarifi sliding back and forth has put a nice set of scratches on my iPhone. I’m sure that the Clarifi on a clean phone is fine and doesn’t lead to scratches but after a bit of time in and out of your pocket/purse your phone picks up some dust. Since there is nothing between the sliding lens and the phone dust builds up in there and the sliding action plus the dust creates an ideal environment for scratches. I’d like to see a future iteration of the Clarifi put a plastic shield between the sliding lens and the phone body to prevent the lens from sliding on the phone body.
Below is a picture of the inside of the case where you can see the sliding lens back exposed to the phone body. As you move the lens back and forth that slides on or very near your iPhone body and small dust or dirt particles between it and your phone will create the scratches. As I said above a thin layer of plastic and push the lens out slightly further from the phone would solve this.
At any rate I still love my Clarifi and have and will continue to recommend it to many people with this one caveat.
I got a response from Griffin via twitter which was a bit disappointing. My other 8 cases haven’t scratched my phone after using them for a few months. Anyway, I just wanted to include it here for reference sake.
I have seen tons of malcontent floating around the internet about the lack of any upgrade pricing for current iPhone 3G users to get an iPhone 3GS without paying non subsidized pricing. This seems ok to me as I understand how the pricing works and It’s been the same for every phone I’ve owned. If I sign up for a 2 year agreement I don’t expect to get a “deal” on another phone until I reach the end of that contract period. I can tell you from first hand experience though it’s hard waiting when that OMGAWESOME phone you have been waiting on finally comes out and your a year away from an upgrade price.
A friend @thejesse brought up a very valid point today that came across my shared greader items as a comment that I had never considered. If your getting a deal on a phone for a 2 year contract why isn’t your monthly fee lower if you pay up front full price for the phone instead of getting a subsidized phone? I mean if I pay $800 up front for a phone and the carrier isn’t subsidizing me for a 2 year contract then it only seems fair to get a lower monthly fee since I’m not paying off my phone over the course of the contract.
That being said I do like the looks of the 3GS and my wife will probably upgrade in September when she is able but I’ll probably skip this round due to cost and lack of being able to take advantage of contract pricing.
On a somewhat related note I am rather annoyed at AT&T over not having MMS and tethering ready at os 3.0 launch though. AT&T has tons of phones already doing MMS and many other carriers will be ready at launch time. Don’t even get me started on the slingbox working over 3g on windows mobile and blackberry but not iPhone. It’s inexcusable to not have this ready to go when the 3.0 software launches. I hope Apple will allow some other carriers in the future in the US to force AT&T to get their act together a bit more.
Over the past months we have read about a variety of applications being denied for sale in the AppStore. A few of them have gotten approved after some discussions with apple but there are still some that never made it to iTunes and end up either forgotten or only available on jailbroken devices.
One of the major pitfalls for a developer of the current AppStore model is you need to submit your finished application for review before you know if it’s going to be approved or not. There are guidelines but there is always an area of unknown. You can’t know for sure if your application will be denied due to being obscene or possibly duplicating some core iPhone functionality.
A possible solution would be a pre approval process. This pre approval process could involve sending application mock ups and functionality descriptions to Apple for pre review prior to starting major coding on an application. If I wanted to develop an application that might contain some questionable content I could include artwork that would be included in the application for pre approval. Certainly the art work takes time and effort as well as application development but getting art and concepts per approved before further development was done would save many developers time and effort for those denied applications.
This probably isn’t manageable for Apple due to the backlog and time delay on the regular application approval process but perhaps they could offer it for an extra fee. $40 for a pre approval would eliminate the bulk of submissions that wouldn’t follow through with development and submitting the application if approved. Perhaps a 3rd party could develop a relationship with Apple to handle this process if they worked closely with Apple to reduce the load on Apple.
The update I submitted to iTunes finally was approved today. The new version has some nice upgrades. You can now enter data in miles or kilometers and once you calculate you can convert the values between Metric and English units. It will also remember your default unit choice between launches.
I hope that it’s bug free. One thing I’m disliking about iPhone development so far is that it’s pretty involved to distribute a testing version. It would be nice to be able to just send out the binary to some trusted friends for testing without having to go through all the Apple nonsense to distribute signing keys and such to prepare testing phones with the proper keys to run the application.
After an 8 day wait PaceMate is available in the AppStore. I checked the stats this morning and it had 70 downloads yesterday so not bad for an application with no press and not much visibility in the AppStore.
I’ve rethemed the blog and also changed the Downloads page to Software which I think is more clear. I’m hoping to redo the table linking to software in the coming days and make it a little more attractive.
If you are a runner or cyclist or walker give it a look. It’s a nice way to figure out your pace or how long a particular distance will take you based on your pace and desired distance.
I’ve been working to learn some Objective-c for a few months now and finally got something put together that is fairly complete. I’m often using a pace calculator for running at coolrunning.com but wanted one in my pocket. There are already several really nice ones in the AppStore but this was more of a learning process for me. I also added something I think is nice that lets you email your data once you entered it. I intend to enter my run data and email it to myself after a run so that I can then transfer it to dailymile.com or other places I log running information.
At any rate I learned a few things about the application submission process as well as quite a bit about Objective-c and interface builder in xcode. Interface builder was more of a hurdle than I would have expected. Coming from .NET forms development background it’s really easy to drag a button onto a form and double click it to have it put my cursor right into the function that handles that button click. It’s quite a bit more involved when using the xcode setup.
I also think that the AppStore submission process is quite a bit more complicated than it needs to be. I’m giving my app away for free why do I have to do all the certificate requests and code signing when I don’t care about it being copied and freely used? It seems like applications submitted at the free price point could avoid all that.
PaceMate is now in the review process and hopefully it will be approved in a few days.
The application launches very fast and that is a welcome change from several other frequently used applications I use that don’t launch very quickly so it was refreshing to see this application launch so fast. The initial view is a list of elements used in developing Cascading Style Sheets or CSS.
Scrolling up and down through the list is straightforward and selecting an individual element takes you into a detail view for that item which lists a description of the item as well as example usage.
The detail view lists each value associated with the particular element and a detailed example of it’s use. I like that Concentric Sky cheat sheets are self contained applications. What I mean by that is that they don’t have to have an Internet connection. All of the information is stored internal to the application so it’s nice to be able to pull it up on the bus and browse a little if you pickup a cheat sheet on a topic that your just getting into.
There is a search bar at the top that lets you quickly locate items in the list to save you some scrolling. The search seems to only search the main list Category name or list item with the search term matching from the start of the category or term. For instance I searched for “color” and it didn’t locate “background-color” but found all items in the “Color” category and also the “color” entry under the text category. This isn’t really limiting but I found it interesting enough to note.
Concentric Sky has a number of other cheat sheets you can checkout here at their web site: [Cheat Sheet Products] If you find a Cheat Sheet for a topic your interested in or learning it’s an easy decision to pick up these great little references for 99 cents each.