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Articles

Beautiful Bucket List

I released my latest iOS app to the Apple app store, and I totally forgot to mention it here. I also forgot to create a page about it here. I guess my promotional skills need some work!

Anyway, my app is called Beautiful Bucket List – Life Long To Do. It’s a bucket list app that joins an item in your bucket list with an image. I think that the app looks really sharp, and that’s why I named it the way I did. The app includes about a dozen photos I found royalty-free online. My photographer uncle didn’t like the sound of that. :) But with the amount of money I’ve been making on my iPhone apps, I really need to keep them as cheep as possible.

I have found bugs both in the code to showcase my other apps, as well as in the in-app purchase code (nothing that’ll actually stop the app from working or deal you any harm). So I’ll be putting out a minor bug fix update soon.

Also coming soon will be a page on this site dedicated to the app. I’m no web designer, so I hope I can make it look nice for all of you.

Here’s an image of the settings screen, as a tease. The app is free, so please download it and leave me a nice rating! :)

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It’s July 2012. Five things I want from iPhone / iOS.

I got my iPhone 4S late last year. It has iOS 5 installed, and will be running the already-announced iOS 6 this fall. But it might be doing so in the hands of my wife as I upgrade to the latest iPhone, the iPhone 5.

I’ve been reading about all sorts of other phones like the Samsung Galaxy SIII and the Nokia 900 and the will-it-ever-get-here new BlackBerry running their new version 10. Lots of the stuff out there doesn’t really grab my attention. Higher DPI cameras don’t interest me. Faster hardware is nice, but my iPhone 4S is plenty fast already. Movies and sports Siri integration sounds interesting. Well, at least the movies part does.

But what would I really like to see? What hardware upgrades would I like to see in the iPhone 5, and which features do I wish were in iOS that weren’t announced? I seem to be a pretty unimaginative sort, because I’m pretty happy. But I’ll try to come up with a few things.

  1. Siri Improvements
    While I’m pretty happy with the speed of my iPhone 4S, I am not happy with Siri’s speed. Siri needs to be more responsive when first invoked, and it needs to get the results of my queries faster. I know that it needs to connect to servers for lots of its intelligence, so maybe some of that can be brought down to the phone’s level. I don’t know. I do know that it’s too slow. I also wish the speech recognition would be more accurate. I try to enunciate very clearly when I talk to Siri, but it still gets many words wrong. That needs to change.
  2. Widgets
    If you’re one of the seven people who read this space, you’ll know I’ve asked for this before. I want widgets. I don’t want Android style widgets. Those are ugly and unwieldy. I want iOS style widgets, which I assume would be integrated well into the home screen, and perform with rules that don’t drain my battery in an hour.
  3. Larger Screen
    I like how compact my iPhone 4S is. I can’t imagine using one of those crazy “phablet” things. So if the rumours turn out to be true, and the iPhone 5 is the same width as my iPhone 4S, but thinner and a bit taller, and with a bigger screen, I’ll be happy. So I guess I’m asking for something that’s widely rumoured to be true, but that doesn’t make me want it any less.
  4. Better Low-Light Pictures
    If I’m taking a picture with great lighting, my picture will look wonderful. But pictures taken in low light conditions look grainy and terrible. Indoor pictures just don’t come out looking nearly as nice as outdoor pictures. I hope something can be done about this.
  5. Better File Handling
    I want to be able to store files on my phone and open them in a number of different apps. I want to pass files, links, bookmarks, etc, between my iPhone and my Mac a lot easier. iCloud, and some of its promised features in iOS 6, will help a little. But I don’t think it’s going far enough.

I’m sure there are other features that if someone mentions them I’ll say “oh yeah!”, but that’s all I can think of right now. What’s on your list?

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Rumours and Traction

I don’t have any answers to this. This post is more of a question than anything else. Or maybe a statement of wonderment. Or of confusion.

Right now the latest rumours are of a 7″ iPad. But before that it was all about the tall screen on the next iPhone. And before that it was… oh I don’t remember anymore. I was talking to a guy a couple weeks ago, and he mentioned this prototype iPhone where a keyboard is projected onto a surface, and you could type using it. Yeah, I’d seen the video too. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was total fabrication. Because he thought it was real and Apple was working on it.

So why are there so many rumours? Why do people get so caught up in this stuff? And more importantly, why do some people believe this stuff?

Every day I read a bunch of Apple websites and blogs and scan for the latest news and information. Lots of what I scan are these rumours. I’ll scan the headline, but I rarely read the article. Sometimes I do, if the rumour is particularly interesting or fresh. But these rumours hardly ever come true, and generally I don’t want to waste my time reading them. The more crazy the rumour, the more likely it is to be false. Not news, I know. But then why do so many people fall for this stuff? Or do they not, and it’s all the equivalent of a high tech tabloid?

Gasp!

Do I read a tabloid? I’ve always scoffed at tabloids and their appeal-to-the-baseness-of-humanity mentality. Are rumours about Apple products the high tech equivalent of tabloids? Man, I hope not, because then I won’t be able to look myself in the mirror anymore. I read one of those rumours just last week!

Video

Google Now – Is this Google’s Siri?

This reminds me a lot of Siri.

Articles

iOS Local Notifications

I used local notifications for the first time, and I thought I’d post the code here in case you found it useful. It’s a mixture of stuff I found free on the internet and my own modifications. Note that I’m using ARC so there’s no garbage collection.

+ (void) localNotification:(NSString *)text alertAction:(NSString *)action minutesFromNow:(NSTimeInterval)minutesFromNow
{
UILocalNotification *notification = [[UILocalNotification alloc] init];
if (notification == nil)
return;

NSDate *date = [NSDate dateWithTimeIntervalSinceNow:minutesFromNow*60];
notification.fireDate = date;
notification.timeZone = [NSTimeZone defaultTimeZone];
notification.alertBody = text;
notification.alertAction = action;
notification.soundName = UILocalNotificationDefaultSoundName;

[[UIApplication sharedApplication] scheduleLocalNotification:notification];
}

That’s it!

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Another Freaky iPhone Concept Video

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Windows Phone 8′s Live Tiles

I was disappointed that iOS 6 didn’t have widget support. Now that I see what Microsoft is doing with Live Tiles in Windows Phone 8, I’m even more disappointed.

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WWDC 2012 Keynote Thoughts

Like all previous years, I was unable to go to WWDC this year. The costs are just too high for a small time developer like me. I look forward to watching the session videos, but I’m not expecting many surprises.

I saw a tweet that said the difference between iOS 4 and iOS 5 was bigger than the difference between iOS 5 and iOS 6. I guess that might depend on how you actually use your phone, but I think that will be definitely true for me.

When I drive somewhere, I usually know where I’m going. I don’t travel much, so I rarely use the map app on the iPhone. Therefore, iOS’ biggest change will mostly be irrelevant to me. Sure, it’s cool, and I’ll check it out. But I won’t be using it much.

The new Facebook integration thing is a non-starter for me as well. While I have a Facebook account, I only log in about once a month. I find that Twitter is much more to my liking, and iOS 5 is where Twitter made its big splash, not iOS 6.

The new Siri functionality is pretty cool. It’s divided into three big changes. One, the sports scores. Personally, I couldn’t care less. Two, much of the stuff that was only working in the US will now work in Canada too. While many of you have had lots of Siri’s benefits up until now, those benefits will only be coming to me in iOS 6. I’ll finally be able to do local look-up of nearby stores and restaurants, for example. Good stuff. The last new thing that Siri does is movies. As a movie buff, I’m going to enjoy this one too.

What about the rest? Safari improvements? I like the cloud syncing of bookmarks. FaceTime over cellular? Meh. Won’t use it. Passbook? Meh, I probably won’t use that either.

All in all, iOS 6 is only an incremental update for me. Sure, I’m going to like it. Sure, it’s a step up. But only a small one. I was hoping to see a Siri API for developers. I was hoping to see widgets. Ah well, maybe in iOS 7.

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CocoaHeads is Great

My city has a local chapter of CocoaHeads. I attended a few meetings a while back, and they were pleasant enough, but I did not attend the social mixer afterwards. On my last outing, I decided to join my fellow Cocoa developers at the bar within walking distance of the meeting. I was glad I did! I got to talk to fellow iPhone developers in a way that just wasn’t possible at the meeting, and it turned out that a few of them tested my latest app for me. Their advice was great, and I implemented some in this version, with more to come in version 2!

So if you’re on the fence about going to a local CocoaHeads meeting, I suggest you give it a try, and make sure you socialize!

Video

iOS 6 to Include SDK for Siri?

This video sums up why it would be so cool if Apple introduced a Siri SDK in iOS 6: