Category Archives: Apple / Macintosh

Why I switched From iPhone to Android

I still have my Mac; I have been an Apple fan for over two decades. My first Mac was a IIcx, then a 4400, a Power Mac G4, an Intel mini, and 3 Mac Book Pros. I bought, and still have, the original iPhone. In fact, I’ve had almost every iPhone as of this writing… iPhone, 3G, 4, 4S, 5, 6, and 6S. I have no intention of buying an iPhone 7 because I finally made the jump to Android. One friend said she didn’t believe I would ever switch. A relative became angry with me, and another said, “You told us to buy all this Apple stuff!” I did not come to this choice lightly. As you can see, I’ve been an iPhone user since the first one, and a Mac user before then. I’m also a developer. I develop for Mac & iOS. Now maybe Android? We’ll see.

iOS (or iPhone OS) has always been closed system. Anybody who wanted to do anything special with their phone would have to jailbreak it. Want folders? Jailbreak. Want access to file system? Jailbreak. Use the LED as a flashlight? Jailbreak. Want a terminal or to SSH into your phone? Jailbreak. Block certain callers? Jailbreak. Turn off notifications while certain apps are running? Jailbreak. Sync with iTunes wirelessly? Jailbreak. Adblocker? Jailbreak. Put icons anywhere on the springboard? Jailbreak. Cache cleaner? Jailbreak. Move more than one icon at a time on the springboard? Jailbreak. Perform wifi-only tasks (per Apple) over the cell network? Jailbreak. Use your phone as a hotspot? Jailbreak. Use “hey Siri” without the phone attached to a power source? Jailbreak. While Apple eventually implemented some of these, jailbreakers were getting this functionality years before the masses. Half of their innovation is coming from jailbreakers and Apple keeps patching those exploits.  Android also has an official store, like Apple’s App Store, but with the flip of a switch, you can install add-ons (at your own peril if you’re careless). Apple could do this. Bury the setting. Make it a developer/nerd-only option. Something! Why won’t Apple do this? It’ll cut into their 30% developer tax.

What is new with iPhones lately? I mean really new? Colors. Whoopie! 3D touch/force touch. Annoying in most situations. The iPhone’s appearance hasn’t changed in three years! Well… with the iPhone 7 they moved the speaker and added one, changed the home button to a solid state button, and oh yeah, got rid of the industry standard headphone jack. They say this was done for waterproofing reasons. Funny, Android devices have a higher rating… with a headphone jack. Some people don’t think the removal of the headphone jack is a big deal. But, if you’re like me, you charge your phone at night and listen to either a podcast or an audio book while falling asleep. Apple’s solution was to partner with Belken and come up with a lightning splitter box. Yes, a dongle with a box on the end… not a svelte Y-cable, but a box. Now picture this, if like me, you buy earbuds because Apple’s ear pods hurt your dang ear. (Seriously how has nobody complained about this?) You plug the box-dongle splitter into your phone. You plug the lightning power cable into one side of the splitter to charge the phone. On the other side, you have to plug their lightning to 3.5mm jack dongle in, and then your earbuds into that. Disgusting. Not Apple-like. How did Jonathan Ive allow a monstrosity like this to go out the door? Not buying! Air pods, while cool, cost $160. And, they’re still painful hard plastic “pods”… and you’ll have to charge those when you get up… and you have to charge their container that looks like a box of dental floss. And carry all that extra stuff with you. Stay classy Apple.

Recently Tim Cook told people who didn’t believe in his “green” liberal ways that they should sell their stock. (Done!) Now, I’m OK with “saving the planet” but with Tim at the helm Apple has gotten really political. When that idiot white kid in South Carolina went to a black church and killed a bunch of people, the media found a picture of the murderer with a Confederate Battle Flag.  All of a sudden the flag was to blame. Stores pulled the flag from their shelves, ebay & Amazon removed them from searches… and Apple jumped in and removed every app from their app store that displayed the flag. Even game developers had to change the flag for their Civil War games before being let back in. Tim, who attended Duke University really should know better. People in the South love their flag. The next thing Mr. Cook has done is vote against adding a Rifle emoji to the emoji standards board, and also changed the handgun (most systems display a revolver, one displays a semi-automatic)… to an ugly green squirt gun. Why? … Why? Why? Why? Anyway, the answer is that people on the political left never blame the people. They blame flags & guns. Apparently the picture of a gun is going to hurt somebody. I mean, the hammer, axe, knives & swords have never been used as murder weapons, so their picture emojis are OK. (Yes they have! So have cars, rocks, ropes, toasters, shovels…) Way to tick off your loyal fan base Tim. Good job!

Now that the last of Steve’s product influences have gone out of the pipeline, Apple will just be mediocre again. Obviously Ive no longer cares. Cook? He’s about fashion & sports. And putting gay people in their ads. Nike watch? $10,000 Gold watch? Just Breathe app? Sounds like Apple is targeting rich Sporty Spice hippies.

EDIT: In summary, iOS is not longer exciting and Tim Cook is politicizing Apple. iOS is great for the average person. Tech nerds / developers, you should want something more from your devices. All iOS users should thank Jailbreakers for giving Apple ideas. Remember the simplicity when Steve Jobs returned? Apple has gone from underdog to a bully.

Next time I’ll go over my Android replacements for my iOS apps.

Biblicious Bible Trivia for Mac OS X

After nearly a year and a half of after-hours working, working when I didn’t have client work, and shelving it for awhile… Biblicious for Mac is finally finished. Here is a small confession… Biblicious Bible Trivia was originally destined to be a desktop application. I had started designing the game and had made the database editor. Then the iPhone SDK came out and I knew it would be a great game for that platform. When the iPad was announced, I began working on the iPad version. But, something was always missing… the desktop version.

Biblicious Bible Trivia for Mac OS X plays almost exactly like the iOS version. The main differences are that there is no opening dialog explaining game play, and there is currently no multi-player capability. I spent a lot, and I mean A LOT of time coding the multi-player functionality and no one ever played it. Probably because there were not enough people playing at the same time.

There are actually two versions of Biblicious Bible Trivia for Mac OS X. There is the Mac App Store version, and the non-Mac App Store version. So what’s the difference? The Mac App Store version is tied to Apple’s GameCenter for high score storage. The non-Mac App Store version does not save the high scores anywhere. Back before Game Center, I was saving high scores to my own server, but it confused people. They assumed their score was in the top X of scores and get upset. I didn’t want to deal with that again.

The Cube is now a Lime

While looking over my old blog posts, I found my two “state of Real Software” posts… “REAL Software, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” and “One year later: Thinking outside the cube.” Those were written in February of 2010 & February of 2011, respectively.

I thought about writing up a nice detailed post about what has transpired since the last post, and decided “Meh (could that be ‘indifference’?), there have been other reviews.” Instead, I’ll simply provide a bullet-point list of what has happened in the world of REAL Software & REAL Studio, and me:

  • REAL Software & REAL Studio are now Xojo, and the cube is now a lime.
  • We finally have Cocoa builds. Yay!
  • The IDE & debugging is now free. One must purchase options to compile stand-alone executables: Desktop apps, Web apps, database connections, and console apps.
  • This year (2013) they put on a conference in Orlando, and they are gearing up for a conference in Las Vegas in (2014).
  • In 2012 I renewed my license for a year because a consulting client asked me to have the latest version. My license runs out next month.
  • Xojo 2013 R3 is much improved over R1 & R2 and I don’t yell at it nearly as much. I’m starting to mesh with the double click to open in a new tab paradigm. Overall I still think the old IDE was a better design. (For example, adding a timer in the UI designer, requires you to double-click the timer and manually add the action event. At that point, you might as well be using Xcode. The RAD in Xojo is gone.)
  • For those wanting to expand their toolset, I started a new blog series From Xojo to Objective C. There I show the reader how to do something in Xojo & accomplish the same thing with Xcode & Objective C.
  • I updated Elastic Window for Xojo & removed the encrypted option.
  • I introduced Elastic Web Page for Xojo.
  • Geoff didn’t like my new blog series From Xojo to Objective C because I opined that if one didn’t need the cross-platform capabilities of Xojo, they should use the platform’s native development environment (be it Xcode or Visual Studio). So Elastic Window for Xojo was unceremoniously booted from their 3rd party store. In fact, I was told that if I retracted that statement, I could once again give them 30% a good chunk of my profits and return to their store. What a deal.
  • I continue to offer consulting services for Xojo. Feel free to contact me.

In non-Xojo news:

  • I’ve updated Biblicious, my 5-star rated Bible trivia game show app, for iOS 7.
  • I’ve updated the bookmark your shopping app, Storemarks, for iOS 7.
  • Like Westminster chimes for your iPhone? I’ve finally released ChimeX for iOS 7.
  • For iPad and iOS 7, I’ve released a SQLite database manager called DBMan SQLite.

[[UIDevice currentDevice] orientation] vs [[UIApplication sharedApplication] statusBarOrientation]

Biblicious was originally an iPhone only app because the iPad did not exist.  When the iPad was coming out, I used a similar algorithm to my Elastic Window product in order to naturally scale up the drawing so that the game looked just as good on the iPad as it did on the iPhone. The iPad was released, and then the iPad2 was released, and Biblicious still only worked in portrait mode.  After a few requests and knowing that Apple prefers iPad apps to work in any orientation, I started the work of manually repositioning controls on the game screen.  After a couple of days of work, mostly in the iOS Simulator, the game was ready. I could control when changing orientation was allowed or not. For example, not allowing the orientation to be changed while any Core Animation was going on. Everything looked great! I thought it was so neat that I would actually sit there and play with the orientation just so I could watch the controls move around. Life was good, and I was happy that I finally got this code done. I released that update & everything was good. But after a few days I saw a “nasty” review on the AppStore: “With the latest update the answers are all on top of each other and cannot be read unless you start trying to tilt the iPad in such a way they clear up. It doesn’t always help. Please try to correct.” Not very helpful, I know.

I repeatedly tried to make Biblicious do this, asked Pariahware followers on Facebook & Twitter, and received no responses.  I asked a few friends and nobody said they had every seen this overlapping button issue.  As every developer knows, we have no way of contacting our customers when they comment and we have no way to rebut. After a few days this person also sent me a support email from within Biblicious. I told them that I could not make it happen and asked them to send me detailed steps. — No response.

I figured that I should go ahead and try it again. Due to my scaling code, I thought I would try to make the overlapping button issue happen on the iPhone where no scaling happens. If it didn’t happen on the iPhone, then I knew I would need to concentrate on the scaling code. So, I hooked up my iPhone and ran the app from Xcode. I start a new game and began to play with the device’s orientation. Lo and behold I saw a button partially land on top of 2 other buttons as the buttons were being animated onto the screen. I was perplexed and tried it again, this time on the iPad. How could this happen? I check the device orientation for UIDeviceOrientationPortrait  and UIDeviceOrientationPortraitUpsideDown and perform portrait drawing code otherwise perform landscape drawing code.

Upon further searching, I noticed that sometimes I was checking for [[UIDevice currentDevice] orientation] and in other places, I was checking for [[UIApplication sharedApplication] statusBarOrientation]. The latter was actually “forced” upon me with the iOS 5 SDK install due to compiler warnings.  The former, obtains the device’s orientation which can return a number of results corresponding to the 3D plane, including face down.  The latter essentially returns landscape or horizontal.  So, what was happening in my code was, I was asking the device for it’s orientation in 3D space which was most likely returning UIDeviceOrientationFaceUp. Since my code didn’t know how to react, it just kept drawing in it’s last known state and place the button in the incorrect spot. I was able to get this to happen by changing the device’s orientation and then holding it at an approximate angle of 45 degrees. By changing all of my orientation checking code to [[UIApplication sharedApplication] statusBarOrientation] the problem was solved.

My conclusion: [[UIDevice currentDevice] orientation] it NOT necessarily the same as [[UIApplication sharedApplication] statusBarOrientation]

I hope this helps other people out and saves them some time when coding for their iOS devices.

Doc Merge on the Mac App Store

Some of you may have seen the message “Doc Merge” is damaged and can’t be opened. Delete “Doc Merge” and download it again from the App Store.

We are extremely sorry for the situation, have sent a new version to the Mac App Store, and alerted Apple twice in order to obtain an “expedited review”. At this point our hands are tied as we wait for Apple to release the update. In the interim, if you are having this problem, please contact us at the contact page so that you can be sent a serial number for the non-Mac App Store version. Then, once Apple releases the update to you, the Mac App Store version will update and you can switch back to that version. If you insist on having a refund, you will need to contact Apple directly. Thank you for your patience.

The Mac App Store

I am happy to announce that Doc Merge is now available for purchase on Apple’s Mac App Store.

As I expected, the Mac App Store is both an exciting new platform for reaching new customers, and somewhat frustrating at the same time.  I hope to answer some questions I’ve been receiving.

I already own your software, how can I migrate my purchase to the Mac App Store?

So far Apple has not indicated that there will be any way to migrate existing paid customers into the Mac App Store update process. For existing customers, my applications will continue to receive regular updates outside of the App Store. I hope that Apple will come up with a solution to allow us to migrate those who prefer the App Store into that workflow.

Some of you may have noticed that apps from some companies show up in the App Store app as “Installed” even though you purchased them outside of the App Store. I believe this is a quirk in the way the App Store works, and for example you will not be able to review or update these apps through the store. In a nutshell: the App Store app is confused into thinking that you bought the app through Apple, and this is causing many customers to believe that developers have found a way to “migrate” them onto the store. I don’t believe this is the case.

Is the Mac App Store version different from the version I can download from your site?

The Mac App Store and site versions are identical in core functionality and features, but there are minor differences having to do primarily with the way updates are performed. The version version from Apple can only be updated by Apple and is dependent on Apple’s approval schedule.

I have an older version of your software, can I get upgrade pricing on the Mac App Store?

At this time the Mac App Store does not allow for variable pricing based on customer qualification such as a previous purchase.

Is it possible to download a trial of your software before I commit to buying it on the Mac App Store?

The Mac App Store doesn’t have an official mechanism for downloading trial versions of software, but you can download the standard trial version of my applications from the respective product pages. If you decide to purchase the application on the Mac App Store, you will be able to download and install a separate, authorized copy from Apple through the App Store interface.

The iPad is here

I ordered my iPad the morning it was available.  Actually, 20 minutes after it was available.  I thought it would be a neat device to have, but mainly I bought it for development purposes.  One just can’t be certain an app will work unless it is being tested on a real device. As iPad day approached, I was getting more excited.  With the excitement was concern, because the UPS tracking said that my iPad was still in China until Friday. Not to worry, as promised, my iPad arrived on Saturday.  And the more I use it, the more I like it! This little device is great! It is much much faster than my iPhone 3G, and the screen is really bright!  After using the iPad for awhile, the iPhone actually feels too small.  I hope Apple has some plans for the iPhone because having using the iPad, the phone just doesn’t seem quite as cool anymore.

One thing that I am really proud about, is that I worked hard to get Biblicious ready for the iPad.  After a couple of bounce backs from Apple due to a couple of bugs, one that could only be found on the device, and not the simulator, Biblicious was approved as a universal app that runs on both the iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad.  As an added bonus, Biblicious, was the first (and currently only) iPad-ready Bible trivia game in the App Store.  As a developer, I understand making money from selling apps, but I don’t like the idea of charging customers twice, once for each platform. I may re-address my opinion in another post, if necessary.

In case you are unaware, Biblicious is a Bible trivia app that puts the player in a game show setting, with your host Flip Ant.  Even if you aren’t interested in a Bible trivia game, you need to watch one of the demo videos and listen to the host’s voice.  It’s perfect!