Oct 2009

Interview with me in Computerworld

Seth Weintraub interviewed me for Computerworld Blogs. I talk about NetNewsWire, feeds in general, tablets, my own reading process, and so on.

For The Future Of The Media Industry, Look In The App Store

TechCrunch, Edo Segal on media companies and the App Store: “Apple has made it painless for consumers to spend money and get the media they want where they want it, proving that consumers are happy to pay for media if delivered in ways that make it easy and blissful to consume.”

Sale ends today for NetNewsWire for Mac and iPhone

Today is the last day of introductory pricing! The price for NetNewsWire for Macintosh is $9.95 today. At midnight Pacific tonight it will be $14.95.

The price for NetNewsWire for iPhone is $1.99. At midnight it will be $4.99.

A quick note about where things stand at the moment:

  • NetNewsWire 2.0.2 for iPhone has been uploaded and is in review. We’re working on 2.0.3.

  • The current Mac version is 3.2.3, and we’re working on 3.2.4.

  • Longer-term: we’re also working on NetNewsWire 4.0 for Macintosh and a bigger upgrade (version number as yet undecided) for NetNewsWire for iPhone.

Note that the license for the Mac version is a personal license — you can use it on multiple computers, as long as it’s you using it. And the license is good for all 3.2.x and all 4.x versions.

Also note: the paid versions remove the ads. (In the lower-left corner in the Mac version, in the table header in the iPhone version.) If you want to continue with ads, that’s fine. It’s totally up to you, of course.

But if you were thinking of buying, please don’t miss out on saving money.

NetNewsWire for iPhone 2.0.2 in review (waiting)

NetNewsWire for iPhone iconI just uploaded new versions (2.0.2) of NetNewsWire free (iTunes link) and NetNewsWire Premium (iTunes link) to the App Store.

They’re in review — it will take a few days before they appear. It could be a week or longer. (There’s no way to know.)

The changes: a few crashing bugs are fixed and the “confused navigation” bug is fixed. (It also zeros out the unread count icon badge, for people who upgraded from NetNewsWire 1.x.)

And now on to work on 2.0.3...

Reminder: the introductory pricing of $1.99 for NetNewsWire Premium will end at the end of this month. It will go up to $4.99 starting Sunday morning. If you were planning to buy it, please don’t miss saving $3.

New blog: Mac Indie Marketing

Karelia Software logoDan Wood, Karelia Software: “This page started out as a place to hold some resources and links to back up Dan Wood’s ‘blitz’ presentation to a room full of ‘indie’ (independent) Mac developers at the C4 Conference in September, 2009. It is now (hopefully) migrating to more of a blog about, and for, fellow indie Mac developers.”

Cool. Many thanks to Dan. I’ve subscribed to the feed.

FeedDemon, NewsGator, and Mr. Bradbury

Greg Reinacker: “As part of that transition, Nick has gone ‘back into the wild’ as an independent developer.”

Big updates to Webkit Web Inspector

Thumbnail of Web Inspector screen shotClint Ecker highlights a bunch of cool changes coming to the WebKit Web Inspector.

I already thought the Web Inspector was pretty cool — cool enough that I look for excuses to use it. (But succeed only rarely, because I don’t spend that much time with HTML and CSS and JavaScript.)

And now it just keeps getting better. Which means I’ll look even harder for excuses to use it.

Clarifying pricing for NetNewsWire/Mac, plus a reminder

I get questions about what you get when you buy a license for NetNewsWire for Macintosh — I hadn’t made it clear. I’ve updated the online store. Here’s the scoop:

  • It’s a personal, per-user license. That means if you have a few computers — a desktop and a laptop, for instance, but not limited to that — you can use the same license on each of those computers. (As long as it’s you using it.)

  • The license is good for all 3.2.x and all 4.x releases.

Reminder: the price is $9.95 for only a few more days. It will go up to $14.95 at the very beginning of November 1st. If you were thinking of buying it, I don’t want you to miss out on saving $5.

(Note also that NetNewsWire Premium for iPhone will also go up in price at the same time, from $1.99 to $4.99.)

Where I am right now

I’m working on an update to NetNewsWire for Macintosh — it will be 3.2.4. While I’d like to get it done before the price goes up, that’s not looking likely, since it should spend some time in beta testing first. Next week is more realistic.

A new version (2.0.2) of NetNewsWire for iPhone will go into beta testing today. It fixes some crashing bugs and that confused-navigation bug. Assuming testing goes well, it will get uploaded to the App Store in a couple days, then available once it gets through the review process. (Which takes about a week.)

Longer term plans

Work also continues on NetNewsWire 4.0 for Macintosh. This will be a bigger upgrade than 3.2 was, but it’s too early to talk about any other specifics. (Feature requests are always welcome, of course — use the Report Bug or Feature Request command in NetNewsWire’s Help menu.)

And work has started on a bigger upgrade for the iPhone version. I’m not yet sure what the version number will be — 2.1 maybe, or 2.5 or 3.0, depending. (If you buy NetNewsWire for iPhone now, this version, no matter what the version number, will be a free upgrade.) It’s too soon to talk specifics, but I’m pretty excited about it.

Nick Bradbury interviewed about FeedDemon

FeedDemon icon plus demonic hand with long fingernailsIn the Shooting at Bubbles interview, Nick talks about RSS, his newly-indie status, switching to Google Reader, switching to SQLite, and more.

Total side note: I keep reading the blog name as Shouting at bubbles, which is a little more absurd, and so I like it.

(Absurd for now, that is. One day there will be a social media network named Bubbles. Bubbles will be your friends. You won’t tweet or write on their walls, you’ll compose shouts. So we’ll all be shouting at bubbles one day. This is just by way of a reminder that, if you could go back in time ten years, and describe what you do all day using the words you normally use, those people in the past would think you’re a schizophrenic.)

Making an O’Reilly RSS iPhone App with TapLynx

Elisabeth Robson, O’Reilly Broadcast: “After hearing about TapLynx, I immediately wanted to try it for myself, and within a couple of hours one afternoon went from knowing nothing about it to having a functioning O’Reilly RSS-based app on my phone.”

The article also includes an interview and a screencast.

WordSpin now in App Store

RogueSheep: “Boost your mental agility, language skills and enhance your ability to play ALL word games better with one of the most captivating word games ever invented.”

I’ve played pre-release versions of the game — it’s very cool.

MacTech 25 Most Influential voting

Voting for the MacTech 25 is open. I haven’t decided who to vote for yet, but I’ll figure it out. (Hard to narrow down to three votes.)

Is it okay to vote for mythical animals?

Eight steps to Internet unpopularity

Christopher Breen, Macworld: “After a particularly trying weekend moderating the Macworld forums, it occurred to me that there are a handful of ways to become an Internet pariah in a very short period of time.”

And The Awarding Goes To

Red Sweater: “...a developer who chooses perfectionism, community, and the pursuit of excellence for its own sake would be judged a fool by many.” All our friends are fools. :)

Awards idea

Michael McCracken: would “like to see a community-run version of the Apple Design Awards.” Good thinking. Like the Nebula awards — awards nominated and voted on by peers.

NetNewsWire 3.2.2 release

NetNewsWire’s app iconNetNewsWire 3.2.2 fixes some bugs — most especially that annoying bug where cmd-W would sometimes close the main window instead of the current tab.

You can download it. Also see the change notes for the rest of the scoop. (There are more things to do — but I felt that there was enough here worth a release rather than holding it up in the lab any further.)

But first, two important notes:

Check for Updates may not work

I had to make changes to the updates system. The Check for Updates command may not work — you may have to download this release and install it the old-fashioned way.

But Check for Updates should work fine after that.

Introductory pricing will continue till end of month

The first 30 days of introductory pricing is supposed to end this week.

But we decided to push it back until the end of October, since I hadn't posted a reminder recently. This is a reminder, and there will be at least one more when it gets closer. The price will go from $9.95 to $14.95 at the very end of October.

(We’re also pushing back the end of introductory pricing for the iPhone version (iTunes link): it will go from $1.99 to $4.99 at the end of October.)

Lost in Translations

Call Me Fishmeal: “In this post I’m going to explain to you what internationalization and localization are, how Apple’s tools handle them by default, and the huge flaws in Apple’s approach. Then I’m going to provide you with the code and tools to do localization in a much, much easier way.”

A big gift from the recent birthday boy to the rest of us.

Marching Ants With Core Animation

Cocoa Is My Girlfriend: “If you’ve ever used any drawing program you realize that when a rectangular area of the image is in a seleted mode, a dashed pattern stroke outlines that area and the pattern will move like marching ants. To achieve this effect manually actually takes quite a bit of effort, but is quite trivial when done with Core Animation.”

Podcasting Equipment Guide (2009)

Dan Benjamin: “If you’re thinking about podcasting and have no idea where to start, if you’ve tried recording using your computer’s built-in microphone and realized just how bad that sounds, and if you’re ready to get serious about creating great audio, you’re in the right place.”

iPhone Tech Talk 2009

Macworld: “The iPhone Tech Talk is a one-day event that runs from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and gives developers a chance to get familiar with creating software for the iPhone and learning to work with the tools of the trade.”

Apple reports $1.67 billion quarterly profit

Macworld: “Apple enjoyed its most profitable quarter ever, as the company set sales marks for both Mac and iPhone sales.”

Rock Band for iPhone

Macworld: “Now you can play Rock Band anywhere you like without having to lug around the game disc, instruments, TV, game console, cables, and willingness to look silly in public.”

Aaaaaand... we’re done. Civilization is over. End scene.

-30-

How blocks are implemented (and the consequences)

Cocoa With Love: Matt digs into the clang source code to learn more about blocks.

NetNewsWire for iPhone 2.0.1 - crash bug fix

NetNewsWire for iPhone iconBoth NetNewsWire free (iTunes link) and NetNewsWire Premium (iTunes link) have updates on the App Store.

These releases have just one change — the by-far-most-common crashing bug has been fixed. It was just a two-line change (followed by 12 days of App Store review).

We’re working on 2.0.2, of course, with more bug and performance fixes. There are also new features en route, though bug and performance fixes have top priority.

Important thing to know: the introductory $1.99 (USD) price for NetNewsWire Premium will go up to $4.99 in just under a week. I’m reminding you now so it doesn’t come as a surprise later: I do not want you to miss the lower price if you’re planning to buy.

Acorn 2.1

The image editor for humans gets upgraded today — with AppleScript support, rulers, 64 bit support, and a whole bunch more. A ton more. Gus continues his awesome work.

BitBQ acquires Second Gear iPhone apps

Cool cats Justin Williams and Patrick Burleson do some business. It sounds like a great deal for both sides. Congratulations!

Creating a Blocks-Based Object System

Mike Ash creates an unusual object system — and demonstrates what awesome powers blocks brings to C.

iPhone localization and China

The folks at iPhoneLocalizer help with the China market. China is something like 1/5th of the world. I love the name of China Telecom’s e-Surfing Space Application Store.

In App Purchase now available to free apps

App Store Resource Center: “You can now use In App Purchase within your free apps to sell content, subscriptions, and digital services...”

Very cool.

NetNewsWire Style: jwz

The interwebs were supposed to be green on black: “The problem with having switched to NetNewsWire is that suddenly my feeds were all white-on-black instead of green-on-black as they were supposed to be. So I fixed that.”

TapLynx put to the test

Hair On Fire: “I thought I might give it a try and see if the framework lives up to the promise.” Walker is the GM of the group where TapLynx lives. And he’s more of a Windows guy than a Mac guy. And he has his very own app in the App Store.

TapLynx Google Group

I cleverly hid the link to the Google Group for TapLynx in the ReadMe. Which means I’m getting folks asking me where it is. It’s here.

More technical details about TapLynx

On inessential.com I wrote more about how TapLynx works, including the over-the-air updates feature.

I also described the code relationship between NetNewsWire for iPhone and TapLynx. (In a nutshell: TapLynx is way more mature. I ended up writing new stuff for NetNewsWire.)

More details about TapLynx

NewsGator Technical Blog: “I've only been a programmer on Windows machines, almost exclusively in VB.NET. I was able to jump on a Mac and create an application in less than an hour.”

TapLynx 1.0 ships!

TapLynx iconTapLynx is a framework for writing content-based iPhone apps — without doing any programming.

The idea is simple: you configure it, give it some feeds and artwork, build it, and upload your app to the App Store. You end up with an app like the ones we built for Variety or All Things Digital — but with your design and your content.

Your app can have news (text of whatever kind), photo galleries, audio, and video. It has some sharing features built-in (Twitter, in-app email) with more to come in the future.

It’s still a native Cocoa app: in fact, you use Xcode, even though you don’t have to write a single line of code.

But you can write some code if you want: you can write custom view controllers to add features that aren’t part of TapLynx.

For developers, the value is straightforward: if you have a client offering money for an app like this, you get a quick start. Either TapLynx does all you want to, or it’s close and you can add the features you still need. The idea is to save you time so you can make more money.

You can, of course, follow TapLynx on Twitter. Click here.

Stop texting and start crunching

Add another Seattle iPhone developer: my friend and former Danger guy Chris DeSalvo just shipped Dare to Compare: Abs. (iTunes link.) Who among us can’t use a little help with our abs from our telephone?

Seattle Xcoders double-header tonight: mapping and push notifications

The meeting tonight downtown features two iPhone presentations: Hal Mueller on mapping and Kris Markel on push notifications.

Afterward we will of course retire to our favorite Polynesian Lounge.

Designing the NetNewsWire 3.2 icon

Brad Ellis: “Everyone knows it’s tradition for 0.2 releases to get a new icon...”

Brad’s a great designer, and I love — madly — the new icons. Another example of his work is the ADA-winning Postage iPhone app.

At one point in the process I asked Brad for a resized version of a graphic. I wrote him about how I resize graphics:

My process is to print it out in black and white on paper, wet the paper, stretch the paper very gently on a rack, wait a few days, measure it with a ruler to see if it’s bigger, color it in with magic markers, scan it in, then do additional color corrections in Microsoft Word. Something like that, anyway.

Brad, to his credit, took this as humor rather than the accurate portrayal of my workflow that it is. Which just proves that he’s not only incredibly talented but gracious and unflappable, which is important in anyone who works with those touchy-chef types who write code.

(Unflappable. Really. Try to flap him. Can’t do it. Can’t be flapped.)

Guy English Appeals to Authority

Kickingbear: “And to who’s authority do I appeal? Mine.”

The only reason we tolerate this s.o.b is his monstrously awesome coding skills, easy charm, and ridiculously good looks. And that he’s a super-nice guy.

Hmmm. Now that I write it down, I’m thinking we shouldn’t tolerate him at all.

But I don’t want to pick a fight with someone named Guy English who lives in Quebec. I have a feeling he’d be ready.

Note to Guy: I’m just teasing! Teasing only! ;)

But seriously: he doesn’t post often, but when he does, it’s always worth a read.

Gist.com — cool stuff with connecting contacts and web

Gist is local to me — they’re in Pioneer Square in Seattle. And they share an investor with NewsGator, so they’re kind of a sister company. I visited their offices a few months ago and was delighted to see a ping-pong table — so, yes, I’ll have to go back, and utterly destroy all competition. :)

They’re doing some cool stuff with contacts: you import your contacts, or have it grab them from Twitter or wherever, and it finds RSS and Twitter feeds, runs web searches (even image searches), and so on. So for each person it has all their latest web stuff, stuff you’d have to look for manually otherwise.

Seems like a natural idea, the exact kind of thing contacts apps should already be doing. But they’re not. Gist is.

Cool stuff, worth checking out.

ClickToFlash 1.5.3 includes stability fix

If you use ClickToFlash, please upgrade — the new version fixes a crashing bug (and a few other things).

And if you don’t use ClickToFlash, then check it out. It’s brilliant.

ClickToFlash works with Safari, NetNewsWire, and probably every other (or just about every other) app that uses WebKit.

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