Fast Status for iPhone and iPad – Now Available

Fast Status running on an iPhone

What’s it about?

How many times have you wanted to post a quick text update to Facebook or Twitter only to find that by the time your slow loading timeline appears and you’re able to type your phone went out of signal? Annoying!

Or at the weekend the weather is nice, you’re out and about and you’ve left your favourite sports recording on the DVR to watch later. You open Facebook or Twitter apps to post a message only to see your friends talking about the match or race and you see spoiler results. Frustrating!

Fast Status is quick. It allows you to open the app, type (or speak) a quick message and post it to Facebook and or Twitter quickly. If you go over 140 characters you can only post it to Facebook, but the app knows that.

Why?

Because the “Quick Status Update” feature doesn’t exist on iOS 7 and I really miss it.

Where can I get it from and is it Free?

You can get it FREE from the App Store now.

Feedback

I’d love to know what you think about the app. Contact me on Twitter. Or send me feedback from the app with the email feedback button built into the app (on the settings screen).

Fast Status iPad

Screenshot gallery: 

iPhone 3GS Battery Swell

My test iPhone 3GS running iOS 6 spontaneously exploded the other day (27th Jan 2014) suffering what can only be described as “death by excessive battery swelling” from the inside out. “Explode” might seem extreme but the actual swelling takes place very quickly so it sounds like it exploded.

The device was sitting on a shelf on standby with my other test iOS devices not too far away from my left shoulder. I heard a loud “crack and pop” noise and turned to see the iPhone 3GS screen half pop out of it’s casing.

I quickly picked up my iPhone 5S to video the event but sadly wasn’t quite quick enough to capture the actual popping.

I observed the iPhone 3GS for a few hours before deciding I couldn’t have it in my studio any longer and so decided I must dismantle it and get the rotten battery out. This was quite scary but also fun. The immense pressure build up inside had bent a circuit board, completely ripped out whole screw housings and almost torn various ribbon cables inside.

I managed to successfully dismantle the phone with appropriate dinky tools. I’m not sure it will ever work again, though. R.I.P. “Trinity” the iPhone 3GS, R.I.P.

I’ve not had a minute to contact Apple about the issue yet. Will they repair it?

Update note: Last week I noticed what can only be described as a very small “wet patch” on the inside of the iPhone 3GS screen. This wet patch was THE warning sign. I can only imagine it was the beginning of the battery swell. Days later the whole phone exploded open to devastating consequences.

Update: Seems this has happened to a few other people too and it’s made the news at TUAW [direct link].

Tapped Math – prototype animations

It came a long way from this very early and colourful prototype (animated from then to now).

Update: Tapped Math is now available for iPad and iPhone from the App Store.

TappedMaths-StartToEndLow

V.early prototype. A springy animation demo for @oliverfoggin. Made GIF with QT to PSD, thanks to @johnyorke’s tip.

TappedMaths-Spring

Glyndŵr University talk

Today I presented a talk entitled “App Developer Experiences” to a group of fifty or sixty new intake 1st year computing students at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham.

It was my first presentation or talk in front of an audience and it went better than I expected. I’ve been watching other speakers at conferences and picking up tips about this kind of speaking.

You wouldn’t have caught me speaking in front of an audience like this 12 months ago. Gaining the topic experience and confidence to speak about it isn’t something I thought I’d enjoy but it was really good to “give back” something.

I was given almost an hour for the talk and I’d prepared about 50 slides. An hour is a really long time when you’ve got to fill it on your own in front of other people! The talk was bang on timing-wise and nobody fell to sleep! The students asked great questions at the end too.

When they were walking out some students came up to me to say it was a very interesting talk and some shook my hand. That was very kind of them.

I have had some feedback from two members of staff:

It is clear that the students really enjoyed it!

 

As an ex-student of Glyndwr Computing I wanted to enthuse the new students about the core disciplines of computing that they’re about to learn and to reenforce how useful they have been to me in the past 12 years (yes, 12!) since leaving Uni.

I demonstrated my app showcase with some quick app videos.

I covered some app design tips, demonstrated some of the best tools available to help create a great looking app. I tried to emphasise the iOS community that’s out there with great Newsletters, Tips and people to follow on Twitter to help with iOS dev.

I finished off my talk with a section giving some options available for making a living in iOS land. I don’t pretend to be an expert at that but I hope I gave the students some good ideas as to what roles may be available if they choose app development as something they might want to do in the future.

Nobody really knows what will be happening in 3 years. That’s why they need to learn the core disciplines of a language like C or C++ including memory management, proper database design, general application development and good user experience (aesthetic and usability).

I’d like to thank the students for listening to me and I’d like to thank Glyndwr University for the opportunity.

If you’d like to contact me, I can be found on Twitter @aledbrown.

Update: Book List from slides

‘Just right’ Lite (Free)

…and Little Ones too! is an App Store experiment. There’s no way of knowing if something will sell or won’t until I you try to sell it. I’ve created several apps already so that I could learn how to do everything properly (learning Objective-C, how to build an app, etc) so that I didn’t make any (or many) mistakes with this project. Before I started the Little Ones project I understood the risks and I invested my time and money to run and complete the experiment. What I want to know is… can I make an honest living from building my own apps?

At the moment we have two paid versions of ALOT. One version (£2.49) is Universal (both iPad and iPhone) and the other is iPhone only (£1.49).

So what’s next?

A ‘Lite’ version of the app. I’m hoping to release a totally Free version of the app that includes 6 of the 34 verses. 100% fully functional for 6 verses exactly as they are in the Paid apps (iPhone and iPad). In a nice way, once you finish reading or playing the game there will be an “Upgrade” screen where there will be an option to continue using the free app or to upgrade to the Paid version – this will be a link to the App Store to purchase the full version from there. Not an in-app purchase.

The experiment will be to see if giving away a portion of the story with the full functionality of the main app will help people make the decision to upgrade.

As it stands you can only see static ‘screenshot’ pictures or watch the app video on the website. I’m not sure this is enough. It is for some people but it might not be for others.

I hope that by being able to experience the quality of the app and a free portion of the story it will get more people to buy the full app.

Once I’ve finished developing this new version I hope Apple will approve it (wish me luck!) so that I can complete my experiment. Check back for updates.

Publicity thank you’s!

The publicity surrounding …and Little Ones too! has been pretty amazing. People have been very supportive of the story and the app itself. We now have a Universal (iPad & iPhone) and an stand-alone (iPhone only) version available at two different price points.

Glyndwr University have been extremely supportive. As an ex-student I’m extremely grateful for their support. See case study video, press release, and meet the student page. Hopefully lots of students will sign up to do App Design or other Computing courses… it really is a great University.

The #fourlittletesters have been extremely supportive. Review and subsequent Apple feature.

Lots of people have Liked and Retweeted on social networks.

I’ve had a radio interview on Calon FM and I’ve been interviewed with my Dad by BBC Radio Wales (broadcast on Thursday 22 August).

Newspapers have also picked up the press release. These include the Daily Post, Wrexham Leader and the Free Press.

Finally, Apple UK have tried out the apps and for the two different versions have featured them in the “New” list in the Book category. It’s the smallest feature Apple do but it’s still a great honour to have your app recognised. There are hundreds of other apps that never get any recognition at all.

I’m very grateful to everyone for your support.

…and Little Ones too! for iPhone – exclusive sneak peek

I recently updated the iPad version of …and Little Ones too! to version 1.1 with the addition of the user voice recording feature.

Honey, I shrunk the Little Ones…

I’ve also been hard at work developing an iPhone version of the app. It’s been completely re-engineered from the ground up. Almost no code is shared with the iPad version and none of the graphics are scaled down in-device… it’s a completely designed-for-iPhone memory efficient pocket version of the app.

It’s been developed to work on iOS 5 and above. It works perfectly on the iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 4G, iPhone 4, 4S, the iPhone 5 and iPod touch 5G. It’s also been thuroughly tested on iOS 5, 6 and iOS 7b5. The iPhone/iPod touch version of the app will be 100% iOS 7 ready on launch day. We won’t be dropping iOS 5 support.

Subject to Apple approving the iPhone version it will be released by September (hopefully).

In the meantime, please enjoy the sneak peek screenshots in the gallery. It’s a truly beautiful app and super easy to use. I can’t wait until it’s available for download.

The Little Ones just got littler.

Why iPad? Where’s the Android or the printed book version?

First of all …and Little Ones too! was a lot of hard work. I mean a lot. A great deal of time has been spent creating it for the iPad. There is only so much spare time one person can have and I’ve spent all of mine on this project. (See previous post)

Why iPad first? That’s easy. You’ve got to start somewhere and you can’t do everything all at once. I’ve been working towards being able to release this app for 18 months learning more and more Objective-C (the native programming language used on Apple’s devices) and the iOS SDK frameworks. I’ve created 5 other iOS apps along the way and each has been a step up from the previous one in one way or another. I love making iOS apps.

Will you make an Android version? Yes. Definitely. I’d love to. But it will only happen if the iPad version is successful. If it is there will be an Android version. Successful means that the app must recoup the actual monetary cost spent to develop it and none of my own time counts as a cost (i.e. even if it does achieve that, I still won’t have made a penny).

I’ve not counted equipment costs (Desktop + Laptop Mac and 3 different iPad testing devices) or software license costs. Those are being supported by my web developer day-job.

I don’t have a tablet computer – will there be a printed version? Again, this depends. If the app makes any profit at all that profit will be put straight back into printing and publishing costs. I won’t count my time spent on producing a book version as a cost. The cost will come from actually printing it, getting an ISBN number and all the other expenses associated with getting something published in the real world.

How can I help you? Thanks for asking. All I ask is that you share a link to the iTunes app page, like the Facebook page or Tweet something about the app for iPad to your friends. If enough people get to know about the app and a small percentage of those people have an iPad and buy a copy we may just make the iOS app enough of a success to be able to continue working on alternative formats.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, Aled

3, 2, 1 – App Launch

I’m delighted to announce that “…and Little Ones too!” is now available on the Apple App Store for iPad.

Details about the app are available on the app website and there’s a page dedicated to the app on this blog site too.

The easiest way to find the app on the App Store on the iPad itself is to visit the app website and tap the “Available on App Store” image or search for “A5 Multimedia” in the app store. Just type A5 and the store lists some suggestions for you. Update: The search index has updated and searching for “little ones” or “little ones too” now correctly brings up the app.

If you enjoy the app please write a review on the App Store, it really does help so much and please Like our Facebook page or re-tweet one of our Tweets.

If you’d like to send us other feedback please use the app support page. Would you like to see new features or an Android version or a printed book version? Let us know!

Many thanks, Aled.