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Saturday
Jun222013

Sherlocked

I attended Apple's WWDC conference for the first time ever and I really enjoyed it. The conference kicked off with the keynote where Tim Cook & friends announced the new look and new features of iOS 7 (available in the fall).

One of the new iOS 7 features is AirDrop, an easy way to transfer files from one iOS device to another. Transferring photos and videos is one of the main features of my Scotty app. For Apple afficionados the verb "to sherlock" is commonly used when Apple announces a new product or feature that makes a third party product obsolete. Though Scotty can also wirelessly transfer photos and videos from iOS to Mac, it's safe to say that Scotty is partially sherlocked.

Scotty is now 4 years old and I never thought it would take Apple that long to include some of the Scotty functionality into iOS. So, being sherlocked this way was something I expected to happen at least 2 years ago. The good news is that during the technical sessions of WWDC I also learned that iOS 7 will come with a couple of very interesting new built-in technologies that will allow me to add cool new features to Scotty.

Sunday
Dec162012

Photo direction

A less known new feature in iOS 6 is that photos taken with an iPhone contain photo direction information. On top of the geotagging capabilities introduced long time ago with the iPhone 3G, your iPhone photos now also contain metadata about the direction the iPhone camera was pointing at the moment the shot was made.

Before iOS 6 became available, putting direction metadata into photos was a feature that required a DSLR in combination with a pricey hotshoe mount like the Solmeta Geotagger N3.
My PhotoMeta iPad app visually displays that photo direction on a map as you can see on the following PhotoMeta screenshot:

The photo is taken with an iPhone 5 and besides the location of the photographer (the red pin), PhotoMeta uses a yellow sector to indicate the photo direction. The red ellips shows the location of the cathedral and is not part of the app. It was added later on to make clear where the cathedral is located. 

Keep in mind that the direction info is only available in photos taken with the standard Camera app. If you use other popular camera apps like Camera+ or Camera Awesome, the photo will not contain direction info. As soon as you start editing the photo, there's also the possibility that the direction info gets lost. This totally depends on the photo editing app(lication). 

I'm not sure it works with all iPhone models. I took test photos with an iPhone 5 and 4S and both contained the direction info. I don't have an iPhone 4 or 3GS running iOS 6 though.

UPDATE: Glyn Evans from iPhoneography confirmed that it also works with an iPhone 4.

Monday
Nov262012

Technical topics

This blog is deliberately about the non-technical side of iOS apps:

  • Extra info about new versions of my apps
  • App promotion
  • App sales
  • Interaction with users
  • App Store related topics

I was pleasantly surprised when the people at iDeveloper TV offered me the possibility to publish a technical post on their site. Automated software testing has always been one of my pet peeves, so it didn't take long to come up with a topic. My first post titled Getting Started With Automated UI Testing For iOS is now live.

A big thank you to Scotty and his team for offering me this opportunity.

Tuesday
Oct092012

Feature requests

I cherish user feedback a lot. All my apps have a built-in button to make a feature request. As a result, users send in feature requests all the time. And although I cannot implement them all, a lot of them become a reality at some moment in time. Now and then a real gem is dropped in my inbox. A "why haven't I thought of that" kind of gem. 

About a month ago an Argentinian user asked to add the possibility to save a photo in full resolution to the PhotoMeta web browser. You can save photos in Safari too, but those are most of the time reduced in size, thereby stripping off some of the metadata. A brilliant idea and not even that hard to implement.
I was working on an iOS 6 compatible PhotoMeta version anyway, so timing was perfect too. And as PhotoMeta already allows saving Dropbox photos in full resolution the new feature makes a lot of sense.

A couple of hours ago the PhotoMeta version that supports full res photo saving in the browser became available in the App Store.

Thursday
Aug092012

Positive boomerang

I'm allergic to people who find pleasure in making others life hard. Probably because I'm their genetic counterpart.
I was born as a 100% naive optimist and although the 'naive' aspect is something my counterparts love to abuse, I'll stay naive and positive until the day I die.
By this time you'll probably wondering why I'm writing this post. Herbs? No. Too many mojitos? Nope. Positive boomerang? Yep.

About a year and a half ago I started cooperating with Corey Forman for all kinds of design work related to my apps. During that period we never met in person but we communicated a lot via email. Sometimes I needed something a couple of days later, sometimes he had weeks to finish the job.
4 months ago I started working as a freelance iOS developer. I did a couple of apps and I became active on Elance and oDesk.
A month ago, out of the blue, I was contacted by the people at Everest. I vividly remember the moment I first visited the Everest website. "What an insanely great idea" was the first thing that came to mind. Helping others to live theirs dreams. It's hard to come up with something more positive than that. After a couple of Skype interviews I was hired despite the 9 hour time difference between San Francisco and Belgium.
I'm really thrilled to be part of the awesome Everest team, but why did they contact me in the first place? It turned out that Corey is the friend of a friend of someone who works at Everest. Corey dropped my name when he heard they were looking for iOS devs. How insane is that! A person who never saw one line of my code, who never used one of my apps, recommends me as an iOS developer.
I asked Corey and his answer was simple: "You are always nice, professional, reasonable and fair and you have a good looking resume for what I was asked to find."  

Just be nice to other people and chances are that one day something nice comes back to you. That's what I call a positive boomerang.