Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

And it’s back!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Pocketpedia2We’re very excited to announce that Pocketpedia2 has passed its App Store review and is available once more for download through the iTunes Store.

Pocketpedia2 is free but to avoid the fate of the previous Pocketpedia there have been some changes to the functionality and features. There is no more Amazon search but the sync is now two-way so you can manage your collections on the iPhone and have it all sync up when you get back to your Mac.

Please note that you need the latest version of the Pedia programs, version 4.5.4, to sync your data to Pocketpedia2.
From now on, this is our official iPhone app. The old Pocketpedia will keep working on your iPhone but it will not sync with the latest version of the Pedias, 4.5.4.

Now that the program is out once more we’ll start work on adding more features from the long list of ideas we have. Thanks to everyone for their patience and to all our beta testers for their great work. We hope you enjoy Pocketpedia2!

Who Can it Be Now?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I’ve been enjoying the Snow Leopard betas and am looking forward to Friday’s official release. Our programs are up to date and ready for the new OS X. However, I do have a small gripe. John Gruber over at Daring Fireball seems to think all changes are for the better but I must disagree in the sound department.

As humans we rely heavily on our sight to recognize objects by their shape, size and color. Our other senses come into play when we can’t see the object. I know when someone is calling by the ringing of my telephone. I have a different ring than my neighbor so that I know it’s my phone without having to think about the location of the noise. I even have different ringtones for different callers so I can identify them just by the sound. Since installing Snow Leopard I have been hearing the incoming SMS message tone but when I reach for my iPhone there is no message. Turns out the installer on Snow Leopard makes the same noise as an incoming SMS on the iPhone. Reaching for my iPhone and then noticing I’ve been deceived leaves me a little sad at not getting a message and a little angry at whoever is in charge of OS X system sounds.

Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Dear Mr. Bezos,

Recently we had to remove our iPhone and iPod Touch program Pocketpedia from the iTunes App Store because it synced Amazon information from our desktop applications to a mobile device and also allowed the Amazon catalog to be searched from a mobile device. The Amazon Product Advertising API provides reliable access to a wealth of information that benefits my company as a source of data and your company by encouraging more sales. We are unable to find a reason why this API service should explicitly exclude use on mobile devices.

Let me tell you a bit about our applications, in the hopes of changing your mind. The Pedia programs (DVDpedia, Bookpedia, CDpedia and Gamepedia) are used to build personal media catalogs. Users create a list of items they own, those that they have lent out and those they wish to buy in the future. It allows them to get organized and keep track of both past and future purchases. As you can appreciate, having their data on the go is a great reference and convenience.

It’s our belief that Pocketpedia does in no way compete with Amazon Mobile or SnapTell (which you recently acquired). They serve different markets: Pocketpedia is a home reference application while yours are shopping applications. Even if they did compete I don’t see a reason to suppress them as the winner will always be Amazon selling the final product. And iPhone users can only benefit from more options in the App Store. Of course you’re in a better position to decide what’s best for Amazon but from the outside the clauses excluding mobile devices seem like a losing situation for all: Amazon, customers and third-party developers.

Both clauses mention that written approval can be obtained to use the Amazon data on a mobile device, yet I can’t find a single app that has received this approval. In the hopes of positive changes at Amazon I would like to suggest that these clauses be dropped. If this is not possible, I formally request that Bruji as well as our competitor Delicious Monster (who have also run afoul of the mobile clause) be given permission to sync Amazon data to the iPhone and iPod Touch. Moreover, if Amazon is feeling kind, we also request the use of the Product Advertising API directly on the iPhone to search and add new items.

I write this as an open letter because getting a meaningful conversation going with Amazon has been impossible for both my customers and me. Your support system does not allow replies to emails sent directly from your Associates Account Specialist. Messages filled out in the Amazon contact page only get canned responses without explanations. The Amazon customer service has lost its touch in the last few years but more worrying is that Amazon has become increasingly closed, controlling and unfriendly. I know that our users have been writing to Amazon in the past week to register their dismay about the loss of Pocketpedia and I would like to be able to give them positive news thanks to their efforts.

Hoping for change,
Conor Dearden

The Unofficial Link

Monday, September 29th, 2008

TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) has just posted an entry about Pocketpedia. They already knew our users love the Pedias and now they have discovered Pocketpedia and kindly linked to it on the App Store. They mention the interesting possibility of scanning barcodes on the iPhone instead of typing in the number for a search. We are looking into that possibility. We hope to be able to translate our video open source barcode scanning code for use with stills on the iPhone. In fact so are a few other developers who have contacted us about using our code on the iPhone. The iPhone SDK is a not even a year old and we are already seeing exciting applications on the App Store. Once the development community is allowed to grow I think we will begin to see even more exciting apps on the iPhone.

Pocketpedia 1.1

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

We sent Pocketpedia 1.1 to the App Store a few days ago, trying to time it with our 4.3.1 release of the Pedias. Today it’s been approved for release so check for the update on your iPhone/iPod touch! There are a whole slew of new features in version 1.1, including the most popular requests: internal search and different sorting options. For a complete list of new features and improvements, check out Pocketpedia’s What’s New? page.

There is still a lot to do for version 1.2. For those who sync Pocketpedia from a Mac, it’s a natural extension and a portable version of the Pedias but there are a lot of Windows users now with Pocketpedia. It seems the initial release was strong enough to stand on its own without the desktop programs, something we did not expect given the limitation of not being able to edit items. For those users, Pocketpedia needs to include the ability to edit in order to add personal comments and enter items manually that might not be found online. So that feature along with several others is on the horizon.

Pocketpedia has been an incredible success. In a single month from its July 11th launch to August 11th, it has been downloaded 84,580 times in the US store alone. At the other end is Peru with 12 downloads – not bad for a country where the official iPhone launch happened after August 11th.

A lot of users wrote about a missing feature – not being able to delete. It’s not that 1.0 did not have this feature (swiping your finger across an item presents a delete button) but this gesture is not intuitive yet for iPhone users. Since the iPhone OS allows new ways to interact with applications, we have a dream of physically interacting with the screen. Why have a delete button when you can simply strike an item off your list? But from the feedback for 1.0 we learned that we need to provide a regular button too. Just as Mac OS X applications have 4 ways of doing something (a menu bar, a contextual menu, a button and a shortcut key) the iPhone should have two – a gesture and a button.
Still, we haven’t given up hope on our dream: 1.1 has no “select random entry” button but shaking your iPhone will do the trick.

Secret feature revealed

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

pocketpedia Maybe some of you saw the ‘secret feature’ release note included in the last version update of the Pedias (4.3). Today we can finally reveal what we’ve been working on feverishly for the past two months: Pocketpedia.

Pocketpedia lets you keep your media library right where you need it when you’re out and about: in your pocket. Sync your data over your wireless network from the Pedias to your iPhone and iPod touch so you always know what you wanted to buy, what you already have or who borrowed what. Pocketpedia also gives you access to all the Amazon sites to read reviews about products and do price comparisons.

You don’t even need to own the Pedias to use Pocketpedia because you can create collections right on your iPhone and iPod touch. Pocketpedia is free so download it right now and tell all your friends about it too, both Mac and PC owners. Pocketpedia is for everyone!

The App Store is just as new for us as it is for you (today is the first day we’re seeing Pocketpedia live) and we have to admit that we were a bit worried about this set up at first. Apple is the gatekeeper that can make or break an app now. When our first submission of Pocketpedia was rejected – without further commentary – we thought it had to do with our icon since it doesn’t follow the conventional design with a square background but instead has a transparent top. But it turned out to be just a little bug in the code and once that was fixed, Pocketpedia was ready to go ‘on sale’.

Speaking of the transparency on our icon, unfortunately the App Store adds the default shine, even though the documentation promised they would respect the shine parameter (a key inside the application info file called UIPrerenderedIcon that asks for the shine not to be applied). Hopefully it’s just a launch kink and we won’t have to update the icon to fit in with the app store but rest assured: it looks stylish on your iPhone.

Pocketpedia is one of 134 free apps now available on the App Store. We are excited to be in so early in the launch with only 551 other applications. Of which interestingly enough 43 are public domain books (if the trend continues they will need their own category), each one released in its own individual application in order to charge per book as opposed to BookZ Text Reader which downloads books from the internet without having to re-purchase each one. Sadly I am unable to buy the latter as I have a strict rule about names that include a Z at the end of their names, just like the myriad animal games: Dolphinz, Tigerz, Horsez and friendz. Not withstanding the strangely named applications this is just the beginning for the App Store as well as for Pocketpedia, so send us your feedback for the next update and let us know what you think!