Posts Tagged ‘pocketpedia’

Pocketpedia Links and iOS 9

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

In iOS 9 Apple has made opening links from Pocketpedia slightly better but also slightly worse. The good news is that linking to another app now displays a small text button on the top left hand corner of your screen that lets you quickly back track to Pocketpedia without having to go through the home screen or use a multi-touch gesture. So digging deeper into an HTML, IMDb or PDF link from Pocketpedia is faster and more natural and has a quick return.

Peter iPhone Search

Peter iPhone Search

The bad news is Twitter was abusing the ability to open links with other apps to detect what apps were installed on your device and then targeting advertisement based on this information. Apparently the list of apps checked was as big as 2,500 different apps.

Apple makes a fuss about the need to approve and control the App Store to prevent malicious behavior, yet they didn’t simply ban the Twitter app, instead they put the burden on all the other developers. We are now required to list within our app all possible link types that you might want to open.

This new information goes inside the apps info.plist file under the key LSApplicationQueriesSchemes. Luckily there is no restriction on the number of links that can be listed so far. Pocketpedia for iOS 9 has included a smallish list of the most common types that our users use, such as pdf://, epub://, iBooks:// and imdb://. The problem is that our users are a varied bunch and use all kinds of apps. So if you find that a link to your favorite app from Pocketpedia is no longer listed, please drop us a note with the URL scheme to the name of the app and we will be sure to include it in the next release.

A single person using a single app means we have to list that URL scheme in Pocketpedia for all users. If only a small percentage of users are using a unique app, soon our exception list will grow quite large. But as I said, for now there are no limits and hopefully Apple reviewers will not start complaining that we are listing too many URL schemes.

Apps not updated for iOS 9 have a little leeway of being able to ask for 50 random URL schemes. We petitioned Apple to make this the default via an Apple bug report, but it never came to fruition. Each individual user is likely to only use a few favorite apps from Pocketpedia so a lower limit such as 20 random links would have been a perfect solution and it would have solved the abuse issue from Twitter without any code changes required for other third party developers.

Out of Africa

I find it discouraging that an iOS 8 app gets better support and treatment than an app developed for iOS 9. Especially since the technology exists and is implemented to allow a small number of URLs and could have worked beautifully paired with the new exception list. But on the upside, we now get full Spotlight integration, so you can search your media directly in Spotlight.

Welcome to the Media Search Party Spotlight in iOS 9

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

You have always been able to search your movies, books, albums and games inside Pocketpedia with the integrated search field at the top of the collection view. Now you can also initiate searches directly from the Spotlight search in your dashboard thanks to third-party Spotlight integration in iOS 9.

The Spotlight search will not only list all the matches across multiple apps but also across multiple media inside Pocketpedia. Spotlight even knows the last item you were viewing in Pocketpedia, giving it more relevance in the search results.

Robert Redford

Apple wants to limit the amount of data that it is forced to index so only the main fields are listed with Spotlight. When you need a deep search (for example searching the awards field) you will have to perform that search in Pocketpedia’s regular search bar directly.

Peter iPhone Search

Peter iPhone Search

Searching directly in Spotlight will list a number of results from different sources and three results from an installed app. There is a small “Show more” button that will expand the Pocketpedia results to include all the matches in your media.

Clicking on the results will take you straight into Pocketpedia’s details view. Linking inside Pocketpedia has also been improved so that you can now easily get back to Pocketpedia after opening a link, using the button at the top left of your screen. Moving between apps now feels natural. (Unfortunately links have also become a bit more limited.)

Peter iPhone Search

Peter iPhone Search

Siri does not yet integrate with the third party index so you can’t ask your phone, “Search for The Princess Bride in Pocketpedia” or even more convenient “Do I have The Princess Bride in Pocketpedia?”. Looking forward to this improvement in iOS 10. It would cement iOS as your one and only private assistant.

Pocketpedia 3.3: The iPhone 6 Version

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Collections in Pocketpedia iPhone 6

Books in Pocketpedia iPhone 6


The latest version of Pocketpedia is out and includes support for iPhone 6 and iPhone Plus.

We apologize for the delay in getting this update out there for users sporting the new iPhone sizes. It took us only a month to get the iPhone 6 sizes ready and tuned up, but then we also wanted to add a few extra features that we had been working on. Specifically swiping between details and covers views without having to go back to the list view. We ended up having technical issues with the animation but because we felt close to a break through kept delaying the release.

But now we have gone ahead and released the iPhone 6 update and held the swiping and other updates so that we can work on them some more.

Hope you enjoy all the extra space on the new iPhones as well as not having to look at slightly blurry icons that where being upscaled to fit all the real estate on the iPhone Plus.

Update: 3.3.1 is out with a quick fix for a crashing bug on the iPad. Apple granted us an expedited review, so no wait on the review queue.

Pocketpedia and the Taller iPhone 5

Friday, September 21st, 2012

With the launch of iPhone 5 today we wanted to let you know that the upcoming version of Pocketpedia will support the extra 176 pixels. For data driven apps like Pocketpedia the extra height is a great addition since more of your collections, items, results and details will be visible. Specifically, this means you get to see two more collections and one more row of items when you’re in a collection.

Below are listed a few fantasy books from my personal collection. The first screenshot is for iPhone 4S followed by iPhone 5 screenshot.

iOS makes it easy to cram a lot onto the screen but it was getting crowded when the search was in use. As above, iPhone 4S screenshot followed by iPhone 5.

iPhone 5 brings a little bit more of everything to Pocketpedia. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on an iPhone 5 on launch day, then look forward to the next release of Pocketpedia. (As soon as I am done with some other features currently in development.)

Pocketpedia 3

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

We are extremely excited to announce the immediate availability of Pocketpedia 3 on the App Store.

It took three people working two years to make this possible and we are very proud of the first version. We’ll be making videos in the future for new users to see Pocketpedia in action before downloading it. But since a lot of you already know Pocketpedia and have been so patient we wanted to release it right away while we still working on some of the marketing material. Pocketpedia 3 requires iOS 4.0+ (sorry first generation iPod touches and iPhones that can only be upgraded to 3.1.1) and supports retina display on all the devices including the new iPad.

Pocketpedia3 on the iPad, doing a search on Doghouse.

As a thank you for your patience and all your help with version 5 and Doghouse, the app is currently available for a %25 discount at $2.99. This offer will run until April 24, 2012 so tell your friends and spread the word.

In its current form Pocketpedia is the perfect companion app to the Desktop Pedias for taking your collection on the go. If you are both a Pedia and Mobile device owner be sure to download Pockepedia 3. Do send us feedback about features you’d like to see and we’ll try to work those into upcoming version. We already have a list of features we want to add, such as editing directly in Pocketpedia and adding entries manually to make it a stand-alone iOS app for those users without Macs.

A special thank you goes out to all the testers who helped beta test Pocketpedia3 these last two months. Also to all the users who contributed to the Doghouse, helping to create the search site for Pocketpedia as well as to all the moderators who have been correcting details and entering missing information in Doghouse.

There is a lot more to share about the making of Pocketpedia 3 but for now we are just thrilled to get it out there to all our users.


Getting Around Without Pocketpedia

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Although Pocketpedia is not available anymore, there are still a few ways to get your Pedia collections onto the iPhone and iPod Touch. They are not as ideal as Pocketpedia but are valid options nonetheless.

1 – HTML export

Use one of the iPhone optimized templates such as “iPhone” or “iPhone Grouped” from the HTML export feature to export your collection from the Pedias. Upload the export to a server and access your collection through Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

These iPhone export templates have an index, for quick searches, and are optimized for the smaller screen. You can find another iPhone-optimized export template on our Extras page for download as well or if you have some HTML experience, write your own. Take a look at the Help file under ‘Export > Customizing HTML templates’ for more information.

2 – PDF sync

Use the Print or export feature in the Pedias and then create a PDF of that print or export.
For the Print feature, press the ‘Print’ button on the first dialogue and then press ‘PDF’ on the second window. Save the preview as PDF.
For the Export feature, export the collection and when the preview opens in your preferred browser, choose ‘Print’ and save as PDF as described above.
Then use a free program such as Evernote to sync the PDF over to your iPhone.

SmallCovers print template, in PDF format viewed in Evernote on the iPhone

ListThick print template, in PDF format viewed in Evernote on the iPhone

Of course, if all you want is a list of your titles as a quick reference then a simple text export from the Pedias will suffice. Just use any free notes app for the iPhone/iPod touch to import the text file and you’ll be good to go.

Unfruitful Discussions

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

We managed to talk with an Amazon representative over the phone about Pocketpedia2 and although thrilling to finally have a two-way conversation it proved to be neither enlightening nor productive. Amazon made it clear that they are not okay with Pocketpedia2, even though it censors their data. We were told that even the most common of attributes, the title, cannot be synced to a mobile device.

In order to put Pocketpedia2 back up we would have to block all information from Amazon. Entries would need to appear as “?” or not at all on the iPhone. This would not only cause a terrible confusion but also make Pocketpedia2 useless for most users. Since the Pedias do have a number of data sources we understand that Pocketpedia2 would still work for users who gather their information elsewhere or enter it manually. However, given the popularity of Amazon as a search and the support issues we would encounter with users unaware of the restrictions we have chosen to keep Pocketpedia2 off the App Store until the time when we can produce, without limits, an iPhone app we can be proud of. So for those of you that were able to acquire a copy of Pocketpedia2 during its short life at the App Store, be sure to keep it safe.

As expected, the reasoning behind the exclusion could not be discussed. The likelihood of a change in the terms that would allow Pocketpedia2 to exist could also not be discussed.

Tomorrow is an exciting day for Apple followers and likely all computer enthusiast. We have no doubt that tomorrow’s announcement will also be classified as a mobile device by Amazon. The devices of the future are being built by Apple and Amazon doesn’t want to be the provider of data for those devices. All we’re lacking now is an open, rich and international data service.

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!

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

Bye-bye Pocketpedia – Hello 4.5.1

Friday, July 17th, 2009

When Amazon forced us to pull Pocketpedia from the App Store this morning they also killed our access key to the Amazon Web Services which affects our desktop Pedias since the programs all use the same key. Silly us, we should have used a different key. But we didn’t forsee that mobile app access might become a problem when we released Pocketpedia over a year ago.

This means the Amazon search does not work on any Pedia program other than the latest version, 4.5.1. So make sure you are running this latest version of the Pedias to avoid any trouble with the Amazon search. (Use the built-in ‘Check for Updates’ command found under the program menu to check you’re up to date.)

The only upside to all this is that by August 15th we would have had to change the Amazon access key anyway because Amazon’s new policy of forcing all requests to carry a signature is going to take effect on that day. Those users still running version 3.6 because of Panther and Jaguar compatibility would have had no Amazon search from that day on which is why we tried to delay adding a new key for as long as possible.