Archive for January, 2010

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.

Bad News Day

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Sadly, here we go again. Amazon has informed us this morning that we have to “cease displaying [Amazon’s] content and links to [Amazon’s] site on [our] mobile application and accessing the Product Advertising API through [our] mobile application.”
Of course, once again there is no email address to respond to directly so our reply sent through the Contact Us link on the Amazon page will very likely get lost in the maze of their company or otherwise take a long time to reach someone who might be willing to send us a response. As a software company we understand the need for a support desk system, but it leaves us awe struck that they have no direct communication with a representative, especially when their signature is “Associate Account Specialist”.

But what’s even worse is that they obviously haven’t bothered looking at Pocketpedia2: there ARE no links to Amazon anywhere in the application. It’s impossible to access the site through the program. And as for content, we have explained that the Pedias block any Amazon data from being synched over save for the cover image, title and director/artist/author/platform (so it wouldn’t seem like your Amazon added items just went missing). We’ve offered that we’d pull this information as well if that would allow us to keep Pocketpedia2 going but don’t hold your breath…

Of course we have also asked for an explanation or reasoning once again on why mobile apps specifically are singled out under the Associates Operating agreement. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe this time we’ll receive a response. This is starting to feel a bit like talking to the Queen of Hearts.

We know that many of you wrote to Amazon last time Pocketpedia had to be pulled from the App Store. We’re very grateful for your support. We know that Amazon is not our only input method to catalog your collection (we are routinely impressed with the number of people that painstakingly enter all the details manually). This was the main reason we released Pocketpedia2, an Amazon-stripped version of the original Pocketpedia. However, while we get a dialog going with Amazon we have no choice but to pull Pocketpedia2 from the App Store for the time being.

Stay tuned. Hopefully, there will be a solution to our problems through communication with Amazon or at least some answers from “earth’s most customer centric company”.

In conjunction with the death of Pocketpedia2, Amazon once again killed our access keys and we’ve had to apply for new ones. These are part of the latest version release so make sure you download version 4.5.5 of the Pedias for your searches to continue without trouble.

I Coulda Been a Contender

Friday, January 15th, 2010

I just read the interesting article by Dan Moren at Macworld about the possible text input methods for the probably upcoming Apple tablet (it could after all be something completely different). I expected a mention of the haptic feedback system that Apple patented a while ago. But it was not to be heard of. In the internet age anything that happened a few months ago is no longer of any relevance to the future; even if Macworld happened to write about it themselves.

So while we wait for the expected event let me, under the guise of an internet historian, dust the archives from yesteryear. I propose the possibility of an onscreen keyboard a la iPhone but one where the keys are also felt. The keyboard appears on the iPhone when needed in a number of configurations. Why not have the texture that delimits the keys also appear to match. It would eliminate the need to look down since users could feel the placement of the fingers, even include the dashes on the “F” and “J”. Knowing Apple it would probably feel natural. It still leaves the issue of having to put down the tablet when typing fast and a painfully hard surface. But it’s a small price to pay for a keyboard that physically appears and vanishes as if by magic. Given that this is the only other method I can think of that Dan Moren hasn’t already mentioned, I only have a single horse. Odds: 1 to 1.

It’s a technology one wishes one had thought of but aren’t most Apple products.