Archive for 'Miscellanea'

Wireless Mesh Networking

Hey, this is nifty! If you’d even bothered to notice this new-ish Multipeer Connectivity thing at all, like us you probably didn’t read past

The Multipeer Connectivity framework provides support for discovering services provided by nearby iOS devices using infrastructure Wi-Fi networks, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth personal area networks and subsequently communicating with those services by sending message-based data, streaming data, and resources (such as files)…

before skipping to something that looked more interesting, amirite? But no, it actually is interesting:

How an Under-Appreciated iOS 7 Feature Will Change the World

A curious download hit Apple’s app store this week: a messaging app called FireChat.

It’s a new kind of app because it uses an iOS feature unavailable until version 7: the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. The app was developed by the crowdsourced connectivity provider Open Garden and this is their first iOS app.

The Multipeer Connectivity Framework enables users to flexibly use WiFi and Bluetooth peer-to-peer connections to chat and share photos even without an Internet connection. Big deal, right?

But here’s the really big deal — it can enable two users to chat not only without an Internet connection, but also when they are far beyond WiFi and Bluetooth range from each other — connected with a chain of peer-to-peer users between one user and a far-away Internet connection.

It’s called wireless mesh networking. And Apple has mainstreamed it in iOS 7. It’s going to change everything. Here’s why.

It can also extend an Internet connect to a place where none exists — for example, to a hotel basement, cave or to rural areas where cell tower connections are non-existent…

Read the whole thing, as they say!

h/t: @justinlbaker!

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TestFlight, R.I.P.

So no doubt pretty much everyone reading this uses TestFlight for distributing their betas, yes? Well, looks like you might have to rethink that plan.

First up, their FlightPath (née TestFlight Live) analytics disappeared with just a note to participants “so we can focus on other areas of the business”. Well, bad ideas disappear all the time; apparently that turned out to be a bad idea, competing with Flurry. Surprise level: 0.

Second up, they decided to ditch Android completely:

We are refocusing TestFlight on iOS. While we will continue to support app development on iOS, support for Android beta testing on TestFlight will stop by March 21, 2014.

What does this mean?

After 3/21/2014 no user will be able to upload any Android builds to TestFlight.

Whilst of course we thoroughly approve of that strategy, it seems … out of step with market conditions, does it not? Surprise level: high.

Next up, they stopped taking new customers on iOS too:

On 2/19/2014 we announced that only Teams who have previously uploaded a build with the TestFlight SDK will be able to continue to upload builds with the SDK.

What does this mean?

If you are an existing Team that has previously uploaded a build with an SDK attached you will need to upgrade to the latest SDK version by 2/26/2014, afterwards your build will be rejected until it has the correct SDK version.

If your team has never uploaded a build with an SDK or you are a new TestFlight user then you will not be able to incorporate any version of the TestFlight SDK. You will be asked to remove the SDK from your build and re-upload.

OK, now things are getting downright weird. Surprise level: WTF?

Well, the sleuths over at TechCrunch figure they know what’s going on:

TestFlight Owner Burstly Acquired By Apple

Burstly, the makers of an in-app ad management platform called SkyRocket and the parent company of popular mobile app testing platform TestFlight, has been acquired, we’re hearing. Though we’re working to get more information on this now, including deal terms, our understanding is that Apple is the acquirer here.

We’ve been pointed in Apple’s direction by a couple of sources…

Well, on the one hand that’s just about out of character as Apple acquisitions get, on the other hand, we sure don’t see any other plausible explanation for the increasing oddity of recent events, do you? Hopefully Apple just had a “why didn’t we do exactly this all along?” epiphany and are just bringing the TestFlight we all know and love under their umbrella, but on the off chance that’s not what’s going on here, maybe you all want to sign up for HockeyApp while the signing is good!

UPDATE:

All right, this is the first time we’ve updated a post inside the hour: It’s official!

Apple Confirms Burstly Buy

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” company spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told Re/code.

So yeah, anything you’re relying on TestFlight for right now: figure out a Plan B. Just in case.

MORE UPDATES:

From Crashlytics Labs: Announcing Our Beta Distribution Tool

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iTunes Connect Help

Ever get frustrated with submitting your apps/IAP/Game Center stuff through iTunes Connect? Yes, who hasn’t, indeed. Check out this piece for some help with saving your sanity:

Mastering Command-Line iTunes Connect Submissions

… iTunes Connect is, of course, a critical piece of the Apple developer puzzle. However, inputting any serious amount of content requires more than a little bit of patience, good luck, and praying to the powers-that-be that iTunes Connect doesn’t kick you out before you’ve uploaded your marketing assets and copy.

As the person managing the localisation of our apps and App Store copy, I spend a not-inconsiderable amount of time dealing with iTunes Connect and you can easily lose an afternoon in the system when you’re refreshing up to 15 screenshots, the release notes and marketing copy in each localisation. It’s a similar story for the Mac – huge Retina screenshots that can only be uploaded one at a time make for a time-consuming and often infuriating process.

However, there’s a relatively little-known tool available from Apple that can ease your pain, allowing you to retrieve, pre-flight and upload your app metadata…

Ever notice the ‘Transporter User Guide’ link under ‘Deliver Your Apps’ on iTunes Connect? Yep, that’s the relatively little-known tool.

But there’s some extra niftiness here:

Whilst Transporter has been a great improvement to our workflow, I’ve been itching to improve it further. To get things started I’ve built a small app that allows you to avoid both the Terminal and iTunes Connect itself to submit your iTMSP packages. It’s called Connecter, and the source is available on GitHub

commandlineitunes.png

Worth checking out for lowering the pain level on your store management, yep.

h/t: iOS Dev Weekly!

UPDATES:

Open Source Tool Providing An Extensive CLI For Working With iTunes Connect

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App Annie’s 2013 Retrospective

This is worth a read to keep tabs on just who’s winning teh app storez:

App Annie Index: 2013 Retrospective – The Top Trends of 2013

2013 was a milestone year for mobile apps and app stores alike, setting the stage for exciting new opportunities in 2014. Over the last year we saw many new trends including significant growth in emerging markets, a dramatic shift in game spending on mobile and the global expansion of social messaging platforms. In this App Annie Annual Index, we will uncover a variety of trends and insights to guide you in making smart business decisions.

Specifically, this App Annie Index 2013 Retrospective report recaps the top headline trends of 2013 with insights to the top-growing countries, categories, app stores, and more. The report shows the causes of this growth, giving you insights into the trends and markets you can’t ignore for the upcoming year…

Here’s their picks for ‘Top App Trends of 2013’:

  • Trend 1: Google Play Surpassed iOS in Worldwide App Downloads
  • Trend 2: Japan Became the #1 Country in App Revenue, Surpassing the US
  • Trend 3: BRIC Countries Emerge in 2013, While New Markets Are Poised to Break Out in 2014
  • Trend 4: App Store Games Spend Exploded, Surpassing Game-Optimized Handhelds
  • Trend 5: Freemium Proves Its Worth
  • Trend 7: Music App Revenue Rocked Out in 2013
  • Trend 8: Social-Focused Photo & Video Apps Went Viral
  • Trend 9: Mobile Banking, Payment, and Financial Management Apps on the Rise

The report also includes top apps and publishers by country, and top countries and categories for both the App Store and Google Play. Nothing shockingly unexpected jumps out at us on a first flip through it, but having some quantitative data to back up your impressions is always handy, yes?

UPDATES:

Also check out Developer Economics Q1 2014 for another industry overview!

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Tip: Easy App Store Refunds

Yep, we all get ‘em: that customer who finds something unexpected about your app and angrily demands that you, yes you, refund their money NOW and don’t want to hear about how you don’t actually have any way to do that? Well, here’s instructions straightforward enough to hopefully mollify them somewhat:

You can get a refund for any app on the App Store by following this process:

1. Visit https://reportaproblem.apple.com

2. Sign In with your Apple ID.

3. Click “Report a Problem” on the offending app.

4. Choose “Problem is not listed here” and be sure to mention that you are asking for a refund because it doesn’t work as expected.

h/t: @drbarnard!

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VanCocoa 1.0

Just a quick note here for any of you other Vancouverians who might have missed this so far — there’s a new group starting up this week you might want to add to your social butterfly rounds:

VanCocoa 1.0 — August 29th, at 6:30pm

Join us for the first VanCocoa night. We’ll have two talks of roughly 40 minutes each, then off for beer. The event is at SFU Harbour Centre downtown, at 555 W Hastings St.

Nigel Brooke — Audio Inception: MPMedia, AVFoundation, and Core Audio

Padraig Kennedy — Building Tokens

28 folks have RSVPed, 22 spots are left…

Unfortunately we won’t be there ourselves, but we’ll catch you there next time!

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iTunes Affiliate Changes

In case you never got around to slogging through the approval process for Linkshare link kickbacks, you can cross that off your todo list now: there’s a new affiliate scheme in town!

As a valuable member of the iTunes, App Store, iBooks Store and Mac App Store affiliate program, we want to alert you to some important program changes. We are no longer using the Linkshare or DGM networks, so if you are an affiliate in these programs, you need to migrate to the new program.

Performance Horizon Group (PHG) will support our new affiliate program. To continue earning commissions without interruption, you must set up a new affiliate account with PHG and update all existing Linkshare and DGM affiliate links before October 1st, 2013.

We have improved and expanded our program to create a more global platform with enhanced reporting capabilities. The new program terms include a higher 7% commission on eligible sales within a 24-hour purchase window. You can use the same new affiliate tracking token for US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Japan and more. Tradedoubler links are not impacted by this change.

APPLY NOW!

Here’s the FAQ explaining the new links, and the affiliate resources page, but you can skip those and just read this nicely done overview:

iTunes Affiliate Linking

Locate the product you want to link to in iTunes and copy its link. This should look something like https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/audiobooks/id311507490?mt=8

Locate your affiliate token. This is in the upper-right corner of your PHG overview screen. It should look something like 10l4B9.

To create an affiliate earning link simply append &at=token to the link. If your iTunes link doesn’t already include a ? then append ?at=token.

(Optional) If you want to track the performance of this link specifically you can then add a campaign token to the link. This is basically just a string that is meaningful to you which will be associated with all purchases resulting from this link. For example, you could add a blog tag to all your blog links to see how they perform. To append a campaign token simply add &ct=campaign_token to the link. The exact text you use is entirely up to you. It just needs to URL-safe and no longer than 45 characters.

You now have a fully formed affiliate link.

Simpler, more international, better paying, what’s not to like?

Oh … that’s right … all those links out there in apps out the wild that are going to be broken until the unlikely event that we ever get around to updating them. Bah. Too bad we’re not as clever as Michael Tsai here:

New iTunes Affiliate Program

I never liked the LinkShare URLs, and I’m not really a fan of the iTunes ones, either. So I’ve been using an Apache .htaccess file to create friendlier links. For example:

RedirectPermanent /store/mac-app-store/eaglefiler http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=gEdNJG0Aalw&offerid=146261&type=3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Feaglefiler%252Fid414232012%253Fmt%253D12%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30

This redirects http://c-command.com/store/mac-app-store/eaglefiler through LinkShare to the Mac App Store. Fortunately, this means that there’s a central place to update all the links. I also use this approach to create true permalinks in my apps for certain sites that often break their page URLs.

Yes, doing something like that would certainly have been a clever and forward-looking idea. Ah well, barn doors and horses. We’ll be ready for the next affiliate change!

UPDATES:

Parameters of iTunes, App Store and Mac App Store links

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Review: Escape Plan

Bit of a diversion today; we’re cutting away briefly from our accustomed iOS programming captivation to give you Dear Readers a recommendation for some lifestyle reading material. So if you’re just here for the geek and not interested in discovering the wide world out there, see you next time; on the other hand, keep reading if “Escape Plan: Discover the World, Live Better for Less” sounds intriguing:

escape-plan-2-pbook008.png

Ah, still here. Excellent. As you may have picked up on if you’ve been hanging around here a while, trolls do like to traipse about; seen about a third of the world, depending how you go about counting. (TravelersCenturyClub.org is the grandaddy of the place-counting cliques, and comes up with 321 places; MostTraveledPeople.com aggregates a bunch of minor sources like the DXCC List plus splits larger countries into their provinces and adds a bunch of oddball specks and border quirks to come up with 873 places; and of course the true connoisseur logs their visits to the 981 and counting UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well.)

And we tend to get a reaction whenever this comes up of how ohmigod you must be so rich to do that. And we’re like, well, no actually, if you have some clue about figuring stuff out on your own instead of supporting travel agent chains by booking package tours, it’s actually not a terribly expensive solo hobby — cheaper than it would cost to stay at home (living in the most expensive city in North America makes that comparison easier, of course…) quite often.

And then they’re like ohmigod you go by yourself to strange places how could anyone ever do that scary scary eek! And we sigh. Same planet, different worlds.

So for all those of you who have that instinctive reaction to the idea of going wayfaring, this is the single best book we’ve ever encountered to change your view of the rest of the world. And for those of you who think long term travel is a great idea but impractical, this is the single best book we recommend for you to read too. Hey, we’re iOS programmers, get a data sim from Keepgo.com (née iPhoneTrip) and all we need to be productive fits in a carryon and can set up anywhere with a cell signal, amirite?

Even if you’re one of the jaded Bindere Dundats of the peripatetic lifestyle, yeah you know 99+% of this already no big surprise secrets in wait, but even so there’s probably a couple of practical tips you’ll pick up flipping through this to make it worth the read. For instance, we had not previously been aware of EarthClassMail.com which looks like a significant upgrade to our usual mail arrangements.

So yeah; we recommend to pretty much everyone that this should be put somewhere near the top of your personal development reading list. And if you don’t have one of those — why, nothing better to start it off with, click that banner NOW!

escapeplan.jpeg
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Tip: Rebuild Launch Services

Notice annoying slowdowns in your version control client? Or the Finder in general? Or problems like these?

  • The wrong application is opened when double-clicking a file.
  • Multiple copies of a single application appear in the Open With menu for a given document.
  • Incorrect icons appear on files, folders, or other objects.
  • Finder error code -10660.  

This command line incantation will clear you right up:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -seed -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

And if you’re scared of command lines, apparently the Titanium Software maintenance apps will do the typing for you.

h/t: furbo.org!

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Programming Book Giveaway!

So, what better way to get rolling into 2012 than learn something new from a good programming book? Why, nothing at all, that’s what. And courtesy of the great folk over at Packt Publishing, here we have four choices for you, and a dead simple way to get whichever one of them you like: just tweet the message of your choice with the link provided to the book’s page, and this weekend we’ll do a search, first tweet we find with each link wins! So without further ado, here are your choices:

#1: Cocos2d for iPhone 1 Game Development Cookbook

4002EXP_Cocos2d for iPhone Game Development Cookbook.jpg.png

Tweet this: I’d like to read this book on cocos2d! http://is.gd/uMGIcA

#2: Unreal Development Kit Game Programming with UnrealScript: Beginner’s Guide

1925EXP_UDK Game Programming with UnrealScript Beginner's Guide.jpg.png

Tweet this: I’d like to read this book on UnrealScript! http://is.gd/D59QkK

#3: Android 3.0 Animations: Beginner’s Guide

5283EXP_Android 3.jpg.png

Tweet this: I’d like to read this book on Android animations! http://is.gd/T0g0Wi

#4: XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner’s Guide – Visual Basic Edition

2403EXP_XNA 4.0 Game Developement by Example.jpg.png

Tweet this: I’d like to read this book on XNA4 game development! http://is.gd/R42Uoa

And if you don’t so happen to be a lucky winner, fear not, you can still get your hands on any of these for a little quid pro quo, that being to post a review on your blog and Amazon and the like: just drop a line to Shaveer Irani of Packt with the subject “book name- review request copy” to join our Distinguished Fraternity Of Review Writers!

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