Archive for 'Website'

Free PayPal API Book

Here’s a hot action tip — pop over to the O’Reilly site today or tomorrow for a free book:

PayPal APIs: Up and Running


Does your web application provide users with a convenient way to complete transactions? This book introduces you to PayPal’s APIs with instruction and resources for integrating this popular payment solution in different application environments, including mobile. By the end of this book, you’ll have a clear understanding of what PayPal is and how you can get the most out of its powerful features for your particular payment situation.

Note particularly the “including mobile” part of that. Remember quite a while back we noted that they were beta testing an iOS PayPal integration component? Why yes, yes the last chapter of this book is all about that:

Mobile Express Checkout Library for iOS

PayPal provides a MEC library for iOS, available for download… This MEC library supports two different programming flows: it can be called either directly from your mobile application or via a PayPal button on your mobile website.

MEC Mobile Application Integration

MEC can be integrated into your mobile application, allowing you to start and end the payment process with screens inside your application…

And hey, you might want to put PayPal payments into an app sometime … so grab the book for free while you can!

(Or, if you’re stumbling across this via a search engine months later, here’s the regular book page for your convenience.)

h/t: @rwenderlich!

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Issue tracking: Lighthouse Keeper

So, now that our first native iPhone app is off to beta testing (and that took quite long enough, didn’t it?) time to sort out what we’re going to do to formalize the issue tracking here at Trollwerks, which in the programming frenzy since our April inception has been … transcriptive, shall we say? … before any external issues become arisen.

We’re not really looking for much in the way of process here (at the moment, anyways) only personal organization, so our feature checklist is, oh look at that, empty. Unless you count ‘as low overhead as possible’ as a feature. But it’s more of a philosophy, really. One we strive to in every area of life, actually; after all, the one and only resource that’s truly finite is time. But we digress. (Oh, the irony!) So, getting back on track, what would low overhead imply for Our Perfect Issue Tracker?

First off, it implies no ongoing cost without clearly compelling justification. So we take your FogBugz and your JIRA and your whatever commercial offerings, and we summarily eliminate all of those, since there is no clearly compelling justification on the horizon.

Second off, it implies that we’re not going to be setting up and managing our own server if at all possible, because that’s a hassle. We’ve tried both local and remote setups of that at various places, and at the very best it’s been only intermittently annoying. So we take your Bugzilla and your Mantis and your whatever open source offerings, and we summarily eliminate all of those. Are we Linux geeks? We think not!

So that reduces our problem space immensely … since it gets rid of all widely used alternatives. Hmmm. Well, let’s look at it the other way then, what do we like in an issue tracker? And, y’know, there’s only one thing we’ve ever used that springs to mind; and that’s over ten years ago now, the Mac OS 7 native program “TestTrack”, which has grown up to become a real company since; but has completely lost the elegance and simplicity of a native Mac application with a single data file. (Multi-user control was “file locking.” Not the most scalable no, but very low overhead indeed!) We liked using that, and we haven’t liked any of the client-server systems we’ve used since.

Well, guess what? It’s not here now, but it’s promised that soon there’ll be a native app that looks like it has a good shot at displacing our pining for old school TestTrack. It’s called Lighthouse Keeper, and if there has ever been an issue tracking client that’s looked as good as this, we’ve certainly never heard of it:

So what is the “Lighthouse” that this is the Keeper of? We’d never heard of that one before. Turns out that it’s a hosted service that focuses on

well, beauty and simplicity, as they say. Now that sounds about right. As does what the Keeper author has to say:

I looked at the usual suspects: Trac, FogBugz, Mantis, Jira etc. None of them really clicked with me, they seemed to do too much or have overly complicated UIs. Lighthouse was different, it was designed to be simple. It didn’t try to be everything to everyone like some of the above. It let you file tickets, assign them to someone and then work your way through them. And most of all, it had an incredibly well designed UI.

Of course, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of web apps. They’re fine to use occasionally, but when it’s something you’re working with all day it’s frustrating to either have to keep logging in, or at least keep a Safari window open. Luckily the Lighthouse developers provided a pretty comprehensive API so I thought that I’d set about making a desktop client to get around this.

So that’s all looking pretty intriguing, and we thought we’d take a look at just what the Lighthouse pricing is, on the off chance that this might rise to the level of “clearly compelling justification” that we mentioned earlier. And guess what? They do have a free offering, not only for Open Source projects, but for private use as well, with restrictions that most likely aren’t going to chafe us in the near future. And hey, you just can’t get any lower overhead than a hosted service, can you now?

So there we are! A new issue tracking system to try out, which we’d thoroughly recommend to your attention as well if you subscribe to the same minimalist aesthetic we do. Once Lighthouse Keeper makes its way onto our desktop, we’ll be sure and let you know how this experiment progresses!


While we still like Lighthouse, if you’re looking for a self-hosted bug tracking system, Bugify sure looks sweet!

17 Bug and Issue Tracking Apps for Developers

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Flickr does geotagging!

Our choice for niftiest feature in the iPhone 3G isn’t the eponymous 3G like most people’s is, hey WiFi is faster still and the original iPhone has that; it’s the GPS functionality. For quite a while now we’ve been intrigued by the possibilities of geotagged photos, but never got around to spending the couple thousand worth of gear or putting up with the annoying track log/timestamp reconciliation process that it would have taken up until now; and hey it would have been a waste if we had, because what do you know, the iPhone’s Camera app will do that now! Just allow it to when it asks, and it’ll embed the GPS latitude and longitude coordinates in standard EXIF format. Not altitude apparently, but oh well.

And we were even more pleased to find that there’s a readily available method to make some use of that info right now: it’s called “Flickr” which I imagine you are familiar with already! Just go into the privacy settings and allow it to dig into the EXIF tags and share your location information, and you’re all set.

Let’s take a look at what it does with this photo off our balcony we uploaded exactly as taken. Observe that over on the right it provides the links

Nifty, huh? If you click the map link above, you’ll get a full page version, but here’s the popup you get when you click it on the Flickr site: So that’s nifty and all, yep; but we figure that there definitely needs to be a blogging client that takes advantage of Core Location and geotagging for giving one’s travelblogging that little extra frisson. Conveniently enough, the good people writing The WordPress for iPhone App are planning to open source it; so if nobody else steps up and adds that — hey we will before our next trip!

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Extreme travel

Alright, this has nothing to do with iPhones, or programming, but it’s too cool to not bring to your attention. You like traveling? You enjoy a challenge? Well, here’s the ultimate extreme sport for you then — check out!

Yep, this site makes traveling into a competitive sport, with constantly updated world rankings no less. Now, is that not, like, the most cool thing ever? And even better, it’s a sport that no one has actually won yet; of the current 673 places on the list — and members can vote to add more! — the leader (and site founder) is “only” at 630.

Since trolls are always up for a challenge, and hey this is pretty much as challenging as challenges get, we signed up immediately, of course. And we have a not too bad start, check out the map of 145 places down — 528 to go! — which is good to debut us at MTP rank #408. Let’s see just how quickly we can improve that, shall we?

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WWDC on your iPhone!

If you’re going to be at WWDC — and hey, even if you’re not, there’s other stuff there too — you should be aware of, which “provides a unique service to users of Apple’s mobile devices. Users can view handy snapshots of popular destinations and events around the globe.” In this case, it’s WWDC!

iPhone and iPod touch-wielding visitors to next week’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco can enhance their visit to the show with a handy guide made available by

A website for iPeople who are going places, has introduced its latest event guide aimed at the legion of developers making the pilgrimage to the conference.

Completely free to access, this handy ‘Pod SnapShot’ has the look and feel of a native iPhone application and provides details of all aspects of the show – from Conference Schedules, Lab and Session details, Travel directions, Disabled access, Moscone Center facilities, after hours events and more.

“Like the previous event guides we’ve made available, iViewr provides visitors to the Conference with all of the important information especially formatted for display on their iPhones or iPods” said Rod Cambridge, founder of iViewr. “If you have one of these devices, there’s simply no more need to be carrying around a jumble of papers, map and leaflets when a guide like ours is available.”

Well, hard to argue with that; my Springboarded bookmark of their site has certainly replaced the 2-per-day printouts that I made last year to try and keep track of sessions. An excellent service, and probably worth checking out whatever else is there as well.

h/t: MacSurfer!

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Review: iGiki Ultra Games

< deleted for obsoleteness >


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Review: Custom Radio for iPhone

Ah, yes. What could be more natural a web application for an iPhone or iPod than a custom radio feed over teh InterTubes? Well, that’s the theory behind, “Custom radio that plays the news and talk you want.”

In their words,

Our service enables you to hear the audio content you care about. We “stitch” it into personalized, always-current stations that you can easily listen to on your iPhone or computer.

Stitcher revolutionizes information radio because it is:

Customized: we learn what you like and don’t like – so we can serve you better and better content
Easy: just start listening, we’ll take care of the rest
Portable: stream Stitcher anywhere: no satellite device, Wi-Fi or syncing required

It does work to the desktop as well, but the interesting part to us is its iPhone support. Let’s go log in, which is free and straightforward, if you have an iPhone: (more…)

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