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Do You Remember Apple's Future?

More than 20 years ago Apple made two concept videos that show how they where envisioning the future of computers at that time. Long before flat monitors came into the main stream they showed them off in these videos.

Gestures are replacing the mouse, your index finger doing the pointing. Effortless video conferencing and collaboration. A smart search assistant very much like the famous computer voice from Star Trek: The Next Generation. But most impressively of all I find the vision of having all parts of the computer built into the display. Remember, the first iMac was sold 10 years later.

Also Apple did not shy away from making a point that computers should also be usable by people with disabilities even 20 years ago. I have yet to see a concept video by Microsoft that would dare this.

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Adding Days to an NSDate

Nagarajan asks:

I just want to get a date which is some 50 or 60 days away from current date.

How do i get??

There are two methods to achieving this. One that is quick and (potentially) dirty. And one that is always safe.

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Make Your Apps Crash-Proof!

Yesterday when I went into iTunes Connect to download some promo codes for peer reviews if noticed a new announcement. Apple has begun to provide customer’s crash reports for your apps. That’s great news as you now can see precisely where your apps need work.

Crash logs for applications are now available. To view them, go the Manage Your Applications Module below, click to view the desired application’s details, then click View Crash Report.

You can test all you want, in all likelyhood one of your valued customers will find a method to make your app crash because they use it in a way that you did not anticipate.

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Peer Reviews

Several people have followed my call for peer reviewing each others apps. With a US iTunes account you can take part in this networking activity yourself. You might get much more valuable feedback then from regular customers.

Here are all the apps I had a look at so far. Sorry guys for taking so long, but my US iTunes account is on my Windows PC which I avoid to turn on whenever possible. ;-)

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My App Rejected While Similar App Approved AND Featured

Several people contacted me today about this matter, for example Eknath:

Apple has been unjust to Oliver.

They just approved this app. “Sales Tracker” and not only did they approve it, they put it in featured apps. Very unfair.

I think we should make the noise in dev forums about his.

Eknath

While I had known about “Sales Tracker” since it made it into the store today we made the heart-wrenching discovery that this competiting app also was made a featured app. Being on the front page of the app store is in all likelyhood a very lucrative stroke of luck for it’s maker.

Of course I resubmitted MyAppSales right after Sales Tracker appeared on the store. Only to get rejected once again a week thereafter.

I called the US landline of Apple Developer Support to find out that I have two avenues of progressing. I could either write to the Review Team to aiming to get my own app passed, or I could write to the App Store Notices Team to get the other apps pulled. I chose the former, read my e-mail to learn why I think this is better.

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MyAppSales 1.0.3

Two minor fixes make out version 1.0.3 of MyAppSales.

  • Removed all NSLog statements
  • Revampted calculation of ¬†sums as to make them match with the detail lines

The latter bug was caused by using old currency exchange data to pre-calculate sums but using newer exchange rates for detail lines. This would sometimes cause a difference of a couple of cents which was more than a rounding error. There might still be a difference of one cent but that is because MyAppSales calculates all amounts in floating point without limit of decimal places, but only two rounded decimal places are show on the reports regardless of currency.

Get the new version from the customer-only SVN. UPDATE: I had forgotten to bump the version in info.plist. That’s fixed now.

PS: Dylan Prozenak of AppViz contacted me earlier, regarding my call to action for an open report downloading API:

I had contacted Apple directly about this a while ago and received a reply indicating that they were looking at it. I just filed a bug report as suggested. Probably should have done that first thing.

Hopefully it will make a difference; I’d love to make an AppViz for the App Store and hearing both your story and some friends of mine who developed a similar product makes me shudder. I know how much time goes into these things and then not being able to sell it is like getting slapped in the face; particularly since there seem to be a couple that made it in. Competition can only be good for this space; it keeps us all on our toes and innovating.¬†

How to Fix Code Signing Errors

Andreas asks:

With Device | Debug and Code Sign “iPhone Developer” I have no problems getting my app onto the device, but with all other configurations I get this strange error message in XCode Organizer.
Unexpected Error

That’s a weird error that most of us have encountered one time or the other. Here are my hints how to get it fixed.

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MyAppSales 1.0.2

This update of MyAppSales brings two cosmetic fixes plus on fix for a bug that I accidentially introduced in 1.0.1.

  • Added UTF-8 encoding header for import/export web server
  • Reduced tab bar icons in size, removed text from the splash screen
  • Fixed: On the reports root table the icons would not reflect that there are new reports in the daily/weekly category.

The last one was embarrassing enough to immediately release this version. I am updating the icons from an app-wide notification, but I did not consider that notifications only work if the Nib has already been loaded.

The new version can be checked out from the customer-only SVN.

The Importance of Method Naming

Recently Oliver’s blog post ‘Shuffling an NSArray‘ came across my twitter feed. I’m not sure I followed the link with the intention of being critical, but after reading, I felt the need to make a couple of points. Namely, a fairly staunch opinion that in it’s current form, Oliver’s -(NSArray *)shuffled method is an example of poor naming choice. I realize that the original post was intended to showcase the ability to extend existing classes with categories (a powerful and worthwhile concept to understand). However, take into consideration that many developers new to a language will copy and paste code snippets without fully understanding them, and the importance of using proper convention in code examples becomes very clear.

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Shorter Back Buttons

Today, on the train to the big city, I watched the seventh Standford iPhone Programming lecture and got an answer to a question I’ve been having for a long time.

Can I make the back button shorter in a UINavigationView? I like long titles, but it looks ugly on the back button!

The back button of a view that you pushed on the the navigation stack defaults to the previous view controller’s title. You want to make the title explanatory so a long one is good. But if you push another view controller onto the navigation stack you want the space to have an explanatory title on this one, or you need the space for something else.

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