Happy Holidays

Happy holidays from Wood and Wire Ware. I hope it’s been a good year for all in my audience. I wish everyone a joyous holiday season and a great new year to to come.

If you or someone you know is traveling this holiday season please consider getting my app Tips Across the Waters, an 11 world currency converter and tip calculator. It’s available in the Apple store for .99 USD at http://iTunes.apple.com/us/app/tips-across-the-waters/id474128076?=mt8.

Should you already have purchased Tips I would like to let you know that I’m working on the first update that will include several new features, some gained from your feedback which I thank you for your input. The iTunes upload area will be down for maintenance during the holidays and I he to get this update out prior to that time otherwise it will be released in January. Updates to Tips Across the Waters are free once you have purchased the app one time.

I’m implementing additional UI fields to support showing the tip amount which should make it handier in restaurants and I’m including localization customary tip amounts for the various included currencies. Additionally there will be some design enhance and currency rate updates.

Time to get on with the day so wishing you well again this season and thank you for your interest and support in Wood and Wire Ware.

Post Thanksgiving images, app thoughts and wanderings and caught a great podcast series

I hope everyone in the States had a great holiday weekend and that those abroad had a wonderful weekend. I spent time in my native Arkansas with my daughter visiting family. It was a wonderful time and as always I need to find more opportunities to get back more often. A few pic’s from the trip are…

Coming in to Little Rock

Coming in to Little Rock

Lights on the HIghway, near Batesville

Lights on the Highway, near Batesville

Continuing to think about my current and future app ideas for Wood and Wire Ware. As echoed earlier I’m planning the first update on Tips Across the Waters, my first app, which I released and was accepted in to the Apple store in late October (2011). An eleven currency converter and tip calculator, Tips Across the Waters, offers ease of use for both the world traveler and neighborhood diner. I’ve been offered a couple of suggestions that I’m hoping to employ in the first update. For those of you who have purchased my app, thank you! If you have please consider doing a review on iTunes. Additionally I’m working on my next app idea that will have a focus on diabetes.

I’ve recently came across a great podcast series on development, entrepreneurialism and Internet startup ventures, titled ‘Startups for the Rest of Us’ hosted by Mike Taber and Rob Walling. I’ve enjoyed four episodes thus far that is providing much food for thought as I delve in to my venture in app development. Check them out via their site at Startups for the Rest of Us as well as in iTunes.

My brother Bill's back deck

My brother Bill's back deck

All the recent images as well as these on this post were all made from the iPad. Though a few strange looks in public when I photograph from it, it so much reminds me as well as feels like I’m working with a view camera, something I always wanted in the analog world but was too costly to afford. The detail is of course not what it would be in a 4×5 or 8×10 film view camera but the feel of looking through the iPad display is both exciting as well compositionally inspiring.

Arkansas - wood cut

Arkansas - wood cut

I produced a walk through video of Tips Across the Waters recently and you can see it here on YouTube.

That’s it for this entry. Here are a couple more images from the recent trip.

Flying out on Monday - Clouds and Hidden Landscape

Flying out on Monday - Clouds and Hidden Landscape

All photographs were made by Jim Goodin.

Take Tips Across the Waters on Your Next Trip!

Tips Across the Waters offers much use to the traveler. I built currency conversion into it giving the user the opportunity to convert among eleven currencies. I equally designed the app so that you aren’t in a specific currency when you first start using it. As a user you enter the amount of local currency figures you are using. If you don’t need to include a tip for the service, once you enter the amount and confirm it by tapping the ‘Return’ button in the lower right corner of the device’s on-screen keyboard, you may then go to the ‘slot machine’ like wheel known in Apple terms as the ‘picker wheel’ and roll it/spin it to your desired currency to convert. The result including the exchange rate will be displayed on the right.

Tips Across the Waters currency conversions include the Australian Dollar (AUD), Brazilian Real (BRL), Swiss Franc (CHF), Chinese Yuan (CYN), European Euro (EURO), Great British Pound (GBP), Isralian New Shekel (ILS), Indian Rupee (INR), Turkish New Lira (TRY), United States Dollar (USD) and South African Rand (ZAR).

With the tipping functionality the user has set percentage options of standard 10/15/20 percent but may enter a number of his/her choice as well. This amount is then reflected in the sub total and total after an option to include a split the fare among guests.

From the total with tip and split, is then passed to the picker for conversion.

Tips Across the Waters is available in the Apple store for .99. Take a look at the title link here.

My Journey to Mobile App Development, part 2

Picking up from My Journey to App Development… As i was talking about at end of that entry, my first finalization of Tips Across the Waters was coming together near end of July. Conceptually I had a workable useful mobile app but in testing discovered a problem with one of the currencies I had chosen for that release as well as a couple of potential ‘leaks’. Equally my son said made a few observations that led me to rethink the design. I saw i could release and then do updates or i could revamp and tighten the code. I decided to roll back down the hill a bit and revamp.

Revamping led to an overhaul of the graphics adding some ‘relief’ to the background by using an image instead of just a view color. With the first phase i had ported to a few test devices to see what the app was like out of the Xcode Simulator. One of the other observations on the first draft was that the interface felt too busy, too many choices as was suggested to me. Additionally as I was ‘learning as I went to a degree’, I had garnered more tools at my disposal so I employed a picker wheel in the new model which allowed adding more currencies and giving the app more international flavor and less busy interface.

There was also an issue with my original choice of names which I had dubbed ‘International Tip Calculator’ which was rather dry by my own admittance and I discovered someone already had it. It was unclear whether that would lead to rejection by Apple but made sense to find a new name as long as I was going back to the drawing board.

So by September my reworking, newly dubbed Tips Across the Waters, was taking shape with a nicer look and more functionality and less busier interface, all goals. I felt was near release again. I initially was going to port for iPhone/Touch and later iPad but i had gone this far so why not see that through and implement rotation, an iPad prerequisite.

On the basics adding rotation was relatively easy but getting the views to work out right and be in sync led to some challenges. I had chosen to manage the views in one XIB (Interface Builder) file which was conceptually easier for me to understand but led me on a few adventures working out. I was able to get the majority functioning correctly but had a few aforementioned view sync issues that were real head scratchers which friend and programming mentor Chris Robertshelped me see through.

So by mid October Tips Across the WatersTips Across the Waters was ready for sail and on the evening of the 21st I uploaded to Apple for submission to the store very jazzed but equally prepared for a kickback asking me to revise/fix this or that. I had read many online stories of the process taking weeks. Just after uploading they did pass back and ask me fix the ‘white space’ in the file name which means all words in the file naming needed to be connected. I did that and reposted and soon got a message back that said ‘waiting for review’. It sat at this stage till the following Wednesday morning when it changed (which through the iTunesConnect developer portal I could check) to ‘in review’.

Again I thought during the day well probably something I missed in the HIG (human interface guidelines) they will ask me to revise. But later that evening an email arrived that read in the subject line, ‘Ready for Sale’ and I was quite proud and it is indeed ready for sale at Tips Across the Waters.

Blazing the Path and Growing with the Muse

This weekend I spent some time researching review sites to pitch Tips to for reviews and try to grow/broaden my traffic to the store. I discovered and pitched to several places including AppCarver, AppStorm, AppShopper and few others. Also have been thinking about investing in some advertising. It’s a big puddle I have jumped in to but feels very good to be part of this and have brought an idea from first glimmer to product. It is and will continue to be learning process but getting there.

I’m also beginning to work on two new ideas, one is a collaboration with a bandmate from past projects and another is an app that like Tips Across the Waters, is starting as a personal need that I can apply in the commercial sense. That one will focus on diabetes.

And also putting word out about Tips by word-of-mouth as much as possible. It’s all another chapter of marketing akin to what I did for years in my music. Hopefully this will be a wider market and direction which is my goal. I have dabbled in programming over the years but have not until now been able to make the jump from learning to ‘doing it’. Feels great to have gotten to a level of that stage. Many thanks to Apple for opening these doors for all of us as well as on a personal level friend and mentor Chris Roberts.

Stay tuned for more on the growth of Wood and Wire Ware.

Just tap on ‘Return’

Okay glitches and accidentally hit publish prematurely but as I was saying I’ve had a couple of comments from buyers of my app who have said ‘I enter the amount and tap 20 percent and nothing happens’, what’s up?

Well the way I wrote Tips Across the Waters after you have entered a number in either the amount field, the ‘other’ percent or the guest share, you have to tap on Return on the iPhone/Touch/iPad keyboard or the field of stuff you just entered will not complete and the app will appear not to work.

To my understanding this is the best way of ‘hiding or dimissing’ the keyboard and completing the action, moving the user on to the next part of the program, In this case processing the tip amount. There are a couple of other ways to do this from a programming standpoint but from my research and experience so far the idea of completing the field of information by tapping the Return button on the graphical i(device) keyboard parallels the way we type.

Well possibly not worthy of a blog entry but naturally I’m concerned users of my app[lication] ‘get’ this to have the most successful and enjoyable experience. I’m also wanting this blog to play part of a FAQ for my apps, sort of a FAQ with a human touch. 🙂

Using Tips Across the Waters, a User Guide

For those of you that have purchased or are thinking about purchasing Tips Across the Waters (e.g. TATW), though the interface is quite simple I wanted to offer a walk through for this entry.

The app in that it can rotate from portrait to landscape, encompasses two operating views or screens and a third view that is a help screen. In landscape view the layout is slightly different to accommodate the side view.

TATW is a percentage based tip calculator and eleven currency converter. The top and middle of the portrait screen are text fields and touch buttons that manage input from the user. The bottom portion utilizing a one segment picker wheel manages currency conversion. The user can either use the conversion inclusive of tip processing or the tip portion and. Guest share can be excluded.

Beginning at the top the user taps on the left most field labeled Amount. Doing so brings to the screen the tapping keyboard. The user enters their cost which they are calculating a tip followed by tapping the keyboard return key, an action required on all the apps input fields to tell the program the information entered is complete.

Next the user picks a tip percentage from the three preset buttons, 10, 15, 20 or in the right most field an amount of choice may be entered.

Following the percentage tap or a return key a Sub-total and Total are displayed. If the user wants to split the cost among party guests he/she will enter the number splitting the bill in the field in between. Pressing return completes that field and the Total will update.

Next the user can convert their total amount which assumes their own local currency to one of eleven including Australian Dollars, Brazilian Real, Swiss Franc, Chinese Yuan, European Euro, Great Britian Pound, New Isrealia Shekel, Indian Rupee, Turkish Lira, United States Dollar and South African Rand.

Spinning the From-To picker dial on the screens lower left to the desired currency returns the conversion. To receive a straight conversion from the initial amount without tip and guest share just enter that amount, tap the return key and spin the picker dial.

And that is a walk through of my new app Tips Across the Waters.

%d bloggers like this: