TableView Tutorial

I finally wrote a tutorial on how to add some bling to your tableviews. I unfortunately  spent more time working on the markup of the web page than the actual tutorial. I need to find an easier way to do this.

If you want to have a table view that looks like this, then check out this tutorial TableViewGradients which also includes the source code.

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About to Start Doddle Beta

I think this is the first time I am openly talking about Doddle.  Doddle is the Top Secret iPhone application that I have been working on for what seems like a very long time.  We have version 1 about to go into beta testing this week.  It has been a mad scramble trying to wrap up all those loose strings.  The website issues seemed to be more of a big knot, but the folks working hard on that have pretty much resolved all the major issues.  Now it is just the minor issue.  The iPhone app is talking nicely to the website, that houses most of the data.  So what is this app.  Well if you are in the film production industry this is the too die for app.  Yes I have to say that I am very proud of the work that has been by the entire Doddle team.  What to know more, come and see the promotional videos, I know you will want to sign up.

Are you going to the NAB Show in Las Vegas?  If so come by the Doddle booth and say Hi!

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iPhoneDevCamp

I attended the iPhoneDevCamp in Boulder over the weekend.  It was an awesome event with about 30 people attending.  The iPhoneDevCamp is an un-conference.   That means that there is no schedule and that the attendees decide what they want to talk about.  Friday evening was a get to know you and find out what folks wanted to discuss on Saturday.  There were a variety of topics from how to use Xcode, to Core Data to how to sign code for a client.  Attending any session is optional and the idea is to participate.

Kendall Gelner is quite the expert on Xcode, but unfortunately he was out sick so I lead the Xcode session as I have attended his xcode debugging sessions 3 times, so by now I remember some not all of his tips.

We also has sessions on Interface Builder and Core Data.   It was good to get another primer on Core Data as I am about to start using it for my Super Secret Project.  I had two highlights.  First was seeing a DFVideoOut demo, which can be used to demo your iPhone using the video out. No need to crowd around the iPhone or point a video camera at the phone.  My second highlight was seeing Bob Kressin tell us a bit about the hardware certification process and how his company is developing prototypes.  All in all a great day.  I missed out on Sunday, which was a code jam.  Two teams were given a few words that they had to use as the title for their application.  Both teams managed to produce something to show in one and a half hours.

Thanks to the sponsors Metafy LLC, Xcellent Creations, Inc., and especially Joe Pezillo for putting it on.




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Best App Ever Awards

I was just reading on Mobile Orchard that 148Apps is holding their second annual “Best App Ever Awards” for iPhone Applications.  There are 55 categories, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a “Best App for Primary School Kids”.  That is so great that the educational apps have been broken down into sub sections as many educational apps are geared toward different end users.

I naturally nominated my “Math Explosion Multiplication and Division” App as it is a great way to get kids to learn their Multiplication and Division facts without using boring flash cards.  The game is pretty simple and is based off minute math, where you have to solve as many equations as quickly as possible within 1 minute.  It is race against time as the fuse burns down on the dynamite.  The equations are initially easy and get progressively harder.  The kids use a calculator type interface to enter their answers as I think the multiple choice approach leads to guessing.  If you are successful you are rewarded with fireworks and you get to go to the next level.  If you are not successful the screen “blows up” and you have to start again.

For parents and educators the application only shows equations you have not seen or have previously got wrong.  The game also has a high score system so you can see how well a child did.  Plus it gets kids motivated to try to do better each time.

For the kids the buttons make fun sounds which of course include fart noises.  Having levels and a scoring system gets them trying to beat their friends and they try to go so fast to beat the fuse.

So go and nominate “Math Explosion Multiplication and Division” for “The Best App for Primary School Kids

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Great Week

I think I had a great week all in all.  It sometimes felt like everything I was coding just did not want to work.  But things worked out on the home stretch.  The nice thing about having multiple projects to work on is that you can switch gears if something is not working and you need some time to figure things out.

I have been doing some consulting for a small business in town.  They are expanding and moving into a new building.  As part of their expansion plans they wanted to ensure Internet connectivity and so wanted to have redundant incoming lines.  I found a Syswan Duolinks SW24 load balancer that looks like it will do the trick.  It should load balance traffic over the available connections and notify you if a line goes down.  Now if both lines go down, how will you get notified?  I guess it will be stumped.

Part of the expansion was a need for more phones, with the ability to start off small, but be able to expand as more staff is added.

I found what looks like a really good VOIP service www.vocalocity.com for a small business in town that I doing some consulting for.   The phones and service will be purchased early next week.  VOIP is the way to go to keep your costs down and for all the amazing features you can get even without owning any telephony equipment.  The owner decided to go with VOIP phones Cisco SPA942 4-line IP phone that uses POE (Power Over Ethernet).  This means that the phone gets it power needs via the Ethernet cable.  No power adapters to deal with, and so long as the network equipment is on a UPS the phone will still work.

The last piece of equipement to buy was a Netgear FS726TP 24 port switch with POE to power those phones.  All the equipment can bought at www.amazon.com.

The main Top Secret iPhone Application I am working on is going well.  It looks really good as we have an awesome graphics designer.  There are many screen and I have been getting the basic framework knocked out.  That had some challenges, which I finally surmounted.  I think there is a bug with one of the UINavigationController calls, but I found a simpler way that worked.

Next week will require some more coding to get content into those many blank screens.

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Busy, busy

I have been busy with a few projects.  Some are straight forward contract projects doing iPhone development.  I have also been working for another start up, which is in super secret, stealth mode.  We will only have a product ready to be released in April 2010.  The nice thing about this project is that it includes both web and iPhone development.  On top of that I am also doing some contract work for RightStart helping them get their systems up and running.  But all in all I had a great Thanksgiving and even took the Friday after Thanksgiving off.

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Why an iPhone could actually be good for your 3-year-old

Here is an interesting article on very young kids using smart phones.  http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2009/11/01/why_an_iphone_could_actually_be_good_for_your_3_year_old/ While I think it is fine for very young kids to be using technology the amount of time they spend with technology needs to be limited.  Get out and get some fresh air and talk to your kids.  Don’t let the iPhone become the baby sitter.

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iPhone and email woes

I noticed more than a month ago that the email application on my iPhone was not working correctly.  It seemed to be a setup issue as I had changed my passwords and did not want to deal with it at the time.  I have multiple email accounts and out of habit use gmail via the Safari browser on my iPhone.  I have always used gmail via the browser as downloading just 50 emails at a time was too limiting.  I used get 1000’s of emails and I am not counting spam.  So the need to sort and search were extremely important.  I was a little concerned that with the built in email not working that I was going to have a problem sending email via an application.  I had some spare time tonight and thought that a password update would fix it all.  But to no avail.  Both emails are accessed via Google, one is a gmail account and the other is a personal domain that has the email hosted by Google.  They both use imap.google.com but only the personal domain was working.  It had to be a configuration issue as imap.google.com was working for the one account.  I checked and double checked, retyped in the passwords and then triple checked and still no luck.  I even went to far as to delete the accounts and restart the iPhone.  Even with just the one account I could not get it work.  The configurations on both the iPhone and on the Google end were identical.  Eventually I found a post that said I need to go to https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha from my iPhone as my account had been “locked”  Sure enough I entered my best guess for the squiggly Captcha and everything is working.  Sure would have been nice to know that 2 hours ago.

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WordPress for the IPhone

I saw that there was a wordpress iPhone app, so I had to download it and give it a whirl. It is of course much slower than if you have a full size keyboard. But is is nice if you are in a bind or don’t want to take laptop with you. So yes I am using the app now to write this blog.

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Featured in Network World

I had a nice surprise to find out that the Math Explosion games was featured in Network World.  It gave the game a little lift in the iTunes store, pity I am not charging for it yet, which is my intention, now that Pill Puzzle has been released.  I want to do a few updates to allow users to change colors.

Here is a link to the article 15 smartphone apps you shouldn’t live without – Network World

We are on slide 14.

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