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Archive for the ‘iPhone App News’ Category

Another Big Announcement: Hours

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Hours — an early mockup

Hours — an early mockup

Since our next app, Languages, is more or less designed and is now in the programming stage, we’re hungry for yet another adventure.  And we’ve already decided what we’re going to do.  In addition to Languages and Cleaning Mona Lisa, we’re taking on two new in-house projects. One is Grades 3.0.  Stay tuned for more information on that in the coming weeks.  But right now I will be telling you about our other new in-house app.  We’re really excited about it.  And, like all great apps, it begins with a problem.

It’s all a matter of time

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Keeping track of your hours can be frustrating and sometimes infuriating.

Every week day we go to work.  Most of us are obliged to keep track of our hours. Innumerable small headaches, pains, and inconveniences accompany this. Some find logging hours tedious because they are constantly switching tasks (lawyers, for example).  Other find it tricky because they opt to fudge it and may not record their hours until the end of the day or the end of the end of the week; they often cannot remember exactly what they did and when. Everybody does it differently and everybody has their unique woes.

Bosses, employees, and self-employed entrepreneurs all wrestle with this issue: how to reduce the tedium and trickiness of time-tracking to an absolute minimum.

Is there an app for that?

Yes—sort of.  There is a throng of time-tracker apps.  But in our experience none of them are satisfactory.  We have tried to use a number of them, only to abandon them in favor of timesheet and pencil.  We find that generally the cure kills more than the disease and the side-effects are worse than the sickness.  There is no alpha dog in this space.

We have identified three areas that none of our competitors deals with successfully:

1. Starting, stopping, switching between tasks and remembering to do so—all via a simple and coherent interface.

2. Identifying errors and fixing them.  All the apps now make it extremely difficult to edit your time once you record it.

3. Back-end integration with billing and invoicing systems such as FreshBooks.

Where we come in

We believe that it must be possible to create an hours-tracker app that is simple, intuitive, and simultaneously powerful.  Having failed to find any such app available today, we have decided to make it ourselves.  We want to create an app that will cover as many use-cases as possible—from the programmer who switches tasks twice a day to the lawyer who switches clients continually.  We want to serve the meticulous time-tracker as well as the guy who fudges it.  And we want to do all of this via a UI that is clear, crisp, and delightful.

That is the vision.

And we’ve decided on a name.  In keeping with our other product names inspired by Apple’s Pages—Grades and Languages—we are calling our time-tracker “Hours.”

We are already deep into interaction design and are laboring on it furiously in the hopes of launching it ASAP.  Now back to work!

Q&A Event with Ken Yarmosh

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Recently, Skookum, the place where Jer works, held a special event. Ken Yarmosh, author of App Savvy, came and answered questions on iPhone app development. Jer served as moderator. The story made it into the Charlotte Observer (you can find the article here).

The great people over at CLT Blog filmed the event. I have embedded the video below.

The tablet and education

Monday, January 25th, 2010

First, a quick status update: because of school I haven’t had as much time as I had hoped so I’m delaying the launch of Grades to February. Okay, right now its a great app and something a lot of kids say they would buy right away. As I’ve said, though, I want it to be remarkable, something worth talking about. Its all about the details. Those little things that are oft ignored but, when taken together, contribute to a delightful experience, an experience worth sharing.

Now, the beef

Education. It’s the primary reason this blog has been so quiet lately. It also may be a good reason to start talking again.

Head over to TUAW and read their recent piece on the tablet and education. Its intriguing. Why would Jobs consider the tablet his most important thing he has ever done. Why would the tablet be more important than the Mac, the iPod, or the iPhone—devices that transformed industries? Is it because the tablet will converge all of these into one all-encompassing device? I doubt it. Is it because the tablet will make billions of dollars for apple? Not likely. Perhaps it is because it will transform yet another industry—the print industry—but Steve has transformed industries before—why would this one be more important than the others?

What about the Tablet excites Steve so much? The answer, as TUAW suggests, very well may be education. TUAW pulls out some great quotes, strongly suggesting that education is very close to Steve’s heart and that he really wants to do something about it.

This is exciting. I’ve always been interested in ways technology can facilitate education and feel that the power of technology and the internet is largely untapped and, at least, not efficiently harnessed to produce a remarkable education experience. If Jobs is taking this on… wow, it could be really big.

I, for one, have a feeling my next application is going to be all about education and, yeah, its gonna run on the tablet.

Its all about exploration

One thing we are pretty sure about is that the tablet will have a decent-sized multi-touch screen. This is crazy-awesome just in itself. Why? Educational exploration. Just think of the engaging interfaces we will be able to build for learning and exploring information. I’m just envisioning this delightful UI for zooming through information, getting instant definitions and related info and media and easily storing and retrieving bits and pieces of relevant information (with automatic source referencing). Maybe you don’t see it but as a college student I can just imagine lounging on the couch with this thing, exploring topics for class and having a lot of fun while I’m at it. If Apple can make information exploration and learning genuinely fun, I can see why Steve would be so excited about their “new creation.” Two. More. Days.

Link: Pastebot is amazing

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Pastebot | Tapbots
I am always delighted when the Tapbots release a new app. This, their third, could very well be the best of the bunch. It acts not only as an extended clipboard but allows you to easily copy and paste things from your Mac to your iPhone and vice versa. That goes without mentioning the stunning user experience. Remarkable!

Developers, get inspired!

Link: App store app pages finally get a facelift

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

The new app pages really emphasize screenshots. Big win for good looking apps and yet another reason to invest not only in usable design but in a fun and attractive face.

clicking on ".more" toggles class "visible" on "#popover" clicking on ".pageCover" removes class "visible" on "#popover"