Archive for August, 2009

Why I Write iPhone Apps

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Well, there’s a bunch of reasons: I like making interesting stuff, it’s great to get a bit of additional income from a hobby, and it’s very rewarding when people write to tell you they like your stuff. But in particular, why do all that on the iPhone? There are several other platforms that would enable all that.

I think it all boils down to one thing: doing this sort of thing on the iPhone allows me to focus on the stuff I’m interested in. I mean, there are a ton of other considerations when making apps like distribution, commerce, security, etc. — these things need to be worked out, but they aren’t what I’m doing this for. Fortunately, Apple takes care of all these things for you, which means that I can concentrate on drawing the art, creating the interfaces, designing the games … the interesting creative parts.

When I was a kid, I used to wonder about “the future” a lot. I used to think it’d be all about flying cars and fancy gadgets. Well, flying cars haven’t really made it (although there’s certainly no shortage of gadgets) but even if they had, I think the biggest impact technology had would still be the fact that it enables ordinary people like you and me to create and share their works with everyone else be it silly videos, obscure iPhone apps, or ephemeral random thoughts.

Nephew in Town

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Tracy’s sister’s 12 year-old son spent the past week with us and it’s been a bit challenging trying to figure out what he’d enjoy. Swimming pool? Yup. Exploratorium? Mostly. Playing Rock Band on the PS2? Yup. Doing chores for us around the house like vacuuming our living room? Not so much. Still, we have so many chores that he could help out with, I figure he’s gonna like one of them … right?


Monday, August 3rd, 2009

As an iPhone app developer, I like to keep track of how my apps are doing on a daily basis. They’re not huge sellers or anything (usually like a couple dozen or so total sales per day) but I am curious. On Friday morning, I noticed that Apple slightly modified their iTunes site in such a way that (the python script that I was using to grab my daily stats) stopped working.

I checked for updates but didn’t see any. So I spent some time trying to see if I could fix it myself. I don’t know python that well and I know almost nothing about web protocols or forms or what not but after some searching, I found a script that mostly worked from a couple web pages on that topic. So after several hours on Saturday of experimenting, modifying, and coding I finally got it to work again! I also threw in a modification to be able to type your password on the command line invisibly.

And then I found out that the original author had submitted an update to resolve the main issue just a few minutes after I first checked.

Ah well, it was still an educational experience and now I know python a bit better. Also, this supports my theory that if you ignore a problem long enough, it eventually goes away. In any case, if anyone’s interested in my version, it’s here.