Friday, November 30, 2012

Icon Test Page

Like every iOS developer, we need to test lots of icons.  And while looking at them in a dropbox folder or sending by email works, nothing is as good as seeing them for real on an iPhone or iPad.

My brother (who does all the icons) is in London while I'm in Seattle--so he often is working on them while I'm sleeping.  We figured out a cool way so he can test them easily.

We made a PHP script that looks for icon files in a folder on the server.  It then makes up a web page to see them all on an iPhone default background, styled close to how they really look.

The script detects if it's an iPad to look right there as well.

In the morning, Shawn and I often have a whole page to look at as Pete has narrowed things down and tried variations.  Above is the progression for an icon for BounceBash (update, now in the App Store).

But even better, if you tap one, it sets that icon as the "apple-touch-icon" for the page so if you save the page to your home screen, you get that icon on the springboard.

And it works for any number at all, so you can add lots of test icons.  The "newest" even auto-updates if you tap it on the springboard, then return.

And here is what you need.

Download This.  It has both the index.php and .css files needed to put this on your server and make it work!

Pete did lots of nice HTML5 things for curves and stuff, so you will only need to provide your own background image.  And you'll need to edit the .php file to add a path so it knows where to look for the icon images.

Monday, November 12, 2012

iPad mini 2

I've had the iPad mini for a couple weeks now.

I've done a lot of testing of our upcoming games on it*, watched a few videos, played other games (Angry Birds Star Wars among others), and the usual browsing and facebooking.

I still love it.  It is the best portable game-playing device I've ever had.  The extra size screen makes things much easier to see than on the iPhone, and the size fits my hands much better than the full size iPad.

* That's another story :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

iPad mini

Is quite amazingly thing and light.  So much more portable feeling.  If I didn't have a big iPad with LTE already,  I'd probably return and upgrade the mini.  But as often as we're really out-and-about without WiFi; the big iPad 3, or the iPhone, can do the WiFi hotspot sharing.

I wonder if this had been the first iPad, and now there was a larger, thicker, heaver 9.7 inch model being released, how the response would have been.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oh, Microsoft.

I was going to install Windows 8, not intending to write anything about the process, just let it work away while I did other things, but...

The 2nd question asked, after the language to use, was for the license key.  OK.  But the directions for where to find the key don't match your packaging.  It's not on the back of the box--it's on a little card inside the box.  Not a big deal, but really shouldn't have something immediately wrong with the directions.

I wanted to do a new install (booting off a DVD).  So did the Advanced option.  It then presented me with a nice big list of "Drive 0 Partition 1" "Drive 0 Partition 2", 10 choices in all with the couple disks that are in separate partitions and I think some USB disks.  But nowhere does it say which one is the C: drive or which is the J: drive or anything helpful to tell them apart!  I'll have to go back out rebooting into Windows and look at the free disk space & size to figure which drive/partition is the one I want.

And to top it off, that screen doesn't even have a BACK button?  No wait, there it is, not by the Next button but in the upper left in the window's titlebar where 100% of the time I've used Windows for the past 20 years has been something else.  Is it my fault I missed it for awhile?  [Having finished the upgrade as I add this bit, it's not even a new thing for the rest of Windows to have the back button there--just the installer does it.  Weird.]

Now I can go back and at least click the other option.  I booted off the DVD, so can't do that.  OK.  But your message has block things in the text that say "I'm using some old font that doesn't have “quote” characters in it."  Trivial to fix by just using old straight " characters.  Nobody noticed this?

I had installed the Windows 8 preview before, hmm, which one in the boot menu is the new Windows 8 and which is the old?  I managed to guess right!  (The old broken Windows XP Setup choice there I've not managed to get rid of is another story.)

I had read that there was a new tutorial during the install process, to help people get started with all the changes.  "Good Idea" I'd said.  But:  the tutorial is one page of animation, saying to move the mouse into any corner.  That's it?  No mention about what the different corners do, or any more than that?

It started the new Metro* UI, and I promptly moved my mouse to the upper left corner--which did nothing.  Same for lower left.  Oh, right corners do the charms.  Using a bit more, ah-ha, after I've started an app, then upper left will let me switch (but I can't move my mouse into the corner, then back out onto the thumbnail to click it.  Gotta click right in that corner.  Why show the thumbnail that big but only make a fraction clickable?)  Huh, either left corner, then straight up or down does the switcher.

Since they are not even close to the same, saying "move the mouse to any corner" is hardly enough. Wouldn't it have been useful to make that tutorial explain what each corner did?  Or explain the extra motions after moving into the corner on the left side?  Or explain anything else about the new actions?  You could have simply made a Metro tile for "watch a tutorial video" that covered stuff to help people get started.  I know I can lock one Metro app on one part of the screen, but I'll have to go playing around to figure that out.

In our FTP app (and it's an FTP client, so it's for pretty knowledgeable users) the very first thing it does is offer to play a tutorial video.

WTF Microsoft.

* And fuck your marketing and stupid "Windows 8 Style UI" naming, I'm calling it Metro.