Blackbar for iOS


Blackbar is one of those rare games that takes a simple idea and nails the execution. It’s a word game that’s delightfully simple, with an engrossing story behind it. And made in Portland. Get it here.

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Writing an iOS app with Corona


From The Beast Within:

The experience was overall a good one, with expected frustrations that come with writing code. I still label myself as a “hobbyist” developer, because there’s still tons I don’t know about Corona and app development. But if there’s one thing that can be said about Corona, it’s that it enables almost anyone to write an iOS app; if you can pass an intro-to-Computer Science class, you can write an iOS app with Corona.

As a long-time iOS developer I don’t often think about mobile apps outside of Objective-C. I still believe native frameworks are the correct answer for most apps, but it’s good for everyone that even a non-programmer can bring something to market in his spare time.

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Tutorial: Disable the iPhone 4′s Front Camera


I’ve been negligent in posting new articles this year, but despite appearances this blog isn’t quite dead yet. I’ll begin regular postings again soon, but in the meantime here’s a link to an article I guest authored over at iCodeBlog:

One option is to replace the standard camera controls with a custom interface, but that’s a whole lot of work if you just want to prevent the user from taking a photo with the front camera. Fortunately there’s another option: put a transparent button over the “switch camera” button, which will intercept touch events and show an alert dialog. It sounds simple, but as you’ll see there are a few tricks to actually getting this to work.

Check out the rest here!

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June / July Link Roundup


Cocoa developer Matt Gemmell tells us why our application’s website sucks. I admit to making some of these mistakes in the past, although I think I fixed most of them in my most recent set of updates.

Alexander Repty released a PDF reader for iPad, Folio Case, right around the time Apple announced PDF support in iBooks. Alexander has written a lot about his experience on his blog and Twitter, and it’s an interesting story to read.

Speaking of iBooks, if you’re looking for free content in .epub format there’s nothing better than The Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Dave Caolo’s new Apple blog, 52 Tigers, has a great post about the small changes in iOS 4 you may have missed.

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Jawbone ICON shows battery indicator on iPhone


Despite already having a second revision Jawbone bluetooth headset, I’m still tempted by their new ICON series released this week. This is the first headset I’ve seen other than Apple’s that uses the iPhone’s bluetooth headset battery indicator, along with other improvements over previous models.

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Steven Frank on the App Store


Steven Frank, of Panic co-founder fame, is taking a stand against the iPhone.

When the app store first opened, there were some questionable decisions, and like most everyone, I was willing to forgive Apple a few transgressions as they were navigating new, exciting (and rocky) territory. Historically, Apple has made bad decisions, but they’ve generally corrected them. (The $100 refunds for original launch-day iPhone purchasers after the price dropped come to mind.) The boat may turn slowly, but nothing before has ever suggested to me that Apple are actively malicious.

But after an entire year of continuous bad decisions that are hostile to developers and consumers alike, we’ve moved on from “working out the kinks” to good old-fashioned getting fucked.

Every week it seems like there’s more and more developer backlash about App Store policies and the viability of making a living as an independent iPhone developer. I don’t blame them; right now the App Store is not a platform I would want to commit to. At the same time though, I’m not about to give up my own plans for the iPhone. Most of the apps I have in mind are companion apps to desktop Macintosh applications I’ve been working on over the past year or two. While I might make money on the iPhone apps alone, I don’t see them as a way to make rent as much as I see them as a way to augment and improve the work I’m already doing on the Mac. And I think most Cocoa developers will agree with me when I say that OS X is still a pretty sweet platform to write software for.

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Voices That Matter: iPhone Developers Conference


I’ve recently been invited to the 2009 Voices That Matter: iPhone Developers Conference, taking place in October in Boston, MA.

This conference is designed for Mac developers looking for a succinct, easy way to get up to speed on the specific skills needed to build, test and distribute successful applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. Erica Sadun, author of The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook and our event’s technical chair, will lead an epic group of speakers at the conference including Aaron Hillegass, Andy Ihnatko, Jon Rentzsch, Steve Kochan, Fraser Speirs, Lee Barney and lots of others.

Having missed out on yet another year of WWDC, I’m excited about this conference. Many of the presenters are developers I know well through Twitter and blogs, and I have a great amount of respect for their work. I’m pretty confident I’ll pick up plenty of great tips that will help in the iPhone development work I’ve been doing lately.

The event organizers sent me a $100 discount to post here for readers. If you’re planning on attending, register here and be sure to use the priority code PHBLOG. There’s an additional $200 early bird discount available before September 12th. Also, send me an email beforehand if you’re coming and I’ll try to say hello!

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Free iPhone ringtone pack


The iPhone’s built in ringtones are pretty disappointing if you just want a “plain” ringtone, so I always have my eye out for sites like this. RCP Tones is selling their synthesizer ringtone pack at a “pay what you want” price, anywhere from $0.00 to whatever you think it’s worth.

iRingPro’s Zen collection is another good pack I’ve used, although their price is fixed at $10.

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The Great Indie Bake Off 2008


I love it, indie iPhone developers bake cake representations of their applications. The iPhone development community is largely new and doesn’t seem to have the same sense of community as in the Mac OS X development world, so it’s great to see things like this pop up.

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Griffin PowerDock


When I bought my iPhone last month I picked up a Griffin PowerDock to bring some order to the number of iPod charging cables I have. For $50, I’m a little disappointed. It didn’t come with an iPhone 3G dock adaptor (I should have read the box more carefully), although you can order one online for around $5 + S&H. Worse though, the iPod Nano 2G dock barely fits, so much that I was almost afraid of breaking it the first time I tried to put the iPod in. Plus, the whole dock is just slightly uneven on the bottom, so despite having a big rubber pad it tends to slide around a lot.

I’ve always been happy with Griffin in the past, I would have expected more from them. It would have been different if it was made Belkin or another mass-market company.

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