Here’s Part 1 of an interview I did with Joe Natoli. We chatted about UI design, app marketing, and other iOS related developer topics.
I’ve been very quiet here on Tumblr for a long time now, guilty of blog neglect. But for good reason… If any of you have been wondering what I’ve been doing the past several months, I’ve been hard at work developing a fun new iOS app for Qello.
What is Qello? Pronounced “Hello” with a “Q”, this new service delivers the live concert experience right to you - on demand, in brilliant HD video! Offering the world’s largest catalog of concert films and music documentaries, and with mobile apps available for several platforms such as Android and iOS, you can enjoy Qello wherever you are and whenever you want it.
If that sounds a little too much like a commercial, that’s just because I’m really excited about it. As an iOS developer, I get asked to work on many different kinds of apps, but very few are genuinely fun to build. When I was hired to develop the Qello iOS app, I was thrilled. At first, because I’m a long time music fanatic, the project was very appealing to me. And then as an added bonus during development, I quickly found the Qello team to be a great group of people with a stellar business model and a solid vision for its future (something that is often too rare in today’s world of mobile startups).
I’m very proud of this iOS app and continue to work on adding new features and enhancements for Qello. A new version just landed in the App Store last night, available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. If you’ve got the New iPad, you’ll especially appreciate the vivid, crisp, Retina-optimized UI. It’s a free app download, so I invite you to check it out:
The free app download includes a video track from every show and hours of free content on Qello TV. To get unlimited access to Qello’s entire vault and to create your own Setlists, an In-App Purchase auto-renewable subscription is available (only $4.99 US per month).
If you like the app, be sure to spread the word and/or leave a positive rating/review for us on the App Store. Thanks!
I am so incredibly sad to hear about Steve Jobs’ death. Even though I did not know him personally, it almost feels as though a close family member has died. My life and career have been greatly enriched by his immense vision and inspiration. In fact, his contributions to the world have directly impacted my life in more ways than any music, book, or film has, which is probably why this loss means more to me than the passing of other legendary figures.
I grew up just a few miles away from Cupertino at a time when Apple was first emerging onto the scene. My first computer was an Apple IIe. My introductions to programming and digital design were on that Apple IIe. Since then, Apple products have always been my primary computers. Over the years, I’ve purchased countless desktop Macs, MacBook Pros, iPods, and iOS mobile devices.
As a loyal Apple consumer and an iOS app developer, my personal and professional worlds have been forever changed by the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. If the influence of Steve Jobs and Apple never existed, would I have become a software developer? Maybe not. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who can say that. It’s quite an accomplishment when you can change one person’s life for the better. It’s nothing short of revolutionary when you can change the lives of millions around the world. And that’s the legacy of Steve Jobs.
President Obama summed it up perfectly when he said: “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”
I’m glad that I was able to see him speak at the past two WWDC keynotes before his passing. I’m sure everyone at Apple and his family are devastated by the loss (and my heart goes out to them), but I believe that Steve’s vision will live on to not only inspire the Apple team, but may it also continue to inspire the dreamer in all of us for years to come.
Thank you, Steve! Rest in peace…
For all of you who use our NovelRank iPhone app, please be aware that NovelRank.com will be down for bimonthly maintenance starting at 2:00pm GMT (7:00am Pacific, 10:00am Eastern) on Saturday, October 1, 2011 for approximately 8 hours.
Since the NovelRank iPhone app retrieves data from the NovelRank.com servers, this means that the NovelRank iPhone app will not be able to fetch your book data during that October 1st maintenance window.
As soon as the NovelRank.com October 1st maintenance is completed, both NovelRank.com and the NovelRank iPhone app should be fully operational again.
Thanks for using NovelRank!
After spending the last few years writing iOS developer books for Apress, it was time for me to dedicate more time to actual app development in 2011. I released NovelRank for the iPhone earlier this year (now available as a free download in the App Store), and I’m currently hard at work on my next iOS app, which I hope to have finished before December (details to follow soon).
And while I’ve truly enjoyed being immersed in UI design work and Objective-C code the last several months, I’m starting to feel that old writing itch bubbling to the surface again. Not to write non-fiction developer books again, but a return to my roots writing fiction.
Most of you only know me as a developer, but yes, once upon a time, when I wasn’t busy programming, my free time was spent working on a novel. After two long years of sporatically working on it in-between client projects, I finally finished it. That was back in 1999. Hard to believe it was that long ago. I was much younger then, and it showed in my writing. Since then, I co-founded and sold an ebook publishing company with my good friend Dave Mark, as well as written and published a few professional books through Apress. Along the way, I’ve learned quite a bit about copywriting, editing, and the publishing process.
So why was my novel never published? At the time, I didn’t think it was ready. Now, upon taking the manuscript off the shelf and blowing off 12 years of dust, I cringe at some of that early writing (confirming my initial suspicions). Although some of it actually holds up quite well, much of it is amateurish and in desperate need of rewriting. In fact, I’m not happy with much of the novel’s plot structure. So what do I plan to do? Throw it out and start from scratch.
To some, that may sound crazy. But to me, it feels refreshing. I was never satisfied with the original manuscript and I don’t think any amount of revising is going to fix it. In my opinion, the best solution is to start over at page one with a new outline that can fix all of the first draft’s problems.
I’ve read that Arthur Golden rewrote Memoirs of a Geisha from scratch three times before he was happy with it. Hopefully, I’ll only have to rewrite mine twice (not counting the dozens of revisions that will surely follow). I welcome the challenge and I’ve already completed a new outline and notes.
To help expedite the writing, I’m determined to participate in NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) this year! Every November, I plan to do it, yet my busy work schedule always gets in the way. I’m sure my schedule will be just as hectic this November with app development projects, but I’m not getting any younger, so I’m planning ahead to hopefully carve out a little writing time each day (even if it means writing at night). Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck!
For all you Star Trek fans & toy collectors
I don’t usually blog about this kind of stuff, but since many of us app developers are also sci-fi fans, I thought you’d get a kick out of this little trip through memory lane…
Check out this vintage Star Trek-style tracer gun that shoots colorful plastic discs. If you’re thirty or forty-something, then I’m sure you’ll remember either owning one or seeing kids play with them. These vintage tracer guns were eventually discontinued due to safety concerns by parents, so this toy is highly collectable and hard to find. I believe this specific tracer gun model was made by Rayline.
I found this in an old box of my childhood toys in our closet. I’ve had this toy since I was a kid, but it was used only a few times (and later safely stored in a box). It is still in amazing condition (as you can see in the photo) and is still fully working with 200 refill discs, so I decided to list it on eBay.
If you follow this blog with any regularity, then you’ve undoubtedly seen my recent mentions of NovelRank, the iPhone app I’ve been working on the past few months. Now with it finished and approved, the app is finally available on the iOS App Store as a free download! If you’re an author, publisher, or book marketer, then you’ll definitely want to check out this free app!
App Store URL: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/novelrank-amazon-sales-rank/id423938573?mt=8
More app info is also available at: http://www.ebutterfly.com/novelrank/
As the official iPhone app for NovelRank.com users, this app enables authors and marketers to track and compare the Amazon sales rank statistics for printed books and Kindle Edition ebooks across several Amazon country sites.
As a huge fan of NovelRank.com, I’ve long wanted a NovelRank-powered iPhone app. Working closely with NovelRank.com, I designed and developed this native app from the ground-up, providing NovelRank.com’s core features in a convenient, mobile solution optimized for iOS devices. I really enjoyed working with NovelRank.com’s creator, Mario Lurig, on this project and look forward to future development on the app as we continue to bring new features and enhancements to NovelRank app users.
If you find the app useful, please do us a favor and help spread the word about the app by telling all of your friends and posting a positive App Store review. As always, your support is much appreciated! Thanks!
After receiving word that my NovelRank app has been approved by Apple, the release date is now set for the app to debut in the iOS App Store on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 as a FREE download!
As an app I personally wanted for my own needs and now use on a daily basis, it has been a labor of love to develop. I’m very excited to finally get the chance to share this app with all of you.
As many of you may know, it’s the official iPhone app for NovelRank.com users. Like the popular web site, the NovelRank app enables authors and marketers to track and compare the Amazon sales rank statistics for printed books and Kindle Edition ebooks across several Amazon country sites.
For more app info, check out: http://www.ebutterfly.com/novelrank/
To all my fellow iOS devs and book readers: I’ll be at WWDC (Apple’s annual developer conference in San Francisco) all next week, so if you plan on attending and want to meet up to say hello and chat, send me a tweet during the conference. I’ll be reachable via Twitter at @ebutterfly.
After months of development and testing, I finally finished NovelRank 1.0 and like any proud programmer, lovingly pushed it out the door to hopefully prosper out there in the big world of iPhone apps. As of this blog post, the app submission is “Waiting For Review” but my fingers are crossed that the app review process goes quickly and smoothly…
What is it, you ask? It is the official iPhone app for NovelRank.com users! Like the popular web site, the NovelRank app enables authors and marketers to track and compare the Amazon sales rank statistics for printed books and Kindle Edition ebooks across several Amazon country sites.
For more app info, check out: http://www.ebutterfly.com/novelrank/
The best part is that the NovelRank app will be offered as a FREE download once it becomes available in the App Store!
This free app is ad-supported, and as soon as Apple resolves the Lodsys patent issue over “upgrade” buttons, the plan is to eventually roll out a future app update with a Pro upgrade option via In-App Purchase that unlocks additional features and removes the ads.
Stay tuned… As soon as NovelRank’s available in the App Store, you know I’ll be blogging and tweeting about it!