Growing your brand

AppCubby: "How do I grow App Cubby in a way that increases value AND income? That's a question I've been asking myself since the day the company was founded. These past few months, I've been working on a solution I think makes a lot of sense. I've signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with Honeywell to advertise its consumer auto brands - FRAM, Prestone, and Autolite - in a rebranded version of Gas Cubby called Gas Cubby by FRAM." - Very interesting, very, very, interesting, and smart to boot.

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Shipley to Jobs: "Don't be evil Steve."

Will Shipley: "But when you sue someone for doing something you do yourself, you become one of the bad guys. Can you name a company you admire that spends its time enforcing patents, instead of innovating? Remember the pirate flag you flew over Apple's headquarters when you were building the Mac? Is Apple part of the Navy now?"

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Jackson Fish Market ships a Mac app

Jackson Fish Market: "Today we're taking the software created expressly for Jenny's wedding and shipping it to the rest of the world. Thrilled For You(tm) - Wedding Video Guestbook is a modern take on the traditional guestbook. Instead of signing a physical book, guests walk up to a kiosk running the Thrilled for You software, and record a video congratulations to the happy couple." - Pretty sweet. They just keep coming up with great little niche ideas. This one combines web and client side, sort of. When you order the software online it comes customized for the couple! Very nice.

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Omni Group to embrace iPad

Omni Group Blog [via @danielpunkass]: "Remember how Macintosh was intended to be the computer 'for the rest of us'? That's what we feel Apple's iPad is: the best computing device for most of the things people use computers for. (Or, as Apple puts it, 'the best way to experience the web, email, and photos.') It's the computer people can sit down and start using immediately, without training, whether they're 2 or 92." - That is a huge commitment from one of the leading independent Mac developers on the planet! WOW!

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Indie+Relief: "All proceeds made on January 20, 2010 will be donated to Haiti. You get great software, Haiti gets financial help in its time of crisis."

Apple Core Labs: "Apple Core Labs will donate all proceeds from sales of RxCalc on January 20, 2010 to Doctors Without Borders to help the people of Haiti."

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Sounds good to me

Matt Gemmell: "Ship a mac software product. Being a self-employed contractor is wonderful compared to being an employee, but being a software vendor has always been the goal. Three years from now I'd like to be self-sufficient with my own software, and the first step is to release a 1.0 product." - Matt has contributed some really great code to the Mac community. In fact his Open Source contributions inspired me to write some small, free, source code and give it to the Mac community.

Good luck Matt, we'll be looking for some cool stuff to come out of Instinctive Code.

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Free Objective-C/Cocoa Code

Merry ChristmasI've been tinkering with some code off and on for a while, and thought I'd finally share it with the Mac Developer Community in hopes of getting some feedback as well as some users.

The project is called Shrty, short for "Shorty", and you can use it to shorten URL's in your Mac Desktop or iPhone application. The code is a work in progress, but I'm hoping folks will find it useful.

Shrty shorten currently supports,,,, and YOURLS based URL Shorteners. I have support for coming, the parsing required a bit more work and it's not quite finished.

Expand is not quite ready. I need to work on the parsing code for all of services.

The project basically contains a sample application that exercises Shrty, and the Shrty Library Code. The test application is nothing fancy, and in fact is pretty darned ugly, but if you decide to make use of the code I'm sure you'll make a great UI for it.

If you have any feedback please drop me a line, In the meantime, Merry Christmas!

Christmas Present Icon by Icon Drawer,

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12 Days of Christmas the Jackson Fish way

Jackson Fish Market: "With the holidays coming, we decided to put out a little end-of-year treat for everyone. As of today A Story Before Bed now features the Christmas classic The 12 Days of Christmas. Since we produced this book in our in-house publishing division it only made sense to feature the characters from our Hippo Hooray series - Honey the hippo and Raphael the robin. Once the book started coming together, the next logical step was to launch it for the iPhone as well. So now you can record a video of yourself reading The 12 Days of Christmas on A Story Before Bed just in time for Christmas, and you can purchase The 12 Days of Christmas iPhone app that features all the artwork from the book and a modern instrumental soundtrack to which you can sing-along. The words appear on the page synchronized to the music so you won't forget the lyrics." - Nice work.

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New comic strip

George by John Norton - John dropped me a line last night. He discovered this weblog via a friend that was looking for fellow developers from Fresno. I'm amazed more and more each day how small this world really is.

Anywho, now I have a nice new comic strip to visit!

Thanks John!

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Clearly I'm doing something wrong

Finger Gaming: "According to a report at VentureBeat, the six-member team at Backflip Games has earned more than $1.75 million from its iPhone apps in the company's first seven months of business. The team attributes its success to effective use of in-game advertising and cross-promotion." - I don't know what to say about that, other than, WOW!

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MarsEdit 2.4 hits the streets!

Daniel Jalkut: "MarsEdit 2.4 is available today and features a few ... cookies ... that you might enjoy. In particular, this release fixes bugs, fine-tunes a lot of behaviors that have been bugging me for ages, and takes support for the increasingly popular SquareSpace to a higher level." - Got it, using it to publish this post.

My favorite change...

"Post editor windows now automatically remember size and screen position"

YES! That was my idea. Smile, life is good! (Well... yes and no. I asked for it, like I'm sure a BUNCH of other folks did. Thanks Daniel!)

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Great Mac Software Companies

Old School Happy Mac.I was asked recently "If you could work for any Mac software development company, who would it be?"

Well, that's a really tough question. Here's a list of companies I have a ton of respect for. Some are small, mom and pop type shops, others are computing giants.

Here they are, in no particular order...There ya go! A list of great Mac development shops.

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Seasonal Look

Rob's 2009 Jack-O-LanternDan Wood's Mac Indie Marketing: "The idea was to get as many indie developers to insert a bit of code, and some artwork, into their application, and have it released before Halloween. Then, simultaneously, Snow Leopard users would notice that a lot of their apps - at least those that were from participating indie companies - had special Halloween icons." - I love this idea, and would participate no questions asked, if I had a Mac Application. It should be no surprise I'd participate, just look how my header graphic changes month by month. Not to mention how much I LOVE HALLOWEEN! Great stuff.

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One Finger Discount

Macworld: "OFD is open to any Mac developer; it's being organized by Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software, maker of MarsEdit, FastScripts, and other apps. Jalkut says any developer is invited to participate, and so far more than 25 have signed up. You can now get some great apps like NetworkLocation, Today, Linkinus, and more, all at 20 percent off their original price. Shoppers simply need to use the coupon code "OneFingerDiscount" where applicable." - As of this post the number of companies participating in One Finger Discount is up to 84. Many companies have more than one application to offer, in fact it looks like most of them have more than one application. Go check it out, you might find a great application you can't live without, and you can get it at 20% off.

Also, the MacHeist folks have a great "nanoBundle" for FREE.

It's a great time to go get some software. What are you waiting for, go, now!

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Revisiting 09/11, Scripting News

I followed a link via Dave Winer's FriendFeed this afternoon to an piece on Gigaom titled "Remembering 9/11 - A Time Before Social Networks."

I left a comment of course because I was a part of a social network at the time, called weblogging. The only thing Twitter has brought us is a much quicker flow, along with more noise to sort through. Still useful, yes, just noisy.

On that day I found it next to impossible to get through to CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times websites. They were just overwhelmed. I turned to Dave Winer's Scripting News for up to the minute information. Dave, if you read this, you did a great job that day.

This brings me to the title of this post. Go read Dave's account of the day, and click on the links. It's surprising how fragile our lovely World Wide Web is. A lot of the links just don't work. Sad to lose that history, don't you think?

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The Truth of a Vertical Market App in the App Store

I'm referring to my own experience as an Independent Apple iPhone Developer. Since RxCalc went into the store things have been slow for us, slow but steady. Please, don't take this as a complaint, I'm very proud of our little effort, and I feel that sense of pride when I talk to people about what my brother and I have done. It's our baby, even if it's not making us piles of cash, we're committed to supporting and nurturing it. It wont be left to whither on the vine. There's work to be done!

To date, by my calculations, we've sold 99 copies of RxCalc. Apple Core Labs has received our first check from Apple, it was a very exciting day! In fact, we're going to celebrate it. Yes, I believe in celebrating your victories, no matter how small.

Something I've come to realize about our chosen vertical market is it's very difficult to reach our target audience. It's very obvious Pharmacists aren't finding the RxCalc product page, or our weblog. After announcing that tomorrow (Labor Day) RxCalc would be completely free for one day I expected to not make a single sale, completely understandable, yet we sold a copy yesterday, yes, a single copy. So, it's very obvious our best vehicle thus far is the App Store itself. To that end I wonder if Apple would be open to adding a weblog like capability to the store so our announcements could be linked off the main product page, or brought to the surface a bit more easily, when potential customers land on the iTunes App Store page for RxCalc. Maybe a "News", or "Announcements", section on the page with a headline that announces current activity for the product?

Of course I leave it to Apple to help us because the App Store is a walled garden, they're in charge of their own, and our, "nightmare." I'm not unhappy with my overall experience, I'd just like to see it get better, and as a little guy just getting his feet wet, I can use all the help I can get.

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Fresno Area Geeks Unite!

Robert Schultz: "I've been thinking about some ideas to help promote local developers and programmers here in Fresno and getting to know others. One idea I really liked and experienced once was Startup Drinks San Francisco, which was really fun. I was new to the city and I got to meet with lots of developers for some great startups based in the city. So why not here in Fresno?" - This sort of event is definitely needed. Since writing my Fresno, technology black hole post I've discovered a LOT of new Fresno based talent, especially in the web and design areas.

Now, all we need to do, is springboard that into a Visalia Geeks Dinner and Drinks!

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How to go Indie

37signals [via @danielpunkass]: "Yes, you need to find time to do both your side business and your normal gig. But there's always enough time if you spend it right. Instead of watching TV or playing Grand Theft Auto, work on your idea. Instead of going to bed at 10, go to bed at 11. We're not talking about all-nighters or 16 hour days - we're talking about squeezing out a few extra hours a week. That's enough time to get something going and then keep giving it gas." - Solid advice.


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Watch out for the Steam Engine!

Mike Sax: "The release of the latest iPhone OS has effectively rendered the original version of EasyWriter obsolete. I've received a few emails from users enquiring if I plan to take or lobby for legal action against Apple for doing this. After all, that's what companies like Netscape and Opera have done when Microsoft integrated some of the capabilities of their products into the operating system. The short answer is: absolutely not." - I think Mike has been around the block a few times, and he understands the problem associated with creating something on a hugely popular platform. The platform vendor may run right over you! He's taking it all in stride.

Mike, it's nice to see you blogging again, it seems like it's bee quite a while.

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The price of complexity

John Nack: "In the meantime, I'm seeing quite a few requests for things that Photoshop already does. On one hand I'm always happy to tell people that they can get what they want right now--no waiting, no fee. On the other, it's a bit of a bummer that people don't find features, much less answers, on their own (and we're talking about people savvy enough to find this blog)." - This is a case of a complex application accidentally hiding features. What are you going to do, Photoshop has been around since the dawn of time, it's the granddaddy of granddaddy's, and the user base is gigantor, so it's very difficult to remove features.

I wonder if Adobe has statistics on the most used features? It would be interesting to see a new application that does that subset of functionality, with a nice shiny new user interface. Then again, maybe applications like Acorn already do that?

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Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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Apple Core Labs, LLC RxCalc - A Pharmacokinetic Calculator for iPhone


I work at Pelco. The opinions expressed here are my own, and neither Pelco nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.

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