The Breakroom

A Clicker for your Ticker

October 13, 2015

By Craig Hockenberry

It’s well documented that I love my Apple Watch and use it daily to keep track of my activity. While the built-in apps do a fantastic job of keeping track of your health, I wanted something different.

One of the things I noticed early on was how a simple number like “Longest Move Streak” could be a motivating factor. You want that number to keep going up and will do crazy things like jump on an exercise bike with a glass of whisky at ten minutes to midnight so you can burn 20 calories and make your goal. (Yes, I really did this. And I’m not alone in my obsession.)

We’re currently at the beginning of an El Niño cycle: this means the Pacific Ocean has been warm and inviting. I wanted to track a “higher level” goal on my watch: the number of swims I’ve done during the season. The result is Clicker:

Clicker

The app is just one big button. Every time you tap your watch face you get a little haptic feedback and the counter goes up. If you force press, you can decrement or reset the counter. There is also a watch complication that lets you see the current count on your watch face. Seriously, it’s that simple.

But with this simplicity comes the same motivation that you see in the Activity app. Every time you flick your wrist you’re reminded of a number that’s important to you. It could be the number of days since you quit smoking, the number of pounds you’ve lost on your diet, or the number of times you’ve taken your watch in the ocean. Trust me, it works so well that I’ll probably be swimming in cold water just to hit my goal of 100 swims!

Clicker is FREE with no in-app purchases or other crap. If you really want to show your thanks, make sure to try out one of our other apps. Enjoy!

A New Life for iPulse

October 7, 2015

By Craig Hockenberry

With Apple’s announcement of System Integrity Protection in El Capitan, I feared that end had come for our beloved iPulse app. This app for tracking system status was originally released in 2002 for use with Mac OS X 10.3. It was also my first Cocoa app and taught me a lot about how to do modern Mac programming.

Over the years, there have been many FREE updates that made iPulse work well with the latest changes in OS X. Thankfully, the engineers at Apple provided new APIs that allowed apps to query El Capitan while in the “rootless” mode. This also meant that code which hadn’t been touched in over a decade needed to be replaced. It was a lot of work, but I couldn’t stand the thought of a Mac without iPulse!

We also took this chance to modernize the user interface, including updating icons and graphics for the Retina display. We also paid close attention to resource usage so that iPulse 3 won’t affect battery life adversely. The app also comes with new built-in presets that let you customize the interface however you’d like:

iPulse on El Capitan

iPulse 3 is available exclusively on the Mac App Store for only $10. The App Store built into OS X makes it easy to install and update iPulse wherever it’s needed.

With luck, iPulse will be keeping an eye on what your Mac is doing for another decade!

Twitterrific 5.13.2 Lands with iOS9 Improvements

September 21, 2015

By Anthony Piraino

Ollie makes himself at home in iOS 9 with the latest release of Twitterrific. Version 5.13.2 now supports iPad split-screen and slide-over multitasking in iOS 9. We’ve also added the option to reply to mentions and DMs directly from push notification banners in iOS 9’s notification center. Other new features include the ability to send and receive long direct messages.

But we didn’t stop there—we’ve also included improvements to tweets with images, account switching, VoiceOver accessibility, and more! Take a look at Twitterrific’s version history page for all the details, then head over to the App Store to try Twitterrific for free for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and iPod touch. Advanced features such as tweet translation, ad removal, and more are available via in-app purchase.

Masters of the Small Canvas

September 18, 2015

By Corey Marion

A short but sweet piece by John Pavlus was posted today over at Bloomberg Business. It features some comments by our own Gedeon Maheux and our good friends and former Iconfactory pixel engineers Louie Mantia and David Lanham, as well as a few others in our field. It is a quick, interesting read about the evolution of icon design. Check it out!

xScope on the Big Screen

September 15, 2015

By Craig Hockenberry

As every iPhone developer knows, you don’t really understand an app’s design until you see it on the device. We’ve all been fooled by text or controls that looked just fine on your Mac’s simulator, but elicited “What the heck were we thinking?” when run on the phone.

With the release of tvOS, there’s going to be a new version of this phenomenon, just bigger. Our tool xScope can help.

In the 4.0 release, we added a new AirPlay Mirroring feature. Like many developers, we had our fingers crossed that native app development would be coming to the Apple TV and were hopeful that this feature would come in handy some day. We were thrilled to be proven right on September 9th!

Any file or document you’re working with on the Mac can automatically be transferred to any Apple TV and projected onto a full-size 1080p screen using AirPlay. Here’s what it looks like while I’m working in my living room:

xScope Mirror running on a TV screen

This means you can work directly in Photoshop, or any other editor, and changes to your 1920 × 1080 layers will be presented in real-time to the big screen. All you have to do in xScope is check a box in preferences and select the name of the Apple TV you want to use:

xScope preferences for AirPlay Mirroring

After enabling the feature, just drop a file on the xScope Dock icon or connect to Photoshop using the Mirror tool and your pixels will immediately start getting bigger!

Even if you’re not working on a tvOS app, this trick is a great way to review designs in a conference room: it’s much easier than everyone hovering around a laptop and it keeps dirty fingers off of your beautiful screen :-)

Twitterrific 5.13.1 Fixes Accessibility Bugs, Improves General Usability

September 1, 2015

By Ged Maheux

Today’s release of Twitterrific is an incremental but important one that fixes several annoying bugs and improves overall usability of the iOS app. Muffling and muting rules now apply to the content of quoted tweets, which should help keep your timeline clear of TV spoilers and unwanted tweet topics. In addition, viewing a tweet’s conversation returns more results including quotes of the original tweet, making threads more useful. We’ve also improved both the hash tag and username autocompletion features significantly. When you type a hash tag or username the app tracks which ones you like to use the most and presents those items first when autocompleting. This makes getting at them a breeze when composing tweets.

We’ve also fixed a host of accessibility related bugs that made using the app frustrating at times for the hard of seeing. Controls behind the sidebar can no longer be accidentally activated, we’ve improved focus reliability after favoriting, retweeting or performing other actions as well as fixed a few other Voice Over related strangeness on iPad. In general, v 5.13.1 is much more Voice Over friendly so if you use Twitterrific with Voice Over, we strongly recommend you update today.

All of these improvements, plus fixes to right-to-left languages like Arabic, improved kerning of the San Fransisco font on the iOS 9 beta and more can be found on Twitterrific’s version history page. Twitterrific 5.13.1 is free to try via the App Store and is universal for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod touch. Advanced features such as tweet translation, ad removal, and more are available via in-app purchase.

Yep

August 6, 2015

By Craig Hockenberry

While we may not have contributed in our normal way, we were happy to learn today that some of our work made it into Windows 10!

Windows Bridge for iOS is an open source project that makes it easier for iOS developers to target their products to the new operating system from Redmond. This work was based on our own Chameleon Project, written by Sean Heber.

It’s good to know there’s still a little factory inside Microsoft’s latest product!

Introducing Flare 2.2

July 21, 2015

By Travis Zuker

Today we’re updating Flare, our award-winning photo editing application. We’re also updating its companion app for iOS, Flare Effects with support for the new filters and features in the Mac app.

Important: We’re aware of the problems with Flare on the El Capitan public beta and working to fix things. Flare 2.2 does not address any issues you may be having with the pre-release software.

We’re excited to debut two all-new filters today – Colorfilm and Timestamp.

The Colorfilm filter is designed to emulate the characteristics of saturated color film, but it uses a new approach to achieve better results than what’s been available in the past. The Flare Blog describes this unique approach in detail.

Before applying the Colorfilm filter:

And after applying the Colorfilm filter:

colorfilm-example-with

The effect is subtle, but notice how the wood plaques become warmer, the details in the woodgrain become more pronounced, and background colors gain a bit more vibrance.

The Timestamp filter simulates the time or date stamp feature found in older film cameras. We’ve tried hard to preserve the vintage look and feel for those of us that remember those bygone days.

The full size view of the photo

Here’s a closeup:

Time stamp closeup

We hope you enjoy these two new filters and other new features in Flare. For an overview of everything that’s new in Flare 2.2 check out the Flare Blog.

We’ll Meet Again, Mr. Anderson!

July 17, 2015

By Ged Maheux

Today we say farewell to our talented friend, developer and comic book aficionado, Tyler Anderson. Tyler has decided to head back to school and expand his knowledge base beyond mere software development and into the realm of interactive media design at Elon University. All of us here at the factory, especially Sean Heber and I have enjoyed working closely with Tyler these past five years and even though his departure will hurt deeply, we wish him nothing but the best in his newly chosen journey.

Tyler came to us in the summer of 2010 as an intern from Elon with wide eyes and a deep desire to learn iOS development. His first project was Take Five for iOS which eventually came to the Mac, but Tyler’s dedicated efforts have also helped bring some of your favorite Iconfactory apps to life including Astronut and Dine-O-Matic. It’s fair to say Twitterrific wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is today without his important contributions. Just remember not to bug him anymore on Twitter with Twitterrific support or feature requests!

On a personal note, I’ll miss having Tyler’s geeky self sitting only a few feet away. He could always be counted on for a rousing pop culture discussions, help with miscellaneous non-work related projects, or just help me brainstorm through a UI problem I was having with a client project. If you’ve ever had so much responsibility as to need a rock-solid assistant, then you know the value of having someone like Tyler Anderson at your side. I’m excited for him and his new future, but I’ll miss him dearly. He’s a good egg and any future employer would be lucky to have him.

One of our very fondest memories of working with Tyler was when we shot the promotional video for Astronut. Tyler graciously agreed to star in our short commercial that followed an Astronut-addicted geek as he went about his daily routine, with hilarious and embarrassing results. Needless to say none of this was ever in his original job description, but that didn’t matter, he pulled it off with flying colors. From all of us here at the factory, farewell Tyler, all our best!

Twitterrific’s New Facial Detection Keeps Faces Front & Center

June 29, 2015

By Ged Maheux

Screen shot of woman before and after facial framing applied

The latest update to Twitterrific builds upon previous releases and also adds a host of unique new features that users are sure to love. By far the coolest of these improvements is the use of Apple’s facial recognition APIs to improve image previews. What does that mean exactly? It means that as Twitterrific displays media thumbnails in the timeline (pictures, videos, etc), the app tries to detect faces and frame the thumbnail so faces are always showing. In short, if Twitterrific sees a face in a tweet, it tries to make sure you see it too!

The effect when scanning through your list of tweets in the timeline can be dramatic. Previously Twitterrific always framed thumbnails on the center of images, but many times people’s faces aren’t in the middle, especially on portrait shots. Check out these before and after comparison screen shots to see the difference facial framing makes in the timeline:

examples of people's faces being framed correctly in Twitterrific's timeline

Next, we’ve added the long-requested ability to swipe to go back in modal views. Now when you’re viewing a conversation, user profile or even the in-app browser, you can swipe right from off the left edge of the screen to either go back to the previous view (if you’re in a stack) or close the view completely. This makes one-handed use on devices with large screens like the iPhone 6 Plus a breeze.

T5_TabSettings_Thumb

Finally, Twitterrific now offers push notifications for quoted tweets. Now when someone quotes one of your tweets to their followers, you can be instantly notified of it, just like mentions, retweets or any of the other notification types in Twitterrific. To turn notifications on for quotes, simply open the sidebar by tapping on your round user avatar, then tap the Settings gear icon at lower right. From there, access your account’s notification settings and make sure Quotes is activated.

As always, be sure to visit Twitterrific’s version history page for the complete list of new features, improvements and bug fixes. Twitterrific 5.12.1 is free to try via the App Store and is universal for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod touch. Advanced features such as tweet translation, ad removal, and more are available via in-app purchase.