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After being blamed for the death of Harvey Dent and going from hero to villain, Batman disappears. Things change with the arrival of a mysterious thief, catwoman, and Bane, a masked terrorist, who make Batman abandon his forced exile.

Apps

  • A Smattering of Apple Updates

    Earlier this week Apple released a few products. None of the released hardware products are new, however they all have some upgraded internals. Let us start with two upgraded iPhones.

    iPhone SE

    The first upgrade was to the iPhone SE. The iPhone SE was released about a year ago in March of 2016. The iPhone SE has the same internals as the iPhone 6s. This includes Touch ID, an A9 processor, M9 motion co-processor, and 4K video recording at 30fps. All of this in a 4-inch Retina screen. When the iPhone SE was released, it came in two sizes, 16GB And 64GB models.

    The upgrade increases the two model sizes. They are now 32GB and 128GB models are the same price, $399 and $499 respectively.

    This upgrade indicates two things. The first that the iPhone SE is not a one-off, and is likely to be continued in the future. It will likely be a phone where the internals are upgraded every two years. The second item is that the 16GB Model of iPhone is officially retired; except for maybe refurbished phones. The updated iPhone SE is not the only iPhone with a new model.

    PRODUCT(RED)

    PRODUCT(RED) is a program that raises awareness for, and provides funds, to help eliminate HIV/AIDS. Apple has been supporting (PRODUCT)RED since October 2006 when they unveiled an iPod Nano. Since then, Apple has added many other PRODUCT(RED) items over the last 11 years. The latest release is a particularly important one for Apple.

    Apple has released an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that is Red and White. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the same exact specifications as the Black, Gold, Rose Gold, and Silver models; except for one aspect. The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone does not come in 32GB, just like the Jet Black model. It does come in 128GB and 256GB models.

    The 128GB iPhone 7 model is $749, the 256GB is $849. The 128GB iPhone 7 Plus is $869 and the 256GB is $969. This is the same as the Jet Black iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

    The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available for order on Friday, March 24th, at 8:01 AM Pacific Time.

    iPad

    One of the most anticipated products is a new iPad Pro, in particular the 12.9-inch model. Unfortunately, there was not a new version of the iPad Pro being released. There is a new 9.7-inch iPad.

    The new iPad replaces the iPad Air 2 and is a slight upgrade. The new internals of the iPad include an A9 Processor, this is the same processor that is in the iPhone 6s. There is also the same Motion co-processor, the M9. This is the same as the iPhone 6s.

    Besides the internals, the iPad is slightly heavier than its predecessor. The updated iPad is 1.05 pounds, versus 0.96 pounds. There are a couple of things that are no longer on the iPad. The fully laminated display and antireflective coating are no longer on the iPad. This is not the only thing has been dropped from the iPad.

    The price has been dropped. The 32GB Wi-Fi Model is now $329, while the 128GB model is $429. This is down from $399 and $499 respectively. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models are $459 and $559 for the 32GB and 128GB models. This is down from $529 and $629 for the 32GB and 128GB Models.

    The iPad will be available for order on March 24th, at 8:01 AM Pacific Time.

    Accessories

    Apple considers itself a fashion company. One of the ways that Apple keeps ups with fashion is by adding colors to some of its accessories. There are a few areas where this is the case. The first is with new iPhone Cases. There are a few new cases.

    Cases

    For the various iPhone models here are the new colors:

    Leather:

    iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus

    • Berry
    • Sapphire
    • Taupe

    iPhone SE

    • Saddle Brown

    Silicone:

    iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus

    • Azure
    • Camellia
    • Pebble

    Watch Bands

    While iPhone Cases provide some fashion, the Apple Watch bands do allow individual expression.

    SportBand

    • Azure
    • Camellia
    • Pebble

    Nike Bands

    When Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 2, one of the models that were not immediately available; the Nike+ Model. There are two distinct aspects to the Nike+ models. The first aspect is a custom watch face that is only available on the Nike+ models. This is still the case. However, the second distinct aspect is the watch band options for the Nike+ Watches. These watch bands are now available on their own.

    The watch band options are:

    • Black/Volt
    • Anthracite/Black
    • Pure Platinum/White

    These bands are available for $49.

    Woven Nylon

    When Apple introduced the Woven Nylon bands, many of them are two colors. The majority of the band is one color, while a second color is an accent color. The Spring 2017 colors are below.

    • Berry
    • Tahoe Blue
    • Orange
    • Red
    • Pollen
    • Midnight Blue

    All of the colors, excluding the Midnight Blue, are tai-colored. Each of these bands are $49.

    Leather

    One of the more chic materials for watch bands is Leather. There is a new Classic Buckle design for Spring. There are some new colors as well. These are the colors that are available:

    • Berry
    • Black
    • Midnight Blue
    • Red
    • Saddle Brown
    • Sapphire
    • Taupe

    These bands are available now and cost $149.

    Hermès Bands

    When Apple unveiled the Apple Watch, one of the companies that they partnered with is Hermès.

    There are a few new Hermès bands available.

    38 mm versions

    • Fauve Barenia Leather Single Tour
    • Fauve Barenia Leather Double Tour
    • Bleu Zéphyr Epsom Leather Double Tour

    42 mm versions

    • Lime Epsom Leather Single Tour
    • Colvert Swift Leather Single Tour
    • Fauve Barenia Leather Single Tour

    These bands are available for $489 each.

    Software

    Beyond the the hardware updates and accessories, there were some software updates released as well. The first is everyone’s favorite software product, iTunes.

    The new version, 12.6, has one new feature, ‘Rent Once, Watch Anywhere’. This new feature will allow you to rent a movie on your iPhone you can watch it on your Apple TV.

    While in theory this should have been the way it worked before, but it was almost never the case. This requires iOS 10.3 or tvOS 10.2 in order to work.

    Clips

    One of the more modern change to the Internet, in the last 13 years, is the rise of social media. There have quite a number of social networks that have gone bust in the last 15 years. Some of these include Plurk, Friender, Peach, Orkut, and Pownce.

    Apple has attempted to create a social network, with Ping. Apple eventually realized that their attempt at a social network was not going to work, so they ended Ping. Instead of attempting to build another social network, Apple has done what they are good at, building applications. Apple has created a new application called Clips.

    Clips is an application that allows iOS users to create videos that have special effects. The application is very like other applications that are available. The key to Clips is that you can share the clips that you make with individuals through Messages, or by posting to Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, or even YouTube.

    If in one of your clips, a face from your Photo library is recognized, Clips will automatically suggest that you send the clip to the subject of the video.

    Clips will be available in early April on iOS. It will be a free application.

    Swift Playgrounds

    The last update, which is a minor one, but one that is much appreciated for some developers. Swift Playgrounds is now available in five more languages. These languages are:

    • Simplified Chinese
    • Japanese
    • French
    • German
    • Latin American Spanish

    The Swift Playgrounds update is available now.

    Final Thoughts

    These updates, while minor, are great updates for each of the product. This may just be a prelude to more announcements that may come in a few weeks.

  • Overcast 2.0

    Marco Arment has released the long talked about update to his podcasting application, Overcast. I could try and do a review, but it is easier to read the ones that others have done.

    Overcast is an application that I use everyday, without fail. Some days, I used t more than others. With that, I do want to highlight one feature. The patronage model. When Overcast 1.0 was released, Marco opted to go with free with an in-app purchase. The purchase unlocked voice boost and smart speed. This has changed. Now, all of the features are free. Marco is asking for patronage to help support development of the application. The patronage is effectively $1 per month, and does not automatically renew. In the future, if there is a feature that Marco cannot rollout to all users due to some financial concern, these features will be available to patronage uses. Ultimately, this may be a better model.

    If you have not tried out Overcast, yet, you can download it from the App Store.

  • wwrite 2.1.2 and wwriteFree 2.1.2

    Both wwrite 2.1.2 and wwriteFree 2.1.2 have been released.

    300 pixels by 300 pixels wwrite icon

    wwrite 2.1.2 has a couple of minor changes. The new features include the addition of support via twitter and implementation of auto layout. The bug fixes include some text within the “About” section of the app. The full change log is here.

    wwrite.Free.Logo

    wwriteFree 2.1.2 has feature parity with wwrite 2.1.2. These items include iOS 7 features like Dynamic Text, support for retina iPads, 64-bit support, a new file format and more archive types. The full change log is here.

  • My Coding History: AKA a long way to announce a new version of wwrite

    wwrite icon, that's 1024 pixels by 1024 pixels

    I’m not the best developer in the world, not by a long shot. I don’t have much formal training. I’ve been doing HTML/CSS coding since around 1997. I took a VB/C++ class in high school, and it was the sole reason I didn’t graduate in January. I didn’t really continue taking programming classes in college, but I didn’t stop programming. In 2001 or so, started working with “classic” Active Server Pages to be able to read Microsoft Access databases, that was around 2002/2003.

    In 2004/2005 I changed to PHP to be able to begin customizing a blogging platform to my liking. Which, now that I think about it, it’s been just over nine and a half years since I first started blogging. I’ve been doing PHP/MySQL/HTML/CSS/Javascript ever since. My biggest web-based programming project is actually an inventory/ticketing system for work. That started back in 2007 when we needed a way to keep track of all of our technology. It has grown to include more items than that. Almost every single aspect of the site is custom and works to the needs of my job. Sadly, that’s not my primary responsibility at work, even though it should be.

    I say I’m not the best coder for a reason. For instance, it took me over a year to just understand the basic concepts of Objective-C and to begin writing code with it. Most good programmers should be able to pick up the language within a month or so. Having done procedural programming for so long, and limiting my use of object-oriented items, with the inventory/ticketing system, the aspect of sending messages to objects just eluded me. I sat and read books, let those sink in, read some more, and let that sink in, and it finally didn’t really start to click until a year later, around March of 2010.

    My first “real” project with Objective-C was the original release of wwrite 1.0.0, I had hoped to keep releasing new versions that kept pace with new features. Sadly, this hasn’t happened. I did start off strong, continually adding versions. Each version added new features, re-worked things a bit, but it didn’t last. I got distracted by other things and easily discouraged when things aren’t working properly; (sadly, that’s a common theme in some, if not most, of my endeavors). The only motivation I had to re-write wwrite was the release of iOS 7 and its complete visual redesign. Instead of just adding updating the app for iOS 7, I opted to do a re-write to make everything easier on myself later on. This culminated in version 2.0.0. The re-working with 2.0.0 made it much easier for 2.1.0. Before we get into wwrite 2.1.0, let’s take a quick look at the history of wwrite.

    wwrite’s History

    wwrite has been a project I’ve been plugging away at, off and on, for the last four year. It was originally released on April 4th, 2010, one day after the release of the original iPad back on April 3rd, 2010. It would’ve been released on April 3rd, but I wanted to run it on an iPad first, just to make sure everything was working. This was a smart move since some bug was present on the device but not within the simulator. This is why I always test on a device before releasing. Since the initial release I’ve slowly added features. The last release 2.0.0 was back on October 10th, 2013. As mentioned above, version 2.0.0 was a complete re-write that made the code more manageable and would make adding features a lot easier.

    The original concept behind wwrite was to make an app that provided a text editor that incorporated templates. Back in 2010 I was still writing my Daily Run Down articles. That was my inspiration for the application. wwrite 2.0.0 was a somewhat ambitious undertaking, particularly when it came to re-writing a significant portion of the codebase. wwrite 2.1.0 was even more so, but more on that in a bit.

    In December of 2010 I opted to release an ad-supported version of my app, because I knew some people would not pay $1.99 for a text app. The app is called wwriteFree. Until version 1.6.0, the free version has had feature parity with the paid version. However, with the 2.0.0 version, I never could get the iAd banner to work well with my “Master-Detail” views. wwriteFree still sits at version 1.6.0 until I can figure out the iAd banner issues. Once I do, it will probably be the same feature parity as the latest version of wwrite. I have contemplated on having two different versions of the app, with wwriteFree being slightly behind wwrite, but I haven’t decided if I want to take this approach or not. I’ll have to sit and ruminate on this for a while.

    In September of 2010, I decided to release an iPhone Edition of the app, using iOS 4.2. wwrite – iPhone Edition was initially released as version 1.4.0. It had feature parity with wwrite. wwrite – iPhone Edition version 1.6.0 was released on March 23, 2011. Which is where it still stands. To give you some perspective as to how “old” that is. wwrite – iPhone Edition 1.6.0 does not support the iPhone 5, which was released in 2012, nor does it support Retina-level graphics which were released with the iPhone 4 in July of 2011. Just to give some perspective on that.

    Ever since I finished and submitted wwrite 2.0.0, there have been certain features I wanted to add. Some of them would be simple to implement, other would be more difficult. The balancing act of ambition versus time, versus ability always comes into play. The balance can sometimes be too much to effectively manage. Sometimes you have a great idea but cannot execute it. Other times you can execute the great idea, but just don’t have the time. It’s all a delicate balance.

    A couple weeks ago, sometime around April 15th or so, in anticipation of iOS 8 being unveiled at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2014, I started working on wwrite 2.1.0. wwrite 2.1.0 includes a bunch of new features, all of which are documented here. The biggest features are the ability to archive more than just the files, emailing of archives, and the ability to have more than five templates. All of these were features I had actually been planning on putting in 2.0.0, but just never did, again, due to time constraints.

    wwrite 2.1.0

    All of that is just a long-winded way of saying that wwrite 2.1.0 is now available. wwrite 2.1.0 is 33% large than wwrite 2.0.0, which I didn’t realize until I submitted the app. It sits at just around 1MB, up from 632K for wwrite 2.0.0. The biggest change to wwrite 2.1.0 is a brand new file format. It now separates the file contents from its meta data. This sounds like a “no duh” item, but it actually took a lot to accomplish.

    wwrite has not been a huge money maker for me. I don’t think I will ever recouped my costs of creation. If I were to estimate the total time spent writing code for all three of my apps, I would have to estimate it to around 600 or so hours. Of which, a good 7.5%, or about 45 hours (for those who don’t want to do the calculation), were just in the last couple of weeks to get wwrite 2.1.0 released. It sounds like a lot of time, and it is. When you’re app is only $0.99 or $1.99, it takes a significant number of sales to recuperate your costs. Even at minimum wage, 600 hours would come to approximately $4500. I’m no where near that amount in sales. I’m lucky if I’m even at 10% of that amount, total in four years.

    Other thoughts

    Regardless of the amount of time, I’m at somewhat of a cross-roads. Do I continue to put forth the effort of adding features to the app when I know I’ll never see a return on the investment. Do I do this just to say I have an app in the app store? I know I’ll continue to have an iOS developer account since I do want to be able to get the latest versions of iOS ahead of public release. But I’m not sure if I’ll continue to update the apps. If I ever do figure out how best to get the iAd banner to work correctly the “Master-Detail” for the wwriteFree, I may release that.

    To quote Steve Jobs, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backward”. And I know this is to be true. Maybe all of this work will just be a springboard for me to become a developer full-time at some point. I do not know. Maybe it will ultimately just prove to be an exercise in futility. I know not all developers aspire to have a breakout hit like Angry Birds, Flappy Birds, or any other moderately popular game, but some success is always welcome. Maybe it will come one day, but only time can, and will, tell.

    You can download wwrite , wwriteFree, and wwrite – iPhone Edition in the iTunes App Store.

    If apps aren’t your thing, I also have some e-books as well. All of their information is located here.

  • wwrite and wwrite – iPhone Edition Price Changes

    The prices of both wwrite and wwrite – iPhone Edition are now just $0.99 each. You can get them in the App Store now.

    wwrite.logo

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wwrite/id366196225?mt=8&uo=4’>Download from the App Store

    wwrite.iPhone.Logo

    Download from the App Store