Category Archives: General

All apps are now compatible with iOS8

All the recent updates to Black Tablet apps have now been approved by Apple and all run just fine on the shiny new iOS8.

Dicewords will run on iOS 6 and upwards, but the others require iOS7 as a minimum.

Something quirky

A sequence of events recently prompted me to code up a quirky SciFi but retro inspired app. It’s just about done and I plan sending it to Apple no later than Friday. More will be revealed when it’s on the App Store.

In my continuing tradition, it’s nothing like any of my other apps …


Hypercard’s morphed child

Years ago, I helped start the Brighton LETS (Bright Exchange) along with four others and needed some software to run it. The only available software to run a LETS which everyone used across the country (and perhaps further afield) was written for DOS and was vile. I was unemployed at the time and thought maybe I could try something with Hypercard. I wrote a system to track everyone’s membership, keep their balances and handle their payments and it printed the monthly directory to be sent to all members just using Hypercard on a Macintosh IIci. Word got out and I was getting calls from Australia, Germany, France and the UK who wanted it. I sent it out to people free of charge asking for a donation but of course I soon realised that Hypercard was really not good to give out to others for storing data as if they had a problem I couldn’t give them an update as the code and their data were all in the same Hypercard document

Hypercard home

Recently RunRev in Scotland have made their take on Hypercard Open Source and freely available and it’s called LiveCode. It’s added loads of complexity to Hypercard’s original simplicity – it creates Windows, iOS and Android apps for starters – but then we’re in a different world from 1987. I’m trying it out at the moment but it’s something that may be of use to you – and it runs on Windows and Linux too.

Maybe this is the 21st Century equivalent of “Programming for the rest of us”. 🙂 Why not give it a whirl?

Empty design

There’s a strange trend in apps at the moment and it’s exemplified by having almost no interface. I suppose Clear is perhaps the obvious example but others are appearing too. I often read reviews of apps, possibly written by 15 year olds who want “the latest thing” and get really excited about minimalist interfaces as they’re “cool” and those posters on Apple focussed websites who announce their boredom with the “tired Apple interface” and warn us that they will be switching to Android because it’s more up-to-date.

A company producing themes for developers to incorporate into their own apps now has a theme called “Metro” which looks remarkably like the interface on the new Windows phone. So, you can have your iOS app look like a Windows phone app. Maybe someone will bring out a Windows mobile theme that makes it look like iOS! Who knows where it will all lead.

It’s odd. The idea that an OS is useable and clear and is being refined with each release is not enough. It’s old. It’s familiar and it’s got buttons with text to indicate their function. So … let’s change it so we have to start all over again. The trend seems to be for apps where actions are initiated by swipes, pinches, flicks and the like. Gestures as interface are all very well but the major problem as I see it is that what if my idea for the result of a flick or swipe is different to yours? We will end up with three apps, say, where a swipe does different things in each. It will be like when I started coding way back in the 80s when the three main apps I used on CPM all had totally different interfaces and the commands to, say, exit the application were different in each app. That was fun.

The best take on this I’ve seen so far comes from the makers of the very handy Camera+ app and made me chuckle very loudly indeed. Have a read

The death of Steve Jobs

What a sad, sad day.

Apple are inviting comments via email on their website at so I sent this earlier today:

Until today, I have never cried for the death of someone I’ve never known personally. I knew it was coming, but not so soon. So soon.

His Stanford address says so much about who he was and why Apple is the company it is. It is so rare to find vision, passion for perfection, philosophical reflection and a maverick attitude and sales savvy all in one person, but Steve had the lot.

Such a loss to his family, the Apple, the tech world and every one of us that uses a product from Apple or one that has been influenced by them. And that’s a lot.

Gone, yes, but forgotten, never.

You may wish to send them your thoughts.

Update: Comments sent in to Apple can now be viewed here.