Apps are looking good for iOS9

I’m now running iOS 9 and all my apps are looking good except for Identicode which looks as though it was designed for a 3.5″ screen! It will be sorted before iOS 9 is released, have no fear.

I will be incorporating a few of Apple’s new features into some of the apps where it seems right.

Brighton Pink Plaques V2.0.1 now live on App Store

After the recently overhaul of my web site (thanks so much, Chris!) I’ve been able to give myself a more appropriate email address but this app and Dicewords have the old contact/support address built into them.

This app now been updated to use the correct email address and Dicewords will be updated as soon as I can.

Emails should be addressed to ‘stephen’ @ and the name of this site.

Bargain V2.1 now live

Apple have just passed my recent update to Bargain. 🙂

Previously, once you’d found a bargain, if you did “Shake to clear”, when you re-entered values in the previous “bargain boxes” the text would still appear green – that’s now fixed and it’s back to black.

The other thing is a little helper in that the flip side screen now displays the version number at the bottom in case you need to report anything.

That’s it for now.

Decisions on coding my next app

Geek Alert!

My next app will need a sophisticated database. I had planned to use Apple’s Core Data framework which seemed perfect for the job, but since then I’ve learned that there’s a relatively new kid on the block, namely Realm.

Core Data’s competence is not in question, but I’ve read a fair bit on it and many comments around the net and one thing that people seem to agree on is that it’s not straightforward to implement.

Realm, on the other hand, is very simple to implement, building, as it does, on the structure of the main code in a fairly straightforward manner. For example, a Swift code fragment using Realm might look as follows:

// Create a Person object

let author = Person()

author.name = “David Foster Wallace”

// Get the default Realm

let realm = Realm()

// You only need to do this once (per thread)

// Add to the Realm inside a transaction

realm.write {

realm.add(author)

}

I don’t have the comparable Core Data code, but trust me when I say it would be a lot more complex. The Realm code is simple to understand, if you understand this sort of thing!

However, my app needs a lot more than just a database to make it all work so I’d better get on with that first. This new app will be my first app written using Swift, Apple’s brand new programming language and I’m really excited by that. I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

Identicode V1.2 now live

Apple has just passed my latest update to Identicode – no new features but a couple of bug fixes. I’ll detail these in a day or so on the release notes page on my site.

I have one new feature which I plan to implement in 1.3 which I think could be fun.

Also, I’m sad to report that yootha.com, the site with the amazing collection of digitised 60s comics, is no more as far as I can tell. It said “down for maintenance” for about a month or more and now there is just a page error. Such a shame as it was a fantastic resource and gave me the incentive to produce Identicode and the site owner kindly put a link to my app on his page.

Maybe it will return elsewhere …

Hello and welcome

Hello readers 🙂

The Black Tablet website has just had a major facelift and I now have this associated blog. On my previous site my thoughts that I wrote from time to time were intermixed with details about app updates and the like. News about app updates will now be announced via Twitter leaving this blog to be, I hope, rather more focussed.

It will be a little patchy just for now but I hope to blog more regularly than I did and I plan to bring over posts from my previous version of the site.

 

Watch this space for more in the near future.

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.

Scotland’s big day today

I’m so excited by what is happening in Scotland today and I wish I could vote so that I could put a bold tick in the YES box!

It would be so wonderful if the Scots turned their backs, not on the English, but on our corrupt, money grabbing, warmongering, austerity obsessed government and forged a bold new chance to a better, healthier, balanced and democratic future. I hope that they don’t fall for the promises that the government will give Scotland new goodies if only they vote No – Westminster doesn’t have a good record on keeping their word and the Scots will never be given a second chance.

Yes Scotland

Identicode now released … and updated!

I recently released my latest app which is the app equivalent of the ‘Identicode” blue/red code translator in the TV Century 21 Magazine. Not only that but I forgot to post the launch and now I’m sending an update to Apple already!

I was a big fan of Thunderbirds as a kid (and as an adult too!). Not only that but always watched the puppet shows Captain Scarlet, Joe90 and later the live action UFO and Space 1999 too.

Gerry Anderson seemed to understand just what some of us kids loved – SciFi, spies, fantastic technical wizardry, evil baddies, secret agents, clever machinery, fun stories and great characters. The quality of all those shows has endured to this day.

I came across the site Yootha (now it seems, sadly defunct – but try using the Internet Way back machine) which has high quality PDF collections of an amazing number of comics for very reasonable prices – Battle Picture Weekly, Buster, Countdown, Eagle, Whizzer and Chips to name a few. Not only that, but they have brilliant US comics too – The Twighlight Zone, Star Trek, Amazing Stories, Analog SciFi and more. It’s a grown-up’s childhood treasure chest! 🙂

Having bought their TV Century 21 comic collection and started reading I was aware of many references to Identicode. It was a coder and decoder supplied with the first issue of the magazine and subsequently available for a 1/- Postal Order if you missed the first issue. Here’s what it looked like on the outside:

Identicode

I never had one myself as a kid and I had a look on eBay only to find that there was one for sale for £900 and another had just been bought for £78! Phew! I couldn’t send off my 1/- but being an iOS developer I thought I’d write one for my own use and for any other fans out there who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for one on eBay assuming that there was still one there to buy.

The result is the Identicode app which does everything that the original card and paper one did and a bit more. You can copy and paste, it flips between blue and red codes, it encodes and decodes and makes some fun sounds too!

P.S. I reckon that the alphabetic translation modules are working perfectly but I discovered a flaw in the arithmetic circuits of V1.0 which have been repaired and incorporated into V1.1. If you discover any other faults be sure to let me know like a good agent would …

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 …

🙂