Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Apples implementation of OTA Downloads of Podcasts is sub-par

I really wanted to give Apples implementation of OTA downloading of Podcasts a chance. Since the release of 2.2 firmware, I tried using the built in podcast player on the iPhone. After attempting to download podcasts, several thoughts come to mind on this quirky and rushed implementation. Where is the syncing? and Why the limit of cellular network downloads to 10 MB? Downloading 1 podcast at a time while jumping between the iTunes mobile store app and the iTunes mobile app was not what I had in my. After attempting to download 2 twit podcasts and 1 buzz out loud podcast, the twit podcast failed to download (I got an error message), the buzz out loud podcast would not download because it was over 10MB. I don't even subscribe to a podcast smaller then 10 MB and I don't have wifi at work (where I need to download most) so this update is completely useless to me. Does anyone else feel the same or is anyone actually content with how Apple has implemented OTA downloads.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Podcaster Holiday Special

The holidays got us in such a good mood that we are giving special holiday pricing. Get Podcaster today for only 99 cents. Enjoy the program and have a safe and happy holidays.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Podcaster 1.4 Update

Podcaster 1.4 Update

An update to Podcaster has arrived. We will be releasing it to all our users in the upcoming days. Here is what you can expect in the update. No more 14 day trial, instead, we have limited trial users to 3 subscriptions, maximum, without expiration. Paid users will not have this limitation.

  • Added Setting tab
  • Sync options (Automatically downloads and deletes)
  • Auto continue on end of Podcast
  • Recovery Mode - Gets activated when program cannot start up properly
  • News icons and titles of tab bar
  • Made the app more colorful to make it stand out from other apps, including Apple
  • Made start up faster (First time is a bit slow, but after that, much faster then now)
  • Uploads podcast data to podcaster.fm for interactive map. If a username and password are entered, then your username will be uploaded along with the podcast. If not, the data uploaded will be anonymous. Location accuracy set to 1 kilometer.
  • Sync with podcaster.fm, keeps podcast lists identical (A good backup of your subscriptions)
  • Made font bigger for my podcasts
  • Import text boxes do not clear themselves
  • Added indicator of how much space is remaining on the iPhone
  • Removed get 3 button
  • Limited importing to 25 items per podcast (Helps with feeds that have 100's of items in them)
  • No more tabs on search page
  • No longer show blue dot/podcast type (video or audio) in My Podcasts . Still displayed in drill down
Get the beta now at http://www.nextdayoff.com/downloads/cydia/PodcasterProvCydia.zip

My FavsSettings

For a discount on Podcaster, go to http://www.nextdayoff.com/shaun

Friday, October 03, 2008

Do ad hoc users get updates?

There has been a lot of confusion on whether the ad hoc users will get the updated version of Podcaster. Well I have good news. You DO get the updates.

Ad hoc users, if you go to nextdayoff.com and login. You will be presented with a download link and an activation code. Please use this link to download the latest version of Podcaster (verison 1.1.2 as of this post). You can update your existing version by dragging the files into itunes. Podcaster will continue to work until it expires in a little less then a year.

So you may be wondering how you can still use ad hoc installer even though Apple has stopped me from making provisions. Well, Apple blocked me from making future provisions. All existing provision will keep working and are unaffected.

I just want to remind users to rate the app and post a review. You can also subscribe to reviews via rss feed at http://www.nextdayoff.com/reviewsxml.aspx

Any questions can be sent to our mailing-list group at iphone-podcaster@googlegroups.com

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Podcaster 1.1 Update Now Available

Podcaster 1.1 is ready.

Available for install using a jail broken device. We are located in the Cydia installer. Listed in entertainment by modmyi. For those of you that are not familiar with Cydia, it is an alternative to the AppStore. You can use QuickPwn (windows download or mac download) to jailbreak your device and get Cydia store and Install.app store. It only takes a few minutes and preserves all settings and apps. Users that already have Podcaster, you will be able to download an updated version and use iTunes to install it. If you didn't get an email about the update, you will very soon.

We are releasing the app as a 14 day free trial. You can purchase an activation code at http://www.nextdayoff.com

What did we update?
We had several reports of podcasts not playing after being downloaded. We have build in a way to play podcasts using the quicktime media player. This solved the problem until we can find a more elegant solution. We also brought back the "play in safari" button. I'm not sure if I can get audio to play in the background but at least this is a step in the right direction. We also made several minor UI changes and added a Pause Downloads button.

We will continue to work hard on this project so if you have suggestions, email them to me at almerica@gmail.com

In other news, I have been a guest on several podcasts over the past few weeks. Check out iPhone Alley Podcaste episode 22 and MyMac podcast, espideo 201. It was really a good time and I am glad that I had a chance to talk to then.

As always, you can follow what's going on with development of Podcaster at twitter.com/iphonepodcaster.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Podcaster rejeceted because it duplicates iTunes functionality

Today I finally got a reply from Apple about the status of Podcaster.

Apple Rep says: Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes.

That's right folks, it duplicates the functionality of the desktop version of iTunes.
Therefore, it was denied from sale in the app store. Although my app does allow you to listen to podcasts (like iTunes), it also allows you to download them directly to device and that is something Apple does not offer.

I find this a bit strange considering there are numerous apps that duplicate the functionality of other apps. For example, any calculator app is duplicating the functionality of Apples calculator app. Any app that tells you the weather is duplicating the Yahoo weather app. Any app that let's you listen to music is duplicating the iPod portion of the iPhone.

There are also several apps that simply allow you to listen to a podcast (Diggnation and Mobility Today just to name a few) that are not denied from the app store.

Apple had nothing in the terms prohibiting developers from duplicating features currently available on desktop application. I followed all the guidelines and made sure everything is in the correct place. Yet Apple denies me because I allow users to download podcasts just like iTunes.

I have emailed them back to find out what I must do in order for the app to be approved. I still have not received a reply. In the mean time, I have started to distribute the app via the Ad Hoc Method. If you would like to purchase a copy, please head over to http://www.nextdayoff.com and submit your UDID.

UPDATE: I used the word donation instead of pay because that's how I had it for the web app (podcaster.fm). The price of this application is $9.99.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Still waiting, No word from Apple

It has been almost 3 weeks since I first submitted Podcaster to the App store. Since then, I have made numerous improvements. They include correctly reading redirected url, abiliy to download any length file, no more 40 MB limit, resuming partial downloads, a more user friendly podcast directory, an auto sync feature that will download the most current 10 podcasts while deleting any older items, downloaded audio podcasts now play in the background so you can browse show notes. That doesn't include the dozens of bugs that I had to work out. I really want to give it up to the testers. You guys really came through and got this app worked out. So to sum it up, Podcaster is working great. All the functions seem to be performing the intended function.

Now for some bad news, Podcaster is still waiting to be approved. It has NOT been rejected. It's just sitting there, wont let me push an update until it is approved. Apple needs to get a few more employees, I think, so they can test apps faster. I don't feel that it's really fare to me or to you (The users). Podcaster is actually something useful. I don't really need my phone to tell me how fast I am going in the car? I suggest there should be a new approval process. 100 users get the app and get to use it and vote on it (Similar to testing it, but each user votes Ready or Not Ready) Once the majority of the users says yes, it gets approved. I am sure that would eliminate a lot of waiting and improperly executed apps.

I have also been given a shout out on several podcasts. They include episode 785 or Buzz Out Loud, Episode 39 and Episode 40 of Australian Talk. In the upcoming weeks, I will be appearing in another mac podcast this time talking about Podcaster and macs in general. Previously, I spent an entire Episode talking with Cami Kaos and Dr Normal about podcaster web app on this episode of Strange Love: Tech Edition.

One last thing, I don't have any open ad hoc spots left. Please stop sending me requests. I have been just keeping them "just in case" I get more spots later. I have been thinking of a good way to rotate users that become inactive so tell me what you think of this. I will setup a page that you enter your UDID into, then you have to check in 1 time a week(or so) and reenter the UDID, this way, if you don't come back, the key gets reset and someone else gets it. Nothing like this is currently in place so this is a great time for comments.

Let's hope Podcaster gets approved soon.
Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/iPhonePodcaster

UPDATE: Now is a great time to setup your podcast list so when Podcaster does get released, you can quickly import. Just sign up for an account at http://www.podcaster.fm, then follow instructions at http://www.podcaster.fm/import to import from iTunes. You will later use this account to import to Podcaster iPhone app.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Podcaster submitted to App Store

Last Friday I submitted Podcaster to the App Store. It was a long and tedious process. I put it in the international store for the price of $4.99. Since then, I have made some reliability improvements but I am not able to post any updates yet so expect an update very soon after release.  If you are a beta tester or want to try Podcaster now, email me for instructions. I still have some Ad Hoc spots left. Hopefully it wont take too long to get into the store. I am hoping to see it there this week. Let's hope for the best.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Podcaster: Native Podcast Client for iPhone and iPod Touch

The popular iPhone web app podcaster.fm is about to get a lot better. Tomorrow, I will be submitting the app to the app store. I have been working non stop for the past 2 weeks putting it together and it's about 99% complete. It allows you to listen to audio and video podcasts by streaming just like the web app but it also allows you to download podcasts and listen to them when your offline (iPod Touch) or on edge(Old iPhone).

The interface is broken out in 3 sections.
My Podcasts - Displays all your podcasts. This screen also allows you to refresh your podcast list to see if there are any new items.
Unplayed - Displays unplayed podcasts.
Downloads - This is where you can see all your downloaded items.

Initially all sections have no items. It is up to you to subscribe to podcasts. We have provided several ways to subscribe. The easiest of which is to search our Podcast Directory. You can search by podcast title. If you cant find what you are looking for, you can use 1 of the other 3 methods to subscribe. Import from podcaster.fm account. Import by feed url and import by opml url.

After you have setup your podcast list. You are ready to listen. Simply select the item you want and click play. The podcast starts streaming in the media player. You also have the option to download the podcast. We have put a max limit of 40 MB for this current release but that is temporary and will be lifted in future updates. You can download as many podcasts as will fit on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

I have worked really hard to bring everyone (including myself) a great product. Similar to podcaster.fm, I am sure I will put out a slew of updates over the following weeks and months that will improve usability. Since I cant send this app out to anyone for testing, I want to hear your comments on the video. Thanks and enjoy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why is your app down?

The first applications I made for 1 App A Day in May was "Who wants to be Rich". It was a fun quiz game that took less then 1 day to make. It was a lot of fun and I had a lot of people using it. I also had a lot of people posting questions. Well that only lasted for 16 days because I got an email from the copyright owners of Who wants to be a Millionaire and it basically stated that I was infringing on the copyrights and had to take the game down. It also stated that I had to destroy all the code and take down any links pointing to the game. I did that immediately because I didn't want to get into any trouble. ( there are still links from other sites that I have no control over) I replied to the letter stating that I have taken the game down and that I wanted to resolve the issue completely. That was a week ago and I have not herd from them since. I am hoping that this is behind me and I can continue to make fun apps and games for the iPhone. As far as the game, I do not mind destroying the code seeing as it was very easy to build and it is nothing special. Sorry to all of you that liked to play the game. It was a good one. Please comment on how you feel about this issue.

On to some more happy news, It is day 22 and I am scrambling for ideas. It has been a very frustrating month. Between work, family and apps, I have not had 10 minutes to myself. Although it has been hard, I will probably miss it when it is over. Here are some stats.I have had 130,000 unique visitors to the apps and I got 2 Staff Picks on Apples Site. Al thought I had to take one of them down :-)

Enjoy the apps and I would like to hear any comments on how I can improve them because I will want to go over each app next month.

Friday, May 02, 2008

1 App Day in May has begun

1 App A Day in May is 2 days in and going great so far.

May 1st I made a game. Who wants to be Rich? I usually don't make games so it was a nice switch. My partner (wife) and I had decided that we would post each app into Apples web app directory and so we posted the first app. The next day, it was up and it was nice to see that it got a Staff Pick. I definitely want to make more games so I am open for ideas, we still have 28 or 29 days ahead so there is plenty of time to get creative.

May 2nd, day 2 was Brush Timer. The way I see it is that I want one of those smart toothbrushes that tells you where to brush and for how long. I can't really afford a good one but why do I need to buy it when I can just make one using this great gadget (iPhone) as the brain. I hope everyone gets a lot of use out of it. I use it every day and my teeth have never been cleaner. My dentist would be proud.

Due to popular demand, I will be making some great apps that will incorporate Flickr and/or Twitter.

I just want to put in a good word for Barry Velasquez, a great programmer that has created a cool list tool. Check out a list of my may apps at Kalisty.com.

I still use Podcaster.fm everyday and it seems that about 3,000 to 5,000 other people use it daily as well. I am still having problems with server unavailable messages. I have not looked into the problem for a few weeks and I think it will have to wait for the rest of the month. Sorry but I just don't have time. I did find a small bug with sharing and so I upgraded that feature to send out a nice formatted email.

Goodbye for now

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Check Now!

Recently we have got Podcaster to s stage that is almost at final release no bug version. One thing we wanted to work on was the "checking for new podcasts" section. We recently put a "crawl now" link on every podcast episode list. This link will allow you to check (at most) every 15 minutes for new podcasts. Hopefully this will allow most of you to get a podcast item as soon as it comes on. We also got the blue dot (new podcast) to show up properly. We are still making updates and if you have any features you want added, email us and we will consider it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Podcaster Updates

We have been working hard to really finish Podcaster. We have added a slew of new features. We will review those later but first I would like to talk about the "Deleted Podcast Fiasco".

Some of you might have noticed that today, Buzz out loud and some other podcasts have gone missing from your podcast list. That's because of a bug that has been fixed. Buzz out loud and other podcasts are working and will not be deleted in the future.

Updates to Podcast Directory.

We have made several changes to the podcast directory that make it more user friendly. First, you will notice that when clicking on a podcast, you are taken to a new page that shows you the podcast details. You have the option of listening to the most current episode and subscribing. We also added the ability to load more top podcasts. If you scroll to the bottom of the list, you will see a "Show 25 More" button. You can also see the language of the podcast when viewing details.

Our crawler has been updated to crawl hourly. We also have been able to crawl several podcasts that did not work before.

We also made several changes to the podcast details page. The one you might notice is the last updated on date. This is the last crawl date.

Soon we will have a stable version and we can finally bud it version 1.

Diggnation Podcast

We have had several weeks without Diggnation on Podcaster but that's all over. Diggnation is now fully operational.

For anyone adding podcasts to Podcaster, try to get something that works natively with macs.

We also launched a new interface. I think it looks nice. I would love you hear your opinions on it. If you want more features, just email me or post comments here so every can talk about it. Until next time, keep listening.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I have been working extra hard this past week to finalize a iPhone web application. It's called Podcaster and it allows you to setup and stream podcast to your iPhone or iPod touch. It looks and acts very similarly to the native iPhone app so you will have no learning curve. It also feature a podcast directory so adding podcasts is easy and fun.

New features include
Podcast played/unplayed separation
Listen to past and present podcasts (your not limited to the current episode)
Get useful information about podcast including contact email and phone number
Podcast now feature tags

Improvement to the podcast directory include
top 50 podcast list
search list
tag cloud with categories

It's a great app that I designed for myself but I'm sure others will find it useful.