Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reading list for aspiring app makers

Courtesy of LifeHacker
and the Pulse app
In addition to sharing our experience through our blog entries, here are some sites and articles that Lyle and I have found informative over the last couple of years. It is not an exhaustive list, but these are places to which we turn for information. We hope you find these helpful.

Mobile App News, Analysis and Reviews ( also theirs, for tips & tricks)
AdMob Mobile Metrics (now out of date, but it was so great...)

Keep Up on Gadget Technology, Social Networking, Apple

For Developers and Designers (including aspiring ones) (in case you haven’t looked there yet) ( is useful for facts and stats, too)

DIY App Development
Inc. article “Can You Make Your Own App?” by John Brandon, July/August 2011
Popular Science article “How to Make an iPhone App” by Dave Prochnow, February 26, 2009

A Couple of Random Interesting Items:
A visualization of the “journey from development to monetization” from VisionMobile that was posted on an entry in readwriteweb in 2010:
Measuring app success from readwriteweb again in 2011: 
TIP: While I just browse these resources sporadically these days, Lyle uses a news aggregator app to keep up to date on topics and resources of interest to us. An aggregator can show you dozens of front pages from various web sites and group them by topic. See this article by Alan Henry for some popular aggregators: 

If you have any good resources to share, please mention them in the comments or send us an email at And, don’t forget to tell someone about SoDunked! and please go dunk someone today! Thanks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday tips for iPhone users -- Organizing your apps and photos

Well, here's another topic about which Lyle said "please, please don't write about this. Everyone knows this already," but I argue that some of us didn't just figure it out and could use a little tip about it. In fact, someone asked me about organizing apps just last week (so, there). If this is old hat, please send me your tips for new iPhone users and go dunk me with SoDunked! If this could help you, read on.

Organizing the apps on your iPhone (I call it "jiggle" mode)
    This one is pretty simple, but it took my kids to show me before I would have happened upon it. Put two fingers on the iPhone or iPod Touch screen at the same time for a moment or two--your icons will start to jiggle and a teeny "x" will appear on each icon. While the app icons are in "jiggle" mode, you can use your finger to drag one toward another and a folder will be created for you. You can label the folder "favorites" or "kid games" or whatever you want and drag in all the apps that are related so you can find them together and take up less screen space. To take something out of the folder, you drag the desired file out of the folder. You can also move the icons around the screen without putting them into folders. If you accidentally delete one, you can get it back when you reconnect to your iTunes account. To stop "jiggle" mode, just press the button (you know--the round button in the bottom front and center of your device).

Keeping your photos in separate albums
    For this, I upload to my computer whatever photos and video are on my phone (using any software) since the last time I synched my iPhone with iTunes. I opt to "delete photos from device after uploading to computer" so that my phone doesn't fill up too much (I run out of space from keeping too many videos of silly kid or friend antics). Then, in a folder on my computer wherever the photos are stored, I create a folder called "favorites" or "keepers" (or both) and put a copy of each of my favorite 50 or 60 or 300 photos in that folder. I update that folder every time I take photos off of my phone or off of my standalone camera and onto my computer. Now, when you plug into your computer to synch itunes with your iPhone or iPod, choose to synch photos and browse to select the desired folder from your photos on the computer. It will create an "album" on your phone with the same name as the folder on your computer. It takes some time up front to review the pictures whenever I upload and then copy them to the "favorites" folder, but it is better than me not ever deleting any (of 4000) photos in order to save a few that I love and, as a result, filling up my device so that I can't add anything new. If this baffles you, go ask a teenager or visit a Genius at the Apple store. They can help you do it.
Don't forget to make a folder of favorite people to dunk and keep it updated, too (you could called it "my dunkees") and then dunk someone with SoDunked! today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday tips for iPhone users -- GPS is for kids (and other passengers)

I am still a fan of paper maps for navigating in the car (are you, too?). I have used our standalone GPS device, but the GPS lady is always recalculating and I never can get a good mental map of where we are. So, when I discovered the standard GPS app on my iPhone, I wasn’t so sure I would use it. Then, our five-year-old figured out that if you push the little arrow in the bottom left corner, the GPS app locates you as a blue dot on the map, and you can watch your dot move along the streets as you move, even if you are just walking. Along with the compass, this has become a great entertainer for the kids…and me.

OK, maybe it's helpful

It turns out that I like the iPhone GPS app for a few other reasons as well. You can quickly zoom in and out to get a better picture of where you are going, you can search for a gas station or restaurant (we haven’t bought the updates for our standalone GPS so having this ability on our iPhones is quite handy), and—this is the best part—the iPhone GPS app can show you real-time traffic data. We have used this on long drives and found it to be quite accurate. 

Things I don't like about the iPhone GPS app

The things I don’t like about the iPhone GPS app are 1) If you want to change route or see how far you have gone, you need to re-start your route (choose to edit directions and click “route” anew), 2) Unlike a standalone GPS, you need to keep touching the screen to see it unless you change your default auto-lock settings (and, if you use a password and your phone has auto-locked already, you will need to enter a password just to glance at your map) so it is dangerous for the driver to use unless the car is stopped--but maybe Siri will change that in the new 4S phone, and 3) it drains my battery like no other app on my device (I always make double-sure to bring a car charger if I plan to use the iPhone GPS app). 

After your passenger checks the traffic on your iPhone GPS app, you may want to glance over (safely) to see who they might be dunking. It could be you! At the next rest stop, be sure to use SoDunked! to dunk them back.