Rethinking the Ike’s Place iPhone Application

If you were to ask ten San Franciscans for the best sandwich shop in town I wouldn’t be surprised if they all exclaimed Ike’s Place as the best sandwiches. Ike’s menu is absolutely astoundingly huge with eighty listed sandwiches and many more secret sandwiches that only the cool kids know about.

I’m a bit spoiled to be honest as I live just one block away from an Ike’s. I found myself tempted to eat one of their gargantuan sandwiches just about everyday back when I worked from home. Thankfully I had the willpower to know better. Their sandwiches range in price from $10 all the way up to $20 (though the average price is $10.60) and they’re famously large with The Kryptonite sandwich clocking in at 5,700 calories!

Those same San Franciscans that would have suggested Ike’s Place would also add the caveat “But be ready to wait in a long line or order ahead.” Ike’s Place is so popular that they’ve been kicked out of their shops at least twice (?) since I moved to San Francisco. Neighbors pushed them out due to the extremely high traffic. Ordering ahead of time is absolutely essential with some wait times exceeding an hour!

Thankfully Ike’s Place has an iPhone app for ordering ahead of time (no online ordering through their website which bewilders me). It’s made by mCommerce Innovations Group and it’s pretty horrible. Look Ike Shehadeh, I LOVE your sandwiches. I just want the best for you guys which is why I wrote up this post. It’s full of criticisms, corrections and the like but it’s also full of solutions and love.

Disclaimer: I’m not a real designer, I’m not a UX/UI expert for some big dev company, I’m not a real programmer or a guru at any of this stuff. This just what a casual user, who has a touch of OCD, observed when trying to order a sandwich from his favorite sandwich shop.

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Facebook for iPad is Finally Here

Hats off to my friend Jimmy [Twitter | Tumblr] for catching the article from the New York Times, At Long Last, Facebook Releases an iPad App, announcing the release of Facebook’s native application for the iPad.

Why it took so long to get Facebook to release an iPad app is up for debate. Some say it was Apple wanting content agreements with Facebook (remember iTunes Ping?), some say it was Zuckerberg contending that the Facebook website was already iPad friendly and then there was the leak that turned your regular iPhone Facebook app into the iPad app, which Facebook patched up lickidy split.

There was even a Facebook programmer, Jeff Verkoeyen, the lead developer for the Facebook iPad app, that ended up quitting the company due to frustration over the delays. He is now at Google. Their first iPhone developer went through the same thing a few years ago and quit. Continue reading

Why is iTunes Absent from the Mac App Store

Apple released the Mac App Store (MAS) back in January of 2011. Jobs and Co. rolled it  in the update to Mac OS X 10.6.6 and it wasn’t long before companies were clamoring to release their software on the new platform.

Apple's Mac App Store

There were some unfortunate hiccups with the new way of purchasing applications for the desktop Apple operating system. For instance, if you had already purchased a piece of software that is on the MAS, somewhere else, you will not get access to updates through this system. Even if you have a serial number from the purchase, you are kept out.

This is because Apple takes a cut of all purchases made through the MAS and have no real need to serve another storefront’s customers. Some developers worked around this by providing heavily discounted versions of their software initially to ease the cost of users transitioning to the new distribution service.

Of course there were some that not only didn’t offer this option, they even decided to stop supporting their applications’ updates unless they purchased them from the app store. Practices like this were quickly condemned by users for basically forcing them to pay twice for the same software.

I already posted about Apple’s great success on the MAS, check it out here. They manage to keep up around 50-90% of the top paid download on the MAS, out of the thousands of applications available there. On top of that, over 1,000,000 downloads of Mac OS X Lion went through the MAS within the first twenty-four hours!

A thought popped into my head today though. After pushing so hard to make the MAS a success, why hasn’t Apple put its most popular app into the MAS? The only way to get FinalCut Pro X or Mac OS X Lion is through the MAS and as of yesterday, Apple has begun to pull all boxed copies of their software from Apple stores.

Yet, for some reason, iTunes is not available on the MAS.

iTunes is Missing from the Mac App Store

Anyone dare to suggest why? I can’t think of a really solid reason for this. In fact, I’m surprised Apple hasn’t rolled out its developer portal to the MAS. Many developers* like me use the same Apple ID for both the MAS and our dev accounts.

Imagine how great this seamless integration could be for development teams.

Apple is Killing it in the Mac App Store

Of the top ten highest grossing applications in Apple’s Mac App Store, nine are made by Apple. Looks like the App Store for non-mobile was a great idea after all. Also, I predict that with the release of Lion, Apple will hold all ten, top ten grossing apps. Brilliant.

Not Bjango’s Fault

Bjangos iStat for the iPhone

I have gotten so fed up with Apple‘s App Store approval process and the people that review all the products in the iTunes Music Store.  The latest comes with Bjango’s latest release of iStat for the iPhone.  Definitely one of my favorite apps, it not only provides you with vital information about the state of your iPhone, it also had this nifty feature that let you clear up wasted memory.

Apps on the iPhone have a terrible tendency for memory leaks and not really quitting when you return to the home screen.  The solution?  Either force quit every app on your iPhone/iTouch, restart the device or use this nifty app to clear up the wasted memory.

In the last few months we’ve seen all sorts of crazy going on in the iTunes App Store.  Most notably, the GoogleVoice application being rejected and all other Google Voice applications from third parties actually being KICKED out of the store.

The newest thing to itch Apple is this amazing feature in iStat that clears up memory leaks.  What’s more, I can’t tell you how many Apple Genius’s that have told me or other Apple Store customers to install iStat which has this nifty feature.  Restarting an iPhone takes minutes and in this world of living for the instant, seconds to minutes isn’t an acceptable wait period.

So when I went to the App store today to check out what’s new, I decided to see how Bjango was storming the latest App Store Storm.  I learned about this issues at least a week before Bjango made the change in their app and took the proper measures to prevent losing this incredibly useful feature.

Here’s the App Store customers’ reaction, to vote the app one and two stars and in their reviews bitch to Bjango about the lack of a memory feature and demanding refunds.  Nevermind the actions taken by Bjango to prevent this backlash.

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And then, my response as a review in the store.

They warned you ahead of time on their site and in the App Store.

They even have on their website a way to get your old version of the app back if you actually read the site ahead of time, and perhaps afterwards.

This is a fantastic application that does everything it says it does.  It’s a shame that Apple decided the memory clearing feature needed to be removed, yes, but rating an application poorly because of something Apple has done is not fair.

Furthermore, they held a vote for their customers on how to handle this issue.  Two options were proposed, update the app and lose the memory feature or create a new application that customers would have to buy, all over again, that would have the new features and leave the original iStat untouched.

The overwhelming majority of people who voted on this issue voted to update the app and lose the memory feature.  You had your choice, you ignored or simply didn’t take the time to read before you bought/updated and now you’ve gotten yourself in this mess.

It is not Bjango’s fault.

If you need an application to monitor your iPhone’s state, from memory used (that still works), drive space, network, battery (new) and others, this is your app.  If you need to remotely monitor other computers running their free server monitoring software, this is the app for you.  If you want to support a fantastic company, Bjango, this is the app for you.

They warned you ahead of time on their site and in the App Store.

Finally?  They lowered the price of the application by $1, or by 33%, for new customers.  Primarily because of the memory feature removal, I’d presume.

So there you have it, my rant to stupid people who probably won’t read what I’ve said and are so indoctrinated in their own idiocy that they won’t get it. I’m done ranting, it’s time for class. Catch you later.

Oh yeah, and check out their software for your computer and the iPhone.  It’s great stuff!

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Tethering iPhone with Netshare

The App Store Icon

If you were one of the lucky ones, you picked up a copy of Netshare while it was in the iTunes store.  Its status with the iTunes App Store has been under scrutiny what with it coming and going willy nilly.  Thanks to Nick Starr I caught it on one of its short lived moments in the App Store.

But if you did get it going, I highly recommend you hit up Apple Insider for a step by step guide to setting up Netshare with your iPhone. This of course allows you to hop on the internet with your just you laptop (ideally) and your iPhone.  To my knowledge, no one knows what AT&T will do about this.  They claim you cannot tether the iPhone and use it’s unlimited data plan at a $30/m savings to their regular data plan.

It gets really complicated as each application has to be reviewed by Apple before they are put into the wild for users to download.  Secondly this app costs $9.99 which means if they disable it, customers would demand a refund… Thirdly, Apple will technically have benefited from this app which AT&T might claim to be illegal under their contract.  Apple just renewed their exclusivity contract with AT&T through 2010.

Basically I’m thinking, use are your own risk!

I was hanging out at Diedrich Coffee today and thought I’d give it a try.

It took quite a few tries to get it going using the Netshare’s built-in instructions but Apple Insider’s tips were great and I had it up and running in no time.  And it works.  The speeds aren’t what I get on my Verizon card but in a pinch, 900kbps isn’t so bad.

Yeah so Netshare works pretty darn good, only one thing.  When I did an IP trace on the address assigned by AT&T, I got some interesting results.

It says the IP is coming from AT&T but it’s coming from the United Kingdom.  Not sure what that’s about but I’d be interested to see what other people are getting for their IP address when tethered to their iPhone.

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WordPress iPhone Native App Released

The new WordPress app for the iPhone was just released, and blogged about right here! Check it out at:

http://www.snurl.com/32wnl/

It’s awesome. This is the first time I’ve used it and had it installed and to writing this post in under two minutes.

Let me know how it works out for you!  Even the picture was embedded through the WordPress application.  I guess you can’t do inline formatted pictures, but meh, it can’t do everything I guess.

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