Skip navigation

This blog is no longer being updated. Please visit us directly at Subsume Technologies to see all the great things we’re doing. For new releases, you might want to jump straight to our Recent News.

Advertisements

Been a while since we had a new release to announce, so I guess I’ll just cover all the updates in one post! We were forced by iOS 5 to make minor bug fixes to our existing apps, which have all been rolling out over the last couple weeks. It started with calendaRSS, and in the last few days both Race for the Money and Race for the App finally got approved.

I’m sure this only qualifies as news to people who haven’t launched the App Store recently . . .

Even though the iCalendar format supports URLs for events, the Calendar application previous to iOS 5 did not display them. To get around that for calendaRSS, we had been putting the URL of feed items along with the content (as the first line of the note). Since URLs are now being displayed, we removed that little workaround.

We realize that anyone who is stuck on iOS 4 (or earlier) will not get the link for the news item anymore. Since we seldom needed to use the link, what with the content being right there in the note, we hope that won’t be much of an ongoing issue. Still, we could see adding the URL back at the bottom of the note, if people really want it back. Just let us know!

When giving you calendars for feeds with calendaRSS, the text we put in the notes was fairly readable. Still, it was not ideal for feeds that include a large amount of HTML in their news items. We’ve batted around a few ideas to improve that, and settled on Markdown.

Markdown is most commonly used to easily write text that can then be converted to basic HTML. We’re actually doing the reverse: taking the HTML in feeds and “down-casting” it to text. I doubt we’re the first to do this, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be done much by anyone else. It’s not perfect, especially when the HTML is complex (and we do still remove images completely), but it does make for a more readable entry in Calendar.

As a bonus, of course, there are many ways to take the Markdown text and turn it back into HTML. That means we can more readily make a future version of calendaRSS that still downloads feeds in the background, but also will display them nice and pretty in a WebView. We really hope the level of sales pick up so we can add all the features we have planned.

One of the nice things about how we handle feed reading with calendaRSS is that we can often make major changes without having to deal with the delays of the approval process. Why wait to update the app when you can make the fix immediately on the server?

A case in point is a recent tweak that removed a lot of “empty” links. Since calendar events don’t (for the most part) support images, we had removed them from feeds since the beginning. But that left the situation where big links, mainly ads, were left in the description without any related content. So we finally decided to go in and scrub them out, too.

Have a feed formatting suggestion of your own? Let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate, all with a turnaround time faster than app-only solutions allow!

We’ve always been big fans of time. Since the beginning of the Universe, at least, and maybe even earlier than that. So it should come as no surprise that we’ve dusted off a bit of history and polished it up to be calendaRSS, a new Atom/RSS feed reader for iOS. It takes website news feeds, including the feed for this very site, and renders them in a timeline suitable for the Calendar app to display.

It makes it really easy to keep up to date on online happenings without having to deal without a lot of fuss. Or even real-world happenings. True story: I found out Osama bin Laden was dead early yesterday morning when I took a look at Calendar as I got up and, BAM, there was the headline right there waiting for me. It’s a neat little trick, and well worth the meager buck we priced it at.

We’re also considering what other things we can calendar-ize. Have any suggestions?

We neglected to mention it here, but a couple days ago Apple approved Race for the App 1.1.0, and you can find it in the App Store. Sorry if you missed the race for some pretty sweet sponsors as a result. But keep playing every day and you’re likely to find many other top-tier app races, along with discovering a lot of other new apps you weren’t aware of before. Have fun!

We’ve read some of our reviews and boy are we . . . amused! Some people are actually giving Race for the App one star just because we don’t start them with more app points than everyone else! And it is true that starting with Ⓐ1.10 might not get you in to every race, but that’s why you need to keep playing, not stop playing! It’s the smart players who win the Ⓐ5.00 races, because they kept playing daily to earn their Ⓐ0.10 of interest, and maybe won a few races “in the money” to increase their balance even more.

Thinking about our decision to reduce the starting balance to Ⓐ0.10 starting in February, though, we have decided not to do that. There is just too much money already in the system to make that viable. Given that even Ⓐ1.10 has people throwing fits, we might even consider “cost of living” increases in the future. Whatever that might be, it will still be less than the roughly Ⓐ3.00 that can be earned in interest every month. In short, there will always be some advantage for being an early adopter, so be happy you found Race for the App early and be sure to tell your friends!

We do agree that the Fund Account button should actually do something, though. While you can’t pay for more app points like you can for more money in Race for the Money, it should at least pop a dialog. Or perhaps you have some other idea for a cross promotion that gives users app points? For example, we could reward some app points if users visit your web site or install your app. Let us know if you’d like to arrange something like that.

So what are we angry about? Birds, of course! As promised, as an added incentive, we have started seeding the sponsors with apps that are already popular. We experimented last week with Infection Zone, a very nice board game we found while testing Race for the App. This week, we’ve went straight to the top of the games list and added Angry Birds. It’ll pop up sooner or later as a featured sponsor, so be sure to look for it in the game! Play it smart, and that promo code (technically a gift code, since it came out of own pockets), is yours. But it doesn’t always have to be games! What’s your suggestion for the next “impossible” sponsor?

A lot of new faces mean a lot of confused expressions. Let’s have an open discussion thread. Is there any pressing question you would like answered regarding any of our games, or game theory in general? Now is the time to ask!

Just as reflected in the icon’s own victory, Race for the App has finally been approved! Far from being at the finish line, though, we realize the real work has only just begun. Players need to start playing and sponsors need to start sponsoring, so get the word out today!

Something else to note regarding the free accounts for players: currently they’re starting at a balance of 110 “app points” (aka, Ⓐ1.10). Starting in February, though, that will drop to 10 app points, which matches the 10 app points they can earn by playing daily. Just another incentive to become an early adopter, and tell your friends to become one, too!