iOS Pong Starter

I added a new open source project to GitHub which is a simple Pong implementation for the iPad. It focuses on using a timer, gesture recognizers, and basic animation without using any extra frameworks or libraries.

It’s a good learning tool, and could be a great place to start adding new functionality for your own custom game.

Check it out at: https://github.com/andrewhoyer/iOS-pong-starter

Getting UNIXTIME in Objective-C

I recently needed to get the UNIXTIME for one of my apps, and found a couple of pages that showed how. I boiled it down to a single command:

int unixtime = [[NSNumber numberWithDouble: [[NSDate date] timeIntervalSince1970]] integerValue];

timeIntervalSince1970 returns an NSTimeInterval that needs to be converted to a double, and then to an integer to remove everything after the decimal point.

App Review: Wasabi

Overview

As soon as mobile devices became “smart”, they immediately became the natural place for keeping such things as TO DO lists.  By now, if you search the App Store, you will find pages of apps that handle TO DO lists, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve tried a few out and may still be searching for that perfect app.

Recently I scooped up a promo code for Wasabi, an app by a developer I follow on Twitter, @JivaDeVoe.  I am always trying to scout out projects people are working on, and in this case, it was an app I had a really good use for.

So, what is Wasabi?  Let’s just say it’s a task tracker that allows you to organize and prioritize your tasks by project, goal, or location, and includes some really great features that make it the best app I’ve used to date.

Here And Now

So here’s how it works.  Everything revolves around tasks, and those tasks can be tagged, or assigned, to any Project or Goal you have created.  Tasks can even be tagged for multiple projects or goals, meaning that everything works together and there’s less duplication.

Once you have your tasks, projects, and goals in place, it’s time to work.  You have planned to work on your Marketing today, so you set that project as your focus.  Immediately, that projects shows up on your main page, “Here and Now”, as the Focus, and the “Next Task” shows the first item in the list for that project.

Wasabi Main ScreenHere and Now!

With this setup, tasks and projects take on a priority arrangement as opposed to a deadline based setup.  There is nowhere to set a deadline — just place the highest priority items at the top of the list, and work your way down!  If you really need tasks that are assigned to a date or are recurring tasks, do what I do — put them into another app that specializes in those sorts of things.  After using Wasabi for a while, I really like the detachment from dates and times, and hope it never goes that direction.

Places

Everything so far is great, but this next bit of functionality is what really made this app stand out for me.  Not only can you tag a task to a project or goal, but also a location!

Wasabi PlacesSetting up a location.

The possibilities for this are endless.  If your project requires you to take specific actions at home and at work, tag them accordingly.  Do you need to pick something up when you’re at the mall?  Set up the location, create a task, and tag it to the location.

Wasabi tracks where you are, and when you’re near one of your locations, it delivers a notification reminding you of the tasks that need to be done there.  I’m impressed.

Summary

If you’re struggling to find an app that organizes your tasks properly, take a close look at this app.  It really takes the best aspects of a TO DO app and implements them well, and at the same time cutting the features that really aren’t necessary.  Adding the location based tags is just icing on the cake.

It’s an app that has taken its place on the first screen of my iPhone, and you can’t say much better than that.

Download It

Wasabi is available on the iTunes App Store, here.

Twitter Is Not About Followers

For some time, I have seen a very bad attitude towards Twitter, which is that “If you don’t follow me, I’m not going to follow you”. I guess these people didn’t get the memo that Twitter isn’t Facebook. There is no guarantee or even requirement for reciprocal following. That’s not where Twitter’s strength lies.

Recently, I came across this blog post, that lists the top ten websites that let you unfollow those who don’t follow you back. How this benefits anyone, I have no idea.

What people should be focusing on are two things with their Twitter presence:

1. Find quality people to follow. Really when it comes down to it, the average user stands to gain much more from those they follow versus what they will be sending out or from those who follow them. Rather than unfollowing people who don’t follow you, concentrate on following people who provide you with great information you can use. On the same note, if you find people you follow who aren’t posting information useful to you, unfollow them. The more tidy your follower list is, the more you will get out of your Twitter account.

2. Send out a quality feed. There are many blog posts and websites that discuss how to make sure your own Twitter feed attractive to followers. The main point is, if you want someone to follow you, you need to give something back — and simply following them isn’t enough. Twitter isn’t a popularity contest — it’s about sharing information.

Have fun with Twitter, use it to promote yourself and gain valuable information, but don’t make it about followers. If that’s your goal, close your Twitter account and head back to the safety of Facebook.