Fix for Terminating App Due to Uncaught Exception 'NSInvalidArgumentException'

I’ve been experimenting with a multiview iPhone / iOS app with a tab-based navigation and came across an error and solution for “unrecognized selector sent to instance.”

In one of the tab’s views I had a standard button with a Touch Up Inside event that I had connected to a buttonClicked method in the view’s controller.  For some reason, when I tapped that button the app would crash.  This was not happening when I built the same stuff in a single view app.

I went searching and was happy to find that the problem was well described and solved in the developer forums of MacNN.  It turns out that when you have have multiple view controllers for separate .xib files being controlled by a Tab Bar Controller you need to take an extra step of setting the Class Identity for that particular view. Here’s how: Continue reading Fix for Terminating App Due to Uncaught Exception 'NSInvalidArgumentException'

Rock Show Concert Posters 2.0: Now on iPhone and iPod Touch

concert posters rock show ipad iphone

I’m pumped to announce availability of Rock Show 2.0.  This is the first version of Rock Show that works on the iPad and both the iPhone and iPod Touch.  A lot of fixes and tweaks are in this version of the application, along with some new posters as well!

Two articles are up about the release, Padgadget is hosting one item and a second can be found at IntoMobile.  For a full low-down and updated info on the app, visit its page: http://www.rockshow.fm

Creating Compelling App Descriptions for iTunes and the iOS App Stores

When you submit an iOS application for review, you’ve got to make sure your ad copy is tight.  The app description may be the last thing holding back a tap to buy your app.

Apple doesn’t give much guidance on this important chunk of text. “Write your Application Description with a focus on what makes the functionality or design of your app unique.” was a tip from this past June from the App Store Tips blog.

We know that 4000 characters is the limit.  And App descriptions are made up of simple text, including unicode symbols like checkboxes (✔) and more (♣☢☂).  Apple takes your unicode text and formats it for display on the web via Web Preview, in iTunes and on the iOS devices themselves (the app store).

Since you probably have very specific points you want to get across, and users have a very short attention span, you need to pay attention to how Apple will format what you write.  In this entry I discuss how to create app descriptions that look great everywhere Apple publishes your app description.

Continue reading Creating Compelling App Descriptions for iTunes and the iOS App Stores

iTunes App Store Hacks Result of Apple ID Password Policy

The subject matter of my previous blog post is now front page news, and Apple has now responded.  Time for a  follow-up with some additional thoughts.  This entry questions the Password Policy for Apple ID and asks whether it may be responsible for past and future attempts to manipulate app ranking in the App store.

A Note on Media Alignment

It is worth noting that we’re beginning to see more media outlets align with or against Apple.  From my frequent review of popular mobile news coverage, it has become clear that Gizmodo and PC World do their best to highlight gaffes and problems in the iTunes ecosystem or just about iAnything.  Meanwhile a blog like MacRumors seeks to downplay news that might be viewed as concerning or add to the distress from iphone4antennaegate. (I just made that up).

While the title of these publications alone should serve as a strong indicator, keeping track is important.   The Clintons are well known for keeping their loyalty lists in order and it is entirely reasonable to assume Apple is doing the same.   Continue reading iTunes App Store Hacks Result of Apple ID Password Policy

iTunes Accounts Hacked, App Rankings in Books Category Gamed

I was tipped off that a widespread effort is underway to game the Books category of iOS apps in the iTunes App store.  It appears that a coordinated effort is underway to use iTunes accounts to purchase specific apps to drive them up in rankings.

This of course affects those who have unauthorized charges to their credit card, and also those developers with apps in competition for rankings in the book category.

My guess would be that the unethical developer behind this push would also game up competitors apps so that it is unclear which is at fault or benefiting the most from the hacking.  It seems that Apple should have checks and balances to detect for and trigger a flag when a previously unpopular, over-priced iOS app is suddenly in the top 10.

Evidence of folks who have discovered hacks are currently in the comments for some of the apps that have made their way up through gaming.  Currently “Conan 3” an app described as “this is a application to read book” by Thuat Nguyen is in position #9 in the books category today. One of the reviews is as follows:

Watch Out!

Someone out there is hacking into people’s iTunes accounts.  This just happened to me last night.  Luckily, my bank is right on top of things like this and did not authorize release of the funds and closed the account.  Keep a watchful eye on your account information….often!”

Here’s a screen shot of that app’s preview page as it stands. Here are a few tweets about folks getting their iTunes account hacked and an article from May on what the fallout when your iTunes account gets hacked.

Consider updating your iTunes password to include numbers, characters and capitalization!

Course Files for Stanford CS 193P iPhone / iOS App Development Winter 2010

Stanford was kind enough to release all of its CS 193P iPhone / iOS Application Development course under Creative Commons.  The lecture videos [iTunes link] are available for free download through iTunes U.

When I went in search for the course files, I found them all individually linked on the course downloads page.  Since I don’t want to have to return to this page, I used a Firefox plugin to download all of the files and then organized them into folders. The result is one single archive for you to download.

Download – Stanford CS193P.zip – 81.3 MB

Most people are going to get an error when building projects from this set: “error: There is no SDK with the name or path…” Gonzalo Gasca posted a four step solution to this:

1. From the Projects menu in XCode, choose “Edit Project Settings”
2. Click on the “General” tab. Near the bottom of the inspector window, you should see the path to the non-existant SDK that’s troubling you.
3. Change the selection for “Cross-Develop Using Target SDK:” to another listed SDK instead of “Other” as it probably currently reads.
4. Click Build, and away you go!

It is nothing short of amazing that this level of educational material is available for free.  I came across the Stanford course after Windows Phone 7 evangelist Paul Thurrott pointed out that Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do in the realm of developer documentation and free training products.  He’s right.

Rock Show, an App for the Apple iPad

My software company, Neutrinos, has been hard at work on an application for the Apple iPad called Rock Show.  Rock Show is an interactive art gallery for concert posters that lets you view, share and buy original limited edition artwork.

We’re very excited about the potential of the iPad and hope that this application does the device justice enough to be included in the launch of the grand opening of the  iPad App Store.

For more information about Rock Show, visit the official website, RockShow.fm. You can enter your email address to be notified of availability. Be sure to follow the app on Twitter @r0ckshow.  (The first o is a zero)

3 Underutilized Technologies You Should Adopt Today

There are common technologies and services in existence today that continue to be rebuffed by far more people than they should.  This group of people probably have and use Facebook, own or regularly use an iPod and can send and receive email attachments with ease.  These are ‘normal’ people who would typically be considered to be reasonably tech-savvy and in the early to middle of the road adopters group.

I’m going to list reasons these are not adopted, reasons they should be and a score for how hard it would be to adopt it where 1 is super easy, and 10 is hard. Here are three that I’ve identified and feel strongly about today:

Continue reading 3 Underutilized Technologies You Should Adopt Today

Protecting the Cash Cow: Why the iPad Does Not Have Multitasking Ability

Why Apple does not allow multitasking on the iPadThe internet is abuzz with what the iPad is missing, but for each statement there is a very specific and reasoned answer.  I’ve been happy to see Daring Fireball give background on the reason Flash is not and should never be built into Apple’s Touch platform.  With that properly explained, let’s look at why the iPad does not allow multi-tasking of applications.

Apple enthusiasts are often quick to point out that the iPhone would run out of batteries too quickly or the processor would not be strong enough to support snappy use of multiple applications.  This proves true in testing a jailbroken iPhone.  But the iPad Apple tablet does not get the same defense.  The carefully touted A4 chip should have no problem running a sophisticated 3rd party application and the native mail client at the same time.

This is big trouble as more complex games for the device are introduced.  For example Grand Theft Auto, The China Town Wars, is a complex 3D game recently released for the iPhone and iPod Touch. GTA: CTW has the potential to lose mission progress by dropping you back to your apartment every time the game is left unexpectedly.  While this clearly negatively affects the gamer experience, imagine how frequent push notifications begging gamers to leave for just a moment will affect more persistent, longer-session games like World of Warcraft.

The A4 is pretty tough chip and conceivably should have the ability to safely run multiple iPhone and iPod Touch applications, if not the more weighty future iPad-specfic titles.  So why isn’t multitasking being allowed?

Apple does not want people to use streaming music services like Pandora and Last.fm until it is ready with its own cloud-based, Genius-powered streaming music recommendation engine a seamless listening experience through the iPod application and iTunes.

Currently, the only ways to play back audio while running another application (crippled multitasking) are:

  • Using the iPod application
  • Downloading an mp3 or other audio attachment from an email and hitting play. (Plays back from within the mail application)
  • Downloading an mp3 or other audio from the web. (Safari plays it back)

Similarly, the only way to playback streaming audio is using the Last.fm application, the Pandora application or a few other apps that use a recommendation engine to create lists of songs you do not own and stream them to you.  If Apple were to allow you to playback Pandora today on the iPad and work with the iLife suite to author documents they will be training you not to use iTunes!

“But they can’t get away with that!” That’s right, they can’t.  That’s why Apple will introduce its cloud-based iTunes offering either before or in tandem with the release of the next generation iPhone this coming around June. Using the brains acquired in the purchase of Lala, Apple will be introducing a mixed-mode local and cloudbased listening experience where any iTunes music collection can be played back in part on the locally stored disk or streamed from the cloud using an iPad.

Apple will use Genius to identify and stream audio to iPad users in its own competitive play against Pandora and Last.fm.  Once a strong streaming, Genius-powered solution is available to iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users future devices will be able to multi-task all applications, including the most threatening, streaming audio services.

Jobs made it a point to illustrate Apple has 125 million credit cards on file through iTunes.  Every streaming audio selection that is in turn bought by the user can be facilitated using that payment information.  Not the case with Pandora or Last.fm!  Denying these applications the ability to gain traction gives the iTunes ecosystem time to evolve to include their services.  This will make the future allowance of multitasking apps delivering this music less impactful in pulling users away from greatest cash cow in software’s history: iTunes.

Killer Application for Apple Tablet is Board Games

There’s a lot more speculation about the tablet since a New York Times blog entry that included a quote that people will be “surprised how you interact with the new tablet.”  A lot of the conjecture is based on applications for patents that Apple has filed in the past few years.  I have an angle that offers interesting interaction with the Apple Tablet, iSlate, iGuide or Apple Slate with a killer application is decidedly low-tech.

The idea is that the iSlate will communicate and be driven in part by nearby iPhones and iPod Touch devices over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.  Authorized iPhone and iPod Touch devices nearby the iSlate will act as sophisticated remote controls.  This use case takes advantage of the user’s likely existing Apple hardware in the Touch platform and focuses on the fact that the iSlate will likely have a large, bright screen with a reasonable viewing angle. Let’s examine a potential killer application of this idea.

The tablet screen will be able to lie flat on a table between two or more people.  Through iTunes, the owner of the tablet will purchase an application that runs full screen on the tablet.  The publisher of the tablet application will also make available free applications that run on the iPhone and iPod Touch and communicate directly with the app running on the tablet.

Using the Apple Tablet as a Centerpiece to Electronic Board Games

A great example would be the classic board game, Scrabble.  In Scrabble, you have a board that requires physical placement of letters on a major center area.  It also requires players to keep the letters in their tray secret from other players.  In a Scrabble for the iSlate scenario, players need only to have an iPhone or iPod Touch to virtually hold their letters.

The iPod Touch or iPhone could vibrate or make a noise when it is a player’s turn and it would be used to send the results of the player’s decisions to the Apple tablet at the center of the table.

One important aspect of this is size, the traditional Scrabble board is a fair bit larger than the expected 10.1″ Pixel Qi powered display.  I believe that this type of thing could be overcome by the tablet giving intelligent focus to the most relevant portions of the board.  Additionally, the iPod Touch and iPhone could be used to manipulate the current viewing area on the tablet, or that area could be manipulated directly using standard multi-touch.

Many other board games would work in this scenario, including Monopoly, where you are handling all kinds of cash, property cards and frequent score calculations. The value you get out of the pairing of a Tablet and the iPhone is that there is a new bridge between physical social interaction and the convenience of an electronic presentation.

Using the Apple Tablet to Share Presentations in Small Groups

There are many other killer applications where the iPhone and iPod Touch serve as input devices to the iSlate or Apple tablet.  One I would use in my meetings for my iPhone application design company, Neutrinos, LLC is a business application is in small group presentations.  The tablet is set up to run a presentation application full screen.

The tablet is handed to one or more clients seated near each other.  The presenter uses an iPod Touch or iPhone to control playback of the presentation.  The presenter’s multi-touch device offers presentation notes, previous and next slide previews and allows them to trigger in-presentation events like animations or even jumping out to a web-view for the clients to explore.  This gives the presenter an opportunity to give a private and engaging presentation in the middle of any cafe, airport or public space.

Using the Apple Tablet for Illustration and as a Supplemental Display Area for Floating Windows

A final use case scenario for using the iPhone and iPod Touch to drive the Tablet is in illustration.  I’ve been working directly with Portland artist Carolyn Main who spends a lot of time with her Wacom tablet.  While the Wacom offers a great deal of pressure point precision that the Apple Touch Platform is unlikely to compete with any time soon, it is reasonable to think that app developers will try to deliver illustration and animation applications that allow creation on the go.

Having an illustration application like Adobe Illustrator running on the tablet, and then being able to use an iPhone or iPod touch for swatch, tool or layer management would leave more of the iSlate’s screen real estate for drawing.

In John Gruber’s recent post about the tablet he writes: “And so in answer to my central question, regarding why buy The Tablet if you already have an iPhone and a MacBook, my best guess is that ultimately, The Tablet is something you’ll buy instead of a MacBook.”  My suggestion is that people buy the tablet because they already have an iPhone or iPod Touch.  Having both a Tablet and a touch makes the Tablet more useful with some great use case scenarios the low-tech realm of board gaming to business.

follow rob on twitter