23rd December 2018

Yet again, I’m getting to a point where I think the number of projects that I have active, is getting too high. I had similar thoughts last year, when I wrote an article titled “My App Store Clear-out”. I explained how some projects weren’t getting any time, some we’re hard to maintain, and others were just stale.

Back then, I reduced my number of projects to 5:

  • Hydrate – A work in progress iOS app to track water intake.
  • Qwiki – A small Mac menu bar utility for searching and browsing Wikipedia.
  • Pretty Regular Expressions – An app to test regular expressions in a simple UI, for iOS and macOS.
  • Tap Gap – A very simple arcade game for iOS, that was made free, as no further work is going to be done on it. But there were still people downloading it.
  • Pixels Sticker Pack – An iMessage sticker pack that features a small amount of pixel art.

In the year since I wrote that, I’ve given up on Hydrate, and developed two new applications – Text Case, and SOLID. Text Case being the iOS utility to format text, and SOLID being another utility to create single colour wallpapers on iOS.

That leaves me with this:

  • Qwiki
  • Pretty Regular Expressions
  • Tap Gap
  • Pixels Sticker Pack
  • Text Case
  • SOLID

I’d very much like to get that down 4 or 5, with 5 being an ideal maximum. However, I would like to start a new project next year, so I should restrict myself to 4.

Of course, I will keep on the latest apps, which fills out one half. But there’s tough decisions to be made on the rest. Tap Gap is certain to be pulled, that’s already decided. But the future of Qwiki and Pretty Regular Expressions are currently unknown to me. I like both of them, and I think they’re good apps. But I just need to work out if they are realistically going to get any updates in the future.

So this is where I am right now:

  1. Text Case
  2. SOLID
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. 2019 Project

I don’t want to annoy users by making a product unavailable, or officially cancelling all future updates, but most of them have been growing stale anyway. And I think I’d rather sell a limited amount of products that get regular attention, rather than a whole bunch of them that are near-to-never updated.

14th December 2018

Apple have announced some changes to the Artists Pages in Apple Music for iOS:

Apple Music in iOS 12 makes it easier to browse an artist’s catalog and discover new music to play. You’ll find the following changes in the new Artist Pages:

  • Improved Organization: Artist Pages are now better organized to make it easier to find the music you’re looking for, including Essential Albums and a featured release at the top of each artist’s page.
  • Personalized Artist Radio: Every Apple Music artist now has their own radio station. Press ▶︎ at the top of any Artist Page to start listening to music from across an artist’s catalog.

Connect posts from artists are no longer supported.

So Apple Music Connect is no more. Not exactly a big loss in my opinion though.

My opinions are similar to Nick Heer of Pixel Envy:

Aside from Connect, I think Apple Music’s social features have been fairly successful. I check out what the users I follow have been listening to all the time in the For You section, and I like the new Friends Mix added a few months ago. I’ve even noticed a better selection of user-created playlists. I would love to see continued investment and promotion of these more passive social features, rather than another attempt to create a Twitter-but-for-music social network.

I can’t say I regularly check what my friends are listening to, but I too have been finding a lot more user-created playlists. And I’ve noticed that playlists that I have created have been getting more attention from others.

Receiving updates from artists in Apple Music always seemed a bit odd to me, as I never really thought any artists would spend much time creating content for a limited outlet such as Apple Music. Especially as they surely knew it wouldn’t be that popular.

What I do want to see more of though, are social features designed for the listeners. With things like user-curated playlists, and smarter recommendations that take into consideration your interests, your friends, what’s trending in a certain area, etc. I’ve always found Spotify to be much better at this, and discoverability in general. And I’d much prefer Apple to compete on that front, instead of trying to attract Artists to be social on a music platform.

12th December 2018
Permalink

James Iles:

Recently, Jamie Zoch (@Yofie) questioned whether search engine DuckDuckGo had acquired the Duck.com domain name from Google.

Search giant Google acquired the Duck.com domain name in 2010 with the acquisition of On2, a video codec company.

Today, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg confirmed to me that the Duck.com domain name had been transferred to DuckDuckGo’s possession.

Maybe they paid them for the domain, or maybe this was Google doing something nice? Who knows.

Via Hacker News.

6th December 2018

I’m currently on holiday in Lanzarote, which is one of the Canary Islands. It’s technically part of Spain, but it’s closer to the western coast of Africa.

We spent all of today travelling around the south side of the island, and ended in a place called El Golfo, which has some very rocky beaches. It resulted in some interesting photos that I thought would look good as mobile wallpapers, so I spent some extra time seeing what else would look good, and I came up with 12 different options!

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