App Update: PocketSwatch 1.4

Just a quick post to announce that an updated version of my PocketSwatch app is now available in the App Store. The main things in this update are:

  • New (lowered) price of $1.99.
  • Support for the larger iPhone 5 screen! (The app is lightning fast on the 5 and looks great!)
  • Some streamlining for iPhone 4 and older
  • Various bug fixes
  • New blue icon just for fun

Check it out here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketswatch/id509958461?ls=1&mt=8

 

New App: Kana Cards HD!

I’m excited to announce that my new app “Kana Cards HD” is finally finished and is now available on the App Store!

So what in the world does this app do? Well as some of you know I am a big fan of the Japanese language and culture – or at least the parts of it I’ve heard of or learned about over the years. I’ve made multiple attempts to learn to speak the language but I’ve sadly never gotten very far. Anyhow – a year or two ago I got the idea to make an app that would help me learn the japanese language – or at least their phonetic syllabaries (kana, or “alphabets”). I kicked around many different ideas for the app – ranging from ninjas, to bunnies to basic flash cards – but after a while I realized I wanted to make an app that was functional but also a tribute of sorts to the japanese language – something that would hopefully reflect my fondness for it.  Whether I achieved that last part or not is a subjective question – but I feel good about the final product as I think it does include something very functional, but also very polished and “shiny”.

Unlike my previous app, PocketSwatch, I decided a few months back to make Kana Cards HD a “universal” app – which means it is specifically designed to run on both the iPhone and the iPad. Achieving this added quite a bit of complexity/time to my already super-scarce development time (sometimes only couple hours a week) – but in the end I’m glad I did it as it gave me some good experience dealing with two completely different user interfaces that shared the (basic) same functionality/code base.

Some additional behind the scenes trivia:

  • All Hiragana and Katakana letters were hand-painted by me on the iPad
  • All the “male” pronunciation audio was recorded by yours truly – but I shifted the pitch up a bit because I couldn’t stand listening to myself over and over during development! 🙂
  • Paintings used for the card textures were pulled from the public domain
  • It took over 8 hours for the app to actually go live once it was approved by Apple … that wait was excruciating!!

As with many other apps out there, the concept and general goals of this app aren’t super unique. There are quite a few apps out there to help people learn the Japanese language. Some of them are really great (example) and quite robust – but far too many are pretty lame and a bit ugly.  I don’t claim that my app is THE best app out there for learning the Japanese language but I will, humbly, say that I believe Kana Cards HD’s core game mechanic and level of polish are one of a kind!

In the end my hopes for this app are that 1.) it helps some folks learn or enjoy some of the Japanese kana (alphabets) and 2.) I don’t offend any Japanese people by any mistakes or inconsistencies in the app!

See below for videos, links etc and let me know what you all think if you grab it.

Kana Cards HD: Screenshots

 

 

 

Kana Cards HD: Links

Kana Cards HD: Demonstration Videos:

Here are a couple demonstration videos of the app in action. As always, make sure to click the HD and fullscreen icon to view the videos properly!

iPad Version:

iPhone Version:

FYI to my friends and family

Please don’t buy the app unless you are truly wanting to learn the Japanese language! I have promo codes I can send you  to download it free if you want to check it out.

Screenshots

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Kana Cards HD: Teaser Icon!

Here’s a teaser graphic for my new upcoming mobile app: KanaCards HD. While I’m really excited about the app the project itself has dragged on for months and months at an excruciatingly slow pace of a couple hours a week at best (!!) … so needless to say I’m flat-out exhausted with it. My hope is that my throwing out this teaser icon will get me the spurt of energy I need to get to the finish line!

PS: A quick Google search of this app name will bring up a fair amount of apps by other people … I’ll explain my logic around non-unique name and rationale for the app in general in my next post.