New App: ResumeTube (iPad)

Resume What?

A few months back I finally decided to try making an app to solve an issue that has been a (nerdy) annoyance of mine for quite some time. The issue, if you haven’t deducted from the title of this post, is the fact that neither YouTube nor Vimeo “remember” the place you last left off in a video if you can’t watch the whole thing in one sitting. So the core idea behind ResumeTube is to always “resume” where I leave off in a YouTube or Vimeo video.

I’ll admit this may sound like a silly, shallow “problem” to some people but I think anyone who consumes YouTube and Vimeo video content on a regular basis will understand and appreciate the frustration factor here. However, ultimately I made this app for myself so I’ll judge it’s success on whether I continue to use it or not long-term.

See below or head over to the Apple App Store if you want to read the full app background, future ideas, etc. Head over to the ResumeTube Facebook page if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about it! Please leave an app review or a Facebook like if you can to help out!

PS: Any friends and family interested in trying this out let me know and I’ll send you a promo code.

1.x Video/Screenshots

App Store Details

Finally a YouTube and Vimeo video player that saves your place!

Have you ever found yourself scrubbing the YouTube or Vimeo video progress bar back and forth trying to remember where you stopped watching a video last time only to experience one or more of the following?
* You can’t remember where you left off
* That the 6 minutes you had to watch a bit more of the video are now gone
* All that excessive scrubbing makes your video player or network go haywire?

Maybe I’m the only one who has far too frequently found himself in the above situations … but if you have also been frustrated by this kind of thing as well I hope you find this app useful as I do.

I made this app for me but if other people find it useful that’s great!

App Purpose
————————
The main purpose of this app is to make it easy to watch videos from YouTube and Vimeo over multiple sittings without losing your place. The goal is to never have to scrub back and forth to find your place in a video ever again!

App Features
————————
* Simple web video player for YouTube and Vimeo videos
* App will always resume a video where you last left off!
* Can import YouTube and Vimeo video URLs as well as YouTube playlist URLs.
* Jump-ahead and jump-back [15-600] seconds!
* Jump-to specific time in video!
* HD video support
* Time stamp detection in video descriptions (tap a time stamp to move the video to that point!)
* Allows up to 48 videos at once in playlist
* Basic playlist filtering and search functionality
* 4 color themes to choose from

Future Features?
————————————
Pending time and interest I may add some of the following features:

* iPhone version
* Dropbox Sync (so your video progress data syncs across your devices)
* “Favorite” video flagging
* Favorite time stamp video bookmarking (save spots in a video to return to later!)
* Playlist categories
* Better video list edit options (batch delete, etc)
* More intuitive YouTube playlist management
* Support for other video services besides YouTube/Vimeo?

Other Stuff
————————————
* On a side note I have to give a shout out to an app/platform I use named “Plex”. Plex reminded me that all video can (and should) have intelligent “resume” functionality and I use it exclusively for all my TV and movie watching. However Plex’s system for resuming YouTube and Vimeo videos has been fairly buggy for me for the past couple years so I had no choice but to make my own app!

* All YouTube, Vimeo and example video content copyrights belong to their respective owners.

Known Issues
————————————
* Sometimes if there are network connection issues on your end or a video host’s end this app or your device may need to be restarted before video playback will continue.

* Certain videos may not play through this app depending on how the author or video host have configured the video embed settings.

* Tapping the YouTube or Vimeo logos in the bottom right corner of a video may cause the YouTube or Vimeo app to “take over” this app’s window. If this happens you’ll need to do a full close of the app and relaunch it. Still looking for a fix for this.

* Report any issues found at the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ResumeTube-139143359823864

PocketSwatch 2.0 Update

I’m excited to announce that the 2.0 update to my color swatch app “PocketSwatch” is finally finished and released!

What’s New?

  • Apple 64bit Requirement:  First of all – the main reason I decided to update the app in the first place was because PocketSwatch would have been taken off the App Store if I didn’t update it to meet Apple’s new 64-bit requirements before June or July this year … so I was forced to let that happen or at the very least republish it w/the updated 64-bit stuff.
     
  • Photo Mode!: While I was dusting things off I got the idea to re-research the notion of adding a “Photo” mode to the app that allowed users to pull colors from the camera or photos since I wasn’t able to do it for the initial release. After a helpful boost in the right direction from a helpful article written by my pal Raymond Camden* I was able to get this functionality built out and working. So … as seen in the banner graphic above there is now a full-fledged “Photo” mode to the app that let’s users select photos or take new photos w/the camera and create color swatch sets from them! So if you’ve ever wanted to know what the RGB color value of a yellow Skittle is … now you can find out!
    The functionality isn’t perfect yet by any means but it definitely does the job and I think it’s a fine starting point at a minimum.
    *Raymond has no idea who I am – I just pretend that he and I are pals
     
  • UI Update: Naturally I couldn’t resist cleaning up the look and feel of things to keep up with the times so the app icon and overall look of the app both got a mini face lift.
     
  • Other Misc Stuff: There are a handful of other updates (additional background textures, bit better Pantone® color handling and a few other things.

Google Play / Android!

One last thing … the other idea I had while working on updating the app was to attempt to take another stab at getting PocketSwatch compiled and working on Android devices. I tried this during the previous/initial version of the app but I had very little experience with Android dev at that point, plus the framework I use (PhoneGap) was a bit more rough around the edges then. Anyhow – thanks to having a bit of a better starting point on both of those fronts this time I was able to do it … so PocketSwatch is now available on the Google Play app store as well!
On a related note – since the Google device situation is so insane (i.e. way too many types of phones and even worse variety of operating system versions across devices) I wasn’t able to go overboard testing Android much. I think most modern phones will do fine w/it but older ones with older operating system versions may/may not perform great. If anyone actually downloads it on an Android device and reports trouble I will look into it of course … as time permits yadda yadda.

Until next time! …

PocketSwatch App Store Links:

 

Oh yeah – here’s the preview video of the new version in action!

PocketSwatch 2 from Chris Emerson on Vimeo.

Wooden Clock: Tibet!

Ever since I created my Wooden Clock for iPad app I wanted to update it to have the option of letting users pick from an assortment of different clock types for some variety once in a while. Well after over 2 years and many early weekend mornings I finally got around to doing that and the update just went live in the App Store.

wooden-clock-settings-201502The new skin – the first of hopefully more to come in the future – is the “Tibet” clock. I’ve been fond of Tibet for quite some time … probably in large part due to the film “Seven Years in Tibet” and my eternal fascination with Mount Everest – so I figured that theme would be as good as any to start out with.

The App Store database isn’t entirely updated yet so here’s the details of the new version in case it doesn’t appear in the App Store yet:

A brand-new clock has been added … the “Tibet” clock!

The new Tibet clock was hand-carved, assembled and painted in the majestic foothills of Mount Everest near the city of Lhasa. Ok … actually it was all done in Photoshop and a text editor in a dark office .. but that’s almost as inspiring right?! In any case I hope everyone enjoys the new clock!

Seven_Years_in_Tibet_coverFirst – in standard fashion I have to insert a disclaimer here that while I am calling this the new “Tibet” clock, I in no way am implying that I am capable of producing authentic, Tibetan artwork nor is the clock I’ve constructed anything anyone who actually lives in Tibet would recognize or find attractive at all. This is simply my humble attempt at creating a visual homage to Tibet … as well as a geek from the US suburbs is capable of anyway.

I did do some research on Tibetan furniture and artwork before starting. As one might imagine a large part of Tibetan culture and artwork is based on the Buddhist religion – but for various reasons I steered clear of that route and went with a more general, flowery and colorful approach instead. But even with that generic approach, I do hope the final product gives that classic Tibetan vibe … the bright yellows and reds against a bright blue (mountain) sky. On a technical note – the flowers and leaves on the clock were painted with the Procreate app on my iPad and the rest of the clock was created using Photoshop.

While I was packaging things up I went ahead and updated the app icon a bit too. I’m not in love w/the new version but like it much more than the last one I used.

New Icon

Old Icon

The update with the new Tibet clock went live on the App Store today so users will get it the next time they update. If anyone has ideas or suggestions on new clocks I could add in the future swing by the Facebook page and post it!

Oh yeah – here’s the short app preview in included in this update – it shows the new clock in action!

My first Chrome App: Searchr!

I stayed up far past my bedtime tonight to get this thing wrapped up and shipped so I figured I’d put up the post for it now too.
This evening I finished the first release build of my first Google Chrome app named “Searchr!“. What in the world is it? Well here’s the app description I’m going with:

Searchr! is an easy-to-use flickr photo search app for Google Chrome focused on speed and convenience! Tired of clicking 15 times just to get to a download link for your favorite flickr photo? This app makes that simple and fast in addition to other time-saving features.

Honestly I figured there would already be dozens of this kind of thing out there – and I’ve looked for them for last couple years – but unless I was looking in all the wrong places it’s just not. Yeah there are a couple flickr Chrome apps and extensions that do various thing – but nothing that useful or impressive AFAIK.
Anyhow – if it’s not obvious this was an app I made for myself because it drives me nuts how long it takes to get to a URL or download (original) link for an image on flickr … plus pretty much anything on flickr takes too long for my impatient self – so this app addresses that.

There is definitely more I want/need to do here. Right now it’s heavily reliant on “tags” for finding photos. Eventually I’ll expand the search scope to parse more than that – but since I live and breathe by tags this will work for me for a while. So when I want to find my “favorite,lincoln,corgan” photos between 2009 and 2010 … I can now do it in seconds!

On a technical note – this thing wasn’t very hard to build. Most of the work here leveraged skills I use at work (and play) every day anyhow so while I did learn a few things along the way it wasn’t a big deal at all to put this together – it’s really just a wrapped up web app. I also had a good laugh that I got it published in mere minutes after uploading the files to Google … contrast that with Apple’s 1-2 week review time for the App Store!

Hopefully other folks will find it useful. If any of you dig it or think of things that I should add or alter drop by the Facebook support page and post a note!
https://www.facebook.com/searchrapp

The official download link for the app on the Google Chrome web store is here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/searchr/phldilnakifhbgllkiopclbdchkdcfoc

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

[slickr-flickr set=”72157630853262024″ type=”gallery” size=”large”]

PocketSwatch for iPhone!

I’m super excited to announce that my new iPhone app “PocketSwatch” has just been released to the app store!!

As I cryptically mentioned the other day, this project completely devoured every free minute I had for the past 4-5(?) week but it was a blast. It even had me getting up at 4:30 on weekend mornings (even on my sleep-in morning) to get it done faster! I was starting to think the app would never be finished because it seemed like for every 5 punchlist items I completed, 10 more would get added to the list! But eventually I came to a “finishing” point – well, really I just started moving all new ideas to a “Version 2.0/Maybe” project.

What is PocketSwatch?

In case the screenshot and app name don’t make it obvious, PocketSwatch is a color swatch creation and reference utility app – primarily geared towards computer-based artists, designers and developers – though non-computer folks might find it useful as well. In short PocketSwatch offers the user four things:

  1. Color Mixer/Swatch Set Creation
  2. Swatch Set Library/Reference
  3. RGB, HEX and CMYK color conversion
    (Note: The FULL version even has Pantone support!).
  4. Emails swatches and download “ASE” Adobe Swatch Exchange files as well!

The actual idea for the app came to me while I was working on another secret app (that has since been mothballed). The reason I dropped the app I had been working on previously to start this was because this idea, unlike 9 out of 10 of my typical app ideas, had an element of real world usefulness.

The other thing I found interesting about building this app was that it had some very logical ways to make a FREE version and a PAID version.

Unlike the Wooden Clock app, which was purely for entertainment and the fulfillment of a new year’s resolution, I see PocketSwatch as a serious tool, for some, so the “FULL” version actually deserves to carry a small price tag.

It’s a simple idea I know and while there are plenty of other “color” apps out there, I believe PocketSwatch is a cut above a fair amount of them both in simplicity/focus and the level of polish. But … I’m obviously wearing “parental” googles here so you all judge for yourselves!

One more thing – the app actually got released to the App Store earlier than I wanted – the current (pending release) versions of both the FREE and FULL app  are a bit nicer (plus I think there is a bug or two in the current FREE version). But – the base functionality is in the public/available one so folks can get the jist at least.

Demo Video

Here’s the official demo video showing the app in action for anyone out there w/out an iPhone. Make *SURE*  the HD button is “ON” before you start so you can see it in it’s full high-res glory! 🙂

App Store Stuff:

As mentioned above, there will be two versions of this app – a free/limited version and the paid/full version. The full version is still waiting to go through App Store review so that’s not available yet – but the free version is now available so folks can try it out and see what they think. By the way, if I was in this to make every possible penny I could I suppose I’d wait until the “pay” version was released before announcing the app. But while I will find it cool if some folks do find it useful enough to pay for, I did this for myself, for fun and to learn – everything else is icing.
Here’s the app store link to the FREE version.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketswatch-free/id512413428?ls=1&mt=8

Here’s the app store link (Posted on 2012/04/01):
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketswatch/id509958461?ls=1&mt=8

PocketSwatch@Facebook

Here’s the “official” facebook page that will serve as the support “portal” for the app:
http://www.facebook.com/PocketSwatch

Ok that’s all…

PS: Special thanks to Holly here for having extra patience when I was/am in full “obsession” mode on things like this.  Without her patience (and some good ideas) I wouldn’t get to make stuff like this. <3

 

Wooden Clock in the App Store!

Well I wasn’t sure if I would actually get in … but as of this evening my first public iPad app is now on the App Store! Official link here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wooden-clock/id491552855?ls=1&mt=8

If you’re feeling nice, why not stop by the app page and write a review… assuming you try the app out of course (or even if you don’t)!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago this app is super basic/simple – for the most part it was just my attempt to see if I could get something up on the App Store. That said, I have to say it was a very interesting (and fun) process to go through from start to finish – and I’m definitely psyched to come up with my 2nd app soon!

Technical Notes:

  • It will take a day or so to show up in standard iTunes/App Store searches – but if you use the link above you should be able to see it either in your browser or in iTunes via a direct link.
  • I also just realized that the sound effects are all “off” by default so if you download and try it make sure to go into the app’s settings and turn on the ticking and hourly chimes to check them out
  • The app takes a few minutes to download/install from the App Store right now but I’m guessing that’s just standard weeknight/evening bandwidth/traffic (?).