ResumeTube Returns!

So following-up on my previous post here (and on Facebook) about my app “ResumeTube” …

A few weeks ago, after quite a bit of back and forth, Apple finally reconsidered their position on my app and officially approved it to return to the App Store! I’m not sure if I just annoyed them to death or if they truly saw the error of their initial review but either way … the app is finally free to stay on the App Store and get updates in the future.

Anyhow with the red tape out of the way I spent my free time the past couple weeks making a few changes to the app – the most notable things being:

  • iPhone Support (Finally!)
  • New fancy icon
  • Vimeo Support removed (never used it)

I hope to add cross-device sync in future but will see how bad I want/need that before attempting it (TBD).

As always, I’m very aware I may be the only guy who wants/uses an app like this but if anyone else tries it out let me know what you think.

Links

R.I.P. ResumeTube?

So a week or two ago I dusted off ResumeTube for my own use and figured I’d push a fresh build through the iTunes App Store review process (no new features just some house cleaning/maintenance stuff). Anyhow … to my surprise I got back a quite unexpected “app rejected” message from Apple! Eesh!… Check it out:

Guideline 4.2.2 – Design – Minimum Functionality

We noticed that your app only includes links, images, or content aggregated from the Internet with limited or no native iOS functionality. We understand that this content may be curated from the web specifically for your users, but since it does not sufficiently differ from a mobile web browsing experience, it is not appropriate for the App Store.

Important Information

As a result of violating this guideline, your app’s review has been delayed. Future submissions of this app, and other apps associated with your Apple Developer account, will also experience a delayed review. Deliberate disregard of the App Store Review Guidelines and attempts to deceive users or undermine the review process are unacceptable and is a direct violation Section 3.2(f) of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Continuing to violate the Terms & Conditions of the Apple Developer Program will result in the termination of your account, as well as any related or linked accounts, and the removal of all your associated apps from the App Store.

We want to provide a safe experience for users to get apps and a fair environment for for all developers to be successful. If you believe we have misunderstood or misinterpreted the intent of your app, you may submit an appeal for consideration or provide additional clarification by responding directly to this message in Resolution Center in iTunes Connect.

Weird aye? I realize that some (maybe most) fancy-pants – for whom being an Apple Developer is a full-time job and not a hobby like me – may know the above rule/logic already and wouldn’t be surprised by Apple’s bringing it up … but personally I find it a bit surprising since A) I took quite a bit of time making the app UI/experience very clean and responsive and B) … I give the jerks $100 bucks every year just to keep my Apple Developer license active!!

I of course wrote them back trying to explain that while I realize it’s not some world-saving feature-packed app, the core usefulness of the app is based on a feature/need that 99% people who are “mobile web browsing” (or desktop/laptop web browsing!) don’t have a solution for (i.e. “resuming video!”) … but no idea if they’ll reconsider.

So at this point I have no idea what will happen. The app may or may not make it through review /or (worst case) may be pulled from the App Store! Sad too because while Apple may think the app isn’t “native iOS” fancy enough for them I personally still use this app a lot! Here’s hoping they reconsider. 🙁

Update 1

Well … things look pretty grim. Just got this back from Apple after my initial replies to them:

Hello,

Thank you for your prompt response. Due to recent policy changes apps which primarily interact with content aggregated from the internet are no longer appropriate for the App Store. As the main features of your app revolve around watching, saving, and resuming aggregated videos we have found the app to not be in compliance with guideline 4.2.2.

Once the app has been modified in order to address this rejection we would be happy to resume our review.

Best regards,
App Store Review

Seems like there’s no chance of survival here but I guess I’ll write them one more please. Still seems very odd to me that a “utility” app like this that is (at least IMHO) very helpful/time-saving would be considered unwelcome to the app store. If we can’t have apps and utilities that we want and actually use on our expensive tablets why in the world do we buy them!?? Ugh … to be continued .. or not. =/

Related

Update 2 (2017072x)

The End?

Well I submitted a formal written “appeal” to the App Review Board. I actually was starting to think my case was pretty solid … but sadly, they still don’t see things as I do. My appeal and their response below for the record. I have to say it seems beyond INSANELY SILLY to have to write all these words about an app that’s all about keeping you efficient and saving time! Lordy the irony is killing me.

I’m not sure if Apple will take down the existing version of the app from the App Store or not (still there as of today). I’m too scared to ask them directly fearing they may take it down after I ask … so for now I’ll be quiet and hope they leave it there for now (?).

As for what’s next I don’t know. Maybe I’ll think of a way to make it do more stuff so the App Review board approves it – though the notion of forcing functionality like that seems like a dumb idea (even though they basically are suggesting that). Or maybe I’ll just port it to a web app. Who knows … too busy with my Super POTUS Trump game right now to deal w/it.

My Appeal

Hello,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit an appeal for my app ResumeTube to remain on the App Store.

Firstly, I agree with the general notion posed by the App Review team that my app ResumeTube is a web content aggregator of sorts in that it’s primary content is a user-curated list of videos from YouTube and Vimeo. I disagree, however, that this means the app fails to pass Design Guideline 4.2.2 and/or doesn’t deserves to remain on the App Store (as it has for 1-2 years now).

This app’s value is akin to other, fairly famous and popular, apps like Instapaper or Pocket that center around user convenience when it comes to saved articles on the web. Just as it is far more efficient for users to read articles in those apps vs. where the articles originated, it is more efficient for users to watch (certain kinds of) videos in ResumeTube than it is to watch them on YouTube or Vimeo. Here is why:

* Neither YouTube nor Vimeo currently allow users to “resume” where they left off in a video.

* For example, if a user was watching a 1 hour video tutorial class on learning Swift or Objective C (or maybe a 2-3 hour Apple Keynote video) and they had to stop watching and finish it later, when they came back another day they would they have to scrub around the video trying to remember and find where they left off.

* This act of scrubbing around a video trying to find your place is inefficient, frustrating and often leads to people giving up and not bothering to finish watching the video in the first place.

* Additionally, this video scrubbing can sometimes even strain a WiFi/router to the point of having to be restarted due to the bandwidth choking/throttling caused by excessive scrubbing. Multiply this times X number of people in an office or household (like me) with often kids and parents both competing for bandwidth, this situation/scenario is even worse.

ResumeTube was created to solve the above problem(s). Yes it’s content consists 100% of YouTube or Vimeo videos ** just as Instapaper’s content consists 100% of web articles ** … however it serves as a small but powerful solution to giving the user a more efficient, and less-frustrating experience. Simply stated – ResumeTube saves users’ time and frustration and encourages the consumption of more video content vs. less.

If YouTube or Vimeo one day (finally) introduce the ability for users to “resume” where they left off in a video then I would admit ResumeTube’s wouldn’t/shouldn’t need to exist – or at the least the need for its existence would be fair to reassessed. However as of today if ResumeTube is taken off the App Store I, my colleagues and however many other people have purchased the app, will have to return to the world of scrubbing around videos trying to remember where we left off – and sadly giving up a lot of the time.

There are other aspects of ResumeTube that I believe make it worthy of remaining in the App Store but the above points sum up the most important things – which again really boil down to: if ResumeTube is taken off the App Store, myself and other users will A) become less efficient, B) lose value we previously had in our iPads and C) watch fewer web videos.

Here is a video of the app in action in case you are allowed to include material like this in your consideration:

Please do consider my points above and do approve ResumeTube to remain on the App Store! Let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

Thank you.
Chris Emerson
* Apple Developer and Customer since 2011 *

Their Reply

From: appreview | Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 2:30 PM
Subject: App Review Board Submission Results

Hello Chris,

We are writing to let you know the results of your appeal for your app, ResumeTube.

The App Review Board evaluated your app and determined that the original rejection feedback is valid. Your app does not comply with App Store Review Guideline 4.2.2.To resolve this issue, please ensure your app includes features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond being primarily a repackaged website or marketing materials.We hope you will consider making the necessary changes to be in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines and will resubmit your revised binary.For questions regarding your app’s review, please respond in Resolution Center in iTunes Connect, where a reviewer who is familiar with your app can assist you.

Best regards,#SomeGuy#
App Review Board

Adobe Flash Graveyard

Ok so the silly graphic I made for this post is not entirely accurate. Adobe Flash did not die … but for all intents and purposes it did back in 2010 when Steve Jobs wrote his infamous letter about it. While Adobe made some smart moves since then to stay in the game it definitely was somewhat forced to move on from being the primary, most popular platform for creating slick animation and interactive experiences on the web.

While I do enjoy the new frontiers of design and development my job and hobbies involve that, sadly, have little to nothing to do with Flash, I have to say it’s a lot more work to produce stuff as shiny and fun w/the new, non-Flash tools we use today. That may just be a reflection of my skill/experience levels not being what they should be … but I also think it’s just a fact that nothing has come around yet that allows designers and animators the ability to create stuff as quickly, as creative and as polished than Adobe Flash did.

Much of my early career invovled a lot of Flash work but as the years go by it becomes harder to keep track of them – let alone keep them online somewhere where eveyone can still access them since no Apple phones/tablets can view them anymore.

Anyhow … I know this whole topic is years old but recently I decided I would create some screencast movies of some of them for safe(r) keeping and to provide a more convenient way to share them w/a world that has for the most part moved on from the “Flash Plugin” days. Anyhow … see below for the Flash things I’ve archived so far. I may/may not add to the list. If you’re bored feel free to play one or two of the below … make sure to click the HD and fullscreen buttons! 🙂

My Portfolio: 1998-2008

What’s It Going to Be 2008

What’s It Going to Be 2006

Baby Announcement (Lincoln)

Super Golf

Guitar Chord Tutor

Think or Swim (Wheel of Fortune)

A Day to Remember

My 1999 Website (so old and cheesy!)

The Insane iPhone

I’ve meant to post about this for a long time – but it was just one of those things that kept getting put off. But after recently watching a hilarious bit from the comedian Louis C.K. about cell phones and how much we take them for granted (video: Warning Adult Language!) I got the final bit of motivation I needed to get this posted. 

Maybe most people are over the initial fascination with “smartphone” era that the iPhone kicked off – but I am still constantly amazed by how much these devices can do and what an integral role mine plays in my day-to-day life. Admittedly I am nerdier than most – I have no idea how my wife manages to walk around 80% of the day w/out her phone on or near her person! – but even though I may be a fringe case who uses the iPhone more than the average bear – and who would be helpless if/when all cell phones stop working – I’m sure everyone can at least appreciate how much these smartphones in our pockets can do.
So – here’s my super nerdy list of all the different ways I use my phone each day. Some days I use only some of these things – others I use almost all of them … But any way you slice it it is just plain insane how much you can do with a smartphone – it really is like a modern Swiss Army knife!

Personal/Family Stuff

  • Family grocery list! (Grocery IQ)
  • Exercise (Weight Lifting) (Strong)
  • To-Dos and Project Mgmt (Omnifocus)
  • Bank Account Mgmt
  • Shopping (Amazon, eBay, Starbucks etc)

Work

Media/Social

  • Telephone (Remember phones with cords, or the thing you would plug wireless phones into?)
  • Text Messages (Would take a book to sum up how this changed everything) 
  • Digital Camera (“… When I was a kid it took 6 weeks to get your film developed!”)
  • Video Camera (Our family video camera in the 90s was the size of a VCR… )
  • Music (Google Play)
  • Movies (Plex, iMDB, HBOGO, TV Guide)
  • Photos (40,000+ of my photos at my finger tips Flickr, FlickrStackr)
  • Twitter / Facebook / WordPress (I wrote half this post on my iPhone)

Utilities/Tools 

  • Clock (the last time I wore a watch was 1997?)
  • Dictionary
  • Encyclopedia (The other day the kids and I did voice search with Google to find “World record longest spaghetti?”… Answer: 12,000 ft).
  • Maps / Driving directions 
  • Calendars
  • Medical Advice (WebMD, etc)
  • Instant Weather (Dark SkyWeather Channel)
  • Recorder Pro (I love recording audio of my kids, ambient noise, etc)
  • Remote Desktop
  • Cloud File Access/Mgmt (Dropbox, Box)
  • Password Mgmt (LastPass
  • Flashlight (when replacing a video card in my computer under the desk)
  • Timer (“10 more minutes on Wii, kids…)

Learning

I’m sure I’ve left some stuff out but think I hit all the big ones. So now you know some of my favorite apps – and how nerdy I am. I can’t even imagine how I would do all of the above without my phone- at the very least my desk/office would have a lot of clutter/stuff lying around!

I know it’s probably going to be what kicks off SKYNET and will end up being the death of us all … but until then I am definitely thankful for what my iPhone can do!

Thanks, Steve.

iOS Dev Program!

Just a quick post to celebrate my finally getting approved to be in the Apple iOS Developer Program today (iOS = iPad/iPhone). Technically anyone who pays Apple $99 (annually) can get in, but they took over two months to approve my application so I was starting to get worried towards the end there!

I have had access to the Apple Dev program stuff for a while now through work – but in order to (attempt to) achieve my new year’s resolution #2 I needed an account of my own.

As excited as I am I do have to say that I’m very surprised at how painful Apple has made the app “building” process. In order to even get to the point where you’re able to start building stuff you have to wade through hours of teeth-gnashing frustration sorting out developer certificates, App IDs, Device IDs, provision profiles, distribution profiles and more (and then repeat entire process if you want to use a 2nd machine!). I love Apple but seriously!!

In an case… Yaye!

Jobs on Jobs

I posted this on Facebook a week or so ago but since I’m guessing most people likely didn’t have time to watch it I thought I’d write out my favorite quote from the speech here:

“For the past 33 years i’ve looked in the mirror and asked myself, if today was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today – and whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row I know I have to change something.

…and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work – and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

…You’ve got to find what you love. If you haven’t found it yet keep looking – and don’t settle.”

Easy words for a billionaire… I know. For most folks, myself included, running your life by these kind of idealistic terms is too risky. But once in a while moments come when it is possible.