All posts by versluis

MONK v1.5 has been submitted to Apple

I’ve just submitted the latest version of our MONK Episode Guide to Apple. With a bit of luck the new version should be available on the App Store in the next few days.

This version only has one new major feature, namely the long-awaited inclusion of Hy Conrad’s latest novel “Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant“, a direct sequel to his previous novel, “Mr. Monk is open for business.

Sadly, this is the final MONK novel penned by Conrad, he said on his Facebook page a while back. Looks like the series has finally come to an end. What a shame!

Why it took so long for this update to come out

Conrad has finished the novel in 2015, so why did it take nearly two years for me to include it in this app you might wonder? And why have I done it now? Both very good questions.

The first time I’ve added the novel was back in 2015. However, when I submitted the app, Apple told me out of a sudden they had an issue with the artwork I’ve used. The App Icon in particular was apparently copyright protected, even though that didn’t seem to matter in previous updates since 2013. Wikipedia states that the previous icon only consists of geometric shapes, and therefore does not qualify to be copyrighted. It was clearly in the public domain.

They stopped responding to my pleads, so the update was stuck in App Review Hell and never made it to the store.

A few days ago I received an email from Apple, telling me that my app hadn’t seen an update in a while, and if I don’t do anything about it, the whole thing would be removed from the App Store within 30 days. So I thought, let’s make up a new icon and try this again – hence we now have a red logo with an arbitrary font that’s unrelated to the TV show. This allowed me to kill three birds with one stone:

  1. make Apple happy
  2. make Apple happy again
  3. add the missing Hy Conrad novel

Everything else stayed the same for now.

What’s next?

I’ll spend some time to make sure the app looks handsome on the upcoming iPhone X screen. It already works with iOS 11.1 (Beta 1), but to make sure the whole tall iPhone X screen is used I’ll have to do some tweaking and experimenting.

I’m going in for some major surgery this month, so it depends on how quick I’ll recover from that before the update will hit the store.

In the meantime, happy sleuthing!

Murder on the Orient Express – twice!

I’ve just submitted version 2.3 of my Belgian Detective Guide to Apple. This update adds a couple of movies to the catalogue, namely two iterations of the classic MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Here in the US, we’re all getting ready for Kenneth Branagh’s iteration of the story, which is supposed to hit cinemas on November 10th. The movie stars Branagh as Poirot himself, and he’s supported by a huge cast – namely Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman, Dame Judy Dench and Michelle Pfeiffer to name a few.

The movie is apparently a lot darker than the 1974 version starring Albert Finney, as well as the David Suchet version from 2010. Check out this trailer for a taste of the goods:

Turns out there was another version of the movie hiding in the archives

Doing some research however, I also came across another version of the movie that I hadn’t heard of before: a 2001 direct-to-DVD release in which Alfred Molina plays Poirot. Who would have thought, ey?

I thought it was funny to see German TV star Fritz Wepper in the cast lineup. He’s best known for being Derrick’s side-kick on the long running German TV show produced by the ZDF. I used to watch that as a kid. Apparently it’s one of best selling TV exports Germany has ever produced.

Now we get all four versions in the Belgian Detective Guide, plus the book of course. Have you watched and read them all? See what happens if you do 🙂

What’s next?

I’ve already started working on the next Poirot update, which will bring presentation improvements for the upcoming iPhone X. It’s just a graphic tweak to make use of the larger screen, and bring back the colourful splash screen when the app loads. I’ll also see if I can get any performance enhancements related to iOS 11 with the new development tools (Xcode 9). Watch out for that next!

In the meantime, an update to the MONK Episode Guide has been stuck in App Review Hell for the last two years, which added a book to the catalogue, however the update never got released. I’ll see if I can take care of that one as well.

Until then, happy sleuthing 🙂

Sherlock Holmes 1.6 is back on the App Store

Sherlock Holmes fans rejoice: he’s back on the App Store with Version 1.6 of our app. Huzzah!

There have been several additions I’m excited to tell you about, and of course the story of how the update came to be on the App Store once again.

Here’s what’s new in Version 1.6:

  • expanded episode guide for SHERLOCK, Season 4 (BBC)
  • expanded episode guide for ELEMENTARY, Seasons 3-5 (CBS)
  • added MR. HOLMES (2016) with Ian McKellen
  • presentation improvements for larger screen iPhone and iPad devices
  • changed app title to SHERLOCK HOLMES TRACKER
  • the app now requires iOS 8 to run

Continue reading Sherlock Holmes 1.6 is back on the App Store

FRASIER v1.5 is back on the App Store!

Friends of FRASIER, rejoice: our FRAISER app is back on the App Store!

Literally nothing has changed in this version (1.5), except for some mandatory artwork improvements because of the way iOS now handles launch images and icons. All functionality and content has remained the same.

It wasn’t as easy as pressing a button of course, so let me tell you the story behind what happened and how the app made an eventual return to the App Store.

Continue reading FRASIER v1.5 is back on the App Store!