All posts by versluis

Frasier and Sherlock Holmes have been removed from sale

On a sad note, both our Frasier and Sherlock Holmes apps have been removed from the App Store. This time it’s not because of a copyright claim – hurra!

No, this time Apple have decided to remove these apps because of a new policy they’ve introduced earlier this year. In a nutshell it says if you don’t constantly submit updates to your apps, even if such updates are completely pointless, then we’ll remove such apps. Out with the old, in with the new. And now we know why there’s a new update to the Facebook and Twitter apps once a week…

On one hand the new policy is understandable: Apple want to avoid the shiny new polished App Store to be cluttered with outdated apps from half a decade ago. It makes sense. On the other hand it sends the message that they don’t really welcome hobby hackers like myself and would rather have big name publishers that can generate a ton of cash. Or alternatively those that generate a story on the front page. Like “the youngest app developer from China,9 yrs old” or “our oldest developer is 81 and she’s just published her first app”, that sort of thing. I’d love o ow what will happen to their apps in 5 years time, when those news items have become non-stories.

Is there something I could have done? Yes sure, and believe me, I’ve tried. Apple gave me 30 days notice before pulling my apps. It his time I had the chance to submit an update. I had lost touch with Xcode and the developer tools due to my illness, but I felt ready to take on the challenge with the deadline. 

Turns out that I can no longer maintain legacy code for older platforms like, iOS 5: the latest version of Xcode (which is necessary to submit apps to the App Store) no longer supports versions prior to iOS 8. The implication of this is that several classes have been retired or updated, so that much of the code as well as the approach to make an app work need to be re-written to be compliant with iOS 8 or higher. As a result, I spent two weeks updating the Frasier app, only to find out that it is so complex to do (even for a simple app like Frasier) that the time would be better lent re-writing the whole app from scratch. The task of updating would be even bigger for more complex apps like Sherlock Holmes or The Belgian Detective Guide. 

The long and short of it is: I didn’t get it done in time, and the apps were removed from sale. 

I still have the chance to updated them, but I’m not sure if I will find the energy to do this. Should I perhaps focus on new ideas instead, until they too will be removed from the store? Or should I find a different hobby altogether, one where you’re not kicked in the teeth once every year? 

Bond Tracker has been removed from sale

Yesterday we’ve received notice from the App Store that MGM have filed a copyright infringement claim against our app Bond Tracker for iOS. The notice did not mention anything specific, only that we’re using the Bond trademark in some kind of unauthorised way.

I suspect our app is not the only one affected, judging by the very many Bond apps on the App Store, many of which blatantly rip off quite clearly copyrighted material. We never did that: the logo is self-designed, book covers and move posters are there for illustrative purposes, and we make a point of letting users know that the copyright for all materials is not with us.

But tell that to the desk jockeys at large corporations: they genuinely do not want to know: even if fan made apps like ours connect other fans with their franchise. If it’s not “theirs”, then it can’t be anyone else’s either. Besides, we did not ask for MGM’s permission to make this app.

To avoid any further trouble, we have reacted immediately by removing the app from the App Store. Unlike Bond himself, our app will not return. Sorry 🙁

Bond Tracker for iOS was a fan favourite and ranked among the most popular we had on offer. Perhaps two years was a good run. I’d like to thank everyone who’s purchased and used our app during this time. I wish you peace and happiness!

Monk v1.5: The New Lieutenant is in town


Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 09.22.14I’ve submitted a new version of our Monk App to Apple today. The update includes the latest Hy Conrad novel Mr Monk and The New Lieutenant which was released today.

Nice going, Hy! Did you know we’re almost neighbours 😉

I must admit the update had been sitting on my machine since September, and as it frequently happens in life I forgot to submit it back then… oops!


Minor Changes

I’ve made two other very small changes while I was there: I’ve changed the font of the link to the cover images at the bottom of the list to set itself apart from the rest of the text (before it had the same font and I felt it looked a bit cluttered).

As before, if you don’t want need that link anymore you can hide it under Settings – Monk.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 09.21.59

Why go through all this trouble? Sadly Apple won’t permit us to distribute the cover images for those books or DVDs with the app, so we’ll have to leave it to your good selves to source and add them manually. I know. Lame-o-rama.


Ratings Change

When I submitted an update to our Bond App in December it appears that the links to Wikipedia and IMDb are no longer classed as casual browsing, and Apple now sees this as “unrestricted internet access”.

It’s no biggie, but it does mean that the age rating of this app has shot up from 9+ to 17+ because potentially lethal content could suddenly be forced upon your eyes at any time, potentially poisoning millions of people’s minds. We’d like to avoid that at all costs. It’s a change I need to make in all our apps going forward. Just thought I’d mention it.


Final Thoughts

The new update is compatible with old iPad 1 devices and should run on anything from iOS 5.1.1 to iOS 8.2. Huzzah! It’s submitted now and should be available in the next few days from the App Store.

You can buy Hy’s new novel from Amazon (not an affiliate link) or visit his website and enjoy weekly mini-mysteries for free.

Until next time!

Bond Tracker v1.8 – now with Spectre Support


Yesterday it was announced that the new Bond movie would be called Spectre – Daniel Craig’s 4th film in the series. Could have sworn he did more.  Thanks to Jeffrey on Facebook for this tip 😉

I quickly did some hacking and am happy to announce that our Bond Tracker App v1.8 has been submitted to Apple – and with it the following features:

  • added Spectre (obviously)
  • fixed the Endless Director bug (iPad)
  • fixed an issue with ever-greyed out cells (iPad)
  • fixed an issue that could crash the app on iPad 1
  • added iPhone 6 and 6s icon

It’s the first app I’ve submitted using the new Xcode 6.1, a developer tool that has seen many changes since the arrival of iOS 8. It’s been tested on several devices, ranging from iOS 5.1.1 all the way up to iOS 8.2 Beta. As far as I can tell it’s working 😉

The update should be available within the next few days, pending Apple’s approval. Spectre however isn’t going to be with us until November 2015, and even that is just a tentative release date.