1. iPad or Kindle for Christmas?

    December 26, 2010 by accidentalfish

    iPads and Kindles seem to be massively popular gifts this Christmas and deservedly so as they’re both great devices. While I’m not going to presume to tell you what to read (my own suggestions would be heavily biased in favour of science fact and fiction – I’m currently rereading Brave New World) if you’re looking for apps to get started with on your iPad these are all fantastic:

    1. Twitter – the official Twitter client is by far the best I’ve tried and it’s free.

    2. Reeder – simple and elegant RSS reading on the iPad. I’ve tried a lot of newsreaders and this is the best.

    3. Angry Birds HD – do I really need to describe this game? Throw birds at things. So addictive. There’s a seasonal version too but the original is the best place to start.

    4. Kindle – if you’re lucky enough to have both a Kindle and an iPad then this app will let you read your Kindle books on the iPad. And even if you don’t have a physcial Kindle the Amazon Kindle store has a much better selection than iBooks.

    5. Instapaper – great app for letting you stash up content for later reading offline.

    6. Lets Golf 2 HD – I find actual golf to be an insanely boring game, it’s right up there with cricket and snooker in its ability to send me to sleep, but for some reason I love the digital version and this is a great example.

    7. Dropbox – get access to your Dropbox account on your iPad. Very handy!

    8. Mocking Pad – last but by no means least my own application for doing mockups and wireframing. Look out for the v1.1 update coming soon.

  2. Happy Christmas

    December 23, 2010 by accidentalfish

    I’d like to quickly take this opportunity to wish everybody a happy Christmas. I hope you all have a great time celebrating with your families and friends.

    I’m still on track for submitting v1.1 of Mocking Pad for review early in the New Year and also have a new iPad release on the way which might be of interest if you’re a fan of old, and I mean really old, video games.

  3. Privacy

    December 19, 2010 by accidentalfish

    Recently there have been a number of blogs and newspaper / website articles about mobile apps sending sneaky data about the handset and owner to various companies (usually ad companies). For example this piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal on the 18th.

    I’d like to reassure existing users of Accidental Fish applications and anybody thinking of downloading one that they do not do this. I abhor this kind of behaviour in applications – I find it deplorable but kind of expect it in a good proportion of free apps (nothing in life is free right?) and so usually choose paid apps in which I would find this kind of behaviour utterly unacceptable: I’ve paid for the product and I don’t expect the app to sneakily spy on me.

    To be clear both current Accidental Fish applications do not contain any hidden (or not hidden!) monitoring of your usage but both make use of external services to offer certain pieces of functionality:

    1. Photo Drive relies on and connects to Flickr through Flickr’s APIs and as such the application and a user is bound by Flickr’s terms and conditions. Flickr might use information about the photos you view in some way (I don’t know!) but I don’t. I’ve no idea what pictures you’re viewing and frankly don’t want to know!
    2. Mocking Pad can upload files to Dropbox. Again I collect no information during this process and best I can tell Dropbox only use your information in connection with the site but if it concerns you then double check with Dropbox’s privacy statement or just don’t use this feature.

    As you might have gathered by now I really really dislike spyware and I can say with certainty that Accidental Fish applications will never engage in this kind of shabby dishonest behaviour. If I ever do need to collect information from you it will be made crystal clear what it is, why I’m collecting it and for what it would be used.

  4. Mocking Pad Sales Stats – Week 4 (ish)

    by accidentalfish

    As promised here is an update on Mocking Pad sales. After about 4 weeks in the App Store its sold 85 copies. Sales have tailed off quite a bit in the last 2 weeks as you can see below.

    What continues to amaze and delight me is how communicative my users have been: over 10% of my users have taken the time to get in touch with constructive and mostly positive feedback. People who try it seem to like it and thats great!

    However I’ve still done no marketing for it, mostly due to a lack of time and prioritising work on the app itself over publicising it: I’m really keen to get v1.1 out. Clearly I need to get more of a balance here (if you can call actually doing some marketing getting balance!) and once I’ve submitted v1.1 to the app store I plan on doing so. It’s easy for me to fall back into just coding some more – the compiler is my natural habitat and firing off lots of emails about the product is taking me out of my comfort zone.

  5. Mocking Pad – Sales Stats Delay

    December 15, 2010 by accidentalfish

    I was hoping to post some updated sales stats this week but two things have stymied me:

    a) A lack of time.

    b) I’ve been having a couple of iTunes Connect problems this week.

    I’ve not had a report for a few days. I guess it’s possible that you don’t get a report if you don’t sell any units but I’ve never had that situation before (my other app Photo Drive is a free app and has always clocked up a regular handful of downloads every day and it’s actually on a different iTunes developer account to Mocking Pad). If anyone has any experience with this then it would be great if you could let me know in the comments.

    Regardless – I’ll post updated stats at the weekend when I hope to actually have a few hours to myself. Any by way of penance I promise I’ll include a pretty graph.

  6. Empty Air

    December 12, 2010 by accidentalfish

    Apologies for the blog silence this last week – I’ve been in the process of swapping laptops from a pre-unibody MacBook Pro to a new MacBook Air. I’m loving the Air – it feels very snappy (due to the SSD I suppose), and is light yet sturdy. I went for the Air over another Pro as I cycle just about everyday with my laptop so portability was more important than last time I bought a laptop (I owned a car back then, I no longer do).

    Work is still progressing on the v1.1 update and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to post it to the App Store in the first week or two of January.

    I’ve also been thinking about v1.2. I’m pretty sure it will be a “big single feature” update. Candidates include:

    PDF Output
    VGA Adapter Support
    Improved Dropbox
    (User Created) Template Gallery

    Depending on what (and even if) Apple announce in January I figure I might also need to do changes to support iPad 2.

    As ever let me know what you think.

  7. Mocking Pad v1.1 Sneak Preview

    December 5, 2010 by accidentalfish

    I’ve been hard at work on a free update for Mocking Pad since I submitted it to the App Store, after all wireframing waits for no man.

    I’m really grateful to the users who have taken the time to contact me via email or this blog as I’ve been able to use this feedback to guide me in what to put in this version. There were some great ideas – keep them coming!

    While I haven’t finished development of the update yet, I’m about half way through my planned changes, I have got a bunch of stuff that is pretty much complete and barring some unmitigated disaster will be making it into the update.

    The changes are outlined below along with some screenshots. As always, let me know what you think.

    New Features and User Interface Tweaks

    1. Constrain Proportions – when resizing a stencil you can now select an option to keep the stencil’s proportions / aspect ratio.
    2. Save Page to Photo Library – you can now save a page to the photo library so that you can include it in applications like Pages and Keynote.
    3. Category Selection Animation Improved – I wasn’t particularly happy with how the categories of stencils animated by scrolling up and down. It never “felt” right. I’ve changed it to a fade in and fade out and this feels much more appropriate.
    4. Desktop Stencil Category Added – If you’re sketching out a traditional desktop application this category should save you time by grouping together the common components.
    5. Markup Stencil Category Added – I’ve added a bunch of stencils for annotating wireframes (see below) and this category groups them together.
    6. Show / Hide Markup – in addition to the markup category and stencils I’ve added an option to let you turn the visibility of these on and off.

    New Stencils

    1. iOS Popover – has an optional title and the arrow can be positioned on any edge of the popover.
    2. Lorem Ipsum Text Block
    3. Menu Bar
    4. Menu Dropdown – supports normal, selectable, highlighted, disabled and separator menu items.
    5. Calendar
    6. Post It Note – There are 4 colours to choose from. I’m still playing with the visuals a little – I’ve got the plain ones shown here but also variants with a shadow under them and with a crinkled paper effect.
    7. Callout
    8. Cross
    9. Tick



  8. The App Store Update Dilemma

    December 3, 2010 by accidentalfish

    I’ve got a free update for Mocking Pad on the way (v1.1 as I’m excitingly referring to it) which has a whole host of new goodies in it and refinements to existing features, and I’m keen to get it into the hands of users as soon as possible. Normally this isn’t an issue but the App Store presents a slight difficulty in this regard, and I’m not referring to the review process (which to date I’ve never had an issue with) but the review and rating system.

    Reviews and ratings are important to drive sales – without a trial version a potential purchaser can use them to help gauge how “good” the app is: for example I always scan the reviews and ratings before buying apps. However they apply to a specific version and when you push an update onto the App Store they are moved off the front page and onto a “previous versions” page and your average score. Ratings and reviews also seem to effect rankings in search results.

    Based on this there is a school of thought that suggests you need to strive for a balance between frequent updates and leaving your app in place long enough to gather enough (hopefully!) good reviews and not “waste” your good ratings.

    I have no hard data of my own to support or denounce this claim but existing users of Mocking Pad will be happy to hear I don’t subscribe to this school of thought and I’m not going to hold out on releasing an update for the sake of not “wasting” reviews and ratings.

    I want Accidental Fish and it’s applications to always put users first and I’d far rather release the update as soon as I think it’s ready and get it into the hands of existing users in the hope of, as Seth Godin might say, creating fans through continual improvement.

    I’ll be posting more about the contents of the update along with some screenshots in the next few days.