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Melbourne – Australia’s iOS Hub

If you’re into mobile development, then there are two conferences coming up in Melbourne that you have to get to. Russell from Shifty Jelly will be speaking at both, but more importantly how often do you get the best developers and designers in one place, to meet, greet and ask questions of? Philip will be there too, so here’s you chance to see him as well!

One More Thing (13th August 2011):ย

This is the cheaper (and shorter) of the two conferences. For $249 you can spend a day hearing all about how successful Australian developers came to be where they are today. You’ll get some great insight into their philosophies, strategies and tips for running small companies as well as see the human side to Apps that grace most of our phones. The real key is the lunches & breaks, where you can meet all these developers & designers in person. You can’t really put a price on being able to meet these people face to face and firing your questions their way. We’re certainly just as excited about meeting the other speakers as you are!

Swipe Conference (5th, 6th September 2011):ย

Pricier and longer than the One More Thing Conference, with a different focus. This conference brings together a more international group of developers and designers, and is everything from the nitty gritty details about how to build apps and user experiences, to guidance about how to run successful companies. It’s our very own mini-WWDC! $795 gets you a conference ticket, and there are also in-depth sessions that you can book yourself into as well.

So what are you waiting for? Pick a conference (or go the double-header), book yourself in, and don’t forget the most important part: be sure to say hello to us!


Pocket Casts Major Overhaul

For the last few weeks Philip has been madly working away on a major overhaul of the Pocket Casts server. The reason? We now have over 20,000 podcasts in our system, and trying to keep up with those has given our current server a headache. We’ve been testing a brand new ‘distributed’ parsing system since last week, and it’s insanely better than what we currently have. What does this mean for you, loyal Pocket Casts user? Simply that the time between when a podcast author presses publish, and the time when the podcast appears in Pocket Casts will be much, much shorter. In some cases this is currently in the hours, it will be in the minutes instead, and if we have our way, almost instant ๐Ÿ™‚

On Wednesday the 8th of June, at 2pm Adelaide Time (1 AM in New York, 6am in London, 7am in Frankfurt) the server will go offline for about an hour. This means that you’ll be unable to add new podcasts, get updates to existing podcasts, or do things like browse for what’s popular. You’ll still be able to download and play any podcasts you currently have before then. When the server comes back up, you shouldn’t notice anything, except getting your new podcasts sooner than you ever have before!

We have some insanely cool ideas for the future of Podcasting, and Pocket Casts, and this server upgrade is an essential stepping stone on that path. We hope you like it!


What Are We Doing?

Glad you asked!

  • We just released Pocket Casts v2.1 for iPhone, with all sorts of good fixes and features.
  • We just finished Pocket Casts v1.3 for Android (you know, the one that actually updates properly), and are working on Pocket Casts v1.4 for Android, featuring landscape mode, playing widget, and LOT of playback enhancements.
  • We’re waiting for Apple to approve the new Weather Watch AU & Weather Watch, featuring the ability to add your own background on the middle theme, as well as a few much needed fixes.
  • We rolled out an over the air update to Pocket Weather AU and Pocket Weather AU HD giving you a few new locations to choose from, and some radar updates.
  • We’ve designed the new history section for Pocket Weather AU HD, we just need to implement it now.
  • Ditto for Pocket Weather World and our new 4 part forecast for each day (Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night).
  • We’re working on some updates to Groundhog Softwares’ Tennis Stats application, that will bring it up to iOS 4 standards, and add some new scoring options.
  • We’re actively planning Pocket Casts v3.0 with some very cool (and very secret) new features.
  • We’ve designed some new widgets for Pocket Weather AU for Android, that we hope to find time to incorporate soon.
  • We seem to be presenting more and more these days, so we’re working on various presentations to make a feeble attempt at enlightening the people about all things mobile and Shifty Jelly.
Right now? We’re drinking tea. Because Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! is that a lot of things on our plate! Anyone want a job? We can pay in tea and coffee ๐Ÿ˜‰


We’ve made Pocket Weather World, and Pocket Weather World HD free for the next 24 hours:

Yes we’re insane, thanks for being so insensitive about it. We’re also a bit angry about that TUAW articles about a ‘revolutionary’ new way of getting temperatures on your iPhone (via push badges), yes something we did 2 years ago ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously though it’s a fun experiment, and we hope as many of you grab it as you can. Tell your friends, your pets, your annoying neighbours!

We also intend to publish all the figures from this experiment, including paid numbers after it stops being free. Also if it goes bad pictures of us sleeping on park benches, probably drunk, if we can even afford that…


Awesome Video

Pocket Casts

(That’s our attempt at balancing out our previous rant with something positive)


I See You’re ‘Open’ and I Raise You a ‘I Don’t Care’

So we’ve been playing with Android development a bit, and I decided to try to upgrade our Galaxy S handset to an OS that came out a while back…

To Update Samsung Galaxy S from 2.1 to 2.2 (an OS Google released a while ago, they are now on 3.0 and 2.3 already):
– Realise there’s no Over The Air support in Samsung 2.1
– Go to their website download exe file
– Fire up VMWare, realise I don’t have XP
– Find old XP Image off DVD
– Copy XP
– Boot XP (upgrade VM, upgrade VM Tools)
– Reboot
– Install Kies (Samsung Software)
– It downloads Dot Net for the next 15 minutes
– It wants to update itself (yes the brand new thing I just downloaded off their website)
– Update (another 85MB download)
– After install I’m in some kind of MP3 player…what the?
– Spend ages figuring out I have to turn off dev mode, then I have to go to the home screen on the phone (it doesn’t work while apps are open)
– Phone appears as connected device (yay!)
– Windows XP spends the next 5 minutes finding new hardware
– Error Dialogue ‘Device not responding. To resolve the issue reboot the device’
– Unplug the device, quit Kies
– Start Kies, replug in the device
– Device appears, and shows an info screen which says ‘This is the latest firmware’
– Google solutions, most of which appear to be third party ROMs and Registry hacks that may brick your phone
– Realise it’s Telstra that’s holding it up here in AU:
– Consider installing some custom ROM called ‘Darkys’ or something else called ‘RomKitchen’
– Realise it’s 11:42pm (2 hours since I started my journey)
– Give up

For comparison:

To Update iPhone from 4.2 to 4.3:
– Plug in, press ‘update’ button in iTunes

Yeah I know, some Android phones don’t have it this bad, but you can’t tell me the above is anything buy a glowing endorsement to the path Apple chose for Software Updates.ย Carriers as always suck, and I’m glad Apple bypassed them for updates, why can’t Google do the same?


Pocket Weather AU – Now On Android

Just a quick note to let you know that Pocket Weather AU is now available on Android:

It’s fairly basic at the moment, with just the forecasts and a widget, but we plan to keep updating it over the coming months until it reaches feature parity with the iPhone. So what are you waiting for Android types, go grab it, and tell all your friends. The best part? It costs 1 cent less than the iPhone version…and who says we don’t look after you guys? ๐Ÿ˜‰


Introducing – Pocket Casts

We here at Shifty Jelly love podcasts. They’ve literally changed the way we commute to work. Ever since episode 1 of shows like This Week In Tech, Macbreak Weekly & Buzz Out Loud (and more recently Tech News Today) we’ve been hooked. We’ve had our listener comments read on the show, seen podcasts start up and disappear and more recently debated furiously over whether Molly Wood or Tom Merritt make for a better host. In my case I started listening on a green iPod mini, followed by a black iPod (the predecessor to todays classic), then the iPhone 2G, 3G, 3GS and now iPhone 4. The way I got them on there hasn’t really changed that much. I would subscribe through iTunes, then sync them to my device. Sometimes (because iTunes takes the Internet equivalent of forever to show new episodes) I would download the episode manually, copy it over and add it to a playlist called ‘podcasts’. More recently I experimented with the iPod & iTunes apps on the iPhone to try and download podcasts over the air, but it’s always been a bit clunky. I couldn’t download episodes bigger than 10MB (or more recently 20MB), I’d have to hunt for episodes myself, and so many other frustrations.

So today we present you with the fruit of those frustrations, Pocket Casts (iTunes Link). We’ve been using this app for the last 4 weeks or so to listen to our podcasts, making tweaks and adding features over that time, and we think it’s time you joined us. Here’s some of the things we’ve been enjoying:

  • Instant refresh: we keep track of when new episodes are available, on our server, so your iPhone doesn’t have to.
  • Push Notifications: add all your favourite podcasts, then watch new episodes appear as they become available.
  • Download without limits: choose to download or stream new episodes, with no file size restrictions. (note that Apple bounced our first version with streaming over 3G, so in v1.0 you can only stream over WIFI. We plan to correct this though in the next release, you can still download over 3G with no limits)
  • Background downloading: start a download, then go and check your email, or play your favourite game while it finishes in the background (on devices that support multitasking, limited to 10 minutes from when you close the app).
  • Quick skip: one tap of the screen and you can jump forward or back through your podcasts.
  • New should be new: in most cases our app will pick up new episodes long before iTunes does, no more going to the authors website.
  • Video & Audio: because sometimes, as scary as he may be, Leo’s shows make more sense as video.
  • 3 Themes: people are different, and so are Red, Blue and Orange.
  • Titlefication: podcast authors love long podcast titles, you know, the ones you can never read. Our system is smart enough to strip out the bits you don’t need, so that when a new podcast appears, you actually know what it’s about! We can also adjust it on the fly, so let us know if we missed any.
  • Background Playing: when you close the app, the podcasts keep playing, you can also control them via the multitasking bar. Obvious we know, but we figure people would ask if we didn’t list it.

Podcast Library

(iTunes Link)

Oooh updates are available!

(iTunes Link)

Listening to a show

(iTunes Link)

Are you really still reading this? Go and grab it:ย (iTunes Link)

Edit: Our app was rejected by Apple initially, for allowing you to stream podcasts over 3G. For now we’ve disabled 3G streaming of podcasts, but we plan to try to add it back in the next release in a way that makes Apple happy ๐Ÿ™‚



Something Wicked This Way Comes

What is that mysterious icon in the top left? It doesn’t seem weather related. More details soon…


Live in Australia, Have an iPad?

Do you live in Australia, and have an iPad? With summer time here you need to know the weather! Ergo you need Pocket Weather AU HD. We know, we know, ‘Ergo’ is Latin and Latin is dead, but $2.49 is a truck load of money to spend, so we present you with a free version:

Go get it you cheapskates ๐Ÿ˜‰