Two Years as iPhone Developer

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Two years ago today I released my first iPhone application. I had spent the week leading up to it’s release learning how to code on the iPhone OS 1.0 Toolchain and it was my first experience using Cocoa and Objective C.  I didn’t know what to work on, so I chose to do a quick port an AJAX powered Blackjack game I had written previously. The result of this hard work was the first alpha build of iBlackjack, which as a VERY basic proof of concept Blackjack game for the iPhone touch screen to issue casino-like commands.

iBlackjack Alpha 1 Gameplay

I continued to maintain the game over the next few months in my spare time when I wasn’t working late already at my day job.  It generated over 500k downloads in it’s time via the Pre-appstore Installer application. It was a fun hobby that I enjoyed tremendously more and more as time went on.

After six months, I found a great opportunity to turn this hobby of mine into a job.  So I went to work with an established mobile development company on their new offshoot company just for iPhone software, mobileAge. Together we grew a little demo game iBlackjack into a full fledged Blackjack simulator called Blackjack 21 for the official iPhone SDK. Blackjack 21 was released on July 10th, 2008 for sale on the iTunes AppStore.

Blackjack 21

It even got as high as the number 5 app in the store at one point!

I’ve since made other iPhone products for mobileAge; namely Shanghai Mahjong and the Wine Enthusiast Guide.  Both apps have gotten plenty of acclaim as well. For instance Shanghai was runner up for best Phone Game of 2008 from iLounge and is seen on Apple Store fronts worldwide. We were even lucky enough to have Wine Enthusiast Guide be selected by Apple for as in-store demo application.

One of the best things about iPhone development is all the great people I’ve met over the years at local meetups, Apple special events like WWDC and just finding others via Twitter.  It’s a great community with a lot of great people all learning from each other as this new iPhone development community has grown over the years.  Never met a better group of people in my years developing for other platforms.

Our current project is an yet unannounced application that is coming very soon, actually the first wide Beta release of that Application is being sent out to our testers next week. For fun, I just took a teaser shot of the source and destination of the next application.

Next App Teaser Image

I hope to show more of our new product off soon, so stay tuned to this space!

Also if you are interested in snagging a free copy of Blackjack 21, the great Just Another iPhone Blog is having a contest giving away a few copies.  They will likely be giving away copies of Shanghai Mahjong sometime next week too!

Twitterrific 2.0 iPhone Easter Eggs

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After the release of Twitterrific 2.0 for the iPhone last night, I stumbled across a few of the Easter Eggs hidden within the app.  I found it was hard to convey how it works in 140 characters on Twitter, so I figured I’d do a blog post here about it.

These are the only two Easter Eggs that I know of right now, but I’ll update with any more if they are found.

New Feature #1: Twoosh Extravaganza!

Like the desktop version of Twitterrific, the iPhone version now also now features “The vocal stylings of Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch inform you when a posted tweet is exactly 140 characters long.”  This was a favorite hidden feature of the Mac version of Twitterrific for me, so glad to see it make it’s way with new flair to the iPhone version.

In order to enable it on for every Twoosh, you need to do this first.  You need to post a Tweet that fills all 140 characters AND include the word Twitterrific exactly as I have it here.  Uppercase T is required. Upon doing this the first time, you’ll be graced with the “The vocal stylings of Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch along with the following image:

TWOOSH on Twitterrific 2.0 for iPhone

Now you have a new feature enabled under Advanced Settings that you can turn on or off called “Twoosh Extravaganza.” When on you will get the “Twoosh” sound and image animation on each 140 character Twoosh you post.  See below for the options screen.

New Feature #2: BE AWESOME

After stumbling across the first Easter Egg, and hearing that there were more.  I started to try to find another, and the next one was pretty easy to find.  By imitating CHOCKLOCK, the alter ego of Twitterrific developer Craig Hockenberry, I was able to figure out how to BE AWESOME.

Simply type out any tweet entirely in UPPERCASE CAPS and be sure to throw in the word CHOCKLOCK at the end of the tweet. If it worked, you’ll hear CHOCKLOCK himself scream at you that “YOU’RE AWESOME!”

This will unlock and Activate the BE AWESOME feature under Advanced Settings, which will make all tweets you see appear in uppercase like below.  It will also allow you to hear the “YOU’RE AWESOME!” clip with all further Tweets that are entirely uppercased.

TWOOSH on Twitterrific 2.0 for iPhone

Below is the screenshot of the Advanced Settings screen that contains the controls to disable the Easter Eggs.  I personally keep BE AWESOME off as it can be annoying, but love the reward effect for posting a Twoosh so I keep Twoosh Extravaganza on.

Hidden Easter Egg features in Twitterrific 2.0 for iPhone

Hope this helps everyone figure out how to have some more fun Twitterrific 2.0 for the iPhone, and be sure to send me any other Easter Eggs you may find so I can update this list.

UPDATED 5/8 @ 1PM CST

I’ve updated the text above clarifying the eggs a bit more.  But I’ll make mention below of what changed.

For the Twoosh Extravaganza! egg you have to make sure your spell Twitterrific properly and with a capital T and the rest lowercase. Because of this requirement, you can’t do both eggs in one Tweet. And of course still be 140 characters long.

For the BE AWESOME egg. The tweet must end in CHOCKLOCK not CHOCK LOCK. Sorry about confusion, I was having problems since the YOUR AWESOME sound would repeat that afterwards in my testing making me think I got it right.

Welcome to Infinite Shamrock

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Well my old website/blog has been inactive for a while. Over the past year, instead of maintaining my website, I have been using Twitter more and more because of it’s quick and easy communication.  I found myself wanting to write more about things in detail and being frustrated when I tried because I would just get tied up in the mess of Google’s Blogger service and overall not being happy with my layout.  People were saying they were checking my website and I wasn’t making updates, so they would always ask what is new.

I decided to find a new solution.  I wanted something sleeker, quicker and easier to use.  I began dabbling here and there with various other software packages for CMS/blogging.  I eventually narrowed it down to WordPress and Tumblr, and since you are here reading this, it means I’ve made my decision.

I’ve decided to go with Tumblr over WordPress because I liked its simple and elegant style and best of all it’s zero-configuration as far as the back-end goes. Instead of having to install all this software, setup a database and most importantly update the software regularly, Tumblr handles all that for me.   I just design how it looks (if I don’t like their built-in themes) and then start writing the content.

An added plus that pushed me over the top is their Goodies like iPhone Application and Mac Widgets for easy blogging.  I have been getting addicted to Bookmarklets, so they had one for easy blogging of links and media that I like; can’t go wrong with that.  The final piece of the puzzle was the excellent blog composer application for the MacOS (MarsEdit).  It is currently in a public beta for Tumblr support.  It gives me yet another way to update and manage my blog without a web interface.

The next step was to find a name that would stick.  I wanted to use something other than patrickmccarron.com for my blog, and allow myself to setup my personal site to be less of a blog that points to the various places on the web I can be found.  I wanted something Irish since my name is very Irish, so it’d be easy to associate with.  When building this site I was using Shamrocks in place of the typical Infinity symbol you see used on Tumblr for permalinks.  That’s when I realized that I should combine the two, and I got a unique name:Infinite Shamrock.  Which also ties to programming background with the term of an Infinite Loop, and it’s also Apple Headquarters street address.  So it stuck, and then the logo just kind of came naturally when messing around in Photoshop.

Infinite Shamrock Logo

I hope to use Infinite Shamrock to post things that are on my mind, stories on the internet that I enjoyed and also code snippets that I think may help out all the fellow iPhone developers out there.

(Big thanks to my girlfriend KT for editing this rambling post for me, and James for the honest opinions during the design process!)