Some weeks back, I decided to appify the Concerts in Oslo web page thingie.  Because UX.DSC01954

It’s a Cordova (i.e. Phonegap) app, so I thought it would be, like, no work at all.  And it wasn’t!  Until I started thinking about the added opportunities the Cordova framework gave me, like exporting events to the calendar on the phone, and “social media sharing”, etc.

So, as is my wont, I’ve spent far too much time tweaking this thing, but now it’s feature-complete!  I mean it!  It is!  No more twiddling!

But the reason for this post is to kvetch about Apple.

I mean, we all love that, don’t we?  NOTHING OF INTEREST BENEATH THIS LINE!

First of all, the submission process is klunky and fiddly.  They require you to upload the app via applications that only exist on Apple machines.  Google Play does it all via a web interface.

They require you to pay $99 per year for the privilege of having the app in the store.  Googple Play charges you $25 once, and that’s it.

The approval process is s-l-o-w.  I submitted the app on September 7th.

On the 16th, it was reviewed, and they found that the age settings were wrong, since you can click on things and end up on Youtube, so it should be 12+ only.  I checked “infrequent nudity” and resubmitted.

On the 22nd, they reviewed it again and published it.  By now, the version submitted was way outdated (see the second paragraphs), so I submitted an update, which was approved on the 28th.

On Google Play, the first approval took about four hours, and each subsequent update takes less than half an hour.

So…  three weeks vs. four hours.

Foogling a bit, this seems to be the Apple norm.  An app takes between some days and three months for approval, no matter whether the app is trivial or complex.

(This is where the Apple enthusiast says “just goes to show how much better Apple is at vetting apps”.  But they’re not really.  I can tell from the server logs when they do the testing.  The time it takes for the testing to actually start and I get the “your app is approved” mail is usually ten minutes or so.  They just wait a week or nine before they start testing.)

And I’m not even a Google fan, but Apple stuff is just so annoying.

The final thing I did today was getting images on high-resolution Apple devices to not look as somebody had smeared vaseline over the glass, then spat on it, and then drizzled soot liberally over it.  Or as they call it “scaled it with anti-aliasing”.

Here’s how an Android device  (Samsung 6 something) handles images that needs to be upscaled:

Here’s the same thing with 2x images:

Yes, everything looks a lot better with the 2x images, but the upscaled ones aren’t gruesome.  They just look like the lo-rez images they are.

Compare this to what a hi-rez Iphone does when upscaling:


The horror!  The horror!  And with 2x images:



Apple obviously doesn’t do this just to be total dicks, although I supposed that’s part of the explanation.  They probably do this to force people to actually supply 2x images instead of limping along with lo-rez images.  If you’re an Apple enthusiast, you may think this is a good idea.  If you’re not, you probably aren’t delusional.

This Is Not A Paid Advertisement

I’ve been buying comics from the US for decades and decades, but last year (I think it was), the postage rates (especially the international ones) went way, way up.  (Thanks, Obama.)  Before the change, I could order (say) a $10 comic and pay, like, $2-3 in postage.  This went up to (typically) $8-10.

That’s no fun for anybody involved.  Not for me, and not for the seller, who often seem to feel embarrassed when the postage costs as much as the comic.

So last week I had a brain storm: Why not have a US address?  Surely that must exist as a service!

And indeed it does.  There are several ones with different pricing structures and rules.  What’s important to me is that 1) it’s as little work as possible for me, and 2) the packages can just pile up, and then be sent in one go.

So I went with the oddly named “Shipito” company which seemed to have the easiest way of doing this: I sign up and get a unique “suite” number that I can use as the address.  Whenever a package arrives, I get an email, and I go to the web site to take a look at what has arrived.


shipito2Filling out the customs form is a breeze, too: Just type “comics”, “$17”, and you’re done.

After collecting a few packages, it’s “consolidation” time.  They send packing pictures:

packingIt’s like an unpacking sequence in reverse.

The handling fee was $2 per package, plus $8 for some reason, and then the shipping was $76.  That’s…  er…   carry the one…  *slide rule*  A hundred bucks exactly.

So that wasn’t “cheap” cheap, but shipping things directly would have cost something like $140.

And today the box arrived.  Since Shipito did a packing sequence, I’ll have to do the unpacking sequence:

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Let’s look at what I got!

One of the packages didn’t have a sender address visible, so I had to guess.  Or “guess”.  I mean, it doesn’t take much to recognise these marks:


Yup. Ron Rege, jr.
A Study Group package from Zach Soto…
And Spit and a Half!

Well, I didn’t save as much money as I expected, but it was less hassle than I had expected.  So that’s OK, then.  And for this “trial run” I ordered mostly bigger packages from the big names.  Ordering book-by-book would make this scheme be more profitable.

I’ll just have to order more stuff to save more money!  You know it makes sense.

Jolla, Keyboards and Apps

I’ve been using this Nokia E7 for years and years and years.
Because it has a physical keyboard. I despise on-screen keyboards, but nobody’s making a modern phone with a physical keyboard. But this year, somebody created a keyboard for the Jolla phone.
I’ve been testing various apps on various phones the last few weeks, and this is my main testing phone at work — a Samsung Android thing.
I’m also using an Iphone 5S for testing purposes…
This is the Jolla phone with the keyboard attached.
Yes. It’s about the same thickness as three of the Samsung phones.
But it does run Android apps. Here it’s running the CSID app that I’ve put on Aptoide for easier installation.
Unfortunately, the keyboard doesn’t really work that well. It drops about a fifth of all the keystrokes, which means that it’s about as bad as an on-screen keyboard.
So elegant.

Oh, well. The search continues. Meanwhile I’ll just have to keep using my non-smart phone.

My New Concert Blog

I got a new camera!  The Blackmagick one was just too pro for me — no white balance detection, and a 40 minute battery life.  So I got a Panasonic GH4, which is less pro and has a longer battery life:

DSC01901So what does Mir look like with this camera?

Mir is still as yellow as ever.  I feel tempted to climb up to the roof and swap out some of those filters.

(And the battery ran out, anyway, because I sat like an hour and fiddled with the menus before the concert started…)

Couture: The End

I’m done experimenting with printing t-shirts for this year, at least.  Certain rooms of the apt. are kinda chaotic while I’m printing, so it gets kinda frustrating as the months pass…  And I’ve been busy with other stuff this time, so it’s taken quite a while.

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(MST3K is very important when printing t-shirts.)

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Cheese, too.

Anyway, for the final shirt I wanted to revisit the first design I did this year, but try to do it successfully.  In my previous attempt, I didn’t wash the screen properly, so I got unclear edges.  I think I’ve figured out the solution to that problem now (washing the screen, letting it dry, and wash it again), so I wanted to print a good shirt.

Again, this fine figure of a zebra/man is by Lisa Hanwalt:

DSC01897Gah!  I got some wash-out.

Fine lines are hard.

But I’ve got screen filler and a brush!  Perhaps I can re-draw the lines, even though I’m exceedingly drunk at this point… DSC01898Draw draw and dry dry..

DSC01899That’s a kinda punk rock right arm and a very elegant left arm.  Oh, well.

That’s it.  Time to pack up.