Apple rejects a long existing feature in the RunPee app

Bad news: Apple has rejected my update to the RunPee app, so the fix for the Timer notifications–that broke because of a change Apple made–won’t be available for about another week.

On top of that Apple is forcing me to remove access to the IMDb movie information available in the app–that has been a feature in the app for over 3 years. Why do I have to remove this feature? Because IMDb.comrecognizes that you are viewing their website in a mobile browser and so they provide download buttons for the iOS IMDb.com app and for the Android IMDb app. Apple, in their infinite inferiority, does not want their users to know that Android exists.

Apple is infuriating. There’s no way for me to punish them without punishing my users, but let me put it this way, if I won the lottery I would disable the RunPee app for iOS forever, and only allow it to run on Android phones.

FYI, obviously the IMDb integration won’t be affected on the Android app.

Feedback needed for potential update to app

I’d love to get your feedback on a possible change to the app. Currently we have information about each Peetime at the top of the Peetime screen where we briefly describe what happens during each scene. That way you’ll have some idea if you’ll be missing an action scene, or character development, or whatever.

Would it be easier to digest if those brief descriptions were included under the cue for each Peetime? Or should I leave them all grouped together at the top?

The photos below show the current view and a mockup of what it would look like if I changed it.

Please let me know which you would prefer.

Currently looks like this ->

Current layout

Current layout

 

Possible change ->

Mockup of possible change.

Mockup of possible change.

Error 918 on Google Play

Lots of people have been getting the Error 918 when trying to update the RunPee app.  Here’s something that works for most people.

Go to Settings > Apps > All > Google Play Store > Clear Cache & Clear Data

then go to

Settings > Accounts & Sync > *your Google account* > click menu (the three dots) > Remove Google Account

then re-add your Google Account again. That should do the trick.

If that doesn’t fix it then the problem may be that there isn’t enough room remaining on your internal devise storage to install/update the app. You can try to free up space by moving other applications to the external SD card, assuming you have one. Not all apps can be moved but it’s a good practice to move all the apps you can to the external SD card.

To move an app to the external SD card open settings > More > Application manager.

Select any application and you should see a button labeled “Move to SD card”. If the app can’t be moved then it will be grayed out.

Or, you can just ignore the update and wait for the next one. I’m not sure why the Google Play store has this issue sometimes but it happens to a lot of people with a lot of different apps. Google could certainly do a better job of explaining to the user exactly what’s going on.

Beta testing for RunPee 1.2 on Android

The app is just about complete and it would be very helpful if you could take the beta for a test drive and report back any issues that you find that I can fix before the public launch next week. If you would like to test the app then just visit: http://polyGeek.com/runpee on your mobile phone. There will be an image there that you can click on to download the beta to your phone and install it.

Note: You must edit your settings to be able to install apps from outside of the marketplace. Just go to Settings -> Applications -> Check “Allow Unknown Sources”.

When you click the icon it will begin downloading the RunPee.apk file. If you pull down the Android Notification Bar – the bar across the top of your screen where the time is displayed – you will see the download progress. Once it is complete you can click on that file and it will ask you if you want to install the RunPee application.

New features and changes to this version:

  •  Vibration for the Timer – The Timer will now vibrate the phone at 2 minutes and 1 minute before a peetime. For this to work the phone must be awake so there is a new lock screen for the timer. Please let me know what you think of the user experience for using these new features.
  • Filmstrip navigation – The navigation is completely changed with a filmstrip of icons along the bottom over each screen. And the up-arrow on the filmstrip-nav will open the navigation up into a vertical view that is more descriptive. What do you think? Is it understandable? Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
  • Facebook integration – There is a new screen to quickly let you post a movie review to your Facebook wall without the need to type anything, unless you want to.
  • Ratings – When you post a review to Facebook your ratings are also saved to the RunPee database so that users can see an average of how users have rated different movies.
  • IMDb integration.
  • Sorting icons for movie list – on the startup screen there are now icons, instead of text, to sort the movies by either release date, or title. Do you Think that is clear enough? There is also an icon to limit the movie list to only the classic movies. New movies will be added periodically.
  • Kindle ad – I’ve added an add for the Amazon Kindle. What do you think? Do you think it will annoy people? Will anyone use it?
  • Flashlight – fairly explanatory.
  • Sounds – This is really added just for the fun of it although a few people may actually use it. I’m still working on the interface on this screen to add the ability to delete a sound file after downloading it. This bit is not quite complete. It works but I’ll update the UX before updating.

If you have any feedback the please feel free to comment here or on Facebook or if you like you can email me directly at polyGeek@RunPee.com.

Beta version of RunPee 1.1.0

If you have an Android phone with version 2.2+ of the OS ( that supports Adobe AIR ) you can download and install a beta version of the update to the RunPee app – version 1.1.0.

It is very easy to install the app. First, on your phone, you need to go into your settings and enable applications from unknown sources: settings -> applications -> unknown sources ( Allow installation of non-Market applications. ) Note: the menus names may be slightly different on your phone.

Now simply download the RunPee.apk file to your phone by browsing to: polygeek.com/air/runpee.apk <- This is my developer blog. For some reason I can’t download .apk files from the server that hosts RunPee.com.

When the download starts you can simply pull your notification bar down from the top and see the download progress.  When the download is complete simply press it and you will be asked if you would like to install this application. Say yes and you’re off and running. At this point you may want to go back into your settings and turn off the Allow unknown sources for security reasons.

The main thing that I’ve added to this version is access to the RottenTomatoes.com data. But this is only for the latest movies. Just select one of the recent releases from the startup screen and at the bottom of the “peetime” screen you’ll see a “Movie Info” button with icons above it. If there is a RottenTomato icon there then when you click on the button you’ll go to a screen that gives you the option to see all the extra info for the movie – youTube videos, RottenTomato ratings, Twitter comments about the movie.

I have also made a few cosmetic changes here and there – yes I know it’s still not very slick but I’m not a designer so it’s the best I can do. 🙂

Hopefully I fixed more bugs than I created. But if you notice anything please let me know in the comments. I’m going to take your feedback and make any needed changes and then on Monday I’ll submit the update to Android/Apple.

The RunPee app is available at iTunes

RunPee for iPhone

The RunPee movie list on iPhone

The new RunPee app has been approved by Apple and is available for download on iTunes – 4Free! Also available on Android and Windows7 Mobile.

Note: this is not an update to the existing RunPee iPhone app. This is a totally new app built by me,  not RockSoftware – now named RockLive. The agreement between myself/RunPee.com and RockLive has ended and now I’m able to create my own apps. Unfortunately due to a technical snafu by Apple the old app can’t be updated. But don’t worry, this app is free.

However, the most important thing – the peetimes – were always done by me and my family so that much remains the same. For the time being you can use either app you want. But later this year the old RunPee app will be discontinued and the peetimes will no longer be available through that app.

What’s new with the RunPee app?

There are a few features that I’ve added. First off we now write a synopsis of the first 5 minutes of the movie for those who are running late. So if you’re late to the theater or caught in the concessions line you’ll know what you missed. We also have a short message from the person who harvested the peetimes letting you know which one we would recommend using and how difficult it was to get peetimes for that movie.

Also, you can see from the image – upper-right – that movies are divided out by month, or first letter, so that it should be much easier to find the movie you’re looking for. In the next update – by the end of July – I’ll add the ability to do a text search for any movie in the database.

The new RunPee Timer

The biggest change comes in the Timer. Instead of just showing you how long the timer has been running you can now see a progress bar with the peetimes marked off. I also show you how many minutes you need to wait until the next peetime so that you can see at a glance how long you need to wait. In addition the cue for the upcoming peetime is displayed so that you never have to leave the timer.

Unfortunately at this time there is no vibration alert built into the timer. But that will be coming in an update probably in September/October. ( This app is built using Adobe AIR which currently does not have the ability to vibrate the phone. However AIR 3.0 due in a few months will have that ability and I’ll update the app pronto when it does. )

related: Why use Adobe AIR?

I have also added an “About Page” so that if you care you can read a little bit about the people who go and get the peetimes for the app.

If you would like to be on the beta-testing team send me an email – to polyGeek@RunPee.com – with the UDID number of your iPhone/iPad.

As always don’t hesitate to suggest improvements or new features. Many of the new additions to the app came from users like yourself.

Thank you for your time and support of RunPee.com. Please remember to tell your friends and family about the app because as we all know, “A bladder is a terrible thing to hold.”

Why use Adobe AIR?

RunPee on Adobe AIR

Something tells me Adobe marketing wouldn't approve of this image. 🙂

I’ll try to explain the reasons behind the decision to use Adobe AIR to build the RunPee mobile apps.

First, I have been a Flash/Actionscript developer for over a decade so using Adobe AIR is very easy for me to pick up and work with.

Second, and most importantly, the Android and iPhone apps use one code base. If I were to build the apps using the native languages and tools for both Android and iPhone then I would have two entirely different code bases to work on. They wouldn’t share a single line of code between them. That would effectively double the work.

Plus it simplifies testing to have just one code base. I only need to do rigorous testing on one platform and then do a quick check on the other to make sure something funky isn’t going on with AIR – which rarely happens. In fact I don’t even have an iPhone. I do all the testing on my two Android phones and then ask users/family to do a quick run through on their iPhones.

It goes without saying that every update to the apps that I make would also have to be done twice. In the end that becomes overwhelming to keep up with. I’m not a team or a company. I’m just one guy working with the time limitations of personal projects like RunPee and client work that pays the bills.

Thirdly, I would have to learn both Java – for Android – and Objective C – for iPhone – to be able to write native apps. There are many developers who can work in both languages, plus ActionScript. And I salute them. But I’m really not interested in putting for all that effort to write apps that only work on one platform. And it would be a huge effort. I’m not even sure it’s possible to write iPhone apps on a PC and there is a zero percent chance I would ever use Mac. To put it quite bluntly I’d give up using computers altogether if my only option were Mac.

So there you have it. If it weren’t for Adobe AIR there would be no RunPee app.

m.RunPee.com – for feature phones and Blackberry

For those of you who don’t have a smart phone . . . what in the world are you waiting for. These things are awesome. But, anyway, don’t fret. You can still use RunPee. Just visit m.RunPee.com using your phones browser and you’ll get access to all the essentials.

And we’re really sorry but there isn’t a Blackberry version yet. Don’t blame us. It’s a real pain in the butt to make Blackberry apps.

RunPee.com : coming soon to a phone near you

By far the most requested feature I get is, “When will there be a RunPee app for my ???? phone?” Currently there are only apps for iPhone and Android phones. There is also m.RunPee.com which is a very simple HTML version of the website that should work on practically any mobile browser. It costs $1/year to get access to movies that have been out for less than 31 days. Everything else is free.

But that’s going to change soon. As you know the RunPee.com website is done in Flash. ( To be precise it’s done with the Flex framework 4.0 beta 2 and Flash Builder beta 2.) The reason it’s done in Flash is that I’m a Flash developer and that’s what I do. There are no plans to ever make RunPee.com an HTML based website.

The good news is that Flash is coming to your mobile phone. Yes, you Blackberry, Palm Pre, Nokia, etc. users will soon have phones that will display Flash content. That’s because Adobe is working very hard to make the next version of the Flash Player work across devices. Currently the Flash Player uses up too many resources for a mobile phone to handle. But the new player will be optimized for mobile phones. My understanding is that when the player is ready – sometime in the first half of 2010 – then it will be pushed out to existing phones. For some I’m sure you will have to download it. Others will just magically have the Flash player.

That will help a great deal but the current RunPee.com website still wouldn’t work very well on a mobile phone. That’s because the app is far too wide to fit on a mobile phone screen. But I promise not to leave you hanging. I’m going to make a version of the app that will fit nicely on smaller screens. When you visit RunPee.com the app will check to see what your screen size is and then display the appropriate layout.

The mobile version of the site will have all the features that you would expect of a mobile app. It will store data locally in case you need to use the app in a theater without reception – provided you viewed the Peetimes before losing reception. It will also have a Timer and will vibrate your phone before each Peetime – provided your phone supports that functionality.

The big question will be about the price. Initially it will be free and I hope to keep it that way if the advertising makes enough money. If not then I will probably use something similar to the m.RunPee.com model and charge people $1/year to access movies that have been out for less than 31 days.

I’m on the list at Adobe to get access to all of the beta-bits necessary to create the mobile version before it’s released to the public. I’m certain that I will have the mobile version of RunPee ready the day the updated Flash Player is released to the public. Hopefully in time for the summer blockbusters.