Category Archives: iPhone

Wow!

Well last week was a fun week for us. You showed us that we did build a stellar product in ‘The Grid’ It obviously had not been doing that well as a product, as it got lost in the vast black hole that is the AppStore. So to try to draw some attention to it, we set it to free for the weekend. Well, the app was featured on Sunday (Jan 27th) by AppAdvice’s AppsGoneFree promotion and picked up by others, and with that it ratcheted up the AppStore Top Apps List. It eventually made it up to around #220 for iPhone and #130 for iPad in the whole store, with a top 10 in the Productivity category. We loved the exposure so left it free for the next few days where it got a ton of new reviews and maintained over a 4 star rating, and over 120,000 new downloads.

We happen to be super busy here at Birdsoft, cranking on Extreme Agenda 4.0 and about to tackle our enterprise solution development and a consulting contract, but we decided it would be worth it to try to use that traction in a positive way. So we are looking into finally giving our site a much needed facelift. And more importantly, we are tweaking ‘The Grid’ to include most of the most asked for features and changes from the reviews(iPad Landscape is done), and adding two big new features to ‘The Grid’ that will be available as an InApp purchase. One is a new view and one is Reminder Support. Both should be done for the new version to go out at the end of the week. We’re excited to hopefully find a way to regain that momentum and get people using what we consider the best lightweight calendar app on the AppStore. And hopefully we get Apple to notice so they help us along to bigger and better things…

And yes, Reminder support and this new view are going in Extreme Agenda 4.0 too.. And doing this has already helped the progress of that tremendously. Extreme Agenda’s scope is on a level way higher than this, so when that comes out, its going to be a whole new ballgame for full on organizers. We just want to get everything right!

So watch for a new site and new ‘The Grid’ version soon, and Extreme Agenda 4.0 by the spring… FUN!!

Spring Status

So…. we have been grinding away here at Birdsoft. Some consulting and prototypes have taken up a bit of our time so the promised version 3.15 with ToodleDo sync has been delayed longer than we thought. Well we are pleased to tell you that we have it syncing tasks. Now we just want to build up the failsafes and error handling around it and do a bunch more testing before we release it to you.

Along with that, in order to keep us excited and not burnt out on the ToodleDo stuff, which it somehow had that affect, we have started to add a bunch of new options and features to go in the release. So version 3.15(if it stays with that #) might actually feel like a full point release. A lot of the new stuff will be UI and cosmetic related, mostly allowing you even more options to make it look like you want it to. And then a bunch of smaller but hugely helpful features. And then one other big thing we are fairly certain will also be included is the initial “Notes” view.

So we are shooting for 2-4 weeks to get the whole thing wrapped up and out to you. And by switching focus for a bit we think that not only will it get you task syncing, but a whole bunch of new functionality to go with it..

We’re excited for you to see it…

Thanks

Sorry about that…

We have really been trying hard to not stumble into what some of our competition have been dealing with lately… namely making an app unstable and buggy or completely changing our app, and forcing you to like our changes. And I think for the most part we’ve been successful! And we keep trying to correct the bugs we hear about as quickly as possible.. And as a side note, it wasn’t mandatory to go to the new Tabbed UI, we still let you turn back on the older one if that is what you prefer, though some people in reviews didn’t quite catch that…

But we did just make a little screwup for our users outside of the US when we went to add some translations for other countries and at the same time tried to make it friendly even for countries who’s language isn’t fully supported. Basically we went to using the global settings app’s “Region Format” for things like day and month names, but didn’t quite catch on that that can mess up the week day order. We get it now and we’ve been quickly submitting updates to try to clear up the problems that that caused as fast as Apple allows us, and throwing a few other bug fixes in as we get them taken care of(it affected some repeating event stuff as well). So hopefully with version 3.13 those problems are all taken care of (as well as the added bonus of starting a month or week on any day), and the long awaited “ToodleDo Task Syncing” update can be finished up and put out there for you soon after…

So for those who it affected, sorry about that…!!

Thanks.

And if you are a native or fluent speaker of one of the new languages, we’d love a little help with anything you see translated poorly as it was a first attempt and depended a lot on Google Translate (namely Portugese, French, and German) . Just contact us and we can let you know how to help…

If you want more information on the status of Extreme Agenda development, consider joining the Facebook User Group for XA

Sneak Peek.. Version 3.1 Tabbed UI

We have submitted version 3.1 to Apple of Extreme Agenda. Its huge new feature, a 2nd UI choice where the whole thing can use a tabbed interface. Check it out, and see how we just keep trying to innovate and make the best Organizer for iOS. (You should see it on the iPad – remember its Universal).

Thanks

November 2011 Plans

Well things are moving fast and furious here and we are really excited. We’re in our new office and are more productive than ever. Extreme Agenda 3.0 has been very well received, and we are proud to say we did not stumble with our testing and quality assurance and this release went off with out any major issues. So what’s next.

Well we are wrapping up a whole new product based off the Extreme Agenda(XA) code. It will be a tabbed based calendar app that is designed to target the minimalist/pretty cheap apps that have a lot of popularity on the App Store(Calvetica,Agenda,Week Cal). Extreme Calendar does this pretty well too, but is a little more high end and has the XA upgrade. And with this product, all the code will be complete for a ton of new features that can go right into XA and XCal. Features like showing and contacting event participants/organizer, emailing events, a popup to change the start time minutes from timeline day (:00 | :15 | :30 | :45 | All), tutorial/tip system, swiping working in week view and maybe timeline day(no swipe bar), word wrapping location, new calendar drawing choices, marking favorite days, jump to date, only work hour time bars, and more…

And writing this new app, has had a huge benefit of getting the UI code on the road to be ready for a 2nd UI choice on iPad and on iPhone.

And our plan is to turn out this XA update and then attack an update with the 2 things we really feel we have left to put XA over the top, the 2nd iPad specific UI and Toodledoo sync. We’ll see what we cant do in the next couple weeks to get all of this out to you early December or at least by the holidays, if all goes well….

And that is when we get started. We have some major things planned for the product line in 2012 too…

Go Extreme!

You can join the Facebook Extreme Agenda group for a sneak peek screenshot of the new product. It’s clean and hopefully pretty enough!!

Update, here it is: Watch for it Thanksgiving Day!!!

Coming up on October…

We are just about complete with Extreme Agenda 3.0. It is looking really good with a bunch of new high res icons and changes. And the features that are getting in there are the last few that we really think are needed soon to allow us to do some other bigger things with the product line. Tasks alarms and Templates, a search view, Subject wrapping on Task and Event View, Contact Sorting and a few more things are all feature complete. Just wrapping up Repeating Tasks, Contact Categories, and a couple smaller things, and then we just have QA and Beta Testing… So we are shooting for Mid October release, might fall right around when the famed iPhone 5 makes its appearance(and just in time to welcome in all the TMobile and Sprint users?!). Should be a very interesting next couple months… And to top it all off I move into the new Birdsoft Corporate Headquarters right at the middle of the month too… We’re very excited for all of it.

And a big thanks to all of our customers over the years. Yesterday was Birdsoft’s 10th Birthday, and we celebrated with a massive sale that was highly successful and really got me pumped up to try and go for another 10 years.

Thanks!

Update: If you are itching to know what is going on with XA 3.0 and if you are on Facebook be sure you join the Extreme Agenda User Group. I have posted a number of screenshots and more information on the upcoming version.

July Update…

Still working on Extreme Agenda 2.25(version # may change). Have also been trying to do a lot of stabilizing things to the product that I’m releasing updates with just those things and very few new features(saving those for the bigger update). We are trying to work with people that are still seeing run or speed problems so thank you for helping us out, as they appear to be tricky stuff at this point, that we can’t replicate in house. But that is our #1 priority right now is to get it working for everyone with good performance. The more customers we get the more strange fringe cases we see, but we want to clear those all up, if we can get your help to do it.

Otherwise summer and some other things have slowed us down a little bit but we are still working hard to get XA to where we want it to be features and performance wise…

Thanks

Update:

If anyone out there is still seeing a kickout problem where it is shutting off your contacts(try turning them back on with the info in our FAQ) we’d really appreciate if you’d email us and work with us on logging where your data is causing this. We have been running the program with over 2500 contacts with big images, and over 500 events in the current month, with no problems/crashes and very acceptable performance, with version 2.24. Please help if you arent getting the same results…

Wow!

Thanks to all you Extreme Agenda and Extreme Calendar users. With the release of Extreme Calendar, we have really gained traction and increased the popularity of these two apps over night. We’re loving it, and its really pushing us to keep churning out these great updates with new features and fixing what few problems still remain for the thousands of users! So Thank you.

And thanks for all the great feedback and suggestions either by email, on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the iTunes Reviews. Good reviews and keeping your iTunes reviews up to date with the newest version is really appreciated! Shout outs on Twitter and ‘Likes’ are great as well. And if you are on Apps like Chomp.com, or want to check it out, we appreciate some love on those types of apps too!

So, in keeping with the our open development plans. We are still roughly sticking to the plans laid out in the last post. Version 2.20 has been submitted to Apple, which contains a couple of new features like a Default Alarm setting, adding tasks from the calendar, and Work Day Hours. It also tries to address almost all of the outstanding issues that we know about including the duplicate calendar switching problem, removing iPad orientation startup restrictions, multiday recurring event problems and a couple more little things.

Now we hope to attack Version 2.25 which will have a bunch of really neat features. If everything on the list gets in, it will basically wrap up a lot of the “Integration” features that make using Tasks, Contacts and Lists even better and more powerful in XA, and meshing them all together much better.

And then 2.5 will be the big summer project. It likely will become Version 3.0 with what all is planned. That’s when we really leave all the other Calendar and Organizer apps in the dust on iOS. It should be fun!

So keep that feedback coming and help us to push the product to be the Organizer or Calendar you want!!

Thanks again!

Update: Version 2.21 has been submitted which cleans up a bunch of known issues and adds some more loading memory optimizations, and then add Italian Localization, Event Templates, Event Calendar switching, and Tap-n-hold toolbar on week and day views. On to the next version…

Extreme Roadmap..

First, thanks everyone who was patient and willing to work with technical support on the 2.10 problem. That particular error was easily diagnosed once we saw it, and we got the fix out within hours, and thankfully Apple helped us out by expediting a review, so the 2.10 version only was available for 4 days.

And thank you for supporting Extreme Agenda. We keep turning out big feature updates so you will immediately notice you are getting crazy good value for your money, but we aren’t done… So its a great investment now for the future of the product.

Here are our basic plans for XA going forward:

We have version 2.15 almost done which fixes a couple things, adds some better diagnostics to help us work out problems better, and adds the new Timeline Day view, and a few other calendar specific features. Timeline day is a fantastic new view with inline editing and toolbars that allow moving, copying, and other tools right from the list. (A sneak peek screenshot is shown at our Extreme Agenda Facebook page).

What also is coming in this update is a new version of the app, which will be just the key features of the calendar section of XA. We want to compete with a couple programs out there (one font based), that got very popular, but kind of get in their own way as far as not adding features in the name of minimalist design and their own thoughts on how scheduling should be done. That stuff is great for a lot of people, but most people eventually end up expecting a little more… We hope to give it to you. And once you want to go even further and have more features, the great thing will be that an InApp purchase will be available that allows you to update it to the full Extreme Agenda. It will be a great app to suggest to your friends or to try out XA’s features.

And then 2.20 will be started right after 2.15 is out. It will add some major upgrades in Contacts and Tasks as well as some other powerful agenda based pieces. There likely wont be any one HUGE new feature, but a ton of little ones that will make this update one that adds a lot of punch.

And then 2.5 is scheduled for this summer, with a couple of really big features along with a big iPad version update and a bunch more little features to make this the most flexible and all around best Organizer for iOS hands down.

So if you are waiting for some of those other organizers to update their app, come see how far we’ve caught up and in a lot of ways passed them in functionality. And then stick around and enjoy all the new features that are coming sooner rather than later.

Thanks

And we’d really appreciate some good reviews on the AppStore if you are enjoying XA! The people that need to complain in situations like 2.1 don’t tend to come back, so we’d love to have a few good ones to balance them out, as they no longer really apply.

Update: Version 2.15 is in the store. We have submitted a bug fix update(v.2.16) that also does some great optimizations to the app that will make it use less memory and load faster. And Extreme Calendar is out on the AppStore now too..

We have switched the schedule slightly as well, a 2.2 version, which will add a couple of the calendar specific power features, will come first and then 2.25 which will have a few more calendar features and the contact/task upgrades. We want the new XCal users to see the benefits of their first update so they know we mean business (and some are features that I really wanted in v.2.15).

Oops… and please Apple fix AppStore

We made a mistake. Well, we missed something in testing with the XA database(that doesnt show up to most people if you were running XA 2.0 first). So its our fault.

And we can’t believe that Apple missed it too! They had the application ‘in review’ for over 12 hours after a week wait. And still ok’d it with a problem that affects a ton of mostly new users.

We had this problem debugged, an update submitted(and request to be expedited) all in the same morning it was released. And a simple workaround in place to fix the problem for people experiencing it.

But we don’t feel that is really good enough…and we’re sorry.

1. We can’t update fixes fast enough.

In the older Windows Mobile days we could have had a fixed app out in a matter of minutes after we fixed it, and saved hundreds of people from ever even having the chance of seeing the problem. There was just another level of trust there that Apple doesnt allow.

Why isn’t there a way that developer’s can get ‘trusted’ status from Apple. So if they have a minor update, they can go through a quick review channel. That way the fix is out there right away…

The quick channel right now is the developer finding an obscure form in Apple’s help system to basically beg for an expedited review, and then get a scolding “we don’t want this taken advantage of” letter back with a yes or no on whether they’ll do it quicker. This usually comes after a day or two. If they do agree, well then you’ll see the review start maybe a day after that.. So 3-4 days instead of 7-8+.

I know there are a lot of apps, and a lot of junk, so they are having to police. But what exactly did they do to review my app, if they didn’t catch what is essentially it not starting at all on some hardware if its a fresh install…

And I would think it would be somewhat obvious to Apple who is a more trusted developer, and who is turning out daily rss feeder or fart sound apps… Charge us a little more, and/or put it out there that if you do anything malicious you are kicked out of trusted status, and/or the AppStore. I know that a reviewer should be able to review a bug fix app(send it to the same tester that did the full review),and have them run through the whole thing covering all the screens of most apps in less than 10 minutes..

2. And then when a problem like this comes up, people think reviews are the way to get tech support.

Why is this bad?

Well, there is no way to get rid of them once its fixed. And about half the people don’t go back and change their review after it is… Go look at Extreme Agenda’s reviews right now. Some were nice enough to change their review, and some weren’t. But what is funny about that is if you actually read the product description. One of the first things I say is, ‘hey, if you have this problem email me and i’ll get it fixed’. And then towards the bottom I ask you not to use the reviews for tech support. In most cases(this not being one of them), I will not notice your problem review for weeks or months. Developers aren’t notified of new reviews, and have no way of contacting you once we do see the review, to see if we can help you fix it or get more information. Its just not a good idea, except to let your temper out, for getting tech support!

You aren’t really “showing this evil developer who purposely gave you a broken product”. Its amazing how many people think that if an app is broken for them, it doesn’t work for anyone and this app is obviously some kind of scam… What perpetuates that is we also have no control over refunds. Id give you a refund in a heartbeat if you are one of those people that can’t or won’t use tech support and try to spend a couple minutes resolving an issue. I know the AppStore and low prices promotes instant gratification, and I’m fine with that…

I had a fix for this done yesterday, but some people will still be seeing the problem after a week, and that part isn’t my fault.

So give us developer’s the benefit of the doubt at least initially if the app is not working correctly. There are a lot of factors, and a lot of different hardware and configurations that we can miss things or not be able to test for everything… and a good developer will help you resolve the problem as quick as they can.

And we are handcuffed by some of Apple’s systems, some that should be fixed up…

Thanks