Category Archives: Uncategorized

QuickNine Golf Scorecard

Well, we finally got out one of our two apps that we have had in the works for a long time. This one was hard to get the last bits in place, because when we were testing it, we were also golfing, and well… we like golfing.

The quick story is, I wrote the “big sister” of QuickNine back in the early 2000s on Windows Mobile. FairwayWatch had a lot of the same bells and whistles like quick score entry, stat tracking, GPS range finder, etc… that QuickNine now has. You’ll see some of the natural inheritance that came from the original UI…

Well, when the pandemic hit I, like thousands of others, got back into golf pretty heavily to stay in shape, and get outside, and easily social distance. So I went to the AppStore to look for an app that could help me keep track of my scoring and progression and hopefully do some GPS distancing and planning as well. But everything I looked at was either very quickly thrown together by a hobbyist with very few features, or was very well backed but either had a clunky confusing interface or required an online account and massive data collection in order to use it. Or Both. And they had price tags in the $30-100/year range to top it all off.

So I did what I do, and wrote an app.

I think you will see that for a 1.0 version, I have it pretty dialed in with most of the features you will need. Having tons of experience in this space before and like 15 years experience in the power that iOS has, I was able to create something that I’m really proud of, and that can be the basis for a bunch of other cooler stuff in the future. Yeah, we get a Watch version done right is probably really needed. Better Stats, shot tracking, club selection; I think these are all cool things, but are also things that need to be done right or they really get in the way of just letting you golf!!

So give the app a try and see what you think. The 14 Day free trial let’s you do all the Rangefinder and mapping as well as a bunch of advanced scoring, so try it out completely and let us know what you would like to see. Or use the Scorecard for FREE if that’s all you need.

Fall 2021

Quick little update…

We have spent the last few weeks doing some more cleanup on our apps in the AppStore that needed some attention.

In the last few weeks SwimTrack and MapPlan have gotten bumps in code to handle current devices and the newest iOS much better and/or fixed a few bugs that have lingered.

We also spent considerable time to get Billing Hours up to date. It was working well, as we use it to manage our own time and invoices, but it needed to be modernized like the rest of the apps have been. And we have it ready for you to continue to use for your tracking needs.

Next up we have plans to finally get to and release our “BIG PROJECT” that is over 4 years and over 500 hours in the making, out to you in some form or another. It has been in use in beta in various forms for a long time, and we think it is just too good, that we might have to lower our grand expectations and cut off the feature creep and just get it out there, as it is superior in a lot of ways to everything in its class already, and should replace apps in our arsenal that you have all been so faithful to for so many years…

So hopefully you will see that, and a few more upgrades, and possibly another new app that I’ve also had 90% done for about 2 years, that I need to just release and iterate instead of churning on for so long without a product to show.

Thanks for continuing to follow us…

PokerTimer 3.0

The last few months we have been digging into our archives and cleaning up some long running titles in our collection. Apple forced our hand and threatened AppStore removal if we didn’t update a couple of them(that were working just fine), but I get it and I have started to do what is necessary to get them working better on new devices and try to make them as future proof as possible. Most of them have required some major work as a majority of the code in some of these apps was originally written in 2008-2010, so yeah, it’s amazing they still work as well as they do…

You’ll notice The Grid and All-In Poker have gotten new updates. We have updates coming for TriPeaks and the entire Extreme Agenda line as well.

But the last 2 weeks were spent taking a brush to PokerTimer. This is one of our most downloaded apps to this day, and the original 2010 design still looks great and just works for a clean efficient way to run a poker tournament. But it needed some attention, and it got it. The whole architecture was rewritten along with how the main screen does layouts dynamically for various screen sizes.

We took special care not to change the overall look, we still think it looks way better than a lot of the over busy app competitors. But we carefully added the most requested features and modernized a few of the existing ones so that it has some of the bells and whistles you might really want, but not by sacrificing on simplicity just to get them in there.

New features like showing the next blinds is available to all users, and a handy hand timer and the chip color display for Pro users have been asked for and received.

And features like the ability to share and use the PokerTimer for Mac ‘Blind files’ through email, and the handling of the Custom Sound Option in Pro by just clicking on .wav files in Mail or Files and allowing you to remove it in settings just make it all easier.

And we’ve spent some time on the sound system, so sounds should play more consistently, and added some ticking countdowns, a 1 minute warning and even speech announcements(in Pro).

So we hope we’ve covered most of what was on your wishlist, and made it solid for another 10 years. It now should be easier to add a few more ideas we have for it as well.

Enjoy your tournaments, and let us know if it works well now having the new features when you need them, but getting out of the way too so you can just play some poker….


Epic vs Apple

So I’ve been reading a lot on the opinions of what Epic has done to challenge the monopoly of Apple on the AppStore. And there are a lot of differing opinions, a lot from very narrow ways of looking at things.

For some context, Epic added a way to buy InApp Purchases at a discount using their own payment services in their hugely successful Fortnite game, circumventing the rule that Apple has in place that you have to use Apple’s purchase system, so they get their 30% cut on everything. Epic did this to blatantly break Apple’s rules so that they would get banned, which they did, and have ammunition to file an already prepared lawsuit, which they did.

I have been frustrated and critical of Apple since the beginning of the AppStore for its “Closed” system. I made as much or more money in the days before the magical iPhone in a much smaller market when I had the freedom to use any and all curated stores and channels and purchasing options as I could engineer(mainly free trials and paid updates) in the Windows Mobile and Palm worlds. I could choose if someones 30% “tax” was worth it to my business.

But now over the years it has been ingrained that this “closed system” is great for your peace of mind, and that Apple does all these extra things of value that they deserve it all. Opinions may vary, but there should be a choice.

The way I see all the mistakes they’ve made in the store, all the rejection hassles for no reason, the encouraging a race to the bottom and wanting “millions of apps” available which drove the quality of the average app down considerably. The horrible search results, the unfair curating practices to play favors, the not allowing trials…. The list goes on and on. Most of us knew that the big problem with the AppStore is they just threw apps into the iTunes media model, and acted like they had done tons and tons of work to create this great experience. They hadn’t. And not starting on a real foundation, we still see the effects of that.

But my biggest gripe right now, is everyone is saying the AppStore is making a safe environment. They aren’t. The review process allows garbage and bad actors that are gaming the system and ripping people off in all the time. And they use that system and their rules to stifle creativity and reject apps that would compete too closely with something they want to do themselves.

Everything that actually makes the system safe can be done without the AppStore. They do it on Mac. Those things are built into the Operating System, not the AppStore. We have to be checked and sign apps. And apps still have to ask whether you can have access to sensitive APIs and data whether it is from the AppStore or not. So regardless of where you get the app, those will be in place.

If you think that that safety is needed, guess what, it will still be there for you to use. There will be nobody there forcing you to get any app not on the AppStore. And obviously it would be in everybody’s best interest if when this happens some parental type controls are put in place to not always allow this in iOS. But now it’s up to you if you trust the company, not Apple.

So just give us a choice.

How is the world going to be that much different if we can get apps another way. The developer can pursue different channels and different marketing and sales models, and if Apple’s store is worth it, we’ll use it too. But then real developers can have options like more direct contact with users, issue refunds ourselves, price freedom, new marketing channels… This list goes on and on too, it lets a business be a business and not depend on following ever changing and restrictive rules that come at a large cost.

So thank you to Epic for finally getting to the point where you can fight this, it had to be somebody with the resources. And yes, they obviously have some ulterior motives in play, but who cares, they are doing what someone has needed to do for a long time. And to get what they ultimately want, they have to bring all of us little guys with them…

2020 and beyond

Another year is underway. And with that a new enthusiasm for what Birdsoft can become.

In 2019 we did some app updates that we hope you appreciated, but we were more busy laying a foundation for the reimagining of some of what we hope to make the centerpiece of Birdsoft going forward.

A new set of products that will capitalize on our years of development experience to bring you something that we are truly proud of, and with a sustainable revenue model that can keep us iterating and improving on our products at a much greater level. A new modern codebase with new innovations baked in will just be the start. And we can’t wait to show it to you soon…

At this point we are approaching 20 years of mobile development… What a fun ride!

The hours thing.

So we have always thought our ‘Billing Hours’ has been a better product than the popular ‘Hours’ app. We realize that they have built out a great network to get it up and selling, have some friends at Apple, and do self promotion amazingly. But the fact is, their app is lacking in many areas. It has some neat effects and some novelty interactions, but it just doesn’t do everything that you might want it to do, and actually can be a little confusing for how ‘easy’ it is supposed to be. It seems to be missing several very basic features.

Granted they did jump right on the Apple Watch thing, and seemed to have done a nice job with doing what they already do on there, if you have an Apple watch…

So we noticed that they are giving it away free and made a blog post about their future plans to enter the Enterprise world with their basic timer app. And always being the salesman they blow over the fact that some companies will require more. They will require features they don’t have. Features that may be a long time coming. And the features they plan to add, they seem to hint they will be monetizing in new ways…

So we thought, what a great time for us to do another of our FREE giveaways of our App, so you can see jut how much more usable an app can be when it has more of the features you need. Like sending an invoice!

So give BOTH apps a try.. Give them a fair shake, and consider… Does their UI with some interesting shortcuts and interactions really make anything easier in the long run? Is having it a good tradeoff for not having the features that people that actually do track time might use the most? Or does the simpler app do what you need?

I think you’ll agree that Billing Hours has more potential. And we have a new version coming that we won’t be adding monetization and steering towards Enterprise.. It will just have some neat UI tricks of our own, and requested features. So drop us an email on what you think, and what we can add….

Billing Hours on the AppStore.



Update: Edited as this post was initially written pretty hastily and so came off a tad harsh. Obviously Hours has some benefits and is enough for many people’s needs.  And other may not know about the several other more full featured Time Trackers that exist as this one was one of the most visible. Check out ‘Hours Tracker’ for another great and more full featured option…


Let’s not call it a Post-Mortem… We just need a little life support.

So Birdsoft is going part time as of October 13th, 2014.

What does this mean? 

Well, Ive taken an iOS development(and possibly other flavors) job with a company that I’ve done quite a bit of consulting work for in the past. It will be a new adventure getting to create and work on some great mobile products.

Birdsoft will still live on. This new company is really cool and very open to you doing whatever you want on the side. So some nights and weekends I will be doing updates, adding features and trying to fit in as much of what I used to do in doing this full time, and still keep my sanity. I have Extreme Agenda 5 well under way, I have my new product pretty much done, and I just got all of my major apps updated to be working with iOS8.. So Birdsoft is in a pretty good place that way…

And my apps are mostly solid and mature at this point, so don’t think that part time means I wont be offering email support or squashing the bugs that do come up or adding anything. That will still hold a high priority….

I’m not throwing away 11+ years of full time work. I’d like to think I did some pretty cool things in there…


This is a hard one. I don’t want to pass all the blame off on Apple, though they deserve a large portion of it. I simply didn’t maintain making enough money to support myself with just Birdsoft, even though I feel like I have better products now than I did when I was able to do it…

I did make a few mistakes and focused on the wrong things a few times. I didn’t quite play the ever changing game right, it was like hitting a moving target(notice I didn’t use the word ‘evolving’). I did play it fairly right in 2012, but Apple already has changed the rules a couple times since then.

And I could have done a much better job of finding and embracing the network of developers out there(and Press and Apple itself). But basically Ive determined that one of the only real ways of doing that would have meant spending thousands of dollars to get to THE developer conference(WWDC), solely to mingle and network. It was hard to justify…. but it turned out to be a mistake that I didn’t. Who charges that much, when the mobile stores used to throw the same types of things free, Oh yeah that’s Apple….

But really it is that Apple made the AppStore a mess. They seem to be cleaning it up a bit, but then I’ve thought that before. They simply made decisions that did not help the good middle of the road developers. They didn’t see us as that important. So now they have a trash heap of half-done apps that you have to dig through in order to find the gems.

My biggest example. Apple actually championing the ‘race to the bottom’ price wise is the biggest mess. You don’t think they support that? I have an app that has made six figures, and I have a somewhat similar app that hasn’t even made 5 figures. The first is a paid app and the second is freemium. Guess which app they rush through reviews and show higher in searches? Yeah, the one that has more downloads, not the one that keeps me in business….

Good for you Candy Crush and Clash of Clans. I love that the vast majority of the billions that the AppStore makes goes to only a couple companies that make good but not great games, but have learned to manipulate people in the same ways as casinos do.  I’m glad that’s who Apple has decided to shape their rules around, to reward them instead of trying to make a nice big playing field that thousands of developers could live and thrive off of…

They have so many things structured like search, discovery, reviews, top charts  that are all just skewed and broken.  And the biggest mistake was promoting how many apps they had. 1,000,000 apps didn’t mean anything, when like 5% were any good. We’ve pointed most of these issues out since the beginning of the store, and yet some have gotten worse… It’s just a mess that I hope they are trying to fix and change their direction on….

Its a vicious cycle, reward the apps that are cheap or free with more downloads, but cycle them out as new ones come in, and hope enough people keep playing the game. Developers then don’t make enough money on apps(or make it all up front only), so those app don’t keep developer’s attention. So the developer then don’t improve them to what they should be. Now we have a lot of non-updated apps along with all the poor ones all sitting around clogging the system.

And add to that you have ‘developer experts’ actually telling new developer to make simple apps that are over designed but with very few features in order to turn out product and play this game… And Apple promoting and even giving design awards and Editor’s choice to apps that don’t even do what they’re supposed to do very well, with very few features, but they look pretty…

So at least we have over 1,000,000 apps.

Side Note: You know what I still to this day find: My apps with the most features still sell the best!

Add to that the press being a ‘good ol’ boys’ club at this point that will push for and ‘love’ some pretty average apps because they met the developer once and that developer kisses up to them on Twitter or has been around doing Mac stuff, and some really good apps are getting passed over….

It all makes it hard…

So who would have thought that the mobile app market was more stable and dare I say better before the iPhone. From my 11+ years experience, unfortunately that’s the case…

I’m around. Birdsoft is still going. But Im seeing some pretty big names dropping out of the fight, even today… and I feel like by doing this I just couldn’t quite pull it off fully either.. stinks!




We’re here…

So what an interesting summer….

Well, we keep on churning out iOS development. We are currently doing a bunch of fixes and changes for Apple’s iOS8 and new iPhone sizes. We probably could have been a little quicker with our updates. But then again, Apple did hold out any information on those screens, because, well you know… secrecy… No, not a great reason, but it’s Apple. They don’t make mistakes… Well, except the mess that is iOS8 so far, and….

We did just come off of doing a huge project for a very high profile client, which we can’t mention because of Lawyer stuff… But it is an AWESOME app that we had a part in getting ready to ship for a top news agency….

So that got in the way of us shipping our latest big new product which is now about 95% complete, and work done on the new EXTREME AGENDA 5.0! So along with consulting, once we get these ‘fix’ updates out those 2 things are our main priorities. We have some great ideas and the good stuff that is in iOS8 made that list grow even longer, so… We hope to show you some neat new things very soon….





What’s the plan….

So we haven’t done an update of our current plans in a while… So here it is.

We are currently juggling a few consulting projects, one being a pretty neat Android project, so we have opened up that can of worms… So along with juggling those, we have some pretty big plans for the coming months for our own products.

We have just released updates to all of the Extreme line of products and Grid Calendar products, and are working to get those completely stable on iOS7-7.1 for those few people that are seeing issues. And then we plan on a big update to Extreme Agenda, hopefully dropping this summer.

We have an update to ‘All-In Poker’ very close to done that adds a lot of neat effects and some graphics upgrades to the app, along with 2 new games…

But our biggest plan is that we have ideas for 5-6 very high quality apps that at this point we are able to turn around in a month or less. How? Well, we now have built out a very stable new framework to start with and then with code re-use and switching to some newer iOS technologies, we can create very capable products utilizing our 5+ years experience on this platform(as long as it has existed) very quickly. And ask our many satisfied iOS clients, we are very efficient developing for them, or YOU, as well…

The first of these apps just dropped called “Billing Hours” and took less than a month’s development  time. But it has features competing with and even above the top guys in that market.  It is a time tracking app that allows contractors to keep track of and even invoice their hours and billable items. Check it out now at it’s low introductory price.


We have already started in on the 2nd app. It is the resurrection of a Birdsoft oldie but a goodie, dating back to our Pocket PC days and should compete or even top what exists in that space as well….We’re pretty excited…

We have some big plans and hopefully a big deal in place for a solution we have ready for Form Data collection and entry, right now targeting the utility world, . We plan to expand on this as well in the AppStore, with a more standard version as one of our new “high end apps” coming soon.

But like always, if we can handle a consulting project for you, that will be first priority…. So drop us a line if you have the next killer app idea…

We’re hoping 2014 brings some great new iOS devices, some great new Birdsoft products and updates that can rise above the mess that is the current AppStore, and to continually keep our clients happy…



Well, so there’s that….

iOS7 was introduced and to say it is ‘Polarizing’ is an understatement. Some people love it, some people hate it and some people are cautiously not optimistic. It has some great new features that were really wanted and needed, and I haven’t heard anybody argue against that. Things like control center and multi-tasking. But the UI and aesthetic redesign’s are a radical change with a lot of people including me not loving and not seeing the point of. This goes beyond just the icons.

They had a good thing that they sold MILLIONS of. But yet they convinced themselves that the rumblings from the press and a small sections of users were true and the OS was so dated. Which in small areas was true, but… then they took a sledgehammer and went crazy. It makes be doubt Jony Ive’s ability as a software designer(hardware he’s brilliant, but that doesn’t guarantee his software style will have mass market appeal). I think there was a balance there between where they were and where they ended up, and they didn’t even come close to hitting it.

Most things they changed for the sake of change.

I dont get why navigation buttons can’t have borders. They’re still buttons. If you have a problem defining the edge of a touch area you are way too hung up on this skeumorphic thing. The new way looks fine in some places, but looks really bad and the text all runs together in others. And this takes away using color to represent other things.

And why does the stopwatch app have ‘circular’ edges around its start and stop buttons. Shouldn’t it just be colored text if we’re following this new “better” paradigm?

The transparency is not a great thing. It can look good, like it always did, or it can look horrible depending on the background. But the key is that in iOS6 you couldn’t really get something to look horrible based on the background.

And I don’t get the new skinny font. It doesnt look good on the small screen, and doesnt make things clearer. Just artsy, and will get dated quickly. Wait, I think it already is, most designers have even moved beyond helvetica… Oh, but some Apple apps dont even use this font.. Now, it’s just different, not better.

Animations are animations, they grow tiring. I thought the incoming icon pop out thing was corny the first time I saw it. And we did the zoom out from a location animation that is now defining the launcher and folders in our Grid Contacts app. Its a neat effect, but Im already tired of it on iOS7, after one day, and it broke some other stuff…Now, it’s just different, not better.

And folders are neat that they can scroll inside, now imagine if they weren’t defined to be that silly gray color and actually have a border, and weren’t made to be a scaled up icon size/shape. So we could have the scrolling while showing 16 icons at a time instead of 9. THAT WOULD BE WAY BETTER. Now, it’s just different, not better.

Why change the swipe to open. There is no indicator anymore of which way to swipe(Well there are arrows up and down, which neither is for this). So almost everybody that encounters this takes a while to even figure out how to open their phone the new way. Something is fundamentally wrong with your direction if this happens. Stripping away something to make it prettier and ‘simpler’. NOPE. Now, it’s just different and initially confusing, not better.

Why are we stripping out gradients in nav bars and other places where they actually look good, but they are fine and even overdone in some of our new icons.

And the icons are just plain horrid. Some people like the Easter Bunny meets Hello Kitty colors and simple oversized designs, but if designers can take those same ideas and make stuff that looks infinitely better with the exact same concepts in a couple hours, well Apple went the wrong way. But even worse. Why change the size and corner radius of the icons. The bigger corner radius is not better, its actually makes the icons look smooshed and fat. AND IT BREAKS THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF 3RD PARTY ICONS THAT WERE DESIGNED WITH THE OLD BETTER RADIUS. It feels like a slap in the face for the sake of change and the 3 extra pixels make everything a little more crowded. Now, it’s just different(worse), not better.

It will all cause a lot of confusion for mostly young and old users to re-learn a lot of this stuff. And why, it’s NOT BETTER.

The whole thing is just really inconsistant.

The people that Ive heard love on it, most I feel fall into a category that they wanted the OS to have a facelift so bad, that they can’t see a lot of it for what it really is. Change for the sake of change. Nothing is really improved, it’s just different. The new paradigm doesn’t really have any advantages, Ive tried to come up with any for development. It just forces a different look and breaks a lot of the existing ideas.

And its puzzling their direction with 3rd Party Apps here. They want to brag about 900,000 apps, but didn’t really fix discoverability, and now are really going to break or make outdated like what ~700,000 of them. Why?

So with so many strong opinions that don’t like these bold changes, could this be a stumble. Could this ultimately lose Apple marketshare? Could this balance out the market? Could this be Apple’s ‘Vista’? It wouldn’t shock me. Or maybe I’m wrong and there is a market for a more cutesy version of iOS?!

I’m not going to say it hasn’t grown on me some since I started using it. I just hope Apple is listening, and takes the keys away from Jony a bit, and dials back some of the changes. I know its just a BETA, but does Apple? Hopefully they don’t stay stubbornly committed to their decisions, but they aren’t known to change a ton after BETA.

With all their secrecy when doing these OS’s they obviously can’t do huge usability testing. Well consider this your usability testing, you are turning off a portion of your own following, and I can’t see the changes being a catalyst to replace them with others. Ive been wrong before.

Welcome to the world iOS7…

UPDATE: It is already starting to leak that for example the Icons were designed by marketing and not Interface in Apple. So hopefully this is a good sign that some of the things mentioned will be dialed in or dialed back. Hopefully most of them… We’ll see….