Friday, 30 December 2011

Vogelgids van Nederland

Our Dutch app is out! Released into the wild of the AppStore, we hope that it will flourish and prosper. It's called Vogelgids van Nederland and it's a guide to birds of the Netherlands (in Dutch and English). The text has been translated by specialist translator, Max Nuijens, and the interface by Chirp! translator, Frans Schutgens, so it should be good! Any mistakes are entirely my fault as it was my job to transfer their text into the app. Now we wait and watch with baited breath to see how out well our young app will fly :).

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas (or other celebration of your choosing), and very best wishes for 2012!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Expanding into new countries!

I'm taking advantage of a very brief lull to bring the latest update. The most exciting news is that work on our forthcoming guide to birds of the Netherlands, Vogelgids van Nederland, is almost complete! It should be ready for final testing in the next day or so and we hope to have it in the AppStore before Christmas.

We've also been working on an update to Chirp! Europe and expanding it to include Spain and Portugal. No new birds for those countries yet, but we have some lined up for a spring update and I hope we will be able to expand into Italy as well. Just in time for spring and summer holidays in southern Europe!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Goodbye Steve Jobs

I can't say it better than others have - Steve was a visionary and creative genius who made things happen. It's a sad day.

Friday, 30 September 2011

At last - the Record Centre Update!

It's taken us ages, but Bird Guide Britain finally has a Record Centre section! This was part of the original plan for the app but it soon became clear that it would take a long time to develop to our satisfaction and so we decided to release the app with reduced record keeping facilities to start with, and add the Record Centre later as an update. And so here we are, a whole year later!

The new update allows multiple sightings of a bird to be recorded. These can then be viewed as a list, sorted by location, date or bird name, or viewed on a map. They can also be exported as an Excel file. Use the email back-up regularly to make sure you don't ever lose your data.

Update now and see what you think! Remember it's only version 1.0 of the Record Centre, so please tell us what you like and dislike so we can continue to improve it!

Friday, 2 September 2011

End of an era

Very unusual for me to make two posts in as many days, but I felt that the occasion had to be marked in some way. The first Spiny Software cd-roms went on sale in the year 2000 and now, after 11 years, they will no longer be sold. They won't run on the latest operating systems on macs or windows, and we don't have time to update them any more.

I'm sad to see the end of this era, but I am hoping that we will recreate some of the titles as iPad apps, which would be great. I certainly won't be sorry to never have to work with windows again!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Thoughts on reviews

As a developer it is tempting to avoid reading reviews for apps that have been out for a long time and, one hopes, been polished over many updates. There is no way of responding to reviews on the App Store so for example if someone gives Chirp! a one star review because there is no sound, all we can do is shout at the computer "you've got the mute button on" which isn't helpful. (On that subject, Apple have a reasonably robust review process that all apps and updates have to go through so, really, they are not going to pass a bird song app that doesn't have sound).

Volume issues aside, obviously some people leave poor reviews because they genuinely don't like the app, but sadly one of the other main reasons for unusually poor reviews is that some competitors try and boost their app by leaving inaccurate or misleading reviews for better apps. Shame on them.

I don't want to give the impression that we are complacent. It's just that we have responded and will continue to respond to customers who make suggestions or tell us what they don't like - please continue! But to be sure that you are heard, the best way to contact us is through email, Facebook or Twitter (links above). Looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Progress report

Work on our long-awaited update to the Bird Guide is coming along fast! Alex has been able to devote considerable time to it recently and it is nearly ready for thorough testing. We are really looking forward to getting it finished - partly because we seem to have done little else for so long but also because it will be great to see the app as it was planned to be from the start.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

April already?

My neglect of this blog is shameful! My only excuse is that little has changed - I am still working on the next Bird Guide Britain update, and squeezing in occasional Chirp updates when I have time.

The next update to the Bird Guide is a really major one with many new features. As well as new features there will be quite a few new birds, and I am also working through all the current birds, checking the information and adding new and better images. It's going to be very good! Progress has been slow this year because Alex, who does the complicated programming, is a student and has his final exams very soon. On the plus side this is giving me more time to improve the content, so the finished result will be even better!