Category: Applications

It only took 4 years, but I finally found enough time to build a new mobile app and update an existing one. Things have been busy to the point where my weeknights are taken up with other things, and any software development has to be done during the day. Sometime last year I had another idea for a mobile app utility and decided to build it properly to learn about Android store processes and online advertising. Here’s what I built and how the process worked.

Log – flexible data tracking

Like the name says, this is the app idea I came up with last year to solve a problem I couldn’t find an existing app for. It’s a data journal that provides the ability to create custom streams of data and track those over time. The streams can contain multiple inputs like numbers, text or dates, and get added to the list. For example, track driving trip distance or count the number of times you go to the gym. It’s all manual and offline.

Learn a lot more about it at thelogapp.com.



Equation Library

This was an app I wrote back in 2014 and it received a surprising number of downloads. I ended up not having enough time to commit to its maintenance and let it sit for too long. Recently I reviewed the tech needed for it to work and decided it was new enough that I could do that. So I spent a few evenings rebuilding it with the latest SDK and made some improvements.

The application itself works by including a number of math categories that have equations I’ve collected from my textbooks and online sources. Each equation can solve for the primary variable and most provide the ability to solve for additional variables. My hope is that as people use it and start to request categories I can slowly build a much larger database. Fortunately the new system is much easier to update and maintain than it was previously.

The hard part comes after

If you’re proficient at mobile development, building the apps themselves isn’t that difficult. I wanted to use the process of updating the apps to learn about online marketing and advertising, so it turns out that the hard part is just getting noticed. I think the market has shifted significantly since I started building small utilities in 2011 and I’m surprised at how much people don’t want to spend on apps now. So far targeting ads with Facebook and Google has not resulted in many sales, but I’m still learning so hopefully that starts going up as I do more.

Give the apps a try!

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Towards the end of school in April, I got in contact with a classmate who was connected to iPhone development, and in September I started working full time for them. It’s been really cool to see how apps actually progress from ideas to real products, because so many people use them, but only a small percentage actually understand the mechanics of how the apps get onto their phones.

I mostly did some feature additions to existing apps to get to know Objective-C and the iOS environment, but during a recent road trip, I created an app that has just entered the App store. A small utility, it serves a need that I could have used many times on the trip.

It’s called Here’s My Location and it gives you the ability to alert friends and family to your exact GPS location through email and SMS. There are similar applications out in the store already, but I think this one has the right combination of simplicity and utility that many people like.

To use the app, open it and wait for the GPS accuracy indicator to go green. This little badge changes based on the accuracy of the phone’s current location: red for inaccurate, yellow for moderate, and green for accurate to approximately 5-10m (the iPhone’s limit). You can send a message using the top two blue buttons, or copy the formatted Google Maps link to the pasteboard to use in another application.

It’s really a simple start, but I hope that through user feedback I can add other requested features in the future.

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