About Michael

I created this site to help showcase the mobile application community in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina.

Are app factories worth your time?

I was listening to a story on the news the other day, and at the end the section was sponsored by a local app factory. This got me thinking. How much value do companies get out of app factories? Are they really just delaying the time when their developers need to get up to speed on app development?

Is this just the same pattern of the mid ’90s when companies said, we need a website, and so they outsourced it. Only to realize that they got a cookie cutter website?

Local App Spotlight – Downcast

I listen to a lot of podcasts.  Probably way too many podcasts.  When I am traveling on business, I tend to blow thru my iPad data plan in a week.  Additionally, AT&T recently informed me that I am in the top 1% of data plan users of my unlimited iPhone data plan.  In order to keep up with all these  podcasts, I discovered a wonderful podcatcher app a while back, <a href=”http://downcastapp.com/”>Downcast</A>.  Last summer I reached out to tell the makers of this app that I had seen them pop up multiple times on iPad today and various other TWiT podcasts.  I found out that the developer was local!  What a great surprise.  I had a chance to meet him at the Durham Public LIbrary and try to put together the a draft episode of the Triangle App Show podcast.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have good microphones and so that episode may never be shown.  It sounded pretty bad.

Well Seth McFarland (the developer of Downcast), did some major upgrades in late fall/early winter, which makes Downcast an even more powerful podcatcher.  When Apple introduced iCloud many app developers were trying to figure out how to leverage this cloud based storage.  Seth enabled synchronization of your podcasts, playlists, and the position of play across your iPhone and iPad.  This has only improved my podcast listening habit.  Great Job Seth!


If you have a favorite app developed by a local developer, why don’t you drop us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

Is the Triangle really an App Hotbed?

I was reviewing a study that I heard Leo Laporte talk about on MacBreak weekly, that claims that the App Economy has created 466,000 jobs in the last few years.  The article can be found on cNet.  I downloaded the report from TechWeb and saw this graphic – .

According to this study North Carolina doesn’t even rate in the top 10!  Come on app developers.. make your voice heard!

Twitter integration for Wasted Time

So, now that we got the persistance across sessions and meeting restart functions approved and on the app store, it’s time to really focus on Twitter integration.  We are glad we hadn’t gotten to far before this time, since Twitter has officially shut down all apps that are using simple integrations.  So now we have to focus on getting a much better understanding of how the OAuth features work for twitter.  In the mean time we want your feedback on how Twitter integration should work.  There are a few choices that come to mind:


1) Tweet when ever a meeting has reached quorum and when it is ended, as long as you have selected that you wish to tweet.  While this would be the simplest, it may not be prudent to tweet that you just wasted a ton of money by being in a meeting with your boss.

2) Only tweet when a meeting has completed.  

3) Only tweet when quorum is reached.

4) Ask at each major point, do you want to tweet about this event, i.e.  If you press quorum achieved, ask if you wish to tweet, or if your meetin ended, instead of asking “Was it worth it”, ask do you want to tweet, and if you answer yes, then ask was it worth it.  This would allow the tweet to say “We just spent $1billion and it was worth it :)”


What do you think?  Any suggestions?

Data Persistence Across Platforms

We are currently looking at Android for a version of WastedTime…Today when you purchase the iPhone app, you get a fully functioning iPad app two, not some cheap pixel doubling app.  Given this, you may find yourself, like I do, having to chose between the iPhone and the iPad version for all your meetings during a week.  This is because the current version of WastedTime stores it’s persistent data in the iOS’s NSUserDefaults.  Meaning that it is not shared across devices.  

Do you think that it would make more sense to have a data store in the cloud which would automatically sync up when you start the app?  We do want to add a mashup of wasted time around the globe, but did not want to store any specific data.  If we have data persistence across devices, you could show total global wasted time within the app itself.  What do you think of this idea?

Improved Calendar – Don’t ya think?

So got a bit of feedback, and it seems that people agree with me, that the calendar was pretty bad… even lame may come to mind… So here’s an improvement (?)

And just to complete the image.. here is it small (as it would show in the app…

 — And just for fun.. the clock in app size —

 — I think the clock shrinks down well….