Friday, March 27, 2009

iPhone Friday - March 27, 2009

The first of the iPhone Fridays wallpapers. These are from my first collection of iPhone wallpapers entitled Innersquare. Enjoy.

Saving images from within Safari on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch

It's Friday - iPhone Friday! As promised here is the "how-to" for saving images from within Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch for use as a Wallpaper. The video can be found at Able Pear Software's channel at YouTube. A following blog entry will have the first set of wallpapers for you to save and use... Cheers!

Monday, March 23, 2009

iPhone Wallpapers on iPhone Fridays

Remember the Motorola RAZR, that sleek, slim, had-to-have, geek-chic cellphone that was everywhere, and still is for some. I had one, my best friend had one, his boyfriend had one, the little old lady down the street had one... It wasn't just a cellphone it was a status symbol proclaiming, "Hey, check it out, I'm riding the wave of trendiness," "I'm on the edge," and, "don't you wish your cellphone was hot like mine."

All was good in the world and I was content in my cellphone self-worth. Then all those happy illusions of cellular mass-market consumer bliss came to an abrupt halt. The culprit in my cell-fashion identity crisis... the Apple iPhone.

The iPhone over night became the must-have accessory for anyone looking for some bling to breath a little life into their cellphone drudgery. Any self-respecting technophile or geek-chic Apple fan boy was in line a minimum of 18 hours before they went on sale. We were there, and we got ours and we were happy. Again, once more, we were ahead of the curve, individuals escaping from the herd of mainstream cellular-cows. We were in love and loving it.

And as soon as we had it in our hands we were seeing what it could do, what doors will now be open that were until then not realized and how can I best show it off, in a discreet way, to all those around me, my new look-at-me-and-be-in-awe iPhone. We changed the ring tone, took a picture and set it as the wallpaper for the iPhone. It was again, unique.

Then, less than 30 minutes later while sitting on the porch with my fellow fan boys, a call came. I think I got goose-bumps. Yes! It's my iPhone. It's my ring tonnn...wait a second... That's your iPhone ringing!

I was not unique, I was not noteworthy, I was just another fan boy .My friend and I had picked the same old-fashioned phone ring tone for our phones. We looked at each other. Damn! I was betrayed by the limited options of that stock device.

Ever since then I've tried to personalize my iPhone. I wrote music to use as ring tones. I created individual ring tones using Apple's latest "voice" for OS X, Alex, who would announce the calling party's name. And I also made several (hundred) wallpapers for my iPhone. I couldn't help it. It was like crack. iCrack.

It's been almost two years and I'm over those individualistic tendencies that were consuming me, and the space on my laptop. I've learned to share and share I will.

Starting Friday and every Friday afterwards I will release a few wallpapers for you to download and use on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Sometimes I will impart tidbits of information I've learned or tutorials on creating custom ring tones using Apple's iTunes, Garage Band and Automator. I will call it iPhone Fridays and it will be good.

My first entry will be a tutorial on how to save the wallpapers for use on your iPhone. I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed making them. Leave a comment and feel free to make any suggestions on what you'd like to see as a wallpaper or if you have any questions.

Take care!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I still have that old RAZR, just now it lives its life as a paper weight, sitting next to a Sony Erickson something-a-rather and some other cellular antique - gathering dust and looking enviously at me and my iPhone's love affair.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Book Review: iPhone Developer's Cookbook

I just finished Erica Sadun's The iPhone Developer's Cookbook: Building Applications with the iPhone SDK.
I found it to be incredibly helpful. Over the past few weeks as I've been working my way through it, I've frequently referred back to it as I work on features in my own applications.

The book is squarely aimed at developers who already know Objective-C well and have at least some clue as to how modern event driven GUI frameworks function. If you're coming from a web development background, or are still getting up to speed with C and Objective-C concepts, you may find this book frustrating.

Erica starts with a simple "hello, world" style application with a simple UI built programmatically without using Interface Builder and nib files. Subsequent recipes build on the "hello, world" app. The code examples are tightly focused but sometimes omit boilerplate declarations and glue code -- generally a good thing since Objective-C is fairly verbose. I was always able to follow the examples and any omissions seemed self-evident to me, but an Objective-C newbie might get lost at a couple of points.

Though it's a cookbook, the chapters build in a logical progression, covering views, view controllers, alerts and status indicators, two chapters on tables, multimedia, form controls and services like the address book and core location. Some topics, such as audio processing or SQLite, deserve books of their own; Erica simply scratches the surface.

One notable topic not covered is OpenGL ES -- prospective game programmers need look elsewhere. My one small criticism of the book is the number of examples using undocumented or private APIs. Erica's obviously spent a lot of time spelunking around Cocoa Touch's innards, and while it's cool to play around with things you find there, if your aim is to publish apps in the App Store, undocumented APIs aren't really very useful. But they are clearly labeled in the text, and Erica does talk about the pitfalls of using undocumented calls in the first chapter.

My biggest praise is for showing how to build up an application without nibs. I found Interface Builder and nib files very convoluted and opaque at first. Erica's "hello, world" app helped me understand the relationship between the main() function, the application delegate, the window and the root view.